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Local liquor store owner finds success in a difficult market

Local liquor store owner finds success in a difficult market

It's been two years since private retailers started selling liquor in Washington state and the change has caused higher prices on liquor and higher fees for those selling it.

Former state-run small volume liquor stores have been closing their doors statewide since the privatization and the ones that are still open took a huge hit in revenue.

Mark Bahr says he feels lucky his store is still in business, but it has come with a price.

"I could have just given up, but I love this business," said Bahr.

Bahr has been the owner of Medical Lake Liquor & Wine for 7 years. Before the privatization his store was contracted to the state.

"We were tasked with managing the states inventory so we were a commissioned sales staff. We got paid based on our sales," said Bahr.

Since the change Bahr's sales took a40-45% hit, and running his store comes with some new costs.

Now Bahr buys all of the liquor himself and then sells it, but, in order to do that, he has to pay a 17 percent retail sales fee.

"I have to make up for that the only place I can and that's in the product that I sell," said Bahr.

Police: Truck that hit restaurant had bad brakes

Police say a tractor-trailer that crashed into a central New York restaurant, killing a bartender, had faulty brakes.

The Ithaca Journal reports that police have ticketed the truck driver for having an inadequate braking system and driving an over-length vehicle.

Authorities say the truck was hauling seven vehicles when it crashed into Simeon's in Ithaca Commons around 4 p.m. Friday. Police say 27-year-old Amanda Bush of Lansing, New York, was killed. Five other people were injured.

Police say the truck was traveling down a hill when the driver tried to steer around a corner to avoid crews working on the street ahead. The rig plowed into the corner bistro, located on the ground floor of a historic four-story building.

The truck is owned by Auto Star Transport of Spokane, Washington.

Memorial held for fallen soldier

Memorial held for fallen soldier

The funeral for 22-year-old Cpl. Justin Clouse was held Saturday morning at Life Center.

Family and friends spoke today telling stories of Clouse and the type of son, brother and fiance he was.

Clouse was known by those closest to him as a friendly giant. He was caring, compassionate and loyal.

A representative from the Army even recalled what a leader he was. He said most people in Clouse's pay grade are only specialists but Clouse was given his title because he showed exceptional potential.

Clouse received a number of honors Saturday including the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal.

Many people came from all over Washington to honor Clouse, including Govenor Jay Inslee and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rogers, who presented Clouse's family with a flag and a letter of condolence.

Clouse was killed in action in Afghanistan last week. Officials said the Sprague native was killed by friendly fire.

Wildfire fighters train for the season

Wildfire fighters train for the season

Wildfire season is underway but what does it take to brave the front lines and fight those fires?

Stepping up to fight wildfires is a bold move.

"You pretty much dedicated your summer if you decide to do this," said Veronica Naccarato, wildfire fighter.

Not to mention the danger. Veronica Naccarato has been fighting fires for five seasons.

Friday she helped train more than 30 new firefighters.

"I started what's called a practice fire, just kind of gets them prepared for going out in a real life fire," said Naccarato.

The live burn exercise is the last part to a week long intensive training program.

Veteran firefighters say it is the most important test of the week.

"Live fire exercises at these guard schools are extremely important because once they leave here training is over and as soon as tomorrow they could be on an actual wildfire," said Josh Tellessen, wildfire fighter.

The trainees are from agencies throughout the area. Their ages range from 18 to 60, some are college students and others are just passionate about the environment, but now they all have the same goal.

DNR predicting above normal fire season

DNR predicting above normal fire season

The Department of Natural Resources is expecting this year's fire season to be above normal and that while the number of fires they see might not change, the size of the fires probably will.

"We're expecting higher than normal temperatures so in certain areas, especially in the Spokane area, we're expecting a slightly above normal fire season," Guy Gifford with the DNR said.

The fire season usually hits its peak in September, however with dry conditions and higher than normal temperatures it means the fire danger is rising more rapidly than usual. For Eastern Washington this is expected to cause more large project fires.

"The thing is in Eastern Washington our normal fire season is 500 fires a year. That's normal. Of those we can usually expect six to ten of that many fires a year becoming a Type 2 which we call a project fire," Gifford said.

These types of wildfires span between 500 and 800 acres and require more outside resources to get them contained.

"More large fires means more homes threatens and more homes lost in a normal fire year," Gifford said.

Chattaroy man killed in house fire

Chattaroy man killed in house fire

A Chattaroy man is dead after a fire at his manufactured home Wednesday night.

Police say it appears the man deliberately set the fire himself using fireworks.

Sheriff's deputies spotted smoke coming out of a home on the 4900 block of E. Chattaroy Road and called the Spokane County Fire Department for assistance.

Fire crews found a man dead in the back of the house. He is known to KXLY only as "Brian."

Investigators say it appears a wall fell on top of the man, making it difficult for crews to locate him.

Brian's parents made it out of the home safely. Brain's father says his son had a history of mental illness and had only been in the home a few days.

His father says Brian argued with his parents, then locked himself in the back bedroom and lit off firecrackers.

The investigation is ongoing.

Escalating crisis in Iraq driving gas prices higher

Escalating crisis in Iraq driving gas prices higher

The tensions in Iraq could soon be hitting your wallet at the gas pump as experts predict gas prices could hit $4 a gallon and possibly more if the situation doesn't deescalate.

A stay-cation might be a wise option this summer as gas prices are starting to rise.

"This time of year you starting to get into driving season, vacation season and those kinds of things and I think notoriously prices start rising up," Jim Redmon, president of Divine Corporation said.

Washington state has the 4th highest average for a gallon of regular unleaded at $3.94 a gallon. In Spokane the average is 20 cents lower at $3.74.

"It's unfortunate that it gets to be that high but you gotta do what you gotta do, you got to get from A to B, I'm going to pay to what ever it goes to because I gotta get around," Kenneth Lower said.

"It's pretty sad, pretty ridiculous, it's already hard enough to pay this much money, especially if you have to drive a lot," Teresa Hankins said.

The fact is, rising violence in Iraq could lead to rising prices at the gas pump.