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Some doctors on the faculty of Northwest medical schools are getting paid by pharmaceutical companies to give talks on new drugs.

Harvard and Stanford have banned this practice. But not Oregon Health and Science University or the University of Washington. Now some medical students want similar bans here.

Flickr

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — The Ellensburg City Council will take public testimony at Monday's meeting on proposed regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries.

Jessica Robinson / KPLU

COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho – It's been five months since a rockfall at the Lucky Friday Mine in north Idaho killed veteran miner Larry Marek. Much about the accident is still unknown. But public records going back several years suggest the federal agency that oversees mines did not adequately ensure the safety of workers at the Lucky Friday.

A 2008 report on another collapse there went missing. And since Larry Marek’s death, inspectors have found a dramatically higher number of safety violations.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A loan program the Washington legislature created in 2008 to help small manufacturers hasn’t had a single taker. That’s the finding of a legislative audit that recommends the program be terminated.

City of Seattle

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn wants Congress to put aside partisanship and pass President Obama's $450 billion American Jobs Act.

If passed, it could mean big bucks for the state of Washington; The federal government could fund up to $1.8 billion worth of public works projects that it says, would create jobs and improve infrastructure.

Jenny Downing / Flickr

If you're considering moving into a high-rise condo or apartment in Seattle for the views of Puget Sound, the Space Needle or mountain ranges, you might want to keep this in mind: City regulations do not protect private views, only public views.

This is a lesson being learned the hard way by residents of the Cosmopolitan high-rise in the Denny Triangle, according to a story in Seattlepi.com. Residents there have already had one building go up a mere 18 feet from them and now another tower has been approved for construction.

SALEM, Ore. - Customers of one of Oregon's largest health insurance companies may see a large rate increase soon. State insurance regulators held a rare public hearing Wednesday on the request by ODS Health Plan to hike its rates an average of 10 percent. A decision on the requested rate hike could come next month.

Emiliano Pennisi / flickr.com

If you live in Seattle and want to avoid receiving piles of phone books that you don't need, the deadline is September 23. The city has an opt-out website at www.seattle.gov/stopphonebooks

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The unemployment rate held steady at 9-point-3 percent in Washington state in August. The state Employment Department released fresh jobs numbers Wednesday, a day after Oregon reported a slight uptick in its unemployment rate. Now it's at 9-point-6 percent.

In Washington, Employment Department chief economist Dave Wallace says the private sector statewide has added jobs for twelve months in a row now. But he says jobs need to be added at a faster pace to chip away at the unemployment rate.

Davide Taviani / Flickr

The Seattle City Council voted 8-1 this afternoon to approve the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, making the vote official after council members announced last week that they finally had the votes to pass it.

The lone dissenter in the vote was Council President Richard Conlin.

A follow up now to a story we brought you last week about doctors who get paid by drug makers to give promotional talks. The top three earning doctors in the Northwest did not return our calls for that story. But later a psychiatrist in Tacoma did. And he makes no apologies for accepting pharmaceutical payments.

Flickr

With the economy seemingly in a freefall, a frenzy of gold buying as sent the price to record highs. 

This gold fever has created a new breed of gold miners – traveling estate buyers who temporarily set up shop in hotels, offering to pay cash on the spot.

Associated Press

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is calling for a lower corporate tax rate. Schultz made his comments during a town hall meeting Tuesday night hosted by the anti-partisanship group “No Labels”

EVERETT, Wash. — The Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships are expected to draw more than 300 gymnasts from 14 nations for the three-day event next March at the Comcast Arena in Everett.

A Northwest brand is finding women's apparel and jewelry a tough sell in the current economy. Idaho-based Coldwater Creek has announced it will close dozens of stores in the face of a 28 percent drop in sales.

Courtesy of contractor Bechtel

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Department of Energy says this fall they'll start large-scale testing on how to treat 56 million gallons of radioactive sludge at the currently under-construction Hanford's waste treatment plant.

Associated Press

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has been in a letter writing mood lately and that’s earned him lots of supporters to his political cause.

A few weeks ago, Schultz asked fellow CEOs to join him in freezing campaign contributions to politicians until they end what he calls their “hyper-partisan” behavior. Now he wants to talk to the rest of America.

Medford, Ore. – The Pacific Northwest exported almost a billion board feet of unmilled logs to Asia in the first half of 2011.

That's enough to build about 70 thousand homes. It's also a 79 percent increase from 2010 exports, according to second quarter trade data just reviewed by Forest Service economist Debra Warren.

Another landmark retailer is leaving Seattle’s Pioneer Square. 

Masins Fine Furnishing and Interior Design has put its building up for lease and started looking for another Seattle location where its customers won’t get so many parking tickets.

Seattle-based Amazon is under ongoing pressure from the state of California to collect state sales taxes from internet consumers. This week the retailer offered a deal to California's legislature and retailers to try and curry favor. But Amazon was rebuffed.

Associated Press

The justice department is suing to block AT&T’s acquisition of Bellevue-based T-Mobile USA, arguing it’s a bad deal for consumers. But here in Washington, an even greater threat is the impact the merger could have on local jobs and the economy.

Washington State Liquor Control Board

The Washington State Liquor Control Board has opened its first premier liquor store. The West Seattle store, at 4100 SW Alaska St., is the first of two new high volume, specialty stores the state is opening in urban areas.

WSDOT

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Within the plans to increase fares, cars shorter than 14 feet will be charged a lower fare on Washington ferries and bike riders won't need an annual permit under changes approved by the state Transportation Commission.

Chris / Flickr

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The state of Washington is getting ready to accept bids from private companies to take over the distribution of liquor. One question: how to evaluate the financial promises the bidders make.

This was a key topic Tuesday as state leaders met in advance of the formal bid process that’s about to get underway.

Dan Neslon / Flickr

It’s been almost 30 years but JC Penny is making a comeback. The Seattle Times reports the clothing-store chain is planning to set up shop just one block from where the original store once stood.

Chris de Rham / Flickr

Latino workers struggling with issues of fair wages, harassment and safety in the workplace are getting help this week from an unlikely source. The Mexican government is sponsoring workshops in Seattle and other cities to help those workers understand their rights.

Vanessa Romo / KPLU

It’s years behind schedule and over budget but Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner is now approved to carry passengers.

Federal Aviation Administration officials gave their official seal of approval amid swelling music, a flag parade, and a fly over by Airplane Number 2.

Aftab Uzzaman / Flickr

The latest polling of Washington voters shows that optimism has taken “nose dive” to an all-time low.

Voters surveyed in The Elway Poll – an independent, nonpartisan analysis of public opinion – were less likely to think things were “getting better” than at any time since the survey began in 1991.

The architect of the survey, Stuart Elway, said people may be openly entertaining the idea that America has entered a “malaise” or “a new normal” of long-term high unemployment, weak spending and, simply, a plain old bummer of an economy like the one Japan suffered for more than a decade.

Nikky Stephen / Flickr

Cooler temperatures this year have given Washington’s wheat famers a boost. The cool wet spring combined with good ripening conditions in July and August have increased yields here. At the same time, severe drought has diminished the harvest in the nation’s Plain states. 

As a result, Washington is expected to surpass Texas and Oklahoma in winter-wheat production this year, making it second only to Kansas.   

Associated Press

At the news of Steve Job's departure from Apple's top job, Mark Anderson – KPLU's "The Digital Future" commentator and CEO of Strategic News Service, the first subscription-based newsletter on the Internet – told his subscribers to sell sell sell.

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