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Saturday’s highlights

East Valley School District Superintendent John Glenewinkel, right, helps Summer Romney and Liam Nowles unload 400 pounds of flour at the district’s warehouse on Tuesday. Wheat from the East Valley Community Garden was ground into flour for use in school lunches. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a nice, restful holiday weekend. We're back at it again to day, so let's go over some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. The city of Spokane Valley approved new rules regulating the attire of baristas. The rules are aimed at a coffee shop near City Hall that advertised topless Tuesdays and Thursdays, when baristas wore no more than G-strings and pasties. The crowd attending last week's council meeting was largely pleased by the decision, though a couple of people did testify against the new rules.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story following up on the wheat harvest from the East Valley Farm and Community Garden earlier this year. The farm, which supplies fresh produce to East Valley School District kitchens, had a good year for wheat. The district recently took delivery of 400 pounds of low-gluten flour. Also in East Valley, three new school board members were sworn in during the most recent school board meeting. A crowd turned out for the event. New board member Mike Novakovich was elected board president.

Lisa also has a story on Central Valley High School teacher Carolyn Schafer, who headed up an effort to ship 140 quilts to send t0 a co-worker's Army unit stationed in Afghanistan. Members of the community rallied to make enough quilts, which were shipped last week.

Saturday’s highlights

Central Valley High senior Chris Pittella, center, works the anchor position during the taping of CV’s weekly sports show on Monday. The show airs Thursdays at 10:35 p.m. on KAYU. SR photo/Kathy Plonka

I am here at my keyboard even though many people have today off in observance of Veteran's Day. On the plus side, though, there wasn't as much traffic heading into downtown this morning. As usual there are highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice to present. We caught up on updated election results in the Spokane Valley City Council and East Valley School Board. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the newcomers that seem to be winning all the seats on the school board, which could lead to changes in the district. Newcomer Ed Pace is ahead of incumbent Gary Schimmels in a Spokane Valley City Council race. Change could be coming to the city as well if Pace and his supporters form an ultra-conservative voting block.

Lisa also has a story on Central Valley High School students that help put together the “This Week in High School Sports” show that airs on KAYU Fox 28. The students learn the skills they need to put the television show together, skills that can be useful in future careers.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a report on a special Millwood City Council meeting last week, where the council voted on its first contract for the Buckeye Avenue water main replacement project tentatively planned for next year.

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.

Today’s highlights

Toni Halloran, Deputy Chief of Newman Lake Fire and Rescue, concentrates as she maneuvers a water tender into the cramped confines of Station 1 on Tuesday. Newman Lake Fire and Rescue is again preparing to ask voters to pass a bond to replace Station 1. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

I hope everyone is having an excellent Thursday despite that nasty frost we had to scrape off our windshields this morning. Thursday is, of course, Valley Voice day, so we have some highlights. Newman Lake Fire and Rescue is considering tyring to pass a construction bond again to replace the aging Station 1. A bond failed at the polls in 2011, but this time commissioners are considering asking for only half the amount they asked for previously.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger attended a candidate forum this week featuring the candidates for the East Valley School District board of directors. Additional forums are planned for Oct. 12 and 16 for people unable to make the first session.

The Washington State Court of Appeals recently threw out the sentence of a former University High School teacher on a driving under the influence charge, ruling that he was improperly sentenced. However, Michael F. Cronin still served time in jail on other charges. He was fired by Central Valley School District in January 2012. A lawsuit Cronin filed in response to his firing is currently before the Court of Appeals.

Lisa checked in with Spokane Valely Rotary president-elect Mike Payson on the Spokane Valley Men of Rotary Fashion Show coming up this weekend. The fundraiser raises money for scholarships for high school seniors and books for local elementary schools.

Liberty Lake, East Valley candidate forums

Don't look now, but ballots for the November general election are about to hit your mailbox. Candidate forums are scheduled this week for East Valley School District board of directors and Liberty Lake City Council. Additional forums are planned for the coming weeks.

