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Spokane Valley blog

Archive for November 2012

Fairfield Christmas bazaar

If you are looking for something to do this weekend, the annual Old Fashioned Christmas Bazaar in Fairfield is Saturday. There will be plenty of vendors to shop from and the North Palouse Community Food Bank will be offering lunch items for purchase beginning at 11 a.m. The menu includes homemade soup, rolls, pie and beverages. Anyone who brings a donation of food for the food bank will receive a free beverage.

The bazaar will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Fairfield Community Center at 304 E. Main. To reach Fairfield, head south on Highway 27 from Spokane Valley.

Today’s highlights

Collette Bise, who raises Angus beef on a farm near Newman Lake, nuzzles Fluffy, one of the farm cats, Nov. 16. Her dog, Tibby, was shot and killed nearby on Oct. 25. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Good Thursday morning everyone. It's time for some highlights from Today's Valley Voice. First up is a sad story by correspondent Cindy Hval about a family dog shot by a poacher new Newman Lake. The dog was killed at the same time as a fawn on private property that was liberally posted with “No Hunting” signs. The dog's owner heard her dying yelps. Both the property owner and the Humane Society are offering rewards for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a report on higher than expected enrollment in the Central Valley and West Valley school districts. The Spokane Valley Fire Department is working to put togetther a history wall in its new Administration Building.

Correspondend Stefanie Pettit has a column about Bing Crosby's history in Spokane before he left law school to persue a Hollywood career. It's an interesting look at his early life.

Sullivan Bridge traffic alert

The southbound curb lane over the Sullivan Bridge will be closed for bridge repair work on Wednesday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. People driving through that area should plan for slower traffic or take another route across the Spokane River.

More money for Sullivan Bridge

The west Sullivan Bridge that carries southbound traffic is in need of replacement. SR file photo.

I would imagine there are some happy people in the halls of Spokane Valley City Hall today. It was announced last week that the city has received a $3.5 million Washington State Transportation Improvement Board grant for the replacement of the failing Sullivan Bridge. The city has already received $10 million in other grants for the project, which is expected to cost $19.7 million. Reporter Mike Prager has more details here.

Saturday’s highlights

West Valley senior Corbin Smith, left, tapes the wrist of sophomore cheerleader Kensley Seacrest under the watchful eye of sports medicine instructor Keith Eggleston at West Valley High School on Tuesday. SR photo Jesse Tinsley

Good Monday morning, everyone. I hope everyone had a nice, restful holiday. I wonder how many people are having turkey sandwiches for lunch today? Anyway, on to some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the sports medicine program at the new Spokane Valley Tech. It joins other new programs for high school students that include aerospace and advanced manufacturing.

Spokane Valley city councilman Ben Wick is nearly fninished with his first year on the city council. He talks about his role on the council and how that fits in with his work and personal life. We also have some details on who has applied for open positions on the city's planning commission and Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw has a story on the coming basketball season at Central Valley High School and Freeman High School.

Blog takes a holiday

Just a note to let everyone know that the blog will be silent the rest of the week because of the Thanksgiving holiday. I hope everyone has a great day with friends and family. I'm looking forward to a nice traditional turkey meal. That means I won't be posting any Valley Voice highlights on Thursday, but you can always check here for Valley Voice stories before you go Black Friday shopping.  

Split decision on council meetings

Different cities are taking different directions on whether or not to have a council meeting the week of Thanksgiving. The city of Spokane Valley has cancelled its normal Tuesday meeting because of the holiday, but the city of Liberty Lake is going ahead with its council meeting. The meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall, will include a public hearing on the proposed 2013 budget. City Hall is located at 22710 E. Country Vista Drive.

Fire destroys carport, spreads to duplex

This morning crews from the Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to a reported garage fire at 8823 E. Broadway in Spokane Valley. The fire started in a carport and flames spread to the adjecent duplex. The half of the duplex next to the carport was vacant, but the fire spread via the common attic to the neighboring unit as well, according to a fire department spokesman Capt. Pat Schaffer. “The fire had a significant head start before it was reported,” Schaffer said.

Damage from the fire is estimated at $25,000. No one was injured during the fire and the Red Cross is assisting the tenants. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Saturday’s highlights

CV freshmen Jaimee Clark, standing at left, and Alexandra Burke, standing center, consult as they evaluate the entrepreneurial project of third-graders at Sunrise. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Welcome to a wet, windy Monday. But look on the bright side; we've got Thanksgiving to look forward to. As always we have some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on a program that teams Sunrise Elementary students with Central Valley High School DECA students to learn about running a business. The students are selling products that they made.

Sullivan Park will double in size after the construction of the new Sullivan Bridge is complete. The park will be expanded as mitigation for the portion of the park that will be used as a staging area during construction. Other improvements in that area are also planned.

The HUB Sports Center has a new after school program for Greenacres Middle School that is proving to be popular. The students get help with their homework, have a snack, listen to guest speakes and play games.

The city of Liberty Lake is taking a second look at its animal control contract with SCRAPS. Mayor Steve Peterson iswants to see if SpokAnimal can provide the city cheaper service or if the SCRAPS contract can be changed to cost the city less out of pocket.

