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Spokane/East. Wash/North Idaho News Releases for Wed. Oct. 27 - 12:03 am
Tue. 10/26/21
Providence Health Plan to Offer Pacific Northwest Families and Individuals New Benefits This Open Enrollment Season
Providence Health & Services - 10/26/21 9:00 AM

Open enrollment begins Nov. 1 and lasts until Jan. 15 in Oregon and Washington state; Providence is one of the highest-rated health plans in the region


PORTLAND, Ore. (October. 26, 2021) — Providence Health Plan (PHP) will include new offerings during this year’s open enrollment period to best suit both members’ and their families’ needs. The open enrollment period begins in Oregon and Washington state Nov. 1 and lasts until Jan. 15. 


This year, members will enjoy enhanced mental health offerings, new wellness benefits and an expanded telehealth network. Recognized for providing members with affordable, value-based care and coverage, PHP will continue offering high-quality health insurance to the Pacific Northwest. The plan is consistently rated by government and industry authorities for high-quality coverage and differentiated offerings, as evidenced by a 4.0 rating from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), which evaluates health plans on the quality of care patients receive, how happy patients are with their care and health plans' efforts to keep improving. Currently, there are no PPO plans in Oregon that rate higher than PHP.


“This past year has been incredibly challenging for the communities we serve, and we are committed to helping individuals and families find and select a plan that best suits their unique needs. Providence provides members with access to high-quality care and excellent member service for a seamless experience,” Don Antonucci, CEO of Providence Health Plan, said. “We remain committed to putting members first and providing excellent care.” 


As a result of the global pandemic, people’s emotional well-being has been challenged in new ways. Even before COVID-19, PHP continued to strengthen its behavioral health services with more convenient offerings such as an extended network of providers and access to behavioral health provider referrals. PHP has also increased the number of visits for chiropractic manipulations and acupuncture services. Members also will enjoy access to an expanded telehealth network of providers across the Pacific Northwest to improve care, keep patients close to home and save lives — especially as the pandemic remains. 


“Providence listens to members and offers benefits that best address their needs. Our new features included as part of individual and family plans allow members to live well-balanced lives and provide convenient options to members and their families. We continually strive to provide members with affordable, high-quality care and coverage,” Caresse Sakagawa, vice president of product development of Providence Health Plan, said.


PHP believes that health care is a human right and is committed to reducing health disparities and achieving health equity. From the beginning, the Providence community of caregivers has championed True Health as a human right when founding the region’s orphanages, hospitals, community housing and schools. This work continues to eliminate barriers and inequities that may prevent vulnerable populations from receiving quality care, including covering the costs of uncompensated care for anyone who cannot afford to pay, increasing access to care, making care more affordable and improving the health of the communities PHP serves. With Providence, when we take care of each other, we tighten the bonds that connect and strengthen us all.


To learn more about individual and family plans available from PHP, please visit https://www.providencehealthplan.com/individuals-and-families.




About Providence Health Plan

Providence Health Plan (PHP) is an integral part of a 160-year-old not-for-profit health care collective that has set the health and well-being standard for the communities we serve. PHP provides high quality, affordable coverage to members via plans for small and large groups, self-insured plan sponsors, Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, as well as individuals and families. 


Mon. 10/25/21
Walla Walla Woman Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison After Fourth Child Pornography Offense
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 10/25/21 4:03 PM

Spokane – Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Monica Linker, age 32, of Walla Walla, Washington, was sentenced on October 21, 2021, after pleading guilty to Receipt of Child Pornography.  Chief United States District Judge Stanley A. Bastian sentenced Linker to 5 years in federal custody, to be followed by a 10-year term of court supervision after she is released.  Chief Judge Bastian calculated Linker’s sentencing range under the United States Sentencing Guidelines at more than 12 years – in part because this was Linker’s fourth child pornography offense – but exercised his discretion to depart downward to 5 years.  Linker’s sentence is 8 years shorter than the 13-year sentence the United States recommended.

According to court documents, an FBI Special Agent went online in an undercover role to locate people in the community who were trading child pornography. The agent downloaded more than 80 videos of child pornography from Linker’s residence in Walla Walla, which led to a search warrant and the removal of all digital devices from her home.  A forensic review confirmed significant child pornography evidence on her devices.  Then, approximately ten months later, FBI executed a second search warrant at Linker’s new residence, recovering new images of child pornography from Linker’s new digital devices.  In all, FBI recovered a significant amount of child pornography, as well as other indicia of Linker’s sexual interest in children and technical sophistication.  This evidence included peer-to-peer, cleaning, encryption, and hacking software, and a Japanese Anime child pornography comic book. FBI also found evidence that Linker had burned images of child pornography onto disks.  By the time FBI located Linker online, she had sustained three child pornography offenses under Washington law.  In fact, she was on supervision with the Washington Department of Corrections when FBI downloaded child pornography from her.  During prior probation searches of Linker’s residences, officers recovered 25 pairs of girls’ panties, anime books and videos, anime pornography, and a book on child gynecology.

