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Saturday’s highlights

Daisy Hanson and Kelsie Brulotte splash around in the Millwood wading pool Thursday. Community donations made it possible for the pool to reopen after being closed last year. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Sorry I wasn't on the blog Friday. I snuck out for a day off before the high temperatures made me feel like a chicken roasting in the oven. While it's still relatively cool this morning I've got some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in at the popular Millwood wading pool. The city planned to close and destroy the pool, but residents objected and then took it a step further by raising the $10,000 needed to repair the pool. Now kids are again happily splashing away.

The Spokane Valley City Council appointed former planning commissioner Fred Beaulac back to a vacant position on the commission. He will serve out the term of Marcia Sands, who recently resigned. The council also heard a report on a development agreement negotiated with the owner of land on Conklin Road. They previously voted to allow the land to be rezoned as high density residential only if an agreement was reached to increase setbacks and limit density.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw spoke to University High School football coach Rob Bartlett, who is continuing a family tradition of coaching. He now holds the same job as his father did.

Some hot items at tonight’s council meeting

Yes, it is Fourth of July eve, but Spokane Valley is going ahead with their regularly scheduled council meeting tonight at 6 p.m. and there are a few interesting items on the agenda. The council is set to vote on appointing a new planning commissioner to fill the seat of Marcia Sands, who resigned. There are three candidates and there are some familiar names in the bunch. Teacher Robert McCaslin is the son of the late Bob McCaslin, who was a senator and city council members. Fred Beaulac served on the planning commission previously from 2003 to 2008. The other candidate, Kevin Anderson, is a retired manufacturing manager.

A development agreement on land on Conklin just south of Broadway has apparently been negotiated with lighting speed; a proposed agreement will be discussed tonight. The council voted previously to require the agreement as a condition to rezoning the land high density residential.

The council will also discuss a proposed agreement with Spokane County to fix 48th Avenue in the Ponderosa neighborhood. The road was repaved after a county sewer project years ago and hasn't drained properly since.

Saturday’s highlights

Firefighter Tom Carleton of Spokane Valley’s Ladder 10 walks through a charred hillside during a wildland fire training session Wednesday in Spokane Valley. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Today is Monday and it's sunny. Are we sure this is Spokane? It's time to grab a cup of coffee and settle in to check out some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. The Spokane Valley Fire Department spent some time doing wildland fire training last week and invited other local fire departments to participate.

The Spokane Valley City Council has agreed to issue a request for proposal's for the city's animal control service with the intention of getting information from SpokAnimal Care on what they might charge to take over the city's animal control contract.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a nice story on Liberty Lake Regional Park, a little known park on the shores of Liberty Lake that has hiking trails, camping, a playground, swimming and a dock to fish off of. It's a great place to sit on the beach and enjoy the views.

The grand council meeting shuffle

Just about every city with a council meeting scheduled for next week is doing a bit of shuffling to avoid the Fourth of July holiday on Wednesday. The only exception is Spokane Valley, which will have its council meeting at its normal time at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

The Fairfield City Council is moving its Tuesday meeting to Monday at 7 p.m. at City Hall at 218 E. Main in Fairfield. The Rockford City Council is moving its meeting from Wednesday to Tuesday at 7 p.m. at City Hall at 20 W. Emma in Rockford. The City of Liberty Lake is moving its Tuesday meeting to July 10.

Today’s highlights

Aliyah Forrester, 5, runs with a bucket and shovel Monday, through the Pumpkin Patch Community Garden in Millwood. Her grandparents, Doug and Teresa Sadler, help run the garden. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Today you get a look at the stories we've been working on all week. Reporter Pia Hallenberg is continuing her look at local community gardens and recently stopped by the Pumpkin Patch Community Garden in Millwood. The garden still has some of its 57 plots available and also participates in the Plant a Row for the Hungry program, donating produce to Second Harvest.

