Archive for February 2012
Presidential candidate Rick Santorum answers questions from the crowd Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012 at the Hagadone Events Center in Coeur d'Alene. SR file photo.
Spokesman-Review reporter Jonathan Brunt has news in the Spin Control blog about a campaign rally event for former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum Thursday in Spokane Valley. The event will begin at 3 p.m. at New Life Assembly Church, 10920 E. Sprague Ave. The event is being held in advance of Washington's caucuses on Saturday. Click here for more details.
The city of Spokane Valley will have its first ever “City Hall at the Mall” event Wednesday at the Spokane Valley Mall. It's an experiment with bringing City Hall and its resources to the community. City staff and council members will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. to answer questions. If you have a question about something that requires an answer from an expert, the city has put together a schedule of what time slot people should attend (click here).
Here's the rundown: 10 a.m.-12:45 p.m. - Talk with a representative of the Spokane Valley Police Department and get information on upcoming street projects; 12:45-3:30 p.m. - Talk traffic with the city's traffic engineer or fire safety with a representative of the Spokane Valley Fire Department; 3:30-6:15 p.m. - Discuss problems with a code compliance officers and learn about summer recreation programs; 6:15-9 p.m. - Request a city park reservation and learn about the Sullivan Road Bridge replacement project.
It looks like slow and steady will win the race at tonight's Spokane Valley City Council meeting. There are quite a few things on the agenda, but most are items the council has looked at before. There will be the second reading of an ordinance to amend the 2012 budget and the first reading of proposed ordinances that would chance the city's landscaping regulations and allow businesses to have more signs advertising alcohol.
There is one new item on the agenda that might generate some discussion. There will be a report on the second round of funding recommendations from the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee. There was some consternation earlier when the majority of the committee recommended not giving any funding to Valleyfest and they have made the same recommendation in the second round. Instead they want to give almost all the money available to the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
The Liberty Lake City Council has called a special meeting for 7 p.m. tonight at City Hall 22710 E. Country Vista Drive. There will be a discussion on the city administrator interview process and the city's budget, followed by public comment. The majority of the meeting will be an executive session for the council to review applications for the city administrator position.
Local IHOP restaurants, including the one at the Spokane Valley Mall, will be participating in National Pancake Day tomorrow. They will be offering anyone who comes in the door a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes in exchange for a donation to the Children's Miracle Network. Head over there from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday for your free food.
Last year people ate four million pancakes nationwide and donated more than $2.5 million. Donations made locally will be given to programs at Providence Holy Family Hospital, Providence Mt. Carmel Hospital, Providence Sacred Heart Children's Hospital, Providence St. Joseph's Hospital, St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute, Kootenai Medical Center and Inland Northwest Health Services.
A baby girl was apparently in a hurry to be born on Saturday. Firefighters at Spokane Valley Fire Department Station 3 were called to a Liberty Lake home after someone called 911 to report a woman in labor. The call came in at 7:48 a.m. Saturday; the firefighters and an AMR ambulance crew delivered a healthy baby girl at 8:04 a.m. Mom and baby were both taken to the hospital to be checked. We just love happy endings.
The Station 3 crew that day was Capt. Gary Collins, Paramedic Nick Muzik and EMT Paul Turcotte.
At the Spokane County regional fire dispatch center, dispatcher Mike Cappellano monitors a call of a tree that fell onto a house Wednesday. SR photo/Colin Mulvany
Well, judging by our wild weather this weekend, I guess it is still winter. Today's chilly temperatures may not stop teenagers from wearing shorts, but it makes a perfect day for the rest of us to sit inside with our coffee and get caught up on Saturday's Valley Voice.
The Spokane Fire Department runs a fire dispatch center that serves all of Spokane County and last year they purchased some new software that allows calls to be sent to firefighters sooner. Response times have improved as dispatch times have improved.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger spent some time with Freeman Elementary School students portraying each of the nation's 44 presidents in a fun “wax museum” event. Lisa also has a story on the retirement announcement made by West Valley Superintendent Polly Crowley. She will leave the district at the end of the school year after seven years as superintendent.
