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BNBuilders moves into its larger offices in Spokane Valley

BNBuilders Inc. is opening a larger office at 15920 E. Indiana Ave., Suite 202, in Spokane Valley. It will serve clients throughout Eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana.

BNBuilders offers preconstruction and construction services for complex, management-intensive projects. Those include ground-up construction and tenant improvements for higher education, health care, biotechnology, retail, mixed-use and corporate/commercial.

Before the relocation, the Seattle-headquartered construction firm had its offices in downtown Spokane. The new space provides more room for expansion, said a comany press release.

Among other awards, BNBuilders was recognized as one of Engineering News Record’s (ENR) Top 100 Green Contractors.

BNBuilders is working on the Washington State University campus in Pullman, completing the $22 million Duncan Dunn & Community Halls Renovation.

Joe Bash, a principal in the company, will head the office. Co-founders are Brad Bastian and Jeff Nielsen.

Photo: By Cheryl Click, BNBuilders

Hitchhiker gets his wish

A Spokane Valley police officer granted the wish of a hitchhiker at Sprague and Vista late Wednesday who wanted a ride downtown after learning the man was considered an armed career criminal and had a baggie of methamphetamine in his backpack. David C. Cooke, 51, denied ownership of the baggie of drugs, but the officer still gave him a ride downtown - to the Spokane County Jail. Reporter Meghann Cuniff has more details here.

Spokane Valley robber strikes again

Police believe that a man who robbed the Spokane Valley Safeway on East Sprague last week may be the same man who robbed the Shadle Safeway on Monday. He is described as a white man with short hair and a medium build in his 30s. Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information that helps solve the robberies. Reporter Meghann Cuniff has surveillance photos of the suspect and more details here.

Road work on Sprague Avenue, University Road

There will be some road work on Sprague Avenue near the new Wal-Mart under construction on the west end of town. Sprague is reduced to one lane westbound and one lane eastbout at Custer Road beginning today and going through May 19 for utility and signal work. Expect delays if you are driving through the area. Reporter Mike Prager has more information on this project here (scroll down to second item).

There is also some road work underway on University Road between Sprague Avenue to 16th Avenue beginning today. There will be curb lane closures on and off through Friday for signal upgrades. There will be flaggers and signs to direct traffic.

Looking ahead to Tuesday, there will be resurfacing work on Farr Road between Appleway Blvd. and Sprague Avenue from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday. There will be flaggers and signs on site.

Spokane Valley street sweep underway

A city-wide street sweep is underway in Spokane Valley. The task to clean up debris to ensure storm drains continue to function is expected to last until mid-June. For the first time residents can track where street sweeping is taking place with a new status map on the city's web page. It shows what areas have been completed and which areas are currently being swept. The cost for the city-wide sweep is being partially funded by a $50,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Spokane Valley stabbing

A Spokane Valley woman was arrested for first degree assault Monday night after allegedly stabbing another woman several time in the back of the head, according to Spokane Valley Police. The altercation took place in the Summit School parking lot at Sixth and McDonald around 10 p.m.. Police used a K9 to track Cody Gray, 19, to her nearby home. Witnesses told police they also heard gunshots; shell casings were found in the parking lot but no gun was found, police said. Click here for more details.

Spokane Valley chamber to move to Liberty Lake

The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce announced yesterday that it will be closing its Spokane Valley office on East Sprague by the end of May and consolidating its operations in its office in Liberty Lake. The chamber's Liberty Lake office has been open for two years. The recommendation to move was made by a task force formed to explore alternatives after the owner of the building on East Sprague announced it was being sold. Click here for more details.

Final State of the City speech

Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey gives his first of several State of the City speeches on April 5, 2012 at Valley Fourth Memorial Church. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey will give his final State of the City speech today at 12:30 p.m. at the Spokane Valley Mall community room on the second floor. The room is tucked back in the corner on the west end of the mall. This is his fourth speech this month outlining the city's previous accomplishments and goals for 2012. So if you haven't had a chance to attend one of his talks, this is your last chance.

Traffic hazards multiplying in Spokane Valley

Flaggers direct traffic on Bowdish Road just south of Sprague in 2011. SR file photo.

The weather is so nice outside, it must be time for road construction. The city of Spokane Valley is expanding the number of roads being worked on this week. The lane restrictions on Appleway Blvd. between Dishman Mica Road and University Road will continue all week for a road resurfacing project. This work means the intersection of Farr Road and Appleway will be closed to northbound and southbound traffic for a while around mid-day Tuesday. Drivers will be asked to detour to Dishman Mica Road.

