Jessica Robinson

N3 Reporter

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life behind bars
9:12 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Inmates’ families: Video-only visits have financial, emotional costs

Jennifer Lopez, 30, of Pocatello, Idaho, says a video system that has replaced in-person visits at the Bannock County jail is hard to navigate and often has technical problems.
Jessica Robinson

Even if you've never visited a jail, you probably have a pretty clear image of what inmate visitation is like: a shatterproof glass barrier, two people sitting on either side, speaking into telephones. But that's changing in some parts of the Northwest.

More and more county jails are switching to privately-operated video conferencing systems that are not unlike Skype for inmates. But these systems have technical difficulties, and come with costs for the inmates’ families.

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urban wildlife
11:19 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Study: Urban stresses cause birds to abandon nests, eggs and all

A bird of prey can get so stressed out by city noise that it might abandon its nest—eggs and all, according to a new study by researchers at Boise State University. The study suggests human disturbances affect the American kestrel more than previously thought.

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minimum wage gap
10:00 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Why won't this McDonald's move 20 feet into lower-wage Idaho?

Tim Skubitz, in white, at his McDonalds in Newport, Wash., looks across the highway into Oldtown, Idaho.
Jessica Robinson

The border between the states of Washington and Idaho is like a Petri dish for what the minimum wage does to the economy. That’s where two extremes meet.

Idaho has the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. While Washington’s is nearly $2 more, the highest in the nation. You might expect that wage gap to send Washington border businesses fleeing over to Idaho. But that's not what's happening.

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One runner's resilience
8:18 pm
Sun May 5, 2013

Boston Marathon runner races again in Spokane

Bill Iffrig of Lake Stevens, Wash., rests in the grass after running Bloomsday in Spokane—his first race since the Boston Marathon.
Jessica Robinson

Three weeks after the Boston bombings, one of the iconic figures of that tragedy was racing again in Spokane. Bill Iffrig of Lake Stevens, Wash. joined more than 50,000 runners on Sunday for the Bloomsday Run.

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GMO French fries?
11:24 am
Sat May 4, 2013

Idaho company seeks to introduce genetically-engineered potato

This image depicts Simplot's comparison of an Innate potato, left, and a traditional potato 10 hours after being cut.

One of the country's leading suppliers of French fries is asking the federal government to approve genetically modified potatoes. The USDA on Friday announced J.R. Simplot’s petition to produce what would be the only genetically-engineered potato on the market. 

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Searching for Bigfoot
11:14 am
Sat April 27, 2013

Northwest professor turns to drones in quest for Sasquatch

Jeff Meldrum is a professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University. He maintains a collection footprint casts, photos and other materials that support his Sasquatch research.

A Northwest anthropologist has risked his career in pursuit of what the rest of science considers a myth. 

Jeff Meldrum of Idaho State University is the nation’s lone academic trying to make the scientific case for Bigfoot. It’s no joke. Now he's even raising money to launch an unmanned aircraft that would scan the Northwest's forests for the large, hairy creature.

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Northwest wolves
11:40 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Wolf count: Numbers up in Wash., Ore.; down in Idaho

There are fewer wolves overall in the West, but Oregon and Washington's wolf populations continue to grow, according to the federal government's annual gray wolf tally released last week. The count has also revealed the initial effect of a controversial wolf hunting season in Idaho.

In the 2011-12 season, Idaho hunters and trappers killed nearly 400 wolves. Yet the population count decreased by just 63 animals, or 11 percent. David Allen, who heads the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, says when you take into account new pups, the once-endangered wolves are now stable.

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war
11:25 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

In birthday message, POW's parents promise to bring him home

US Department of Defense

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 5:57 pm

The parents of Idaho soldier Bowe Bergdahl are hoping a message they recorded for his 27th birthday will reach him in captivity. Bergdahl remains America's only POW from the war in Afghanistan.

Bob and Jani Bergdahl recorded a message on KECH, a radio station in Idaho's Wood River Valley.

“Happy birthday, Bowe Bergdahl!” they said together.

“You're 27 years old today, if you forgot," Bob continued. "And you've been in Afghanistan for over four years now.”

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war
7:49 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl turns 27 in enemy hands

Courtesy of Bergdahl family.

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 9:38 pm

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food and farm
5:14 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Turkish company loses bid to trademark 'Idaho'

Idaho Potato Commission

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 4:58 pm

It looks like Idaho is the victor in an international trademark dispute over its most famous product. Officials in Turkey blocked a move that would have allowed a Turkish company to stamp “IDAHO” on produce, including potatoes.

For the keepers of the Idaho brand name, it's a crisis averted.

According to records on the Turkish Patent Institute's website, the agency has rejected an application to trademark the word “IDAHO”. Idaho Gov. Butch Otter also received a letter from the Turkish ambassador saying as much.

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NPR Story
5:14 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Turkish Company Loses Bid To Trademark 'Idaho'

Idaho Potato Commission

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 4:58 pm

It looks like Idaho is the victor in an international trademark dispute over its most famous product. Officials in Turkey blocked a move that would have allowed a Turkish company to stamp “IDAHO” on produce, including potatoes.

For the keepers of the Idaho brand name, it's a crisis averted.

According to records on the Turkish Patent Institute's website, the agency has rejected an application to trademark the word “IDAHO”. Idaho Gov. Butch Otter also received a letter from the Turkish ambassador saying as much.

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Immigration
6:00 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Wash. town rides ups, downs of 'broken' immigration system

Minerva Alvarado owns Tienda el Campesino, which sells clothes for special occasions.
Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

There's one word that politicians almost always use when they talk about the U.S. immigration system: “broken.” But what does that really mean?

Residents of the small town of Brewster, Wash., know. For decades, immigrants have come from Mexico, often illegally, to work the surrounding apple and cherry orchards.

Most people in Brewster's immigrant community either have heard about or remember December 1997. That was when “la migra” came. A Border Patrol plane flew overhead, vans and buses pulled up near a fruit packing facility outside of town. Lucia Dalabera remembers.

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Other News
11:45 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Navy investigates what caused jet crash that killed three

The EA-6B Prowler, used by the Navy for electronic attack.
Wikipedia Commons

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Navy says it's trying to figure out what caused a plane crash that killed three crew members Monday. The military jet went down during a training exercise 50 miles west of Spokane.

The crash happened in Lincoln County, near the small town of Harrington. There were no survivors. Aerial photos showed a gash in a farm field, ending in a crater. There's barely any wreckage visible.

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Law
9:56 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Judge: Idaho’s ‘fetal pain law’ unconstitutional

Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

A federal judge has declared Idaho’s so-called “Fetal Pain Law” unconstitutional. Idaho is one of eight states with a law banning abortions after 20 weeks. As Jessica Robinson reports, the case stems from a woman’s arrest under a separate statute for having an abortion.  

Judge B. Lynn Winmill says the 20-week limit on abortions is unconstitutional because it doesn’t seek to inform the pregnant woman, nor improve her health, as the Supreme Court has allowed. Rather, he writes, it’s solely intended to put an insurmountable obstacle in the path of women seeking abortions. 

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Other News
11:16 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Idaho Researchers Reveal The Terrifying Face Of Prehistoric Shark

Ray Troll

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 4:16 pm

Researchers in Idaho say they've finally solved a mystery surrounding a 270-million-year-old shark. After a century of guessing, scientists have put a face to the giant animal that once swam the region, back when the Northwest was underwater.

The problem was that sharks are mostly made of cartilage, which doesn't keep well over millennia. So all scientists had from Helicoprion was a curious spiral of thin, serrated blades – which various scientists imagined to be from its dorsal fin, its tale, its nose ...

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