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Volunteers needed for SNAP ombudsman program

Volunteers needed for SNAP ombudsman program

SNAP is largely known for their services helping low-income individuals and families, but did you know they also offer a vital service for the elderly?

Lisa Petrie has been the regional Long Term Care Ombudsman for Eastern Washington since 1990, responsible for overseeing 284 nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult family homes across Spokane, Pend Oreille, Ferry, Stevens and Whitman counties.

“This population is so very vulnerable, and it's so hard for them to speak up for what they need. The ombudsman is that voice,” said Petrie. “The whole idea is to visit with residents and make sure that they have the quality of care and quality of life that they deserve. Residents have rights, and we make sure they know that.”

Petrie has 38 volunteers that all make weekly and monthly visits to facilities from Colville to Colfax, getting to know the staff and residents. From their official paperwork, the responsibilities of ombudsman include:

Working 4 you: There's been another data breach, now what?

Working 4 you: There's been another data breach, now what?

Data breaches seem to be becoming the norm, and there's another consumers need to be aware of. Millions of people's personal information is at risk after hackers targeted a hospital network.

Community Health Systems announced the breach yesterday in a regulatory filing. The organization operates 206 hospitals in 29 states across the country.

It says hackers in China have stolen data on 4.5 million patients. The breach happened sometime in April and June this year.

The hackers accessed patients' names, social security numbers, addresses and phone numbers.

Anyone who received treatment from a network-owned hospital in the last five years is affected. People who were referred there by a doctor are also impacted.

The large data breach puts these people at a heightened risk of identity fraud.

But, experts say there are steps to take to make sure your identity stays safe.

First, if you think your SSN has been stolen, contact the three major credit-reporting agencies. They are Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Tell them your social has been stolen and each will give you a free copy of your credit report.

First West Nile infection of 2014 reported

First West Nile infection of 2014 reported

The Washington Department of Health has confirmed the first case of in-state West Nile virus since 2012.

A Walla Walla man in his 20's was exposed somewhere near his home and hospitalized. The infection was confirmed by testing at the Washington State Public Health Laboratories in Shoreline.

Two other Washington residents have been diagnosed with the infection this year, both both contracted the disease while traveling out of state. Additional reports of possible infections are currently under investigation.

“The mosquito samples that have tested positive for West Nile virus in eastern Washington this season are a reminder that the virus is here and we should protect ourselves,” said State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy. “The best prevention is to avoid mosquito bites – at home and while traveling.”

So far 34 mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus in 2014, including:

Train hits car in Whitman County

Train hits car in Whitman County

Three people were injured in a train vs. vehicle collision in Whitman County yesterday afternoon. According to the Whitman County Sheriff's Office, 23-year-old Caleb Bravard of Colfax was driving a 2003 Pontiac GrandAm in a private driveway toward Granite Road about 1/2 mile east of Boyer Park at 4:22 p.m. He told officials that he did not see the train until he was crossing the tracks.
"The train’s front end impacted the driver’s side of the vehicle catapulting the vehicle off of the track and causing it to roll onto its driver side," Sgt. Chris Chapman says in a press release.
Bravard and his two passengers, 18-year-old McKayla Bickelhaupt of Dayton and 22-year-old Tanner White of Colfax, were transported to Whitman Hospital and Medical Center with minor injuries.
The engineer of the train, 42-year-old Brandon Stuller of Lewiston, reported that he saw the car approaching the tracks and activated the train’s whistle in an attempt to notify the driver of his approach to the rail road intersection.

Idaho awarded grant to help low-income students take exams

Idaho awarded grant to help low-income students take exams

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Idaho $75,552 as part of its efforts to boos college and career readiness for historically under-served students. The grant will help defray the costs of taking advanced placement tests for low-income students.

“This is an opportunity for students throughout Idaho to excel. This grant, along with Advanced Opportunities programs like Fast Forward, offered through the Idaho Department of Education, give students the opportunity to earn college credits in high school,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna. “It's a chance for students to excel without the worry of a financial burden.”

The grants are used to help pay for low-income students taking approved placement tests administered by the College Board, the International Baccalaureate Organization and Cambridge International Examinations. By subsidizing test fees for low-income students, the program is intended to encourage students to take advanced placement tests and obtain college credit for high school courses, reducing the time and cost required to complete a degree.

Deadline today for $900k in scholarships

Deadline today for $900k in scholarships

Today is the deadline to apply for a scholarship for North Idaho College, and with more than $900,000 being offered you don't want to wait.

Today's deadline is for the fall 2014 semester and allows students time to attend an orientation session, register for classes, purchase books and pay for classes prior to the start of school on August 25.

New students can click here to download an application. Awarding criteria of each scholarship varies and all students are encouraged to apply.

Recipients also include traditional credit students who can click here for information on how to apply. NIC Foundation scholarships are also available for Workforce Training and Dual Credits students with applications available through those respective programs.

 

DNR bans all outdoor burning

DNR bans all outdoor burning

The Washington Department of Natural Resources has expanded the current statewide burn ban to cover all outdoor burning on DNR-protected lands, with no exceptions.

“All indicators are that we'll continue to have high heat, low humidity and storm systems with winds and lightning. That means huge potential for wildfires,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “We need to do everything we can to minimize danger to people, homes and habitat.”

Hot and dry conditions since early summer have caused very high fire hazard conditions throughout the state. These conditions have caused fires to spread rapidly and challenged firefighting efforts. More than $91 million has been spent so far battling wildfires in 2014, and more than 350,000 acres have burned across the state. There are many weeks to go in this year’s fire season, which usually runs into October.