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Spokane Valley blog

Archive for August 2012

Boating safety emphasis this weekend

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office will be on patrol on area lakes and rivers over the Labor Day weekend for an emphasis on boater safety. Boats will be inspected on the water and at ramps, so make sure you have all the required safety equipment (including life jackets). Patrols will be focused on Newman Lake, Liberty Lake and Long Lake. Deputies will also be checking for life jacket use on the Spokane River. Everyone be safe out there while having some fun in the sun.

Paws in the Pool photos

SR photographer Jesse Tinsley has posted a great photo story from last night's first ever Paws in the Pool dog swim event at Valley Mission Pool. It looks like the dogs were having a lot of fun. Parks and Recreation Director Mike Stone told me this morning that the inaugural event was a great success and will be back next year. Swim on, Fido, swim on!

Roads opening up today

Good news for Spokane Valley drivers: 32nd Avenue between Avalon and Best is scheduled to reopen today. Evergreen Road between 16th and 24th Avenues is also set to reopen by the end of the day today, but the remainder of Evergreen from 24th to 32nd is expected to remain closed until Thursday. I'm sure completion of the project will also come as a relief to residents who live along the route.

Today’s highlights

Freeman Elementary School first-grade teacher Chris Cochrane helps Andrew Kopytin select his classroom seat during an open house Monday at the newly remodeled school. Cochrane has taught first grade for 25 years, including 10 at Freeman. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Happy Thursday, everyone. We have one more day until a nice, three day weekend. But before we take off, there are some highlights from today's Valley Voice to consider. For the first time in years, there are no construction crews and portable classrooms on the Freeman School District campus. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by the district's annual welcome barbecue to check out the new elementary school, which joins the new high school and upgraded middle school.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioners voted this week to suspend one firefighter for two shifts without pay for disobeying an order and to fire another for unspecified reasons. Capt. Jon Sprague, who has asked to have all his discipline discussed in open public meetings, was suspended for sending religious emails using the departments email system even after he was ordered to stop.

The Spokane Valley City Council had another look at the city's proposed 2013 budget this week. The council also gave its approval for hiring an advertising firm to create some ads touting the city's attributes.

Spokane Valley dog swim changes

Spokane Valley's first ever doggie swim day at the pool is Thursday night and organizers have made a few changes. There hasn't been much interest in the small dog (under 34 pounds) catergory, so that group will now swim at the same time as the medium dogs (between 35 and 59 pounds). The new start time is 5 p.m. at Valley Mission Pool, 11123 E. Mission. Large dogs will still swim from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m.

Remember that your dog has to have a current rabies vaccination and must be accompanied by an adult. All dogs will get a rinse before they are allowed in the pool, so allow time for that. There are other conditions as well; click here for details.

Let’s try this again

Readers may notice that I said paving of Sprague Avenue between Evergreen and Sullivan was to begin at 6 p.m. yesterday, but nothing happened. Apparently the contractor had a mechanical problem at its plant last night right when paving was supposed to begin. But I'm told everything is fixed and ready to go for 6 p.m. tonight. The paving of the north lanes of Sprague is expected to be complete at 6 a.m. Thursday, barring any more last minute problems.

Sprague Ave. paving tonight

Word has it that the north side of Sprague Avenue will be paved between Evergreen and Sullivan Roads beginning at 6 p.m. today. The road has been undergoing full reconstruction for months and this will be the final paving. The work is expected to continue through Wednesday night. The south side of Sprague will be paved at some point next week. I'll have more details on that coming later.

Saturday’s highlights

The East Valley High School girls soccer team is returning a strong squad for the fall season. On Wednesday, they worked on drills at the school. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Okay, I'm back. My nest has been successfully empied and I'm ready to get back to work with some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger recently stopped in at the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum, which is opening a new World War II exhibit featuring the Tuskegee Airmen, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Navajo Code Talkers.

