Local News

Idaho Vandals to start 2011 season with back-to-back home games

The Idaho Vandals released their 2011 football season schedule Monday, which includes back-to-back home games to kick off the season.The Vandals will start the season facing Bowling Green on Sept. 1."We're opening with a rematch of the most exciting bowl game in bowl-game history," coach Robb Akey said of the Sept. 1 rematch of the Vandals vs. Falcons 2009 Humanitarian Bowl game. "That will be great."

WSU Students Studying in Japan Opt to Stay

OSAKA, Japan – All four of the Washington State University students studying in Japan this semester say they will remain there to complete their work. The students are all living in Osaka, which is about 500 miles from the areas hardest hit by the recent earthquake. All four are part of WSU's Education Abroad program. WSU Student Shelby Shuler writes that life for her has changed little in the wake of the powerful quake. "I live in Osaka, which was almost completely unaffected by the earthquake and its after effects other than almost imperceptible shaking," Shuler said. "As for the nuclear plants, they are too far away to cause any problems in Osaka, and from what I can see, they are bringing the situation under control."

Idaho Monitoring Radiation Levels

The Idaho Department of Health reports it is working with the federal government and other states to monitor information and data concerning potential radiation contamination in the wake of the nuclear incident in Japan. Press release from the health department below.

Grace in Grief: The Schrock Family, Five Years Later

There are events that happen that touch our lives, then simply fade into the background. But, some stay with us forever and we are changed by what we see and hear. The story of Jeff and Carolyn Schrock is one of those stories. Five years ago last November, a horrific car crash killed all five of their children. Today, they're still grieving, but finding a way to move forward and build a new life for their family.Walking into the Bread Box Bakery in Chewelah is like walking into someone's living room. Owners Jeff and Carolyn Schrock greet customers, stack shelves and carry out one simple mission."We put on our sign, home-baked goodness," said Jeff. "And, that's a corny way of saying it, but that's what we're trying to portray.The Schrocks opened the business less than a year ago, signaling a new stage in their life. That new life begins just a few dozen miles down Highway 395 from where life as they knew it a little more than five years ago."I remember the truck coming up out of the median and I remember trying to steer away from it," said Jeff. "Past that, memories get real fuzzy."It was a rainy November night and a wrong-way driver crossed through the median not once, but twice. The second time, it ended in a four-ton pile of twisted metal and shattered glass. Two trucks destroyed, one almost recognizable. When the smoke cleared, what was left was a frightening reality too difficult for most of us to imagine. Jeff was alive, but severely injured. Bones were broken from head to toe and he almost bled to death the first night in the hospital. Carolyn, who was home in Chewelah at the time, got the call; she only knew at that time that her husband was injured. No one had the heart to tell her yet that her five children - Carmen, Jana, Carrina, Jerrill and two-year old Craig - were all dead. A family, wiped out, in the blink of an eye."The reality of what you don't have becomes really real to you," explained Carolyn of the shock and grief that followed. In the wake of the crash the world, it seems, put their arms around the Schrocks. Their Mennonite community pulled them in, while the community reached out, holding fundraisers and prayer vigils to remember the children and make sure Jeff and Carolyn had everything they needed. A sign went up at the crash site just days later, bearing the words "For All, Forgiveness." Jeff and Carolyn led the way."As a Christian, I realize that forgiveness is the only way I can be a Christian." said Jeff. "And in return for that, forgiveness is required of me. So, in that sense, I don't have a choice."They implored us all to forgive a man named Clifford Helm. He was driving the other truck that November night. Original theories ranged from cell-phone distraction to a suicide mission. In court, Helm's lawyers told the jury he had a coughing fit and blacked out. Before their children were even buried, Carolyn and Jeff visited Helm in the hospital. And, when he was found not guilty of vehicular homicide, the Schrocks stood by his side."We personally believe that Cliff was just as much a victim in all this as we were. It was outside of his control," explained Jeff.Five years later, that bond remains strong. The two families have dinners together and say their friendship is both strong and necessary for their healing. How do they do it? The Schrocks say - simply - faith."As a human, it's hard to understand that," said Jeff. "It's the way we believe God has designed it."Five years later in their new bakery, the laughter of children greets customers. The Schrocks have two children, at whom you can't help but smile. Jolynn was born just six weeks after the crash that killed her brothers and sisters. Three-year old Carl came next. They're as much of a draw at the bakery as the sweet rolls."One lady comes in here often and she doesn't buy that much, but she comes in every week just to see the children," explained Jeff.The children are a living, breathing, laughing sign that life marches on. But, despite new beginnings, you can never escape the past."They know that our children were the same age as some of our friends' families and they know they don't have those big sisters and brothers," said Carolyn. "They have to accept it, too. We try to help them accept it like we do." But, Carolyn says the kids do experience some level of sibling grief; it's a grief she did not expect.Acceptance, they explain, is not a one-time act. It's a constant challenge, no matter how deep your faith. Their oldest child would be almost 18 now. Those are milestones prayer and time cannot erase."For my wife, for some reason, the five-year anniversary was a hard time," said Jeff. "Why? I don't know. Two years wasn't as hard as five years in some ways.""I cried a lot," continued Carolyn. "I would get teary over it lots. You have to pray and ask God to accept it again. That's what happens a lot, you just have to keep saying I accept your will in my life again. It's not easy."Their bakery, in many ways, has helped the healing process. The Schrocks have met people in the community who know their story. They know now the support did not end when the crosses came down off that road."We look back on it as being so supported and that's how it was this year when it was so hard for me, I felt so supported and loved all over again," said Carolyn. "That's what I like when people talk to us here, if they'll say - oh, that's you, we've been praying for you for a long time. And, we get to thank them for that."Does time erase the wounds? Of course not. How could it, really? But, it does change the way you grieve and make you celebrate the gifts in your life. Forgiveness helps - and heals. And, faith can bring you home."Of course we're real, of course we cry, of course it's hard," said Carolyn. "But, still, by God's grace you can do it. And, he can give you peace and actually joy."Clifford Helm said his family is still grieving and healing, too. He didn't want to speak to kxly4 on camera, but said God is there in his life, too. He said the healing process is still going on and he is grateful to have the Schrocks in his life.Story by KXLY4 Executive Producer Melissa Luck

