Archive for April 2012
Valley Mission Professional Building owner Ron Ogle talks Wednesday about reopening the Spokane Valley building. The structure has been rebuilt after being damaged by an explosion there last fall. SR photo/Kathy Plonka
Here were are on another rainy Monday morning with some good Valley Voice stories to catch up on over our morning coffee. Tenants have begun moving back into the Valley Mission Professional Building near the Valley Hospital. The building is being rebuilt after a fire and explosion last fall and the last tenant is expected to be back by July 1.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to Katy Allen, the new Liberty Lake city administrator. She's been a resident of Liberty Lake for years but has commuted as far away as San Jose, Calif., for work. Lisa also has a report on new hires in the Central Valley School District.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department has been analyzing response times on the west end of Spokane Valley after the closure of Station 6 for construction. The times are up, but the department was expecting that even with the assistance of the Spokane Fire Department in some areas.
Residents can bring their old prescription drugs and documents to the Spokane Valley Police Precinct Saturday for free disposal. The drug take back and shred event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 12710 E. Sprague. You can bring in all types of drugs (including over the counter medications), vitamins, ointments, inhalers, liquid medicines and pre-dosed syringes (without needles). You can also bring up to three boxes or 150 pounds of documents for shredding.
Items that won't be accepted are needles, lancets, syringes, thermometers, hydrogen peroxide, medical waste, empty containers or personal care products. This is a great chance to clean out your cupboards and medicine cabinets and dispose of everything safely.
The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce announced yesterday that it will be closing its Spokane Valley office on East Sprague by the end of May and consolidating its operations in its office in Liberty Lake. The chamber's Liberty Lake office has been open for two years. The recommendation to move was made by a task force formed to explore alternatives after the owner of the building on East Sprague announced it was being sold. Click here for more details.
Lexi Saeger is working her way toward a national competition by selling shopping bags, right, that she makes from empty pet food bags. She also made a skirt and camisole out of the bags, left, for the Future Career and Community Leaders of America competition. SR photo/Dan Pelle
The rain is back, but since it is Thursday there's a Valley Voice to take a look at over coffee since you can't look out the window and see sunshine. Reporter Lisa Leinberger attended an East Valley school board meeting this week where there was a public hearing on the district's plan to take on $6.2 million in nonvoted debt to pay for new portable classrooms at the elementary schools. The portables are needed to allow the schools to include students in grades K-8. The topic did generate some discussion.
Correspondent Cindy Hval interviewed Lexi Saeger, a student at Freeman High School, who makes clothing and shopping bags out of old pet food bags. She's been selling her shopping bags and they are available at a local store.
The Spokane Valley City Council voted Tuesday to name nine people to its new ad hoc economic development committee. The council also voted to pass a new sign code ordinance. This week the Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioners gave a resident an outstanding citizen award for his role in saving a woman from her burning apartment. The commissioners also voted to put a replacement maintenance and operations levy on the Aug. 7 ballot.
Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey gives his first of several State of the City speeches on April 5, 2012 at Valley Fourth Memorial Church. SR photo/Colin Mulvany
Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey will give his final State of the City speech today at 12:30 p.m. at the Spokane Valley Mall community room on the second floor. The room is tucked back in the corner on the west end of the mall. This is his fourth speech this month outlining the city's previous accomplishments and goals for 2012. So if you haven't had a chance to attend one of his talks, this is your last chance.
Tonight's Spokane Valley City Council meeting will include the appointments of local residents to the city's new ad hoc Economic Development Committee. The group will include two council members, three business representatives, three tourism representatives and two citizens at large. The city received 19 applications for the positions.
Other items on tonight's agenda include the second reading of a sign code ordinance and what may be a lengthy presentation of the proposed Comprehensive Plan amendments for 2012. Tonight is a regular meeting, so there will be a public comment period for anything anyone wants to discuss. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.
Flaggers direct traffic on Bowdish Road just south of Sprague in 2011. SR file photo.
The weather is so nice outside, it must be time for road construction. The city of Spokane Valley is expanding the number of roads being worked on this week. The lane restrictions on Appleway Blvd. between Dishman Mica Road and University Road will continue all week for a road resurfacing project. This work means the intersection of Farr Road and Appleway will be closed to northbound and southbound traffic for a while around mid-day Tuesday. Drivers will be asked to detour to Dishman Mica Road.
Sidewalk upgrades are being done on University Road between Fourth and 16th Avenues. There will be occassional curb lane closures all week; flaggers and signs will direct traffic through the work zone. Everyone remember to slow down in the work zones.
