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Spokane Valley blog

Archive for April 2011

Coming on Saturday

Here's a quick look at what is coming in the Valley Voice on Saturday. There have been some unexpected changes to the Liberty Lake Police Department and I'll take a look at what is next. Citizens in Millwood who have been trying to save the town's wading pool are moving forward with their plans. Reporter Lisa Leinberger will also have a look at the small farm run by the East Valley School District and changes that are in store this year.

Now, all everyone has to do is hope for good weather on Sunday for all the Bloomsday participants. Go forth and run! Of course, walking it works too.

Clean out your medicine cabinet

Many of us have half full bottles of prescription drugs in our cabinets and bathrooms simply because we don't know how to dispose of the leftovers when we no longer need to take the medicine. Get those plastic bags ready, because there's a solution. On Saturday the Spokane Valley Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Agency are teaming up to offer a drop off point as part of the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

Residents can bring any pills that are unneeded or have expired. Drop them off at the Spokane Valley Police Precinct at 12710 E. Sprague from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday for free disposal.

The circus is in town

Jennifer Thomas, an elephant trainer for TZ Productions, hands out bread treats to her Asian elephants Marie, 30, left, and Shelly, 31, during preparations for the Shrine Circus at the Spokane Valley Mall in 2010. SR photo/Dan Pelle

You may have noticed a huge tent in the parking lot of the Spokane Valley Mall. This, of course, means that the Shrine Circus is back in town. If you're looking for something to do this weekend, there will be shows today, Saturday and Sunday before everything is packed up and hauled off to the next city.

The tent is home to clowns, horses, elephants, acrobats and a high diver. Performance times are 3 and 7:30 p.m. today; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 1 and 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $10 and are available at the Albertsons in Liberty Lake and on Saturday and Sunday will also be available at the Spokane Valley Mall kiosk.

East Valley to declare emergency

The East Valley School District board of directors has called a special meeting for 1 p.m. today to declare a fiscal emergency. The meeting, which is open to the public, will be at the Administration building at 12325 E. Grace. This is the district's first step in determining what to do in the face of expected cuts in state education money and the failure of a bond to repair aging schools.

Let’s play!

This pup looks so happy and friendly; I swear he is smiling. Bean is a male pit bull mix up for adoption this week at the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service shelter. The staff says he could use a couple of their free training classes to learn to walk on a leash better, but he is house trained and knows “sit” and likes to play ball. He appears to get along with with other dogs but would prefer a home without cats.

If you are interested in adopting Bean, his identification number is 1742. The adoption fee for dogs is $82.04, which includes a vet check, license, microchip, vaccinations and either spaying or neutering. You can stop by to visit Bean at 2421 N. Flora Road or call (509) 477-2532 for more information. Photo courtesy of SCRAPS.

Where were your elected officials today?

The answer was probably the fourth and final State of the City address by Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey. The event just ended at CenterPlace and the audience was full of politicians. Here's a sampling: Spokane Mayor Mary Vernor, Liberty Lake Mayor Wendy Van Orman, Rockford Mayor Micki Harnois, Spokane County Commissioners Al French and Todd Mielke, Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan, Spokane Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin and Spokane Valley Fire Department Commissioners Monte Nesbitt, Joe Dawson and Bill Anderson.

Rounding out the group was every Spokane Valley council member except for Bill Gothmann, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, Spokane Valley Police Chief Rick Van Leuven, Spokane Valley Fire Department Chief Mike Thompson and Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service director Nancy Hill. I guess the speech was the place to be today. 

Mayor Towey had a little fun with his interactive voting during today's speech. He said he's been told his style while running council meetings is too laid back. So he asked if he should run the meetings Shogan style, Towey style or Larry the Cable Guy style. Fifty percent of the crowd voted for Larry the Cable Guy style. “I'd say Mr. Shogan and I have a lot of work to do,” Towey said.

Today’s highlights

Empty store fronts are a common sight up and down Sprague Avenue in Spokane Valley. Only two tenants remain in the once thriving Opportunity Center at Pines Road and Sprague Avenue. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

I see the sun outside, but I'm sure that won't last. So I won't mind if you put off reading the Valley Voice until the clouds come in. But when you do pick it up, we've got some stories to take notice of. After Tuesday's City Council meeting the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan is finally dead. I've got a story with reaction to that, plus a story on the city council's selection of three candidates to interview for the vacant council seat. One is Chuck Hafner, who helped get four of the current council members elected, and returning candidates Steven Neill and Ben Wick.

