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Spokane Valley blog

Archive for August 2011

Coming Thursday

Sorry I haven't been too active on the blog this week. My fingers can only type so fast and sometimes there just isn't enough time in the day. But we've spent our time wisely, putting together another bunch of great stories for Thursday's Valley Voice.

I'll have an update on last night's Spokane Valley City Council discussion on the proposed Bike and Pedestrian Master Program. Council members spent some time editing the document, but there will be more discussion to come. Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in with the Rockin B Ranch near Stateline. The facility, which offers cowboy supper shows and Patrick McManus shows, will be closing its doors for good in October. If you have never had a chance to go out there for some family friendly entertainment, now is the time. Their food is pretty good, too.

The commissioners in Spokane County Fire District 8 recently voted to place a maintenance and operations levy on the November ballot. It will be their first ever M&O levy. We will also have some information on the Labor Day celebration in Liberty Lake, which includes a celebration of the city's 10th anniversary.

Bike and Pedestrian plan back for discussion

The City of Spokane Valley's Bike and Pedestrian Master Program hit a bump in the road a few weeks ago when it was eyed critically by the city council after the Planning Commission voted to recommend that the council approve it. It's back up for discussion at tonight's council meeting. The meeting is a study session, however, so public comment will not be allowed. But people can still come and listen to the discussion.

The other big item on tonight's agenda is nine presentations by outside agencies who are all seeking a slice of the social services funding pie. Every year agencies line up to ask for money to fund various programs and projects. This year the city has allocated $165,000 for this purpose. The agencies on the schedule to make presentations tonight include Spokane Valley Partners, Valley Meals on Wheels and Project Access. The council will listen to the presentations tonight and vote at a later date on how much money, if any, to give to each agency.

Tonight's meeting is at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.  

Spokane Valley woman injured in weekend accident

The Idaho State Patrol reported late yesterday that Spokane Valley resident Chelsey M. Bucko, 24, was injured in an accident at 9 p.m. at Highway 95 and Rockford Bay Road. She was driving west on Rockford Bay and another driver was going north on Highway 95. An ISP press release reported that Bucko pulled out in front of the other woman, causing the two cars to crash. Bucko's 1992 Jeep Cherokee bust into flames after the impact and the highway was shut down for an hour. The driver of the other car and her passenger, both from Silverdale, Wash., were also injured. All three were taken to Kootenai Medical Center.

Saturday’s highlights

Chris Lomen and John Smith of Marlin Windows Inc. install new energy-efficient windows on the south side of Centennial Middle School. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

There was a lot of school news in Saturday's Valley Voice as the three Spokane Valley school districts prepare to open their doors soon. Correspondent Steve Cristilaw took a look at the East Valley High School and West Valley High School football teams as they prepare for the season. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on new windows being installed at Centennial Middle School and another on the new budgets passed by East Valley and West Valley. Techers and administrators in both districts are taking pay cuts.

The Spokane Valley City Council took another look a a proposal to extend Mansfield Avenue east of Pines where it has a several hundred foot gap. The council previously voted not to ask for a grant for the work, but last week they voted to approve the grant application after learning that nearby developers were willing to chip in 10 percent of the project cost.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department spent the last week responding to several unexplained fires and fished a drunken man out of the Spokane River.

Do the Valley Cruz

If you are looking for a little somthing to do on Sunday while we bake in this heat, you can head over to the Spokane Valley Church of the Nazarene for their annual Valley Cruz car show Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. In addition to the car show there will be a free barbecue picnic and free family games. Valve cover races are also scheduled. It sounds like a fun time for the family. The church is at 20th and Sullivan.

Need a backpack for school?

If your child is still in need of a backpack and/or supplies for school, Dishman Baptist Church is inviting neighborhood residents to a “Backpack Bash” Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. The church has 125 backpacks filled will school supplies to give away. Families can also have free hot dogs and drinks during the event. The church is located at 315 N. Argonne Road, so stop by on Sunday if you need a little back-to-school help.

Traffic hangups at Sprague and Pines

I got a surprise this morning on the way in to work when I discovered that southbound Pines is down to one lane at Sprague for work in the road. All traffic is being routed through the left turn lane, whether you are turning or not. The curb lane of eastbound Sprague is also closed, as is the curb lane of westbound Sprague. I'm not sure if this will last the entire day, but just be aware that the work is going on.

Brush fire update

There is a little bit more information available on yesterday's brush fire near Saltese Road and Sullivan. The fire was about 100 feet by 50 feet when firefighters arrived, then blowing embers ignited a second fire about 100 yards away, said Spokane Valley Fire Department assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford. The department was assisted by the Department of Natural Resources and the Bureau of Land Management in putting out the fire.

