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New AMBER Alert system sets off phones across the state

An AMBER Alert issued Wednesday lit up cell phones across Spokane with a screeching noise, and it won't be the last time.

This year the Federal Emergency Management Agency started allowing local law enforcement agencies to activate the wireless emergency alert program. But you don't have to worry that FEMA has your cell phone on a list, instead the signal is sent to specific cell towers which pass it on to any phone in range.

Wednesday's alert was issued to warn everyone to be on the lookout for Jim DiMaggio, accused of abducting 16-year-old Hannah Anderson from a home in California.

Law enforcement officers believe they may be headed to Canada, and once people heard that they were much more understanding about the unexpected alarm.

"I have a daughter myself," said Spokane resident Jim Gofoth. "I think if there's something in the area I can help with, I'm happy to."

Cassie Stegner agreed. "It doesn't bother me because I want the kids to come home safely."

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Free golf for kids at county links

If you're struggling to keep the kids busy during those last few weeks of summer we have something for you: Free Golf.

It's absolutely gorgeous out at Hangman Valley, one of our three county golf courses where kids can come with a paying adult and enjoy a free round of golf. But, you had better hurry because these sunny summer days won't last forever

"We like seeing the kids out here playing, get them down here hitting range balls and get them excited about playing golf," Hangman assistant pro Todd Nacke said.

Nacke said aren't just encouraged in this sport, they're needed to keep it alive.

"We're just trying to get more involvement in the game. A lot of the country is in decline. I wouldn't say that we are in a decline in Spokane but it has flatlined," he said.

Hangman, MeadowWood, and Liberty Lake offer those free tee times after 1 p.m. every day. It's not just a chance for kids to golf for free but a great opportunity for families to spend time together.

"Also getting the grandparents, the aunt and uncle, mom and dad out there to play one or two extra rounds a year," Nacke said.

Local residents sound off on state's pot plan

Local residents sound off on state's pot plan

The initial high of a pot law may have worn off for some people, but for Spokane County, Thursday night was round two as people were able to voice their opinions of the Liquor Control Board's initial marijuana draft rules at the Spokane Convention Center.

While some people asked questions, some cities are trying to find answers.

"We're going to have to deal with this issue, I think, for the next couple years," Cheney Mayor Tom Trulove said.

Cities like Cheney have made a map using the parameters of Initiative 502 to find where these pot stores might go. They can't be within 1000 feet of schools, churches, or playgrounds. Using that formula, there is not one place zoned right now for a shop to go.

"Relieves a lot of citizens, a lot of residents who just don't want that next door," Trulove said.

Other cities are finding few locations that will work. Medical Lake has one potential site for a store. Liberty Lake has a few. Pullman could have several stores in the north and south ends of town. In Spokane, there are a number of places that would work, including areas on North Division and near Airway Heights.

Crash victim remembered as caring spirit

A woman killed in a head-on collision Wednesday night is now being remembered by those who know her as a caring spirit who loved children.

The Washington State Patrol said an erratic driver, later identified as 43-year-old Brett Birge, hit several cars in a Fred Meyer parking lot and drove away. A few minutes later Birge hit Brittany Babinski head-on at Trent and Sargent Road shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Babinski died at the hospital.

"I got the phone call that Brittany is no longer with us so I'm like did she quit? What happened? They had to say it again and I'm like I just don't understand what you are saying," Kate Green at the Northeast Youth Center said.

Babinski was just 21 years old.

"She is definitely amazing, vibrant and sweet and caring and loving," Green said.

Green worked with Babinski at the youth center where she mentored young kids who ranged in age from 5 to 12.

"For anyone to come in and want to work with at-risk youth, I mean she gave herself here and she was just so dedicated to these kids and treated them as her own," Green said.

Her compassion was one of a kind.

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Amber Alert lights up local cellphones

As the search for an abducted California teen widened to include the Pacific Northwest, cellphones all over Spokane lit up with the alert. Like it or not the Department of Justice is now sending emergency alerts to your phone.

Beginning in January the wireless emergency alert program went operational and now cellphones send out a variety of warnings.

This year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency started allowing local law enforcement agencies push the button on the wireless emergency alert program and because abductor Jim DiMaggio may be on his way to Canada, the California Highway Patrol asked that our area be included in the amber alert.

If your phone was within the vicinity of a cell tower when the alert went out then you got the Amber Alert message.

Once Spokane residents learned Dimaggio may be heading this way they had no problem with the unexpected Amber Alert call.

"It's nice to hear it on the phone too because you might not be on the interstate to see that Amber Alert. So I liked it," Amy Trosine said.

Little Black Dress event will overlook Spokane

Little Black Dress event will overlook Spokane

Sport your favorite little black dress and get your girlfriends together for a night of fun and support.

Little Black Dress of YWCA Spokane showcases its next event on the YWCA Rooftop, Thursday, August 15, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., located at 930 N Monroe Street.  It's to socialize and celebrate area women, creating strong and engaged networking ties while bringing awareness to critical YWCA programs. Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar will be on-site serving specialty cocktails and providing free appetizers.

Beware of scam phone calls from "Sheriff's Office"

From the Spokane County Sheriff's Office:

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office administrative office has received several calls over the past 2-3 months regarding phone calls citizens have received.  Citizens have been receiving calls where the caller says they are from the Sheriff's Office, that there is a warrant out for their arrest, that their relative, spouse, etc. may be charged for harboring a wanted person and that if they pay a fee their record will be cleared.

 

The Sheriff's Office has never and will never make these types of calls.  Individuals with warrants can only take care of their warrants by contacting the court in person.  The main issue is that caller ID provides the Sheriff's Office administration number.  This is commonly referred to as "Spoofing".  Attached is a link that explains this scam, what citizens need to do to protect themselves and how to report these types of incidents.  The Sheriff's Office will never contact wanted individuals requesting money to clear a warrant.