Correspondent Cindy Hval has a great story on her son learning how to drive. Her account is something that any parent who has tried to teach a child how to drive can sympathize with. (Like she said, I'm speaking firmly, not yelling. Well, except for that one time.)  For a bit of cross town news, check out the Landmarks column by correspondent Stefanie Pettit. She takes a look at a 1879 farm house on Five Mile Prarie. Maybe I'm just a sucker for wrap around porches, but it's a nice looking house that also holds a bit of Spokane area history.

Coming Thursday

There was a whole bunch of stuff going on this week in Spokane Valley and we'll have the news for you in Thursday's Valley Voice. The Spokane Valley City Council voted on which candidates to interview for the vacant council position, though the mayor recused himself from the discussion. The council also took the final step to kill the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan, which has been coming for more than a year. The Spokane Valley Fire Department has had some good news: the contractor using its land at Euclid and Barker for storage promises to be out of there by May 15. Meanwhile, let's hope the weather forecasters are wrong about the whole rain and snow thing tomorrow. Otherwise I may have to invest in a rowboat.

Open house on I-90 changes

The Washington State Department of Transportation will host an open house Thursday to present design options for Interstate 90 between Barker Road and Harvard Road. There are plans in the next few years to add lanes and make changes to the on and off ramps along that stretch of the freeway.

The open house will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Hope Lutheran Church, 17909 E. Broadway. There will be no formal presentation, but engineers will be there to answer questions and take comments on the various proposals.

Vote today to have a voice

Just a reminder to residents in the East Valley School District that ballots for the bond election must be postmarked today in order to be counted by the Spokane County Elections Office. Otherwise you have until 8 p.m. today to drop it off at the Elections Office at 1033 W. Gardner or put it in one of the special ballot drop off boxes located all public libraries.

The first results will be released at 8 p.m. tonight and you can check www.spokesman.com for information. Additional ballots will continue to be counted over the next week or two before the election results are certified.

Accident blocking Pines

Police and fire crews are responding to an accident at Pines and Main that is reportedly blocking the road. Take a detour around that area for now.

Tonight’s city council meeting

Tonight's meeting looks pretty straightforward. The council will give a final yes or no vote on several comprehensive plan amendments, including the removal of the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan. There will also be final votes on a new detention services agreement and on an ordinance to allow livestock on lots larger than 40,000 square feet in mixed use zones.

The council will also decide which of the seven candidates for the vacant council seat they wish to interview. There were eight candidates but the Mayor said Monday that longtime SCOPE volunteer John Baldwin has withdrawn his name from consideration.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

Special meeting Tuesday in Liberty Lake

The Liberty Lake City Council will have a special public meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The only item on the agenda is a discussion led by consultant Stan McNutt on the pros and cons of different types of government, inlucing strong mayor and city manager forms of government. McNutt is known locally as the former Spokane Valley deputy city manager (2003). The meeting is at City Hall, 22710 E. Country Vista Drive, so head on over and listen in on the discussion.

Saturday’s highlights

Joseph Guerrinha, center, practices with his teammates after taking a monthlong break from soccer to recover from a concussion. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

We managed to pack a bunch of interesting stories in Saturday's Valley Voice, starting with the touching story by correspondent Steve Christilaw about Central Valley High School soccer player Joseph Guerrinha. He's back in the game after suffering a serious concussion that he has no memory of.

The Spokane Valley City Council discussed projects to improve the Mission trailhead in Greenacres and establish railroad quiet zones west of Millwood. The were also questions as to whether the city counld afford to do the work. In other City news, newly appointed councilman Arne Woodard has already filed the required paperwork to run in the November election.

Correspondent Juli Bergstrom-Wasson has a look at the new Five Guys Burgers and Fries location at Sprague and Sullivan. I went in once to check it out and the line was nearly out the door. But you can munch on free peanuts while you wait and watching the kitchen staff at work is entertaining.

Other stories rounding out the pack include one on the end of the Miss Spokane Valley pageant and reporter Lisa Leinberger's story on the expansion of a women's homeless shelter.

Hop on over to an Easter egg hunt

Spokane Valley will play host to a couple of large community Easter Egg hunts tomorrow if you know some kids with empty Easter baskets who are ready to do a little hunting. Each event also has plenty of other activites for kids of all ages (and those of us who are kids at heart).

