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Kicked door nets man burglary charge

In what appears to be a case of she said/he ran, Spokane Valley Sheriff’s deputies arrested a 50-year-old man who was accused Thursday of breaking into a woman’s home.

Deputies, who are contracted to provide police service in Spokane Valley, responded at about 11 a.m. on Thursday to the area of 6800 E. 8th Ave. to a report of a burglary in progress.

The female homeowner said that Kevin Bunch, 50, had kicked in the back door of her residence and remained in her home. Deputies went to check and saw Bunch running westbound on 8th Avenue away from the home, sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Craig Chamberlin said.

The deputies set up a containment area and searched with a police dog. They found Bunch hiding between a fence and nearby house and took him into custody, Chamberlin wrote in a news release.

“Bunch told deputies he and the victim were in a relationship, which the victim said was not true whatsoever,” Chamberlin wrote.

Bunch was booked into the Spokane County Jail on the charge of residential burglary.

Fancher closed Saturday night

Fancher Road will be completely closed this weekend from 7 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday between Sprague Ave. and Broadway Ave. for paving. Drivers can use Havana as an alternate route.

Shoreline public hearing tonight

The Spokane Valley Planning Commission is having a public hearing tonight on the proposed shoreline environmental designations. The city is currently making its way through a state mandated update of its Shoreline Master Program and the environmental designations are a piece of that plan. This is your chance to come and comment on the proposed designations. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

Today’s highlights

Spokane Valley Councilman Ben Wick, his wife Danica and daughter Sabriel, 3 months, arrive at the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum for the celebration of the centennial of its building, the former Opportunity Township Hall, last Thursday. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

There are a lot of good stories to be had in today's Valley Voice, so let's get started. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by the 100th anniversary celebration of Opportunity Township Hall last week. The Hall now houses the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. The museum is also getting ready to host its annual history tour on Oct. 6.

The construction of the Spokane Valley Fire Department's Station 6 has hit another snag. Representatives of the department say there have been numerous design problems that have led to delays and construction is reaching a critical point. If the alsphalt isn't put in before it gets too cold the department can't move in.

The Spokane Valley City Council voted Tuesday to not raise 2013 property taxes by the allowed 1 percent, saying this just isn't the time to raise taxes even though the vote means residential property owners will only save 76 cents per year.

The Central Valley School District is taking a look at whether it should continue it's pay-to-play policy, Lisa reports. The school board is taking a look at how much playing sports costs and whether the fees have impacted how many students sign up.

A jail near you?

In case you missed it, here's Mike Prager's story today about the sites under consideration for a new Spokane County Jail. One of the proposed locations that apparently is near the top of the list is property the County owns north of Euclid Ave. and east of Tschirley Road. The land is inside the Spokane Valley City limits. Reportedly the County Commissioners are looking at proposed sites again so they can consider a new potential site near the Spokane Airport, but the Spokane Valley spot is still in the mix. There's a public hearing on the issue today at 5:30 p.m. in the lower level of the Public Works Building at 1026 W. Broadway. Read Mike's story for more details.

Budget, property tax on agenda

There are a few interesting topics on the agenda for tonight's Spokane Valley City Council meeting, including a public hearing on the proposed 2013 budget and the first reading of the ordinance to set the 2013 property tax. If you have comments to make about how the city plans to spend its money, now is your chance. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

The council is also scheduled to vote on how much money to award to the economic development and social service agencies that requested funding. There is also a vote scheduled on an interlocal agreement with the Spokane County Library District that would cover the purchase of property on Sprague Avenue for a library and proposed park expansion.

Valleyfest pictures

Gabe Kerschner, with “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,” carries a 6-foot North American alligator on stage at Valleyfest. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Spokesman-Review reporter Chelsea Bannach and photographer Colin Mulvany stopped by Valleyfest on Saturday. Colin put together a nice slide show of pictures of the annual event to go with the story. Here's your chance for a second look if you missed it in Sunday's paper.

