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Today’s highlights

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.

Special Olympics awards Knezovich

Special Olympics Washington honored Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich for his support of the program.

Knezovich received the 2012 Special Olympics Washington Law Enforcement Torch Run Campaign, Sheriff of the Year Award.  Special Olympics Washington gives the award to one Washington sheriff and police chief each year.

Sheriff Knezovich was awarded, in part, for serving with the Law Enforcement Torch Run Campaign for more than eight years. He also participates in Special Olympics Washington events such as Tip a Cop, the Polar Bear Plunge, Cops on Roof Top and the Plane Pull.

“It’s a privilege to be involved with Special Olympics Washington and have the opportunity to meet and support such great athletes,” Knezovich in a Wednesday news release from the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Knezovich has “remained supportive of the movement and most specifically the campaign,” said Tukwila Police Officer Ted Rutt, who presented Knezovich with the award.

”He has lead by example though his active involvement in every Special Olympics related event community wide and has continued to make a difference in lending any assistance available to him,” Rutt said.

Deputies to work at Red Robin for charity

Law enforcement will work as waiters at Red Robin Saturday to raise money for the Special Olympics.

Uniformed Spokane County sheriff's deputies will assist regular wait staff at the Spokane Valley Red Robin, 14736 E. Indiana Ave., from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Tips earned during the event will support the Special Olympics program in Washington State.

The downtown and North Spokane Red Robin restaurants also are participating.

SCOPE volunteers also will be at the Spokane Valley location to register children in the Operation ID program. Vital statistics and the child’s photograph are loaded onto a computer disk which is then provided to parents. Should the child ever go missing, the disk can be provided to law enforcement to speed the recovery process.

Information regarding the new Spokane County jail project also will be on display at the Valley restaurant.

Minnick Not w/Biden For Olympics

Rep. Walt Minnick’s office confirmed that the 1st District congressman is not flying to Idaho today with Vice President Joe Biden, who is coming to Boise to attend the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games/Kevin Richert. More here.

Special Olympics: Victory In A Smile

Jolyn Elordi, 20, of the Caldwell Wildcats - Team USA Blue floor hockey team gives the peace sign to fans cheering in the crowd after the team’s Tuesday loss to Kazakhstan at Expo Idaho in Garden City, Idaho as part of the Special Olympics 2009 World Winter Games. (AP Photo/Idaho Press-Tribune, Greg Kreller)

High Noon: Guide ‘Explains’ Idaho

The authors boil down “Idaho traditions” with two curious paragraphs: “The United States Constitution allows every citizen the right to own firearms. Hunting and shooting sports are a proud tradition in Idaho. There is a chance that you will see a person with a firearm, or see a firearm in a truck window, particularly in the small towns. This is legal and poses no danger to you. Do not be alarmed.” And: “Most Idahoans own dogs and you will see dogs in public places. You are welcome to pet the dog with the owner’s permission. It is also common to see dogs in the back of parked pickup trucks. However, these dogs are often protective and should not be approached”/2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games media guide. More in Kevin Richert’s blog here.

Question: How would you explain Idaho to overseas visitors, in 50 words or less?

Online Poll: Special Olympics

Have the Special Olympics changed your perspective of the intellectually disabled?/Idaho Statesman
  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sure

Parting Shot — 1/28/09

Kevin Vandeventer, 35, works out Tuesday at Gold’s Gym in north Spokane in preparation for the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise in February. He will compete in cross-country skiing. Meanwhile, the Special Olympics Torch will arrive in Coeur d’Alene by boat at the Third Street docks at 8:10 a.m. Thursday and then be taken to the downtown library for a ceremony at 8:35 a.m. You can find the complete schedule for the torch’s journey through North Idaho here.

SR’s Today In Photos

Special Olympics Torch Coming Soon

Item: Local athletes heading to world stage in Boise: Special Olympics games include snowboarding, skating/Mike Prager, SR

More Info: The Olympic flame, which was lit in Athens, Greece, in November, arrives in Coeur d’Alene on Thursday for its final journey to Boise.

Question: Are you planning to watch as the Special Olympics torch passes through Sandpoint, Coeur d’Alene, or other parts of North Idaho Thursday?

Special Olympics Torch Coming

But don’t let that stop people from coming down Thursday morning at 8:30 - big doings with the Special Olympics Torch entering Idaho - the Final Leg - on the way to the games in Boise and surrounding areas. One outdoor brief ceremony with great visuals at 3rd St. Dock and another indoor one at the library just a few minutes later to send the relay crews off strongly. Truly a once in a lifetime sort of event in Coeur d’Alene - we’ll have Idaho’s First Lady Lori Otter there, too/Councilman MikeK. Full comment below.

Dalai Lama says China behind disinvite to Idaho Special Olympics

The Dalai Lama won’t be visiting Idaho for the kickoff of the Special Olympics World Winter Games in February - and his aides say it’s because the Chinese government pressured organizers to disinvite him. Click below to read the full story from AP reporter John Miller.