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Spokane Valley blog

Archive for September 2012

Fancher closed Saturday night

Fancher Road will be completely closed this weekend from 7 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday between Sprague Ave. and Broadway Ave. for paving. Drivers can use Havana as an alternate route.

Prescription drug take back event

The Spokane Valley Police Precinct at 12710 E. Sprague will host a prescription drug take back event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. I think just about everybody has bottles of old, expired medication in the back of the cabinet that you're not sure what to do with. They will accept all prescription drugs, over the counter medications, vitamins, ointments, inhalers and liquids. They will not accept syringes or any hazardous medical waste.

There will also be a shred truck on site, so feel free to bring up to three boxes of documents to be shredded for free. And if you find yourself up north, there will be a second site at the North Spokane Library, 44 E. Hawthorne Road.

The event is part of the fifth annual National DEA Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative. The last such event in April collected over 400 pounds of medications, according to a police department press release.

Shoreline public hearing tonight

The Spokane Valley Planning Commission is having a public hearing tonight on the proposed shoreline environmental designations. The city is currently making its way through a state mandated update of its Shoreline Master Program and the environmental designations are a piece of that plan. This is your chance to come and comment on the proposed designations. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

Today’s highlights

Spokane Valley Councilman Ben Wick, his wife Danica and daughter Sabriel, 3 months, arrive at the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum for the celebration of the centennial of its building, the former Opportunity Township Hall, last Thursday. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

There are a lot of good stories to be had in today's Valley Voice, so let's get started. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by the 100th anniversary celebration of Opportunity Township Hall last week. The Hall now houses the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. The museum is also getting ready to host its annual history tour on Oct. 6.

The construction of the Spokane Valley Fire Department's Station 6 has hit another snag. Representatives of the department say there have been numerous design problems that have led to delays and construction is reaching a critical point. If the alsphalt isn't put in before it gets too cold the department can't move in.

The Spokane Valley City Council voted Tuesday to not raise 2013 property taxes by the allowed 1 percent, saying this just isn't the time to raise taxes even though the vote means residential property owners will only save 76 cents per year.

The Central Valley School District is taking a look at whether it should continue it's pay-to-play policy, Lisa reports. The school board is taking a look at how much playing sports costs and whether the fees have impacted how many students sign up.

A jail near you?

In case you missed it, here's Mike Prager's story today about the sites under consideration for a new Spokane County Jail. One of the proposed locations that apparently is near the top of the list is property the County owns north of Euclid Ave. and east of Tschirley Road. The land is inside the Spokane Valley City limits. Reportedly the County Commissioners are looking at proposed sites again so they can consider a new potential site near the Spokane Airport, but the Spokane Valley spot is still in the mix. There's a public hearing on the issue today at 5:30 p.m. in the lower level of the Public Works Building at 1026 W. Broadway. Read Mike's story for more details.

Budget, property tax on agenda

There are a few interesting topics on the agenda for tonight's Spokane Valley City Council meeting, including a public hearing on the proposed 2013 budget and the first reading of the ordinance to set the 2013 property tax. If you have comments to make about how the city plans to spend its money, now is your chance. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

The council is also scheduled to vote on how much money to award to the economic development and social service agencies that requested funding. There is also a vote scheduled on an interlocal agreement with the Spokane County Library District that would cover the purchase of property on Sprague Avenue for a library and proposed park expansion.

Valleyfest pictures

Gabe Kerschner, with “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,” carries a 6-foot North American alligator on stage at Valleyfest. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Spokesman-Review reporter Chelsea Bannach and photographer Colin Mulvany stopped by Valleyfest on Saturday. Colin put together a nice slide show of pictures of the annual event to go with the story. Here's your chance for a second look if you missed it in Sunday's paper.

Saturday’s highlights

The Rev. Linda Bartholomew, the new priest at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, poses for a photo Wednesday at the church. SR photo/Tyler Tjomlsand

It's a smokey Monday morning out there, so let's stay inside with a cup of coffee and take a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by the Valley HUB Sports Center as its prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary. The center struggled for years, but is now operating in the black and hosts a wide variety of activities and events.

The Episcopal Church of the Resurrection has a new priest-in-charge, the Rev. Linda Bartholomew. She came to Spokane Valley after eight years in New York City and says she has already fallen in love with the area. Two elementary schools in the Central Valley district, Adams and Progress elementary schools, recently got a visit from Ronald McDonald himself to recognize their donations of pop tops for the Ronald McDonald House and Lisa was there to write about it.

This week's story on calls received by the Spokane Valley Fire Department includes a rather spectacular picture from the department of an abondoned farm house burning down in a 12 acre brush fire off Harvard Road.   

SE Spokane County Fair starts today

During the 2004 Southeast Spokane County Fair, cousins Shelby and Kailyn Gady, then 10 and 9 respectively, of Rockford snuggled with their blue ribbon winner Simmental cow, Butterfinger. SR file photo.

