Our network

Environment

Leavenworth one of the most affordable for leaf peeping this fall

Leavenworth one of the most affordable for leaf peeping this fall

If you're looking for a fall getaway without breaking the bank, vacation specialists at TripAdvisor have named Leavenworth one of the top spots in the country to take in some colorful sights.

According to TripAdvisor, 83 percent of those surveyed plan to take a leisure trip this fall, with 31 percent planning to travel for the joy of viewing fall foliage. To help travelers plan, TripIndex compared the cost of a weekend getaway for two in 15 of the most popular leaf-peeping destinations in the US, including the combined average cost of a two-night stay in a bed and breakfast, a full tank of gas, apple picking and a meal at a restaurant.

Leavenworth came in at an affordable $476.89, but you'd better make your reservations now before the winter flakes start to fall.

Dept. of Natural Resources lifts statewide burn ban

Dept. of Natural Resources lifts statewide burn ban

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources announced Friday that the statewide burn ban on DNR-protected lands has been removed. Fire danger has been reduced by the recent rainfall and moderating temperatures.

Restrictions set by local authorities are not affected by DNR's actions. Additionally, while conditions no longer warrant a statewide burn ban, some local areas may still remain dry. Anyone who plans on burning should check with local authorities beforehand.

You can also always find the latest on your local fire restrictions here.

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

Grant County adopts ordinance regulating e-cigarettes

Grant County adopts ordinance regulating e-cigarettes

The Grant County Board of Health has unanimously adopted an ordinance regulating the sale, marketing, use and availability of electronic vapor devices (ex: e-cigarettes) and e-liquid.

The board studied the issue and received public testimony for several months before voting. Specific concerns were bystander exposure to second hand vapors and access to children. E-cigarettes and similar products are mostly unregulated and pose a concern to public health.

In fact, this year alone the Washington Poison Center has seen a 600 percent increase in the number of calls regarding e-cigarette exposure.

The devices are battery powered and can resemble cigarettes. People who use the devices inhale vaporized liquid nicotine, or other liquids, created by heat and exhale the vapor in a way that looks like smoking. Bystanders are exposed to potentially unhealthy second hand vapors and their use makes it difficult to enforce state and local smoking laws.

Avista safety tips during National Preparedness Month

Avista safety tips during National Preparedness Month

This month marks the 11th annual National Preparedness Month and creates an opportunity for Avista to remind customers about the importance of being prepared for unexpected emergencies, like the recent storms that rolled through sections of their Washington and Idaho services area.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security sponsor this national initiative and uses September to remind all Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies at home, school, work and in our communities.

As we have experienced recently, weather events like summer storms can ravage entire communities with effects lasting for days. Being prepared for severe weather like thunderstorms, wind, ice and snow storms or other natural disasters can help our residents and their families deal with the results of such events.

Human West Nile case linked to Grant County mosquitoes

Human West Nile case linked to Grant County mosquitoes

A warning for anyone spending time outdoors in Grant County – a 30-year-old woman from Pierce County has been confirmed as having West Nile virus after spending time there. The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has investigated the case and determined that the woman was likely exposed to infected mosquitoes while in Grant County.

So far this year there have been four other human cases in Washington; two of those cases were exposed in Walla Walla and Benton Counties, the two other cases were exposed while traveling out of the state. The virus causing West Nile disease has been detected in 26 mosquito samples from Grant County so far this year.

West Nile virus is a bird illness that can spread to people and other animals through mosquito bites and the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being bitten.

The Grant County Health District advises residents take the following steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes:

Public comment needed on Mt. Spokane State Park expansion

Public comment needed on Mt. Spokane State Park expansion

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is inviting the public to comment on two proposals for Mount Spokane State Park.

The following are combined under one draft environmental impact statement which considers the potential impact of:

  • The expansion of Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard park, adding one ski lift and seven ski trails in a 279-acre area.
  • A formal land classification and reclassification of a portion of the state park known as the Potential Alpine Ski Expansion Area (PASEA).

The deadline for comments is September 15.

You can find more information on the proposals, the draft environmental impact statement documents and a link to submit your comments here.