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Spokane Valley

Archive for June 2012

The grand council meeting shuffle

Just about every city with a council meeting scheduled for next week is doing a bit of shuffling to avoid the Fourth of July holiday on Wednesday. The only exception is Spokane Valley, which will have its council meeting at its normal time at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

The Fairfield City Council is moving its Tuesday meeting to Monday at 7 p.m. at City Hall at 218 E. Main in Fairfield. The Rockford City Council is moving its meeting from Wednesday to Tuesday at 7 p.m. at City Hall at 20 W. Emma in Rockford. The City of Liberty Lake is moving its Tuesday meeting to July 10.

Today’s highlights

Aliyah Forrester, 5, runs with a bucket and shovel Monday, through the Pumpkin Patch Community Garden in Millwood. Her grandparents, Doug and Teresa Sadler, help run the garden. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Today you get a look at the stories we've been working on all week. Reporter Pia Hallenberg is continuing her look at local community gardens and recently stopped by the Pumpkin Patch Community Garden in Millwood. The garden still has some of its 57 plots available and also participates in the Plant a Row for the Hungry program, donating produce to Second Harvest.

In a departure from past practice, the Spokane Valley City Council is not allowing the Spokane Valley Fire Department to make a presentation on its replacement levy on the August ballot. The move caught the fire department by surprise, particularly since it gave similar presentations twice previously.

The work on the Sprague Avenue reconstruction project has been delays after a gas line was found only inches under the asphalt. It had to be relocated and buried deeper before the road work could continue. During Tuesday's meeting the Spokane Valley City Council voted to require a development agreement before land on Conklin Road just south of Broadway can be rezoned high density residential. The agreement would set restrictions on setbacks and building height on the land, which is surrounded by single family homes on land zoned low density residential.

The town of Fairfield has several programs for kids running this summer. Free lunch is available in the Community Center on weekdays and the town will again bus children to the Tekoa pool.

Don’t worry about the smoke

If you see smoke in the hills just northwest of the Hutton Settlement in Spokane Valley, don't worry about it. The Spokane Valley Fire Department is doing wildland fire training there through Friday. They are practicing lighting back fires, creating fire lines and putting fires out. The problem when I was up there this morning, however, is that everything was so damp from yesterday's rain that the back fires wouldn't stay lit. But things will dry out of the next couple of days, so there will be more smoke visible during the day.

Conklin Road zone change on agenda

Sorry for the light posting lately, I've been working on several interesting stories for Thursday's Valley Voice. It looks like tonight's Spokane Valley City Council meeting will be busy. The first reading of a proposed zone change on Conklin Road just south of Broadway is on the agenda. Neighbors have been voicing their opposition to the request regularly and I expect some of them will be there tonight.

There are a few other interesting items on the agenda, including the approval of an interlocal agreement with Spokane County to develop a trail on the old Milwaukee Railroad right of way that the city once wanted to use to extend Appleway Blvd. The council will also discuss animal control and may indicate whether they want to pursue a possible agreement with SpokAnimal any further.

Saturday’s highlights

Bobbie Beese, left, and Betsy Mott are seen in their store on Tuesday at the Corner Door Fountain and Books in Spokane Valley. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

We have another cloudy Monday morning out there, but we also have another batch of Saturday Valley Voice stories as well. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on Corner Door Fountain and Books in Millwood that is owned by three siblings. The store has an eclectic mix of art, books, gifts and more.

The Spokane Valley Business Association met last week an heard a presentation on a planned city project to add stormwater swales to Sprague Avenue between Park and Thierman Roads. Some business owners are concerned about street trees blocking their signs while others are pleased to see some green come into the neighborhood.

The Spokane County Hearing Examiner recently ruled that Liberty Lake homeowner Lloyd Herman can keep most of the improvements he made to his lakeshore property without the proper permits, but he must shrink the size of a cabana/beach house that he built. Stairs and bulkheads will be allowed to stay because they held stabilize the slope, the hearing examiner wrote.

