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Voters in Spokane Valley are being asked to increase their property taxes $14 per $100,000 of assessed valuation to pay for a $22 million library expansion. Ballots must be postmarked by April 22 or taken to official drop boxes located outside public libraries countywide and the measure requires a 60 percent supermajority to pass.
The plan calls for a new 30,000-square-foot branch at Sprague Avenue and Herald Road that would be part of an expanded Balfour Park and revitalization effort in the heart of Spokane Valley; a new 10,000-square-foot branch at Conklin Road serving Greenacres; and a remodel of the existing Argonne branch to expand the library into a portion of the building that currently houses the Spokane County Library District's administrative office. The Valley's existing main branch would be converted to an administrative and operations facility, though none of the proposed bond revenue would be used for that transition.
Instructor Adam Smith teaches karate to autistic students, left to right, Tessa Merritt, 17, Matthew Pretz, 17, and Paul McKinley, 18, at Tazmanian Martial Arts in Spokane Valley on Tuesday. SR photo/Colin Mulvany
Welcome to fall, everyone. Let's ring in the brisk weather by checking out some highlighs from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on University High School math teacher Mike Conklin, who was recently nominated for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. There have only been five previous winners of the award in the Spokane area.
The Spokane County Library District is in the final stages of deciding whether to put a bond on the ballot in April to build two new libraries in Spokane Valley. The bond, if approved, would build a new Spokane Valley Library and a new neighborhood library on Conklin Road. The board of trustees is scheduled to vote on the issue in October.
Correspondent Valerie Putnam wrote about a special needs class offered at Tazmanian Martial Arts. Students gain self confidence along with better balance, strength and coordination. Lisa also has information on a free vaccination clinic for children that will be offered Tuesday at North Pines Middle School.
The fall elections are fast approaching, so we fact checked some claims made by Ed Pace about his opponent, incumbent Gary Schimmels. A check of Schimmels' voting record show that some of the claims are true, but others are false or only partly true.
Ted Taylor waves to passing motorists from his fruit stand at 2900 E. Trent Ave. on Monday. SR photo/Dan Pelle
First I'd like to report a missing morning. With that done, it's time for a bunch of good highlights from today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Faye's House, which provides a place to stay to people in town for cancer treatment. The house is run by Because There is Hope, a local non-profit. Cancer patients are referred to the home by social service agencies.
Lisa also chatted with Ted Taylor of Northwest Citrus Plus, who has staked out a corner at Trent Avenue and Freya where he sells cases of oranges, grapefruit, limes and lemons. Turner used to sell his citrus door to door and has customers that buy their fruit from him year after year.
Correspondent Cindy Hval recently spoke with Jim Zahand, who donated 5,000 books to the Spokane County Library District. The books were from the personal collection of his wife, Diane Zahand, who taught at Pioneer School and Prism School in Spokane Valley.
The Spokane Valley City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether or not to try to buy the Painted Hills Golf Course at a trustee's sale in September. The course was put on the auction block after its owners filed for bankruptcy.
The Spokane Valley FIre Department just accepted a settlement relating to the botched design of the new Edgecliff Fire Station. The department will received $50,000 in damages from the architect and the civil engineer hired by the architect to work on the project.
The basement meeting room at the Spokane Valley Library was packed last night as people told the city and the Spokane County Library District what they would like to see in an expanded Balfour Park. The city is partnering with the library district to expand the park and build a library on land across from the old University City Mall. Everyone seemed pretty excited about a new park. People were turned loose with markers to draw what they wanted to see in the park on maps of the site. There was nearly unanimous support for features like a farmers market, walking paths, a veterans memorial, a picnic shelter and a reading garden. Check out my story in Thursday's Valley Voice for full details.
The city of Spokane Valley will put on a community meeting tonight to get input on the expansion of Balfour Park and the proposed new Spokane County Library District branch planned for the site at Sprague Ave. and Herald Road. After a presentation, those attending will be asked to get into small groups and brainstorm ideas on what features should be included in the park.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. tonight at the Spokane Valley Library, 10024 E. Main.
If you have library fines piling up, the Spokane County Library District will reduce the amount you owe in exchange for donations of non-perishable food items for the Second Harvest Food Bank. Anytime through Saturday you can bring your donations to any library banch, including the ones in Spokane Valley, Otis Orchards, Fairfield and on Argonne Road. The library will forgive $1 in fines for each donated item up to a maximum of $10. So raid your cupboards and head to your local library, though you might want to check the living room for any overdue books you might have first.