Correspondent SteveChristilaw checked in with the University High School boys basketball team last week before their regional game with Kennewick as they looked back on their season.
The man and woman killed in a traffic accident at East Broadway Avenue and North Locust Road in Spokane Valley on Valentine’s Day have been identified as Justin J. Stevens, 35, and Alisha K. Germany, 29.
The two were heading west on Broadway at high speed when their car left the road and hit a small tree and a telephone pole before hitting a large tree head-on. Neither was wearing a seat belt and alcohol was believed to be involved, according to a police news release. The two were declared dead at the scene.
Stevens was a level 3 registered sex offender with a lengthy criminal history, including convictions for first-degree rape, failure to register as a sex offender, obstructing an officer, first-degree criminal trespass and possession of a controlled substance. He was required to register as a sex offender after being convicted of raping a 78-year-old woman at knifepoint in 1995.
Germany had convictions for fourth-degree domestic violence assault and failure to cooperate with police.
Students from across Spokane Valley will have their art on display during a Last Friday show tonight from 4 to 8 p.m. at Ink to Media, 523 N. Pines Road (behind High Nooner). Their work includes paintings, drawings, pottery and sculpture. All the students will be on hand for tonight's reception. Refreshments will be served. Those attending will be able to vote for “Best in Show.”
The Spokane Valley Police Department has announced it is launching an emphasis patrol targeting aggressive drivers. The Aggresive Driver Enforcement Program will use “unmarked non-traditional law enforcement fleet vehicles” to find and fine aggresive drivers, according to a police press release.
Police say they responded to 2,198 calls reporting reckless drivers in the Spokane Valley City limits in 2011. So be warned, they're out there watching for bad driving behavior.
In case you were wondering, they define aggressive driving as two or more moving violations that is likely to endanger other persons or property or any single intentional violation that requires a defensive action by another driver.
Otis Orchards resident Lee A. Hiestand, 40, was injured in a car accident on I-90 near Osburn, Idaho, Wednesday evening. According to an Idaho State Patrol press release, Hiestand was driving his F150 truck east on I-90 when he lost control, crossed the center median into the westbound lanes and then rolled his truck. The truck went through a guardrail before coming to a stop. Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the accident, the ISP reports. Hiestand was taken to the Shoshone Medical Center for treatment of his injuries.
Teacher Robbie Robinson, second from left, stands in a greenhouse with Harmony High School students, from left, Satieva Ankey, Josh Armstrong, Chris Kinyon, Cody Buchanan and Franki Turner. SR pohto/Dan Pelle
We have a ton of good stuff to highlight in today's Valley Voice, so much that I'm not sure I can include it all without making this the mother of all blog posts. So, here we go. Spokane County is looking at a building on East Trent as a possible home for a new regional animal shelter, but first the county commissioners have to convince Spokane and Spokane Valley to go along with the plan and open their pocketbooks to pay for it.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped in at Harmony High School to look at a new product the students are making and selling called Harmony Hot Peppers. It's a mix of dried, ground hot peppers that I hear really clears your sinuses. The students built their own greenhouse to grow the peppers for the mix.
The Spokane Valley City Council spent some time Tuesday with the planning commission and a pair of Seattle land use attorneys to discuss the city's Shoreline Master Program, which has to be updated by the end of 2013. The Liberty Lake City Council heard a request for more money from the Liberty Lake Library to hire staff, but spent a lot of time discussing where the money might come from.
Also in Liberty Lake, police have identified two suspects in a recent string of vehicle prowls, but no arrests have been made yet. There's a partial list of possible stolen property included with the story.
If you are looking for a chuckle (and a clever headline), check out correspondent Cindy Hval's story on the celebration of her cats' birthdays. The cat pictured with the story looks less than thrilled about his birthday attire.
