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Tony Ludiker has won five national fiddle championships, played with the Coeur d’Alene Symphony and trained many local musicians. Photo courtesy Tony Ludiker.
Good Monday morning, everyone. We started with snow and now I see sunshine. What's next? While we ponder that, let's take a look at Saturday's Valley Voice. Correspondent Jill Barville talked the national grand champion fiddler Tony Ludiker, a native of Spokane Valley. A fundraiser has been organized for Wednesday to raise money to help Ludiker with medical expenses for his kidney cancer after he found himself out of a job and with no health insurance.
Opportunity Presbyterian Church is celebrating its 100th anniversary this weekend with tours, a catered dinner, live entertainment and a special worship service. The church hasn't gone far since it began meeting in what is now the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. You still have time if you would like to attend the festivities; reservations are being accepted through Wednesday.
Reporter Nicole Hensley stopped by to check out an iPad training session for West Valley School District teachers. They discovered a wide variety of apps that can help in the classroom.
The town of Rockford is evaluating what to do next after a proposed law enforcement services levy failed at the polls this month. The town hoped to collect enought money to pay for the town's contract with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.
Deputy Chief Larry Rider looks at the workmanship and materials inside the new Spokane Valley fire station going up in the 6300 block of East Sprague Avenue Wednesday. Station 6 will serve the area that extends west to Havana Street and east approximately 1.5 miles. It is scheduled to open in November. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
We're checking another Monday off the calendar, which means it is time to take a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Construction of Spokane Valley Fire Department's Station 6 has been delayed and is now expected to be complete in mid-November. The old Station 6 was torn down in March to make way for a new building.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger has information on some restructuring going on in Liberty Lake. Longtime community development director Doug Smith has "parted ways" with the city. Smith had worked for the city since 2001 and had been functioning as the city administrator.
Last week's election results showed the replacement maintenance and operations levies of Spokane County Fire District 9 and the Spokane Valley Fire Department passing easily. The levies accounted for more than half the annual budget of both organizations, so the affirmative vote comes as a relief.
Tonight we'll get our first look at election results. The actual counting will last a week or more, but the first batch of votes counted on election day usually gives a good indication if something is passing. Click here after 8 p.m. tonight to find out if the replacement maintenance and operations levies of the Spokane Valley Fire Department and Spokane County Fire District 9 are passing. You can also check our main page for election results for those issues as well other state and local races.
Skyway Cafe owner Sandy Melter, left, talks with Jerry Martin, center, and Ron Webber, right, at the “pilots table,” Tuesday. Located at Felts Field, the Skyway is 63 years old and filled with aviation memorabilia. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
Welcome to another hot and sunny day in Spokane. To celebrate we have a tour of today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger is continuing her tour of places to see in the Spokane Valley area and this week she visited the Skyway Cafe at Felts Field. The cafe is known for its good food and prime location that allows diners to watch planes taking off and landing at the airport.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department and Spokane County Fire District 9, both of which serve residents in the Spokane Valley area, have replacement maintenance and operations levies on the August ballot. Both districts get a significant amount of their annual budget from the levies. The ballots should begin arriving in the mail this week and must be returned by Aug. 7.
The Spokane Valley City Council got its first look this week at draft goals and policies for the shoreline plan that have been recommended for approval by the city's planning commission. There will be a lot more dicussion on this at future meetings.
Lisa also wrote about new West Valley School District assistant superintendent Jean Marczynski, who most recently worked for the Central Valley School District for many years.
Aliyah Forrester, 5, runs with a bucket and shovel Monday, through the Pumpkin Patch Community Garden in Millwood. Her grandparents, Doug and Teresa Sadler, help run the garden. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland
Today you get a look at the stories we've been working on all week. Reporter Pia Hallenberg is continuing her look at local community gardens and recently stopped by the Pumpkin Patch Community Garden in Millwood. The garden still has some of its 57 plots available and also participates in the Plant a Row for the Hungry program, donating produce to Second Harvest.
In a departure from past practice, the Spokane Valley City Council is not allowing the Spokane Valley Fire Department to make a presentation on its replacement levy on the August ballot. The move caught the fire department by surprise, particularly since it gave similar presentations twice previously.
The work on the Sprague Avenue reconstruction project has been delays after a gas line was found only inches under the asphalt. It had to be relocated and buried deeper before the road work could continue. During Tuesday's meeting the Spokane Valley City Council voted to require a development agreement before land on Conklin Road just south of Broadway can be rezoned high density residential. The agreement would set restrictions on setbacks and building height on the land, which is surrounded by single family homes on land zoned low density residential.
The town of Fairfield has several programs for kids running this summer. Free lunch is available in the Community Center on weekdays and the town will again bus children to the Tekoa pool.
