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Shrine Circus brings entertainment, controversy

Shrine Circus brings entertainment, controversy

After four days at the Spokane Valley Mall, it's time for the El Katif Shrine Circus to head out. While some are sad to see the 60th annual event leave, others are hoping it stays away forever.

Protesters were out on Evergreen Road for most the weekend asking people to not support the use of animals for entertainment. On our KXLY 4 News Facebook page, more than 100 people commented about this weekend's event. Some referred to it as "animal cruelty," others went as far as calling the animals "slaves."

But circus board members said those statements couldn't be further from the truth.

"You can't operate a circus and not have your animals taken care of," Circus Chairman Gary Van Dyke said. "They are so well taken care of. All you have to do is be at the circus, see the circus and look at the animals and you can tell how beautiful the animals... how well taken care of they are."

Purina plant fined for safety violations after worker loses leg

Purina plant fined for safety violations after worker loses leg

The industrial accident that cost a Spokane man his leg has triggered thousands of dollars in fines for alleged safety violations at the Purina mill.

The Department of Labor and Industries has cited the plant, located on East Trent, for more than a dozen safety issues, including the October 2013 incident that left 29-year-old David Olinger trapped in a horizontal auger.

Olinger was working on a catwalk when his leg got caught in a horizontal screw used to push feed through the plant. Surgeons drove to the scene and freed Olinger from the machinery by amputating his leg.

Occupational safety inspectors came here the same day Olinger was rescued from the auger hoping to find what led to his injuries, however as they began looking around the mill they found 15 other alleged safety violations.

Labor and Industries has now fined Purina $1,500 for not guarding against the equipment from starting up while Olinger was working on it.

As inspectors toured the plant they found three other places where workers were exposed to moving machinery and a half dozen fall or trip hazards where employees could fall up to 25 feet.

Five sherpa in Everest avalanche employed by Seattle guide service

Five sherpa in Everest avalanche employed by Seattle guide service

An avalanche on Mt. Everest has claimed the lives of 13 sherpa from Nepal, some of whom were working for a Seattle-based climbing company, in the single deadliest disaster on the tallest mountain in the world.

Witnesses said the deadly avalanche came out of nowhere during the early morning hours as the guides had gone to set up ropes for hundreds of climbers gathered at base camp.

Among the dead were five sherpa who were contracted through the Seattle guide company Alpine Ascents.

Local climber Kay Leclaire summated Everest in 2009, used Alpine Ascents before and has been to the exact spot where the sherpa were killed.

"They were wonderful strong people," Leclaire said.

When she summited Everest in 2009, Chhewang Nima Sherpa was by her side. The next year he was killed while climbing.

Sherpa are native mountain people who are extremely fit. Many have climbed Everest multiple times.

"Most climbers, the majority of us, would not be able to summit Everest without their help," Leclaire said.

Spokane Valley traffic obstructions

Spokane Valley traffic obstructions

Here’s a list of upcoming traffic obstructions in Spokane Valley.


Mirabeau Parkway between Pinecroft and Mansfield - Expect 2- to 3-minute closures of the southbound lane Mondays through Thursdays from 6:30am to 5:00pm for utility work until Thursday, April 24.

Man killed after crashing car into tree in Spokane Valley

Man killed after crashing car into tree in Spokane Valley

One person is dead after crashing their car into a tree in Spokane Valley.

The crash happened early Friday morning in the 1700 block of South Bowdish Road.

Residents in the area told police they heard an engine rev loudly.

Police say the car then spun out of control and crashed into a tree. Most of the damage was to driver's side.

The driver was a man in his 30's. He has not yet been identified.

It is unknown if drugs or alcohol were a factor.

SCRAPS testing dogs for adoptability

SCRAPS testing dogs for adoptability

Very little background information is known on most of the animals SCRAPS takes in however, through a series of tests they are able to identify a dog's strengths and weaknesses to determine if the dog is adoptable.

"We're going to look at three things to help us determine if a dog is safe to adopt out into a new home," said Nancy Hill of SCRAPS.

The shelter considers information received by intake from the person turning the dog in.

"Was the dog doing something bad and that's why people or an officer brought it in here? Was it a really nice dog that's just lost," said Hill.

After the dog is at the shelter for a minimum of 24 hours, they take a safe assessment test. The safe assessment is a national test used by shelters throughout the United States.

"We're going to put the dog into different situations and evaluate the dog's reaction," Hill said.

The test ranges from anything like a simple touch to a squeeze to a fake hand being placed in and near the dog's food bowl while they are eating. The dog is ranked in each area on a scale system from one to five.

New owner cleans up coffee stand's tainted reputation

New owner cleans up coffee stand's tainted reputation

Starting up your own business is never easy but it could be twice as hard if customers thought the coffee stand 509 Grind's new owners are the same people who played on the community's equality sympathies be perpetuating a self-serving hoax to turn a bigger profit.

The stand, formerly known as the "Coffee Break" made national news after it appeared someone had painted anti-Asian graffiti in the parking lot and even tried to burn down the stand. Fire investigators later said it turned out to be a self serving hoax.

The graffiti appeared the morning after Martin Luther King Day and read "Go back to China." The former owners were Korean, and the incident was initially repored as a possibly hate crime.

When it appeared someone was trying to run the owners -- the Na sisters -- out of business because of their ethnic origin, first time customers went out of their way to patronize them. They used their dollars and cents to say the Spokane area won't tolerate racism.