Unemployment
10:51 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Washington still issues unemployment benefits the old fashioned way

OLYMPIA, Wash. – In this era of plastic, Washington still issues unemployment benefits the old fashioned way: by check. That's a stark contrast to neighboring Oregon where jobless benefits are loaded on a debit card. So what are the trade-offs?

Currently in Washington about 180,000 people are receiving unemployment. Half of them are signed up for direct deposit.

The rest get a check in the mail. It costs the state 45 cents to issue each check – most of that is postage.

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Environment
10:43 am
Mon August 1, 2011

With defense money, scientists swap eggs to reverse lark's decline

A researcher bands an Oregon chick that successfully fledged from Washington nest.
Adrian Wolf

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Wildlife biologists are employing a little trickery to stop the downward spiral of a rare grassland bird in Western Washington. On Friday, biologists took eggs from healthier larks in Oregon and swapping them into western Washington nests, hoping the lark mothers don't notice.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
10:27 am
Mon August 1, 2011

New agency sought to find site for nation's nuclear waste

An aerial view of north end of the Yucca Mountain crest in February 1993.
Photo courtesy Dept. of Energy

The nation needs a new agency to site a federal nuclear waste dump. That's the recommendation issued Friday by a presidential commission.

The congressionally-chartered agency would decide where to store radioactive waste that's now sitting in aging underground tanks in southeast Washington.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
10:21 am
Mon August 1, 2011

NW could keep nuclear waste for 100 years under recommendation

The Northwest could end up keeping Hanford’s nuclear waste for 100 years or more under a recommendation issued Friday by a presidential commission. President Obama appointed the Blue Ribbon Commission to look into the question of where to store the nation’s worst nuclear waste.

The new report says one option may be to store the waste at regional centers for more than 100 years while the country looks for a suitable permanent repository. That concerns Susan Leckband, who chairs a board that advises managers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

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Environment
10:15 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Idaho allows wolf hunting season with traps, no kill quota

Idaho big game manager Jon Rachael presents a wolf hunting plan to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission in Salmon.
Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

SALMON, Idaho - The Idaho Fish and Game Commission voted Thursday for a plan that sets hunting and trapping season for the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf. The state hopes sportsmen will help keep the wolf population in check.

But critics object to Idaho allowing hunters to use traps for the first time since the wolves were reintroduced.

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Business
10:08 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Standoff puts some airport construction projects in limbo

Spokane International Airport viewed from the south. The Airport is in the midst of a major runway reconstruction project.
Liesl Matthies

The Congressional stalemate over the debt ceiling isn't the only Washington standoff in the news this week. A separate showdown over spending by the Federal Aviation Administration is having an immediate effect on jobs and airport construction in our region.

Since last week, this little noticed budget battle has shut down non-essential divisions of the FAA. Airline ticket taxes are going uncollected and the federal workers who drive that money back out for airport improvement projects are furloughed.

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Business
9:31 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Northwest apricots, peaches, nectarines slow to ripen

John Douglas shows off a peach from one of his family's fruit ranches near Basin City, Wash.
Anna King Northwest News Network

BASIN CITY, Wash. – Peaches, nectarines and apricots are some of the iconic delights of summer. But this year, Northwest apricots are at about half the usual production according to the Washington Fruit Commission. Peaches and nectarines are down too, about 10 percent. And they're all late.

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D.B. Cooper
9:08 am
Mon August 1, 2011

FBI says it has 'a new suspect' in D.B. Cooper skyjacking case

A 1971 artist's sketch released by the FBI shows the skyjacker known as 'Dan Cooper' and 'D.B. Cooper'. The sketch was made from the recollections of passengers and crew of a Northwest Orient Airlines jet he hijacked between Portland and Seattle.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Tue August 2, 2011 9:41 am

Forty years after parachuting into folklore, the mysterious skyjacker identified as D.B. Cooper may soon be identified.

"We do actually have a new suspect we're looking at," says FBI spokeswoman Ayn Sandolo Dietrich in a story in the British newspaper, The Telegraph. "And it comes from a credible lead who came to our attention recently via a law enforcement colleague."

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Howard Berkes is a correspondent for the NPR Investigations Unit.

Worker retraining
5:30 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Tacoma workers laid off in 'Nalley Valley' getting federal help

A spread of Nalley's top products for a 1949 advertising campaign. Workers at the former Bird's Eye canning factory are getting federal help for retraining.
Richards Studio, Tacoma via Tacoma Public Library Archives

More than two-hundred workers who lost their jobs when the "Nalley Valley" canning plant in Tacoma closed last month are now eligible for special retraining through the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Program.

The newly unemployed, consider it a victory.

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