Archive for September 2011
If you live or work in the vicinity of Park Road between Indiana and Broadway, head over to an open house Monday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Woodard Elementary, 7401 E. Mission. The meeting will be hosted by the city of Spokane Valley's Public Works Department, which is planning to reconstruct Park Road.
Current plans call for the intersections of Park/Broadway and Park/Mission to be redone in concrete, add a right turn lane from westbound Broadway to northbound Park and restripe Park to a single lane in each direction with a center turn lane and bike lanes. Sidewalk and stormwater improvements will also be a part of the project.
The open house is being held to get public input on the city's plans. Funding is not yet available and a timeline for construction has not been set.
The burn restrictions imposed in Spokane Valley, Millwood and Liberty Lake in early August will be lifted today, according to a press release from the Spokane Valley Fire Department. The restrictions applied to open burning and recreational fires. However, a permanent ban on yard waste fires is still in place.
The Spokane River flows quietly past the Inland Empire Paper plant in Millwood in 2010. SR file photo.
If you have always wanted to see what goes on inside the Inland Empire Paper Mill in Millwood, now is your chance to take a peek. The company will be hosting tours Friday and Saturday to celebrate 100 years in business. The 45 minute tours be begin at 10 a.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday. The final tour will begin at 3 p.m. on both days.
Visitors are required to wear closed-toed shoes and the tour isn't appropriate for children under age 10. The company will provide safety glasses and hearing protection. Visitors should call 924-1911 ext. 316 to set an appointment for a tour.
Inland Empire Paper is owned by Cowles Co., which also owns The Spokesman-Review.
Bubba Ferguson, Tyler Zandhuisen, Chris Lewis, Kaleb Allen, Aaron Danneker and Loren Vanden Berg muscle up a hide-a-bed couch from the banks of the Spokane River near South Riverton and Desmet during the Seventh Annual Spokane River Clean-Up in 2009. SR file photo.
It has been a busy week in Spokane Valley and we've got the news for you in today's Valley Voice. If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity this weekend, check out the ninth annual Spokane River Clean-Up, This year several sites in the Valley have been selected to be a part of the clean up day, which is organized by the Friends of the Falls. You could also choose to help restore the hillside at the Mirabeau Park trailhead in a project organized by the Spokane River Forum.
Spokane Valley city councilman Dean Grafos paid a visit to the Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioners meeting this week to talk about response time delays at Station 1 caused by the one-way segment of Sprague Avenue.
During this week's City Council meeting, the council members had a long discussion before voting on how much funding to allocate to social service and economic development agencies that applied for grants.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Adams Elementary last week when the school was visited by Ronald McDonald. The elementary schools in the Central Valley School District collected 1,150 pounds of pop tops, which will provide 30 night at the Ronald McDonald House. The house provides housing for families of children undergoing medical treatment.
This should be interesting. Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste will take to Twitter today to answer questions from the public from 2:30 to 4 p.m. So if you've had a question you've always wanted to ask, now is your chance. You probably shouldn't ask him to fix your speeding ticket, though. Questions about active investigations are also off limits.
If you want to participate, log onto Twitter and ask your question using the #askWSP hashtag. Chief Batiste will reply on Twitter or use the WSP's Facebook page for answers that require more than 140 characters.
I realized there is still a lot of road work going on even though it's nearly October when I stumbled across a closed lane on Sprague Ave. at McDonald Road this morning. A check of this week's traffic update from the city of Spokane Valley shows a lot going on.
Work on Broadway is happening this week between Pines Road and University Road. There will be traffic lane and sidewalk closures during the week, so be prepared for delays if you drive this route. The intersection of 11th and Herald road will be closed until 5:30 p.m. today for storm water work. Detours will be in place and the intersection should reopen tomorrow. Evergreen Road between 16h and 24th will be completely closed Thursday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drivers are asked to use McDonald Road instead. And of course crews are still hard at work on the I-90 widening project east of Sullivan.
