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Lawmakers consider increased penalties for phone use behind the wheel

Some Washington State lawmakers want to crack down on cell phones behind the wheel by adding more restrictions and making the punishment more severe.

Currently, only sending text messages or holding a phone to your ear while driving are banned under state law. The proposal would make it illegal to use apps, surf the web, send emails and more.

Everyone knows texting and talking on the phone while driving is illegal, but many people don't take the law seriously.

"I don't think people take this seriously at all," said driver Kailey Hall.�"Even just driving to my job�I see people at the red lights just texting and then it turns green, they're still texting."

"I don't think people take it very seriously," said high school student Jake Zalud. "The kids listen to their music, they're on their phones all the time all day anyway."

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Mead residents speak out against proposed apartment complex

Dozens of north Spokane County residents pleaded with county commissioners on Tuesday, asking them to say "no" to a proposed apartment complex that could bring in more than 300 new residents to the Gleneden area.

One by one neighbors of the proposed development gave their two cents to the commissioners.

"This is an ill conceived project," said one resident.�

"Growth in the area is good, but we need to keep two things as our top priorities: schools and safety," said another.

The proposed complex would sit on a parcel between Highway 395 and Wandermere Road.

Right now it's zoned low density, but the developer hopes to get it re-zoned, so they can build the 354-unit complex.

500 neighbors have already spoken out in opposition to the plan, signing a petition against it. That prompted the planning commission to recommend against the zoning change, but the decision is ultimately up to the county commissioners.

So on Tuesday the commissioners listened to the concerns, specifically about an increase in traffic, and more students that would be added to the already over-crowded Mead School District.

Spokane County Library District closed for Presidents Day

Spokane County Library District closed for Presidents Day

All Spokane County Library District Facilities will be closed Monday, February 16 in observance of Presidents' Day.

Regular hours will resume on Tuesday February 17. Online services are available 24/7.

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Local game developers launch crowdfunding campaign for Ebola Attack, an independent game for good

Local game developers launch crowdfunding campaign for Ebola Attack, an independent game for good

Two local developers have launched a crowdfunding campaign to prove games aren't just fun, they also have the power to make a difference in the world.

 

In their game, Ebola Attack, players act as the hero white blood cell that must protect the red cells from a deadly infection: the Ebola virus. Over the course of the game, the human body is healed as gamers progress through increasing levels of difficulty. The player’s goal is to save as many people as possible, meanwhile, all net profits from the purchase of the app will aid the relief effort in the very real Ebola war zone in West Africa.

 

 

Riverpoint Academy students selected as finalists in World Series of Innovation, need online votes

Riverpoint Academy students selected as finalists in World Series of Innovation, need online votes

When their teacher asked them to enter Microsoft's Wold Series of Innovation back in November, a group of students at Riverpoint Academy never expected their project would be selected as a finalist out of the 1200 total submissions.

 

Now in the top three of their category, these students need online votes to win $2500 for their school.

 

For their project, the students designed an app to assist in volunteerism. The app, named VolunteerMe, would give its users the ability to search for various volunteer opportunities near them, as well as the ability to sign up to volunteer for those opportunities within the app itself.

 

Snowcat groomers help Mt. Spokane overcome lack of snow

Despite the warm winter conditions and lack of snowfall, Mt. Spokane has stayed open thanks to the hard work of snowcat groomers.

"What you can do basically with modern snow grooming equipment is you can make unridable surfaces ridable," said Mt. Spokane Grooming Supervisor Charlie Karavitis.

He and his team operate the snowcats that shape and groom the runs, but this year, the lack of snow means they have to get creative to stay open.

"This year with a little less snow, I can manage the runs that 99 percent of the people ski, but there are a few places that I wouldn't and have not been going to for a while," said Karavitis.

He powers the nine-ton machine up very still grades, using the blade, tracks and tiller to spread the snow evenly.

"I work that snow from low side to thick side or heavy side where the snow's deeper."

He adds that the prep work begins in the Summer, when they remove rocks and debris that stick out.

"They got me an excavator so I was able to move things around that just made it better," said Karavitis