File photo of Amelia Earhart beneath the nose of her Lockheed Model 10 Electra in Oakland, California, in March 1937.
National Portrait Gallery / Smithsonian Institution

Photo analysis by a forensic imaging expert from suburban Seattle is backing up a new search for the pioneer aviator Amelia Earhart. Right now, a National Geographic expedition is at an uninhabited island in the South Pacific looking for Earhart's missing airplane.

John Calambokidis / Cascadia Research

A whale expert is reporting a rare sighting of blue whales off the Washington state coast. The largest animals on the planet have also been sighted in unusual numbers offshore of Oregon this summer.

A humpback whale breaches in the Salish Sea.
Island Adventures Whale Watching

Humpback whales were once so numerous in the coastal and inland waters of the Pacific Northwest, there were whaling stations near Nanaimo, British Columbia, and Grays Harbor, Washington. These closed by 1925, after the regional population of humpback whales had been largely wiped out.

A century later, humpbacks are resurfacing in big numbers in the Salish Sea, the Columbia River mouth and the Northwest coast. Along with excitement over the humpbacks' return comes concern about ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear.

Courtesy Tammie Corter

It’s been more than a year since the state Department of Social and Health Services took the unprecedented step of shutting down a major in-home care provider for developmentally disabled adults.

Now, 16 months after the provider’s sister company, Aacres Washington, took over care of many of those vulnerable adults, the cycle is repeating itself.

Disability Rights Washington

A year ago, Washington state had 82 hard-to-place foster youths, mostly teenagers, living in facilities in states as far away as South Carolina, prompting calls to bring them home.

As of Aug. 1, that number had been reduced by more than half to 38, according to the Department of Children Youth and Families.

“I'd say that's pretty significant progress,” Ross Hunter, the department’s secretary, said in an interview Tuesday.

Courtney Flatt/Northwest Public Broadcasting

Salmon are now swimming in the upper Columbia River for the first time in decades. For tribes, Friday’s ceremonial fish release is a big step toward catching fish in traditional waters.

Cheers erupted from the crowd as the first salmon was released since 1955 into the Columbia River above Chief Joseph Dam.

It was the first of 30 fish released. A truck transported the salmon up and around the dam in northeastern Washington. A chain of people lined up shoulder-to-shoulder. They passed bags filled with one salmon at a time from the truck to the river.

Pacific NW Large Whale Entanglement Response Network / NOAA Permit #18786-03

A badly entangled whale is swimming free again after a dramatic rescue off the Washington coast on Thursday evening. The 35-foot long humpback whale calmly allowed responders to cut it free of fishing gear, according to witnesses.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The Washington State Gambling Commission voted Thursday to delay deciding a request from the National Rifle Association's charitable arm to increase a $300,000 cap on raffle prizes. The commission cited ongoing investigations of the NRA’s nonprofit status and finances in New York and Washington, D.C.

Visitor7 via Wikimedia Commons / https://tinyurl.com/y63dhjal

Pacific Northwesterners who forage for wild mushrooms are noticing that the late summer and fall delicacies are coming in early this year. Edible wild mushrooms are now flooding wholesale markets.

Inciweb

You might have noticed some smoky skies lately, particularly in the Inland Northwest from the Williams Flats Fire near Grand Coulee Dam

Still, the fire season so far has been relatively mild as far as large fires and region-wide smoke inundation go. But that could change in late summer and early fall, according to a recent federal report from the National Interagency Fire Center.

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