Remember to watch for work crews and keep your speed down when going through work zones.
All the candidates for the open Spokane Valley City Council seats have been invited to take part in a debate Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place. Candidates in the contested races will be up on stage answering questions and those who do not have an opponent have been invited to set up information booths. Index cards will be available for members of the audience to write their questions on before the debate begins.
The debate is hosted by the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce and is open to the public. So if you are still not sure who to vote for on November 8, stop by and hear what they have to say about the issues.
The city of Spokane Valley will hold a public hearing on its proposed 2012 budget at Tuesday's City Council meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague. If you want to have some input on next year's budget, now is your chance to have your voice heard. The council is also set to vote on allocating funds to outside social service and economic development agencies.
The newest roundabout in the Spokane Valley is at Flora Road and Mission Avenue. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
We managed to pack a lot of news into Saturday's Valley Voice. We looked into the growing popularity of roundabouts, which are popping up all over Spokane County. The city of Spokane Valley now has three.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger listened to the superintendents of four Spokane Valley school districts talk to the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce education committee about cuts they have made over the years because of reduced funding from the State. She also stopped by East Valley High School, which installed an automated external defribrillator last week.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department had a busy week with several arson fires and a major two-alarm fire at a medical building.
During the 2004 Southeast Spokane County Fair, cousins Shelby and Kailyn Gady, then 10 and 9 respectively, of Rockford snuggled with their blue ribbon winner Simmental cow, Butterfinger. SR file photo.
Anyone who likes animals and small town fun should check out this weekend's Southeast Spokane County Fair in Rockford south of Spokane Valley. The barns, exhibits and carnival are open right now and there's a whole bunch of things scheduled for the weekend.
There's a 3-on-3 basketball tournament all weekend. Saturday's highlights are a pancake breakfast, fun run, two parades, games, live entertainment and contests. On Sunday there is a horse show and more live entertainment. Click here to read my story from Thursday's Valley Voice to get directions to the fairgrounds. You can find a full schedule of events here.
Rob West, 41, of Hillyard, poses in the stocks as his son, Jasper, photographed him with John Brooks, of Cheney, playing a sheriff. The display was provided by the Living History Players at Valleyfest, Sept. 25, 2010 at Mirabeau Point Park. SR file photo.
If you need something to keep you busy this weekend, the 21st annual Valleyfest starts tonight with a parade down Sprague Avenue at 7:30 p.m. The parade route is reversed this year, so it will start at New Life Assembly of God Church (10920 E. Sprague) and head east to Robie Road. No candy will be thrown during the parade this year because of safety issues, but kids can still get their candy on Sprague between Bowdish and University before from 6:15 to 7 p.m. before the parade begins.
A whole bunch of events are planned in Mirabeau Park and at CenterPlace on Saturday and Sunday. You can click here for a full schedule, but the highlights for Saturday are the pancake breakfast, fishing at the falls, classic car show, live entertainment, free activities for kids and more than 200 booths. Sunday is dominated by Responsible Dog Ownership Day events, but all the booths will still be open and more live entertainment is planned.
Click here for my story in Thrusday's Valley Voice that has information on more events and details on parking.
An RV is in flames on the westbound I-90 Argonne off ramp in Spokane Valley. Spokane Valley Fire Department crews are responding. An officer also just radioed in that a gawking driver caused an accident on I-90 near the off ramp.
Dylan Stevens, of Medical Lake, shows a rainbow trout he caught at Mirabeau Falls, to his sister, Rheese, last year during Valleyfest. The Mirabeau Falls will be stocked for fishing at the 21st annual Valleyfest this weekend. SR file photo.
You can grab a copy of today's Valley Voice for details on Valleyfest and the Southeast Spokane County Fair in Rockford. Both events are happening this weekend. The 21st annual Valleyfest features a parade, classic car show, live entertainment, hot air balloons and much, much more. The Fair includes animal exhibits, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, parade, live enterainment and competitions. Neither event charges admission.