Redeemer Lutheran Church will have over 6,000 candy stuffed eggs ready for the taking at 11 a.m. tomorrow. Even with that number they'll probably all be snatched up in a few minutes, so don't be late. The free event also includes a petting zoo, jumping castle and hot dog lunch. The church is at 3606 S. Schafer Road.

Tomorrow at 10 a.m. the church known as One* will have an Easter egg hunt for children up through the fifth grade at 24th and Sullivan. The event is also free and includes a petting zoo, jumping castles, face painting, balloon animals and pictures with the Easter bunny.

Have a happy Easter everyone!

Coming on Saturday

The sun is shining (for now) and it's Friday (thank goodness), so it's time to look ahead at what is in store for the Saturday Valley Voice. I'll have the second helping of news from this week's Spokane Valley City Council meeting. They discussed projects that would improve the Mission Avenue trailhead in Greenacres and establish quiet zones on the Union Pacific line west of Millwood. They also talked about whether they had funding to do the work.

The Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce has announced the end of the annual Miss Spokane Valley competition. Another person has filed paperwork to run for City Council in November and reporter Lisa Leinberger will have a story on Hearth Homes, which provides housing for homeless women. The organization just got a large donation that enabled it to buy a house.

Today’s highlights

Kathi White of Post Falls prepares for a ride with the help of volunteer Bukre Horner at Equine TLC in Post Falls last week. Equine TLC offers therapy to people with disabilities. SR photo/Kathy Plonka

I could say there is so much in the Valley Voice today that it took me this long to read it, but the reality is that I've been busy writing stories and posting other news and my usual Valley Voice highlights post got pushed from early morning to early afternoon. So, without further ado, here we go.

The Discovery Playground is open for the season. The new playground was very popular last year and some features were literally loved to death. So there are a few new things to see and, in a few weeks, new security cameras with motion detectors. Last year someone stole several large fiberglass eggs that were later found and tried to make off with a large Salmon.

Reporter Lisa Lienberger has great story on Equine TLC, a non-profit that gives disabled children and adults therapy on horseback. The group is having a fundraiser next week to raise money for an indoor arena.

This week the Spokane Valley City Council took the next to last step to eliminate the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan. I also checked in with the Happy Quilters, a group of women at Christ Lutheran Church who make quilts non-stop to send to Lutheran World Relief, which distributes them around the world. And that's just the beginning of their work for charity.

Eight candidates for vacant Spokane Valley council seat

Next week the Spokane Valley City Council will be considering eight people who applied to fill the council seat vacated by the death of councilman Bob McCaslin. Five of them previously applied for the vacant council seat just filled by Arne Woodard and three are new faces. Take a look at my story here for more details.

The story wasn't able to fit in today's paper, but it should be in tormorrow's edition for you old fashioned people who prefer to get ink on your fingers while reading the newspaper.

On Tuesday the council will have an executive session to discuss the candidates, then vote during the regular council meeting on which of the eight to interview. Right now the interviews are scheduled for May 10.

New Freeman superintendent

Randy Russell, principal of Coeur d'Alene High, holds his birthday gift, a model viking ship, in the office of his school Friday, Sept. 29, 2006. He just turned 40 years old. JESSE TINSLEY The Spokesman-Review
  

The Freeman School District has announced on their web site that they have offered the superintendent's position to Coeur d'Alene High School principal Randy Russell. A special board meeting was held yesterday to make the decision. Russell is expected to attend the district's next board meeting, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 28 in the middle school library.

News of the decision trickled out into Coeur d'Alene yesterday and the SR's Huckleberries blogger in North Idaho, Dave Oliveria, posted the information. Several people who commented on the post here had good things to say about Russell.

Natural gas line broken in Chester Hills

Scanner dispatchers indicate that a natural gas line has been broken on Mariam, a short street in the Chester Hills neighborhood east of Dishman-Mica. Spokane Valley Fire Department crews are responding. Streets in the area are being shut down and some homes in the immediate area are being evacuated.  

The old Opportunity Presbyterian Church

I was rummaging around this morning and found this historical photo of Opportunity Presbyterian Church circa the 1920's. The church is still at the same location at 202 N. Pines Rd, but the church and its surroundings sure look a lot different now. It's always amazing to think of Spokane Valley's very rural roots when you're one of thousands of cars cruising down Pines every day. Photo courtesy of the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum.

