Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Teacher Casey Lee demonstrates with a model mouth how to brush teeth after handing out toothbrushes to her ECEAP class at the Central Valley Early Learning Center on Monday. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
In today's Valley Voice is my story on Dick Behm, a longtime Spokane Valley businessman and civic activist who died this week. His funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Tuesday at Redeemer Lutheran.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in on Central Valley's Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) for low income children. The program is expanding in the face of increased demand. Reporter Pia Hallenberg talked to the organizers of a toilet paper drive. The project will collect the toilet paper for local shelters.
The Spokane East Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is having a Day of Service on Saturday. They have organized hundreds of volunteers to do work in three Spokane Valley Parks, two small pioneer cemeteries and some vacant land owned by Central Valley.
East Valley Athletic Director Joe Kostecka lays out Mountain View Lancer and East Valley Middle School Squires uniforms that will be sold during Friday’s sale. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
If you have fond memories of being a Mountain View Middle School Landers or East Valley Middle School Squires, now is your chance to own a piece of your history. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story in today's Valley Voice on the upcoming sale of old softball, cross country, westling, football and other uniforms. All students in the combined East Valley Middle School will become the Knights, so the district has no need for the old uniforms. They will be sold from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday at the middle school, 4920 N. Progress Road. The district will use the proceeds to buy new uniforms.
Lisa also has a story on newly approved agreements with the classified staff and principals unions in the Central Valley School District. Both groups have agreed to accept pay cuts after the state cut the amount given to school districts for their salaries.
There was a lengthy debate at this week's Spokane Valley City Council meeting on whether to fund a study to possibly create railroad quiet zones on two crossings on the Union Pacific line north of Trent and west of Millwood. The proposal was voted down, but not before a discussion on who has the authority to select the city's consultants that was touched off by councilman Arne Woodard presenting the council and staff with a brochure from a company in Texas he thought the city should do business with.
Cleve Penberthy, Contract Based Education principal and longtime West Valley School District educator and administrator, is retiring after 40 years in education. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
I apologize for the lateness in posting links from today's Valley Voice. My computer went a little bonkers this morning. It now seems to be cured, but I have no idea why. I'm not going to argue, though. So, on to the highlights. Every spring we highlight notable retiring educators from the large Spokane Valley school districts - East Valley, West Valley and Central Valley. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has those stories in today's Valley Voice, including Contract Based Education princpal Cleve Penberthy. He's retiring after 40 years in education and I think he will be sorely missed. He was an oustanding advocate for his students. The other educators featured are East Valley teacher and librarian Linda Carper and Central Valley business teacher Sherry Johnson.
Kids will be happy to learn that Spokane Valley pools are opening this weekend. Splash Down is already open, but it only opens the doors if the weather is nice. I put together an introduction to the three newest candidates for a Spokane Valley City Council seat - John Baldwin, Marilyn Cline and Lewis Higgins. The City Council also had quite the debate this week on whether to let voters decided the fate of the one-way stretch of Sprague.
Right, then, where were we before I spent nearly 10 hours in Spokane Valley City Council meetings yesterday? The Central Valley School District is working to fill its last principal vacancy. Tonight a community forum will be held at the district's administration building, 19307 E. Cataldo, to introduce the finalists for principal of the Kindergarten Center. Former principal Joanne Comer was selected to be the new principal of Liberty Lake Elementary. The forum will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Each candidate will speak about his or her qualifications and answer questions from the audience. Those who attend the forum will have the chance to fill out written comment cards on the candidates, which will be used during the selection process.
The original historic metal gates to the Fairfield Cemetery, damaged in an ice storm two years ago, have been restored and will be rededicated in a Memorial Day ceremony, Mon., May 30, 2011. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak.
Well, I didn't manage to make it on the computer yesterday to post Saturday's Valley Voice links. What can I say. The weather was better than expected and we did some running around. Now then, on to the interesting stuff. There was a Memorial Day celebration yesterday in Fairfield and the historic 1895 gates were re-dedicated. The town of Millwood is getting ready to host the West Valley Days community event this weekend and it promises to be a lot of fun.
Correspondent Jill Barville talked with popular preschool teacher Diane Knowles on the eve of her retirement after 32 years in the classroom. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a report on the latest East Valley School District meeting held to discuss the changes coming up, including the closure of Mountain View Middle School and transferring students from Skyview Elementary. This week's education column by Lisa is also packed with news, including details on a new Central Valely elementary principal and which Central Valley board member has resigned.
