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A group of middle schoolers sign University of Minnesota Duluth cross country runner Sam River’s arm after she signed notebooks and posters for them on Thursday at Pasadena Park Elementary School in Spokane Valley. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland
Happy Monday before Thanksgiving, everyone. Let's mark the beginning of what is a short work week for most people with a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Pasadena Park Elementary last week when the students received a visit from about 80 athletes in town for the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships. The kids appeared to be inspired by the visit and topped off the experience by running around the playground with the visiting athletes.
Kids and kids at heart will be disappointed to learn that this year's Spokane Valley Christmas tree lighting has been cancelled. The annual event is run by the Spokane Valley Rotary. The tree was damaged last year and after the person in charge of organizing the event moved away suddenly the tree was not fixed in time. The club president promises that the tradition will be back up and running next year, however.
Despite the ongoing angst in some cities about the use of police body cameras, the city of Liberty Lake just approved a new contract with its police officers that requires the use of body cameras. Six people in the 10 man department have been wearing the cameras on a voluntary basis for several months and the footage they recorded has already proven itself useful many times.
The shoreline reinforcement project at a Newman Lake cabin stops the shore from disappearing under it, as seen Tuesday. The Spokane County Conservation District secured a grant to lay “bio logs” of coconut husks wrapped in netting and plant willow trees and other waterside species to create a root matrix that will stabilize the shoreline. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
There are some good stories in today's Valley Voice on everything from erosion control to an entry in the East Farms Diary. A property owner on Newman Lake has teamed up with the Spokane County Conservation District for an erosion control project on their shrinking beach. The addition of power boats to the lake has led to larger wakes, which has washed away 30 feet of beach in the last 15 years.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger spent the day at East Farms STEAM Magnet School recently as students made presentations on projects they have been working on this trimester. Their efforts ranged from watermelon plants to a helicopter mockup.
Half of the Liberty Lake Police Department is now wearing body cameras and recording all their interactions with the public. Wearing the cameras is voluntary and five members of the department have signed on, including the police chief.
The Spokane Valley City Council doesn't seem very happy with changes to the lodging tax rules. A new state law removes the final decision making on who is awarded money and how much from the city council and gives it to the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee. The council has no power to change the awards set by the committee.
Taylor Gatts, a University High School senior, launched a nonprofit organization – Kids Against Cancer – for her culminating senior project. Gatts has been raising funds for children’s cancer research, working with children with cancer and even shaved her head to donate her hair to Locks of Love. SR photo/Dan Pelle
Today is Thursday, which means it is time for another round of Valley Voice highlights. Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to University High School senior Taylor Gatts about the Kids Against Cancer nonprofit organization that she founded as her senior culminating project. She even shaved her head to donate her hair to Locks of Love to show support for children with cancer.
Children's Book Bank organizer Mike Frucci was recognized by Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey with a community recognition award this week. The book bank donates new and used books to children under the age of six in the Spokane area.
There is a group of women at the Broadway Court Estates independent living center that have been meeting at least once a week to create prayer shawls for a local ministry. They turned out 32 shawls in the first two months. They seem to be having a good time while they do it, laughing and joking while their hands work.
A man being arrested by a Liberty Lake Police officer tried the popular "Officer, these aren't my pants" defense when suspected oxycontin and drug paraphernalia were found in his pockets. He was apparently unable to identify the true owner of the pants, however.
Washington State Patrol trooper Jon McKee, left, and Airway Heights police officer Mike Suniga haul their cold bodies out of Liberty Lake on Feb. 22 after taking their 16th polar plunge of the day in support of Special Olympics Washington. SR photo/Dan Pelle
There's a bunch of great stuff in today's Valley Voice. We'll start with a small group of people freezing for the cause - 10 super plungers who dipped into chilly Liberty Lake 24 times in one day to raise money for Special Olympics. One of those plungers was Liberty Lake Police Chief Brian Asmus, who raised more than $4,000.
Reporter Nicole Hensley has a story on a group of Centennial Middle School students getting ready to participate in the Inland Northwest Regional Science Bowl. They will answer knowledge questions and have a small car they built haul around a load of salt.
The Spokane Valley City Council had a day-long winter retreat Tuesday and one of the topics of discussion was the lodging tax. They discussed bills governing the lodging tax making their way through the state legislature and whether the city should change the procedure it uses to award the funds.
