Northwest News Network

Tax issues have taken center stage in the trial of Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley Tuesday, as an IRS agent and Kelley’s defense attorney sparred over whether Kelley broke tax laws.

This story has been updated.

The outcome of the real estate services fraud case against Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley could hinge on the testimony of Jason JeRue who served as operations manager for Kelley’s former company, the Post Closing Department.

The big Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011 happened more than five years ago, but debris from that disaster is still washing ashore on the Pacific Northwest coast. The chief of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration visited Long Beach, Washington, Friday to hear about the ongoing response. 

During her second State of the State address Friday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown renewed her call for the legislature to approve a massive transportation funding package.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown will deliver the 2016 State of the State address this Friday in Portland. It's her second one since taking office last year in the wake of John Kitzhaber's resignation.

So far Brown's office has released few details about what the governor will talk about.

The Northwest is in for an early taste of summer Thursday and Friday. Highs could top 80 degrees in parts of Oregon, Washington and Idaho. That would set records for the date in a lot of places.

"Limited" commercial advertising is coming to Washington State Parks. The state park system will begin placing ads in parks as early as this summer to make itself more self-sustaining.

"You're not funny, Bob."

That was the opinion of one man who shouted his disapproval after tepid applause for Bob Parks, Kennewick city councilman Tuesday night.

Gavin Seim, a prominent supporter of the group that occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is kicking off a nationwide speaking tour in Oregon. He's asking fellow activists to pressure the government to release the occupiers who are awaiting trial in Oregon and Nevada.

Alaska Airlines management is expressing confidence about integrating its rival Virgin America, whose pending acquisition was announced Monday. Any airline merger poses challenges and this one is no exception.

Alaska Air outbid rival JetBlue Airways to acquire Virgin America in what Alaska Air CEO Brad Tilden described as "a hard fought competition." Alaska Air won the bidding war with a $2.6 billion all-cash offer that was announced Monday.

The Oregon primary is still more than a month away, but ballots are already going out in the mail to some voters. And starting Tuesday, campaigns will have to report finance transactions on a timelier basis.

The incoming president of Washington State University, Kirk Schulz, is on his first official tour of WSU campuses. He kicked it off Friday morning in Pullman.

In the spring of 2008, when future Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley was in the process of closing down his real estate services business, he instructed his operations manager to falsify client spreadsheets and “get rid” of records. That was the testimony Thursday from Jason JeRue, a highly anticipated witness in Kelley’s money laundering and tax evasion trial.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley’s trial enters its fourth week Monday. As prosecutors continue to mount their case, a behind-the-scenes fight has emerged over Kelley’s payment of taxes to the state of Washington and whether that’s relevant to this federal case.

April 1 is, on average, generally considered the date of the peak snowpack in the Northwest. And around now, is when many irrigation districts begin filling their canals to get ready for watering season.

There are grounds for optimism as well as caution.

The oil industry said it's backing down from an effort to overturn Oregon's clean fuels law at the ballot. Instead, the Oregon Fuels Association will try to get lawmakers to modify the law when they renew debate on a highway funding plan in 2017.

In Northwest farm country, tiny blueberry buds are already starting to plump up. But cold snaps could kill them. To save more of those fruit-bearing buds, blueberry farmers are currently waging an epic battle against frost.

Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Oregon, some activists and entrepreneurs are taking the next step: They're running for office themselves.

Jurors in the trial of Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley heard from Jason Jerue, a witness who is testifying under a grant of immunity from the federal government. He took the stand Wednesday afternoon in federal court in Tacoma.

The Washington Legislature has adjourned. And now the campaign season has begun. Within hours of the final gavels falling Tuesday night, fundraising pleas went out.

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