Sidewalk upgrades are being done on University Road between Fourth and 16th Avenues. There will be occassional curb lane closures all week; flaggers and signs will direct traffic through the work zone. Everyone remember to slow down in the work zones.


Third State of the City speech tonight

Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey will give his third State of the City speech tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Woodard Elementary School, 7401 E. Mission. He will give a total of four speeches, each addressing the city's past accomplishments and goals for 2012. There will be time for questions from the audience.

The fourth and final speech is set for 12:30 p.m. April 25 in the Spokane Valley Mall Community Room.

Saturday’s highlights

Junior Darbi Dobson, a thrower with the East Valley High School Knights track team, practices throwing the discus during practice at EVHS. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

We had technical difficulties over the weekend that stopped our main Saturday Valley Voice stories from posting on the web, but they're up now and ready for your perusal. The Spokane Valley City Council continues to consider purchasing property at Sprague and Herald from the Pring Corporation to be used to expand Balfour Park and partner with the Spokane County Library District on a new library. This particular piece of property has been the topic of discussion before and the city was previously asked to consider buying it in 2007.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to students at Broadway Elementary School who have been collecting used ink cartridges and old cell phones for years, raising $25,000 to buy new technology for the school. Lisa also has a report on a community forum scheduled for tonight to present the finalists for the University High School principal position.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw talked to a former volleyball player turned shot put and discus thrower at East Valley High School. Darbi Dobson is one of the top throwers in the state.

County buys 269 acres for Glenrose conservation area

CONSERVATION — The Dream Trail through the Dishman Hills of Spokane Valley has come 269 acres closer to reality this week with the purchase of two parcels in the Glenrose area.

Two adjoining parcels were purchased with $473,500 from the Spokane County Conservation Futures Program plus $257,500 donated by the Dishman Hills Natural Area Association, said John Bottelli, County Parks assistant director.

“DHNAA exceeded their original pledge by ultimately covering more than the county's share of the Stone Estate acreage by $35,000,” Bottelli said. “Their $257,500 represents 54 percent of the purchase price and is an incredible accomplishment for any non-profit!”

The Dishman Hills group scraped up the money and secured the property before other interests could lock it up privately.

Click here for the details on this great acquisition for future generations and how it fits into the big picture for maintaining wildlife movements and public access to wildlands in our ever-more-populated region.

Public hearing tonight on shoreline plan

There is a Spokane Valley Planning Commission public hearing tonight on the draft goals and policies of the city's Shoreline Master Program. The plan regulates development on all shorelines within 200 feet of the ordinary high water mark. The state is requiring that all cities and counties update their plan by the end of 2013. The shoreline plan currently in use by the city was inherited from Spokane County when the city incorporated. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. tonight at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague. 

Evergreen Road project open house

If you have any questions or concerns about the Evergreen Road construction project set for this summer, attend the open house on the project from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Vera Water and Power, 601 N. Evergreen Road. It is being done this year because Vera needs to dig up the street to install a new water line.

The city plans to resurface Evergreen between 16th and 24th Avenues and reconstruct it between 24th and 32nd Avenues. A short section of 32nd Avenue from Evergreen to Best will also be reconstructed. Evergreen will be closed to through traffic during construction.

Plans also call for a northbound turn lane at Evergreen and 24th and a southbound turn lane at Evergreen and 24th and 32nd. Sidewalks and bike lanes will also be added in some areas. Call the city at (509) 720-5001 for more details.

Second State of the City speech tonight

Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey will give his second State of the City speech tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Hope Lutheran Church, 17909 E. Broadway. The mayor will talk about the city's accomplishments and then accept questions from the audience. If you can't make tonight's speech, there are two more scheduled in April.

Couple carjacked in Spokane Valley

In case you missed it, we have information in today's paper on the carjacking of an occupied car from the Spokane Valley Wal-Mart store at about 2 p.m. Monday. Store security tried to catch a man as he was attempting to leave with a Blue Ray player he hadn't paid for when he allegedly pulled a knife and swung it at the guard, according to a police press release.

The man then got into an occupied white 2011 Dodge Intrepid and drove away. The husband and wife in the car were allowed to get out near Barker and Indiana. The license plate number is Washington 172XTI. Click here for more details. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233.

