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Washington State Patrol

The son-in-law of the Washington State Patrol chief resigned as a trooper after investigations into allegations of on-the-job sex and sexual assault. He is now fighting to keep his badge, testing the state's narrow law for decertifying police.

CREDIT: Ruben de Rijcke CC BY-SA 3.0 bit.ly/3d2mZY6 via Wikimedia Commons

Lowering the amount of carbon that comes out of your tailpipe has become a quest for some Washington lawmakers. Now, new standards that would promote biofuels over gasoline are closer to becoming law than ever before.

If signed into law, the low carbon fuel standard would make fuel coming out of tailpipes cleaner and cleaner through 2035.

Tibor Balint / NASA/JPL-CalTech

The space agency NASA has chosen a small Tillamook-based aerospace company to design and test robotic balloons for future scientific exploration of Venus. Near Space Corporation is working on the Venus project with some of the same NASA team members currently managing an historic helicopter drone flight on Mars.

Washington Apple Commission

Washington apple growers are shipping about 20 percent less fruit abroad now compared with this time last year.

The result is a drop to export levels not seen since 2003-2004, according to Washington Apple Commission president Todd Fryhover.  

ANNA KING/NW NEWS NETWORK

Some 15,000 years ago, an ice dam broke in Montana. Water cascaded across the Northwest in some of the largest flooding ever to happen on Earth. And the Ka-milt-pah people climbed up to one of the highest points on the Columbia River.

“There were lookouts and warnings to the Ka-milt-pah band members. Prior to the big flood, they escaped the canyon,” says Elaine Harvey, a Ka-milt-pah member, known in English as the Rock Creek Band of the Yakama Nation.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

The Pacific Northwest might seem like an unlikely place for mermaids and mermaid culture to catch on given the cold water here. Yet, putting on an eye-catching tail and pretending to be a mythical sea being is a thing across the Northwest. There's even a brand new mermaid museum near Aberdeen, Washington.

Courtesy of PaintCare

If you have half-used paint cans piling up in your garage and just don’t know how to get rid of them, you’re in luck. Washington has started a new paint recycling program. It follows a similar, decade-old program in Oregon. 

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The two states are both led by strong Democratic majorities and face similar issues. Only one of them is successfully passing legislation.

KUOW Photo / Megan Farmer

After months of waiting for Washington's most vulnerable residents to be vaccinated, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that he's relaxing eligibility requirements to include everyone age 16 and older, beginning April 15.

Courtesy of Easterday Farms' public Facebook page

Updated April 1, 2021, 5:50 p.m. PT:

Washington rancher Cody Easterday pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal district court to defrauding Tyson Foods Inc. and another company out of more than $244 million. Easterday admitted charging the companies for the costs of purchasing and feeding hundreds of thousands of fictitious cattle.

What’s the background on all this Easterday – Tyson “Cattlegate” stuff? See previous coverage from Anna King here.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

More folks from Pacific Northwest government and industry are jumping on the hydrogen bandwagon to test if the alternative fuel could be a viable and green replacement for diesel and gasoline in some situations. The potential converts include more than half a dozen transit agencies from Everett to Eugene, state legislators and Boeing's drone subsidiary in the Columbia River Gorge.

Courtesy of Weber Farms

The Northwest farmers who grow potatoes for your French fries are themselves plenty fried.

The three massive agribusiness companies that make much of the world’s frozen fries, tots and hashbrowns are going to pay Northwest potato farmers less this year. 

“It really is a punch in the gut,” says Adam Weber, a 27-year-old, third-generation grower in Quincy in Washington’s Columbia Basin.

Tom Banse / NW News Network, file photo

Small ship cruise lines are pressing ahead with plans to restart overnight cruises on the Columbia and Snake rivers, around Puget Sound and in Alaska. They aim to cast off in April and May while the big cruise ships remain laid up by a red light from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

WSDOT - tinyurl.com/yddspl8b

Washington House Democrats on Friday unveiled a proposed two-year state budget that seeks, among other things, to head off a wave of mass evictions once the state’s eviction moratorium expires.

“Our goal is to wipe the slate clean for landlords and tenants,” said state Rep. Nicole Macri, a vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

A new state capital gains tax. An expanded and fully funded tax credit for lower-income families. Fresh investments in disaster preparation and foundational public health. And significant new spending in early learning and child care.

Those are among the elements of a proposed $59.2 billion, two-year budget Washington Senate Democrats unveiled on Thursday.

Courtesy of Washington State Wine Commission

Picture this: A sunny spring day drinking wine by sleek steel fire pits on a patio overlooking the budding vines on Red Mountain in southeast Washington. Sound good? 