Christina Humrich, Kaylie Maresh, Sarah Wu, Rachael Radavich and Janne Kaschnitter participate during class time in Company Ballet School’s old dance studio on Jan 23. An additional dance space is under construction. SR photo/Dan Pelle
We managed to pack a bunch of news into Saturday's Valley Voice, so let's get on to some highlights. Neighbors in the area of Sprague Ave. and Hodges Road are unhappy with a proposed development called Covey Glen North that would put 46 homes on 8.57 acres. They voiced their displeasure at a hearing before the Spokane Valley Hearing Examiner last week.
Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a story on the expansion of the Company Ballet School in Millwood. The school is adding new space that will be used to offer classes to adults and children. Reporter Nicole Hensley takes a look at a series of Spokane Valley history talks being offered by the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum and the Spokane Valley Library. The first talk is set for Wednesday.
Nicole also has information on a new Spokane County Library District plan to give every middle school student a library card that can be used online or at the library.
Wilma Turner, the owner of Iron Horse Kennel in Newman Lake, has appealed the decision by SCRAPS to not renew her commercial kennel license after repeated inspection failures. A hearing was held last week and there could be a recommendation as soon as this week. The Spokane County Commissioners will have the final say.
Kate Steen, nanny for twins Reed Swain, left and Harrison Swain, age 3, reads to them at the Liberty Lake Library Tuesday. When the city of Liberty Lake incorporated, it started it’s own library rather than contract with the Spokane County Library District. Now the two agencies are forming a partnership. SR photo/Colin Mulvany
Thursday is not only one day removed from Friday, it's also a Valley Voice day. As always, we have some highlights for your perusal. There is a new agreement between the Liberty Lake Library and the Spokane County Library District that allows Liberty Lake patrons to get a free non-resident library card at the county libraries. The Liberty Lake Library has given free non-resident cards to county residents for years.
Repoter Lisa Leinberger has a story about a new electronic reader board at Ness Elementary School in West Valley. The money for the sign was raised by the school's Parent Teacher Organziation over the last three years. Previously the PTO purchased playground equipment for the school.
Correspondent Jill Barville spoke the owners of Valley Produce and Supply at 32nd and Best Road. The business sells produce grown by Spokane Valley farmer Chuck Utecht and other local suppliers. Since it is almost Halloween, there are plenty of pumpkins to be had.
The Spokane County Library District board of trustees will hold a special meeting Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in room 108 at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place. The trustees will be discussing strategic planning. The meeting is open to the public, but no public comment will be taken. Be sure to attend if you want to learn more about the district's plan for the next few years.
Tonight the Spokane Valley City Council is scheduled to vote on whether to purchase eight acres of land from Spokane Valley businessman Jack Pring. The Spokane County Library District wants to build a new library at the site but couldn't afford to purchase the entire property. District representatives approached the city about purchasing the land together. The proposed purchase price is $2.5 million.
I'm afraid the item is fairly deep in the agenda, though. You'll have to sit through votes and discussions on property taxes, a budget amendment, the 2013 budget and the city's nuisance codes before the council gets to it. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.
Avid archer and hunter Jake Hodge holds the tension on his bow and checks the sights after they were adjusted at Spokane Valley Archery Friday. The large shop, with a small indoor range and large outdoor range, is a destination for archers looking for technical experience in the shop and a place to shoot, alone or in a league. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
We've got a bunch of good stuff for you in today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Spokane Valley Archery, which is seeing an increased interest in archery after it was featured in some popular movies recently. The business offers indoor and outdoor shooting as well as lessons and equipment rentals.
Lisa also has a story on the upcoming Millwood Daze. The annual event includes a fun run, parade, car show, art festival and lots more. It all takes place Aug. 25 at various locations in Millwood. Check her story for more details. She also has a report on the Central Valley School District budget. For the first time in years, the budget does not include cuts. The sports participation fees will continue, however.
The Spokane Valley City Council is considering a changed proposal from the Spokane County Library District that includes a smaller library as part of a proposed partnership with the city. The council also heard details on the proposed 2013 budget, which sets aside $2 million for street preservation after pulling money from other funds that was intended to be spent on other items.
Spokane Valley Fire Department Commissioner Monte Nesbitt announced his resignation this week after the firefighters union raised concerns about his residency. Nesbitt's resignation will be effective Dec. 31.
Nancy Ledeboer holds a book in the Argonne Library branch Wednesday. Ledeboer is the new administrator of the Spokane County Library District. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
Good Monday morning everyone. (Well, it will be after I have a second cup of coffee.) It's time to take a look at Saturday's Valley Voice in case you missed any of our great stories. Reporter Pia Hallenberg interviewed West Valley High School student Joey Bird, who started racing go-karts at the age of eight. He has won six championships and several awards and is moving up to bigger and more powerful race cars.
