We're Shocked -- Shocked! -- It might be prudent to add energy rate spikes to death and taxes as one of life's gloomy certainties.
Avista rates are shooting up (again!) starting March 15. Last winter, a homeowner using 1,000 kilowatt-hours paid $44.83. Under this new rate, that same power will cost $55.81.
The one thing Avista can still boast is that its power rate beats the national average (theirs is 5.6 cents per kilowatt-hour, versus 6.8), but given another year like this, that might not be true for very much longer.
17.5 -- That's approximately the percent of people in the Inland Northwest who donated blood in the past year, according to Brett Johnson at the Inland Northwest Blood Center.
That 17 percent isn't much to boast about. A recent Gallup poll shows that more than a quarter of Southerners (28 percent) gave blood, compared to 21 percent of Midwestern residents, 16 percent of those living in the East and 14 percent in the western U.S.
The Inland Northwest Blood Center in Spokane handles the majority of blood donations from Moses Lake and Pullman to the Canadian border, including the Panhandle, arranging blood deliveries to 27 hospitals and clinics, says Johnson. "We're looking at getting 40,000 donors in this year."
Last year, 44,363 people donated blood, including hundreds following Sept. 11.
The More, the Merrier -- About 23,900 people drive their cars, trucks and vans across the Monroe Street bridge on a given weekday, according to Spokane's most recent count (available at the city's Web site).
In a totally unrelated bit of news, the City of Spokane closed the crumbling, 90-year-old Monroe Street Bridge to heavy trucks starting last Friday. Starting in October, the bridge will be closed to everyone for two years as the city repairs it -- meaning those 23,900 motorists will be elbowing for room on the already crowded Maple, Washington and Division bridges.
Credit Where It's Due -- Sure, we've cracked our fair share of Salt Lake City Olympics jokes since Utah's capital won the opportunity to host the games by bribing International Olympic Committee officials. But after experiencing the Olympics these past two weeks, we'd have to say our neighbors in Utah did a heck of a job putting on a show to remember.
Sure, you could say (and here's that sarcasm coming again -- ack, we can't help it!) that for the nearly $2 billion it cost, it better be a good party. Still, the Games provided a much-needed counterpoint to the events of the past six months. Yes, the world is a scary place -- no, we're not talking about ice skating judges -- but it is also a place filled with good people, too.