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Spokane Valley blog

Posts tagged: Liberty Lake Police Department

Saturday’s highlights

A group of middle schoolers sign University of Minnesota Duluth cross country runner Sam River’s arm after she signed notebooks and posters for them on Thursday at Pasadena Park Elementary School in Spokane Valley. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Happy Monday before Thanksgiving, everyone. Let's mark the beginning of what is a short work week for most people with a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Pasadena Park Elementary last week when the students received a visit from about 80 athletes in town for the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships. The kids appeared to be inspired by the visit and topped off the experience by running around the playground with the visiting athletes.

Kids and kids at heart will be disappointed to learn that this year's Spokane Valley Christmas tree lighting has been cancelled. The annual event is run by the Spokane Valley Rotary. The tree was damaged last year and after the person in charge of organizing the event moved away suddenly the tree was not fixed in time. The club president promises that the tradition will be back up and running next year, however.

Despite the ongoing angst in some cities about the use of police body cameras, the city of Liberty Lake just approved a new contract with its police officers that requires the use of body cameras. Six people in the 10 man department have been wearing the cameras on a voluntary basis for several months and the footage they recorded has already proven itself useful many times.

Today’s highlights

The shoreline reinforcement project at a Newman Lake cabin stops the shore from disappearing under it, as seen Tuesday. The Spokane County Conservation District secured a grant to lay “bio logs” of coconut husks wrapped in netting and plant willow trees and other waterside species to create a root matrix that will stabilize the shoreline. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

There are some good stories in today's Valley Voice on everything from erosion control to an entry in the East Farms Diary. A property owner on Newman Lake has teamed up with the Spokane County Conservation District for an erosion control project on their shrinking beach. The addition of power boats to the lake has led to larger wakes, which has washed away 30 feet of beach in the last 15 years.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger spent the day at East Farms STEAM Magnet School recently as students made presentations on projects they have been working on this trimester. Their efforts ranged from watermelon plants to a helicopter mockup.

Half of the Liberty Lake Police Department is now wearing body cameras and recording all their interactions with the public. Wearing the cameras is voluntary and five members of the department have signed on, including the police chief.

The Spokane Valley City Council doesn't seem very happy with changes to the lodging tax rules. A new state law removes the final decision making on who is awarded money and how much from the city council and gives it to the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee. The council has no power to change the awards set by the committee.

Today’s highlights

Taylor Gatts, a University High School senior, launched a nonprofit organization – Kids Against Cancer – for her culminating senior project. Gatts has been raising funds for children’s cancer research, working with children with cancer and even shaved her head to donate her hair to Locks of Love. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Today is Thursday, which means it is time for another round of Valley Voice highlights. Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to University High School senior Taylor Gatts about the Kids Against Cancer nonprofit organization that she founded as her senior culminating project. She even shaved her head to donate her hair to Locks of Love to show support for children with cancer.

Children's Book Bank organizer Mike Frucci was recognized by Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey with a community recognition award this week. The book bank donates new and used books to children under the age of six in the Spokane area.

There is a group of women at the Broadway Court Estates independent living center that have been meeting at least once a week to create prayer shawls for a local ministry. They turned out 32 shawls in the first two months. They seem to be having a good time while they do it, laughing and joking while their hands work.

A man being arrested by a Liberty Lake Police officer tried the popular “Officer, these aren't my pants” defense when suspected oxycontin and drug paraphernalia were found in his pockets. He was apparently unable to identify the true owner of the pants, however.

Today’s highlights

Washington State Patrol trooper Jon McKee, left, and Airway Heights police officer Mike Suniga haul their cold bodies out of Liberty Lake on Feb. 22 after taking their 16th polar plunge of the day in support of Special Olympics Washington. SR photo/Dan Pelle

There's a bunch of great stuff in today's Valley Voice. We'll start with a small group of people freezing for the cause - 10 super plungers who dipped into chilly Liberty Lake 24 times in one day to raise money for Special Olympics. One of those plungers was Liberty Lake Police Chief Brian Asmus, who raised more than $4,000.

Reporter Nicole Hensley has a story on a group of Centennial Middle School students getting ready to participate in the Inland Northwest Regional Science Bowl. They will answer knowledge questions and have a small car they built haul around a load of salt.

The Spokane Valley City Council had a day-long winter retreat Tuesday and one of the topics of discussion was the lodging tax. They discussed bills governing the lodging tax making their way through the state legislature and whether the city should change the procedure it uses to award the funds.

As for this story out of Liberty Lake, the headline says it all: “Broken-down car stolen by tow truck.” Talk about an unusual theft report.

Today’s highlights

Liberty Lake Police Officer Jeff Jones. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Another Thursday means more Valley Voice highlights to look over. The Spokane Valley City Council had to turn to a coin toss this week in selecting a new council member after three tie votes. Rod Higgins, who has served on the city's planning commission for the last year, won the toss and was sworn in as the newest council member.