Lisa also has a feature on the calls responded to by the Spokane Valley Fire Department, which also includes a reminder about the burn ban currently in effect. Dog owners can take advantage of a new opportunity Thursday with a Paws in the Pool swim event for dogs at Valley Mission Pool. It should be a fun event.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw has a story on the East Valley High School girls soccer team, which has a strong bond. The team is expected to go far this year after several league titles.

See you in a while

Just a note that I'll be out of the office next week, so don't expect much activity here. I'll be back at the helm on Aug. 27.

Free outdoor movie

It's supposed to be a bit toasty tomorrow, so the thing to do might be to check out a free outdoor movie in Spokane Valley's Mirabeau Park. The movie “Puss in Boots” will start at sunset. People are invited to bring lawn chair, blankets and snacks. Kids can also participate in free activies that will start an hour before the movie.

Mirabeau Meadows in located at 13500 E. Mirabeau Parkway just east of Pines Road.

Backpacks for Kids

The Salvation Army is once again collecting donations of school supplies for its annual Backpacks for Kids program. Low income children are given a backpack full of the school supplies they will need. There are several collection sites in Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake, including at Dishman Dodge (7614 E. Sprague), the Fred Meyer at Sprague and Sullivan, the Home Depot in Liberty Lake and all local Mountain West Bank and Rite Aid locations.

Parents interested in receiving backpacks for their children should call 325-6821. The distribution day will be on Aug. 23.

Today’s highlights

Avid archer and hunter Jake Hodge holds the tension on his bow and checks the sights after they were adjusted at Spokane Valley Archery Friday. The large shop, with a small indoor range and large outdoor range, is a destination for archers looking for technical experience in the shop and a place to shoot, alone or in a league. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

We've got a bunch of good stuff for you in today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Spokane Valley Archery, which is seeing an increased interest in archery after it was featured in some popular movies recently. The business offers indoor and outdoor shooting as well as lessons and equipment rentals.

Lisa also has a story on the upcoming Millwood Daze. The annual event includes a fun run, parade, car show, art festival and lots more. It all takes place Aug. 25 at various locations in Millwood. Check her story for more details. She also has a report on the Central Valley School District budget. For the first time in years, the budget does not include cuts. The sports participation fees will continue, however.

The Spokane Valley City Council is considering a changed proposal from the Spokane County Library District that includes a smaller library as part of a proposed partnership with the city. The council also heard details on the proposed 2013 budget, which sets aside $2 million for street preservation after pulling money from other funds that was intended to be spent on other items.

Spokane Valley Fire Department Commissioner Monte Nesbitt announced his resignation this week after the firefighters union raised concerns about his residency. Nesbitt's resignation will be effective Dec. 31.

Burn restrictions in Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and Millwood

Well, this isn't really a surprise. The Spokane Valley Fire Department fire marshal has issued burn restrictions for Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and Millwood. After so much hot and dry weather, it wouldn't take much to spark a wildfire. All open burning and most types of recreational fires are banned. Backyard barbecues, portable outdoor fireplaces and other patio/deck warmers are still allowed.

The burning restrictions will last until the fire danger drops. You can check out the fire department web site for more details.

Ribbon cutting tonight in Fairfield

The town of Fairfield will celebrate the completion of its East Main Street rehabilitation project with a ribbon cutting tonight at 6 p.m. There will be a hot dog and hamburger barbecue in nearby Thiel Park for those who want to attend.  

Saturday’s highlights

Deputy Chief Larry Rider looks at the workmanship and materials inside the new Spokane Valley fire station going up in the 6300 block of East Sprague Avenue Wednesday. Station 6 will serve the area that extends west to Havana Street and east approximately 1.5 miles. It is scheduled to open in November. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

We're checking another Monday off the calendar, which means it is time to take a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Construction of Spokane Valley Fire Department's Station 6 has been delayed and is now expected to be complete in mid-November. The old Station 6 was torn down in March to make way for a new building.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has information on some restructuring going on in Liberty Lake. Longtime community development director Doug Smith has “parted ways” with the city. Smith had worked for the city since 2001 and had been functioning as the city administrator.

