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September is National Disaster Preparedness month

September is National Disaster Preparedness month

Disaster can strike at any time, and the American Red Cross encourages everyone to take the first step during National Preparedness Month and create a disaster plan for their household that can keep people safe in an emergency.

“Having an emergency plan is an important step so everyone in the household knows what they should do if something happens,” said Martha Reed, Regional Disaster Program Officer. “We believe people should mark National Preparedness Month by creating or updating their plan.”

As we recently saw throughout central and eastern Washington, flash floods and severe weather can strike quickly, leaving residents with only moments to evacuate in some cases. Every second counts during a disaster so the best time to prepare is before one hits.

The Spokane Regional Health District is also participating in National Preparedness Month with a different, but important message every week. They'll be providing resources online and on social media to assist families with the following themes:

Working 4 you: Americans working more than 40-hour weeks

Working 4 you: Americans working more than 40-hour weeks

For many Tuesday means back to work after the Labor Day weekend. But for many full-time employees, they may still be clocking in close to 40 hours this week.

A new study suggests most full-time employees are logging more than 40 hours per week. Gallup's annual Work in Education Survey shows that many people could be working a full workday longer each week.

Some experts believe the reason for this is some people might be more resourceful, while for others, it may be part of their pay structure.

Employees paid by the hour are sometimes restricted in the amount of time they can spend on the job because of limits on overtime. That's typically not an issue for salaried employees, so they are more likely to log more hours at the office.

Gallup's survey found about half of the adults it surveyed say they work 47 hours a week, on average. Nearly one in ten say they work even more, at least 50 hours a week. And 18 percent they work 60 hours a week or more.

So, if you're a full-time employee but actually work less than 40 hours a week, you're in the eight percent minority.

County opens door to Gorge expansion

The Grant County commissioners have approved a zoning change that opens the door for The Gorge Amphitheater to expand.

Live Nation, which owns The Gorge, still needs to obtain additional approval from the county's planning department.

The Columbia Basin Herald says the county commission's approval on Tuesday came despite opposition by The Gorge's neighbors. It also follows a recent study that shows Live Nation is one of the top taxpaying businesses in Grant County.

Neighbors have complained about rowdy concertgoers trespassing, littering and vandalizing their homes and farms. But no residents spoke against the expansion during Tuesday's meeting.

Owners of The Gorge hope to add 1,000 camping sites, a cafe, an outdoor cinema, a farmer's market as well as water, road and sewage improvements.

Grant County Sheriff concerned about rural burglaries

Grant County Sheriff concerned about rural burglaries

The Grant County Sheriff's Office is increasing patrols in rural communities to combat rising property crimes. Today Tom Jones reports the rural areas of Grant County have experienced several property crimes, specifically thefts of metal, wire, batteries and livestock panels. The most recent thefts occurred in Mae Valley and the area to the northeast of Moses Lake.

With autumn approaching and the farming season coming to an end, Sheriff Jones is offering several reminders to assist farmers and ranchers in protecting themselves and their property from being a victim.

Upcoming construction closing access to airport

Upcoming construction closing access to airport

The contractor working on the Highway 2/Spokane Airport interchange has adjusted their schedule and issued a revised plan for on and off-ramp closures while workers grind out old pavement and lay a new asphalt surface.

The full closures are limited to single-lane ramp sections where the roadway will be blocked during the work. The most intense work will be scheduled during hours when traffic counts are lowest.

During the following days and hours, single-lane segments of on and off ramps leading to and from Spokane International Airport on Highway 2 and Sunset Highway will be fully closed. Signed detours will direct drivers to and from Spokane International Airport. Drivers should expect slow traffic, congestion and delays on the detour routes. Travelers are urged to allow plenty of extra time to reach their destinations during these periods to avoid missing flight connections.

There will be no work from 5 am Friday, August 29 until 7 pm Tuesday, September 2.

 

Moses Lake plant building car charging station

The carbon fiber plant at Moses Lake has agreed to spend $125,000 on an electric car charging station to settle a fine from the state Ecology Department for air pollution.

The Tri-City Herald reports equipment failures in 2012 and 2013 at SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers released uncontrolled emissions. The plant makes a light-weight material for BMW's electric car.

Working 4 you: There's been another data breach, now what?

Working 4 you: There's been another data breach, now what?

Data breaches seem to be becoming the norm, and there's another consumers need to be aware of. Millions of people's personal information is at risk after hackers targeted a hospital network.

Community Health Systems announced the breach yesterday in a regulatory filing. The organization operates 206 hospitals in 29 states across the country.

It says hackers in China have stolen data on 4.5 million patients. The breach happened sometime in April and June this year.

The hackers accessed patients' names, social security numbers, addresses and phone numbers.

Anyone who received treatment from a network-owned hospital in the last five years is affected. People who were referred there by a doctor are also impacted.

The large data breach puts these people at a heightened risk of identity fraud.

But, experts say there are steps to take to make sure your identity stays safe.

First, if you think your SSN has been stolen, contact the three major credit-reporting agencies. They are Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Tell them your social has been stolen and each will give you a free copy of your credit report.