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Carlton Complex Fire officials say no more donations!

Carlton Complex Fire officials say no more donations!

It turns out there can be too much of a good thing. According to the official Carlton Complex Fire blog, the community has overwhelmed community groups with their donations.

Effective immediately, physical donations of clothing, books, toys and more will no longer be accepted.

Okanogan County resources no longer have the space to store additional donations or the manpower to sort them. All donations currently being sorted are more than enough to cover what's needed – they are being transported to a central location and then distributed to members of the community from there.

If you would still like to offer assistance to victims of the Carlton Complex fire, please consider a cash donation to the Apple Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross or other local charities. You can also donate cash for fire victims at any North Cascades Bank.

Avista thanks customers, employees for patience and hard work after storm

Avista thanks customers, employees for patience and hard work after storm

Avista released a big thank-you today to all their customers impacted by last Wednesday's wind storm for their patience during repairs, and to their crews for working non-stop to get everyone back online.

Avista says last week's storm caused the worst damage to their system since a massive ice storm in 1996, nearly 20 years ago. This time around it took nearly 96 hours to restore power to the nearly 40,000 customers left without.

Now that all the power is back on, Avista is getting a better look at the damage. Preliminary numbers show that more than 120 poles had to be replaced after high winds toppled trees onto power lines and snapped poles. That's double their initial estimate.

Dispatchers worked around the clock to prioritize work and dispatch crews to areas of highest need, organizing nearly 14,000 outage reports from customers.

Fundraiser for young girl with rare leukemia

Fundraiser for young girl with rare leukemia

The family of an 8-year-old Spokane girl diagnosed with an extremely rare form of leukemia is asking for your help.

Bella Carvalho was diagnosed with blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN) in June, a rare and aggressive blood disease that can cause, along with many other things, painful lesions on her skin. BPDCN is also a disease most commonly found in elderly men, not little girls.

From her GoFundMe Page:

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.”