Last week's election results showed the replacement maintenance and operations levies of Spokane County Fire District 9 and the Spokane Valley Fire Department passing easily. The levies accounted for more than half the annual budget of both organizations, so the affirmative vote comes as a relief.

Spokane Valley Fire open house

Incident Commander Dustin Thurman keeps track of crews during a training exercise at the Spokane Valley Fire Department's newly refurbished burn tower, Thurs. evening, Nov. 17, 2011. SR file photo.

If you have ever wanted a chance to get up close and watch firefighters do their job, here's your chance. The Spokane Valley Fire Department will host an open house Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at their training center at 2411 N. Pioneer Lane. It's located next to the fire station at Sullivan and Marietta.

They have a full day planned with a vehicle extrication demonstration, a fire attack demonstration, a firefighter combat course challenge and a demonstration by Mako the arson dog. Lunch will be served. There's no charge for the event and all are invited.

Hot Rockford Nights

The fourth annual Hot Rockford Nights car show will be held Saturday in Rockford City Park, but there's also something to do Friday night as well. Car owners can pre-register for $15 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Harvest Moon in Rockford and then stick around for a drive-in movie at dusk.

The car show begins at 9 a.m. Saturday and continues through 3 p.m. in the park Registration the day of the event is $20. There will be prizes, music and a barbecue. To reach Rockford, head south from Spokane Valley on Highway 27. The show is sponsored by the Rockford Lions Club.

Today’s highlights

Japanese students perform traditional dance and drumming on Monday at New Life Church. Compass USA is celebrating 25 years of its exchange student program with Japan.SR photo/Dan Pelle

We have a bright and sunny morning to check out today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on a large group of Japanese exchange students who have been visiting Spokane Valley through a program run by Compass USA. The students, who took English classes and explored the area, recently put on a Japanese culture night for their host families.

Spokane Valley is still mulling over a decision on animal control. The city received proposals from SCRAPS and SpokAnimal for animal control service and there are some important differences between the two. The city council is expected to make a decision by the end of the month.

Reporter Pia Hallenberg has a story on God's Closet, which provides free clothing for children after parents pay $1 admission. There's a free shopping day coming up Friday at the Central Seventh-day Adventist Fellowship Hall at 804 W. Spofford in Spokane.

Spokane Valley road construction, part 12

I'm not sure if it's really part 12, but that's what it feels like as Spokane Valley pushes forward on more road construction projects. The Sprague Avenue reconstruction project east of Evergreen Road is continuing, as is the grind and overlay of Dishman-Mica Road between 16th Avenue and Schafer Road and the work on Evergreen Road from 16th to 32nd.

New this week is the closure of 32nd Avenue between Avalon and Best. The road will be closed to all traffic until early September, so plan to detour around the area. Starting Thrusday the westbound curb lane of Sprague Avenue will be closed at Custer Road for the installation of traffic signal poles. That project is expected to continue through Aug. 21. The completion of University Road south of Fourth Avenue is also scheduled to start Thursday.

Election night

Tonight we'll get our first look at election results. The actual counting will last a week or more, but the first batch of votes counted on election day usually gives a good indication if something is passing. Click here after 8 p.m. tonight to find out if the replacement maintenance and operations levies of the Spokane Valley Fire Department and Spokane County Fire District 9 are passing. You can also check our main page for election results for those issues as well other state and local races.

Police searching for Spokane Valley burglary victims

The Spokane Valley Police Department is looking for victims of recent burglaries who may not have reported the crime. Police recently arrested three burglary suspects and have recovered a lot of stolen property. The burglars focused on Spokane Valley south of Sprague Avenue and drove a black 1997 BMW with blue rims, according to police. Anyone who was burglarized between June 21 and August 1 who hasn't reported it is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233. Reporter Meghann Cuniff has more details here.

