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Stealing apples - fallen or not

Now - we will never know the story because the letter writer did not include a name or an address beyond Otis Orchards. It appears the letter writer saw someone pick up fallen apples in a neighbor's yard - asked the picker if she had permission to do so - learned that wasn't the case and the inquiry made the picker leave. Good to know your neighbors watch your apples, fallen or not.

Trespassing and picking fruit, vegetables, bicycles or lawn ornaments out of a yard that's not yours is of course illegal. Maybe someone here recognizes the car?  Or the letter writer. 

Sex offender living in Otis Orchards

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office sent out a notification today about a Level III sex offender now living in the 19200 block of East Buckeye in Otis Orchards. A person classified as Level III is considered the most likely to reoffend. Carroll L. Pollard, 66, is not currently wanted by law enforcement. He has convictions for second-degree rape of a child and unlawful imprisonment. His most recent conviction was in 2003.

Reward offered for Otis Orchards vandals

Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is offering a reward for information leading the arrest and conviction of vandals who damaged more than 15 cars in Otis Orchards this week. Stometime between Monday night and Tueday morning, more than a dozen vehicles on or near Wellesley Avenue between Campbell Road and the Idaho state line had their windows broken out.

Anyone will information on the vandalism spree is asked to call the Crime Stoppers tip line at (800) 222-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous.

Today’s highlights

Lauren Brown, 13, checks out a helium balloon during a STEM Academy summer school session on June 27 at Central Valley High School. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Happy 5th of July. I hope everyone has recovered from last night's festivities enough to check out some highlights from today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a couple good stories. The Central Valley School District is offering summer school classes focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathmatics (STEM). Last week students did experiments with helium-filled Mylar balloons.

Lisa also visited Wheeler's Farm Market and Fresh Start Produce in Otis Orchards as she continues her tour of fruit stands in the Spokane Valley area.The provide local produce and other items to hungry shoppers.

The Spokane Valley Planning Commission last week gave their recommendation of approval to the goals and policies of the Shoreline Master Program. The commission had been reviewing the goals and policies for months. They now go to the City Council for approval.  

Otis Orchards man injured in Idaho accident

Otis Orchards resident Lee A. Hiestand, 40, was injured in a car accident on I-90 near Osburn, Idaho, Wednesday evening. According to an Idaho State Patrol press release, Hiestand was driving his F150 truck east on I-90 when he lost control, crossed the center median into the westbound lanes and then rolled his truck. The truck went through a guardrail before coming to a stop. Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the accident, the ISP reports. Hiestand was taken to the Shoshone Medical Center for treatment of his injuries.

Fire department open house

Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

I'm about to head out the door for a nice, three day weekend (so no blogging tomorrow), but before I go I wanted to remind everyone of the Spokane Valley Fire Department open house Saturday at Station 4. The department is in the midst of giving its fire stations names rather than numbers and is looking for public input on what to name the station, which is located at 22406 E. Wellesley in Otis Orchards.

Saturday's open house will be from 1 to 4 p.m. People can talk to the crew, tour the station, have refreshments and meet arson dog Mako. I'm sure they'll have some stickers on hand for the kids.

INW: 13YO Girl Among Top Racers

"I'm just real proud of her," said Nicole Behar's grandfather Duncan Behar as he waited for her race to start at Stateline Speedway in Stateline July 13. Behar is 13 years old, and though teenagers racing is nothing new, few around the Inland Northwest have seen the success she has at such a young age. See Alison Boggs' story here. And see: Kathy Plonka's slide show here. (Photo: Kathy Plonka, SR)

Question: Would you allow your 13YO daughter or son to race cars at Stateline Speedway?

13-year-old a top racer

“It’s in my blood,” said Behar, waiting for the start of the Fever 4 race at Stateline Speedway in Stateline, Idaho, on July 20. SR photo/Kathy Plonka

Reporter Allison Boggs has an excellent story in today's paper about 13-year-old racing phenom Nicole Behar of Otis Orchards. She's a fourth generation race car driver already winning races at the Stateline Speedway even though she can't legally drive down the street yet. Allison and photographer Kathy Plonka teamed up to put together a fabulous package on this girl, who will be in the eighth grade this fall. My favorite quote? "I'd rather race than shop."

Something to brighten your day

Since it looks like we'll be trapped inside because of bad weather for a while, here is a little something bright and cheerful to improve your day. SR photographer J. Bart Rayniak took this photo of arrowleaf balsamroot along the Spokane River in Otis Orchards on May 14. Think of sun!

Moose on the loose

Spokesman-Review (and Valley Voice)  photographer J. Bart Rayniak didn't have to wander far this weekend to take a great photo of a napping moose. He only had to go as far as his back yard in Otis Orchards. I'll let Bart tell it himself.