The Spokane Valley City Council decided this week to move forward with $358,000 in repairs to the Sullivan Bridge over the Spokane River so weight restrictions can be removed. The council still needs to decide how to pay for the project, however.
Even though it is not located in Spokane Valley, many residents are familiar with St. Aloysius Catholic Church near Gonzaga University. Reporter Pia Hallenberg has a story today on an interior restoration effort that is underway in advance of the church's 100th anniversary in October.
If you need to make plans for the weekend, you will have to pick up a copy of Thursday's Valley Voice. We will have previews of Valleyfest and the Southeast Spokane County Fair in Rockford, which are both this weekend. Don't despair, though. If you plan properly you can check out both events.
The Spokane Valley City Council discussed repairs to the Sullivan Road bridge as well as the proposed Bike and Pedestrian Master Program, which got a less than warm welcome the first time the council saw it. Activity has picked up in Liberty Lake, with police officers logging more arrests. You can also read about a young boy who ran away from home when he got into trouble.
Spokane Valley Fire Department crews are responding to a brush fire in the forested area south of Mirabeau Parkway near Mirabeau Park. Someone called in and reported seeing a column of smoke.
9:00 a.m. update - It sounds like this fire is in the same part of the Mirabeau Park Natural Area where the fire department fought a brush fire yesterday afternoon. I've posted some pictures of yesterday's fire that are from the Spokane Valley Fire Department.
Photos courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.
Reporter Mike Prager and I have a story in today's paper on the explosion and fire yesterday morning in the Valley Mission Professional Building across from the Valley Hospital. Someone reported seeing light smoke just before 7 a.m. yesterday and as fire crews were responding a second call came in that there had been an explosion and fire. An oral surgeons office has been completely destroyed and the building is closed as damage is assessed. It was quite a mess. The explosion shattered windows and threw debris into neighboring parking lots.
The Spokane Valley City Council is looking at potential fixes of the southbound bridge of Sullivan Road. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
Reporter Mike Prager has a story today on structurally deficient bridges, including the span over the Spokane River that carries southbound traffic on Sullivan Road. The bridge has been deteriorating for years and this year the city of Spokane Valley imposed weight restrictions to help prolong the life of the bridge until the city can get enough money to build a new one. The Spokane Valley City Council is scheduled to discuss an option during Tuesday's council meeting that would temporarily reinforce the bridge so the weight restrictions can be lifted.
Glen Prosser of Prosser and Sons, and his son, Jason, finish up the construction of a structure playground in the new Greenacres Park at Boone Avenue and Long Road on Monday. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
It never fails. I take a Friday off and there ends up being a ton of breaking news - fires, accidents, criminal mayhem, etc. But I can bring you the highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. The new Greenacres Park is taking shape and is on track to be done in mid-October. But people won't be able to use it this year because the grass needs time to get established. Look for a grand opening ceremony in the spring.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger attended a meeting of West Valley School District staff where concerns were raised about changes to library and music schedules after budget cuts. She also stopped in at the newest Meals on Wheels site at the Appleway Court Retirement Center.
Correspondent Juli Bergstrom Wasson also has details on a new sports bar and sandwich shop now open at Trent and Argonne.
Spokane Valley Fire Department crews on the scene of an office building fire on East Mission across from Valley Hospital are reporting that the fire is out, but there are still a few hot spots left. Crews are still on the scene and Mission is completely shut down east of Pines. The fire started around 7 a.m. and witnesses said there may have been an explosion. Click here for more details.
Teacher Casey Lee demonstrates with a model mouth how to brush teeth after handing out toothbrushes to her ECEAP class at the Central Valley Early Learning Center on Monday. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
In today's Valley Voice is my story on Dick Behm, a longtime Spokane Valley businessman and civic activist who died this week. His funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Tuesday at Redeemer Lutheran.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in on Central Valley's Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) for low income children. The program is expanding in the face of increased demand. Reporter Pia Hallenberg talked to the organizers of a toilet paper drive. The project will collect the toilet paper for local shelters.
