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Street crews switch gears from snow clearance to flood prevention

Street crews switch gears from snow clearance to flood prevention

On Monday, city crews were working round-the-clock to plow snow from the streets. By Wednesday, however, they were more concerned with urban flooding as warm temperatures defrosted the Inland Northwest.

"This is sort of typical winter weather. After the snow comes the melt," Marlene Feist with the City of Spokane said.

City crews were out Wednesday morning trying to clear storm drains and suck up as much water as possible to try and eliminate the flooding.

"Today we have wastewater crews out making sure that snow melt is going into the drains and not sitting on our streets," Feist said.

For the Thompson family in north Spokane, the snowmelt didn't end up in their street so much as it ended up down in their basement.

"I woke up and saw three inches of standing water outside my front window. My immediate thought was, 'I'm going to go down in the basement and make sure it's not in my basement.' I took a few steps into my finished basement and it was full of water," Genoa Thompson said.

Extreme winter weather calls for home heating tips

The big chill has many of you looking for easy and inexpensive ways to keep your home warm, and Kim Kreber, SNAP's Energy Conservation Coordinator, has tips to help you cut down on your energy bill.

Kreber said your first stop is in the basement, where you can check the ducting with the Charmin test. By holding toilet paper up to your ducts you can check for drafts. If you see the toilet paper move, you have leaks.

The next stop is the front door.

"Have someone go inside with a flash light and they are actually going to shine the light around the door," Kreber said.

If light comes through, put weather striping around the door.

Next, start checking your walls.

"You can go around and just feel, especially around the baseboards," Kreber said.

When you feel cold coming in, you have a crack or leak.

Kreber said if you feel a leak in your walls you can apply caulk to seal it.

Professionals at the non-profit Sustainable Works are also available if you need more help. They say their goal is to help homeowners lower their utility bills.

Clear your sidewalks or face getting fined

Clear your sidewalks or face getting fined

Wednesday night's rain combined with below freezing temperatures Thursday morning, making for an icy commute for drivers and pedestrians alike. While the city is charged with keeping the roads clear, who's in charge of clearing the sidewalks?

In neighborhoods around town it was tricky to just get from one street to the other this because of the icy sidewalks. So who's responsible for clearing them? The onus is actually on the homeowners and businesses owners. They're responsible for keeping sidewalks adjacent to their property clear of snow.

The city says the sidewalks should be clear within 24 hours of snowfall. You must also clear a path at least three feet wide. Snow must be cleared from ramps, fire hydrants and mailboxes.

If you don't clear the sidewalks, you could face a $103 fine. Julie Happy with the City of Spokane says it's important to keep sidewalks clear for the safety of the community.

"It is about safe conditions for people who use your sidewalks or go across your sidewalk because again it is a liability for the property owners if something should occur on that sidewalk," Happy said.

Bill assistance provided for Avista customers

Bill assistance provided for Avista customers

From Avista Utilities:

Winter has landed in the northwest and with it comes cold temperatures. The bitter temperatures alone can cause rising energy use and costs, but combined with the holiday season bringing visiting friends and family, more showers, cooking and other energy using activities, many customers will see higher utility bills in January. Knowing this, Avista wants to remind customers of the bill assistance tools available to help them.

Spokane yard waste collection ends in two weeks

Spokane yard waste collection ends in two weeks

News release from the city of Spokane:


Curbside yard and food waste customers have two more weeks to finish their fall yard cleanup before the City of Spokane suspends the service for the winter.


The optional City service runs from March through November.  The 96-gallon green yard waste cart can be filled with all manner of yard waste—grass, leaves, pine needles, pine cones, weeds, vines, thatch, plant trimmings, small amounts of sod, and branches. 


Avista Energy Fair in North Spokane

Avista Energy Fair in North Spokane

From Avista:

Edible Tree Project uses gleaning to help feed the hungry

Edible Tree Project uses gleaning to help feed the hungry

A young and up and coming non-profit wants to utilize food sources that are already growing around us to help feed Spokane's hungry. The Spokane Edible Tree Project plans to map and glean Spokane's fruit and nut trees to benefit organizations like Second Harvest.


“There's a lot of under utilized resources in our community,” said Kate Burke, founder of The Spokane Edible Tree Project. Still in early stages of development, Burke is drawing on similar tree gleaning projects from Seattle and Portland. Edible Tree will harvest produce from public trees as well as from trees that private property owners register with the organization.


The 24-year-old Spokane native has been working at Second Harvest for the last year through AmeriCorps VISTA focusing on projects like Plant a Row which encourages local gardeners to plant a few crops for the food bank distributor. Burke connected with the Portland Fruit Tree Project at a conference and they have been helping her get Edible Tree off the ground.