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House of the Day: Snag a Midcentury Time Capsule on Leafy Grounds for $999K


Get thee to the tipline and send us your suggestions. We'd love to see what you've got. All photos via Zillow Location: Spokane, Washington Price: $999,000 Building Spokane, WA's midcentury jewel, The Ferris House, was no easy feat. According to the home's ...

Obituary: Gordon, Kathleen M.


Kathie and I would be so pleased if donations of thanks be directed to Hospice House of Spokane: 121 S. Arthur, Spokane, WA 99210. Melissa, you do have special powers! That 2 year battle with cancer was worth it. We Won! Finally, if you should find ...

Wastewater levels rise in Spokane River as drought keeps river low


SPOKANE, Washington — While wastewater going into the Spokane River isn't new, because of the drought, effluent makes up more and more of the rivers water. KXLY-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1DeyIN2) that treated sewage makes up about 16 percent of water ...

Latest Washington, Oregon and Alaska sports


Bloomsday 2015: Road Closures, Parking and Bus Routes Bloomsday 2015: Road Closures, Parking and Bus Routes SPOKANE, Wash. - With tens of thousands of people converging on downtown Spokane this weekend for Bloomsday, we wanted to make sure you know about ...

Clearwater Paper posts 2Q profit


On a per-share basis, the Spokane, Washington-based company said it had net income of 81 cents. Earnings, adjusted for stock option gains and non-recurring gains, were 74 cents per share. The maker of pulp-based products posted revenue of $444.6 million in ...

Spokane Police release officer's name involved in shooting on N. Division


Spokane Police say the officer involved in the shooting incident ...
Flight 370 Plane debris found in Indian Ocean possibly from Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 WASHINGTON (AP) - It could be a major break in solving the mystery of what happened to a Malaysia ...

Free health services to be offered to Spokane's under and non-insured


More than 1,500 healthcare professionals and volunteers will operate a no-cost medical and dental clinic in Spokane, Washington on August 3-4, 2015. Over $8 million in free health-related services will be offered to non-insured and under-insured residents ...

Spokane-area civic leaders visit Travis Air Force Base


7/29/2015 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- More than 20 civic leaders from Spokane, Washington and surrounding areas participated in a civic leader tour to Travis Air Force Base, Calif. July 21 and July 22. The purpose of the tour was to increase civic ...

Spokane gang member charged in connection with body left outside Missoula hospital


A Spokane resident has been arrested and charged in connection with the murder of Jake Colvin, a 25-year-old man from Valley, Washington, who was found dead in a sport utility vehicle parked outside of St. Patrick Hospital on Sunday afternoon. Leo Antonio ...

Spokane earns playoff berth with victory versus Portland


SPOKANE, Washington (July 25, 2015) – The Shock (6-10, 2-4) defeated the Portland Thunder (4-12, 1-5) by a final score of 42-40 in front of 8,357 fans at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena in Week 18 Arena Football League regular season action. Portland ...

Goldman Sachs Invests in Spokane Production Company


Being an entrepreneur can be a scary business. Even the most successful businesses are forced to ask themselves – how do I grow and take my company to the next level? That’s where 10,000 Small Busine…

Boy Scouts CEO says new policy on gay leaders may be nonissue in Spokane area - Thu, 30 Jul 2015 PST


Monday’s decision to end a ban on gay Boy Scout leaders nationwide is not expected to have much impact on Scouting in the Spokane region, the group’s top local executive said this week. Tim McCandless…
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SPECIAL INFORMATION FOR SPOKANE

Domestic violence in SPOKANE WASHINGTON

Does your partner ever….

> Embarrass you with put-downs?

> Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?

> Look at you or act in ways that scare you?

> Push you, slap you, choke you or hit you?

> Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?

> Control the money in the relationship? Take your money or Social Security check, make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?

> Make all of the decisions?

> Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away your children?

> Prevent you from working or attending school?

> Act like the abuse is no big deal, deny the abuse or tell you it’s your own fault?

> Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?

> Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?

> Attempt to force you to drop criminal charges?

> Threaten to commit suicide, or threaten to kill you?

If you answered ‘yes’ to even one of these questions, you may be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. Don’t hesitate to chat or call to 1-800-799-SAFE if anything you read raises a red flag about your own relationship or that of someone you know.

For over 17 years, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has been the vital link to safety for women, men, children and families affected by domestic violence. With the help of our dedicated advocates and staff, we respond to calls 24/7, 365 days a year.

We provide confidential, one-on-one support to each caller and chatter, offering crisis intervention, options for next steps and direct connection to sources for immediate safety. Our database holds over 5,000 agencies and resources in communities all across the country. Bilingual advocates are on hand to speak with callers, and our Language Line offers translations in 170+ different languages.

The Hotline is an excellent source of help for concerned friends, family, co-workers and others seeking information and guidance on how to help someone they know. We work to educate communities all over through events, campaigns, and dynamic partnerships with companies ranging from The Avon Foundation to Verizon. Today, The Hotline is continuing to grow and explore new avenues of service.

http://www.thehotline.org/

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Schools and libraries with Wi-Fi in SPOKANE WASHINGTON ?

