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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sue Lani Madsen: Consolidating elections in even years would undermine, not empower, voters

Mail-in ballots were supposed to increase voter turnout. They have not. Free postage and more drop boxes were supposed to increase voter turnout. They did not. Making it easier wasn’t the solution. Now House Bill 2529 proposes the latest idea to nudge apathetic voters to get involved. HB 2529 proposes to increase voter turnout by eliminating most elections in odd-numbered years and cramming all statewide, legislative, county, municipal and district elections onto a single ballot in even-numbered years. It would apply not only to mayors, city councils, fire district commissioners, school board members and other local offices, but also to the advisory votes, initiatives and referendums intended to provide a check on the Legislature.

Pete Haug: Grounded in reality: the real dirt on soil

Humankind’s ties to soil may seem far-removed in cities, but they still exist. Even in rural areas, most of our food comes in packages. Do we ever consider the source of that food? Yet soils underpin agriculture and other terrestrial ecosystem functions. The real dirt on soil? It’s our life.

Sue Lani Madsen: Investing in soil health is an investment in the future

Investing in soil health is an investment in future generations continuing to eat, according to David Montgomery, a University of Washington geologist. His first book, “Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations,” looked at the consequences of ignoring soil health. He recently published “Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life.”

Sue Lani Madsen: Small-town response after fatal bus crash offers a lesson to all

Twenty-six students and their bus driver, plus 39 tourists and their tour guide, “were transported to Quincy Valley Medical Center for evaluation” and “temporarily sheltered in the hospital’s convalescent wing,” according to previous reporting. It sounds so simple. This is the rest of the story.

Sue Lani Madsen: Focus on climate comes at cost of ensuring seismic safety in schools

Inslee’s proposed $273 million in spending on programs to potentially impact climate change this century. His supplemental budget request for protecting children and teachers in seismically unsafe schools is $10 million. And that’s only 40% of what Chris Reykdahl, state superintendent of public instruction, requested in his letter to the governor.

Sue Lani Madsen: How to make housing unaffordable

Now that the election is over, a Tenants Bill of Rights ordinance is moving forward. Rapidly. What is on the table works against keeping housing affordable or increasing the supply.

Sue Lani Madsen: Reward offer shows ranchers’ frustration with wolf issue

Someone has been shooting cows from the road in Stevens County, according to the Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association. But the cattlemen’s shooting charge is hard to prove, and there’s no conclusive evidence it has happened. Hoping to find something more concrete, they’re offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.