Traffic messes to avoid

Two projects are scheduled to start today that will impact traffic. Spokane County is gearing up to finish the Green Haven sewer project and will start tearing up roads. The main road impacted is Barker Road from Broadway to Appleway, which will be closed to through traffic. Other road closures include Alki Avenue from Greenacres Road to Michigan Road, Michigan Road fro Alki to Appleway and Cowley Avenue from Greenacres Road to Barker.

The city of Spokane Valley plans to start a resurfacing project on Appleway Blvd. today from Dishman-Mica Road to University Road. There will be lane closures; signs and flaggers will direct traffic through the area. The project is expected to last through April 16.

Saturday’s highlights

PE teacher PJ Jarvis, center, explains where black-eyed peas fall in the food groups during a nutrition lesson at Opportunity Elementary School. Jarvis was selected as the elementary school teacher of the year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

There were a bunch of good stories in Saturday's Valley Voice, so let's take this sunny Monday morning to look at a few highlights. Reporter Lisa Leinberger had a story on Opportunity Elementary physical education teacher PJ Jarvis, who has been named elementary school teacher of the year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.

Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey made his first State of the City speech last week. The work done by the city's first council and the policies the city set have allowed Spokane Valley to weather the recent economic downturn fairly well, Towey said.

Spokane Valley is owed over half a million dollars in unpaid gambling taxes, but apparently there is not much hope that the back taxes will ever be collected. A Spokane Valley firefighter was injured recently by a knife while trying to put out a mobile home fire, but his injury was not serious.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam stopped in at the Millwood City Council meeting, where Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich reported that Millwood's crime rate is down. The council also discussed its shoreline management plan.

Spokane Valley Easter egg hunts

Grab your Easter baskets and get ready. There are a few community Easter egg hunts coming up Saturday for young children in Spokane Valley. An annual hunt hosted by Redeemer Lutheran Church, 3606 S. Schafer Road, will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday. There will be over 6,000 candy stuffed eggs for kids to find, plus a petting zoo, jumping castle and free hot dog lunch.

Valley Real Life Church will host a hunt at 1 p.m. Saturday at the church, 1831 S. Barker Road, for children up through the fifth grade. There will be a petting zoo, jumping castle and concessions until 3 p.m. Professional Easter photos will also be available.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars will put on an Easter egg hunt for kids up to age 11 at noon Saturday at Edgecliff Park, 800 S. Park Road. There will also be prize drawings after the hunt. 

Happy hunting!

Shoreline open house draws small crowd

A kayaker surfs Sullivan hole, a Spokane River low-water play spot for white-water enthusiasts in 2011. SR file photo.

First, let's start off with a hat tip to SR reporter Mike Prager, who agreed to attend last night's Shoreline Master Program open house in Spokane Valley while I attended the Mayor's State of the City speech. The city is resuming work on the plan, which regulates development along all shorelines in the city, after work stalled for several months. The state requires that the plan be updated by the end of 2013. The next step is a public hearing on the plan's goals and policies before the city planning commission Thursday at 6 p.m. You can read Mike's story about the open house here.

Coming soon: road construction

A sewer project at Laberry Drive in Greenacres in 2011. SR file photo.

It may have snowed today, but it really is almost road construction season. In fact, Spokane County plans to start ripping up streets next week to finish the Green Haven sewer project. In Thursday's Valley Voice there will be a story on the road construction projects coming up in the Spokane Valley area this summer and a map of all the projects. I have start and end dates for most of them, including a doozie of a project that will rip up Sprague Avenue between Sullivan and Evergreen. Make sure you get a copy of the Voice tomorrow to check it out.

What to do, what to do

Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey. SR file photo.

If you are looking for something to do Thursday night, there are a couple of choices. If you have an interest in shoreline development, check out Spokane Valley's open house on the Shoreline Master Program. The city is mandated by the state to update it's plan by 2013. The plan regulates development in the 200 feet of shoreline adjacent to the ordinary high water mark. It has been a hot topic of conversation lately and there is a public hearing coming up on the city's draft goals and policies. The open house will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague.

If talking about the shoreline doesn't float your boat, check out Mayor Tom Towey's first State of the City speech from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Valley Fourth Memorial Church, 2303 S. Bowdish Road. The mayor will talk about the city's accomplishments in 2011 and goals for 2012. The mayor will repeat his annual message three more times during April (I'll post those dates and locations later).

Know anything about economic development?