Valleyfest is here

Festive air: Hot air balloons lift off from CenterPlace Event Center at dawn in 2011 as part of Balloons Over Valleyfest. A balloon named “Spuds,” operated by Stephanie Hughes, of Spokane, is being filled as another lifts off toward the east. SR file photo

Wait no more, Valleyfest is here. The annual festival has been steadily growing and this year is no different. Today's main event is the Hearts of Gold parade down Sprague Avenue at 7:30 p.m. This, of course, means Sprague Avenue will be shut down. The section between University and Bowdish will close at 5:45 p.m. so the floats and marching bands can line up. The section of Sprague between Pines and Bowdish will shut down at 7 p.m. The parade will start around Gillis Road and head east. Go early to get prime seats.

Saturday's events start with the 6:35 a.m. launch of hot air balloons from the CenterPlace west lawn (2426 N. Discovery Place). Next up is the pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at CenterPlace. The cost is $7 for adults, $6 for children ages 3-6 and free for kids 2 and under. The main festivities in Mirabeau Park start at 10 a.m. I'd be here all day if I listed every event happening, so I'll just hit the highlights. There will be vendors, food, a car show, live entertainment, Babyfest, fishing at the falls, a walk to benefit Down Syndrome and lots more.

Sunday's events include Responsible Dog Ownership Day, a walk and bike ride on the Centennial Trail and more live entertainment. The full schedule is available at www.valleyfest.org.

If you are wondering where to park, there will be an STA shuttle running from parking lots at the Spokane Valley Mall and the Pinecroft Business Park at Mirabeau Parkway and Pines Road for 75 cents. Look for the special Valleyfest shuttle signs. The buses will stop at CenterPlace and Mirabeau Park.

Spokane Valley Solon Fills Clark Void

Matt Shea – the Road Rage Republican running for re-election in Spokane Valley – has his knickers in a knot over his opponent’s supposedly dirty campaign tactics. Or in other words … “Hello, Kettle. Pot calling.” You know, I was really bummed a few months ago. Spokane’s perennial loser candidate Barb Lampert said she wouldn’t be running for office. It was unimaginable. We were about to have the first Lampert-free ballot since the forming of the League of Nations. Prayer seemed like the only option. Is anyone out there, I beseeched the heavens, who could fill the insanity void left by a Barbless election? The heavens answered, and along came Rep. Matt Dillon, I mean Rep. Matt Shea. Sorry for the confusion. I sometimes have to remind myself. Matt Dillon was the pistol-packing marshal on the old “Gunsmoke” TV show. Shea’s that pistol-packing pickup driver who pulled his gat during a road rage incident with another motorist last November in downtown Spokane/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: Which legislators or legislative candidates in North Idaho amuse you more than the others?

Road construction explosion

The city of Spokane Valley has put out a flurry of press releases this week announcing a whole bunch of road construction projects coming up as they try to finish as much as they can before the weather gets too cold. The good news is, most of the projects are small and won't cause much of a disruption. So, here we go.

Crews are expected to be working on Argonne Road between Indiana and Trent next week. The work will take place at night and all lanes will be open during the day. There will be one lane of traffic in each direction between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. The project should last about a week.

Sands Road between Bowdish and Bates will be closed from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday for a community service project at the cemetery. On Monday there will be work on Carnahan Road between 16th and Kahuna that will leave only a single lane open.

Work is expected to start next week on Fancher Road between Sprague and Broadway. Traffic will be limited to one lane in each direction. The project is expected to last until early October. The stormwater swales on the south side of Sprague Avenue will be getting some improvements between Park Road and Thierman Road. Road work is included in the project, which should last until late October.

Work on University Road between Union and Main is continuing and should be completed by early October. The planned start to resurface Mission Ave. between Union and Pines Road has been postponed to late September or early October.

That's where things stand right now, but road construction is somewhat famous for its unpredictability.

Today’s highlights

Remembering the fallen, looking toward the future: The Spokane Valley Fire Department continued its tradition Tuesday of honoring the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by dedicating buildings under construction. Members of the Spokane Valley Fire Department honor guard, including, from left, Greg Bennett, fire inspector, Dave Vegele, engineer/paramedic, and Michael Fields, firefighter, participated in Tuesday morning’s flag raising at Station 6. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

There's a bunch of news packed into today's Valley Voice. Local 876 of the International Association of Fire Fighters has filed a challenge to the voter registration of Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioner Monte Nesbitt. Nesbitt, who has announced he will resign at the end of the year, said he now lives in Cheney but remains registered to vote in Spokane Valley.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has some student numbers for the Central Valley School District, which has a lot more students in the classrooms than it expected. They've had to get a little creative at some schools to handle it. The Spokane Valley City Council had another review of the proposed 2013 budget and expressed some hestitation about some changes, including how street preservation is funded and how much of an ending fund balance to have.

