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Posts published in “Briefings”

This week’s Briefings

cubs
 
Zawadi Mungu, proud father of the pride, is now spending time with his cubs. He’s a 500-pound mega-carnivore capable of pulling a buffalo to the ground, but Zawadi Mungu now plays a new role: cat toy. Last week, the male lion ventured outside with his trio of energetic cubs for the first time, and demonstrated a remarkable tolerance for a flurry of pint-sized attacks on his mane, tail and patience. The cubs were first introduced to their dad in their indoor den a few days earlier.. (photo/Oregon Zoo)

 

The end of the legislatures - concluding last week in Oregon, probably next in Washington and possibly the week after in Idaho - were persistent subjects in this week's Briefings.

On the front pages

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Mountain lion killed near Boise (Boise Statesman)
Critiques of state, CCA agreement (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune, Pocatello Journal)
Clearwater Paper says Lewiston site important (Lewiston Tribune)
Review of Idaho, Washington gambling (Lewiston Tribune)
Dorn's McCleary plan for school funds (Moscow News)
Bolz will opt out of legislature this year (Nampa Press Tribune)
Electric grid upgraded around Firth (Pocatello Journal)
Rural broadband support measure advances (Sandpoint Bee)

Heavy snow hits again (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Salem Statesman Journal, KF Herald & News, Corvallis Gazette Times)
County official says commissioners knew of changes (Eugene Register Guard)
Graduation rates assessed (Hermiston Herald, Ashland Tidings)
Bureau of Reclamation water management (KF Herald & News)
Local film festival leadership change (Ashland Tidings)
Medford teacher strike day 2 (Medford Tribune)
Bates plans dredge mining rule changes (Medford Tribune)
PERS legislation and local budgets (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Energy mandate rules may change (Portland Oregonian)
Salem YWCA splits from national group (Salem Statesman Journal)

500 with low income get vouchers (Everett Herald)
Ads coming to state web sites (Everett Herald)
Shooing terns from Columbia islands (Kennewick Herald)
Grandview will do free summer school (Kennewick Herald)
More Bertha damage (Seattle Times)
Questioning if there were 700K at fest (Seattle Times)
Idaho trap snares Canadian lynx (Spokane Spokesman)
WA House members pay rises (Tacoma News Tribune)
Heavy snow again (Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic)

From the WA briefing

Bellingham Bay

 The Port of Bellingham and Washington Department of Ecology removed approximately 230 cubic yards of contaminated soil from the construction site. The soil is contaminated with low levels of metals and hydrocarbons. The soil is stockpiled nearby while arrangements are made to properly dispose of it. Crews have been investigating the area known as the Westman Marine cleanup site for contamination left behind from previous boat and shipyard work dating back to the 1940s. (photo/via Department of Ecology)
 

In the briefings

bridge conference
 
Press confernce at the Skagit bridge. (photo/Washington Department of Transportation)
 

Collapse of the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River near Mount Vernon was the hot topic last week and into this one – even occurring as it did near the end of the week. I-5 is the major throughway for most people in Washington and not only that, the major west coast throughway. A break in its run anywhere is a critical matter.

And it matters not only for that but also for the proposed Columbia Crossing project to the south, over the Columbia River between Portland and Vancouver. Its fate hangs in the balance as the special session of the legislature hits its heart and decision time approaches.

In the Briefings

osprey
OSPREY HATCH: Transportation Department crews placed an osprey nest atop a high platform; soon an osprey flew by to inspect their work. ITD environmental planners were concerned that relocating the nest from the Del Rio Bridge on the U.S. 20 business loop east of St. Anthony would drive the birds away. Twenty minutes after ITD workers left the site, however, an osprey landed, apparently ready to homestead.. (image/Idaho Department of Transportation)

 

This week's Briefings were heavy on legislative and post-legislative activity, but there was plenty of resource news too ... such as the posting of a nest of Osprey in Idaho.

In this week’s Briefings

portneuf exhibit
 
One of the images on display at the exhibit “Nature Photography of The Portneuf Valley in Spring” sponsored by the Idaho Museum of Natural History, on display in the Cordillera Gallery at Walrus and Carpenter Books April 5. (image/Idaho State University)

 

Legislature wrapup was a key subject last week in Idaho, and showdowns in Washington as well; the setup for a possible jam-through of the budget chairs' PERS bill may be the big deal this week in Salem.

Meantime, and not unrelated, springtime seems to be kicking in.

More followup in next week's Briefings.

In the Briefings

dog at legislature
 
Shelby, a dog attacked by a wolf, is accompanied in the hallway outside hearing rooms by a group of legislators.

 

In Washington, the economic picture looks a little better – not a lot, but a little – after the latest economic update came in last week. Atop that, unemployment rates seem to be holding steady too.

In the Briefings this week

jewell
JEWELL AT SENATE: Interior Secretary-designate Sally Jewell speaks before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in Washington. The committee, which includes Washington Senate Maria Cantwell, was holding a hearing on her confirmation. (image/Office of Senator Cantwell)

 

In Washington, couple of seemingly counter headlines, about an unemployment rate that remains the same, but overall improvement (albeit modest) in the state economic picture. The two are reconciled to some degree by the additional statistic that the overall number of jobs rose during January, meaning that the rate reflected more people in the labor force.

In Idaho, the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee last week drafted a public school budget that seems likely to gain clearance (since there was not a lot of dissension surrounding it). Odds are that will translate to a relatively quick legislative session, possibly ending by the close of this month.

This week’s Briefings

pontoon
Concrete is poured on the Highway 520 pontoon bridge east of Seattle by Department of Transportation crews. (photo/Washington Department of Transportation)
 

Washington: Financial bill introduction cutoffs are imposed at the statehouse, which means session tensions are about to ratchet upward. That and the fact that not a lot of time remains before the constitutional session cutoff arrives. Notably likely: Little immediate fallout from the Supreme Court decision on supermajorities and tax bills; the split legislature provides a brake on that and on the idea of a constitutional amendment to allow for it.

Oregon: Approval in the Oregon House of key financing for the Columbia Crossing bridge project was hot enough material that Governor John Kitzhaber sent a press release about out from his meeting his D.C. He may have been hoping that presages success on the more difficult project he has set for himself this session – PERS reforms.

Idaho: The University of Idaho's president for the last four and a half years, Duane Nellis, appeared headed to a university job in Texas by week's end. That apparently will set up another year-long national search for the next UI president (who, based in recent history, might last at the institution as much as three to four times as long).

In the Briefings

derelict 
DERELICT A 30' non-motorized boat was removed from the ocean shore near Horsfall Beach north of Coos Bay February 21. Contractor Johnson Rock of Coos Bay transported it to Les Sanitation in Coos Bay. Removing the debris cost the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department $2,500. (photo/Oregon Parks & Recreation Department)

 

Legislative action was prominent in all three states last week - and likely will be again this week, in the three Northwest Briefings.

Meanwhile, winter continues apace, in this case driving an old board ashore on the south-central Oregon coast.