Lisa also has a report on a Central Valley school board meeting where a decision was reached to sell land in Liberty Lake to the city of Liberty Lake for $10 so it can be used for playing fields. The district has the option to purchase the land back for the same price in the future if it needs the property.  

Today’s highlights

Joe Wardell holds his son, Clive, who holds the book Wardell wrote for him to explain to his son what he did in Afghanistan during his deployment. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Happy Thursday, everyone. For me it's Friday, since I won't be around the blog tomorrow. But until then I've got some Valley Voice highlights for you. Correspondent Cindy Hval has a great story on Army Sgt. Joe Wardell, who wrote a children's book called “Doodey the Combat Camel” for his son while he was stationed in Afghanistan. Wardell took pictures of the camel in various places while he was in the war zone and used them for the book.

The Spokane Valley City Council discussed lodging tax awards this week after the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee made its funding recommendations. The recommendations to not include Valleyfest or the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum, which have both traditionally been funded. The final vote on allocations is expected in December.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on Orchard Center Elementary School, which recently received a $1,000 donation from the new Spokane Valley Wal-Mart.

Reward offered for poacher who shot fawn, dog

The Humane Society and the Humane Society Wildlife Trust are offering a $2,500 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the poacher who shot a fawn and a dog on private land near Newman Lake. The baby deer and dog were found shot to death only a few feet apart in the area of McCoy and Hauser Lake Road on Oct. 25. The dog belonged to a neighbor of the property owner, who is also offering a $1,000 reward for information.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at (509) 710-5707. Callers can remain anonymous.

Special meeting in Liberty Lake Tuesday

The Liberty Lake City Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m. for a public hearing on the city's proposed 2013 budget. If you would like to read up on the issues in advance, the budget is available at www.libertylakewa.gov. If you can't make this meeting, a second public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled during the regular council meeting on Nov. 20. Tuesday's meeting will be at City Hall, 22710 E. Country Vista Drive.

Saturday’s highlights

Volunteer Shannon Braithwait, left, puts out clothing at the Council Closet, a clothes bank at Barker High, on Wednesday. Students and their families can choose clothes from the donated items when the closet is open. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

I abandoned the blog for a day off Friday, but now it's Monday and I'm back with some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has two interesting stories. The Central Valley School district houses the Council Closet in Barker High School. The closet provides used clothing, shoes and other items to students in need.

At Pasadena Park Elementary, students got the chance to vote on a new rock climbing wall for the playground earlier this year. The wall is now installed and students have been eagerly climbing all over it. The new equipment was purchased by the school's Parent Teacher Organization.

Correspondent Deborah Chan has a touching column on her struggle with breast cancer. Correspondent Steve Christilaw wrote about the Central Valley High School cross country team, which recently won the state championship.

Today’s highlights

Improvements made to Woodlawn Cemetery in Spokane Valley include a new entry gate and central bench/columbarium. SR photo/Kathy Plonka

We've got several good stories for you in today's Valley Voice. Correspondent Cindy Hval talked to 12-year-old Justin Peterson, who has been working to raise money for Honor Flight. The organization takes World War II veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the WW II memorial. Peterson recently won a national competition that will result in a $15,000 donation to Honor Flight.

The Spokane Valley City Council held a special meeting last week with local state legislators to pitch the importance of replacing the west Sullivan Bridge. The city is trying to come up with the last $10 million it needs to fund the project, which is estimated to cost $19.5 million, and wants the state to help fund the projects.

Correspondent Stefanie Pettit has a story on Woodlawn Cemetery in the Edgecliff Neighborhood. The cemetery was overgrown until residents of the neighborhood banded together to clean it up. It was called Englewood Cemetery when it was established in 1888. The cemetery is now owned and maintained by the Fairmount Memorial Association and is again open for burials.

Spokane County Fire District 8 is looking at a budget deficit for 2013 after a maintenance and operations levy failed at the polls last November. The fire commissioners are looking at ways to fill in the gap while also making numerous cuts.

The results of the West Valley School district mock election are in and mirror the actual election results, reports Lisa Leinberger. The experience gave students a taste of what a real election is like.

New Liberty Lake commissioner needed

Frank Boyle submitted this picture of himself when running for re-election in 2003.

Residents of Liberty Lake know the name Frank Boyle. Boyle, who retired as a manager from the U.S. Postal Service after 38 years, served as a Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District commissioner for more than 20 years. He could often be spotted riding around town on his motorcycle. Boyle died last month at the age of 72 and the district is now accepting applications from people interested in finishing Boyle's term.

Applications will be accepted at the district offices at 22510 E. Mission Ave. until 4 p.m. Friday. The commissioners will have a special meeting at 4 p.m. Friday to review the applications. Candidate interviews will be conducted during a meeting at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14. Whoever is appointed to fill the vacant seat will have to run for re-election in November 2013. Visit the district's web site here for more information.