A thief in Liberty Lake who went as far as removing tires and wheels in preparation for making off with them apparently changed his or her mind and left them behind, along with a message written in dust on a car window. The thief was uncommonly organized and tidy.

Teen driving event this weekend

Teen drivers are invited to participate in a safe driving event Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the University City Parking lot at 10200 E. Sprague in Spokane Valley. Teens can complete an obstacle course while trying to avoid distractions or use impaired vision goggles. The local high school who has the most teens register for the free event will be awarded $500. There will also be food, music and appearances by former Gonzaga basketball players and Spokane Shock cheerleaders.

The event is one of 300 being held around the country sponsoed by State Farm Insurance. The Spokane Valley event is being held in partnership with the Spokane Valley Police Department. More information is available at www.facebook.com/celebratemydrive.

Saturday’s highlights

After receiving a delivery of 30 children’s bicycles from the Bike Hub, Micah Reed, 10, and other Broadway Elementary School students test out the bikes during Central Valley School District’s Elementary Bicycle Safety Program at Broadway, Aug. 30. The school’s PE teacher, Katie Ferris, secured a grant for $6,100 from SpokeFest to purchase the bikes. SR photo/Dan Pelle

I'm pretty sure it's Monday again, though my internal calendar will be off all week since I worked yesterday. Now that we've shaken off the Monday morning cobwebs through generous amounts of coffee, it's time to take a look at Saturday's Valley Voice.

The city of Spokane Valley has a new public works director, Eric Guth. He'll probably be able to handle complaints about potholes and snow plowing easily, since his last job saw him dodging rocket attacks in Afghanistan.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked out a bicycle safety program offered by Central Valley School District. The district got a grant from SpokeFest to buy 30 bikes and helmets and will visit every fourth and fifth grade class this year.

The Spokane Valley City Council had a lenghty discussion on a proposed one percent property tax increase in 2013 that would cost each homeowner $1.20 per year. Several council members are against it, so it looks like at some point there will be a vote on whether to approve the increase.

The Spokane Valley Fire Deparment is looking over its proposed 2013 budget, which is projected to be lower than the 2012. That's in large part because there are no construction projects planned for next year. Employees will get small raises after agreeing to a wage freeze in 2012.

Providence expanding into Spokane Valley

Spokesman-Review reporter John Stucke has a story in today's paper about Providence Health Care's plans to build a $58 million medical campus in Spokane Valley. The campus would include an outpatient surgery center and doctor offices. The center, which is scheduled to open in 2014, would be located along I-90 east of Sullivan Road. Read John's story here for more details.

Saturday’s highlights

Rob Bockemuehl cleans around a water valve as a road grader prepares the intersection of 24th Avenue and Evergreen Road for paving, Aug. 27. SR photo/Dane Pelle.

Today may be the first day of school for many, but it is also the day to get caught up on some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Some major Spokane Valley road construction projects are wrapping up, much to the relief of drivers. There are still a few small projects coming up, but none will last longer than two weeks.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by the groundbreaking for the new Spokane Valley Tech skills center in the old Rite Aid at University and Sprague. The building was purchased by the Central Valley School District for a new skills center, but it will also be used by the West Valley, East Valley and Freeman school districts.

The annual Valleyfest event is fast approaching and there are several new things coming during this year's three day festival. The new items include discounts and coupons at local businesses, a new walk benefitting Down Syndrome research and Babyfest.

Paws in the Pool photos

SR photographer Jesse Tinsley has posted a great photo story from last night's first ever Paws in the Pool dog swim event at Valley Mission Pool. It looks like the dogs were having a lot of fun. Parks and Recreation Director Mike Stone told me this morning that the inaugural event was a great success and will be back next year. Swim on, Fido, swim on!

