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Hillyard Blog

Archive for December 2010

Happy New Year

The blog has a few days off here toward the end of the year, but it will return in full force on Monday Jan. 3. Remember to send the blog a note with neighborhood news to piah@spokesman.com

And once we get started on the new year, the blog would like to visit with a few other groups, non-profits and organizations in Hillyard - no offense to the Historic Hillyard Merchants Committee that so gracefully has helped the blog getting started. E-mail a pitch - see you all in 2011.

The Hobo Bulletin is out

Pam Farnsworth began publishing the Hillyard Hobo Bulletin via e-mail last winter. Here's a link to the latest edition (PDF) - and another link to a story about the Hobo Bulletin.

Holiday hours in Hillyard

The Historic Hillyard Merchants Committee is not meeting on Dec. 29 - but back together again on Jan. 5, 2011. It should be noted that the Outlaw Cafe IS open on Wednesday, and there's plenty of coffee and breakfast for everyone. Hillyard businesses are closed on Jan. 1.

Hot rods to benefit Hillyard

There's a hot rod calendar for sale in Hillyard. The Jerry Frazier memorial calendar - the first one of its kind - can be picked up for $12.95 at the Hillyard Variety Store or the Outlaw Cafe. Almost 500 calendars are already sold, but there is another 500 left. The calendar features locally owned hotrods in front of Hillyard businesses, and a Hillyard quiz. Proceeds go to Hillyard Futures, a non-profit organization that works on rebuilding Hillyard.

Family health center pre-enrolling

The Riverstone Family Health Center is opening a clinic at Northeast Community Center in January, adding dental services by March. Patients can pre-enroll at this time by stopping at the clinic's temporary office in room 320 at the Northeast Community Center, which is located at 4001 N. Cook Street.
The clinic is part of the Yakima Valley Farm Workers network of clinics. Pre-enrolling makes the first appointment easier and faster because all the new patient paperwork is taken care of.

City holiday hours and tips on tree disposal

Spokane City Hall will be closed on Fridays, Dec. 24 and 31, in observance of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
The Spokane City Council is not scheduled to meet on Monday, Dec. 27. Council meetings will resume on Monday, Jan. 3, with a 3:30 p.m. briefing session and 6 p.m. legislative session.  Both meetings will be held in the City Council Chambers in the lower level of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.
Parking meters don’t have to be plugged on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 24 and 25, and again on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.
The Spokane Municipal Court will be closed on Fridays, Dec. 24 and 31.
All Spokane Public Library branches will be closed on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 24 and 25, for the Christmas holiday. In addition, all library branches will be closed on Saturday, Jan. 1, for New Year’s Day. 

Tree disposal:
the City’s Solid Waste Management Department offers free curbside pickup for its customers.  Once the decorations are removed, residents can place their trees alongside their garbage carts on their regularly scheduled garbage pickup days. The City will accept trees up to 6 feet in height; if they’re taller than that, cut them in half. Trees collected at curbside will be chipped up and composted. For information, call Solid Waste Management at 509-625-7878.
City and County residents also can take their undecorated, unflocked trees for disposal to the:
Waste-to-Energy Facility, 2900 S. Geiger Blvd.
Spokane Valley Transfer Station, 3941 N. Sullivan Road.
North Side Transfer Station, 22123 Elk-Chattaroy Road.
Here, trees taller than 6 feet should also be cut in half.Trees taken to these facilities are subject to a $5 minimum charge for clean green disposal; they will be composted. 
For more information, call the Recycling Hotline at 625-6800.
Also, watch for opportunities to dispose of trees and help a good cause. Scouts, school groups, and other charitable organizations will dispose of trees for a donation.

Summary…

The meeting is wrapping up and Mayor Verner summarized it this way: “Rest assured that we recognize and value this little corner of the city. What I’m hearing is for you to report, report, report and then have faith that we are listening. It’s not CSI, it’s honest to goodness police work so it’s going to take a little while. Be patient. And report it again if it happens again.”