The 68th annual Southeast Spokane County Fair got up and running in Rockford today. The classic fair includes plenty of animals, live entertainment and fun events. The best part: admission is free. The carnival opens at 3 p.m. today, but most of the events are on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday starts with a pancake breakfast at the fire station from 7 to 10 a.m. The cost is $6 for adults, $3 for kids ages 6-12 and kids 5 and under are free. The exhibit building opens at 9 a.m., but the highlights of the day might be the parades down Emma Road (also known at Highway 278). The children's parade starts at 10:15 a.m. and the grand parade starts at 10:30 a.m. This, of course, means that Highway 278 will be shut down from 10 a.m. to noon. This might be a problem for people driving to or from Worley. A detour will be available via Elder Road.

The weekend also includes a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and bingo. There will be a horse show on Sunday in addition to the other fair activities. Also be sure to check out the Cow Chip Bingo starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday. There will be cash prizes based on where three volunteers cows plop their, uh, cow chips.

A complete schedule is available at www.sespokanecountyfair.org. To reach Rockford, head south on Highway 27 from Spokane Valley. 

Valleyfest is here

Festive air: Hot air balloons lift off from CenterPlace Event Center at dawn in 2011 as part of Balloons Over Valleyfest. A balloon named “Spuds,” operated by Stephanie Hughes, of Spokane, is being filled as another lifts off toward the east. SR file photo

Wait no more, Valleyfest is here. The annual festival has been steadily growing and this year is no different. Today's main event is the Hearts of Gold parade down Sprague Avenue at 7:30 p.m. This, of course, means Sprague Avenue will be shut down. The section between University and Bowdish will close at 5:45 p.m. so the floats and marching bands can line up. The section of Sprague between Pines and Bowdish will shut down at 7 p.m. The parade will start around Gillis Road and head east. Go early to get prime seats.

Saturday's events start with the 6:35 a.m. launch of hot air balloons from the CenterPlace west lawn (2426 N. Discovery Place). Next up is the pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at CenterPlace. The cost is $7 for adults, $6 for children ages 3-6 and free for kids 2 and under. The main festivities in Mirabeau Park start at 10 a.m. I'd be here all day if I listed every event happening, so I'll just hit the highlights. There will be vendors, food, a car show, live entertainment, Babyfest, fishing at the falls, a walk to benefit Down Syndrome and lots more.

Sunday's events include Responsible Dog Ownership Day, a walk and bike ride on the Centennial Trail and more live entertainment. The full schedule is available at www.valleyfest.org.

If you are wondering where to park, there will be an STA shuttle running from parking lots at the Spokane Valley Mall and the Pinecroft Business Park at Mirabeau Parkway and Pines Road for 75 cents. Look for the special Valleyfest shuttle signs. The buses will stop at CenterPlace and Mirabeau Park.

Today’s highlights

Payton Miller shows teacher Amy Hardie and her classmates the flowers she brought to the HOPE School on Sept. 13 on the Riverpoint Campus in Spokane. SR photo/Dan Pelle

It's Thursday again, which means we have some Valley Voice highlights to review. Rainey Coffin has a story about the HOPE School at the Riverpoint Campus. The school is for young children ages 3-6 who have hearing loss. The special school includes daily speech language therapy.

The Spokane Valley City Council didn't show much enthusiasm Tuesday for changing the city's nuisance code to deal with tall grass or weeds or large piles of vegetation. The council also had more discussions on the proposed 2013 budget.

Friends of the Falls is looking for volunteers for the annual Spokane River Clean-Up happening Sept. 29. Volunteers can choose to work near High Bridge Park, the University District or in Spokane Valley.

Correspondent Stefanie Pettit has a very touching column today on teen suicide. I recommend you have a box of tissues handy when you read this one.

Opportunity Hall celebrates centennial

Present day: The former Opportunity Township Hall, right, is now the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. SR file photo

There are a whole bunch of fun activities coming up this weekend, so let's review. We'll start with a look at the Opportunity Township Hall centennial celebration on Thursday. The hall, built in 1912, now houses the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. The event will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the museum, located at 12114 E. Sprague. The evening includes a ribbon cutting, time capsule covering and refreshments.

There is limited parking on site, so people are asked to park across the street on the north side of Sprague. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP by calling (509) 922-4570.

Quiet city council meeting tonight?

