Jessica Robinson

N3 Reporter

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Technology
4:10 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Northwest chip maker to tap demand for smartphone memory

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.

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Other News
3:49 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

Garbageman with a heart of gold returns bucket of silver

Flickr

A worker at the Yakima landfill has discovered some people's trash really is treasure. This week a hazardous waste technician returned a bucket of silver bars to a family that didn't know it owned them.

Fifty-year-old Robert McCune says he typically deals with things like flammable paint, acids, and industrial grade fertilizers from the region's apple orchards. And he expected to find a batch of rat poison when he popped the lid off a one-gallon bucket recently.

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Medical Marijuana
9:14 am
Thu November 3, 2011

Why Idaho resists joining its neighbors on medical marijuana

Photo by the National Institute on Drug Abuse

Originally published on Wed November 2, 2011 5:14 pm

A group in Idaho has hit the streets to gather enough signatures to put a medical marijuana initiative before voters in 2012. Idaho remains the only Northwest state and one of a handful in the West that hasn't legalized pot as medicine.

The group Compassionate Idaho needs to gather 48,000 ballot signatures by the end of next April. They're proposing a measure that would allow patients suffering from a debilitating medical condition to get a medical marijuana card with a physician's approval.

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Politics
3:35 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

Former Cain Spokeswoman Takes Job With Idaho Congressman

Herman Cain's former campaign spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael is the new communications director for Idaho Congressman Raúl Labrador. Image via @ellencarmichael/Twitter

The former spokeswoman for Herman Cain's presidential campaign has taken a job with a freshman congressman from Idaho. Republican Representative Raúl Labrador announced Tuesday he's hired Ellen Carmichael to be his communications director.

Ellen Carmichael said in a statement she welcomed the opportunity to work in Washington, D.C. for what she called an "unwavering conservative." Congressman Labrador represents Idaho's 1st district, which spans the entire length of the state's western flank.

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Other News
4:30 pm
Mon October 31, 2011

Northwest soldiers out of the war, into the job market

Idaho National Guard soldiers bid farewell to their families in Lewiston, Idaho in 2010. They returned from Iraq in September.
Doug Nadvornick

A wave of returning National Guard soldiers from Oregon and Idaho is coming face to face with the Northwest's lack-luster job market. The 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team returned from Iraq in September.

After a month of post-deployment vacation, the troops are starting to return to the civilian workforce.

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Environment
3:37 pm
Mon October 31, 2011

Idaho couple puts wetlands rules to the test in U.S. Supreme Court

Chantell and Mike Sackett say the EPA violated their right to due process when it said they were building a house on a wetland and ordered them to restore the land.
Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

PRIEST RIVER, Idaho – A fight over less than an acre of land in a remote part of the Northwest could alter the way the government enforces environmental regulations across the country.

The U.S. Supreme Court this winter will hear a case brought against the EPA by Mike and Chantell Sackett of north Idaho.

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Economy Report
11:00 am
Thu October 27, 2011

Income inequality lower than average in NW, says census report

Income Inequality in the 2005–2009 Period. Blue represents higher inequality; green represents lower.
U.S. Census Bureau

New numbers show the gap between the rich and poor has grown across the nation. But income inequality in the Northwest is lower than the national level. That's according to an analysis released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Food
5:02 pm
Mon October 17, 2011

Limit on potatoes in cafeterias draws bipartisan push-back

Children line up for fruit and veggie cups during the summer meals program in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Photo by Jessica Robinson

Originally published on Mon October 17, 2011 4:37 pm

Northwest senators are trying to block new federal guidelines for school lunches. An amendment introduced Monday to an agriculture appropriations bill is a response to a recommended cutback on potato servings. Both of Idaho's senators and Oregon Senator Ron Wyden are backing the amendment.

The USDA is recommending that districts in the National School Lunch Program limit servings of starchy vegetables to one cup a week per student. The means fewer dollops of corn, lima beans and most politically charged — potatoes.

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Protesting Wall Street
3:15 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Brigham Young student launches 'Occupy' effort, if nervously

Image courtesy Occupy Rexburg

Originally published on Mon October 10, 2011 2:42 pm

College students have helped propel Occupy Wall Street protests to cities across the Northwest. But the left-wing movement is a tougher sell on some campuses – like conservative Brigham Young University's campus in eastern Idaho.

University of Washington students joined camped-out protesters at Seattle's Westlake Park. A rally at the Idaho Capitol was organized in part by students at Boise State University. And a University of Oregon senior started the Occupy Eugene Facebook page.

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Other News
3:42 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

FBI Investigates Fire At Idaho Fur Supplier As Possible Act Of Domestic Terrorism

A fire at a Northwest fur business has attracted the attention of the FBI. Federal agents are now looking into into whether the blaze in Caldwell, Idaho was an act of domestic terrorism. Anonymous members of an animal rights group have claimed responsibility.

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Environment
3:15 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Plastic Bag Ban Foes In Idaho Play 'Buy Local' Card

Voters from the city of Hailey, Idaho will vote on a proposed plastic grocery bag ban. Photo by Kevin Mooney

The first Idaho town to propose a ban on plastic grocery sacks is running into an unusual cross-current: the push to buy local. That's because the city of Hailey in central Idaho is just up the road from a plastic bag factory.

Local high school students gathered enough signatures this summer to put the ban on plastic bags before Hailey voters. The town of 7,000 near Sun Valley would be the first in Idaho to ban retailers from using the thin plastic grocery bags. It's similar to bans passed in Edmonds, Wash., and most recently, Portland and Bellingham.

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Energy
3:59 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Federal Energy Plan Fast-Tracks Power Lines Across Northwest

The Obama administration's plan to fast-track transmission line construction includes three projects in Oregon and Idaho. Photo via energy.gov

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 3:59 pm

Hundreds of miles of power lines across Oregon, Idaho and 10 other states would be fast-tracked under a federal plan announced Wednesday. The Obama administration hopes to create more jobs by speeding construction of Idaho Power and Portland General Electric transmission lines.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu says the country needs to modernize its power grid to meet future demand, and get more green energy to market.

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Other News
12:00 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Idaho Company To Double Workforce In Face Of Mining Boom

A north Idaho mining industry supplier plans to double its workforce over the next year. The company broke ground Tuesday on a new factory in Post Falls. As correspondent Jessica Robinson reports, the mining industry offers a rare economic bright spot in the Inland Northwest.

Gov. Butch Otter: “Three! Two! One!”

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Elections 2012
4:51 pm
Mon October 3, 2011

Cantwell's first GOP challenger steps up in Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. - A Washington state senator from Spokane plans to take on U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell. Michael Baumgartner made his announcement Monday. He's the first Republican to launch a 2012 challenge against the Democratic senator from Washington. Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports.

Baumgartner, at age 35, is fairly new to politics. His resume includes work in Iraq and Afghanistan as an economic consultant. In 2010 he ran for state senate and beat the Democratic incumbent in a race that went down as the most expensive in Washington senate history.

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Mining death
10:03 am
Mon September 19, 2011

Poor mining practices, inadequate oversight preceded miner's death

A statue of a miner stands outside Hecla Mining’s headquarters in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The company owns the Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan, Idaho, where miner Larry Marek died in April.
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.

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