Roads opening up today

Good news for Spokane Valley drivers: 32nd Avenue between Avalon and Best is scheduled to reopen today. Evergreen Road between 16th and 24th Avenues is also set to reopen by the end of the day today, but the remainder of Evergreen from 24th to 32nd is expected to remain closed until Thursday. I'm sure completion of the project will also come as a relief to residents who live along the route.

Spokane Valley dog swim changes

Spokane Valley's first ever doggie swim day at the pool is Thursday night and organizers have made a few changes. There hasn't been much interest in the small dog (under 34 pounds) catergory, so that group will now swim at the same time as the medium dogs (between 35 and 59 pounds). The new start time is 5 p.m. at Valley Mission Pool, 11123 E. Mission. Large dogs will still swim from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m.

Remember that your dog has to have a current rabies vaccination and must be accompanied by an adult. All dogs will get a rinse before they are allowed in the pool, so allow time for that. There are other conditions as well; click here for details.

Investigation just beginning in homicide

A 25-year-old man was found dead Sunday morning in what Spokane Valley authorities are investigating as a possible homicide.

Spokane County Sheriff’s detectives believe they know the identity of the deceased man but don’t know how he died, sheriff’s spokesman Deputy David Thornburg said in a news release. Thornburg said he doesn’t expect any more details about the case until today.

A driver discovered the man at about 6:20 a.m. on Raymond Road near the intersection with Mission Avenue.

“The male victim was found in the roadway only wearing a pair of shorts,” Thornburg said.

The man had injuries consistent with being struck or dragged by an unknown hit-and-run vehicle, Thornburg said.

“There was no evidence of the male being shot or stabbed,” Thornburg said. “There was a pair of shoes and blue jeans found near the body, but there was no identification to positively identify the male.”

He did have a number of unique tattoos that lead investigators to believe they know his name, but the sheriff’s office will not release that name until his family can be notified, Thornburg said.

An autopsy is scheduled for today. 

“Given that the exact manner of death is unknown at this time, investigators are treating this incident as a homicide,” Thornburg said.

See you in a while

Just a note that I'll be out of the office next week, so don't expect much activity here. I'll be back at the helm on Aug. 27.

Free outdoor movie

It's supposed to be a bit toasty tomorrow, so the thing to do might be to check out a free outdoor movie in Spokane Valley's Mirabeau Park. The movie "Puss in Boots" will start at sunset. People are invited to bring lawn chair, blankets and snacks. Kids can also participate in free activies that will start an hour before the movie.

Mirabeau Meadows in located at 13500 E. Mirabeau Parkway just east of Pines Road.

Backpacks for Kids

The Salvation Army is once again collecting donations of school supplies for its annual Backpacks for Kids program. Low income children are given a backpack full of the school supplies they will need. There are several collection sites in Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake, including at Dishman Dodge (7614 E. Sprague), the Fred Meyer at Sprague and Sullivan, the Home Depot in Liberty Lake and all local Mountain West Bank and Rite Aid locations.

Parents interested in receiving backpacks for their children should call 325-6821. The distribution day will be on Aug. 23.

Spokane Valley Rep Blocks Media

Spokane Valley Rep. Matt Shea must be feeling pretty low about "the media." Shea — the same guy who pulled a gun on another driver in an apparent road rage incident and took photos of himself standing in his opponent's driveway — has blocked multiple reporters from following his Twitter account. Arts Editor Mike Bookey and reporters Daniel Walters, Chris Stein and myself have all been shunned from following or communicating with Shea on Twitter. Seriously, what did @Bookeyblender ever do to Shea? But it's not just us. Spokesman-Review columnist Shawn Vestal also says he's been blocked — and that Shea posted correspondence with Vestal to the legislator's blog. The Twitter blocking is only the latest talk-to-the-hand by the conservative legislator. He hasn't responded to a request for comment by The Inlander on any story we've called him for in 2012. (Daniel Walters did, however, speak to him in person during a February Ron Paul event)/Joe O'Sullivan, Pacific Northwest Inlander. More here. (Phantom Photographer photo from Ron Paul rally in Spokane this winter: Phil Hart, Matt Shea, Paul staffer and Vito Barbieri)

Question: Do you think this guy would fit in well as a representative for Kootenai County's 2nd Legislative District (Hart, Barbieri & Vick)?

