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Fans descend on Spokane for NCAA tourney

Fans descend on Spokane for NCAA tourney

The NCAA tournament kicks off Thursday and the teams were down at the Spokane Arena Wednesday getting in some practice time on the hardwood to prepare for the Big Dance.

As you're out around Spokane this week you'll notice a lot of green, but not for St. Patrick's Day. It's for Michigan State, whose fans have flocked to Spokane to watch their team.

Whether you're a fan of Gonzaga, WSU or Idaho, seeing Spartan green is usually an unwelcome sight, but this week the Lilac City welcomed the team and their fans, like Don Tierney, Michigan State '68, who flew in from Ohio because he never missed a chance to see his Spartans in action.

"I've been here four times, three times for basketball. I know all the good places to eat. Frank's Diner, Anthony's and Hudson's," Tierney said.

You might say Tierney knows about as much as the locals do on places as Kasen, Kade and Kole know about Oklahoma basketball. They were born in Oklahoma and while their family is stationed now at Fairchild Air Force Base, their hearts are in Sooner country.

"I was excited because I knew it was going to be a once in a lifetime chance for us," Kade said.

Clayton chef finds surprise success as buttercream sculptor

Clayton chef finds surprise success as buttercream sculptor

There’s spectacular cakes, and then there’s the art that Chef Rebecca Wortman creates with buttercream frosting and sugar pieces. Using the common cake topping, Wortman makes sculptures that have captured the eye of the confectionary world in just a few short months.

“I wanted to do something different,” said Wortman of her sculptures. “And it’s turning out to be good.”

Visit Spokane campaign hopes to gain national attention

Visit Spokane campaign hopes to gain national attention

The push is on to bring travelers to Spokane! Visit Spokane is expanding their marketing efforts, hoping to gain national attention.

With a river flowing through the heart of the city, locals know Spokane is special, but now Visit Spokane is spreading the word nationwide.

"We've added staff, we've increased our marketing and that's what it takes," Kilday said.

Visit Spokane is running ads on Good Morning America's electronic billboard in Times Square. They'll also be in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Food and Travel Magazine.

"That national message is really important when you are trying to capture meeting planners, we need to elevate the image of the community for leisure travel and business travel," Kilday said.

The new hotel and expanding convention center are helping to fuel these marketing efforts!

Convention Center General Manager Johnna Boxley says once the first wall is up, construction should move quickly, and will allow them to be the host with the most.

Visit Spokane recognized for use of social media

Visit Spokane recognized for use of social media

Visit Spokane is being recognized for the innovative way it’s using social media to promote tourism in the city. Skift.com has listed Visit Spokane as one of only 11 destination marketing organizations in the world taking advantage of Twitter to reach tourists.

Inslee poised to sign legislation restricting teens from tanning salons

Inslee poised to sign legislation restricting teens from tanning salons

Governor Jay Inslee is expected to sign a bill that will make Washington State the sixth in the country that would prevent minors from using tanning beds, which has owners of local tanning salons, who rely on teen business, concerned.

Cindy Herring owns Jamaica Me Tan in Spokane Valley. Many of her clients are high school students and this legislation would stop most of them from tanning altogether.

"It's going to be difficult," she said.

Herring said she understands the health concerns but says educating young people is better than an all-out ban and that a better solution would be to regulate tanning for minors.

"Many other states have addressed, okay we need to have the signatures of children who are under 18 tanning and I agree with that, that's not going to hurt our business. It's going to let mom know that we're safe, it's going to let mom know the rules, the teenager know the rules, and that's the best thing you can do. Through education it's about safe tanning not risky tanning," she explained.

Proposed bill could mean headache for medical marijuana dispensaries and patients

The business of medical marijuana has largely gone unregulated. Soon, that could all change.

A new bill passed by the Washington Senate on Saturday (SB5887) lays out how medical pot shops will work in the new system. Dispensaries will have the same guidelines as recreational marijuana stores, so medical stores will have to apply for a license. Five percent of stores would be allowed to stay only medical. If they don't, owners will have to shut down by September 2015.

"A whole lot of people are thinking medical cannabis is going to go away, it isn't. It isn't what the state is looking for," said Paul Lugo, who owns the medical marijuana dispensary The Herbal Connection near the Garland District.

Lugo plans to apply for a license to keep his medical marijuana dreams alive, and says he's for some state oversight.

"We've got to be able to sit back and say, 'ok, even though we don't personally agree with this, or whatever, it may be best for the industry. We can't go completely unregulated," Lugo said.

Marketing class works to create official Gonzaga Tartan

Marketing class works to create official Gonzaga Tartan

Gonzaga is adding a new symbol to its legacy and wants your help making the final decision. The University is creating an official tartan for the school, and the Spring Marketing 490 class is heading the project. The class has created three tartan options and is asking students, alumni and the community at large to vote for the final design.