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Spokane Valley

Archive for October 2012

Halloween events in Spokane Valley, Rockford, Liberty Lake

If you are looking for something indoors to do with the kids tonight for Halloween, there are several options available. In Spokane Valley the University SCOPE station is hosting an open house tonight from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. There will be candy for the kids, plus information on SCOPE programs. University SCOPE is at 10621 E. 15th Ave.

The Liberty Lake Library will host a Halloween party tonight from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Kids are encouraged to come in costume. There will be crafts, games and prizes. The Friends of the Liberty Lake Library will be offering pictures in decorative frames for $2. The Library is located at 23123 E. Mission.

In Rockford the annual kids halloween party will be from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the McIntosh Grange at First and Lake. There will be games, treats, prizes, a cake walk and other events. Costumes are encouraged. Rockford is located south of Spokane Valley on Highway 27.

This isn't a complete list of events going on tonight. There's a regional list of events available here on our web site.

Crime rates drop in Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake

Reporter Tom Clouse has a story in today's paper about the dropping violent crime rate in Spokane, Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake. The story is looking at 2011 numbers. Burglaries, however, were up across the board. So which is the safest city to live in? Liberty Lake. Read the story here for more details.

Saturday’s highlights

Kristie Gaffney and her younger children, twins Keaton, left, and Kyra, right, 12, stand in their living room Wednesday. Gaffney has turned her home into a not-too-scary haunted house with decorated walls, animated figures, statues and pictures. They live in Greenacres. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

We've got another damp Monday morning here in the Northwest, so grab a cup of coffee and settle in for some Saturday Valley Voice highlights. Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to Spokane Valley resident Kristie Gaffney, who has gone all out in decorating her home for Halloween. Most of it is modeled after the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

A lot of people probably don't know that there is a tiny Spokane County Sheriff's Office crime prevention office in the Spokane Valley Mall. I must say that my interview with the two deputies who work out of the office was the first time I've ever had someone get up and run out of the room in the middle of an interview. They were called on to stop a shoplifter from leaving the mall. Their job is mostly working with the community by offering classes and presentations on a wide variety of crime prevention topics.

Lisa also has a story on the University High School production of “Les Miserables.” The elaborate musical with a huge cast will take the stage starting Nov. 1. And about that stage - it now revolves. Construction was completed over the summer.

Last week the Spokane Valley City Council spent a lot of time discussing what comprehensive plan amendments the city should consider this year. Amendments can only be considered once a year and the application deadline is Nov. 1.

Valley Mission haunted pool

Today and Saturday are your last chances to stop by the Valley Mission Haunted Pool. The city of Spokane Valley has turned the pool decks and locker rooms into a haunted house. This year's features are the Tarp Tunnel of Terror, the Zombie Graveyeard and Clown Chaos. It's designed for those age 12 and up, but kids under 12 can attend if they are accompanied by an adult.

Admission is $3 per person or $2 plus a non-perishable food item for the food bank. The haunted house is open from 7:30 to 10 p.m. today and Saturday. Valley Mission Pool is located at 11123 E. Mission. Have fun! 

K9 flushes out deputy

I am taking a six week Citizen's Academy class offered by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. Anyone can sign up and we spend every Thursday evening learning a little bit about everything from gangs to sex crimes to property crimes. Last night we got a visit from K9 Brax and his handler, Deputy Steve Stipe. We were told to stand off to the side, keep quiet and be still while Brax searched a poorly lit portion of the former University City Mall for Deputy Travis Pendell. Pendell, who runs the Citizen's Academy most nights, volunteered to wear a bite sleeve and hide in the darkened room. Brax took off at a dead run and found Pendell quickly, his nails scrabbling on the concrete floor as he went in for the bite. It was interesting to watch the dog work.

Brax is Stipe's second dog and he's a patrol dog. Patrol dog handlers have to complete 700 hours of training before they can be certified and the dogs and handlers are required to do 16 hours of maintenance training every month. Stipe said he gives Brax a little bit of training every day. “I try to stump him,” Stipe said. “I try to keep him on his toes.”

Stipe said it was amazing how “85 pounds of fangs and fur” can turn the most argumentative and defiant suspect into a compliant one.

Still to come: sessions on Air 1, forensics and SWAT. This class is offered at least once a year. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about how the Sheriff's Office works and what it does.

