Northwest News Network

Regional Public Journalism from twelve public radio stations throughout Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Alaska Airlines executives sounded upbeat after their first meeting with antitrust regulators about Alaska's proposed acquisition of rival Virgin America.

"So far, so good" was Alaska Air General Counsel Kyle Levine's summary of how the initial meeting with the U.S. Department of Justice went.

After a nearly six week trial, the guilt or acquittal of Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley rests with a jury of seven men and five women. The case went to the jury late Wednesday afternoon following lengthy closing arguments by the prosecution and defense.

Taxes from marijuana sales continue to outpace expectations in Oregon. The state Department of Revenue Wednesday said the state has collected nearly $7 million in pot taxes so far this year.

Voters in two Oregon counties will decide in the May primary whether to allow marijuana-related businesses. County commissioners banned marijuana retailers and growers in unincorporated parts of Klamath and Grant counties last year.

After nearly six weeks, the jury in the trial of Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley will hear closing arguments Wednesday and then retire to decide the case.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton dismissed one of the false declaration charges against Kelley on the grounds that prosecutors had failed to introduce sufficient evidence to lead a reasonable jury to convict on that particular charge.

However, the judge denied a defense motion for a judgment of acquittal on all of the charges and declared the case will go to the jury.

The early heat wave across most of the Northwest is forecast to start winding down Wednesday. It might have felt nice while it lasted, but the unusual warmth --record-setting, in some cases-- compounded the rapid melting of the Northwest's precious mountain snowpack.

When winter officially ended last month, snow measurements showed near normal to above normal snowpack across the Northwest. In four short weeks though, the snowpack in Oregon, Washington and Idaho has significantly eroded.

A southwest Washington mill owner has been sentenced to six months in prison for trafficking in bigleaf maple that was later sold to guitar makers. Harold Clause Kupers will also serve six months of home detention and pay nearly $160,000 in restitution.

Come July, a wider range of fully electric and extended range plug-in hybrid cars will benefit from a sales tax break in Washington state. Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation Monday to raise the cutoff for a tax incentive.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Monday signed into law an update to the state's two-year budget. It puts more money into the state's mental health hospitals and pays for costs from last summer's wildfires.

The governor also wielded his veto pen.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley is not expected to testify in his real estate services and fraud trial.

Instead, the first-term Democrat is counting on his defense team to convince a jury to acquit him of an array of charges that include possession of stolen funds, money laundering and filing false tax returns.

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