Burn restrictions in Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and Millwood

Well, this isn't really a surprise. The Spokane Valley Fire Department fire marshal has issued burn restrictions for Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and Millwood. After so much hot and dry weather, it wouldn't take much to spark a wildfire. All open burning and most types of recreational fires are banned. Backyard barbecues, portable outdoor fireplaces and other patio/deck warmers are still allowed.

The burning restrictions will last until the fire danger drops. You can check out the fire department web site for more details.

Spokane Valley road construction, part 12

I'm not sure if it's really part 12, but that's what it feels like as Spokane Valley pushes forward on more road construction projects. The Sprague Avenue reconstruction project east of Evergreen Road is continuing, as is the grind and overlay of Dishman-Mica Road between 16th Avenue and Schafer Road and the work on Evergreen Road from 16th to 32nd.

New this week is the closure of 32nd Avenue between Avalon and Best. The road will be closed to all traffic until early September, so plan to detour around the area. Starting Thrusday the westbound curb lane of Sprague Avenue will be closed at Custer Road for the installation of traffic signal poles. That project is expected to continue through Aug. 21. The completion of University Road south of Fourth Avenue is also scheduled to start Thursday.

National Night Out in Spokane Valley

There are going to be National Night Out Against Crime block parties across the Spokane Valley area tonight. There are too many to list, but there are a couple we can highlight. University SCOPE will be handing out free ice cream bars from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight at the SCOPE station, 10621 E. 15th. The group will also be handing out information on protecting yourself from break-ins and identity theft.

Edgecliff SCOPE will host a free barbecue tonight from 5 to 8 p.m. at the station, 522 S. Thierman Road. Certified Security and Sound, 1420 N. Pines Road, is hosting a free event from 3 to 7 p.m. tonight. There will be face painting, a coloring contest and other activities.

Here’s the skinny on University Road

We got an email yesterday asking about the status of University Road, so I thought I'd post some information for anyone who hasn't spotted the occasional updates in my city council stories. The pavement on University between Fourth and 16th Avenues was ground down several weeks ago, but then work stopped and hasn't resumed. The city had Poe Asphalt do the grinding under the city's street maintenance contract with Poe, but the contract ran out of money before the project was complete. The city then put the paving portion of the project out to bid, which does take some time.

The good news is that the bid has been awarded and the most recent news from the city indicates the contractor will start work on Aug. 9. It will take about a week to complete the sealing, paving and striping and then the road will be as good as new.

Fourth and Herald shut down Wednesday

The intersection of Fourth Ave. and Herald Road will be closed to all traffic from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday for utility work. Detour information will be posted, but it's probably best to avoid the area if you can.

Spokane Valley announces upcoming bike/ped improvements

This is a pretty impressive list. The City of Spokane Valley has numerous Bike and Pedestrian Capital Improvements they're working on for 2012 they would like you to know about. It's nice to see their Bike and Pedestrian Program implemented and here's the rundown of projects:

Sprague Avenue Reconstruction - This project will reconstruct the existing pavement section and modify the striping to provide a wide shoulder lane to accommodate bicyclists. The Adams Rd traffic signal will be replaced and include pedestrian countdown timer displays, accessible push buttons, and bicycle detection loops.

Evergreen Road Rehabilitation - This project will take advantage of a water line replacement project by VERA Water & Power to grind and inlay Evergreen Road from 16th to 24th and reconstruct Evergreen from 24th to 32nd Avenue. Enhancements to sidewalks and striping for bike lanes will be completed as part of the project.

Key items on council agenda tonight

There are a couple key items on the Spokane Valley City Council agenda for tonight's meeting, both of which have the potential to make it a lengthy meeting. First up is a public hearing on a proposed development agreement to go with property on Conklin Road south of Broadway. The owner wants to rezone the land high density residential and put in apartments, a plan the surrounding neighbors in their single family homes have objected to. The proposed agreement restricts density and building height, among other stipulations. The council is scheduled to vote after the public hearing on whether to accept the agreement.

The item that will likely include a lengthy discussion is a report on the proposed goals and policies of the city's Shoreline Master Program. It's a detailed document, so it's expected that council members will have questions.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. tonight at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.