H&M store opens in Valley Mall today

Local shoppers have been eagerly awaiting the grand opening of the new H&M store in the Spokane Valley Mall. The fashion retailer is known for its low prices. SR reporter Pia Hallenberg volunteered (without requiring much convincing) to go to today's grand opening and check it out. Apparently there was a line in advance of the store's noon opening and now there's a line to the cashier. It's on the south side of the mall next to the theater. Photo by Pia Hallenberg.

Today’s highlights

West Valley City School students, including Jaymee Finke, left, and Lacey Marrow, right, prepare for the school’s haunted house this Friday and Saturday. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Happy Thursday, everyone. Is anyone getting some snow? Before we start thinking about winter, though, we have to tackle Halloween. The students at West Valley's City School are putting on their annual haunted house this weekend. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has details on “Outbreak: Rise of the Zombie Hunters.”

The women of Millwood Presbyterian Church are preparing for their 25th annual bazaar this weekend. They have made almost everything that will be for sale. The bazaar is somewhat unique in that it doesn't allow outside vendors. The proceeds from the sale benefit local charities.

The Spokane Valley City Council is discussing whether to change the setback and building height requirements for multi-family housing that sits next to single family homes. The Central Valley School District is discussing whether to sell 23 acres of land in Liberty Lake that it isn't using to the city of Liberty Lake for $10. No, that isn't a typo. The city could use the space for playfields and if the district wants the land back in the future it can buy it back for the same price. A public hearing and vote are scheduled for the district's next board meeting on Nov. 13.

SCRAPS is having a cat sale

Five tabby cats, who were surrendered by an owner that could not care for them, arrive at SCRAPS in Spokane Valley in June. SR file photo.

The Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service is reporting that their cat room population has exploded from eight to 51 in only a few days. In response, SCRAPS will be having a nearly free cat sale Thursday and Friday. People will only have to pay for a $15 license. The spay/neuter, vaccinations, vet check and microchip are all free.

A SCRAPS press release promises that a wide variety of ages, breeds and sizes are available. If you have been thinking of adopting a cat, this is a great opportunity. Just stop by the shelter at 2521 N. Flora Road and see which adorable kitty works its magic on you. SCRAPS is open from noon to 5:30 p.m.

County Commissioner candidates debate tonight

The Central Valley High School Government Club is hosting a debate tonight with the candidates for the Spokane County Commissioner seats. The debate, which is open to the public, will begin at 5:45 p.m. at the School, 821 S. Sullivan Road. Doors open at 5 p.m.

District 1 candidates (Todd Mielke and John Roskelley) and District 2 candidates (Shelly O'Quinn and Daryl Romeyn) will be in attendance. The candidates for House District 4 (Amy Biviano and Matt Shea) have also been invited, but Shea has not responded to the invitation. Click here for more details.

Familiar names seeking commissioner seat

I picked up copies of the applications received by the Spokane Valley Fire Department for the vacant fire commissioner seat the other day and there are plenty of familiar names in the bunch. Seven people have applied for the position, which was created when former commissioner Monte Nesbitt resigned. The four remaining commissioners will hold a special meeting at 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 30 to interview the seven candidates.

The seven applicants are: former Spokane Valley Mayor Mike DeVleming, former Central Valley School District superintendent Mike Pearson, business owner and Spokane Airport firefighter Chris Wetherell, former firefighter and civil service examiner Cynthia Walters, Spokane Valley Planning Commissioner John Carroll, former Spokane Valley Mayor Diana Wilhite and retired Spokane Valley firefighter Mark Normington.

Streets being swept in Spokane Valley

The city of Spokane Valley has begun its fall street sweeping. Sweepers will be at work during daylight hours (weather permitting) in priority zones 1 and 2, which are all located south of Sprague Ave. Arterials will also be cleaned. A map and more additional details are on the city's web site here. The primary reason for sweeping certain areas that have a large number of trees is to clean up debris that can clog storm drains. But that doesn't mean residents can rake their leaves or pine needles into the street. Homeowners are responsible for disposing of their yard debris.

Saturday’s highlights

Members of the Spokane Valley Fire Department honor guard placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, on Oct. 8. Photo courtesy Matt Jorgensen

I think a cup of coffee (or two) is even more important on days like these when there's a nip in the air. While you sip your brew, take a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the effort of the Central Valley High School marching band and color guard to participate in the Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C. in January. They are in the midst of an award winning year and hope that will give them an extra edge on their application.

Lisa also has details on two upcoming events that will benefit the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service. There is a Howl-O-Ween pet costume party and a Kibble4Kritters event to collect pet food.

Four members of the Spokane Valley Fire Department honor guard recently participated in a wreath placing ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery. One honor guard member describes it as a special experience that gave him chills.  