Clifford said that witnesses saw three teenage boys in the area just before the fire started. Anyone with information on the fire is asked to call the department at 928-1700.

Today’s highlights

East Valley Athletic Director Joe Kostecka lays out Mountain View Lancer and East Valley Middle School Squires uniforms that will be sold during Friday’s sale. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

If you have fond memories of being a Mountain View Middle School Landers or East Valley Middle School Squires, now is your chance to own a piece of your history. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story in today's Valley Voice on the upcoming sale of old softball, cross country, westling, football and other uniforms. All students in the combined East Valley Middle School will become the Knights, so the district has no need for the old uniforms. They will be sold from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday at the middle school, 4920 N. Progress Road. The district will use the proceeds to buy new uniforms.

Lisa also has a story on newly approved agreements with the classified staff and principals unions in the Central Valley School District. Both groups have agreed to accept pay cuts after the state cut the amount given to school districts for their salaries.

There was a lengthy debate at this week's Spokane Valley City Council meeting on whether to fund a study to possibly create railroad quiet zones on two crossings on the Union Pacific line north of Trent and west of Millwood. The proposal was voted down, but not before a discussion on who has the authority to select the city's consultants that was touched off by councilman Arne Woodard presenting the council and staff with a brochure from a company in Texas he thought the city should do business with.

Brush fire near Saltese and Sullivan

The Spokane Valley Fire Department is responding to a brush fire in the area of Saltese Road and Neidham just off Sullivan Road. The first crew on the scene reported fire in the brush and trees.

2:16 p.m. update: The fire department is now asking for the Sheriff's Office to provide traffic control, so it sounds like some roads will be shut down. Avoid that area for now.

2:19 p.m. update: Saltese is shut down between Sullivan and Conklin. Fire crews report the fire is in the tree tops and is moving north.

3:16 p.m. update: Fire crews said the fire is contained and they are in “mop up” mode.

Drinking party brawl led to police standoff

Three people received minor wounds from shotgun pellets early this morning as they left an underage drinking party near Pines and Mansfield, according to a press release from the Spokane Valley Police Department. One of the three flagged down a passing Washington State Patrol trooper to report being shot at.

Three people were arrested after the dust settled. Jered Underwood and Dillon J. Wilcher, both 18, were charged with three counts of first-degree assault with a firearm. Robert M. Fleck, 18, was charged with providing false information to police and felony riot.

An underage drinking party was reportedly underway at the home at 12136 E. Mansfield when a group of people arrived. One of the group members had previously arranged to fight one of the people inside the home. The two groups began brawling and the shotgun was fired as the visiting group left, said police spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan.

The person who allegedly fired the shotgun was barricaded inside the home. He surrendered to police and the SWAT team entered the home to make sure there was no one else inside, Reagan said. Police found three shotguns inside as well as spent and unfired shotgun cartridges.  

Morning mayhem

Things have been a little active on the scanner this morning. Pines Road is open again after being shut down by police for hours as they were in a standoff with shooting suspects in a house at Pines and Mansfield. No official press release has come out yet, but I'll keep my eyes open for one.

Also, a young boy who fell out of a third-story window in the Big Trout Lodge apartment complex in Liberty Lake last night was reportedly conscious when rescue crews arrived. He was taken to the hospital by MedStar.

Spokane Valley Fire Dept. is tweeting

I mentioned last week that the Spokane Valley Fire Department has joined the Twitter world, but I thought it might be helpful to mention what kinds of calls will be tweeted and which will not. It's set up so that calls are automatically tweeted with a brief description and the general location.

Calls like structure fires, vehicle fires, brush fires, extrications, water rescues, serious auto accidents and those involving hazardous materials will be tweeted. The standard medical calls and minor car accidents will not be mentioned. The tweets will also include the occasional safety message and notifications of new press releases.

You can find the department at @SpokaneValleyFD. And you can always check their web site to get details of calls for the last 96 hours as well as see press releases and pictures.  

Coyote Rock protest

On Sunday, rafters, kayakers and canoeists protest the proposal to build docks along the Spokane River. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Reporter Pia Hallenberg has a story in today's paper on Sunday's floating protest against proposed docks in the Coyote Rock development on the Spokane River. The docks are the subject of a couple of lawsuits. Environmentalists are worried about more boats on the river and the impact on native fish.

Click here for Pia's story and here for a previous story on the dock issue.

Saturday’s highlights

Quarterback Gaven Deyarmin (center in white) returns for his third season as a starter and team leader for the Central Valley Bears. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

It never fails. I tried to sneak quietly away from the blog Friday for a day off and it was nonstop action. I missed mail thieves, the grand opening of the new Harley Davidson dealership, a street brawl and the identification of last week's mysterious boom (an improvised explosive attached to helium balloons).  