Tonight the candidates for the East Valley school board will face off from 6:30to 8:30 p.m. at the Starr Road Baptist Church, 4720 N. Starr Road. Those attending will be able to write down questions, which will be placed in a bucket and drawn at random by a moderator.

The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce is hosting a forum for the Liberty Lake City Council candidates Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Meadowood Technology campus dining room at 2100 N. Molter Road.

Today’s highlights

Curt Buyser of Critter Control removes a captured yellow-bellied marmot near the Gonzaga University baseball field earlier this month. SR photo/Dan Pelle

I love Thursday for two reasons: it means it's nearly Friday and it's a Valley Voice day. Today's Voice section is packed with good stuff, so let's move on to some highlights. First up is our primary election coverage. Ballots are being mailed this week. I took a look at city council races in Rockford and Latah and a fire commissioner race in Spokane County Fire District 9. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has information on the candidates runnings for two East Valley School District board seats.

This week the Spokane Valley City Council took a look at several possible locations for a new City Hall. They favored buying the former Crescent building in the old University City Mall even though the building is significantly larger than what they would need for a combined city hall and police precinct. In other city news, the council is considering easing the sign code again to address the number and type of temporary signs and where they can be placed.

Reporter Pia Hallenberg has an interesting story on Curtis Buyser of Critter Control. He's the one you call when you have a skunk in the neighborhood, raccoons setting up house in your attic or marmots burrowing in the bushes.

East Valley decision on K-8 comes tomorrow

The East Valley School Board has changed its plans as to when it will decide the future of K-8 education in the district. The meeting planned for 6 p.m. tonight to get more public input is still on, but the district has also added a board work session Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. and a special meeting to vote on the future of K-8 at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

If you want to give input on the district's ongoing conversion to a K-8 model, tonight is your last chance. There won't be any public comment at tomorrow's work session. All the meetings will take place at the district office, located at 12325 E. Grace Ave.

We will have a story on the district's decision in Thursday's Valley Voice.

Today’s highlights

Former Spokane Valley Mayor Mike DeVleming pauses during an interview on March 8, at Vera Water and Power. DeVleming was Spokane Valley’s first mayor and led the new city council in marathon meetings as they put the city together from the ground up. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

There is a lot of news packed into today's Valley Voice, so let's get going. The city of Spokane Valley is celebrating its 10th anniversary this weekend and there's a story on the city's early history that includes the city's first mayor and a current city councilman who spent his evenings and weekends trying to get incorporation on the balllot.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on a very lengthy East Valley School District meeting on K-8 education this week. Parents and teachers packed the meeting room and many gave their opinions on how the district should proceed.

The Spokane Valley City Council had several highlights this week. They appointed a new planning commissioner, signed a new City Hall lease that will save the city more than $73,000 the first year and awarded the first street preservation contract of the season.

There was also a big turn out for the city's public meeting on the proposed Appleway Trail that would run between University Road and Evergreen along the old Milwaukee Railroad right of way. The trail received an enthusiastic response.

Correspondent Cindy Hval has a story on the recent Celebrating Salish Conference, which brought together people involved in keeping the Salish language alive. The language is spoken by several Native American tribes, including the Kalispel Tribe.

Today’s highlights

Ralph and Geraldine Reifenberger live near Fairfield on farmland that has a 97-year-old barn on the property. They have been married for 63 years. SR photo/Dan Pelle

We packed a ton of news into today's Valley Voice, starting with a profile of new Spokane Valley City Councilman Rod Higgins. His background is mostly in the mining industry, but it includes detrours as a seed farmer, mail sorter and a broker.

Reporter Nicole Hensley has two reports from the East Valley School District. One story looks at the aftermath of the district's fifth bond failure. The second looks at the district's plans to take over the former Walker Army Reserve Center off Sullivan Road. The property was declared surplus and isn't costing the district any money to acquire.

The Spokane Valley City Council met to talk about road construction projects in 2013. The Mayor also gave SCOPE an award and key to the city in recognitition of their positive impact on the community.

Correspondent Cindy Hval tops it all off with a Love Story on Fairfield couple Ralph and Geraldine Reifenberger.  

Today’s highlights

A firefighter with the Spokane Valley Fire Department hauls a hose Tuesday through the front yard of a house at 9621 E. Empire Ave. that was donated to the department for a training exercise. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Today is Thursday, so join me in celebrating the fact that it is almost Friday and there's a new Valley Voice to look over. I have to single out SR photographer Tyler Tjomsland for taking a great photo of a traning fire in Millwood. The house was donated to the Spokane Valley Fire Department, which spent Tuesday training in it before they burned it to the ground.

Reporter Nicole Hensley has a trio of stories today, one of them looking at the fifth failure of an East Valley School District construction bond. Superintendent John Glenewinkel said the bond lacked parental support and the district will look at whether to try again with a trimmed down version.

Nicole also talked to 89-year-old Newman Lake resident Lee Hutchison, who travels four times a week by bus to volunteer at the Spokane Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She was recently named employee of the month in recognition of her tireless work.

Theater Arts of Children is getting ready to stage a production of “The Three Musketeers.” Nicole spoke to some of the actors preparing for opening night.

Today’s highlights

Liberty Lake Police Officer Jeff Jones. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Another Thursday means more Valley Voice highlights to look over. The Spokane Valley City Council had to turn to a coin toss this week in selecting a new council member after three tie votes. Rod Higgins, who has served on the city's planning commission for the last year, won the toss and was sworn in as the newest council member.

There's a new police officer on patrol in Liberty Lake. Officer Jeff Jones joined the police department in January after working as a Pend Oreille County sheriff's deputy for eight years. He's adjusting to a busier pace and a much shorter distance between calls.

Reporter Nicole Hensley has a story on a flyer the Citizens for Responsible Taxation has sent out opposing the East Valley School District bond. The school district says the information on the flyer is incorrect. The group has opposed school bonds and levys throughout the county in recent years.

Today’s highlights

The Lilac Festival Royalty Coronation is scheduled for Sunday. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Good Thursday morning, everyone. I got my wish. It's supposed to be above freezing today! As we wait for our mini heat wave, we've got a few highlights from today's Valley Voice to go over.

Ballots for the Feb. 12 election will begin arriving in the mail this weekend and there are several Spokane Valley area issues on the ballot. Reporter Nicole Hensley outlines the East Valley School District construction bond and the Orchard Prairie School Distict levy. There are also details on the Rockford law enforcement services levy and the Newman Lake Fire and Rescue EMS levy renewal.

Nicole also has collected information on the 14 members of this year's Lilac Royal Court. One of the girls will be selected the Lilac Queen on Sunday. There are students from Central Valley High School, Freeman High School, and West Valley High School in the mix.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a story on the Millwood History Enthusiasts group that meets weekly to collect information on Millwood's history, including photos, recorded interviews or written stories.

East Farms Diary: Seventh Grade

In tomorrow’s Valley Voice there will be a story about the seventh graders from East Farms as they spend a day in school.

For the next school year, I’ll be spending two days a month at East Farms STEM Magnet School, formerly East Farms Elementary School, in the East Valley School District.

We chose East Farms for a couple of reasons. The district is transitioning from a K-5 elementary school system to K-8 community schools. Middle-school students spend their mornings at their community schools and travel to East Valley Middle School, soon to be the Middle Level Learning Center, to have lunch and take their physical education and enrichment classes such as music and art. The second reason is East Farms’ move to become a STEAM magnet school this year. All students, with the exception of the kindergarten classes, will begin taking classes to enhance their appreciation for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

For my first outing to East Farms, I decided to spend the day with the 55 seventh graders. These students are the first to experience life as middle schoolers in a community school. Two years ago, they were fifth graders, expecting to attend Mountain View Middle School for their sixth grade year. The district decided that year to change the way it taught its middle school students, keeping them at their neighborhood elementary schools through the eighth grade and closing Mountain View permanently. East Valley Middle School will become the Middle Level Learning Center next year, where seventh and eighth graders participate in enrichment or exploratory classes. Next year, they will be the first eighth graders at East Farms.

While I discuss in the story some generalities of the day, I found myself very interested in the work the students were doing in the classrooms of East Farms, and with far more notes in my notebook to include in one story for the paper, I thought I would share some of that here on the blog.

Today’s highlights

Austin Long and his mother, Ann Long, are both graduating from Eastern Washington University this Saturday. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Once again we have a lot of good stuff for you in today's Valley Voice. Reporter Pia Hallenberg has a story on mothers graduating from Eastern Washington University at the same time as their children, including former Central Valley School District board member Ann Long. She and her son Austin will graduate this weekend.

The Spokane Valley City Council has decided to move forward with a zone change request without requiring an agreement that would mitigate the impacts of an apartment complex surrounded by single family homes. The zone change on Conklin is strongly opposed by neighbors and the city's planning commission has recommended the negotiation of a development agreement to increase buffering and limit density.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has several stories today, beginning with fifth grade students at Opportunity Elementary School who recently participated in their annual congressional hearings. Students learn about the Constitution and their roles in society.

Lisa has details on schedule changes coming up this fall in the East Valley School District. Elementary school will start later and CCS students will now be bused directly to their school. She also put together a list of where children can get free meals during the summer.  

Man arrested for school district tool theft

A tip to Crime Check helped police identify a suspect in a burglary at the East Valley School District maintenance office recently.

Christopher David Evans, 29, was arrested today by East Valley School Resource Officer Scott Streltzoff for the Jan. 27 burglary, according to the Spokane Valley Police Department.

Police released a surveillance photo of the thief Feb. 8 in hopes someone would recognize him. Acting on the tip, Streltzoff spoke with a friend of Evans' last Friday about the location of the stolen tools, valued at $300.

Later that Friday, someone concealing their identity with a hooded sweatshirt returned the tools to the front porch of the maintenance building.

Evans was booked into jail about 2:30 p.m. on charges of second-degree burglary and first-degree trafficking in stolen property.

The East Valley School District thanks everyone for their help.

East Valley calls special board meeting

The East Valley School District has called a special board meeting for 4:30 p.m. today at the East Valley Administration office, 12325 E. Grace. The only item on the agenda is a discussion on “board relations.” I'm not sure exactly what that means, but it may be worth checking out.

Tips sought on school district tool theft

Spokane Valley police are trying to identify two men who stole tools from the East Valley School District.

Surveillance photos released today show one of the thieves in the maintenance yard in the 18000 block of East Euclid Avenue on Jan. 27.

Police say the thieves entered a fenced area and stole about $300 worth of tools.

Anyone with information on a suspect is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

EV after-school activities canceled

The East Valley School District has canceled all after-school activities today because of the snow.

“Some of our streets and hills are getting nasty,” said Executive Director of Operations Brian Wallace.

He said the district has not made any decisions about tomorrow.

East Valley special meeting Wednesday

The East Valley School District board of directors will have a special meeting Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at East Valley High School, 15711 E. Wellesley. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the district's upcoming levy. No official board vote has been held yet to set the date for a levy election, but it is expected to be in 2012.

Free meals for kids start today

It can be hard for families who get free or reduced price meals through the school districts to provide enough food for kids during the summer when they are home. So every year local school districts open up federally funded Summer Food Program free meal sites for all children under age 18.

Beginning today Central Valley School District will serve free meals Mondays through Thursdays (closed on the Fourth of July) at Broadway Elementary, 11016 E. Broadway. Breakfast is from 7:30 to 8:15 a.m. and lunch is from noon to 12:45 p.m. 

