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Everything you need to know about the River Park Square Christmas tree

Everything you need to know about the River Park Square Christmas tree

The winter holidays are already making their way into River Park Square. Earlier today, construction of the giant Christmas tree that graces the mall's main entrance was completed by Spokane Firefighters IAFF Local 29.

This is the union's 2nd year setting up the tree. According to River Park Square's Marketing Director, Elizabeth Mills, the tree was set up in a record time of 1.5 days.

The Christmas tree you see today has been the main part of River Park Square's holiday decorations since about 2002. The tree itself stands 50 feet tall; the 4 foot star atop the tree makes the whole thing tower 54 feet above the main floor.

10,000 LED lights sparkle on the tree's 689 branches. The silver and red ornaments that give the tree its holiday cheer are numerous. In fact, there are roughly 2,400 of them.

Gov. Inslee proclaims Nov. 17-23 Global Entrepreneurship Week in Washington State

Gov. Inslee proclaims Nov. 17-23 Global Entrepreneurship Week in Washington State

Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed Nov. 17-23, 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) in Washington. This third annual celebration of entrepreneurship and startups will feature more than 100 local education and networking events in all 39 counties – surpassing the reach of any other state program. More events take place year-round in Washington.

Thousands of budding entrepreneurs are expected to attend GEW 2014 events, according to coordinators at the Washington State Department of Commerce. Activities cover a wide range of topics, from how to create a business plan to finding funding.

University of Washington secures building lease in Spokane

University of Washington secures building lease in Spokane

The Spokane City Council on Monday night formally approved the lease of the former Spokane Visitor Information Center to the University of Washington, which will use the space for many purposes, including business outreach, alumni activities and student admissions. The site will also help support the UW's efforts to expand its existing medical school in Spokane.

The city of Spokane sought tenants for the roughly 2,550-square-foot space and the UW submitted its lease proposal on Oct. 2, 2014. The space is expected to become a hub for prospective students and their parents, alumni and other members of the community to learn more about the university. It may also provide opportunities for startup companies and other innovators in the Spokane area to interact with the UW.

Pullman and Moscow thrift shops asking for donations

Pullman and Moscow thrift shops asking for donations

As important as it is to buy local and support your community, it's also important to donate local – and that's exactly what MyRadio 102.5FM is asking you to do.

MyRadio is teaming up with Habitat for Humanity Resale store in Moscow and Palouse Treasures Thrift Store in Pullman to encourage the community to donate their gently used clothes and other items to local organizations.

Both stores resell donated items to benefit their parent organizations: Palouse Habitat for Humanity and Boose Collaborative.

Items that name make the most impact include clothing, furniture, house wares, toys, electronics, home improvement materials, electrical supplies, appliances, housewares, antiques and home décor.

The need for donations is high in summer as thrift stores prepare for the return of students at the University of Idaho and Washington State University.

There's no donation too small to help a local organization and help the community.

Washington unemployment drops to lowest in six years

Washington unemployment drops to lowest in six years

Thanks to a boost in June, Washington's unemployment numbers have dropped to their lowest levels in six years to 5.8 percent – that's according to the state's Employment Security Department.

Industry sectors saw the largest growth with 2,600 jobs. Retail grew by 2,200, leisure and hospitality by 1,900 and wholesale trade by 1,400. Professional and business services, information, manufacturing, financial services and mining also saw growth in the hundreds.

“After a hiring lull in May, Washington employers really picked up the pace in June,” said Paul Turek, an economist with the department. “The state's economy is picking up momentum and the near term job outlook is good.”

During the one-year period ending in June, Employment Security estimates that employers created 84,700 jobs.

Washington State survey shows job vacancies, hiring on the rise

Washington State survey shows job vacancies, hiring on the rise

A state-sponsored survey of Washington employers shows both hiring and job vacancies increased between fall of 2012 and fall of 2013 and employers say it's taking a lot longer to fill the openings.

The Employment Security Department’s “2013 Fall Job-Vacancy and Hiring Survey Report” estimated job vacancies increased by 23 percent to 86,600 in fall 2013. Estimated hiring rose nearly 10 percent to 209,100.

Employers also reported that vacant positions remained open for more than two months before being filled. That's a striking contrast to the rate of just 19 days in 2012.

The report also shows more than half of the state's job vacancies were in urban areas of Western Washington, accounting for nearly 82 percent of all new hires from July to September last year.

The industry sector with the most job openings was agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and the average estimated hourly wage for $13.69.

Will recreational marijuana supply meet public's demand?

Will recreational marijuana supply meet public's demand?

Recreational marijuana is being grown right now and will hit retail store across Washington in early July but will there be enough to go around?

"This strain is called Train Wreck, it's being harvested today," said Scott O'Neil with Pacific Northwest Medical, as he trimmed a 12" long 1/4 lb. marijuana bud.

Right now O'Neil works in the medical marijuana field but in two weeks he'll be on his own.

"And we'll be selling recreational marijuana," O'Neil added.

He hopes his new store will be the first recreational marijuana store to open in Washington; O'Neil Industries, an authorized retailer of Kouchlock.

"We've secured product from a couple of vendors, definitely working on getting more. The product we have right now is probably going to last a couple days," said O'Neil.

O'Neil said some producers are already sold out for the next year and that's weeks before retail stores even open.

That supply will depend on how many growers can get up to speed in the next couple of months. In hopes of building clientele early O'Neil says he's going for as much variety as he can get his hands on.