Second-grader Isabella Collier reads quietly in her class at South Pines Elementary School on Wednesday. Isabella is in the Student, Parent Alternative Classroom Experience program, where parents opt in and promise to volunteer and contribute funds to the program. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
I trust we have all dusted ourselves off from last night's storm and are ready for another Monday. I made the mistake of having my windows open when the storm hit last night and had to scurry around closing them when I started choking on the dust. There is dusting in my future.
Now on to the highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. A final community meeting was held last week to discuss the design of the Balfour Park expansion. Several well attended meetings were held in the spring to get input on what amenities to include and people who stopped by last week seemed pleased with the result. The Spokane County Library District has also installed a Little Free Library on the site in lieu of the expected Spokane Valley Library branch that is planned for the site.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by South Pines Elementary School to check out their Student, Parents Alternative Classroom Experience (SPACE). Parents help keep the class organized so the teacher has more time to spend with students.
Correspondent Valerie Putnam reports that the city of Millwood is considering whether to accept a $448,208 loan from the state to repalce a 60-year-old water main that runs under Buckeye Avenue. A special meeting is planned later this month so the council can vote on the loan.
Paving work is expected to begin next week on Indiana Avenue between Pines Road and Mirabeau Parkway and on Carnahan Road from Eighth Avenue to the city limits. The city is making one final road construction push before the weather becomes too cold for paving.
In case you were anxiously awaiting the news of who bought the Painted Hills Golf Course: the trustee's sale that was supposed to take place today at the Spokane County Courthouse has been postponed until next Friday. The course is being auctioned off after the owners filed for bankruptcy last year. I guess we'll all have to tune in next week to find out what happens.
East Farms STEAM Magnet School students attended the East Valley School Board meeting Sept. 10 with their heavy backpacks in tow to advocate for lockers at their school. From left: Marena Stewart, 12, Tizara Belback, 12, Riley Wallwork, 11, and Shontelle Belback, 12. SR photo/Colin Mulvany
Well, it's better late than never when it comes to highlights from today's Valley Voice, right? Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on a protest at Tuesday's East Valley School District board meeting staged by middle school parents and students. They were objecting to the lack of lockers for middle school students now that the district has moved to a K-8 model that puts those students in the elementary schools.
It's that time again: Valleyfest is approaching fast. One of the new events this year is a triathlon that features a 1.5 mile paddle on the Spokane River in addition to a bike ride and a run. Organizers are still looking for participants, so register online at www.valleyfest.org if you have something that floats. The classics are returning too, like the hot air balloons, the parade, the pancake breakfast, the live music and lots more. It's all heppening Sept. 20-22.
The Washington State Court of Appeals has handed down a split decision in a lawsuit over a roundabout at Wilbur and Montgomery in front of the Montgomery Court Apartments. The court upheld a decision to throw out the property owners' claims that restricting vehicle access to their complex was an unconstitutional taking but also ruled that the property owners are entitled to a trial on whether or not the city of Spokane Valley has to put in an additional driveway on Montgomery as they allegedly agreed to do.
This is just a reminder that there is no Spokane Valley City Council meeting tonight. Instead council members are taking turns today manning a Spokane Valley booth at the Spokane County Interstate Fair. Today is officially Spokane Valley Day at the Fair in celebration of the city's 10th anniversary. Any concidence that today is the 10th? Probably not. So if you just can't last week without a dose of city politics, head over to the fairgrounds at Broadway and Havana.
T.J. Williams Jr., the director of photography, frames up a shot with a digital movie camera in Fairfield, on Wednesday, while shooting a feature film assisted by North By Northwest. At right is Adam Miller, the first assistant camera operator. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
Oh, it's Monday again. Pardon me while I shake off the weekend cobwebs. As we start the work week there are some Saturday Valley Voice highlights to greet us, as always. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a report on the safety of Mountain View Middle School in the East Valley School District. Building and fire inspectors recently toured the building to make sure it was safe after parents raised concerns about the partially boarded up building.
The small town of Fairfield hosted a movie crew from North by Northwest last week. Portions of the movie “West of Redemption” starring Billy Zane were filmed there while grain trucks lumbered by on their way from the nearby grain elevators.
Lisa stopped by University High School during the morning on the first day of school when freshmen had the run of the buliding. The school had a special program that morning to help the students acclimate to the school and get to know each other.
