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Columbine Quillen / Flickr

Maybe you’re a regular and know the cashiers by name, or maybe you only go in once a year - to pick up some rum to make that eggnog a little more grown-up. In any case, you might be surprised to learn your local state run liquor store could remain a liquor store.

Brian Smith of the Washington State Liquor Control Board, said the recently passed initiative folds the existing liquor licenses in to the new system.

Nearly 70,000 people in Idaho don’t have jobs. That’s according to estimates from the Idaho Department of Labor. That figure doesn’t take into account the thousands of people who are underemployed or who’ve given up the search.

Justy Thomas was 34 years old then, and like so many in her situation, was at a crossroads. When Thomas lost her job four years ago she decided to college.

Thomas: "I wanted to do a reset. I wanted to change my career"

She says going to college also seemed like a necessity.

It’s a big week for aviation biofuels.

A United flight took off Monday from Houston, for the first time burning jet fuel that was made from algae-based oil. And Alaska Air begins its demonstration flights from Seattle tomorrow (Wednesday, 2 p.m.)  – with fuel made from used cooking oil. 

Consumers are using their phones to do what their computers once did. And that's prompting a major technology company in the Northwest to shift its focus too.

The bread and butter of Micron Technology has been memory for PCs. But the CEO of the Boise chip maker told Bloomberg BusinessWeek the company will expand its base of products for mobile devices.

Chris Devers / Flickr

It isn't just the poor and unemployed who are suffering in Seattle and Washington, but people who ten years ago were living comfortably on their wages are now living with a paycheck that doesn't seem to go far enough.

A new study from the University of Washington has found that the cost of living in Seattle and Washington State has risen significantly while worker wages have remained the same.

Keep an eye out for trick-or-treaters as you head out on the roads this evening Despite the down economy, retailers expect Halloween spending will rise this year.

The National Retail Federation's annual Halloween spending survey found that the average person plans to spend about $72 on costumes, candy and decorations. That's a jump of more than $15 over the past two years.

Canadian electricity giant TransAlta has already agreed to shut down its coal-fired power plant in southwest Washington by 2025. But the company isn’t packing up and leaving. In fact, Wednesday the Alberta-based company opened its first US headquarters in Olympia.

Paul Taylor will head TransAlta’s US operations. He calls Washington’s capital city a “sweet spot” location for the company.

clappstar / Flickr

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Congress has approved more summer activities at ski areas on federal lands.

The Bellingham Herald reports the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act the cleared the Senate Tuesday will allow ski areas to be used for more than winter sports.

David Meinert

As the Occupy Wall Street Movement snowballs, small business owners, who employ just over half of all private sector employees in the nation, say they’re a part of the 99%, too.

It’s 5 o’clock in Seattle’s Westlake Park – the beating heart of the local Occupy Wall Street movement—and Jennifer Fox and some fellow teenage occupiers are smoking hand rolled cigarettes. They’re waiting for the free pizza.

Andrea Parrish / Flickr

Across the Northwest, apple growers are having a hard time bringing in their harvest because of a worker shortage. The result may mean certain lower-priced varieties of apples don’t get picked at all.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Costco has given more than $11 million to support an initiative campaign that would privatize Washington's liquor distribution and sales.

SALEM, Ore. - It's the time of year that retailers think about hiring extra help for the holidays. Labor experts in Oregon and Washington say job prospects for seasonal hires are ho-hum in the jolly ho-ho-ho season.

Washington state's Employment Department is predicting about 13,000 holiday jobs will materialize in the state through the end of the year. If true, that would fall short of last year's numbers.

Tributes are pouring forth in honor of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who died Wednesday at age 56. He is being remembered as a visionary who co-founded Apple, left the company, and then returned to build it into a global powerhouse.

More than 1,000 workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are getting layoff notices. This latest round of downsizing started this week due to reduced federal funding in 2012.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Despite a slow economic recovery, inflation is up. That means Washington’s minimum wage will increase to more than $9 an hour starting in January.