Hordes of case-nabbing wine fans are already descending upon wine country, but the pandemic has upended everything about this sun-seeking ritual of spring. 

Spring release

When wineries release their new vintages to the public it’s often called “Spring release.” Those bottlings have been cooped up all winter aging. So have winter-weary patrons.

COASST

New research out of the University of Washington finds a correlation between warmer ocean waters and mass strandings of By-the-wind sailor jellyfish over the past two decades. The brief, widespread beachings of "gazillions" of purplish-blue jellies along the Pacific Northwest coast create a memorable sight for those who chance to be in the right place at the right time.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Former Washington state Auditor Troy Kelley has exhausted his appeals and now faces the prospect of having to report to a federal prison to serve a 366-day prison sentence after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for review of his case.

Gonzaga University

With March Madness getting into full swing this weekend, it's a safe bet that some area fans want to wager on their favored teams in the NCAA basketball tournament. Placing a legal bet on college basketball is virtually impossible in the Pacific Northwest for the time being, though there are changes afoot.

KUOW Photo / Megan Farmer

Washington’s eviction moratorium will be extended through June and two million more Washingtonians will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine beginning March 31.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced the moratorium extension and the speeded-up vaccine timeline at a virtual news conference on Thursday.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Last June, Washington’s chief revenue forecaster delivered the bad news to state lawmakers and state officials.

“The longest economic expansion in U.S. history is, unfortunately, over. We are now in a recession,” Steve Lerch told the state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.

At the time, Lerch projected the state would lose nearly $9 billion in revenues over four years. But he also emphasized there was a lot of uncertainty in the forecast.

Sure enough, the September and November forecasts weren’t nearly as bleak. Taken together they reduced the almost $9 billion drop to a projected $3.3 billion reduction.

Then came Wednesday's March revenue forecast. It showed the state returning to pre-pandemic revenue levels.

Courtesy of Liberty Orchards Company

The company that makes Aplets and Cotlets, the famous jellied fruit candy from central Washington, is calling it quits this June. 

Served up for Christmas and family reunions alike, the gelatinous apple and apricot treat studded with walnuts was famous far beyond Washington’s borders. 

Courtesy of Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association

Cattle rustling is as old as the West. And a recent $225 million alleged cattle heist involving Easterday Ranches and Tyson Fresh Meats in Washington is one of the largest cases in U.S. history.               

And that case, like others nowadays, happened on paper, not on the range.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

This coming Sunday, March 21, will mark one year since the U.S. and Canada closed their shared border to nonessential crossings due to the pandemic. It's anybody's guess when the border might reopen for discretionary trips. In the meantime, every weekend rain or shine, Peace Arch State Park in Blaine, Washington, becomes a happening meetup point for couples and families separated by the northern border.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management - tinyurl.com/ya4rs6sx

Ocean conditions can be integral to salmon survival. And in 2021, the Pacific Northwest’s iconic fish will face a mixed bag: some good and some bad conditions while out at sea.

Salmon survive best when the water is cooler along the coast and warmer farther out. Colder La Niña conditions have also led to higher salmon counts. Right now, that’s exactly what’s happening. But things will likely change over the summer.

PxHere.com

Residents of the Pacific Northwest will have to set their clocks ahead by an hour this weekend to move onto daylight saving time. The Oregon and Washington legislatures voted nearly two years ago to stay on daylight time year-round -- joined later by Idaho and British Columbia -- but still the biannual time change ritual and associated grumbling persists.

KUOW Photo / Megan Farmer

It's the news many have been waiting for. Starting March 22, all 39 Washington counties will advance to Phase 3 under a revised COVID-19 reopening plan Gov. Jay Inslee unveiled on  Thursday.

Austin Jenkins / NW News Network

Washington’s 105-day legislative session has crossed the halfway point and a key deadline for policy (non-budget) bills to clear their chamber of origin has passed. Majority Democrats are moving swiftly to enact a pandemic-era agenda focused on issues like tax reform, police accountability, racial equity and global climate change. Minority Republicans, meanwhile, are seeing a few of their bills advance while also objecting to much of what Democrats are pushing forward. So, what’s moving and what’s not? Let’s take a look.

Courtesy of Nick War/PNNL

Trees have a little secret you might not know about. Yes, they produce oxygen. Yes, they take in carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping greenhouse gas. But, they also emit methane.

Methane is a greenhouse gas that can be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.

“Just about every tree we measured had elevated amounts of methane in it. And that was consistent across the Northwest with a variety of different species,” says Nick Ward, a scientist with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Courtesy of Washington State Senate

A public utility in North Central Washington broke ground Monday for a hydrogen production facility. It's one of several related actions in the Pacific Northwest that reflect renewed interest in hydrogen as a clean alternative fuel.

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