The Washington State Patrol has identified the people involved in an accident caused by a wrong way driver on I-90 near Liberty Lake just before 4 p.m. yesterday. Liberty Lake resident Kelly A. Yancey, 39, was driving her Honda Accord westbound in the eastbound lanes when she hit a car driven by Newman Lake resident Elizabeth E. Barbour, 52, almost head on. Yancey's car spun around before hitting a Dodge Ram truck driven by 21-year-old Chelsea E. Piper of Post Falls, according to the WSP press release.
Yancey was cited for driving the wrong way on the freeway. Alcohol does not appear to be involved, the press release said. Yancy and Barbour were taken to the hospital. A 1-year-old boy in Piper's car was uninjured.
So how do you welcome Spokesman-Review outdoors writer Rich Landers to his new spot in the newsroom? You use tape to put down an outline of a dead deer on the floor, of course. Someone who shall not be named took a little time out of his morning to put together this scene of outdoor mayhem.
The Spokane Valley Police Department arrested a driver after he allegedly led police on a chase that hit 100 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone Sunday night, according to a police press release. David B. Middleton, 44, was finally trapped by patrol cars and then struggled with officers, the release said.
MIddleton was arrested on a laundry list of charges, including eluding police, second-degree assault, possession of meth with intent to deliver, possession of heroin, possession of marijuana, obstructing a police officer, resisting arrest and third-degree driving with a suspended license. Reporter Meghann Cuniff has more here.
The Spokane County Sheriff's Office arrested a man early Sunday morning after he allegedly fired a gunshot through a home's front window, according to a Sheriff's Office press release. Deputies responded to the 13700 bock of East 46th in the Bella Vista neighborhood at 3:26 a.m. Sunday. The man also allegedly pointed the gun at a man and fired several shots in the area, the press release said. Deputies arrested Jason Cunningham, 37, for drive-by shooting, first degree burglary, first degree assault and reckless engangerment. Click here for more details.
George “Dick” Ott kept a watchful eye over the University SCOPE neighborhood. SR file photo.
Monday morning is a great time to catch up on any Valley Voice stories you may have missed over the weekend. Reporter Lisa Leinberger went down to Freeman last week, where the Freeman Elementary School gym is set to open tomorrow. The gym is one of the last projects being paid for by a construction bond.
The residents of Fairfield turned out last week for the dedication of Levi's Room, a new place for youth in the basement of the Fairfield Community Center. The game room is named in memory of Levi Larrison, who died in a car crash in 2010.
Volunteers at University SCOPE and other SCOPE stations in Spokane Valley are mourning the loss of Dick Ott, who had donated thousands of hours as a volunteer and was president of University SCOPE when he died recently. He died from complications of a fall while he was directing traffic at an accident scene.
Ryan C. Lancaster, who was arrested on multiple charges Wednesday evening after a standoff with police, remains in jail on a $100,000 bond. Two Spokane Valley schools were locked down and a daycare was evacuated after police received reports of a man with a gun. It turns out that Lancaster was armed with a BB gun. Reporter Meghann Cuniff has more details here.
It sounds like its full speed ahead for tomorrow's planned opening of the west Sullivan Bridge. The bridge, which carries southbound traffic, has been closed for more than a month as crews completed temporary repairs. The bridge is failing and weight restrictions were imposed last year to help slow the deterioration of the bridge while Spokane Valley seeks grant funds to pay to replace the bridge.
All lanes should be open around mid-day Friday and the weight restrictions will be lifted. Enjoy the free flow of traffic!
Rina Clark, right, a West Valley Outdoor Learning Center raptor volunteer, introduces Ava McLeod to Willie the barn owl, Friday. SR photo/Dan Pelle
We start today look's at the Valley Voice with two great stories by reporter Lisa Leinberger. She visited with an autistic volunteer, Ava McLeod, who works with the birds at the West Valley Outdoor Learning Center. McLeod knows several bird calls now and has handled some of the birds.