There's a new police officer on patrol in Liberty Lake. Officer Jeff Jones joined the police department in January after working as a Pend Oreille County sheriff's deputy for eight years. He's adjusting to a busier pace and a much shorter distance between calls.

Reporter Nicole Hensley has a story on a flyer the Citizens for Responsible Taxation has sent out opposing the East Valley School District bond. The school district says the information on the flyer is incorrect. The group has opposed school bonds and levys throughout the county in recent years.

Saturday’s highlights

A kitten cries for attention after a staffer at SCRAPS placed adoption papers and a pet license on its cage Tuesday. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

What is it about Monday mornings and fresh snow? Mondays also mean highlights from the Saturday Valley Voice, so here we go. Reporter Nicole Hensley has a story with some details about upcoming changes at SCRAPS as well as a look back at the organization's history. Can you guess what the most popular cat name is?

The Ambulance Service Board, which includes the Spokane Valley Fire Department as well as most fire departments and districts in Spokane County, has negotiated a contract extension with AMR that includes a $100 reduction in the base cost of an ambulance trip starting in February.

A Liberty Lake Police Officer had an interesting day last week when a fleeing suspect rammed his patrol car. The officer was unhurt, but the brand new police car was damaged. The suspect was arrested the next day in Spokane.

Nicole also has a story on a group of pickleball players that are looking for new blood. The majority of the players are seniors, but all ages are welcome.

Today’s highlights

Role call: Shauna Cozza, 7, gives a humorous monologue about the existence of fairies Monday as she auditions for a part in the upcoming Theater Arts for Children production of “The Three Musketeers,” at the TAC headquarters in Spokane Valley. TAC will host a silent auction and buffet Saturday. The Star Tacs, the theater’s improv group, will perform. Tickets for the fundraiser are $30 per person or $50 per couple and are available by calling (509) 995-6718 or by sending an email to email@theaterartsforchildren.org. The theater is at 2114 N. Pines Road, Suite 3S. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

I'm not sure where the morning went. I was so busy working on stories for Saturday's Valley Voice I forgot to write up some highlights from today's Valley Voice. I blame the sleep deprivation.

The Spokane Valley City Council voted this week to approve a 20-year contract with the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) for animal control services. City staff said the county hopes to have a new regional shelter complete by the beginning of 2014. The city of Spokane is expected to vote on a contract with SCRAPS later this month.

New Valley Voice reporter Nicole Hensley has a story on the crud going around local schools that is resulting in a high number of absences. There's been a short term reporting change in the newsroom and Nicole will be working for the Valley Voice for a couple months while Lisa Leinberger tries her hand at the night cops beat.

It seems as though New Year's Eve and New Years Day were busy for local law enforcement and the city of Liberty Lake is no different. Officers there responded to quite a few calls on New Year's Day, ranging from a bar brawl to a 13-year-old boy arrested for assaulting his mother.

New police cars on the street

The Liberty Lake Police Department recently took delivery of three new police cars to replace some of its aging fleet. But people adept at spotting the unique profile of a Crown Victoria police car from blocks away will have to retrain their eye. The new cars are not Crown Vics, which aren't being made anymore, but are Ford Police Interceptors. The one I took a picture of this week doesn't have a light bar on top. The cars boast all wheel drive, which the old ones didn't have, and get better gas mileage. Police Chief Brian Asmus said his officers should have a much easier time getting around town in the snow this winter. Photo by Nina Culver

Saturday’s highlights

Farmer Robin Jons hands customer Dawson Smith, 5, a pumpkin he just bought Wednesday, at AC Starr Farms. The Otis Orchards farm will present its annual Pumpkins for Pets Fall Festival, a fundraiser for Partners for Pets in Spokane Valley and River City Pet Rescue in Post Falls. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Ah, Monday. How we've missed you. Of course, Monday means it's time to take a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. There is some new landscaping going in near Discovery Playground and Centerplace. The spot will also include two small picnic shelters that can be reserved for birthday parties or just family picnic.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger wrote a story about the Pumpkins for Pets festival at AC Starr Farms. The annual event, which benefits two local pet rescue organizations, includes hayrides, a corn maze, face painting and more. Pets are invited to attend as well.

Lisa also has a story on mock elections at West Valley. All the high school students are learning about the candidates for local, state and federal candidates before they hold a mock election at the end of the month. They've been asking pointed questions of candidates who have come to speak to them.

The Liberty Lake Police Department is joining a new domestic violence program being spearheaded by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. The new Lethality Assessment Program is designed to get domestic violence victims the help they need immediately instead of officers just handing out a brochure with phone numbers. The new program will be used in Spokane Valley as well.

