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Pines Road partial shutdown Wednesday

This is just a reminder that the center lanes of Pines Road will be closed Wednesday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. for work on the Union Pacific Railroad tracks near Montgomery Drive. The southbound curb lane on Pines Road is also tentatively planned for a shutdown Saturday through Monday. That's the intersection with the I-90 on and off ramps, so you might want to find another route for the day. 

Saturday’s highlights

Liberty Lake Police Officer Mike Bogenreif shows the body camera he used during his shift Jan. 27. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

We had some great stories for you in Saturday's Valley Voice, so here's your chance to check them out if you missed them Saturday. The Liberty Lake Police Department is investigating getting body cameras for its patrol officers. The department spent the last month testing the cameras and were pleased with the results. The story includes videos of two traffic stops recorded by an officer wearing the camera.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to University Elementary School teacher Linda Honn, who will be inducted into the Washington Music Educators Assocation's Hall of Fame. She has been teaching for 29 years and helped develop the elementary music program for the Central Valley School District.

Last week the Spokane Valley City Council debated whether to add railroad quiet zones to the 2012 budget along with a gateway sign at Appleway and Thierman and a swale project on the west end of Sprague Avenue. In a divided vote, the council decided to remove the quiet zones from the list over concerns about the cost.

Also last week the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee met to discuss the second round of funding requests for 2012. The committee's funding recommendations to the city council raised some controversy last year when they didn't recommend funding for Valleyfest. During last week's discussion only two of the five committee members favored granting any funding to Valleyfest. Instead they recommended giving almost all the money the city has available to the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. It will be up to the city council, however, to decide what groups are funded and with how much.

Train blocking Pines Road

The Washington State Patrol says a Union Pacific train is blocking Pines Road at Indiana. The train has a broken brake line and there is no estimate as to when the train will be fixed and moved. The road is completely blocked, so plan on taking another north-south route.

Update: WSP advises the train is now clear.

Saturday’s highlights

Centennial Middle School eighth grader Darby Howat accepts Rachel’s Challenge after the all-school assembly on Wednesday. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

No, you didn't imagine it. I wasn't around on Friday to update the blog. That will be happening frequently on Fridays between now and the end of the year. But I'm back now and I'll start today by bringing you the updates from Saturday's Valley Voice. 

Reporter Lisa Leinberger had a couple of interesting stories. The Spokane Valley Heritage Museum will honor Maggie Rail at its annual Heritage Program luncheon this weekend. Rail has a web site that lists who is buried in more than 400 cemeteries in Spokane County and other locations, which is a boon to those researching their family history. Lisa also stopped by Centennial Middle School as students promised to participate in Rachel's Challenge, which focuses on how students treat each other.

Last week the Spokane Valley City Council heard a comprehensive report on the feasibility of putting quiet zones or wayside horns at the many railroad crossings in the city. The Spokane Valley Fire Department has dealt with a fatal motorcycle crash and two major house fires recently. City of Liberty Lake department heads used last week's council meeting to discuss what they accomplished in 2010 and what they hope to do in 2011 if the budget allows.  

Today’s highlights

East Valley Athletic Director Joe Kostecka lays out Mountain View Lancer and East Valley Middle School Squires uniforms that will be sold during Friday’s sale. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

If you have fond memories of being a Mountain View Middle School Landers or East Valley Middle School Squires, now is your chance to own a piece of your history. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story in today's Valley Voice on the upcoming sale of old softball, cross country, westling, football and other uniforms. All students in the combined East Valley Middle School will become the Knights, so the district has no need for the old uniforms. They will be sold from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday at the middle school, 4920 N. Progress Road. The district will use the proceeds to buy new uniforms.

Lisa also has a story on newly approved agreements with the classified staff and principals unions in the Central Valley School District. Both groups have agreed to accept pay cuts after the state cut the amount given to school districts for their salaries.

There was a lengthy debate at this week's Spokane Valley City Council meeting on whether to fund a study to possibly create railroad quiet zones on two crossings on the Union Pacific line north of Trent and west of Millwood. The proposal was voted down, but not before a discussion on who has the authority to select the city's consultants that was touched off by councilman Arne Woodard presenting the council and staff with a brochure from a company in Texas he thought the city should do business with.

Quiet zones and trailheads on today’s agenda

There are a few interesting items on the Spokane Valley City Council agenda for tonight, but since it is a study session there won't be a general public comment period. There are action items: the first reading of several ordinances having to do with comprehensive plan amendments. Public comment will be taken on those items. Most are fairly standard changes, but one would eliminate the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan. (The most controversial amendment, the St. John Vianney Church rezone request, has been removed for negotiations and will not be discussed tonight.)

Other items that have attracted public interest are railroad quiet zones on the Union Pacific line at Park Road and Vista Road and the Mission Avenue trailhead in Greenacres. Both will be discussed tonight, so head on down to City Hall at 6 p.m. tonight to hear about where the council wants to go with both those proposals.

Saturday’s highlights

Happy Sunday, everyone. We had a banner day yesterday in the Valley Voice. A group of Orchard Avenue neighborhood residents are complaining about Union Pacific trains blowing their horns too much and blocking the Park Road intersection for extended periods of time. Some parents asked East Valley superintendent John Glenewinkle some tough questions in a community meeting to go over the district’s new school configuration plan. The Spokane Valley Partners Food Bank needs volunteers to sort donations and more non-perishable food items are needed to help get the food bank through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Anyone who would like to receive help from the food bank has to sign up by Wednesday by calling 927-1153. Distribution is scheduled for Nov. 22 and 23.

A little bit of this and a little bit of that

There’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news is I won’t be in the office to post tomorrow, but I will be working Sunday so you will be able to see your Saturday highlights a day earlier than normal.

We have a bunch of good stories coming up in the Valley Voice on Saturday. There was a fairly contentious East Valley school board meeting this week as parents try to understand the district’s proposed new school configuration plan. Spokane Valley Partners is in need of volunteers to help sort the donations from several large food drives in preparation for Thanksgiving. A group of residents in the neighborhood near Orchard Center Elementary in West Valley are asking the city of Spokane Valley to spend money to create quiet zones on some Union Pacific railroad crossings.

Looking even further ahead, there’s an interesting agenda on tap for the Spokane Valley City Council meeting on Tuesday. Expect to see a proposed resolution amending speed limits, discussion on the city’s snow removal plan and a report on amendments to the ordinance covering adult retail establishments. The city of Liberty Lake hasn’t released their agenda for Tuesday yet, but expect them to be discussing possible budget cuts for 2011, including cutting library hours and closing the city golf course during the winter.