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Burn ban on DNR forestland east of Cascades starts July 1

Burn ban on DNR forestland east of Cascades starts July 1

Another warning in the face of the upcoming Fourth of July weekend – the Washington State Department of Natural Resources has placed a burn ban on all DNR-protected land east of the Cascades.

Starting July 1 and running until September 30, the burn ban applies to all forestland under DNR fire protection.

“The seasonally dry weather creates a greater risk for wildfires,” said Commission of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “A burn ban helps to prevent them and protects forests, habitat and property.”

So far this year DNR has already had 172 wildfire starts, which have burned approximately 779 acres across the state.

The ban applies to all outdoor burning on DNR forestland with two exceptions:

Recreational fires in approved fire pits

Gas or propane stoves and barbecue grills

Fireworks and incendiary devices like exploding targets, sky lanterns or tracer ammunition are also illegal.

Washington State survey shows job vacancies, hiring on the rise

Washington State survey shows job vacancies, hiring on the rise

A state-sponsored survey of Washington employers shows both hiring and job vacancies increased between fall of 2012 and fall of 2013 and employers say it's taking a lot longer to fill the openings.

The Employment Security Department’s “2013 Fall Job-Vacancy and Hiring Survey Report” estimated job vacancies increased by 23 percent to 86,600 in fall 2013. Estimated hiring rose nearly 10 percent to 209,100.

Employers also reported that vacant positions remained open for more than two months before being filled. That's a striking contrast to the rate of just 19 days in 2012.

The report also shows more than half of the state's job vacancies were in urban areas of Western Washington, accounting for nearly 82 percent of all new hires from July to September last year.

The industry sector with the most job openings was agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and the average estimated hourly wage for $13.69.

Spokane Humane Society cuts adoption fees for Freedom by the 4th

Spokane Humane Society cuts adoption fees for Freedom by the 4th

The Spokane Humane Society is cutting adoption fees as part of their Freedom by the 4th program. The goal is to adopt 50 of the shelter's cats and kittens into loving permanent homes by the end of Thursday.

“With the recent large number of unwanted animals being surrendered to the Spokane Humane society, we need the community's help to provide homes for these amazing Spokalicious animals,” said the Spokane Humane Society's Executive Director Dave Richardson. “The shelter is full.”

In order to help things along, the humane society is reducing kitten adoption fees by half, and waiving adoption fees entirely for all adult cats.

“We need individuals and families in the market for a new furry-faced family member to opt to adopt,” said Richardson.

Washington sees largest growth in population since 2008

Washington sees largest growth in population since 2008

Is your neighborhood beginning to feel a little crowded? According to the Washington office of Financial Management, the state population has increased dramatically in the past year by an estimated 1.5 percent. That's 85,500 people!

Washington's population has been growing at an increasing rate, mostly due to migration. In 2013 the state saw a net gain of 49,200 people moving into the state, more than double the 21,600 from 2012.

Net migration accounts for 57 percent of the state's population growth this year, with natural increase (births minus deaths) responsible for the other 43 percent.

Seventy-five percent of the state's total population growth occurred in the five largest metropolitan counties: Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane who's economic activity continues to attract migrants.  

Firework sales blast off this weekend

Firework sales blast off this weekend

The Fourth of July is just a week away, and firework sales begin this weekend!

Washington State Fire Marshal Chuck Duffy wants to remind residents to know the local laws before purchasing and discharging fireworks, and to make sure you are only using legal fireworks. This year, 937 licenses were issued for retail firework stands.

A fireworks ban has been in place in the unincorporated areas of Spokane County for 21 years, as well as Spokane, Spokane Valley, Cheney and Liberty Lake.

Fireworks are legal on private property in Airway Heights, Medical Lake and Deer Park.

Bottle rockets, missiles and firecrackers are illegal anywhere in Washington state.

In Coeur d'Alene, non-aerial fireworks are allowed on private property but not in public places like Tubbs Hill or City Park.

If you do find yourself in an area where fireworks are allowed, there are some guidelines you to keep in mind to make sure your family has a safe and fun Fourth.

Union Gospel Mission celebrates new graduates of the Life Recovery program

Union Gospel Mission celebrates new graduates of the Life Recovery program

Tuesday night 25 people from the inland northwest graduated from the Union Gospel Mission's Life Recovery program. It's designed to break the homelessness cycle and dependence on drugs and alcohol.

"My life was empty, and hopeless and a mess, unmanageable," Chantell White said.

She was one of the 25 who made it through the program.

"I didn't realize that people cared," White said. "I didn't realize that I was forgiven, I didn't realize that I had a hope and a future."

She began her change two years ago. Before that she was an addict, in and out of jail and had her kids taken away from her.

"I remember Chantell coming into a class not only being broken, but not believing that anything would really change," program leader Joann Zajick said.

The two years she spent working on herself would not come easy. She left the program at one point, only to come back.

"I'm serious now," Zajick said, remembering what Chantell said. "I'm ready for what it's going to take for me to really change and from that you see this beautiful woman today."

Husband holds golf tournament to raise money for wife's lung transplant

Husband holds golf tournament to raise money for wife's lung transplant

A Spokane woman is fighting for her life, in need of a double lung transplant after battling cystic fibrosis for 30 years.

John Moriarty says his wife Gina is the love of his life, right up there with golf, and she's in need of some serious help.

"About a year ago Gina came down with a very severe case of pneumonia. She was in the hospital for two months and there was a lot of damage done to her lungs," John said.

Gina was diagnosed at age two and now at age 30 has just 15 percent lung capacity.

To help raise money for Gina's medical costs, John has changed the focus of his annual charity golf tournament "The Big Kahuna" to help his wife.

"It's a double shotgun start on July 12, four person teams. It's a scramble format, and its all for fun," said John.

The procedure will cost nearly $1 million and insurance is covering most of it, but there are still a lot of expenses they will be paying out of pocket.

"We have to actually move over to Seattle and live in transplant housing, and that's something that's not covered by insurance and it's roughly $3-4 thousand a month," said John.