Cue the cute cat photo

Photo courtesy of SCRAPS.

It has been a while since I have posted an adorable critter photo, so I'm going to follow the lead of frequent Valley Voice correspondent Cindy Hval and go with a cute cat photo. Ginger is up for adoption at the Spokane County Regional Animal Shelter, so if you fall in love with her you can drive over and bring her home. Shelter staff say Ginger is a little shy, so she would do better in a home without children (or a dog like mine who likes to chase cats). It's summer now, but there's nothing like a warm, purring lap cat in the dead of winter.

Ginger's ID number is 2480. If you are interested in adopting her or another animal contact SCRAPS at (509) 477-2532 or stop by the shelter at 2421 N. Flora Road. The adoption fee for cats six months or older is $40, which includes a vet check, vaccinations, microchip and license.

Saturday’s highlights

Teacher Kathy Bodrock gives eighth-grader Blake Womble a hug on the last day of school at Bowdish Middle School. SR photo/Lisa Leinberger

Welcome to summer! We'll celebrate by taking a look at today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Bowdish Middle School on the last day of school. The students and teachers have a unique and fun way of saying goodbye - for the summer or forever - with their annual talent show.

Spokane Valley residents and commuters will notice that construction started on Evergreen Road today. Crews are working on the first phase between 16th and 24th Avenues. The road will be closed to all but local traffic, so plan to drive around that area. Liberty Lake Police and the Spokane County Bomb Squad had to deal with an unexploded bottle bomb made from household chemicals last week.

Young swimmers from all over the region gathered recently in Spokane for the Summer Solstice Swim Meet. Correspondent Cindy Hval attended the meet and talked to some of the swimmers. Cindy also has a column about her trials with custumer service as she upgraded her cell phone. As a recent survivor of cell phone company customer service myself, I can sympathize.

Food and care items donated to low income residents

Feed the Children Inc. will deliver two semi-trucks full of boxes of food and personal care items to Spokane Valley Partners on Thursday. The boxes will go to low income clients of the social service organization. Anyone interested in receiving a box has to get a voucher in advance by calling Valley Partners at (509) 927-1153 or stopping by Valley Partners at 10814 E. Broadway. People will be assisgned a pick up time when they receive a voucher.

Public hearings in Fairfield tonight

The Spokane Valley City Council isn't meeting tonight because several council members are attending the Association of Washington Cities annual conference, but that hasn't stopped the Fairfield City Council from having a full meeting tonight. There will be public hearings on the city's draft six year Transportation Improvment Plan and a proposed sewer ordinance. There will also be further discussion on where to put a recycling bin, which has turned into a hot topic. There will also be updates on the summer lunch program and the summer swim program. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Fairfield City Hall, 218 E. Main.

Fire crews rescue man from trench

Trench rescue crews from the Spokane Valley and Spokane Fire Departments rescue a man from a partially collapsed trench. Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department got a routine call for a fall with injuries Monday at 7:20 p.m. in the 500 block of North Flora. But when they arrived they discovered a man at the bottom of a partially collapsed trench that had been dug for a water line hookup. Specially trained trench rescue teams from Spokane Valley Fire and Spokane Fire responded to shore up the trench so the man could be rescued. He was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Any trench or hole deeper than four feet has to be shored up with special equipment before firefighters can enter because of the danger that the sides could collapse. Recent rains have made the dirt less stable than usual, raising the risk.

Saturday’s highlights

North Pines Middle School eighth-grader Asha Abbas, 14, and seventh-grader Isabella Moua, 13, share a laugh Wednesday after an English language development class presentation in which students tell stories about themselves using Microsoft Phot Story. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland
It's another gloomy Monday morning, but we've got some Saturday Valley Voice highlights to start our day with. The Spokane Valley City Council spent eight hours in a retreat last week going over the preliminary 2013 budget numbers and discussing how they might fund street preservation. No decisions were made, so the issue will continue to be discussed at future meetings.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger visited a English language development class at North Pines Middle School attended by young immigrants from all over the world. The students were presenting photo stories and some talked about where they came from.