As for this story out of Liberty Lake, the headline says it all: "Broken-down car stolen by tow truck." Talk about an unusual theft report.
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.
A kitten cries for attention after a staffer at SCRAPS placed adoption papers and a pet license on its cage Tuesday. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
What is it about Monday mornings and fresh snow? Mondays also mean highlights from the Saturday Valley Voice, so here we go. Reporter Nicole Hensley has a story with some details about upcoming changes at SCRAPS as well as a look back at the organization's history. Can you guess what the most popular cat name is?
The Ambulance Service Board, which includes the Spokane Valley Fire Department as well as most fire departments and districts in Spokane County, has negotiated a contract extension with AMR that includes a $100 reduction in the base cost of an ambulance trip starting in February.
A Liberty Lake Police Officer had an interesting day last week when a fleeing suspect rammed his patrol car. The officer was unhurt, but the brand new police car was damaged. The suspect was arrested the next day in Spokane.
Nicole also has a story on a group of pickleball players that are looking for new blood. The majority of the players are seniors, but all ages are welcome.
Role call: Shauna Cozza, 7, gives a humorous monologue about the existence of fairies Monday as she auditions for a part in the upcoming Theater Arts for Children production of “The Three Musketeers,” at the TAC headquarters in Spokane Valley. TAC will host a silent auction and buffet Saturday. The Star Tacs, the theater’s improv group, will perform. Tickets for the fundraiser are $30 per person or $50 per couple and are available by calling (509) 995-6718 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The theater is at 2114 N. Pines Road, Suite 3S. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
I'm not sure where the morning went. I was so busy working on stories for Saturday's Valley Voice I forgot to write up some highlights from today's Valley Voice. I blame the sleep deprivation.
The Spokane Valley City Council voted this week to approve a 20-year contract with the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) for animal control services. City staff said the county hopes to have a new regional shelter complete by the beginning of 2014. The city of Spokane is expected to vote on a contract with SCRAPS later this month.
New Valley Voice reporter Nicole Hensley has a story on the crud going around local schools that is resulting in a high number of absences. There's been a short term reporting change in the newsroom and Nicole will be working for the Valley Voice for a couple months while Lisa Leinberger tries her hand at the night cops beat.
It seems as though New Year's Eve and New Years Day were busy for local law enforcement and the city of Liberty Lake is no different. Officers there responded to quite a few calls on New Year's Day, ranging from a bar brawl to a 13-year-old boy arrested for assaulting his mother.
The Liberty Lake Police Department recently took delivery of three new police cars to replace some of its aging fleet. But people adept at spotting the unique profile of a Crown Victoria police car from blocks away will have to retrain their eye. The new cars are not Crown Vics, which aren't being made anymore, but are Ford Police Interceptors. The one I took a picture of this week doesn't have a light bar on top. The cars boast all wheel drive, which the old ones didn't have, and get better gas mileage. Police Chief Brian Asmus said his officers should have a much easier time getting around town in the snow this winter. Photo by Nina Culver
Farmer Robin Jons hands customer Dawson Smith, 5, a pumpkin he just bought Wednesday, at AC Starr Farms. The Otis Orchards farm will present its annual Pumpkins for Pets Fall Festival, a fundraiser for Partners for Pets in Spokane Valley and River City Pet Rescue in Post Falls. SR photo/Colin Mulvany
Ah, Monday. How we've missed you. Of course, Monday means it's time to take a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. There is some new landscaping going in near Discovery Playground and Centerplace. The spot will also include two small picnic shelters that can be reserved for birthday parties or just family picnic.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger wrote a story about the Pumpkins for Pets festival at AC Starr Farms. The annual event, which benefits two local pet rescue organizations, includes hayrides, a corn maze, face painting and more. Pets are invited to attend as well.
Lisa also has a story on mock elections at West Valley. All the high school students are learning about the candidates for local, state and federal candidates before they hold a mock election at the end of the month. They've been asking pointed questions of candidates who have come to speak to them.
The Liberty Lake Police Department is joining a new domestic violence program being spearheaded by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. The new Lethality Assessment Program is designed to get domestic violence victims the help they need immediately instead of officers just handing out a brochure with phone numbers. The new program will be used in Spokane Valley as well.