In a departure from past practice, the Spokane Valley City Council is not allowing the Spokane Valley Fire Department to make a presentation on its replacement levy on the August ballot. The move caught the fire department by surprise, particularly since it gave similar presentations twice previously.

The work on the Sprague Avenue reconstruction project has been delays after a gas line was found only inches under the asphalt. It had to be relocated and buried deeper before the road work could continue. During Tuesday's meeting the Spokane Valley City Council voted to require a development agreement before land on Conklin Road just south of Broadway can be rezoned high density residential. The agreement would set restrictions on setbacks and building height on the land, which is surrounded by single family homes on land zoned low density residential.

The town of Fairfield has several programs for kids running this summer. Free lunch is available in the Community Center on weekdays and the town will again bus children to the Tekoa pool.

Conklin Road zone change on agenda

Sorry for the light posting lately, I've been working on several interesting stories for Thursday's Valley Voice. It looks like tonight's Spokane Valley City Council meeting will be busy. The first reading of a proposed zone change on Conklin Road just south of Broadway is on the agenda. Neighbors have been voicing their opposition to the request regularly and I expect some of them will be there tonight.

There are a few other interesting items on the agenda, including the approval of an interlocal agreement with Spokane County to develop a trail on the old Milwaukee Railroad right of way that the city once wanted to use to extend Appleway Blvd. The council will also discuss animal control and may indicate whether they want to pursue a possible agreement with SpokAnimal any further.

Saturday’s highlights

North Pines Middle School eighth-grader Asha Abbas, 14, and seventh-grader Isabella Moua, 13, share a laugh Wednesday after an English language development class presentation in which students tell stories about themselves using Microsoft Phot Story. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland
 
It's another gloomy Monday morning, but we've got some Saturday Valley Voice highlights to start our day with. The Spokane Valley City Council spent eight hours in a retreat last week going over the preliminary 2013 budget numbers and discussing how they might fund street preservation. No decisions were made, so the issue will continue to be discussed at future meetings.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger visited a English language development class at North Pines Middle School attended by young immigrants from all over the world. The students were presenting photo stories and some talked about where they came from.

Some Millwood residents upset about a recent 14 percent water rate increase visited the Millwood City Council meeting to complain about the rate hike. Correspondent Valerie Putnam reported their concerns about paying too much for water this year.

Spokane Valley pools are open now and we have details about open swim times and swim lessons. The Spokane Valley Fire Department renamed several fire stations last week and the names of one or two might surprise you.

Today’s highlights

Austin Long and his mother, Ann Long, are both graduating from Eastern Washington University this Saturday. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Once again we have a lot of good stuff for you in today's Valley Voice. Reporter Pia Hallenberg has a story on mothers graduating from Eastern Washington University at the same time as their children, including former Central Valley School District board member Ann Long. She and her son Austin will graduate this weekend.

The Spokane Valley City Council has decided to move forward with a zone change request without requiring an agreement that would mitigate the impacts of an apartment complex surrounded by single family homes. The zone change on Conklin is strongly opposed by neighbors and the city's planning commission has recommended the negotiation of a development agreement to increase buffering and limit density.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has several stories today, beginning with fifth grade students at Opportunity Elementary School who recently participated in their annual congressional hearings. Students learn about the Constitution and their roles in society.

Lisa has details on schedule changes coming up this fall in the East Valley School District. Elementary school will start later and CCS students will now be bused directly to their school. She also put together a list of where children can get free meals during the summer.  

Spend the day with the city council

If you have ever wanted to spend the entire day with the Spokane Valley City Council, now is your chance. On Tuesday the council will have it's annual spring/summer retreat from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place. The main topic of discussion will be the 2013 budget, plus some discussion on street preservation projects.

After a short break, the council will have its regular weekly meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague. There will be a public hearing on the draft six year Transportation Improvement Plan. The council is scheduled to vote on whether to award a bid for the phase one of the pavement preservation projects and there will be further discussion on the proposed zone change for 601 N. Conklin Road.

