At the request of a powerful Democratic state senator who warned of “foreign intrusion,” Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) on Sunday temporarily suspended public, online access to the personal financial statements of elected officials, candidates and other public officials.

Williamborg / Wikimedia - tinyurl.com/y9geafwv

The county-by-county reopening of Washington state is picking up steam. The state Secretary of Health on Friday approved four additional places where closed businesses can now restart immediately if they have safety plans in place. At least a half-dozen more counties -- backed by antsy business communities -- are queuing up close behind.

Courtesy of Washington State University Extension

Just as a farmer’s fruit should be turning juicy and sweet, an old foe called “little cherry disease” robs the harvest. 

From The Dalles, Oregon to Brewster, Washington, Northwest cherry growers are checking their orchards now, just before harvest. Infected trees have to be cut down. And the disease can spread like wildfire from tree to tree until an entire orchard is just stumps. 

Small, pale, bland and bitter

Washington State Parks

If you decide to go for a hike this weekend, be safe and responsible – that’s the message state and federal officials are giving to recreationalists. For other counties trying to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in their borders, the message is: don’t come here.

You don’t have to stay home, just follow your county’s travel guidelines, says Kittitas County public information officer Kasey Knutson. Sometimes that means you shouldn’t travel, like to Kittitas County.

Enrique Pérez de la Rosa/NWPB

Just as the sun rises over the Yakima Valley on May 14, more than 100 workers drive their vehicles off Monson Fruit property in Selah, north of Yakima. They’re walking off the job because they’re angry and afraid. 

Striking Monson workers say they were told by management that at least seven employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and they worry their employer isn’t doing enough to protect them.

“Nosotros claro que queremos trabajar. Necesitamos el trabajo. Por eso estamos aqui. Pero queremos condiciones laborales bien.”

Washington Legislature

Saying that it’s time for the legislative branch to “intervene” in the state’s COVID-19 response, Republican leaders in the Washington Legislature on Thursday called for a special session of the Legislature to begin in June.

While Gov. Jay Inslee and majority Democrats in the Legislature have said a special session is likely sometime this year, they have not yet committed to a specific date.

Courtesy of YMCA Camp Reed

The coronavirus is spreading a pandemic of disappointment among Pacific Northwest families and camp counselors via the widespread cancellation of traditional sleepaway summer camps. But some camp operators in Washington state and north Idaho are waiting to make the final call for this summer in hopes that overnight camps can still take place -- albeit with a late start probably. Others are putting an assortment of backup options into play.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

As Washington Gov. Jay Inslee exerts his emergency powers to battle COVID-19, behind the scenes legislative leaders are exploring the idea of a special session of the Legislature, perhaps as early as next month. 

“We are very much deeply in the weeds on trying to figure that out and I think in the next week or two we should have some more clarity,” said Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, a Spokane Democrat.

Courtesy of Washington Governor's Office

Earlier this year, there was only one electric school bus in the entire state of Washington. By this fall, the electric school bus fleet should be vastly expanding.

Forty new buses may transport students in districts throughout the state possibly starting in the fall — assuming in-person classes are back on.

One bus will land in the Republic School District in northeastern Washington’s Ferry County.

Gov. Inslee on Tuesday said that 10 additional counties are eligible to apply to loosen some social distancing restrictions in place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

State officials have also outlined the criteria for moving into the second phase of reopening, which could allow in-store retail and restaurant dining to resume with certain limitations.

Pages