Today’s highlights

Remembering the fallen, looking toward the future: The Spokane Valley Fire Department continued its tradition Tuesday of honoring the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by dedicating buildings under construction. Members of the Spokane Valley Fire Department honor guard, including, from left, Greg Bennett, fire inspector, Dave Vegele, engineer/paramedic, and Michael Fields, firefighter, participated in Tuesday morning’s flag raising at Station 6. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

There's a bunch of news packed into today's Valley Voice. Local 876 of the International Association of Fire Fighters has filed a challenge to the voter registration of Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioner Monte Nesbitt. Nesbitt, who has announced he will resign at the end of the year, said he now lives in Cheney but remains registered to vote in Spokane Valley.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has some student numbers for the Central Valley School District, which has a lot more students in the classrooms than it expected. They've had to get a little creative at some schools to handle it. The Spokane Valley City Council had another review of the proposed 2013 budget and expressed some hestitation about some changes, including how street preservation is funded and how much of an ending fund balance to have.

A thief in Liberty Lake who went as far as removing tires and wheels in preparation for making off with them apparently changed his or her mind and left them behind, along with a message written in dust on a car window. The thief was uncommonly organized and tidy.

Saturday’s highlights

Police Officer Kevin Schmeckpeper rides down stairs while practicing bike handling techniques at the skate park in Pavillion Park in Liberty Lake May 15. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

We are a day late doing the Saturday Valley Voice highlights because of the holiday, but they say some things get better with age, right? Yes, I think I'll go with that. Reporter Lisa Leinberger had a story on Central Valley High School students who got the opportunity to chat with scientists who are simulating manned missions to Mars.

The Spokane Valley City Council had a bit of a wild meeting last week while they were debating a controversial zone change request that would allow high density housing on a chunk of land surrounded by single family homes. They decided to hold off on a final vote, though they did approve all the other zone change requests submitted as part of the annual comprehensive plan amendments.

Genesis Church has a new home. The church, founded in 2010, is now leasing the old Good Shepherd Lutheran Church across from Central Valley High School. A trio of Liberty Lake police officers recently completed special training before they head out on bicycle patrol.

Today’s highlights

Teacher Robbie Robinson, second from left, stands in a greenhouse with Harmony High School students, from left, Satieva Ankey, Josh Armstrong, Chris Kinyon, Cody Buchanan and Franki Turner. SR pohto/Dan Pelle

We have a ton of good stuff to highlight in today's Valley Voice, so much that I'm not sure I can include it all without making this the mother of all blog posts. So, here we go. Spokane County is looking at a building on East Trent as a possible home for a new regional animal shelter, but first the county commissioners have to convince Spokane and Spokane Valley to go along with the plan and open their pocketbooks to pay for it.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped in at Harmony High School to look at a new product the students are making and selling called Harmony Hot Peppers. It's a mix of dried, ground hot peppers that I hear really clears your sinuses. The students built their own greenhouse to grow the peppers for the mix.

The Spokane Valley City Council spent some time Tuesday with the planning commission and a pair of Seattle land use attorneys to discuss the city's Shoreline Master Program, which has to be updated by the end of 2013. The Liberty Lake City Council heard a request for more money from the Liberty Lake Library to hire staff, but spent a lot of time discussing where the money might come from.

Also in Liberty Lake, police have identified two suspects in a recent string of vehicle prowls, but no arrests have been made yet. There's a partial list of possible stolen property included with the story.

If you are looking for a chuckle (and a clever headline), check out correspondent Cindy Hval's story on the celebration of her cats' birthdays. The cat pictured with the story looks less than thrilled about his birthday attire.

Saturday’s highlights

Liberty Lake Police Officer Mike Bogenreif shows the body camera he used during his shift Jan. 27. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

We had some great stories for you in Saturday's Valley Voice, so here's your chance to check them out if you missed them Saturday. The Liberty Lake Police Department is investigating getting body cameras for its patrol officers. The department spent the last month testing the cameras and were pleased with the results. The story includes videos of two traffic stops recorded by an officer wearing the camera.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to University Elementary School teacher Linda Honn, who will be inducted into the Washington Music Educators Assocation's Hall of Fame. She has been teaching for 29 years and helped develop the elementary music program for the Central Valley School District.

Last week the Spokane Valley City Council debated whether to add railroad quiet zones to the 2012 budget along with a gateway sign at Appleway and Thierman and a swale project on the west end of Sprague Avenue. In a divided vote, the council decided to remove the quiet zones from the list over concerns about the cost.

Also last week the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee met to discuss the second round of funding requests for 2012. The committee's funding recommendations to the city council raised some controversy last year when they didn't recommend funding for Valleyfest. During last week's discussion only two of the five committee members favored granting any funding to Valleyfest. Instead they recommended giving almost all the money the city has available to the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. It will be up to the city council, however, to decide what groups are funded and with how much.