Spokane Valley councilman Arne Woodard is known for his ties. Many are bright, loud and a few are a bit wild. He owns about 60 of them and since his appointment to the council last year, Woodard has tried to wear a different tie every Tuesday night. SR photo/Dan Pelle
Saturday's Valley Voice was so packed with stories that I'm really not sure how we fit them all in. Here's your chance to take a look if you missed them. Spokane Valley City Councilman Arne Woodard has been making a name for himself by wearing colorful and unusual ties to council meetings. He thinks the ties make him more approachable and they fit his sense of humor.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger has several stories on local schools. The East Valley School District is considering purchasing portable classrooms for its elementary schools to create room for seventh graders. There will be a public hearing on the subject during the school board's meeting Tuesday. Lisa talked to students at University High School last week who were taking part in a distracted driving demonstration. They tried texting while driving and also driving with special goggles that simulated a drunk person's vision.
Students at University Elementary School spent some time last week planting seeds to grow in their new donated greenhouse. The students seemed happy to get out and have fun in the dirt.
Nineteen people have applied to serve on Spokane Valley's new economic development committee. The story includes a list of those who have applied. Mayor Tom Towey will make his appointment recommendations on Tuesday. Last week there was a public hearing regarding a retroactive substantial development permit being sought by a Liberty Lake homeowner for shoreline improvements that were put in without a permit. The owner, Lloyd Herman, was ordered to remove the improvements but has not done so.
If you like to sew, knit or crochet, head down to the South Spokane Fiber Fest on Saturday. The event is being held at the Fairfield Community Center, 304 E. Main, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. To get to Fairfield, head south from Spokane Valley on Highway 27. When you reach Fairfield, turn left on Main Street.
The Fiber Fest will include fiber craft vendors and a used eqiupment sale and swap. Food items will be available for purchase and admission is free. There will also be prize drawings.
Joseph Yacker opens the front door of the new Spokane Valley Fire administration building Monday, to show the prominent display of a beam from the World Trade Center in the entryway. Yacker works with information systems in the building. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
Today's Valley Voice is pretty packed with news, so you might need two cups of coffee to get through it all. The Spokane Valley Fire Department opened a new administration building for business this week. The new building, located next to Station 8, is designed to be an essential services building in a disaster. This is the same building where a piece of beam from the World Trade Center was installed during construction.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to Mary Collins of Spokane Valley High School, who was recently named the 2012 Washington State Classified School Employee of the Year. The Spokane Valley City Council had a long discussion Tuesday on the merits of the regional animal shelter plan proposed by Spokane County and how much it would cost the city.
The Spokane Valley Planning Commission met last week for a public hearing on the draft goals and policies of the Shoreline Master Program update. The plan, which regulates development on shorelines, is undergoing a state mandated update. There was a bit of controversy during the meeting regarding the recusal of commissioner Marcia Sands. Sands works for the Department of Ecology, which approves all shoreline plans. Four commissioners voted not to excuse Sands, who now says she is debating whether to step down from her seat on the commission.
Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey will give his third State of the City speech tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Woodard Elementary School, 7401 E. Mission. He will give a total of four speeches, each addressing the city's past accomplishments and goals for 2012. There will be time for questions from the audience.
The fourth and final speech is set for 12:30 p.m. April 25 in the Spokane Valley Mall Community Room.
Sorry for my absence from the blog yesterday; I was knee deep in deadlines. But there's some good news today for the Rockford Fire Department. Last night's election results show the department's annual operations levy is passing with 67.8 percent approval. It will collect $12,500 in 2013 and represents 40 percent of the department's budget.
The department tried to pass the replacement levy last November and it failed with a 56 percent yes vote, short of the 60 percent supermajority needed. It was the first time the annual levy had failed in years.
The Spokane Valley Police Department announced the arrest of four “well known” burglars on Friday and the recovery of a lot of stolen property. Police were focusing on 400 North University Road and the area of 13500 East Rich Road, where residents have been hit hard by burglaries. But apparently many residents hadn't reported the thefts, so police are urging people to promptly report any thefts. Reporter Meghann Cuniff has more details here.
Junior Darbi Dobson, a thrower with the East Valley High School Knights track team, practices throwing the discus during practice at EVHS. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
We had technical difficulties over the weekend that stopped our main Saturday Valley Voice stories from posting on the web, but they're up now and ready for your perusal. The Spokane Valley City Council continues to consider purchasing property at Sprague and Herald from the Pring Corporation to be used to expand Balfour Park and partner with the Spokane County Library District on a new library. This particular piece of property has been the topic of discussion before and the city was previously asked to consider buying it in 2007.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to students at Broadway Elementary School who have been collecting used ink cartridges and old cell phones for years, raising $25,000 to buy new technology for the school. Lisa also has a report on a community forum scheduled for tonight to present the finalists for the University High School principal position.