But I can still bring you highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Correspondent Steve Christilaw has the season's first look at the football teams at Central Valley High School and University High School. Catholic Charities seems to be taking the wait-and-see approach with their proposed low income senior housing complex next to St. John Vianney. It doesn't look like the issue is going to go away soon.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioners spent some time last week looking at the 2012 budget, which looks healthy. The department has plans to demolish and rebuild Station 6 on Sprague on the west end of town.

The Spokane Valley City Council spent about 90 minutes last week discussing the city's sign code and what changes might be made. A lot of the focus was on temporary signs and the A-frame or sandwich board signs.

Accident closing Sullivan at I-90

I'm hearing reports of a bad accident on the eastbound I-90 Sullivan off-ramp. The Spokane Valley Fire Department is calling for extrication equipment. Spokane Valley Police are calling it a “serious injury accident” and detouring traffic, so if you are heading toward Sullivan it might be a good idea to pick another route. “It's a mess up here,” said one officer.

4:22 p.m. update: Northbound Sullivan traffic is being detoured at Broadway; southbound traffic appears to be fine.

Family movie night

The Valley HUB is planning another family movie night Friday with its giant movie screen. The animated movie “Cars” will start at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. at the facility, 19619 E. Cataldo. Families are encouraged to bring something soft to sit on, like pillows or blankets. The concessions area wil be open if you have the urge to much on something.

Admission to the movie showing is free, but donations will be accepted. This looks like a great opportunity for some family fun before the start of school (the mere mention of which is enough to make young children flee for the hills).

Coyote Rock docks still causing a fuss

Both docks in the Coyote Rocks development in Spokane Valley were damaged this spring from the rising waters of the Spokane River. SR file photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Outdoors writer Rich Landers has an interesting story in today's paper about the ongoing controversy surrounding 30 proposed docks at the Coyote Rock development on the Spokane River. So far there have been fines and a lawsuit. It looks like next week a formal challange will be heard by the Pollution Control Board. And on Sunday a protest rally/river float is planned at noon at Plantes Ferry Park, which is near the development. Read Rich's story for more details.

Today’s highlights

Popular Spokane Indians superhero Recycle Man poses for pictures with a young recycler before a recent ballgame. “You, too, can be a hero if you recycle,” he says. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

There's news from all over in today's Valley Voice. Reporter Pia Hallenberg checked in with Mascot Man, who fills the suits of various mascots in the area. We have the full story on Monday's special Spokane Valley City Council meeting, where the council voted to put one-way Sprague on the November ballot along with a $2.1 million bond to pay for it. That is down from the initial proposal for a $6.4 million project, which briefly went up to $7 million before the council vote.

In other Spokane Valley news, the city quietly hired an interim deputy city manager last week. Longtime residents may recognize Roger Crum, who worked for the City of Spokane for more than 20 years as a deputy city manager and city manager. As City Manager Mike Jackson said on Monday, “He retired in 2004 and has been working full time ever since.”

Some Liberty Lake residents can now get a reprieve from the city's new utility tax. The Liberty Lake City Council voted this week to allow utility tax rebates for low income seniors and low income disabled residents. Correspondent Cindy Hval spoke to a couple who train German Shepherds for protection and for police work.

Spokane Valley accident victim dies

The 75-year-old man injured Monday when his Honda scooter hit the side of a car at Broadway and Progress died Monday night, the Spokane Valley Police Department announced yesterday. Charles Spurgeon died of blunt force trauma to his chest, police said. It appears that the other driver involved pulled out in front of Spurgeon, but the case is still under investigation.

In other Spokane Valley news, businesses that run heavy trucks over the Sullivan Road bridge should take note that the weight restrictions on southbound traffic will apply to northbound traffic starting Saturday. Construction just south of the bridge means that both southbound and northbound traffic will have to use the portion of the bridge that is deteriorating. When construction is done in September and traffic goes back to normal the restrictions will no longer apply to northbound traffic.

There are more details on both news items here.

Election results

Most people have probably heard about the election results by now, but here's a look at today's story if you missed it. Voters in Spokane Valley had only one thing on the ballot - narrowing the field of candidates for Bill Gothmann's council seat from four to two. It's shaping up as a contest between the old council supporters and the new council supporters. Marilyn Cline, who has the support of the Mayor and most council members, got the most votes at 3,702 (41%). Ben Wick, who was endorsed by Gothmann and others who favored the previous council, came in a respectable second at 2,288 votes (25%).

Longtime SCOPE volunteer John Baldwin came in third with 1,507 votes (17%) despite not actively campaigning or raising any money. Retired mining executive Lewis Higgins, a relative newcomer to the Valley compared to the other candidates, picked up 1,392 votes (15%). The elections office also counted 113 write in ballots, but there's no way of telling who people were writing in. It's probably a safe bet that a few jokers wrote in Mickey Mouse.

