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Greenacres Elementary School science teacher, Shelly Mahn, works with fifth-grader Ian Rusbuldt during a physical and chemical changes assignment Friday. The school has received a second School of Distinction award from the Center for Educational Effectiveness. SR photo/Dan Pelle
Well, that was a nice bit of freezing rain we had this morning. It was coating my windshield faster than I could scrape it off. Now it's time to go over some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Nicole Hensley has a story on Greenacres Elementary School being named a School of Distinction for its improving test scores. The teachers use a new math curriculum and interactive whiteboards to help students learn.
The city of Spokane Valley hosted a public meeting to talk about the replacement of the west Sullivan Bridge. They also outlined several construction projects that will take place this spring and summer, including the expansion of Sullivan Park and the grind and overlay of Sullivan Road north of the Spokane River.
River access was also the topic of discussion at the Spokane Valley Planning Commission meeting last week. The commission is reviewing a draft public access plan that is part of the city's state-mandated update of its Shoreline Master Program.
A Spokane Valley Fire Department engine rear-ended on the freeway at the end of December has made the trip back to the factory to see if it is totalled or not. The impact crushed part of the back bumper, popped welded joints and cracked the truck body, but the condition of the frame is unknown. The engine cost about $500,000 when it was purchased several years ago.
Tim Page, of Bellingham, climbs a rock face as his nephew Nathan Pettis, 15, belays on Monday at John H. Shields Park in Spokane. Page, a program coordinator with the American Alpine Institute, was in town to see family and decided to take Pettis climbing. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland
Well, the highlight of my morning is certainly my amazingly fast new computer. Programs no longer take 10 minutes to open and I no longer have to click and wait. Great stuff. Everyone else, however, will have to make do with the highlights from today's Valley Voice.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger recently stopped by the Minnehaha Rocks, where locals go for climbing and hiking. There are routes for beginners and advanced climbers at Minnehaha, formally known as John H. Shields Park. The Spokane Valley City Council voted this week to approve a zone change request for land on Conklin Road just south of Broadway. The change to high density residential clears the way for an apartment complex. The council also approved a development agreement to mitigate impacts on neighbors.
The Spokane Valley Planning Commission recently voted on its recommendations for uses that should be allowed in additional zoning areas. There was a lot of discussion on crematories and indoor recreation centers.
Lauren Brown, 13, checks out a helium balloon during a STEM Academy summer school session on June 27 at Central Valley High School. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland
Happy 5th of July. I hope everyone has recovered from last night's festivities enough to check out some highlights from today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a couple good stories. The Central Valley School District is offering summer school classes focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathmatics (STEM). Last week students did experiments with helium-filled Mylar balloons.
Lisa also visited Wheeler's Farm Market and Fresh Start Produce in Otis Orchards as she continues her tour of fruit stands in the Spokane Valley area.The provide local produce and other items to hungry shoppers.
The Spokane Valley Planning Commission last week gave their recommendation of approval to the goals and policies of the Shoreline Master Program. The commission had been reviewing the goals and policies for months. They now go to the City Council for approval.
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.
Spokane Valley kayaker Steve Bailey surfs the "Sullivan Hole" on the upper Spokane River in August 2011. The wave is a Spokane low water play spot for whitewater enthusiasts. SR file photo.
The Spokane Valley Planning Commission will continue its discussion on the proposed goals and policies for the Shoreline Master Program update tonight at 6 p.m. The attorneys hired by the city to counsel the city on the update of the shoreline regulations will be in attendance. There won't be a public hearing tonight, but people can come and listen to the discussion. The meeting is at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.
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.
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.
Mike Frucci and his wife Vicki sort through books at the Children's Book Bank at the old University High School. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
Good Monday morning, everyone. I have a few highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice in case you missed them. Reporter Lisa Leinberger wrote a story about a hidden gem, the Children's Book Bank. The bank allows teachers to come and pick out free books for their students. There have been more than 100,000 books distributed since 1997.
The Spokane Valley City Council agreed to accept grants for two road construction projects, the reconstruction of Sprague between Evergreen and Sullivan and the completion of Mansfield Ave. east of Pines. The Mayor is interviewing 12 applicants for the two vacant Spokane Valley Planning Commission seats. His recommendation for the appointments is expected at the Dec. 27 council meeting.
Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a report from the Millwood City Council meeting. Finances in the city are apparently not as dire as they first appeared, but the council did approve a 2 percent natural gas utility tax.
Principal Tammy Fuller reflects on 32 years of achievements displayed in the Mountain View Middle School trophy case. She hopes to find a place for the trophies and awards and is planning events to mark the last days of the school. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
There's a must-read story in Saturday's Valley Voice that needs to be looked at today if you didn't manage to get to it on Saturday. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has an excellent story on Mountain View Middle School, which will be closed at the end of this school year as the East Valley School District struggles with state funding cuts and the loss of a recent bond. She talked to students, teachers and parents who are in mourning for their school. Some of the students are second generation attendees and some of the teachers were once students at the school themselves. It's a real community school, something you don't find a lot in today's more transient society.
