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Today’s highlights

Volunteers Kathy McAteer, left, along with Kathy and John Malone sort through donated food on Tuesday at Spokane Valley Partners. SR photo/Dan Pelle

I have to begin by apologizing for not blogging much this week. I've been scurrying about trying to work ahead for next week, which includes two days off (yay) and early deadlines (ugh). For now we should celebrate being exactly one week from Thanksgiving by going over some highlights from today's Valley Voice.

Eight Spokane Valley churches have been collecting money to give to the Spokane Valley Partners Food Bank to buy turkeys and other items for Thanksgiving baskets that will be handed out to those that need them next week. The churches are collecting money instead of actual turkeys this year because Thrivent Financial has promised to match their donations up to a $1,600 cap.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on several Central Valley High School music students that created the LETEM Play non-profit that distributes donated musical instruments to low-income students. The students have handed out $13,000 worth of instruments and have begun offering music clinics.

The results of the November elections will be certified next week, but the outcome of at least one race is still unknown. There is a tie among two city council candidates in the town of Latah and one race for Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioner is very near the threshold that will require an automatic recount. In Spokane Valley challenger Ed Pace has cemented his lead over City Council incumbent Gary Schimmels.

The Spokane Valley City Council debated on whether to request state funding for the Appleway Trail Project or the expansion of Balfour Park. The city's finance committee recommended Appleway Trail, but Balfour Park also has some support.

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.

Today’s highlights

Greenacres Middle School eighth-grader Zach Windhorst salutes Friday after performing with teacher Dana Hilpert and her dog Murphy. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Welcome to wet and rainy Thursday. Today is a good day to stay inside and have that second cup of coffee while checking out highlights from today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Greenacres Middle School on the last day of school to check out their annual talent show. The singers, dancers and one dog strutted their stuff in the gym.

The Spokane Valley City Council had their annual day-long budget workshop this week. The city is looking for expenses and revenues to both increase a little more than 4 percent in 2014, but there is a long list of capital projects wanting attention. First among them is the replacement of the west Sullivan Road bridge.

St. Mary's Catholic Church is celebrating its 100th anniversary this week with a special Mass and potluck dinner Friday night. Current and former church members are invited to attend.

Lisa has another great story on two Central Valley High School students who created a bench using truck tailgates and tire rims. It was such a success that Greg Van Doren and Cory Jones are looking into starting a business to sell similar items.

Today’s highlights

Wayne McKnight, the athletic director at West Valley High School, stands under the historic entryway that was salvaged from the old building and built into the new West Valley campus May 16. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

I'm sorry I'm so late in posting some highlights from today's Valley Voice, but I spent all morning out at a mock crash at East Valley High School and have been furiously typing ever since. (Look for that story in Saturday's Valley Voice.) For today we have a nice package from reporter Lisa Leinberger, who profiled three retiring school teachers.

The featured teachers are: Wayne McKnight of West Valley High School, who has been with the district for 39 years and is now the athletic director; Marla Pflanz of East Valley High School, who founded the Strolling Strings during her 35 year career; and Kim Wellington of Central Valley High School, who started out teaching shop 35 years ago.

The city of Spokane Valley took in a $3 million budget surplus at the end of 2012. Sales tax revenue was up and expenses were down. No decision has been made yet what to do with the money and the city's finance director said he doesn't expect a repeat of the windfall at the end of this year.

Today’s highlights

Andrea Gasser, a Central Valley High School junior, represents Israel at the International Economic Summit on Tuesday at the school. Students from CV and East Valley High School came together to display their research about the culture and economy of various countries around the world. Wearing a costume of some kind and serving a traditional food was optional. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Happy Thursday, everyone, though I confess I thought today should be Friday. But since it's not Friday yet, it's time for some Valley Voice highlights. Reporter Lisa Leinberger recently stopped by an economic summit hosted by the marketing classes at Central Valley High School and East Valley High School. The students researched different countries and then presented what they learned during the summit. Some students went as far as wearing traditional costumes or bringing food samples.

The Spokane Valley City Council is preparing to make changes to the 2013 budget to pay for several new projects. They are providing funding for new carpet in City Hall, a yearlong advertising campaign, designing the Appleway Trail, developing the Balfour Park expansion and buying business route signs.

