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Lower Coeur d'Basin Cleanup Proceeds, Slowly

This summer, crews continue to remove mining waste from north Idaho's Silver Valley. It's a process that has been going for more than 30 years. Next year is expected to be an important one in Kellogg as a private company hired by the federal government will begin building a new water treatment plant that will increase the volume of contaminated water that will be processed. That means far fewer heavy metals being discharged into the south fork of the Coeur d'Alene River. That will also mean much less contamination downstream, working its way toward Lake Coeur d'Alene. During that cleanup process, the Environmental Protection Agency and its federal, state and local partners have also tried to track where that pollution is going and clean it up when feasible. That work will continue as well, maybe for generations. Yesterday, EPA officials leading the cleanup took a group of about 40 interested people on a bus tour to show their successes and challenges. Afterward, we talked with EPA

New Central Valley Schools Dedicated

Children around the Inland Northwest will soon head back to school. Spokane's Central Valley School District is opening one new and four renovated schools this fall. Most of them were paid for by the $122 million bond issue approved by voters in 2015. The one facility not funded by that measure is the new school, Liberty Creek Elementary in Liberty Lake. On Tuesday the district held a public dedication for the facility and opened it to tours. We went earlier in the day and met Superintendent Ben Small.

Inland Journal, August 17, 2017

Inland Journal for August 17, 2017 This week on Inland Journal: ▪ Spokane County decides to pull its November ballot measure that would have asked voters for an increase in property taxes beyond what the state allows without a public vote. ▪ Spokane's Central Valley School District has several new or renovated schools that will open this fall to students. We'll visit one of them and talk about what kind of effect they will have on the district. ▪ The massive cleanup of mining waste continues in north Idaho. We'll talk about the challenge of cleaning up waste that has been moved out of the Silver Valley toward the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene area. ▪ A large number of volunteers who will be giving their time to help with science experiments related to next Monday's solar eclipse. ▪ Steve Jackson will have a report about the replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that will come to the Spokane area next week in conjunction with the new PBS series about the Vietnam War.

Spokane County Cancels November Ballot Measure

This week the Spokane County Commissioners announced they're taking a measure off of the November ballot. That would have asked taxpayers for permission to raise county property taxes by more than one percent next year. State law allows counties to increase property taxes up to one percent without a vote of the people; anything more must be approved at the polls. Commissioner Al French says the board acted in response to the legislature's decision to increase state property taxes to raise significantly more money for public schools and satisfy a state Supreme Court ruling.

Central Valley District Dedicates New Schools

Many students in Spokane's Central Valley School District will return to new classrooms when they start school on the Wednesday after Labor Day. During the next few weeks, the district is dedicating five new or renovated facilities. They were paid for mostly by a $122 million bond issue approved by voters in 2015. The new Liberty Creek Elementary School in Liberty Lake was the first to be opened to the public during a ceremony Tuesday evening.

Spokane County Pulls Property Tax Measure from Ballot

The Spokane County Commissioners announced today (Tuesday) they're taking a property tax ballot measure off of the November ballot. The resolution would have asked taxpayers for permission to raise county property taxes by the more than 1% allowed by the state. The decision was made because the legislature has decided on its own property tax increase.

Excerpts from McMorris Rodgers' Spokane Town Hall

Here are clips from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' town hall at Gonzaga on August 10. (on the American Health Care Act, funding for Planned Parenthood and medical marijuana)

Inland Journal, August 10, 2017

This week on Inland Journal... ▪ We talk with a Chelan state legislator about regulating marijuana in Washington. With Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sparring over the state's pot law enforcement, Republican Representative Cary Condotta says the state is actually doing a good job regulating reefer. ▪ We'll report on a dilemma for liquor retailers in Washington that want to create their own 'private labels'. Some retailers, such as Costco and Fred Meyer, have been selling their brands, but they're technically illegal. We'll look into the situation. ▪ We'll learn how new sensors installed on power poles around Spokane are helping researchers learn about air pollution, including wildfire smoke, in the city. ▪ And Austin Jenkins from the Northwest News Network will tell us about an upcoming rape trial involving a former top official from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, with allegations that the work culture in one part of

Streetlight Sensors Measure Spokane Air Quality

For the last several days, you've seen with your own eyes the wildfire smoke that is hovering over our region. But other sets of 'eyes' have also been 'seeing' that smoke and taking samples of it. Among those 'eyes' are three sensors that sit on the tops of streetlight poles in Spokane's University District. Brian Lamb, a professor of atmospheric research at Washington State University, says all of the sensors are showing elevated levels of particulates from the smoke. But, Lamb says, when the smoke is gone, the sensors show some interesting air quality differences that confirm the phenomenon that we know as microclimates.

Washington Lawmaker Defends the State's Marijuana Regulation

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has released a letter sent by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In it, Sessions suggests Washington is not adequately regulating its legal marijuana market. He reiterates that Congress considers marijuana a dangerous drug and that it's a federal crime to distribute it. But at least one Washington legislator thinks Washington is defending how the state has regulated the drug.

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