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Zags visit Ronald McDonald House

The Gonzaga Bulldogs, who entertain Western Michigan in the annual Ronald McDonald House Charities Classic on Saturday at the Arena, visited the Ronald McDonald House last night for several hours. In this picture (courtesy of Jerid Keefer), GU's Mike Hart and Kevin Pangos play cards with young patient Jose.

Ronald McDonald House mourns little Katelyn

The Ronald McDonald House in Spokane hosts families with children battling illness. The staff, volunteers and other families support one another and love the sick children among them, knowing they will lose some of them.

One of those children, Katelyn Roker, 6, died recently of neuroblastoma, a cancer that attacks nerve tissue. Many people rallied around Katelyn, both in Spokane and in her hometown, Kalispell, Mont.

When they heard Katelyn was coming home from Spokane to die in her home, volunteers in Kalispell, redecorated her room. A donor paid for a private jet to ferry her from Spokane to Kalispell.

Katelyn shared her story with other children and adults. In the photo here, she's giving a talk to  Ronald McDonald House families last February.

Mike Forness, executive director of Ronald McDonald House, attended Katelyn's funeral, along with at least four other families who got to know Katelyn and her family while staying at the house in Spokane. He wrote to the board: "Katelyn’s service was very honoring and the Big Sky country of Montana was as blue as her eyes that day."

(Photo courtesy of Ronald McDonald House)

Today’s highlights

Bubba Ferguson, Tyler Zandhuisen, Chris Lewis, Kaleb Allen, Aaron Danneker and Loren Vanden Berg muscle up a hide-a-bed couch from the banks of the Spokane River near South Riverton and Desmet during the Seventh Annual Spokane River Clean-Up in 2009. SR file photo.

It has been a busy week in Spokane Valley and we've got the news for you in today's Valley Voice. If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity this weekend, check out the ninth annual Spokane River Clean-Up, This year several sites in the Valley have been selected to be a part of the clean up day, which is organized by the Friends of the Falls. You could also choose to help restore the hillside at the Mirabeau Park trailhead in a project organized by the Spokane River Forum.

Spokane Valley city councilman Dean Grafos paid a visit to the Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioners meeting this week to talk about response time delays at Station 1 caused by the one-way segment of Sprague Avenue.

During this week's City Council meeting, the council members had a long discussion before voting on how much funding to allocate to social service and economic development agencies that applied for grants.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Adams Elementary last week when the school was visited by Ronald McDonald. The elementary schools in the Central Valley School District collected 1,150 pounds of pop tops, which will provide 30 night at the Ronald McDonald House. The house provides housing for families of children undergoing medical treatment.

Collectible first bottle of Dry Fly Bourbon sells for $2,650 on eBay

Someone must have really wanted that bottle.

Spokane's Dry Fly Distilling offered Ronald McDonald House and Casting4ACure, two area charities, the first bottle in its first ever batch of new bourbon.

That bottle was recently bought for $2,650, in an eBay auction.

The winning bidder hasn't been identified. Mike Forness, executive director of Spokane's Ronald McDonald House, said he'll ask the winner if he wishes to be made public.

Forness said Dry Fly, since opening in 2007, has been a generous benefactor to Ronald McDonald House in Spokane, and to Casting4ACure, a nationwide charity providing money for research to halt Rett Syndrome, a childhood disease that strikes young women predominantly.

The two charities will split the $2,650, Forness said. The Ronald McDonald House share provides enough money to pay for 400 nights for parents of children needing temporary lodging while dealing with severe medical conditions.

Don Poffenroth, the co-founder of Dry Fly, proudly chimed in: "It's the most expensive bottle of liquor in Washington."

The distillery produced a limited number of bottles of its 101-proof bourbon, which were released three weeks ago. All the bottles were sold within hours of being put on sale. The company plans to release its second year batch next summer.

Note: eBay typically bans sale of booze. However, the one exception is for sales of "collectible" alcohol. Ronald McDonald House (the seller of the bottle here) followed the eBay guidelines precisely.