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Spokane Valley blog

Archive for July 2013

Brush fire hot spot burns again

The Spokane Valley Fire Department responded yet again to a brush fire in the hills north of Mansfield Ave. on Tuesday. The wooded area between Pines Road and Mirabeau Parkway has been a frequent spot for brush fires started by children and transient campers the last several years.

Tuesday's fire was started by an unattended camp fire. Two transients admitted having a camp fire and said when they returned from a swim in the Spokane River it had spread to surrounding dry grass, said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford. There is currently a burn ban in place in Spokane County and camp fires are not allowed. Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Everything is on tonight’s council agenda

Well, it's not everything, but it sure is a lot. There are going to be a ton of interesting discussions at tonight's Spokane Valley City Council meeting. Topcis include a draft plan for the expansion of Balfour Park, adding sewer lines to vacant industrial land, the Spokane County Saltse Flats wetlands restoration project and landscaping Appleway Blvd. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

Saturday’s highlights

Taylor Smith, left, watches as robot operator Joshua Hall, holding the remote, at right, maneuvers a tracked vehicle through the legs of a chair Wednesday, during a summer school session at Broadway Elementary. Fourth- and fifth-grade students got a chance to operate robots, which they dubbed “Mars rovers” in keeping with the space theme of the session. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Good Monday morning everyone. I'm pleased to announced that our weather cool down is here - and so are the highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. A big road construction project is starting today on Argonne Road between Bigelow Gulch and Wellesley Ave. The road is being ripped out and rebuilt, a process that will take several weeks to complete. Traffic is down to one lane in each directions and there are left turn restrictions.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in with the Fresh Start Community Garden, which got its start earlier this year on donated land across from Valley Mission Park. The lush garden is producing vegetables for the Spokane Valley Partners Food Bank and some raised beds have been rented by community members. It's too late to plant this year, but if you are interested in having your own garden keep it in mind for next year.

Lisa also dropped by Central Valley's STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Academey. Elementary students were using robots to simulate the Mars Rover and learning about space.

Classic Camaro toasted in fire

The Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to three fires overnight, two of which were accidental and another was the result of our hot, dry weather. The first was reported in the 100 block of South Green Ridge Drive in Liberty Lake just before 9 p.m. yesterday. A burn ban is in place that prohibits all outdoor fires (except in approved portable stoves), but the homeowners apparently didn't know about the ban and lit an outdoor fire. It spread to nearby dry grass and trees. It was put out before it spread to any homes, said Assistant Fire Marshall Bill Clifford.

The second fire was reported by police at 3:10 a.m. today at 8001 E. Upriver Drive. The officers responded to an alarm and spotted smoke and flames. The kitchen fire was put out and investigators determined that the fire was started by an electrical wire failre in a floor joist, Clifford said. The flames caused $75,000 in damage and a cat died of smoke inhalation.

A classic 1969 Camaro caused the third fire this morning just after 6:30 a.m. in the 1000 block of North Pierce Road and was also consumed by it. The homeowner was picking raspberries when he smelled smoke coming from his shop, Clifford said. The fire was caused by an electrical short in the car's battery.

The weather is supposed to be cooler this weekend, but more wind is expected and everything is as dry as a bone. Everyone be careful out there. Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Today’s highlights

Dave Smith has been hired as the new superintendent of the Newport School District. He is leaving his job as principal of Freeman High School. SR photo/Lisa Leinberger

I'm happy that it's Thursday for three reasons - it's one day closer to Friday, it's a Valley Voice Day and our 90 degree weather is supposed to come to an end this weekend. Happy day! In today's Valley Voice, reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the departure of Freeman High School Principal Dave Smith. Smith is leaving to become the superintendent of the Newport (Wash.) School District, the same district where he grew up and where his father was superintendent.

The Liberty Lake City Council is beginning its 2014 budget process. They will make some key decisions during a day-long budget retreat coming up, such as whether to continue a utility tax and whether to develop vacant land the city owns at Mission Ave. and Signal Road.

