Spokane Valley wants your help finding potholes that need filling.
The pothole hotline is (509) 921-1000. Reports also can be filed online at www.spokanevalley.org/CARES — select the “Report a Pothole” link.
The city says it needs the following information to be included in pothole reports:
Don't be surprised if you see Spokane Valley boasting about the abundance of free parking in future advertisements and other marketing materials.
City leaders, pleased with the response they've received from the “Friendliest Permitting in Washington” marketing campaign, are looking to broaden community promotion efforts.The next step likely will be to expand the economic development push to a regional audience in hopes of improving business recruitment.
But council members also discussed the possibility of introducing new themes that some might construe as a way of differentiating the suburban Spokane Valley from nearby Spokane, the state's second-largest city.
“Can we add something about good roads and free parking,” Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard asked.
Other council members quickly endorsed the idea, though no budget for the effort was mentioned. The current promotion is part of a $200,000 marketing effort.
Spokane Valley's city leaders are meeting in a daylong workshop today to set goals and priorities for the year ahead and figure out how to run a growing community with tax revenue that has yet to return to 2007 levels.
Among the topics on the agenda is police staffing, potential city hall relocation and economic development. The workshop session can be viewed by webcast on the city's homepage.
Key to the challenges is tax revenue to pay for the growing community's services. The city council is controlled by anti-tax conservatives who contend the best way to rebuild the city's treasury is through fostering greater economic development, which they believe will pay off over time.
The city's discretionary spending account, known as the general fund, is $36.8 million for the current year. It was $37.1 million in 2007, which was before the housing bubble burst and the national economy tanked. It fell to as low as $35.2 million in 2009.
With smart phones and tablet computers making it easier than ever to stay in touch, the City of Spokane Valley is considering a texting ban for council members while in public meetings.
It hasn't been a problem in Spokane Valley, officials say, but other cities have had problems with their council members being lobbied or provided information privately by text message or email during public meetings. The proposed change to the city's governance manual was described as a way of staying ahead of potential issues that could arise in the future.
“If someone has something to say to us, let them come forward and say it,” said Councilman Ed Pace, explaining the entire council and the public should have the benefit of the information being shared. Moreover, if the messages are being used by council members to help them make a decision, they need to be preserved as part of the public record.
The proposed ban on electronic messages would apply only during city council meetings.
Increasing numbers of cities have begun exploring bans and restrictions on council member texting during meetings.
The proposal was unveiled tonight and is expected to be considered later this month.
Spokane Valley residents are being reminded that it’s their responsibility to shovel snow from sidewalks adjacent to their property.
The city says local ordinances require that sidewalks be clear of snow and ice within a reasonable amount of time, and violators could face $500 fines.
The goal is to make sure that school children and others have safe places to walk during the winter rather than competing with cars and trucks for space on roadways.
As state regulators prepare to start issuing marijuana licenses, some towns and cities are struggling with the idea that pot soon could be legally sold for recreational purposes in their communities.
Liberty Lake wants a timeout and last week adopted a six-month moratorium, as reported in Tuesday's edition of The Spokesman-Review. Rockford and Fairfield already had moratoriums in place.
Spokane Valley may explore imposing additional restrictions on pot shops wanting to operate within city limits there.
Although voters statewide, and in Spokane County, overwhelmingly approved the ballot measure in 2012 legalizing recreational marijuana use among adults, there were pockets of opposition in mostly rural parts of Eastern Washington.
Exceptions include Liberty Lake and Fairfield, where about 55 percent of voters in each community opposed legalization. Deer Park voters also opposed the ballot measure, 867 to 783.
Spokane Valley voters narrowly approved the ballot measure: 20,340 to 20,042 (50.4 percent).
Here's how other cities in Spokane County voted: Spokane, 60 percent in favor; Medical Lake: 653 to 573 in favor; Millwood, 523 to 414 in favor; Rockford, 142 to 84 in favor; Waverly, 28 to 24 in favor; and Cheney, 1,913 to 1,521 in favor.
The above map was put together by reporter Jim Camden in 2012 using final numbers from the Nov. 6 general election.
Friday is the deadline for helping choose which two movies will be shown at Mirabeau Park this summer.
Online selections can be made here (scroll down the page to find the voting link). Spokane Valley wants to know your top two choices, but advises it can show just one Disney movie so you may want to avoid making both of your picks from that filmmaker.
Here's the list of choices: Mary Poppins, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, Despicable Me 2, Frozen, The Lego Movie, Planes, E.T., Thor, Wizard of Oz, Monsters University, The Smurfs 2.
The online ballot shows which films are from Disney. The top two choices will be shown in Mirabeau Meadows Park on July 25 and Aug. 15.
Now there's no excuse to miss the State of the Union address, nor the potentially Eastern Washington-centric GOP response.
The Spokane Valley City Council has cancelled its Tuesday evening (Jan. 28) meeting, which otherwise would have been getting under way about the same time President Barack Obama is set to begin addressing the nation.
Following the State of the Union address, the nationally televised Republican response will be given by U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane.
