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.

Pages

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.

Read more
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”

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
Law
12:56 pm
Thu September 1, 2011

Oregon Supreme Court sides with 5 juvenile killers

Salem, OREGON – The Oregon Supreme Court has sided with five juvenile killers who’ve long maintained the state treats them more harshly than adult murderers. The high court Thursday called on the Oregon Board of Parole to schedule hearings and even decide on release dates for two of the five.

Read more
State liquor sales
5:35 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Wash. prepares to accept bids to privatize liquor distribution

While Washington is figuring out how to judge a quality bid for distributing liquor, voters in 2012 could make the entire system private.
Chris Flickr

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The state of Washington is getting ready to accept bids from private companies to take over the distribution of liquor. One question: how to evaluate the financial promises the bidders make.

This was a key topic Tuesday as state leaders met in advance of the formal bid process that’s about to get underway.

Read more
Military deaths
4:38 pm
Mon August 29, 2011

Another Washington airman dies in motorcycle accident

For the fourth time since April, an active duty member of the military has died in a high-speed motorcycle crash in western Washington. All of the victims were riding high-performance bikes known for giving their riders a dose of adrenaline.

Read more
State prisons
5:01 pm
Fri August 26, 2011

Wash. prisons ask Facebook to disable inmate accounts

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington prison officials are following California's lead. This month they asked social media giant Facebook to agree to disable active inmate accounts.

Read more
Law
4:56 pm
Tue August 23, 2011

State prison system prepares for convicted killer Isaiah Kalebu

Corrections Lt. Jeff Sanders Shows Off The Inside Of The “Special Transport” Van Used For High-Risk Inmates
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

SHELTON, Wash. – The recent murder trial in Seattle of Isaiah Kalebu made headlines for the brutality of his crime – the rape and butcher knife attack of two women in their home that left one of them dead.

But the trial also attracted attention because of Kalebu’s volatile outbursts in court and suicide attempts. Now he’s headed to prison – for life.

Read more
Gay rights
4:25 pm
Tue August 23, 2011

Washington gay marriage proponents eye 2012

An influential Washington state senator says 2012 could be the year he and others try to pass a gay marriage bill in the legislature. 

Openly gay Seattle Democrat Ed Murray says New York state's recent approval of gay marriage is creating some momentum in Washington.

Read more
Washington law
5:16 pm
Mon August 22, 2011

Suspended drivers given help to get back on the road, legally

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Nearly 300,000 Washington drivers currently have suspended licenses because they failed to pay their traffic tickets. The Department of Licensing on Monday introduced a new tool to help them get their licenses back.

Read more
Law
11:58 am
Wed August 17, 2011

Family of Lakewood officer Griswold joins litigation against state

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The family of slain Lakewood police officer Tina Griswold has filed a notice to sue the state of Washington over its handling of Maurice Clemmons. He's the Arkansas parolee who gunned down Griswold and three of her fellow officers in a coffee shop in 2009. Clemmons was later shot dead by Seattle police.

Read more
Insurance fight
11:50 am
Wed August 17, 2011

Regence BlueShield fined $100,000 over IUD removal

OLYMPIA, Wash. – One of Washington’s largest health insurers faces a hefty fine for refusing to pay for the removal of a certain type of birth control device.

Regence BlueShield will pay a $100,000 penalty for improperly denying claims from nearly 1,000 women. The women had their IUDs removed because the device was outdated or they wanted to try to have a baby.

Read more

Pages