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Thousands still without power two days after storm

Thousands of families in Spokane, Stevens, Pend Oreille and Bonner counties are still without power after Wednesday's damaging storms.

Some residents say they've never been without power for more than a few hours, so they never thought they would need to be ready for anything different.

This storm has given them a reason to get their home and themselves prepared.

Former KXLY reporter, Annie Bishop, is cooking dinner for her family on a camping stove.

"This is just easier because our barbeque is charcoal... and I don't want to be waiting for 2 hours for the barbeque to heat up before we eat,? said Bishop.

"We broke this out of our storage this morning so we could have breakfast we made breakfast and boiled water for coffee,? said Bishop.

But she was lucky to have the stove.

Bishop says they were not prepared for an emergency.

"We were scrambling to find our flashlights we went up to my husbands parents house to get candles and everything was kind of in all different spots. So we actually brought our solar lights in the first night it happened because we couldn't find our flashlights,? said Bishop.

Local Army Reserve soldiers welcomed home

After a nearly year-long deployment to Afghanistan, 60 U.S. Army Reserve soldiers returned to the Inland Northwest.

"Oh my gosh, I am so anxious," Jacquie Byrd, who's husband returned home, said.

Just before 1 p.m. on Friday, the soldiers arrived in Spokane, greeted with screams, smiles and signs.

"I was so thrilled, and just overwhelmed with happiness," Jacquie said.

"It kind of feels surreal. It doesn't feel real right now. I think it will sink in a little later, but right now it's a dream," Jacquie's husband, Joshua, said.

There were lots of hugs, tears, and cheers as the military families reunited.

"It was a huge rush of emotions, so happy to be back. I missed them and they look the same, and they look different because you know things change," James Corey, who just returned home, said.

Corey and his fellow soldiers are part of the 455th Engineer Company in Hayden, Idaho. They deployed last August.

"It's�our job to make the battlefield safer for those around us,"Corey said.

These�soldiers have made big sacrifices for our country but they're sure glad to�be�back on U.S. soil.

Power outage brings business boom for local restaurants

The parking lots of restaurants near areas without power have been full since Wednesday night's storm ripped through Eastern Washington.

Perhaps the busiest has been local pizza delivery joints like Pizza Rita on North Wall. They've been slammed with orders since Wednesday night, and say despite a full staff, they're having a hard time keeping up.

"The last couple of days we've had to pull the phones off the hooks because they just wouldn't stop ringing," says Pizza Rita manager Michael Brown.

If you want to get a seat somewhere, your best bet is to find a restaurant in an area where homes did not lose their power.

Residents make the most of extended power outage

Heavy winds knocked out power to thousands on Wednesday, and by Thursday night nearly 12,000 Avista customers were still in the dark. But for some, it seems like a typical summer night.

"We're just barbecuing and we're going to have dinner and light some candles, play games," Susan Hare said.

However, they're without one thing: power. On Wednesday, strong winds from a thunderstorm knocked power lines down across the region leaving at least 40,000 without power. Tonight, their household is one of the thousands still wondering when the electricity will come back on.

"We were first told tonight at 8:30p.m. and now we're hearing tomorrow at 6p.m," Hare said.

If that happens, it will be two days without power. For the Hare family, there isn't time to waste. They have visitors from California and Wimbledon, England.

"We've been going through the dark at night in the house and just playing different games," 11-year-old Gracie said.

The kids have fun locked down: basketball during the day and hide and seek at night.

"We stopped playing that because we couldn't find anyone," Connor Charlton said.

Storm displaces over 40 families at mobile home park

The community of Riverside, just north of Chattaroy, was one of the areas hit hardest by Wednesday afternoon's storm. Countless trees were knocked down, destroying property and tearing down power lines, and displacing more than 40 families living at Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.

Some homes were just jostled around by uprooted trees, while others were completely destroyed by trees snapping in 70 miles per hour winds.

Tim Johnson and his wife were watching the storm carefully Wednesday afternoon.

?I said 'Hon, I said it's going to hit here I just knew it.' You could tell you could look at the sky and I kind of knew that it was going to hit. I never dreamt that it was going to be like this,? Johnson said.

No one really did. 44 trailer homes were either heavily damaged or destroyed by the storm.

Megan Hill with Fire District 4 was in Riverside late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.

?Trailers with trees on them, cars with trees on them... Everybody's property just covered,? Hill said about the scene.

Riverside Village Mobile Home Park may have been the hardest hit, but it wasn't all Hill was dealing with Wednesday.

Storm destroys 40 homes in mobile park

Residents of the Riverside Trailer Court say Wednesday's storm lasted just minutes as logs and debris sliced their way through 44 homes.

Amazingly, no one was hurt. Power in Riverside is non-existent and residents expect to be without it for at least a few days. Clean up efforts have already begun and those affected by the fierce winds and punishing hail�say the support they've received from friends and neighbors has been tremendous.

Fire crews did not issue mandatory evacuations for the park but say many trees are still unstable so those choosing to stick around should use extreme caution.

The Red Cross has set up an emergency shelter at Riverside High School for the displaced families, and stresses that anyone in there in need of place to stay after the storm is welcome.

From New York to Coeur d'Alene, Avenue Q opening this Friday

From New York to Coeur d'Alene, Avenue Q opening this Friday

The fur was flying Tuesday night at Coeur d'Alene's Lake City Playhouse as one of the final dress rehearsals got underway for this Friday's opening of Avenue Q.

The smash hit first debuted on Broadway in 2003, taking home Tony awards for Best Musical, Best Book and Best Original Score, and the cast of Lake City's production does their best to keep up the wild spirit of the show.

With a large cast, but only three human characters, many of the actors take a back seat to their puppet partners – providing a voice, but blending into the background.

“The biggest challenge is just finding the balance between the people and the puppets. If the actor is pushing too hard, you're focusing on them and not the puppet. So it's finding the right balance where you feel like you're watching the puppet but getting emotion from the person. It's a tricky little thing, but when it's right it's lovely,” said Director Troy Nickerson. It's an art form that took weeks to perfect.