It looks as though there will be a relatively quiet Spokane Valley City Council meeting tonight. There's nothing earth shaking on the agenda and the time consuming outside agency requests are over. The items on tonight's agenda that will probably get the most discussion is an update on possible uses for Lodging Tax money and more details on the proposed 2013 budget. It's a study session, so there won't be any public comment. If you would like to head over and take a listen, the meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

Saturday’s highlights

Machines operated by Piersol Construction scrape dirt from the Flora Road landing along the Spokane River on Thursday. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

It's another sunny Monday morning, so enjoy the sun while we still have it. A look at the calendar shows that October is just around the corner. Meanwhile, we have some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has her first entry in the East Farms Diary. She will be spending time at the East Farms STEAM Magnet School in East Valley as it transitions from an elementary school and wrote about her first day in class. She gave blog readers a preview last week.

The Department of Ecology is working on several Spokane River beach cleanups to remove and/or cap sites contaminated by heavy metals flowing in from upstream. Right now they're working on Flora Road and a spot near Barker Road is next.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam reports that the city of Millwood made changes to its medical marijuana dispensary license rules. Correspondent Steve Christilaw spoke to 1962 Central Valley High School graduate Bob Keppel, who was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame for his achievements in track.

East Farms Diary: Seventh Grade

In tomorrow’s Valley Voice there will be a story about the seventh graders from East Farms as they spend a day in school.

For the next school year, I’ll be spending two days a month at East Farms STEM Magnet School, formerly East Farms Elementary School, in the East Valley School District.

We chose East Farms for a couple of reasons. The district is transitioning from a K-5 elementary school system to K-8 community schools. Middle-school students spend their mornings at their community schools and travel to East Valley Middle School, soon to be the Middle Level Learning Center, to have lunch and take their physical education and enrichment classes such as music and art. The second reason is East Farms’ move to become a STEAM magnet school this year. All students, with the exception of the kindergarten classes, will begin taking classes to enhance their appreciation for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

For my first outing to East Farms, I decided to spend the day with the 55 seventh graders. These students are the first to experience life as middle schoolers in a community school. Two years ago, they were fifth graders, expecting to attend Mountain View Middle School for their sixth grade year. The district decided that year to change the way it taught its middle school students, keeping them at their neighborhood elementary schools through the eighth grade and closing Mountain View permanently. East Valley Middle School will become the Middle Level Learning Center next year, where seventh and eighth graders participate in enrichment or exploratory classes. Next year, they will be the first eighth graders at East Farms.

While I discuss in the story some generalities of the day, I found myself very interested in the work the students were doing in the classrooms of East Farms, and with far more notes in my notebook to include in one story for the paper, I thought I would share some of that here on the blog.

Road construction explosion

The city of Spokane Valley has put out a flurry of press releases this week announcing a whole bunch of road construction projects coming up as they try to finish as much as they can before the weather gets too cold. The good news is, most of the projects are small and won't cause much of a disruption. So, here we go.

Crews are expected to be working on Argonne Road between Indiana and Trent next week. The work will take place at night and all lanes will be open during the day. There will be one lane of traffic in each direction between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. The project should last about a week.

Sands Road between Bowdish and Bates will be closed from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday for a community service project at the cemetery. On Monday there will be work on Carnahan Road between 16th and Kahuna that will leave only a single lane open.

Work is expected to start next week on Fancher Road between Sprague and Broadway. Traffic will be limited to one lane in each direction. The project is expected to last until early October. The stormwater swales on the south side of Sprague Avenue will be getting some improvements between Park Road and Thierman Road. Road work is included in the project, which should last until late October.

Work on University Road between Union and Main is continuing and should be completed by early October. The planned start to resurface Mission Ave. between Union and Pines Road has been postponed to late September or early October.

That's where things stand right now, but road construction is somewhat famous for its unpredictability.

Today’s highlights

Remembering the fallen, looking toward the future: The Spokane Valley Fire Department continued its tradition Tuesday of honoring the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by dedicating buildings under construction. Members of the Spokane Valley Fire Department honor guard, including, from left, Greg Bennett, fire inspector, Dave Vegele, engineer/paramedic, and Michael Fields, firefighter, participated in Tuesday morning’s flag raising at Station 6. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

There's a bunch of news packed into today's Valley Voice. Local 876 of the International Association of Fire Fighters has filed a challenge to the voter registration of Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioner Monte Nesbitt. Nesbitt, who has announced he will resign at the end of the year, said he now lives in Cheney but remains registered to vote in Spokane Valley.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has some student numbers for the Central Valley School District, which has a lot more students in the classrooms than it expected. They've had to get a little creative at some schools to handle it. The Spokane Valley City Council had another review of the proposed 2013 budget and expressed some hestitation about some changes, including how street preservation is funded and how much of an ending fund balance to have.

A thief in Liberty Lake who went as far as removing tires and wheels in preparation for making off with them apparently changed his or her mind and left them behind, along with a message written in dust on a car window. The thief was uncommonly organized and tidy.

Teen driving event this weekend

Teen drivers are invited to participate in a safe driving event Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the University City Parking lot at 10200 E. Sprague in Spokane Valley. Teens can complete an obstacle course while trying to avoid distractions or use impaired vision goggles. The local high school who has the most teens register for the free event will be awarded $500. There will also be food, music and appearances by former Gonzaga basketball players and Spokane Shock cheerleaders.