If you do, then the city of Spokane Valley wants you. The city is now accepting applications from people interested in serving on the city's new economic development committee that will be charged with identifying projects and improvements to boost the economy in Spokane Valley. The committee will include two city council members, two business representatives, two tourism representatives, a citizen at large and a youth member age 16-19.

Those applying are not required to live within the city limits. The committee is expected to meet several times over four months and prepare a final report for the city council. Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. on April 13 in person or by mail to City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague, Spokane Valley WA 99206. Applications are available online at www.spokanevalley.org and at City Hall.

Lodging tax, street revenue on agenda

The agenda for tonight's Spokane Valley City Council meeting is so full, I won't be the least bit surprised to be sitting there for more than four hours. There are a couple of items that are sure to generate a lot of discussion, including a vote on awarding the second round of lodging tax money. The first round didn't see any going to Valleyfest, a first since the city incorporated. A majority of the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee members have recommended against giving Valleyfest any fuding in the second round as well, but the council has the final say.

The council is also set to have a discussion on how to pay for the estimated annual $11 million shortfall in street preservation funding. The shortfall has continued to grow in recent years as funding hasn't kept up. Several council members have said openly that they don't believe it is possible to fund the entire shortfall.

HuHot employee robbed at gunpoint

An employee of the HuHot Mongolian Grill located near Sprague and Bowdish reported to police that two armed, masked men took his deposit bag and cell phone at about 12:30 a.m. this morning. The two reportedly ran away behind Spokane Valley City Hall and a police K-9 tracked them to a spot where they may have gotten into a truck or SUV and driven away, according to a police press release. The victim's cell phone was found in the grass.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information that helps solve the crime. Anyone with information should call the tip tine at (800) 222-TIPS or visit www.crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org. Click here for more details on the robbery.

“Not my pants” burgler also suspect in game shop crime

It turns out that a burgler allegedly caught in the act of burglarizing a garage yesterday who told police the pants he was wearing weren't his after drugs were found in his pocket is also a suspect in the burglary of a game store that lost nearly $15,000 in merchandise earlier this week. Numerous X-boxes, controllers and games were stolen from the Game On store in the 11800 block of East First. According to a police department press release, Walter W. Young is facing charges of second-degree burglary and first-degree theft for the crime.

Young's alleged accomplice, 25-year-old Coda Archuleta, was arrested Thursday night after the Spokane County SWAT team searved a search warrant on an apartment in the 10100 block of East Main. Police reportedly found weapons in the apartment in addition to most of the items taken from Game On. Archuleta is also facing charges of second-degree burglary and first-degree theft. Click here for more details.

I swear, officer, these aren’t my pants

Spokane Valley Police arrested a man last night allegedly caught red handed burglarizing a garage and when they found suspected methamphetamine in his pants pocket he swore the pants didn't belong to him. According to a police press release, a resident in the 1600 block of Norh Flora Road found a man inside his car parked in his garage just before 7 p.m. Stolen items belonging to the victims were also found on Walter W. Young, 32. He now faces a felony burglary charge and a charge for possession of a controlled substance. Click here for more details.

Community meeting on sidewalks tonight

The city of Spokane Valley will host a community meeting tonight on a plan to add sidewalks, curbs, bike lanes and storm drain improvements on Pines Road between 16th Avenue and 23rd Avenue. The meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at South Pines Elementary, 12021 E. 24th. The city also needs input from nearby property owners who have fencing and/or landscaping in the public right of way. Call the city at 720-5411 for more information on the project. 

Full agenda for council meeting

Tonight's Spokane Valley City Council meeting looks a bit long, judging from the number of reports and discussions on the agenda for the study session. The topics to be covered include the city's Transportation Improvement Plan, a sidewalk and transit accessibility project, Safe Routes to School projects, the city's pavement management program, animal control and economic development.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague. And if you would prefer to watch the meeting from the comfort of your recliner, remember that the meetings stream live here.

Pedestrian emphasis patrol on Sullivan today

You may notice a few extra police cars along Sullivan between I-90 and 16th Avenue today. The Spokane Regional Health District has announced a pedestrian emphasis patrol in that area today in partnership with the Spokane Valley Police Department. During the patrol an officer in plain clothes will cross Sullivan in crosswalks to see if motorists stop as required. They will also be checking whether actual pedestrians use the crosswalk.

The ticket for failure to yield to a pedestrian is $124. The fine for a pedestrian failing to use the crosswalk is $56. Research has shown that when a pedestrian is at fault in an auto vs. pedestrian accident it is usually because they were not using the crosswalk, the Health District said in a press release.