Multiple fires along Highway 27

The scanner is reporting several small fires along Highway 27 near 32nd Avennue, 44th Avenue and Tolbert. No word yet on what may have caused the fires, some of which are in the trees. The one at 32nd is about an eighth of an acre in size, the first crew on scene said. I guess it's not too wet out there for fires.

New Freeman superintendent chosen tomorrow

The Freeman School District board of directors announced this morning that they will be having a special meeting at 8 a.m. Wednesday to select a new superintendent. They will meet in executive (closed) session to discuss the qualifications of the candidates, then come back into a regular, open session to hold a vote on which candidate will replace outgoing superintendent Sergio Hernandez. The meeting will be in the board room.

Quiet zones and trailheads on today’s agenda

There are a few interesting items on the Spokane Valley City Council agenda for tonight, but since it is a study session there won't be a general public comment period. There are action items: the first reading of several ordinances having to do with comprehensive plan amendments. Public comment will be taken on those items. Most are fairly standard changes, but one would eliminate the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan. (The most controversial amendment, the St. John Vianney Church rezone request, has been removed for negotiations and will not be discussed tonight.)

Other items that have attracted public interest are railroad quiet zones on the Union Pacific line at Park Road and Vista Road and the Mission Avenue trailhead in Greenacres. Both will be discussed tonight, so head on down to City Hall at 6 p.m. tonight to hear about where the council wants to go with both those proposals.

Meet the Freeman finalists

Just a reminder that at 6:15 p.m. tonight residents in the Freeman School District can stop by the middle school gym to meet the four finalists for the superintendent position. This is your chance to meet them and ask questions. The finalists are: Cheney High School principal Thomas Gresch, Liberty School District superintendent Bill Motsenbocker, Coeur d'Alene High School Principal Randy Russell and Mead School District executive director of human services Kelly Shea.

Current superintendent Sergio Hernandez plans retire at the beginning of June.

Dryer fire on 32nd Ave.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department is responding to what sounds like a dryer fire in the basement of a home in the 11800 block of East 32nd. They are reporting only light smoke in the basement, so hopefully the fire is minor.

Saturday’s highlights

Horizon Middle School eighth-grader Lucas Fitzsimmons, left, gets help separating leftover food waste and soiled paper from garbage, as part of the Central Valley School District’s cafeteria composting program. Assisting him, from right, are eighth-grade leadership students Colby Potts, Emma Kennedy and Scott McKinley. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Here we are on another lovely Monday morning. Well, it will be lovely after the morning coffee kicks in. So now is the perfect time to take a look at what was published in Saturday's Valley Voice. The kids at Horizon Middle School stepped up to launch a new composting program that will be used by the entire Central Valley district by the end of the school year. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has the story and we also have a catchy rap tune performed by students to go with it. Just beware - you might find yourself singing it later.

Lisa also has information on the four finalists for the Freeman superintendent position. They are: Cheney High School principal Thomas Gresch, Liberty School District superintendent Bill Motsenbocker, Coeur d'Alene High School Principal Randy Russell and Mead School District executive director of human services Kelly Shea.

I've also got a look at what additions the Spokane Valley City Council is considering to go along with the Broadway Avenue Safety Project, including resurfacing part of Broadway and improving drainage in an area that floods during storms. The council also discussed the comprehensive plan amendment that would eliminate the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan. It became clear during their discussion that only councilman Bill Gothmann favors keeping SARP.

Coming on Saturday

Don't you just love Fridays? Not only is it the last day of the work week (for most people), but it's also the day before the Valley Voice comes out. There will be some great stuff in the Voice tomorrow. I'll have part two of the report from this week's Spokane Valley City Council meeting. This part will cover discussions on improvements to Broadway Avenue and the comprehensive plan amendment that would repeal the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger is on top of the school news, as usual. She did a story on Central Valley's new composting program that was begun by students at Horizon Middle School. Her education column will also have the names of the four finalists being considered for the superintendent position at the Freeman School District. The community will have a chance to meet the candidates themselves at 6:15 p.m. Monday in the Freeman Middle School gym. 

Things to do, places to be

There are so many things going on today and Saturday that I thought I would post a few highlights. They are fairly far flung - in Spokane Valley, Otis Orchards and Rockford. So no matter where you are, you've got someplace to be.

