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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Special food aid on state cutting block

OLYMPIA – For 15 years, Washington has helped thousands of people the federal government wouldn’t, providing food assistance to legal immigrants struggling to survive in America. That includes residents of the Marshall Islands who come to this country seeking jobs and medical care after the U.S. military used their nation as a nuclear test zone. Much of Washington’s immigrant Marshallese population is in the Spokane area.

Occupancy standards tightened for housing aid

Changes to the Spokane Housing Authority’s housing voucher program could make for some tight living arrangements. Because of budget cuts, the agency is implementing new occupancy standards and will pay rent based on one bedroom for every two people in a home in an effort to continue to serve all clients receiving housing assistance. “If you have a family of four, you would have a two-bedroom unit,” Executive Director Steve Cervantes said. “In the past, they would have been eligible for a three-bedroom unit.”

Getting There: Plow drivers want to keep rescuing slide-offs

Spokane County road crew workers want to keep pulling stranded motorists from snowy ditches despite fears by the county’s risk manager that the practice puts the county in jeopardy for possible claims or lawsuits. “We are not emergency responders,” Risk Manager Steve Bartel told county commissioners last week.

Heating assistance at risk in federal bill

On a snowy day when temperatures were expected to dip into the teens, Spokane residents learned the state may lose millions in federal funding for heating assistance to southern states such as Arizona and Florida. U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., spoke Saturday to seniors and low-income home heating program advocates in Spokane about a bill that would cut Washington’s heating assistance program.

SNAP expects less federal aid

As falling temperatures force Spokane’s poorest residents to line up for help with heating bills, the largest source of that assistance remains very much in doubt. SNAP, the private nonprofit social services agency, has had to schedule appointments with clients seeking federal energy assistance without knowing exactly how much money will be available.

Complaints at DSHS rise as state funding drops

Demand for social services increased dramatically at the same time Washington state cut those services for an increasing number of poor, jobless residents. The number of state residents experiencing long-term unemployment tripled and the number of poor adults increased by 11 percent between 2008 and 2009, according to the Department of Social and Health Services Client Survey released Tuesday. There also were 13 percent more children living in poverty and 39 percent more hungry families.

Program offers mentors for new fathers

Cliff Kelsey is 23. His dad lives in southern Oregon and he was 16 the first time they met. When he was 21, his mom died. And now he has a new daughter of his own, Merceydes Marie Kelsey. He’s a proud and happy dad; anyone can see that as he starts talking about Merceydes.

Program offers mentors for new fathers

Cliff Kelsey is 23. His dad lives in southern Oregon and he was 16 the first time they met. When he was 21, his mom died. And now he has a new daughter of his own, Merceydes Marie Kelsey. He’s a proud and happy dad; anyone can see that as he starts talking about Merceydes.

Welfare, child support cuts hit hard

It was hard last year for a Spokane mother of three trying to work her way off welfare. It’s much worse now. “I was trying to make the right steps, but now I’m going to have to back step,” said Jenniffer Cooke, 41, who receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families while she works to lift her family out of poverty.

TAA funding snagged in Congress as opponents question its value

A federal trade-assistance program that helps companies impacted by offshore competition could shut down by the end of the year if Congress votes not to renew it. That program is the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act, and dozens of regional firms have used it in recent years to help workers find new jobs or train employees to be more competitive.

Face Time: SNAP coordinator has helped thousands keep warm

Margaret Belote, energy program coordinator at SNAP, is retiring at the end of this month after 33 years of service to the community. During her time at the private, nonprofit social service agency, she has helped thousands of low-income Spokane residents get through the winter months by managing local distribution of the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and other heating assistance programs.

Anti-noise plan deserves a hearing

How loud do you like your amplified blues harmonica? That’s the real question underlying the proposal to change Spokane Municipal Code 10.08.020.

Federal grant for gear helps Fire District 8

Spokane County Fire District 8 south of Spokane Valley was recently awarded a $315,000 grant that will be used to replace aging breathing apparatus. The grant was awarded by the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grants program. The department will pitch in about $35,000 for its required 10 percent match, said Deputy Chief Lonnie Rash. The money will purchase 66 self-contained breathing apparatus, which are the airpacks that provide firefighters with breathable air in dangerous atmospheres – enough for the entire district. “It will be a complete redo for the organization,” Rash said. “It’s a huge safety and training issue for us.”