Of course, this means I will be away from the blog tomorrow. I may tweet a bit from the council retreat, but otherwise I'll see everyone back here on Wednesday.

Today’s highlights

Third-graders Audrina Gainey, left, and Stephanie Sawchuk, right, wear ball gowns and munch on a lunch served by parents and teachers May 24, at Sunrise Elementary. The event, called the Fairy Tale Ball, was a time to dress up and practice proper dining etiquette. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

There's a lot to check out in today's Valley Voice, so grab a cup of coffee and settle in. I almost wish I was at Sunrise Elementary when reporter Lisa Leinberger was there last week to check out the third grade Fairy Tale Ball because it sounds like so much fun. The students dressed up in their finest clothes and snacked on food made by their parents.

If you are looking for things to do this weekend, you have a couple of options. The grand opening of Greenacres Park is Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The park has a playgroung area with splash pad and sand box, restrooms, a large picnic shelter and play fields. Saturday is also West Valley Days in Millwood, which includes a parade, carnival and free bike raffle.

The Spokane Valley City Council discussed their second thoughts about accepting the donation of a sculpture in a new entry to be built at Appleway and Thierman next year. Several council members suggested putting the work of art in Balfour Park instead so people can get up close to it.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department will have a replacement levy on the ballot in August. It currently provides 53 percent of their annual budget and there was discussion this week on what would happen if the levy fails. Six of the department's ten stations would close and staff would be cut from 180 to 76.

Saturday’s highlights

Police Officer Kevin Schmeckpeper rides down stairs while practicing bike handling techniques at the skate park in Pavillion Park in Liberty Lake May 15. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

We are a day late doing the Saturday Valley Voice highlights because of the holiday, but they say some things get better with age, right? Yes, I think I'll go with that. Reporter Lisa Leinberger had a story on Central Valley High School students who got the opportunity to chat with scientists who are simulating manned missions to Mars.

The Spokane Valley City Council had a bit of a wild meeting last week while they were debating a controversial zone change request that would allow high density housing on a chunk of land surrounded by single family homes. They decided to hold off on a final vote, though they did approve all the other zone change requests submitted as part of the annual comprehensive plan amendments.

Genesis Church has a new home. The church, founded in 2010, is now leasing the old Good Shepherd Lutheran Church across from Central Valley High School. A trio of Liberty Lake police officers recently completed special training before they head out on bicycle patrol.

Zone changes on today’s council agenda

The Spokane Valley City Council is scheduled to have a final vote tonight on whether to approve several proposed zoning changes. One of the changes, which would allow a high density apartment complex on vacant land surrounded by single family homes, has been controversial. I expect a fair amount on public comment on this one tonight.

There's really not much else on the agenda tonight other than a first reading on a proposed ordinance to update the building code and a vote on whether to approve a re-negotiated contract with Splash Down. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

Saturday’s highlights

Linda Crowe, pastor of Veradale United Church of Christ for the past 17 years, is shown outside the church on Tuesday. She is retiring. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Apparently we're back to rainy and cool Mondays now. While you enjoy your morning coffee, we've got a bunch of stories from Saturday's Valley Voice to highlight. The Rev. Linda Crowe has been the pastor at the Veradale United Church of Christ for 17 years. She retired Sunday and it was an emotional experience for Crowe and her congregation.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on East Valley High School student Emily Harris, who won a statewide art competition. Her painting, titled "My Childhood," will hang in the Cannon Tunnel, which connects the Cannon House Office Building to the Capitol Building in Olympia.

The Liberty Lake City Council has an opening after Susan Schuler announced her resignation so she can move to New Zealand with her husband. Anyone interested in applying for the seat needs to do so by 4 p.m. on May 31. The Spokane Valley City Council had a discussion last week on what projects to fund with the street preservation money they recently set aside. There was some debate over which roads should be done first.

In other road construction news, the Sprague Avenue reconstruction project between Evergreen and Sullivan started today. The project will be completed in four phases to limit traffic impacts. Access to businesses will be maintained. The project should be done by mid-August.