The fun kicks off today with the season opening of Discovery Playground at 2426 N. Discovery Place from 3 to 5 p.m. The new playground was hugely popular last year and a few changes were made over the winter to make things more durable. This afternoon's celebration includes family activities and a tree planting ceremony with the Mayor. The weather could be better, but we have to take what we can get.

On Saturday people will have to choose between competing events in Otis Ochards and Rockford. A Ronda Jo Emerson Memorial fundraiser is planned for 1 p.m. at the Otis Grill at Harvard and Wellesley. Emerson was a co-owner of the Otis Grill before she died in a snowmobiling accident earlier this year. The event will include a spaghetti feed for $7.99 a plate and a silent auction and raffle.

At the same time the small town of Rockford will be putting on its annual FredNeck's Frog Regatta Festival that starts at 1 p.m. The afternoon includes free hot dogs in the park from 1 to 2 p.m., free games for kids in the park beginning at 2 p.m. and a frog regatta down Rock Creek beginning at 3 p.m. There are cash prizes for the regatta and frogs can be purchased Saturday in the park for $5.

Rockford is fairly easy to find. Just head south on Highway 27, stay on the highway until you get to Rockford, then take a left just after the overpass.

Rally for the bond

Citizens for East Valley, the campaign for the East Valley School District Construction Bond, will hold a rally at the corner of Harvard Road and Wellesley Ave. in Otis Orchards today from 3:45 to 6 p.m.

The campaign is hoping residents vote in favor of a $33.75 milllion school construction bond which will renovate and expand Trentwood, East Farms, Otis Orchards, Skyview and Trent elementary schools. It would add 40 new classrooms, four new gyms and a middle-level enrichement center, and the buildings would receive a technology upgrade. Mountain View Middle School would be closed.

Property owners can expect to see an increase of 86 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, which would increase East Valley's total levy and bond tax to $4.39 per $1,000.

The district expects $32.5 million in matching funds from the state.

Voters must return their ballots by April 26. the bond needs a supermajority of 60 percent to pass.

Members of the campaign will be at the rally with architectural renderings of what each school could look like after the construction.

CVHS hosts mock crash

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People may have noticed a lot of emergency vehicles and a MedStar helicopter at Central Valley High School yesterday morning. Nothing went wrong; the school was just hosting a mock crash demonstration. They are held every couple of years to warn students of the possible consequences of drinking and driving. Students play the role of victims and some schools have even been known to put on fake funerals to go with it. I've been to one before and they can be incredibly realistic. You can check tomorrow's Valley Voice for a few more details on how it went in the weekly fire department roundup. All photos are courtesy of the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Gentleman seeks food bowl, comfy bed

The featured pet this week from the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service looks like the ideal dog for someone who is looking for a laid-back, easy going pet. Alder is described by shelter staff as a “calm, mature gentleman.” He's a senior dog who is mellow and appears to get along well with cats and other dogs. He has already been neutered, so he can be taken home right away.

If you are interested in adopting Alder, his identification number is 1478. The adoption fee for dogs is $82.04, which includes a vet check, license, microchip, vaccinations and either spaying or neutering. You can stop by to visit Alder at 2421 N. Flora Road or call (509) 477-2532 for more information. Photo courtesy of SCRAPS.

Today’s highlights

Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey stood at the pulpit at Valley Fourth Memorial Church and gave his first State of the City address to about 50 people Monday. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

The Spokane Valley City Council has been busy this week, which is reflected in today's Valley Voice. Mayor Tom Towey gave the first of four State of the City speeches Monday. He talked about highlights from 2010, goals for 2011 and the city's budget.  Friends and family of slain pastor Scott Creach also spoke out about the use of unmarked patrol cars by the Sheriff's Office, which provides policing for Spokane Valley.

During Tuesday's meeting the council listened to more than an hour of public testimony before agreeing to postpone a decision on the zone change being sought by St. John Vianney Catholic Church so a low income senior housing complex can be built next to the church. City staff will spend the next month negotiating a developer's agreement with the property owner to impose restrictions on how the land can be used.

I also put together an update on land owned by the Spokane Valley Fire Department at Barker and Euclid that a contractor has been using for storage. The company has overstayed its welcome and fire commissioners are taking steps to encourage the company to leave. Additional information came in after my deadline that the construction company's president is now in contact with the department and a new agreement is being negotiated. I'll have more on that as things get worked out.