Mirabeau Point Park has been dubbed a “jewel” by an SCC earth science instructor who gave a report Tuesday to the Spokane Valley City Council on the unique geolocial features in the park.

“Pit crew” CPR

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I saw an interesting demonstration yesterday of the new “pit crew” style of CPR courtesy of the Spokane Valley Fire Department. They had a team of paramedics showing the new style, where everyone has a specific job and they rotate positions every two minutes. One does the chest compressions while others feel for a pulse, breathe for the patient, insert an IV, hold the IV bag and prepare the AED for an electric jolt. It's designed to start CPR sooner and avoid having rescuers get tired while doing chest compressions. Another chage is to wait for several minutes after a pulse returns to make sure the patient is stable for transport.  

Update: The video should be working now.

Saturday’s highlights

“It's challenging,” said Nancy Beam, 13, of Rathdrum, as she played her violin during Otis Orchards Strings Camp on Tuesday. SR photo/Kathy Plonka

It looks like we're in for another stretch of hot weather this week. While we mentally prepare, let's take a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Correspondent Steve Christilaw has a story on the Otis Orchards Strings Camp hosted every year by Adagio Strings. The camp brings together musicians of all ages.

The Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation Department is having a busy summer. They're offering their annual free summer park program at Terrace View Park, Valley Mission Park and Greenacres Park. There are free activities for kids Mondays through Thursdays and Terrace View and Valley Mission also offer free meals for kids 18 and under. Reporter Lisa Leinberger also has a story on swim lessons offered at the Terrace View Pool, Park Road Pool and Valley Mission Pool.

The city of Spokane Valley is pushing forward with a variety of road construction projects, but a couple of projects have been postponed for various issues.  

Fairfield community yard sale

The Fairfield community yard sale is running today and Saturday, so stop by if you happen to be down that way. The hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days and maps of the sale locations will be available at the post office next to City Hall on Main St. To reach Fairfield, head south from Spokane Valley on Highway 27. Take a left on Main St. when you arrive in Fairfield.

I can attest that the trip down to Fairfield is a nice drive. The picture above is an SR file photo taken just south of Fairfield.

Today’s highlights

Curt Buyser of Critter Control removes a captured yellow-bellied marmot near the Gonzaga University baseball field earlier this month. SR photo/Dan Pelle

I love Thursday for two reasons: it means it's nearly Friday and it's a Valley Voice day. Today's Voice section is packed with good stuff, so let's move on to some highlights. First up is our primary election coverage. Ballots are being mailed this week. I took a look at city council races in Rockford and Latah and a fire commissioner race in Spokane County Fire District 9. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has information on the candidates runnings for two East Valley School District board seats.

This week the Spokane Valley City Council took a look at several possible locations for a new City Hall. They favored buying the former Crescent building in the old University City Mall even though the building is significantly larger than what they would need for a combined city hall and police precinct. In other city news, the council is considering easing the sign code again to address the number and type of temporary signs and where they can be placed.

Reporter Pia Hallenberg has an interesting story on Curtis Buyser of Critter Control. He's the one you call when you have a skunk in the neighborhood, raccoons setting up house in your attic or marmots burrowing in the bushes.

Rockford candidate forum tonight

The candidates on the primary ballot for Rockford City Council Position 5 have been invited to participate in a candidate forum tonight at 7 p.m. at the McIntosh Grange and First and Lake St. in Rockford. The candidates are Larry Van Every, Chuck Collison and Robert Tollefson. However, incumbent Van Every has stated that he has resigned from the council and plans to withdraw from the race due to a family emergency. Residents are encouraged to attend and ask questions.

Look for a story in Thursday's Valley Voice highlighting primary races in Rockford, Latah, Spokane County Fire District 9 and the East Valley School District.

