Northwest News

Hanford Greenhouse Gases
6:22 am
Fri April 20, 2012

Reducing Hanford’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions

When you think of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, its radioactive legacy usually comes to mind. But, as correspondent Courtney Flatt reports, there’s more to clean up than just the site’s nuclear waste.

The Department of Energy wants to cut back commuter traffic at the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site.

Nearly 10,000 workers travel to and from Hanford on a daily basis. That’s a lot of traffic, and most of those cars hold just one person.

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Washington ER Law
6:05 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Wash. Hospitals Unveil Alternative Plan For ER Visits

Washington state and health care providers are involved in a long-running dispute over unnecessary ER visits by Medicaid patients.
Photo credit: Sarah Gilbert/ Flickr KUOW

The state has been trying to crack down on ER visits for conditions that are not critical. But health care providers say the state’s policies go too far, they’re unsafe for patients, and will shift costs to hospitals.

Hospitals and emergency room doctors want to address the problem their own way. They’ve put together what they call best practices for reducing unnecessary ER visits. A key component of that is using an electronic health information system.

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Sec. Reed Civics Tour
5:08 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

WA Secretary of State Sam Reed on Final College Civics Tour

Photo of Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed.
Courtesy of the Office of Secretary of State

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed has been on his final college civics tour before he retires next January.
For the past several years, Reed has taken time out every spring to visit college campuses around Washington to engage students in a variety of activities designed to encourage them to register to vote, and to help them become informed voters.

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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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Washington Campaign Financing
4:26 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Role-Reversal: Now It's Wash. Lawmakers' Turn To Ask Lobbyists For Help

Nathan Gorton with Washington Realtors gets more than a dozen campaign finance solicitations a day this time of year.
Photo credit: Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Lobbyists have been pounding down the doors of Washington state lawmakers for the last several months. But now that the legislature has adjourned, the roles have suddenly reversed. Just ask lobbyist Nick Federici who advocates for human services organizations.

Nick Federici: “It is a little bit ironic that in a week’s time they went from ‘oh my God I don’t want to talk to you ever again’ to ‘oh, by the way, could you send me a check?’”

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Hanford Cleanup
3:57 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Delayed Hanford Waste Decision Nettles Washington Regulators

Workers at Hanford remove low-activity waste from a tank.
Photo courtesy Dept. of Energy

A draft environmental plan for the Hanford Nuclear Reservation puts off a decision on how to treat a big portion of nuclear tank waste at the southeast Washington site. We’re talking about what to do with radioactive gunk called low-activity waste. The delay of that decision is nettling Washington’s Ecology department. Correspondent Anna King reports.

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Alaska Airlines
3:48 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Alaska Airlines Navigating Through Rising Fuel Costs

Alaska Air Group announced a profit for the 12th-consecutive quarter.
Photo courtesy Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines and its subsidiary Horizon Air continue to make money despite sharply higher fuel prices. Executives with the Seattle based airline group Thursday reported a twelfth consecutive quarterly profit. CEO elect Brad Tilden says the 28 million dollar net profit in this year's first quarter is "marginally" smaller than the same quarter last year.

Brad Tilden: "Given this quarter's solid results and the current demand environment, we're cautiously optimistic about 2012. The biggest headwind is high fuel prices and their impact both on our cost structure and on the pocketbooks of our customers."

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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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Oregon Forest Road Plan
5:52 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Forest Service Drops Plan to Shrink Road Network in Wallowa-Whitman Forest

Forest Service officials in northeast Oregon have announced they will put on hold a plan to close forest roads. Amelia Templeton reports.

The plan was to go into effect this summer. It would have made about half the roads in the Wallowa-Whitman forest off limits to cars and off road vehicles. The goals: protect habitat and create a more efficient road network. But local residents protested.

Mac Huff is a fishing guide in Joseph, Ore. He says closing the roads would create problems for hunters. And make it harder for him to find fuel for his wood stove.

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Climate Change Preparedness
5:48 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Climate Change: How Prepared is the Pacific Northwest?

An environmental group has rated each state’s strategy for dealing with climate change. Problems can range from droughts to rising sea levels. As correspondent Courtney Flatt reports, two of the Pacific Northwest states are well prepared.

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