Remembering the fallen, looking toward the future: The Spokane Valley Fire Department continued its tradition Tuesday of honoring the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by dedicating buildings under construction. Members of the Spokane Valley Fire Department honor guard, including, from left, Greg Bennett, fire inspector, Dave Vegele, engineer/paramedic, and Michael Fields, firefighter, participated in Tuesday morning’s flag raising at Station 6. SR photo/Colin Mulvany
There's a bunch of news packed into today's Valley Voice. Local 876 of the International Association of Fire Fighters has filed a challenge to the voter registration of Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioner Monte Nesbitt. Nesbitt, who has announced he will resign at the end of the year, said he now lives in Cheney but remains registered to vote in Spokane Valley.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger has some student numbers for the Central Valley School District, which has a lot more students in the classrooms than it expected. They've had to get a little creative at some schools to handle it. The Spokane Valley City Council had another review of the proposed 2013 budget and expressed some hestitation about some changes, including how street preservation is funded and how much of an ending fund balance to have.
A thief in Liberty Lake who went as far as removing tires and wheels in preparation for making off with them apparently changed his or her mind and left them behind, along with a message written in dust on a car window. The thief was uncommonly organized and tidy.
The family of a Western Washington man shot and killed nearly two weeks ago went to his Liberty Lake apartment to collect his things, only to find it burglarized and his newly purchased assault rifle missing.
Ryan Crews Mumm, 20, had been living in the area attending Spokane Community College, according to news reports.
He was shot and killed July 14 at Blue Stilly Park in Arlington in what police described as a dispute over $20 of marijuana. Suspect Dennis R. Watters, 41, of Tulalip, is in jail.
Mumm grew up in Arlington, and his family lives there. His sister, Jessica Olson, traveled to Liberty Lake to remove his items from the apartment at 22809 E. Country Vista Dr. and found it burglarized. An open rifle case sat on the living room floor. Olson said Mumm had bought a firearm at Cabela’s a couple months ago.
Liberty Lake police Detective Ray Bourgeois obtained a search warrant for Cabela’s firearm records that indicated the gun was a Romarm AK-47 assault rifle purchased by Mumm on Feb. 12. He entered the gun as stolen.
Here's a news release from Deputy Craig Chamberlin, spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff's Office:
On Monday, June 4th, 2012, the Liberty Lake Police Department Contacted a magazine company called Strickly Business 1. The company was attempting to sell magazine subscriptions door to door without a license and was issued criminal citations for Soliciting Without a License. Salesman told Liberty Lake Officers they recently came from the Seattle area.
These types of magazine sales companies have surfaced in Spokane County several times in the past couple months. Investigators from the Better Business Bureau have warned consumers that these types of companies are required to be registered with the Secretary of The State's Office and required to obtain a business license for such types of sales.
These types of companies have gained the attention of Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, whose office sent out the following release:
Guess who is back in town? It’s the door-to-door magazine sellers from out of state who appear on doorsteps claiming outrageously priced subscriptions will help fund “second chance” opportunities for inner city youth. The Washington Attorney General’s Office has issued warnings about such visitors before, and is again alerting consumers to beware of these solicitors and think twice before buying their magazines.
The Attorney General’s Office has received numerous complaints from victimized consumers who paid $50 to $784 for magazine subscriptions purchased from door-to-door sellers. Consumers say they were touched by the solicitors’ stories and believed their purchases would be for a good cause. Solicitors claim to be earning money for college, working toward a better job, receiving points for a free trip, or contributing proceeds to help homeless youth.
“Unfortunately, another common theme is that time and again, consumers throughout the country never receive the magazines they purchased, or hear from the sellers again, and have no idea what happened to their money.” said Attorney General Rob McKenna.
Many of these solicitors claim to work for “business or job training” companies that send young adults door to door to give them a “fresh start” on life. In a recent complaint to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, one seller claimed to represent a company called “Strictly Business.” The consumer did his own checking and found the company was based in Texas. It had a Better Business Bureau rating of “F” for failing to respond to complaints and failing to deliver magazines.
“Besides the potential of falling victim to fraud, there are many other risks involved, such as threats to personal safety or the possibility of being a victim of identity theft. It all makes buying items from strangers who knock on your door a bad idea,” added McKenna.