Third-graders Audrina Gainey, left, and Stephanie Sawchuk, right, wear ball gowns and munch on a lunch served by parents and teachers May 24, at Sunrise Elementary. The event, called the Fairy Tale Ball, was a time to dress up and practice proper dining etiquette. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
There's a lot to check out in today's Valley Voice, so grab a cup of coffee and settle in. I almost wish I was at Sunrise Elementary when reporter Lisa Leinberger was there last week to check out the third grade Fairy Tale Ball because it sounds like so much fun. The students dressed up in their finest clothes and snacked on food made by their parents.
If you are looking for things to do this weekend, you have a couple of options. The grand opening of Greenacres Park is Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The park has a playgroung area with splash pad and sand box, restrooms, a large picnic shelter and play fields. Saturday is also West Valley Days in Millwood, which includes a parade, carnival and free bike raffle.
The Spokane Valley City Council discussed their second thoughts about accepting the donation of a sculpture in a new entry to be built at Appleway and Thierman next year. Several council members suggested putting the work of art in Balfour Park instead so people can get up close to it.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department will have a replacement levy on the ballot in August. It currently provides 53 percent of their annual budget and there was discussion this week on what would happen if the levy fails. Six of the department's ten stations would close and staff would be cut from 180 to 76.
Spokane Valley Heritage Museum Executive Director Jayne Singleton highlights a photograph of Titanic's grand staircase on display in the museum's exhibit about the April 15, 1912, sinking of the ship. SR photo/Dan Pelle
Here we are, having yet another rainy day. But it's also Thursday, which means there are some great stories from the Valley Voice to read while you have your coffee. The Spokane Valley City Council voted Tuesday to provide $30,000 in lodging tax funding to Valleyfest. This is the second round of allocations of lodging tax money for 2012 and there was a bit of a furor when Valleyfest didn't get funded in the first round.
In other news from the city, Spokane Valley Public Works Director Neil Kersten has confirmed that he is leaving the city sometime in May. He's one of the few department heads left who has been with the city since the beginning. He'll be going back to Alaska, where all his children and grandchildren live.
The Spokane Valley Heritage Museum has opened a new exhibit on the Titanic as the 100th anniversary of the sinking approaches. The exhibit includes information on local passengers who went down with the ship.
The town of Rockford is trying again to pass a one-year replacement levy to help fund the town's fire department. The levy failed in November, though is did get 56.71 percent approval. The levy requires a 60 percent supermajority to pass. The levy, which is on the April 17 ballot, would provide nearly 40 percent of the department's annual budget.
Some local school districts are unhappy with last night's levy election results, but the levies of all school districts in the Spokane Valley area appear to be passing. There are more ballots left to count, but election night results are usually a good indicator of the final results. East Valley got a 51.97 percent yes vote, while Central Valley got a more commanding 58.4 percent yes vote. The approval vote for Freeman was 53 percent.
Both the West Valley and Liberty school districts had two levies on the ballot - a regular levy and a technology levy. All four are passing handily. Levies are in important part of any district's budget, so a whole bunch of people are breathing a sigh of relief this morning. Click here for Jody Lawrence-Turner's story on all the election results.
The Central Valley School District will host the first of four public forums tonight on its school programs and operations levy on the Feb. 14 ballot. The forum is at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Central Valley High School, 821 S. Sullivan Road. The three-year $27 million levy, if passed, will replace one that expires in December. There will be a chance for residents to ask questions.
Addtional forums are scheduled for Jan. 31 at Opportunity Elementary (1109 S. Wilbur Road), Feb. 2 at Liberty Lake Elementary (23606 E. Boone) and Feb. 9 at University High School (12420 E. 32nd). For more information, click here.
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.
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.
PUBLIC LANDS — The dikes and levies along the Coeur d'Alene River near North Idaho College and along Lewiston aren't the only areas where trees are scheduled to be cut by order of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The trees and woody vegetation is scheduled to be cut along the dike at McDowell Lake starting this fall, said officials at the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge.
The corps said the trees and brush must be cut to protect the integrity of the levies and reduce the possibility of major failures.
Here’s how Lakeland School District business manager Tom Taggart responded to Jacob Minter’s request to remove KTEC link from Web site: “We appreciate your concern and would agree that the school district should not use resources to directly promote a position, one way or the other, concerning the KTEC levy. As in other school district levies we want to provide information, while stopping short of including a “vote yes” statement in any of our materials. I have followed the link you included in your email to the KTEC site and have read the portion that includes the “Vote yes” language. While I think this is not a legal violation, I do think it goes beyond on usual practice during elections. We will be removing the link, but keeping the other informational materials posted.”
- Sid Armstrong’s response for Post Falls School District: “When the KTEC information was put on our site, the link was not there. It was added sometime subsequent to the original information. We agree with you and will have it removed immediately.”
- Jacob Minter’s Facebook page urging “no” vote on KTEC levies
Question: Why do you think the school districts complied so quickly to Jacob’s request?