Last week the Spokane Valley City Council had a long discussion on whether or not to accept a grant from the Department of Ecology to help pay for the city's work to update the Shoreline Master Program, which is required by state law. After the lengthy debate, the majority of the council voted to apply for the grant.
Teacher Bob McCaslin and his CV Kindergarten Center class show the hats they can wear during school recess, provided to them by doctors and staff from Advanced Dermatology, who came to the school May 3 to teach skin and sun safety. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
There's a whole bunch going on in today's Valley Voice, so sit back and get your mouse clicking finger warmed up. While many school districts are trying to deal with expected budget cuts, the Central Valley School District has announced it does not plan to lay any teachers off this year and will instead not replace people who are leaving the district. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has that story.
I have a report from this week's Spokane Valley City Council meeting, where council members selected a new planning commissioner and interviewed two council candidates. The Liberty Lake Police Department is reporting an increased crime rate for 2010, but the rate is still the lowest in Spokane County based on population. The Department is also moving forward on replacing two officers who recently resigned.
If you are looking for something to do this weekend Lisa has information on the annual Heritage Fair hosted by the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. The Liberty Lake Farmers Market and the Millwood Farmers Market are also setting up their tents for the season.
Broadway Elementary School principal Eileen Utecht is retiring after a 23 year career in the Central Valley School District. Tonight the district will bring the top candidates to replace her to the school for a community forum. Each candidate will speak about their qualifications and parents and community members can ask them questions. Those attending the forum can fill out written comment cards that will be considered during the selection process. So if you would like a look at who may be the next principal, head to the school at 11016 E. Broadway tonight from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Liberty Lake Elementary School principal Linda Uphus is retiring after a 35 year career in education and the Central Valley School District is looking for a replacement. Tonight the community is invited to a “Meet the Principal Candidates” forum from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the school, located at 23606 E. Boone. The top two or three candidates to replace Uphus will be there to talk about themselves and take questions from parents and residents. Those attending will be asked to turn in written feedback on their impressions of the candidates, which the district will take into consideration when deciding who to appoint to the position. So head out to the school, shake a few hands, listen and ask questions.
Horizon Middle School eighth-grader Lucas Fitzsimmons, left, gets help separating leftover food waste and soiled paper from garbage, as part of the Central Valley School District’s cafeteria composting program. Assisting him, from right, are eighth-grade leadership students Colby Potts, Emma Kennedy and Scott McKinley. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
Here we are on another lovely Monday morning. Well, it will be lovely after the morning coffee kicks in. So now is the perfect time to take a look at what was published in Saturday's Valley Voice. The kids at Horizon Middle School stepped up to launch a new composting program that will be used by the entire Central Valley district by the end of the school year. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has the story and we also have a catchy rap tune performed by students to go with it. Just beware - you might find yourself singing it later.
Lisa also has information on the four finalists for the Freeman superintendent position. They are: Cheney High School principal Thomas Gresch, Liberty School District superintendent Bill Motsenbocker, Coeur d'Alene High School Principal Randy Russell and Mead School District executive director of human services Kelly Shea.
I've also got a look at what additions the Spokane Valley City Council is considering to go along with the Broadway Avenue Safety Project, including resurfacing part of Broadway and improving drainage in an area that floods during storms. The council also discussed the comprehensive plan amendment that would eliminate the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan. It became clear during their discussion that only councilman Bill Gothmann favors keeping SARP.
Don't you just love Fridays? Not only is it the last day of the work week (for most people), but it's also the day before the Valley Voice comes out. There will be some great stuff in the Voice tomorrow. I'll have part two of the report from this week's Spokane Valley City Council meeting. This part will cover discussions on improvements to Broadway Avenue and the comprehensive plan amendment that would repeal the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger is on top of the school news, as usual. She did a story on Central Valley's new composting program that was begun by students at Horizon Middle School. Her education column will also have the names of the four finalists being considered for the superintendent position at the Freeman School District. The community will have a chance to meet the candidates themselves at 6:15 p.m. Monday in the Freeman Middle School gym.
Greenacres Middle School students jam the seventh-grade hallway at 10:10 a.m. Tuesday as they pass between classes. The school is at maximum capacity with 756 students. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
Take a look at today's Valley Voice for news on what is happening in the Spokane Valley area. We've got a little bit of everything today - schools, fire department and the city council.
Since the Central Valley School District bond failed, the natural question that comes up is “Now what?” Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to Superintendent Ben Small, who is considering his options and plans to make recommendations to the school board at the March 14 meeting.
Anthony W. Sotin, who was arrested last month on two counts of arson and one count of wire fraud, was in Federal court this week to accept a plea deal that has him pleading guilty to two arson charges in exchange for a reduced sentence of 10 years in prison.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department has been reducing their response times and plans to reduce them even more in the next five years. They've got several different options they're looking at to accomplish this. And the Spokane Valley City Council discussed concerns over the process to update the city's Shoreline Master Program, which the city inherited from Spokane County when it incorporated.
We've been working hard on Thursday's Valley Voice for the last couple of days, so here's a preview of what you'll find tomorrow. Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to the Central Valley School District about what is next now that the bond has failed at the polls. The district has been struggling with overcrowding and old buildings.
Response times are trending down at the Spokane Valley Fire Department and they are looking at what they can do to reduce them further over the next five years. It's all part of the accreditation process the department is going through and if they're successful they'll be the first department in Eastern Washington to be accredited. There are only six in Western Washington out of a total of 200 worldwide.
Also this week suspected arsonist Anthony W. Sotin was in Federal Court to plead guilty to two arson charges. He was arrested last month and indicted by a Federal grand jury.
There was some excitement after I left work last night. An armed man robbed the Dollar Tree store at 9211 E. Montgomery at 7:20 p.m. Witnessess said they saw him loitering around the front of the store for quite some time before he did the deed. Click here for more information, including a description.
Reporter Jody Lawrence-Turner has a story today on why the local bonds failed, including one for the Central Valley School District. Theories include the economy and vote by mail. See more from Central Valley Superintendent Ben Small here.
I'm back at the keyboard after a long day spent with the Spokane Valley City Council in various meetings yesterday. You'll see my story on the regular city council meeting in Thursday's Valley Voice and the story on the council retreat will be in on Saturday.
For those of you that haven't checked the paper yet, some people in Central Valley are unhappy today after yesterday's bond election failed. Several reporters, including the Valley's own Lisa Leinberger, collaborated on a story in today's paper on the various bond and levy elections.
Now then, on to business. The Spokane Valley Planning Comission is meeting tomorrow night at 6 p.m. in City Hall (11707 E. Sprague) and the agenda is packed with items that may draw some interest. There will be more discussion on adult retail entertainment plus a public hearing on possible changes to the city code regarding the keeping of chickens. There will also be a study session on the annual Comprehensive Plan amendments. The comp plan can only be amended once a year and this year the entire Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan is up for elimination.
Christ Lutheran Church has hired certified teacher Holly Moro to assist in Homework Helpers, an after-school program. Here, she helps Summit sixth-grader Lauren Walker (back to camera) with a math problem as first-graders Kate Walker, left, and Taylor Looker watch. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
Monday again. Why does it come so soon? At any rate, it's time for the highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Christ Lutheran Church on Broadway has started a Homework Helpers club to offer free tutoring after school every Tuesday. Kids seem eager to come and it's not just the cookies that has them coming in the door.
Students at Centennial Middle School used their Sprit Week to raise money for a classmate with a medical issue. Spokane Valley city councilman Bill Gothmann has filed paperwork to run for re-election in November. He's the first candidate to announce his campaign.
In case you missed it, reporter John Craig had a story Saturday on the process underway to fill the senate seat of Bob McCaslin, who is also a Spokane Valley city council member. McCaslin is reportedly upset about the candidates that were selected for consideration.
Also, just a reminder that tomorrow is the last day to mail your ballots in the Central Valley bond election.
Bus mechanic Everett Combs holds Eve. Combs is the one who found the stray kitten near the Freeman School District bus barn. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
It's Monday again, and a chilly one at that. Monday, of course, means highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. The feel-good story of the Voice is Lisa Leinberger's tale of the Itty Bitty School Bus Kitty, also known as Eve. She was found and taken in by the Freeman school bus drivers and is now featured in a children's book.
The Spokane Valley City Council is taking steps to appoint a replacement for former council woman Rose Dempsey, who resigned her seat. The Spokane Valley Fire Department was kept busy with fires caused by a candle, an engine block heater and cooking oil.
This week's Inside Our Schools column has a bunch of tidbits, including Central Valley's plans for upcoming renovations, the departure of East Valley Middle School principal Mark Purvine and upcoming East Valley bond information meetings. The Spokane Valley Fire Department also recently recognized two men for giving live saving aid to a hit and run victim.
Central Valley’s Tyler Chamberlain (24) blasts past University’s Justin Donahue during a game Jan. 11. SR photo/Dan Pelle
There's a lot of good stuff from Saturday's Valley Voice to check out if you missed it over the weekend. Correspondent Steve Christilaw has a nice look at Central Valley High School basketball player Tyler Chamberlain, who is having a healthy season and is excelling. There's a brief update on Mako the arson dog in this week's Spokane Valley Fire Department update.
Jeanne Erickson, the owner of Tune Tales Music, is offering music education classes for young children through the Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation Department. Kids love to sing and dance and they don't even care if they're moving with the beat.
Spokane Valley city councilman Dean Grafos has suggested a couple of projects; adding flashing crossing beacons at Bowdish Middle School and creating a city entry on donated land at Appleway and Thierman. You can also take a look at the often commented on opinion column written by Spokane Valley Planning Commission chairman John Carroll, which got some attention at last week's council meeting.
Central Valley Superintendent Ben Small answers a question from a member of the Liberty Lake Kiwanis Club about the upcoming CV bond levy at a Jan. 12 meeting. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
Pour your coffee and settle in, it's time to take a look at some highlights of today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger interviewed Central Valley School District superintendent Ben Small to get all the information you ever wanted to know about the district's upcoming bond, including a full list of what schools will benefit. Correspondent Cindy Hval has a story on a program called Safety Net, which helps youth who are aging out of the foster care system.
The Spokane Valley City Council voted Tuesday to advance an emergency ordinance to remove the City Center zone from SARP to a second reading. There was a lot of public comment on the issue that was almost evenly split. I didn't have enough space to include them all, but there's a representative sample in there. On a related note, check out my story in today's main paper about council woman Rose Dempsey's resignation.
We've got a new batch of great stories coming your way in the Thursday Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger interviewed Central Valley School District superintendent Ben Small for a Q&A story about the upcoming bond issue. I'll have a story on the lengthy and sometimes sharply worded Spokane Valley city council meeting Tuesday. A lot of people commented both for and against a proposed emergency amendment to replace the City Center zone of the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan with mixed use zoning.
Correspondent Cindy Hval will have an intertesting story on a program called Safety Net, which provides assistance to youth “aging out” of the foster care system.
If you're looking for something to do tonight and the zoning discussion at the Spokane Valley City Council meeting isn't your cup of tea, the Central Valley School District will host a bond information meeting tonight at 6 p.m. at North Pines Middle School, 701 N. Pines Road. A $69.6 million bond is on the Feb. 8 ballot and if it passes it will be used to pay for a long list of school expansion and remodeling projects. Check the district's web site for more details on the bond.
Bill Jones and his cat, Jasmine, are reunited at home after she was missing for 10 days. SR photo/Dan Pelle
Apparently I was right when I posted yesterday that we had so much good stuff coming up for today's Valley Voice that we couldn't fit it all in. The Liberty Lake police blotter is MIA from today's Voice, so look for it on Saturday.
On to business. Supporters of the East Valley “re-visioning” plan had their say at this week's board meeting, supporting the plan to close middle schools and put grades pre-kindergarten through the eighth grade in one building. Changes may be in store for Evergreen Middle School, which is due for renovation if the a Central Valley School District bond passes in February. A severe shortage of electrical outlets forces the school to “daisy chain” electrical cords together, which any firefighter can tell you isn't a good idea.
Students at Central Valley High School recently gave a rousing sendoff to orchestra teacher Mason Flemmer, who is deploying to Afghanistan with his Army Reserve unit. Correspondent Cindy Hval has a touching story about a man's search for his lost cat that thankfully ended well.
And after yesterday's snow dump and today's great melt, there's a short story on what to do if Waste Management misses you on trash pickup day. Waste Management serves Spokane Valley and most areas of unincorporated Spokane County.
We have so many stories for Thursday's Valley Voice I'm not sure if we can fit them all in. Reporter Lisa Leinberger will score a trifecta, writing all three of the cover stories. She takes another look at the Central Valley construction bond issue by visiting Evergreen Middle School, which is scheduled for renovation if the bond passes. The East Valley School District board met again this week. Supporters of the district's “re-visioning” plan to combine grades pre-kindergarten through the eighth grade in the same building controlled the microphone this time.
An assembly was held recently at Central Valley High School to recognize the school's orchestra teacher, who is deploying to Afghanistan with the Army Reserves. The Spokane Valley City Council held a mostly uneventful meeting with a light agenda. Meanwhile, the Liberty Lake Police Chief believes a prolific garage buglar is back in town and up to his old tricks after being arrested last month.
Ponderosa Elementary School principal Jerrol Olson “high fives” Mrs. Heckema's 1st grade class as they walk by the “open concept” media center on their way to lunch, while a class is in session. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
Here we are in 2011 and we've still got great things to read in the Valley Voice. Today reporter Lisa Leinberger writes about the upcoming Central Valley School District bond issue that will modernize many of the schools, including Ponderosa Elementary. It can be difficult for teachers to hold class in a building with no interior walls and not nearly enough electrical outlets.
A majority of the Spokane Valley City Council indicated they wanted to move ahead with an emergency comprehensive plan amendment to eliminate the City Center zone from the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan despite the planning commission's recommendation that the amendment be rejected.
Former Spokane Valley councilman Steve Taylor wrote a touching tribute to former Spokane Valley mayor Rich Munson, who died on New Year's Day. A public memorial service for Munson is set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday at CenterPlace.
In the main paper reporter Meghann Cuniff has a short report on two burglars who were chased by a business owner and then tracked down by a police K9 called Maximus.
We've got a bunch of good stuff coming up in Saturday's Valley Voice. The Liberty Lake city council passed their 2011 budget this week. A lot of proposed cuts were washed away at the last minute thanks to some revenue changes. The golf pro is back, the library will be open as usual and the police department is getting a new car.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department is preparing to award a construction contract to build a new administration building next to Station 8 on Wilbur and do some repair and remodeling work at the training tower at Sullivan and Marietta. Spokane Valley city councilman Dean Grafos has been advocating building a city hall on land the city owns near CenterPlace and a preliminary evaluation suggests it would be feasible.
One scheduling note for next week: the Central Valley School District board meeting usually held on the fourth Monday of the month has been cancelled.
Spokane Valley Heritage Museum volunteers Herman Meier and Al Shrock get a hand from Don Gorman covering the sign to protect it from deteriorating. The museum hopes to raise $10,000 to restore the original 1912 scroll sign above the entrance to the historic Opportunity Township Hall. SR photo/Bart Rayniak
I hope everyone out there is safe and sound this morning, what with all the accident reports on the scanner. I always say that when the roads are nasty there is no shame in creeping along (particularly since I nearly impaled my car on my concrete retaining wall yesterday).
So, on to the highlights from Saturday’s Valley Voice. The Spokane Valley Heritage Museum is raising money to restore the nearly 100-year old historic scroll sign on the front of the historic building that houses the museum. Volunteers recently covered the sign with black plastic to slow the deterioration.
The second story on the Spokane Valley City Council meeting included a variety of discussions and decisions. Longtime volunteer and Valleyfest organizer Peggy Doering nearly lost her seat on the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee after an unexpected push to replace her. The renewal of the city’s street maintenance contract was narrowly approved after it hit a speed bump. The council also discussed whether to raise stormwater fees or allow Spokane County to raise sewer rates, since one of the fees will have to go up.
Parents in the Central Valley School District should note that the school board has approved new elementary school attendance boundaries in Liberty Lake and Greenacres that will take effect if a bond that would pay for a new elementary school (plus other projects) is approved by voters in the spring.
Just a reminder that the Central Valley School District is holding a boundary review public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Greenacres Elementary, 17915 E. Fourth. The hearing will go over the proposed attendance boundary for a new elementary school to be build at Mission and Long in Greenacres.
The new school will affect the current attendance boundaries of Greenacres Elementary and Liberty Lake Elementary. Parents are invited to the hearing to learn about the boundaries and give their input.
This just in: the City of Spokane Valley is teaming up with the Spokane Regional Health District, the Central Valley School District and the West Valley School district for two community workshops this week to discuss safe walking routes to schools. The workshops are designed for parents, school administrators, city employees and law enforcement. It is the first step in creating a Safe Route to School program and becoming eligible for grant funding.
The Central Valley workshop is Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to noon at South Pines Elementary School, 12021 E. 24th. The West Valley workshop is from 8:30 a.m. to noon Thursday at Woodard Elementary School, 7401 E. Mission. Anyone with questions about the process can call (509) 324-1555.