Steve Jackson

    Spokane Public Radio

Washington Interagency Incident Management Team #4

The wildfire burning on the Colville Indian Reservation continues to grow. The Devil's Elbow Complex, which has topped 19,000 acres, is only 4 percent contained.

Don Ryan / AP Photo

The U.S. and Canada are looking at renegotiating the Columbia River treaty, which has been in effect since 1964.

The treaty put into place a mechanism for the two countries to reduce flooding and increase electrical power generation. But it did not address the status of salmon and steelhead that have been decimated by the dams on the giant waterway. 

Three small fires believed sparked by lightning have now converged into what is being called the Devil’s Elbow Complex on the Colville Indian Reservation.

The blaze, which spans 2,500 acres, is threatening about 50 structures on the reservation 10 miles north of the town of Keller. 

U.S. Forest Service

The Carlton Complex, the largest fire in Washington state history, is now approximately 90 percent contained, according to fire officials. 

Fire information officer Andy Lyon says officials do have concerns about wind in the forecast, though they are hopeful full containment will come soon. He adds the containment lines, which run nearly 200 miles around the 255,000-acre blaze, are very extensive.

Brennan LinsleyA / AP Photo

The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians has passed a resolution that rejects marijuana use and legalization efforts in the region.

The resolution, drawn up at the groups recent Winter Convention, points out that Native Tribes have higher rates of marijuana and drug use than other ethnicities in the U.S., and the negative impacts of marijuana use can cause many health related problems.

A Native American is the newest challenger in the race for the Congressional seat currently held by Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Joe Pakootas, CEO for the Colville Federal Tribal Corporation and former tribal chairman, has announced his intention to run as a Democrat in the race against Republican Rep. Rodgers.

Michael Baumgartner's website

Washington lawmakers may be tired of the state Supreme Court telling them how to do their job. At least one bill targeting the court is in front of lawmakers this session. 

The Legislature is under mandate by the State Supreme Court to increase state funding for education. Last year, the court told lawmakers to spend more, and lawmakers responded by upping education funding by $1 billion. Then a month ago, the court gave them even more specifics where the spending should go.

Brennan Linsley / AP Photo

Legal marijuana is expected to go on sale by this spring in Washington cities like Seattle and Spokane.

Some municipalities, including Federal Way, have put moratoriums in place to give officials more time to determine how to implement the new law in their community. But in some cases, the moratoriums are more severe. 

Scientists who have been studying a swarm of small earthquakes that shook Spokane in 2001 say they may have evidence of a new fault in the area. 

On Friday, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey announced an airborne survey of the Spokane area revealed clues that look to be connected to a so-called swarm of small earthquakes that struck in 2001.

The swarm was actually several small quakes, the largest of which registered a 4.0-magnitude quake on Nov. 11 of that year.

The funeral for Former House Speaker Tom Foley in Spokane Friday may get disrupted by a well-known group of publicity seekers. 

The Westboro Baptist Church, long known for protesting military funerals, has posted information on its website that members plan to attend the service. 

Associated Press

Washington state’s new law allowing for personal marijuana use by adults won’t be recognized on the Yakama tribal reservation. 

The Yakama Nation has decided that despite the wish of state residents in voting to allow for marijuana use, they will not allow cannabis to be consumed or grown on the reservation.

Tribal attorney George Colby says in part, it is an issue of tribal sovereignty.

Researchers are testing a new battery power storage system that may provide some long-term solutions to storing power from the electrical grid. 

The tests are being conducted at a wind farm near the Tri-Cities. Currently,  wind power—and hydropower—must be used as it is produced. 

“Electric in general is difficult to store, or to save for later; you have to use it,” said John Steigers of Energy Northwest, a public power consortium. “The whole system in the country is based on the premise that what is being produced has to be used.”

Okanogan Specialty Fruits

With voters to decide on the fate of Initiative 522 in November, the debate over the labeling of genetically-modified foods is heating up.

Genetically-modified foods use a genetic piece of another plant or animal to modify the quality of the food, or make it easier for a grower to produce. But there are some who worry about the possible ill health effects such products may have.

<< Jonny Boy >> / Flickr

State voters will decide on the fate of an initiative that would require labeling of genetically modified food products. 

Initiative 522 would require food products to bear a label informing the consumer if they contain any genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

The public signature-gathering campaign for the bill was successful, and while it allowed the Washington state Legislature an opportunity to decide its fate, its language mandated that if lawmakers took no action, the initiative would automatically move to a public vote in November.

Spokane’s Fairchild Air Force Base has lost out on a bid to be the first to house the Air Force's newest refueling tanker aircraft. 

While Spokane and Washington state leaders have spent the last few years touting Fairchild Air Force Base as the leading contender to take the first new Boeing KC 46A tanker planes, the Pentagon Wednesday decided that McConnell Air Force base in Wichita, Kansas is its choice. McConnell will receive the first batch of 36 planes in 2016. 

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