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Spokane Valley

Posts tagged: 2011 elections

Election results certified

The Spokane County Elections Office has certified the November election results. There were no surprises in the final results, but a look at the election statistics reveals some interesting information. The number of ballots returned in Spokane Valley resulted in a 54.73 percent return rate, which may well be the highest in the city's history. That amounts to 26,839 ballots. The return rate was 49.6 percent in the 2009 city council elections.

The run to the polls seems to have been led by the resounding no vote on the city's Proposition 1 to fund converting one-way Sprague and Appleway to two-way streets. There were only 720 “under votes” on that issue, which refers to people who turned in a ballot but didn't select either option on that particular ballot item. In comparison the under votes in Spokane Valley City Council races ranged from 4,772 to 8,579.

But even if the voter turnout in Spokane Valley was the best ever, the city was still trounced by nearly every other jurisdiction that surrounds it. The ballot return rate was 64.9 percent in Newman Lake Fire District 13, 59.70 percent in Liberty Lake, 61.76 percent in Rockford, 64.82 percent in Fire District 8 and a whopping 71.21 percent in Waverly. (The lowest was 43.02 percent in Airway Heights.) The return rate for Spokane County as a whole was 57.04 percent.

Wick wins election

The Spokane County Elections Office just released another vote total, putting Ben Wick in the lead against challenger Marilyn Cline in the race for Spokane Valley City Council Position 6 by 360 votes. The County has 1,000 ballots left to count and about 400 of those are from Spokane Valley residents. It is statistically unlikely that Cline could collect enough of those votes to win the seat. Another vote count is scheduled to be released tomorrow at 5 p.m.

Wick increases lead again

As the vote counting continues and Ben Wick keeps increasing his lead over fellow Spokane Valley City Council candidant Marilyn Cline, it now seems safe to say that Wick will replace retiring councilman Bill Gothmann. In the most recent vote count released Monday night, Wick now holds a 354 vote lead over Cline, who campaigned with the Positive Change candidates. On election night Wick's lead was only 20 votes and it has grown steadily since. Wick's election means he will be the only non-Positive Change council member for the city.

In the other city council races, the Postive Change candidates have maintained their election night leads. Dean Grafos, Arne Woodard and Chuck Hafner won new terms on the council. The closest race there was between Woodard and Dee Dee Loberg, who collected 47 percent of the vote.

Another ballot tally is scheduled to be released tonight at 5 p.m. Only 5,000 Spokane County ballots remain to be counted.  

Saturday’s highlights

Ponderosa Elementary fifth-graders Isaiah Gessner, left, and Nick Griep, center, listen to Marine Corps veteran Rex Walter describe his experiences serving his country in the early 1950s. Ponderosa student ambassadors brought veterans from Broadway Court Estates to their school for a Veterans Day assembly Tuesday. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

More election results topped Saturday's Valley Voice as votes continue to be counted. Reporter Lisa Leinberger reported the results for Liberty Lake City Council, mayor and Proposition 1.  The proposition to switch to a city administrator form of government failed and former mayor Steve Peterson is poised to retake leadership of the city.

Fire levies and bonds in the areas around Spokane Valley mostly did not do well. A construction bond in Fire District 13 failed, as did an M&O levy in Fire District 8 and replacement fire levy in Rockford. The only success story was the small town of Spangle, which passed a fire levy and a police levy.

Lisa also wrote a story on her trips to Veteran's Day celebrations at West Valley High School and Ponderosa Elementary School. Recently the owners of Savage Land Pizza sued Spokane County Water District 3 because of a dispute over the installation of a new water main. The East Valley School District board of directors has voted to put a replacement levy on the Feb. 14 ballot.

