Jessica Robinson

Regional Correspondent
Jessica Robinson

 

Some cities and counties around the Northwest are tightening up local rules on businesses that sell e-cigarettes. And shop owners in Washington state are bracing for a tax fight at the legislature in 2015.

David Shankbone / Wikimedia Commons

 

According to researchers at Washington State University, shoppers may be more likely to accept bad customer service from a company if they know that company supports causes they agree with.

WSU social psychologist Jeff Joireman said tales of bad customer service spread fast these days — on Yelp, on YouTube, on Twitter.

AP Photo

 

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is due to be briefed on a report detailing the disappearance of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Alliance Defending Freedom

 

A closely-watched court case dealing with whether religious business-owners must provide services to gay couples is headed to oral arguments Friday in Kennewick, Washington.

Barronelle Stutzman said she was following her religious convictions in 2013 when she declined to do the flower arrangements for a gay couple’s wedding.

The state of Washington said she was violating state consumer protection laws.

U.S. Census Bureau

 

A new Census Bureau report released Wednesday indicates the economic recovery is lifting children out of poverty unevenly around the Northwest.

Idaho Potato Commission

 

Northwest potato farmers are cheering a small provision tucked into the newly passed federal spending package.

The Women, Infants and Children or WIC program provides modest monthly vouchers for a variety of foods. They’ll cover any vegetable except “white potatoes.”

Jessica Robinson

 A hospital in north Idaho is marketing itself to Canadian tourists — medical tourists, that is.

Most of the patients who come into Northwest Specialty Hospital in Post Falls, Idaho are from the local area, plus a few from Washington and Montana.

But hospital CEO Rick Rasmussen is thinking big — Canada big. A little Canadian flag was recently added in the upper right of the hospital’s website.

Tech. Sgt. Jorge Intriago U.S. Air National Guard

The search is on to find an alternative to salting the roads in winter. Salt helps melt the ice, but it also builds up in streambeds and drinking water.

Some cities like Portland have already moved away from salt and are opting for chemicals like calcium magnesium acetate. De-icing researcher Xianming Shi says at one point that was thought of as the silver bullet.

Courtesy of Emilie Jackson-Edney

 

Over the weekend, the story of a transgender woman in Idaho whose family had buried as a man lit up social media.

LGBT legal advocates say there continues to be a gap in how end-of-life issues are handled, even for people who have legally changed their gender.

Wikimedia

A new study out of Canada reveals a surprising side-effect that hunting may have on wolves.

Researchers wanted to compare the hormone levels in wolves that often deal with hunters’ fire, versus wolves that are hunted very little. They were able to measure levels of progesterone, testosterone and the stress hormone cortisol by looking at samples of wolf hair from different parts of northern Canada.

Tender Young Pony of Insomnia / Flickr

A slowdown in operations at ports up and down the West Coast is choking off the flow of apples, Christmas trees, potatoes and other Northwest products to foreign markets. Exporters say the delays could have long-term consequences for Northwest agriculture if the problems aren’t resolved before the holidays.

Lightning Creek

The Native American Music Awards recognize indigenous musicians from the U.S., Canada and Latin America. It is considered to be the Grammys of Native American music.

Jessica Robinson

The Environmental Protection Agency is testing out a new technique for keeping heavily-used river banks from eroding into the water.

The EPA wants to see if these living retainer walls can contain lead pollution at a Superfund site in north Idaho.

To make these “soil burritos,” a construction crew pours a layer of dirt into what looks like a car-sized piece of burlap. Then they put down willow branches. If all goes according to plan, those willows will start taking root in the dirt next spring.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The Republican capture of the U.S. Senate was the big national news on election night. But in the Northwest, the toughest fights weren’t over Senate seats but ballot initiatives — on guns, pot and genetically-engineered foods.

Here's what you need to know, in 60 seconds: 

U.S. Department of Transportation

Washington’s rail safety regulator says there are about 3,000 rail crossings in the state that inspectors have never looked at because they sit on private land.

Experts say these could be problem areas as more trains carry crude oil through the state. They plan to ask the legislature for more authority.

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