Federal aid has been available to the scorched areas of central Washington, and now President Obama has authorized FEMA to oversee relief efforts. (KHQ)
The Spokane City Council may temporarily suspend fees for taxi drivers after drivers complained that ride-share services like Uber and Lyft don't have to pay the same fees. They'll also look at overhauling the city's taxi rules. (SR)
The Bonner County Sheriff's Department is looking for tips on a boat hit-and-run on Lake Pend Oreille last week. (CdA Press)
Washington Trust has purchased the Ridpath Annex to convert it into office space. (SR)
The South Hill Target is now open. (KXLY)
A plane crash in Taiwan has killed at least 40 people. (BBC)
Ukraine says Russia has shot down two of its fighter jets. (ABC)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo established a commission last year to root out corruption in local politics. Then, when it started to investigate a firm he'd worked with, a senior Cuomo aid told investigators to "pull it back." And that's only the beginning. (NYT)
Some are accusing U.S.-supported militias in Afghanistan of human rights abuses. (Al Jazeera)
D.C. police are crafting risky sting operations to catch people they think might be criminals, prompting accusations that they're luring people into crimes they wouldn't otherwise commit. (WaPo)
The Coeur d'Alene Casino has canceled Ted Nugent's Aug. 4 show because of his "racist attitudes and views." (SR)
Police have released more details about the woman shot and killed by police outside Bonner General Health in Sandpoint. (CdA Press)
A judge has authorized more than $220,000 in taxpayer money to repay Gail Gerlach's legal fees. (SR)
President Obama will be in Seattle campaigning tonight, including at a dinner event that costs $25,000 a plate. (Seattle Times)
As central Washington wildfire victims begin rebuilding, local residents are offering help. (KXLY) Plus, watch this video of just how devastating the damage is.
Israel says one of its soldiers is missing as conflict in Gaza continues. (Al Jazeera)
The bodies of those killed on MH17 have been moved to eastern Ukraine and out of the combat area. (NYT)
Other departments are poaching Detroit's low-paid police officers. (NPR)
The economy is making it harder to have kids. (WaPo)
The hazy, smoky air still makes my stomach curdle with fear.
I was 4 when the regional disaster known as Firestorm torched the Spokane area. On Oct. 16, 1991, heavy winds downing power lines sparked more than 90 separate fires around the Inland Northwest, burning more than 100 homes and blackening the land all around. I vividly recall Firestorm’s terrifying uncertainty, and now view it as one of the most impactful events of my childhood, growing up on 20 wooded, rural acres in Stevens County.
After the first flames ignited and sent embers flying, my parents quickly packed up our valuable belongings — antique furniture, family heirlooms, photographs and important documents — and rented a storage unit in Spokane. My mom packed clothing and we made the short drive to my grandparent’s 80-acre farm above our home on a hill. It was safer there, with more routes out if the fire moved in. One night during the fires, my dad took me outside, lifting me up on his shoulders. There, in my striped nightgown, I saw the mountain vista in front of our homes glowing with orange flames against the black night sky.
We were lucky. The firestorm burned for days all around the region, but our land and our homes remained untouched. It was the first memory I’d have of many more fires to threaten our rural community. Each one filled me with more terror than the last. Just as anxiety-causing were summer’s hot, dry spells, lightning storms and windy days that all meant high fire danger. The fires alone didn’t make fear course through my body, but the materialistic thought of losing everything in a fire’s wake.
As residents across the Inland Northwest woke up this past Friday morning to a brown sky blocking out the rays of a blood red sun, the dense ashy air left a fine, grayish-black powder on everything it touched. Street lights stayed on long past sunrise, and the world was cast in an ominous, yet eerily beautiful, goldish glow. These remnants of wildfire stirred up my long-dormant feelings of dread. I tried to imagine the emotions of residents of Central Washington — the people in Brewster and Pateros who lost everything in the still burning Carlton Complex fire. In place of a desire for empathy was something stronger — guilt. Guilt that here I was, conjuring up old childhood fears of losing my home to a raging wildfire when they just had.
When natural disasters — tornadoes, hurricanes, mudslides, earthquakes, tsunamis and forest fires — strike, our collective reaction is to consume breaking news reports. We become almost morbidly fascinated by the images and stories of destruction fed to us, all so accessible on our social media accounts. At the same time we ache for the losses of others due to what’s largely attributed a random event. The Carlton fire was sparked by lightning; the whims of changing winds paired with the intense summer heat propelled it toward towns with little warning.
Every region of the world comes with its own set of natural threats. Those who choose to call these places home do so with some understanding of the chance they might be affected by a mostly unpredictable disaster. But until one happens to or close to us, that probability doesn’t dominate our thoughts.