Both addresses are set to be carried by all major TV networks. The State of the Union is set to begin at 6 p.m. Pacific Time.
The Spokane Valley City Council is scheduled to next meet on Feb. 4.
A memorial service for civic leader Gary Schimmels is set for 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 4521 N. Arden Road in Otis Orchards.
Schimmels, a former Spokane Valley deputy mayor and longtime councilman, died unexpectedly Wednesday at his home. He was 75.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions be made in Schimmels' name to Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Services (SCRAPS), 2521 N. Flora Road, Spokane Valley, WA 99216.
A luncheon is planned at the church following the memorial.
Spokane Valley is mourning the loss of two icons.
Former Spokane Valley Deputy Mayor Gary Schimmels died unexpectedly this morning at his home. Schimmels, 75, had served on the city council since Spokane Valley's inception but lost his re-election bid in November to Ed Pace, who now holds the seat.
Last week, the Valley lost one of its most noted historians, author Florence Boutwell, who died Thursday at 94. Boutwell wrote a series of historical books chronicling the Spokane Valley's early days and growth into an agricultural hub. Her research laid much of the groundwork for development of the Spokane Valley museum.
A breaking news story about Schimmels' death can be found here, and look for full articles about the former deputy mayor and about Boutwell in Thursday's print edition of The Spokesman-Review.
A business man who once actively sought to abolish the City of Spokane Valley now is its mayor.
Councilman Dean Grafos was selected Tuesday night by fellow council members to serve in the largely ceremonial position. He edged Councilman Chuck Hafner in a 4-3 split.
“I’m honored,” Grafos said after the vote. “We have a great city council, city staff and city manager.”
Grafos was a vocal critic of the city, which was created in 2003, and had contributed to unsuccessful disincorportation campaigns. But he jumped into the political arena in 2009 after the final disincorporation effort collapsed and was among a slate of conservative candidates calling themselves “Positive Change” that took control of the city instead.
“If I'm going to be involved in this city, I'm going to make sure it's the best run city in the county,” Grafos said Tuesday night, praising the fiscal leadership and other directions that the council has charted for the city in recent years.
Supporting Grafos' mayoral selection were councilmen Ed Pace, Arne Woodard and Rod Higgins. Hafner picked up support from Ben Wick and Bill Bates.
Woodard was selected to serve as deputy mayor in a 5-2 vote.
Spokane Valley has a city manager that tends to day-to-day operations while the mayor presides over the seven-member city council, which sets policy and priorities.
Grafos said his priorities for the two-year mayoral term include helping bring more jobs to Spokane Valley, continuing the focus on public safety, infrastructure and citizen respect.
Some changes are coming to this blog. I am going to be temporarily taking over the night police beat here at The Spokesman-Review, so I'll be stepping away from the blog and my coverage of the City of Spokane Valley. Editor Dave Wasson will be covering the city in my absence, so expect to see him post occasionally here. I'll still be tweeting at www.twitter.com/ninaculver, but the content will be breaking news related. I may pop up in the Valley from time to time, so you'll just have to keep an eye on the blog to see what is happening. The plan is for the switch to last until April, so everyone keep out of trouble while I'm gone.
Spokane Valley City Council members Chuck Hafner, Bill Bates and Rod Higgins will be sworn in during a brief ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague Ave. There will not be a council meeting on Monday, just a short ceremony. The public is welcome to attend. The council's next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7. At the beginning of that meeting the council will vote to appoint a new mayor and deputy mayor.
Spokane Valley City Councilman/Deputy Mayor Gary Schimmels is greeted by Latisha Hill, regional business manager for Avista, during a farewell gathering at Spokane Valley City Hall on Tuesday. SR photo/Kathy Plonka
Welcome to Monday, which this week is also known as Christmas Eve Eve. Not that we're counting the days until Christmas or anything. There are, of course, some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. A housing development is being discussed for the former Painted Hills Golf Course. The new owner may lease out the short par-3 course and the driving range, but it looks like various types of housing is the plan for the rest of the site.
Gary Schimmels is leaving the Spokane Valley City Council after serving ever since the city incorporated 10 years ago. He lost his re-election bid in November and now will be focusing on restoring his vintage cars and volunteering at local social service agencies.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on a group of Central Valley School District bus drivers who teamed up to collect enough money to send one of their coworkers on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii. Bus driver Teri Perry has been receiving treatment for ovarian cancer and her coworkers wanted to give her a special gift. They surprised Perry with the gift last week.
After they had their picture taken, twins, Maddie and Erik Cathcart, 2, tell Santa what they want for Christmas at River Park Square on Saturday. SR photo/Colin Mulvany
Happy Thursday, everyone. It's almost Christmas, which means we have a couple Christmas-themed stories for you in today's Valley Voice. Correspondent Cindy Hval interviewed Santa, AKA Jim Burney, who has been donning his red, fur-trimmed suit for 39 years. These days he can be found at River Park Square in downtown Spokane. I hear he's even a Seahawks fan. He even dishes about his favorite reindeer in a quick Q&A.