The Spokane East Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is having a Day of Service on Saturday. They have organized hundreds of volunteers to do work in three Spokane Valley Parks, two small pioneer cemeteries and some vacant land owned by Central Valley.
Dick Behm, a fixture in Spokane Valley, died Monday. His family has owned businesses in the Valley for generations, including Behm's Creamery. He was a member of the Spokane Valley Business Association and this year he was named the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce volunteer of the year. He was also a regular at Spokane Valley City Council meetings and was never shy about getting up to the podium and expressing his opinions.
There's a story here and it will also run in the Valley Voice tomorrow. The funeral is set for 2 p.m. Tuesday at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 3606 S. Shaffer Road.
Drivers will be happy to learn that the City of Spokane Valley anticipates opening the intersection of Indiana and Sullivan sometime today or tomorrow. As recently as last week the finishing date for the project to install concrete in the intersection was estimated at Sept. 21. Construction began on Aug. 1 and during most of that time drivers couldn't make east or west turns onto Indiana.
“We have found a way to open up the concrete intersection earlier than planned,” said senior engineer Steve Worley. Crews had planned to install a concrete approach slab next to the Sullivan Bridge made of special, heavy duty concrete that would take 10 days to cure. Worley said the decision was made to use normal concrete for the slab to reduce the time the intersection would be closed. “The impacts to the businesses were more important,” he said.
Crews are putting in curbs and temporary barriers and when that is done the intersection will reopen, Worley said.
You might think people would realize that they shouldn't stop by the Spokane Interstate Fair in this heat and leave their dogs locked in the car, but you would be wrong. Apparently the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service found two dogs locked in a car at the Fair that was 144 degrees inside on Sunday. The SCRAPS officer was just about ready to remove the dogs from the car when the owners came back and said that they had only been gone for an hour.
If that seems okay to you, go do an experiment. Find a nice, hot parking lot. Turn off the car and close the windows. Sit there. You will soon realize that it only takes a few minutes for it to become unbearable.
In this case the dogs survived and their owners were cited for confinement in an unsafe manner. But in these hot temperatures pets can quickly die in overheated cars, even if you crack the windows a bit. Please take care of your pets.
An STA bus travels through Cheney in March 2010. SR file photo.
If you are still not sure how the Spokane Transit Authority route changes will affect you, check out reporter Mike Prager's story today that lays out what is being cut and what changes are being made. The No. 95 Millwood route is being eliminated and several others are changing.
The No. 90 Sprague bus will now turn around at the Valley Tranit Center on University Road. The No. 174 Liberty Lake Express will now stop at the Mirabeau Park and Ride lot. Several other routes in Spokane Valley and being redesigned.
Like many seventh-graders, Karissa Johnston, 12, left, and Charli Bise, 12, struggle with getting their locker to open on the first day of classes at East Valley Middle School on Wednesday. SR photo/Colin Mulvany
We had a ton of news packed into Saturday's Valley Voice. I'm actually surprised we were able to fit it all in. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped in at East Valley Middle School on the first day of school to see how the students were dealing with having one less middle school in the district. She also has information on the bus problems East Valley has been having.
The new Port of Entry facility is open near Stateline. All the technological bells and whistles haven't been installed yet, but once everything is up and running things will be smoother for truck drivers as well as the WSP commercial vehicle enforcement officers.
Spokane Valley Fire Department Capts. Pat Schaffer, right, and Tag Baugh hoist a 1,200-pound steel beam that was recovered from the World Trade Center into place at the department's new administration building Sunday. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
Yesterday SR photographer J. Bart Rayniak and I visited three local memorial events honoring those that died in the Sept. 11 attacks 10 years ago. The Spokane Valley Fire Department dedicated its new administration building and installed a 1,200 pound steel beam that was part of the twin towers. Nearly 260 firefighters from all over the Northwest climbed 110 flights of stairs, the same number of stairs in the Towers, in the downtown Bank of America building. They each carried the photo and biography of at least one of the New York firefighters who died that day. A memorial service held during the Spokane Interstate Fair was well attended and included firefighters and police. Click here for the story and here for a photo slideshow.