No council meeting tonight

Spokane County elections worker Ralph Gruss grabs another tray of ballots to be put through counting machines at the elections office on Monday. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

This is just a reminder that the Spokane Valley City Council meeting set for tonight has been cancelled so everyone can watch the election returns. The council will be back with a full agenda next week, so take this opportunity to rest up. And if you haven't mailed/dropped off your ballot yet, don't forget to do that by the end of the day.

The target is down

I couldn't resist posting a picture of my target after I spent Saturday afternoon at the Spokane Police Academy gun range. We were there (and at Spokane County Raceway in the morning) as part of the Citizen's Academy class offered through the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. Most meetings we're learning about different departments in the Sheriff's Office, which is interesting, but this really topped the cake. They let us shoot an AR-15, shotgun and pistol (after signing a liability waiver or two). This was the first time I ever shot a gun of any kind, so I thought I did pretty well. Note the hole between the eyes. The cluster on the top left is buckshot from the shotgun (my first shot, I think). It was also fun to ride around the racetrack with a couple of driving instructors doing PIT maneuvers. That's where the driver of the chase car uses the front of his car to bump the back quarter panel on the fleeing car to make it spin out. We were passengers for this one. Apparently there aren't enough liability waivers in the world to let us do that ourselves. Nina Culver photo.

Saturday’s highlights

Tyler Saunders, left, a senior from Mead High School, gets tips on how to safely mount a new cutting tool on a large milling machine from veteran machinist Cal Christen at Spokane Community College on Friday. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Welcome to another Monday morning. We've got several highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger recently spend another day at the East Farms STEAM Magnet School for an entry for her ongoing East Farms Diary. The school, which focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts and math, had a day of hands on activities where students could do everything from making a clay pot to throwing a football.

Lisa also met up with students taking classes through the new Spokane Valley Tech skills center that is still under construction. The center is bringing together the Central Valley, West Valley, East Valley and Freeman school districts. The program is also open to students from other districts.

Liberty Lake Mayor Steve Peterson recently signed up to be tested on a driving simulator that the city's insurance company brought to town. It tested the reactions of city employees to bad weather, failed brakes, blown tires and other scenarios.

Forensics and DUI patrol

Spokane County Sheriff's Office Air 1 helicopter. SR file photo.

Last night was another interesting night at the Citizen's Academy class offered by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office that offers a peek into the department. We heard from people working forensics, DUI patrol and Air 1. The head of the forensics unit, Carrie Johnson, talked about how she got started in the business 35 years ago. “I was the first girl,” she said. “I started as a secretary and worked my way up.” The unit may have been all men when she started but in recent years it has been all women. The unit does include one man right now.

Johnson said that a relatively simple crime scene can take several hours to proceess. A more complicated one can take anywhere from 12 hours to three days. “We were at Robert Yates' house for two weeks,” she said, referring to Spokane's serial killer.

Deputy Todd Miller talked about his work in the Spokane Valley traffic unit as the only DUI patrol officer. The unit includes two deputies on day shift and two deputies on night shift. He's a BAC instructor and a drug recognition expert. “Basically I drive around all the city of Spokane Valley and look for drunk drivers,” he said. His peak time for finding drunk drivers is between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

Sgt. Dave Ellis spoke about Air 1, the Sheriff's Office helicopter that was donated to the department by the U.S. Army. The helicopter is able to fly about 300 hours per year for only $92,000 because all the pilots are volunteers and parts are purchased from the military at a discount, Ellis said. The crew includes a pilot and tactical flight officer at a minimum. The 10 volunteer pilots include three certified flight instructors, four military pilots, one MedStar pilot, one retired LAPD pilot and a Holleywood stunt pilot.

New police cars on the street

The Liberty Lake Police Department recently took delivery of three new police cars to replace some of its aging fleet. But people adept at spotting the unique profile of a Crown Victoria police car from blocks away will have to retrain their eye. The new cars are not Crown Vics, which aren't being made anymore, but are Ford Police Interceptors. The one I took a picture of this week doesn't have a light bar on top. The cars boast all wheel drive, which the old ones didn't have, and get better gas mileage. Police Chief Brian Asmus said his officers should have a much easier time getting around town in the snow this winter. Photo by Nina Culver

Today’s highlights

Katie McLaughlin hands a treat to a Husky-mix at SCRAPS. She is a student in East Valley's STAR program, which partners with several businesses in the area that invite students to work during the afternoons to gain some experience. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

It's time to put the leftover Halloween candy down and take a look at some highlights from today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger spoke to East Valley students participating in the school district's Success Toward Responsibility program, which helps disabled students transition to adulthood. Two of the students have been getting volunteer experience at the SCRAPS shelter.

Lisa also has details on the second annual Central Valley School District report card. Superintendent Ben Small is leading several Community Connection events at local school to talk about the report card with the public. A list of the presentation locations and times is included with the story.

The Spokane Valley City Council approved the 2013 budget without fanfare during Tuesday's council meeting. They also heard details of several events planned to celebrate the city's 10th anniversary in 2013.

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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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Nina Culver Nina Culver covers city of Spokane Valley, Spokane Valley Fire Department, Newman Lake Fire and Rescue, Spokane County Fire District 8, Liberty Lake Police Department and the small towns of Fairfield and Rockford.

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