Northwest News

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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Stinkbug Invasion
6:57 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Something Smells: Invasion Of The Stink Bugs!

Originally from Asia, the brown marmorated stink bug first appeared in Pennsylvania in 1998. It has since made its way across the United States.
Credit Lildobe

Northwest researchers are teaming up to stop an invasion of stink bugs moving across the region. The bugs, which can smell like dirty gym socks, ruin tree fruit and grape vines. Those crops are vital to Northwest agriculture.

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Grand Coulee Salmon
6:30 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Tribes Push To Restore Salmon To Upper Columbia River

A pre-conference tour of Grand Coulee Dam on Monday kicked off a conversation about restoring salmon to the Upper Columbia Basin.
Credit Tom Banse

Once upon a time, salmon and steelhead swam over a thousand miles upriver to the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River, there at the foot of the Rockies in British Columbia.  Those epic migrations ended in 1938 with the construction of Grand Coulee Dam.  This week, tribes from both sides of the U.S.-Canada border along with scientists and policymakers are meeting in Spokane to figure out how Columbia River fish could be restored to their entire historical range. 

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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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Oregon Jobless Rate
4:13 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Oregon Unemployment Continues To Fall

New numbers out Tuesday show Oregon's unemployment rate continued its gradual decline in February, falling to a seasonally adjusted 6.9 percent.  As David Nogueras reports from Oregon Public Broadcasting, that's the lowest it's been since August of 2008.

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employers in Oregon added 2,900 jobs last month, marking the 8th consecutive monthly gain in seasonally adjusted non-farm payroll employment. Two thirds of those jobs were in the private sector.

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Washington State Ferries
3:53 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Washington Ferries Chief To Resign

David Moseley, the head of Washington State Ferries, with Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond.
Credit WSDOT / Flickr

The head of Washington State Ferries says he will step down on April 15th after six years on the job. David Moseley made his announcement Tuesday. His resignation comes as the nation’s largest ferry system continues to encounter choppy seas.

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Northwest News
9:10 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Helicopter Crash Near Seattle's Space Needle

This image, provided by the Washington State Department of Transportation, shows black smoke from the helicopter crash in downtown Seattle.
Credit 7:37 a.m. on Tuesday. Credit Twitter Photo/WSDOT

Two people were killed in the crash of a news helicopter near the Seattle Space Needle Tuesday morning.  They were identified as longtime KOMO-TV news photographer Bill Strothman, 62, of Bothell, and pilot Gary Pfitzner, 59, of Issaquah.  

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Oil Train Legislation
7:09 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Washington Legislature Fails To Pass Comprehensive Oil Train Legislation

More oil is moving through Washington state from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota. That has many concerned about oil train safety. The oil has proven extremely flammable, causing several explosions in North America.

State legislators on both sides of the aisle introduced bills to address the concerns.

But the session ended last week without a compromise.

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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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Tribal News
5:38 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Nooksack Vote Shows Divide on Disenrollment Struggle

This past weekend’s election on the Nooksack reservation near Bellingham leaves an uncertain future for hundreds of its members.

The tribe is seeking to remove about 15 percent of its people.

As Liz Jones reports, this tribal disenrollment would be the largest in the state’s history.

Tribal members describe record turnout Saturday, as Nooksack voters weighed in on candidates for its governing council. More than 700 of the tribe’s 2,000 people voted.

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