Today’s highlights

Troy Robertson, a 1979 Central Valley High School graduate, is on the upcoming season of the CBS hit show “Survivor.” Photo courtesy Troy Robertson

There are several really cool stories in today's Valley Voice for your reading pleasure. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has information on the Fab 14 - the 14 area high school seniors competing to be this year's Lilac queen and princesses. There are some Valley girls in the bunch - Hannah Allen of University High School, Syndee Scofield of Central Valley High School and Hailey Ann Murray of West Valley High School.

Reporter Pia Hallenberg has a story on 1979 Central Valley High School graduate Troy Robertson, who is being featured in the new season of “Survivor.” The new season begins on Feb. 15 on CBS. The Spokane Valley Fire Department recently released information on 2011 response times. The department met the standard for almost every type of call. I also have a little more information on last week's armed robbery arrest in Liberty Lake.

Armed robbery next to Liberty Lake police station

As it turns out, if you rob a place next door to the police station, it really doesn't take police long to arrive at all.

A man armed with a rifle reportedly locked an employee and resident of Guardian Angel Homes in Liberty Lake in a room after stealing a bag of narcotics at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. The assisted living facility is located across the street from the Liberty Lake Police Department.

Liberty Lake police officer Mike Thomas and two Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies responded within one minute, according to a press release from Police Chief Brian Asmus. They spotted a man walking in a field nearby and saw him throw something under a parked car, Asmus said. The man, identified as 28-year-old Timothy J. Martinez of Spokane, was quickly arrested. A bag of medication and what appeared to be an assault rifle with a laser sight was found under the car. The rifle turned out to be an Airsoft Rifle that had been modified to look more realistic, Asmus said.

Click here for more details.

Today’s highlights

A volunteer assesses Kole LeGrant’s reading skills at Central Valley Kindergarten Center on Monday. SR photo/Kathy Plonka

Happy chilly Thursday morning, everyone. Today's Valley Voice is full of good stories to keep you occupied as you sip that morning cup of coffee. The city of Spokane Valley may be considering entering a partnership with the Spokane County Library District to buy 8 acres of vacant land that could be used to build a new Spokane Valley library branch and expand a nearby city park. The land, located at Sprague and Herald, is owned by the Pring Corporation. The company is refusing to split up the land and the district only needs four acres for its project.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on retired teachers and educators who volunteer three times a year to administer reading assessment tests to students at the Central Valley Kindergarten Center. The Liberty Lake Police Department has plans to test a personal video camera over the next month. The small camera attaches to the officer's shirt and records audio and video. The department is considering outfitting all its officers with the cameras if the test goes well.

Correspondent Cindy Hval has a touching Front Porch column that any parent of older children can identify with. Children grow up, move out and move on, leaving the parent in their car clutching the keys and wondering why it's so quiet all of the sudden.

Human remains identified

The skeletal remains found near Henry Road in Liberty Lake Saturday by a dog walker have been identified as Greenacres resident Christopher R. Milam, 51.
Milam was reported missing by his wife on April 23. She told police they had argued the previous day and Milam walked away while she slept, according to a May press release from the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. She reported that he had been drinking and she hid all the car keys so he could not drive, the release said.
The couple had recently moved to the 19800 block of East First Court from Texas. An autopsy showed that Milam died of a single gunshot wound to the chest and police found a gun near the body. The death is still under investigation, said Liberty Lake Police Chief Brian Asmus. “We are not ruling it a suicide yet,” he said.
Investigators are still checking the gun and will be speaking with family members, Asmus said.  

Human remains found in Liberty Lake

A man walking his dogs stumbled on a human skeleton Saturday in the 20000 block of Henry Road in Liberty Lake. The clothed skeleton was partially hidden by rocks and brush and a semiautomatic pistol was found nearby, Police Chief Brian Asmus said.

The deceased man has not been identified. An autopsy showed the cause of death as a single gunshot wound to the chest, Asmus said. Click here for more details.

Today’s highlights

Central Valley sophomore Madie Laws, left, and junior Meaghan Schmidt, right, react as teacher Bill Plesek places a beef heart on a dissecting tray. School districts throughout the region are kicking off a new career and technical program focusing on biomedicine and other scientific areas through a program called Project Lead the Way. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

A recent class at Central Valley High School was not for the faint of heart, since students were dissecting beef hearts. The class is part of a new program to introduce students to science, technology, engineering and math called Project Lead the Way featured in a story in today's Valley Voice by reporter Lisa Leinberger.

The Spokane Valley City Council voted in a split decision to make the speed limit on Indiana east of Sullivan 35 miles per hour as far as the newly completed one-way couplet, which will now have a lower speed limit of 30 mph.

Lisa has another interesting story on early settler Stephen Liberty, who was recently honored with a monument at the new Liberty Lake Arboretum. In other Liberty Lake news, police responded to several shoplifting calls last week.

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.

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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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