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I know it seems like I just got back from vacation, but next week is spring break and I'll be turning over the blog reins to fellow reporter Lisa Leinberger. She'll post as much as she can. It looks as though she will be attending an interesting Spokane Valley City Council meeting in my absence. On the agenda is a possible vote on the newly redesigned Indiana Avevenue extension project, a vote on awarding the construction bid for Greenacres Park and a vote on who to appoint to one of the vacant city council seats. She gets to have all the fun.
At any rate, I'll be back bright eyed and bushy tailed on April 11. Here's hoping for good weather!
We'll have plenty of pictures and maps to spice up the Valley Voice on Saturday. The design of the planned extension of Indiana Avenue east to the Flora and Mission intersection has been changed to accommodate neighborhood concerns. There will be a map of the new configuration as well as a story on the changes and how they came about.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department has been a bit frustrated with the Barker Bridge contractor that is still storing heavy equipment and debris on land the department owns at Barker and Euclid. The department agreed to let the contractor use it, but everything was supposed to be cleaned up by now.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger will have a story on the first ever drama performed by students at Contract Based Education, an alternative high school in the West Valley School District.
The City of Spokane Valley is once again accepting applications for City Council, this time for Bob McCaslin's seat. McCaslin died last month. The seat is open to any adult who is a registered voter and has lived in Spokane Valley for at least a year. Applications are available at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague, or online at www.spokanevalley.org. Applications must be hand delivered or mailed.
The application deadline is 4 p.m. on April 19. If someone who filed for the other vacant council seat wants to be considered for this seat they do not have to fill out the paperwork again, just send a letter to the city clerk announcing their desire to be considered for this seat as well.
The council is scheduled to select which candidates to interview at the April 26 council meeting. The interviews will take place on May 10, with the final vote on who to appoint set for May 17. Whomever is picked to fill the seat must run for re-election in November to keep the position.
Clouds cover Mount Spokane as a hiker moves south on the Ben Burr trail on the Moran Prairie last October. SR photo/Christopher Anderson
You'd better hold on to your hats, it's a really windy day out there. Perfect weather to stay in and read the Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger looked at East Valley's Continuous Curriculum School to see how a K-8 school operates. The district is working on plans to close the middle schools and use K-8 schools instead.
The Spokane Valley City Council interviewed four candidates for a vacant city council seat on Tuesday. You can find some biographical information on all five people the council had voted to interview here. Teenagers and toy guns don't mix, as Liberty Lake Police officers learned. One teen reportedly pointed a fake gun at an officer in an unmarked patrol car.
Correspondent Stefanie Pettit has information on Ben Burr, who has a street, trail and park named after him. In a way he's a household name, yet few know who he was.
We've got some great stuff coming your way in Thursday's Valley Voice. I talked to all five candidates who are finalists for the seat on the Spokane Valley City Council that was vacated when council woman Rose Dempsey resigned. In addition to that story with their biographical information I'll have a story on their interviews before the City Council on Tuesday.
Things have been a little exciting in Liberty Lake with a self-described gamer pointing a fake but realistic looking gun at a police officer. A teen boy was also questioned after he shot an air soft gun so many times that police only had to follow the trail of pellets to his home.
Reporter Lisa Lienberger will have a story on East Valley School District's plan to do away with middle schools and create K-8 schools. She looked at existing K-8 schools and how they work.
Sorry for the late notice, but there's a few interesting things going on at the Spokane Valley City Council meeting tonight. First and foremost, the council will be interviewing candidates for one of the vacant council positions. During the rest of the evening the council will approve a procedure and timeline for filling former city councilman Bob McCaslin's seat, discuss the bids received for the construction of Greenacres park and also discuss the Indiana Avenue extension projects, which has hit a bit of a bump in the road.
The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague. See you there.
