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Spokane Valley blog

Posts tagged: University High School

Saturday’s highlights

Chris Sheppard dons only one costume on Halloween, a robe, crown and sweatshirt reading “Queen of Halloween.” Indeed, her house dominates the neighborhood, with hundreds of whimsical items for the holiday. Sheppard is shown at her home on Bettman Road in Spokane Valley, on Wednesday. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Saturday's Valley Voice was packed full of stories (and quite a few election advertisements), so lets get right to the highlights. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by the home of the Queen of Halloween, aka Chris Sheppard. Her home turns into a festival of the orange and spooky every year and this year is no different. She starts decorating the inside of her home in August but waits until September to start putting in the skeleton crawling out of its grave in the yard.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw has a story on the University High School girls soccer team, which is rallying after losing one of its star players in a car crash recently. The team had a small ceremony at their recent home game. The Spokane Valley Lodging Tax Advisory Commission recently met to make recommendations for 2014 funding to agencies that promote tourism.

We also had a ton of election coverage Saturday since ballots have now been delivered. Correspondent Valerie Putnam tackled the Millwood Mayor race between Kevin Freeman and Dennis Hamlin while Lisa covered the East Valley School District school board and Liberty Lake City Council. There was also a candidate forum last week featuring those running for Spokane Valley City Council.

Saturday’s highlights

McKenzie Mott's jersey was retired during an assembly held in honor of her and fellow classmate Josie Freier at University High School on Friday. The two were killed in a car accident on Saturday, October 5, 2013. SR photo/Kathy Plonka

It's Monday again. Monday seems to come around much too quickly, but at least it means we have a Saturday Valley Voice to go over. This weekend correspondent Jill Barville wrote a column based on her perspective as a parent with a student at University High School, where students are struggling to cope with the death of two students killed in a car accident. An assembly was heldto remember Josie Freier and McKenzie Mott on Friday and hundreds of toys were collected in their honor for the Toys for Tots charity.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by North Pines Middle School for a seventh-grade class that was studying the laws of motion. They were running experiments to learn whether balls of the same size but different weight behaved differently when rolled down a ramp.

Spokane Valley City Council incumbent Gary Schimmels and challenger Ed Pace answered some questions about their views on Spokane Valley issues. Ballots will be mailed this week and this story is one of a series featuring City Council candidates.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a report from Millwood, where the city councilvoted to accept a loan to fund a water line replacement project. Residents have also reported increased vandalism and Mayor Dan Mork indidated he would ask for extra police patrols.

A mountain of toys

The gym floor was covered with donated toys during an assembly in honor of McKenzie Mott and Josie Freier at University High School on Friday, October 11, 2013. Mott and Freier were killed in a car accident Saturday October 5, 2013. SR photo/Kathy Plonka

This morning photographer Kathly Plonka stopped by an assembly at University High School held in honor of Josie Freier and McKenzie Mott, two students killed in a car accident over the weekend. This week the CV schools have been collecting toys for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots charity in their honor and it looks like students have collected a ton of them. If you'd like to donate, you can still bring new toys to any Spokane Valley Fire Department fire station. Click here for more photos.

Funerals set for crash victims

Funerals have been scheduled for McKenzie Mott, 15, and Josie Freier, 15, who were both killed in a car accident on Bates Road on Saturday. Both were students at University HIgh School. The funeral for Freier will be at 1 p.m. Friday at Valley Fourth Memorial Church, 2303 S. Bowdish Road. Mott's funeral will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 3606 S. Schafer Road.

Saturday’s highlights

Instructor Adam Smith teaches karate to autistic students, left to right, Tessa Merritt, 17, Matthew Pretz, 17, and Paul McKinley, 18, at Tazmanian Martial Arts in Spokane Valley on Tuesday. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Welcome to fall, everyone. Let's ring in the brisk weather by checking out some highlighs from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on University High School math teacher Mike Conklin, who was recently nominated for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. There have only been five previous winners of the award in the Spokane area.

