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Local finalist in PETA's Sexiest Vegan over 50 contest

Local finalist in PETA's Sexiest Vegan over 50 contest

When you hear vegan, what's the first thing that pops into your head? It's probably not “sexy,” but that's what PETA is trying to change with their current competition for Sexiest Vegan over 50. The field has been narrowed down to just 14 men and women from around the US and one of them is from right here in Spokane.

Atania Gilmore is marking her two-year anniversary as a vegan this month. She's a runner and says it was another runner's book that encouraged her to make the change for what she calls selfish reasons.

“As a runner you're always looking for an edge,” she said.

Gilmore says it was “Eat and Run,” a book written by ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek that inspired her. In the book, Jurek explains that his record setting speeds to his vegan diet.

“I'm a turtle when I run,” said Gilmore. “I wanted to be faster so I thought it was worth a try.” So she decided to give it a try for the 30 days leading up to Thanksgiving and see if it made a difference.

Free IHOP Scary Face pancake on Halloween

Free IHOP Scary Face pancake on Halloween

Looking for a special way to celebrate Halloween with your Ghosts and Ghouls? IHOP wants to help kick off the festivities with a free Scary Face pancake for all kids 12 and under on October 31.

From 7 am to 10 pm, each child can receive one of IHOP's buttermilk pancakes decorated with a whipped topping smiles and eyes and a strawberry nose. Then kids can use a kit of delicious toppings – eight pieces of candy corn and two mini Oreos – to finish decorating the face however they choose.

If you can't make it on Halloween, don't worry too much – the Scary Face pancake is available as a regular menu item all month long.

Vote for 2nd Harvest to receive $60,000 grant

Vote for 2nd Harvest to receive $60,000 grant

As Hunger Action Month come to a close, Second Harvest is asking for the public's help in a contest that could net them a $60,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation.

Fifty food banks across the nation will be selected for one of the grants based on the number of online votes they receive by October 5. Currently Second Harvest has barely more than 100, while the leaders are all in the thousands, but with nine days left to vote there's still time for a comeback.

Second Harvest is the only food bank in Washington state competing in the contest which began September 15.

Walmart is teaming up with acclaimed chef, cookbook author and TV host G. Garvin, and calling on the public to support their local food banks by voting online at www.Walmart.com/fighthunger.

Bread Tie Challenge to raise awareness of depression/mental illness

Bread Tie Challenge to raise awareness of depression/mental illness

Two Central Washington Seniors are launching a campaign this fall to honor the memory of the teen who made their best friend duo into a trio.

Three years ago this October, Josh Martin took his own life. It was a complete surprise to everyone who knew him.

“There were no signs or anything,” said Donnie Santos. “He was going to be a shortstop for the Spokane Falls baseball team. We had everything going for us. We think he was afraid to come out and ask for help.”

That fear is what Donnie Santos and Dean Neilson are trying to get rid of with the Bread Tie Challenge.

It was Martin's father Joe who came up with the campaign to memorialize his son, then handed it off to Donnie and Dean to run.

The Bread Tie Challenge draws its inspiration from the Ice Bucket Challenge, an easy and visible way to show that your life has been impacted by someone struggling with mental illness or depression, and that you support ending the stigma of shame and weakness that can be associated with it.

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.