Among construction projects in Spokane Valley, work has started again on the Barker Road sewer project at Laberry Drive in Greenacres. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
There was a lot to go over in Saturday's Valley Voice and I've got highlights in case you missed a few things. Road construction season has started already in Spokane Valley, with several road and sewer projects coming up. A few are already underway. The largest and most disruptive project planned (other than the addition of new freeway lanes between Sullivan and Barker) is the installation of a concrete intersection at Indiana and Sullivan.
Reporter Lisa Lienberger was in a humanities class at Central Valley High School recently when World War II veteran Del Spear visited to talk about his experiences on a minesweeper. Spokane Valley City Councilman Dean Grafos recently filed paperwork to run for re-election this November. In related news, the Spokane Valley City Council selected five candidates to interview this week for one of the two vacant council positions.
People in certain neighborhoods have already seen the bright orange "road construction" signs popping up, which means it's time for the annual road construction season story in the Valley Voice. It will run tomorrow, complete with a nice map and information on the estimated start and stop times for each project. Then you'll be able to plot out your traveling routes for the coming months.
Residents in Fairfield will start seeing a new six percent utility tax on their electric bills in July after the city council recently approved the tax. Reporter Lisa Leinberger will have a story on a World War II veteran who recently visited a humanities class at Central Valley High School to talk about his war-time experiences. There will also be another Spokane Valley City Council candidate annoucement.
East Valley School District Superintendent John Glenewinkel, second from right, listens as EV Executive Director of Operations Brian Wallace presents the fiscal future of the school district and upcoming bond at an informational meeting March 15. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
There's a nice fat Valley Voice today to keep you busy over your morning cup of coffee. There are two sides to any story and that is the case with the East Valley School District's upcoming bond election. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has the views from both sides today. Is new construction long overdue or is the timing bad?
The Spokane Valley City Council hit the pause button on awarding a bid for the Indiana Avenue Extension road construction project over concerns about the road's design. The issue has been tabled for two weeks while the council seeks more information. The project was scheduled to start in mid-April.
Those of you who are fans of Geno's Italian Restaurant on Spokane's north side take note - the restaurant is closing on Saturday. Reporter Pia Hallenberg has a story on the end of the popular restaurant. Apparently the crowds are huge this week as everyone goes for one final visit. One woman said she was flying in from Washington, D.C., for her last meal there.
The Liberty Lake Police blotter has news of several arrests in the last week, including one shoplifter who ran out of the Safeway directly towards a detective.
Tomorrow will bring yet another stellar Valley Voice with a ton of community news. The plans to extend Indiana Avenue east of Sullivan hit a bump in the road when the Spokane Valley City Council narrowly voted to table a motion to award the construction bid for two weeks. Council members and the public have questioned the design of the road and whether there will be continued access to a nearby Centennial Trail trailhead.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger continues her coverage of the East Valley School District bond issue by doing interviews for pro and con stories that will run Thursday. The Liberty Lake Police blotter is a lenghty one, with a couple of unusual arrests in the bunch.
In this 2005 photo from The Spokesman-Review archives, Bill Gothmann is sworn in as a city council member with his wife, Myrna, at his side.
Spokane Valley City Councilman Bill Gothmann announced yesterday that he won't seek re-election when his term expires at the end of the year. He filed paperwork with the Public Disclosure Commission last month to launch his re-election campaign, but said after a vacation with his wife he decided he would rather retire to spend more time with her and his family. "At the end of my life I want to turn around and say I spent a lot of time with my family," he said.
Gothmann had only collected a few campaign contributions since announcing his candidacy. "We will be returning 100 percent of that," he said. "Any money I did spend has come out of my own pocket."
As of right now no one has filed paperwork to run for Gothmann's seat, though Chuck Hafner filed to run for city council last month without specifying which seat he was running for.
Sorry about the interruption in the flow of blog posts. It's really hard to blog without an internet connection. Tomorrow's Spokane Valley City Council meeting has quite a few things that will be of interest to the community. The council will meet in executive session at 5 p.m. to discuss the applicants for the council seat vacated by the resignation of Rose Dempsey. During the regular meeting at 6 p.m., the council will vote on which candidates to interview during the March 29 council meeting.