Jewelry stolen in burglary

Jewelry valued at more than $10,000 was reported missing from a home in the 10800 block of East 35th in Spokane Valley Wednesday. According to a police press release, the homeowner came home around 5 p.m. and noticed an open sliding glass door. A jewelry box was found open and several rings, necklaces, diamond studs and other items were missing.

A neighbor reported that he didn't see anything suspicious but said he wasn't home between 12:30 and 3 p.m., police said. Anyone who might have seen anything in the neighborhood is asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233.

Today’s highlights

Kate Steen, nanny for twins Reed Swain, left and Harrison Swain, age 3, reads to them at the Liberty Lake Library Tuesday. When the city of Liberty Lake incorporated, it started it’s own library rather than contract with the Spokane County Library District. Now the two agencies are forming a partnership. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Thursday is not only one day removed from Friday, it's also a Valley Voice day. As always, we have some highlights for your perusal. There is a new agreement between the Liberty Lake Library and the Spokane County Library District that allows Liberty Lake patrons to get a free non-resident library card at the county libraries. The Liberty Lake Library has given free non-resident cards to county residents for years.

Repoter Lisa Leinberger has a story about a new electronic reader board at Ness Elementary School in West Valley. The money for the sign was raised by the school's Parent Teacher Organziation over the last three years. Previously the PTO purchased playground equipment for the school.

Correspondent Jill Barville spoke the owners of Valley Produce and Supply at 32nd and Best Road. The business sells produce grown by Spokane Valley farmer Chuck Utecht and other local suppliers. Since it is almost Halloween, there are plenty of pumpkins to be had.

Chase leads to arrest

Spokane Valley Police arrested a man late Monday night after he led officers on a car chase and nearly ran over the foot of one officer, according to police spokesman Craig Chamberlin. An officer spotted a car swerving out of its lane at Main and Herald at 11:30 p.m. The driver pulled over, but gave police false information before he sped off and narrowly avoided driving over the officer's foot, Chamberlin said.

He drove east on Valleyway and crashed at VanMarter and Nixon. The driver ran away and was tracked by a Spokane Police K-9. The dog tracked the driver to the 10800 block of East Valleyway. Officers found a shaved key in his possession, said Chamberlin, which is often used to steal cars.

Police arrested 28-year-old Brian McGaugh and charged him with felony eluding, making false statements, reckless endangerment, possessing vehicle theft tools, resisting arrest and second-degree driving with a suspended license. His female passenger was not arrested.

Blimp flight in Spokane Valley

No, the aliens have not landed. No, it's not a government surveillance drone. When I heard a blimp was going to be in the air Wednesday in Spokane Valley, I was naturally expecting something large like the Goodyear blimp. But it's not. Crews wil be operating a 15-foot long blue and white blimp next to the Sullivan Bridge sometime Wednesday afternoon for two hours to get a good look at the bridge.

The blimp will be tethered to an operator on the ground, who will move the blimp around and use the camera equipment installed on it to take pictures of the bridge. The project is being organized by CH2M Hill, which has a contract with the City of Spokane Valley to build a replacement for the west bridge that currently carries southbound traffic.

Just remember, pull over and park if you want to watch the blimp's flight. Don't try to do it while you're driving. There are parking lots nearby. 

No council meeting tonight

Tonight you can grab a drink (with or without an umbrella) and kick your feet up: there is no Spokane Valley City Council meeting. The agenda was looking pretty bare so it was cancelled. So everyone stay home and save your energy for next Tuesday.

Saturday’s highlights

Central Valley High senior Alex Moore poses for a photo on Tuesday in Spokane Valley. Moore will receive the YWCA Young Woman of Achievement Award later this month. She excels in math and science and competes for her school’s cross country team. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Sorry this edition of Saturday's Valley Voice highlights is late. My computer didn't want to speak to the network for most of the morning. But now I'm up and running again, so here we go. A new Wal-Mart store is opening on the west end of Spokane Valley on Wednesday. While the ribbon cutting ceremony at 7:30 a.m. may be a bit early for some, the grand opening promotions and samples will continue all weekend.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has the third entry in her East Farms Diary. She has been spending time at the East Farms STEAM Magnet School that focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts and math. This week's story checks in with volunteers at the school and what they contribute.

