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Spokane Valley blog

Archive for October 2013

Today’s highlights

Hugh Grim watches from the top of a Fairbury farm windmill tower as his son, Jim, keeps a hand on a guide-line as they use a crane to lift the windmill to the top of its tower Tuesday at the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Happy Halloween! Just remember to limit your sugar intake and everything will be fine. Meanwhile, we can take a look at some highlights from today's Valley Voice in between sugar breaks. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on a “new” 1930s windmill that was just installed behind the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. The Valley was once full of such windmills, which pumped water for farmers. The windmill has made previous appearances at the museum's annual farm show.

The Rev. Craig Goodwin of Millwood Presbyterian Church was recently diagnosed with a form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He is currently balancing his pastoral duties with an aggressive chemotherapy schedule that has him in the hospital for five days every three weeks. He said his diagnosis has given him a new perspective when dealing with people struggling with their own health issues.

The Spokane Valley City Council is moving forward with a proposed ordinance that would regulate the attire of bikini baristas at a business near City Hall who routinely go topless on certain days of the week, wearing only pasties and g-strings. The new law would mandate that their breasts be at least half covered. The proposal is sure to generate plenty of public comment at future council meetings as the ordinance moves through the approval process.

Bikini baristas on the agenda

The Spokane Valley City Council is going to address the topic of scantily clad baristas at tonight's meeting. At issue has been topless Tuesdays at a local coffee shop, when baristas wear only g-strings and pasties. A proposed ordinance has been prepared that would ban women from exposing more than half their breast in public. There are two things you need to know if you plan to attend tonight's meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague. First of all, the meeting is a study session and no public comment will be taken. Secondly, the issue is pretty far down the agenda and won't be discussed first thing.

The council will not take a vote tonight. They need to agree to advance the ordinance to a first reading, at which point public comment would be taken, or ask staff to make changes to the proposed ordinance.

Saturday’s highlights

Leslie Malloy and cancer survivor Barb Gady, staff members at Freeman Elementary, hug after posing for a group photo with other Freeman employees in front of a pink tractor from Northwest Farm Credit Services. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Welcome to winter. At least, that's what it felt like with this morning's wind. Brrrrrr. With that said, it's time to move on to some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a couple of stories on how local schools are promoting awareness of cancer during October, which is national Breast Cancer Awareness Month. East Valley High School social studies teacher Dave Robinson is sporting bright pink hair, beard, mustache and eyebrows after his students collected 54 pounds of candy for the school's annual Fall Festival. His new (temporary) look has gone viral and Robinson has appeared on Good Morning America.

A pink tractor stopped by Freeman Elementary School last week in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month on a day when nearly all the staff members wore some sort of pink. The annual pink day started 13 years ago after one staffer was diagnosed with breast cancer.

A hearing was held last week to consider a rezone request for a vacant piece of property owned by Arger Real Estate just east of Evergreen Road immediately northwest of where Alki Avenue ends. The request, if granted, would change the single family zoning to single family-urban. The change would allow multi-family housing such as duplexes, a nursing home or an assisted living center.

Today’s highlights

Anthony Matthews, 30, an 11-year veteran of the Marine Corps and a student in Spokane Community College’s Natural Resources program, plants foliage to restore the south side of the Spokane River at Stateline on Friday. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

As we slide through our Thursday (nearly to Friday), lets take a look at some highlights from today's Valley Voice. I stopped by a Spokane River shoreline restoration project last week near Stateline and found volunteers industriously planting 800 trees, shrubs and other plants. In our rocky soil, that's no picnic. The project will help repair damage done by vehicles driving down to the water's edge to launch boats illegally.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in with the West Valley, East Valley and Central Valley school districts to check on student enrollment. Some numbers are lower than expected and others are higher. Central Valley is seeing a growth in high school students.

The Spokane Valley City Council approved a flat property tax for 2014 this week, though one council member argued that the city should consider taking the allowed 1 percent increase because of all the projects coming up.

Where is the moose?

Instead of playing “Where's Waldo?”, today we have a game of “Where's the moose?” in Spokane Valley. The moose was spotted near City Hall on Sprague Avenue shortly before 9 a.m., then he was reported near Sprague and University Road. He jumped a fence to get away from police and is still wandering around somewhere. If you spot this critter, call Crime Check at 456-2233. Do not approach the moose, however. They can be a bit cranky. Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Police Department.

Saturday’s highlights

Chris Sheppard dons only one costume on Halloween, a robe, crown and sweatshirt reading “Queen of Halloween.” Indeed, her house dominates the neighborhood, with hundreds of whimsical items for the holiday. Sheppard is shown at her home on Bettman Road in Spokane Valley, on Wednesday. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Saturday's Valley Voice was packed full of stories (and quite a few election advertisements), so lets get right to the highlights. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by the home of the Queen of Halloween, aka Chris Sheppard. Her home turns into a festival of the orange and spooky every year and this year is no different. She starts decorating the inside of her home in August but waits until September to start putting in the skeleton crawling out of its grave in the yard.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw has a story on the University High School girls soccer team, which is rallying after losing one of its star players in a car crash recently. The team had a small ceremony at their recent home game. The Spokane Valley Lodging Tax Advisory Commission recently met to make recommendations for 2014 funding to agencies that promote tourism.

