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Today’s highlights

Ponderosa Elementary School principal Jerrol Olson "high fives" Mrs. Heckema's 1st grade class as they walk by the "open concept" media center on their way to lunch, while a class is in session. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Here we are in 2011 and we've still got great things to read in the Valley Voice. Today reporter Lisa Leinberger writes about the upcoming Central Valley School District bond issue that will modernize many of the schools, including Ponderosa Elementary. It can be difficult for teachers to hold class in a building with no interior walls and not nearly enough electrical outlets.

A majority of the Spokane Valley City Council indicated they wanted to move ahead with an emergency comprehensive plan amendment to eliminate the City Center zone from the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan despite the planning commission's recommendation that the amendment be rejected.

Former Spokane Valley councilman Steve Taylor wrote a touching tribute to former Spokane Valley mayor Rich Munson, who died on New Year's Day. A public memorial service for Munson is set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday at CenterPlace.

In the main paper reporter Meghann Cuniff has a short report on two burglars who were chased by a business owner and then tracked down by a police K9 called Maximus.

Memorial service set for former Spokane Valley mayor

A public memorial service for former Spokane Valley mayor Rich Munson will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place, according to an email from city councilman Bill Gothmann. Munson, 68, died on New Year's Day from complications of leukemia.

Current mayor Tom Towey announced today that the City of Spokane Valley will fly its flags at half staff Tuesday through Sunday in Munson's honor. Towey will read a proclamation declaring the observance at Tuesday's city council meeting.

Towey said he had no idea Munson was so ill. "Rich was a visionary," he said. "We need more visionaries like him in our community."

Funeral pending for former Spokane Valley mayor

Spokane Valley Mayor Rich Munson approaches the podium to speak at a press conference at the state line Friday, Aug. 21, 2009. A press conference was called by government and law enforcement officials and human rights organizers in Washington and Idaho to speak to the recent distribution of racist flyers. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Former Spokane Valley mayor Rich Munson died on New Year's Day from complications of leukemia, only a year after he left office. He had been heavily involved in the city since incorporation and was very passionate about his time on the council and as mayor. Reporter Rebecca Nappi spoke to family members and colleagues for a story in today's paper. Funeral arrangements are pending and more information may be available later today. 

Candidate alert: Possible hot council race in Spokane Valley

Spokane Valley residents who were worried about a dirth of interesting council races this year can rejoice.

State Sen. Bob McCaslin filed Friday afternoon against incumbent Rich Munson for the No. 5 Council Position. Munson currently serves as Spokane Valley mayor, although that position is chosen by the council, not the voters.

McCaslin is a Republican legislator who has served in the Senate for 28 years. Munson has been on the council since initial election after incorporation.

Filing closes at 5 p.m. We’ll update the list then.