Most of us will never lose our homes to wildfires. But when we see it happen on such a tragically large scale like the Carlton Complex fire, we’re reminded of our vulnerability to the odds and also comforted by it. Homes can be rebuilt and things replaced, but the scars of any disaster will live on in the landscape and its victims memories forever. ♦
Firefighters continue to battle the Carlton Complex fire and the Watermelon Hill fire outside of Cheney. You can help victims of Washington's forest fires by donating to the Red Cross or other efforts listed here. (SR/KXLY/Wenatchee World)
A body was found on the shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene early Saturday. Police have not yet identified the victim. (CDA Press)
Conservatives on the Spokane City Council are worried the liberal majority will pick another liberal to fill departed Councilman Steve Salvatori's seat. (SR)
Some people who've bought insurance through Washington's state exchange are still having issues with the site. (Seattle Times)
Death and destruction continue in Israel and the Gaza Strip. (NYT)
A friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been convicted of obstructing justice. (NPR)
Separatists in eastern Ukraine have agreed to hand over the black boxes from a Malaysian plane that was shot down and allow investigators into the area. (WaPo)
China has suspended operations at the meat supplier used by Chinese branches of McDonald's and KFC amid accusations the supplier repackaged expired meat products. (BBC)
Not yet half way into summer vacation, families like mine are starting to feel the pinch of added expenses, restless kids and less income. In fact, the mental stress of financing the months of summer can become so all-consuming that our relationships turn tense and we risk losing the enjoyment of the season.
Here are a few ways I’ve tried to make or save money to fund that kids’ camp, movie night, Silverwood excursion, evening date, camping trip or kayak rental when I’m empty in the pockets:
1. Dig Deeper. I found an extra $25 just by going through winter coat pockets, looking under the seats in my car and digging in the sofa. That’s dinner or a movie for two.
2. Babysit Pets. My 12-year-old would love to own and breed all kind of animals, but I am not a big pet fan. Our compromise is that he can babysit non-vicious dogs and cats at our home. He’s already earned enough to pay for two Silverwood trips, snacks included.
3. Sell Your Stuff. I admit, I have no patience for sitting in the sun all day running a yard sale or managing ads on craigslist, but I am trying out Tradesy.com currently for selling clothes and have found some of the local shop-and-swap networks to be quite effective.
4. Use Your Body. I’m not suggesting organ donation or red-light-district activity, but plasma donors are always needed here in Spokane, and there are medical research teams looking for test subjects for products you might already be using, like allergy meds or nasal spray.
5. Rent What You Own. I’m not a big fan of having random roommates, although we do host international students on occasion. But, renting out a garage or toolshed for storage is less invasive to your privacy and can add enough supplemental monthly income to cover a road trip by fall.
6. Tap Your Talents. Making a summer camp out of your skill set, teaching a few private (art, music, dance) lessons, or teaming up with a friend to trade your expertise are all great ways to turn a profit. I am trading art lessons for guitar lessons and have also taught with Spokane Art School and other organizations on a class-by-class basis.
7. Be Exotic. Yes, this area has its limits, but there are some fun ways to explore and express in Spokane. I participated as a vendor in the new outdoor art event, Bazaar, and will be spicing up things in August as a model for the Blackwood Art Clothing line at Runway Renegades. Participating in events that pay in excitement or networking can bring fresh ideas to your life.
8. Go Hastings. Buy-backs aren’t hugely lucrative, but if you have upgraded to BluRay or no longer have an Xbox 360, why keep the archaic stuff around? Entertainment and gaming stores usually buy back or trade consoles and games.
9. Pawn It. Sometimes you will get just as much or more for your equipment, electronics, musical instruments or jewelry at a pawn shop as you will sitting in the hot sun (or rain) all day running a yard sale. My kids pawned enough of their outdated items to purchase a couple hundred dollars of new entertainment gear.
10. Stop Paying Bills. Maybe you don’t really need that iPad on your phone line anymore or aren’t using Hulu Plus or tanning and going to the gym during the summer. For some companies, you can temporarily put your services on hold, revise your plan or eliminate your membership altogether. I saved about $85 a month by revising my services this summer. ♦
Rachel Dolezal, formerly of the Human Rights Education Institute in Coeur d'Alene, is an award-winning artist and activist who teaches courses in art, Africana history and culture at area universities.
Talk about racist, pull your head dress out chief! Your racist view of a white…
Even if they could keep up with the demand, who wants to pay those prices…
recognized at a costume ball? interesting
I can see both sides of the issue. My initial reaction to this movement, especially…
This pisses me off. Maybe they are going to buy alcohol, maybe not, but if…