Lisa also has a story on Central Valley High School senior Alex Moore, who will recieve the Young Woman of Achievement Award from the YWCA next week. Her list of achievements in school and in the community is quite lengthy.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam reports that the City of Millwood is facing a deficit in 2013. More meetings and public hearings are planned to discuss the issue. Their neighbor, the City of Spokane Valley, voted last week to not take the allowed 1 percent property tax increase.

Library District special meeting

The Spokane County Library District board of trustees will hold a special meeting Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in room 108 at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place. The trustees will be discussing strategic planning. The meeting is open to the public, but no public comment will be taken. Be sure to attend if you want to learn more about the district's plan for the next few years.  

Ruling stands: Coyote Rock docks are illegal

A dock sits below Coyote Rock development in May 2012 just after the Washington State Court of Appeals ruled that docks installed at the development were illegal. SR file photo

The Washington State Supremen Court has declined to review a Court of Appeals decision that ruled the two docks installed by a developer in the Coyote Rock development on the Spokane River are illegal. The appeals court said that shoreline exemptions can only be used by homeowners, not a developer building a spec home. This ends, for now at least, the long debate over the legaility of the docks. I'll keep an eye on what happens next. Look for a story on the issue in Friday's paper. 

Today’s highlights

Sidewalk construction near Pasadena Park Elementary School is seen East Upriver Drive Oct. 5. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

It looks like this might be the last sunny Thursday we have in a while, so let's dive in to some highlights from today's Valley Voice. The Spokane Valley City Council voted Tuesday to buy just over eight acres of land at Sprague and Herald from businessman Jack Pring. The city is partnering with the Spokane County Library District, which plans to build a new library on a portion of the site if a planned construction bond passes. The city plans to use its portion to expand Balfour Park.

New sidewalks are going in near Pasadena Park Elementary and reporter Lisa Leinberger has the story. The project is being paid for with a Safe Routes to School grant. Reporter Pia Hallenberg spoke to some teens who plan to sleep outside in cardboard boxes as part of a homelessness awareness project. Teens are being asked to collect pledges to benefit Family Promise of Spokane, Shalom Ministries and Mission Community Outreach Center.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department board of commissioners is under new leadership after the resignation of commission chairman Monte Nesbitt. Former vice-chairman Kolby Hanson has taken over the leadership role.

Serious accident Tuesday night

The photo above (provided by the Spokane Valley Fire Department) is of one of two cars involved in a serious injurty accident Tuesday afternoon on Trent near Progress Road. Trent was closed for some time. The Washington State Patrol reports that a car driven by William A. Buckholdt, 64, of Spokane Valley was facing east in the center turn lane on Trent before he turned in front of a westbound car driven by 17-year-old Joseph A. Johnson, also of Spokane Valley. Click here for more details.   

Land purchase vote tonight

Tonight the Spokane Valley City Council is scheduled to vote on whether to purchase eight acres of land from Spokane Valley businessman Jack Pring. The Spokane County Library District wants to build a new library at the site but couldn't afford to purchase the entire property. District representatives approached the city about purchasing the land together. The proposed purchase price is $2.5 million.

I'm afraid the item is fairly deep in the agenda, though. You'll have to sit through votes and discussions on property taxes, a budget amendment, the 2013 budget and the city's nuisance codes before the council gets to it. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

Metal thieves on the prowl

Metal thieves have been busy in the Spokane Valley area lately. Spokesman-Review reporter Nicole Hensley has detals on two recent thefts. On Monday a heavy truck salvage yard reported the theft of 27 semi wheels. Apparently each of the wheels weighs 60 pounds. It makes one wonder if they needed a semi to haul it all away. Click here for more details.

Thieves also stole metal roofing destined for the construction of the new Dick's Sporting Goods store at the Spokane Valley Mall. The metal was also stolen Monday. (For all Dick's Sporting Goods fans, the store is scheduled to open Nov. 9.) Click here for more details.

Valley Fire captain fired

Capt. Jon Sprague, shown June 27, was disciplined for sending emails with religious content to firefighters using Spokane Valley Fire’s email system. SR file photo.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department fired Capt. Jon Sprague Monday for sending emails with religious content to a group of fellow firefighters using the department's email system. He has been ordered repeatedly to stop sending the emails and has been disciplined several times this year. You can read today's story here and previous stories here and here.

