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Flett conviction brings victim's family closure

A Spokane jury found Jason Flett guilty of first degree murder on Friday. Flett was on trial for the 2012 murder of Ramona Childress. Her family says the conviction will help bring closure.

"You know, it was finally a win for Ramona," said Abraham Carroll, Ramona's brother.

Abe describes his sister as a devoted mother and daughter.

"She was full of love," said Carroll. "That was almost the thing you hated about her, there were so many hug, so much love. It was smothering, but it was it most definitely is her best characteristic."

Prosecutors say Flett killed Childress because she had information that could send him back to jail. Investigators found that Flett strangled Childress before beating her with a shovel and stabbing her.

A year after she went missing, a witness told police that he helped Flett bury her body outside of Elk.

The jury also found that a deadly weapons enhancement applied to this case, which will add jail time to Flett's sentence.

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EWU emergency response training today

EWU emergency response training today

The Eastern Washington University Police Department will be holding their annual emergency response training exercise at Reid Elementary School on campus this afternoon.

Beginning at 1 pm, the Rescue Task Force exercise will test emergency response to a critical incident and will include their emergency response partners in the community. This will involve specific training between police/fire to treat victims inside a 'warm zone' during an incident while another team is pursuing a shooter/suspect.

Police and fire department activity will be heavy in and around the Reid Elementary building until approximately 7 pm.

Storm brings dust clouds and power outages

Storm brings dust clouds and power outages

People from all over Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho watched in awe as the large dust cloud covered everything in its path, turning the sunny summer sky into a brown haze Tuesday evening.

The fast winds combined with rain and hail have become all too common for many Spokane residents.

For other areas like Spokane Valley and the South Hill, a new phenomenon.

No matter where you are located Jessie Wuerst, from Avista, said they believe they were more prepared than the previous storms.

"We've really had to get back on our toes, refresh our storm preparations but it didn't take that long when that first storm came up in July to make sure that our communications, are extremely regular and clear with our customers," said Wuerst.

Crews were on standby after their regular day shifts Tuesday in order to tackle the downed power lines as quickly as possible. As soon as the first of the storm rolled over the South Hill crews were out working.

Wuerst said whether it is their linemen or customers, "Above all it's safety that's a concern."

Brush fire destroys home near Mead

Fire investigators are working to figure out how three separate brush fires sparked near Mead destroying a home and three outbuildings.

The fires were reported Tuesday night off Peone Road.

The largest fire was estimated to be 10 acres in size and was quickly stopped by fire crews.

"There will probably be people here all evening," DNR Information Officer Guy Giffords said. "We currently have over 50 firefighters on scene from Spokane County Fire District 9, District 4, DNR and BLM."

The Department of Natural Resources says they had fire fighters in the area as they were prepared to deal with severe weather that moved through.

"We had task forces stationed throughout the region," Giffords said. "As the system came through they repositioned themselves until the fire started and that allowed quick response to these fires."

The DNR says someone lives in the home that burned but as of Tuesday night they were unsure if the occupants were home at the time.

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Program connects refugees with fresh produce

Program connects refugees with fresh produce

Refugee Connections Spokane is a program that helps new and former refugees settle into the community. The Refugees' Harvest Project is one of the volunteer activities that locals can take part in.

"Refugees who come from farming cultures want to get out and do what they know how to do so well," Executive Director of Refugee Connections Spokane said.

It started back in 2011 by Nou Vang, a local refugee at the time. She watched fruit just falling on the ground and rotting. Vang knew there was a need for fresh produce within the local refugee community.

Instead of letting it go to waste, she thought she could pick the unwanted fruit while simultaneously cleaning Spokane yards.

Today, the project is growing rapidly. Volunteers collect thousands of pounds of produce to distribute for free in the East Central Neighborhood.

"There are people who can't afford to buy fresh produce or the store is too far to get to," Hale said.

Salvation Army raising funds to distribute 5,000 backpacks

Salvation Army raising funds to distribute 5,000 backpacks

If you've been into any Cenex Zip Trip lately you've probably been asked to donate to the Salvation Army's back to school backpack and school supply drive and with school right around the corner the goal is to shatter last year's record of 4,000 backpacks handed out to families in need.

This year they're hoping to hand out more than 5,000 backpacks come August 21 and Tuesday the Salvation Army got a big boost from Cenex Zip Trips.

Last year the company gave the Salvation Army $26,000 to fill those backpacks; this year Cenex customers and employees blew that number out of the water when general manager Ian Johnstone presented the Salvation Army with a check for $38,000.

"Unbelievable and I am humbled and honored to be a part of it this being our fifth year. To go from it's humble beginnings of 750 backpacks to hopefully this year to give out over 5000 backpacks is a huge huge honor for everybody at Cenex Zip Trip, all the associates involved and it should be for the community of Spokane as well," he said.

Inland NW braces for another storm

Inland NW braces for another storm

Power crews across the Inland Northwest are gearing up for the threat of severe weather as storms blow through the region for the third time in the last month.

Steven Van Horn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service says things could get windy later this evening.

"Forty miles per hour is definitely possible," Van Horn said. "Probably similar in timing somewhere around tomorrow evening we'll see another round of storms coming through the area."

Van Horn said strong winds are possible with this storm but to have three very damaging storms in a row.

"Yeah that would be fairly rare sequence of events," he said.

An Avista spokesperson said Tuesday afternoon that many of their day shift crews are staying on as the severe weather approaches, with crews spending the afternoon packing up supplies and preparing for spending the evening in the field restoring power.