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Renovations begin at NorthTown Mall

NorthTown Mall, located on Division Street for nearly 60 years, is getting a make over. On Tuesday construction crews continued to tear down a two story brick wall on the north side of the building between Macy's and Kohl's.

The project is three years in the making, and started earlier this year after tenants were moved around so work could begin.

"This is exciting you know because we're going to tear down this wall and you'll get a view inside of what's been going on these past few months as far as the demolition," Senior General Manager John Shasky said.

The renovation includes more parking spaces, two revamped entrances along Queen Avenue, a WiFi cafe, shops and restaurants.

"We really want to bring in some restaurants, Shasky said. "No names right now, I'll be anxious to announce them and let you know who's coming, I think they will be great additions to the center."

He adds all the stores and businesses within the mall are open. He stressed Kohl's which is right next to all the commotion is open.

North Spokane neighbors finally free of nuisance home

North Spokane neighbors finally free of nuisance home

Neighbors in northwest Spokane have been battling to get a condemned home cleaned up for years, and now the nightmare is finally over.

The Francis and C St. neighborhood has been home to some residents since the houses were brand new.

"This was the first house we moved into after we got married in 1955, I've been here 59 years, and it was a lovely neighborhood," said Maureen.

Maureen didn't want to give her last name, but says in the past two years living next to an abandoned home was next to unbearable. From being woken up at all hours of the night, having her water stolen, and finding drug paraphernalia in her yard.

"They didn't take care of their property, or their animals, but the garbage was really bad and it was piled up right outside my dining room window," said Maureen.

Thanks to the City of Spokane, and some very persistent neighbors, Maureen's nightmare is over.

"They finally came and cleaned it up with two dump trucks and a bobcat and code enforcement. And what they fought over for the last 4 or 5 months actually took 45 minutes to clean up," said Jim Bayne.

State grades Spokane-area schools

As the school year approaches parents can check to see how their child's school stacks up to the rest, as the Board of Education has a new Washington state achievement index that grades schools from exemplary down to the lowest five percent.

So how many schools earned top marks in the Spokane school district?

Just two, Wilson Elementary and the Libby Center.

?Just like it's important to know about the schools that are doing really well, it's important to know about the schools that are not doing so well," said Chris Cargill with the Washington Policy Center.

The Washington Policy Center has taken the index and broken it down.

?Overall about 14 percent of schools in the Spokane area were ranked in the top two categories, A or B, exemplary or very good, but 40-percent of schools finished no better than fair and that tells us we really have a lot of work to do," said Cargill.

The top school in the Spokane school district is Wilson Elementary, scoring an exemplary, or A grade, while the worst in the district was Holmes Elementary, which was in the lowest five percent, or F minus.

Leave the firewood at home to keep forests safe

Leave the firewood at home to keep forests safe

The Idaho Department of Lands is reminding outdoor enthusiasts who are planning to camp this Labor Day weekend to leave the firewood at home!

As millions of Americans head into the wilderness for a weekend of fun, many bring their own firewood, not realizing that they put the nation's forests at risk by potentially spreading tree-killing pests. While most of these pests can't travel far on their own, many can hitchhike undetected on firewood, later emerging and starting infestations in new locations hundreds of miles away.

The Don't Move Firewood campaign began in 2007 as a response to the rapid spread of the emerald ash borer, an Asian beetle brought to the US in pre-packaged wood and responsible for killing 100 million ash trees since the early 1990's.

More than 450 other non-native forest insects and diseases are also established in the United States, many spread the same way.

Upcoming construction closing access to airport

Upcoming construction closing access to airport

The contractor working on the Highway 2/Spokane Airport interchange has adjusted their schedule and issued a revised plan for on and off-ramp closures while workers grind out old pavement and lay a new asphalt surface.

The full closures are limited to single-lane ramp sections where the roadway will be blocked during the work. The most intense work will be scheduled during hours when traffic counts are lowest.

During the following days and hours, single-lane segments of on and off ramps leading to and from Spokane International Airport on Highway 2 and Sunset Highway will be fully closed. Signed detours will direct drivers to and from Spokane International Airport. Drivers should expect slow traffic, congestion and delays on the detour routes. Travelers are urged to allow plenty of extra time to reach their destinations during these periods to avoid missing flight connections.

There will be no work from 5 am Friday, August 29 until 7 pm Tuesday, September 2.


WSU student planners feature rival school on cover

WSU student planners feature rival school on cover

Students at Washington State University did a double-take when they received their free student planners from The Bookie this week. The cover features a picture of a cougar, the iconic Bryan clock tower and a building that was a little harder to identify.

Down at the very bottom of the cover, with beautiful brick and elegant cherry trees is Savery Hall, a building located at the heart of the campus of WSU's sworn rival – the University of Washington.

Distraught manager Leslie Martin at WSU's bookstore The Bookie says they are aware of the problem and are working with the vendor to come to a solution. The planners are no longer being handed out, but the ones that have been released are not being collected.

There is no word on whether the school will receive a refund or whether a reprint with a corrected cover is in the works. Meanwhile, a photo of the planner is quickly making the rounds online drawing amusement and criticism.

One Year Later: Donations honor Shorty Belton

One year ago Friday, a Spokane World War Two veteran was beaten to death in his car in a Spokane parking lot. Friends and strangers are coming together to honor Shorty Belton, by donating to a cause close to his heart.

Belton was 89 years old when he was killed last August. He was waiting in his car outside the Eagles Club in North Spokane, when he was beaten by two men trying to steal his wallet.

The Gents Auto Club, former Marines and various Eagles Club groups started fundraising two weeks ago, so they would be ready to make donations on the anniversary of Belton's death. They held bake sales, raffles and car shows to raise $3200 for the Inland Northwest Honor Flight.

"He did serve our country and we really appreciate him serving," said Clara Rood, who helped organize the donations.

Turns out, Belton was nearly a recipient of Honor Flight donations himself.

"Shorty had been offered to go twice," Rood said. "But he declined because he figured there were people more worthy of going than him."