There's still a few thousand votes to count, so the results aren't official yet. I wouldn't expect any large change in the percentage results, though.

Vacant home on fire

A resident in the 12900 block of East Valleyway called in to report that smoke was coming from the attic of a nearby vacant home that is for sale. The first crews from the Spokane Valley Fire Department reported seeing “light smoke” when they arrived.

Monday was crash day

Monday was apparently a day for car crashes caused by drivers who pulled out in front of people. Yesterday at 2:35 p.m. an teenage girl pulled out in front of a police car at the Spokane Valley Police Precinct on East Sprague, causing a police sergeant to hit the girl's car broadside, according to a press release from Detective Dave Thornburg. Reporter Meghann Cuniff has more details on her blog here.

A bit later at around 3 p.m. a 46-year-old Spokane woman was heading north on Progress and was attempting to cross Broadway. She pulled out in front of a Honda scooter being driven by 75-year-old Charles Spurgeon of Spokane Valley. His scooter struck the side of the car driven by Kristin Melton. Spurgeon was wearing a helmet, but had trouble breathing and was taken to the hospital, Thornburg wrote. An investigation is ongoing.

One-way couplet will be on ballot

After a lengthy discussion and public comment from several people last night, the Spokane Valley City Council voted to put the one-way Sprague issue on the ballot. The council did change the dollar figure, however. The original proposal was for $6.4 million, which included the cost to convert Sprague and Appleway to two-way between Argonne and University, repave the roads, install stormwater improvements and put in extensive landscaping. The council vote was to put the issue on the ballot with only the $2.1 million required to convert the roads. I'll have more details in a story in Thursday's Valley Voice.

Detours ahead

There's some road work going on this week (other than the reconstruction of the Indiana and Sullivan intersection) that will have some impact on how people travel. At 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Bowdish Road will be shut down between 17th and 18th for utility work. The work will continue through 6 p.m. Friday. Traffic will be detoured on 16th and 24th to University.

Today crews began work on Sprague Avenue between University and Evergreen. The work is to install fiber optic cable to connect the traffic lights for better synchronization and is expected to last until October. During the project there will be closures of the westbound curb lane on Sprague and the southbound curb lane on University between Appleway and Sprague.

Saturday’s highlights

Laurie Williams grows flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruits in a greenhouse on her farm, Prairie Flats, north of Bigelow Gulch, that she sells at farmers markets. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Ah, my cold front has arrived. It's a shame it won't be here longer than a day or two, but I'll take what I can get. Meanwhile, there are some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice to bring you in case you missed them. The Spokane Valley City Council is having a special meeting at 6 p.m. tonight to decide whether to ask voters for a $6.4 million bond to pay to switch Sprague and Appleway to two-way between University and Argonne. But as it turns out, there is a $4.2 million grant the city could get to pay for the same project.

In other city news, the council also decided to trim back the list of road projects they will seek grants for. They agreed that their priority should be replacement of the Sullivan Road bridge, which has weight restrictions in place. The council members are worried if they tackle too many road projects, they won't have enough left for the bridge.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a nice story on a woman who has started a new business based on her love of gardening. Reporter Lisa Leinberger, who has been visiting area SCOPE stations, checked in with University SCOPE and talked to volunteers about what they do to protect their neighborhood.  

Fire department open house

Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

I'm about to head out the door for a nice, three day weekend (so no blogging tomorrow), but before I go I wanted to remind everyone of the Spokane Valley Fire Department open house Saturday at Station 4. The department is in the midst of giving its fire stations names rather than numbers and is looking for public input on what to name the station, which is located at 22406 E. Wellesley in Otis Orchards.

Saturday's open house will be from 1 to 4 p.m. People can talk to the crew, tour the station, have refreshments and meet arson dog Mako. I'm sure they'll have some stickers on hand for the kids.

Cyclist injured, roads closed at Appleway and Dishman-Mica

A car has hit a bicyclist at Appleway and Dishman-Mica. The first officer on the scene says the cyclist appears to be “severely injured.” The roads are being shut down. Avoid the area if possible. I'll update when I can.

2:17 p.m. update: An officer told another officer over the scanner that the man is in serious to critical condition at a local hospital. The roads are still closed while police investigate the scene.

3:52 p.m. update: The roads are being opened up now, just in time for the commute home.

Special filing period next week

The Spokane County Elections Office is planning a special filing period next week for the 29 seats up for election across the county that didn't draw any takers during the June filing week. Many of those seats were for small town city councils and small fire districts, including several in the Spokane Valley area.