Some Millwood residents upset about a recent 14 percent water rate increase visited the Millwood City Council meeting to complain about the rate hike. Correspondent Valerie Putnam reported their concerns about paying too much for water this year.

Spokane Valley pools are open now and we have details about open swim times and swim lessons. The Spokane Valley Fire Department renamed several fire stations last week and the names of one or two might surprise you.

Shock player arrested for arson, suspended from team

Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Third update: Shock player Kevin Ellison has been arrested on an arson charge for allegedly starting the fire that began in his bedroom. He has been suspended from the team. Check the updated story here.

Second update: Representatives of the Spokane Shock arena football team have confirmed that player Kevin Ellison is the resident who jumped from the burning building. The story is here.

Update: Fire investigators have determined that this was an arson fire, said Fire Marshal Kevin Miller. Investigators have not yet been able to interview the resident, who is still in the hospital. The fire began in the bedroom.


A man jumped from his burning third story apartment at Big Trout Lodge in Liberty Lake early this morning and managed to escape serious injury. He was taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhilation.

Spokane Valley Fire Department's Engine 3 was on its way to another call at 5:30 a.m. today when firefighters spotted a column of smoke coming from the apartment building, according to a press release from Capt. Pat Schaffer. They called it in and diverted to the building, where they saw flames coming from the third floor unit. Liberty Lake Police officers helped evacuate the building.

Firefighters were able to stop the fire from spreading from the apartment where it began. Two other apartments had some smoke damage. The damage is estimated at $50,000 and the cause is still under investigation.

Today’s highlights

Austin Long and his mother, Ann Long, are both graduating from Eastern Washington University this Saturday. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Once again we have a lot of good stuff for you in today's Valley Voice. Reporter Pia Hallenberg has a story on mothers graduating from Eastern Washington University at the same time as their children, including former Central Valley School District board member Ann Long. She and her son Austin will graduate this weekend.

The Spokane Valley City Council has decided to move forward with a zone change request without requiring an agreement that would mitigate the impacts of an apartment complex surrounded by single family homes. The zone change on Conklin is strongly opposed by neighbors and the city's planning commission has recommended the negotiation of a development agreement to increase buffering and limit density.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has several stories today, beginning with fifth grade students at Opportunity Elementary School who recently participated in their annual congressional hearings. Students learn about the Constitution and their roles in society.

Lisa has details on schedule changes coming up this fall in the East Valley School District. Elementary school will start later and CCS students will now be bused directly to their school. She also put together a list of where children can get free meals during the summer.  

Meeting on Sprague Ave. swale project

The City of Spokane Valley is having a community meeting tonight to get input on a planned stormwater swale project along Sprague Avenue between Park Road and the I-90 overpass. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Park Place Assisted Living Center, 511 S. Park Road. The project will allow for better treatment of stormwater in addition to adding grass and trees along Sprague. At the same time the road will be narrowed and the pavement will be ground down and overlayed with new asphalt. The city is looking for input on the best places to put the trees and possible changes on driveways.

Two alarm fire damages Spokane Valley business

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Spokane Valley Fire Department crews respond to a two alarm fire at 900 N. Fancher Road on June 12, 2012. Photos courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to a two alarm fire at ASC Machine Tools in the 900 block of North Fancher yesterday just after 5 p.m. Workers at a neighboring business called 911 when they saw smoke coming from the building, said Fire Marshal Kevin Miller in a press release. Employees told firefighters that there had been 20 people in the building, but they had all made it out.

It took 30 minutes and nine fire trucks (including two from the Spokane Fire Department) to put out the flames and Fancher was shut down between Broadway and Desmet for some time. One employee was taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. The fire started in a paint booth, but the cause is still under investigation, Miller said. It's not known when the building can be used again.

