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16 E. Washington cities earn Tree City USA title

16 E. Washington cities earn Tree City USA title

In honor of Arbor Day, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources is recognizing several Eastern Washington cities that have been chosen as a Tree City USA.

To be acknowledged as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation, a city needs to have either a tree board or a city department that is responsible for tree care and management, establish a tree ordinance, spend at least $2 per capita on tree care, and celebrate Arbor Day.

Water pressure may have caused crack

The Grant County Public Utility District says pressure from the water behind Wanapum Dam may have contributed to the big crack that has disrupted operations at the dam.

The utility said Wednesday that it has ruled out four other causes for the crack. Ruled out were seismic activity, foundation settlement, operation of spillway gates, and explosions at the nearby Yakima Training Center operated by the U.S. Army.

The 65-foot-long fracture was detected by divers on Feb. 27, three days after a dam worker noticed that the top of a spillway pier had shifted slightly. When the reservoir behind the dam was drawn down, the pressure on the spillway was reduced and the fracture closed, stabilizing the spillway pier.

Inslee names April National Poetry Month in honor of Oso

Inslee names April National Poetry Month in honor of Oso

Governor Jay Inslee has declared April National Poetry Month in Washington and is hoping the state will use poetry as a way to send solace and well wishes to the communities affected by the mudslide in Oso.

10-year-old boy learning to drive in canal crash that killed father, brother

Grant County sheriff's detectives have determined that a 10-year-old boy was behind the wheel of a pickup truck that crashed into a canal south of Coulee City, killing his father and 8-year-old brother.

The sheriff's office says Scott Kolves was teaching his 10-year-old son to drive when they were on a fishing trip March 30.

The man grabbed the wheel when the boy had trouble but couldn't prevent the truck from leaving the canal road.

Nearby fishermen saved the 10-year-old and his 12-year-old brother. Eight-year-old Korey Kolves was found downstream and could not be revived. His funeral was Saturday.

Authorities are still looking for Scott Kolves' body.

The 45-year-old worked as a security guard at Ephrata High School and also worked with special needs children.

Beware the swarm!

Beware the swarm!

Warmer temperatures next week are likely to wake up the area's first wave of yellow jackets, so here's what you need to know to help cut back their numbers before they invade your barbecue later this summer.

Right now it's only the queens that are coming out of hibernation and they're looking for a place to nest and start laying their eggs. If you can catch a queen with a trap now you can really cut back on the number of hornets you'll be battling in the warm weather ahead.

Late last summer a lot of us were at war with yellow jackets.

"They got up over the 90's and that allowed the yellow jacket nests to increase in size and then of course they got aggressive going after meat and food at your picnics," Stephanie Cates with Rescue Pest Control Products said.

As it turns out we could have cut down the number of these pesty party crashers if we had gone after the queen.

"They've been hibernating all winter, they're ready to emerge right now and start finding a new nest location," Cates said.

Support dogs bring comfort to mudslide survivors

The dogs of HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response have received hours of training to provide emotional support to people who have experienced a disaster or crisis.

Member of the organization are spread all across the nation, including Spokane. Just days after the mudslide, eight Spokane dogs and their owners went to some of the mudslide's hardest hit areas.

"They just loved all the dogs coming in to help them," said Debbie Wing of HOPE AACR.

They will continue to go back and forth from Oso, Arlington and Darrington, over the course of the next few months to assist mudslide victims who need the most help.

"The child daycare center, they were extremely depressed. They were saying, 'Why go on?' They were so comforted by the dogs. Within 45 minutes, they were singing, playing and talking about all the happy things instead of everything they had been talking about," said Wing

Karen Hathaway, the vice president of HOPE AACR, said the dogs literally take the pain away from those who are suffering.

Farmer settles illegal water use case

An Eastern Washington farmer has reached a settlement agreement with the state Department of Ecology after illegally irrigating cropland on Frenchman Hills near Royal City.

Farrah Wardenaar received and appealed an order to stop irrigating her property last July. She continued to illegally irrigate her cropland and Ecology issued a $59,443 fine in the fall.

Wardenaar has agreed to withdraw her appeal and pay $40,000 of the fine. The rest will be excused after three years if she meets settlement conditions.

Water supply in the Columbia Basin Project is tightly managed to ensure adequate water supply for users and to protect fish and wildlife habitat.