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Peter and Pam Hayes's claim about herbicide exposure in the forest of the Oregon Coast Range begins the same way as most from the news in recent years.

On May 17, they and two others were out tending their property. They heard a helicopter in the distance and thought little of it. Then, they say, they began to smell and taste chemicals.

“The helicopter was not over me. It was not droplets. It was just a super strong, strong taste," Pam said.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife drew hard questions from conservationists Thursday night in Portland as it sought comment on its latest budget proposal.

In a stuffy hotel conference room over the hum of a projector, ODFW Director Curt Melcher explained the agency's current budget situation, how a new task force had been established to seek new revenue sources and that no major changes were planned for any of the agency's programs.

File photo: salmon.
Flickr Photo/Rob Bixby (CC-BYC-NC-ND)

Kim Malcolm talks with Stillaguamish Chairman Shawn Yanity about the agreement between tribal and state officials on this year's catch limits for Puget Sound salmon. Yanity is also vice chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.

A federal jury in Seattle has awarded a former BNSF Railway worker, and whistleblower, more than $1.6 million.

In 2010, Curtis Rookaird alerted federal officials that his employer had told him to forego an important brake test on a train carrying oil and hazardous materials. He was later fired.

Teachers and kids at Harrison Elementary in Cottage Grove spend the entire school year fundraising for just a four-day trip in May. But those four days at Camp Tadmor in Lebanon — spent canoeing, fishing, studying wildlife and environments, and doing team-building activities — leave an impression on kids that can last a lifetime, say leaders and teachers who have come back year after year for decades.

Think Out Loud went to Camp Tadmor on May 26 to find out what learning outdoors does for kids and why adults have such affection for outdoor school.

Last month, a federal jury acquitted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley of lying to IRS agents, but deadlocked on 14 other charges related to his past real estate services business. Kelley will be back in court on Tuesday when a hearing could provide an answer to what happens next in the case.

Seattle Music Partners students provides free instruction and instruments to students at low-income schools. The hope is to level the playing field at Washington Middle School and Garfield High, which have renowned music programs.
Courtesy of Seattle Music Partners

On Thursday afternoons at Bailey-Gatzert Elementary School, music lessons are everywhere you look. 

Woodwinds twittering in the breezeways. Violas plucking out pizzicato notes in the kindergarten room. And trumpets blaring in this tutoring space, where fourth-grader William Si Luong wraps up a tune with his tutor Arnie Ness. 

Naomi Wachira performs her song 'African Girl' at the Northwest Folklife Festival at Seattle Center on Sunday, May 29, 2016.
KUOW photo/Gil Aegerter

Naomi Wachira writes in one of her songs that she’s “trying to defy everything they said of us, we who have chocolate skin.”

Those words in “African Girl” speak to the clash of culture and identity that Wachira experienced after she moved to the U.S. at age 19.


Screenshot from the trailer for 'Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell.'
YouTube

Kim Malcolm talks with Seattle filmmaker Megan Griffiths about her picks for the Seattle International Film Festival. Griffiths recommends "Captain Fantastic" and "Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell."

Griffiths directed "The Night Stalker, which is also playing at SIFF.

As the nation prepares to commemorate Memorial Day, more than 1600 service members remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. For the families of some of them, the search for answers has become a lifelong pursuit.

Sound Transit

Everett could get light rail in 20 years instead of 25 under a new plan discussed by the Sound Transit board Thursday afternoon.

Light rail would reach Ballard in 19 years instead of 22.


Dozens of people drove hundreds of miles from Wyoming, Montana and Idaho to Spokane Thursday to weigh in on a proposed coal export terminal. The terminal would sit along the Columbia River in Longview. But the permitting agencies want input from inland cities along the train tracks.

Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel has called repeatedly for an inquest into the 2015 police shooting of farmworker Antonio Zambrano-Montes in Pasco, Washington. Zambrano-Montes was throwing rocks in a crowded intersection when he was shot to death by three Pasco police officers.

Judges Reject Steens Mountain Wind Project

May 26, 2016

The Ninth District Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of the Oregon Natural Desert Association, and rejected a wind turbine project on Steens Mountain in southeast Oregon.

The 104-megawatt project would have included energy transmission lines that cut across potential sage grouse habitat within the protected Steens Cooperative Project.

Oregonians won't be voting this fall on whether to limit campaign finance contributions in state and local races. The Oregon Secretary of State's office has rejected wording on a proposed initiative that would have changed the state's Constitution to allow that.

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