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September is National Disaster Preparedness month

September is National Disaster Preparedness month

Disaster can strike at any time, and the American Red Cross encourages everyone to take the first step during National Preparedness Month and create a disaster plan for their household that can keep people safe in an emergency.

“Having an emergency plan is an important step so everyone in the household knows what they should do if something happens,” said Martha Reed, Regional Disaster Program Officer. “We believe people should mark National Preparedness Month by creating or updating their plan.”

As we recently saw throughout central and eastern Washington, flash floods and severe weather can strike quickly, leaving residents with only moments to evacuate in some cases. Every second counts during a disaster so the best time to prepare is before one hits.

The Spokane Regional Health District is also participating in National Preparedness Month with a different, but important message every week. They'll be providing resources online and on social media to assist families with the following themes:

Working 4 you: Americans working more than 40-hour weeks

Working 4 you: Americans working more than 40-hour weeks

For many Tuesday means back to work after the Labor Day weekend. But for many full-time employees, they may still be clocking in close to 40 hours this week.

A new study suggests most full-time employees are logging more than 40 hours per week. Gallup's annual Work in Education Survey shows that many people could be working a full workday longer each week.

Some experts believe the reason for this is some people might be more resourceful, while for others, it may be part of their pay structure.

Employees paid by the hour are sometimes restricted in the amount of time they can spend on the job because of limits on overtime. That's typically not an issue for salaried employees, so they are more likely to log more hours at the office.

Gallup's survey found about half of the adults it surveyed say they work 47 hours a week, on average. Nearly one in ten say they work even more, at least 50 hours a week. And 18 percent they work 60 hours a week or more.

So, if you're a full-time employee but actually work less than 40 hours a week, you're in the eight percent minority.

Riverside residents rebuilding mobile home park

Riverside residents rebuilding mobile home park

A month and a half after a devastating storm swept across the Inland Northwest, Riverside Mobile Home Park continues to rebuild after that storm destroyed over 40 homes.

It took over two weeks after the storm for residents to get power and just last week the boil order on their water was finally lifted. Now the biggest concern is cleaning up the mess the storm left in its wake, with large piles of lumber and debris scattered all over the north end of the park and destroyed homes sitting vacant just as they did the day the storm hit.

Despite the damage and spirits remain high among residents.

"A whole lot of us have gotten our lives together, some of us have decided to move on and everything but a bunch of us is staying here and rebuilding," resident Lonnie Jones.

Jones said a lot of progress has been made but there it still a lot of work to be done. They don't have access to the equipment and resources needed to remove everything.

"We don't have a whole lot of money like some people do have. Everyone is looking at that dollar figure sign and that's not what it's about right now," he said.

Labor Day campers enjoying moderate temps

Labor Day campers enjoying moderate temps

Labor Day is one of the last big camping weekends of summer, and over at Riverside State Park late season campers spent this holiday enjoying more reasonable temperatures.

July and August were the hottest months on record for the Spokane area, but that didn't keep people out of the Bowl and Pitcher campground at Riverside State Park.

"School starts back up and it's like school work and no more camping," Samantha Theabold said as she helped her family pack up their campsite.

They come down each year from British Columbia and, like a lot of other folks at the park, they enjoy the fact that Riverside State Park is close to town, beautiful, and relatively inexpensive.

Christopher Guidotti is one of a dwindling number of park rangers in Eastern Washington. Budget cuts mean volunteers are doing more at campgrounds and other recreational areas and that's good news because, despite the hot temperatures and campfire bans, Discover Pass sales are up seven percent this year.

And just because its Labor Day Guidotti says there is still plenty of great camping ahead.

Officials fixing problems with state's health exchange

One in five people who bought insurance through the Washington health exchange has had problems with their coverage and many have been unable to use it.

In all, 28,000 people have been unable to use their health insurance during the past seven months and health exchange officials are confirming that there were some billing problems.

Now these issues have been fixed for about 21,000 people and the rest should have their coverage fixed before the beginning of September.

Additionally, in response to the problems, the health exchange has opened a limited special enrollment period. Those who have had problems with enrolling or making payments through the healthplanfinder website can enroll in coverage outside of the exchange.

This period is going on now and lasts through November 14.

To find out if you qualify and to enroll you can visit insurance.wa.gov.

Attempted kidnapping claim unfounded

Attempted kidnapping claim unfounded

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office has announced an attempted kidnapping claim in Deer Park has no evidence to back it up.

On Tuesday, August 26th, an adult female reported the attempted abduction of her 11-month-old daughter at an event in Deer Park. The complainant said on Monday afternoon, August 25th, she was at an event at Arcadia Elementary with her 11-month-old and 9-year-old daughters. The event was called “I Heart Deer Park” put on by local churches. It was an event where families could pick up school supplies open to the community. She said her 11-month-old was in her stroller behind her and her 9-year-old was in front of her. She said she was paying attention to her 9-year-old and when she looked back, she saw an adult female had unstrapped her 11-month-old and was holding her.

Upswing in DUI arrests since legalization of marijuana

While people driving high have always been a concern, it's even more so now that legal weed is so accessible. The Washington Transportation Safety Commission is going to extra lengths to inform people that driving high is a crime.

"Our deputies are actually seeing an increase in drivers under the influence of marijuana," Spokane Valley Police Chief Rick VanLeuven said.

He said that it's been a busy year for his officers in the Spokane Valley. Only eight months in and already there's been 37 DUI arrests for marijuana impairment. That number is getting ready to exceed the 44 arrests seen in 2013 and is triumphing over the 17 in 2012.

"People that think that smoking marijuana is legal, they need to understand that they cannot do that and drive," VanLeuven said.

To bring marijuana related DUI's down, officers statewide are being trained to recognize drivers under the influence and get them off the road. Drug Recognition Experts go through a two week classroom and skill training program that covers seven drug categories and the signs and symptoms.