The council is also expected to give final approval to proposed ordinances that will loosen rules on keeping backyard chickens and tighten rules that apply to adult retail businesses. A vote is also scheduled on the Indiana Avenue Extension project.
The council will hear a report on several proposed Comprehensive Plan amendments, but there will be no vote on any of them this week. One amendment would kill the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan and another would allow St. John Vianney Catholic Church to rezone land next to the church for the purpose of putting in low income senior housing.
See you tomorrow at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.
Saturday's Valley Voice is going to be packed with news from all corners of the Valley again. It will make for some good morning reading with your coffee and scrambled eggs. The Spokane Valley City Council heard a report on the planned Indiana Avenue extension project that will connect Indiana to the intersection of Mission and Flora. Construction is expected to start in mid-April.
The Millwood City Council voted to have a citizen's advisory committee study the wading pool issue. Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in with a therapy dog named Adams at Barker High School. A team from the Spokane Valley Fire Department recently competed in the annual stair climb competition in Seattle. The team took first place and one firefighter came in third overall.
The HUB Sports Center hosted the Apex Awareness Volleyball Tournament for Kira’s Kloset, March 5 and 6, and 16 teams from throughout the Inland Northwest traveled to play. The facility has five full-size basketball courts that can be converted into 10 volleyball courts. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
With all that rain that's coming down out there, now is a good time to get a cup of coffee and check out the stories from today's Valley Voice. This week the Spokane Valley City Council advanced two ordinances. One will loosen the rules on chickens in residential areas and the other will toughen language that applies to adult retail businesses. Both are now scheduled for a final vote during the March 22 council meeting.
Spokane Valley Finance Director Ken Thompson has announced that he will retire in June. He will be the fourth department head to leave the city in a little over a year. The city plans to replace him as soon as possible and applications will also be accepted soon for the city attorney position.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger headed out to the Valley HUB recently to see how the non-profit is doing. Business is up and there's enough money to pay the bills, but the issue of ownership of the building is still out there. Regular correspondent Stefanie Pettit has a touching column about her long time friend and mother figure who recently died.
If you are handy in the kitchen and looking for a steady opportunity to volunteer, Shalom Ministries in downtown Spokane is looking for a volunteer chef to cook breakfast four times a week and dinner once a week for low income people. Reporter Pia Hallenberg has a nice feature in today's Voice on current volunteer chef John "Gus" Olsen, who is retiring.
Wednesday may be known as Hump Day to some, but around here it is known as Preview the Thursday Valley Voice Day. So, here we go. The Spokane Valley City Council had a lengthy meeting Tuesday night. A ton of people flocked to City Hall to comment on proposed ordinances to loosen the rules on chickens in residential zones and tighten the rules on adult retail businesses. The council also voted to buy a piece of property on the edge of the Industrial Park to serve as the city's maintenance facility. There was a lot more discussion on other topics, but I couldn't fit it all in one story. Expect to see a second story on the other issues in the Saturday Valley Voice.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger recently checked in to see how the Valley HUB is doing. Business is aparently booming, so she'll have the details on that. There will also be a story on upcoming staffing changes at the City of Spokane Valley.
The Spokane Valley City Council was informed Tuesday that a tenth application for the vacant city council seat had been discovered. The application period ended at 4 p.m. Friday, but this week staff found another application that had been misplaced in the wrong staff member's mailbox. The error was discovered after the applicant called the city to ask why he did not appear on the list of those who had applied for the position.
The tenth applicant is Clyde Cordero, 51. Cordero ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary in August 2010 for the U.S. House of Representatives seat held by Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who went on to win re-election. He works as an ad salesman for an online publisher. In his application Cordero wrote that the city needs a clear vision for the future and he wants to encourage neighborhood associations and community policing programs.