The vacant seats are on the Fairfield Town Council, Latah Town Council, Spangle Town Council, Waverly Town Council, Fire District 2 and Fire District 12. The full list of vacancies is in this story. The new filing period will be from 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16 to 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19. Those interested in running for office in November can file online or in person at the election office at 1033 W. Gardner. Call (509) 477-2320 for more information.

Today’s highlights

The statue, called Berry Picker, is an enlarged replica of a small bronze by the late artist Nancy McLaughlin. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

The City of Spokane Valley has a new piece of art to boast about. Last week a crowd gathered for the unveiling of the Berry Picker, a larger-than-life bronze statue of a Native American woman. It is just behind CenterPlace and within shouting distance of another large bronze, this one of a mountain man, donated to the city a few years ago.

The Spokane Valley City Council spent a lot of time this week discussing a proposed ballot measure to convert Sprague and Appleway to two-way between University and Argonne. Some citizens testified that they thought the bond proposal was unnecessarily expensive and seemed to be designed to fail.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to some longtime volunteers at West Valley SCOPE about their work, including hosting the annual West Valley Days event. The Spokane Valley Fire Department Commissioners voted this week on what wording to put on a plaque that will accompany a piece of steel beam from the World Trade Center towers when it is dedicated next month. They asked for suggestions from the community and selected their favorite.

Correspondent Val Putnam has a preview of Millwood Daze, which is set for Aug. 27. The list of things going on that day is long and includes breakfast, a fun run, live music, vendors, art festival and more. It sounds like it would be easy to spend the entire day in Millwood and still not be able to check it all out.

Woman trapped in car escapes injury

Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Newman Lake Fire District and Spokane Valley Fire Department crews responded this morning to help a woman whose car had gone off the road and flipped near Sutton Bay in Newman Lake. Newman Lake Fire Chief Keith Yamane said the woman told firefighters she was uninjured even though her car landed 25 feet down a steep embankment. “They transported her in to get her checked out,” he said.

Crews were on scene for a while, but most of the time was spent stabilizing the car and carrying the woman up the steep slope, Yamane said. He and a Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy used a winch on Yamane's brush truck to hold the car in place, then more lines were added as more crews arrived. “I think they tied the front end of the car to a tree,” he said. “There wasn't a whole lot holding that car up. If it had started rolling again it would have rolled another 20 or 30 feet.”

The woman was in a soft top jeep and it was easy to simply tear a hole in the top when firefighters reached her, Yamane said.

Update on mobile home fire

A dog and a cat died in the mobile home fire reported around 2 p.m. yesterday in the 7200 block of East Second and another dog is missing. No one was injured in the fire, though, so that's good news. Neighbors spotted smoke and called it in. According to a press release from fire marshal Kevin Miller, the middle section of the mobile home was fully involved in fire when crews arrived. The cause of the fire hasn't been determined yet. More information may be available later in the week.

Woman trapped in flipped car

I hear on the scanner that a woman is trapped in her upside down car on a steep hillside on West Newman Lake Drive near Sutton Bay. A deputy said she is “responsive.” There's no word yet on why she crashed. Fire crews are on the way to free the woman.

10:25 a.m. update: Newman Lake Fire District units on the scene are asking for help from the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

10:35 a.m. update: The car is apparently 25 feet down a steep embankment from the road. That's going to make extrication tricky.

Spokane Valley pedestrian killed by car Tuesday

Sorry for the late start this morning. My computer was having issues. I wanted to mention reporter Mike Prager's story in today's paper on the pedestrian killed by a car yesterday at Glenn and 32nd. He has been identified as Wes Abney, 48. He was apparently in his front yard when an inexperienced driver hit the gas instead of the brake and ran him over.

Spokane Valley City Council meeting will go long

Those of us who gather for tonight's Spokane Valley City Council meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall are going to be there a while. There's a whopping seven administrative reports, which tend to be lengthy, on the agenda. The council will start off with votes on the first reading of a proposed ordinance to put one-way Sprague on the November ballot and a motion on a road project list to submit for grant funding.

The report topics include preliminary revenues and expenditures for the 2012 budget, road projects that may qualify for a safety grant program, an update on the regional solid waste issue and railroad quiet zones.

So come and join me at 11707 E. Sprague if you feel brave (or have had lots of coffee today).

Mobile home on fire on Second Ave.

A mobile home is on fire in the 7200 block of East Second. Responding Spokane Valley Fire Department crews report seeing a “decent column of smoke” and the mobile home is “well involved.” The neighbor who called it in said the windows had been blown out. The Fire Department is now calling for police to respond because there is an “irrational homeowner” on the scene.

Accident is closing 32nd

There has been a car accident in the area of 32nd and Glenn that is causing the Spokane Valley Police Department to shut down 32nd. The Spokane Valley Fire Department extrication team has been called. Details from the scanner are slim, but I'll keep my ears open.

