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Spokane Valley

Archive for November 2010

Road and school closures

As you get ready to drive home, be extra careful. The scanner is humming with reports of cars sliding off the road and into ditches and snowbanks. If you’re heading south from Spokane, a deputy has requested that Hatch Road be closed south of 57th until a sand truck can come through. “I’ve got cars sliding all over the place,” he said.

On the heels of several rural school districts closing early today, a few schools have already announced closures for tomorrow and there will surely be more announcements later in the day. Check our web site or this one to get up to date information on closures.

Central Valley boundary review hearing tomorrow

Just a reminder that the Central Valley School District is holding a boundary review public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Greenacres Elementary, 17915 E. Fourth. The hearing will go over the proposed attendance boundary for a new elementary school to be build at Mission and Long in Greenacres.

The new school will affect the current attendance boundaries of Greenacres Elementary and Liberty Lake Elementary. Parents are invited to the hearing to learn about the boundaries and give their input.

Mail theft and fire hydrants

I’ve gotten a couple pleas for for Valley residents to follow some safety tips. The Spokane Valley Police Department is advising that thieves have broken into mailboxes at the Franciscan Apartments twice in the last month. Mail theft is often up this time of year because thieves are looking for Christmas cards with cash or gift cards. People sending such cards are advised to mail them at the post office rather than in their streetside mailbox. Those expecting such cards should get their mail as quickly as possible after it is delivered.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department is also asking residents to make sure all fire hydrants are shoveled out. Now that most of the streets have been plowed, snow berms are covering many hydrants. If there is a fire in a home, firefighters could lose several minutes if they have to shovel out a fire hydrant before they can start putting out the flames.  

Tis the Season

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas out there. Spokesman-Review photographer Bart Rayniak took this photo at Sprague and Sullivan while he was out and about this weekend. Is it just me or does it almost look like Santa is ready to pounce?

Accident blocking at Trent and Starr

The Washington State Patrol is investigating a two car head on collision at Trent and Starr Road that is blocking traffic. Injuries are reported, but no further information is available yet. Plan to avoid the area. I’ll update with more details when they are available.

3:25 p.m. update: The roadway has been cleared.

Last day for Planning Commission applications

Applications for the two vacancies on the city of Spokane Valley’s Planning Commission are due by 4 p.m. today, so if it’s something you have considered, now is the time. The commissioners make recommendations to the city council on zoning, municipal code and environmental issues. Those selected will serve a three year term.

Applicants must live within the Spokane Valley city limits. Experience in land use, planning, transportation or capital infrastructure is a plus. Commissioners are considered volunteers and are not paid.

Applications are available on the city’s web site and at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague. Call 720-5102 for more information.

Saturday’s highlights

SCRAPS animal protection assistant Rachel Sayer sits with a dog that was found Nov. 19 and brought into the shelter by a citizen. The dog had no microchip, no license and no ID on its collar.

There was a lot to read in Saturday’s Valley Voice, so here’s a chance to check out some of the stories in case you missed them.The Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service is hoping that more people will license their pets to fund programs, but a check of records from the 1920’s show that getting people to pay is not a new problem.

Liberty Lake has had an ongoing problem with garage burglaries and vehicle prowlings, aided and abetted by residents’ habit of leaving their garages and cars unlocked. The police chief says that habit has made Liberty Lake an “easy target” and pleads with people to lock up.

A 15-year-old West Valley student is following in his father’s footsteps. He is already a successful race car driver even though he isn’t old enought to get his driver’s license. A local magician is the new manager of Players and Spectators and is hoping to create a little magic to bring people in the doors. Some teachers at University Elementary are using technology to enhance their lessons by using grant money to purchase Smart Boards (essentially large touch screens) for the classroom.

Coming on Saturday

We’ve got a great lineup of stories coming in the Saturday Valley Voice that you can peruse while having a turkey omelet or turkey sandwich. The struggle of the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service to get pet owners to license their pets is not a new one, proven by the “dog tax” rolls from the 1920’s found in a warehouse several years ago.