Correspondent Steve Christilaw talked to a former volleyball player turned shot put and discus thrower at East Valley High School. Darbi Dobson is one of the top throwers in the state.
Lots of people have been out working in their yards lately and probably have a nice pile of yard debris that needs to be gotten rid of. Spokane Valley area residents can bring their yard waste for free disposal from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Fire District 8 Station 82, 12100 E. Palouse Highway. Items that won't be accepted include large branches thicker than three inches in diameter or longer than six feet, stumps, dirt, lumber, root balls and trash.
People can also sign up for a free composting seminar to get a free composting bin. You can also get a free composting bin by turning in a burn barrel, which is now illegal to use. The event is hosted by the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency, the Spokane Regional Solid Waste System, the Washingston State Department of Natural Resources and Spokane County Fire District 8.
Volunteers from local groups tackle weeks and erosion problems in October 2011 near a popular Spokane River access site near Mirabeau Point. File photo courtesy of the Spokane River Forum.
You are in luck if you'd like to spend some time outdoors Saturday helping restore a Centennial Trail trailhead in Spokane Valley. The Spokane River Forum is heading up an effort to finsh restoration work at the Mirabeau trailhead that was started last fall. Volunteers are needed from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday. Bring gloves and rakes and meet in the trailhead parking lot, which is on Mirabeau Parkway across from CenterPlace and the Valley YMCA.
Last fall volunteers installed a new fence and put in gravel and boulders to restore a trail down to the Spokane River. Saturday's project will include debris removal and weeding so the hillside can be hydo-seeded next week. The Veterans Conservation Corps and the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club are also helping with the project, which is funded by a grant from REI.
There is a Spokane Valley Planning Commission public hearing tonight on the draft goals and policies of the city's Shoreline Master Program. The plan regulates development on all shorelines within 200 feet of the ordinary high water mark. The state is requiring that all cities and counties update their plan by the end of 2013. The shoreline plan currently in use by the city was inherited from Spokane County when the city incorporated. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. tonight at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.
The Liberty Lake Library is planning a special open house tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. The library will close early at 5 p.m. to allow time to prepare for the event, which will include a performance by the New Criterion Banjo Orchestra. The library's programs, including its downloadable resources, will be highlighted during the evening. The library is located at 23123 E. Mission.
East Valley’s Farm to School project leader Lynette Romney stands on the porch of a shed at East Valley Farms on Tuesday. The project, which sits next to East Valley Middle School and East Valley High School, is on a Bonneville Power easement. The community garden is the work of service clubs, school kids, farmers and others who want to participate. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
There are two interesting school stories in today's Valley Voice from reporter Lisa Leinberger. The Central Valley School District is moving forward with plans to open a new Skills Center at Sprague and University that will be called Spokane Valley Tech. The board voted this week to set aside earnest money for the building that currently houses West Valley's Contract Based Education.
East Valley is ramping up its Farm to School project that is in a field between the middle school and high school on Wellesley Ave. The farm will grow beans for Second Harvest and an acre is set aside for the community. A plowing day is scheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m.
The Spokane Valley City Council agreed Tuesday to adopt changes to the sign code proposed by a sign company representative. The council is scheduled to have a final vote on the sign code changes on April 24. Correspondent Cindy Hval has another one of her touching Love Stories today about a couple who met later in life and became best friends before marrying.
If you have any questions or concerns about the Evergreen Road construction project set for this summer, attend the open house on the project from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Vera Water and Power, 601 N. Evergreen Road. It is being done this year because Vera needs to dig up the street to install a new water line.
The city plans to resurface Evergreen between 16th and 24th Avenues and reconstruct it between 24th and 32nd Avenues. A short section of 32nd Avenue from Evergreen to Best will also be reconstructed. Evergreen will be closed to through traffic during construction.
Plans also call for a northbound turn lane at Evergreen and 24th and a southbound turn lane at Evergreen and 24th and 32nd. Sidewalks and bike lanes will also be added in some areas. Call the city at (509) 720-5001 for more details.
Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey will give his second State of the City speech tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Hope Lutheran Church, 17909 E. Broadway. The mayor will talk about the city's accomplishments and then accept questions from the audience. If you can't make tonight's speech, there are two more scheduled in April.