The event is one of 300 being held around the country sponsoed by State Farm Insurance. The Spokane Valley event is being held in partnership with the Spokane Valley Police Department. More information is available at www.facebook.com/celebratemydrive.

Spokane Valley budget on the table

One of the highlights of tonight's Spokane Valley City Council meeting is expected to by the city manager's discussion of his proposed 2013 budget. He'll get into details on several proposals, including how to fund street preservation projects and dropping the city's year end carryover balance from $24 million to $18 million. There is a lot more on the agenda as well, including another discussion on what uses to allow in the various zoning areas. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

Saturday’s highlights

After receiving a delivery of 30 children’s bicycles from the Bike Hub, Micah Reed, 10, and other Broadway Elementary School students test out the bikes during Central Valley School District’s Elementary Bicycle Safety Program at Broadway, Aug. 30. The school’s PE teacher, Katie Ferris, secured a grant for $6,100 from SpokeFest to purchase the bikes. SR photo/Dan Pelle

I'm pretty sure it's Monday again, though my internal calendar will be off all week since I worked yesterday. Now that we've shaken off the Monday morning cobwebs through generous amounts of coffee, it's time to take a look at Saturday's Valley Voice.

The city of Spokane Valley has a new public works director, Eric Guth. He'll probably be able to handle complaints about potholes and snow plowing easily, since his last job saw him dodging rocket attacks in Afghanistan.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked out a bicycle safety program offered by Central Valley School District. The district got a grant from SpokeFest to buy 30 bikes and helmets and will visit every fourth and fifth grade class this year.

The Spokane Valley City Council had a lenghty discussion on a proposed one percent property tax increase in 2013 that would cost each homeowner $1.20 per year. Several council members are against it, so it looks like at some point there will be a vote on whether to approve the increase.

The Spokane Valley Fire Deparment is looking over its proposed 2013 budget, which is projected to be lower than the 2012. That's in large part because there are no construction projects planned for next year. Employees will get small raises after agreeing to a wage freeze in 2012.

Today’s highlights

Perhaps the biggest news in today's Valley Voice is that the Spokane Valley City Council agreed this week to negotiate with SCRAPS for animal control services. The city has been contracting with SCRAPS since incorporation, but SpokAnimal had also submitted a proposal to provide animal control services. The decision has been discussed for months. The decision isn't final, however, until the city approves a contract.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger tagged along last week when a group of new teachers and employees in the East Valley School District took an orientation tour of the district on a school bus. They got a look at each of the schools and what makes them unique.

If you are planning ahead, start thinking about the Southeast Spokane County Fair in Rockford Sept. 21-23. It features livestock, a carnival, parade, fun run, live music, pie eating contest, 3-on-3 basketball tournament, horse show and Cow Chip Bingo. Admission is free, so bring the family.

Providence expanding into Spokane Valley

Spokesman-Review reporter John Stucke has a story in today's paper about Providence Health Care's plans to build a $58 million medical campus in Spokane Valley. The campus would include an outpatient surgery center and doctor offices. The center, which is scheduled to open in 2014, would be located along I-90 east of Sullivan Road. Read John's story here for more details.

Decision on animal control?

There may be a decision made on animal control in Spokane Valley at tonight's City Council meeting. The 6 p.m. meeting will start with a public hearing on the animal control proposals the city has received from SCRAPS and SpokAnimal (the city currently contracts with SCRAPS). If you have thoughts on the issue, it looks like this may be your only chance to have a say. After what may be lengthy presentations from 10 outside agencies seeking economic development money, city staff will make a recommendation to the council as to which animal control proposal is best. The council will then decide which entity to begin contract negotiations with.

To top off the meeting, which I'm expecting could easily run four hours, the council will also discuss 2013 property tax rates. If you are feeling brave enough to sit through the whole thing, join me at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.  

Saturday’s highlights

Rob Bockemuehl cleans around a water valve as a road grader prepares the intersection of 24th Avenue and Evergreen Road for paving, Aug. 27. SR photo/Dane Pelle.

Today may be the first day of school for many, but it is also the day to get caught up on some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Some major Spokane Valley road construction projects are wrapping up, much to the relief of drivers. There are still a few small projects coming up, but none will last longer than two weeks.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by the groundbreaking for the new Spokane Valley Tech skills center in the old Rite Aid at University and Sprague. The building was purchased by the Central Valley School District for a new skills center, but it will also be used by the West Valley, East Valley and Freeman school districts.

The annual Valleyfest event is fast approaching and there are several new things coming during this year's three day festival. The new items include discounts and coupons at local businesses, a new walk benefitting Down Syndrome research and Babyfest.

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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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