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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Idaho Representative/Tax Evader
6:31 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Idaho Lawmaker Is Tax Crusader To Some, Tax Dodger To Feds

Idaho Representative R- Phil Hart is in danger of the U.S. Justice Department foreclosing on his home near Athol, Idaho.
Photo credit: Idaho House of Representatives Northwest News Network

ATHOL, Idaho -- Tax evasion will get you into hot water with the IRS. But in north Idaho, it won’t necessarily spell the end of your political career. A Republican state legislator who believes the federal income tax is unconstitutional is battling charges of tax evasion, even as he seeks reelection.

The federal government says Phil Hart owes more than $500,ooo in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties. The U.S. Justice Department is threatening to foreclose on his home near Athol, Idaho if he doesn’t pay up. Meanwhile, Idaho tax collectors say Hart owes the state another $53,000.

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Tribal/Fed Settlement
6:00 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Non-Monetary Benefits A Big Part Of $1Billion Tribal Settlement

Attorney General Eric Holder announced the settlement Wednesday of breach-of-trust lawsuits filed by 41 American Indian tribes against the United States.
Photo credit: U.S. Dept. of Justice. U.S. Dept. of Justice.

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -- A landmark settlement announced this week between the federal government and American Indian tribes is expected to have long-term effects beyond the $1 billion in the agreement. Nine Northwest tribes are part of the deal: Coeur d’Alene, Nez Perce, Shoshone-Bannock, Colville, Spokane, Tulalip, Makah, Nooksack, Swinomish.

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WSU Sociologist Smartgrid
3:49 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Why A Sociologist Is Part Of Building A Better Power Grid

A new research center at Washington State University will look for ways to modernize the country’s aging electric grid.
Photo credit: U.S. Dept. of Energy Photo courtesy U.S. Dept. of Energy

PULLMAN, Wash -- Washington State University announced it’s created a new research center. It will look for ways to bring the country’s aging electricity system in line with 21st century power needs. Besides experts in energy and computer science, the assembled team of researchers includes sociologists and psychologists.

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Northwest Flu Season
6:23 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Flu Season Hangs On In NW, As Seen In Your Web Searches

Colorized negative stained transmission electron micrograph of the influenza virus.
Photo credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Photo courtesy CDC

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Flu season is hanging on longer than usual in parts of the Northwest say health officials. That’s shown in cases of the flu and also via web searches. Google queries for terms like “muscle aches,” ”flu symptoms” and “thermometer” are being used to track where flu is hitting now.

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Cheese Recall
5:26 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

FDA Shuts Down Del Bueno Cheese Producer

Del Bueno’s queso fresco was recalled in 2010.
Photo Credit: FDA.gov

The Food and Drug Administration has shut down a family-owned Mexican style cheese producer in Washington. FDA inspectors say Del Bueno isn’t doing enough to prevent Listeria contamination in its products, even after several recalls. Del Bueno distributes a variety of cheeses to Hispanic food stores across Eastern Washington, the Seattle area, and parts of Oregon.

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Mapping While Driving
3:40 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

No More Texting, But What About Mapping While Driving?

Idaho has joined Oregon and Washington in outlawing texting while driving.
Photo credit: Kevin Mooney Northwest News Network

Beginning this summer, texting will be illegal for drivers across all three Northwest states. Idaho Governor Butch Otter signed a bill Thursday that outlaws texting while driving on Idaho roads. But in the age of the smartphone, text messages aren’t the only distraction on the tiny screen. Jessica Robinson looked into what else falls under the ban.

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Wolf Photo
3:59 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Grisly Photo Adds Fuel To Wolf Hunt Debate

Note: We have posted edited and unedited versions of this photo. The anti-trapping group Footloose Montana reposted this photo of Idaho trapper Josh Bransford. The image has since spread to other environmental websites, inciting a furor.
Photo Source: Footloose Montana Facebook page via Trapperman.com

A photo of a trapped wolf in Idaho has splashed new fuel on the flames of the debate over wolves. Environmental groups say the image demonstrates what they see as the cruelty of wolf trapping in Idaho. But state and federal authorities say there was nothing illegal about the picture.

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Idaho Wolf Season Results
3:44 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Hunters And Trappers Take 372 Idaho Wolves This Season

Hunters have bagged 372 animals this season and Idaho Fish and Game has decided to expand wolf hunting next season.
Photo credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Photo courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife

Wolf hunting ends Saturday in most of Idaho. Hunters have bagged 372 animals since the season began in August, according to the latest count. Idaho Fish and Game officials are pleased, while wolf advocates find the high total worrisome.

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Lucky Friday Miners
4:39 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Employment Up In Idaho’s Silver Valley As Miners Find Work

High prices for gold and silver, plus a shortage of experienced miners, have opened up jobs for miners laid off from the Lucky Friday Mine in Idaho
Photo Credit: Hecla Mining Company Northwest News Network

Laid-off silver miners in north Idaho aren’t staying out-of-work for long. Around 250 miners and contractors lost their jobs at the end of last year when the Lucky Friday Mine was shut down for safety improvements. But since then, the Silver Valley’s jobless rate has actually dropped two percentage points.

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Columbia River Sewage Spill
4:12 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

1.2 Million Gallons Of Sewage Spills Into Columbia From Broken B.C. Pipe

Map indicating the site of the sewage leak.
Northwest News Network

A pipe failure on Monday in British Columbia has released an estimated 1.2 million gallons of raw sewage into the Columbia River. Emergency crews from the British Columbia Ministry of Environment stopped the flow  Tuesday afternoon.

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