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Teen to plead guilty to fatal Ponderosa Jump crash

Teen to plead guilty to fatal Ponderosa Jump crash

It's been almost a year now since two University High School students were killed in a high speed crash and now Preston Maher, the driver and sole survivor of that crash, is ready to plead guilty to vehicular homicide charges.

Sophomores Josie Freier and McKenzie Mott were killed in the crash, and their families are frustrated and bewildered about Maher's proposed sentence.

The three teens had left a birthday party in Maher's car just days after he had gotten his license, which means it was illegal for the 16-year-old to have them as passengers. Maher then drove at freeway speeds through a residential neighborhood and witnesses say intended to launch his car over what's know as the Ponderosa Jump.

"The driver lost control, the car went airborne, slammed into a tree where my daughter Josie and McKenzie Mott were killed on impact," Rick Freier said.

Based on the speeds and reckless driving involved, Maher was charged with two counts of vehicular homicide. Now, according to Josie's dad, Maher is facing just eight weeks in custody when the standard range calls for a bare minimum of 30 weeks.

Unsecured load causes close call for Spokane Valley woman

Unsecured load causes close call for Spokane Valley woman

It may not look like it at first glance, but this silver PT Cruiser is completely totaled. In fact, the driver Jenny Gossman is lucky to be alive.

Gossman was driving home from Newport to Spokane Saturday night when a large piece of wood from someone's unsecured load was hit by oncoming traffic and thrown airborne into her lane.

“I thought, 'This is it. This is the end of my life,'” said Gossman. “If I hadn't slammed on the brakes it would have gone straight through the windshield and into my head.”

Instead, her quick reflexes likely saved her life. The log hit the road directly in front of her, forcing it's way into the undercarriage of the car and wedging itself beneath the rear axle.

“You look at it and you're thinking, 'How can it be totaled?' The engine and everything has been shoved back. The radiator is toast,” she said. “It hit just underneath my bumper and caught the frame and compressed everything back.”

Adoption fees waived on "less adoptable pets" this week

Adoption fees waived on "less adoptable pets" this week

This week is National Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week and to encourage adoptions, the Spokane Humane Society is waiving adoption fees on all less adoptable pets through the end of the week at their main facility (6607 N. Havana) and their PetSmart adoption center (9950 N. Newport Highway.)

“With the recent large number of unwanted pets being surrendered to the Spokane Humane Society, we need the community's help to provide homes for these amazing animals. The shelter is full of pets that need a little extra love and attention,” said Executive Director Dave Richardson. “These are loving and wonderful pets that range from older pets to pets who need a special diet or home situation.”

All animals adopted from the Spokane Humane society are current on their shots, are spayed or neutered and micro-chipped.

USDA offering financial assistance for farmers impacted by wildfires

USDA offering financial assistance for farmers impacted by wildfires

The United States Department of Agriculture wants to help farmers impacted by this year's brutal wildfire season in central and eastern Washington.

The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Services is now accepting applications from agriculture producers in Kittitas, Grant, Chelan, Okanogan and Douglas counties impacted by wildfires in 2014. Financial assistance is offered through the Wildfire Initiative of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to help resource concerns on private and tribal land.

NRCS will be offering two financial assistance options:

Option 1 – General EQIP

The key conservation practice available for assistance under this option is deferred grazing. This practice allows grasses time to recover while livestock producers seek alternate feed sources. And for the first time, NRCS is also offering broadcast seeding as part of this initiative.

Option 2 – Wildfire Special Initiative

Sue the T-Rex takes over Mobius Science Museum

Sue the T-Rex takes over Mobius Science Museum

Few things will ever be as cool or awe-inspiring as dinosaurs, and today is the first day you can meet one up close and personal at Mobius Science Museum. Not just any dinosaur either, but Sue – the largest and most complete fossil of a T-Rex ever discovered.

Sue's trip to Spokane began as a whirlwind affair, with an empty stretch in her schedule the options were to either be shipped back to Chicago for storage or find a museum who would be willing to take her.

“Sue is what we call, in the business, a last minute booking,” said Mobius CEO Phil Lindsey. “Some of our board members had been reaching out to the Field Museum in Chicago about her availability and we reached a point where we thought we were going to be able to get her out here. From the booking to the shipping, everything was about six weeks.”

Crews monitor Greenacres brush fire

Crews are monitoring a brush fire that broke out in Greenacres near South Saltese Lake Road around 5 p.m. Thursday.

Firefighters will spend the night building a line around the flames, and will begin mop up efforts Friday morning when they can see all of the damage.

The 10 to 15 acre fire was at one point threatening 10 homes, but Level 1 evacuation orders were lifted just before 11 pm. Officials say mostly brush was burning, which made combating the fire easier.

"It makes it a lot easier because once the fire gets in the tree tops there's nothing we can really do," said Guy Gifford with the Department of Natural Resources. "Once it gets in the trees we have to wait for it to come down to the ground."

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Hiring Heroes career fair Friday

Hiring Heroes career fair Friday

Inland Northwest Hiring Heroes (INWH) is hosting the 2nd annual Hiring Heroes Career and Resource Fair on Friday, September 19 at the Spokane Fair and Expo Center.

From 10 am until 3 pm, over 100 of the inland northwest's top employers will be present, ready to be matched with well-qualified past and present military members and their families. Participating organizations represent a diverse field, including engineering, technology, education, health care, human services, manufacturing, financial services, aviation, transportation, construction, environmental sciences, retail, consumer products and the government and non-profit sectors.