Austin Jenkins

Olympia Correspondent

Austin Jenkins, KPLU’s and N3’s Olympia Reporter, has been covering the Washington State Legislature and regional public policy issues since 2004. Prior to becoming a public radio reporter, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise – to name just a few of his stops. Austin grew up in Seattle and is a graduate of Connecticut College. Austin’s memorable moment in public radio: “There are too many to pick just one: Covering Washington’s contested 2004 gubernatorial election, flying in an Army Reserve Chinook helicopter to the top of Mt. Rainier, spending 24-hours on a tug boat on the Snake River, the list goes on.”  You can also track all the current events at Washinton's capitol on Austin's blog, The Washington Ledge.

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Budget crisis
4:31 pm
Thu October 13, 2011

State workers picket over Western State Hospital closures

Western State Hospital nurse Celia Gorski joins a picket to protest the proposed closure of five wards in a cost-cutting move.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

LAKEWOOD, Wash. – Unionized state workers are protesting a cost-cutting proposal to close five wards at one of Washington's mental institutions. More than a dozen employees staged a lunch-time picket Thursday outside Western State Hospital.

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Elections 2011
3:24 pm
Tue October 11, 2011

Bellevue developer backs I-1125, wants to reengineer state roads

Kemper Freeman has become the money and the mouth behind Tim Eyman’s latest initiative, one that would limit highway tolling.
Northwest News Network

BELLEVUE, Wash. – Usually, high dollar political contributors let their money do the talking. They write big checks to campaigns, but otherwise stay behind the scenes. Not so with Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman. He’s become the money and the mouth behind Tim Eyman’s latest initiative – to limit highway tolling.

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Obituary
2:54 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Former Washington Gov. Rosellini remembered as reformer

In this file photo, date and location not known, former Washington Gov. Al Rosellini, second from right, votes as his wife, Ethel, right, and his daughter, Lynn, third from right, look on.
Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Former Washington Governor Albert Rosellini is being remembered as a reformer. Rosellini died today at the age of 101 of complications from pneumonia.

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Business
8:11 pm
Sun October 2, 2011

Minimum wage in Washington will rise to $9.04 in January

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.

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Education
9:44 am
Fri September 30, 2011

State school's chief defies Gregoire's request for list of cuts

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington schools chief Randy Dorn has defied a request by the governor to provide a list of new education budget cuts. Instead, Dorn sent Governor Chris Gregoire a letter that explains why he told his staff not to respond to her request.

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Murder of Tom Wales
6:32 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Calls for information in decade-old federal prosecutor murder case

Images of federal prosecutor Tom Wales, who was shot dead in the basement of his Seattle home.

It's been 10 years since federal prosecutor Tom Wales was shot dead in the basement of his Seattle home. The case has never been solved. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was in Seattle Wednesday to bring fresh attention to the cold case.

At a news conference, Holder asked anyone with knowledge of the crime to come forward. Wales' daughter, Amy, also read a lengthy statement.

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Washington Politics
5:42 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Democrats’ long reign In Washington could be imperiled

Will Democrats face this sort of ire come 2012?
Flickr

OLYMPIA, Wash. – It’s been a good run for Democrats in Washington state. They’ve held the governor’s office for nearly thirty years, the state House for a decade and the Washington Senate since 2005. But that political dominance could be imperiled.

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Washington state legislature
3:28 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Washinton Democrats may put taxes back on the ballot

OLYMPIA, Wash. – There are fresh signals that majority Democrats in Olympia may try to send a tax measure to voters this spring. House Democrats met behind closed doors Monday.

With a special session scheduled for late November, time is of the essence. State Representative Kathy Haigh chairs the House education appropriations committee. She says getting Democrats on the same page to fill the new $2 billion hole in the budget won't happen overnight.

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War in Afghanistan
3:14 pm
Fri September 23, 2011

Boise 'kill team' soldier sentenced to seven years

Forest Holmes, left, talks with reporters about his son's seven year sentence for war crimes as defense attorney Dan Conway looks on.
Northwest News Network

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – A young Army private from Boise has been sentenced to a maximum of seven years in a military prison for murder and other crimes while deployed to Afghanistan. Private First Class Andrew Holmes admitted to shooting an unarmed 15-year-old Afghan boy.

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JBLM soldier
3:45 pm
Thu September 22, 2011

Boise soldier enters guilty plea in war crimes case

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – A 21-year-old soldier from Boise has pleaded guilty to unpremeditated murder of an unarmed Afghan civilian.

Private First Class Andrew Holmes entered his plea Thursday as part of an agreement with prosecutors. The deal spares him a possible mandatory life sentence.

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Business
2:34 pm
Wed September 21, 2011

JP Morgan NW chair says fee will be disclosed at ATMs

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.

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Economy
2:26 pm
Wed September 21, 2011

Protestors try to disrupt meeting of business leaders near Cle Elum

Anti-poverty protestors outside The Association Of Washington Business Summit at Suncadia Resort on Wednesday.
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.

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Military deaths
11:13 am
Wed September 21, 2011

Anti-war veterans, widow want investigation into JBLM suicides

Army widow Ashley Joppa-Hagemann, right, with anti-war veterans, calls for a congressional investigation into soldier suicides at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Northwest News Network

NEAR JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Some anti-war veterans – and an Army widow – are demanding a Congressional investigation into an apparent spike in suicides at Joint Base Lewis-McChord . So far this year nine soldiers are believed to have killed themselves, including five in the month of July alone.

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Medical care
6:07 pm
Mon September 19, 2011

NW medical school doctors paid by drug companies

Some medical students are calling for Northwest doctors to be banned from taking speaking fees from drug companies.
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.

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Business
9:54 am
Mon September 19, 2011

Washington legislature created program that nobody used

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.

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