Lisa also has a story on the University of Idaho's performance group called DancersDrummersDreamers, which is performing at University High School Friday. The performance will include students from the high school.

Saturday’s highlights

Liam Kennedy, left, and Jaden Conwell, both 8 years old and students at Adams Elementary, read pen pal letters from schoolchildren in Ghana, Wednesday. The most recent letters included talk of Christmas activities. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

I'd wish everyone a good Monday morning, but it's no longer morning. At least it's still Monday! Once again we have some Saturday Valley Voice highlights to mention. The Spokane Valley Police Department saw great success on emphasis patrols for vehicle prowling and garage burglaries at the end of 2012. The department is currently looking for a way to keep that success going within current staffing. The effort took four officers off patrol and reassigned them for a month.

Reporter Nicole Hensley came up with a couple of great stories. Fourth graders at Adams Elementary have been sending letters to pen pals in Ghana. The students also raise money to help pay for school improvements for their pen pals, such as tables in the cafeteria and used computers. Central Valley High School basketball score keeper Bill Pierce has been inducted into the school's Hall of Fame for his three decades of service to the school.

Nichole also has a report on how the city of Liberty Lake allocated its lodging tax money.

Today’s highlights

Central Valley High School’s marching band practices on Saturday at Eastern Washington University’s Jim Thorpe fieldhouse in Cheney, for a trip to Washington, D.C., to perform in the Presidential Inauguration Parade. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Sorry I'm so late with the highlights from today's Valley Voice. Let's just chalk it up to being one of those days. But we do have some great stuff for you. Reporter Nicole Hensley stopped by to chat with the Central Valley High School marching band before they left for their trip tp play in a parade at the inauguration of President Obama. The band is one of only 14 high school groups selected to march in the parade.

The Spokane Valley City Council selected five candidates to interview for a vacant city council position. Those selected include former state legislative candidate Amy Biviano, current city planning commissioners Kevin Anderson and Rod Higgins, Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council executive director Linda Thompson and real estate appraiser Samuel Wood.

Former Spokane Valley Fire Department Capt. Jon Sprague argued before the department's Civil Service Commission this week that he was improperly fired in October. He was fired from the department after refusing to stop sending religious emails to a group of fellow firefighters using the department's email system.

Nicole has a second story out of Central Valley High School on the school's world geography class that will be going away at the end of the school year. Students presented information and food from countries around the world that they had researched.

CV marching band ready for takeoff

It’s almost time for the Central Valley High School marching band to take flight for their Washington D.C. dreams.

They leave Thursday for their date with the presidential inauguration parade next week. They’ll march right by the White House along with musicians from each state in the union which includes 14 other bands.

They practiced over the weekend along with their Color Guard who will be waving their decorated flags. Lindsey Kridler has never been to the East Coast before so this trip will be a first for her. She’s looking forward to the museums and tours at the Capitol.

“We’re all very excited about it, working very hard at practices and getting ready,” Kridler said last week at Eastern Washington University’s Fieldhouse.

Because it’s an off season for marching band, all the gym space at CVHS was checked out, band director Eric Parker said. The Fieldhouse was the biggest venue they could get into at the last minute.

A more in-depth version of this story will appear in Thursday’s Spokane Valley Voice and will include an analysis of the repertoire from the band director and thoughts from students on tomorrow’s trip.

(Coordination is key to the perfect flag wave for a Central Valley High School Color Guard member. Lindsey Kridler practices her skills Friday for next week's presidential inauguration parade. Photo Nicole Hensley)

CV students study the world

World geography courses will no longer be offered to students at Central Valley High School starting next year.

The state is changing their curriculum to encompass world history instead, teacher Krista Larsen said, but this does not affect her job at the school.

That means last week’s “World’s Fair” project was the last time students got a chance to highlight a country of their choice for a parade of students interested in seeing their peers’ work and the samples of food they brought in.

One student chose Brazil and to really make her presentation stand out, she brought in a preserved piranha from a friend’s trip to the Amazon. She says the eyes are fake, but the rest of it is quite real.

In Thursday’s Spokane Valley Voice, you’ll read more about the students’ presentations last week including why Larsen wants her students to learn about the world outside of the Pacific Northwest.

(On loan to CVHS student Hannah Van Matre, the above piranha was preserved, dried as a tourism souvenir. She used it to display the Brazilian wildlife in her presentation. Photo Nicole Hensley)

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

CV freshmen Jaimee Clark, standing at left, and Alexandra Burke, standing center, consult as they evaluate the entrepreneurial project of third-graders at Sunrise. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Welcome to a wet, windy Monday. But look on the bright side; we've got Thanksgiving to look forward to. As always we have some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on a program that teams Sunrise Elementary students with Central Valley High School DECA students to learn about running a business. The students are selling products that they made.

Sullivan Park will double in size after the construction of the new Sullivan Bridge is complete. The park will be expanded as mitigation for the portion of the park that will be used as a staging area during construction. Other improvements in that area are also planned.

The HUB Sports Center has a new after school program for Greenacres Middle School that is proving to be popular. The students get help with their homework, have a snack, listen to guest speakes and play games.

The city of Liberty Lake is taking a second look at its animal control contract with SCRAPS. Mayor Steve Peterson iswants to see if SpokAnimal can provide the city cheaper service or if the SCRAPS contract can be changed to cost the city less out of pocket.

Lisa also has a report on a Central Valley school board meeting where a decision was reached to sell land in Liberty Lake to the city of Liberty Lake for $10 so it can be used for playing fields. The district has the option to purchase the land back for the same price in the future if it needs the property.  

Saturday’s highlights

Volunteer Shannon Braithwait, left, puts out clothing at the Council Closet, a clothes bank at Barker High, on Wednesday. Students and their families can choose clothes from the donated items when the closet is open. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

I abandoned the blog for a day off Friday, but now it's Monday and I'm back with some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has two interesting stories. The Central Valley School district houses the Council Closet in Barker High School. The closet provides used clothing, shoes and other items to students in need.

At Pasadena Park Elementary, students got the chance to vote on a new rock climbing wall for the playground earlier this year. The wall is now installed and students have been eagerly climbing all over it. The new equipment was purchased by the school's Parent Teacher Organization.

Correspondent Deborah Chan has a touching column on her struggle with breast cancer. Correspondent Steve Christilaw wrote about the Central Valley High School cross country team, which recently won the state championship.

County Commissioner candidates debate tonight

The Central Valley High School Government Club is hosting a debate tonight with the candidates for the Spokane County Commissioner seats. The debate, which is open to the public, will begin at 5:45 p.m. at the School, 821 S. Sullivan Road. Doors open at 5 p.m.

District 1 candidates (Todd Mielke and John Roskelley) and District 2 candidates (Shelly O'Quinn and Daryl Romeyn) will be in attendance. The candidates for House District 4 (Amy Biviano and Matt Shea) have also been invited, but Shea has not responded to the invitation. Click here for more details.

Saturday’s highlights

Members of the Spokane Valley Fire Department honor guard placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, on Oct. 8. Photo courtesy Matt Jorgensen

I think a cup of coffee (or two) is even more important on days like these when there's a nip in the air. While you sip your brew, take a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the effort of the Central Valley High School marching band and color guard to participate in the Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C. in January. They are in the midst of an award winning year and hope that will give them an extra edge on their application.

Lisa also has details on two upcoming events that will benefit the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service. There is a Howl-O-Ween pet costume party and a Kibble4Kritters event to collect pet food.

Four members of the Spokane Valley Fire Department honor guard recently participated in a wreath placing ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery. One honor guard member describes it as a special experience that gave him chills.  

Saturday’s highlights

Central Valley High senior Alex Moore poses for a photo on Tuesday in Spokane Valley. Moore will receive the YWCA Young Woman of Achievement Award later this month. She excels in math and science and competes for her school’s cross country team. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Sorry this edition of Saturday's Valley Voice highlights is late. My computer didn't want to speak to the network for most of the morning. But now I'm up and running again, so here we go. A new Wal-Mart store is opening on the west end of Spokane Valley on Wednesday. While the ribbon cutting ceremony at 7:30 a.m. may be a bit early for some, the grand opening promotions and samples will continue all weekend.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has the third entry in her East Farms Diary. She has been spending time at the East Farms STEAM Magnet School that focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts and math. This week's story checks in with volunteers at the school and what they contribute.

Lisa also has a story on Central Valley High School senior Alex Moore, who will recieve the Young Woman of Achievement Award from the YWCA next week. Her list of achievements in school and in the community is quite lengthy.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam reports that the City of Millwood is facing a deficit in 2013. More meetings and public hearings are planned to discuss the issue. Their neighbor, the City of Spokane Valley, voted last week to not take the allowed 1 percent property tax increase.

Saturday’s highlights

The pond and landscaped area known as Mirabeau Springs in Mirabeau Point Park was once the tiger enclosure at Walk in the Wild Zoo, which closed in the 1990s. The area was reclaimed as the park, which sits behind the YMCA and CenterPlace in Spokane Valley. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Welcome back, everyone. I'm back from vacation and ready to go, so let's check out some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. The Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation Department has put out a new brochure highlighting the history of the site that now includes Mirabeau Park, Mirabeau Springs and CenterPlace. The land was the former site of the Walk in the Wild Zoo. The brochure includes a map that locates each of the old animal enclosures so people can find them as they walk the trails in the wooded area. What is now Mirabeau Springs was the old home of two Bengal tigers named Lilly and Kasey.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on Barker High School, an alternative school that just graduated its largest class ever. She looked into what makes the school so successful. She also has a story on Sarah Matlack, who is the fourth generation of her family to graduate from Central Valley High School.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw has a story on Central Valley High School junior Katie Wardsworth, who won the recent Washington State Hammer Championships. She comes from a family of hammer throwers and is expecting a lot of interest from college track and field coaches.

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.

Today’s highlights

The Central Valley High School Drama Department is presenting “Alice in Wonderland” today through Tuesday at 7:30 each night. Elaborate costumes and sets are featured in the production. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

First of all, I'm sorry for not being on the blog much this week. It's been busy around here. But since it's Thursday I do have some Valley Voice highlights for you. The Spokane Valley Planning Commission is having a special meeting with a facilitator Monday to “improve organizational harmony” by discussing rules and procedures. There has been a lot of discussion over a recent vote by the majority of the commission not to excuse a commissioner who recused herself from the shoreline dicussions to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.

There are some fabulous pictures to go along with reporter Lisa Leinberger's story on the Central Valley High School production of “Alice in Wonderland.” The drama opens today and will run through Tuesday. If you are in the mood for something different, the drama department at West Valley High School will present “Much Ado About Nothing” today, Friday and Saturday. Of course, you can always attend both.

The Spokane Valley City Council had some discussions this week on significantly extending the time that building applications and building permits are valid. Many on the council seemed pleased by the change, which will come back for a formal vote at a later meeting. 

Saturday’s highlights

Michele Nelson of SCRAPS checks a stray for an identification chip. SCRAPS and other area animal welfare groups will hold a pet adoption event Friday and March 31. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Goodness, what happened to the warm weather and sunshine we had yesterday? It's a dull and rainy Monday out there, the perfect time to catch up on anything you missed in Saturday's Valley Voice. The Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service is heading up a huge free pet adoption event this weekend. Organizers hope to find new homes for more than 200 pets.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to members of the Central Valley High School Knowledge Bowl team, who apparently credit their success to their mascot, a monkey carved from a coconut named Mojo. It seems to be working; the team won the recent state competition on Marysville, Wash.

The Spokane Valley City Council had some discussions last week on sidewalk projects as part of the Safe Routes to School program. The council also talked about the city's new pavement managemet program.

This isn't in the Valley, but if you are a fan of Southern cooking and/or the South Perry neighborhood, you will want to check out Pia Hallenberg's story on a new restaurant opening there at the end of May or in early June. Called Casper Fry, the restaurant will be run by the same people behind Madeleine's. 

Saturday’s highlights

Ashton Toth plays Don Lockwood and sings the title song in a scene from “Singing in the Rain,” which is being staged at Central Valley High School. During the production real rain is generated by hoses in the rafters, and by the end of the number, Toth is soaked. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

There were so many school stories stuffed inside Saturday's Valley Voice that perhaps we should have named it the Student Weekly. And these are the fun stories about school that feature kids having a good time.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to students at Central Valley High School about their upcoming production of “Singing in the Rain.” Apparently they will actually make it rain on stage during performances. There are 75 students in the cast, not counting the orchestra.

Lisa also saw what the University High School drama department did at Chester Elementary School for Read Across America Week. The high school students performed plays based on children's books, including “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss and “The True Story of the three Little Pigs” by Jon Scieszka.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw had a story on the Freeman girls basketball team that he wrote as they prepared to play in the State tournament held over the weekend. They were trying to win their third state title, but unfortunately did not make it.

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!

Jazz concert and auction tonight

The Central Valley High School Marching Band and Color Guard rehearses in October 2011 for the Northwest Association for Performing Arts Championhips in Hillsboro, Ore. SR file photo

If you are looking for something fun to do tonight, the Central Valley High School Band and Color Guard Boosters are hosting their annual jazz concert, dessert and auction starting at 6:30 p.m. at the school (821 S. Sullivan Road).

The music will be performed by the Central Valley High School, Evergreen Middle School and Greenacres Middle School jazz bands. There will be dancing addition to the silent auction and dessert. Some of the items up for bid include Disneyland passes, golf packages, sports baskets, photo packages and more. The cost is $15 at the door. The evening is scheduled to last until 9:30 p.m.

Saturday’s highlights

Erin Haugh shows a group of the Valley Assembly Quilters a tool that she uses to punch holes on the edge of a quilt in preparation for lacing or crocheting. The group meets in a donated room at the Valley Assembly of God, shares a common interest in quilting and provides quilts to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center’s cancer unit. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Saturday's Valley Voice highlights are a day late this week because of the holiday, but there are still some good stories to check out. Reporter Lisa Leinberger visted with a group of quilters at Valley Assembly of God Church. They make quilts for cancer patients and have made 700 quilts in five years.

The Spokane Valley Hearing Examiner has ruled that the developer of a proposed Fourth Avenue Townhomes project near Shelley Lake must go back to the drawing board until the proposal complies with a development agreement that was negotiated with the city. That decision has relieved neighbors who complained about the plan and said it violated the agreement.

There are also some tips on how to avoid locking your kids inside the car, which seems to be a particular issue for Spokane Valley residents. The fire department usually responds at least once a week to a report of a child locked inside a car, sometimes more. Correspondent Steve Christilaw has a story about Central Valley High School senior Gaven Deyarmin, who plays football and basketball for the school.

Saturday’s highlights

Central Valley defensive coordinator Steve Kent’s intense energy and enthusiasm has sparked his Bears in holding their opponents to just 12 points in their last three games, including two playoff wins. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Saturday's Valley Voice is packed to the gills with news from the Spokane Valley area. Correspondent Steve Christilaw checked in with the Central Valley High School football team, which has had a successful season. Spokane Valley City Council candidate Ben Wick has clinched a win over competitor Marilyn Cline to take a seat on the council. Wick was ahead by only 20 votes on election night, but he drew further ahead as the vote counting continued.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on last week's Liberty Lake City Council meeting, which operated without a quorum for a while. The Spokane Valley City Council, after much discussion and a close vote, agreed to allow city staff to apply for a grant to build a decant facility to process the waste removed from the city's drywells. The council also unanimously approved the 2012 budget.

Fire District 8, Fire District 13 and the town of Rockford are regrouping after fire levies and bonds failed at the November polls. Each is considering how to move forward after voters rejected their request for money. Commissioners from the Spokane Valley Fire Department heard a presentation on their 2012 budget last week, which includes the construction of a new Station 6.  

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.

Saturday’s highlights

The Central Valley High School Marching Band and Color Guard rehearses Tuesday for the Northwest Association for Performing Arts Championhips to be held Saturday in Hillsboro, Ore. The band made history by winning first place at the University of Oregon Festival of Bands at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore., last weekend. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

The Central Valley High School Marching Band and Color Guard have had “Unflagging success“ according to a story by Lisa Leinberger in Saturday's Valley Voice. The band recently won first place in the University of Oregonal festival of Bands after putting in hundreds of hours of practice. Lisa also has an education column packed with news about local schools, including a production of “Beauty and the Beast” at University High School.

Former SR reporter Mike Vlahovich wrote an obituary on Spokane Valley “institution” Harry Larned. He was a co-founder of the Sports Creel and a former Spokane County Commissioner and Spokane Valley Fire Department Commissioner.

The Spokane Valley City Council disagreed over allocations recommended by the Lodging Tax Committee. There was also discussion of accepting a second round of applications for the lodging tax money. No decisions were made; a vote is scheduled for the Nov. 15 meeting.

City of Spokane Valley staff members hosted a developer's forum last week to share improvements being made to the permitting process and to get suggestions for further improvement. There was a surprisingly good turnout for the 7:30 a.m. meeting and the crowd was friendly enough to crack a few jokes.  

Saturday’s highlights

Dracula (Michael Ashton Toth) was found lurking around the Dracula Blood Drive at Central Valley High School on Oct. 17. More than 80 students, faculty and community members participated and received a $3-off coupon to CV's”Dracula” for donating. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

We brought you news from nearly every corner of the Spokane Valley area in Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has information on Central Valley High School's upcoming performances of “Dracula.” The star of the show turned up at a blood drive at the school recently.

We also have a bunch of election stories. Lisa put together a Q&A with the candidates for Liberty Lake Mayor. There are also stories on the Marilyn Cline/Ben Wick Spokane Valley City Council contest and the council race between Dee Dee Loberg and Arne Woodard (though Woodard didn't respond to multiple requests for answers to the questions).

Lisa also had a story on the levy discussions going on in the East Valley School District. The district is considering running a levy in February to pay for things like music programs, libraries, counselors, sports programs, AP classes and more.

The Spokane Valley City Council heard a report last week on the Parks and Recreation Department's policies on allowing car shows in city parks. They also discussed city entrance signs and where to put them.

Catch the candidates: Valley races tonight

Got questions about a particular candidate or race in the Valley? Tonight's the night.

Central Valley High School Advanced Placement Government class is hosting a debate and forum for the 4th Legislative District Senate race, Valley City Council, Liberty Lake City Council Position 5 and Liberty Lake Mayor.

The students get to ask the questions, but don't let that deter you. In the years of watching a similar debate by the Spokane Youth Commission, it has become clear that Art Linkletter had it wrong. Kids don't say the darnedest things; they ask some of the toughest questions.

It starts at 5 p.m. at the CVHS theater.

Saturday’s highlights

Quarterback Gaven Deyarmin (center in white) returns for his third season as a starter and team leader for the Central Valley Bears. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

It never fails. I tried to sneak quietly away from the blog Friday for a day off and it was nonstop action. I missed mail thieves, the grand opening of the new Harley Davidson dealership, a street brawl and the identification of last week's mysterious boom (an improvised explosive attached to helium balloons).  

But I can still bring you highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Correspondent Steve Christilaw has the season's first look at the football teams at Central Valley High School and University High School. Catholic Charities seems to be taking the wait-and-see approach with their proposed low income senior housing complex next to St. John Vianney. It doesn't look like the issue is going to go away soon.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioners spent some time last week looking at the 2012 budget, which looks healthy. The department has plans to demolish and rebuild Station 6 on Sprague on the west end of town.

The Spokane Valley City Council spent about 90 minutes last week discussing the city's sign code and what changes might be made. A lot of the focus was on temporary signs and the A-frame or sandwich board signs.

Today’s highlights

“I’m really involved with my music,” said Central Valley senior Corbin Croom. When he’s not making music with the CV drum line, he takes AP classes, has performed with the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band, attended Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., and job shadows surgeons to prepare for his ultimate career in medicine. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Welcome to our annual graduation edition of the Valley Voice. In it you can find every graduating senior in the greater Spokane Valley area. Counselors at every school also gave us the name of a notable student to interview and you will find their stories in today's Voice as well.

There are too many seniors profiled to include links for them all here, so I'll just pick a few to highlight. Let us introduce you to East Valley High School senior Hunter Bonawitz, who has cerebral palsy and can't speak. Meet University High School senior Spencer White, who overcame an angry and troubled childhood to win a full ride scholarship to Gonzaga University. Then there is Corbin Croom, the Central Valley High School senior so determined to become a surgeon that he's already observed a dozen surgeries.

The smaller schools also have exceptional graduates. RiverCity Leadership Academy senior Jake Kennedy found his inner voice and has turned it into effortless writing. Liberty High School senior Tyler Wilson is legally blind, but you would never know it if you watched him play on his school's basketball or football team. Northwest Christian senior Cole Ramey nearly lost his arm in an accident as a young boy, but has been playing basketball with full use of his arm.

If you would like to see the featured seniors from other Spokane Valley schools or other schools in Spokane County, check out the Voices web page here.