Correspondent Juli Bergstrom Wasson has details on Wags to Riches dog grooming, which opened in Spokane Valley last fall. It's not just a place to go if Fido needs a bath and a trim. Owner Virginia Patton has nearly completed the requirements that will earn her the title of master groomer and she likes to do creative trimmming styles.

Today’s highlights

A dock sits below the Coyote Rock development May 8 in Spokane Valley. The Shoreline Master Program draft goals and policies includes a requirement that residential developments with more than two homes have community rather than individual docks. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

We have a nice, sunny Thursday before us, but there is still time to take a look at some highlights from today's Valley Voice. The Spokane Valley Planning Commission had a rather lengthy meeting last week to go over the draft goals and policies for the city's Shoreline Master Program update. Among the items they discussed were the policies addressing gravel mining pits and docks.

The Spokane Valley City Council also met and they approved awarding the bid for resurfacing and reconstruction work on Evergreen Road from 16th to 32nd and on 32nd between Highway 27 and Best Road. Vera Water and Power will be installing a new water line as well. Construction should start in about a month.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger spoke to 8-year-old Ansel LaPier recently. The Liberty Lake resident recently won a national award for a short film that he wrote, filmed and acted in. Correspondent Cindy Hval, who is always an expert on the emotions that make mothers tick, has a touching column today about her recent Mother's Day celebration.

Street preservation in Spokane Valley

The packet for tonight's Spokane Valley City Council meeting isn't an inch thick, which bodes well for the length of the meeting. The council is set to award the bid for the Evergreen Road construction project between 16th and 32nd. There will also be discussions on what road projects to spend this year's street preservation money on and a possible change to the lease signed by Splash Down. It's a study session, so there won't be any public comment except on the lone action item to award the Evergreen bid. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

Saturday’s highlights

A dock sits below the Coyote Rock development Tuesday. The Washington state Court of Appeals ruled that docks installed at the development were illegal. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

We have a ton of good stories for you in Saturday's Valley Voice, so let's get right to it. The Washington State Court of Appeals recently ruled that the docks at the Coyote Rock development are illegal after a lawsuit filed by the Department of Ecology, but the court didn't examine one of the issues presented by the DOE and the environmental groups that joined the lawsuit.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a great story on students at Summit School, who sent their teacher light-hearted threats in iambic pentameter to convince him to allow them to put on a shortened, clown-based version of "Hamlet." Lisa also reported on vandalism of the sheds at the East Valley community garden. Police quickly arrested the group of teens responsible, but students were left to clean up the mess.

A goup of Girl Scouts has come through in a big way for the town of Millwood. Correspondent Valerie Putnam reported on their successful effort to raise enough money to repair the town's wading pool. The Spokane Valley City Council seems willing to explore contracting with SpokAnimal for animal control services instead of SCRAPS. City staff is still in the information collecting stage.  

Today’s highlights

A camera mounted near the roofline (upper right) of a Central Valley School District bus is part of a system that will record when motorists pass the bus when the stop arm is deployed as part of a trial run of the new technology. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

It's another Thursday, which means it is time for some Valley Voice highlights. All drivers have to keep an eye out for school buses, but now some of them will be keeping an eye on you. The Central Valley School District is particpating in a test program and has installed cameras on three school buses. The cameras will record drivers who illegally pass a bus while it is stopped with its red lights flashing. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the program here.

The Spokane Valley Planning Commission held a special meeting this week to talk about members recusing themselves, the Open Public Meetings Act and the public records act. A facilitator called in to lead the meeting suggested several additions to the commission's policies and procedures.

The Spokane Valley City Council also had a meeting, where neighbors asked council members to reject a zone change that would allow an apartment complex in their single family home neighborhood. Reporter Pia Hallenberg recently talked to three Spokane Valley sisters who stared the Spokane Garden Expo, and it all started when they began planting their yard for their cats. The Expo is this weekend and will include 60 plant vendors and more than 300 businesses.