Spokane Valley Fire Marshall Kevin Miller looks at a 1,200-pound steel girder that was recovered from one of the towers at the World Trade Center. File photo/J. Bart Rayniak
There are several Sept. 11 memorial events planned in Spokane Valley on Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the attacks. The first is at 6:40 a.m. at the Spokane Valley Fire Department administration building (next to Station 8) at 2110 N. Wilbur Road. During the ceremony a piece of steel beam from the Towers will be installed in the building, which is under construction.
In the afternoon Valley Fire will be among those participating in a memorial ceremony at the Spokane Interstate Fair at 1:30 p.m. A procession will begin at the main gate and head into the grandstand area for the ceremony. You will have to pay to get into the Fair at Broadway and Havana but there won't be a charge to get into the grandstand for the event.
If you are looking for a more spiritual event, four Valley churches will host a memorial service at 4 p.m. Sunday at Zion Lutheran Church, 8304 E. Buckeye. The pastors of Millwood Presbyterian Church, New Hope Bible Church and St. Mary's Catholic Church will help lead the service.
If anyone was eagerly awaiting next week's Spokane Valley City Council meeting, you can take it off the calendar. The City announced today that it is cancelling the Sept. 13 meeting because of a light agenda and the fact that three council members will be gone. I guess that discussion on whether to participate in the Spokane County Sheriff's Office traffic school program will have to wait. Now I have to find some way to keep myself entertained that night.
Freeman Elementary kindergarten teacher Angie Smith greets new students and their parents during the open house and kindergarten orientation, Sept. 1. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
In today's Valley Voice we visit with Freeman Elementary students, who are attending classes in a newly renovated school. Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to parents and the principal about the new building. A new multipurpose building is also complete, but the new gym won't be done until November.
Residents in the Green Haven neighborhood are finding that remnants of the past are slowing down plans for the future. Sewer construction has hit a bump in the road in the form of giant boulders washed in during a long ago flood event and huge concrete siphons that were part of the Valley's old irrigation system. Other sewer projects, however, are going well and are either essentially complete or will be by mid-October.
The Spokane Valley City Council discussed the proposed 2012 budget this week. A couple of council members were talking about cutting proposed pay increases for non-union staff. No vote has happened yet, though. There are still two public hearings to be held before the budget moves forward.
We've got some good stories coming your way in Thursday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger headed down to check out the new Freeman Elementary School, which opened for the first time this week. I'll have an update on the sewer construction work out in the Greenacres area. Problems have cropped up in some areas, delaying the work. Other areas, though, are repaved and doing fine.
The Spokane Valley City Council discussed the proposed 2012 budget at this week's council meeting. The City Manager called it “enviable” because the city has a balanced budget and healthy reserves.
Someone did a little browsing inside Broadway Elementary School over the long Labor Day weekend. According to a press release from the Spokane Valley Police Department, someone broke into the school and snacked on some rice crispy treats, leaving the wrappers all over the kitchen floor. Some chips and applesauce were apparently carted off, along with some tape and pens reported missing by teachers.
There wasn't any damage to any windows or doors, so police aren't sure how the hungry villan was able to enter the school. No one in the school over the weekend saw anyone dining on the gooey treats. Anyone with information on the break in is asked to call Crime Check at 446-2233.
Snowplows are parked waiting for winter at the new City of Spokane Valley public works facility on East Euclid Avenue just west of Flora Road near the Spokane Business and Industrial Park. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
Now that we're refreshed from the long holiday weekend, it's time to take a look back at some Saturday Valley Voice stories that deserve a look. The City of Spokane Valley has moved into its new Street and Stormwater Maintenance facility on the back edge of the Spokane Valley Industrial Park. The new site has plenty of room for all the trucks and snow plows.