The Spokane County Library District is in the final stages of deciding whether to put a bond on the ballot in April to build two new libraries in Spokane Valley. The bond, if approved, would build a new Spokane Valley Library and a new neighborhood library on Conklin Road. The board of trustees is scheduled to vote on the issue in October.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam wrote about a special needs class offered at Tazmanian Martial Arts. Students gain self confidence along with better balance, strength and coordination. Lisa also has information on a free vaccination clinic for children that will be offered Tuesday at North Pines Middle School.

The fall elections are fast approaching, so we fact checked some claims made by Ed Pace about his opponent, incumbent Gary Schimmels. A check of Schimmels' voting record show that some of the claims are true, but others are false or only partly true.

Today’s highlights

Rustin Hall and his son Joseph unfold the wing structure of the 24-foot, 75-pound dragon they built for the University High School drama department production of “Shrek.” SR photo/Dan Pelle

Now that I have finally found my copy of today's Valley Voice that was sitting right in front of me on my desk, I can go over some highlights. (Don't ask. It's one of those days.) Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a cool story on a local family that built a huge mechanical dragon for the University High School's winter play “Shrek.” She breathes smoke, she talks and she moves. It will take five students to control the beast. The production is scheduled for Dec. 5-14. Is it too soon to buy tickets?

The Southest Spokane County Fair is this weekend in Rockford. The 69th annual event features a parage, 3-on-3 basketball tournament, live music, a pancake breakfast, a fun run and much more. Of course, you can't forget all the animals either. They even play center stage in the Cow Chip Bingo.

A woman interested in opening a gymnastics facility is asking the city of Spokane Valley to make changes to its zoning code to allow her business to be located in an industrial zone. In a close vote, the city council sent the proposal back to the planning commission for further deliberation.

The city of Liberty Lake has finished a couple of missing links in its trail system along Sprague Avenue. There will be a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday at Sprague and Molter Road.

Saturday’s highlights

T.J. Williams Jr., the director of photography, frames up a shot with a digital movie camera in Fairfield, on Wednesday, while shooting a feature film assisted by North By Northwest. At right is Adam Miller, the first assistant camera operator. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Oh, it's Monday again. Pardon me while I shake off the weekend cobwebs. As we start the work week there are some Saturday Valley Voice highlights to greet us, as always. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a report on the safety of Mountain View Middle School in the East Valley School District. Building and fire inspectors recently toured the building to make sure it was safe after parents raised concerns about the partially boarded up building.

The small town of Fairfield hosted a movie crew from North by Northwest last week. Portions of the movie “West of Redemption” starring Billy Zane were filmed there while grain trucks lumbered by on their way from the nearby grain elevators.

Lisa stopped by University High School during the morning on the first day of school when freshmen had the run of the buliding. The school had a special program that morning to help the students acclimate to the school and get to know each other.

The City of Spokane Valley and Spokane County had a joint meeting last week to discuss solid waste options under a new regional plan. The city would like to own the Valley transfer station, but County Commissioners seem to favor a plan that has the County owning and running the facility.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department is considering spending a budget surplus on remodeling several fire stations, two of which are decades old. Problems include leaking roofs, failing floors and kitchen cabinets in disrepair.

Saturday’s highlights

Ellin Schafer, 15, above, and her mother, Carolyn, assemble a quilt at their home in Spokane Valley on Tuesday. Carolyn Schafer is organizing a quilting drive for the members of Mason Flemmer’s unit. Flemmer, the orchestra teacher at Central Valley, is being deployed for the third time to Afghanistan. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

I invite everyone to take a look at today's Garfield comic strip. That sums up my approach to Mondays very well. With that said, it's time to take a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the efforts by students and staff at Central Valley High School to create 140 quilts for the 455th Engineer Company in Afghanistan. CV orchestra teacher Mason Flemmer is part of the unit.The volunteers still need donations of material to make the quilts, volunteers to put them together and cash to ship them.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw has a story on new volleyball coaches at Central Valley High School and University High School. Both are from out of the area and have a good coaching track record. Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a report from Millwood, where the council recently voted to restrict parking on portion of Stout Road and Grace Ave. Residents have complained that employees from local businesses are parking there.

Being buzzed by a bee ended badly for one man recently when he and his tractor rolled down an embankment after he swatted at the insect. The man was seriously injured, but he also had the unfortunate luck to land on a dead porcupine. That call for help was one of hundreds responded to by Spokane Valley Fire Department crews in the last two weeks.

Saturday’s highlights

Opportunity Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Laurie Spence and students dance the Dabke, a traditional Lebanese dance, during International Day on Wednesday in Spokane Valley. The five-step dance is often performed at weddings. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Good Monday morning, everyone. It sounds like we need to get our dose of sunshine in today before the clouds come back for the rest of the week. Meanwhile, we have some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Opportunity Elementary School last week when they were celebrating International Day. Students learned about the culture of various countries and tried samples of traditional foods.

If your usual driving route includes Pines Road, you have probably already noticed that it is under construction. The Washington Department of Transportation is grinding and repaving the road, which is known as Highway 27 south of 16th Avenue. The repaving will be done between 32nd Avene and Montgomery Drive. There will be patching and crack sealing between Montgomery and Trent. Construction and lane restrictions will be during the overnight hours beginning at 7 p.m.

Lisa also has a story on University High School principal Alan Robbins, who just finished his first year on the job. He has spent a lot of his time getting to know the district and his students.

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich reassured Rockford residents last week that he won't abandon them even though the town hasn't paid the bill for its law enforcement services contract. The town is still trying to come up with the money to pay the $32,000 bill.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a report from Millwood, where the town council talked about a water line running underneath property recently vacated for a Millwood Presbyterian Church construction project. There are also parking improvements coming to Buckeye Ave. between Argonne and Vista roads.

Thursday’s highlights

Making a scene: Quinn Johnson, who plays Bobby Strong, and Shelby Horton, who plays Hope, in the University High School drama department production of “Urinetown” perform a scene during a dress rehearsal March 29 at U-Hi. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

I was driving home yesterday when I realized I hadn't posted highlights from that day's Valley Voice. Whoops. So here we are with an entry in the “better late than never” category. The city of Spokane Valley is looking at changes to several law enforcement related contracts it has with Spokane County. Both jurisdictions are interested in making changes that will save the city money.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the University High School production of “Urinetown” that opens on April 11. She also has a story on the National Geographic Bee at Pacific Lutheran University that will include several local students, including two from Spokane Valley.

Lisa did triple duty and also has a story on longtime Inland Northwest Blood Center volunteer Ernie Dieterich, who died recently. If you donated blood at the organizations' mobile donor coach, you might have seen him. He would drive the coach, hand out juice and do whatever else was needed.

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.

Preparing for the Stinky Sneaker rivalry game

It’s almost time for a victor to be declared in Tuesday’s Stinky Sneaker rivalry game between Central Valley and University High School.

This year’s theme: Shoempa Loompa, which is a play on the mythical people from the book Charlie and Chocolate Factory.

Because the theme must be tied to the coveted trophy, a sneaker, thus the Shoempa Loompa, according to students presenting at Monday’s Central Valley School District board meeting.

You’ll recognize the Central Valley H.S. fans by their blue t-shirts and the cheer leaders who are reportedly dressing up as Shoempa Loompas.

The girls’ basketball game begins at 5 p.m. at their Spokane Arena and the boys’ team begins at 7:15 p.m. For pricing information, check here.

Interesting to note: music will be provided at the game by members of the Central Valley marching band and once the game is over, some of their instruments will be packed away for a nearly 2,500 mile long drive to Washington D.C. where they’ll be picked up once again for a parade that happens only once a year.

In Thursday’s paper, look for a story on the marching band’s last weekend of practices leading up to their flight to Washington D.C. for the President Obama’s inauguration day parade.

Saturday’s highlights

Kristie Gaffney and her younger children, twins Keaton, left, and Kyra, right, 12, stand in their living room Wednesday. Gaffney has turned her home into a not-too-scary haunted house with decorated walls, animated figures, statues and pictures. They live in Greenacres. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

We've got another damp Monday morning here in the Northwest, so grab a cup of coffee and settle in for some Saturday Valley Voice highlights. Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to Spokane Valley resident Kristie Gaffney, who has gone all out in decorating her home for Halloween. Most of it is modeled after the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

A lot of people probably don't know that there is a tiny Spokane County Sheriff's Office crime prevention office in the Spokane Valley Mall. I must say that my interview with the two deputies who work out of the office was the first time I've ever had someone get up and run out of the room in the middle of an interview. They were called on to stop a shoplifter from leaving the mall. Their job is mostly working with the community by offering classes and presentations on a wide variety of crime prevention topics.

Lisa also has a story on the University High School production of “Les Miserables.” The elaborate musical with a huge cast will take the stage starting Nov. 1. And about that stage - it now revolves. Construction was completed over the summer.

Last week the Spokane Valley City Council spent a lot of time discussing what comprehensive plan amendments the city should consider this year. Amendments can only be considered once a year and the application deadline is Nov. 1.

Saturday’s highlights

Daisy Hanson and Kelsie Brulotte splash around in the Millwood wading pool Thursday. Community donations made it possible for the pool to reopen after being closed last year. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Sorry I wasn't on the blog Friday. I snuck out for a day off before the high temperatures made me feel like a chicken roasting in the oven. While it's still relatively cool this morning I've got some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in at the popular Millwood wading pool. The city planned to close and destroy the pool, but residents objected and then took it a step further by raising the $10,000 needed to repair the pool. Now kids are again happily splashing away.

The Spokane Valley City Council appointed former planning commissioner Fred Beaulac back to a vacant position on the commission. He will serve out the term of Marcia Sands, who recently resigned. The council also heard a report on a development agreement negotiated with the owner of land on Conklin Road. They previously voted to allow the land to be rezoned as high density residential only if an agreement was reached to increase setbacks and limit density.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw spoke to University High School football coach Rob Bartlett, who is continuing a family tradition of coaching. He now holds the same job as his father did.

High school graduation tops today’s Valley Voice

Andrew Croneberger, a U-Hi senior, practices at school during a portrait session May 2. Andrew was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at a very young age. He finds solace in his music and can replicate any song just by listening. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Here it is, as promised - the annual graduation section of the Valley Voice. We've got lists of every graduating senior at schools in the Spokane Valley area, plus a few schools in other areas that also draw students from the Valley. Reporters and correspondents have written stories profiling one notable student from each high school. Some of these teens have really exceptional stories to tell. I can't link to them all, but here's a sampling.

University High School senior Andrew Croneberger is a star student, athlete, musican and composer. He also has Asperger's syndrome. Valley Christian School senior Crystal Heden was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 4, but she hasn't let that slow her down. Central Valley High School senior Gaven Deyarmin bears the scars from two near death experiences, but he still managed to excell at basketball, football and track while also bringing home a 3.92 grade-point average. East Valley High School senior Jake Foust already has his own business. Contract Based Education senior Jamal Davis is back on track after being side tracked by alcohol, drugs and some time in jail.  

There are many more great seniors to read about. See them all on the Voices page here.

Saturday’s highlights

Some of Holy Trinity’s congregation went to a newly formed church, leaving Holy Trinity with about 50 members. The church also left the ELCA synod and joined an smaller denomination, LCMC. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

It looks like we get a sunny Monday morning for a change. We can take a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice while I mull the wisdom of working a regular shift the day after working the night shift. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the new University High School principal (and former engineer) Alan Robbins. He has strong roots just next door in Montana and will start his new job on July 1.

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church has been through a lot of change in the last year. The congregation nearly merged with two others, but the final vote failed. Nearly half the congregation left and the pastor quit. In moving forward the congregation decided to switch denominations.

The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce said last week that it wasn't being forced out of its location on East Sprague. There was some confusion about initial statements that the Chamber was moving because the building was being sold.

Saturday’s highlights

Spokane Valley councilman Arne Woodard is known for his ties. Many are bright, loud and a few are a bit wild. He owns about 60 of them and since his appointment to the council last year, Woodard has tried to wear a different tie every Tuesday night. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Saturday's Valley Voice was so packed with stories that I'm really not sure how we fit them all in. Here's your chance to take a look if you missed them. Spokane Valley City Councilman Arne Woodard has been making a name for himself by wearing colorful and unusual ties to council meetings. He thinks the ties make him more approachable and they fit his sense of humor.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has several stories on local schools. The East Valley School District is considering purchasing portable classrooms for its elementary schools to create room for seventh graders. There will be a public hearing on the subject during the school board's meeting Tuesday. Lisa talked to students at University High School last week who were taking part in a distracted driving demonstration. They tried texting while driving and also driving with special goggles that simulated a drunk person's vision.

Students at University Elementary School spent some time last week planting seeds to grow in their new donated greenhouse. The students seemed happy to get out and have fun in the dirt.

Nineteen people have applied to serve on Spokane Valley's new economic development committee. The story includes a list of those who have applied. Mayor Tom Towey will make his appointment recommendations on Tuesday. Last week there was a public hearing regarding a retroactive substantial development permit being sought by a Liberty Lake homeowner for shoreline improvements that were put in without a permit. The owner, Lloyd Herman, was ordered to remove the improvements but has not done so.  

Saturday’s highlights

Junior Darbi Dobson, a thrower with the East Valley High School Knights track team, practices throwing the discus during practice at EVHS. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

We had technical difficulties over the weekend that stopped our main Saturday Valley Voice stories from posting on the web, but they're up now and ready for your perusal. The Spokane Valley City Council continues to consider purchasing property at Sprague and Herald from the Pring Corporation to be used to expand Balfour Park and partner with the Spokane County Library District on a new library. This particular piece of property has been the topic of discussion before and the city was previously asked to consider buying it in 2007.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to students at Broadway Elementary School who have been collecting used ink cartridges and old cell phones for years, raising $25,000 to buy new technology for the school. Lisa also has a report on a community forum scheduled for tonight to present the finalists for the University High School principal position.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw talked to a former volleyball player turned shot put and discus thrower at East Valley High School. Darbi Dobson is one of the top throwers in the state.

Spokane Valley teams advance at State

University’s Jared Miller drives to the hoop between two Lake Washington defenders. Photo courtesy of Patrick Hagerty.

Spokesman-Review reporter Greg Lee was a busy man yesterday, checking in with the Spokane Valley basketball teams playing at State in Tacoma. If you haven't checked out his stories in today's Sports section, here are some links for you. The University High School boys beat Lake Washington and the girls beat Seattle Prep. The Central Valley High School boys bested Garfield of Seattle and the girls won over Eastlake. Correspondent Mike Vlahovich watched the Valley Christian boys win over Sunnyside Christian at the Spokane Arena. Correspondent Michael Anderson was in Yakima to see the Freeman High School girls beat Granger to advance.  It's great to see all our teams doing so well. Good luck!

U-High student arrested for gun

A University High School student was arrested very early this morning after a search of his home turned up a gun he allegedly displayed during a fight in Browns Park across from University High School yesterday. Students reported to school administrators that Benjamin Washington, 18, flashed the gun threateningly during the fight. Police obtained a search warrant for the home and found two guns inside. Washington was arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm. Click here for more details.

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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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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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