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The Discovery Playground in Spokane Valley appears to be as popular with vandals as it is with children. Parks and Recreation staff noticed yesterday that one of two larger-than-life inchworms in the Secret Garden area of the playground had been stolen (the yellow one) and the other damaged. The city is sounding the alarm and is asking that anyone with information on the whereabouts of the inchworm call Crime Check at 456-2233. Last year a giant rainbow trout was wrenched out of the concrete, but not stolen. It hasn't yet been put back as staff search for a permanent way to install it so it can't be removed again. Also last year three giant fiberglass Eagle eggs were torn out of the ground and stolen/Nina Culver, Spokane Valley Blog. More here.
Question: What could a person do with a larger-than-life inchworm, like the ones above?
Photo courtesy of the City of Spokane Valley.
The Discovery Playground in Spokane Valley appears to be as popular with vandals as it is with children. Parks and Recreation staff noticed yesterday that one of two larger-than-life inchworms in the Secret Garden area of the playground had been stolen (the yellow one) and the other damaged. The city is sounding the alarm and is asking that anyone with information on the whereabouts of the inchworm call Crime Check at 456-2233.
Last year a giant rainbow trout was wrenched out of the concrete, but not stolen. It hasn't yet been put back as staff search for a permanent way to install it so it can't be removed again. Also last year three giant fiberglass Eagle eggs were torn out of the ground and stolen. Residents reported seeing them alongside the road and they were recovered, but they haven't been reinstalled yet either. And only a few weeks ago a park ambassador reporting seeing a 20-something male trying to break a piece off the bronze mountain man sculpture just outside the playground.
If you are ever driving by and see something suspicious or see someone in the park after dark, you're encouraged to call police.
Bowdish Road just south of Sprague will be down to only one lane tomorrow for utility work from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be flaggers there to direct traffic, but plan on delays if you can't detour around the area. Also, the utility work on Montgomery Drive, University, Grace and Bowdish is continuing. Traffic is also down to one lane in that area.
A new 12-space parking lot will open tomorrow at the end of Maringo Drive just east of Farr Road and south of Upriver Drive. The trailhead already had a restroom and drinking fountain, but trail users were parking along residential streets. Centennial Trail trailheads to not require the new Discover Pass (only the trailheads in Riverside State Park do).
Contributions for the parking lot came from the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Friends of the Centennial Trail, the Washington State Parks Foundation and Inland Empire Paper. (Inland Empire Paper is owned by Cowles Co., which also owns The Spokesman-Review.) If anyone decides to head over there, let me know how it looks.
You may remember that the Spokane Valley Applebee's restaurant at Mission and Pines held an auction last week to sell off the sports memorabilia lining the walls. They're apparently doing a little more than redecorating. I drove by this morning and the restaurant was closed, but workers were busy all over. A sign next to Pines promises the grand re-opening of a better than ever restaurant on Thursday. So I guess that's the day to trek on over and see the results.
If you can tear yourself away from Hoopfest or the Ironman this weekend, we will have a nice Valley Voice coming out on Saturday. As promised I will have more details about the truck weight restrictions on the Sullivan Road bridge. Some companies aren't worried about the limits but others are scrambling to figure out how to work around the problem.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger will have information on two awards the University High School drama department recently received. Greenacres residents are probably happy to see that construction on the long-awaited Greenacres park has begun. The park isn't expected to be ready for use this year, though.
KHQ is reporting this morning that the Spokane Valley Perkins restaurant at Mission and Argonne has closed. Apparently the restaurant's franchise agreement expired and the owners said it was too expensive to renew it. The location is just down the street from the Marie Callender's restaurant that closed last week. This means that 14 employees are now out of work. Click here for more details.
The City of Spokane Valley sent out a press release shortly before 5 p.m. yesterday announcing new weight restrictions on the southbound lanes of the Sullivan Road Bridge. There are actually two bridges there and the one that carries southbound traffic is the oldest and in poor condition. Cracks and other problems have been seen and a new bridge is not likely soon.
Reporter John Craig put together a brief for today's paper and I will be following up with more details in Saturday's Valley Voice. Standard semis are limted to 36 tons and a “pup truck” of two trailers (usually of gravel) separated by a long tow bar is limted to 45.5 tons. Click here for a complete list of the various styles of trucks and their weight limits.