More election results to come

Sorry for the long pause between posts, but it's deadline day here at Valley Office central and my keyboard has been humming. I've been working on a story on the bond and levy results for Spokane Valley area towns and fire districts for Saturday's Valley Voice, so look for that. There will be another release of vote totals by the Spokane County Elections Office tonight around 6 p.m. I'll try to blog that if I can, but I may not be near a computer. Since tomorrow is Veteran's Day and the County offices are closed, I wouldn't expect another vote total to be released until next week. So I'll either be back here later tonight or on Monday.

Today’s highlights

The Positive Change group on the Spokane Valley City Council appear to be maintaining their control of the council, with incumbents Dean Grafos, Arne Woodard and Chuck Hafner in the lead. The race between Ben Wick and Marilyn Cline to replace Bill Gothmann, however, is still too close to call. More votes will continue to be counted over the next week or two.

Correspondent Cindy Hval has a touching story featuring a local couple whose grandson, Marine Lance Cpl. Garrett Gamble, has been honored at the Veterans Memorial at Valley Fourth Memorial Church. The church dedicated the 24-hour, lighted memorial earlier this year.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in with an eighth grade class at Horizon Middle School that recently had a chance to chat on the phone with an astronaut on the International Space Station. The Liberty Lake Police Department recently responded to several 911 calls from citizens who saw a man drag a woman across Appleway Blvd. and force her into a car.

Wick lengthens lead

Tonight's updated Spokane Valley City Council elections results show that candidate Ben Wick has lengthened his lead from 20 votes to 105 votes over competitor Marilyn Cline. Results in the other races are largely unchanged. Dean Grafos how has 56.3 percent of the vote compared to 42.6 percent for challenger John Carroll. Arne Woodard now has 51.7 percent of the vote and maintains a slight lead over Dee Dee Loberg.

Spokane Valley residents voted, but not really

I've been browsing the Spokane County Elections Office web site and noticed something interesting. Thousands of Spokane Valley residents who returned their ballots did not vote in one or more of the city council races. The County keeps track of the number of under votes, which refers to the people who did not vote for any candidate in a particular race.

The under votes for each race (as of Tuesday) are as follows: Dean Grafos/John Carroll, 2,723; Arne Woodard/Dee Dee Loberg, 3,094; Ben Wick/Marilyn Cline, 2.967. A total of 5,172 people did not mark the ballot for Chuck Hafner, who was unopposed on the ballot. In the too-close-to-call Wick/Cline race, those votes could have made the difference.

What seemed to bring people to the polls was Spokane Valley Proposition 1 to determine the fate of one-way Sprague. There were only 435 under votes on that issue.

As of today Spokane Valley voters have returned 26,621 ballots and more will be coming in over the next few days. It looks like just over 17,000 of those have been counted so far. Enough ballots remain to be counted that the results of the Woodard/Loberg race, which has Woodard winning with 51 percent of the vote, could change.

Positive Change candidates winning

The first numbers are in for Spokane Valley. Proposition 1, which would have changed Sprague and Appleway back to two-way streets, is losing with an overwhelming 82 percent no vote. The incumbents seem to be carrying the night, but the race between Ben Wick and Marilyn Cline is a toss up. Both candidates have just over 49 percent of the vote. Only 20 votes separate the two. Late arriving ballots will decide that race.

Councilman Dean Grafos seems to have won re-election with 55 percent of the vote. Incumbent Arne Woodard collected 51.6 percent of the vote for a smaller lead over challenger Dee Dee Loberg. Chuck Hafner, who was unopposed on the ballot, got 95 percent of the vote. His write-in challenger received 554 votes.

The levy in Spokane County Fire District 8 is also close. So far the yes votes total 50.3 percent of the vote. The bond for a new fire station in Newman Lake Fire District 12 is failing with a 50.3 percent no vote.