2:10 p.m. update: KHQ is reporting that the pedestrian hit by a car at 32nd and Glenn has died. Officers called for a chaplain on the scanner a bit ago.

Liberty Lake burglary suspect identified

Scooter D. Carey in a 2007 Cowlitz County Jail booking photo. Photo courtesy of the Liberty Lake Police Department.

The Liberty Lake Police Department now has a name to go with the photo of a man suspected of breaking into a storage unit at Storage Solutions on East Mission on July 15 and stealing a motorcycle. He is Scooter D. Carey, 36, of Longview, Wash., and police believe he is still in the area.  

Police traced the truck the suspect used back to its registered owner, a resident of Kalama, Wash., and contacted the police department there for help. “They are very familiar with the registered owner,” said Liberty Lake Police Chief Brian Asmus. “He's a career criminal over there.”

The police there sent Liberty Lake police a list of the man's known associates, one of whom was Carey. Asmus said he has also heard that a woman identified as Carey's girlfriend was arrested in Coeur d'Alene last week and a truck full of stolen goods was recovered. A motorcycle was among the items recovered, but Asmus said he doesn't know yet if it is the same one stolen from Liberty Lake. Police are now looking for Carey, who is facing charges of commercial burglary and theft of a motor vehicle.

Antoine Peak being damaged

SR outdoors writer Rich Landers has a blog post today railing against the “land carnage” being caused by ATV's on Antoine Peak, which is behind East Valley High School. Much of the land is Spokane County Conservation Futures land, bought to preserve wildlife habitat and protect the land from development. ATV's are not allowed there. Rich has also posted some pictures of the damage.

Semi on fire on Pines

The Spokane Valley Fire Department is reponding to a call involving a smoking semi at 6th and Pines. The dispatcher said there are “no hazardous materials or explosives.” Good to know.

Saturday’s highlights

Spokane Valley kayaker Steve Bailey surfs the “Sullivan Hole” on the upper Spokane River on August 1, 2011. The wave is a Spokane low water play spot for whitewater enthusiasts. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

If you missed Saturday's Valley Voice you should go back and take a look. It's full of interesting news and stories this week. The picture in the middle of the front page of kayakers having fun on the Spokane River makes me want to run down, jump in and cool off. (My kingdom for a cold front!) Correspondent Steve Christilaw has an interesting story to go with the picture.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger wrote about the old East Trent Motor In sign that has found a new home at the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. She also stopped in at an open house held last week at Spokane Valley Partners to celebrate the receipt of some grant funds.

The developer of the Coyote Rocks development on the Spokane River near Plantes Ferry Park has hit a stumbling block. The Spokane Valley Hearing Examiner recently ruled that the developer must redo a preliminary plat map for a new section of the development to take into account a new ordinary high water mark set by the Department of Ecology.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam wrote that the Millwood City Council just approved a real estate exise tax on all home sales in its jurisdiction. Apparently it was the only city or town in the state that didn't already charge the tax, which is one-half of one percent of the selling price and is paid by the seller. The money will be used to fund capital improvement projects as well as maintenance and operation costs.

There's more to read, but we would be here all day if I listed it all. Check out the Voice page here.

Coming on Saturday

We've got more good stuff coming your way in Saturday's Valley Voice. Spokane Valley Partners had an open house this week to celebrate a recent grant and reporter Lisa Leinberger. Lisa also stopped by the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum, which is getting ready to display a sign from the old East Trent Motor In.

The Spokane Valley hearing examiner recently made his decision on a new part of the Coyote Rock development along the Spokane River near Plantes Ferry Park. He ruled that the developer has to build homes set back 200 feet from a new high water mark set by the Department of Ecology. The proposed plat has been sent back to the developer, Coeur d'Alene based Neighborhood Inc., for revision.

There will also be a wrap up of the last week of calls for the Spokane Valley Fire Department. They responded to fires started by everything from a boy playing with a magnifying glass to a Robin that landed in the wrong place at the wrong time.

More Outdoor Learning Center open houses

At the Outdoor Learning Center in Spokane Valley, volunteer Chris Hatten, 14, holds a barn owl named Willie during an open house at the center July 22. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

If you have not had a chance to visit one of the open houses at the West Valley Outdoor Learning Center, you still have three chances left. The center usually caters to school children and educators and is rarely open to the public. It houses birds of  prey that cannot go back to the wild as well as snakes and turtles. There is also a trout pond. The open houses promise to be a fun and interesting few hours for anyone interested in animals.

The next open house is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The last two open houses are set for Aug. 12 and Aug. 26. Both are also from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The suggested donation is $3, but no one will be turned away if they can't pay. The center is located at 8706 E. Upriver Drive.

