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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.

Local Pony league baseball champs head to California

Local Pony league baseball champs head to California

A plucky group of 10-year-old boys are preparing to hop on a plane and head down to California to represent Washington as the regional Pony League Baseball champions!

All 11 kids have been involved with Spokane Indians Youth Baseball who united the Pony, Baby Ruth and Spokane Youth Sports Association leagues under one umbrella. After the regular season was over, try-outs were held for the all-star team and just a few weeks later the hard hitters swept the Mustang Northwest Regional Championship, winning all 11 games.

Since then, they've been working hard at Albertsons grocery stores around Spokane, asking for donations to help them make the trip to Anaheim.

“The money will help pay for their hotel room,” said Stephanie Erickson, the mother of one of the players. “The Pony organization books flights, which the parents pay half of, and this will help cover expenses like hotel rooms, food and other incidentals. We have a couple of families driving down with equipment to save on expenses like checking bat bags.”

The Bickett Building to give downtown a boost

The Bickett Building to give downtown a boost

From the outside, The Bickett looks like many buildings outside – old, brick and in need of a little TLC. On the inside, however, developer Jed Conklin and his band of construction workers have transformed the one-time hotel (and rumored brothel) into a streamlined work of art.

Standing at the bannister of the second floor, Conklin says they had a lot of work ahead of them when they first walked in.

“The entire building was open and full of pigeons,” he said. “The droppings were ankle deep in places, and the rain was pouring in.”

Amazingly, Conklin was able to salvage the original floors, now scraped clean and polished to a smooth finish without even a creak to give away its century of history. The original floor plans are still visible in the wood, outlining the four single-occupancy rooms that now make up each apartment.

“We wanted to save as much as we could,” Conklin explained. “Even the shelves are made of recycled lumber from somewhere else in the building.”

Spokane Firefighters Memorial Project to honor Thomas Sparrow

Spokane Firefighters Memorial Project to honor Thomas Sparrow

The Spokane Firefighters Memorial Project is honoring a firefighter tonight who died on the of duty 75 years ago.

Firefighter Thomas Sparrow died in 1939 after serving 19 years with the department.

He had inhaled too much smoke at a house fire on the 3900 block of N. Howard and collapsed after hauling the hose a block away to connect it to the water source. His cause of death was diagnosed as heart failure.

The Spokane Firefighters Memorial Project is honoring Firefighter Sparrow with a dedication ceremony tonight, July 15, at 6 pm. A bronze plaque has already been installed at the corner of Garland and Howard (nearest where he died) to honor his sacrifice.

Everyone is welcome to honor, remember and gather as a community, and afterward to celebrate at the Garland Pub and Grill.

Man secretly buys lunch for airmen at Browne's Addition restaurant

Man secretly buys lunch for airmen at Browne's Addition restaurant

A random act of kindness made the day of 10 local airmen in Browne's Addition Friday afternoon.

The group were enjoying a lunch out at the Elk Public House but were surprised when their tab arrived to discover it was already paid for!

Elk employee Michael Thompson told KXLY over the phone the mystery lunch-buyer was one of his customers, a man by the name of Jim Garst.

Thompson says Garst quietly asked him for the tab (a whopping $197) to thank the airmen for their service.

So how did the airmen react when they found out their lunch had been paid for?

“They were stoked,” Thompson said. “They were really excited, and very grateful.”