The Spokane Police Department’s Aim Report - which shows what the police department is aiming at - are available from the police department’s website www.spokanepolice.org

Business owners aim to protect reputation

Several business owners are upset with how and when media refer to Hillyard. One person said that when something good happens in Hillyard, the area is referred to as “Northeast Hillyard” - but when something bad happens, like the recent shooting at the Special K Bar (on Garland and Market) it’s referred to as “Hillyard” - an argument could be made that the Special K is not in Hillyard.

Part of the business owners’ frustration is that they say they have worked hard on changing Hillyard’s reputation and as long as crime continues to be a problem, they say, it is really hard to keep the good PR going.

Suggestions toward solving the problem

Major Stevens explains that SPD has a ‘repeat offender program’ and for the people who end up on that list “It’s kind’a like being on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. We notice that these people pop up and pop up and pop up - and we make an effort to catch those people.” You want to catch them, you don’t want to move them to another spot (this is repeated by several SPD officers).

Someone suggests a citizens police academy similar to one in King County. The Spokane citizens police academy was eliminated due to budget cuts about two years ago. The academy in Spokane was more informational, where the one in King County gives citizens an opportunity to ride along with officers and be more hands on.

Neighborhood “patrols”

One business owner talks about confronting two intruders on his property, cutting up steel and trying to steal his “stuff” out of a yard. This happened last night. He says he “kicked the guy’s” behind, because he ended up in a wrestling match with the intruders. He says he has a right to bear arms and confront people on his property, but he is tired of getting ripped off. (This business owner did eventually call 911 and file a report).

SPD response: a burglary in progress is “nirvana” for cops because they want to come and help people - so call in and report it to 911 on the spot. It’s important to call in and let police come out and do their job. If a burglar gets run off someone’s property, the burglar is likely to go somewhere else and break in again.

Mayor Verner: what I’m hearing is that people don’t report incidents because they don’t think anything is going to happen? (correct, business owners say) Verner explains that she gets “Aim Reports” from the SPD that show what the police department is focusing on. “We need a feedback loop, we need to find a way to get that information back to the community, so people don’t think their reports go into a black hole.”

Crime prevention measures

They are labor intensive, someone has to watch them all the time. The business owners in Hillyard have purchased ISP addresses so their camera feeds can be viewed at the COPS shop.

SPD needs license plate numbers, times and dates. Descriptions of the people who show up frequently, but be careful while you are doing it so you don’t get into a confrontation with drug dealers or other criminals.
Report incidents even if you don’t think police is going to come out - it helps the police department build a pattern of activity, if there is one. Some of this information may be useful in court.

COPS suggests Business Watch - a plan like Block Watch, just for businesses. This effort has been very successful in the International District on East Sprague.

Note: These are essentially my notes, the way I take them at any meeting I cover - experimenting with live blogging.

SPD explains what it’s doing already

SPD: patrol officers in general run from disaster to disaster. The drug unit is not well equipped to deal with drug problems like the one in Hillyard. SPD says that you can’t just throw a couple of officers out there in plain clothes and take care of it. Some smaller drug units will be formed in January.

SPD Major Stevens: one thing we are trying to do is coodinate with the community and the police department - sometimes we don’t communicate real well and coordinate our efforts - we are working on that. He says they are going to sustain the drug effort. One thing people in Hillyard can do is notice and report drug houses - it will help SPD pick people up. “The more information we have the better we can respond,” Stevens said.
He adds that they have a high level of technology that can help them sustain what they are doing - they want to keep the pressure up - especially with people that are identified as repeat offenders. “We are trying to get the judges on board to boost their bail up, so they don’t get out of jail so easily,” Stevens said.

What’s the problem?

Marv Peterson: “There is so much drug dealing and vandalism going on here. I was broken into. We know the people who did it but we can’t do anything about it.”

Richard Burris: “We sometimes go out at night to keep an eye on things. There was a lot of traffic and people were getting in your face. We are not asking for more protection, we know that you don’t have enough resources. What we are asking for is more undercover patrols - everybody can recognize a black and white patrol car from a mile away. It doesn’t work.” The community groups are hoping that the SPD will be able to switch some resources to undercover patrols instead of regular street patrols.

Luke Tolley: “The response to the letter we sent has been awesome. Where we are at now is how do we continue on and work with the city.”