We also had a ton of election coverage Saturday since ballots have now been delivered. Correspondent Valerie Putnam tackled the Millwood Mayor race between Kevin Freeman and Dennis Hamlin while Lisa covered the East Valley School District school board and Liberty Lake City Council. There was also a candidate forum last week featuring those running for Spokane Valley City Council.

Today’s highlights

Jennifer Papich walks through the first section of the haunted pool at Valley Mission Pool. Samantha the doll sits in the corner waiting for visitors. SR photo/Liz Kishimoto

Oh, dear. I nearly managed to get through the day while forgetting to post the highlights from today's Valley Voice. It's a good one, too, with lots of interesting stories. First up is the Valley Mission Haunted Pool that opens tomorrow. The pool has been transformed into a haunted house that will be open the next two weekends. It was freaky enough when it was half-finished in daylight; I'm sure it will be frightfully good.

In keeping with our (unplanned) Halloween theme, reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the new corn maze at the HUB Sports Center. This is the first year for the event, which features a haunted area for the adventurous. There are also plenty of regular mazes for families and those who like to get lost.

Spokane Valley City Council incumbent Chuck Hafner took his turn answering a series of questions we posed to all the candidates. His opponent, Donald Morgan Jr., did not respond. We also have a quick roundup of the races in Rockford, Latah, Fairfield, Spokane County Fired District 9 and the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

The city of Spokane Valley is considering whether to change the zoning of a parcel of land sandwiched between the Centennial Trail and Mirabeau Park from park/open space to mixed use. Nothing has been decided yet, but it may be part of a deal to get land needed for the Pines Road overpass above the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad tracks.

Meet the Spokane Valley candidates tonight

Tonight is the Spokane Valley City Council candidate forum sponsored by the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce. The event begin at 6:30 p.m. at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place. Expect to see the candidates there answering questions about their views on issues facing the city. Ballots will begin arriving in mailboxes any day now, so this is your chance to figure out who you want to vote for.

Saturday’s highlights

McKenzie Mott's jersey was retired during an assembly held in honor of her and fellow classmate Josie Freier at University High School on Friday. The two were killed in a car accident on Saturday, October 5, 2013. SR photo/Kathy Plonka

It's Monday again. Monday seems to come around much too quickly, but at least it means we have a Saturday Valley Voice to go over. This weekend correspondent Jill Barville wrote a column based on her perspective as a parent with a student at University High School, where students are struggling to cope with the death of two students killed in a car accident. An assembly was heldto remember Josie Freier and McKenzie Mott on Friday and hundreds of toys were collected in their honor for the Toys for Tots charity.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by North Pines Middle School for a seventh-grade class that was studying the laws of motion. They were running experiments to learn whether balls of the same size but different weight behaved differently when rolled down a ramp.

Spokane Valley City Council incumbent Gary Schimmels and challenger Ed Pace answered some questions about their views on Spokane Valley issues. Ballots will be mailed this week and this story is one of a series featuring City Council candidates.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a report from Millwood, where the city councilvoted to accept a loan to fund a water line replacement project. Residents have also reported increased vandalism and Mayor Dan Mork indidated he would ask for extra police patrols.

A mountain of toys

The gym floor was covered with donated toys during an assembly in honor of McKenzie Mott and Josie Freier at University High School on Friday, October 11, 2013. Mott and Freier were killed in a car accident Saturday October 5, 2013. SR photo/Kathy Plonka

This morning photographer Kathly Plonka stopped by an assembly at University High School held in honor of Josie Freier and McKenzie Mott, two students killed in a car accident over the weekend. This week the CV schools have been collecting toys for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots charity in their honor and it looks like students have collected a ton of them. If you'd like to donate, you can still bring new toys to any Spokane Valley Fire Department fire station. Click here for more photos.

Today’s highlights

Jayden Immonen, 12, left, and seventh-grade classmate Garrett Black, 13, center, and eighth-grader Lauren Green, 13, work on a poster for friend Logan Becker, a seventh-grader at North Pines Middle School battling cancer, on Oct. 4 at the school. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

It's Thursday, which means two things. It's nearly Friday (thank goodness) and it's time for some Valley Voice highlights. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by North Pines Middle school on a day when nearly everyone was wearing purple in honor of one of their classmates. Logan Becker, a seventh-grader, is fighting cancer and students came up with the idea of wearing purple to show their support.

We also have the second installment in a series of question and answer format stories featuring candidates for Spokane Valley City Council. Appointed incumbent Rod Higgins is facing off against challenger Linda Thompson for Position 1.

The Spokane Valley City Council took care of a few housekeeping items on Tuesday, including moving the 2014 budget forward to a final vote and awarding a contract for a series of street preservation projects in the spring.

