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Spokane Valley blog

Posts tagged: Central Valley

Saturday’s highlights

West Valley junior Jacque Swanson, left, and senior Linda Juitt have helped open Inspire, a clothing store for lower-income and budget-minded students. As a part of their Family, Career and Community Leaders of America program, they’ve opened the in-school store two days a week. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

School and city news dominated the Saturday Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger weighed in with a story on longtime Central Valley board member Cynthia McMullen, who has retired after 24 years. Lisa also met up with a few high school girls who have set up a store at West Valley High School called Inspire. The store is there to sell designer clothes for prices low enough that all students can afford them.

The Spokane Valley City Council had a lengthy discussion last week on the speed limit on Mission Ave. between Flora and Barker. No decision was made, but they did agree to move forward on a vote this month to consider whether the limit should be changed from 35 miles per hour. The council also heard a report on the Shoreline Management Program, which is currently stalled. A new plan must be approved by 2013.

In more school news, correspondent Steve Christilaw had a story about new West Valley High School wrestling coach Mike Bundy. Last year he was the assistant wrestling coach at Central Valley High School.

Fill the bus

It's an annual tradition to go grocery shopping the weekend before Thanksgiving and find Central Valley School District students there asking for food donations for their annual Fill the Bus food drive. Saturday is the seventh annual drive and 100 students are expected to be in position from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Students will be collecting turkeys, gravy, stuffing, canned vegetables, soups, peanut butter and more. The donations will be passed along to the Spokane Valley Partners Food Bank.

Participating stores include the Fred Meyer at Sullivan and Sprague, the Liberty Lake Safeway, the Safeway at Sprague and Evergreen, the Trading Company at Sprague and McDonald and the Albertson's on 32nd Ave. Click here for more details on which schools will be staffing each store.

Today’s highlights

Trail developer Mark Pinch stops to enjoy the view from the top of the 552-acre Saltese Uplands, an area of Liberty Lake that was recently purchased through Spokane County’s Conservation Futures program. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

One of the highlights in today's Valley Voice is a story by correspondent Jill Barville on the new Saltese Uplands natural area. Spokane County is working to buy the 552 acre property south of Liberty Lake off Henry Road as part of the Conservation Futures program. A trailhead will be built on Henry Road next year and hikers and bikers will be able to enjoy a network of seven miles of trails.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a report on enrollment in the Central Valley, West Valley, East Valley and Freeman school districts. Most of them have larger numbers of students, but enrollment at East Valley's Continuous Curriculum School took a huge jump. This week the Spokane Valley City Council debated the need for a facility to precess water and debris removed from the city's numerous drywells. A decision on whether to apply for a grant for the project will likely be made at the Nov. 15 council meeting.

Reporter Pia Hallenberg has a touching story on Libby McGrory, who has battled breast cancer four times. She recently participated in a 200-mile fundraising bike ride called the “Tour de Pink” in California.

Coming Thursday

The Valley crew has been hard at work this week getting everything ready for Thursday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in the local school districts (East Valley, West Valley, Central Valley and Freeman) to see how district enrollment is doing. We'll have a story on the new Saltese natural area and a report on Tuesday's Spokane Valley City Council meeting. There was a lengthy discussion on stormwater projects that are eligible for grant money. There were a bunch of other topics covered, but those will have to wait until Saturday's Valley Voice. Don't forget to pick up your paper in the morning to check out the stories.

Saturday’s highlights

Sheriff’s Deputy Craig Chamberlin hands out “Stickman Knows” tattoos, reflective stickers and wristbands at Otis Orchards Elementary School as a part of International Walk to School Day on Wednesday. The school has improved the safety of children walking and biking to school and being picked up by parents after school. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

The big news from Saturday's Valley Voice is University High School teacher Michael Cronin being put on paid administrative leave and sentenced to serve nearly a year in jail. I first wrote about him in 2009 after he was put on leave while the Central Valley School District investigated allegations that he had inappropriately touched a female student and a female staff member while allegedly drunk at school. His alcohol related arrests have continued to mount, which led to the jail time. There's also an update on the results of a state investigation into the 2009 allegations that was recently completed.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger went to University Elementary School last week to check out a new nutrition and cooking program being offered to students. She also has a bunch of school news in her Inside Our Schools column this week.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam attended last week's Millwood City Council meeting, where the council voted to move forward with two road construction projects. Grave Avenue and Laura Road will be widened and the intersection of Empire Ave. and Fowler Road will be improved.  