 

It’s a who’s who in Hillyard right now

In response to a letter sent to City Hall and the Spokane Police Department in November, there’s a community meeting going on right now at the Outlaw Cafe on Market Street. About 30 people are here - including council member Amber Waldreff, Mayor Mary Verner and many representatives from the Spokane Police Department.

Apologies for typos in the following posts - it’s the first time I’m doing live blogging - fun, yet demanding!

Santa Clyde got started today

There was a line in the parking lot outside Bank of America’s Hillyard branch even before it opened today. But people were not lined up to refinance their mortgages, they were lined up to get a toy for their children from Hillyard Santa, Clyde Decker.
Bank of America has lent him a vault downstairs and he expects to have enough toys for more than 3,000 kids.
“I don’t give away all the good stuff at the beginning, I try to space it out,” said Decker, who takes donations all year and also spends some of his Social Security check on toys for kids. “People see me shopping and they say, boy, you must have a lot of grand kids. And I say yes, about 600.”
Decker is at the bank every day during opening hours through Dec. 23 - and no, he’s not sure he’s got enough toys. Word on the street this morning was that more than 500 families that usually are served by Spokane Valley Partners’ toy donations, may turn to Santa Clyde. Spokane Valley Partners are not giving out toys this year. Hillyard Lions and Kiwanis are helping Decker out this year - both with donations and with  managing the long line of people.
“Some want this to just be for Hillyard, but I don’t,” said Decker, while showing off the vault. “I want it to be for everyone.” Recipients must bring ID and proof of address to receive gifts.

Lots of Hillyard meetings this week

The Greater Hillyard Business Association is meeting on Monday Dec. 12 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Outlaw Cafe located at 5012 N. Market Street. This is a special meeting about the utilities and maintenance payment plan for the Historic Hillyard Business District that’s been proposed earlier this year. See the agenda here (Word) and the minutes from the Nov. 17 meeting here (Word).

Then on Wednesday Dec. 15, Mayor Mary Verner and Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick along with city staff and city council members will be at a public meeting also at the Outlaw Cafe from 3:30 to 5 p.m. This meeting is a direct result of a letter written and signed by Hillyard business owners and neighbors, asking for more police protection in the area - especially in the hours between midnight and early morning. Many business owners have video surveillance inside and outside their stores in a effort to cut back on shoplifting and drug dealing - but problems persist. The meeting is (of course) open to everyone.

 

 

Keep an eye out for your kids

Colleagues put together this story on a reported attempted child abduction this morning in Northeast Spokane, near East Euclid and North Atamont. Watch out for your kids, know which way they go to and from school and call Crime Check if you see anything unusual.

Santas congregate in Hillyard

The Hillyard North Pole continues this weekend, on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The North Pole is located at The River Church, 5201 N. Market Street - bring a food donation and get a deal on your pictures with Santa.
Then on Monday, Clyde Decker aka Hillyard Santa, begins handing out this year’s round of presents for northeast kids. The presents are all stored at Bank of America’s branch in Hillyard and Decker and his elfs will be ready at 10 a.m. Please don’t bring any children on Monday - Santa is guarding the magic.

Spokane blog meeting

The blog spent the morning at a blogger forum put on by LaunchPad at the Apple Store downtown. They were all there - DrinkNectar - SpoCool - Spokane Southie - Spokane Grapevine - and a whole bunch of other blogs from around town.

This blog was definitely the odd one out, what with being all mainstream media and all that.

I left the meeting with about a zillion ideas swirling around my head, and with a lot of admiration for the people who commit to and maintain a blog in and around Spokane for one simple reason: because they feel passionate about the place where they live and what they do. Hats off to all of you.

He’s getting ready for the North Pole

Walking through downtown I saw good old Santa taking a little break outside a coffee shop. He was reading the paper and enjoying what looked like a latte - I’m sure he’s getting ready for the Hillyard North Pole this weekend.

The North Pole, with shopping, bake sale, fun and pictures with Santa is at The River Church, 5201 N. Market Street, on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Same hours next weekend - ho, ho, ho.

