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Spokane Valley

Archive for July 2012

Fourth and Herald shut down Wednesday

The intersection of Fourth Ave. and Herald Road will be closed to all traffic from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday for utility work. Detour information will be posted, but it's probably best to avoid the area if you can.

Saturday’s highlights

Bob Williams of Longview, Wash., rides a body bowl slide on Monday at Splashdown Waterpark in Spokane Valley. Williams said he and his son, Bob Jr., travel to the park from the West Side as much as they can. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

It's hot and it's Monday. Enough said. That does mean, however, that we have some Saturday Valley Voice highlights to share. If you're looking for a something to do and a way to beat the heat, check out the Splash Down Waterpark. Reporter Lisa Leinberger recently stopped by to check out the Fastball water slide and the Cannon Bowl.

A captain in the Spokane Valley Fire Department is in a dispute with the department over sending religious emails using department email. Capt. Jon Sprague has been suspended without pay for two shifts, but the firefighters union is contesting the discipline.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw talked to Morgan Manchester, former East Valley High School soccer player and current captain of the Gonzaga University women's soccer team. Manchester stopped by an East Valley practice recently.  

Argonne Road blocked by accident

12:45 p.m. update - Argonne is now back open.

Argonne Road is expected to be blocked near Upriver Drive for another hour or so due to a serious accident, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. Northbound lanes are blocked at Maringo and only one southbound lane is open.

The driver of a car rear ended a large moving truck at the intersection of Argonne and Upriver Drive. “The bumper of the truck is about where the head rest should be,” said Spokane Valley Fire Department assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford. A Spokane County Fire District 9 engine was nearby doing hydrant tests and was first on the scene. They called for extrication equipment to remove the critically injured driver from the car.

“We sent a bunch of equipment headed that way and couple of ambulances,” Clifford said. The driver appeared to have head injuries, he said. “He needed to be extricated rather quickly and transported to the hospital.”

There were no skid marks left by the car, Clifford said. The crash is being investigated by the Sheriff's Office. Two people in the moving van were also injured and taken to the hospital.

Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Today’s highlights

Kristen Messer, Austin Pruitt, center, and Amberlynn Weber, shown July 19 at West Valley High School, have qualified for the Paralympics in London this summer. The three, all members of Team St. Luke’s, will compete in track events along with Susannah Scaroni. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

It's another hot summer day today as we head toward the end of July. But it's also Thursday, so that means we have some Valley Voice highlights to go with our morning (iced) coffee. The Spokane Valley City Council voted Tuesday to approve a development agreement designed to limit the impact of an apartment complex on surrounding single family homes. The agreement applies to land on Conklin Road south of Broadway. But the agreement did not appease neighbors, who wanted an increased setback so they wouldn't have buildings right up against their back yards.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on a new community garden planned by Spokane Valley Partners. The organization has received permission from Modern Electric to use vacant land the utility owns across from Valley Mission Park as a garden. Organizers hope to have everything set up in time for spring. There's an informational meeting tonight for community residents.

Correspondent Cindy Hval spoked to several local athletes who will be competing in the London 2012 Paralympic Games in track events. They are all members of Team St. Luke's.

Assault rifle stolen from murder victim’s apartment

Family members of a man killed in Western Washington two weeks ago found his newly purchased assault rifle missing from his Liberty Lake apartment when they arrived to pack up his belongings. Ryan Crews Mumm, 20, was reportedly attending Spokane Community College. Police are investigating the burglary. Reporter Meghann Cuniff has more details on her blog here.

Key items on council agenda tonight

There are a couple key items on the Spokane Valley City Council agenda for tonight's meeting, both of which have the potential to make it a lengthy meeting. First up is a public hearing on a proposed development agreement to go with property on Conklin Road south of Broadway. The owner wants to rezone the land high density residential and put in apartments, a plan the surrounding neighbors in their single family homes have objected to. The proposed agreement restricts density and building height, among other stipulations. The council is scheduled to vote after the public hearing on whether to accept the agreement.

