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USDA offering financial assistance for farmers impacted by wildfires

USDA offering financial assistance for farmers impacted by wildfires

The United States Department of Agriculture wants to help farmers impacted by this year's brutal wildfire season in central and eastern Washington.

The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Services is now accepting applications from agriculture producers in Kittitas, Grant, Chelan, Okanogan and Douglas counties impacted by wildfires in 2014. Financial assistance is offered through the Wildfire Initiative of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to help resource concerns on private and tribal land.

NRCS will be offering two financial assistance options:

Option 1 – General EQIP

The key conservation practice available for assistance under this option is deferred grazing. This practice allows grasses time to recover while livestock producers seek alternate feed sources. And for the first time, NRCS is also offering broadcast seeding as part of this initiative.

Option 2 – Wildfire Special Initiative

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WSU regents approve bond sale for health clinic, more residencies

WSU regents approve bond sale for health clinic, more residencies

To help overcome the physician shortage in central and eastern Washington, the Washington State University Board of Regents, at its September meeting, approved the sale of up to $16.25 million in revenue bonds for design and construction of the University district Health Clinic.

The clinic will be part of the Spokane Teaching Health Center consortium of Empire Health Foundation, Providence Health Care and WSU Spokane, which was established in November.

The consortium uses federal teaching health center funds to increase the number of physician residencies. Six additional residency slots are already available in Spokane because of the consortium's efforts.

Residents are newly graduated medical doctors who must complete at least three years of graduate education in an accredited physician training program before they can apply for board certification in a specialty.

Sue the T-Rex takes over Mobius Science Museum

Sue the T-Rex takes over Mobius Science Museum

Few things will ever be as cool or awe-inspiring as dinosaurs, and today is the first day you can meet one up close and personal at Mobius Science Museum. Not just any dinosaur either, but Sue – the largest and most complete fossil of a T-Rex ever discovered.

Sue's trip to Spokane began as a whirlwind affair, with an empty stretch in her schedule the options were to either be shipped back to Chicago for storage or find a museum who would be willing to take her.

“Sue is what we call, in the business, a last minute booking,” said Mobius CEO Phil Lindsey. “Some of our board members had been reaching out to the Field Museum in Chicago about her availability and we reached a point where we thought we were going to be able to get her out here. From the booking to the shipping, everything was about six weeks.”

Capone guilty of murdering estranged wife

A North Idaho jury has found Charles Capone guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of his estranged wife Rachael Anderson.

Capone looked forward toward the judge and showed little emotion as he was found guilty on all three charges related to Anderson's killing.

Rachael Anderson was last seen in April 2010. David Stone testified during the trial that Capone threatened him and his family in order get his assistance to dispose of Anderson's body after Capone strangled her.

Anderson's body has never been found.

Stone, who was originally charged with murder as Capone's co-defendant, reached a plea deal with prosecutors to get that charge dropped in exchange for his testimony against Capone.

The jury has been deliberating over Capone's fate since the panel received the case Tuesday afternoon.

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Controversy continues over proposed WSU medical school

Controversy continues over proposed WSU medical school

 The University of Washington released a scathing rebuttal this week to a report supporting the creation of a medical school for Washington State University, saying it contains “a number of deep flaws,” and is based on “faulty assumptions, omissions and erroneous data.”

WSU first approached consultant MGT of America in February to conduct a feasibility assessment for a new medical school based on the University's health sciences campus in Spokane. Specifically the assessment was to focus on the need for physicians in Eastern Washington, the best educational model to meet those needs, if current WSU resources were capable of creating a program to meet accreditation standards and the required time and resources to develop a new medical school.

Jury starts deliberations in Capone murder trial

A jury has started deliberations in the first-degree murder trial of a northern Idaho man accused of strangling his estranged wife and dumping her body into the Snake River.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that the panel of seven women and five men started deliberating Tuesday afternoon but didn't reach a decision by evening.

Fifty-three-year-old Charles Capone of Moscow is accused of killing 40-year-old Rachael Anderson from Clarkston, Washington, in April 2010. The body of the mother of four hasn't been found.

A co-defendant last week testified that he witnessed Capone kill Anderson and then helped dispose of the body in the Snake River.

The jury is scheduled to resume deliberating Wednesday.

WSU enrollment hits record high

WSU enrollment hits record high

New numbers released by Washington State University today show an all-time high in enrollment this semester, along with an increase in diversity and size.

Some 28,686 students are enrolled at WSU campuses throughout the state this semester, over 1,000 students more than the previous record set in fall 2012 and a four percent increase over last year's enrollment.

“This is good news,” said Dan Bernardo, WSU provost and executive vice president. “Undergraduate enrollment is up three and a half percent, which is particularly impressive given the current demographics of the state.” He explained that the state is currently in a “trough” of high a high school graduation curve, reducing the pool of potential students.

At WSU, the overall increase includes a five percent increase in the number of graduate students and a seven percent increase in students pursuing professional degrees in nursing, pharmacy, medical sciences and veterinary medicine.