Some numbers to pass the time

While we wait for election results I thought I'd throw a few tidbits out there. As of today, there have been 114,332 ballots returned in Spokane County. Just over 21,000 of those belong to Spokane Valley voters, which accounts for 42.9 percent of the registered voters in the city. Other jurisdictions are tallying higher percentages. Millwood is at 45.32 percent. Fire District 8, which has a levy on the ballot, is at 48.28 percent and Fire District 13, which is trying to pass a bond, has 47.81 percent. Liberty Lake is trailing behind at 41.97 percent. A complete list is available here.

However, all those numbers are likely to go up a bit as ballots postmarked by today straggle in over the next few days. Now we just have to wait and see how everyone voted.

Stay tuned for election results

Aw, nuts! With winter fast approaching, a squirrel gathers acorns Monday in Corbin Park. SR photo/Colin Mulvany. (I'm posting this photo just because it's so darn cute.)

I'll be hanging around later tonight to get the Spokane Valley City Council election results when they are released at 8 p.m. I will post them on the blog when I get them, along with the results from the Newman Lake Fire bond, the Fire District 8 levy and the one-way Sprague issue. Until then, does anyone have any guesses on who will win?

Today’s highlights

A team of students gather around a picnic table and bench they built during their East Valley High School construction class on Friday in Spokane Valley. SR. photo/Dan Pelle

We've got a bunch of news coming your way in today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in with East Valley High School students who are building picnic tables and benches as part of a competition.

Neighbors have come forward to say that Spokane Valley City Council candidate Marilyn Cline has been running a haircutting business in her home without reporting the income on the state financial affairs statement as required. I also checked the state and local records and found out that Cline doesn't have all the necessary licenses to operate a business in her home.

The city of Spokane Valley is working to apply for a $10 million grant to complete the funding package to replace the Sullivan Road bridge that carries southbound traffic, which is failing. The City Council candidates gathered last week for their first debate, which had a few sparks. It looks like one more debate is coming up next week. I'll have more details on that later.

Saturday’s highlights

Electricians have begun to rewire the Valley Mission Professional Building after an explosion and fire rocked the building Sept. 19. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Two weeks after an explosion and fire heavily damaged the Valley Mission Professional Building, the six medical offices housed in the building are picking themselves up and moving forward. A story in Saturday's Valley Voice outlined what each office is doing and where they are seeing patients.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked out new murals on the walls of the common room at Spokane Valley High School. Artist Jena Ponti painted the walls over summer break to give students a surprise when they restarted school. Lisa also had information on the West Valley teachers union's concerns about buget cuts.

With a month to go before the general election, Spokane Valley City Council candidates are busy raising and spending money. Check out the story for more details. Correspondent Cindy Hval had a story on Widows Might, a ministry program that provides assistance to widows of all ages that recently earned non-profit status.

Saturday’s highlights

Snowplows are parked waiting for winter at the new City of Spokane Valley public works facility on East Euclid Avenue just west of Flora Road near the Spokane Business and Industrial Park. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Now that we're refreshed from the long holiday weekend, it's time to take a look back at some Saturday Valley Voice stories that deserve a look. The City of Spokane Valley has moved into its new Street and Stormwater Maintenance facility on the back edge of the Spokane Valley Industrial Park. The new site has plenty of room for all the trucks and snow plows.

Four Spokane Valley City Council candidates involved in a joint campaign event in early July had, with one exception, not reported any donations received to put on the event as of last week. The Public Disclosure Commission said that even though the donations should have been reported long ago, it would likely not seek any disciplinary action such as fines unless a complaint is received.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department has become one of only 144 departments world wide to become internationally accredited. Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in with Liberty Lake SCOPE volunteers, who patrol the city trails on golf course and do school patrols. She also reports that East Valley raised $1,100 from its sale of old uniforms.

Special filing period next week

The Spokane County Elections Office is planning a special filing period next week for the 29 seats up for election across the county that didn't draw any takers during the June filing week. Many of those seats were for small town city councils and small fire districts, including several in the Spokane Valley area.