A pair of suspected gas thieves tried to run away from police in reverse at about 2:30 a.m. this morning, according to a police press release. A person called police to report seeing two men siphoning fuel out of cars in the 400 block of North Shamrock. When officers arrived the two jumped in a white Ford truck and drove eastbound on Valleyway in reverse, the press release said.
The truck stopped after hitting a concrete barrier, then tried to push a marked patrol car out of the way when the officer tried to block him in, the press release said. The two ran away, but were quickly captured. The men were identified as Artem Kuznetsov, 20, and Samuel Aldrich, 29. The truck had been reported stolen. Aldrich was arrested for felony eluding and possession of stolen property. Kuznetsov was arrested for third degree theft. Two people in the back seat of the truck were not arrested.
The commissioners of Newman Lake Fire District 13 have called a special meeting for 10 a.m. Wednesday morning to discuss strategic planning. I'm sure the topic of a new Station 1 will be a part of the discussion. The meeting will be held at Station 1, 10236 N. West Newman Lake Road.
The Spokane Valley City Council is set to have another discussion on the possible purchase of property at Sprague and Herald during tonight's council meeting, but no decision will be made. Parks and Recreation director Mike Stone will be presenting several options for a park on the land with and without a new library. The Spokane County Library District wants to use part of the property for a new library, but can't afford to purchase the entire site.
Other items on the agenda include the award of the bid of the Sprague Avenue reconstruction project, a motion on street preservation funding, the second reading of a special event permit ordinance and the first reading of a sign code ordinance. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.
In case you missed it, we have information in today's paper on the carjacking of an occupied car from the Spokane Valley Wal-Mart store at about 2 p.m. Monday. Store security tried to catch a man as he was attempting to leave with a Blue Ray player he hadn't paid for when he allegedly pulled a knife and swung it at the guard, according to a police press release.
The man then got into an occupied white 2011 Dodge Intrepid and drove away. The husband and wife in the car were allowed to get out near Barker and Indiana. The license plate number is Washington 172XTI. Click here for more details. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233.
Two projects are scheduled to start today that will impact traffic. Spokane County is gearing up to finish the Green Haven sewer project and will start tearing up roads. The main road impacted is Barker Road from Broadway to Appleway, which will be closed to through traffic. Other road closures include Alki Avenue from Greenacres Road to Michigan Road, Michigan Road fro Alki to Appleway and Cowley Avenue from Greenacres Road to Barker.
The city of Spokane Valley plans to start a resurfacing project on Appleway Blvd. today from Dishman-Mica Road to University Road. There will be lane closures; signs and flaggers will direct traffic through the area. The project is expected to last through April 16.
PE teacher PJ Jarvis, center, explains where black-eyed peas fall in the food groups during a nutrition lesson at Opportunity Elementary School. Jarvis was selected as the elementary school teacher of the year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
There were a bunch of good stories in Saturday's Valley Voice, so let's take this sunny Monday morning to look at a few highlights. Reporter Lisa Leinberger had a story on Opportunity Elementary physical education teacher PJ Jarvis, who has been named elementary school teacher of the year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.
Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey made his first State of the City speech last week. The work done by the city's first council and the policies the city set have allowed Spokane Valley to weather the recent economic downturn fairly well, Towey said.
Spokane Valley is owed over half a million dollars in unpaid gambling taxes, but apparently there is not much hope that the back taxes will ever be collected. A Spokane Valley firefighter was injured recently by a knife while trying to put out a mobile home fire, but his injury was not serious.
Correspondent Valerie Putnam stopped in at the Millwood City Council meeting, where Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich reported that Millwood's crime rate is down. The council also discussed its shoreline management plan.
Grab your Easter baskets and get ready. There are a few community Easter egg hunts coming up Saturday for young children in Spokane Valley. An annual hunt hosted by Redeemer Lutheran Church, 3606 S. Schafer Road, will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday. There will be over 6,000 candy stuffed eggs for kids to find, plus a petting zoo, jumping castle and free hot dog lunch.
Valley Real Life Church will host a hunt at 1 p.m. Saturday at the church, 1831 S. Barker Road, for children up through the fifth grade. There will be a petting zoo, jumping castle and concessions until 3 p.m. Professional Easter photos will also be available.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars will put on an Easter egg hunt for kids up to age 11 at noon Saturday at Edgecliff Park, 800 S. Park Road. There will also be prize drawings after the hunt.
A kayaker surfs Sullivan hole, a Spokane River low-water play spot for white-water enthusiasts in 2011. SR file photo.