Three candidates try for SV council seat

In today's “in case you missed it” category, we ran a story Saturday that profiled the three candidates for Spokane Valley City Council that will appear on the primary election ballot that will hit mailboxes this week. Deputy Mayor Gary Schimmels is running for re-election against opponents Dee Dee Loberg and Ed Pace. Both challengers have previously run for city council and failed. What makes this contest a little more interesting is that the Positive Change group that supported Schimmels in his last election in 2009 have shifted their support to Ed Pace. The two candidates who receive the most votes will advance to the November election. Click here to read my story.

Saturday’s highlights

Ellin Schafer, 15, above, and her mother, Carolyn, assemble a quilt at their home in Spokane Valley on Tuesday. Carolyn Schafer is organizing a quilting drive for the members of Mason Flemmer’s unit. Flemmer, the orchestra teacher at Central Valley, is being deployed for the third time to Afghanistan. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

I invite everyone to take a look at today's Garfield comic strip. That sums up my approach to Mondays very well. With that said, it's time to take a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the efforts by students and staff at Central Valley High School to create 140 quilts for the 455th Engineer Company in Afghanistan. CV orchestra teacher Mason Flemmer is part of the unit.The volunteers still need donations of material to make the quilts, volunteers to put them together and cash to ship them.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw has a story on new volleyball coaches at Central Valley High School and University High School. Both are from out of the area and have a good coaching track record. Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a report from Millwood, where the council recently voted to restrict parking on portion of Stout Road and Grace Ave. Residents have complained that employees from local businesses are parking there.

Being buzzed by a bee ended badly for one man recently when he and his tractor rolled down an embankment after he swatted at the insect. The man was seriously injured, but he also had the unfortunate luck to land on a dead porcupine. That call for help was one of hundreds responded to by Spokane Valley Fire Department crews in the last two weeks.

Today’s highlights

Brett Siddoway, 18, holds up a fishing net full of golf balls he gathered from the aquatic driving range at MeadowWood Golf Course on July 3. Siddoway has been a range hand at the course the last three summers. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

I'm really not sure where the morning went, though I think I had a phone headset on for most of it. Still, it is not too late for some highlights from today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in with MeadowWood Golf Course range hand Brett Siddoway. He's in charge of fishing golf balls out of the lake in addition to cleaning golf carts and other tasks. HIs story is being told as part of a summertime series featuring people with unusual jobs.

Lisa also has a report on budget plans in the Central Valley School District. The district is looking at cutting kindergarten and first grade class sizes and offering all-day kindergarten at more schools. Doing so will mean hiring more staff and using portable classrooms.

The Spokane Valley City Council agreed this week to accept partial grant funding for the Appleway Trail. The city has three years to use the grant money, which should be enough time to find additional funding for the project, the council said. In other city news, the city has created a free smartphone app that uses mapping software to find local places to eat, play, shop and stay. You can use it to find local pools, department stores, gas stations and more. Look for it in the Android Play Store in the next few days. It will be available for iphones in a couple of weeks. 

The Spokane County Medical Examiner has identified the man killed in a motorcycle accident in Liberty Lake early on July 4. He is 45-year-old Matthew L. Jones.  

Sex offender living in Otis Orchards

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office sent out a notification today about a Level III sex offender now living in the 19200 block of East Buckeye in Otis Orchards. A person classified as Level III is considered the most likely to reoffend. Carroll L. Pollard, 66, is not currently wanted by law enforcement. He has convictions for second-degree rape of a child and unlawful imprisonment. His most recent conviction was in 2003.

Special meeting in Liberty Lake

The Liberty Lake City Council is holding a special meeting today at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 22710 E. Country Vista Drive. The purpose of the meeting is to amend an interlocal agreement with the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Saturday’s highlights

Ten-year-old Kaylee Martin and her mom Michele Martin browse the book selection at Liberty Lake Library on Tuesday. The library is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. SR photo/Kathy Plonka

Now that we're all back from a lengthy weekend, let's take a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the 10th anniversary of the Liberty Lake Library, which started with donated books. The full service library is now planning a special celebration to mark its anniversary.