The item that will likely include a lengthy discussion is a report on the proposed goals and policies of the city's Shoreline Master Program. It's a detailed document, so it's expected that council members will have questions.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. tonight at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

Driver accused in Millwood hit-and-run

The driver accused of running over a 2-year-old girl in a bicycle trailer and then driving away appeared in court Monday. Gonzaga University law student Timmy Nguyen has been charged with hit-and-run and vehicular assault. The girl he is accused of running over is still in the hospital with skull and wrist fractures. Police say she was likely saved by her bicycle helmet. Read today's story by Meghann Cuniff and Sara McMullen for more details.

More road construction in Spokane Valley

Several new road construction projects are starting today in Spokane Valley. The streets affected are Fourth Avenue form Dishman-Mica to Farr Roads, Dishman-Mica from 16th Avenue to Schafer Road, and Vista Road from Mission to Nora avenues. All three street preservation projects will include new asphalt overlays and are expected to last two weeks each. Click here for more details about how traffic will impacted.

Saturday’s highlights

Jan and Jack Hamlin enjoy lunch at Donna’s Diner as Sprague Avenue reconstruction is seen reflected in the window Wednesday. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Now this is my kind of Monday - cool, breezy and sunny. While I revel in this too-short window of perfect weather, take a look at some of the stories in Saturday's Valley Voice. Several businesses along Sprague Avenue west of Sullivan Road report that they have made it through a recent road reconstruction project in better shape than they thought as motorists continued to find their way to stores and restaurants during construction. The project is now in its second phase and should be complete by the end of August.

Reporter Pia Hallenberg talked to local author Sharon Cramer, who writes for children and adults. She has just finished another children's book, this one dealing with monsters in a child's room. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on an upcoming all-class reunion at West Valley High School. The school will also be inducting 12 former graduates into its Hall of Fame.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw put together a story on swimming lessons being offered by the city of Sokane Valley and why children should take them. The city offers lessons at its pools every summer.

The Muppets at Mirabeau

The city of Spokane Valley will host a showing of “The Muppets,” the first free outdoor movie of the summer, in Mirabeau Meadows Park at dusk on Saturday. People are invited to bring blankets or chairs to sit on. The city will also host free activities for kids beginning an hour before showtime.

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

Today’s highlights

Skyway Cafe owner Sandy Melter, left, talks with Jerry Martin, center, and Ron Webber, right, at the “pilots table,” Tuesday. Located at Felts Field, the Skyway is 63 years old and filled with aviation memorabilia. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Welcome to another hot and sunny day in Spokane. To celebrate we have a tour of today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger is continuing her tour of places to see in the Spokane Valley area and this week she visited the Skyway Cafe at Felts Field. The cafe is known for its good food and prime location that allows diners to watch planes taking off and landing at the airport.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department and Spokane County Fire District 9, both of which serve residents in the Spokane Valley area, have replacement maintenance and operations levies on the August ballot. Both districts get a significant amount of their annual budget from the levies. The ballots should begin arriving in the mail this week and must be returned by Aug. 7.

The Spokane Valley City Council got its first look this week at draft goals and policies for the shoreline plan that have been recommended for approval by the city's planning commission. There will be a lot more dicussion on this at future meetings.

Lisa also wrote about new West Valley School District assistant superintendent Jean Marczynski, who most recently worked for the Central Valley School District for many years.

Sheriff hosts town hall meeting in Rockford

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. SR file photo.

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich will host a town hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. today at the McIntosh Grange in Rockford. The meeting is open to anyone living in Spokane County and people are encouraged to come and ask questions about law enforcement. The grange is located at First and Lake. To get there head south from Spokane Valley on Highway 27. Once you reach Rockford, take a left on Emma, then a right on First St.

Quiet city council meeting tonight

I'm afraid there's not much on the agenda of tonight's Spokane Valley City Council meeting unless you have a burning desire to discuss shoreline goals and policies. The draft goals and policies have gone through an advisory group and the city's planning commission and are now coming before the council for discussion and approval. This very lengthy process will end with a new Shoreline Master Program that will regulate shorelines in Spokane Valley, but that result is likely more than a year away. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

Body of missing man recovered in Spokane Valley

The body of a 21-year-old man who went missing last night while tubing the Spokane River with friends was recovered this morning near the Mission Ave. trailhead of the Centennial Trail near Greenacres. The man, whose name has not been released, was not wearing a life jacket. The search had to be called off last night because of thunderstorms, but resumed this morning. Click here for more details. He is the fourth person to drown in area lakes and rivers in the last week.