A 15-year-old West Valley student is having a successful career as a race car driver even though he doesn’t have his driver’s license yet. A local magician is hoping to create some magic as the new manager of Players and Spectators. The garage buglary/car prowling crime spree is continuing in Liberty Lake. There were nine new thefts reported last week. Residents are in the habit of leaving their garages and cars unlocked, which is frustrating efforts by Liberty Lake Police to stem the surge in thefts.

I’ll post some links to stories next week, or you can browse them yourself on Saturday here.

Thursday’s highlights

We’ve got a couple interesting stories in today’s Valley Voice for when you need to take a break from turkey and pumpkin pie. Starting Saturday you can head out to the Hutton Settlement off Upriver Drive and buy a u-cut or pre-cut Christmas tree for the holidays. The children living there have been tending the trees for the last six years. A group of West Valley students visited the Eastern Washington University science lab to look at bugs and do a few experiements.

Check back in tomorrow for a preview of what is coming Saturday.

A few tidbits

A few schedule notes to report. The City of Spokane Valley will close its offices Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. The city will be open for business as usual on Monday, Nov. 29. Also remember that there will be no city council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 30, because several council members will be out of town attending a conference.

The blog will also be mostly shut down until Monday. I’ll pop in for a bit on Friday to post some story links and a preview of Saturday’s Valley Voice. Check our main web site to get current information on weather and road closures over the weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Beware of elk

Just heard on the scanner a report of a herd of elk at Trent and Idaho Road. Try not to hit any of them.

Snowy history

In honor of the white stuff currently on the ground, here’ s a look back at the Ski Mor, a ski resort built by the Schafer family in the Chester Hills area near the end of 44th Avenue in the Spokane Valley. The photo was taken in the mid 1930’s. The resort had two ski jumps and a toboggan run. The photo is courtesy Spokane Valley Heritage Museum.

Free pictures with Santa

Once we get through Thanksgiving it will be time to think about taking the kids to have their picture taken with Santa. Triple R Auctions will host “A Little Bit of Christmas” and offer free pictures with the jolly fellow on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day at 107 N. Park Road. Those who are financially able to make a donation are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the food bank or a new toy for the Toys for Tots program.

Stolen property found in Valley

Spokane Valley Police detectives got a search warrant for a storage unit at Secure-It Storage at 18815 E. Cataldo after learning that stolen property was being stored inside. On Monday police found stolen motorcycles, engines, transmissions and a trailer mounted generator worth $10,000 taken from the Barker Bridge construction site in July, according to a press release. The generator was one of four stolen from the construction site; two were previously recovered.

Police arrested Kim D. Johnson, 55, and Neal T. Johnson, 45, when they arrived at the storage unit. They have been charged with felony first degree theft. The value of the stolen property is estimated to be more than $30,000.

Thursday previews

The roads are all open, the kids are in school and it’s really, really cold out there. That must mean it’s time for previews of Thursday’s Valley Voice.

Some West Valley students had a unique opportunity recently to visit the Eastern Washington University science lab. The children living at the Hutton Settlement are gearing up for their sixth annual Christmas tree sale that starts this weekend. For the first time u-cut trees will be available since some of the trees planted at the settlement are finally mature enough for harvesting. Also, regular correspondent Cindy Hval will have a column on her memories of sitting at the kids table on Thanksgiving.

School closures

Some school districts are already announcing that classes will be cancelled tomorrow because of the expected frigid weather and snow. You can check online for up to date school closure information. I’m sure students in the Liberty and Freeman School Districts are hoping for a second snow day to make their Thanksgiving holiday extra long.

Roads opening up

(originally posted at 11:09 a.m.) The Washington State Patrol has announced a few road openings in the last few minutes. Highway 195 is now open in Whitman County. Highway 23 is now open between Harrington and Steptoe. I’ll update the list as more are announced.

11:36 a.m. update: Highway 23 is now closed between Sprague and Steptoe.

2:17 p.m. update: Highway 23 is open again. For now.