The West Valley School District is also opening a meal site today at West Valley High School, 8301 E. Buckeye. Their schedule is also Mondays through Thursdays. Breakfast is from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and lunch is from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Meals are also available at Centennial Middle School, 925 N. Ella, the same days and times.

The East Valley School district already has several meal locations up and running. Meals are served Mondays through Thursdays at varying times. Locations include a couple of apartment complexes, the Valley YMCA, Trent Elementary, East Valley High School, Valley Mission Park, Terrace View Park, Edgecliff Park and Otis Orchards Elementary.

Click here for a complete list of summer meal locations and times.

Another special East Valley board meeting

The East Valley School District board of directors have held several special meetings in the last two weeks to get input from parents and students on the closure of Mountain View Middle School next month. The board has announced another special meeting for Wednesday night to discuss the input they received. The meeting will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at East Valley Middle School, 4920 N. Progress. If you can't make it, reporter Lisa Lienberger plans to attend and will have a story in Saturday's Valley Voice.

Last East Valley special meetings today

The East Valley School District board of directors will hold the last two special meetings today to discuss upcoming changes to the district, including the closure of Mountain View Middle School and moving Skyview Elementary students. While the decisions are not up for debate, the district is seeking input from parents and the community on how to best handle the transition. A meeting held Monday apparently drew a fairly good crowd of about 100 people.

The first of today's meetings is from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Administration Center, 12325 E. Grace. If you go to this one, arrive early to make sure you get a seat. The board room isn't all that big. The second meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Trent Elementary Audiorium, however, will accommodate a large crowd. The school is located at 3303 N. Pines Road.

East Valley special meeting tonight

The East Valley School District board of directors will host a special meeting tonight to discuss upcoming changes in the district, including closing Mountain View Middle School and moving Skyview Elementary students. The closure decisions have been made, but the district is seeking input from parents and community members on how to make the changes as painless as possible. Tonight's meeting will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mountain View, 6011 N. Chase.   

If you can't make it tonight, additional meetings are set for 1 to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Administration Center, 12325 E. Grace, and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Trent Elementary, 3303 N. Pines.

East Valley to declare emergency

The East Valley School District board of directors has called a special meeting for 1 p.m. today to declare a fiscal emergency. The meeting, which is open to the public, will be at the Administration building at 12325 E. Grace. This is the district's first step in determining what to do in the face of expected cuts in state education money and the failure of a bond to repair aging schools.

Vote today to have a voice

Just a reminder to residents in the East Valley School District that ballots for the bond election must be postmarked today in order to be counted by the Spokane County Elections Office. Otherwise you have until 8 p.m. today to drop it off at the Elections Office at 1033 W. Gardner or put it in one of the special ballot drop off boxes located all public libraries.

The first results will be released at 8 p.m. tonight and you can check www.spokesman.com for information. Additional ballots will continue to be counted over the next week or two before the election results are certified.

Rally for the bond

Citizens for East Valley, the campaign for the East Valley School District Construction Bond, will hold a rally at the corner of Harvard Road and Wellesley Ave. in Otis Orchards today from 3:45 to 6 p.m.

The campaign is hoping residents vote in favor of a $33.75 milllion school construction bond which will renovate and expand Trentwood, East Farms, Otis Orchards, Skyview and Trent elementary schools. It would add 40 new classrooms, four new gyms and a middle-level enrichement center, and the buildings would receive a technology upgrade. Mountain View Middle School would be closed.

Property owners can expect to see an increase of 86 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, which would increase East Valley's total levy and bond tax to $4.39 per $1,000.

The district expects $32.5 million in matching funds from the state.

Voters must return their ballots by April 26. the bond needs a supermajority of 60 percent to pass.

Members of the campaign will be at the rally with architectural renderings of what each school could look like after the construction.