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Capitol Christmas Trees prepares for national tour

Capitol Christmas Trees prepares for national tour

Right after Halloween closes out fall, Washington will kick off the holiday season by harvesting the Capitol Christmas Tree. The 88-foot tall Engelmann Spruce will begin it’s journey to Washington D.C. on Friday morning.

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Wash. Health Plan Finder increases staffing to handle calls

Washington Health Plan Finder announced Monday they are hiring more customer support representatives to take on the influx of calls from people wanting to find healthcare coverage.

Right now the Spokane-based call center is seeing long wait times - about 20 minutes to speak to a person - but that doesn't seem to be deterring many from signing up.

A new report Monday revealed 50,000 people have enrolled since October 1st. In Spokane County alone, more than 2,700 individuals are now covered by Medicaid. That's the third largest number in the state, with King County enrolling more than 6,700.

Still, Washington's Health Benefit Exchange program admits those numbers could be higher. They hope the addition of 145 new call center jobs over the next six to eight weeks cuts down on the wait time and encourages more people to sign up.

Frosty weather forecast for Washington

The National Weather Service says gusty winds should ease by late Monday morning in Western Washington but persist through the day in Eastern Washington, bringing the possibility of blowing dust that could reduce visibility for drivers.

Gusts have been recorded of 39 mph at Othello, 46 mph at Spokane and 47 mph at Wenatchee.

Forecasters say the winds will be followed by mostly clear skies that will drop temperatures. Forecasters say lows in Western Washington could drop below freezing with a chance of frost Tuesday morning. The lows in Eastern Washington this week are forecast in the 20s.

New industry booming with pot prohibition's end

People who want to grow or sell marijuana in Washington will turn in applications to the state next month, and the development of this new industry is attracting entrepreneurs from across the country.

Marijuana: Approve or disapprove, either way the plant has laid down roots here in Washington and people are getting ready for the harvest..

"It literally is the building of an industry and I don't think you see that twice in a lifetime," said Hilary Bricken with the law office of Harris and Moure in Seattle.

The firm specializes in cannabis law, specifically in helping potential business owners set up their business and apply for a growing or selling license. They started a group geared to help entrepreneurs set up a marijuana business and so far 50 clients have already applied.

"The reason why you come and see the attorney is to do things like set up your operating agreements and your shareholders agreement which can be very complicated," Bricken said.

Spokane has the potential to see eight recreational stores. Alex with Amerfarms wants to supply those stores and hired Bricken to help procure grower and processor licenses.

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ALERT Spokane will run tests next week

ALERT Spokane will run tests next week

From Spokane County:

Friends hope to find a home for Teresa

When Teresa Adams purchased her mobile home in 2000 she thought she finally had a home that she could build into her own castle and rebuild her life. Now, the walls of her castle are threatening to cave in and the community has stepped up to help her rebuild her kingdom.

“It’s falling apart,” said Teresa. “It’s my castle and my castle is crumbling.”

Potentially toxic dog treats pulled from shelves

Potentially toxic dog treats pulled from shelves

A popular dog treat that has killed hundreds of dogs since January is now being pulled off store shelves.

This week, the Federal Drug Administration announced it believes the dog jerky treats in question are manufactured in China and sold under various brands.

While a recall has yet to be issued, Northwest Seed and Pet pulled the treats from its store shelves Thursday morning.

"It's unsettling that we have products that could make things sick," said Sam Longanecker, manager at Northwest Seed and Pet.

"I don't like that. If it was something I was giving my dog and I heard about it and I would be worried," he added.

It's unclear if any local pets have been affected by the jerky.

For more information: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm371413.htm