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Spokane Valley blog

Posts tagged: Bill Bates

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.

Today’s highlights

Six-year old Shain Cothren of Suncrest holds a homing pigeon Sunday that will fly to the North Pole to deliver his Christmas wish list (attached to the right leg) to Santa Claus. He asked for a monster house and a Transformer. SR photo/Bart Rayniak

We’ve got a busy Valley Voice today, so grab a cup of coffee and get settled in. A new Christmas tree lot at Pines and Mansfield is offering a unique perk. Kids can send their letters to Santa at the North Pole via homing pigeon, which has apparently been a big hit. Readers following the exploits of “Chicken” can read an update by correspondent Stefanie Pettit on how well the bird is settling into her new home. 

This week the Spokane Valley city council voted by a slim majority to name Bill Bates, the half-brother of the mayor, to the city’s planning commission despite protests from some council members that it appears to be a conflict of interest. Things are looking a little less dire in Liberty Lake than they were last week. The city council there held a special budget meeting this week and voted on how to allocate an extra $140,000 in income to alleviate cuts previously proposed.

Liberty Lake police have made arrests in a long string of garage burglaries and vehicle prowls. They’ve also had a break in multiple thefts of flat screen televisions from RV’s. The Spokane Valley Planning Commission met to discussed a proposed emergency ordinance to remove the City Center zone from the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan. The majority voted to recommend that the city council reject the amendment, but it doesn’t end there. The issue will be considered by the council at the Jan. 4 meeting.

Saturday’s highlights

Pasadena Park Elementary volunteer Cheri Reed helps third-grader Grace Peters find the perfect gift for her family at the Scholar Dollar Christmas store, which she organizes. SR photo/Bart Rayniak

Now that we’re all up on this fine Monday morning and on our first (or second) cup of coffee, it’s time to take a look at some highlights from Saturday’s Valley Voice in case you missed it. Spokane Valley Fire is heading up a new ambulance contract that includes nearly every fire department and district in the county. Response times are down and some tweaks are being made to the contract to make it better.

A volunteer grandma at Pasadena Park Elementary spends her December running the Scholar Dollar store for children who have earned points by reading. They can spend their points on Christmas gifts. Spokane Valley Partners is not having a Season of Sharing this year due to budget cuts.

An audit of 2009 records shows no problems for the City of Spokane Valley, according to auditors. However, the city is dealing with a criminal case against a former employee for theft of city money. Millwood residents will see increases in their water and sewer rates beginning Jan. 1. And at Tuesday’s Spokane Valley council meeting, deputy mayor Gary Schimmels will recommend that the council appoint the mayor’s half-brother to the planning commission.

What’s on tap

There are some interesting meetings coming up next week. The Spokane Valley City Council will meet at its usual time at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague. There are several proposed motions on the agenda, including approval of several street maintenance contracts. The council will also vote on the purchase of broadcasting equipment and changes to the Spokane County Jail and Gieger interlocal agreements.

But the votes that might generate the most discussion are the ones to dole out lodging tax money to local organizations and the selection of two new planning commission members. Deputy Mayor Gary Schimmels has recommended that one of those new members be Bill Bates, the mayor’s half brother. Click here for my story on the issue.

The City of Liberty Lake has scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 22710 E. Country Vista Drive, to discuss the 2011 budget. Recent discussions on the budget have been somewhat heated and this week one council member got up and walked out of the meeting in frustration. Proposals to cut library hours and shut the golf course down for the winter have been generating most of the angst. The council must pass the budget by the end of the year. 

Mayor’s brother picked for planning commission

Spokane Valley Deputy Mayor Gary Schimmels is recommending that Bill Bates, mayor Tom Towey’s half-brother, be appointed to one of the two vacant seats on the planning commission. Bates retired from Rosauer’s as vice president of retail operations for 26 stores. Schimmels is recommending that the second seat go to Joseph Stoy, a design manager at Baker Construction and Development. The full city council is scheduled to vote on Schimmels’ recommendation during the Dec. 14 council meeting.

In interviews this week both Towey and Bates said they did not think it would be a conflict of interest if Bates is selected for the unpaid position.

 

Today’s highlights

For 22 years, Santa has stood proudly in the parking lot at the White Elephant store on East Sprague Avenue in the Spokane Valley waving at passerby. The 13-foot tall statue once graced the windows of The Crescent department store in downtown Spokane. SR photo/Bart Rayniak.

There is a lot of Valley news to read today in the paper, so here’s the lineup. Budget discussions in Liberty Lake have been so contentious that a council member walked out of this week’s council meeting in frustration. One of the candidates for two vacant Spokane Valley Planning Commission seats is the half-brother of Mayor Tom Towey, but neither think his involvement is a conflict of interest. The mayor has recused himself from the appointment process, which will be handled by Deputy Mayor Gary Schimmels.

Students at Otis Orchards Elementary are being exposed to art, theater, sports and martial arts thanks to a new after school program known as the Orchard Project. Correspondent Stefanie Pettit has a regular Landmarks feature that examines various local historic and iconic sites. This week she writes about the Santa at the White Elephant store that used to be on display at The Crescent department store.

In other Spokane Valley news, a Montana fugitive was arrested by police late Tuesday night. He led police on a chase before hitting a snow berm.

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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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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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