Northwest News

Marijuana Legalization
6:28 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Big Bucks Pour In For Oregon Ballot Measure Campaigns

The group behind the marijuana legalization measure in Oregon has taken in more than two million dollars.
Credit Mark / Flickr

  The big bucks keep pouring into Oregon ballot measure campaigns. The campaign to pass a recreational marijuana law similar to Washington’s got a big financial boost over the weekend. Even the less flashy top-two primary measure is rolling in out-of-state money.

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Human Trafficking Lawsuit
6:26 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Washington Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Backpage Case

Anti-human trafficking activists rally at the Washington Supreme Court before oral arguments in a case involving Backpage.com.
Credit Northwest News Network

  

The fate of a human trafficking lawsuit against Backpage.com is now in the hands of the Washington Supreme Court. The justices heard oral arguments Tuesday in a case that involves three underage victims of sex trafficking.

The lawsuit alleges the Washington girls were pimped-out through ads posted to Backpage.com. Erik Bauer is a lawyer for the victims. He argues Backpage has created a sex marketplace where human trafficking can flourish.

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Legislative Trips
6:37 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Washington Ethics Ruling Could Lower Bar For Foreign Trips

Washington state Senator Pam Roach appears on Azerbaijani television during a trip in May to strengthen relations between the U.S. and Azerbaijan.
Credit Pam Roach

A Washington lawmaker’s trip to the Middle East in 2013 was legitimate legislative travel – not an illegal junket. That was the ruling over the weekend from the state’s Legislative Ethics Board.

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Environment And Planning
6:20 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Hanford Whistleblower Investigation Inconclusive Due To Withheld Documents

Donna Busche was fired last winter from the Waste Treatment Plant project at Hanford.
Credit Anna King / Northwest News Network

A seven month federal investigation into the firing of a top safety manager at Hanford came up inconclusive Monday.

It was supposed to reveal what really happened in the whistleblower’s case, and if her safety concerns had merit. But the Department of Energy’s inspector general said federal contractors at southeast Washington’s nuclear reservation refused to hand over documents.

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Weather & Climate
4:36 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Unusually Mild Start To Autumn Across Northwest

This graphic shows the temperature departure from average for the past 30 days.
Credit Western Regional Climate Center

From a temperature standpoint, autumn is off to an unusually mild start across the Northwest.

The federal government's Western Regional Climate Center generates charts of climate anomalies. They showed average daily temperatures running 2 to 6 degrees above normal for the past month in nearly all of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.

Washington State Climatologist Nick Bond said a lingering patch of warm water in the eastern Pacific is contributing to the balmy weather.

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Wild Swimmers
7:09 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Chilly Water No Deterrent To Growing Numbers Of 'Wild Swimmers'

Swimmers enter the water for a mid-October, one mile "excursion" at Alki Beach in Seattle.
Credit Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

More swimmers in the Northwest are trading the comfort of the pool for a workout in open water.

The English call these people "wild swimmers." It seems an appropriate description when you consider the chilly temperature of most Northwest lakes, rivers and bays. And yet, the popularity of open water swimming is rising.

'I get bored in a pool'

"I usually swim from about May until end of November in open water,” said Mike Tanner, a 43-year-old tech worker from Kirkland, Washington. “Then I go back to the pool and wait for May again."

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Health Care
6:14 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Washington Insurer Settles Suit Over Autism Treatment

Families with autistic children took Regence BlueShield to court in Washington over its failure to cover autism treatment.
Credit bloomsberries / Flickr

The biggest health insurance company in Washington, Regence BlueShield, has settled a pair of class action lawsuits for $6 million.

Families with autistic children took the company to court over its failure to cover a treatment known as 'Applied Behavioral Therapy.' It involves extensive one-on-one work between a child and a therapist, and can cost $50,000 a year or more.

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Food, Agriculture, And Animals
6:01 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Money Battle In Oregon Food Labeling Measure Mirrors Washington

Signs mark a field of genetically modified corn.
Credit Lindsay Eyink

The big-money battle is over whether to require food manufacturers and retailers to label genetically engineered foods. A similar initiative also set spending records in Washington state last year.

The group that supports the genetic engineering food labeling measure has raised more than $5 million so far. The group opposed to it has raked in about $11 million. More than two weeks remain before Election Day so those numbers will likely grow even higher.

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Weather & Climate
5:49 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Long Range Forecast Calls For Warmer, Drier Winter

A U.S. winter outlook map for December 2014 through February 2015.
Credit National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Washington State Climatologist Nick Bond said a lot of what's driving this forecast is an El Niño , a warming cycle in the Pacific Ocean that can have big effects on weather and climate around the globe.

"It is slowly getting started, but it looks like it is happening in the tropical Pacific,” he said. “In the past when we have had those conditions, it has tended to be on the warm, dry side."

As you might imagine, this outlook sends shivers down the spines of anyone who depends on winter snowpack for recreation, water supply or hydropower.

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Economy, Business, Finance, And Labor
5:21 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Washington State's Exotic Investment Opens In Tahiti

The Washington State Investment Board is a majority owner of the company that owns a resort on a Tahitian island once owned by Marlon Brando.
Credit Wikimedia

A new luxury resort has opened on a Tahitian island once owned by Marlon Brando. And it could soon start to pay a dividend to Washington state’s retired public employees. That’s because the state’s investment board is a majority owner of the company that owns the resort. It’s a story we first brought you two years ago.

The Brando is a $4000 per night resort that made CNBC’s list of “Hot travel trends for the uber-rich.”

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