Special meeting in Fairfield

The Fairfield City Council will have a special meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall (218 E. Main). The agenda includes votes on the mosquito fogging contract and sidewalk repair bids as well as a discussion on the location of the town's new recycling dumpster. Apparently some debate has cropped up about where best to put the dumpster.

Spend the day with the city council

If you have ever wanted to spend the entire day with the Spokane Valley City Council, now is your chance. On Tuesday the council will have it's annual spring/summer retreat from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place. The main topic of discussion will be the 2013 budget, plus some discussion on street preservation projects.

After a short break, the council will have its regular weekly meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague. There will be a public hearing on the draft six year Transportation Improvement Plan. The council is scheduled to vote on whether to award a bid for the phase one of the pavement preservation projects and there will be further discussion on the proposed zone change for 601 N. Conklin Road.

Of course, this means I will be away from the blog tomorrow. I may tweet a bit from the council retreat, but otherwise I'll see everyone back here on Wednesday.

Part of Liberty Avenue to close Tuesday

Liberty Avenue will be closed from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday between Park Road and Edgerton Road for utility work. Drivers will detour around the area, plan for a traffic slowdown if you need to drive in that area.

Saturday’s highlights

The pond and landscaped area known as Mirabeau Springs in Mirabeau Point Park was once the tiger enclosure at Walk in the Wild Zoo, which closed in the 1990s. The area was reclaimed as the park, which sits behind the YMCA and CenterPlace in Spokane Valley. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Welcome back, everyone. I'm back from vacation and ready to go, so let's check out some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. The Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation Department has put out a new brochure highlighting the history of the site that now includes Mirabeau Park, Mirabeau Springs and CenterPlace. The land was the former site of the Walk in the Wild Zoo. The brochure includes a map that locates each of the old animal enclosures so people can find them as they walk the trails in the wooded area. What is now Mirabeau Springs was the old home of two Bengal tigers named Lilly and Kasey.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on Barker High School, an alternative school that just graduated its largest class ever. She looked into what makes the school so successful. She also has a story on Sarah Matlack, who is the fourth generation of her family to graduate from Central Valley High School.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw has a story on Central Valley High School junior Katie Wardsworth, who won the recent Washington State Hammer Championships. She comes from a family of hammer throwers and is expecting a lot of interest from college track and field coaches.

Greenacres Park grand opening

A farm- themed play structure and a splash pad grace the new Greenacres Park. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Greenacres residents have been wanting a neighborhood park for years and finally, the day is here. The Greenacres Park grand opening is Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to noon at 1311 N. Long Road. Kids will find a lot to like there - swings, sand box, splash pad and playground equipment. There are also bathrooms, play fields, plenty of benches to sit on, a large picnic shelter than can be reserved and a 9-hole disc golf course.

The festivities on Saturday will include a one mile family walk, tree planting and a ribbon cutting by Sopkane Valley Mayor Tom Towey. There will also be a fire truck and a police car there for kids to check out. It sounds like quite the event, so be sure to drop by and check it out. Just try not to bother the mother Robin who has a nest on the light fixture next to the men's bathroom door.

West Valley Days this weekend

Alyssa Hilsiker, 4, dances her way down the street while marching in the West Valley Days parade with her fellow dance students from Company Ballet School in 2005. SR file photo.

If you are looking for something to do this weekend, Saturday is the annual West Valley Days celebration in Millwood. It all starts with a parade down Grace and Stout at 11 a.m. that will end at the Millwood City Park at Stout and Frederick. There will be activities in the park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., including carnival games, booths, prizes, a live DJ and food. There will be drawings in the free bike raffle at 1 and 2:30 p.m. (must be present to win) and a silent auction kicks off at 2 p.m.

This event is the 18th annual fundraiser for West Valley Scope and is a good place to take the family for some fun. Here's hoping it doesn't rain!

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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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