Be aware of phony door-to-door sales

The Spokane Sheriff’s Department said Crime Check has received numerous reports of suspicious persons representing themselves as salesmen this week. Some say they are Comcast employees, but that may or may not be the case said a Comcast spokesperson. It’s especially residents in Hillyard, Gleneden and other neighborhoods in North Spokane County that have been contacted by men who claim to represent Comcast.  In one instance the men asked for personal financial information and in another case the men walked back to a woman’s shop after she did not answer their knock on the front door.
One “salesman” was a black male in his 20’s who drove away in a gold Tahoe or Suburban.  In another incident, two younger white males were walking through the neighborhood and no vehicle was seen. A Comcast representative said the company currently has a promotion in Spokane County and that “subcontractors” are going door-to-door to pitch the sales, but all Comcast employees, including subcontractors, wear clearly visible identification.  At a minimum, company representatives should produce identification if asked.
Criminal suspects often knock on the doors of their intended victims to find out if someone is home, and then give some sort of phony sales pitch or excuse if a resident answers the door.
Spokane County residents who encounter someone claiming to be a Comcast employee and who does not produce Comcast identification should call Crime Check at 456-2233 to report the matter.

SPD update on crime prevention

From Greater Hillyard Business Association’s Luke Tolley:
“I just got a call from SPD’s Sgt. Tom Hendren, the officer who met with GHBA to discuss crime activity in downtown Hillyard.
He let me know that last night they served warrants on two houses/apartments on Olympic, one just east of Haven and one just west of Haven.  They arrested 11 people and will be working on an eviction at apartment and abatement at the house.  He believes this will help cut down a lot of our crime activity, but assured me that Det. Bowman and their Tech are still working with business owners to put up additional surveillance on building around the neighborhood in the next week or two.
Needless to say, I think our letter was very effective.  Sgt. Hendren would welcome any comments or feedback if you want to give him a call at 363-8224.”

Elementary and middle school buses late on Friday

Friday morning school will start on time except for elementary and middle school students who bus. Elementary and middle school buses will pick up students later than normal due to the condition of the residential roads. Middle school students will be picked up 30 minutes later than normal and elementary students one hour later, giving the buses more time between routes to navigate rutted and difficult residential roads. High school bus pick-ups will remain the same.

Via e-mail from Spokane Public Schools

Help the garbage crews

The City of Spokane Solid Waste Management Department is asking residents for assistance during these snowy days. Residential customers are asked to place their garbage carts and recycling bins in front of snow berms and clear of other obstacles. Commercial customers are asked to remove show from around dumpsters and the access areas for those receptacles.  Sanding icy areas next to dumpsters also would be helpful.
Meanwhile, some customers in the Five Mile area were missed by recycling trucks today, Wednesday, Dec. 1, because these lighter trucks had difficulty maneuvering in the area.  Customers who were missed are asked to place their recycling bins out at the curb again on Thursday, Dec. 2.  A recycling crew will pick up the items then.
“The Solid Waste Department is committed to providing safe and reliable collection to our customers at all times of the year,” says Scott Windsor, the department’s director.  “We apologize for any inconvenience, and we appreciate the help of our customers as we work to get this important job done.”
If you have additional questions about your garbage service or curbside recycling, please call the Solid Waste Department at (509) 625-7878 or visit www.spokanesolidwaste.com.

Via e-mail from the city of Spokane

Santa is coming to Hillyard this weekend

The Hillyard North Pole opens this weekend. This is the Hillyard shopping district’s main Christmas celebration and it runs this weekend and next. The event will feature vendors, treats and a bake sale - as well as pictures with Santa, of course.
Bring a canned food donation to the food bank and get a deal on your picture with Santa. The blog will be there on Saturday around noon. Note that the North Pole is in a new location: The River Church, 5201 N. Market Street.
Hours are Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. - this weekend and next. For information call: (509) 487-1138.

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About this blog

Welcome to the Hillyard neighborhood blog. My name is Pia Hallenberg and I’ve worked as a journalist in Spokane since the fall of 1998; for the last six years I've worked for The Spokesman-Review.

In April, I started a neighborhood blog on South Perry Street (where I live). When it came time to expand the blog activity, Hillyard was an easy pick: There is so much going on in this neighborhood in terms of new businesses and street improvements, festivals and new construction - and there is a strong sense of neighborhood history and pride. I'm looking forward to highlighting all of that on this blog.

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