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Officers pay for downtown shoppers' parking meters

Many Downtown Spokane shoppers play a continuous game of cat and mouse with parking enforcement, avoiding the officers in hope of avoiding tickets. But, this holiday season, if you're in the right place at the right time, you and an officer might have a very different interaction.

This is the city's parking enforcement Secret Santa program.

?When people are first coming downtown to shop, if we happen to be there at the same time when they're just parking, we put some time on the meter for them,? Parking Enforcement Officer Rich Kridler.

Here's how it works: If Kridler or any other enforcement officer is around when you arrive downtown, they will put time on your meter, and you won't have to pay.

What they won't do is feed your meter while you shop, or give you a free pass if they find your meter expired.

Kridler says it's a welcome change to have positive interactions with shoppers.

?We get a few people who are excited, its kind of a nice change of pace, it makes them feel good about coming downtown,? Kridler said.

So this holiday season, when you see a parking enforcement officer, your day might just get a little merrier.

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New partnership with Spokane and Alaskan airlines promotes wine tourism

Spokane's Cork district hopes to bring winery tourism to the city with a new partnership with Alaskan Airlines.

At Overbluff Winery everybody is welcome, come in, sit down and stay awhile.

Odds are, you won't walk out the door before being greeted by the man who started it all, Jerry Gibson.

?Right in my house over Bluff road, we made it in my garage and build a little winery in my backyard,? said Gibson.

Gibson no longer owns the winery, but keeps busy as the wine maker.

?It's a challenge to make good wine and I make some pretty good wine,? said Gibson.

Every bottle is a part of Gibson. He works seven days a week, insisting on daily wine check ups. Personally bottling every bottle.

?What else am I going to do? I'm 80 years old!? said Gibson.

In their short time as a winery, Overbluff has grown exponentially. Something they hope continues with the Cork districts' new partnership with Alaskan airlines.

?We're always looking at economic development opportunities we have. How does Spokane get a piece of that four billion dollar in tourism in wine,? Mike Allen, Spokane city council.

Developer plans comeback for downtown motel

In the 1960's, the Tiki Lodge was a pretty swinging place, inspired by movies like Blue Hawaii and legendary restauranteur Don the Beachcomber. In recent years it's fallen on some hard times, but a photographer turned developer hopes to restore it to it's former glory.

"I don't really have a lot of interest in motels. I don't really know anything about them," says owner�Tim Rice.

"But seeing something that's got cool lines that could be kind of neat and is a challenge and could have some artistic value, keeps me going and motivated."

So when he saw a blast from the past with some real potential, he couldn't resist.

"I saw it for sale online and I came by and I looked at the place. It had some cool lines and some 60's architecture. I thought that was neat," says Rice.

Before�the property�was the Select Inn, a budget motel on the edge of downtown, it was the Tiki Lodge, a tropical gem right on the Spokane strip.

"It was one of the nicest places in Spokane. Because before the freeway cars would go right by here. It was on the thoroughfare. Had a big swimming pool and it was quite the resort," says Rice.

Union Gospel Mission celebrates Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving came a day early for hundreds of needy families in Spokane as the Union Gospel Mission hosted its annual turkey dinner.

The mission welcomed more than 1,000 people for a hot meal on a very wet and dreary day.

The event has expanded greatly in recent years, even moving to the Spokane Convention Center.

"We used to just do our thanksgiving dinner at the mission, but this opens the door for families and keep in the community to have a nice meal," says UGM Executive Director Phil Altmeyer.

He adds the need for aid is constantly increasing.

"We have 4 shelters and we're busy all the time. Especially with woman and children, we're seeing an increase in homelessness every day."

The guests�aren't the only ones who leave feeling satisfied.

"I think this opportunity is really neat. To have lots of people just come and get a warm meal," says volunteer Holly Schneidmiller.

The mission is well stocked with volunteers this year. Judging by the smiles at the dinner, it's easy to see why.

"I know I'm filled when I come here. I just feel so joyful and it's just so fun," says Schneidmiller.

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NYT best-selling children's author and illustrator at the Bing Dec. 14

NYT best-selling children's author and illustrator at the Bing Dec. 14

New York Times best-seelling children's author and illustrator Jan Brett will make a visit to the Bing Crosby Theater on Sunday, December 14, at 5:00 p.m for her new book, The Animals' Santa.

Free autographed posters will be available to the first hundred families attending. Bringing a camera is encouraged as there will be plenty of photo opportunities with Hedgie the hedgehog and Brett's decorated tour bus.

The event is free to attend, but there is a suggested donation of $5 per adult at the door. This money will go directly to the Friends of the Bing.

Those in the autograph line must have an Auntie's Bookstore receipt with a copy of The Animals' Santa. All of Brett's books will also be available for sale at both the event and Aunties Bookstore. Additional books may be signed depending on the size of the crowd.

For all books that Brett is unable to sign, there will be bookplates (created and signed by Brett herself) haded out to everyone who needs them.

Spokane's Steam Plant glows crimson and purple for Apple Cup

Spokane's Steam Plant glows crimson and purple for Apple Cup

This Wednesday, Spokane's historic Steam Plant lit up the building's smokestacks in crimson and purple in honor of this Saturday's Apple Cup.

“We think the Apple Cup is a pretty significant community event and wanted our 225-foot twin smokestacks to highlight the rivalry,” said Spencer Sowl, operations and property manager for Steam Plant Square. “There’s plenty of fans on both sides, so we can’t play favorites, and the stacks will look great in both crimson and purple."

"Although, if you watch the game in the Steam Plant Pub wearing your team’s colors – we’ll be able to see which team has a bigger presence,” he added.

After the University of Washington vs. Washington State University game concludes, the stacks will change to the winning team's colors, and will remain that way through the weekend.
At its peak in 1916, the Steam Plant created and supplied steam heat to more than 300 buildings in downtown Spokane. Ten years later it was transformed into the Steam Plant Square, a mixed-use space including restaurant, brewery, retail, and commercial businesses.

Kick off for Saturday's game is at 7:30.

Secret Santas to plug downtown parking meters

Secret Santas to plug downtown parking meters

Spokane Parking Enforcement crews will be out performing random acts of kindness during the holiday season, plugging parking meters for some downtown visitors.

Every year, city crews plug random parking meters starting on Black Friday through to New Year’s Day. The tradition is a goodwill effort to encourage people to come downtown during the holiday season to celebrate and support downtown businesses. Last December, parking enforcement officers gave more than $400 worth of free parking to downtown visitors.

The City’s nine parking enforcement officers will operate as ‘secret Santas’ during normal parking meter hours (8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday).

The money to plug the meters is donated from Spokane's parking meter revenue funds.