SV council to talk critters, zoning changes

It's been pretty quiet today and it looks like a pretty quiet meeting tonight for the Spokane Valley City Council. The council is set to discuss animal control again as they work to decide whether or not to go forward with a new regional animal shelter. Tonight is also the first reading of an ordinance with this year's comprehensive plan amendments. One or two of the proposed zoning changes is controversial, so there may be some public comment to go along with it. Tonight is a formal meeting, so there will also be time for public comment on items that aren't on the agenda. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

Today’s highlights

The Central Valley High School Drama Department is presenting “Alice in Wonderland” today through Tuesday at 7:30 each night. Elaborate costumes and sets are featured in the production. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

First of all, I'm sorry for not being on the blog much this week. It's been busy around here. But since it's Thursday I do have some Valley Voice highlights for you. The Spokane Valley Planning Commission is having a special meeting with a facilitator Monday to "improve organizational harmony" by discussing rules and procedures. There has been a lot of discussion over a recent vote by the majority of the commission not to excuse a commissioner who recused herself from the shoreline dicussions to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.

There are some fabulous pictures to go along with reporter Lisa Leinberger's story on the Central Valley High School production of "Alice in Wonderland." The drama opens today and will run through Tuesday. If you are in the mood for something different, the drama department at West Valley High School will present "Much Ado About Nothing" today, Friday and Saturday. Of course, you can always attend both.

The Spokane Valley City Council had some discussions this week on significantly extending the time that building applications and building permits are valid. Many on the council seemed pleased by the change, which will come back for a formal vote at a later meeting. 

Today’s highlights

Lexi Saeger is working her way toward a national competition by selling shopping bags, right, that she makes from empty pet food bags. She also made a skirt and camisole out of the bags, left, for the Future Career and Community Leaders of America competition. SR photo/Dan Pelle

The rain is back, but since it is Thursday there's a Valley Voice to take a look at over coffee since you can't look out the window and see sunshine. Reporter Lisa Leinberger attended an East Valley school board meeting this week where there was a public hearing on the district's plan to take on $6.2 million in nonvoted debt to pay for new portable classrooms at the elementary schools. The portables are needed to allow the schools to include students in grades K-8. The topic did generate some discussion.

Correspondent Cindy Hval interviewed Lexi Saeger, a student at Freeman High School, who makes clothing and shopping bags out of old pet food bags. She's been selling her shopping bags and they are available at a local store.

The Spokane Valley City Council voted Tuesday to name nine people to its new ad hoc economic development committee. The council also voted to pass a new sign code ordinance. This week the Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioners gave a resident an outstanding citizen award for his role in saving a woman from her burning apartment. The commissioners also voted to put a replacement maintenance and operations levy on the Aug. 7 ballot.

Committee appointments at council meeting

Tonight's Spokane Valley City Council meeting will include the appointments of local residents to the city's new ad hoc Economic Development Committee. The group will include two council members, three business representatives, three tourism representatives and two citizens at large. The city received 19 applications for the positions.

Other items on tonight's agenda include the second reading of a sign code ordinance and what may be a lengthy presentation of the proposed Comprehensive Plan amendments for 2012. Tonight is a regular meeting, so there will be a public comment period for anything anyone wants to discuss. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

Saturday’s highlights

Spokane Valley councilman Arne Woodard is known for his ties. Many are bright, loud and a few are a bit wild. He owns about 60 of them and since his appointment to the council last year, Woodard has tried to wear a different tie every Tuesday night. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Saturday's Valley Voice was so packed with stories that I'm really not sure how we fit them all in. Here's your chance to take a look if you missed them. Spokane Valley City Councilman Arne Woodard has been making a name for himself by wearing colorful and unusual ties to council meetings. He thinks the ties make him more approachable and they fit his sense of humor.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has several stories on local schools. The East Valley School District is considering purchasing portable classrooms for its elementary schools to create room for seventh graders. There will be a public hearing on the subject during the school board's meeting Tuesday. Lisa talked to students at University High School last week who were taking part in a distracted driving demonstration. They tried texting while driving and also driving with special goggles that simulated a drunk person's vision.

