Local News

Case of decade-old Spokane killing gets major break as medical examiner rules Kala Williams' death a homicide

<p><p>For the past decade, Martine Maggio has suffered nightmares in which her daughter, Kala Williams, is being tortured. Kala screams when she realizes she’s about to be killed. And that’s when Maggio wakes up.</p></p><p><p>Maggio, 65, had that recurring dream last Wednesday. When she awoke, her phone was ringing. It was Spokane Medical Examiner Dr. Veena… ... Continue Reading

Tesla Service Center now open in Liberty Lake

<p><p>Liberty Lake is now home to a Tesla Service Center.</p></p><p><p>Spokane-based Baker Construction &amp; Development Inc. had a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday for the electric vehicle service center at 1805 N. Pepper Lane.</p></p><p><p>The Tesla Service Center features a 6,300-square-foot showroom and sales area and a 37,460-square-foot maintenance and service area.</p></p><p><p>The service center includes 240 parking spaces and… ... Continue Reading

Artistic touches added to North-South Freeway as it extends through neighborhoods

<p><p>Artistic touches are being added to the North-South Freeway as it continues to be built through Spokane neighborhoods.</p></p><p><p>In Hillyard, for example, bridge abutments at Wellesley Avenue will have a life-size mural of a railroad locomotive. A trestle pattern will be on the retaining walls.</p></p><p><p>Further south the theme is nature. There will be day and night… ... Continue Reading

17 challengers file to run against Murray for U.S. Senate seat

<p><p>U.S. Sen. Patty Murray will face 17 candidates in the Aug. 2 primary.</p></p><p><p>Washington’s primary ballot is set after last week’s filing deadline. Murray’s senate seat along with a number of local and statewide races will be on the ballot. The top two from each race will move on to the Nov. 8 general election.</p></p><p><p>With high… ... Continue Reading

'You were replaceable': Gonzaga runner Kristen Garcia advocates mental health, finds boost with transfer from Wisconsin

<p><p>Kristen Garcia was not enjoying running at the University of Wisconsin.</p></p><p><p>It wasn’t for a lack of trying.</p></p><p><p>Two years after graduating from Sedro-Wooley High School – just over an hour north of Seattle – Garcia desired a change.</p></p><p><p>Running became a business for the 2018 Washington State 2A champion and practice was a constant fear as one… ... Continue Reading

'The Book of Mormon' is returning to First Interstate Center in October

<p><p>“The Book of Mormon” is returning to the First Interstate Center for the Arts in October for one weekend only.</p></p><p><p>Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. June 10.</p></p><p><p>From “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the hit musical examines the beliefs and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with satire and… ... Continue Reading

Average U.S. vehicle is now a record 12.2 years old

<p><p>The average age of light vehicles in operation has hit a record, increasing by two months this year to 12.2 years, as a shortage of vehicles is keeping Americans in their cars for longer, according to a study released on Monday.</p></p><p><p>It’s the fifth consecutive year of increase even as the U.S. vehicle fleet recovered, growing by 3.5 million vehicles in the past year, according to the report from financial information firm S&amp;P Global Inc’s mobility team. The results are indicative of pent-up demand that’s likely to keep automakers, their dealers and repair shops happy for years to come.</p></p><p><p>Prior to the pandemic, researchers had expected the average age of vehicles to flatten because of declining sales from their more than 17 million annual peak. Interrupted production from the COVID-19 pandemic followed by a global microchip shortage and other scarce parts, however, has depleted dealership lots and sent up the price of vehicles.</p></p><p><p>“It is a little bit of a unique situation driving the growth trajectory,” said Todd Campau, automotive aftermarket practice lead at S&amp;P Global. “We expect it to continue to grow for a few years and then drop off in the ‘25, ‘26 range, depending on how the pandemic, pent-up demand and scrappage work out.”</p></p><p><p>The average age of a car on the road is 13.1 years, while trucks sit at 11.6 years, according to the analysis.</p></p><p><p>Scrappage volume for 2021 was at more than 11 million vehicles, a rate of 4.2% of vehicles in operation. That was the lowest annual rate in the past two decades, a reverse from 2020 that saw the highest volume in two decades at more than 15 million vehicles, the second highest rate at 5.6%.</p></p><p><p>A return to work and other activities as well as increasing demand for rental fleets contributed to the reversal with drivers traveling more than 12,300 miles on average, a 10% increase year-over-year. Unused vehicles during lockdowns may have once again been registered, Campau said, also contributing to the increased number of vehicles in operation.</p></p><p><p>“Finding a new vehicle is extremely challenging,” Campau said. “If you can wait, the situation is expected to get better in 18 months or so.”</p></p><p><p>That means more drivers may be headed to the repair shop due to aging vehicles. S&amp;P Global was forecasting an 11% increase in service and repairs in 2021 from 2020. It appears that it surpassed that, Campau said.</p></p><p><p>Of course, increasing age of American cars likely means vehicles with worse fuel economy stay on the road, costing drivers money in higher gas prices and emitting more pollution than newer models.<span class="print_trim">Automakers have said they are prioritizing vehicles with better fuel economy and higher profits margins. A 40% increase in EVs to 1.4 million vehicles in operation decreased their average age to 3.8 years from 3.9 years last year.</span></p></p><p><p><span class="print_trim">“What you’re seeing there,” Campau said, “is just how fast their sales are growing.”</span></p></p> ... Continue Reading