Four Spokane Valley City Council candidates involved in a joint campaign event in early July had, with one exception, not reported any donations received to put on the event as of last week. The Public Disclosure Commission said that even though the donations should have been reported long ago, it would likely not seek any disciplinary action such as fines unless a complaint is received.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department has become one of only 144 departments world wide to become internationally accredited. Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in with Liberty Lake SCOPE volunteers, who patrol the city trails on golf course and do school patrols. She also reports that East Valley raised $1,100 from its sale of old uniforms.
Spokane Valley firefighters doused a basement fire today, and rescued the family cat while they were at it.
Damage to the home at 6918 E. 6th Ave. was estimated at $4,000. Firefighters said the fire was confined to the basement and investigators were still trying to determine how it ignited.
The homeowner called 9-1-1 after smelling smoke at the rear of the home and then discovering thick black smoke billowing from the basement, according to the Spokane Valley Fire Department.
No injuries were reported.
The City of Liberty Lake is having a small birthday celebration Saturday before the annual Lud Kramer Memorial Concert in Pavillion Park featuring the Spokane Symphony. It's the city's tenth anniversary and Pavillion Park at Country Vista Drive and Molter Road is probably the best used park in the city.
Birthday cake will be served at 5 p.m., followed by a short program at 5:30 p.m. The free Symphony concert will kick off at 6 p.m. and will feature a mix of patriotic music, classics and popular favorites like Michael Jackson's “Thriller” and the “1812 Overture.” Eckart Preu is director.
So grab a blanket or a low chair and head to Pavillion Park early on Saturday to get a prime spot on the lawn. Suttle buses will begin running from the Liberty Lake Elementary parking lot at 4:45 p.m. Refreshments will be available for purchase.
It's been too long since I posted a picture of a cute pet and I'm going through withdrawal. I rummaged around in our archives and found this Picture Perfect photo we ran this spring. Gwyneth Cadwell of Newman Lake submitted this snapshot of Mr. Longtails enjoying a nap on a healthy bed of lettuce during the April showers. I can almost hear the contented purring now.
Picture Perfect is a scrapbook of the people and events in Spokane Valley. We'll publish slice-of-life photographs for free. Just email them in with names and ages of everyone in the photo and information about where and when it was taken. Also include the name and phone number of the person who took the photograph. Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter John Craig has a story in today's paper on yesterday's joint meeting with the Spokane County Commissioners and the Spokane Valley City Council. The main topics of discussion were regional plans for an animal shelter and solid waste. The two entities are exploring how to have regional programs to deal with trash and stray or lost animals, but possibly without the participation of the City of Spokane. Expect more discussion on these topics in the future.
Hosts of the Rockin' B Ranch, Pamela and Scott Brownlee, will let the curtain fall on their Cowboy Supper Show after 17 years at the end of this season. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
There are a lot of good stories in today's Valley Voice, but we'll be here all day if I try to link to them all. With that in mind, I'll just give everyone a few highlights. Reporter Lisa Leinberger recently visited the Rockin' B Ranch near Stateline, where owners Pamela and Scott Brownlee plan to hang up their spurs and head off into the sunset after this season is over. They have been offering cowboy supper shows with local musicians for 17 years.
The Spokane Valley City Council did its first edit of the proposed Bike and Pedestrian Master Program, replacing words like “increase” and “ensure” with “encourage” to make sure the plan doesn't tie their hands in any way. They'll take a detailed look at the rest of the proposed plan at a later day.
Spokane County Fire District 8 has approved putting its first ever maintenance and operations levy on the November ballot. The district is asking voters for $400,000 per year for two years to help backfill the $600,000 a year the district lost in declining property tax revenue.
Lisa also checked in with the volunteers at the East SCOPE in Otis Orchards as she nears the end of her tour of Spokane Valley area SCOPE stations.