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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Digital Film
6:41 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Small Town Movie Houses Struggle To Switch From Film To Bits Of Data

Chris Wagner watches the 35 mm print for “Pirates! Band of Misfits” cycle through the original 1955 projector at his drive-in theater in Grangeville, Idaho.
Photo by Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

This summer’s blockbuster line-up is teeming with highly anticipated names -- like Batman, Spiderman, and the Avengers. That’s good news for the people who run cinemas. But for many small theaters across the Northwest, opening weekend is becoming a struggle.

More movies are starting to come on hard drives instead of reels. So theaters must make a costly conversion to digital if they want to stay in the game. And, as Jessica Robinson reports, time is running out.

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Hecla Mining
6:18 am
Tue June 5, 2012

Miner’s Daughter Wants Company Held Responsible For Father’s Death

The daughter of a north Idaho miner killed in a tunnel collapse last year says federal regulators are failing to hold the company responsible. She says new fines do not do justice to her father’s death. The federal government is proposing $360,000 in penalties related to an accident that killed Larry Marek. Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports.

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Lucky Friday Mine
6:13 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Fines For Fatal Mining Accident Less Than Predicted

The Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan, Idaho.
Photo credit: Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

The federal government is fining a north Idaho mining company $360,000 for unsafe practices that killed a miner last year. That’s about a third of the penalties that were expected.

Last year federal inspectors said the Hecla Mining Company engaged in “aggravated conduct” when it allowed miners to extract silver ore from a mass of unstable rock. It happened about a mile underground at the Lucky Friday Mine near Mullan, Idaho. The practices led to a tunnel collapse that killed 53 year old Larry Marek, according to a investigation.

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Liquor Privatization
6:37 am
Fri June 1, 2012

Washington Hands Off Liquor Sales To Private Sector

Spokane Costco manager Kelly Frisina looks up at the pallets of liquor ready to be lowered after midnight on Friday morning.
Photo by Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

Washington is witnessing a major shift in a multi-million dollar business. Starting Friday, hard liquor will be right there on the shelf at supermarkets, big box stores and privately-run liquor shops. It’s Day One of a new voter-passed law that takes Washington liquor sales out of the hands of the state.

Oregon lawmakers may consider a similar proposal next year and it could affect liquor sales along Idaho’s north-western border. We sent correspondent Jessica Robinson out to see how a government-run industry goes private.

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Idaho's Stake in Wash. I-1183
5:08 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Idaho Wonders How Wash. Law Will Affect Cross-Border Booze Runs

Could Washington's liquor laws become a boon to Idaho?
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Washington retailers are getting ready for the 78 year old state monopoly on liquor sales to end this Friday. It’s not yet clear what privatization will do to the price of alcohol in Washington. One entity with a big stake in the matter … is the state of Idaho.

Some of Idaho’s most profitable state-run liquor stores just happen to be along its Northwestern border.

Jared Tatro: “And when we went up to visit those stores, we look at IDs, we’re looking at license plates,  they’re coming from Washington.”

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Honorary Degrees
5:48 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Honorary Degree: What Is It Good For?

Sanjay Gupta received an honorary degree from the University of Michigan in April.
Photo credit: Helen Graham Northwest News Network

At graduation ceremonies across the Northwest this spring, a handful of people will receive what are known as “honorary degrees.” Typically, they’re awarded to distinguished humanitarians, writers and entrepreneurs. But correspondent Jessica Robinson wanted to know what, if anything, you can actually do with an honorary degree.

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Idaho P.O.W.
4:10 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Parents Of Captured Idaho Soldier Want Prisoner Swap

A Taliban video from December 2010 appears to show Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in captivity.
Northwest News Network

The Idaho parents of the only U.S. soldier in Taliban captivity say they want the Obama administration to negotiate a prisoner swap to bring their son home. Bob and Jani Bergdahl broke their long silence in new interviews, hoping to build public pressure for a deal.

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Mine Safety Improvements
4:04 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Safety Improvements On Track At Idaho Mine Where Two Died

Crews installed work decks as part of a year-long project to improve safety the Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan, Idaho.
Photo courtesy of Hecla Mining

Work crews are ahead of schedule on safety improvements at the north Idaho mine where two men died last year. That’s the update today from the Hecla Mining Company, which owns the troubled Lucky Friday Mine. The federally mandated improvements have taken a bite into Hecla’s profits.

Federal inspectors ordered Hecla to make a whole stack of safety improvements at its north Idaho silver mine. The biggest task is a top to bottom scrubbing of the mine’s main shaft. Inspectors found loose cement on the wall of this 6,000 ft conduit that takes ore and people in and out of the mine.

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Ovarian Disease
6:43 am
Fri May 4, 2012

Study: Chemicals In Great-Grandma’s Life May Promote Disease In You

The chance of a woman getting ovarian disease may be tied to the toxic chemicals her great-grandmother was exposed to. That’s according to a new study by researchers at Washington State University. As Jessica Robinson reports, the study could help explain the role of environmental factors in inherited diseases.

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Washington Assisted Suicide
6:39 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Search For Jazz Singer’s Roots Brings Together Two Julias

Mildred Bailey, 1947, New York City.
Photo courtesy of the William P. Gottlieb Collection

In the late 1930s, a sweet-voiced singer from the Northwest helped propel the nation into a new era of music, known as swing. Her name was Mildred Bailey -- sometimes called the “Rockin’ Chair Lady,” for her signature song ...

Bailey went down in history as a white vocalist who helped popularize jazz singing. Except, she wasn’t white. Bailey was half Coeur d’Alene Indian – a fact that received little attention, until recently. Correspondent Jessica Robinson has this story of two women, both named Julia, who Mildred Bailey brought together decades after her death.

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