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Avista Energy Fair next Thursday

Avista Energy Fair next Thursday

Avista is inviting the public to come learn about free energy-saving materials and meet with community partners at their Energy Fair next Thursday, September 25.

From 3-6 pm at the Northeast Community Center (4001 N. Cook) in Spokane, area residents will learn about energy efficiency, managing their home energy bills and more. The event includes demonstrations and free energy-saving materials to help keep your home comfortable and safe for the winter ahead.

“Each year our customers ask for help in managing their energy use and costs during the winter. It's never too early in the year for us to offer a broad range of ideas and demonstrations that will help residents keep the warm air inside and the cold air outside their homes,” said Ana Matthews, Avista's consumer affairs program manager. “This event provides a great way for customers to conveniently access Avista's many services. Information about payment options, energy assistance and energy efficiency will be especially helpful for those struggling to pay their bills.”

DNR bans all outdoor burning

DNR bans all outdoor burning

The Washington Department of Natural Resources has expanded the current statewide burn ban to cover all outdoor burning on DNR-protected lands, with no exceptions.

“All indicators are that we'll continue to have high heat, low humidity and storm systems with winds and lightning. That means huge potential for wildfires,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “We need to do everything we can to minimize danger to people, homes and habitat.”

Hot and dry conditions since early summer have caused very high fire hazard conditions throughout the state. These conditions have caused fires to spread rapidly and challenged firefighting efforts. More than $91 million has been spent so far battling wildfires in 2014, and more than 350,000 acres have burned across the state. There are many weeks to go in this year’s fire season, which usually runs into October.

Free storm debris disposal ends Sunday

Free storm debris disposal ends Sunday

The city's free green storm debris disposal program is ending Sunday after receiving more than 85 tons at two transfer stations.

Nearly 350 people have dropped off tree branches and other debris after last Saturday's storm moved through the area. Normally the cost for disposal is $5 for up to 220 pounds of material. The service does not include logs, roofing, vinyl fencing or similar materials, and is only available to individuals – not commercial landscaping or yard care businesses.

Small amounts of green debris can also be placed in personal green yard waste carts.

Yard debris will be accepted through Sunday from 7:30 am to 5 pm at the following facilities:

  • North County Transfer Station, 22123 N. Elk-Chattaroy Road
  • Waste to Energy Facility, 2900 S Geiger Blvd.

Avista recap and thanks for Saturday storm

Avista recap and thanks for Saturday storm

Avista once again is expressing their gratefulness for customer patience and support after recovering from the second major storm in just two weeks.

It took only three days to restore power to all 48,000 customers impacted by the August 2 storm, which rolled across the inland northwest just six days after the July 23 storm. The last storm resulted in the worst damage to the system since an ice storm in 1996.

“It's an amazing achievement to restore power to all of our customers within a matter of days following the one-two punch we received from Mother Nature,” said Avista Utilities President Dennis Vermillion. “Given the magnitude of damage from these back-to-back storms, I have the deepest respect for all of our employees who were involved in restoration efforts, especially our Avista crews and the contract crews who worked tirelessly in the heat to turn on the lights and get the air conditioning and fans blowing for our customers.”

Could last week's storm lower your taxes?

Could last week's storm lower your taxes?

If your property took a big hit during last week's storm, did you know your federal taxes could be impacted?

The Spokane County Assessor's Office is responsible for administering a state program for property that has been destroyed by natural disasters called “Taxpayer’s Claim for Reduction of Assessments resulting from Destroyed Real or Personal Property or Loss of Value in a Declared Disaster Area.”

Qualifying property owners will receive an adjustment to the taxes due for 2014, depending on the value of the remaining property. If the property is a total loss, then abatement (tax reduction or exemption) will be done for the remainder of the year.

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.

FEMA funds authorized for Carlton Complex fire

FEMA funds authorized for Carlton Complex fire

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Carlton Complex Fire, burning in Okanogan County, Washington.

FEMA Region X Regional Administrator, Kenneth D. Murphy determined that the Carlton Complex Fire threatened enough destruction to constitute a major disaster. Murphy approved the state's request for federal Fire Management Assistance Grant on Thursday.

When the request was submitted on Wednesday, no homes had burned. Today, dozens of homes and businesses have burned to ash as the fire moved through the small town of Pateros. Nearby Brewster is also under a level three evacuation order, meaning residents must leave the area immediately.

A Red Cross shelter has been set up in the town of Chelan for anyone who needs assistance, including cots, meals and water.