Back to school donations needed

Every year Spokane Valley Partners collects school supplies to give to low income children who need them. This year's donation drive is almost over. The last day to donate is Sunday. Donation barrels are located at Spokane Valley Partners, area Rosauers locations, Spokane Valley Fire stations, Dishman Dodge, Vera Water and Power, Valley Hospital, Dollar Tree locations and the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection.

Items needed include backpacks, crayons, paper, erasers, folders, colored pencils, pens, pencils, rulers, scissors, spiral notebooks, binders, highlighters, markers, divider tabs, glue and pencil pouches. Call Spokane Valley Partners at 927-1153 for more information.

Today’s highlights

Spokane County owns the abandoned Great Northern right of way, which crosses under Trent Avenue east of Argonne Road in Millwood. It may be used for a commuter bicycle trail. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

For those of us who melt in high temperatures, let's start the day with an appeal to Mother Nature for a nice cold front. After that, let's take a look at today's Valley Voice. The old Great Northern railroad has been largely ignored for years, but now is being sought by Spokane Valley, Millwood, Spokane County and Avista. Spokane Valley and Millwood want it for a prosed Spokane Valley-Millwood Trail that would run from Spokane Community College to Liberty Lake. Spokane County wants to put in a pipe to carry treated wastewater and Avista want to use a section of it for a high-voltage electric line. Reporter John Craig's story includes details on all the plans, plus a map of the proposed trail.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has been visiting local SCOPE stations this summer and this week she is profiling Trentwood SCOPE. It's somewhat unique because it is housed in an apartment and only has four volunteers. The four are extremely dedicated, though, and accomplish a lot. The Newman Lake Fire District is in the final stages of deciding how much to ask voters for in a bond on the November ballot to build a new Station 1. The estimated cost to build the station is $2.2 million. My story has a report from a special meeting this week and there's another meeting planned for next week for a final vote.

People who have been paying attention to vehicle prowling reports in Liberty Lake may remember that police there have arrested the same person twice after catching him in the act. But last week Liberty Lake officers arrested a duo for vehicle prowling who were also caught in the act and in posession of stolen property.

Drug raids lead to several arrests

Five people were arrrested in Spokane Valley yesterday in two drug raids staged by detectives from the Spokane County Sheriff's Office/Spokane Valley Police Department Investigative Task Force. The first raid was in the 13200 block of East 31st Court where one man was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. Police recovered two ounces of marijuana, cash and a gun.

The second raid in the 10100 block of East Main netted five arrests, a loaded shotgun, cash and 290 Oxycodone pills worth about $8,600. The resident was arrested for possesion of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and second degree unlawful possession of a firearm. The others present, including a woman who told police she was 10 weeks pregnant, were arrested for possession of a controlled substance. A one-month old infant was removed from the home.

Click here for more details, including the names of all those arrested.

Coming Thursday

The Valley Voice will be full of news you can use on Thursday. Reporter John Craig will have a story on the old Great Northern Railroad right of way that is suddenly popular. Spokane Valley and Millwood want to use it as a trail. Avista Utilities wants to put in electrical transmission lines. And Spokane County wants to lay pipe under it for treated wastewater.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger is continuing her tour of Spokane Valley area SCOPE stations. This week she checked in with Trentwood SCOPE. Since there was no Spokane Valley City Council meeting this week, I took the opportunity to head out to Newman Lake to attend a special meeting of the Newman Lake Fire District. Fire commissioners have been discussing for months (well, years actually) plans to build a new Station 1. The meeting was called to present the public with three different funding options and get input on which plan people preferred.

In Liberty Lake there were two arrests for vehicle prowling and it wasn't anyone known to be a repeat offender for that crime in Liberty Lake.

Methadone clinic public hearing

We ran a story by reporter John Stucke last month about a California company's proposal to open a private-pay methadone clinic in Spokane Valley. The public hearing on their proposal will be at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main.

There is currently one methadone clinic in Spokane County run by the Spokane Regional Health District and it has a lengthy waiting list. Methadone is used to treat people addicted to opiates like heroin or prescription painkillers.

The proposed location is 15812 E. Indiana, which is a commercial building east of Sullivan Road. The facility would be called Spokane Treatment Solutions.

Spokane Valley Partners open house today

We've just learned that Spokane Valley Partners is having an open house today at 11 a.m. along with representatives from the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce. Several local legislators have been invited to attend as well. This is your chance to check out the non-profit if you haven't already and see the many services they offer to low income residents. There is a food bank, clothing bank, WIC office, a dentist and much more. There will be refreshments available. Spokane Valley Partners is located at 10814 E. Broadway.

No council meeting tonight

This is just a reminder that there is no Spokane Valley City Council meeting tonight. Today is National Night Out and neighborhood parties have been planned all over. Several council members have indicated that they plan to attend some of the celebrations. Some local SCOPE stations are planning parties as well. So head out, find a gathering and meet your neighbors.

