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Separating fact from fiction in I-594 advertising

Separating fact from fiction in I-594 advertising

The political ads are beginning to pick up with Election Day less than a month away, and on the ballot this year is Initiative 594, which would expand background checks for firearms statewide. However is what you're hearing in those ads true?

Current law requires anyone buying a handgun from a licensed dealer needs to pass a background check. I-594 if passed would require a criminal background check on all transfers of a gun, public or private. Proponents say it will keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill but opponents argue it's giving the government more power than it deserves.

So, where's the truth about the initiative?

Issue #1: Opponents say the initiative would increase the workload of local governments with more people being charged for violations of the law.

According to the Washington Office of Financial Management, statewide administrative offices and courts could see fewer than 450 additional cases each year; the fiscal impact is less than $50,000 a year.

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A Hand Up for the Homeless event at River Park Square

A Hand Up for the Homeless event at River Park Square

Union Gospel Mission and other agencies that help the homeless population of the Inland Northwest will hold “A Hand Up for the Homeless” this Friday, October 10 in the atrium at River Park Square in downtown Spokane.

The event will give community members a chance to learn about services available to homeless individuals and families in the region. They'll be able to add to an interactive art piece commemorating World Homeless Day as a reminder of the people in need of safe shelter and the local community groups that help them get off the streets.

Participants will also receive samples and suggestions of things they can give to panhandlers that will be more helpful and lasting than spare change.

Other participating human services agencies include:

One dead in Otis Orchards head-on crash

One person is dead after a Subaru passenger car collided head on with a semi truck early Wednesday morning in Otis Orchards.

The Washington State Patrol reports the crash happened on Highway 290 near Barker Road a few minutes before 5 a.m.

The driver of the Subaru was confirmed dead from injuries sustained in the crash at 9 a.m. The condition of the semi driver is not known.

Tow trucks are removing the Subaru and the semi from the crash site.

Study finds hands free devices just as distracting as cell phones

Study finds hands free devices just as distracting as cell phones

Washington is one of 14 states that requires drivers to use a hands free device while driving with their cell phones. But are those devices any less distracting?

A new study shows that hands free technology designed to keep us safe on the road, may not be any better than using our hands to hold the phone. AAA says the inaccuracies of voice-activated systems in vehicles can even be more distracting to a driver.

"Anything that takes that attention away could pose a threat or a safety issue," Deputy Mark Gregory, Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Dep. Gregory said it's best to just stay off your phone, period. Hands free or not, the risk is too high.

He adds while it's required by law to use hands free devices in Washington, "It's still prevalent, we all look over at lights and see people talking on the phone."

Just last week in Chattaroy a head-on collision was caused by a driver texting and driving. All three people involved had non life-threatening injuries but authorities say, not everyone is as lucky. AAA reports nationally, distracted driving causes over 3,000 fatalities a year.

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Spokane County hiring more jail staffers

Spokane County hiring more jail staffers

The Spokane County Jail and Geiger Corrections Center house nearly 1,000 inmates, up from 800 four years ago, so Spokane County is enacting changes to keep up, including hiring more staff.

With more inmates behind bars in recent years, the corrections system in Spokane County need more staff members and more ways to keep repeat offender from coming back.

On Tuesday Spokane County commissioners unanimously approved a motion to add 12 corrections officers and four nurses to the Spokane County Jail and Geiger Corrections Center. Detention Services said by bringing on more staff, they can save over $1 Million in overtime, making the hires budget neutral.

"We roughly spend about two and half million dollars a year on what could be better spent on full time employees," John McGrath with Detention Services said.

It will be up to the Department of Corrections to decide how many of those new staff members will go to Geiger and how many go to the jail.

Swings a hot button issue on the playground

Swings a hot button issue on the playground

It's a rite of passage many of us enjoyed as kids, a ride on the swing set with our parents pushing us high in the air. But now those swing sets are disappearing from playgrounds across the country and there's a new call for safety after a child in Vancouver died after falling off a swing last week.

The Richland School District announced last week it was phasing swings citing safety concerns, but parents in Spokane are not to keen on them going away.

think it would be a bummer if they took the swings away,? parent Erik Gamble said. "I know my son loves them and that's all he talks about every day, he just wants to go to the park and swing."

While you'll find swing sets at places like Manito Park, in the Spokane School District swing sets haven't been on campuses for nearly two decades.

"In an urban district like ours space is often an issue at some of our smaller elementary schools," Kevin Morrison with the school district said.

Morrison said that due to those space concerns they have to think differently than other districts when it comes to swings.

GoFundMe account to equip K9 Laslo with bulletproof vest

GoFundMe account to equip K9 Laslo with bulletproof vest

A bullet proof vest is a key piece of safety equipment for any two-legged law enforcement officer, but unfortunately it can be hard to find room in the budget to outfit the four-legged ones.

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office is asking for help from the public to please donate a few extra dollars and cover the cost of a bulletproof best for K9 Laslo.

Carla Blazek from K9 Support NW has set up a GoFundMe account to raise the necessary $3,500. A similar fund done earlier this year helped outfit K9 Deacon with the Sheriff's office, and Laslo is already well on his way with $635 raised in just the last two days. You can make a donation here.

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