Spokane Valley fugitives wanted

Crime Stoppers is offering cash rewards for two Spokane Valley residents who are wanted for violating the conditions of their probation. Anyone with information on their locations can call the Crime Stoppers tip line at (800) 222-TIPS or go online. Tipsters don’t have to give their names in order to collect the reward.

Earl T. Clapper, a 27-year-old white male, is wanted for violating his probation on an assault conviction. He has a 13 year criminal history that includes vehicle theft, assault, drug possession, theft and mucy more. He is 6’ 3” tall and 300 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes. His last reported address was 12921 E. Olive.

Shannell L. Haddon, a 27-year-old white woman, is wanted for violating her probation on a drug conviction. Her criminal history spans 10 years and includes felony theft, possession of stolen property, vehicle prowling and hit and run. She is 5’ 7” tall and weighs 130 pounds. She has blond hair and blue eyes. Her last reported address was 11920 E. Mansfield.


Winter weather

A whole bunch of roads in south Spokane County are closed because of blowing and drifting snow, but the one that probably impacts Valley residents the most is the closure of Highway 27 from Fairfield to Oakesdale. I also heard some reports earlier of three cars stuck in a big snow drift at Barker Road and Euclid. I’m not sure if that has been cleaned up yet, so it might be best to steer clear of the area. Anyone interested in the full list of highway closures can visit the Department of Transportation web site.

If you have pictures of winter weather that you would like to share, send them to me at and I’ll get them posted.  

Saturday’s highlights

I came in this afternoon to find an email inbox bursting with accident reports and pleas from local law enforcement agencies for drivers to slow down and be careful. It looks like it’s going to get downright nasty tonight, so everyone drive slowly out there. I’m already hearing accidents and slide-off’s on the scanner.

Now for the highlights from Saturday’s Valley Voice. I took a look at why the City of Spokane Valley is doing so well financially when other cities are hurting. Correspondent Steve Christilaw took a look at the East Valley football team’s journey to the playoffs. There were more discussions about the city budget in Liberty Lake and reporter Lisa Leinberger wrote about the annual Thanksgiving dinner at Barker High School.

Next week

All of the Spokane Valley City Council regulars (including me) will have to find something else to do on Tuesday nights for the next two weeks. There’s no meeting next week because of Thanksgiving and on Nov. 30 there is no meeting because several council members will be out of town attending a conference. The trade off, though, is that the agenda for the Dec. 7 meeting looks long enough to make the meeting last until 2011.

Blogging may be light next week. I’ll have two days off at the end of the week and we have early deadlines because of the holiday. I’m also supposed to report for jury duty on Monday, but I’m hoping they’ll send me away when they find out what I do for a living like they usually do.

Traffic alert

It looks like the intersection of Appleway and Barker will be closed off and on between 8 a.m. and noon Saturday for utility work. I’m sure traffic will be backed up in the area, so plan ahead and avoid it.

I couldn’t help noticing when I was out and about earlier today that all the signs have been taken down at the old Yoke’s at Sprague and Progress. I’m not sure when they folded up their tent and left, but the store announced in September that they weren’t able to renew their lease and would be closing. The store had been there since 1985.

Coming on Saturday

A home in the 4300 block of North Harvard Road was damaged by fire Nov. 8 when hot wood stove ashes caught a wood pile on fire and spread the flames to the home. Damages were estimated at $150,000. (Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department)

We’ll have another batch of great stories for you to read tomorrow in the Valley Voice after you head to the grocery store to buy your turkey and all the fixings for Thanksgiving (if you haven’t done it already). We’ll take a look at why the City of Spokane Valley has such a healthy reserve when other cities in the County are making drastic cuts. There will also be a second story from Tuesday’s Valley Council meeting about snow plowing plans and possible changes to the city’s municipal code covering adult retail establishments.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger will have a look at the latest technological wonder to hit classrooms called a Smart Board and the East Valley football team will be profiled. Of course, if you can’t wait until Monday when I post links to the stories, tomorrow you can click here to read them.

The white stuff

(top) Spokesman-Review photographer Bart Rayniak took this shot at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetary off Trent Ave. during the huge snowstorm in December 2008. (right) A look at Sprague and McDonald outside the SR valley office in December 2008. You wouldn’t know it, but there’s a bench under that bus stop sign. SR editor Jeff Jordan took the picture. 