National Night Out in Spokane Valley

There are going to be National Night Out Against Crime block parties across the Spokane Valley area tonight. There are too many to list, but there are a couple we can highlight. University SCOPE will be handing out free ice cream bars from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight at the SCOPE station, 10621 E. 15th. The group will also be handing out information on protecting yourself from break-ins and identity theft.

Edgecliff SCOPE will host a free barbecue tonight from 5 to 8 p.m. at the station, 522 S. Thierman Road. Certified Security and Sound, 1420 N. Pines Road, is hosting a free event from 3 to 7 p.m. tonight. There will be face painting, a coloring contest and other activities.

Saturday’s highlights

Doddie Williams, right, and Rachel White serve Aimee Cook, 4, a corn dog lunch at Spokane Valley Community of Christ Church Wednesday. Some of the free lunch programs offered at schools have ended, so the congregation at Community of Christ is stepping up with free lunches for children and adults three days a week at the church. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Saturday's Valley Voice once again gave you a solid lineup of stories covering what's happening in Spokane Valley. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has details on the annual Summer of Service volunteer day run by Eastpoint Church that will send volunteers to 15 Central Valley schools for improvements on Aug. 11. Volunteers are still needed, so sign up if you can lend a hand.

The Spokane Valley Community of Christ Church has stepped up to offer free meals to children and adults three days a week through the month of August. The church is trying to fill the gap that exists now that many schools have stopped serving free meals for the summer.

The Spokane Valley City Council discussed a familiar topic last week - animal control. The council is moving nearer to a decision, however. The city has to decide whether to continue with SCRAPS or switch to SpokAnimal for animal control services.

Spokane Valley Partners is again collecting school supplies for distribution to low income students. Lisa put together details on what supplies are needed and how families can sign up to get a backpack filled with supplies.

Here’s the skinny on University Road

We got an email yesterday asking about the status of University Road, so I thought I'd post some information for anyone who hasn't spotted the occasional updates in my city council stories. The pavement on University between Fourth and 16th Avenues was ground down several weeks ago, but then work stopped and hasn't resumed. The city had Poe Asphalt do the grinding under the city's street maintenance contract with Poe, but the contract ran out of money before the project was complete. The city then put the paving portion of the project out to bid, which does take some time.

The good news is that the bid has been awarded and the most recent news from the city indicates the contractor will start work on Aug. 9. It will take about a week to complete the sealing, paving and striping and then the road will be as good as new.

Thursday’s highlights

Tim Page, of Bellingham, climbs a rock face as his nephew Nathan Pettis, 15, belays on Monday at John H. Shields Park in Spokane. Page, a program coordinator with the American Alpine Institute, was in town to see family and decided to take Pettis climbing. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Well, the highlight of my morning is certainly my amazingly fast new computer. Programs no longer take 10 minutes to open and I no longer have to click and wait. Great stuff. Everyone else, however, will have to make do with the highlights from today's Valley Voice.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger recently stopped by the Minnehaha Rocks, where locals go for climbing and hiking. There are routes for beginners and advanced climbers at Minnehaha, formally known as John H. Shields Park. The Spokane Valley City Council voted this week to approve a zone change request for land on Conklin Road just south of Broadway. The change to high density residential clears the way for an apartment complex. The council also approved a development agreement to mitigate impacts on neighbors.

The Spokane Valley Planning Commission recently voted on its recommendations for uses that should be allowed in additional zoning areas. There was a lot of discussion on crematories and indoor recreation centers.

PETA sends letter to Valley Mall

After last week's rescue of a dog locked in a hot car at the Spokane Valley Mall, PETA has sent a letter to the Spokane Valley Mall asking it to paint the organization's “Too Hot for Spot” logo in the mall's parking spaces. The logo pictures a dog locked inside a car with the words “In hot weather, leave dogs at home.” This would seem to be common sense to me, but such cases are reported every year so people aren't getting the message. Do you think logos painted in the parking lot would be effective? Has anyone seen these elsewhere?

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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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