First, let's start off with a hat tip to SR reporter Mike Prager, who agreed to attend last night's Shoreline Master Program open house in Spokane Valley while I attended the Mayor's State of the City speech. The city is resuming work on the plan, which regulates development along all shorelines in the city, after work stalled for several months. The state requires that the plan be updated by the end of 2013. The next step is a public hearing on the plan's goals and policies before the city planning commission Thursday at 6 p.m. You can read Mike's story about the open house here.
Homeowners in the 500 block of North Glenn Road returned home from work on Monday to discover that they were missing several valuables. Burglars forced open a rear sliding door and took three firearms and electronics from the house and a 2001 silver Isuzu Trooper that was parked in the garage, according to a police press release. Whoever broke in also helped themselves to some beef sticks from the pantry.
The thieves were thorough enough to steal four security cameras as well as the device being used to record the video footage, the press release said. At least they were apparently considerate enough to shut the garage door behind them after they stole the car.
Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward for information that helps solve the case. Anyone with information on the crime can call the tip line at (800) 222-TIPS or visit www.crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org. Tipsters do not have to give their name.
Girls Scout Cadette Troop 2436 members, from left, Emma Porter, Victoria Harding and Mariah Bechtel ask Argonne Village Yoke’s shopper, Ron Irwin, far right, to buy cookies or donate money to help save Millwood’s wading pool. Irwin bought two boxes of cookies. SR photo/Dan Pelle
It's here. Road construction season is about to begin and in today's Valley Voice there is a map of upcoming projects, plus details on which roads to avoid when. The big three are being impacted this year - Argonne, Sprague and Sullivan.
A local Girl Scout troop is focusing on fundraising efforts to save Millwood's wading pool. Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a story on their efforts. The city wanted to close the pool to save money, but the girls are determined to have the pool repaired instead.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to students from West Valley High School who are entered in a robotics competition. Each team is given bins of parts to build a robot in six weeks that must complete required tasks. Teams from East Valley and Central Valley are also competing.
A sewer project at Laberry Drive in Greenacres in 2011. SR file photo.
It may have snowed today, but it really is almost road construction season. In fact, Spokane County plans to start ripping up streets next week to finish the Green Haven sewer project. In Thursday's Valley Voice there will be a story on the road construction projects coming up in the Spokane Valley area this summer and a map of all the projects. I have start and end dates for most of them, including a doozie of a project that will rip up Sprague Avenue between Sullivan and Evergreen. Make sure you get a copy of the Voice tomorrow to check it out.
Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey. SR file photo.
If you are looking for something to do Thursday night, there are a couple of choices. If you have an interest in shoreline development, check out Spokane Valley's open house on the Shoreline Master Program. The city is mandated by the state to update it's plan by 2013. The plan regulates development in the 200 feet of shoreline adjacent to the ordinary high water mark. It has been a hot topic of conversation lately and there is a public hearing coming up on the city's draft goals and policies. The open house will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.
If talking about the shoreline doesn't float your boat, check out Mayor Tom Towey's first State of the City speech from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Valley Fourth Memorial Church, 2303 S. Bowdish Road. The mayor will talk about the city's accomplishments in 2011 and goals for 2012. The mayor will repeat his annual message three more times during April (I'll post those dates and locations later).
Spokane Valley Fire Department crews responded to an attic fire yesterday afternoon at the Village Apartments, 9717 E. Sixth. A Spokane Valley police officer spotted the fire and warned residents, according to a fire department press release.
The fire started on a balcony on the top floor and spread up the side of the building and into the attic, the press release said. Damage was largely confined to the attic and outside of the building, but some top floor apartments were damaged by smoke. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The Red Cross is assisting the residents of the top floor apartments. Photos are courtesy of the Spokane Valley Fire Department.
This is just a reminder that there's no Spokane Valley City Council meeting this week. There isn't a Liberty Lake City Council meeting, either. So everyone stay home, rest up and we'll see you back in the council chambers next week.
Senior Jake Hochberg leads an experienced pitching staff at Central Valley. Hochberg has split a pair of decisions in CV’s first four games. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
It's Monday and it's not raining. Everyone cross your fingers that this will last at least a little while. Meanwhile, it's time to take a look at Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a profile on Gene Sementi, who is stepping up to become West Valley's superintendent. He has worked with the district for many years as a teacher, coach, principal and assistant superintendent.
The Spokane Valley City Council discussed how much of the city's year-end balance to commit to street preservation on Tuesday. It was a split decision, with four of the seven council members favoring taking $2 million. That would leave $26 million, which the council has previously identified as the minimum amount it wants left over.
Correspondent Steve Christilaw spoke to the coach of the Central Valley High School baseball team, who is dealing with a soggy start to his season. The field is soaking wet and pitchers haven't been able to get much practice time on the mound.