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Final touches put on Hoopfest backboards

Final touches put on Hoopfest backboards

The countdown is on for one of Spokane's most beloved events, Hoopfest, which tips off on June 28.

But, long before the players hit the streets, the Hoopfest organization and volunteers are hard at work, getting ready for the biggest three-on-three tournament on the planet.

At hoop storage in East Spokane, crews spent Tuesday finishing the backboards. They're responsible for adding logos, touching up backboards and getting the hoops in place.

All 456 backboards have to be ready to be loaded up onto trucks and strategically placed in downtown Spokane.

This is the last stage of Hoopfest with regards to the signs and backboards," said Randy Smith, as he watched crews put up the last few backboards Tuesday.

Smith will then get ready for the organized chaos that comes the Friday night before the event. The streets close before dusk and, by midnight, crews will tape off 42 city blocks of downtown Spokane, ready to welcome the 250,000 players, volunteers and fans on Hoopfest Saturday.

Volunteers still needed for Hoopfest

Volunteers still needed for Hoopfest

Hoopfest is just two weeks away, and the world’s largest three on three basketball tournament is still in need of volunteers! It takes over 3,000 volunteers to make the weekend of hoops and fun happen.

Interested in volunteering? Here are the areas and shifts that Hoopfest still needs volunteers for:

Working For You: Spokane County prepares to begin accepting 911 text messages

Working For You: Spokane County prepares to begin accepting 911 text messages

A big change is on the horizon for anyone unable to call 911 due to a voice or hearing disability: text messaging.

Last May the FCC required Sprint, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile to make texting 911 available. It's now up to 911 call centers to see it through, but so far only 59 of the 6,000 centers have completed the process.

Spokane County is in the process of implementing new software, and residents are already excited to use it.

"I wouldn't have to worry about my life if I really needed some help,? said Char Parsley, director of Nexus Inland Northwest.

There are currently several different methods for persons with hearing loss to contact 911, but most of them are outdated and none of them are mobile.

"If I was at home, I would pick up my video phone. It's a machine that's connected to my TV, connected to a relay service and I can see an interpreter on my TV," Parsley explained.

Being able to text 911 would also be beneficial in situations where a person is unable to use their voice, like during a home invasion, but 911 operators say a traditional phone call will always be their preferred method of communication.

Foot Golf gaining popularity in Spokane

Foot Golf gaining popularity in Spokane

By now you've probably heard of frisbee golf but have you ever heard of foot golf? It's a new twist on soccer and golf which got it's start in the Netherlands in 2009 and recently has made its way to Spokane.

You can be great at golf and good at soccer but still struggle with this relatively new sport. My best advice after playing nine holes is to work on your short game. Everything else seems to fall into place after that.

"This definitely is the new most fantastic game around," Eagle Ridge short course owner Chris Becker said. "Anybody can play it, literally you don't have the clubs that you have in golf and all you have to do is have a foot that you can kick with and come on out and enjoy it and have a lot of fun."

Gordon Teel heard about foot golf from a friend and headed out to the short course to try it out.

"Ugh, I wasn't very good. I thought I was going to be awesome because I play a lot of soccer but there is clearly a whole set of skills for this," Teel said.

Teel said the game is a little frustrating but in a good way.

"No it's fun. Now I just really want to ... I am obsessed now to get better," he said.

Working 4 You: Talking to Kids About School Violence

Working 4 You: Talking to Kids About School Violence

Mass shootings and school violence take a toll on all of us. But, imagine being a kid and having to process the idea they could be a target, just by heading to school. There are resources available to help you talk to your kids.

School violence is not new. The 1996 shooting at Frontier Jr. High in Moses Lake woke up a lot of people in Eastern Washington to the fact it really can happen here. But, with shootings happening more often, it's more likely your kids will be talking about the violence and could have some very real fears.

We asked parents on Facebook Friday how they handle these shootings when it comes to their kids. Some suggest arming faculty and staff, which Spokane Schools plan to do with school resource officers. Others suggest educating their kids at home to avoid the threat altogether. No matter what, you have to expect your kids will ask. What you tell them depends on how old they are and what you think they can handle.

Washington conducting impaired driving survey this weekend

Washington conducting impaired driving survey this weekend

Washington state and the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission are teaming up to conduct surveys on impaired drivers through the weekend.

The survey is completely anonymous and voluntary and the goal is to gain perspective on what is in Washington driver's systems and find out what the state needs to educate the public on.

"When you're driving down the road do you ever wonder how many impaired drivers are around you? Well we do to," Karen Wigen, Spokane County Target Zero Task Force, said.

The anonymous, voluntary survey be conducted on the roadside across the state.

"This is the first time that we've ever done a driver impairment data collection study in Washington state," Wigen said.

The NHTSC paid the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation $250,000 to conduct the survey in six counties. Because of the legalization of marijuana the surveys will give a snapshot of motorists' drug and alcohol use before pot stores open in the coming months.

"PIRE is going to run the study on I think it will be 75 drugs, illegal, legal and over the counter," Wigen said.

Hundreds gather in Spokane Valley to remember life of Ryan Holyk

Hundreds gather in Spokane Valley to remember life of Ryan Holyk

Hundreds gathered at a candlelight vigil Thursday night to remember the life of 15-year-old Ryan Holyk.

Ryan was on is bike in a cross walk when he was struck by a sheriff deputy's patrol car May 23 as the deputy raced to call. He was taken off life support Wednesday afternoon.

Friends and loved ones gathered at the intersection of Sprague and Vista where that accident happened, sharing stories and recalling memories of a young man who was full of life.

"Some months he would just come up with random words and they would be his favorite words," said his friend Riley Baldwin. "Not too long ago his favorite word was llama."

Ryan's family announced on a Facebook support page that they would be donating his organ's in the hopes of providing a miracle for another family in need. Friends say that's exactly what he would have wanted.

"He helped somebody else, that's what he does, that's what he did," said friend Danielle Bennett. "Hearing all these stories from all the kids, that's all he did."

Ryan's family was not at the vigil. They said on Facebook they weren't ready yet, but appreciated the support.