The bit of snow we got yesterday is a wake up call that winter is here and if the prognosticators are right, we’re in for quite a bit of snow this year. The city of Spokane Valley has activated its snow line (720-5311). There will be a recorded message, updated once or twice a day, that gives residents information on the city’s plowing activities. People can also sign up to receive email updates on plowing by going to the city’s web site and clicking on email updates.

Attempted robbery near Pines and Sprague

An attempted robbery was just reported at the Medicine Hat Pharmacy at 12414 E. Sprague. A man came in and gave employees a note, but left without getting anything. The man was described as being in his 30’s and wearing a camouflage bandana, green coat, green hat and black sunglasses.

Update: A witness saw him shedding clothes down to a gray t-shirt. An officer has collected the discarded clothing as evidence. The man has not yet been located.

Take me home

This dog looks completely adorable. According to SCRAPS she is gentle, likes to snuggle and knows how to sit. We’ve named this lab/shepherd mix Spice, but you can name her whatever you want when you adopt her. At SCRAPS she is known as impound number 6322. Adoption fees for dogs are $82.04 and includes spaying or neutering, vaccinations, a vet check, microchip and the first year’s license. Stop by the shelter at 2421 N. Flora Road and see if Spice or another four-legged creature would make an ideal furry friend.

Today’s highlights

Capt. Mark Hill, right, and firefighter Brad Huffman stand by their truck Tuesday. They are part of the crew that will staff the new Greenacres Fire Station at 17214 E. Sprague. Jesse Tinsley/SR photo.

There’s so much to check out in today’s Valley Voice that you might as well pour a cup of coffee and get comfortable. The Spokane Valley City Council voted to make some speed limit changes, Spokane Valley Fire started operating out of the new Greenacres Fire Station this week and the Liberty Lake City Council approved a one percent property tax increase.

Students from Central Valley schools will be at the Safeway on East Sprague, the Fred Meyer at Sprague and Sullivan, the Liberty Lake Albertson’s and the Albertson’s on 32nd for their annual “Fill the Bus” food drive Saturday to benefit the Spokane Valley Partners Food Bank. For those of you following the exploits of “Chicken,” check out the update on efforts to catch the free range bird and relocate her to a new home. Regular correspondent Stefanie Petit has been keeping readers updated about the bird ever since it began roosting under her porch a year ago.

Special public hearing in Fairfield

The town of Fairfield has rescheduled its public hearing on the proposed 2011 property tax levy to 7 p.m. on Nov. 23 at City Hall, 218 E. Main. Also, the Fairfield council voted this week to raise sewer rates $3 a month in 2011 and an additional $2 a month in 2012 and 2013.

A look back

This Liberty Lake Dairy wagon  delivered milk to the Valley and Spokane. Photo circa 1910-1915. Courtesy Spokane Valley Heritage Museum.

The Spokane Valley Heritage Museum has opened up their historical photo collection to us and we regularly print old photos in the Valley Voice. It’s kind of fun to take a look back at the way things used to be in Spokane Valley back in the days of fruit orchards and farmers. And if you’ve never stopped by the museum, it’s worth a look. They have some interesting exhibits. 

Coming Thursday

Liberty Lake residents have the power to stop an ongoing crime spree by doing only one thing - locking up. Residents leaving their garages and the cars inside them unlocked have created a one stop burglar buffet for several weeks now. More thefts will be in the Liberty Lake police blotter coming in Thursday’s Valley Voice.

Other stories on tap for Thursday include a look inside the new (and newly renamed) Greenacres Fire Station, formerly known as Station 10. Crews started responding to calls there again this week after several months of bunking with crews at Station 7 on Evergreen Road. Spokane Valley Meals on Wheels recently got a contract to provide meals for all of Spokane County and the annual Fill the Bus food drive to benefit the Spokane Valley Partners Food bank is this weekend.

Are we in Kansas?