In June 2013, I joined the President in Mooresville, NC, to launch ConnectED – an initiative to close the technology gap in our schools and bring high-speed Internet to 99 percent of America’s students within five years. This vision – that all students should have access to world-class digital learning – is well on its way to becoming a reality.

Thanks to the leadership of the President and the FCC, the resources are in place to meet the President’s connectivity goal. In addition, various private-sector partners are making over $2 billion worth of resources available to students, teachers, and schools. These include tablets, mobile broadband, software, and online teacher professional development courses from top universities. Fewer than 40 percent of public schools currently have the high-speed Internet needed to support modern digital learning.

But now we have the resources to solve this problem. We just need help from our nation’s superintendents and school technology chiefs.

Last year, the FCC approved the first major update to the E-Rate program since it was created in 1997. E-Rate (also known as the Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries) makes it more affordable for schools and libraries to connect to high-speed Internet – with the goal of making the gigabit speeds we see in cities like Cedar Falls, Iowa, and Chattanooga, Tennessee the norm in schools across the country.

These updates have unlocked funding to support internal Wi-Fi network upgrades in schools and libraries this year for the first time since 2012. Wi-Fi is important because no matter how fast the Internet connection is to a school, students can’t take full advantage of it without a robust wireless network within the school.

To secure E-rate support for Wi-Fi, schools and libraries must submit a form describing their project needs to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). USAC then posts the request for competitive bidding. The Department of Education has prepared an Infrastructure Guide to help district leaders navigate the many decisions required to deliver cutting-edge connectivity to students. That said, schools and libraries have the final say when they submit an application to USAC for approval.

Bringing our schools up to speed is a major priority, and E-rate provides an opportunity to make doing so much more affordable. For all of the superintendents and technology officers: If you haven’t yet done so, get your requests submitted by February 26, 2015, and your applications in before March 26, 2015 (requests must be up for 28 days before a school can choose a vendor). Your students, your community, and your country will thank you for bringing our classrooms into the 21st century. [20]




Make Your Health Benefits Work for You in SPOKANE WASHINGTON

The Department of Labor´s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) administers several important health benefit laws covering employer-based health plans. They govern your basic rights to information about how your health plan works, how to qualify for benefits, and how to make claims for benefits.

In addition, there are specific laws protecting your right to health benefits when you lose coverage or change jobs. EBSA also oversees health care laws covering special medical conditions. For more information on the laws that protect your benefits, see EBSA´s Website. Or call the agency toll free at 1-866-444-3272 to reach a regional office near you. These 10 tips can help make your health benefits work better for you.

1. Explore Your Options for Health Coverage

You have options for health coverage. There are many different types of health benefit plans. Find out what your employer offers, then check out the plan (or plans). Your employer´s human resource office, the health plan administrator, or your union can provide information to help you match your needs and preferences with the available plans. Or consider a health plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Visit HealthCare.gov to see the health plan options available in your area. Get information about all of your options and review it. The more information you have, the better your health care decisions will be.

2. Review the Benefits Available

Do the plans offered cover the benefits that are important to you, such as mental health services, well-baby care, vision or dental care? Are there deductibles? What are the out-of-pocket expenses you may face? Determine your needs and priorities. Compare all of your options before you decide which coverage to elect. Matching your needs and those of your family members will result in the best possible benefits. Cheapest may not always be best. Your goal is high quality health benefits.

3. Read Your Plan´s Summary Plan Description (SPD) for the Wealth of Information It Provides

Your health plan administrator should provide a copy. It outlines your benefits and your legal rights under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Federal law that protects your health benefits. It also should contain information about the coverage of dependents, what services will require a co-payment or coinsurance, and the circumstances under which your employer can change or terminate a health benefits plan. You also can find many of the answers to your questions in the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC), a short, easy-to-understand summary of what a plan covers and what it costs. You should receive a copy with your enrollment materials. Save the SPD, the SBC, and all other health plan brochures and documents, along with memos or correspondence from your employer relating to health benefits.

4. Use Your Health Coverage

Once your health coverage has started, use it to help cover medical costs for services like going to the doctor, filling prescriptions or getting emergency care. Using your benefits will help you and your family stay healthy and reduce your health care costs. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides many valuable protections for people enrolled in employment-based health plans including prohibiting preexisting condition exclusions and annual and lifetime limits on essential health benefits. What’s more, many plans cover certain preventive services for free, including routine vaccinations, regular well-baby and well-child visits, blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests, and many cancer screenings. You also can keep your children on your health plan until age 26. Take advantage of your benefits, especially free preventive care if your plan covers it. If you were required to pay cost-sharing for a preventive service, check your Explanation of Benefits and ensure that the provider billed the service properly.

