Northwest News

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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B.C. Pipeline Expansion
6:22 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Washington Not Ready For Implications Of B.C. Pipeline Expansion

In a typical crude oil spill floating boom is used to corral the oil, which collects in a sheen on the surface. But what happens if the oil sinks?
Photo credit: Ashley Ahearn KUOW

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Canadian pipeline operators are considering expanding the line that brings oil from the Alberta Oil Sands to western British Columbia. Environmentalists and others say that raises the potential for oil spills in Northwest waters and, it involves a different type of oil.

Right now the Trans Mountain pipeline moves 300,000 barrels of oil per day to an export terminal near Vancouver, B.C. If the Canadian government approves the expansion that amount could almost triple. More oil in the pipeline means more oil loaded onto large tanker ships. Those ships will eventually head out the Strait of Juan De Fuca to the Pacific.

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Washington Liquor Curfew
6:08 am
Fri April 13, 2012

Wash. State Liquor Board Holds Final Hearing On Sales Curfew

SPOKANE -- The state liquor board visits Spokane Monday for a hearing about the hours of alcohol sales. SPR’s Paige Browning tells us some think 2:00 am is too early to shut off the taps.

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Barred Owl Diet
6:14 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Broad Diet Helps Barred Owls Thrive

The invasive barred owl is believed to out compete the native, pickier eater, spotted owl.
Photo credit: D. Gordon E. Robertson Wikimedia Commons

MEDFORD, Ore. -- Researchers say they have learned why invasive barred owls are thriving while native spotted owl populations are slowly disappearing.

The barred owl and the spotted owl are like a pair of siblings. They’re closely related species, and they compete over everything. They compete over the best trees to roost in. And for the best food source too, juicy flying squirrels. But barred owls are less picky. And that gives them an edge.

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Tribal/Fed Settlement
6:00 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Non-Monetary Benefits A Big Part Of $1Billion Tribal Settlement

Attorney General Eric Holder announced the settlement Wednesday of breach-of-trust lawsuits filed by 41 American Indian tribes against the United States.
Photo credit: U.S. Dept. of Justice. U.S. Dept. of Justice.

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -- A landmark settlement announced this week between the federal government and American Indian tribes is expected to have long-term effects beyond the $1 billion in the agreement. Nine Northwest tribes are part of the deal: Coeur d’Alene, Nez Perce, Shoshone-Bannock, Colville, Spokane, Tulalip, Makah, Nooksack, Swinomish.

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Washington Energy Efficiency
5:18 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Energy Efficient Controls Cut Costs for Building Owners

A large industrial air conditioning unit (file photo) [Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0].
Photo by Ildar Sagdejev Wikimedia Commons

RICHLAND, Wash. – New research has found that commercial building owners can chop their heating and cooling costs nearly in half by implementing a few energy efficient controls.

Those big rooftop heating and cooling systems you see on top of supermarkets and strip malls could produce big savings for building owners. Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., studied buildings across the country. They used computer simulations to find an average savings of 25 to 35 percent after retrofitting existing systems. Srinivas Katipamula led the study.

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WSU Sociologist Smartgrid
3:49 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Why A Sociologist Is Part Of Building A Better Power Grid

A new research center at Washington State University will look for ways to modernize the country’s aging electric grid.
Photo credit: U.S. Dept. of Energy Photo courtesy U.S. Dept. of Energy

PULLMAN, Wash -- Washington State University announced it’s created a new research center. It will look for ways to bring the country’s aging electricity system in line with 21st century power needs. Besides experts in energy and computer science, the assembled team of researchers includes sociologists and psychologists.

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Washington Budget
3:41 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Wash. Governor Wishes New Budget Had Bigger Cushion Of Reserves

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire is concerned by the slim cushion of reserves in the state's budget.
Photo credit: Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington Governor Chris Gregoire is praising the rebalanced state budget that the legislature delivered to her in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. But Gregoire also told reporters Thursday that she's concerned by the very slim cushion of reserves lawmakers left in the state treasury. She indicates she will selectively veto some proposed spending to keep more cash in reserve.

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Unmanned Aircraft
5:55 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Civilian Drones Preparing For Takeoff Regionally With Sheriffs

Prioria business development executive David Wright demonstrates the Maveric UAS.
Photo Credit: Tom Banse Northwest News Network

TACOMA, Wash. - Get ready to spot a new kind of "bird" in the sky. Within the next month, the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to green light the use of small unmanned aircraft by emergency services. Some sheriffs' departments in the Northwest are showing interest in these aircraft.

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Starbucks Boycott
4:37 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Starbucks Opponents Take Boycott Attempt Abroad

The Starbucks store at Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington. The company is being boycotted by an anti-gay group.
Photo credit: Postdlf Wikimedia commons

SEATTLE, Wash. -- A group that opposes same-sex marriage is taking its boycott of Starbucks to the other side of the world. The National Organization For Marriage is upset that the Seattle-based coffee chain has come out in favor of legalizing gay marriage in Washington state as well as nationally.

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