Regional News

The latest stories from Spokane Public Radio and the Northwest News Network.

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Steve Douglas/Flickr

One of the great geographic blessings of north Idaho’s Silver Valley is also a curse. The high steep hills that surround the valley make it visually stunning. But they also hold in air pollution, especially when colder air is trapped near the surface.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Nikki Conley has a passion for old apples. They're the central focus of Athol Orchards, a family-owned orchard north of Coeur d'Alene.

"I grew up around apples and immersed in a town that loved apples and supported apple history. We came here in 2016, established our farm in 2016. We’ve added apple trees every spring up until this year; we’re adding more,” she said.

It’s the perfect place to establish a new orchard, given its previous history.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Casimir Holeski is looking to create an orchard industry in far northern Idaho.

"I live up here in beautiful Bonners Ferry, Boundary County, Idaho, about eight miles north of Bonners Ferry , up on a bench, about 2,700 feet.”

Holeski — and several of his dogs — lead me to a three-acre area he cleared last summer for an orchard. He’s got fruit and nut trees in rows with plans to get more in this summer. He says his is one of the few orchards in a place that was once full of them.

Temperate Orchard Conservancy

Want to know how apple historians pinpoint varieties of apples? Even those hundreds of years old?

We talk with Joanie Cooper, he president of the Temperate Orchard Conservancy.

“Our passion and our goal is to save, to preserve the old varieties of fruit: apples, cherries, plums," Cooper said. "We started here in the Northwest, but our collection encompasses all of the United States and some beyond our borders.”

Chattaroy Man Searches For Old Apple Varieties

May 31, 2018
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

A few weeks ago Dave Benscoter came to our studio to be interviewed by the BBC. Benscoter is a retired law enforcement professional. His vocation revolved around detective work. But instead of asking him about searching for lawbreakers, the Beeb was interested in another of his passions, finding varieties of apples that are old or seem to have disappeared.

Democratic state Rep. Timm Ormsby of Spokane, the chief budget writer in the Washington House of Representatives, has pleaded guilty to reckless driving. Ormsby was facing a possible drunk driving conviction after he rolled his jeep in February.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is lobbying for a bipartisan prison reform bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month. The Republican made the pitch in Spokane this week.

Emergency Text Alert Causes Confusion In Marion County

May 30, 2018

A text message alert that caused widespread confusion in the Marion County area on Tuesday marked the first time Oregon emergency planners had tried to use the warning system.

The message that blared onto people’s phone screens was brief. And vague.

Washington state’s largest psychiatric hospital is no longer in immediate jeopardy of losing federal funding.

Methow Valley business owners are celebrating a relatively normal opening of the North Cascades Highway. The highway brings tourists and tourism dollars into the north central part of the state.