Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Multiple recruiting websites are reporting that Cougars commit Jordan Rose no longer has a scholarship offer from coach Mike Leach following an undisclosed incident off the field. Rose, who attends 1A Freeman High School outside of Spokane, has been a verbal commit to Washington State since August. The 6-foot-6 senior was all-league on both the offensive and defensive lines last season, and was expected to play offensive tackle for the Cougars.
Dave Smith has been hired as the new superintendent of the Newport School District. He is leaving his job as principal of Freeman High School. SR photo/Lisa Leinberger
I'm happy that it's Thursday for three reasons - it's one day closer to Friday, it's a Valley Voice Day and our 90 degree weather is supposed to come to an end this weekend. Happy day! In today's Valley Voice, reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the departure of Freeman High School Principal Dave Smith. Smith is leaving to become the superintendent of the Newport (Wash.) School District, the same district where he grew up and where his father was superintendent.
The Liberty Lake City Council is beginning its 2014 budget process. They will make some key decisions during a day-long budget retreat coming up, such as whether to continue a utility tax and whether to develop vacant land the city owns at Mission Ave. and Signal Road.
Mirabeau Point Park has been dubbed a "jewel" by an SCC earth science instructor who gave a report Tuesday to the Spokane Valley City Council on the unique geolocial features in the park.
Freeman Elementary School first-grade teacher Chris Cochrane helps Andrew Kopytin select his classroom seat during an open house Monday at the newly remodeled school. Cochrane has taught first grade for 25 years, including 10 at Freeman. SR photo/Dan Pelle
Happy Thursday, everyone. We have one more day until a nice, three day weekend. But before we take off, there are some highlights from today's Valley Voice to consider. For the first time in years, there are no construction crews and portable classrooms on the Freeman School District campus. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by the district's annual welcome barbecue to check out the new elementary school, which joins the new high school and upgraded middle school.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioners voted this week to suspend one firefighter for two shifts without pay for disobeying an order and to fire another for unspecified reasons. Capt. Jon Sprague, who has asked to have all his discipline discussed in open public meetings, was suspended for sending religious emails using the departments email system even after he was ordered to stop.
The Spokane Valley City Council had another look at the city's proposed 2013 budget this week. The council also gave its approval for hiring an advertising firm to create some ads touting the city's attributes.
Lexi Saeger is working her way toward a national competition by selling shopping bags, right, that she makes from empty pet food bags. She also made a skirt and camisole out of the bags, left, for the Future Career and Community Leaders of America competition. SR photo/Dan Pelle
The rain is back, but since it is Thursday there's a Valley Voice to take a look at over coffee since you can't look out the window and see sunshine. Reporter Lisa Leinberger attended an East Valley school board meeting this week where there was a public hearing on the district's plan to take on $6.2 million in nonvoted debt to pay for new portable classrooms at the elementary schools. The portables are needed to allow the schools to include students in grades K-8. The topic did generate some discussion.
Correspondent Cindy Hval interviewed Lexi Saeger, a student at Freeman High School, who makes clothing and shopping bags out of old pet food bags. She's been selling her shopping bags and they are available at a local store.
The Spokane Valley City Council voted Tuesday to name nine people to its new ad hoc economic development committee. The council also voted to pass a new sign code ordinance. This week the Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioners gave a resident an outstanding citizen award for his role in saving a woman from her burning apartment. The commissioners also voted to put a replacement maintenance and operations levy on the Aug. 7 ballot.
University High School sophomores Ashley Lewis and Lindsey Knight sign holiday cards and attach them to toys for children adopted by their Titan advisory period class. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
It's another lovely Monday morning, which means it is time for the Saturday Valley Voice highlights. Reporter Lisa Leinberger spoke to students at University High School who participated in the school's annual Adopt-A-Tot toy drive.
The Spokane Valley Police Department has been accredited by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. They are the only contract law enforcement agency in Washington to take this step. The Spokane Valley City Council voted to lower the speed limit on a stretch of Mission between Flora and Barker in Greenacres. The city is also considering whether to keep the traffic light at Sprague and Progress.
Correspondent Steve Christilaw has a story on second year Freeman boys basketball coach John Graham. He brought a new style of coaching to the school that has apparently been successful.
The Valley crew has been hard at work this week getting everything ready for Thursday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in the local school districts (East Valley, West Valley, Central Valley and Freeman) to see how district enrollment is doing. We'll have a story on the new Saltese natural area and a report on Tuesday's Spokane Valley City Council meeting. There was a lengthy discussion on stormwater projects that are eligible for grant money. There were a bunch of other topics covered, but those will have to wait until Saturday's Valley Voice. Don't forget to pick up your paper in the morning to check out the stories.
The newest roundabout in the Spokane Valley is at Flora Road and Mission Avenue. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
We managed to pack a lot of news into Saturday's Valley Voice. We looked into the growing popularity of roundabouts, which are popping up all over Spokane County. The city of Spokane Valley now has three.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger listened to the superintendents of four Spokane Valley school districts talk to the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce education committee about cuts they have made over the years because of reduced funding from the State. She also stopped by East Valley High School, which installed an automated external defribrillator last week.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department had a busy week with several arson fires and a major two-alarm fire at a medical building.