Correspondent Jill Barville was at the Spokane International Airport for a Fantasy Flight to the North Pole for local children. The 63 children on the flight were nominated by local social service agencies. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on autistic Barker High School student Jonathan Finck, who has his colorful art on display in the school's hallway. His fellow students enjoy watching him work.
The city of Spokane Valley is looking at an annual funding shortfall of $3 million for street preservation projects. The city has been spending about $4 million a year but should be spending $7 million, a recent study of street conditions showed.
Al Palm works on his balance and strength, with the help of occupational therapist Emily Querna, left, and his daughter Joelle, on Dec. 2 at his home in northwest Spokane. SR photo/Dan Pelle
I have to start my apologizing for my general inactivity on the blog and Twitter lately. Last week I was waylaid by a lovely flu virus and didn't leave my house for four days. I'm not quite back up to full speed yet, but I'm here. With that said, here are some highlights from today's Valley Voice.
Reporter Mike Prager has a story on Al Palm, who used to run the City Perk coffee shop in the STA Plaza. He is battling a rare diseases that paralyzed him almost overnight and his friends are organizing a benefit auction to raise money for medical equipment and renovations to his house to make it wheelchair accessible.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger has some details on the water damage from a frozen pipe that shut down Adams Elementary for two days. She also attended this week's East Valley School Board meeting, where board chair Mike Novakovich had to step in and ask people to be civil to each other. At least one speaker called for the board not to renew the contract of superintendent John Glenewinkel.
The Spokane Valley City Council voted this week to award lodging tax revenue to local agencies that promote tourism. The process has been controversial in recent years, but this year everything went fairly smoothly. The council also approved a new towing ordinance that requires tow truck operators to check if an abandoned car has been reported stolen before towing it.
Liberty Lake librarian Dan Pringle sits outside the library Monday with a landscape architect’s plans to turn the land behind him into an outdoor reading garden. The work will begin next spring. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
Happy frigid Thursday, everyone. As we all contemplate the further dip in temperatures coming our way this weekend, let's take a look at some highlights from today's Valley Voice. The Liberty Lake Library is making plans to build a reading garden just outside the front door starting in the spring. It will offer shade trees, ornamental plants and plenty of places to sit. People can enjoy a book outdoors or participate in an outdoor program.
The City of Spokane Valley is considering creating a historic preservation program that will allow property owners to take advantage of grants and tax credits available when historic buildings are renovated or updated. If you live north of Spokane Valley inside the Spokane County Fire District 9 boundaries, check out the schedule for Santa's visit to your neighborhood.
Correspondent Cindy Hval has a story on the Seasoned Players, who perform radio plays on KYRS FM 88.1 and 92.3. The program airs from 10 to 11 a.m. on the second and fourth Saturday of each month. Today's show is titled “Bingo Ladies Gone Bad.”
Turns out Spokane and Spokane Valley aren't the only cities dealing with barely clad bikini baristas.
They've become such a fixture that Seattle-based punk band Quickie has turned its anthem to bikini baristas into a music video, complete with plenty of examples of the kind of skimpy, barely-there attire that the Spokane Valley City Council has deemed too revealing to be considered appropriate clothing. The City of Spokane rejected a similar proposal, though Spokane County commissioners are still considering a crackdown of their own.
Although the music video was shot on location at Seattle's Cowgirls Espresso, the band gives a shout out to the spread of bikini barista stands throughout the Northwest.
East Valley School District Superintendent John Glenewinkel, right, helps Summer Romney and Liam Nowles unload 400 pounds of flour at the district’s warehouse on Tuesday. Wheat from the East Valley Community Garden was ground into flour for use in school lunches. SR photo/Colin Mulvany
Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a nice, restful holiday weekend. We're back at it again to day, so let's go over some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. The city of Spokane Valley approved new rules regulating the attire of baristas. The rules are aimed at a coffee shop near City Hall that advertised topless Tuesdays and Thursdays, when baristas wore no more than G-strings and pasties. The crowd attending last week's council meeting was largely pleased by the decision, though a couple of people did testify against the new rules.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story following up on the wheat harvest from the East Valley Farm and Community Garden earlier this year. The farm, which supplies fresh produce to East Valley School District kitchens, had a good year for wheat. The district recently took delivery of 400 pounds of low-gluten flour. Also in East Valley, three new school board members were sworn in during the most recent school board meeting. A crowd turned out for the event. New board member Mike Novakovich was elected board president.
Lisa also has a story on Central Valley High School teacher Carolyn Schafer, who headed up an effort to ship 140 quilts to send t0 a co-worker's Army unit stationed in Afghanistan. Members of the community rallied to make enough quilts, which were shipped last week.
I'd like to wish all my readers a Happy Thanksgiving. I'll be out of the office Thursday and Friday, so you'll be on your own in terms of Thursday's Valley Voice. You can still check it out here, though. There will be a story on outgoing Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey and a story on Central Valley High School's drama department. Early deadlines, however, forced us to push off the story on the city council's vote to enact a barista nudity ordinance to Saturday's Valley Voice. In the meantime, may your turkey be juicy and your pumpkin pie have lots of whipped cream.