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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Sage Grouse
7:18 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Study: Sage Grouse Habitat Slow To Rebound After Fire

Greater Sage Grouse
Credit USFWS

A new study suggests creating livable habitat for the dwindling sage grouse may be trickier than originally thought. Wildfires have been tearing through the bird's territory in the West. Now, federal researchers find even 20 years after a fire, the ecology is still not up to sage grouse standards.

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Idaho 10 Commandments
6:39 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Thou Shalt Not...

A newspaper clipping from 1972 shows the placement of a 10 Commandments monument in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Credit City of Sandpoint

A little-known display of the 10 Commandments in North Idaho has attracted the attention of a couple of national legal organizations.  The issue involves a stone monument in a city park in Sandpoint.  It has similarities to a controversy over a war memorial in Coos Bay, Oregon.

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Death Penalty
4:37 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Report: Hard To Pin Down Death Penalty Costs In Idaho

Idaho’s execution chamber.
Credit Idaho Dept. of Correction

Death penalty cases take longer to work through Idaho's court system, but it's hard to put a dollar figure on the extra expense. That's according to a new report released Wednesday. As Jessica Robinson reports, it's unlikely to prompt any drastic changes in Idaho's policy on capital punishment.

Two recent executions in Idaho after a 17-year pause made lawmakers want to get more information on how much capital punishment costs the state. The legislature’s Office of Performance Evaluations has now come back with an answer: hard to say.

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Undercover Agriculture Video
4:53 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Lawsuits Charge ‘Ag-Gag’ Laws Violate Free Speech In Idaho, Utah

The group Mercy for Animals released video in 2012 of workers at Bettencourt Dairy in Idaho abusing cows. The incident led Idaho lawmakers to outlaw surreptitious video at farms.
Credit Mercy for Animals

A lawsuit lead by the ACLU is challenging Idaho's brand new, so-called “ag-gag” law. That's the law aimed at stopping undercover animal rights activists from making videos of abuse at farms and slaughter houses. As Jessica Robinson reports, Idaho's law isn't the first to be challenged on free speech grounds.

Last year, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed suit against a Utah law very similar to Idaho’s. Both laws criminalize shooting video without the farm owner's permission.

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Idaho Gay Rights
6:56 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Multiple Protests, Arrests, But Is Idaho Any Closer To Gay Rights?

"Add the Words" protesters encircle the upper level of the rotunda at the Idaho Capitol. They put a hand over their mouth to symbolize how they've been "silenced" by lawmakers, who have declined to hold a hearing on an anti-discrimination bill.
Credit Jessica Robinson

This winter, protests hit the Idaho Capitol at a level rarely seen in Boise. Gay rights activists blocked entrances and were marched away in handcuffs. They want Idaho's Republican-controlled legislature to pass an anti-discrimination law similar to those in Oregon and Washington. It would make it illegal for employers, landlords and most businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Lawmakers plan to wrap up the session this Friday without ever printing the bill.

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Gun Control
5:31 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Idaho Students Make Last-Ditch Effort To Kill Guns-On-Campus Bill

File photo of the campus of Boise State University
Laura Gilmore Flickr

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 4:13 pm

Idaho university students are making a last-minute attempt to stop a measure that would allow people to carry concealed weapons on campus.

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Empire Builder
7:30 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Passengers Wait Hours For Empire Builder, America's Least Reliable Train

Amtrak's Empire Builder rolls past the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex, Mont.

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 10:00 am

The worst train in America is right here in the Northwest: the famed Empire Builder.

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National Parks
4:19 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

National Parks Report: Nearby Towns Lost Nearly $500M In October Shutdown

File photo of an entrance to Mount Rainier National Park
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 4:03 pm

According to a National Park Service report, towns around national parks lost an estimated $414 million during the partial government shutdown last October.

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Land Use Deals
6:40 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Why Are Land-Use Deals So Challenging?

Oregon lawmakers are scrambling to fix an urban growth plan for the Portland metro area after a court threw out a four-year-old agreement last week. It's just the latest skirmish over land-use policy in the Northwest.

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Hate Groups
5:14 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Report: Neo-Nazis, Skinheads And Other Hate Groups Down In Northwest

Members of the Aryan Nations march in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho in 2004.
holotone Flickr

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 4:58 pm

An annual count released Tuesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed that the number of active hate groups in the Northwest dropped dramatically in 2013.

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