For Americans, 2021 delivered healthiest finances in 8 years

<p><p>WASHINGTON — Americans’ financial health reached its highest level in nearly a decade last year, the <a href="https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/other20220523a.htm" target="—blank">Federal Reserve said Monday</a>, spurred by a strong job market and government support payments.</p></p><p><p>Almost eight in 10 adults said last fall that they were either “doing okay or living comfortably” when it came to their finances in… ... Continue Reading

Starbucks leaving Russian market, shutting 130 stores

<p><p>Starbucks is pulling out of the Russian market.</p></p><p><p>In a memo to employees Monday, the Seattle coffee giant said it decided to close its 130 stores and no longer have a brand presence in Russia.</p></p><p><p>Starbucks said it will continue to pay its nearly 2,000 Russian employees for six months and help them transition to new jobs.</p></p><p><p>Starbucks’ move follows <a href="https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-b21f3dcb8ca4f9c2599c4f6f6d5cf450">McDonald’s exit</a> from the Russian market last week. McDonald’s is selling its stores – which are almost all owned by the company – to an existing Russian franchisee.</p></p><p><p>The stores won’t be allowed to use McDonald’s name or menu.</p></p><p><p>Starbucks’ stores are owned and operated by Alshaya Group, a Kuwait-based franchise operator. A spokesperson for Alshaya referred questions to Starbucks on Monday.</p></p><p><p>Starbucks entered the Russian market in 2007.</p></p><p><p>In early March, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Starbucks announced that it would keep its Russian stores open but donate any profits to humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine.</p></p><p><p>But a few days later <span class="print_trim">– after Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, McDonald’s and others temporarily halted their business in Russia –</span> Starbucks changed course and temporarily closed its Russian stores.</p></p><p><p>“Through this dynamic situation, we will continue to make decisions that are true to our mission and values and communicate with transparency,” then Starbucks Corp. CEO Kevin Johnson wrote in a message to employees.</p></p> ... Continue Reading

Biden launches Indo-Pacific trade deal, warns over inflation

<p><p>TOKYO — President Joe Biden launched a new trade deal with 12 Indo-Pacific nations Monday aimed at strengthening their economies as he warned Americans worried about high inflation that it is “going to be a haul” before they feel relief.</p></p><p><p>The president said he does not believe an economic recession is inevitable in the U.S.</p></p><p><p>Biden, speaking… ... Continue Reading

Part of Okanogan County wildlife area closes to protect first endangered sandhill cranes to nest in the Methow Valley

<p><p>A portion of the Methow Wildlife Area has been closed through September to protect a pair of nesting cranes identified as endangered in Washington, the first known to have mated in the Methow Valley.</p></p><p><p>The two sandhill cranes have returned to the spot in the 34,500-acre protected area off Highway 20 between Winthrop and Mazama just… ... Continue Reading

'It's therapeutic': Artist formerly in federal prison helps provide art for drug, mental illness stabilization center

<p><p>Artist Myron Curry spent the weekend putting a dozen large paintings on frames and hanging them inside the Spokane Regional Stabilization Center, which treats people in crises caused by substance abuse or mental illness.</p></p><p><p>The unassuming brick building on West Gardner Avenue run by Pioneer Human Services is often presented by police officers as a choice… ... Continue Reading