The Spokane County Library District welcomed a new director this month, Nancy Ledeboer. She said she is pleased at how well maintained the libraries are, the good condition of the district's books and the willingness of staff to take change in stride.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on a generous $10,000 donation from the Intersection Church to North Pines Middle School. The gift was unexpected and the school is still considering how to put the donation to good use.
Residents on the west end of Spokane Valley will notice that engines from the Spokane Fire Department are responding to 911 calls for help in addition to crews from the Spokane Valley Fire Department. Valley Fire's Station 6 is being torn down and replaced and the crew has moved to Station 1 near University City. The Spokane Fire Department will be responding in certain areas to make sure all emergency calls get a timely response.
The Spokane Valley City Council is in the early stages of exploring a possible joint purchase of property with the Spokane County Library District. The eight acre spot at Sprague and Herald across from the old University City Mall is owned by Jack Pring, who has close ties to six of the seven council members. An attorney from the State Auditor's Office said it is possible to complete the deal without violating conflict of interest laws, but the council will need to proceed carefully and make sure all the proper procedures are followed. Click here to read my story in today's paper.
The Spokane County Library District now has an interesting online program that will provide free online language courses in 38 languages such as Russian, Spanish and Mandarin. There will also be English as a Second Language (ESL) assistance. The language classes will be provided by Seattle-based Livemocha and will be accessible to district residents with a Spokane County Library District card. People who live outside the district but have a district card will not be able to access the service.
The District serves Spokane Valley, Millwood, Otis Orchards and Fairfield. You can find the program here.
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 Spokane County Library District has announced that it is bringing in two finalists for the executive director position for a public meet and greet Thursday night. The reception will be from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Fireside Lounge in CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place. The reception is open to the public, both those planning to attend are asked to RSVP by calling (509) 893-8205.
The two finalists are Nancy Ledeboer, director of the Pima County Public Library system in Pima County, Ariz., and Smikahl Vieira, the director of the Benicia Public Library System in Benicia, Calif. The two are vying to replace retiring executive director Mike Wirt. The district operates 10 branches, including locations in Spokane Valley, Millwood, Otis Orchards and Fairfield.
After looking at the weather outside you wouldn't think that it was already summer, but it is. Sort of. Today is the start of the Spokane County Library District's Youth Summer Reading Program, which has the theme of "One World, Many Stories" this year. Each library in the district, which includes the Spokane Valley, Argonne, Otis Orchards and Fairfield branches, will hold various fun events for kids and teens during the summer.
There will be book recommendations available for all reading levels and kids can keep track of how much they read. Some of the events look like fun, like the West Valley Outdoor Learning Center bringing live birds to the libraries or learning about medieval knights. There are tons of things going on, so check here for a schedule.
This photo shows the interior of a house on the 13200 block of East 24th Avenue that burned. Piles of charred, shoulder- high debris had to be removed. The damage is estimated at $160,000. Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Fire Department.
Batten down the hatches so you don't blow away in the wind and take a look at some of the stories we had in Saturday's Valley Voice. A group of Millood residents is upset that the city council wants to tear out the wading pool in the city park to save money. But insurance and maintenance issues may spell doom for the popular pool. The council is taking another look at the issue.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department spent several hours at a fire in the 13200 block of East 24th on Feb. 17 because the house was so cluttered. The home is not currently habitable and the owner did not have insurance. That fire topped events for the week ending Feb. 23.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to former Liberty Lake mayor Steve Peterson last week. He has filed paperwork with the Public Disclosure Commission to run for mayor in November. He lost that seat in 2007 to the current Liberty Lake mayor Wendy Van Orman.
Electronic books are apparently becoming more and more popular and the Spokane County Library District has greatly expanded their ebook collection by partnering with Project Gutenberg, which offers free downloads of classic books.
Tomorrow sounds like a really, really good day to curl up with a blanket and a cup of coffee to read the Valley Voice. There will be an update on the efforts of Millwood residents to save the wading pool that has been a city park staple for decades. Reporter Lisa Leinberger will have a campaign announcement for the November Liberty Lake election for mayor.
The Spokane County Library District, which serves the entire Valley area except Liberty Lake, recently added thousands of free electronic books to its web site. They're available to anyone. It was also a busy week for the Spokane Valley Fire Department and we'll have pictures of a fire they struggled to put out in an extremely cluttered home.