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Working 4 you: American spending shows positive signs for the economy

Working 4 you: American spending shows positive signs for the economy

Some good news for the economy. Americans are spending more!

Purchases of durable goods, such as furniture and cell phones are increasing. For the month of August, purchasing of such items increased 2% in America. That may not seem like a lot, but compare that to an increase of only 0.1% in July.

This is according to data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

But what drove the August rush in spending?

The biggest factor was auto sales, everything from cars to parts, which accounted for half the gains.

People typically don't make big purchases like cars unless they feel confident in the economy and their personal finances.

Overall, consumer spending increase a total of 0.5% in August.

Economists say the increase in spending is a good sign for the economy. Some say buyers are a critical indicator of the economy's health since they make up a majority of how much product gets produced in the United States.

After the financial crisis in 2008 and the recession, people cut back heavily on purchases. But, as more people are finding jobs, that should translate into more spending.

Working 4 you: Reducing your risk of breast cancer

Working 4 you: Reducing your risk of breast cancer

As most people know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, but do you know how to reduce your risk of the disease?

Doctors say there are steps you can take now to reduce your chances of getting the disease in the future.

Taking steps to be healthy may not prevent all breast cancers, but for most women these steps can reduce the risks.

First, doctors say to watch your weight. Being overweight or gaining weight as an adult increases the chances of developing the disease, especially after menopause. So, eat well to keep you weight in check throughout your life.

Also, get some exercise. Experts recommend about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. If possible, include at least two strength training sessions a week, as well.

Also, don't smoke. Just another reason to quit if you do smoke. And if you drink, limit yourself to no more than one drink per day. Experts say the more alcohol you consume, the greater your chance of developing breast cancer.

If you are able to breast feed when you have children, doctors say this can offer some protection against the disease as well.

Multiple firearms stolen during September burglaries

Multiple firearms stolen during September burglaries

During the month of September, the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office has responded to six different residential burglaries with numerous firearms stolen. All but one of the burglaries was a forced entry into the home, with the weapons being taken from a bedroom. Only half of the reported firearms listed on the crime reports were listed with their serial numbers.

Kootenai County Sheriff's Office is asking the public to please do the following:

Keep your homes locked and secured when not at home.

Place firearms in a secure and locked location if possible.

Make a list of your property (including firearms) listing all the serial numbers. For jewelry and other items, photograph the items and burn the photos to two CD's kept in separate locations.

Report any suspicious activity in your neighborhood to your local law enforcement agency.

Working 4 you: More hospitals ask for payment upfront

Working 4 you: More hospitals ask for payment upfront

If you're planning any future trips to the hospital, you may want to get your credit card ready before heading into the operating room. That's because hospitals are increasingly asking patients to pay for procedures either upfront, or before they're discharged.

Traditionally, neither patients nor providers knew the exact price of procedures until after the insurer processed the charges, but that's all changing.

New technology is now allowing hospitals to determine a patient's responsibility in advance of treatment.

Hospitals say it's important to discuss the cost as early as possible because patients are facing higher deductibles and larger payments for services. Administrators say many people don't even know what their deductible is.

Officials say Americans are shouldering a greater portion of their health care bills, and medical centers don't want to get stuck paying what their patients can't.

But for those who are worried about footing the bill early, hospitals are providing several options.

New residential waste collection site opens Wednesday

New residential waste collection site opens Wednesday

Kootenai County is proud to announce the opening of a new residential solid waste collection site on October 1. The Chilco Rural Collection site is located at 20835 N. Ramsey Road in Rathrdum and will be staffed seven days a week from 8 am to 5 pm. Chilco replaces both the Garwood and Twin Lakes sites, which will closer permanently at 5 pm on September 30.

The new site is on county-owned property and is designed to handle the capacity of the two former sites.

Prior to the opening of the Chilco site, there were 14 rural collection sites with only three on property owned by Kootenai County. In order to provide permanent collection sites, construct improvements and allow for the expansion of services, such as recycling, it was determined that property should be acquired and four sites should be consolidated. The next sites being considered for consolidation are located in the Rose Lake area.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the new Chilco site with the board of County Commissioners early this morning.

Kootenai County Sheriff's Office going pink

Kootenai County Sheriff's Office going pink

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office is proud to participate this year.

Sheriff Ben Wolfinger has authorized his staff to wear pink for the duration of the month. Specifically, deputies and civilian staff are encouraged to wear pink t-shirts, ribbons and wristbands not only to raise awareness about the early detection of breast cancer, but to also encourage our community partners, organizations, families and individuals to get involved.

Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. An average of one in eight women born today in the United States will be diagnosed at some point. The good news is that many women can and do survive if the cancer is found and treated early.

Update voter registration ahead of Nov. 4 elections

Update voter registration ahead of Nov. 4 elections

Kootenai County election officials want to make sure everyone's information is current ahead of the November 4th elections.

“Voters are busy people, and everyone gets frustrated waiting in line,” said Kootenai County Chief Deputy Clerk Pat Raffee. “By registering ahead of November 4, Kootenai County voters can have a faster, easier experience at the polls.”

Registration is required for new registrants or voters who have had a name or address change since their original registration. Voter registration cards are available at the following locations: