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Minister accused of abuse reported in Spokane-area

The Washington State Patrol says investigators have acted on 20 or 30 tips this week as they check locations in the Spokane-area in their search for a self-professed minister accused of sexually abusing at least two girls in rural Minnesota.

Lt. Shane Nelson tells The Spokesman-Review they're also contacting known associates of Victor Arden Barnard.

The investigation began in Minnesota but the 52-year-old was last known to be in the Spokane area. He's facing 59 counts of criminal sexual conduct related to two young women who said they were abused for nearly a decade.

In 2000, Barnard set up what he called the "Shepherd's Camp" on land where girls and young women between the ages of 12 and 24 lived as part of his "Maidens Group."

SCRAPS testing dogs for adoptability

SCRAPS testing dogs for adoptability

Very little background information is known on most of the animals SCRAPS takes in however, through a series of tests they are able to identify a dog's strengths and weaknesses to determine if the dog is adoptable.

"We're going to look at three things to help us determine if a dog is safe to adopt out into a new home," said Nancy Hill of SCRAPS.

The shelter considers information received by intake from the person turning the dog in.

"Was the dog doing something bad and that's why people or an officer brought it in here? Was it a really nice dog that's just lost," said Hill.

After the dog is at the shelter for a minimum of 24 hours, they take a safe assessment test. The safe assessment is a national test used by shelters throughout the United States.

"We're going to put the dog into different situations and evaluate the dog's reaction," Hill said.

The test ranges from anything like a simple touch to a squeeze to a fake hand being placed in and near the dog's food bowl while they are eating. The dog is ranked in each area on a scale system from one to five.

Thousands enrolled for insurance through Washington, Idaho health exchanges

Thousands enrolled for insurance through Washington, Idaho health exchanges

President Obama announced Thursday eight million people have signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, while enrollment numbers in Washington and Idaho have been relatively high so far,

According to Washington's insurance commissioner, 146,000 people signed up for private insurance in the first six months. In Idaho, 44,000 people signed up, making the Gem State second in the nation per capita. So why has it been so successful in our two states? Washington and Idaho created their own state-run exchanges, while many states didn't and rely on the federal government.

Washington and Idaho have their own online marketplaces for families to shop for insurance and, despite some challenges like website issues, they've proven to be effective in enrolling people for health care.

Deanna Davis with Better Health Together said sign-up numbers in eastern Washington were higher than expected.

"We did triple enrollments than what we projected to do in our 14 country region," Davis said.

Online farmers market adds new smartphone app

Online farmers market adds new smartphone app

Purchasing produce straight from the farm just got easier. Northwest Farm Fresh is taking their online farmers market and putting it in the palm of your hand with a new smartphone app.


Northwest Farm Fresh said in a press release that the new app was a natural next step for the virtual farmers market with more and more people using their phones to shop online. The free app is available in both the Google Play store and iTunes, just search NW Farm Fresh.

Photoboxx looks to plug into Instagram market

Photoboxx looks to plug into Instagram market

200 million people worldwide have heard of Instagram, the picture sharing social media app that boasts more than 20 billion photos shared using its software. Now a local company called Photoboxx is looking to tap into that global market.

Here's how Photoboxx works: Say you're planning an event, a guest at the event can snap a picture on Instagram using a specific hashtag and then, about a minute later, the picture prints out on a photobox. Your guest gets to keep the print and you have endless possibilities for marketing not only your event, but your brand.

Owners Michael Fisk and Devon Lind spent about a year, and plenty of their own money starting Photoboxx and the concept behind it is pretty simple.

"At an event people are already taking photos. They are taking pictures with their camera but there is no real incentive for them to use that company or the brand for that event's hashtag," Fish said.

Photoboxx gives them an incentive as the people taking pictures get to keep their Polaroid-like print. But the business side of Photoboxx is maybe the best part

Pot professionals hold seminar for anyone interested in the "Canna-Biz"

Pot professionals hold seminar for anyone interested in the "Canna-Biz"

Legal weed took center stage at the Bing Crosby Theater downtown on Wednesday night. Three experts hosted by The Inlander made the trip to answer questions from the public about the opportunities and hurdles ahead.

Matt Cohen, the pioneer of medical marijuana farms called Washington 'ground zero.' Cohen was a consultant for the state with drafting regulations for Initiative 502.

"I like the law in Washington over any other law in any other state or country so far," Cohen said.

Cohen graced headlines in 2011 when federal agents raided his Northern California medical marijuana grow operation, despite actively working with local and state law enforcement to comply with regulations. His hope is that Washington will be positive role model for other states to follow.

"I think the market is going to have an ability to thrive," Cohen said. "It's going to be regulated very tightly, there's going to be a lot of tax revenue. I think it's going to be a successful program."

Spokane County voters may be asked to approve $45M park levy in 2015

Spokane County voters may be asked next spring to approve a $45 million dollar park levy that would pay for a new sports complex in downtown along with improvements at county parks.

It's a dirt lot now but a site along the north bank of the Spokane River could be home to a massive $20 million multi-use field house complete with an indoor track.

Over at Plante's Ferry Park, that site could see a major upgrade with additional soccer fields and parking.

These are just two of the items that could be considered on a potential park levy in April 2015 that Spokane County Parks Director Doug Chase said is a long time coming.

"We really think they are heavily used and enjoyed by the community and this is one of the opportunities where the community would see that direct return," Chase explained.

Additionally, the Southside Aquatics Center would add two watersides and develop 10 acres of park land around it, complete with baseball fields, improvements to Fish Lake Trail would be made and approximately 10 county parks could be modernized and get new playground equipment.