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Local agencies partner up for drowning prevention

Local agencies partner up for drowning prevention

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office is teaming up with the Spokane Regional Health District and the Inland Northwest Drowning Prevention Coalition to stress the importance of life jackets and swimming safety measures.

With the holiday weekend approaching, the agencies are partnering to remind residents that preventing drownings is as simple as putting on a life jacket.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists failure to wear a life jacket as among the top reasons people drown, along with lack of swimming lessons, alcohol consumption and lack of supervision.

Half of drowning victims in Washington state did not intend to be immersed in water. Instead, they were fishing near a river or riding in a boat but slipped and fell in cold or swift water.

The partners are working together to boost safety, even offering 25 percent off coupons for a life jacket from Big 5 Sporting Goods which you can find here.

Burn ban on DNR forestland east of Cascades starts July 1

Burn ban on DNR forestland east of Cascades starts July 1

Another warning in the face of the upcoming Fourth of July weekend – the Washington State Department of Natural Resources has placed a burn ban on all DNR-protected land east of the Cascades.

Starting July 1 and running until September 30, the burn ban applies to all forestland under DNR fire protection.

“The seasonally dry weather creates a greater risk for wildfires,” said Commission of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “A burn ban helps to prevent them and protects forests, habitat and property.”

So far this year DNR has already had 172 wildfire starts, which have burned approximately 779 acres across the state.

The ban applies to all outdoor burning on DNR forestland with two exceptions:

Recreational fires in approved fire pits

Gas or propane stoves and barbecue grills

Fireworks and incendiary devices like exploding targets, sky lanterns or tracer ammunition are also illegal.

Rosauers Open Invitational to be held at MeadowWood Golf

Rosauers Open Invitational to be held at MeadowWood Golf

Spokane County Parks, Recreation and Golf announced today they will host the 2014 Rosauers Open at MeadowWood Golf Course in Liberty Lake.

The Rosauers Open Invitational began in 1988 when a group of local golf professionals realized their goal of bringing a Pacific Northwest Section Major to the Spokane area. This was made possible through the signature sponsorship of Rosauers Supermarkets.

The Rosauers Open has grown to be the largest PGA Sectional Event in the United States. However the biggest winner of the annual championship is the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, which received $125,000 from the event last year.

Since its inception, the event has generated $2.38 million for local charities.

This year's event will run July 16th through the 20th.

Warning for campers at Lake Roosevelt 4th of July weekend

Warning for campers at Lake Roosevelt 4th of July weekend

If you're headed to Lake Roosevelt for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, the Washington Bureau of Reclamation wants to make sure your campsite stays high and dry.

They're advising people camping along the Lake Roosevelt shoreline to be aware of potential dangers that could exist due to rapidly rising lake levels. The lake is impounded by Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River about 90 miles west of Spokane.

“When camping along the shoreline, it is recommended that tents and other belongings be kept well away from the water's edge,” said Public Affairs Officer Lynne Brougher. “Although the lake is a popular vacation spot, it is also a working reservoir that supplies water for hydroelectric facilities at Grand Coulee Dam which can result in rapid fluctuations.”

Brougher says campsites that are too close to the water's edge could potentially become flooded and boats that are not properly anchored or secured could drift out into the lake and become a safety hazard.

Big changes coming this year at Hoopfest

Big changes coming this year at Hoopfest

Some big changes are on the way for Hoopfest this year, with Spokane preparing for the influx of thousands of basketball players just 10 days away.

The biggest change is going to be the location of about 35 courts. Development downtown means those courts are going to be moved on Boone Ave., across from the Spokane Arena. It also means more courts, more teams and the biggest Hoopfest to date.

But the 35 Hoopfest courts that used to be in the parking lot at Bernard St. and W. Main Ave. are now being turned into a hotel, which is why organizers are moving the courts to the corner of Washington St. and Boone Ave. They're calling it the North 60.

"So actually between you and I don't tell anyone it's 63 courts, we're just calling it the North 60 'cause it's easier," said Matt Santangelo Executive Director for Hoopfest.

Santangelo said the move also opens up space for more teams.

"There are 458 total courts which is the most courts we've ever had," said Santangelo.

Final touches put on Hoopfest backboards

Final touches put on Hoopfest backboards

The countdown is on for one of Spokane's most beloved events, Hoopfest, which tips off on June 28.

But, long before the players hit the streets, the Hoopfest organization and volunteers are hard at work, getting ready for the biggest three-on-three tournament on the planet.

At hoop storage in East Spokane, crews spent Tuesday finishing the backboards. They're responsible for adding logos, touching up backboards and getting the hoops in place.

All 456 backboards have to be ready to be loaded up onto trucks and strategically placed in downtown Spokane.

This is the last stage of Hoopfest with regards to the signs and backboards," said Randy Smith, as he watched crews put up the last few backboards Tuesday.

Smith will then get ready for the organized chaos that comes the Friday night before the event. The streets close before dusk and, by midnight, crews will tape off 42 city blocks of downtown Spokane, ready to welcome the 250,000 players, volunteers and fans on Hoopfest Saturday.

Volunteers still needed for Hoopfest

Volunteers still needed for Hoopfest

Hoopfest is just two weeks away, and the world’s largest three on three basketball tournament is still in need of volunteers! It takes over 3,000 volunteers to make the weekend of hoops and fun happen.

Interested in volunteering? Here are the areas and shifts that Hoopfest still needs volunteers for: