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Spokane Valley blog

Posts tagged: Spokane River

Today’s highlights

Anthony Matthews, 30, an 11-year veteran of the Marine Corps and a student in Spokane Community College’s Natural Resources program, plants foliage to restore the south side of the Spokane River at Stateline on Friday. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

As we slide through our Thursday (nearly to Friday), lets take a look at some highlights from today's Valley Voice. I stopped by a Spokane River shoreline restoration project last week near Stateline and found volunteers industriously planting 800 trees, shrubs and other plants. In our rocky soil, that's no picnic. The project will help repair damage done by vehicles driving down to the water's edge to launch boats illegally.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in with the West Valley, East Valley and Central Valley school districts to check on student enrollment. Some numbers are lower than expected and others are higher. Central Valley is seeing a growth in high school students.

The Spokane Valley City Council approved a flat property tax for 2014 this week, though one council member argued that the city should consider taking the allowed 1 percent increase because of all the projects coming up.

Today’s highlights

East Valley Middle School student Max Thrasher, center, hands a rock to Avista biologist Tim Vore to help weigh down a plastic mesh box containing trout eggs Friday, in the Spokane River at Mirabeau. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Unfortunately it's not Friday yet, but it is Thursday and that means highlights from today's Valley Voice. A big crowd packed the Spokane Valley Library basement meeting room to give their input on what features should be included in the expansion of Balfour Park. The city purchased property across from the old University City Mall last year to expand the park and partner with the Spokane County Library District to place a new library branch there.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger caught up with East Valley Middle School students who are doing a unique science project in the Spokane River. They are placing trout eggs in the river to hatch. When they grow large enough they'll be relocated to Liberty Lake.

Lisa also has a follow up story on the famous crossing guard cat at Broadway Elementary School. The students call him Kudo, but it turns out that his name is really Uno. Uno the cat also has a history in Browne's Addition in Spokane, where he would invite himeself into apartments and receive gifts of tuna from his adoring fans.

Spokane River public access hearing tonight

This is just a reminder that the Spokane Valley Planning Commission is having a public hearing tonight on a draft public access plan for the Spokane River. The plan is part of the city's state-mandated update of its Shoreline Master Program. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague Ave.

Saturday’s highlights

Greenacres Elementary School science teacher, Shelly Mahn, works with fifth-grader Ian Rusbuldt during a physical and chemical changes assignment Friday. The school has received a second School of Distinction award from the Center for Educational Effectiveness. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Well, that was a nice bit of freezing rain we had this morning. It was coating my windshield faster than I could scrape it off. Now it's time to go over some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Nicole Hensley has a story on Greenacres Elementary School being named a School of Distinction for its improving test scores. The teachers use a new math curriculum and interactive whiteboards to help students learn.

The city of Spokane Valley hosted a public meeting to talk about the replacement of the west Sullivan Bridge. They also outlined several construction projects that will take place this spring and summer, including the expansion of Sullivan Park and the grind and overlay of Sullivan Road north of the Spokane River.

River access was also the topic of discussion at the Spokane Valley Planning Commission meeting last week. The commission is reviewing a draft public access plan that is part of the city's state-mandated update of its Shoreline Master Program.

A Spokane Valley Fire Department engine rear-ended on the freeway at the end of December has made the trip back to the factory to see if it is totalled or not. The impact crushed part of the back bumper, popped welded joints and cracked the truck body, but the condition of the frame is unknown. The engine cost about $500,000 when it was purchased several years ago.

Ruling stands: Coyote Rock docks are illegal

A dock sits below Coyote Rock development in May 2012 just after the Washington State Court of Appeals ruled that docks installed at the development were illegal. SR file photo

The Washington State Supremen Court has declined to review a Court of Appeals decision that ruled the two docks installed by a developer in the Coyote Rock development on the Spokane River are illegal. The appeals court said that shoreline exemptions can only be used by homeowners, not a developer building a spec home. This ends, for now at least, the long debate over the legaility of the docks. I'll keep an eye on what happens next. Look for a story on the issue in Friday's paper. 

Saturday’s highlights

Machines operated by Piersol Construction scrape dirt from the Flora Road landing along the Spokane River on Thursday. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

It's another sunny Monday morning, so enjoy the sun while we still have it. A look at the calendar shows that October is just around the corner. Meanwhile, we have some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has her first entry in the East Farms Diary. She will be spending time at the East Farms STEAM Magnet School in East Valley as it transitions from an elementary school and wrote about her first day in class. She gave blog readers a preview last week.

