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Washington state parks free to visit Monday

Washington state parks free to visit Monday

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission wants the public to know that Monday, August 25 is a state parks “free day,” Visitors will not need a Discover Pass to visit state parks.

The free day is in honor of the birthday of the National Park Service, which was established on August 25, 1916.

State free days are part of the legislation that created the Discover Pass, a $30 annual of $10 one-day permit required on lands managed by Washington State Parks, the Washington departments of Natural Resources and Fish & Wildlife. The Discover Pass legislation provided that state parks could designate up to 12 free days each year when the pass would not be required. The pass is still required to access lands managed by DNR and Fish and Wildlife.

The free days apply only to day use, and not to overnight stays or rental facilities.

The next free days coming up on September 27 for National Public Lands Day and November 11 for Veterans Day.

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.”

Lowe's stores to accept Red Cross donations through Aug. 27

Lowe's stores to accept Red Cross donations through Aug. 27

In response to the recent wildfires in Washington and Oregon, Lowe's has activated its customer donation program in all Washington and Oregon stores to provide a convenient place for customers to make financial donations to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief.

Donations enable to Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small, like the wildfires in several states.

In Washington, the Red Cross has served nearly 33,000 meals and snacks to affected residents and distributed more than 3,500 cleanup supplies. In Oregon, the Red Cross served more than 2,000 meals and snacks and opened four shelters in response to the wildfires.

As a member of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program, Lowe's pledges donations on an ongoing basis in advance of disasters to help the Red Cross deliver immediate aid to communities in need.

Since partnering with Red Cross in 1999, Lowe's and its customers have contributed more than $25 million for disaster relief.

Local game designer looking for success with Kingdoms in Peril

If you're a board game enthusiast who's always on the lookout for a new addition, you may want to check out local Spokane designer Thomas Kaufman and his fast-paced, highly competitive card game Kingdoms in Peril.

I had the chance to sit down and learn Kingdoms recently, and picked it up almost immediately. Set in the ancient middle east (the cards themselves designed with historical carvings from 700 BC, featured in the British museum), each player builds their own kingdom of villages and towns with their capital as the crowning jewel.

Once set-up is complete, players then go to work building a hand of cards that houses their armies, equipment and defensive tactics before turning on each other in an ancient battle royal. To the victor go the spoils, and with a two-hour time limit the winner is declared by either a tally of points (each village, town and city has a numbered value when captured) or when one kingdom emerges victorious.

Avista thanks customers, employees for patience and hard work after storm

Avista thanks customers, employees for patience and hard work after storm

Avista released a big thank-you today to all their customers impacted by last Wednesday's wind storm for their patience during repairs, and to their crews for working non-stop to get everyone back online.

Avista says last week's storm caused the worst damage to their system since a massive ice storm in 1996, nearly 20 years ago. This time around it took nearly 96 hours to restore power to the nearly 40,000 customers left without.

Now that all the power is back on, Avista is getting a better look at the damage. Preliminary numbers show that more than 120 poles had to be replaced after high winds toppled trees onto power lines and snapped poles. That's double their initial estimate.

Dispatchers worked around the clock to prioritize work and dispatch crews to areas of highest need, organizing nearly 14,000 outage reports from customers.