Saturday’s highlights

Farmer Robin Jons hands customer Dawson Smith, 5, a pumpkin he just bought Wednesday, at AC Starr Farms. The Otis Orchards farm will present its annual Pumpkins for Pets Fall Festival, a fundraiser for Partners for Pets in Spokane Valley and River City Pet Rescue in Post Falls. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Ah, Monday. How we've missed you. Of course, Monday means it's time to take a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. There is some new landscaping going in near Discovery Playground and Centerplace. The spot will also include two small picnic shelters that can be reserved for birthday parties or just family picnic.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger wrote a story about the Pumpkins for Pets festival at AC Starr Farms. The annual event, which benefits two local pet rescue organizations, includes hayrides, a corn maze, face painting and more. Pets are invited to attend as well.

Lisa also has a story on mock elections at West Valley. All the high school students are learning about the candidates for local, state and federal candidates before they hold a mock election at the end of the month. They've been asking pointed questions of candidates who have come to speak to them.

The Liberty Lake Police Department is joining a new domestic violence program being spearheaded by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. The new Lethality Assessment Program is designed to get domestic violence victims the help they need immediately instead of officers just handing out a brochure with phone numbers. The new program will be used in Spokane Valley as well.

Fire Station 8, admin building open house

The new Spokane Valley Fire administration building at 2120 N. Wilbur Road holds the administrative offices of the department. SR file photo.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department will host an open house at Station 8 on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. People can talk to the on-duty crew, take a tour and visit with Mako the arson dog. There will be refreshments. Those attending will also be asked to suggest a new name for Station 8. The department is in the midst of renaming all its stations and removing the number designations.

The station is located at 2110 N. Wilbur, just west of Pines Road. The department's new administration building, located next door to Station 8, will also be open for tours. The administration building has a piece of a steel beam that came from the World Trade Center on display in the front entry.

Special meeting in Fairfield tonight

The Fairfield City Council will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. today to discuss the concrete failure in some areas of the Main Street Rehabilitation Project. The meeting will be held at City Hall, 218 E. Main.

Today’s highlights

Ashlee Zack, 13, thumbs through a book about Facebook at North Pines Middle School library. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Good morning and happy Thursday. As usual we have some interesting highlights from today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by North Pines Middle School, which recently got a $5,000 grant to buy new library books. The librarian was happily able to replace “DOS for Dummies” with a book on the history of Facebook.

The Spokane Valley City Council got its first look at a preliminary list of proposed street preservation projects for 2013. The list is fairly extensive and calls for 17 different sections of road to get a grind and overlay or just an overlay of new pavement.

Spokane Valley Fire Department Commissioner Monte Nesbitt has announced his immediate resignation due to health reasons. He fell ill last week and was diagnosed with stress-induced cardiomyopathy after several days of tests.

For those of you looking for an update on Miss Chicken, correspondent Stefanie Pettit has a column today about her most recent visit with her feathered friend.

Section of Mission Ave. to close Thursday

The city of Spokane Valley has announced that it will close the eastbound lane of Mission Ave. between Union Road and Bowdish road for paving on Thursday beginning at 7 a.m. Eastbound traffic will be detoured to Broadway Ave. via Bowdish. The paving project is expected to be complete by 7 p.m.

Pines Road down to one lane south of 16th

Pines Road will be down to a single lane of traffic between 16th and 24th during a sidewalk infill project that is expected to start today or Tuesday. Flaggers will be there to direct traffic through the work zone, but it would probably be faster to find another route. Pedestrians will be allowed on the west side of the street only. The project is expected to last six weeks.

Saturday’s highlights

Fourth-grader Tyler Burghard, 10, right, tapes plastic into the lid of a pizza box to build a solar oven Wednesday at East Farms Elementary in Otis Orchards. The STEAM Magnet program gives students a chance to participate in a variety of projects and subjects, and the school is becoming a magnet school with the STEAM program as a theme. In the background is fellow student Hayden Ohl. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

It's another sunny and smokey Monday morning, which means it's time to look over some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has another entry in the East Farms Diary. She is spending some time this year visiting the East Farms STEAM Magnet School in the East Valley School District. Last week when she was there students were participating in a variety of projects, including taking apart a gas engine, building a solar oven or making root beer with dry ice.

There is some sad news from the Edgecliff neighborhood. The Edgecliff Senior Center has closed, eliminating the nighborhood's last gathering place. The volunteer run organization ran out of funding. Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton ruled last week that the voter registration of Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioner Monte Nesbitt will be cancelled because he doesn't live at the Spokane Valley address he used to register to vote. Fire commissioners are required to live in the district they represent and Nesbitt now lives in Cheney.

The Spokane Valley City Council voted last week on the allocation of money to economic development and social service agencies. The organizations selected are either located in Spokane Valley and/or serve Spokane Valley residents.

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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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