Lisa's second story on the Central Valley School District will impact the entire Spokane Valley area. The Central Valley board has agreed to purchase the morner Rite Aid building at Sprague and University to expnd the Skills Center program. The West Valley Contract Based Education currently fills half the building and will remain there. The Skills Center classes offered there would also be open to students in the West Valley, East Valley and Freeman school districts.
The Spokane Valley City Council had another discussion on the gateway sign proposed at Appleway and Thierman as they fine tuned the plan for the site. The Spokane Valley Fire Department is mulling over their options after construction bids for a new Station 6 came in over the estimated cost of $1.3 million. The lowest bid was $1.5 million and others went as high as $1.8 million.
Some local school districts are unhappy with last night's levy election results, but the levies of all school districts in the Spokane Valley area appear to be passing. There are more ballots left to count, but election night results are usually a good indicator of the final results. East Valley got a 51.97 percent yes vote, while Central Valley got a more commanding 58.4 percent yes vote. The approval vote for Freeman was 53 percent.
Both the West Valley and Liberty school districts had two levies on the ballot - a regular levy and a technology levy. All four are passing handily. Levies are in important part of any district's budget, so a whole bunch of people are breathing a sigh of relief this morning. Click here for Jody Lawrence-Turner's story on all the election results.
A man and a woman killed in a traffic accident last night at Broadway and Locust in Spokane Valley have not yet been identified. Police believe speed and alcohol were involved in the crash, which sent a red Corvette head on into a large tree. Witnesses reportedly told police the car was going about 60 or 70 miles per hour in the 35 mph zone. Click here for more details.
Spokane Valley Police recently arrested a Spokane Valley felon on charges of first degree trafficking in stolen property. Victor A. Luna, 30, reportedly purchased stolen items and had other people pawn them for him. The SWAT team made the arrest because of Luna's history of 10 previous felony convictions, according to a police press release. Reporter Meghann Cuniff has more details here, including information about a 2005 story in the SR profiling Luna.
The agenda for the Spokane Valley City Council tonight is quite lengthy, but there are several “housekeeping” city code changes that will hopefully be dealt with quickly. There will be a public hearing on adding several capital projects to the 2012 budget, including a road project on South Evergreen and a gateway sign. Additional agenda items include discussions on the Parks Master Plan and alcohol advertising regulations.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague. This is a formal meeting, so there will be time for public comment on items not on the agenda.
The Newman Lake Fire District 13 commissioners will have a special meeting tonight to discuss a new fire station. The district put a bond on the November ballot to pay for a new fire station, but it failed at the polls. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at Station 1, 10236 N. West Newman Lake Drive.
The city of Spokane Valley has announced that it plans to have the southbound Sullivan Bridge fully open by Friday (weather permitting). The failing bridge has been closed for several weeks for temporary repairs that should allow the city to remove weight restrictions imposed on southbound traffic last year.
Beginning Tuesday the city will route one lane of northbound traffic on the east bridge and one lane of southbound traffic on the recently repaired bridge. Crews will be pouring concrete traffic islands and replacing barriers. If the bridge opens Friday as scheduled it will be one week sooner than originally anticipated.
Karen Fournier, left, and Jane Murphy of Hearth Homes stand in the living room of the newest transitional home the group will open in Spokane Valley, Thursday. Hearth Homes runs a series of homes for women with children. Fournier is the group’s executive director, and Murphy is the development director. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
Saturday's Valley Voice is chock full of news from the area and makes an excellent read over coffee (or lunch). Reporter Lisa Leinberger spoke to the founder of Hearth Homes, Karen Fournier. She runs several homes for homeless women with children and is getting ready for a ribbon cutting on another house.
The Spokane Valley City Council had its annual winter retreat last week and spent hours discussing various issues facing the city. They discussed how to pay for street preservation projects, economic development and the possible acquisition of land in partnership with the Spokane County Library District.
