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Leavenworth one of the most affordable for leaf peeping this fall

Leavenworth one of the most affordable for leaf peeping this fall

If you're looking for a fall getaway without breaking the bank, vacation specialists at TripAdvisor have named Leavenworth one of the top spots in the country to take in some colorful sights.

According to TripAdvisor, 83 percent of those surveyed plan to take a leisure trip this fall, with 31 percent planning to travel for the joy of viewing fall foliage. To help travelers plan, TripIndex compared the cost of a weekend getaway for two in 15 of the most popular leaf-peeping destinations in the US, including the combined average cost of a two-night stay in a bed and breakfast, a full tank of gas, apple picking and a meal at a restaurant.

Leavenworth came in at an affordable $476.89, but you'd better make your reservations now before the winter flakes start to fall.

Vote for 2nd Harvest to receive $60,000 grant

Vote for 2nd Harvest to receive $60,000 grant

As Hunger Action Month come to a close, Second Harvest is asking for the public's help in a contest that could net them a $60,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation.

Fifty food banks across the nation will be selected for one of the grants based on the number of online votes they receive by October 5. Currently Second Harvest has barely more than 100, while the leaders are all in the thousands, but with nine days left to vote there's still time for a comeback.

Second Harvest is the only food bank in Washington state competing in the contest which began September 15.

Walmart is teaming up with acclaimed chef, cookbook author and TV host G. Garvin, and calling on the public to support their local food banks by voting online at www.Walmart.com/fighthunger.

Bread Tie Challenge to raise awareness of depression/mental illness

Bread Tie Challenge to raise awareness of depression/mental illness

Two Central Washington Seniors are launching a campaign this fall to honor the memory of the teen who made their best friend duo into a trio.

Three years ago this October, Josh Martin took his own life. It was a complete surprise to everyone who knew him.

“There were no signs or anything,” said Donnie Santos. “He was going to be a shortstop for the Spokane Falls baseball team. We had everything going for us. We think he was afraid to come out and ask for help.”

That fear is what Donnie Santos and Dean Neilson are trying to get rid of with the Bread Tie Challenge.

It was Martin's father Joe who came up with the campaign to memorialize his son, then handed it off to Donnie and Dean to run.

The Bread Tie Challenge draws its inspiration from the Ice Bucket Challenge, an easy and visible way to show that your life has been impacted by someone struggling with mental illness or depression, and that you support ending the stigma of shame and weakness that can be associated with it.

Blessings Under the Bridge honored by People magazine

Blessings Under the Bridge honored by People magazine

If you've picked up a copy of the most recent People magazine, you may notice a hometown connection.

In between the photos of celebrity weddings and fall fashions, a shout-out to Spokane natives Mike and Jessica Kovac and their charity – Blessings Under the Bridge.

The couple were on the verge of divorce when Jessica says she began distributing bagged lunches to the homeless in downtown Spokane. Eventually her husband joined her and realized their problems that felt so big could be fixed.

Mike and Jessica emptied their savings to found Blessings Under the Bridge and have since fed thousands of people and helped some find and furnish apartments.

You can learn more about the Kovac's and Blessings Under the Bridge in our Everyday Heroes section on KXLY.com.

September is National Disaster Preparedness month

September is National Disaster Preparedness month

Disaster can strike at any time, and the American Red Cross encourages everyone to take the first step during National Preparedness Month and create a disaster plan for their household that can keep people safe in an emergency.

“Having an emergency plan is an important step so everyone in the household knows what they should do if something happens,” said Martha Reed, Regional Disaster Program Officer. “We believe people should mark National Preparedness Month by creating or updating their plan.”

As we recently saw throughout central and eastern Washington, flash floods and severe weather can strike quickly, leaving residents with only moments to evacuate in some cases. Every second counts during a disaster so the best time to prepare is before one hits.

The Spokane Regional Health District is also participating in National Preparedness Month with a different, but important message every week. They'll be providing resources online and on social media to assist families with the following themes:

Check your child's vaccinations before heading back to school

Check your child's vaccinations before heading back to school

Getting ready for back to school means getting school supplies and backpacks, but it's also the perfect time to make sure children are up-to-date on their shots. Getting all of the recommended shots is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their kids' health.

A new survey from the Washington State Department of Health shows vaccination rates are on the rise (71 percent in 2013 versus 65 percent the year before) but are still below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 80 percent, leaving many kids unprotected.

Below is a summary of shots children need:

Leave the firewood at home to keep forests safe

Leave the firewood at home to keep forests safe

The Idaho Department of Lands is reminding outdoor enthusiasts who are planning to camp this Labor Day weekend to leave the firewood at home!

As millions of Americans head into the wilderness for a weekend of fun, many bring their own firewood, not realizing that they put the nation's forests at risk by potentially spreading tree-killing pests. While most of these pests can't travel far on their own, many can hitchhike undetected on firewood, later emerging and starting infestations in new locations hundreds of miles away.

The Don't Move Firewood campaign began in 2007 as a response to the rapid spread of the emerald ash borer, an Asian beetle brought to the US in pre-packaged wood and responsible for killing 100 million ash trees since the early 1990's.

More than 450 other non-native forest insects and diseases are also established in the United States, many spread the same way.