May 3, 2009 in City

Pick up a spare, with a side order of hash browns

 
J. Bart Rayniak photo

Manuel Quintana, center, his wife, Sandra, and Gavin Marrow enjoy breakfast on Easter morning at the Valley Bowl.
(Full-size photo)

Coming up in the Voices

Thursday

North: Deer Park equestrian team sending several members to state.

South: Future scientists experiment at Jefferson Elementary.

Valley: Wineries hold annual Mother’s Day weekend tastings.

West Plains: Front Porch readers offer memories of their own Ruthies.

Saturday

Valley: Fathers volunteer at Progress Elementary.

May 10

Handle: Two men team up to build an electric-powered commuter car.

It’s early Sunday morning at Valley Bowl. The smell of bacon cooking and coffee brewing fills the air.

Not what you’d expect to find at a bowling alley.

The clock reads 8:30 a.m., and if you listen closely you’d swear you could hear the echo from a night of Moonlight Bowling that started Saturday night and extended itself into the wee hours of Sunday.

But it’s no echo.

It’s actual bowling.

Between bites of eggs and hash browns, while chewing on toast and jam, bowlers are knocking down tenpins.

It’s an attempt to prove that old adage that says anything can be improved by adding bacon.

More to the point, it’s about finding a breakfast bargain.

From 8 a.m. until noon, Valley Bowl offers a full breakfast (eggs any style, bacon, hash browns, toast and coffee) and three lines of bowling for $6.99. The occasional tournament may squeeze the number of available morning lanes, but the deal is out there for anyone with an appetite and the urge to pick up the 7-10 split.

As nearly everyone in Valley Bowl on a Sunday morning says, you can’t beat the deal.

Merlene Summers and her family are breakfast-and- bowling regulars.

“We try to do this at least once a month,” she says between open frames. “We get our whole family together – at least all the family that’s still left in the area.”

Summers watches as her grandson Alex, 8, rolls a strike. His younger sister, Catie, dressed all in pink, is busy bouncing on laps between frames, and her father keeps tracking down her tiny bowling shoes, which she wears strictly on a sometimes basis.

The family is spread over two lanes, with good-natured ribbing going back and forth. For the youngsters, the lane guards are down to keep balls from falling into the gutter – a situation Alex quickly learns to use to his advantage.

Catie, meanwhile, generally dashes off before her ball makes it halfway down the lane – always in search of a new lap or the chance to sing a new song.

It’s clearly a popular outing, and the family matriarch is in her element. The smile never leaves the bus driver’s face, and her laughter mixes easily with that of youngsters.

“It’s just so much fun to get everyone together,” she said. “The kids are at an age where we all can play and have fun.”

Family friend and bowling regular Darrell Edens said, “We started coming here about nine months ago. … Back in the winter it would get really packed. When the weather gets nicer out and there are more things to do, not so much. But you can’t beat the price.”

True enough.

For about what you’d pay for the same meal in a diner, you get your food and a good hour’s worth of bowling – a new twist on the full-meal deal. A national restaurant chain has the Grand Slam breakfast. At Valley Bowl you’ve got a chance to pick up a spare.

Donnie, son of owner Lynn Gregory, says the Sunday morning deal has been a popular one.

“We’ve been doing it for quite a while and it’s been really popular,” he said. “It’s like bowling in general, pretty much an indoor activity. As entertainment goes, you can’t beat the deal.”

Steve Christilaw

Cheney council OKs surveillance camera

The Cheney City Council gave police the go-ahead Tuesday for the installation of a surveillance camera at First and College streets.

Despite council member Teresa Overhauser’s outspoken resistance to the project, the resolution passed 5-to-1 in favor of using the $69,000 Homeland Security grant. The money would be used to install the camera as well as the infrastructure necessary for a future surveillance network. Police Chief Jeff Sale told the council the security system could one day be used by private businesses as well as police.

Overhauser raised numerous objections, including the cameras’ effectiveness in deterring crime.

“No data exists (for their effectiveness) other than anecdotal evidence,” Overhauser said. She went on to question the cost of retaining evidence in the face of hazy public records rules which are still evolving to deal with the new technology.

Council member Curt Huff countered that if the camera does end up costing the city money it could be shut down.

Sale said he’d been assured by the Washington state Archives Department that video footage must be retained for more than 30 days only when the information would be used in an investigation.

While he wasn’t entirely sure about the retention issue, City Attorney Nathan Smith allowed that, “I believe that in that window of time, in 30 days, any documentation stored by the city becomes a public record.”

Ryan Lancaster

Pines Road project gets messier Monday

Motorists will encounter big changes Monday along Pines Road north of Interstate 90.

Expect delays, Spokane Valley city officials warn.

It’s part of a $6.1 million project to relieve congestion in a tangle of intersections that includes Pines Road, Indiana Avenue, Montgomery Avenue, the Union Pacific railroad tracks and I-90.

For starters, the existing westbound freeway on- and off-ramps that connect directly with Pines Road will be closed. Freeway traffic will be routed onto modified ramps that connect with Montgomery Drive and Indiana Avenue.

All westbound off-ramp traffic will be directed to a signal-controlled intersection with Indiana, about 300 feet east of Indiana’s intersection with Pines.

A modified westbound freeway on-ramp will take off from Montgomery, just west of Pines.

The purpose is to eliminate a traffic signal where freeway ramps now connect with Pines. That signal is just 150 feet south of a signal at the intersection of Montgomery, Pines and Indiana.

Beginning Monday, the freeway traffic will be routed through the Montgomery- Pines-Indiana intersection.

That leads to one of the biggest changes motorists will notice: Montgomery Drive will become one-way westbound between Pines and the I-90 on-ramp.

Elimination of two-way traffic in that section of Montgomery is necessary to prevent a bottleneck where westbound freeway on-ramp traffic would have had to cross eastbound traffic on Montgomery.

As a result, eastbound motorists on Montgomery will no longer be able to get to Pines. Eastbound motorists who use Montgomery to get to the Spokane Valley Mall will be in for a nasty surprise. They’ll find themselves headed toward downtown Spokane on the freeway.

To avoid that, mall-goers will need to use the new roundabout at the intersection of Montgomery, Mansfield and Wilbur Road. They’ll circle onto Mansfield Avenue to reach Pines, where they’ll turn south to reach Indiana and the mall.

Pines Road motorists who want to go to Spokane must remember to turn west onto Montgomery to reach the I-90 on-ramp.

City officials say there may be some temporary detours as the construction continues. They recommend avoiding the area if possible until the work is finished.

Indiana Avenue’s westbound right-turn lane at Pines Road will be closed starting Monday for up to two weeks because of signal work, officials said. So will the right-turn lane onto Indiana for northbound Pines Road traffic.

During the turn-lane closures, westbound truckers on Indiana who want to go north on Pines are asked to continue west on Montgomery and use the roundabout to get back to Pines via Mansfield.

Northbound truckers on Pines who want to turn east on Indiana are asked to continue north to Mirabeau Parkway, where they can turn right to get back to Indiana.

John Craig


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