Saturday’s highlights

The newest roundabout in the Spokane Valley is at Flora Road and Mission Avenue. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

We managed to pack a lot of news into Saturday's Valley Voice. We looked into the growing popularity of roundabouts, which are popping up all over Spokane County. The city of Spokane Valley now has three.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger listened to the superintendents of four Spokane Valley school districts talk to the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce education committee about cuts they have made over the years because of reduced funding from the State. She also stopped by East Valley High School, which installed an automated external defribrillator last week.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department had a busy week with several arson fires and a major two-alarm fire at a medical building.  

Today’s highlights

Teacher Casey Lee demonstrates with a model mouth how to brush teeth after handing out toothbrushes to her ECEAP class at the Central Valley Early Learning Center on Monday. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

In today's Valley Voice is my story on Dick Behm, a longtime Spokane Valley businessman and civic activist who died this week. His funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Tuesday at Redeemer Lutheran.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in on Central Valley's Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) for low income children. The program is expanding in the face of increased demand. Reporter Pia Hallenberg talked to the organizers of a toilet paper drive. The project will collect the toilet paper for local shelters.

The Spokane East Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is having a Day of Service on Saturday. They have organized hundreds of volunteers to do work in three Spokane Valley Parks, two small pioneer cemeteries and some vacant land owned by Central Valley.

Today’s highlights

East Valley Athletic Director Joe Kostecka lays out Mountain View Lancer and East Valley Middle School Squires uniforms that will be sold during Friday’s sale. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

If you have fond memories of being a Mountain View Middle School Landers or East Valley Middle School Squires, now is your chance to own a piece of your history. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story in today's Valley Voice on the upcoming sale of old softball, cross country, westling, football and other uniforms. All students in the combined East Valley Middle School will become the Knights, so the district has no need for the old uniforms. They will be sold from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday at the middle school, 4920 N. Progress Road. The district will use the proceeds to buy new uniforms.

Lisa also has a story on newly approved agreements with the classified staff and principals unions in the Central Valley School District. Both groups have agreed to accept pay cuts after the state cut the amount given to school districts for their salaries.

There was a lengthy debate at this week's Spokane Valley City Council meeting on whether to fund a study to possibly create railroad quiet zones on two crossings on the Union Pacific line north of Trent and west of Millwood. The proposal was voted down, but not before a discussion on who has the authority to select the city's consultants that was touched off by councilman Arne Woodard presenting the council and staff with a brochure from a company in Texas he thought the city should do business with.

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.

Principal candidates to speak tonight

Right, then, where were we before I spent nearly 10 hours in Spokane Valley City Council meetings yesterday? The Central Valley School District is working to fill its last principal vacancy. Tonight a community forum will be held at the district's administration building, 19307 E. Cataldo, to introduce the finalists for principal of the Kindergarten Center. Former principal Joanne Comer was selected to be the new principal of Liberty Lake Elementary. The forum will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Each candidate will speak about his or her qualifications and answer questions from the audience. Those who attend the forum will have the chance to fill out written comment cards on the candidates, which will be used during the selection process.

Saturday’s highlights

The original historic metal gates to the Fairfield Cemetery, damaged in an ice storm two years ago, have been restored and will be rededicated in a Memorial Day ceremony, Mon., May 30, 2011. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak.