The City of Spokane Valley and Spokane County had a joint meeting last week to discuss solid waste options under a new regional plan. The city would like to own the Valley transfer station, but County Commissioners seem to favor a plan that has the County owning and running the facility.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department is considering spending a budget surplus on remodeling several fire stations, two of which are decades old. Problems include leaking roofs, failing floors and kitchen cabinets in disrepair.
David Schultz, second from left, talks with incoming sixth-grader Brandon Hawvermale, 11, and his parents Keith, left, and Amanda, at Centennial Middle School during an open house on Tuesday. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
I've been zipping all over the county during a very busy week, so my apologizes for not posting this earlier today. There must be some rule of journalism that says that every jurisdiction must scheduled a special meeting during the same holiday week. But on to the highlights from today's Valley Voice.
The City of Spokane Valley will not participate in next week's auction to purchase the Painted Hills Golf Course. The property is being auctioned off in a trustee's sale on the steps of the Spokane County Courthouse to satisfy bankruptcy debts. The city council narrowly voted Tuesday not to try to buy the course after several residents spoke against it, including one person who said he represented a group trying to buy and preserve the golf course.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Centennial Middle School this week for a meet and greet session before the first day of school. Students picked up their schedules, met their teachers and tried to get their lockers open.
Recently some Newman Lake residents invited Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke to come take a tour of the lake and look at areas that have been severely eroded. Reporter Mike Prager was along for the ride as well as homeowners asked for new regulations to help save their beaches and homes.
The Spokane Valley City Council narrowly voted Tuesday not to participate in the auction of Painted Hills Golf Course next week to satisfy bankruptcy debts. Several people attended last night's council meeting to ask the city to stay out of it and one said he represents a group trying to buy the property and keep it as a golf course. Check Thursday's Valley Voice for more details on their decision.
Otis Orchards School principal Suzanne Savall hugs cousins Devon Nelson, 7,left, and Zachary Hughes, 7, as they return for second grade on the first day of school Thursday. Kindergarten teacher Stacey Brinkley awaits arrivals at left. SR photo/Dan Pelle
Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone enjoyed a nice, extended weekend. Let's celebrate our shorter work week with a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. The Positive Change coalition that swept into power at Spokane Valley City Hall in 2009 is fracturing, with some supporting incumbent Gary Schimmels in this year's election and some supporting his challenger, Ed Pace. It's shaping up to be the race to watch in November.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by the Otis Orchards School in the East Valley School District for the first day of school last week. This is the final year of the district's transition to schools that combine kindergarteners through eighth graders under one roof. Lisa also has a brief look at the school year budgets for the East Valley, West Valley and Central Valley school districts.
The YWCA is preparing to open a new confidentail domestic violence shelter in Spokane Valley this month. They're looking for donations from the community to provide basic household items like pots and pans. This shelter will be able to house three single women and three or four women with children at a time.
Yes, next week really is September. For now road construction season is still in full swing and there are some projects coming up that might mess with your commute. Eighth Avenue will be closed just east of Wilbur Court begining at 8 a.m. Tuesday for utility work. Traffic will be detoured via Sixth Avenue or 10th Avenue. The road will reopen at 3:30 p.m.
Spokane County will be doing some chip seal work on Dishman-Mica Road next week. Crews will be working from the southern Spokane Valley city limits to Madison Road on Wednesday and from Madison Road to Highway 27 on Thursday. Expect to see lane closures and flaggers.
Other big projects are still underway as well: Argonne Road is down to one lane in each direction from Wellesley to Bigelow Gulch, Bruce Road is closed from Stoneman to Day-Mount Spokane Road and a roundabout is being constructed at Mission Avenue and Harvard Road in Liberty Lake.
Ted Taylor waves to passing motorists from his fruit stand at 2900 E. Trent Ave. on Monday. SR photo/Dan Pelle
First I'd like to report a missing morning. With that done, it's time for a bunch of good highlights from today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Faye's House, which provides a place to stay to people in town for cancer treatment. The house is run by Because There is Hope, a local non-profit. Cancer patients are referred to the home by social service agencies.