I’m pleased to report that my roof is still on my house. This morning at 1 a.m. I wasn’t so sure that would be the case, but an early morning inspection showed all roofing tiles present and accounted for.  I’m sure there are residents of the greater Spokane Valley area who are dealing with some wind damage today. Send me a picture at and I’ll see if I can figure out how to post a slide show of what you send me. If you don’t have any photographic proof, just leave a comment about what you’ve been dealing with.

School walking routes workshops

This just in: the City of Spokane Valley is teaming up with the Spokane Regional Health District, the Central Valley School District and the West Valley School district for two community workshops this week to discuss safe walking routes to schools. The workshops are designed for parents, school administrators, city employees and law enforcement. It is the first step in creating a Safe Route to School program and becoming eligible for grant funding.

The Central Valley workshop is Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to noon at South Pines Elementary School, 12021 E. 24th. The West Valley workshop is from 8:30 a.m. to noon Thursday at Woodard Elementary School, 7401 E. Mission. Anyone with questions about the process can call (509) 324-1555.

Traffic light out at Sprague and Vista

The traffic light is out at Sprague and Vista and it appears it will be down all day while repairs are completed. Temporary stop signs have been put up on Vista. Traffic on Sprague has the right of way and does not have to stop. All traffic on Vista must stop. Use caution when going through the intersection.

Construction Bond Information Night

Central Valley School District Superintendent Ben Small will present informational meetings regarding the district’s upcoming $69.6 million construction bond upon which voters will decide in February.

Tonight’s meeting will be held at Chester Elementary School, 3525 S. Pines Road, at 6:30 p.m.

Tomorrow night’s meeting will be held at Evergreen Middle School, 14221 E. 16th Ave., at 6:30 p.m. On Wednesday, the meeting will be at Opportunity Elementary School, 1109 S. Wilbur, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday’s meeting will be held at Greenacres Elementary School, 17915 E. Fourth Ave., at 6:30 p.m. There will also be a meeting on Nov. 23 at 6 p.m. at Ponderosa Elementary School and Nov. 29 at 6 p.m. at Liberty Lake Elementary School, 23606 E. Boone.

The meetings will discuss the district’s need for expanding and remodeling several elementary schools and middle schools as well as the construction of a new elementary school at the intersection of Mission and Long. The project is estimated to cost $102.4 million and the district expects around $32.8 million in state matching funds.

If approved by voters, taxpayers in the district can expect an increase of 65 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value on their property taxes.

At least 60 percent of the votes, a supermajority, is needed to approve the construction bond.

For more information, call the district office at (509) 228-5400 or visit the district’s website at

Follow me

Check the right side of the page for a new link to click to follow me on Twitter. Two of my fellow bloggers convinced me to give it a try. It will also make it easier for people to get my breaking news about things going on that may impact traffic while on the go. Most people don’t surf the web and read blogs while driving, but you can get a tweet. And if you are surfing and driving, put down the phone.

A perfect picture

Longtime Valley Voice readers know that we have an occassional feature on Saturdays called “Picture Perfect” where our readers send in their photos of Spokane Valley scenes. This is a lovely shot by Gwyneth Cadwell, who identifies the flower as a Cholchium (late fall crocus). If you have a picture you would like us to print send a digital photo with caption information, such as names, ages and locations, to Be sure to include a daytime phone number in case we have questions.

Saturday’s highlights

Happy Sunday, everyone. We had a banner day yesterday in the Valley Voice. A group of Orchard Avenue neighborhood residents are complaining about Union Pacific trains blowing their horns too much and blocking the Park Road intersection for extended periods of time. Some parents asked East Valley superintendent John Glenewinkle some tough questions in a community meeting to go over the district’s new school configuration plan. The Spokane Valley Partners Food Bank needs volunteers to sort donations and more non-perishable food items are needed to help get the food bank through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Anyone who would like to receive help from the food bank has to sign up by Wednesday by calling 927-1153. Distribution is scheduled for Nov. 22 and 23.

A little bit of this and a little bit of that

There’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news is I won’t be in the office to post tomorrow, but I will be working Sunday so you will be able to see your Saturday highlights a day earlier than normal.