Correspondent Valerie Putnam attended the Millwood City Council meeting where the council discussed the possible need to raise water rates. Last week the Spokane Valley Fire Department managed to put out a chicken coop fire before any of the chickens were hurt.
Spokane Valley Fire Department firefighter Joe Rees, paramedic/engineer Dave Fegele and Capt. Chris Neumann put out a kitchen fire caused by a faulty dishwasher inside Station 6 in 2010. The photo is courtesy of the Spokane Valley Fire Department.
Tomorrow it is the turn of Spokane Valley Fire Department Station 6 to host an open house. The department is working to rename all its stations and has been having open houses at each station to allow people to take tours and offer name suggestions. The open house is from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. The station is located at 6306 E. Sprague. In addition to tours there will be refreshments and a visit from Mako the arson dog.
The fire department commissioners will pick a name from the suggestions at a later date. On an additional note, Station 6 is slated for demolition this spring and a new, larger station will be built on the site. The current station was built in 1961.
The Central Valley High School Marching Band and Color Guard rehearses in October 2011 for the Northwest Association for Performing Arts Championhips in Hillsboro, Ore. SR file photo
If you are looking for something fun to do tonight, the Central Valley High School Band and Color Guard Boosters are hosting their annual jazz concert, dessert and auction starting at 6:30 p.m. at the school (821 S. Sullivan Road).
The music will be performed by the Central Valley High School, Evergreen Middle School and Greenacres Middle School jazz bands. There will be dancing addition to the silent auction and dessert. Some of the items up for bid include Disneyland passes, golf packages, sports baskets, photo packages and more. The cost is $15 at the door. The evening is scheduled to last until 9:30 p.m.
A couple days ago I Tweeted several Spokane Valley survey responses. The city recently completed a mail-in survey to hear what people think about the city's parks, police, transportation service, jobs, appearance and more. Two thousand surveys were sent to random households and 459 responses were returned (24 percent).
One of the questions asked was, “What one thing do you believe the city can do to make Spokane Valley a better community?” Some responses were detailed, others were a single word. Some contradicted each other. Several people called for the Sprague and Appleway couplet to be made one-way while several others said it should stay the some. Others called for more of a police presence on the streets. More than a few disincorporation advocates said the city should go away completely. Several people suggested creating some sort of youth center for teens.
Here are some of the verbatim responses:
Keep city taxes at an essential minimum.
New city council that doesn't believe that everything should center on commercial business.
Less snow removal is better than too much, fire the dog catcher, write more speeding tickets, enforce “no trucks” zones.
Educate police on the word “fair.”
Clean up the industrial buildings that have been abandoned. Bird control!
Develop a city center - in the center of the city.
Free wireless internet for everyone in Spokane Valley.
Betsy Blake, Cathy Lobe, center, and Jan Stripes, rear, work on producing homemade placemats for Meals on Wheels at Lobe’s home in northwest Spokane on Feb. 1. SR photo/Dan Pelle
At the top of today's Valley Voice is news that residents along south Evergreen will have their street fully repaved this summer after a new water line is installed underneath it. This week the Spokane Valley City Council approved using city money to repave the road.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a report on the Liberty Lake City Council meeting, where council members voted to not change their attendance policy. It was the topic of some discussion last year after a couple of council members had accumulated several absences.
Rainey Coffin has a story on a group of retired home economists who make placemats for the local Meals on Wheels organization. Longtime correspondent and Master Gardener Pat Munts wrote a story on a Spokane Valley couple who are making every effort to make sure a hummingbird survives the winter.
Spokane Valley Fire Department crews were called to burning shed/chicken coop a little after 9 a.m. this morning at 5309 E. Eighth. “First arriving crews had the fire extinguished quickly and there were no injuries or animal causalities,” said Assistant Fire Marshall Bill Clifford. That's good news for our feathered friends. Investigators believe the fire was started by a heat lamp, Clifford said. Photos courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.