Lisa also chatted with Ted Taylor of Northwest Citrus Plus, who has staked out a corner at Trent Avenue and Freya where he sells cases of oranges, grapefruit, limes and lemons. Turner used to sell his citrus door to door and has customers that buy their fruit from him year after year.
Correspondent Cindy Hval recently spoke with Jim Zahand, who donated 5,000 books to the Spokane County Library District. The books were from the personal collection of his wife, Diane Zahand, who taught at Pioneer School and Prism School in Spokane Valley.
The Spokane Valley City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether or not to try to buy the Painted Hills Golf Course at a trustee's sale in September. The course was put on the auction block after its owners filed for bankruptcy.
The Spokane Valley FIre Department just accepted a settlement relating to the botched design of the new Edgecliff Fire Station. The department will received $50,000 in damages from the architect and the civil engineer hired by the architect to work on the project.
Golf carts sit locked behind a fence at Painted Hills Golf Course back in March. SR file photo.
It looks like there will be a vote at next Tuesday's Spokane Valley City Council meeting on whether the city should attempt to buy the Painted Hills Golf Course during a trustee's auction on the steps of the Spokane County Courthouse in September. A small group of neighbors have been pleading with the city to buy the course and reopen it, but the parks director has said it would make a great community park. So what do you think? Should the city buy it? And if so, should it remain a golf course?
Public comment on the possible purchase will be accepted before the vote next week. If you'd like to put in your two cents, show up at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague Ave.
John White, 23, is seen reflected in the rearview mirror of his 1994 CBR 600 motorcycle before running through a low-speed obstacle course during Ride ’Em Wednesday this week at Empire Cycle and Powersports. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland
Good Monday morning, everyone. I hope everyone made it through our short but powerful thunder storm last night in one piece. There are, of course, some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Empire Cycle and Powersports for their weekly Ride 'Em Wednesday event. It includes motorcycle competitions, live music and a beer garden.
The Spokane Valley Lodging Tax Advisory Committee recently had a meeting to discuss changes in state law governing lodging tax distribution and funding goals being put together by the City Council. The committee now has the only say in what groups and organizations will receive funding.
Yesterday was Day One of the annual “Paws in the Pool” event and Day Two kicks off tonight at the Valley Mission Pool. The annual dog swim has a new feature this year - specially made ramps to help the dogs get out of the water.
Take note if you're going to be driving in Spokane Valley tonight: Pines Road will be closed between Mission Avenue and Indiana Avenue while crews pave the I-90 overpass. The closure is scheduled to being at 7 p.m. tonight and could last through 7 a.m. Friday. The eastbound I-90 on and off ramps at Pines Road will also be closed. Drivers should plan to use Evergreen Road or Argonne Road to cross the freeway tonight.
Kelly Hamill tries to detect the faint aroma of vanilla found in the bark of a mature ponderosa pine during a class for teachers at the Dishman Hills Natural Area on Tuesday. Hamill was among the elementary schoolteachers taking a class about how to use the popular park for educational purposes. SR photo Jesse Tinsley
Happy Thursday, everyone. We're another step closer to Friday. We've got some good highlights from today's Valley Voice, including more details on the replacement of the west Sullivan Bridge over the Spokane River. The bridge that carries southbound traffic was built in 1951 and has been rated structurally deficient. Construction should begin in early 2014.
Reporter Pia Hallenberged tagged along on a recent field trip for teachers in the Dishman Hills Natural Area. The teachers were learning how to incorporate plants, animals and geology of the area into their classrooms.
The eastern edge of Spokane County has a lot of what is known as no man's land - areas not served by a fire district. Residents living in those areas can't count on a fire department coming to their rescue if their house catches on fire, though in some cases the firefighters come anyway. A recent fire in a no man's land area north of Otis Orchards drew a response from three surrounding fire districts.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger dropped by a special Zombie Day at the Spokane Valley Library recently. The library has been having various events for kids all summer and in this one they put on makeup to make themselves look like zombies, ate zombie treats and learned about zombie books.
Last night Spokane Valley City Manager Mike Jackson announced that the city will be able to move ahead with the replacement of the west Sullivan Road bridge over the Spokane River. The city has been trying to come up with enough money to tear down the 1951 bridge and build a new one since 2008. The bottom line: the project should go out to bid this fall and construction should start in early 2014. I'll have more details in Thursday's Valley Voice. SR file photo.
