Northwest News

Northwest Public Radio is a participant and contributor in the Northwest News Network (N3), a collaboration of public radio stations in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Our reporters bring a regional perspective to coverage of Northwest states' government, environment, economy, and other news of widespread interest to residents of the Northwest. Regional news on Northwest Public Radio is a part of Morning Edition every weekday morning, and All Things Considered in the afternoons.

U.S. Army

Negotiations to release an Idaho soldier in Taliban captivity will be a long and slow process. That’s according to Middle East experts following peace talks about Afghanistan. News reports over the weekend suggested negotiations over a ceasefire had broken down. Correspondent Jessica Robinson has more.

Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho, has been held by the Taliban since July of 2009. Videos released by his captors show the 25-year-old Army sergeant ragged and pleading to come home. And that's a feat negotiators are reportedly trying to accomplish through a prisoner swap.

Owen / Wikimedia Commons

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers return to Salem on Wednesday with a fiscal challenge on their hands. Expected revenues have fallen sharply since the legislature created the current spending plan last summer. As Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports, Lawmakers expect to hear more bad news soon after they arrive back in town.

Oregon lawmakers plan to be at the capitol for about a month. One of the first things they'll do is get the latest predictions about the state's revenue picture.

Wikimedia Commons

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington appears poised to become the seventh state in the nation to allow gay marriage. Backers say they have the votes in the legislature. The law would exempt churches that oppose same-sex marriage. But not wedding-related businesses. Attorney Steve O’Ban highlighted this recently in testimony against the proposed law.

Steve O’Ban: “There’s no protection either for a small businesswoman for example who runs say a photography business or a printing company to decline to photograph or, say, print a wedding announcements for gay weddings, for reasons of faith.”

Wash. Lawmakers Consider Budgeting Education First

Jan 30, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. – For years, Republicans in the Washington legislature have demanded that state lawmakers vote on the education budget first. Democrats have generally rejected that idea. But this week, for the first time, a “fund education first” proposal will get a public hearing. Azusa Uchikura has more from Olympia.

What’s fueling the decision to consider the education budget first is a ruling earlier this month by the Washington Supreme Court. In McCleary v. Washington, the justices said state lawmakers are not adequately funding education.

PORTLAND - As gay and lesbian people age, their need for retirement options mirrors those of the general population. But they often face unique challenges, especially when it comes to finding housing. For instance, some active-living retirement facilities don't allow unmarried couples to live together. And some gay seniors fear a cold shoulder from staff or fellow retirees. Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

Oregon's high school graduation rates inched up slightly last year. But as Rob Manning reports, thousands of young people who endure four years of high school don’t have a regular diploma to show for it.

67 percent of freshmen who entered high school in 2007, earned diplomas last spring, after four years in school. The other thirty-three percent are not all dropouts. Many of them got alternative diplomas, or GED's. But education experts say the goal should be to have as many students as possible earning the more rigorous, standard diploma.

Boeing

The Boeing Company ended 2011 having sold about half as many airplanes as its France-based rival, Airbus. Now, less than a month into the new year, Boeing has inked its largest deal ever with a European airline. The aerospace giant is on track to overtake Airbus for the first time in years. From France, Liam Moriarty reports.

Oslo-based Norwegian Air Shuttle is the first European carrier to buy Boeing's revamped 737 MAX -- 100 of them. The deal is seen as another industry vote of confidence in the updated version of Boeing’s workhorse model.

A judge in U.S. District Court in Seattle sentenced Colton Harris-Moore, also known as the “Barefoot Bandit,” to six-and-a-half years in prison Friday. Speaking before the judge, Harris-Moore expressed remorse, said he’s lucky to be alive, and told other young people not to follow his example. KUOW’s Amy Radil reports.

Colton Harris-Moore was sentenced on seven federal counts including thefts of airplanes and weapons during his cross-country spree. He’s also been sentenced to more than seven years for state charges.

Most days, Nowela Virginie and her two young daughters are here, in her small apartment just off a busy thoroughfare on the outskirts of Boise.

Virginie is 23, and she arrived in Boise three years ago. She was born in Rwanda, but spent 16 years of her life in a refugee camp in Tanzania. She remembers the shock of finding herself in a new city, a place that looked nothing like anywhere she’d ever been. "When I coming USA, nobody can explain to me how USA is to look like, nobody can explain to me," she says.

Immigration Laws In Wash. Draws Hundreds To Olympia

Jan 27, 2012
Azusa Uchikura / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Immigrant rights advocates are making their voice heard in Olympia. Hundreds gathered to sway legislators on state immigration laws. Azusa Uchikura reports on Thursday’s rally in Olympia.

Pramila Jayapal: “The immigrant voice in Washington state is proud and loud."

Those are immigrant rights advocates rallying on the steps of the Washington state house. They want to convince lawmakers in Olympia to keep E-verify optional for Washington employers.

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