We have a bunch of good stories coming up in the Valley Voice on Saturday. There was a fairly contentious East Valley school board meeting this week as parents try to understand the district’s proposed new school configuration plan. Spokane Valley Partners is in need of volunteers to help sort the donations from several large food drives in preparation for Thanksgiving. A group of residents in the neighborhood near Orchard Center Elementary in West Valley are asking the city of Spokane Valley to spend money to create quiet zones on some Union Pacific railroad crossings.

Looking even further ahead, there’s an interesting agenda on tap for the Spokane Valley City Council meeting on Tuesday. Expect to see a proposed resolution amending speed limits, discussion on the city’s snow removal plan and a report on amendments to the ordinance covering adult retail establishments. The city of Liberty Lake hasn’t released their agenda for Tuesday yet, but expect them to be discussing possible budget cuts for 2011, including cutting library hours and closing the city golf course during the winter.

Valley Precinct offers after hours call box

Some people have gone to the Spokane Valley Police Precinct on Sprague (next to Conley’s Restaurant) to report a crime only the find the office closed. As of today, the department has installed a bright red call box at the front of the building. There is a single button to push that will connect people directly with Crime Check to report a crime or request police assistance at any time.

Cougar spotted near school

A cougar has been reported in the area of Pasadena Park Elementary School. A deputy has been dispached to check it out.

Update: Deputies tracked an animal behind a nearby church, but then discovered it was just an ordinary housecat. The resident who called in the sighting says that’s not the animal she saw. The search continued, but nothing was found.

Today’s highlights

First I’d like to note that today is Veteran’s Day. If you know a veteran or a someone serving on active duty, give them your appreciation for their service. It is appropriate that one of the stories in today’s Valley Voice is about a Civil War veteran buried here who received one of the first Medals of Honor.

Other highlights are the new expansion of the Skills Center to the Valley to give teens job training and a report from a hearing last week to determine whether a dog named Casey should be labeled dangerous. One of our regular correspondents, Cindy Hval, has another touching column, this one about her youngest son and the Tooth Fairy. Her writing style just brings you right in and she is the master of tugging on heart strings.

Sports fans are mourning

This isn’t a Valley issue, strictly speaking, but I’m sure there are some sports fans out here who are mourning the sudden death of longtime Seattle Mariners announcer Dave Niehaus. We have a couple stories on him today, including one by sports columnist John Blanchette. The 75-year-old had been doing play-by-plays of Mariners games since 1977.

Coming Thursday

We have a couple interesting stories coming up in Thursday’s Valley Voice. Fellow reporter Lisa Leinberger has written a story about the Skills Center in the Valley and I wrote about a hearing  last week where a Valley resident was appealing her dog’s designation as dangerous by the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service. The dog bit two children in one day last month after having a previous history of being aggressive. The fate of the black lab/husky mix named Casey will be known in a week or so when the hearing examiner hands down his decision.

Check back tomorrow for some links and hopefully a few more posts. I’ve been in and out of traning all day today, limiting my posting time.

Planning Commission meeting changed

There won’t be a Spokane Valley Planning Commission meeting tomorrow because of Veteran’s Day. It has been moved to Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. in the city council chambers, 11707 E. Sprague. It will be a work session on the proposed emergency ordinance to replace the City Center zone in the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan with Mixed Use Avenue zoning. Since it is a work session no public comment will be taken. The public can make their opinions known during a public hearing on the issue during the Dec. 9 meeting. You can find the agenda for the meeting on the city’s web site.

West Valley meeting change

The West Valley School District board meeting scheduled for Wednesday has been moved up to 10 a.m. at Spokane Valley High School, 2011 N. Hutchinson (behind Marie Callender’s). The high school principal will be talking about his school’s programs.

Natural gas leak near North Pines Middle School

Spokane Valley Fire crews are responding to a reported natural gas leak in the 11700 block of East Alki behind North Pines Middle School. The dispatcher said someone was doing some digging and hit a gas line. Residents report hearing hissing. They are shutting down Alki as I type, so try to avoid the area.