Saturday’s highlights

Broadway Elementary summer school student Connor Dehn, 9, keeps an eye on his computer-programmed Lego car as it heads to a target Thursday. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Yesterday was a nice respite from the heat, but it looks as though our sunshine is back this morning just in time to take a look at the highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on a summer school class at Broadway Elementary focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students used pop bottle rockets to study flight and then built Lego cars to use on an obstacle course.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a report from the recent Millwood City Council meeting, where residents spoke their mind about the new water rate increases. The town of Fairfield has started a new recycling program after a lengthy discussion and so far the program seems to be a success.

University High School grad Hank Frame, who plays golf for Washington State University, won the recent Lilac City Invitational golf tournament. Correspondent Steve Christilaw talked to him about his win and about the golf program at WSU.  

Four teens charged with arson

Four teenagers suspected of setting 20 arson fires since the end of June behind businesses in the area of Sprague Avenue and Sullivan Road and at Central Valley High School were arrested this week. All the fires were set in Dumpsters, trash cans, recycling bins and recycling donation boxes.

“All of these were late night, very early morning fires,” said Spokane Valley Fire Department Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford. “Sometimes there were as many as three fires in one night.”

The incident at the school involved six garbage cans set on fire at 3:22 a.m. on Sunday. Most of the Dumpsters and other containers were destroyed, Clifford said. Their value is estimated at more than $16,000.

All four teens are facing second-degree arson charges and have been booked into the Spokane County Juvenile Detention Center.

Today’s highlights

From left, triplets, Kaitlin, Briana and Ashleigh Creeger, 11, and Jenna Fonteyne, 10, dig for quartz and fluorite crystals, agate, obsidian, petrified wood and more at Livingstone’s Rock Ranch Friday. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Welcome to another sweltering day in the Inland Northwest. At least it's Thursday so we can take a look at today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger continued her tour of the Spokane Valley area and has a story on Livingstone's Rock Ranch in Greenacres. There are nearly 100 tons of garnets, crystals, agate, obsidian and more buried in the ground for people to find.

The Spokane Valley City Council voted to approve an agreement with Spokane County to fix a portion of 48th Avenue and Sundown Court in the Ponderosa neighborhood. The road has had drainage problems ever since the road was repaved after the County installed sewer lines. The city has also hired former Spokane city attorney Howard Delaney on a two month contract. He was fired by Spokane Mayor David Condon in March. 

The Spokane Valley Arts Council is going forward with the construction of a statue intended for the city's gateway project at Sprague and Thierman after the council decided they didn't want the statue for that location. Other locations in the city are being looked at for placement of the statue.

Sprague Ave. construction begins new phase

The Sprague Avenue reconstruction project is set to begin a new phase Thursday. Crews will begin work on the eastbound lanes from Evergreen Road to just east of Adams Road. Traffic will continue to be limited to one lane in each direction with a center turn lane. There will be access to businesses, which remain open.  

The eastbound lanes were scheduled to be done last but are being done now to deal with a natural gas line that was discovered only inches under the asphalt in some places. Gas lines are usually buried about three feet down so the gas line will have to be moved.

This phase is expected to be complete in mid-August and the entire project is planned to be complete by the end of August. If there is a rule in construction, though, it is to expect delays.

More construction on Sprague Avenue

More road work is starting on Sprague Avenue on Wednesday. The street will be down to one lane in each direction at the Carnahan Road intersection for utility work. The lane restrictions will begin at 7 a.m. Wednesday and continue through 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 20. There will be flaggers on site to direct traffic and businesses will be open.

Special meeting in Fairfield

The Fairfield City Council has announced a special meeting tonight to discuss engineering credentials for upcoming projects. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 218 E. Main St.