Reporter Pia Hallenberg also has a bit of cross-town good news. Neighbors near Northwoods Park north of Spokane recently volunteered their time to clean up the park and say they plan to maintain it this summer. Northwoods is one of the parks Spokane County can no longer afford to maintain.

Quick! It’s not too late.

Time is running out, but there's probably still time to sign up for this afternoon's Candidate School being hosted by the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce. The mini school is for people who may be thinking of running for public office. It will cover organizing a campaign, working with the media and other interesting tidbits.

The school is today from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Chamber, 9507 E. Sprague. The cost is $25, which includes refreshments and materials. Visit www.spokanevalleychamber.org to register or call 924-4994.

Coming Thursday

My goodness there was a lot of people at the Spokane Valley City Council meeting last night. The council chambers were packed and the public comment period lasted for well over an hour. Most people were there to complain about a proposed comprehensive plan amendment to rezone property next to St. John Vianney Catholic Church to allow Catholic Charities to build a low income senior housing complex. It has become a highly emotional and controversial issue. My story on the council's discussion and decision will be in Thursday's Valley Voice.

Also in the Valley Voice will be an update on the efforts of the Spokane Valley Fire Department to evict a construction company from land the department owns at Barker and Euclid. The company has been using the site for storage for years and they were supposed to be gone by now.

I'll also have a report on the Mayor's first State of the City speech. There will be four in all and the second one will be Thursday night at 7 p.m. at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place. So if you missed the first one, there are plenty of other chances to get in on the discussion.  

Tonight’s city council meeting

The Spokane Valley City Council meeting tonight looks pretty straightforward. There's only one item up for a vote - the first reading of a proposed ordinance that would allow livestock on parcels larger than 40,000 square feet in mixed use zones. It would only affect a handful of properties in the city.

The council will also hear reports on the street vacation process and a Broadway Avenue stormwater drainage project. The report on the annual comprehensive plan amendments will probably be lengthy, as there are several. The major one would do away with the entire Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan and the proposed amendment that has gotten a huge amount of attention is a request from St. John Vianney Catholic Church to rezone a parcel it owns so senior low income housing can be built. Tonight's discussion will not include a vote, which will come later in the month.

So if you find yourself out and about tonight, drop by City Hall at 11707 E. Sprague at 6 p.m.

Another opening to be filled

Since Spokane Valley planning commissioner Arne Woodard was appointed to the Spokane Valley City Council last week, that means there is now an opening for a new planning commissioner. An application for the position can be found at www.spokanevalley.org or picked up at City Hall. The application deadline is 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3.

The commission reviews land use rules, development regulations and other city laws and makes recommendations to the city council after holding public hearings. The commission generally meets twice a month. Applicants must live within the Spokane Valley city limits. The Mayor will nominate a person to replace Woodard and that person must be confirmed by the city council. The term of the vacant seat expires Dec. 31.

Hart Park meeting in Fairfield

The town of Fairfield will host a special meeting Tuesday to discuss upcoming work to be done in Hart Park. Residents are encouraged to attend to give input and hear about the plans. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. tomorrow in Hart Park.

State of the City

Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey will host the first of four State of the City addresses tonight at 7 p.m. at Valley Fourth Memorial Church, 2303 S. Bowdish. The mayor plans to discuss highlights from 2010, the city's budget and goals for 2011. Several council members will also be in attendance and there will be time for discussion/questions and answers on community issues after the Mayor's speech.

If you can't make it tonight, the program will be repeated at 7 p.m. Thursday at CenterPlace (2426 N. Discovery Place), 7 p.m. April 21 at Woodard Elementary (7401 E. Mission) and 12:30 p.m. April 28 at CenterPlace.

Saturday’s highlights

Taylor Keeton prepares to throw to first base from third at University High School. The Titan standout and his team were playing the Mt. Spokane Wildcats. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

University High School ended up getting a lot of coverage in Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger wrote a story on the spring drama “Assassins” that students will be performing the next two weekends. The school's drama department has been tackling tough, edgy performances in the last couple of years. Regular correspondent Steve Christilaw also weighed in with a story on the school's baseball program and senior player Taylor Keeton.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam wrote a nice feature on Glenn Bailey, who has served on the Millwood City Council for 20 years. Now that is dedication to public service.

