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Spokane Valley blog

Archive for May 2013

Sullivan Road closure rescheduled

The closure of Sullivan Road between Kiernan and Trent that was supposed to start tonight has been rescheduled. The section of road will now be closed overnight Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for paving work. A detour route will be set up on Euclid Ave. and Flora Road.

Today’s highlights

Wayne McKnight, the athletic director at West Valley High School, stands under the historic entryway that was salvaged from the old building and built into the new West Valley campus May 16. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

I'm sorry I'm so late in posting some highlights from today's Valley Voice, but I spent all morning out at a mock crash at East Valley High School and have been furiously typing ever since. (Look for that story in Saturday's Valley Voice.) For today we have a nice package from reporter Lisa Leinberger, who profiled three retiring school teachers.

The featured teachers are: Wayne McKnight of West Valley High School, who has been with the district for 39 years and is now the athletic director; Marla Pflanz of East Valley High School, who founded the Strolling Strings during her 35 year career; and Kim Wellington of Central Valley High School, who started out teaching shop 35 years ago.

The city of Spokane Valley took in a $3 million budget surplus at the end of 2012. Sales tax revenue was up and expenses were down. No decision has been made yet what to do with the money and the city's finance director said he doesn't expect a repeat of the windfall at the end of this year.

Portion of Sullivan Road shutting down

The section of Sullivan Road between Kiernan and Trent will be closed completely between 9 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Crews will be doing a grind and overlay of the pavement in that section and the road is too narrow to do the work while cars use the road. A detour route will be available via Flora Road and Euclid Ave. If you need to be out and about on those nights, plan on taking another route.

Saturday’s highlights

Broadway Elementary School students extend hands for high-fives from from Swoop, the Eastern Washington University mascot during an assembly, May 17 in the school gym. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Well, here we are on a Tuesday that feels like a Monday. I've successfully moved my base of operations across the room and am all set to go, so let's take a look at our packed Saturday Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger wrote a story on Broadway Elementary students, who won a contest to have the Eastern Washington University mascot Swoop visit their school. The entry was a last minute decision, but the kids enjoyed the visit.

Three draft designs for the expansion of Balfour Park were presented to the community during a recent public meeting. The majority of people seemed to favor the design that put an angled library on the southwest corner of the property at Sprague and Herarld. Spokane Valley is developing the site in partnership with the Spokane County Library District.

Filing week is over and there are some heated races coming up. Controversies in Latah and Rockford have brought out more than the usual number of candidates. Every Spokane Valley City Council seat will be contested this fall.

A preliminary design for the Appleway Trail was presented at a recent public meeting to get input on planned features. The city has no construction money for the project and is creating a design so the project will be ready to go. At a recent meeting the Spokane Valley City Council heard details on several proposed comprehensive plan amendments.

The town council in Rockford recently took the unusual step of cutting their own pay to save money. They are down to one full-time employee and other changes are likely in the future.

Today’s highlights

Liberty High School student Kylee Hodgson makes potato soup in the culinary arts class at the NEWTECH Skills Center. She has attended class there for the past two years. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Where has all the time gone. I looked up and realized it's after 3 p.m. and I've been so busy writing that I forgot to post the highlights from today's Valley Voice. As I said yesterday, today is our annual graduation section. In the Valley Voice you'll find lists of graduating seniors at every high school in the Valley area. A small army of reporters and correspondents have also put together profiles of outstanding graduates from every school.

Rather than try to list them all, just click here to read these stories from the Valley and all over Spokane County. Fair warning: some may require a ready box of tissues.

It’s coming….

Everyone take note: tomorrow all of our Voice sections will be devoted to local high school graduates. Every year we have a special graduation section that includes lists of graduating seniors from every high school in Spokane County plus a profile of a student from each school. Copies are usually snapped up by pround parents and grandparents, so make sure you get a copy early. This does mean, of course, that you won't find any of our normal weekly stories in the Voices tomorrow.

Appleway Trail meeting tonight

This is just a reminder that there is a public meeting tonight on the draft master plan for the Appleway Trail proposed for the old Milwaukee Railroad right of way south of Sprague Ave. The vacant land is owned by Spokane County, which has agreed to let the city develop a trail on the property. The trail would run from University Road to Evergreen Road.

