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USDA offering financial assistance for farmers impacted by wildfires

USDA offering financial assistance for farmers impacted by wildfires

The United States Department of Agriculture wants to help farmers impacted by this year's brutal wildfire season in central and eastern Washington.

The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Services is now accepting applications from agriculture producers in Kittitas, Grant, Chelan, Okanogan and Douglas counties impacted by wildfires in 2014. Financial assistance is offered through the Wildfire Initiative of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to help resource concerns on private and tribal land.

NRCS will be offering two financial assistance options:

Option 1 – General EQIP

The key conservation practice available for assistance under this option is deferred grazing. This practice allows grasses time to recover while livestock producers seek alternate feed sources. And for the first time, NRCS is also offering broadcast seeding as part of this initiative.

Option 2 – Wildfire Special Initiative

Blessings Under the Bridge honored by People magazine

Blessings Under the Bridge honored by People magazine

If you've picked up a copy of the most recent People magazine, you may notice a hometown connection.

In between the photos of celebrity weddings and fall fashions, a shout-out to Spokane natives Mike and Jessica Kovac and their charity – Blessings Under the Bridge.

The couple were on the verge of divorce when Jessica says she began distributing bagged lunches to the homeless in downtown Spokane. Eventually her husband joined her and realized their problems that felt so big could be fixed.

Mike and Jessica emptied their savings to found Blessings Under the Bridge and have since fed thousands of people and helped some find and furnish apartments.

You can learn more about the Kovac's and Blessings Under the Bridge in our Everyday Heroes section on KXLY.com.

Volunteers needed for Operation Christmas Child

Volunteers needed for Operation Christmas Child

Eastmont Baptist Church in East Wenatchee is inviting the community to join in an upcoming outreach program, packing shoe boxes with gifts to be sent around the world as part of Operation Christmas Child.

Operation Christmas Child is celebrating it's 21'st year this holiday season. Organized by the Christian organization Samaritan's Purse, OCC is part of their mission to provide physical and spiritual aid in foreign countries. OCC has delivered 110 million shoe boxes since it's creation.

On Thursday, September 25 from 6 to 8 pm, everyone is welcome to come to the church at 400 S. Kentucky Avenue and help fill shoe boxes with small gifts. All supplies will be provided. Anyone with questions should contact Cheri Mattes at (509) 884-2027.

Annual Dollar Dash fundraiser registration underway

Annual Dollar Dash fundraiser registration underway

The Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake is giving their scholarship foundation a boost with the fourth annual Dollar Dash 5k fundraiser on September 27.

“Dollar Dash is one way for the college to help students gain access to a high-quality education at BBCC while engaging the community and having some fun,” said Judy Oakes, race coordinator and BBCC Foundation board member.

The course follows College Parkway, which weaves through the school's 154-acre campus.

Participants who register before September 18 will receive a t-shirt. Registration costs $25 for adults and $15 for runners age 18 and under. Packet pickup begins at 7 am on race day in front of the campus ATEC building. The run begins at 8.

You can register online here, at the BBCC's business office, library or university center and at the Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce and Park and Recreation offices.

WSU student planners feature rival school on cover

WSU student planners feature rival school on cover

Students at Washington State University did a double-take when they received their free student planners from The Bookie this week. The cover features a picture of a cougar, the iconic Bryan clock tower and a building that was a little harder to identify.

Down at the very bottom of the cover, with beautiful brick and elegant cherry trees is Savery Hall, a building located at the heart of the campus of WSU's sworn rival – the University of Washington.

Distraught manager Leslie Martin at WSU's bookstore The Bookie says they are aware of the problem and are working with the vendor to come to a solution. The planners are no longer being handed out, but the ones that have been released are not being collected.

There is no word on whether the school will receive a refund or whether a reprint with a corrected cover is in the works. Meanwhile, a photo of the planner is quickly making the rounds online drawing amusement and criticism.

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.