Freeman Schools Superintendent Randy Russell introduces himself to night custodian James Marratt during a visit to the high school last Thursday. He takes the helm of the district on July 1. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
The clouds are back this morning, but at least we got some sun yesterday. No sun, of course, means you have the perfect excuse to stay inside and check out today's Valley Voice. Even though the weather isn't the greatest, work has begun on the Indiana Avenue extension project in Greenacres. The intersection of Flora and Mission won't be shut down to build a new roundabout until about the second week of June and that portion of construction should only take about five weeks.
Randy Russell hasn't started work as the new Freeman superintedent yet, but he's stopped by to introduce himself. Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to him about his years as a principal in Spokane and Coeur d'Alene. The Spokane Valley City Council discussed road projects on the city's six year construction plan on Tuesday. Nothing was decided, but it sounds like the council wants to consider doing less new construction and more street preservation.
Taking a look to the south, Spokane County Fire District 8 recently received a grant that will pay to completely outfit the district with new breathing apparatus equipment. The grant is worth more than $300,000.
We've been managing to keep busy this week and you'll be able to read our efforts in Thursday's Valley Voice. Construction has started on the Indiana Avenue extension project and I'll have details on what areas will be closed down and when. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has talked to Randy Russell, the new superintendent for the Freeman School District.
Also, Spokane County Fire District 8, which is south of Spokane Valley, recently got a federal grant to replace some aging equipment. The Spokane Valley City Council had a relatively light meeting this week, but did discuss paying to maintain current streets versus building new ones.
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.
School children all over the Valley are giddy this morning. Probably everyone knows by now that just about every school district is closed today - Freeman, Central Valley, West Valley and Liberty. East Valley is on its winter break this week, so they are not racking up a snow day they'll have to make up later. Highway 195 between Spangle and Rosalia was closed for several hours this morning, but it is now open again.
The City of Spokane Valley started a full city plow this morning. Still, be careful on the roads until things get cleaned up. Don't forget there's ice under that fresh new snow.
I took the picture above in my front yard this morning after I spent an hour digging out my car and my driveway. The snow was deep, but thank goodness it was pretty light and fluffy. Now it needs to stop snowing so I don't have to do it again.
Freeman School District Superintendent Sergio Hernandez led efforts to pass two levies and a construction bond, and directed the high school and elementary school construction projects. More than that, he said, “I hope they remember me for caring about people, caring about the students and the staff and working as a team player. The buildings really are a team effort.” SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
After 41 years in education, Freeman School District Superintendent Sergio Hernandez will be hanging up his hard hat in June. He's been wearing that hard hat a lot lately, overseeing the contstruction of a new high school and renovations at the elementary school. He told reporter Lisa Leinberger that he's not sure what he'll do after he retires, but that he still wants to work with kids in some way.
The Spokane Valley City Council took its first step this week in approving a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. Reporter Pia Hallenberg spoke to Temple Beth Shalom Rabbi Michael Goldstein about a billboard uring people to boycott Israel.
It's been busy in Spokane Valley. Last night a Spokane Valley man allegedly stabbed his brother after the two fought. Now one brother is in jail on an attempted murder charge and the other is in serious condition in the hospital. And this morning the Spokane Valley Fire Department was called out to what is being called a suspicious fire in a vacant building at 13412 E. Nora.
Since it is Wednesday, we also have to take a look at what is coming in the Valley Voice tomorrow. Freeman School District Superintendent Sergio Hernandez recently announced that he will retire in June and reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to him about what he is planning next after his 41 year career in education. I'll have a report on Tuesday's Spokane Valley City Council meeting, where a reduced field of five council members efficiently dealt with the business before them.
One item of note to come out of the council meeting is a change in the schedule to appoint a replacement for Rose Dempsey. Things have been bumped back a bit. The council will narrow the field to several finalists on March 22, conduct interviews on March 29 and vote on who to appoint to the vacant seat on April 5. Applications still must be turned in to the city by 4 p.m. on March 4.
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.
An accident is currently blocking Highway 27 at Jackson Road in the Freeman area. No details are available yet.
Here it is the last weekend before Christmas and your holiday shopping isn’t done. What to do? The Freeman High School Future Business Leaders of America club is willing to help by offering child care for people who need to go buy some last minute gifts and slip them into the house when certain young family members aren’t looking.
Parents can drop their kids off at the school, located on Jackson Road at Highway 27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The students have organized a jumping castle, games, movies, sports and food for the kids. Of course, you can drop your kids off even if you have all your shopping done and just need a quiet day.
Donations will be accepted at the door. The event is a fundraiser for the Freeman FBLA.
The hopes of students in the Freeman area for a snow day have not been answered. Freeman schools are running two hours late this morning. Preschool and skill center have been cancelled, however. The Liberty School District announced yesterday that it would also be running two hours late, but said at 6:30 a.m. this morning that classes would be cancelled instead.
As of last reports Highway 27 was still open, but everyone drive carefully out there. Some roads are downright nasty.
Some school districts are already announcing that classes will be cancelled tomorrow because of the expected frigid weather and snow. You can check online for up to date school closure information. I’m sure students in the Liberty and Freeman School Districts are hoping for a second snow day to make their Thanksgiving holiday extra long.