Meanwhile, there was also a bunch of news coming out of City Hall last week. There are six candidates for the vacant Spokane Valley Planning Commission seat, one of whom has had a rocky relationship with city staff and once made a comment during a council meeting that could be considered threatening. I also took a look at the two candidates who will be interviewed for the vacant City Council seat during tomorrow's council meeting. Chuck Hafner is the favorite to get it, thanks to his long involvement in the community and his strong ties to the Positive Change council members.
The city's Community Development Director, Kathy McClung, has announced that she will retire at the end of July. That annoucement got an immediate strong reaction from councilman Bill Gothmann, who said he believes some council members have been hostile to city staff and that has caused the departure of more than a half dozen key staffers.
Rounding out Saturday's package were details on the new trash pickup days and an update on Millwood's efforts to save the city's wading pool. A special meeting is set for today at 5 p.m. for the council to vote on an ordinance to allow citizens to raise money to repair the pool.
Since Spokane Valley planning commissioner Arne Woodard was appointed to the Spokane Valley City Council last week, that means there is now an opening for a new planning commissioner. An application for the position can be found at www.spokanevalley.org or picked up at City Hall. The application deadline is 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3.
The commission reviews land use rules, development regulations and other city laws and makes recommendations to the city council after holding public hearings. The commission generally meets twice a month. Applicants must live within the Spokane Valley city limits. The Mayor will nominate a person to replace Woodard and that person must be confirmed by the city council. The term of the vacant seat expires Dec. 31.
Tonight the Spokane Valley Planning Commission will pick up where it left off two weeks ago and continue a public hearing on the proposed annual comprehensive plan amendments. Apparently the last meeting was so full of citizens wanting to give public comment that the commission couldn't fit it all into one night.
One of the main items proposed is to kill off the entire Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan. St. John Vianney Catholic Church wants to have a parcel it owns at 503 N. Walnut rezoned from low density residential to medium density residential. Tthe church would like to build a 40 unit senior housing complex there.
The Hultman Family Trust owns property on the southeast corner of Progress Road and Sprague Ave. and is asking to have it rezoned from mixed use avenue to neighborhood center.
The hearing will begin tonight at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.
Members of the East Valley High School Washington Drug-Free Youth puppet troupe include from left, Cally King, Searra Cameron, Jon Merkel, Mickell Rigsby, Jessica Rabe, Morgan Hendricks and Kendall Bancroft. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
There's a nice, thick Valley Voice to read today. Reporter Lisa Leinberger takes a look at the Washington Drug Free Youth chapter at East Valley High School. It is the largest chapter in the state. Members take a pledge to be drug free and in exchange they get a t-shirt and discounts and local businesses. They also talk to younger students about the importance of being drug free.
The Spokane Valley Planning Commission voted unanimously last week to recommend to the City Council that the rules on keeping chickens in residential areas should be relaxed. Roosters, however, will not be welcome.
Correspondent Jill Barville has an inspiring story on Jeana Moore, who walked 4,434 miles across the country to raise awareness of the National Bone Marrow Registry. There is also a tribute to the Very Rev. Mart Craft, who served at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Evanglist for 42 years. He died recently of cancer at the age of 71. He founded Mid-City Concerns and was president of Connoisseur Concerts in addition to his work with the church.
In Thursday's Valley Voice we'll take a look at the Washington Drug Free Youth chapter at East Valley High School. It's the largest chapter in the state, though EVHS certainly isn't the largest high school. Reporter Lisa Leinberger will look at the group of teens who are willing to plege to stay drug free and submit to random drug tests to prove it.
Last week's Spokane Valley Planning Commission meeting was for the birds - literally. After hours of public testimony and discussion, the commission unanimously voted to recommend to the city council that the city's rules on chickens in residential areas be relaxed to allow more people to keep the feathered creatures in their back yards. Everyone who testified at the public hearing was in favor of the idea. The city council will have the final say on the matter.
We'll also have a report on the Liberty Lake Council meeting this week. Among other things, they discussed their council retreat that is set for next week at City Hall.
There won’t be a Spokane Valley Planning Commission meeting tomorrow because of Veteran’s Day. It has been moved to Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. in the city council chambers, 11707 E. Sprague. It will be a work session on the proposed emergency ordinance to replace the City Center zone in the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan with Mixed Use Avenue zoning. Since it is a work session no public comment will be taken. The public can make their opinions known during a public hearing on the issue during the Dec. 9 meeting. You can find the agenda for the meeting on the city’s web site.