Marianne Guenther Bornhoft is helping organize an auction of items from Applebee’s in Spokane Valley. SR photo/Dan Pelle
I'm sure many people in the Spokane Valley area have eaten at the Applebee's Restaurant at Mission and Pines at least once or twice. Part of the dining experience is gazing up at the walls at all the cool stuff hanging there - vintage signs, sports memorabilia, uniforms and more. And probably you've seen something you really liked and muttered about how you would like that hanging on your own wall. Well, now's your chance.
Columnist Doug Clark has a great story today about an auction coming up at Applebee's Thursday night that will see all that good stuff sold to raise money for a local charity that helps families in crisis. The bidding starts at 7 p.m. Thursday and is expected to go on for hours. There's no word on whether the bar will be open or not, but maybe if you've got the family checkbook it would be a good idea if it's not. Check out Doug's full story here.
Cleve Penberthy, Contract Based Education principal and longtime West Valley School District educator and administrator, is retiring after 40 years in education. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
I apologize for the lateness in posting links from today's Valley Voice. My computer went a little bonkers this morning. It now seems to be cured, but I have no idea why. I'm not going to argue, though. So, on to the highlights. Every spring we highlight notable retiring educators from the large Spokane Valley school districts - East Valley, West Valley and Central Valley. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has those stories in today's Valley Voice, including Contract Based Education princpal Cleve Penberthy. He's retiring after 40 years in education and I think he will be sorely missed. He was an oustanding advocate for his students. The other educators featured are East Valley teacher and librarian Linda Carper and Central Valley business teacher Sherry Johnson.
Kids will be happy to learn that Spokane Valley pools are opening this weekend. Splash Down is already open, but it only opens the doors if the weather is nice. I put together an introduction to the three newest candidates for a Spokane Valley City Council seat - John Baldwin, Marilyn Cline and Lewis Higgins. The City Council also had quite the debate this week on whether to let voters decided the fate of the one-way stretch of Sprague.
There will be a few new road and lane closures this week in Spokane Valley, mostly for utility work. There is a series of projects that will slow traffic between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. today through Friday. The affected roads are Van Marter from Montgomery Drive onto Marietta, Montgomery from Van Marter to University, University from Montgomery to Grace and Grace between University and Bowdish.
While I was out and about this morning I also noticed that the northbound curb lane on Evergreen in closed between Desmet and Mission. I'm not sure how long that will last, but there was a deep hole dug in the road.
Greenacres residents will notice today that the intersection of Mission and Flora is now closed for the installation of a new roundabout. The closure is part of the project to extend Indiana Avenue east to that intersection. Detours are available along Boone, Arc and Baldwin. The detour route has been changed from earlier plans because recent heavy rains have slowed the repaving of several streets torn up for sewer installation. The detour routes are in residential areas, so people are urged to drive slowly and carefully.
The sidewalk work on Broadway from Moore to Flora is also continuing this week, so expect narrowed lanes and delays during the day through Friday.
The retirement party last week for Numerica Credit Union President & CEO Dennis Cutter came with an additional bit of flattery.
During the event, a sign on the credit union headquarters building was revealed. It said: Dennis A. Cutter Administration Building.
Cutter is completing 40 years of working for Numerica, nearly all of them as CEO. The party was attended by roughly 150 past and present employees, and guests.
Board President Dave Shriver presented the unveiling by saying, “It’s fitting that this building, with its sturdy foundation, be named after the person who was the foundation of Numerica’s success over the last 40 years.”
“I never would have imagined this. I had no idea. I’m speechless,” Cutter said.
The building and credit union main office is at 10618 E. Sprague in Spokane Valley.
Photo of Dennis Cutter, courtesy of Numerica Credit Union.
The City of Spokane Valley has announced other temporary traffic shutdowns for this week. Today the eastbound curb lane on Broadway at Dyer road will be closed until 5 p.m., as will the southbound lane of Dyer just south of Broadway. The closures should only last for today.
The eastbound curb lane of Sharp Ave. between Evergreen and Bannon will be closed from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day this week. The work should be completed on Friday.
This is the time of year when roads start getting dug up for small and large projects alike, so such short-term closures will become more frequent. Make sure to keep your speed down and stay well clear of the workers.
A team of local law enforcement members will gather in Liberty Lake Wednesday morning at 5:30 a.m. to begin their leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run that will go throughout Washington and end at the 2011 Washington State Special Olympics Summer Games in King County on June 3. According to a Spokane County Sheriff's Office press release, officers will carry the torch through Liberty Lake, Millwood and Spokane Valley and Spokane. Be extra vigilant when driving area roads tomorrow and keep an eye out for the torch runners.
