Northwest News

Hanford Waste Tanks
7:13 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Federal GAO Report: Hanford Radioactive Waste Tanks Need New Plan

A tank farm at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
Credit Anna King / Northwest News Network

There’s got to be a better plan for leaking tanks of waste at Washington State’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation. That’s according to a new report by the federal Government Accountability Office.

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Oregon Pot
6:14 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Oregon Hires Top Marijuana Regulator

Credit Katherine Hitt Flickr

 

    

Oregon is gearing up for a year-long process of crafting regulations for recreational marijuana.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission Tuesday hired Tom Burns to lead the agency's implementation of Measure 91, which allows adults in Oregon to grow, possess, and sell marijuana under state regulation.

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Idaho Mental Health
5:33 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Idaho Opens Its First Mental Health Crisis Center

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter was among those on hand for Monday's ribbon cutting in Idaho Falls.
Credit State of Idaho

A new center for treating people having a mental health crisis is now open in Idaho. Officials held a ribbon-cutting in Idaho Falls Monday.

The center is the first of its kind in Idaho. It’s meant to address the need for care for people during mental health emergencies. Mental health advocates and police say too often, those people end up in jail or hospital emergency rooms. The new center is modeled after one in Billings, Montana.

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Transportation
5:27 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Governor Inslee Unveils Transportation Plan

Govenor Jay Inslee unveiled his transportation plan Tuesday. His $12 billion proposal calls for a list of safety fixes. The fixes include old bridges that are at risk of becoming structurally deficient. The package also includes nearly $6 billion for new construction projects. To help pay for them, Inslee is proposing to charge the state’s major polluters.

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River Dredging
4:58 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

$2 Million In Taxpayer Dollars At Risk In Snake River Dredging Showdown

Some river cruise ships can no longer call at this cruise ship dock in Clarkston because of accumulated silt.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 5:22 pm

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is making a high-stakes bet that it will prevail in a pending lawsuit over Snake River dredging.

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Skagit River Water Dispute
6:55 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Court Case Is The Latest Battle In Water Wars Of The Skagit River

It might be wet this time of year in the Northwest, but that hasn’t stopped an ongoing battle over water in Washington’s Skagit river valley.
Credit pfly / Flickr

Richard and Marnie Fox wanted to build a new house on their land but they couldn't get a building permit. The Foxes took legal action and their case will go before a judge on Tuesday.

The state said there was not enough water in the area to support anymore new residences without endangering salmon, especially during the drier parts of the year.

Richard Fox walked out to his back field with his leather hat and raincoat on. A bunch of sopping wet cows looked at him, vaguely curious. His backyard was flooded. 

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Mudslide Safety
6:35 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Washington Commission Urges Statewide Landslide Effort

A new report said more money is needed for mudslide response and preparation in cases like Oso, depicted above.
Credit Washington State Patrol

The work of an independent commission in response to the Oso landslide in March said more money is needed to prepare for landslides when they do strike.

The commission has 17 recommendations to improve public safety in a state that is dotted with landslide prone slopes. They ranged from improving emergency response to educating the public about landslides.

The report did not assess blame for the deaths in Oso.

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WIC and Potatoes
6:12 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Congress Puts Potatoes On The Menu In Nutrition Subsidy

The white potato wasn't part of the WIC voucher that included other vegetables until a new spending package directed the USDA to put them back in the menu.
Credit Idaho Potato Commission

Northwest potato farmers are cheering a small provision tucked into the newly passed federal spending package.

The Women, Infants, and Children or WIC program is the provider of modest monthly vouchers for a variety of foods. WIC will cover any vegetable, except for “white potatoes.”

That single exclusion outraged the potato industry. They felt it sent the wrong message and Northwest lawmakers from both parties got on board to reverse the rule.

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Cyber Security
6:08 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Cyber Security Audit: Washington Agencies Not In Full Compliance

File photo of one of the built-out data halls in Washington's data center.
Credit Washington Consolidated Technology Services

The state of Washington has good cyber security standards, but state agencies don’t always adhere to those standards.

That was the finding of a performance audit released Monday.

Cyber security has emerged as a leading threat to the U.S. government and corporate America. Sony Pictures was the latest high profile victim, but state and local governments are also potential targets.

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Earthquake Early Warning
4:24 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

What Would You Do With A Few Seconds Warning Of Coming Quake?

The proposed early earthquake warning system, included in the federal budget this weekend, is designed to give a heads up about strong shaking coming from a distance along the West Coast.
Credit Andy Maguire / Flickr

The new federal budget sent to the president's desk over the weekend included $5 million for an earthquake early warning along the West Coast. 

The proposed early warning system can't predict earthquakes. It's designed to give a heads up about strong shaking coming from a distance. It has worked because electronic signals can travel faster than rumbling over the surface.

Depending on how close you are to the epicenter, U.S. Geological Service geophysicist Doug Given said you could get an alert anywhere between ten seconds to a minute in advance.

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