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Thousands enrolled for insurance through Washington, Idaho health exchanges

Thousands enrolled for insurance through Washington, Idaho health exchanges

President Obama announced Thursday eight million people have signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, while enrollment numbers in Washington and Idaho have been relatively high so far,

According to Washington's insurance commissioner, 146,000 people signed up for private insurance in the first six months. In Idaho, 44,000 people signed up, making the Gem State second in the nation per capita. So why has it been so successful in our two states? Washington and Idaho created their own state-run exchanges, while many states didn't and rely on the federal government.

Washington and Idaho have their own online marketplaces for families to shop for insurance and, despite some challenges like website issues, they've proven to be effective in enrolling people for health care.

Deanna Davis with Better Health Together said sign-up numbers in eastern Washington were higher than expected.

"We did triple enrollments than what we projected to do in our 14 country region," Davis said.

Wash. man spots his stolen truck, gives chase

The Grant County, Wash., sheriff says a man who spotted his own stolen truck and started following it helped officers recover two stolen vehicles and make two arrests.

Sheriff Tom Jones said the man called 911 on Tuesday to say he was following a truck stolen on Monday. After several miles, the two people in the truck stopped, took a motorcycle out of the truck bed and drove off across a farm field.

The chase continued, across fields and over irrigation canal roads. Soon the truck owner was joined by sheriff's deputies, Moses Lake police and Warden police. Surrounded by law enforcement officers, the couple crashed the motorcycle in a field and were arrested. They were unhurt.

The sheriff says both the motorcycle and the truck had been stolen.

Flu outbreak kills 2 in Grant County assisted living home

The Grant County Health District is working closely with Garden Oasis Assisted Living staff to control a flu outbreak that has killed two residents.

“We are deeply saddened to learn about the deaths of the two residents,” states Dr. Alexander Brzezny, Grant County Health Officer. He adds, “The staff and hospital administration have been extremely cooperative and have put measures in place to contain the outbreak.”

2 drivers killed in collision near Moses Lake

Two drivers were killed in a collision Thursday night on Highway 17 about 10 miles north of Moses Lake.

The Washington State Patrol says a car driven by 58-year-old Peggy A. Dubey of Moses Lake was southbound in the northbound lane when she collided with a car driven by 42-year-old Terri J. Vannoy of Ephrata.

Troopers believe drugs or alcohol was involved.

911 service restored to Washington state

911 service restored to Washington state

911 services have been restored to Washington state after they went down Thursday morning.

CenturyLink spokeswoman, Kerry Zimmer, said the problem began about 1:30 a.m. Thursday at Sheridan, Ore., and Oregon was affected for a time. The problem then spread to Washington.

CenturyLink says the outage affected dispatch centers statewide because they are all connected.

16 E. Washington cities earn Tree City USA title

16 E. Washington cities earn Tree City USA title

In honor of Arbor Day, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources is recognizing several Eastern Washington cities that have been chosen as a Tree City USA.

To be acknowledged as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation, a city needs to have either a tree board or a city department that is responsible for tree care and management, establish a tree ordinance, spend at least $2 per capita on tree care, and celebrate Arbor Day.

Water pressure may have caused crack

The Grant County Public Utility District says pressure from the water behind Wanapum Dam may have contributed to the big crack that has disrupted operations at the dam.

The utility said Wednesday that it has ruled out four other causes for the crack. Ruled out were seismic activity, foundation settlement, operation of spillway gates, and explosions at the nearby Yakima Training Center operated by the U.S. Army.

The 65-foot-long fracture was detected by divers on Feb. 27, three days after a dam worker noticed that the top of a spillway pier had shifted slightly. When the reservoir behind the dam was drawn down, the pressure on the spillway was reduced and the fracture closed, stabilizing the spillway pier.