Yummy dining options for Saturday

There are two groups hosting fundraising dinners Saturday night, but you’ll have to choose one because they’re happening at the same time. The Veradale United Church of Christ is hosting its 70th annual harvest dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. at the church, 611 N. Progress Road. As always the menu features turkey with all the trimmings, ham, Swedish meatballs and squash from the church’s garden. The long running dinner is the church’s biggest annual fundraiser. Donations will be collected at the door.

For those of you a bit further south, head to an all-you-can-eat prime rib dinner hosted by the Fairfield Service Club to raise money for the annual Fairfield Flag Days celebration. The dinner will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Community Center at 304 E. Main in Fairfield. The cost is $18 per person.

Although…maybe it’s possible to visit the church’s dinner and then head south for some ribs? Let me know if you try it.

Officer involved shootings

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich will be speaking about recent officer involved shootings and his department’s policies on use of force during Wednesday morning’s Spokane Valley Business Association meeting. The meeting is open to the public and begins at 7:30 a.m. at Spokane Valley Fire Station 8, 2110 N. Wilbur (just west of Pines). I’m not sure if there will be time for questions, but it should be an informative presentation.

Yesterday’s fire

I have some follow up information on yesterday’s house fire, thanks to fire marshal Kevin Miller of Spokane Valley Fire. Apparently the resident of the home near Harvard and Wellesley cleaned out a wood stove and placed the still-hot ashes next to a woodpile, which was stacked against the wall of the house. The ashes caught the wood on fire and the fire spread to the wall of the home, spreading up into the attic. It took 20 firefighters about 30 minutes to get the fire under control. No damage estimate is available yet.

The safety message here is that if you clean out a stove or fireplace, put the ashes in a metal container and then place the container far away from anything that might burn. (It’s usually a good idea to keep wood piles away from the home, too.)


Breaking news: house fire burning

Sanner traffic 12:20 p.m. There’s been some chatter about an apartment building manager calling 911 to report finding a body in a unit at 2415 N. Cherry.

Also, firefighters are responding to a house fire on Harvard Road across from the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. First units on scene are reporting fire in the attic and the need for traffic control on Harvard Road. It might be best to avoid that area for a while.

Special Liberty Lake meeting today

We found a notice in our mailbox this morning that the Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District board of commissioners will have a special meeting at 4 p.m. today  to review the draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the district’s water reclamation plant discharge into the Spokane River. The meeting will be at the LLSWD office at 22510 E. Mission.

Clean out your medicine cabinet

Many people collect travel sized toiletries when they stay in hotels and after a while the tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner can really stack up. AAA Washington is offering to take them off your hands during their annual Soap for Hope drive. They will take such items year-round but are currently in the middle of a push that ends Dec. 10 to let people know where to donate. Needed items include toothpaste, lotion, floss, razors, hair spray, deoderant and soap. All containers must be unused and unopened. You can drop off donations at the AAA Spokane Valley office at 13817 E. Sprague (near Evergreen). They will bring the donations to Hope House of Spokane, a shelter for women.

Saturday’s highlights

Pastor James Kashork, left, of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church,and Pastor Matt Larson, of Good Shepard Lutheran Church, give communion during a joint Reformation Sunday worship service at Christ Lutheran Church. Colin Mulvany/SR photo.

There were some interesting stories to be found in Saturday’s Valley Voice and I’ll recap some of the highlights here for those of you who missed it. Three Spokane Valley Lutheran churches have voted to consolidate and form an all new church. The City of Millwood is discussing budget cuts for 2011. The city doesn’t have enough money to pay for planned traffic calming improvements and may have to raise the utility rates. The new false alarm ordinance in Spokane Valley has led to a drop in the number of false alarms police must respond to and a leaky pipe that sent water into an electrical socket started a house on fire.