Well, I didn't manage to make it on the computer yesterday to post Saturday's Valley Voice links. What can I say. The weather was better than expected and we did some running around. Now then, on to the interesting stuff. There was a Memorial Day celebration yesterday in Fairfield and the historic 1895 gates were re-dedicated. The town of Millwood is getting ready to host the West Valley Days community event this weekend and it promises to be a lot of fun.

Correspondent Jill Barville talked with popular preschool teacher Diane Knowles on the eve of her retirement after 32 years in the classroom. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a report on the latest East Valley School District meeting held to discuss the changes coming up, including the closure of Mountain View Middle School and transferring students from Skyview Elementary. This week's education column by Lisa is also packed with news, including details on a new Central Valely elementary principal and which Central Valley board member has resigned.

Last week the Spokane Valley City Council had a long discussion on whether or not to accept a grant from the Department of Ecology to help pay for the city's work to update the Shoreline Master Program, which is required by state law. After the lengthy debate, the majority of the council voted to apply for the grant.

Today’s highlights

Teacher Bob McCaslin and his CV Kindergarten Center class show the hats they can wear during school recess, provided to them by doctors and staff from Advanced Dermatology, who came to the school May 3 to teach skin and sun safety. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

There's a whole bunch going on in today's Valley Voice, so sit back and get your mouse clicking finger warmed up. While many school districts are trying to deal with expected budget cuts, the Central Valley School District has announced it does not plan to lay any teachers off this year and will instead not replace people who are leaving the district. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has that story.

I have a report from this week's Spokane Valley City Council meeting, where council members selected a new planning commissioner and interviewed two council candidates. The Liberty Lake Police Department is reporting an increased crime rate for 2010, but the rate is still the lowest in Spokane County based on population. The Department is also moving forward on replacing two officers who recently resigned.

If you are looking for something to do this weekend Lisa has information on the annual Heritage Fair hosted by the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. The Liberty Lake Farmers Market and the Millwood Farmers Market are also setting up their tents for the season.

Meet the principal candidates tonight at Broadway Elementary

Broadway Elementary School principal Eileen Utecht is retiring after a 23 year career in the Central Valley School District. Tonight the district will bring the top candidates to replace her to the school for a community forum. Each candidate will speak about their qualifications and parents and community members can ask them questions. Those attending the forum can fill out written comment cards that will be considered during the selection process. So if you would like a look at who may be the next principal, head to the school at 11016 E. Broadway tonight from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Meet the principal candidates tonight in Liberty Lake

Liberty Lake Elementary School principal Linda Uphus is retiring after a 35 year career in education and the Central Valley School District is looking for a replacement. Tonight the community is invited to a “Meet the Principal Candidates” forum from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the school, located at 23606 E. Boone. The top two or three candidates to replace Uphus will be there to talk about themselves and take questions from parents and residents. Those attending will be asked to turn in written feedback on their impressions of the candidates, which the district will take into consideration when deciding who to appoint to the position. So head out to the school, shake a few hands, listen and ask questions.

Saturday’s highlights

Horizon Middle School eighth-grader Lucas Fitzsimmons, left, gets help separating leftover food waste and soiled paper from garbage, as part of the Central Valley School District’s cafeteria composting program. Assisting him, from right, are eighth-grade leadership students Colby Potts, Emma Kennedy and Scott McKinley. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Here we are on another lovely Monday morning. Well, it will be lovely after the morning coffee kicks in. So now is the perfect time to take a look at what was published in Saturday's Valley Voice. The kids at Horizon Middle School stepped up to launch a new composting program that will be used by the entire Central Valley district by the end of the school year. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has the story and we also have a catchy rap tune performed by students to go with it. Just beware - you might find yourself singing it later.

Lisa also has information on the four finalists for the Freeman superintendent position. They are: Cheney High School principal Thomas Gresch, Liberty School District superintendent Bill Motsenbocker, Coeur d'Alene High School Principal Randy Russell and Mead School District executive director of human services Kelly Shea.

