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Spokane Valley

Archive for January 2014

Perhaps they should form a joint task force

As state regulators prepare to start issuing marijuana licenses, some towns and cities are struggling with the idea that pot soon could be legally sold for recreational purposes in their communities.

Liberty Lake wants a timeout and last week adopted a six-month moratorium, as reported in Tuesday's edition of The Spokesman-Review. Rockford and Fairfield already had moratoriums in place.

Spokane Valley may explore imposing additional restrictions on pot shops wanting to operate within city limits there.

Although voters statewide, and in Spokane County, overwhelmingly approved the ballot measure in 2012 legalizing recreational marijuana use among adults, there were pockets of opposition in mostly rural parts of Eastern Washington.

Exceptions include Liberty Lake and Fairfield, where about 55 percent of voters in each community opposed legalization. Deer Park voters also opposed the ballot measure, 867 to 783.

Spokane Valley voters narrowly approved the ballot measure: 20,340 to 20,042 (50.4 percent).

Here's how other cities in Spokane County voted: Spokane, 60 percent in favor; Medical Lake: 653 to 573 in favor; Millwood, 523 to 414 in favor; Rockford, 142 to 84 in favor; Waverly, 28 to 24 in favor; and Cheney, 1,913 to 1,521 in favor.

The above map was put together by reporter Jim Camden in 2012 using final numbers from the Nov. 6 general election.

Voting closes Friday for movies at Mirabeau

Friday is the deadline for helping choose which two movies will be shown at Mirabeau Park this summer.

Online selections can be made here (scroll down the page to find the voting link). Spokane Valley wants to know your top two choices, but advises it can show just one Disney movie so you may want to avoid making both of your picks from that filmmaker.

Here's the list of choices: Mary Poppins, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, Despicable Me 2, Frozen, The Lego Movie, Planes, E.T., Thor, Wizard of Oz, Monsters University, The Smurfs 2.

The online ballot shows which films are from Disney. The top two choices will be shown in Mirabeau Meadows Park on July 25 and Aug. 15.

Spokane Valley City Council takes Tuesday off

Now there's no excuse to miss the State of the Union address, nor the potentially Eastern Washington-centric GOP response.

The Spokane Valley City Council has cancelled its Tuesday evening (Jan. 28) meeting, which otherwise would have been getting under way about the same time President Barack Obama is set to begin addressing the nation.

Following the State of the Union address, the nationally televised Republican response will be given by U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane.

Both addresses are set to be carried by all major TV networks. The State of the Union is set to begin at 6 p.m. Pacific Time.

The Spokane Valley City Council is scheduled to next meet on Feb. 4.

Memorial service set for Gary Schimmels

A memorial service for civic leader Gary Schimmels is set for 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 4521 N. Arden Road in Otis Orchards.

Schimmels, a former Spokane Valley deputy mayor and longtime councilman, died unexpectedly Wednesday at his home. He was 75.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions be made in Schimmels' name to Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Services (SCRAPS), 2521 N. Flora Road, Spokane Valley, WA 99216.

A luncheon is planned at the church following the memorial.

A time for mourning

Spokane Valley is mourning the loss of two icons.

Former Spokane Valley Deputy Mayor Gary Schimmels died unexpectedly this morning at his home. Schimmels, 75, had served on the city council since Spokane Valley's inception but lost his re-election bid in November to Ed Pace, who now holds the seat.

Last week, the Valley lost one of its most noted historians, author Florence Boutwell, who died Thursday at 94. Boutwell wrote a series of historical books chronicling the Spokane Valley's early days and growth into an agricultural hub. Her research laid much of the groundwork for development of the Spokane Valley museum.

A breaking news story about Schimmels' death can be found here, and look for full articles about the former deputy mayor and about Boutwell in Thursday's print edition of The Spokesman-Review.

It’s now Mayor Dean Grafos

A business man who once actively sought to abolish the City of Spokane Valley now is its mayor.

Councilman Dean Grafos was selected Tuesday night by fellow council members to serve in the largely ceremonial position. He edged Councilman Chuck Hafner in a 4-3 split.

“I’m honored,” Grafos said after the vote. “We have a great city council, city staff and city manager.”

Grafos was a vocal critic of the city, which was created in 2003, and had contributed to unsuccessful disincorportation campaigns. But he jumped into the political arena in 2009 after the final disincorporation effort collapsed and was among a slate of conservative candidates calling themselves “Positive Change” that took control of the city instead.

“If I'm going to be involved in this city, I'm going to make sure it's the best run city in the county,” Grafos said Tuesday night, praising the fiscal leadership and other directions that the council has charted for the city in recent years.

Supporting Grafos' mayoral selection were councilmen Ed Pace, Arne Woodard and Rod Higgins. Hafner picked up support from Ben Wick and Bill Bates.

Woodard was selected to serve as deputy mayor in a 5-2 vote.

Spokane Valley has a city manager that tends to day-to-day operations while the mayor presides over the seven-member city council, which sets policy and priorities.

Grafos said his priorities for the two-year mayoral term include helping bring more jobs to Spokane Valley, continuing the focus on public safety, infrastructure and citizen respect.

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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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