Northwest News Network

Water
10:56 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Southern Oregon Farmers Suing To Prevent Water Release

Farmers in southern Oregon are suing to block the release of additional water from the Trinity River to the Klamath River. The discharge next week by the federal Bureau of Reclamation is meant to prevent a fish kill of Klamath River salmon.

The agency finalized its plans Wednesday and that’s what prompted the lawsuit from farmers.

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Blueberry Crop
5:40 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Low Blueberry Prices Great For Fruit Lovers, Hard For Farmers

Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 5:40 pm

The blueberries on your morning cereal are less expensive this year. That’s because farmers are harvesting a bumper crop this summer.

It’s good news for berry lovers, but the bounty might wreck some blueberry growers.

In Richland, Washington, Genoa Blankenship pops open the lid on a box of blueberries. She loves the idea of healthy snacks that are easy to take along to soccer practice.

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Language
12:10 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

10 Percent Of Idahoans Speak A Language Other Than English At Home

The clusters of purple represent Spanish-speaking homes.
Credit U.S. Census Bureau

New figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show the Northwest has fewer people who speak a foreign language at home than the country as a whole.

Census data show 10.4 percent of Idahoans speak a language other than English in their homes, while the national average is 20.8 percent.

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Wildfires
10:00 am
Wed August 7, 2013

College Student Fighting Fires In Southern Oregon Killed In Truck Accident

A firefighter has died in a truck accident on a one-lane mountain road in Southern Oregon.

Jesse A. Trader was 19-years-old. He was working for a company that was contracted to fight the Big Windy Complex of Fires south of the Rogue River.

Trader’s mother, Gigi Trader says he was a responsible kid who dreamed of firefighting.  “He was about the best kid anybody could ever have. Great student, just finished his first year of college.”

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Gay Marriage
5:35 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Gay Marriage Signature Gathering Off To Rapid Start in Oregon

Garry Knight, Flickr.

Gay rights advocates say their campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Oregon is off to a more rapid start than expected. Backers of the effort said Tuesday that they've gathered more than 42,000 signatures in just over two weeks.

The campaign is relying heavily on volunteers, who are aided in part by this catchy video that outlines the basic rules of collecting names. Such as, voters must sign with a pen.

The voice on the video quips, "No pencils, no invisible ink, no barbecue sauce, and no erasers."

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Energy
5:30 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Columbia River Transmission Project In Limbo After Ancient Art Discovery

Robert Zornes' property near Wishram, Washington is where the Bonneville Power Administration proposes to cross a new transmission line across the Columbia River Gorge.
Credit Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

Northwest history is colliding with the need to upgrade the region’s electric transmission grid. It’s happening on a windblown patch of riverfront property at the east end of the Columbia River Gorge.

The Bonneville Power Administration is trying to build a new transmission line across that land. But conflicts over historical preservation have increased the cost of the project to $185 million and stalled progress for more than a year.

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Megaloads
3:57 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

‘Megaload’ To Hit The Road, Even Without Federal OK

This is one of the 2011 megaloads that passed through northern Idaho and Montana.
Credit Nicholas.Senn / Flickr Creative Commons

The head of the Nez Perce Tribe says he's “shocked” by the “audacity” of an Oregon shipper that plans to haul extra-large loads through a protected stretch of Idaho. The company says it will start moving a so-called megaload tonight. That’s despite the fact that it doesn't have approval from the U.S. Forest Service.

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Wildfires
3:30 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Falling Tree Kills Firefighter In Central Oregon

Fires have hit Oregon hard this season, including this one in the Douglas Complex in southern Oregon.
Credit Douglas Forest Protective Association

Authorities are identifying the wildland firefighter who was killed Thursday outside the town of Sisters as John Hammack of Central Oregon. Another firefighter was injured in the accident and was taken to a local hospital.

On Wednesday night, the skies over Central Oregon were lit up by more than 700 lightning strikes. Hammick was a part of a tree falling team helping put out new fire starts. He was working with 45-year-old Norman Crawford of Sisters when a tree they were cutting fell on them.

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Agriculture
9:29 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Careful Wheat Farmers, Seed Purveyors Say Mistakes Still Happen

Dana Herron sells seeds in Connell, Wash.
Credit Anna King / Northwest News Network

There’s been a lot of speculation but few answers so far about how genetically modified wheat ended up in an Oregon field. Northwest farmers and seed purveyors say they go to great lengths to keep each variety of grain distinct, tracked and pure. And yet they concede, mistakes can still happen.

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Electric Cars
8:42 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Electric Car Sales Booming In Seattle And Portland, Not Idaho

Nissan Leaf.
Credit Nissan

The automaker Nissan says sales of its fully electric Leaf compact surpassed all other Nissan models at dealers in the Seattle and Portland areas this spring. Wednesday's announcement runs counter to the prevailing wisdom that adoption of plug-in cars has been sluggish.