Suspected drunken driver causes mayhem

Residents in the 12900 block of East Eighth Avenue were awakened this morning just after 3 a.m. by several crashing sounds after a suspected drunken driver hit a power pole and three parked cars before ending up in someone's yard. Both people in the car tried to flee the scene, perhaps because both were wanted on warrants. Reporter Meghann Cuniff has more details here.

Update on Newman Lake bike vs. car accident

A bike helmet may have saved the life of a 6-year-old Newman Lake boy who was hit by a pickup truck at the intersection of Malvern Road and Morris Road on July 28. The boy was riding north on Malvern in the southbound lane while the truck towing a jet ski was going east on Morris. The boy apparently did not stop at the stop sign and a large natural berm at the intersection prevented the truck driver from seeing him until the last instant, said Detective Dave Thornburg of the Spokane County Sheriff's Office in a press release.

The driver of the truck was not speeding and alcohol does not appear to be a factor, Thornburg wrote. He simply didn't have enough time to stop. It was intially feared that the young boy was seriously injured and he was taken to the hospital by helicopter, but he is now home and recovering “nicely,” he wrote.

The boy was knocked to the ground and “tumbled many times against the ground and the undecarriage of the pickup. In this incident, it is very clear that wearing a bicycle helmet saved this boy's life,” Thornburg wrote.  

Dead Spokane Valley woman identified

A 29-year-old woman found dead in her home Friday in Spokane Valley has been identified as Lyndsey White by the Spokane County Medical Examiners Office. Police arrived at her home in 2000 block of South Fawn after she didn't go to work Friday and her boyfriend become concerned. Reporter Jody Lawrence-Turner has more details here.

Three arrested for arson, a fourth sought

Aleksander Shingarey. Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Three people have been arrested in connection with a recent arson fire in the 4400 block of East 15th in Spokane Valley and fourth person, Aleksander N. Shingarey, 23, is now wanted on a charge of first degree arson.

Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is offering a reward for information that leads to Shingarey's arrest. He is 5' 06' tall and weighs 145 pounds. He has brown hair and hazel eyes. His last known address was in the 4000 block of East 23rd in Spokane. According to the Spokane Valley Police Department his nine year criminal history includes convictions for riot, assault, minor in possession of alcohol, DUI, disorderly conduct and negligent driving. Anyone with information on his whereabouts can call (800) 222-TIPS. Tipsters can remain anonymous.

Sergey A. Kravchenko, 27, and Maksim P. Oboznyy, 21, were both arrested on Friday. Roman I. Ryakhovskaya, 21, turned himself in on Saturday. All remain in the Spokane County Jail with a $100,000 bail.

The arson fire, which caused over $100,000 in damage, was reported at 3 a.m. on July 24 while the family living there was out of town. Neighbors reported seeing a dark colored car drive away with its lights off. The Spokane Valley Fire Department's arson dog, Mako, alerted on several areas inside the home, indicating that accelerants were used.

The family was able to identify possible suspects, said Fire Marshal Kevin Miller. “They gave us some possible suspects, then we ran those guys down,” he said. “It appears that they were acquaintances with the family.”

Saturday’s highlights

At the Outdoor Learning Center in Spokane Valley, volunteer Chris Hatten, 14, holds a barn owl named Willie during an open house at the center July 22. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

If you have driven by the intersection of Indiana and Sullivan this morning, you already know what one of the stories from Saturday's Valley Voice was about. The intersection will be under construction for the next six weeks. Sullivan is down to one northbound lane and one southbound lane. Turns onto east or west Indiana will be limited at times. Broadway is also having some work done between Park Road and Pines Road, which means lane closures and delays.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger visited the West Valley Outdoor Learning Center, which is having some rare open houses this month so the public can stop by and meet the birds, snakes and turtles. After some debate, the Spokane Valley City Council narrowly rejected setting the speed limit on the new section of Indiana at 35 miles per hour.

Now that the temperatures are toasty, it's the perfect time to check out Mary Lou's Homemade Ice Cream and More on Evergreen. Fresh, locally grown fruit is used to make the chilly creations. They also plan to expand their menu to add burgers, wraps and sandwiches.

Idaho man seriously injured in accident

Coeur d'Alene resident Carl A. Carr, 61, was seriously injured in a one car rollover accident on I-90 just west of Liberty Lake shortly early this morning shortly after midnight. According to a Washington State Patrol press release, the man was heading east in his Chevy S-10 pickup when he went of the side of the road, overcorrected and veered left across two lanes of traffic into the median, then overcorrected again and veered right across both lanes before rolling. He was taken to a local hospital by a MedStar helicopter. It is not yet known why Carr drove off the road.  

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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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