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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Northwest Vaccinations
5:17 pm
Fri April 27, 2012

Federal Campaign Reaches Out To Northwest’s Vaccine-Shy Parents

Vaccination rates in the northwest are low for the United States.
File photo courtesy Centers for Disease Control

The federal government’s top health officers are making an appeal to the Northwest’s medical community to boost vaccination rates. The deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control’s immunization branch spoke at a public health conference in Coeur d’Alene Friday as part of the national campaign.

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Farm Child Labor
5:10 pm
Fri April 27, 2012

NW Farmers Cheer Federal Reversal On Child Labor Rules

Don Beck is a hay and cattle farmer outside of Post Falls, Idaho.
Photo Credit: Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

Northwest farm groups are cheering a federal decision this week to dump proposed child labor rules. The Department of Labor decided to withdraw the plan after it received thousands of comments opposing the change. But child safety advocates say the fierce opposition was based on faulty information.

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Wildfire Season
4:26 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Feds’ Best Guess: Mild Fire Season For Much Of Northwest

A view of the 2011 Shadow Lake fire in central Oregon.
Photo courtesy of www.inciweb.org

Some hard-to-read global weather patterns are making this year’s fire season difficult to forecast. That’s according to experts at federal agencies that track wildfires. But as best they can tell, the Northwest is in for a milder season than other fire-prone parts of the country.

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Glass Recycling
5:45 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Artist Finds Niche Business In Glass Recycling

Terra Cressey, 37, of Sandpoint, Idaho owns Glass Roots Recycling, a business that finds creative ways to use glass bottles that would otherwise end up in the local landfill.
Photo by Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

A fledgling business in Sandpoint, Idaho is giving locals a place to finally take their glass bottles – besides the landfill, that is. North Idaho is one of the few corners of the Northwest that doesn’t have glass recycling. As Jessica Robinson reports, the business is barely up and running, and already has more glass bottles than it can handle.

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GOP Infighting
6:31 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Book Details Infighting Between Idaho Rep And GOP Leaders

Republican Congressman Raúl Labrador of Idaho holds a press conference with fellow conservative freshman members in February.
Photo Credit: labrador.house.gov

A new book coming out Tuesday contains an inside account of Idaho Congressman Raúl Labrador’s conflict with ranking members of the House. The Washington Post reports the book details the rift between GOP leadership and freshman Republicans pursuing a Tea Party agenda.

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Gonzaga Grad Speaker
4:33 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Tutu To Speak At Gonzaga Graduation Despite Alumni Petition

Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Photo courtesy Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation

The president of Gonzaga University in Spokane is defending the choice of Archbishop Desmond Tutu as the school’s commencement speaker next month. Some alumni say Tutu’s positions on social issues make him an inappropriate choice for the Catholic school.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Tutu has expressed support for abortion rights, contraception, same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay clergy. Next month, he’s slated to receive an honorary law degree at Gonzaga’s graduation ceremony.

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Selenium Pollution
5:58 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Two-Headed Trout Spur Scrutiny Of Mine Pollution

A study commissioned by the J.R. Simplot Company on selenium contamination in creeks in southeast Idaho includes photos of deformed Yellowstone cutthroat trout (top) and brown trout (bottom).
Photos courtesy J.R. Simplot Idaho DEQ

Here’s an image you usually don’t see without the help of Photoshop: two-headed fish. Pictures of deformed baby trout with two heads show up in a study of creeks in a remote part of southeast Idaho. The study examined the effects of a contaminant called selenium. It comes from a nearby mine owned by the agribusiness giant, J.R. Simplot. Critics say the two-headed trout have implications beyond a couple of Idaho creeks. Jessica Robinson reports.

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Wolf Poaching
6:24 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Washington Couple Plead Guilty In Wolf Poaching Scheme

A couple from Twisp, Wash., has accepted a plea deal in a wolf poaching case. Under the agreement with federal prosecutors, Tom White and his wife will not face jail time. Jessica Robinson reports.

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KKK Mailing
6:07 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Lawmaker Uses KKK Mailing To Discuss Bigotry In Idaho

Idaho State Representative Cherie Buckner-Webb.
Photo credit: Buckner-Webb campaign Northwest News Network

The African-American lawmaker in Idaho who received a flier from the KKK says she’s using the incident as an opportunity to talk about bigotry in the state. State representative Cherie Buckner-Webb and four other Idaho lawmakers have reported getting the mailings at home.

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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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