There are a few small projects happening on Spokane Valley streets this week that will create occasional traffic problems. The southbound curb lane on Argonne Road will be closed just north of Knox Avenue on Wednesday, so expect congestion as people try to merge into one lane. Sidewalk repair work will be happening on Broadway between Moore and Flora through Friday. Expect narrowed lanes and some delays.
Then, of course, there are the multiple street closures in Greenacres for sewer installation work. The project to extend Indiana Avenue to the intersection of Mission and Flora is also ongoing.
Arsonist Anthony W. Sotin was sentenced to 10 years in prison today in a Federal courtroom after the judge gave him a lecture and said he'd like to send him to prison longer, given his lengthy criminal history and previous conviction for arson. He is 42 years old and his first brush with the law was at age 14. Sotin pleaded guilty to lighting his own car on fire on Jan. 12 and a burning a commerical building in the 13400 block of East Nora on Feb. 9. Reporter Tom Clouse has the full story here.
Ramon Alvarado Estrada and Frank Quates of Pointwest Landscape in Coeur d’Alene plant Ponderosa pines at the Spokane River access next to the Barker Bridge on May 12. The city of Spokane Valley regraded the site, and the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club provided $3,500 for improvements that included planting native trees, plants and shrubs. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
It was a good thing we had a few days of nice weather last week before the rain moved back in. It gave the City of Spokane Valley and the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club just enough time to make improvements to the Spokane River access next to the Barker Bridge. They had been waiting for good weather so soil didn't get washed into the river during the project. The city graded the slope and moved some bollards down closer to the water, while the group of river users planted grass, trees and other native vegetation.
That was just one of the stories in Saturday's Valley Voice that you may have missed. Reporter Lisa Leinberger also listened in on one of the meetings between parents and East Valley school board members about upcoming changes and how to make it easier for students. Lisa also has background information on Joanne Comer, who has been selected as the new principal of Liberty Lake Elementary School.
Meanwhile, the Spokane Valley Fire Department took advantage of the good weather to hold trench rescue training for firefighters. Of course, the training probably would have continued no matter what the weather, but doing it in the rain would have been miserable.
Republican legislators Matt Shea and Larry Crouse have brought forward a bill in the State Legislature to make it illegal for the Spokane County Sheriff's Office to park unmarked patrol cars on private property. This has been something pushed for by the family of Wayne Scott Creach, who was shot last August after a confrontation with a uniformed sheriff's deputy in an unmarked car. Reporter Tom Clouse has more details here.
Here's a tidbit to help you plan your driving routes tomorrow. Vista Road will be closed just south of Trent beginning 7 a.m. Tuesday, May 10, 2011, and will stay closed through Wednesday afternoon. Railroad crossing work in the area will force the shutdown in traffic. Detours will be available via Knox Avenue and Argonne Road, but your best bet is probably to avoid the area.
Spokane County Sheriff's deputies have arrested a man for the 1992 murder of Spokane Valley furniture store owner Brian Cole, who was killed during a robbery. Patrick K. Gibson, a registered sex offender living in Stanwood, Wash., was tied to the crime through newly tested DNA evidence. Reporter Meghann Cuniff has more details here.
Ron Jackson, long-time Valley sports coach and sometime Valley political activist, passed away last week at age 83. With wife Sally, Ron was a mainstay of Democratic politics in the Spokane Valley, something that wasn’t rare when they got started many decades ago but required a certain amount of fortitude or stubbornness lately.
As colleague Mike Vlahovich reported in Saturday’s paper, Ron was a standout baseball player and coach. After retiring, he and Sally taught generations of kids to swim and to hit a curve ball. They taught generations of young politicians to work hard and shoot straight. They owned the Jackson Hole Tavern for more than a dozen years, the kind of neighborhood establishment which sponsored sports teams and carried more than a few patrons on a tab when times were tough.
Slowed by Parkinson’s Disease over the last decade, Ron still made it to many political gatherings and always had a smile or a wink for old friends. The fabric of the Valley community lost a colorful thread, and Ron will be sorely missed.
The answer was probably the fourth and final State of the City address by Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey. The event just ended at CenterPlace and the audience was full of politicians. Here's a sampling: Spokane Mayor Mary Vernor, Liberty Lake Mayor Wendy Van Orman, Rockford Mayor Micki Harnois, Spokane County Commissioners Al French and Todd Mielke, Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan, Spokane Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin and Spokane Valley Fire Department Commissioners Monte Nesbitt, Joe Dawson and Bill Anderson.