Superintendent Hazel Bauman of Coeur d’Alene School District order a link to KTECHigh.org removed after she received this e-mail from patron Jacob Minter: “As you’re aware, the Coeur d’Alene School District’s main website contains a brochure about KTEC which provides a link to ktechigh.org as a source of ‘more information’ on the proposal. Linking there is highly inappropriate on the District’s part given that this website is wildly biased in favor of KTEC and even contains an explicit plea to ‘[v]ote YES on the KTEC Levy, coming August 24th.’ The District’s responsibility should be to provide accurate, objective information to parents and voters so that they can make an informed decision at the ballot box. It should not be directing curious voters to sites biased one way or the other, especially sites explicitly instructing readers to ‘vote yes’ or ‘vote no.’”
Question: Did Hazel Bauman do the right thing by removing the link?
I have been involved in local government in Kootenai County for over 28 years and I can tell you that this is one of the most amazing examples of cooperation and team work I have ever seen. We have three school districts, North Idaho College, local businesses, landowners, and the City of Rathdrum all working together to make this a reality. There have been challenges and disagreements along the way, but they have all been overcome as time after time individuals put aside their differences and focused on what is best for our children/Tom Taggart, Lakeland School District finance officer, via Bay Views. More here.
Question: Have you changed your mind re: supporting or not supporting the proposed Kootenai Technical Education Campus?
Advocates of a property tax that would raise money for early-child learning, abuse prevention, treatment and other programs have submitted more than 12,600 signatures in support of placing the levy on the November ballot.
Supporters of the initiative, which is called the Spokane Children’s Investment Fund Levy for Families and Youth, collected 771 sheets of signatures that they turned in to the city clerk’s office on Thursday.
The issue needs 8,334 valid signatures to earn a public vote.
The Spokane City Council will vote on July 12 if it will place the idea on the ballot, ask the county election’s office to validate signatures first or declare it illegal.
The council usually orders a review by the election’s office when asked to consider an initiative.
The tax, which would raise $5 million annually, would cost the owner of a $100,000 property $35 a year.
The two-year, $2.78 million levy for Kellogg Joint School District 391 passed Tuesday. There were a total of 1,079 votes in favor the levy, passing it through by 61.27 percent. … More than 1,700 people turned out for the election between noon and 7 p.m. at the four open polling sites - Canyon Elementary, Pinehurst Elementary, Sunnyside Elementary and Smelterville City Hall - where all places posted votes to pass the levy/Sarah Rose Fredlund, Shoshone News-Press. More here.
Voters in nine
Ballots that are mailed must be postmarked by Tuesday. They can also be deposited, minus a stamp, in a drop box set up by the County Elections office at most public libraries.
Drop box locations are inside the blog:
The people supporting the ballot measures for the Spokane School District seem to be intent on proving that the community needs to be spending more money on education. It seems they would not last long on that FOX-TV game show, “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?”
They keep making the mistakes that would earn students in the District 81 classrooms a failing grade.
The Lake Pend Oreille School District levy has passed with 59.5 percent of the vote. The $10.95 million supplemental levy received 3,965 yes votes to 2,699 no votes. The levy required a simple majority for approval, 50 percent plus one vote. The levy is divided in two parts, with $4.6 million to be collected in year one and $6,350,000 in year two/Marlisa Keyes, Bonner County Bee. More here. Question: Lake Pend Oreille School District is known as one of the toughest places to pass school bonds and levies in North Idaho. Is this a promising sign in these tough economic times for other districts who want to pass supplemental levies?
The Lake Pend Oreille School District levy has passed with 59.5 percent of the vote. The $10.95 million supplemental levy received 3,965 yes votes to 2,699 no votes. The levy required a simple majority for approval, 50 percent plus one vote. The levy is divided in two parts, with $4.6 million to be collected in year one and $6,350,000 in year two/Marlisa Keyes, Bonner County Bee. More here.
Question: Lake Pend Oreille School District is known as one of the toughest places to pass school bonds and levies in North Idaho. Is this a promising sign in these tough economic times for other districts who want to pass supplemental levies?
Item: Cd’A levy could be $1M less: Superintendent asks trustees for lower amount at Monday meeting/Maureen Dolan, CDA Press
More Info: Superintendent Hazel Bauman recommended to trustees at a special board meeting Monday that the district set the levy amount at $7.8 million. Before making her recommendation, Bauman spent two weeks speaking with and polling nearly 300 people representing community groups — the chamber of commerce, the Rotary, the Parent-Teacher Association Alliance, Jobs Plus, the Excel Foundation and Concerned Businesses of North Idaho. Just 1 percent of those Bauman asked thought it would be a good idea to increase the levy amount while 68 percent were in favor of decreasing it, and 31 percent thought it should remain the same.
Question: Do you believe Superintendent Hazel Bauman’s inclusive approach to setting a levy amount guarantees its passage?