The Spokane County fire dispatch center is ironing out the bugs in new software that will allow real time tracking of every fire engine in Spokane County once new digital radios go online. The old soflware would not have been compatible with the new radio system, which forced the upgrade. The tracking could reduce response times in some cases as the system automatically dispatches whoever is closest to a call regardless of where they are based.

The Spokane Valley City Council talked a little trash last week as they discussed an ongoing study to determine the cheapest way to dispose of the city's trash over the next decade. Lisa also has a second story on several projects approved in the West Valley School District, including rehavilitating the track at West Valley High School and buying two new school buses.

Thursday’s highlights

Greg Williams and Colleen Ramsey (reflected in mirror) drive the streets of Spokane Valley during a training session last week for the West Valley School District. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a safe and fun Fourth of July celebration. Before the weekend starts, lets take a look at some highlights from Thursday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the training required to become a substitute bus driver in the West Valley School District. Aspiring drivers have to complete days of classroom work and road tests before being hired.

The town of Rockford has paid its bill for law enforcement services from the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. The City Council had balked at paying the $32,000 bill, but they recently voted to pay what is owed to date. At a recent town hall meeting residents had expressed concern that the Sheriff's Office might stop responding to calls because the town hadn't paid its bill, but the Sheriff promised not to abandon the town.

Correspondent Stefanie Pettit has an update on Miss Chicken, who is now well settled in her new Spokane Valley home. The formerly feral chicken was trapped and relocated after hanging around Pettit's house for quite some time.

Celebrate the Fourth of July

This is just a reminder that there are two opportunities to celebrate the Fourth of July in the Spokane Valley area tomorrow and it's even possible to go to both celebrations. The celebration at Greenacres Park at 1311 N. Long Road begins at 9:45 a.m. with the lineup for the children's parade, which will begin its tour of the park at 10 a.m. The day includes free ice cream, a children's concert, live music and a petting zoo. The Bubba Dogz gourmet hot dog cart will be available for food purchases and kids can run through the splash pad and play in the playground. The event will wrap up by 3 p.m.

Then it's time to head a little further east to Liberty Lake. A free concernt featuring Six Foot Swing and Tuxedo Junction begins at 6 p.m. in Pavillion Park, located at Country Vista Drive and Molter Road. There will be food and drink items available for purchase. The fireworks will start a little after 10 p.m. You can find parking at the nearby Liberty Lake Elementary School on Molter.

And I'm sure the Spokane Valley Fire Department won't mind if I remind everyone that fireworks are illegal in Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake, Millwood and unincorporated Spokane County. It's a bit dry out there after our recent heat wave.

Saturday’s highlights

Spokane Valley Tech students run though the large room that used to be a Rite-Aid during a sports medicine class taught by Keith Eggleston on Wednesday. Eggleston was teaching the students how to analyze body movements and make corrections for injury prevention and efficiency. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Welcome to a blistering hot Monday. If you start hearing a lot of noise tonight and tomorrow, that's me whining about the lack of air conditioning in my house. But I'm nice and cool for now and ready with some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice.

Residents on both sides of the southeastern Spokane Valley city limits had some tough questions and comments for Spokane County representatives presenting information on their plan to restore wetlands in the Saltese Flats. The flats are located just outside Spokane Valley east of Barker Road. The area used to be a lake before it was drained for farming and ranching in the late 1800's.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by the new summer school classes being offered by Spokane Valley Tech. The free 13 day sessions cover everything from cosmetology to fire science to biomedical science. Students who attend the entire session can get credits. Lisa also has a story the new name for Contract Based Education - Dishman Hills High School.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw talked to The Pearl Snaps, a Spokane Valley blugrass band that recently competed in the National Old-Time Fiddlers Contest and Festival in Weiser, Idaho. The group has several performances lined up this summer and has put together a CD.

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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 (@ninaculver) 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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