The city collected comments at a previous public meeting where people identified what kind of amenities they would like, such as benches, play areas, trees and possibly community gardens. Those comments have been used to create the draft plan that will be presented tonight from 4 to 6 p.m. at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place.

Three robberies appear connected

Spokane Valley Police believe that three recent robberies of Spokane Valley businesses are related based on the similiar descriptions of the suspects. A convenience store at 722 N. Park Road was robbed at 10 p.m. on May 13 by two men, one described as a white male and the other as possiblty a hispanic male, according to a police press release. They wore hoodies with the hoods up, bandanas over their faces, baseball caps and gloves.

Piece of Mind at First and Pines was robbed at 10 p.m. on May 16. There were three men involved and two of them matched the description of the two men in the first robbery, police say. A convenience store at 411 N. Pines was robbed just after midnight today (Tuesday) by two men matching the same description. Weapons were displayed in all three robberies, according to police.

Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of $3,000 to anyone who gives information that leads to an arrest in the case. Tipsters can remain anonymous. Anyone with information is asked to call the tipeline at (800) 222-TIPS. Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Police Department

Saturday’s highlights

Spokane Valley firefighter Paul Turcotte carries an enlarged photograph that represents a shooting victim as rescue crews participate in a mass casualty training exercise Wednesday at the department’s old administration building. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Good Monday morning, everyone. As another week starts, we've got some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. The Spokane Valley Fire Department has started using a new triage system for mass casualty events and tested it in training last week. Pediatric patients are now evaluated differently and colored tags are tied onto vitctim's limbs to identify their condition.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has details on the new home of the Liberty Lake Community Theatre. The group started five years ago and has been bouncing from location to locations, even rehearsing in  private homes.

Correspondent Jennifer LaRue has a story on Martina Whelshula, executive director of the youth rehabilitation facility Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations in Spokane Valley. she was recently named a health champion by the Washington State Public Health Association.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a report from Millwood, where finishing touches are being put on a plan to install a sidewalk on the north side of Buckeye Ave. between Argonne and Vista roads. The project will be completed before school starts in the fall.

Mosquito fogging in Fairfield

The town of Fairfield will be doing mosquito fogging beginning Tuesday, weather permitting. Anyone who does not want their property sprayed is asked to contact City Hall at (509) 283-2414 as soon as possible.

Today’s highlights

Andrea Gasser, a Central Valley High School junior, represents Israel at the International Economic Summit on Tuesday at the school. Students from CV and East Valley High School came together to display their research about the culture and economy of various countries around the world. Wearing a costume of some kind and serving a traditional food was optional. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Happy Thursday, everyone, though I confess I thought today should be Friday. But since it's not Friday yet, it's time for some Valley Voice highlights. Reporter Lisa Leinberger recently stopped by an economic summit hosted by the marketing classes at Central Valley High School and East Valley High School. The students researched different countries and then presented what they learned during the summit. Some students went as far as wearing traditional costumes or bringing food samples.

The Spokane Valley City Council is preparing to make changes to the 2013 budget to pay for several new projects. They are providing funding for new carpet in City Hall, a yearlong advertising campaign, designing the Appleway Trail, developing the Balfour Park expansion and buying business route signs.

Lisa also has a story on the University of Idaho's performance group called DancersDrummersDreamers, which is performing at University High School Friday. The performance will include students from the high school.

Bike to Work Week breakfast

Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey and his Pekinese, “Buddy”, get ready to ride Wed. evening, Aug. 18, 2010, along with Spokane Valley Cyclists FOR the Broadway Safety Project in a “Pedal with the Politicians”, to look first hand at bike lanes and safety issues in the Spokane Valley. Former councilman Bill Gothman (blue helmet) also participated in the ride. SR file photo.

A pancake breakfast to celebrate Bike to Work Week is planned for 7 to 9 a.m. Thursday at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place. If you plan to attend by bike, CenterPlace is right next to the Mirabeau Point trailhead on the Centennial Trail. And I'm sure no one would mind if you arrived by car. The breakfast is free, so stop in to support our cycling community.

Spokane Valley sign dedication

This is just a reminder that the city of Spokane Valley will officially dedicate their new gateway sign during a ceremony at 11 a.m. Wednesday. The new welcome sign and landscaping are on a triangle of land at the intersection of Thierman Road and Appleway Blvd. that was donated to the city by Spokane County. Mayor Tom Towey will speak briefly during the ceremony. Attendees can park in the Display House parking lot just west of the sign.

