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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Economy
2:26 pm
Wed September 21, 2011

Protestors try to disrupt meeting of business leaders near Cle Elum

Anti-poverty protestors outside The Association Of Washington Business Summit at Suncadia Resort on Wednesday.
Northwest News Network

NEAR CLE ELUM, Wash. – Anti-poverty activists tried to crash a meeting of business leaders at a resort in Central Washington. The action – dubbed “Showdown at Suncadia” – happened today as the state’s chamber of commerce held its annual policy summit.

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Military deaths
11:13 am
Wed September 21, 2011

Anti-war veterans, widow want investigation into JBLM suicides

Army widow Ashley Joppa-Hagemann, right, with anti-war veterans, calls for a congressional investigation into soldier suicides at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Northwest News Network

NEAR JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Some anti-war veterans – and an Army widow – are demanding a Congressional investigation into an apparent spike in suicides at Joint Base Lewis-McChord . So far this year nine soldiers are believed to have killed themselves, including five in the month of July alone.

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Medical care
6:07 pm
Mon September 19, 2011

NW medical school doctors paid by drug companies

Some medical students are calling for Northwest doctors to be banned from taking speaking fees from drug companies.
Flickr

Some doctors on the faculty of Northwest medical schools are getting paid by pharmaceutical companies to give talks on new drugs.

Harvard and Stanford have banned this practice. But not Oregon Health and Science University or the University of Washington. Now some medical students want similar bans here.

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Business
9:54 am
Mon September 19, 2011

Washington legislature created program that nobody used

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A loan program the Washington legislature created in 2008 to help small manufacturers hasn’t had a single taker. That’s the finding of a legislative audit that recommends the program be terminated.

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Budget crisis
2:32 pm
Thu September 15, 2011

Revenue drop raises talk of special session, tax measures

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The words “special session” and even “taxes” are on the lips of some Washington state lawmakers after the latest revenue forecast.

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Economic woes
11:04 am
Thu September 15, 2011

Washington revenue forecast drops $1.4 billion

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington's latest revenue forecast predicts a $1.4 billion drop in tax collections through June of 2013.

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Washington Redistricting
2:57 pm
Tue September 13, 2011

Majority-minority congressional district looking more likely

The four proposals from Washington’s bipartisan redistricting commission have been released.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – There’s new hope among minority groups in Washington that the state could soon have a majority-minority Congressional district. This fresh optimism follows Tuesday’s unveiling of four competing proposals to redraw the state’s political boundaries – and add a tenth Congressional seat.

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Medical care
3:50 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

Psychiatrist explains why he speaks on behalf of drug makers

A follow up now to a story we brought you last week about doctors who get paid by drug makers to give promotional talks. The top three earning doctors in the Northwest did not return our calls for that story. But later a psychiatrist in Tacoma did. And he makes no apologies for accepting pharmaceutical payments.

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Union unrest
10:03 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Long history of Longshore labor unrest on West Coast

Union workers block railroad tracks in Longview, Wash., Wednesday. Longshoremen blocked a train carrying grain as part of an escalating dispute about labor at the EGT grain terminal at the Port of Longview.
Associated Press

Port managers and workers up and down the west coast are closely watching the unrest in Longview, Wash. That’s where unionized longshoremen early Thursday morning stormed a port terminal and clashed with police.

If the unrest continues, this could be the first time west coast shipping is brought to a standstill in nearly 10 years.

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Medical care
5:25 pm
Wed September 7, 2011

Pharma companies pay millions to Northwest doctors

Charles Kaiser Flickr

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Across the Northwest, thousands of physicians are receiving payments from drug makers. In the last three years, it all adds up to $12 million in Washington, $6 million in Oregon and $2.5 million in Idaho.

Some of that money is for drug research. Other payments are for a meal or a trip to a conference. But in many cases doctors are getting paid to give talks to other medical providers on behalf of a drug company.

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Business
6:22 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Update: Starbucks CEO calls for lower corporate tax rate

During his much publicized "town hall" meeting called to criticize Washington D.C. partisanship, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz also called for a lower corporate tax rate.
Associated Press

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is calling for a lower corporate tax rate. Schultz made his comments during a town hall meeting Tuesday night hosted by the anti-partisanship group “No Labels”

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Data Center
3:08 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Wash. data center crash just now coming to light

Washington’s new State Data Center complex on the capitol campus.
Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A power surge and outage on Washington’s Capitol campus last month shut down the state’s data center. The accident also caused half-a-million dollars damage to an underground electricity vault.

State officials did not publicize the incident. It is just now coming to light.

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Land use
8:40 pm
Mon September 5, 2011

Commissioner says all trust lands at risk in PUD/McKenna case

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington's Lands Commissioner, Peter Goldmark, says his fight with Okanogan County over a power transmission line has implications for all state trust lands. The Supreme Court last week ordered Attorney General Rob McKenna's office to represent Goldmark in his court appeal to block new power lines.

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Washington legislature
7:00 am
Sat September 3, 2011

Powerful lobby opposes tool to fight Medicaid fraud

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington is likely losing tens of millions of dollars a year in Medicaid fraud. Two state senators – a Democrat and a Republican – want to recover more of that money.

They want to allow Medicaid fraud whistleblowers to file their own lawsuits and collect a monetary reward. But their crusade has run afoul of doctors, hospitals and drug makers.

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9/11 Anniversary
9:39 am
Fri September 2, 2011

Dog handler plays high profile role in post 9/11 Northwest

Sgt. Kerry Kintzley and his dog Sissy check cars for explosives prior to a ferry departure from Seattle's Coleman Dock
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Reflections from someone who plays one of the more visible security roles in the post-9/11 Northwest:

"My name is Sgt. Kerry Kintzley. I'm a Sergeant with the Washington State Patrol. I work at the Washington State ferry system screening vehicles prior to their boarding. Sissy ... is a four-year-old Lab Vizsla mix trained to detect explosives.

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