The Spokane County Sheriff's Office recently arrested a Newman Lake resident for allegedly running a scam on Craigslist. Deputies believe Eric Pittsley, 35, was taking money from people after offering to sell them cars or rent homes to them, but he never delivered. Seventeen victims have been identified. Reporter Meghann Cuniff has more details here.
The Spokane Valley City Council has a full day of meetings tomorrow and I'll be right there with them, so there won't be any blog posting. First on the schedule is the council's annual winter retreat from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place. There's a long list of agenda items, but the council may not be able to get to them all. Discussion items will include economic development, capital projects and potential park land acquisition.
After a short break the council's normal Tuesday night meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E.Sprague. Agenda items for that meeting include a vote on whether to procede with a proposed Evergreen Road reconstruction project this year, landscaping code amendments and the fire department interlocal agreement.
Feel free to stop by any of the meetings, but don't worry. If you come to the winter retreat, you don't have to stay for the entire day.
Liberty Lake Police Officer Mike Bogenreif shows the body camera he used during his shift Jan. 27. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
We had some great stories for you in Saturday's Valley Voice, so here's your chance to check them out if you missed them Saturday. The Liberty Lake Police Department is investigating getting body cameras for its patrol officers. The department spent the last month testing the cameras and were pleased with the results. The story includes videos of two traffic stops recorded by an officer wearing the camera.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to University Elementary School teacher Linda Honn, who will be inducted into the Washington Music Educators Assocation's Hall of Fame. She has been teaching for 29 years and helped develop the elementary music program for the Central Valley School District.
Last week the Spokane Valley City Council debated whether to add railroad quiet zones to the 2012 budget along with a gateway sign at Appleway and Thierman and a swale project on the west end of Sprague Avenue. In a divided vote, the council decided to remove the quiet zones from the list over concerns about the cost.
Also last week the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee met to discuss the second round of funding requests for 2012. The committee's funding recommendations to the city council raised some controversy last year when they didn't recommend funding for Valleyfest. During last week's discussion only two of the five committee members favored granting any funding to Valleyfest. Instead they recommended giving almost all the money the city has available to the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. It will be up to the city council, however, to decide what groups are funded and with how much.
A Spokane Valley police officer spotted a speeding car in the 11600 block of East Eight Tuesday morning, but the car sped away when the officer tried to pull the driver over. The officer used the PIT maneuver to stop the fleeing driver after he blew a stop sign at Eighth and Bowdish, according to a police press release. Drugs were allegedly found in the truck and Danny D. Harman, 36, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and attempting to elude a police officer. Reporter Meghann Cuniff has more details here.
In today's Valley Voice, reporter Nina Culver attended the most recent Spokane Valley City Council meeting and heard the council debate whether to repave a section of Evergreen Road after it is dug up for a new water line here.
Pia Hallenberg met a local artist, Lisa Allen, who has been spinning out purses made from old record album covers.
Cindy Hval writes about the legacy little Vanessa Behan left on the community and a special fundraiser for the Crisis Center at local Red Robin restaurants.
And I sat in on a question and answer session with Central Valley Superintendent Ben Small where residents asked about the Feb. 14 levy election. Small will have two more of these sessions if you would like to attend. The next opportunity will be tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Liberty Lake Elementary School, 23606 E. Boone, and one more next Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at University High School, 12420 E. 32nd Ave. If you have any questions, call the district office at (509) 228-5400 or visit the district's website.
I'll be away from the computer most of the day tomorrow and all day Friday, so expect light posting. Fellow Valley Voice reporter Lisa Leinberger has promised to post some story links on the blog tomorrow, but that will probably be about it. We've got some good stories coming up tomorrow and Saturday, so feel free to check here for links.
A teenage girl was stabbed Saturday at the Spokane Valley Mall after a fight broke out and the Spokane Valley Police Department is asking people to provide any photos or video taken during the fight. Anyone with information should call Crime Check at 456-2233. Click here for more details.