Jessica Robinson

Regional Correspondent
Jessica Robinson

A little-known fact about Columbia River dams is that a valuable chunk of the power generated on the U.S. side goes to Canada under an international treaty. Northwest utilities say your power rates would be lower if that electricity could be sold to California instead of being delivered to Canada for free.

This week in Spokane, the biggest players in the trans-national river basin are debating whether to extend that 50-year-old treaty.

Jessica Robinson

Religious conservatives around the country are rallying to the defense of a wedding chapel in north Idaho whose owners don’t want to perform gay marriages.

The mayor of Coeur d’Alene and governor of Idaho are being inundated by hundreds of calls and thousands of emails even though neither has taken any action against the wedding chapel.

Otto Kitsinger / AP Photo

Same-sex couples across Idaho headed to county courthouses Wednesday, the first official day of legal gay marriage in the state since a court overturned Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage.

In Boise, there was a long line of couples at the Ada County courthouse. Among them were some of the plaintiffs who took the state to court for refusing to marry them.

Otto Kitsinger / AP Photo

Same-sex couples in Idaho can start getting married and have those marriages legally recognized by the state starting Wednesday morning, according to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Jessica Robinson

A group in the Boise area is in the midst of fundraising for a new attraction in the Northwest. It'll be called the Northwest Science Museum.

The planners envision a 350,000-square-foot space full of fossils, rocks and animal specimens. But this isn't your usual natural history museum. It's designed by creationists.

Ted Anthony / AP Photo

A federal agency under fire from free speech advocates and nature enthusiasts says it has absolutely no intention of charging people to take pictures on public land. The head of the U.S. Forest Service on Thursday clarified a rule that’s been generating charges of government overreach.

Forest Service chief Tom Tidwell wants to make one thing perfectly clear.

“There's no way that our proposal will infringe on anyone's First Amendment rights,” Tidwell said.

Rex Parker / Flickr

The U.S. Forest Service is developing a rule that would let it decide whether the media could film or take photos in wilderness areas.

The Forest Service would issue permits based on the potential impact to wilderness areas as well as the story topic. A fee of up to $1,500 could also be required to receive a permit.

The coast has generally been considered the area of the Northwest most at risk for a catastrophic oil spill. But the rise in oil moving through the region by rail has raised the stakes for some inland areas. Three counties in the northern tip of Idaho are now creating their own strategy for containing an oil spill.

Jessica Robinson

The story most people learn about the Nez Perce Tribe and the capture of Chief Joseph doesn't tell the whole history. 

Now the federal government and Northwest tribes are trying to fix that with a new historic site.

Washington State University's Board of Regents unanimously approved a plan Friday to establish a medical school in Spokane. It has the potential to generate 120 new doctors every year in the Northwest. But the move also tees up a fight between Washington's two largest public universities.

Taber Andrew Bain / Flickr

The state of Washington doesn’t deserve extra time to start following mental health laws, according to the lawyer representing psychiatric patients who successfully challenged a practice known as “boarding.”

Spokane Indians Baseball Club

Football season has kicked off another round of scrutiny over how professional sports teams use Native-American mascots. But in eastern Washington, a minor league baseball team has earned the approval of its native namesake.

AP Photo

The Pentagon broke the law when it swapped five members of the Taliban for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of Idaho, according to the findings of an independent government investigation released Thursday.

The Government Accountability Office says officials should have given Congress 30 days' notice.

The Environmental Protection Agency has given the state of Idaho notice that a corner of the Idaho panhandle isn't meeting stricter new air quality standards. The agency intends to change that by forcing the state to reduce what are called “fine particulates” in the air.

One likely target will be pollution from wood burning. Wood stoves and outdoor burning are major contributors to air pollution throughout the Northwest, including Idaho's Silver Valley.

The state of Washington is scrambling to find beds for an estimated 200 mental health patients by Aug. 27. That's when the state must comply with a Washington Supreme Court ruling that said detaining psychiatric patients in emergency room beds is unlawful.

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