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Tuesday, October 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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‘We don’t seem to learn’: Beirut explosion echoes US tragedy

The staggering videos from the Lebanese capital are grimly familiar to Tommy Muska thousands of miles away in Texas: a towering blast, a thundering explosion and shock waves demolishing buildings with horrifying speed. It is what the mayor of West, Texas, lived through seven years ago when one of the deadliest fertilizer plant explosions in U.S. history partly leveled his rural town.

Midwest rains projected to create Gulf dead zone

As rain deluged the Midwest this spring, commercial fisherman Ryan Bradley knew it was only a matter of time before the disaster reached him. All that water falling on all that fertilizer-enriched farmland would soon wend its way through streams and rivers into Bradley’s fishing grounds in the Gulf of Mexico, off the Mississippi coast. The nutrient excess would cause tiny algae to burst into bloom, then die, sink, and decompose on the ocean floor. That process would suck all the oxygen from the water, turning it toxic. Fish would suffocate, or flee, leaving Bradley and his fellow fishermen with nothing to harvest.

Militia members accused of targeting Somalis to stand trial

Months before the 2016 general election, members of a Kansas militia group that prosecutors say came to be known as the “the Crusaders” met in an office to pick the targets of bombings that they hoped would inspire a wave of attacks on Muslims throughout the U.S.

Company uses wastewater and algae for biofuel, fertilizer

Clearas Water Recovery, a Missoula tech company, has developed a patented process to use algae to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from public wastewater treatment plants, keeping waterways from being inundated with the compounds that starve fish and plant life of oxygen. In turn, the algae can be sold to other companies for fertilizer, biofuels and other uses.

Jim Kershner’s This Day in History

From our archives, 100 years ago Spokane residents were being offered an eyebrow-raising form of garden fertilizer: crematory ashes.

Federal agency finds lax regulation of chemicals

HOUSTON - A federal agency investigating a deadly explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant told a Senate committee Thursday that regulation of the dangerous chemicals used in the industry fall under a “patchwork” of standards that are decades old and are far weaker than rules used by other countries.

FEMA denies aid to Texas for blast

HOUSTON — The Federal Emergency Management Agency is refusing to provide money to help rebuild the small Texas town where a deadly fertilizer plant explosion leveled numerous homes and a school, and killed 15 people.

Texas launches criminal probe into plant explosion

WACO, Texas — Texas law enforcement officials are launching a criminal investigation into last month’s deadly fertilizer plant explosion. Investigators have up to now largely treated the West Fertilizer Co. blast that killed 14 people as an industrial accident.

Texas town grieves for dead first-responders

Buck Uptmor didn’t have to go to West Fertilizer Co. when the fire started. He wasn’t a firefighter like his brother and cousin, who raced toward the plant. But a ranch of horses next to the flames needed to be moved to safety.

New bill restricts fertilizers for lawns

OLYMPIA – The Legislature on Friday approved a ban on lawn fertilizers that contain phosphorus. On a 56-37 vote, the House of Representatives sent the governor a bill that restricts the sale of that type of fertilizer with that chemical, starting in 2013.