"This female moose wandered into Spokesman-Review photographer J. Bart Rayniak's yard in Otis Orchards, Saturday morning, May 14, 2011, and made herself comfortable for the day, resting in the shade and foraging on flowering cherry blossoms and bushes. According to Washington Fish and Wildlife officer Paul Mosman, although quite docile, moose are unpredictable, so it's best to put your dogs inside, and keep your distance until they wander away, which this young lady did at dusk."

While I'm sure the moose was nice to watch (from a distance), I kind of feel sorry for Bart's dog. She probably had to stay inside all day.

Things to do, places to be

There are so many things going on today and Saturday that I thought I would post a few highlights. They are fairly far flung - in Spokane Valley, Otis Orchards and Rockford. So no matter where you are, you've got someplace to be.

The fun kicks off today with the season opening of Discovery Playground at 2426 N. Discovery Place from 3 to 5 p.m. The new playground was hugely popular last year and a few changes were made over the winter to make things more durable. This afternoon's celebration includes family activities and a tree planting ceremony with the Mayor. The weather could be better, but we have to take what we can get.

On Saturday people will have to choose between competing events in Otis Ochards and Rockford. A Ronda Jo Emerson Memorial fundraiser is planned for 1 p.m. at the Otis Grill at Harvard and Wellesley. Emerson was a co-owner of the Otis Grill before she died in a snowmobiling accident earlier this year. The event will include a spaghetti feed for $7.99 a plate and a silent auction and raffle.

At the same time the small town of Rockford will be putting on its annual FredNeck's Frog Regatta Festival that starts at 1 p.m. The afternoon includes free hot dogs in the park from 1 to 2 p.m., free games for kids in the park beginning at 2 p.m. and a frog regatta down Rock Creek beginning at 3 p.m. There are cash prizes for the regatta and frogs can be purchased Saturday in the park for $5.

Rockford is fairly easy to find. Just head south on Highway 27, stay on the highway until you get to Rockford, then take a left just after the overpass.

Some libraries closed

Apparently if you live in Otis Orchards or Fairfield you can't use your snow day to head to the library to check out a fresh batch of books. The Spokane County Library District has closed those branches because of the weather. Check here for a full story.

Spectacular sunset

We had some gorgeous sunsets last week and SR photographer J. Bart Rayniak shot this view recently as seen from the Otis Orchards post office. There was another great sunset last Thursday for a short time, but the one time I wanted a lengthy red light on Pines I didn't get it, so I couldn't take a picture.

Most of our pictures are available for purchase by the public. If you would like a copy of this one, click here and then click on the "buy this photo" button directly underneath the photo.

Grab your fork

In the mood for pancakes, scrambled eggs and sausage but don't want to cook? A breakfast will be served Sunday at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Otis Orchards to benefit Valley Meals on Wheels. The Knights of Columbus are hosting the meal, which is by donation. Head to the church (4521 N. Arden) between 8 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Sunday for a bite to eat.

Otis Orchards feeling the pain

A car hit a utility pole in Otis Orchards at 4:30 a.m. today and wiped out power and internet for hundreds of residents. Avista was able to restore power within about 90 minutes, but the internet problems are taking a bit longer to fix. Read more details in a story by reporter Tom Sowa.

Coming on Saturday

Patricia Simonet hugs Adam the dog at Spokane Regional Animal Protection Services (SCRAPS) on , December 6, 2005. SR photo/Holly Pickett

We've got a mixture of fun and sadness coming your way in the Saturday Valley Voice. Animal lovers are mourning the loss of Patricia Simonet, an animal behaviorist who worked at SCRAPS and was known for discovering dog laughter. She died of cancer last month and a public memorial service is set for Jan. 22 at 1 p.m. at the Spokane Buddhist Temple.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger will take a look at just what teenagers are thinking when they leave the house in snowy, bitter weather with no coats and wildly inappropriate clothing or footwear. I saw a teenager wearing shorts last week on a day when the temperature was struggling to top 10 degrees. Brrrr!

The Liberty Lake crime blotter should make an appearance after being held over from Thursday. The garage burglar may be back in town, so luck up tight. Also, Valley Meals on Wheels will begin serving lunch in Otis Orchards next week.


A look at Christmas past

Here’s a little something to get us in a Christmas spirit - a photo taken by Spokesman-Review photographer Bart Rayniak in December 2009 of a festive home on McKinzie Road in Otis Orchards. Is it just me or do fewer people seem to be decorating their homes this year? I saw a couple of elaborate displays this weekend out in the Saltese area. Has anyone else seen any good ones?