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Warning for campers at Lake Roosevelt 4th of July weekend

Warning for campers at Lake Roosevelt 4th of July weekend

If you're headed to Lake Roosevelt for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, the Washington Bureau of Reclamation wants to make sure your campsite stays high and dry.

They're advising people camping along the Lake Roosevelt shoreline to be aware of potential dangers that could exist due to rapidly rising lake levels. The lake is impounded by Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River about 90 miles west of Spokane.

“When camping along the shoreline, it is recommended that tents and other belongings be kept well away from the water's edge,” said Public Affairs Officer Lynne Brougher. “Although the lake is a popular vacation spot, it is also a working reservoir that supplies water for hydroelectric facilities at Grand Coulee Dam which can result in rapid fluctuations.”

Brougher says campsites that are too close to the water's edge could potentially become flooded and boats that are not properly anchored or secured could drift out into the lake and become a safety hazard.

WSU researchers create gel to keep fields healthy during drought

WSU researchers create gel to keep fields healthy during drought

Washington State University researchers have created a product that could help farmers keep their fields moist during a drought.

Led by Associate Professor Jinwen Zhang, the group created hydrogel pellets similar to the super absorbent material used in diapers. The main difference is what they're made of. While diapers rely on petrolium based gel, WSU researchers have created one out of soy protein.

The pellets swell to hold 250 times their weight in water, and because they are made of biodegradable agricultural material instead of chemicals they leave no residue behind when they disintegrate in the ground. In fact, the soy protein can actually act as a source of nitrogen to help plants grow.

A soy-based product would also lessen dependence on foreign oil imports, and boos the local economy since the U.S. Produces half of the world supply of soy beans.

Washington State survey shows job vacancies, hiring on the rise

Washington State survey shows job vacancies, hiring on the rise

A state-sponsored survey of Washington employers shows both hiring and job vacancies increased between fall of 2012 and fall of 2013 and employers say it's taking a lot longer to fill the openings.

The Employment Security Department’s “2013 Fall Job-Vacancy and Hiring Survey Report” estimated job vacancies increased by 23 percent to 86,600 in fall 2013. Estimated hiring rose nearly 10 percent to 209,100.

Employers also reported that vacant positions remained open for more than two months before being filled. That's a striking contrast to the rate of just 19 days in 2012.

The report also shows more than half of the state's job vacancies were in urban areas of Western Washington, accounting for nearly 82 percent of all new hires from July to September last year.

The industry sector with the most job openings was agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and the average estimated hourly wage for $13.69.

Spokane Humane Society cuts adoption fees for Freedom by the 4th

Spokane Humane Society cuts adoption fees for Freedom by the 4th

The Spokane Humane Society is cutting adoption fees as part of their Freedom by the 4th program. The goal is to adopt 50 of the shelter's cats and kittens into loving permanent homes by the end of Thursday.

“With the recent large number of unwanted animals being surrendered to the Spokane Humane society, we need the community's help to provide homes for these amazing Spokalicious animals,” said the Spokane Humane Society's Executive Director Dave Richardson. “The shelter is full.”

In order to help things along, the humane society is reducing kitten adoption fees by half, and waiving adoption fees entirely for all adult cats.

“We need individuals and families in the market for a new furry-faced family member to opt to adopt,” said Richardson.

Washington sees largest growth in population since 2008

Washington sees largest growth in population since 2008

Is your neighborhood beginning to feel a little crowded? According to the Washington office of Financial Management, the state population has increased dramatically in the past year by an estimated 1.5 percent. That's 85,500 people!

Washington's population has been growing at an increasing rate, mostly due to migration. In 2013 the state saw a net gain of 49,200 people moving into the state, more than double the 21,600 from 2012.

Net migration accounts for 57 percent of the state's population growth this year, with natural increase (births minus deaths) responsible for the other 43 percent.

Seventy-five percent of the state's total population growth occurred in the five largest metropolitan counties: Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane who's economic activity continues to attract migrants.  

Want to drive a BMW? Donate blood at the Inland Northwest Blood Center

Want to drive a BMW? Donate blood at the Inland Northwest Blood Center

The Fourth of July is just days away, and the Inland Northwest Blood Center says their supplies are critically low.

  • 50% of needed O+ on the shelves
  • 30% of needed O- on the shelves
  • 70% of needed A- on the shelves
  • 70% of needed B- on the shelves

The need for blood doesn't take a vacation, in fact one out of every seven people who enter the hospital will need blood, so the INBC is launching a contest to encourage donors to roll up their sleeves. Everyone who donates at the INBC has the chance to enter to win a BMW for a year thanks to a one-year lease from Camp BMW.

You can call 1-800-423-0151 or visit www.inbcsaves.org to make an appointment at any of the following locations:

Spokane: 210 W. Cataldo Ave. (M/F/SA 7 am – 3pm, T/W/TH* 11 am – 6 pm)

Coeur d’Alene: 405 W Neider Ave. (M/F 7 am - 3 pm, T/W/TH* 11am–6 pm)

Firework sales blast off this weekend

Firework sales blast off this weekend

The Fourth of July is just a week away, and firework sales begin this weekend!

Washington State Fire Marshal Chuck Duffy wants to remind residents to know the local laws before purchasing and discharging fireworks, and to make sure you are only using legal fireworks. This year, 937 licenses were issued for retail firework stands.

A fireworks ban has been in place in the unincorporated areas of Spokane County for 21 years, as well as Spokane, Spokane Valley, Cheney and Liberty Lake.

Fireworks are legal on private property in Airway Heights, Medical Lake and Deer Park.

Bottle rockets, missiles and firecrackers are illegal anywhere in Washington state.

In Coeur d'Alene, non-aerial fireworks are allowed on private property but not in public places like Tubbs Hill or City Park.

If you do find yourself in an area where fireworks are allowed, there are some guidelines you to keep in mind to make sure your family has a safe and fun Fourth.