Consumers should always check out a charity with the Secretary of State prior to making a donation. A state search engine listing registered charities is available at www.secstate.wa.gov/charities.
Many of these sales people claim they are raising money for school fundraisers, which is usually not true. If you are contacted by these types of sales people you are urged to contact the Better Business Bureau at 509-232-0579 to verify the validity of the company
Police Officer Kevin Schmeckpeper rides down stairs while practicing bike handling techniques at the skate park in Pavillion Park in Liberty Lake May 15. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
We are a day late doing the Saturday Valley Voice highlights because of the holiday, but they say some things get better with age, right? Yes, I think I'll go with that. Reporter Lisa Leinberger had a story on Central Valley High School students who got the opportunity to chat with scientists who are simulating manned missions to Mars.
The Spokane Valley City Council had a bit of a wild meeting last week while they were debating a controversial zone change request that would allow high density housing on a chunk of land surrounded by single family homes. They decided to hold off on a final vote, though they did approve all the other zone change requests submitted as part of the annual comprehensive plan amendments.
Genesis Church has a new home. The church, founded in 2010, is now leasing the old Good Shepherd Lutheran Church across from Central Valley High School. A trio of Liberty Lake police officers recently completed special training before they head out on bicycle patrol.
Teacher Robbie Robinson, second from left, stands in a greenhouse with Harmony High School students, from left, Satieva Ankey, Josh Armstrong, Chris Kinyon, Cody Buchanan and Franki Turner. SR pohto/Dan Pelle
We have a ton of good stuff to highlight in today's Valley Voice, so much that I'm not sure I can include it all without making this the mother of all blog posts. So, here we go. Spokane County is looking at a building on East Trent as a possible home for a new regional animal shelter, but first the county commissioners have to convince Spokane and Spokane Valley to go along with the plan and open their pocketbooks to pay for it.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped in at Harmony High School to look at a new product the students are making and selling called Harmony Hot Peppers. It's a mix of dried, ground hot peppers that I hear really clears your sinuses. The students built their own greenhouse to grow the peppers for the mix.
The Spokane Valley City Council spent some time Tuesday with the planning commission and a pair of Seattle land use attorneys to discuss the city's Shoreline Master Program, which has to be updated by the end of 2013. The Liberty Lake City Council heard a request for more money from the Liberty Lake Library to hire staff, but spent a lot of time discussing where the money might come from.
Also in Liberty Lake, police have identified two suspects in a recent string of vehicle prowls, but no arrests have been made yet. There's a partial list of possible stolen property included with the story.
If you are looking for a chuckle (and a clever headline), check out correspondent Cindy Hval's story on the celebration of her cats' birthdays. The cat pictured with the story looks less than thrilled about his birthday attire.
Liberty Lake Police Officer Mike Bogenreif shows the body camera he used during his shift Jan. 27. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
We had some great stories for you in Saturday's Valley Voice, so here's your chance to check them out if you missed them Saturday. The Liberty Lake Police Department is investigating getting body cameras for its patrol officers. The department spent the last month testing the cameras and were pleased with the results. The story includes videos of two traffic stops recorded by an officer wearing the camera.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to University Elementary School teacher Linda Honn, who will be inducted into the Washington Music Educators Assocation's Hall of Fame. She has been teaching for 29 years and helped develop the elementary music program for the Central Valley School District.
Last week the Spokane Valley City Council debated whether to add railroad quiet zones to the 2012 budget along with a gateway sign at Appleway and Thierman and a swale project on the west end of Sprague Avenue. In a divided vote, the council decided to remove the quiet zones from the list over concerns about the cost.
Also last week the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee met to discuss the second round of funding requests for 2012. The committee's funding recommendations to the city council raised some controversy last year when they didn't recommend funding for Valleyfest. During last week's discussion only two of the five committee members favored granting any funding to Valleyfest. Instead they recommended giving almost all the money the city has available to the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. It will be up to the city council, however, to decide what groups are funded and with how much.
Troy Robertson, a 1979 Central Valley High School graduate, is on the upcoming season of the CBS hit show “Survivor.” Photo courtesy Troy Robertson
There are several really cool stories in today's Valley Voice for your reading pleasure. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has information on the Fab 14 - the 14 area high school seniors competing to be this year's Lilac queen and princesses. There are some Valley girls in the bunch - Hannah Allen of University High School, Syndee Scofield of Central Valley High School and Hailey Ann Murray of West Valley High School.
