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From New York to Coeur d'Alene, Avenue Q opening this Friday

From New York to Coeur d'Alene, Avenue Q opening this Friday

The fur was flying Tuesday night at Coeur d'Alene's Lake City Playhouse as one of the final dress rehearsals got underway for this Friday's opening of Avenue Q.

The smash hit first debuted on Broadway in 2003, taking home Tony awards for Best Musical, Best Book and Best Original Score, and the cast of Lake City's production does their best to keep up the wild spirit of the show.

With a large cast, but only three human characters, many of the actors take a back seat to their puppet partners – providing a voice, but blending into the background.

“The biggest challenge is just finding the balance between the people and the puppets. If the actor is pushing too hard, you're focusing on them and not the puppet. So it's finding the right balance where you feel like you're watching the puppet but getting emotion from the person. It's a tricky little thing, but when it's right it's lovely,” said Director Troy Nickerson. It's an art form that took weeks to perfect.

Spokane woman accused of defrauding $100k in disability from the state

Spokane woman accused of defrauding $100k in disability from the state

A Spokane woman is charged first-degree felony theft, accused of defrauding the state of $101,000 in disability benefits while working with her husband to operate his motel and their nightclub and apartment building.

In September 2010, 52-year-old Mistie Crosby submitted a claim to Labor and Industries (L&I) saying she hurt her back, neck and shoulder while working at Sunset Junction, a nightclub in Spokane that has since closed. Physicians confirmed she was injured and L&I opened her claim.

When Crosby submitted the claim, she did not indicate whether she was an owner, partner or corporate officers in the business where she was injured. Business owners must provide employees with workers' compensation insurance, but the coverage is optional for the owners themselves and Crosby never enrolled.

Stolen gun recovered, returned after 32 years

Stolen gun recovered, returned after 32 years

A gun stolen 32 years ago on the other side of the state has finally been returned to it's owner after popping up on Craigslist.

On July 15, a Stevens County Reserve Deputy found the gun posted for sale in Medical Lake and was interested in buying it. However after he ran the serial number, he found the Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver had been stolen in Tacoma back in 1982.

Detective Dave Knechtel contacted the Tacoma Police Department and confirmed the revolver had been stolen during a burglary in 1982. He also contacted the Craigslist seller who says he purchased the revolver near Tacoma about six months ago and had no idea it was stolen.

Detective Knechtel was able to track down the original owner of the revolver who was extremely surprised it had been found and happy it was not used in a crime. The weapon has since been returned to him.

Local Pony league baseball champs head to California

Local Pony league baseball champs head to California

A plucky group of 10-year-old boys are preparing to hop on a plane and head down to California to represent Washington as the regional Pony League Baseball champions!

All 11 kids have been involved with Spokane Indians Youth Baseball who united the Pony, Baby Ruth and Spokane Youth Sports Association leagues under one umbrella. After the regular season was over, try-outs were held for the all-star team and just a few weeks later the hard hitters swept the Mustang Northwest Regional Championship, winning all 11 games.

Since then, they've been working hard at Albertsons grocery stores around Spokane, asking for donations to help them make the trip to Anaheim.

“The money will help pay for their hotel room,” said Stephanie Erickson, the mother of one of the players. “The Pony organization books flights, which the parents pay half of, and this will help cover expenses like hotel rooms, food and other incidentals. We have a couple of families driving down with equipment to save on expenses like checking bat bags.”

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The Bickett Building to give downtown a boost

The Bickett Building to give downtown a boost

From the outside, The Bickett looks like many buildings outside – old, brick and in need of a little TLC. On the inside, however, developer Jed Conklin and his band of construction workers have transformed the one-time hotel (and rumored brothel) into a streamlined work of art.

Standing at the bannister of the second floor, Conklin says they had a lot of work ahead of them when they first walked in.

“The entire building was open and full of pigeons,” he said. “The droppings were ankle deep in places, and the rain was pouring in.”

Amazingly, Conklin was able to salvage the original floors, now scraped clean and polished to a smooth finish without even a creak to give away its century of history. The original floor plans are still visible in the wood, outlining the four single-occupancy rooms that now make up each apartment.

“We wanted to save as much as we could,” Conklin explained. “Even the shelves are made of recycled lumber from somewhere else in the building.”

Monday update for Watermelon Hill Fire

Monday update for Watermelon Hill Fire

More than 300 fire crews are continuing to work on containing the Watermelon Hill Fire burning seven miles southwest of Cheney and four miles east of Interstate 90.

The fire started Saturday afternoon and quickly grew – numbers released Monday place the fire at 11,000 acres, 40 percent of which have been contained.

Level two and three evacuation notices for the fire have been lowered to level 1, with the exception of the Fishtrap Lake Resort which remains at a level 3.

Today fire crews expect to deal with winds from the southwest at 8-11 miles per hour, and the occasional gust of up to 16 miles per hour.

 

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