Here’s what you may have missed

Construction on the Barker Bridge has been completed for almost a year, but the contractor, Morgen and Oswood of Great Falls, has yet to clean up the storage site owned by the Spokane Valley Fire Department at the corner of Barker and Euclid. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak.

Before I do the highlights from the most recent Valley Voice on Saturday, I thought it might be helpful to post some quick hits on a few stories published in the Voice while I was driving for endless hours through Montana. (Lots of mountains. And cows.)

April 2: I had an update on changes to the planned Indiana Avenue extension project and details on the construction plans for Greenacres Park. There was also a story on efforts by the Spokane Valley Fire Department to get land they own at Barker and Euclid cleaned up after the Barker Bridge contractor has been using it for storage for years. Reporter Lisa Leinberger had a look at the first ever drama put on by students at Contract Based Education, a West Valley alternative high school.

April 7: In my absence Lisa Leinberger attended the Spokane Valley City Council and wrote about the votes to approve the improved Indiana Avenue extension project and the construction bid for Greenacres Park. The council also voted to add planning commissioner Arne Woodard to their ranks. Lisa also had another story on the East Valley bond (many people have probably already received their ballots).

Discovering Spring

It's been closed all winter, but next week Spokane Valley will re-open it's premier park.

Discovery Playground, 2426 N. Discovery Place, will open April 15 with a ceremony from 3 to 5 p.m. The event is open to all ages and will include a tree planting with Mayor Tom Towey and other city officials. There will also be interactive vendors near the shelter area where visitors can receive seedlings to take home and plant.

For more information, call Recreation Coordinator Jennifer Papich at (509) 720-5408 or email jpapich@spokanevalley.org.

Have fun without me

I know it seems like I just got back from vacation, but next week is spring break and I'll be turning over the blog reins to fellow reporter Lisa Leinberger. She'll post as much as she can. It looks as though she will be attending an interesting Spokane Valley City Council meeting in my absence. On the agenda is a possible vote on the newly redesigned Indiana Avevenue extension project, a vote on awarding the construction bid for Greenacres Park and a vote on who to appoint to one of the vacant city council seats. She gets to have all the fun.

At any rate, I'll be back bright eyed and bushy tailed on April 11. Here's hoping for good weather!

Coming on Saturday

We'll have plenty of pictures and maps to spice up the Valley Voice on Saturday. The design of the planned extension of Indiana Avenue east to the Flora and Mission intersection has been changed to accommodate neighborhood concerns. There will be a map of the new configuration as well as a story on the changes and how they came about.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department has been a bit frustrated with the Barker Bridge contractor that is still storing heavy equipment and debris on land the department owns at Barker and Euclid. The department agreed to let the contractor use it, but everything was supposed to be cleaned up by now.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger will have a story on the first ever drama performed by students at Contract Based Education, an alternative high school in the West Valley School District.

The Sullivan Hole

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I've been writing a lot lately about the Indiana Avenue extension project and what impact, if any, that would have on the informal Centennial Trail trailhead where Mission Ave. dead ends at the Spokane River. I wandered out there last week and shot some video on my phone of Sullivan Hole, a popular kayaking feature just a little bit down the trail. That stretch of the river is very popular with kayakers and other boaters, which is one reason people have been so upset about any possible restriction in access. The good news is that the trailhead should remain the way it is and the Spokane Valley City Council even plans to discuss improving it. So enjoy the short video. You'll get an idea of what the river looks like there at high water and you can even hear the sound of rushing water.

Applications for city council being accepted again

The City of Spokane Valley is once again accepting applications for City Council, this time for Bob McCaslin's seat. McCaslin died last month. The seat is open to any adult who is a registered voter and has lived in Spokane Valley for at least a year. Applications are available at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague, or online at www.spokanevalley.org. Applications must be hand delivered or mailed.

The application deadline is 4 p.m. on April 19. If someone who filed for the other vacant council seat wants to be considered for this seat they do not have to fill out the paperwork again, just send a letter to the city clerk announcing their desire to be considered for this seat as well.

The council is scheduled to select which candidates to interview at the April 26 council meeting. The interviews will take place on May 10, with the final vote on who to appoint set for May 17. Whomever is picked to fill the seat must run for re-election in November to keep the position.

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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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Nina Culver Nina Culver covers city of Spokane Valley, Spokane Valley Fire Department, Newman Lake Fire and Rescue, Spokane County Fire District 8, Liberty Lake Police Department and the small towns of Fairfield and Rockford.

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