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Washington state parks free to visit Monday

Washington state parks free to visit Monday

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission wants the public to know that Monday, August 25 is a state parks “free day,” Visitors will not need a Discover Pass to visit state parks.

The free day is in honor of the birthday of the National Park Service, which was established on August 25, 1916.

State free days are part of the legislation that created the Discover Pass, a $30 annual of $10 one-day permit required on lands managed by Washington State Parks, the Washington departments of Natural Resources and Fish & Wildlife. The Discover Pass legislation provided that state parks could designate up to 12 free days each year when the pass would not be required. The pass is still required to access lands managed by DNR and Fish and Wildlife.

The free days apply only to day use, and not to overnight stays or rental facilities.

The next free days coming up on September 27 for National Public Lands Day and November 11 for Veterans Day.

Red Cross receives $200k donation for mudslide, wildfire relief

Red Cross receives $200k donation for mudslide, wildfire relief

The Washington chapter of the American Red Cross is $200,000 richer thanks to the generosity of Pizza Hut franchisee Emerald City Pizza.

Emerald City Pizza donated a percentage of its sales from 108 local restaurants to come up with the money which was presented at the Darrington community center Tuesday afternoon.

The money is specifically earmarked for mudslide recovery and wildfire relief efforts.

Moses Lake plant building car charging station

The carbon fiber plant at Moses Lake has agreed to spend $125,000 on an electric car charging station to settle a fine from the state Ecology Department for air pollution.

The Tri-City Herald reports equipment failures in 2012 and 2013 at SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers released uncontrolled emissions. The plant makes a light-weight material for BMW's electric car.

Working 4 you: There's been another data breach, now what?

Working 4 you: There's been another data breach, now what?

Data breaches seem to be becoming the norm, and there's another consumers need to be aware of. Millions of people's personal information is at risk after hackers targeted a hospital network.

Community Health Systems announced the breach yesterday in a regulatory filing. The organization operates 206 hospitals in 29 states across the country.

It says hackers in China have stolen data on 4.5 million patients. The breach happened sometime in April and June this year.

The hackers accessed patients' names, social security numbers, addresses and phone numbers.

Anyone who received treatment from a network-owned hospital in the last five years is affected. People who were referred there by a doctor are also impacted.

The large data breach puts these people at a heightened risk of identity fraud.

But, experts say there are steps to take to make sure your identity stays safe.

First, if you think your SSN has been stolen, contact the three major credit-reporting agencies. They are Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Tell them your social has been stolen and each will give you a free copy of your credit report.

First West Nile infection of 2014 reported

First West Nile infection of 2014 reported

The Washington Department of Health has confirmed the first case of in-state West Nile virus since 2012.

A Walla Walla man in his 20's was exposed somewhere near his home and hospitalized. The infection was confirmed by testing at the Washington State Public Health Laboratories in Shoreline.

Two other Washington residents have been diagnosed with the infection this year, both both contracted the disease while traveling out of state. Additional reports of possible infections are currently under investigation.

“The mosquito samples that have tested positive for West Nile virus in eastern Washington this season are a reminder that the virus is here and we should protect ourselves,” said State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy. “The best prevention is to avoid mosquito bites – at home and while traveling.”

So far 34 mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus in 2014, including:

Soap Lake apartment complex fire kills 1

One man is dead following an early Sunday morning fire at an apartment complex in Soap Lake.

Soap Lake Police Chief Glenn Quantz confirms that crews responded to a fire at the Soap Lake Gardens complex at 327 Division Street S at 2 a.m. Sunday. The six unit complex was destroyed.

One person, an elderly man, was killed by the fire. That man's identity has not been released.

The cause of the fire and the point of origin are currently unknown. The incident is under investigation.

The Red Cross is helping the displaced tenants.