The vacant seats are on the Fairfield Town Council, Latah Town Council, Spangle Town Council, Waverly Town Council, Fire District 2 and Fire District 12. The full list of vacancies is in this story. The new filing period will be from 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16 to 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19. Those interested in running for office in November can file online or in person at the election office at 1033 W. Gardner. Call (509) 477-2320 for more information.

Meet your Spokane Valley candidates

Just a reminder that the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce is hosting a candidate forum Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place. Each candidate that attends will have a table and those that registered in advance will be given microphone time to introduce themselves. All Spokane County election candidates have been invited, including those for state legislature and Spokane Valley City Council. The event is going to be pretty informal, so feel free to drop in at any time. With ballots scheduled to hit the mail on July 29, the primary election is fast approaching.

Today’s highlights

Cleve Penberthy, Contract Based Education principal and longtime West Valley School District educator and administrator, is retiring after 40 years in education. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

I apologize for the lateness in posting links from today's Valley Voice. My computer went a little bonkers this morning. It now seems to be cured, but I have no idea why. I'm not going to argue, though. So, on to the highlights. Every spring we highlight notable retiring educators from the large Spokane Valley school districts - East Valley, West Valley and Central Valley. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has those stories in today's Valley Voice, including Contract Based Education princpal Cleve Penberthy. He's retiring after 40 years in education and I think he will be sorely missed. He was an oustanding advocate for his students. The other educators featured are East Valley teacher and librarian Linda Carper and Central Valley business teacher Sherry Johnson.

Kids will be happy to learn that Spokane Valley pools are opening this weekend. Splash Down is already open, but it only opens the doors if the weather is nice. I put together an introduction to the three newest candidates for a Spokane Valley City Council seat - John Baldwin, Marilyn Cline and Lewis Higgins. The City Council also had quite the debate this week on whether to let voters decided the fate of the one-way stretch of Sprague.

Coming Thursday

We'll have another full Valley Voice for you tomorrow, including two stories on the upcoming November 2011 elections. Reporter Lisa Leinberger tackled the Liberty Lake City Council and school board candidates while I put together information on the Spokane Valley City Council and small town candidates. It looks like the Spokane County Elections Office may have to have some sort of special filing period, however. Several seats up for election did not draw a single candidate.

Spokane Valley pools are opening this weekend and Splash Down is already open (weather permitting). The Spokane Valley City Council discussed one-way Sprague during this week's council meeting. (You will have to wait until Saturday to read my report on the day-long budget reatreat held Tuesday.) Every spring we like to highlight several retiring school district employees and this is the week that those notable people will be recognized for their work.

More city council candidates file

It's turning into a free for all for the Spokane Valley City Council seat being vacated by councilman Bill Gothmann in November. Ben Wick had previously announced he was running for the seat. Today's he's been joined by longtime SCOPE volunteer John Baldwin, retired executive director of the International Association of Mine Safety Professionals Lewis Higgins and longtime Central Valley SCOPE volunteer Marilyn Cline.

That means that the only person running for City Council unopposed (so far) is newly appointed councilman Chuck Hafner. But that may change by the end of the day tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Election interest picking up

Here we are halfway through Thursday and a ton of new people have filed for various offices up for election in November. Yesterday morning the pickings were slim, but not any more. Two new people have filed to run for Spokane Valley City Council, both for the seat that will be vacated by Bill Gothmann. The first is a familiar name - John Baldwin. He's a longtime SCOPE volunteer who applied for both of the vacant seats on the City Council this year. The other person, Lewis Higgins, isn't familiar to me. We've also gotten some filings for the East Valley and West Valley school boards now and the Liberty Lake City Council is beginning to look like a horse race, with numerous people trying for the win. Check out the Spokane County Elections Office website here for a current list.

But there is a little problem. The deadline for the Saturday Valley Voice is today and the deadline for candidate filings is Friday at 4 p.m. So we'll have the stories on what candidates have filed for each seat in next Thursday's Valley Voice.  

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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.

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