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Moses Lake air tanker base having busy season fighting wildfires

Moses Lake air tanker base having busy season fighting wildfires

The roar of planes has been heard a little bit more this summer at the Moses Lake Airport. The wildfire air tanker base has been busier flying a record amount of retardant to area fires.

"We've had a lot of 100,000 gallon days," Base Manager Rob Meade said.

Since June the base has flown out 1.9 million gallons of the red mixture.

"We are the only tanker base in the state of Washington, so we cover a large area," Meade said.

The previous record of 1.4 million gallons was set in the base's first year of operation in 2001.

"It's kind of sad that we've had that many fires and there is that much destruction and everything," Meade said. "But you know we just keep pumping the mud and doing what we are told, send the planes where they want them to go."

Mead says they can accommodate planes like the massive DC-10's, all the way to small single engine planes. Wednesday a DC-10 sat on the pad, the crew had the day off. Two other planes, a P2V from Montana and an RJ85 from Arizona waited on standby for a call to action.

Program connects refugees with fresh produce

Program connects refugees with fresh produce

Refugee Connections Spokane is a program that helps new and former refugees settle into the community. The Refugees' Harvest Project is one of the volunteer activities that locals can take part in.

"Refugees who come from farming cultures want to get out and do what they know how to do so well," Executive Director of Refugee Connections Spokane said.

It started back in 2011 by Nou Vang, a local refugee at the time. She watched fruit just falling on the ground and rotting. Vang knew there was a need for fresh produce within the local refugee community.

Instead of letting it go to waste, she thought she could pick the unwanted fruit while simultaneously cleaning Spokane yards.

Today, the project is growing rapidly. Volunteers collect thousands of pounds of produce to distribute for free in the East Central Neighborhood.

"There are people who can't afford to buy fresh produce or the store is too far to get to," Hale said.

DNR bans all outdoor burning

DNR bans all outdoor burning

The Washington Department of Natural Resources has expanded the current statewide burn ban to cover all outdoor burning on DNR-protected lands, with no exceptions.

“All indicators are that we'll continue to have high heat, low humidity and storm systems with winds and lightning. That means huge potential for wildfires,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “We need to do everything we can to minimize danger to people, homes and habitat.”

Hot and dry conditions since early summer have caused very high fire hazard conditions throughout the state. These conditions have caused fires to spread rapidly and challenged firefighting efforts. More than $91 million has been spent so far battling wildfires in 2014, and more than 350,000 acres have burned across the state. There are many weeks to go in this year’s fire season, which usually runs into October.

Gorge Amphitheater planning expansion

The Grant County Planning Commission is recommending a master plan permit process for the planned expansion of the Gorge Amphitheater near Quincy.

The company that runs the concert venue, Life Nation, wants to add more camping space, restaurants and cabins.

KNDO reports local residents say concert-goers already overload local services.

The planning commission voted Wednesday to recommend the county allow the master plan application.

Eastern Washington election results by county

Eastern Washington election results by county

Adams

US Representative District 4

  • Clint Didier (R) - 1,051
  • Estakio Beltran (D) – 153

State Representative, Position 1, District 9

  • Susan Fagan (R) - 1,722

State Representative, Position 1, District 9

  • Joe Schmick (R) - 1,709

County Assessor

  • Sherri Brewer (R) - 1,800

County Auditor

  • Heidi Hunt (R) - 1,801

County Clerk

  • Susan Kirkendall (R) - 1,792

County Commissioner

Avista recap and thanks for Saturday storm

Avista recap and thanks for Saturday storm

Avista once again is expressing their gratefulness for customer patience and support after recovering from the second major storm in just two weeks.

It took only three days to restore power to all 48,000 customers impacted by the August 2 storm, which rolled across the inland northwest just six days after the July 23 storm. The last storm resulted in the worst damage to the system since an ice storm in 1996.

“It's an amazing achievement to restore power to all of our customers within a matter of days following the one-two punch we received from Mother Nature,” said Avista Utilities President Dennis Vermillion. “Given the magnitude of damage from these back-to-back storms, I have the deepest respect for all of our employees who were involved in restoration efforts, especially our Avista crews and the contract crews who worked tirelessly in the heat to turn on the lights and get the air conditioning and fans blowing for our customers.”

Washington fourth in nation for reducing uninsured adults

Washington fourth in nation for reducing uninsured adults

A new Gallup poll puts Washington state fourth in the nation for reducing the number of uninsured adults since the new healthcare law took effect at the beginning of the year.

Washington dropped from 16.8 percent in 2013 to just 10.7 percent in the first half of 2014.

Governor Jay Inslee released a statement about today's report saying, “Gallup has confirmed what we know from our experience here in Washington: expanding coverage for working people in Washington by effectively implementing needed reforms makes a huge difference in getting people insured so they can get the health care they need. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act we enrolled more than 600,000 people in health coverage through our exchange, the Washington Healthplanfinder. We have a lot to be proud of, and will continue doing everything we can to make the ACA work for the people and businesses of Washington.”