I've also got a look at what additions the Spokane Valley City Council is considering to go along with the Broadway Avenue Safety Project, including resurfacing part of Broadway and improving drainage in an area that floods during storms. The council also discussed the comprehensive plan amendment that would eliminate the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan. It became clear during their discussion that only councilman Bill Gothmann favors keeping SARP.

Coming on Saturday

Don't you just love Fridays? Not only is it the last day of the work week (for most people), but it's also the day before the Valley Voice comes out. There will be some great stuff in the Voice tomorrow. I'll have part two of the report from this week's Spokane Valley City Council meeting. This part will cover discussions on improvements to Broadway Avenue and the comprehensive plan amendment that would repeal the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger is on top of the school news, as usual. She did a story on Central Valley's new composting program that was begun by students at Horizon Middle School. Her education column will also have the names of the four finalists being considered for the superintendent position at the Freeman School District. The community will have a chance to meet the candidates themselves at 6:15 p.m. Monday in the Freeman Middle School gym. 

Thursday’s highlights

Greenacres Middle School students jam the seventh-grade hallway at 10:10 a.m. Tuesday as they pass between classes. The school is at maximum capacity with 756 students. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Take a look at today's Valley Voice for news on what is happening in the Spokane Valley area. We've got a little bit of everything today - schools, fire department and the city council.

Since the Central Valley School District bond failed, the natural question that comes up is “Now what?” Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to Superintendent Ben Small, who is considering his options and plans to make recommendations to the school board at the March 14 meeting.

Anthony W. Sotin, who was arrested last month on two counts of arson and one count of wire fraud, was in Federal court this week to accept a plea deal that has him pleading guilty to two arson charges in exchange for a reduced sentence of 10 years in prison.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department has been reducing their response times and plans to reduce them even more in the next five years. They've got several different options they're looking at to accomplish this. And the Spokane Valley City Council discussed concerns over the process to update the city's Shoreline Master Program, which the city inherited from Spokane County when it incorporated.

Coming Thursday

We've been working hard on Thursday's Valley Voice for the last couple of days, so here's a preview of what you'll find tomorrow. Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to the Central Valley School District about what is next now that the bond has failed at the polls. The district has been struggling with overcrowding and old buildings.

Response times are trending down at the Spokane Valley Fire Department and they are looking at what they can do to reduce them further over the next five years. It's all part of the accreditation process the department is going through and if they're successful they'll be the first department in Eastern Washington to be accredited. There are only six in Western Washington out of a total of 200 worldwide.

Also this week suspected arsonist Anthony W. Sotin was in Federal Court to plead guilty to two arson charges. He was arrested last month and indicted by a Federal grand jury.

Bits and pieces

There was some excitement after I left work last night. An armed man robbed the Dollar Tree store at 9211 E. Montgomery at 7:20 p.m. Witnessess said they saw him loitering around the front of the store for quite some time before he did the deed. Click here for more information, including a description.  

Reporter Jody Lawrence-Turner has a story today on why the local bonds failed, including one for the Central Valley School District. Theories include the economy and vote by mail. See more from Central Valley Superintendent Ben Small here.

Packed planning commission meeting tomorrow

I'm back at the keyboard after a long day spent with the Spokane Valley City Council in various meetings yesterday. You'll see my story on the regular city council meeting in Thursday's Valley Voice and the story on the council retreat will be in on Saturday.

For those of you that haven't checked the paper yet, some people in Central Valley are unhappy today after yesterday's bond election failed. Several reporters, including the Valley's own Lisa Leinberger, collaborated on a story in today's paper on the various bond and levy elections.

Now then, on to business. The Spokane Valley Planning Comission is meeting tomorrow night at 6 p.m. in City Hall (11707 E. Sprague) and the agenda is packed with items that may draw some interest. There will be more discussion on adult retail entertainment plus a public hearing on possible changes to the city code regarding the keeping of chickens. There will also be a study session on the annual Comprehensive Plan amendments. The comp plan can only be amended once a year and this year the entire Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan is up for elimination.

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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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