That was the announcement Friday from the state. The wage hike is based on a voter approved initiative that links the minimum wage to inflation.

Eric Chan / Flickr

If you’re a fan of the television series "Breaking Bad" then you know, in the words of Walter White,  that making methamphetamines "is just basic chemistry."

And some of the key chemical ingredients of meth are found in over the counter cold, flu and allergy medications which contain pseudoephedrine and ephedrine. That’s why the Washington State Board of Pharmacy is implementing a new electronic reporting system that will monitor purchases of these medications in real time.

PORTLAND – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was in Portland Tuesday to promote President Obama's American Jobs Act.

The bill aims to spur job growth by cutting payroll taxes for employers and investing in school and transportation infrastructure.

"All of these steps have been proposed in the past by Republicans and Democrats, so there is no reason why we can't get bipartisan support for these programs," Vilsack said.

Associated Press

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant is back on line. A six-month outage ended Tuesday, the same day that critics and supporters of the plant debated its future in Richland, Wash.

Charla Bear / KPLU

Construction of a shiny, new high rise is underway in Seattle’s oldest neighborhood. Residents, elected officials and the developer ushered in the Pioneer Square project they say will bring big changes to the entire city.

While one new building on the outskirts of downtown doesn’t seem like cause for a big to-do, King County’s executive, a couple of councilmembers and a former mayor all came out to the ground breaking. 

Boeing

There were delays until the very end. Boeing’s first 787 headed for its new home in Tokyo about 45 minutes behind schedule this morning.

The Dreamliner will begin active service for Japan’s All Nippon Airways about a month from now. And Boeing is banking on years of research and design modifications in the new 787 to "wow" carriers and passengers alike.  

Ryan Dickey / Flickr

Our high school teachers always said that a college education was a sure fire way to ensure financial stability down the road but now there’s mounting evidence that no one is immune to financial disaster.

A new study found college graduates are the fastest growing group of consumers filing for bankruptcy in the nation.  And Washington State is no exception.

EVERETT, Wash. — Hundreds of people who gathered Monday for the delivery ceremony of the first Boeing 787 took cover from rain under the wings of two of the new airplanes at Paine Field, near the factory in Everett, Wash., where they were assembled.

SALEM, Ore. – When you renew a professional license or pay a government fee, you’re more likely these days to do it online. Now, the state of Oregon is banking on your willingness to pay extra for that convenience.

The state is getting ready to shift to a new model of funding many of its online services. But it's not clear yet who will pay the new fees, or how much they'll cost.

Oregon pays a high-tech company more than $2.5 million a year to run the state's website. But Oregon is switching to a different company, and the state won't pay it one dime.

NEAR CLE ELUM, Wash. – JPMorgan Chase is on track to comply with a new state law that requires disclosure of an 85-cent ATM fee charged to welfare recipients. So says the company’s Northwest chairman, Phyllis Campbell.

“We’re working hard to figure out how we can disclose that on our ATMs and is part of the law now and we absolutely are complying. We’re very close to making sure it will be done. The question is can it be done on other bank’s ATMs and that’s something I can’t answer,” Campbell said.

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.

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.

Flickr

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — The Ellensburg City Council will take public testimony at Monday's meeting on proposed regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries.

Jessica Robinson / KPLU

COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho – It's been five months since a rockfall at the Lucky Friday Mine in north Idaho killed veteran miner Larry Marek. Much about the accident is still unknown. But public records going back several years suggest the federal agency that oversees mines did not adequately ensure the safety of workers at the Lucky Friday.

A 2008 report on another collapse there went missing. And since Larry Marek’s death, inspectors have found a dramatically higher number of safety violations.

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.

City of Seattle

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn wants Congress to put aside partisanship and pass President Obama's $450 billion American Jobs Act.

If passed, it could mean big bucks for the state of Washington; The federal government could fund up to $1.8 billion worth of public works projects that it says, would create jobs and improve infrastructure.

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