Rounding out the group was every Spokane Valley council member except for Bill Gothmann, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, Spokane Valley Police Chief Rick Van Leuven, Spokane Valley Fire Department Chief Mike Thompson and Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service director Nancy Hill. I guess the speech was the place to be today.
Mayor Towey had a little fun with his interactive voting during today's speech. He said he's been told his style while running council meetings is too laid back. So he asked if he should run the meetings Shogan style, Towey style or Larry the Cable Guy style. Fifty percent of the crowd voted for Larry the Cable Guy style. “I'd say Mr. Shogan and I have a lot of work to do,” Towey said.
The Washington State Department of Transportation will host an open house Thursday to present design options for Interstate 90 between Barker Road and Harvard Road. There are plans in the next few years to add lanes and make changes to the on and off ramps along that stretch of the freeway.
The open house will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Hope Lutheran Church, 17909 E. Broadway. There will be no formal presentation, but engineers will be there to answer questions and take comments on the various proposals.
About a year ago the SR published news that Wal-Mart would put another new store in Spokane Valley, about six blocks east of the Costco, about 5601 E. Sprague.
There hasn't been a lot of progress so far on that project, which we wrote about first here. Why not?
We tracked down Wal-Mart's regional contacts to find out when the project will get going. Here's the reply:
- Construction will start in late summer or early fall. Think August or September.
- It will take 12 to 14 months after groundbreaking before the new Wal-Mart opens.
- A Spokane Valley hiring center will be set up roughly 90 days before the doors open. That hiring office will have an online component for job applicants. It's here.
The store will include a garden center with outside sales area covering about 4,700 square feet (very large).
It is slated to include an indoor pharmacy, a full-service grocery and a Subway sandwich store inside.
When finished, it will be about 155,000 square feet.
There are so many things going on today and Saturday that I thought I would post a few highlights. They are fairly far flung - in Spokane Valley, Otis Orchards and Rockford. So no matter where you are, you've got someplace to be.
The fun kicks off today with the season opening of Discovery Playground at 2426 N. Discovery Place from 3 to 5 p.m. The new playground was hugely popular last year and a few changes were made over the winter to make things more durable. This afternoon's celebration includes family activities and a tree planting ceremony with the Mayor. The weather could be better, but we have to take what we can get.
On Saturday people will have to choose between competing events in Otis Ochards and Rockford. A Ronda Jo Emerson Memorial fundraiser is planned for 1 p.m. at the Otis Grill at Harvard and Wellesley. Emerson was a co-owner of the Otis Grill before she died in a snowmobiling accident earlier this year. The event will include a spaghetti feed for $7.99 a plate and a silent auction and raffle.
At the same time the small town of Rockford will be putting on its annual FredNeck's Frog Regatta Festival that starts at 1 p.m. The afternoon includes free hot dogs in the park from 1 to 2 p.m., free games for kids in the park beginning at 2 p.m. and a frog regatta down Rock Creek beginning at 3 p.m. There are cash prizes for the regatta and frogs can be purchased Saturday in the park for $5.
Rockford is fairly easy to find. Just head south on Highway 27, stay on the highway until you get to Rockford, then take a left just after the overpass.
Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey will host the first of four State of the City addresses tonight at 7 p.m. at Valley Fourth Memorial Church, 2303 S. Bowdish. The mayor plans to discuss highlights from 2010, the city's budget and goals for 2011. Several council members will also be in attendance and there will be time for discussion/questions and answers on community issues after the Mayor's speech.
If you can't make it tonight, the program will be repeated at 7 p.m. Thursday at CenterPlace (2426 N. Discovery Place), 7 p.m. April 21 at Woodard Elementary (7401 E. Mission) and 12:30 p.m. April 28 at CenterPlace.
I drove by the new Five Guys Burgers and Fries location at 10 N. Sullivan Road yesterday afternoon and there's a small “now open” sign out front. The sign on the door says hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to head over there for lunch and tell me what I should order when I drop in. Feel free to share your impressions of the new burger joint (which is also famous for its huge servings of fries) in the comments.
Scanner traffic says that a sewer installation crew on Boone Avenue between Greenacres Road and Long Road has accidentally severed a 2-inch natural line gas line. Spokane Valley Fire Department crews are on the scene. Additional intersections in the area may be shut down until the leak is fixed.
1:30 p.m. update: Valley Fire is now sending its technical rescue team to the scene. Workers will need to enter a trench to make repairs and the trench may need to be reinforced to make sure it doesn't collapse while someone is in it. Residents near the gas leak have been evacuated from their homes.
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.