The council will vote on March 22 on which of the 10 candidates they would like to interview. The interviews will take place at the March 29 council meeting and the final vote on who to appoint to the vacant seat is set for April 5.
The Sullivan bridge was dedicated in a ceremony on Nov. 9, 1951. The above picture looks northwewstward toward Trentwood. Many valley, county and state officials attended the ceremony opening the $200,000 bridge to traffic. This is the section that carries southbound traffic today and is in need of replacement. Photo Archive/The Spokesman-Review.
I'm guessing tonight's Spokane Valley City Council meeting will run long since the agenda is packed. The council is scheduled to vote on whether or not to purchase land on the southern edge of the Spokane Valley Industrial Park for a street maintenance facility. Tonight is also the first reading of two ordinances, one of which would loosen restrictions on chickens in back yards and the other would toughen city code language that applies to adult retail businesses. So far the public comment on the new chicken rules has been overwhelmingly in favor, but the Mayor says the city is beginning to get emails against allowing more chickens.
The council will also hear reports on allowing livestock in mixed use areas, the planned extension of Indiana Avenue east of Sullivan and the Sullivan Road bridge replacement project.
Interest is apparently high in the Spokane Valley City Council seat vacated by the resignation of councilwoman Rose Dempsey. Nine people have applied for it and all have been involved in the city in one way or another, with eight of the nine previously applying or running for a seat on the council or the planning commission.
The nine are: SCOPE volunteer John Baldwin, self-employed carpenter Joseph Collins, actor Ronald Lippincott, community activist DeeDee Loberg, distribution specialist Steven Neill, architect George Watson, IT administrator Ben Wick, customer service representative Jennie Willardson and Spokane Valley Planning Commissioner Arne Woodard. Click here for today's story.
In other news, reporter Meghann Cuniff has a couple of crime reports from the weekend. A Spokane Valley woman was cited for hit and run after striking a pedestrian at Pines and Broadway on Saturday. Also on Saturday, a theft was discovered at Valley Landmark Mission, 9021 E. Boone. Someone broke into a room inside the church where electronics were stored and made off with a laptop and camcorder, among other items.
Greenacres Middle School students jam the seventh-grade hallway at 10:10 a.m. Tuesday as they pass between classes. The school is at maximum capacity with 756 students. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
Take a look at today's Valley Voice for news on what is happening in the Spokane Valley area. We've got a little bit of everything today - schools, fire department and the city council.
Since the Central Valley School District bond failed, the natural question that comes up is "Now what?" Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to Superintendent Ben Small, who is considering his options and plans to make recommendations to the school board at the March 14 meeting.
Anthony W. Sotin, who was arrested last month on two counts of arson and one count of wire fraud, was in Federal court this week to accept a plea deal that has him pleading guilty to two arson charges in exchange for a reduced sentence of 10 years in prison.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department has been reducing their response times and plans to reduce them even more in the next five years. They've got several different options they're looking at to accomplish this. And the Spokane Valley City Council discussed concerns over the process to update the city's Shoreline Master Program, which the city inherited from Spokane County when it incorporated.
There are some city council meetings tomorrow that might be of interest to those interested in keeping up on what city government is doing. The Spokane Valley City Council will meet tomorrow at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague. On the agenda is a discussion of the draft amended 2011 Transportation Improvement Plan, discussions on the city's maintenance shop and animal control, plus an update on the Shoreline Master Program process.
The Liberty Lake City Council will meet at tomorrow 7 p.m. at City Hall, 22710 E. Country Vista Drive. Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich is scheduled to be there to discuss the countywide comprehensive emergency management plan. The council is also set to discuss an amendment of the River District Specific Area Plan overlay and establishing a set meeting time for council members to meet with local business leaders.