Students at University Elementary School spent some time last week planting seeds to grow in their new donated greenhouse. The students seemed happy to get out and have fun in the dirt.

Nineteen people have applied to serve on Spokane Valley's new economic development committee. The story includes a list of those who have applied. Mayor Tom Towey will make his appointment recommendations on Tuesday. Last week there was a public hearing regarding a retroactive substantial development permit being sought by a Liberty Lake homeowner for shoreline improvements that were put in without a permit. The owner, Lloyd Herman, was ordered to remove the improvements but has not done so.  

Today’s highlights

Joseph Yacker opens the front door of the new Spokane Valley Fire administration building Monday, to show the prominent display of a beam from the World Trade Center in the entryway. Yacker works with information systems in the building. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Today's Valley Voice is pretty packed with news, so you might need two cups of coffee to get through it all. The Spokane Valley Fire Department opened a new administration building for business this week. The new building, located next to Station 8, is designed to be an essential services building in a disaster. This is the same building where a piece of beam from the World Trade Center was installed during construction.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to Mary Collins of Spokane Valley High School, who was recently named the 2012 Washington State Classified School Employee of the Year. The Spokane Valley City Council had a long discussion Tuesday on the merits of the regional animal shelter plan proposed by Spokane County and how much it would cost the city.

The Spokane Valley Planning Commission met last week for a public hearing on the draft goals and policies of the Shoreline Master Program update. The plan, which regulates development on shorelines, is undergoing a state mandated update. There was a bit of controversy during the meeting regarding the recusal of commissioner Marcia Sands. Sands works for the Department of Ecology, which approves all shoreline plans. Four commissioners voted not to excuse Sands, who now says she is debating whether to step down from her seat on the commission.

Today’s highlights

East Valley’s Farm to School project leader Lynette Romney stands on the porch of a shed at East Valley Farms on Tuesday. The project, which sits next to East Valley Middle School and East Valley High School, is on a Bonneville Power easement. The community garden is the work of service clubs, school kids, farmers and others who want to participate. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

There are two interesting school stories in today's Valley Voice from reporter Lisa Leinberger. The Central Valley School District is moving forward with plans to open a new Skills Center at Sprague and University that will be called Spokane Valley Tech. The board voted this week to set aside earnest money for the building that currently houses West Valley's Contract Based Education.

East Valley is ramping up its Farm to School project that is in a field between the middle school and high school on Wellesley Ave. The farm will grow beans for Second Harvest and an acre is set aside for the community. A plowing day is scheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m.

The Spokane Valley City Council agreed Tuesday to adopt changes to the sign code proposed by a sign company representative. The council is scheduled to have a final vote on the sign code changes on April 24. Correspondent Cindy Hval has another one of her touching Love Stories today about a couple who met later in life and became best friends before marrying.

Property purchase on Spokane Valley agenda

The Spokane Valley City Council is set to have another discussion on the possible purchase of property at Sprague and Herald during tonight's council meeting, but no decision will be made. Parks and Recreation director Mike Stone will be presenting several options for a park on the land with and without a new library. The Spokane County Library District wants to use part of the property for a new library, but can't afford to purchase the entire site.

Other items on the agenda include the award of the bid of the Sprague Avenue reconstruction project, a motion on street preservation funding, the second reading of a special event permit ordinance and the first reading of a sign code ordinance. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague. 

No council meeting this week

This is just a reminder that there's no Spokane Valley City Council meeting this week. There isn't a Liberty Lake City Council meeting, either. So everyone stay home, rest up and we'll see you back in the council chambers next week.

