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Working 4 you: American spending shows positive signs for the economy

Working 4 you: American spending shows positive signs for the economy

Some good news for the economy. Americans are spending more!

Purchases of durable goods, such as furniture and cell phones are increasing. For the month of August, purchasing of such items increased 2% in America. That may not seem like a lot, but compare that to an increase of only 0.1% in July.

This is according to data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

But what drove the August rush in spending?

The biggest factor was auto sales, everything from cars to parts, which accounted for half the gains.

People typically don't make big purchases like cars unless they feel confident in the economy and their personal finances.

Overall, consumer spending increase a total of 0.5% in August.

Economists say the increase in spending is a good sign for the economy. Some say buyers are a critical indicator of the economy's health since they make up a majority of how much product gets produced in the United States.

After the financial crisis in 2008 and the recession, people cut back heavily on purchases. But, as more people are finding jobs, that should translate into more spending.

Working 4 you: Reducing your risk of breast cancer

Working 4 you: Reducing your risk of breast cancer

As most people know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, but do you know how to reduce your risk of the disease?

Doctors say there are steps you can take now to reduce your chances of getting the disease in the future.

Taking steps to be healthy may not prevent all breast cancers, but for most women these steps can reduce the risks.

First, doctors say to watch your weight. Being overweight or gaining weight as an adult increases the chances of developing the disease, especially after menopause. So, eat well to keep you weight in check throughout your life.

Also, get some exercise. Experts recommend about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. If possible, include at least two strength training sessions a week, as well.

Also, don't smoke. Just another reason to quit if you do smoke. And if you drink, limit yourself to no more than one drink per day. Experts say the more alcohol you consume, the greater your chance of developing breast cancer.

If you are able to breast feed when you have children, doctors say this can offer some protection against the disease as well.

Working 4 you: More hospitals ask for payment upfront

Working 4 you: More hospitals ask for payment upfront

If you're planning any future trips to the hospital, you may want to get your credit card ready before heading into the operating room. That's because hospitals are increasingly asking patients to pay for procedures either upfront, or before they're discharged.

Traditionally, neither patients nor providers knew the exact price of procedures until after the insurer processed the charges, but that's all changing.

New technology is now allowing hospitals to determine a patient's responsibility in advance of treatment.

Hospitals say it's important to discuss the cost as early as possible because patients are facing higher deductibles and larger payments for services. Administrators say many people don't even know what their deductible is.

Officials say Americans are shouldering a greater portion of their health care bills, and medical centers don't want to get stuck paying what their patients can't.

But for those who are worried about footing the bill early, hospitals are providing several options.

Working 4 you: Why you should fix your pets

Working 4 you: Why you should fix your pets

America grew up hearing Bob Barker's reminders to spay and neuter your pets, and veterinarians agree, sterilization is important. But why?

According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are an estimated six to eight million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. About half of those get adopted, but sadly the other half have to be euthanized.

The primary reason for spaying and neutering your pets is population control. Every year around one million dogs are euthanized, simply because they have no place to go.

And vets say you should get your pets fixed, whether they play inside or outdoors.

But spaying and neutering doesn't only help the population of unclaimed kitties and puppies, most research finds that pets who get sterilized at a young age actually live longer, healthier lives.

Vets say that by spaying or neutering your pets, you can avoid a lot of costly medical complications in the future caused by infections.

Veterinarians say you should get your pets fixed when they are two to six months old.

Working 4 you: How much will America spend on Halloween?

Working 4 you: How much will America spend on Halloween?

Fall is here and that means retailers and shoppers are turning their attention to Halloween. But will consumers be willing to spend as much this year on costumes and candy?

Stores like Target and Walmart are already gearing up for the Holiday. And if you feel like it's just a little too early to get ready for Halloween, you may be surprised to hear that one-third of Americans say they'll be making their holiday purchases before October 1st.

Halloween is the last major retail event before the big holiday rush. It can offer retailers clues on how willing Americans will be to open their wallets, and how stores should approach holiday inventory, discounts and deals.

Many shoppers say the U.S. economy is still weighing heavily on their minds. one in five people say it will make an impact on how they approach holiday spending.

But it may not affect it as much as you'd think.

New numbers from the National Retail Federation show most consumers won't be afraid to spend on Halloween this year.

So, how much will the average American be spending?

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.

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.