Austin Jenkins

Olympia Correspondent

Austin Jenkins, KPLU’s and N3’s Olympia Reporter, has been covering the Washington State Legislature and regional public policy issues since 2004. Prior to becoming a public radio reporter, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise – to name just a few of his stops. Austin grew up in Seattle and is a graduate of Connecticut College. Austin’s memorable moment in public radio: “There are too many to pick just one: Covering Washington’s contested 2004 gubernatorial election, flying in an Army Reserve Chinook helicopter to the top of Mt. Rainier, spending 24-hours on a tug boat on the Snake River, the list goes on.”  You can also track all the current events at Washinton's capitol on Austin's blog, The Washington Ledge.

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Law
11:45 am
Thu June 30, 2011

Cuts in juvenile parole left teen in 'Tuba Man' case unsupervised

Edward McMichael, pictured at a game in 2004, was a beloved Seattle street musician known as the "Tuba Man.” He was found dead Nov. 3, 2008 from beating injuries he received in a robbery.
Associated Press

One of the three teens convicted of killing a popular Seattle street musician in 2008 continues to make headlines for his tangles with the law. Billy Chambers – who's now an adult – was most recently locked up for hit-and-run. It turns out he did not qualify for supervision by a juvenile parole officer because of state budget cuts.

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Other News
11:08 am
Wed June 29, 2011

Wash.-Based Soldier Overcomes War Wounds, Gets MBA

Army Captain Brian Giroux at home in Lacey, Washington with his wife and six-year-old daughter.
Austin Jenkins. Northwest News Network

LACEY, Wash. – Over the past year, we've brought you several stories about soldiers struggling in their transition home from war – some have gotten in trouble with the law, others even died tragically. Today, we hear another kind of story. It's about an Army captain who battled back from a grave injury and recently graduated from business school.

As the neighbor dogs carry on, Brian Giroux drives nails into a storage shed he's constructing in his back yard.

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Other News
9:44 am
Wed June 29, 2011

Washington Secretary of State to retire

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington voters will select a new Secretary of State in 2012. Republican Sam Reed announced [today] Tuesday that he will retire at the end of his third term and not seek re-election.

Reed has held elective office for 35 years, first as Thurston County Auditor. He says he's disappointed he didn't get to usher in the era of Internet-based voting.

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Law
9:37 am
Wed June 29, 2011

Witness: Corrections “completely failed” in Clemmons case

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Department of Corrections failed to adequately supervise Maurice Clemmons from the day he arrived in Washington from Arkansas. That's the conclusion of a former corrections supervisor who's now an expert witness in a new lawsuit against the Department.

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Discover Pass
3:57 pm
Sat June 25, 2011

Fees boost price of Washington state park pass beyond $30

Washington State Parks

The true cost of the new annual pass for Washington state parks will be $30 plus fees, when purchased online or at a licensed dealer.

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Seattle terror plot
3:41 pm
Sat June 25, 2011

War crimes case may have influenced Seattle terror suspects

A federal building that houses the Seattle Military Processing Center in Seattle. Two men have been arrested in a plot to use machine guns and grenades in an attack on the military recruiting station there.
Associated Press

The Seattle terror plot federal authorities say they foiled this week may have been fueled – in part – by alleged war crimes committed by Washington-based soldiers. Court documents indicate one of the terrorism suspects referred to alleged "atrocities" by soldiers charged in the so-called "kill team" case.

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Law
10:46 am
Fri June 24, 2011

Journalist in US illegally obtained Wash. driver license

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A Pulitzer prize winning journalist who is in this country illegally managed to obtain a Washington driver license – even though he doesn't live in Washington. How did he do it?

This week in the New York Times Magazine, journalist Jose Antonio Vargas revealed himself as an illegal immigrant from the Philippines. Part of his story involves obtaining a Washington driver license earlier this year – even though he doesn't reside in the state.

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Rock 'n' Roll marathon
3:14 pm
Thu June 23, 2011

Wearing blue, one team runs in memory of war dead

Lisa Hallett, whose husband was killed in Afghanistan is one of the founders of Wear Blue: Run To Remember.
Chantal Anderson Northwest News Network

Lisa Hallett was cradling her 2-week-old daughter at a military family support meeting when a commander called her out of the room.

"There’s just this panic. And we walk across this big field. We're in one building, we're going to this other building and I'm like tell me John's okay, tell me John's okay."

But he wasn’t.

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State funds
3:41 pm
Thu June 16, 2011

Forecast takes $570 million bite out of state reserves

Washington lawmakers left town last month with a balanced budget and $700 million in a reserve fund. However, the revenue forecast for Washington released today erases most of that cushion.

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Business
10:51 am
Thu June 16, 2011

Chase ordered to disclose ATM fee

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire says JP Morgan Chase must figure out a way to make their ATMs warn welfare clients of an 85-cent fee to withdraw cash. The governor made her comments Wednesday after she declined to veto the disclosure requirement.

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Elections 2012
10:10 am
Fri June 10, 2011

McKenna supports parental consent for abortion

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington's first official candidate for governor in 2012 says he supports a parental consent requirement for abortion. Republican Rob McKenna weighed in on several hot button social issues in an interview Thursday.

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Business
10:16 am
Tue June 7, 2011

Chase seeks veto of fee disclosure

OLYMPIA, Wash. – JP Morgan Chase, the second largest bank in the country, is lobbying Gov. Chris Gregoire to line-item veto a requirement that the bank alert Washington cash assistance clients of an ATM fee the bank charges.

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Washington State Legislature
2:00 pm
Mon May 16, 2011

It's a do-or-die week for Washington special session

It’s do-or-die week in the Washington Legislature. A budget deal will have to come together over the next several days if lawmakers are to finish business within the 30-day special session.

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Banking
10:57 am
Mon May 9, 2011

Chase bank collecting hundreds of thousands in ATM fees from welfare clients

A Chase ATM
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Public records show JP Morgan Chase is collecting more than $100,000 a month in ATM fees from welfare recipients in Washington. But the bank doesn't disclose the fee at the cash machine. This is happening at the same time the state has cut the monthly benefit for families on welfare and individuals in the Disability Lifeline program.

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MILITARY AND DEFENSE
12:02 pm
Thu May 5, 2011

Lewis-McChord combat vet loses GI Bill for pot and spice

Former combat infantryman Bill Surwillo (left) with battle buddy Nick White.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Here's a soldier's tale. Bill Surwillo deploys to Afghanistan. Nearly a quarter of his platoon is killed. He comes home with PTSD. He turns to marijuana and spice – a synthetic version of the drug – to relax. The Army kicks him out and takes away his GI Bill. Is this fair?

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