Jessica Robinson

Ton Banse

Washington retailers are getting ready for the 78-year-old state monopoly on liquor sales to end this Friday. It’s not yet clear what privatization will do to the price of alcohol in Washington. One entity with a big stake in the matter is the state of Idaho.

Some of Idaho’s most profitable state-run liquor stores just happen to be along its northwestern border.

Washington State University / Northwest News Network

The chance of a woman getting ovarian disease may be tied to the toxic chemicals her great-grandmother was exposed to. That’s according to a new study by researchers at Washington State University.  The study could help explain the role of environmental factors in inherited diseases.

Here’s how it works. Picture your great-grandmother. Now let’s say, while pregnant with your future grandparent, she was exposed to some toxic chemical. Pesticides, phthalates -- that stuff in plastic -- or maybe jet fuel. Those are some of the things the researchers looked at.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Northwest farm groups are cheering a federal decision this week to dump proposed child labor rules. The Department of Labor decided to withdraw the plan after it received thousands of comments opposing the change. But child safety advocates say the fierce opposition was based on faulty information.

Politicians from farm and ranch country called the regulations an attack on family farms, going as far to say the rules could outlaw chores and 4-H for farm kids.  However, the regulations specifically exempted children working on farms owned or operated by their parents.

Centers for Disease Control

The federal government’s top health officers are making an appeal to the Northwest’s medical community to boost vaccination rates. The deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control’s immunization branch spoke at a public health conference in Coeur d’Alene Friday as part of the national campaign.

Last year, Washington and Oregon immunization rates were among the lowest in the nation. Idaho’s was average. That’s according to a CDC survey.

Washington DNR

Some hard-to-read global weather patterns are making this year’s fire season difficult to forecast. That’s according to experts at federal agencies that track wildfires. But as best they can tell, the Northwest is in for a milder season than other fire-prone parts of the country.

The leaders of the nation’s forest, land and emergency management agencies told reporters on a conference call Thursday they’ve started positioning engines, air tankers and helicopters at strategic locations.

Jessica Robinson

SANDPOINT, Idaho - A fledgling business in Sandpoint, Idaho is giving locals a place to finally take their glass bottles – besides the landfill, that is. North Idaho is one of the few corners of the Northwest that doesn’t have glass recycling. As Jessica Robinson reports, the business is barely up and running, and already has more glass bottles than it can handle.

Office of Rep. Raul Labrador

A new book coming out today contains an inside account of Idaho Congressman Raúl Labrador’s conflict with ranking members of the House. The Washington Post reports the book details the rift between GOP leadership and freshman Republicans pursuing a Tea Party agenda.

The book in question is “Do Not Ask What Good We Do,” by Robert Draper. In it, Draper chronicles infighting between the GOP old-guard and the freshmen class of Republican House members that helped the party gain a majority in 2010.

A couple from Twisp, Wash., has accepted a plea deal in a wolf poaching case. Under the agreement with federal prosecutors, Tom White and his wife will not face jail time.

White, his father, and his wife Erin were indicted last year in a conspiracy to kill some of the handful of grey wolves that live in eastern Washington. Police discovered the poaching scheme in late 2008 when the family tried to send a wolf pelt to a tanner in Canada. A business owner in Omak, Wash., reported the FedEx package was bleeding.

Idaho legislature

The African-American lawmaker in Idaho who received a flier from the Ku Klux Klan says she’s using the incident as an opportunity to talk about bigotry in the state. State representative Cherie Buckner-Webb and four other Idaho lawmakers have reported getting the mailings at home.  Cherie Buckner-Webb grew up in Boise and remembers when someone set fire to a cross on her family’s lawn in the 1960s.

She says, a lot has changed since then, but the KKK pamphlet she received is a reminder that racism hasn’t been extinguished.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

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 re-election.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

The Idaho Department of Labor estimates there are at least 63,000 people in the state without work.  That doesn’t include thousands more who are underemployed or have stopped looking for a job.  This is the latest story in StateImpact Idaho's “Jobless in Idaho” series, that follows several Idahoans in their search for work.

This spring, some high school grads in Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Nevada may see some good job prospects.

The recent spike in metal prices, combined with a shortage of miners, means mining companies are hiring. So some teens are opting not to go to college, and instead are heading underground.

But these high-paying jobs also come at a high cost.

An Educator Questions His Own Path

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