Reporter Pia Hallenberg has a story on 1979 Central Valley High School graduate Troy Robertson, who is being featured in the new season of "Survivor." The new season begins on Feb. 15 on CBS. The Spokane Valley Fire Department recently released information on 2011 response times. The department met the standard for almost every type of call. I also have a little more information on last week's armed robbery arrest in Liberty Lake.
A former assisted living center employee accused of robbing the place at gunpoint early Wednesday was ordered jailed on $50,000 bond after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court.
Timothy J. Martinez, 28, locked a 20-year-old female employee and a 77-year-old male resident in a room at Guardian Angel Homes in Liberty Lake after stealing a bag of narcotics about 2 a.m., according to Liberty Lake Police Department.
The center is across the street from the police department.
An officer and two sheriff's deputies responded within one minute. They saw a man later identified as Martinez throw something under a parked car near the center. An officer forced him to the ground and put him in the back of his patrol car before retrieving the bag of drugs and an Airsoft rifle that had a laser sight attached, accoridng to court documents prepared by police.
Police followed Martinez's footprints in the snow back to the center. The employee said the robber knocked on the door and said he had a medication delivery, then displayed the rifle when she opened the door. The man was wearing a ski mask, but the employee said his voice sounded very familiar and that he kept apologizing to her and calling her by name. Martinez worked at the center last summer, according to police.
Martinez told police he was sorry but was "having money issues and had no choice," according to court documents.
"This is what I get for having an idea about trying to make a quick buck," he said.
Martinez remains in jail on charges of first-degree robbery, two counts of first-degree kidnapping and three counts of possession of a controlled substance: Lorazepam, Tramadol and Hydrocodone.
As it turns out, if you rob a place next door to the police station, it really doesn't take police long to arrive at all.
A man armed with a rifle reportedly locked an employee and resident of Guardian Angel Homes in Liberty Lake in a room after stealing a bag of narcotics at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. The assisted living facility is located across the street from the Liberty Lake Police Department.
Liberty Lake police officer Mike Thomas and two Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies responded within one minute, according to a press release from Police Chief Brian Asmus. They spotted a man walking in a field nearby and saw him throw something under a parked car, Asmus said. The man, identified as 28-year-old Timothy J. Martinez of Spokane, was quickly arrested. A bag of medication and what appeared to be an assault rifle with a laser sight was found under the car. The rifle turned out to be an Airsoft Rifle that had been modified to look more realistic, Asmus said.
Click here for more details.
A volunteer assesses Kole LeGrant’s reading skills at Central Valley Kindergarten Center on Monday. SR photo/Kathy Plonka
Happy chilly Thursday morning, everyone. Today's Valley Voice is full of good stories to keep you occupied as you sip that morning cup of coffee. The city of Spokane Valley may be considering entering a partnership with the Spokane County Library District to buy 8 acres of vacant land that could be used to build a new Spokane Valley library branch and expand a nearby city park. The land, located at Sprague and Herald, is owned by the Pring Corporation. The company is refusing to split up the land and the district only needs four acres for its project.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on retired teachers and educators who volunteer three times a year to administer reading assessment tests to students at the Central Valley Kindergarten Center. The Liberty Lake Police Department has plans to test a personal video camera over the next month. The small camera attaches to the officer's shirt and records audio and video. The department is considering outfitting all its officers with the cameras if the test goes well.
Correspondent Cindy Hval has a touching Front Porch column that any parent of older children can identify with. Children grow up, move out and move on, leaving the parent in their car clutching the keys and wondering why it's so quiet all of the sudden.
The skeletal remains found near Henry Road in Liberty Lake Saturday have been identified as a man missing since April.
Investigators say Christopher R. Milam, 51, died of a single gunshot wound to his chest. Police found a gun near his body. They have not ruled Milam's death a suicide and say they will be interviewing Milam's family.
The skeletal remains found near Henry Road in Liberty Lake Saturday by a dog walker have been identified as Greenacres resident Christopher R. Milam, 51.
Milam was reported missing by his wife on April 23. She told police they had argued the previous day and Milam walked away while she slept, according to a May press release from the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. She reported that he had been drinking and she hid all the car keys so he could not drive, the release said.
