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State pot revenue projections lower than anticipated

State pot revenue projections lower than anticipated

The long-standing question of how much the state can make off of marijuana has been answered and it's much lower than many expected.

Voters were originally told before the election once shops started selling pot the state could make up $1.9 Billion in tax revenue over five years. But now that number is expected to be much lower.

Last year, the Washington State Liquor Control Board hired a marijuana consultant to let us know what to expect and how many people might buy legal weed. In the consultant's thorough report the amount of projected revenue dropped.

The Washington Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released new estimates this week. Instead of $1.9 Billion over five years they say Washington could rake in $586 Million over four years. That money will come from excise, B&O and sales taxes as well as fees.

Most of the money is distributed to programs like drug rehab centers, research on the drug's affect on the state and the liquor control board for regulation.

Spokane County Libraries and AARP offering free tax services

Spokane County Libraries and AARP offering free tax services

The Spokane County Library District is teaming up with the AARP to provide tax help for our area’s senior citizens.

The AARP Foundation Tax Aide program helps low to moderate income seniors wade through the tax system in order to to receive all the deductions that apply in each individual case. Through the foundation, volunteers have helped seniors with their tax returns for over 40 years.

Voter's Pamphlet art contest open for Washington students

Voter's Pamphlet art contest open for Washington students

The Office of the Secretary of State is calling on Washington artists in the 4th & 5th grades to submit designs for the 2014 Voter’s Pamphlet. The winning design will be featured on more than 3.2 million copies of the pamphlet and will be sent to every house in the state during the General Election this fall.

Mom hailed as hero for saving kids from burning home

Mom hailed as hero for saving kids from burning home

A Spokane Valley family is counting their blessings after a fire nearly destroyed their home Tuesday night. That fire could have had a tragic ending if it hadn't been for the heroism of a mom who went back into her burning home to rescue her children.

Rachelle Flatt is being called a hero for her bravery to go back inside and save her three children, but she says she was just being a mom. But she's not just a mom; she's also the wife of a firefighter.

Flatt had just put her three kids to bed and was winding down when she saw her porch had an orange glow. After realizing that it was on fire, she picked up the phone and called 9-1-1. Flatt said she grabbed a fire extinguisher but realized at that point it was too large and she needed to get her kids out of the house.

"I don't know why but I grabbed them each, one by one, and so going back for my last one was really difficult. We barely got out," she said.

Flatt says she couldn't see anything, so she felt her way around. When she got to the door, it had closed, causing her to stay extra time in the smoke filled space.

Unfortunately her 9-year-old Rottweiler didn't make it out.

Longview coal port will impact number of trains traveling through Spokane

Longview coal port will impact number of trains traveling through Spokane

The Washington State Department of Ecology announced it would be doing extensive research on the proposed coal port in Longview, which will impact Spokane, where many of the coal trains will pass through on the way to the coast.

If approved, the Longview coal port would be one of the largest in the nation, which is why the Department of Ecology study will address many of the questions that have made the Longview port so controversial.

"The Department of Ecology will be doing a great, thorough review of all the threats that will potentially be caused to our community of this project were to be developed," Jace Bylengea with the Sierra Club said.

The Sierra Club opposes the coal train project, which he says will have a negative impact on Spokane's environment and the health of the people who live here.

"Another threat to our communities is coal dust that falls off trains. BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) has said in the past that up to 500 pounds per car on this trip falls off a train. You need to think about not car but these trains are 110 cars long," Bylengea said.

The Gift of Life

The Gift of Life

Their name is synonymous with both grief and strength. The Swank family in North Idaho has had their faith tested in ways most of us could never imagine. In 2009, they lost their 17-year old son Drew following a football injury.

Now, their faith is being tested again as Drew's older sister fights for her life.

The Swank house in North Idaho is one of those idyllic places. On a recent February day, covered in snow, bathed in sunlight and filled with love. For 43-year old Tara Swank, it has been a refuge in a storm of unthinkable grief.

"Watching my youngest brother and sisters go through the death of their brother has probably hurt me as much as just my own hurt of watching my brother die," said Tara.

Reminders of Drew are everywhere in their home - in smiling pictures, in grieving hearts.

"It's horrendous, really," said Drew's mom, Patti. "There's no word for the heartbreak. I'm still not over Drew."

Drew was just 17 when a football injury ended his life. The oldest of eight and a critical care nurse by trade, Tara helped hold her family together.

Deputies named in fatal officer-involved Spokane Valley shooting

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office has identified the six officers who were involved in the fatal shooting of Army veteran Jed Zillmer in Spokane Valley on February 11.

Investigators say Zillmer, an Afghanistan combat veteran suffering from PTSD, was suicidal and led police on a high speed chase from Spokane to Coeur d'Alene and back to Spokane Valley on February 11.

The chase ended at the intersection of Sullivan and Indiana, where Zillmer got out of his vehicle and pointed a handgun at himself. Investigators say when he adjusted his bulletproof vest, deputies opened fire.

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said Zillmer threatened to shoot other civilians if deputies did not kill him first. The investigation shows Zillmer had two other handguns on him and several other weapons inside his vehicle.

The deputies identified by the sheriff's office as having been involved in the shooting are Brett Hubbell, Jeff Thurman, Dale Moyer, Ryan Walter, Brian Hirzel and Randy Watts.