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Working 4 you: Avoid scams while job searching

Consumers are on high alert these days, monitoring their credit and banking information due to a number of data breaches, but there are scammers out there hoping to take advantage of difficult times in your life, like finding a new job.�

Job hunting is stressful enough, and many people are so eager to land a position, they often don't think about who their information is going to.

But, there are some rules for spotting a fraudulent job listing before those scammers strike.�

When applying for jobs, it's common to give out a lot of personal information, like your full name, date of birth, address, even your social security number.�

So, know who you're dealing with and use common sense. For example, does it make sense that a national company would post a position on a local job board? If not, do your research and make sure it's legit.�

Also, avoid anything offering easy money. There's no such thing. If a job seems to good to be true, it probably is.�

And know how the hiring process works. Experts say no reputable company will rush you through it.�

Mobile Murals Project helps beautify Downtown Spokane

One of Downtown Spokane's eyesores is looking a lot more pleasant, thanks to the Mobile Murals Project. Murals were installed on the corner of Division and 3rd Ave as part of "Create Spokane" - a month-long celebration of the arts in the Lilac City.

There are more than 80 paintings that make up the project. Its mission: to help beautify Spokane's downtown area.

?It's nice for the city to have a better self image, and when we start seeing beautification like this, it's going to inspire people to do more, and that's what I'm hoping,? said artist Nikai Birchler.

Birchler is one of the 17 Spokane artists featured in the Mobile Murals Project put on by the Spokane Arts Commission, the City of Spokane, and Downtown Spokane Partnership.

Dozens of volunteers helped install the murals on Saturday morning. Now, Nikai's untitled piece stands front and center on the corner of Division and 3rd.

?I'm thrilled,? Birchler said. ?I love Spokane, I grew up here, I've been an artist for 20 years, and for me to give back to the city a little bit of beauty... it's a privilege I don't take lightly, it's a privilege.?

Police investigating Browne's Addition homicide

Spokane Police Major Crimes detectives are investigating an unattended death as a homicide.

On Thursday, just before 12 p.m., the Spokane Police Department received a report from an apartment manager concerned that he had not seen one of the tenants recently. When officers responded, they found the deceased in an apartment at a complex in the 1600 block of W. Pacific.

The Spokane County Medical Examiner has determined the official cause of death of the victim, identified as 66-year-old Richard W. Whipple, was the result of multiple stab wounds and the manner of death was determined to be Homicide.

SPD Major Crimes detectives continue to follow up on leads and contact individuals as part of their investigation.

This investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233.

Catholic nun makes Ironman history - again.

Next week, some of the toughest athletes in the world will compete in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Among them will be an 84-year old Catholic nun from Spokane who is about to make Ironman history - again.

Sister Madonna Buder's story is part of Ironman lore. She says a message from God got her to take up running at age 49. 35 years and hundreds of races later, she's still going strong and has opened up several Ironman age groups for women. She says she keeps herself busy on the grueling Ironman course by keeping up a constant dialogue with God.

"When they say 'you've got God on your side,' I say, so do you! You just have to refer to him," Sister Buder says.

When she crosses the finish line at Kona next week, she'll be the oldest Ironman finisher in history. She'll win her age group, no question. She's the only competitor, after all.

Her goal? "Finish. Just finish and get it over with."

Does local economy reflect drop in national unemployment?

The latest jobs report released Friday has some promising signs for the U.S. Economy and for American workers. For the first time in more than six years, the unemployment rate is below six percent. The current level of five-point-nine percent is the lowest since 2008.

But it's not all good news. The report also shows that only 62.8 percent of Americans are working, the lowest since 1978. Here in Spokane, people looking for jobs say they're still having problems.

Terry Simmons is an Army veteran with a bachelor's degree in business. He worked a job in the manufacturing industry for nine years, but was laid off last week and doesn't see many viable options.

?You have to get work and skills and experience at the same time,? said Simmons. ?You may have your skills, but you may not have the experience. You may have the experience, but you may not have the skills.?

Job services in Spokane says not to get discouraged yet.

Squatter, suspected sex offender free in Spokane

Mark Merrifield has nine felony charges against him in Spokane and is at the center of a sexual assault investigation in California. So why is he back on the streets of our city?

We first introduced him as the root problem behind a neighborhood effort to clean up an abandoned home. It had growing trash piles, a junk car and had neighbors fearing for their safety. They say it was all because Merrifield was living there as a squatter.

Two months ago Merrifield was arrested on a variety of charges, a relief for neighbors who say they were finally able to feel at peace and begin the clean up process. But on Wednesday, Merrifield posted his $15,000 cash bond and is now out of jail until his trial.

?It just doesn't make any sense to me,? said a neighbor who didn't want their identity revealed. ?He's dangerous, obviously, and even if he didn't do it there's always the possibility. You don't need him roaming the neighborhoods.?

Merrifield is scheduled to stand trial for his Spokane felony charges in February.

Flu season arrives in Spokane County

Flu season arrives in Spokane County

The first case of the flu in Spokane County was confirmed by the Spokane County Regional Health District on Thursday.

"Our first case, he tested positive for influenza A," Health District Spokeswoman Kim Papich said.

The affected person was a man in his 70s. He was admitted to the hospital back in September and was diagnosed with the most common flu type. This strain, however, was H3, which is the same strain that hit the senior population hard last year.

"We had a bad flu season, we had a hard flu season last year," Papich said.

The Health District reports that from September 2013 to January 2014 there were 162 people that were hospitalized because of the flu. December saw 62 people hospitalized because of the flu. Just a month later, that number grew to 99 in January. The first hospitalization didn't occur until November.

"The first case is early, so that should speak more strongly to the case to go get your flu shots now," Papich said.