The couple had recently moved to the 19800 block of East First Court from Texas. An autopsy showed that Milam died of a single gunshot wound to the chest and police found a gun near the body. The death is still under investigation, said Liberty Lake Police Chief Brian Asmus. "We are not ruling it a suicide yet," he said.
Investigators are still checking the gun and will be speaking with family members, Asmus said.
A man walking his dogs stumbled on a human skeleton Saturday in the 20000 block of Henry Road in Liberty Lake. The clothed skeleton was partially hidden by rocks and brush and a semiautomatic pistol was found nearby, Police Chief Brian Asmus said.
The deceased man has not been identified. An autopsy showed the cause of death as a single gunshot wound to the chest, Asmus said. Click here for more details.
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.
The Positive Change group on the Spokane Valley City Council appear to be maintaining their control of the council, with incumbents Dean Grafos, Arne Woodard and Chuck Hafner in the lead. The race between Ben Wick and Marilyn Cline to replace Bill Gothmann, however, is still too close to call. More votes will continue to be counted over the next week or two.
Correspondent Cindy Hval has a touching story featuring a local couple whose grandson, Marine Lance Cpl. Garrett Gamble, has been honored at the Veterans Memorial at Valley Fourth Memorial Church. The church dedicated the 24-hour, lighted memorial earlier this year.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in with an eighth grade class at Horizon Middle School that recently had a chance to chat on the phone with an astronaut on the International Space Station. The Liberty Lake Police Department recently responded to several 911 calls from citizens who saw a man drag a woman across Appleway Blvd. and force her into a car.
The Evergreen Railroad Modelers HO layout is built on a 25-foot-by-60-foot area with 18 bridges, a dozen tunnels, a large city and rail yard, three main lines, mountains, small towns and a computer system that allows the operator to run the trains with realistic sounds for steam and diesels. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
The November election is getting closer and our candidate coverage continues in today's Valley Voice with a story by Lisa Leinberger on the recent Rally in the Valley debate this week. Candidates for Liberty Lake Mayor and Liberty Lake City Council answered questions from students on current issues facing the city.
Lisa also checked out a few new towns - Bakersville, New City and Cobbleton. The cities are part of a huge model railroad layout created by the Evergreen Railroad Modelers. The cities are very detailed, right down to the cars in parking lots and shrubs dotting the hillsides.
The Spokane Valley City Council tackled several issues this week. The agreed to send a letter to Spokane County expressing their displeasure at being asked to subsidize the city of Spokane in a regional animal shelter plan after Spokane said it would only join the effort if their costs don't go up. They also had a split vote approving the first reading of the proposed Bike and Pedestrian Master Program.
This week's Liberty Lake police blotter includes a report on a citizen coming to the rescue of a police officer fighting with a suspect.
Scooter D. Carey in a 2007 Cowlitz County Jail booking photo. Photo courtesy of the Liberty Lake Police Department.
The Liberty Lake Police Department now has a name to go with the photo of a man suspected of breaking into a storage unit at Storage Solutions on East Mission on July 15 and stealing a motorcycle. He is Scooter D. Carey, 36, of Longview, Wash., and police believe he is still in the area.
Police traced the truck the suspect used back to its registered owner, a resident of Kalama, Wash., and contacted the police department there for help. "They are very familiar with the registered owner," said Liberty Lake Police Chief Brian Asmus. "He's a career criminal over there."
The police there sent Liberty Lake police a list of the man's known associates, one of whom was Carey. Asmus said he has also heard that a woman identified as Carey's girlfriend was arrested in Coeur d'Alene last week and a truck full of stolen goods was recovered. A motorcycle was among the items recovered, but Asmus said he doesn't know yet if it is the same one stolen from Liberty Lake. Police are now looking for Carey, who is facing charges of commercial burglary and theft of a motor vehicle.