Elder Harpham Upset At 'Lies' About Son

Cecil Harpham, the Kettle Falls man whose son is suspected of planting a bomb in downtown Spokane on Jan. 17, says that his son Kevin is not the MLK Day Bomber.Harpham says a lot of people would lie for their kids but he would not. However, the elder Harpham isn't exactly clearing his son of involvement in the attempted bombing, either.He said his son Kevin couldn't have placed the bomb in downtown Spokane on Jan. 17 because Kevin was caring for him in Kettle Falls.

Japan Nuke Crisis "Touch And Go"

The updates on the condition of Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant change every hour, so often its hard to know what is really going on, a situation which Dr. Akira Tokuhiro at the University of Idaho calls very "touch and go." Dr. Tokuhiro is originally from Tokyo and teaches nuclear reactor physics at the University of Idaho. He says the experts in Japan dealing with the nuclear reactor situation directly are faced with two huge tasks; first, dropping the temperature of the reactors and second, containing the radiation that is dispersed into the air.

Idaho House passes bill to allow guns on campus

The Idaho House voted 41-28 to pass legislation that will allow firearms on public university and college campuses. Republican state Rep. Erik Simpson's bill would prohibit the schools from banning firearms, either carried openly or by people with concealed weapons permits, anywhere on campus except in undergraduate residence halls. Guns would be allowed at athletic events. Idaho's public universities oppose the legislation.

DOT adding third lane to I-90 between Barker and Sullivan

Drivers commuting along Interstate 90 will notice some major construction happening in the Spokane Valley starting on March 28th.The Department of Transportation is beginning a $15 million project to add a third lane to a 3-mile stretch of I-90 between Sullivan and Barker Road.During construction, traffic flow with the two lanes will not be altered, but drivers should aware that the lane width will be reduced.

Health Department: No health risk here from Japan power plant

The State Department of Health continues to monitor the unfolding situation involving the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan and issued this statement today that, "there's still no public health risk for people in Washington despite changing conditions at the tsunami-damaged nuclear plants in Japan."

LCSC Baseball Player Dies In Traffic Accident

Bert Sahlberg, the Director of College Communications/Sports Information at Lewis-Clark State College, sent us word this morning that a pitcher for the LCSC baseball team was killed in a traffic accident earlier today:

Japan Nuclear Tragedy Conjures Memories Of Three Mile Island

The growing concern in Japan about possible nuclear meltdowns is conjuring up frightening memories for one Spokane Valley woman who, back in 1979, lived near a power generating station in Pennsylvania called Three Mile Island. Mindy Wirchak was living at the foot of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant when, on March 28, 1979, the most significant nuclear power accident in American history occurred when a partial meltdown in Unit 2 at the power plant began. Wirchak's day started with a routine baby checkup.

FBI Raid Near Addy

Multiple law enforcement sources have confirmed they are executing a search warrant at a home in Addy, Wash. in relation to the Martin Luther King Day bomb plot and one person has been arrested.

Creach Shooting Decision Delayed Again

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker is delaying his decision in the officer-involved shooting of Spokane Valley pastor Scott Creach again. Tucker intended to announce Tuesday whether or not the use of force was justified, but said Tuesday morning he'd wait until Friday to release his findings.

Officer-Involved Shooting In North Spokane

A North Spokane man was shot and killed by Spokane Police Officers Sunday morning. Investigators say police were called to the house on a domestic violence report and were met with a man holding a knife.

Tucker Postpones Creach Shooting Decision

It will be at least another week before Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker will rule whether the officer-involved shooting that killed Spokane Valley businessman Scott Creach was justified.