The Department of Ecology is working on several Spokane River beach cleanups to remove and/or cap sites contaminated by heavy metals flowing in from upstream. Right now they're working on Flora Road and a spot near Barker Road is next.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam reports that the city of Millwood made changes to its medical marijuana dispensary license rules. Correspondent Steve Christilaw spoke to 1962 Central Valley High School graduate Bob Keppel, who was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame for his achievements in track.

Spokane Valley beaches to be cleaned

Contaminated dirt from the north bank of the Spokane River near Harvard Road is removed by Able Cleanup Technologies to be disposed of at the Graham Road Landfill in 2008. SR file photo.

The Department of Ecology plans to clean up some beaches this summer in Spokane Valley, but they won't begin work until later in the summer when the Spokane River flow is low. Work has already been done in some areas to reduce heavy metals contamination, including at Harvard Road. Work this summer will take place at Barker Road on the north side of the river and on the south side of the river at Islands Lagoon, Myrtle Point and Flora Road. Click here for more details.

Sullivan Bridge taking center stage

The Spokane Valley City Council is looking at potential fixes of the southbound bridge of Sullivan Road. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Reporter Mike Prager has a story today on structurally deficient bridges, including the span over the Spokane River that carries southbound traffic on Sullivan Road. The bridge has been deteriorating for years and this year the city of Spokane Valley imposed weight restrictions to help prolong the life of the bridge until the city can get enough money to build a new one. The Spokane Valley City Council is scheduled to discuss an option during Tuesday's council meeting that would temporarily reinforce the bridge so the weight restrictions can be lifted.

Coyote Rock protest

On Sunday, rafters, kayakers and canoeists protest the proposal to build docks along the Spokane River. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Reporter Pia Hallenberg has a story in today's paper on Sunday's floating protest against proposed docks in the Coyote Rock development on the Spokane River. The docks are the subject of a couple of lawsuits. Environmentalists are worried about more boats on the river and the impact on native fish.

Click here for Pia's story and here for a previous story on the dock issue.

Coyote Rock docks still causing a fuss

Both docks in the Coyote Rocks development in Spokane Valley were damaged this spring from the rising waters of the Spokane River. SR file photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Outdoors writer Rich Landers has an interesting story in today's paper about the ongoing controversy surrounding 30 proposed docks at the Coyote Rock development on the Spokane River. So far there have been fines and a lawsuit. It looks like next week a formal challange will be heard by the Pollution Control Board. And on Sunday a protest rally/river float is planned at noon at Plantes Ferry Park, which is near the development. Read Rich's story for more details.

Saturday’s highlights

Spokane Valley kayaker Steve Bailey surfs the “Sullivan Hole” on the upper Spokane River on August 1, 2011. The wave is a Spokane low water play spot for whitewater enthusiasts. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

If you missed Saturday's Valley Voice you should go back and take a look. It's full of interesting news and stories this week. The picture in the middle of the front page of kayakers having fun on the Spokane River makes me want to run down, jump in and cool off. (My kingdom for a cold front!) Correspondent Steve Christilaw has an interesting story to go with the picture.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger wrote about the old East Trent Motor In sign that has found a new home at the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. She also stopped in at an open house held last week at Spokane Valley Partners to celebrate the receipt of some grant funds.

The developer of the Coyote Rocks development on the Spokane River near Plantes Ferry Park has hit a stumbling block. The Spokane Valley Hearing Examiner recently ruled that the developer must redo a preliminary plat map for a new section of the development to take into account a new ordinary high water mark set by the Department of Ecology.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam wrote that the Millwood City Council just approved a real estate exise tax on all home sales in its jurisdiction. Apparently it was the only city or town in the state that didn't already charge the tax, which is one-half of one percent of the selling price and is paid by the seller. The money will be used to fund capital improvement projects as well as maintenance and operation costs.

There's more to read, but we would be here all day if I listed it all. Check out the Voice page here.

Teen not missing in Spokane River after all

Last night the Spokane Valley Fire Department's swift water rescue team and the Spokane County Sheriff's Office helicopter spent hours scouring the Spokane River after a group of teens reported that a friend was missing after he fell in the river east of Harvard. The teen wasn't wearing a life vest and after hours of fruitless searching crews had to abandon the search when it got dark. But word has come this morning that the teen was safe at home the whole time. Click here for the report from this morning's paper and here for the update.

Upside down kayak reported in river

Spokane Valley Fire Department crews are responding to a report of an upside down kayak in the Spokane River just west of Harvard Road. I'll report more details as I hear them.

