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In brief: First Night Spokane begins with Kids Night Out

First Night Spokane, the multi-venue New Year’s Eve celebration downtown, kicks off at 3:30 today with Kids Night Out in the Spokane Convention Center.

The full schedule of performers and activities begins at 7 p.m. in venues including Crescent Court, River Park Square, Mobius Science Center and the INB Performing Arts Center.

Admission buttons can be purchased for $18 at any Cenex Zip Trip location, Auntie’s Bookstore and Auntie’s Annex, and River Park Square Concierge.

For a full list of activities and a map, visit

Addy Hatch

Flu hospitalizations worry health officials

With 45 people hospitalized with the flu in Spokane, public health officials worry that the early numbers may portend deeper problems this winter.

Cases are on the rise from last year and the virus is mostly sickening people in their 50s and 60s, according to data released by the Spokane Regional Health District.

Two people in Eastern Washington have died from the flu, including a man in his 40s from Grant County who had been admitted to a Spokane hospital.

This year’s vaccine appears to be working, however some older people, children and those with certain chronic illnesses may not have as much immunity.

John Stucke

Tax means new hours for three library branches

A new library tax voters approved in February will be used to nearly double hours of operation at three Spokane Public Library branches.

Starting Jan. 2, the East Side, Hillyard and Indian Trail branches will be open eight hours a day from Tuesday through Saturday, up from 4.5 hours a day.

The branches’ hours are noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays through Saturdays. The branches are closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Hours at other library branches won’t change.

Addy Hatch

MedStar establishing base in Missoula

Northwest MedStar is establishing a helicopter ambulance base in Missoula to fly patients in need of emergency hospital care.

Two Missoula hospitals – Providence St. Patrick and Community Medical Center – entered into an agreement with Northwest MedStar to replace competitor Life Flight.

Spokane-based Northwest MedStar is part of a nonprofit organization governed by Providence Health and Services, which owns Missoula’s St. Patrick along with Spokane’s Sacred Heart Medical Center and Holy Family Hospital.

John Stucke


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