Tuesday’s meeting

There are a few things of note on the agenda for the Nov. 9 Spokane Valley City Council meeting. The council will hear a report on suggestions by city staff to adjust some fees the city charges. Staff is suggesting several new fees as well as recommending that others be lowered. An information only report on a school speed zone request from the Central Valley School District will be presented to the council, but not discussed. The district would like a 20 mph school zone on Alki for North Pines Middle School and on Pines Road for South Pines Elementary School. As always the city has posted the agenda for the meeting and all the attached documents on its web site. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

They were lost, but now they’re found

You will see a post below about giant eagle eggshells stolen from Discovery Playground in Spokane Valley, but I’m able to report that the eggs have been found. At least two different residents called Crime Check yesterday to say they saw the eggs along the side of the road on Mohawk Drive off Dishman-Mica Road.

The eggs are now safely back in the park department’s custody. The eggs are “scuffed up” and damaged from their forced removal, said city spokeswoman Carolbelle Branch. “They can be repaired,” she said.

So when the park reopens in the spring, look for the eggs to be back in the nest. 

Thursday’s highlights

Now that we’ve taken a look a the future, here’s a look at a few highlights from Thursday’s Valley Voice. The re-visioning plan proposed by the East Valley School District has parents and teachers abuzz about what it will look like and when it will take effect. Reporter Lisa Leinberger wrote an update Thursday and the school board will have special meetings next week for those who want more details. The meetings are at 6 p.m. Monday at East Valley High School, 15711 E. Wellesley, and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Trent Elementary School, 3303 N. Pines. The Tuesday meeting will be preceded by the board’s usual business meeting at 6 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Spokane Valley City Council has made some moves toward purchasing its own equipment to broadcast city council meetings on cable and the internet while residents in the Newman Lake Fire District are still discussing building a new fire station. The Liberty Lake City Council recently heard about proposed budget cuts, including cutting library hours and closing the Trailhead Golf Course in the winter.  

Coming on Saturday

We’ve got a full Valley Voice heading your way tomorrow. You’ll find information on East Valley High School’s upcoming play, a follow up on how the new false alarm ordinance is benefiting Spokane Valley Police and a story on three Lutheran churches who plan to combine.

A regular Saturday feature is the roundup of the most interesting calls from Spokane Valley Fire in the last week. Tomorrow’s column will feature a Greenacres couple who had two feet of water in their basement after a water main broke and a 13-year-old boy arrested for setting off firecrackers inside a urinal at East Valley High School. It is also apparently possible for a leaking water pipe to start a fire. Who knew?

For those of you living outside the Valley Voice circulation area, you can always find our stories online here.

Have you seen these eggs?

A thief apparently climbed the waist high fence surrounding Discovery Playground in Spokane Valley last week and made off with two oversized eagle eggshells. The theft was discovered the morning of Oct. 24 when park staff was making a routine check of the park, which is closed for the season.

The new park opened in May and has been hugely popular. The eggshells were placed on a raised walkway above the climbing wall and were a favorite of small children, who would climb inside.

Anyone with information about the theft or where the eggshells are now is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Welcome to the neighborhood

Welcome to the new Spokane Valley blog. My name is Nina Culver. I have been with The Spokesman-Review since 1995 and have worked in the Spokane Valley office off and on since before city incorporation. Over the years I have covered just about every Valley beat there is. Right now I primarily cover the City of Spokane Valley, Spokane Valley Fire, Valley churches and the Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake police departments.

Our goal is to make this a one-stop shopping place for residents of the greater Spokane Valley area to come to get news and information about their neighborhoods. We’ll include all the smaller towns that are within the Valley Voice circulation area, including Fairfield, Rockford and Liberty Lake.

Here you will find links to Valley Voice stories about crime, education, city government and other issues important to residents. Check in early and often to find breaking news that I hear over the police scanner on my desk. You will be able to find out what will be discussed at the next Spokane Valley council meeting and what events are coming up.

So consider the lines of communication open. If you have a question or suggestion, feel free to leave a comment on a blog post or send an email to

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About this blog

Welcome to the Spokane Valley blog. Here we cover news, events and information from the greater Spokane Valley area, including Millwood, Otis Orchards, Liberty Lake, Newman Lake, Rockford and Fairfield.

Stop by often to find stories, information on events received too late to print in the Valley Voice and breaking news.

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