Spokane County owns the abandoned Great Northern right of way, which crosses under Trent Avenue east of Argonne Road in Millwood. It may be used for a commuter bicycle trail. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
For those of us who melt in high temperatures, let's start the day with an appeal to Mother Nature for a nice cold front. After that, let's take a look at today's Valley Voice. The old Great Northern railroad has been largely ignored for years, but now is being sought by Spokane Valley, Millwood, Spokane County and Avista. Spokane Valley and Millwood want it for a prosed Spokane Valley-Millwood Trail that would run from Spokane Community College to Liberty Lake. Spokane County wants to put in a pipe to carry treated wastewater and Avista want to use a section of it for a high-voltage electric line. Reporter John Craig's story includes details on all the plans, plus a map of the proposed trail.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger has been visiting local SCOPE stations this summer and this week she is profiling Trentwood SCOPE. It's somewhat unique because it is housed in an apartment and only has four volunteers. The four are extremely dedicated, though, and accomplish a lot. The Newman Lake Fire District is in the final stages of deciding how much to ask voters for in a bond on the November ballot to build a new Station 1. The estimated cost to build the station is $2.2 million. My story has a report from a special meeting this week and there's another meeting planned for next week for a final vote.
People who have been paying attention to vehicle prowling reports in Liberty Lake may remember that police there have arrested the same person twice after catching him in the act. But last week Liberty Lake officers arrested a duo for vehicle prowling who were also caught in the act and in posession of stolen property.
The Liberty Lake Police Department thought they had an easy case on July 15 when Storage Solutions on East Mission reported that someone had broken in and stolen a Honda Motorcycle from a storage unit. The video surveillance system captured crystal clear shots of the man involved and his truck. But the blue Dodge pickup had different license plates on the front and back. "Neither of those belong on the truck," said police chief Brian Asmus.
So now Asmus is circulating photos of the suspected thief in the hopes that someone will recognize him. Asmus said it appears that the man scoped out the business the day before the theft was reported and may have seen the Honda's owner put the motorcycle in the unit. At one point he entered the storage facility using a gate code that was assigned to local contractor who did some door work at the facility last year. Asmus said it was hoped that the man was a current or former employee, but the business owner did not recognize the man.
Anyone who knows the identity of the man pictured above is asked to call the Liberty Lake Police Department at 755-1140.
It's time to take a look at the stories we've got coming for you in Thursday's Valley Voice. There was a public hearing before the Spokane Valley City Council this week on a proposed developers agreement between the city and St. John Vianney Church, which has applied to rezone a piece of property to the south of the church so Catholic Charities can build a low income senior housing complex. Plenty of people spoke against the agreement, but several also spoke in favor of it.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger recently visited with some happy dogs out at the Patricia Simonet Laughing Dog Park at Stateline. The Liberty Lake Police Department recently had a good week, clearing up several related crimes by recommending various criminal charges against five teenagers. They also dealt with a wayward gardner who wanted potting soil for his pots and decided to take some from a construction site.
There will also be a report from last week's public hearing before the Planning Commission on the city's proposed Bike and Pedestrian Master Program. People were overwhelmingly in favor of it and it received a unanimous nod of approval from the commission.
Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen ruled in favor of the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum in a lawsuit filed by Ichabod’s Tavern, Peters Hardware and Dave’s Bar and Grill over parking lot access for the businesses. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
Since none of us blew away during yesterday's little wind storm, I guess it's time to take a look at the Thursday Valley Voice. A Spokane County Superior Court judge has issued a written opinion in a lawsuit filed against the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum, saying that three neighboring businesses have no easement rights to the property.
The Liberty Lake Police Department has arrested a familiar face this week in connection to a string of vehicle prowls in the area. Robert L. Hahn was arrested early Monday morning with allegedly stolen property in his pocket and burglary tools in his car. Liberty Lake officers have arrested Hahn several times before, most recently in December.
The Spokane Valley City Council has now seen the proposed development agreement negotiated by city staff and St. John Vianney Church after neighbors withdrew from the discussion. The agreement would limit a low income senior housing facility on the site of a proposed zone change to 40 units, limit the height and require the facility to remain low income senior housing for 75 years. A public hearing on the issue is scheduled for July 12.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in with the Spokane Thunder drum corps this week as they finish up weeks of day-long practices to polish their performance. The group will be in a competition Sunday at 7 p.m. at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane. If you've never been to a drum corps competition I highly recommend it. They are great to watch and a lot of the time you just have to marvel at their precision. Check Lisa's story for ticket information.
There was a light turnout at last week's candidate fair hosted by the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce. But the few people who attended were able to get their first look at some of the candidates for the Spokane Valley City Council.