5. Understand Your Plan’s Mental Health and Substance Use Coverage

Many health plans provide coverage for mental health and substance use disorder benefits. If a plan does offer these benefits, the financial requirements (such as co-payments and deductibles) and the quantitative treatment limits (such as visit limits) for the mental health and substance use disorder benefits cannot be more restrictive than the financial requirements or treatment limits applied to medical/surgical benefits. Plans also cannot impose lifetime and annual limits on the dollar amount of mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment. Some plans cover preventive services like screenings for depression and child behavioral assessments for free. Check your SPD and SBC to find out what your plan covers.

6. Look For Wellness Programs

More employers are establishing wellness programs that encourage employees to work out, stop smoking, and generally adopt healthier lifestyles. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the ACA encourage group health plans to adopt wellness programs but also includes protections for employees and dependents from impermissible discrimination based on a health factor. These programs often provide rewards such as cost savings as well as promoting good health. Check your SPD and SBC to see whether your plan offers a wellness program(s). If your plan does, find out what reward is offered and what you need to do to receive it.

7. Know How to File an Appeal if Your Health Benefits Claim is Denied

Understand your plan’s procedures for filing a claim for benefits and where to make appeals of the plan´s decisions. Pay attention to time limits – make sure you timely file claims and appeals and that the plan makes decisions on time. Keep records and copies of correspondence. Check your health benefits package and your SPD to determine who is responsible for handling problems with benefit claims. Contact EBSA for assistance if you are unable to obtain a response to your complaint.

8. Assess Your Benefits Coverage as Your Family Status Changes

Marriage, Porce, childbirth or adoption, the death of a spouse, and aging out of a parent’s health plan are life events that may signal a need to change your health benefits. You, your spouse, and your dependent children may be eligible for special enrollment into other employer health coverage or through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Even without life-changing events, the information provided by your employer should tell you how you can change benefits or switch plans. If you’re considering special enrollment, act quickly. You have 30 days after the life event to request special enrollment in other employer coverage or 60 days to select a plan in the Marketplace.

9. Be Aware that Changing Jobs and Other Work Events Can Affect Your Health Benefits

If you change employers or lose your job, you may need to find other health coverage. If you have a new job, consider enrolling in your new employer’s plan. Whether starting or losing a job, you may be eligible to special enroll in a spouse’s employer-sponsored plan or through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act – better known as COBRA – you, your covered spouse, and your dependent children may be eligible to continue coverage under your former employer-sponsored plan. This coverage is temporary (generally 18 to 36 months) and you may have to pay the entire premium plus a 2 percent administrative charge. Get information on your coverage options and compare. Be aware of the deadlines for deciding on coverage and find out when your new coverage will be effective.

10. Plan For Retirement

Before you retire, find out what health benefits, if any, extend to you and your spouse during your retirement years. Consult with your employer´s human resources office, your union, or the plan administrator. Check your SPD and other plan documents. Make sure there is no conflicting information among these sources about the benefits you will receive or the circumstances under which they can change or be eliminated. With this information in hand, you can make other important choices, like finding out if you are eligible for Medicare and Medigap insurance coverage. If you want to retire before you are eligible for Medicare and your employer does not provide health benefits in retirement, consider what you will do for health coverage. Your options may include enrolling in a spouse’s employer plan or in a Marketplace plan or temporarily continuing your employer coverage by electing COBRA. Planning for retirement includes planning for your health coverage in retirement. To find out more, read Taking the Mystery Out of Retirement Planning.

These Laws Can Help

  • The Employee Retirement Income Security Act – Offers protection for inPiduals enrolled in retirement, health, and other benefit plans sponsored by private-sector employers, and provides rights to information and a claims and appeals process for participants to get benefits from their plans.
  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – Creates the Health Insurance Marketplace and provides protections for employment-based health coverage, including extending dependent coverage of children to age 26; prohibiting preexisting condition exclusions and prohibiting lifetime and annual limits on essential health benefits.
  • The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act – Contains provisions giving certain former employees, retirees, spouses, and dependent children the right to purchase temporary continuation of group health plan coverage at group rates in specific instances.
  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act – Allows employees, their spouses and their dependents to enroll in employer-provided health coverage regardless of open enrollment periods if they lose coverage or in the event of marriage, birth, adoption or placement for adoption. Also prohibits discrimination in health care coverage.
  • The Women´s Health and Cancer Rights Act – Offers protections for breast cancer patients who elect breast reconstruction in connection with a mastectomy.
  • The Newborns´ and Mothers´ Health Protection Act – Provides rules on minimum coverage for hospital lengths of stay following childbirth.
  • The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act – Prohibits discrimination in group health plan premiums based on genetic information. Also, generally prohibits group health plans from requesting genetic information or requiring genetic tests.
  • The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and the Mental Health Parity Act – Requires parity in financial requirements and treatment limitations for mental health and substance use benefits with those for medical and surgical benefits.
  • The Children´s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act – Allows special enrollment in a group health plan if an employee or dependents lose coverage under CHIP or Medicaid or are eligible for premium assistance under those programs.

For More Information

Visit the Employee Benefits Security Administration’s Website to view the following publications. To order copies or to request assistance from a benefits advisor, contact EBSA electronically or call toll free 1-866-444-3272.

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