Dan Westacott, of Crop Production Services, harvests wheat at the East Valley Farm and Community Garden on Thursday. SR photo/Dan Pelle
Good Monday morning, everyone. Sorry for ducking out of here unannounced last week. I took a little road trip to Colorado to drop my daughter off at school and forgot to warn everyone that I wouldn't be around. I'm back now, though, and ready with some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice.
The Millwood City Council has voted to postpone a planned sidewalk project on Buckeye Ave., according to a report from correspondent Valerie Putnam. The bids for the project all came in at least $40,000 higher than expected and the council voted to reject all of them and regroup. The project could still be completed in 2014.
Reporter Pia Hallenberg stopped by the East Valley Farm and Community Garden last week for the farm's first wheat harvest. The farm grows vegetables for the school lunch menu and the food bank. The wheat will be ground into flour and used in the school kitchens.
Correspondent Steve Christilaw has a story on Kayla Mainer, former volleyball player at West Valley High School and current assistant volleyball coach at Central Valley High School. She also plays with Team Evergreen in the Premier Volleyball League.
If you have a pooch that needs grooming, reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on Debbie's Dog Grooming, which has been in business in Spokane Valley for 40 years. The family owned business even does cats.
Tyler Reeves mixes colored sprinkles and frosted animal cookies into ice cream to make Brain Freeze’s Circus ice cream. SR photo/Dan Pelle
Good Thursday morning, everyone. It's time for some highlights from today's Valley Voice. The election results are in for races in Spokane Valley, Latah, Rockford and Spokane County Fire District 9. In Spokane Valley incumbent Gary Schimmels will face challenger Ed Pace in November.
Reporter Pia Hallenberg stopped by the Brain Freeze Creamery in Spokane Valley, where you can buy flavors like salted caramel or Crayonberry Sorbet. They are always in search of new flavors to make. The maple bar bacon flavor sounds interesting.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked into the annual inspection process that all school buses must pass. Recently the Washington State Patrol was working its way through the Central Valley School District bus fleet. Any vehicle that carries children must pass inspection at least once a year.
There's also an interesting Vocal Point submitted by two Newman Lake residents addressed to whoever is having repeated parties on nearby land, leaving behind beer bottles and smoldering camp fires.
Incumbent Spokane Valley City Council member Gary Schimmels sailed through the primary election and will appear on the general election ballot in November along with opponent Ed Pace. Schimmels collected 34 percent of the vote while Pace garnered 36 percent. There are still some ballots to be counted, but the percentages aren't expected to change much.
It will be a tight race and the key to winning may be attracting the 28 percent of voters who cast their ballot for Loberg. While Loberg may be out of the running this year, don't count her out. “I'll just do it again in a couple years,” she said. “I think I have what the city needs. I'm just going to work harder to show people who I am and what I do.”
Look for a story on the election results in tomorrow's Valley Voice.
Attention procrastinators: Today is your last chance to vote in the primary election. Ballots must be postmarked by today or dropped off before 8 p.m. at any ballot drop box located at local libraries. Many people didn't get a ballot, which only includes races with more than three candidates. But there are contested races in Spokane Valley, East Valley School District, Latah, Rockford and Spokane County Fire District 9.
Apparently many people who have gotten a ballot haven't returned it. The small town of Latah is leading with way with 45 percent of ballots already returned. Rockford comes in second with a 28 percent return rate. Other return rates are in the teens: only 16 percent of ballots have been returned for the Spokane Valley City Council races. The numbers are 13 percent in the East Valley School District and 15 percent for Fire District 9.
The first vote tally will be released at 8 p.m. today. It usually takes two weeks to count ballots and certify the results.
Tonight is National Night Out Against Crime, when neighbors are encouraged to gather for picnics and barbecues to get to know each other. In the Spokane Valley area there are parties planned at Edgecliff SCOPE (4-7 p.m.), East SCOPE (6-9 p.m.), Trentwood SCOPE (3-6 p.m.), University SCOPE (6-8 p.m.) and the Spokane Valley Target store on East Sprague (1-3 p.m.). There will be many more gatherings occuring in neighborhoods. Call (509) 893-3934 before 4 p.m. tonight to find the location of one near year or check here for the addresses of the SCOPE stations.