Saturday’s highlights

Senior Jake Hochberg leads an experienced pitching staff at Central Valley. Hochberg has split a pair of decisions in CV’s first four games. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

It's Monday and it's not raining. Everyone cross your fingers that this will last at least a little while. Meanwhile, it's time to take a look at Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a profile on Gene Sementi, who is stepping up to become West Valley's superintendent. He has worked with the district for many years as a teacher, coach, principal and assistant superintendent.

The Spokane Valley City Council discussed how much of the city's year-end balance to commit to street preservation on Tuesday. It was a split decision, with four of the seven council members favoring taking $2 million. That would leave $26 million, which the council has previously identified as the minimum amount it wants left over.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw spoke to the coach of the Central Valley High School baseball team, who is dealing with a soggy start to his season. The field is soaking wet and pitchers haven't been able to get much practice time on the mound.

Today’s highlights

Spokane Valley Heritage Museum Executive Director Jayne Singleton highlights a photograph of Titanic's grand staircase on display in the museum's exhibit about the April 15, 1912, sinking of the ship. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Here we are, having yet another rainy day. But it's also Thursday, which means there are some great stories from the Valley Voice to read while you have your coffee. The Spokane Valley City Council voted Tuesday to provide $30,000 in lodging tax funding to Valleyfest. This is the second round of allocations of lodging tax money for 2012 and there was a bit of a furor when Valleyfest didn't get funded in the first round.

In other news from the city, Spokane Valley Public Works Director Neil Kersten has confirmed that he is leaving the city sometime in May. He's one of the few department heads left who has been with the city since the beginning. He'll be going back to Alaska, where all his children and grandchildren live.

The Spokane Valley Heritage Museum has opened a new exhibit on the Titanic as the 100th anniversary of the sinking approaches. The exhibit includes information on local passengers who went down with the ship.

The town of Rockford is trying again to pass a one-year replacement levy to help fund the town's fire department. The levy failed in November, though is did get 56.71 percent approval. The levy requires a 60 percent supermajority to pass. The levy, which is on the April 17 ballot, would provide nearly 40 percent of the department's annual budget.

Saturday’s highlights

Michele Nelson of SCRAPS checks a stray for an identification chip. SCRAPS and other area animal welfare groups will hold a pet adoption event Friday and March 31. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Goodness, what happened to the warm weather and sunshine we had yesterday? It's a dull and rainy Monday out there, the perfect time to catch up on anything you missed in Saturday's Valley Voice. The Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service is heading up a huge free pet adoption event this weekend. Organizers hope to find new homes for more than 200 pets.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to members of the Central Valley High School Knowledge Bowl team, who apparently credit their success to their mascot, a monkey carved from a coconut named Mojo. It seems to be working; the team won the recent state competition on Marysville, Wash.

The Spokane Valley City Council had some discussions last week on sidewalk projects as part of the Safe Routes to School program. The council also talked about the city's new pavement managemet program.

This isn't in the Valley, but if you are a fan of Southern cooking and/or the South Perry neighborhood, you will want to check out Pia Hallenberg's story on a new restaurant opening there at the end of May or in early June. Called Casper Fry, the restaurant will be run by the same people behind Madeleine's. 

Today’s highlights

Rylee Walker, 17, shows some of her art work as she talks about her career goals during her senior project presentation Friday, at East Valley High School. For their senior culminating project students are required to compile a portfolio about their high school careers, a video about their lives and their plans for the year after high school. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Welcome to spring. Or is it winter? At any rate, it's Thursday and time to run down the highlights from today's Valley Voice. The Spokane Valley City Council spent some time Tuesday talking about Spokane County's new proposal for a regional animal shelter. There are a lot of questions council members want answered before they are prepared to make a decision.

Students at East Valley High School recently made their senior culminating project presentations to teachers and community volunteers. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by and talked to some of the students about their plans for the future.

Correspondent Cindy Hval stopped by Spokane Falls Community College recently when they hosted Pearl Harbor suvivors who spoke to a packed room about what they saw and did that day in Hawaii. Their stories are very moving. You might need a tissue for this story.