United States Attorney Waldref condemned the exploitation of children: 

“The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington works closely with our local and federal partners to apprehend the most serious child exploitation offenders in our community. I commend the Walla Walla Police Department and the FBI, whose excellent investigation in this case has protected children by keeping a recidivist offender off the streets for years.  Sadly, there is an entire community of people who use the Internet to collect and trade crime-scene photos of children’s abuse for their own sexual gratification.  Those images often travel around the Internet forever, ensuring that child pornography victims are never truly free. To those who use peer-to-peer networks to exploit children while seeking to evade detection by law enforcement, today’s sentence puts you on notice: undercover FBI agents are online at all hours of the day and night looking for child pornography offenders.  We will continue to prosecute child exploitation as vigorously as the law allows.  I encourage anyone who sees or suspects any form of child abuse to contact law enforcement immediately.”

Donald Voiret, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Seattle Division, which encompasses the Spokane, Walla Walla, and Yakima areas, said “Ms. Linker is a repeat offender who has obviously not learned her lesson from her past convictions. Her compulsion to engage in this activity, even after being aware of law enforcement scrutiny, indicates the importance of keeping her away from the children in our communities.”

This case was pursued as part of Project Safe Childhood (“PSC”), a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the United States Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. PSC has five major components:

· Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue children;

· Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives;

· Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases;

· Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents; and

· Community awareness and educational programs.

For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”

Detective (Ret.) Tim Hollingsworth led the investigation by the Walla Walla Police Department and Special Agent (Ret.) Lee McEuen led the investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  David M. Herzog, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, prosecuted the case.


Prosser, Washington Man Sentenced to 78 Months in Federal Prison for Conspiracy to Distribute Fentanyl and other Controlled Substances
U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern Dist. of Wash. - 10/25/21 3:22 PM

Spokane – Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that David Barnes Nay, age 42, of Prosser, Washington, was sentenced on October 20, 2021, after having pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute eight controlled substances (fentanyl, oxycodone, methadone, hydromorphone, methylphenidate, amphetamine mixture, carisoprodol and alprazolam) and six counts of distributing fentanyl and oxycodone.  Senior United States District Judge Edward F. Shea sentenced Nay to a 78-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 5-year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison.

According to court documents, Dr. Janet Sue Arnold owned and operated Desert Wind Family Practice in Richland, Washington.  Dr. Arnold pre-signed hundreds of blank prescription forms which enabled Nay, an addict and drug dealer, and other members of the conspiracy to distribute large quantities of opioid medications and other controlled substances. 

United States Attorney Waldref said, “The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington and our federal, state, local and Tribal law enforcement partners are working tirelessly to combat the opioid epidemic in our community.  The sentence imposed sends a stern warning to those who may seek to illegally distribute fentanyl and other prescription medications that they will face significant consequences. I commend the diligent work of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, agents who investigated this case.”

This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General.  This case was prosecuted by George J.C. Jacobs, III and Dominique Juliet Park, Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Washington.


Fri. 10/22/21
Clarkston DECA "Spike for the Cure" Volleyball Tournament (Photo)
Clarkston School District - 10/22/21 4:20 PM
Clarkston DECA Spike for the Cure T Shirt
Clarkston DECA Spike for the Cure T Shirt

CORRECTION: Event date is Wednesday, October 27, 2021.

Clarkston, WA – Clarkston DECA’s 10th annual “Spike for the Cure” volleyball tournament will be played on Wednesday, October 27, at 5:30pm in Kramer Gymnasium. Spike for the Cure pink t-shirts, sponsored by Brady and Trevor Arnone of Edward Jones, will be sold with all proceeds donated to the Gina Quesenberry Foundation. 

Spike for the Cure is an opportunity for the students of Clarkston High School to come together to raise funds for the Gina Quesenberry Foundation, a non-profit organization whose goal is to provide financial assistance to local patients with breast cancer. Eighteen teams -- 108 players, including high school students and faculty members, will be competing against each other in this "Spike for the Cure" event. 

The community is invited to attend the “Spike for the Cure” event. Donations will also be accepted at the door. Clarkston DECA has donated over $50,000 to the Gina Quesenberry Foundation through this community service event over the past nine years.

Please join us, Clarkston High School and Clarkston DECA, as we “Spike for the Cure!”



Attached Media Files: Clarkston DECA Spike for the Cure T Shirt