A life remembered

A memorial of flowers, stuffed animals and messages are displayed Wednesday at the site where University High School students McKenzie Mott and Josie Freier were killed in a car accident Saturday night. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Spokane Valley Fire Department fire investigator Rick Freier sat down yesterday to talk about his 15-year-old daughter, Josie Freier, who was killed in a car accident Saturday. The community has rallied around a drive to collect toys for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program, which was her favorite charity. She volunteered with her father every year and loved playing Santa.

According to Rick his daughter, known as Jo Jo, was a strong, passionate person. “She hated bullies,” he said. “She stood up to them and chastised them in public.” He loves to hear stories from people about how she stood up for them, he said. “She was an amazing kid.”

Click here to read today's story on Josie and her friend McKenzie Mott, who was also killed. Toys for Tots donations can be dropped off at any Spokane Valley Fire Department station or any Central Valley school.

Funerals set for crash victims

Funerals have been scheduled for McKenzie Mott, 15, and Josie Freier, 15, who were both killed in a car accident on Bates Road on Saturday. Both were students at University HIgh School. The funeral for Freier will be at 1 p.m. Friday at Valley Fourth Memorial Church, 2303 S. Bowdish Road. Mott's funeral will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 3606 S. Schafer Road.

Saturday’s highlights

Dan Mork, shown in his office at city hall on Sept. 24, has served the town of Millwood for more than 30 years, including the last eight as mayor. He will step down Dec. 31 and take a break from public life. He works at HollisterStier. SR photo Jesse Tinsley

Good Monday morning, everyone. Welcome to the first full week of October. As usual we have some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice in case you missed it. Reporter Lisa Leinberber has a story on Christmas ornaments being made by West Valley School District students for the 2013 Capital Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C. This year's tree will be cut from the Colville National Forest and 5,000 ornaments are needed to decorate it.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a story on the retirement of Millwood Mayor Dan Mork. Mork first began serving in the Millwood City Council in 1981 and was on the councl continuously until beging elected mayor in 2005. For the first time in decades he is not running for re-election.

Ballots for the November general election will begin arriving in mailboxes next week, so we have the first in a series of stories on the Spokane Valley City Council races. First up is the only race that doesn't have an incumbent. Bill Bates and Fred Beaulac are facing off in the race for the seat held by Mayor Tom Towey, who is not running for re-election.

Painted Hills has a new owner

Dave Black of Black Realty Inc. submitted the winning bid in today's trustee auction of Painted Hills Golf Course at the Spokane County Courthouse, purchasing the 9-hole golf course for $1.1 million dollars. Black said he has no firm plans for the Spokane Valley property yet. The course has been shuttered all year after the previous owners filed for bankruptcy. Click here for more details.

Spokane Valley to take on bikini baristas

Yesterday the Spokane Valley City Council decided to move ahead with an ordinance to regulate the attire of baristas advertising topless Tuesdays and Thursdays. On those days the baristas wear nothing more than pasties and g-strings. No specifics were discussed during Thursday's special meeting and one council member told the packed audience that creating a new law would take time. Click here to read today's story on the issue.

Today’s highlights

Toni Halloran, Deputy Chief of Newman Lake Fire and Rescue, concentrates as she maneuvers a water tender into the cramped confines of Station 1 on Tuesday. Newman Lake Fire and Rescue is again preparing to ask voters to pass a bond to replace Station 1. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

I hope everyone is having an excellent Thursday despite that nasty frost we had to scrape off our windshields this morning. Thursday is, of course, Valley Voice day, so we have some highlights. Newman Lake Fire and Rescue is considering tyring to pass a construction bond again to replace the aging Station 1. A bond failed at the polls in 2011, but this time commissioners are considering asking for only half the amount they asked for previously.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger attended a candidate forum this week featuring the candidates for the East Valley School District board of directors. Additional forums are planned for Oct. 12 and 16 for people unable to make the first session.

The Washington State Court of Appeals recently threw out the sentence of a former University High School teacher on a driving under the influence charge, ruling that he was improperly sentenced. However, Michael F. Cronin still served time in jail on other charges. He was fired by Central Valley School District in January 2012. A lawsuit Cronin filed in response to his firing is currently before the Court of Appeals.

Lisa checked in with Spokane Valely Rotary president-elect Mike Payson on the Spokane Valley Men of Rotary Fashion Show coming up this weekend. The fundraiser raises money for scholarships for high school seniors and books for local elementary schools.

Liberty Lake, East Valley candidate forums

Don't look now, but ballots for the November general election are about to hit your mailbox. Candidate forums are scheduled this week for East Valley School District board of directors and Liberty Lake City Council. Additional forums are planned for the coming weeks.

Tonight the candidates for the East Valley school board will face off from 6:30to 8:30 p.m. at the Starr Road Baptist Church, 4720 N. Starr Road. Those attending will be able to write down questions, which will be placed in a bucket and drawn at random by a moderator.

The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce is hosting a forum for the Liberty Lake City Council candidates Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Meadowood Technology campus dining room at 2100 N. Molter Road.

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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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