Saturday’s highlights

Daisy Hanson and Kelsie Brulotte splash around in the Millwood wading pool Thursday. Community donations made it possible for the pool to reopen after being closed last year. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Sorry I wasn't on the blog Friday. I snuck out for a day off before the high temperatures made me feel like a chicken roasting in the oven. While it's still relatively cool this morning I've got some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in at the popular Millwood wading pool. The city planned to close and destroy the pool, but residents objected and then took it a step further by raising the $10,000 needed to repair the pool. Now kids are again happily splashing away.

The Spokane Valley City Council appointed former planning commissioner Fred Beaulac back to a vacant position on the commission. He will serve out the term of Marcia Sands, who recently resigned. The council also heard a report on a development agreement negotiated with the owner of land on Conklin Road. They previously voted to allow the land to be rezoned as high density residential only if an agreement was reached to increase setbacks and limit density.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw spoke to University High School football coach Rob Bartlett, who is continuing a family tradition of coaching. He now holds the same job as his father did.

Today’s highlights

Lauren Brown, 13, checks out a helium balloon during a STEM Academy summer school session on June 27 at Central Valley High School. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Happy 5th of July. I hope everyone has recovered from last night's festivities enough to check out some highlights from today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a couple good stories. The Central Valley School District is offering summer school classes focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathmatics (STEM). Last week students did experiments with helium-filled Mylar balloons.

Lisa also visited Wheeler's Farm Market and Fresh Start Produce in Otis Orchards as she continues her tour of fruit stands in the Spokane Valley area.The provide local produce and other items to hungry shoppers.

The Spokane Valley Planning Commission last week gave their recommendation of approval to the goals and policies of the Shoreline Master Program. The commission had been reviewing the goals and policies for months. They now go to the City Council for approval.  

Shock players moving out of Big Trout Lodge

This Big Trout Lodge apartment was heavily damaged in a fire allegedly set by a Spokane Shock player. SR file photo.

Players of the Spokane Shock team have spent this week moving out of the team provided apartments in the Big Trout Lodge in Liberty Lake even though their lease isn't up for another month. This comes after Shock player Kevin Ellison was arrested and charged with arson for a June 14 fire that started in his bedroom. He told investigators that he set the fire because God told him to, according to federal court documents. The team and the apartment complex managers are calling the move a mutual decision. Click here for more details.

Some hot items at tonight’s council meeting

Yes, it is Fourth of July eve, but Spokane Valley is going ahead with their regularly scheduled council meeting tonight at 6 p.m. and there are a few interesting items on the agenda. The council is set to vote on appointing a new planning commissioner to fill the seat of Marcia Sands, who resigned. There are three candidates and there are some familiar names in the bunch. Teacher Robert McCaslin is the son of the late Bob McCaslin, who was a senator and city council members. Fred Beaulac served on the planning commission previously from 2003 to 2008. The other candidate, Kevin Anderson, is a retired manufacturing manager.

A development agreement on land on Conklin just south of Broadway has apparently been negotiated with lighting speed; a proposed agreement will be discussed tonight. The council voted previously to require the agreement as a condition to rezoning the land high density residential.

The council will also discuss a proposed agreement with Spokane County to fix 48th Avenue in the Ponderosa neighborhood. The road was repaved after a county sewer project years ago and hasn't drained properly since.

Saturday’s highlights

Firefighter Tom Carleton of Spokane Valley’s Ladder 10 walks through a charred hillside during a wildland fire training session Wednesday in Spokane Valley. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Today is Monday and it's sunny. Are we sure this is Spokane? It's time to grab a cup of coffee and settle in to check out some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. The Spokane Valley Fire Department spent some time doing wildland fire training last week and invited other local fire departments to participate.

The Spokane Valley City Council has agreed to issue a request for proposal's for the city's animal control service with the intention of getting information from SpokAnimal Care on what they might charge to take over the city's animal control contract.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a nice story on Liberty Lake Regional Park, a little known park on the shores of Liberty Lake that has hiking trails, camping, a playground, swimming and a dock to fish off of. It's a great place to sit on the beach and enjoy the views.

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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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