Northwest News Network

Washington State University

Washington State University's Board of Regents unanimously approved a plan Friday to establish a medical school in Spokane. It has the potential to generate 120 new doctors every year in the Northwest, but the move also tees up a fight between Washington's two largest public universities.

The University of Washington in Seattle is currently the state's only public medical school and it serves as the main destination for med students in a five-state area including Idaho.

A new report shows Washington State University is ready for a full-fledged medical school in Spokane. It would be one of the biggest educational ventures the school has seen in decades.

Consultants from MGT of America, contracted by WSU, gave this report to the school’s board of regents: WSU is well positioned to develop an accredited medical school in the near future. The group says WSU could seek accreditation in Fall 2015, and have its charter class in 2017.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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."

Columbia River
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.

Megaloads
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.

Falling Tree Kills Firefighter In Central Oregon

Aug 2, 2013
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.

Connell, Wash.-area seedman, Dana Herron
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.

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.

  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?

Army Orders Death Penalty Trial For Sgt. Bales

Dec 19, 2012
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.

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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