North Palouse Community Food Bank president Sheila Dyer assists a client last Thursday. Although the food bank is open only limited hours, Dyer will let people set up appointments for emergency needs. The food bank serves Fairfield, Rockford, Latah and Waverly. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
We've got items from just about every corner of the Valley in today's Valley Voice. Retired educator Chuck Hafner has thrown his hat in the ring by filing paperwork to run for a Spokane Valley City Council seat in November - but he hasn't decided which one yet. There will be three to chose from; the ones currently filled by Bill Gothmann and Dean Grafos and the seat vacated by Rose Dempsey.
The East Valley School District board voted this week to ask voters to pass at $33.75 million bond on April 26. It would mean improvements to Trentwood, East Farms, Otis Orchards, Skyview and Trent Elementary schools.
The North Palouse Community Food Bank has been quietly serving the communities of Fairfield, Rockford, Latah and Waverly since 2005. It relies on the generosity of residents and community food drives. Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in with the third graders at Pasadena Park Elementary who have made crafts for the Iditarod mushers.
The Spokane Valley City Council voted to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and also to accept a grant to put in sidewalks on 24th between Adams and Sullivan.
We've got tons of good stuff coming your way again in Thursday's Valley Voice. The East Valley School Board voted to take the plunge and ask residents to approve a bond on the April ballot. The Spokane Valley City Council had a fairly short meeting Tuesday, but did vote to approve a ban on selling e-cigarettes to minors.
The North Palouse Community Food Bank in Fairfield has been well supported by the community. It serves the towns of Fairfield, Rockford, Latah and Waverly and we went down there last week to so how they do it. Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to some third graders at Pasadena Park Elementary who have been learning about the Iditarod sled dog race. The students made centerpieces that will be shipped to Alaska to decorate the tables of the mushers who will gather for a banquet.
There will also be another Spokane Valley campaign announcement for the November election. You'll have to check out the Valley Voice tomorrow for more details.
As we look ahead to next week, Monday should be fairly quiet because of the President's Day holiday. City offices in Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake will be closed. But it is a different story on Tuesday.
Tuesday night the Liberty Lake City Council will host a retreat from 6 to 9 p.m. at City Hall, 22710 E. Country Vista Drive. They are expected to discuss city goals, including the arboretum. The East Valley School District board of directors will hold it's regular meeting at 6 p.m. at the District Administration Center, 12325 E. Grace. The board is expected to vote on whether or not to ask voters to approve a construction bond on an upcoming ballot.
The Spokane Valley City Council is back in town and ready for its regular meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague. On the agenda is a vote on a proposed ordinance on e-cigarettes, a report on chickens in residential areas and a report on adult retail business rules.
Otis Orchards Elementary kitchen manager Judy Boykin serves up chicken fried steak wth potatoes and gravy, vegetables, rolls and cookies for the senior meals lunch Feb. 3. Lunch through Valley Meals on Wheels is offered Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:30 p.m. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
We managed to pack several interesting stories into Saturday's Valley Voice. Here's the roundup, in case you missed it. Otis Orchards Elementary is the only school in the area to be a senior meal site through Valley Meals on Wheels. Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in on how it is going and found that several of the seniors have given volunteer applications to Principal Suzanne Savall. The lunches are served on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The Spokane Valley City Council spent a day last week in a lengthy winter retreat discussing everything from funding street maintenance to a possible city hall site. The Simply Northwest gift shop known for its gift baskets is now under new ownership. An employee purchased the store from founder De Scott.
Residents in Millwood are apparently upset over a recent vote by the city council to shut down and tear out the wading pool that has been in the Millwood City Park since 1954. After hearing from several residents, last week the council agreed to take another look at the plan.
There was some brief excitement last week for Spokane Valley Fire Department firefighters. That generated some advice from assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford - it's a really, really, really bad idea to try and clean up a large gasoline spill by putting a match to it.
Just a quick note to remind everyone that there will be no Spokane Valley City Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 15. Council members will be traveling to Olympia to meet with state legislators, so this Tuesday night everyone gets to go home early.