10:46 a.m. update: Emergency responders are in place at Harvard, Barker and Flora by the river, others are searching the shores.

10:58 a.m. update: An orange kayak has been spotted just over a mile east of Harvard Road. Firefighters will check the river all the way to Stateline to check for a person.

11:07 update: Members of the swift water rescue team are entering the river at Murray Road to do a search on the water.

11:12 update: A Sheriff's Deputy has told firefighters that he talked to the kayak's owner yesterday, so it doesn't appear that anyone is in the river. It sounds like firefighters will try to recover the kayak so no one else calls it in to 911 as a boater in trouble.

Saturday’s highlights

Ramon Alvarado Estrada and Frank Quates of Pointwest Landscape in Coeur d’Alene plant Ponderosa pines at the Spokane River access next to the Barker Bridge on May 12. The city of Spokane Valley regraded the site, and the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club provided $3,500 for improvements that included planting native trees, plants and shrubs. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

It was a good thing we had a few days of nice weather last week before the rain moved back in. It gave the City of Spokane Valley and the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club just enough time to make improvements to the Spokane River access next to the Barker Bridge. They had been waiting for good weather so soil didn't get washed into the river during the project. The city graded the slope and moved some bollards down closer to the water, while the group of river users planted grass, trees and other native vegetation.

That was just one of the stories in Saturday's Valley Voice that you may have missed. Reporter Lisa Leinberger also listened in on one of the meetings between parents and East Valley school board members about upcoming changes and how to make it easier for students. Lisa also has background information on Joanne Comer, who has been selected as the new principal of Liberty Lake Elementary School.

Meanwhile, the Spokane Valley Fire Department took advantage of the good weather to hold trench rescue training for firefighters. Of course, the training probably would have continued no matter what the weather, but doing it in the rain would have been miserable.

Here’s what you may have missed

Construction on the Barker Bridge has been completed for almost a year, but the contractor, Morgen and Oswood of Great Falls, has yet to clean up the storage site owned by the Spokane Valley Fire Department at the corner of Barker and Euclid. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak.

Before I do the highlights from the most recent Valley Voice on Saturday, I thought it might be helpful to post some quick hits on a few stories published in the Voice while I was driving for endless hours through Montana. (Lots of mountains. And cows.)

April 2: I had an update on changes to the planned Indiana Avenue extension project and details on the construction plans for Greenacres Park. There was also a story on efforts by the Spokane Valley Fire Department to get land they own at Barker and Euclid cleaned up after the Barker Bridge contractor has been using it for storage for years. Reporter Lisa Leinberger had a look at the first ever drama put on by students at Contract Based Education, a West Valley alternative high school.

April 7: In my absence Lisa Leinberger attended the Spokane Valley City Council and wrote about the votes to approve the improved Indiana Avenue extension project and the construction bid for Greenacres Park. The council also voted to add planning commissioner Arne Woodard to their ranks. Lisa also had another story on the East Valley bond (many people have probably already received their ballots).

The Sullivan Hole

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I've been writing a lot lately about the Indiana Avenue extension project and what impact, if any, that would have on the informal Centennial Trail trailhead where Mission Ave. dead ends at the Spokane River. I wandered out there last week and shot some video on my phone of Sullivan Hole, a popular kayaking feature just a little bit down the trail. That stretch of the river is very popular with kayakers and other boaters, which is one reason people have been so upset about any possible restriction in access. The good news is that the trailhead should remain the way it is and the Spokane Valley City Council even plans to discuss improving it. So enjoy the short video. You'll get an idea of what the river looks like there at high water and you can even hear the sound of rushing water.

A bright spot in a gray day

It's been mostly gray and dreary out there, so here's a look back at a bright Picture Perfect photo we published in the Valley Voice on November 4, 2007. Michele Nelson took this shot from the Centennial Trail between Barker and Flora Road.

Picture Perfect is a Spokane Valley scrapbook of people and events that we publish for free. If you would like to submit a photo to be published, send it to pictureperfect@spokesman.com. Please include the names and ages of everyone in the photo as well as information about where and when it was taken. Be sure to include your name and phone number so we can contact you if we need to.

Spokane Valley wildlife

Over the years Spokane Valley has become more and more urban. Sometimes we forget that there really is a lot of wildlife out there if we just look. Spokesman-Review photographer Jesse Tinsley spotted this beaver swimming in the Spokane River near the Barker Road bridge yestersday. Has anyone seen any signs of beaver activity in that area?

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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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