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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.

Jenny Downing / Flickr

If you're considering moving into a high-rise condo or apartment in Seattle for the views of Puget Sound, the Space Needle or mountain ranges, you might want to keep this in mind: City regulations do not protect private views, only public views.

This is a lesson being learned the hard way by residents of the Cosmopolitan high-rise in the Denny Triangle, according to a story in Seattlepi.com. Residents there have already had one building go up a mere 18 feet from them and now another tower has been approved for construction.

SALEM, Ore. - Customers of one of Oregon's largest health insurance companies may see a large rate increase soon. State insurance regulators held a rare public hearing Wednesday on the request by ODS Health Plan to hike its rates an average of 10 percent. A decision on the requested rate hike could come next month.

Emiliano Pennisi / flickr.com

If you live in Seattle and want to avoid receiving piles of phone books that you don't need, the deadline is September 23. The city has an opt-out website at www.seattle.gov/stopphonebooks

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The unemployment rate held steady at 9-point-3 percent in Washington state in August. The state Employment Department released fresh jobs numbers Wednesday, a day after Oregon reported a slight uptick in its unemployment rate. Now it's at 9-point-6 percent.

In Washington, Employment Department chief economist Dave Wallace says the private sector statewide has added jobs for twelve months in a row now. But he says jobs need to be added at a faster pace to chip away at the unemployment rate.

Davide Taviani / Flickr

The Seattle City Council voted 8-1 this afternoon to approve the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, making the vote official after council members announced last week that they finally had the votes to pass it.

The lone dissenter in the vote was Council President Richard Conlin.

A follow up now to a story we brought you last week about doctors who get paid by drug makers to give promotional talks. The top three earning doctors in the Northwest did not return our calls for that story. But later a psychiatrist in Tacoma did. And he makes no apologies for accepting pharmaceutical payments.

Flickr

With the economy seemingly in a freefall, a frenzy of gold buying as sent the price to record highs. 

This gold fever has created a new breed of gold miners – traveling estate buyers who temporarily set up shop in hotels, offering to pay cash on the spot.

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”

EVERETT, Wash. — The Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships are expected to draw more than 300 gymnasts from 14 nations for the three-day event next March at the Comcast Arena in Everett.

A Northwest brand is finding women's apparel and jewelry a tough sell in the current economy. Idaho-based Coldwater Creek has announced it will close dozens of stores in the face of a 28 percent drop in sales.

Courtesy of contractor Bechtel

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Department of Energy says this fall they'll start large-scale testing on how to treat 56 million gallons of radioactive sludge at the currently under-construction Hanford's waste treatment plant.

Associated Press

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has been in a letter writing mood lately and that’s earned him lots of supporters to his political cause.

A few weeks ago, Schultz asked fellow CEOs to join him in freezing campaign contributions to politicians until they end what he calls their “hyper-partisan” behavior. Now he wants to talk to the rest of America.

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