Jessica Robinson

Inland Northwest Correspondent

Inland Northwest Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. From the politics of wolves to racial tolerance in small towns, Jessica covers the economic, demographic and environmental trends that are shaping communities east of the Cascades.

Prior to joining the Northwest News Network team, Jessica was the news director of Jefferson Public Radio in Ashland, Oregon, where she produced a newsmagazine on Northern California and Southern Oregon. In 2010, she took a year to study Spanish in central Mexico and reported for an English–language newspaper in San Miguel de Allende. Jessica's stories for radio and print have earned awards from the Associated Press, the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association, and Public Radio News Directors Inc.

A Northwest native, Jessica grew up in an off–the–grid log cabin in the Columbia River Gorge. These days, when she's not agonizing over the perfect piece of tape, Jessica enjoys camping and hiking, amateur photography, and learning the etymology of words.

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Greenhouse Gas Emissions
5:26 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Gonzaga University Pledges Zero Emissions As 'Moral Imperative'

Brian Henning is a philosophy professor at Gonzaga and co-chairs the school’s Advisory Council on Stewardship and Sustainability.
Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Leaders at Gonzaga University are asking "What Would Jesus Do" about climate change? The Jesuit school has adopted a plan for zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.

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Cursive Handwriting
4:41 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Do We Still Need To Learn Cursive?

The most famous version of the Declaration of Independence was inscribed by the fine hand of clerk Timothy Matlack.
National Archives

Cursive handwriting may soon go the way of the card catalog and the film projector. Schools are moving to new curriculum standards that put more emphasis on typing skills. But not everyone is ready for the cursive alphabet to become a relic. The Idaho legislature is considering a statewide cursive mandate.

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NPR Story
4:35 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Do We Still Need To Learn Cursive?

National Archives

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 4:30 pm

Cursive handwriting may soon go the way of the card catalog and the film projector. Schools are moving to new curriculum standards that put more emphasis on typing skills. But not everyone is ready for the cursive alphabet become a relic. The Idaho legislature is considering a statewide cursive mandate.

As far as state representative Linden Bateman is concerned, losing cursive would amount to the dumbing down of society. That's why the Republican from Idaho Falls has introduced a bill to require cursive in elementary schools.

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Private Prisons
6:07 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Study: Private Prisons Lead To Fewer Jobs

Google Maps

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 5:45 pm

Researchers say the economic benefits of prisons often don't materialize for rural communities. That's according to a new paper by Northwest sociologists. In fact, they found communities with private prisons fare worse than they did before.

Washington State University sociologist Gregory Hook says rural areas that opt to build prisons, even courting them with tax breaks, have one main goal in mind: jobs.

“You know, you look across the way and you say 'Oh there's a prison. Fifty people have a job there. So that's 50 new jobs in my community.' … Only it's not.”

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Silver Mining
5:38 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Silver Boom Brings Historic Sunshine Mine Back Online

Miners begin work at the Sunshine Mine in 1972. The Mine is about 8 miles east of Kellogg, Idaho.
Credit MSHA

The high price of silver is bringing one of the Northwest's oldest silver mines back online. The Sunshine Mine in north Idaho is known for one of the worst mining disasters in the nation’s history. It will resume production in late 2014.

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Wolf Recovery
6:40 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Bill To Move Wolves West No Joke For Conservationists

A male wolf from Washington's Smackout Pack.
Credit Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

This week, a Republican lawmaker who represents eastern Washington ranch country introduced what many see as a poke in the eye for his colleagues who support wolf recovery. The new bill would move wolves to the west side of the Cascades. The proposal was immediately taken as a joke. But some conservationists say moving wolves west is not a bad idea.

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Education Gap
4:41 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

Idaho's Hispanic Education Gap Shrinks

Emory Maiden Flickr

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 4:36 pm

Idaho is starting to see the education gap narrow for Latino students. That's according to the state's Commission on Hispanic Affairs. Latinos are the fastest growing segment of Idaho’s school system.

The commission's director Margie Gonzalez told a legislative panel the days of double digit drop-out rates for Hispanic kids are gone. More Latinos are enrolling in college. And last month, a national assessment of vocabulary showed huge gains among Hispanic students in Idaho.

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Pet Owners
5:51 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Survey Says: We're Pet People In The Northwest

Wikimedia Commons

People in the Northwest are among the most likely in the nation to have pets. That's according to a new survey by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. Washington, Oregon and Idaho rank in the top 10 for pet-owning households – with Oregon at No. 4, Washington at No. 6 and Idaho at No. 9.

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NPR Story
5:29 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Survey Says: We're Pet People In The Northwest

Pete Hopkins Flickr

Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 4:03 pm

People in the Northwest are among the most likely in the nation to have pets. That's according to a new survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Washington, Oregon and Idaho rank in the top 10 for pet-owning households – with Oregon at No. 4, Washington at No. 6 and Idaho at No. 9.

Tom Meyer is a veterinarian in Vancouver, Wash. and sits on the board of the national vet group. He says it's not clear why the Northwest ranks so high, though rural states tend to have greater rates of pet ownership than more urban ones.

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Spokane Suit
5:39 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Spokane Sues Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac say don’t have to pay a real estate excise tax because they're government-sponsored enterprises.
Credit Northwest News Network

The city of Spokane, Wash., is suing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The class-action suit claims the two mortgage giants should have to pay a real estate excise tax to Spokane and dozens of other cities across Washington.

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