Traffic impacts

There is definitely more road work going on and some new projects have joined the ranks in Spokane Valley in Liberty Lake. Traffic is down to one lane in each direction on Pines Road between Sprague and Broadway for signal conduit work, which is slowing traffic. That will continue Monday through Thursday until July.

Of course, Sullivan Road construction is ongoing between the Spokane River and Trent. Traffic there is also down to one lane in each direction, so expect slow going. Knox is shut down just west of Vista for utility work. A detour is in place for the project, which should be done sometime tomorrow.

New this week is a partial shutdown of the Harvard Road bridge over I-90 in Liberty Lake. Work starts today to repair the bridge joints and will continue through Thursday. The bridge will be limited to single lane alternating traffic directed by flaggers, so expect a wait if you have to go through that area.

Saturday’s highlights

East Valley Middle School eighth-graders Austin Prochnow, 14, left, and Anthony Huck, 14, use lathes to chisel and sand tulipwood into parts to make fountain pens on May 7. Students have been making the wooden pens to give to veterans who plan to take the Honor Flight. Above, one of the pens. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

I'm back and have successfully weeded through the hundreds of emails that awaited me when I arrived back at work this morning. Now it's time to bring you some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. This one is the Lisa Leinberger edition, since she put in a lot of hard work filling the section while I was gone.

Lisa's first story is on an after school program through East Valley Middle School that allows students to make hand crafted pens to be given to local veterans. The students get a chance to practice their skills while also presenting gifts to World War II veterans who are traveling on Honor Flights to see the WW II memorial in Washington, D.C.

Lisa has two stories out of the West Valley School District. The school board gave a thumbs down on three new names suggested for Contract Based Education. Everyone agrees that the alternative high school needs a new name but no decision has been made yet. The district also is set to host its 12th annual Community Block Party on Tuesday. This year Centennial Middle School Principal Karen Bromps will be in the dunk tank.

This weekend is the sixth annual Eastern Washington Farm Heritage Show put on by the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. Visitors can learn about Spokane Valley's history and check out hands-on exhibits.

Schedule note

I will be out of the office next week, so expect the blog to go dark. You can still check out our great Valley Voice stories here while I'm gone. Enjoy the sun!

Otis Orchards Community Days

If you are looking for something to do tomorrow as you wait for Bloomsday, check out the 11th annual Otis Orchards Community Days. There will be games, crafts, food, raffles and a jumping castle at Otis Orchards Elementary, 22000 E. Wellesley, from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. A parade will go down Wellesly at noon, complete with little red wagons and kids on decorated bikes. The parade starts at Kenney Road and ends at the school. Proceeds will benefit East SCOPE and students from the school traveling to Washington, D.C.

Today’s highlights

Members of Episcopal Church of the Resurrection from left, Alan Terry, Jerry Combs, Karen St. Clair and Jackie Woolf work together to build raised beds at the church on Sunday. SR photo/Kathy Plonka

While it is not quite Friday yet, it is time for some highlights from today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on Valley Christian School moving to a four day school week in the fall. Fridays will become a day with optional extra programs that students can sign up for at no extra charge.

The congregation of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection had a work day Sunday to start building 20 new raised garden beds that will be available to the community. The church is also taking steps to revive an old orchard behind the church that has been neglected for decades.

Valleyfest was one of several organizations to recently receive funding from the Spokane Parks Foundation. Reporter Pia Hallenger has the story here. Lisa also has a story on the final play of the year at Central Valley High School, “The Outsiders.” 

New Dishman Hills trails

Gonzaga University student Derek Desrosier works a Pulaski on a trail in the Dishman Hills Natural Area in a project organized by the Dishman Hills Conservancy on April 21. He was among about 200 volunteers who showed up to help create a series of new trails. SR photo/Rich Landers

If you haven't had a chance to check out today's paper, let me bring to your attention a story by outdoors writer Rich Landers on the trails in the Dishman Hills Natural Area in Spokane Valley. Volunteers have been trying to decommission some old trails and at the same time creating several miles of new trails. But not everyone has gotten the message. People are removing the debris placed on the old trails and using them again. Read Rich's story to get the full details and see a map of the new trails.

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About this blog

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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