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Hanford
5:02 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Recent Reports Spur Controversy Over Hanford's Waste Treatment Plant

US Department of Energy

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 4:08 pm

  RICHLAND, Wash. – News out of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation can sometimes sound like just one critical report after another. In fact, last week a federal watchdog agency said Hanford’s massive waste treatment plant is in jeopardy. Several developments lately have intensified the debate over this question: Should a massive federal waste treatment plant move ahead or stop to fix its nagging technical problems?

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Military
1:52 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Army Orders Death Penalty Trial For Sgt. Bales

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales
Credit High Desert Warrior

The U.S. Army will seek the death penalty against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. The Army announced Wednesday the Washington-based soldier will face a general court-martial for allegedly killing 16 Afghan civilians – mostly women and children – earlier this year. 

The Army’s decision to put Bales before a court-martial that has the authority to impose capital punishment follows the recommendation of a pre-trial hearing officer. Bales is charged with 16 counts of premeditated murder as well as other crimes.

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Wildlife
8:18 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Feds To Review Endangered Status Of Northwest's Reindeer

US Fish

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 6:37 pm

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho - The protected status of a small population of reindeer in the Northwest is getting a second look. Snowmobilers and an Idaho county that depends on winter snow sports petitioned the government to delist the animal.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to do a status review on woodland caribou in the Selkirk Mountains of Idaho and Washington. They’re part of a larger herd from Canada.

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Crime
8:47 am
Wed December 12, 2012

People Run For Their Lives At Portland, Ore. Mall Shooting

Police say three people are dead, including the gunman, after a shooting at a shopping mall in suburban Portland, Oregon.


Clackamas County sheriff's Lt. James Rhodes says the gunman fatally shot two people, and wounded at least one other person at the Clackamas Town Center mall Tuesday afternoon. Rhodes confirms the gunman is dead but he did not say how he died.

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Chemical Weapons
7:59 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Northwest Scientists Seek New Ways To Trace Chemical Weapons

Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 8:24 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. -- President Barack Obama has been publicly warning Syria’s leaders not to use chemical weapons against their own people. The news is unexpectedly relevant in southeast Washington. Researchers at at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are developing new scientific techniques to trace chemical agents back to their sources.

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High School Graduation
10:49 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Nate Silver Meets Recess: Crunching Data In Schools

Guidance counselor Linda Delaney uses the Early Warning System regularly to check stats on students and look for warning signs.
Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

The kind of finely tuned data crunching that fueled the 2012 election is spreading to another venue: the classroom. You might have heard that campaign analysts can predict who you're likely vote for based on the magazines you read and the car you drive. Now, researchers are finding ways to predict who's likely to drop out of high school based on, say, a third grade attendance record. Schools hope a computer program will help them reach kids before it's too late.

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Marriage Equality
5:31 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

After 8 Years, Spokane Pastor Will Perform Marriages, Gay And Straight

Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 4:40 pm

Reverend Todd Eklof made a vow in 2004 -- the year 11 states, including Oregon and Kentucky -- passed constitutional amendments against gay marriage. He stopped performing any marriages. But starting Dec. 9 same-sex couples can get married legally in Washington. And that day will also marks a turning point for the Spokane minister. Eklof discussed his vow with Northwest News Network's Jessica Robinson.

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Crime
1:31 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Northwest Tribes Begin To Try Reservation Crime Cases Under Tougher Laws

The Umatilla Reservation near Pendleton, Ore.
Credit killerfemme / Flickr

A tribal court on the Umatilla Indian Reservation is one of the first to hand-down a long prison term under new tougher criminal sentencing laws enacted by Congress in 2010.

It used to be that tribes could only sentence a Native American criminal to up to one year of jail time -- no matter the crime. Typically the U.S. Justice Department was called in for everything else -– but many cases were dropped.

Now, tribal courts have the power to sentence native criminals who commit crimes on a reservation up to three years per count, for up to nine years.

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Marriage Equality
12:07 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Northwest's Rural Gay Community Coming Out Of The Shadows

Joe Palisano and Tom Bry have a farm just south of Sandpoint, Idaho. Photo by Jessica Robinson

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 4:55 pm

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Washington legalizes same-sex marriage next month at a time when the geography of the Northwest’s gay and lesbian population is changing. Their numbers are still largest in metropolitan areas. But if you look for the biggest increases – that trend is happening in small towns and rural areas. In Idaho more gay and lesbian couples are making a choice that was once unthinkable in rural areas -- they’re living openly.

Joe Palisano is used to a certain kind of reaction when he tells people where he lives.

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Weather
2:01 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

High Winds, Heavy Rain Pummel The Northwest

A vehicle speeds through a flooded intersection in Salem. Photo by Chris Lehman

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 6:06 pm

High winds and heavy rain are pummeling the Northwest Monday. Downed trees and floodwaters have closed countless roads, making the evening commute a difficult one.

I'm standing on a bridge over Mill Creek in downtown Salem, and the waters are definitely on the rise. This particular location is of special interest to me since my house is about a block away from here.

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