We'll have some great entertainment for you in Saturday's Valley Voice. In addition to an arson fire this week, the Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to a fireball seen at a local tavern. It turned out that someone had tried to clean up a gasoline spill by lighting it on fire, with predictable bad results. Luckily no one was hurt.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Otis Orchards Elementary recently to see how the latest Valley Meals on Wheels site is doing. It's the first one in a school. I also have a report on the all day winter retreat with the Spokane Valley City Council. They discussed a wide variety of topics, including economic development, finances and street maintenance.
Freeman School District Superintendent Sergio Hernandez led efforts to pass two levies and a construction bond, and directed the high school and elementary school construction projects. More than that, he said, “I hope they remember me for caring about people, caring about the students and the staff and working as a team player. The buildings really are a team effort.” SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
After 41 years in education, Freeman School District Superintendent Sergio Hernandez will be hanging up his hard hat in June. He's been wearing that hard hat a lot lately, overseeing the contstruction of a new high school and renovations at the elementary school. He told reporter Lisa Leinberger that he's not sure what he'll do after he retires, but that he still wants to work with kids in some way.
The Spokane Valley City Council took its first step this week in approving a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. Reporter Pia Hallenberg spoke to Temple Beth Shalom Rabbi Michael Goldstein about a billboard uring people to boycott Israel.
It's been busy in Spokane Valley. Last night a Spokane Valley man allegedly stabbed his brother after the two fought. Now one brother is in jail on an attempted murder charge and the other is in serious condition in the hospital. And this morning the Spokane Valley Fire Department was called out to what is being called a suspicious fire in a vacant building at 13412 E. Nora.
Since it is Wednesday, we also have to take a look at what is coming in the Valley Voice tomorrow. Freeman School District Superintendent Sergio Hernandez recently announced that he will retire in June and reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to him about what he is planning next after his 41 year career in education. I'll have a report on Tuesday's Spokane Valley City Council meeting, where a reduced field of five council members efficiently dealt with the business before them.
One item of note to come out of the council meeting is a change in the schedule to appoint a replacement for Rose Dempsey. Things have been bumped back a bit. The council will narrow the field to several finalists on March 22, conduct interviews on March 29 and vote on who to appoint to the vacant seat on April 5. Applications still must be turned in to the city by 4 p.m. on March 4.
Tuesday is nothing but meetings, meetings and more meetings. The East Valley School District board of directors will meet at 6 p.m. tomorrow at the District Administration Center, 12325 E. Grace. The board may vote on whether to put a bond on a ballot this spring.
The Spokane Valley City Council will have its annual winter retreat tomorrow from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place. The meeting is open to the public. The agenda includes contracts, economic development, city hall options, law enforcement goals, the budget and more. The council will follow that up with their regular council meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague. That agenda includes a motion on a sewer paveback agreement with Spokane County and a vote on who to appoint to committees that former council woman Rose Dempsey served on.
Of course this non-stop Spokane Valley meeting schedule means that I will be off the grid tomorrow. I'll be too busy taking notes until my arm is sore to do any blog posting. But I'll be back on Wednesday.
Christ Lutheran Church has hired certified teacher Holly Moro to assist in Homework Helpers, an after-school program. Here, she helps Summit sixth-grader Lauren Walker (back to camera) with a math problem as first-graders Kate Walker, left, and Taylor Looker watch. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
Monday again. Why does it come so soon? At any rate, it's time for the highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Christ Lutheran Church on Broadway has started a Homework Helpers club to offer free tutoring after school every Tuesday. Kids seem eager to come and it's not just the cookies that has them coming in the door.
Students at Centennial Middle School used their Sprit Week to raise money for a classmate with a medical issue. Spokane Valley city councilman Bill Gothmann has filed paperwork to run for re-election in November. He's the first candidate to announce his campaign.
In case you missed it, reporter John Craig had a story Saturday on the process underway to fill the senate seat of Bob McCaslin, who is also a Spokane Valley city council member. McCaslin is reportedly upset about the candidates that were selected for consideration.
Also, just a reminder that tomorrow is the last day to mail your ballots in the Central Valley bond election.