Emily Schwing

Boise State Public Radio

The Washington State Book Awards have been announced and for the third year in a row, a writer from Spokane has claimed the top prize for fiction. Shawn Vestal won the 2017 award for his debut novel, "Daredevils."

The student accused in a fatal shooting at Freeman High School near Spokane, Washington, this month has been charged with 51 counts of second-degree assault. He also faces murder and attempted murder charges.

The first cases of West Nile virus in Washington State this year have been reported in Spokane County. 

The victim of a high school shooting outside Spokane was memorialized over the weekend. At the same time, his friends and neighbors remembered him at a big event that is important to the small community of Freeman, Washington. 

The suspect in a shooting that left one student dead and three injured at Freeman High School outside of Spokane, Washington, last week quietly pleaded not guilty on Friday.

But the plea was mostly procedural. 




The Freeman High School football team will play a home game Friday night on their campus south of Spokane Valley. School will resume Monday after this week’s fatal shooting.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect in a shooting at Freeman High School outside Spokane, Washington, that left one student dead and three others injured Wednesday was “obsessed” with school shootings. 



Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich wore two loops of powder blue and white ribbon—the school’s colors—pinned to this chest as he briefed reporters in front of the courthouse. He said the 15-year-old suspected gunman got “sucked into a counter culture of violence.” 



After she set her books down in a biology classroom Wednesday morning Kelby Cochrane got hungry. So she asked a friend to go with her to her locker at Freeman High School in Freeman, Washington to grab a snack. On her way back she heard what she later learned were gunshots allegedly fired by schoolmate Caleb Sharpe.

“It sounded like a paper bag popping or a balloon like when they screw off in lunch or something," Cochrane said. "Then I heard two more and I pulled her into the classroom.”

A student is dead and three are in serious but stable condition after a shooting Wednesday morning at Freeman High School in Freeman, Washington, near Spokane.

A student told reporters that a male schoolmate had brought two guns to school and fired one of them at the beginning of the late-start school day at 10:15 a.m. Spokane fire chief Brian Schaeffer said the suspect was "taken down safely" and is in custody of law enforcement. 

What was expected to be a two-day hearing on tribal sovereignty spilled into its third day Friday. The provincial government in British Columbia is appealing a landmark decision that reestablished hunting rights for members of an Indian tribe who live on both sides of the border.

Members of the Sinixt Indian tribe reside on the reservation of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville in Washington. Last spring, one of them won a landmark court case in Canada reestablishing their tribal rights there.

Eastern Washington’s Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is the most powerful Republican woman in the U.S. House of Representatives. And now, she’s speaking out against President Donald Trump’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—or DACA.

As Seattle and Portland struggle with how to accommodate homeless residents, Spokane is catching flack for it’s “tough-love” approach to homeless camping.




The number of ranchers in the U.S. is on the decline. There’s no recruiting for the gig and some of the generational ties to ranch land in the west have been severed, so it’s not clear who will take on the business in the future. One answer may be women.

There’s no way to know for sure how many fishers lived in the Cascades historically, because the small brown mammal was almost entirely eradicated by trappers by 1930.

But this week, there’s evidence that they are reproducing.

Racist graffiti and a possible bomb threat forced the evacuation of more than 100 Washington State University students from their residence hall in the middle of the night Monday.




On Saturday August 12, a woman was killed at the "Unite the Right Rally" in Charlottesville, Virginia where Confederate flags flew, racist and anti-Semitic insults were chanted and KKK robes were donned. After President Donald Trump's initial statement blamed "both sides," Republicans across the country were scrutinized for what they said, what they didn't and when. We collected some online statements of Northwest Republicans in the week after Charlottesville.

A heat wave broke and the air quality improved in the Northwest as a cold front moved across Oregon and Washington, but fire officials are still on high alert. They reported 24 new wildfires over the weekend.



Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers hosted her first town hall of the year Thursday night in Spokane. According to the Town Hall Project, which tracks these events across the nation, she’s the first Republican member of Congress from Washington or Oregon to hold a town hall event in 2017.





A state of emergency, excessive heat and an extended period of dry weather are unlikely to pair well with an influx of up to 1.5 million visitors in Oregon in two weeks.

British Columbia’s wildfire season has been deemed “unprecedented.” The province needs help from its neighbors to the south. But they may not be able to get it.




Outdoor recreation generates more than $3 billion in state and local tax revenue in the Northwest. That’s according to a report out this week from the Outdoor Industry Association.




Alaska Airlines is still ironing out operational wrinkles following the acquisition of Virgin America last year. At the same time, its smaller, regional airline is still grappling with a pilot shortage.

Spokane voters will decide in November whether to allow the shipment of coal and oil by rail through the city. The city council voted in favor of a special election in November.

A woman was killed in a climbing accident in Washington’s North Cascades National Park over the weekend.




Coal and oil trains pass through Spokane daily, but that could change by the end of the year. Spokane’s city council will take public testimony Monday on a proposed ballot initiative that would prohibit coal and oil shipment by rail through specific areas of the city.



Washington state’s department of Fish and Wildlife will kill members of a wolf pack that is causing problems for livestock in Stevens County.



Spokane is now the latest northwest city to recognize climate change as human-caused and to commit to limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

The Spokane City Council passed its Sustainability Action Plan Monday night by a vote of six to one. The plan includes a goal set in 2009 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

Spokane could become the next in a growing list of Northwest cities including Seattle, Portland and Bend, Oregon, to commit to a climate change agreement President Trump opted out of this spring.

Washington state officials say people in Eastern Washington need to hunker down for a likely dust storm and possible wildfire conditions Tuesday night.

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