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Saturday’s highlights

Spokane Valley City Councilman/Deputy Mayor Gary Schimmels is greeted by Latisha Hill, regional business manager for Avista, during a farewell gathering at Spokane Valley City Hall on Tuesday. SR photo/Kathy Plonka

Welcome to Monday, which this week is also known as Christmas Eve Eve. Not that we're counting the days until Christmas or anything. There are, of course, some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. A housing development is being discussed for the former Painted Hills Golf Course. The new owner may lease out the short par-3 course and the driving range, but it looks like various types of housing is the plan for the rest of the site.

Gary Schimmels is leaving the Spokane Valley City Council after serving ever since the city incorporated 10 years ago. He lost his re-election bid in November and now will be focusing on restoring his vintage cars and volunteering at local social service agencies.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on a group of Central Valley School District bus drivers who teamed up to collect enough money to send one of their coworkers on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii. Bus driver Teri Perry has been receiving treatment for ovarian cancer and her coworkers wanted to give her a special gift. They surprised Perry with the gift last week.

Today’s highlights

After they had their picture taken, twins, Maddie and Erik Cathcart, 2, tell Santa what they want for Christmas at River Park Square on Saturday. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Happy Thursday, everyone. It's almost Christmas, which means we have a couple Christmas-themed stories for you in today's Valley Voice. Correspondent Cindy Hval interviewed Santa, AKA Jim Burney, who has been donning his red, fur-trimmed suit for 39 years. These days he can be found at River Park Square in downtown Spokane. I hear he's even a Seahawks fan. He even dishes about his favorite reindeer in a quick Q&A.

Correspondent Jill Barville was at the Spokane International Airport for a Fantasy Flight to the North Pole for local children. The 63 children on the flight were nominated by local social service agencies. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on autistic Barker High School student Jonathan Finck, who has his colorful art on display in the school's hallway. His fellow students enjoy watching him work.

The city of Spokane Valley is looking at an annual funding shortfall of $3 million for street preservation projects. The city has been spending about $4 million a year but should be spending $7 million, a recent study of street conditions showed.

Today’s highlights

Al Palm works on his balance and strength, with the help of occupational therapist Emily Querna, left, and his daughter Joelle, on Dec. 2 at his home in northwest Spokane. SR photo/Dan Pelle

I have to start my apologizing for my general inactivity on the blog and Twitter lately. Last week I was waylaid by a lovely flu virus and didn't leave my house for four days. I'm not quite back up to full speed yet, but I'm here. With that said, here are some highlights from today's Valley Voice.

Reporter Mike Prager has a story on Al Palm, who used to run the City Perk coffee shop in the STA Plaza. He is battling a rare diseases that paralyzed him almost overnight and his friends are organizing a benefit auction to raise money for medical equipment and renovations to his house to make it wheelchair accessible.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has some details on the water damage from a frozen pipe that shut down Adams Elementary for two days. She also attended this week's East Valley School Board meeting, where board chair Mike Novakovich had to step in and ask people to be civil to each other. At least one speaker called for the board not to renew the contract of superintendent John Glenewinkel.

The Spokane Valley City Council voted this week to award lodging tax revenue to local agencies that promote tourism. The process has been controversial in recent years, but this year everything went fairly smoothly. The council also approved a new towing ordinance that requires tow truck operators to check if an abandoned car has been reported stolen before towing it.

Today’s highlights

Liberty Lake librarian Dan Pringle sits outside the library Monday with a landscape architect’s plans to turn the land behind him into an outdoor reading garden. The work will begin next spring. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Happy frigid Thursday, everyone. As we all contemplate the further dip in temperatures coming our way this weekend, let's take a look at some highlights from today's Valley Voice. The Liberty Lake Library is making plans to build a reading garden just outside the front door starting in the spring. It will offer shade trees, ornamental plants and plenty of places to sit. People can enjoy a book outdoors or participate in an outdoor program.

The City of Spokane Valley is considering creating a historic preservation program that will allow property owners to take advantage of grants and tax credits available when historic buildings are renovated or updated. If you live north of Spokane Valley inside the Spokane County Fire District 9 boundaries, check out the schedule for Santa's visit to your neighborhood.

Correspondent Cindy Hval has a story on the Seasoned Players, who perform radio plays on KYRS FM 88.1 and 92.3. The program airs from 10 to 11 a.m. on the second and fourth Saturday of each month. Today's show is titled “Bingo Ladies Gone Bad.”

Saturday’s highlights

East Valley School District Superintendent John Glenewinkel, right, helps Summer Romney and Liam Nowles unload 400 pounds of flour at the district’s warehouse on Tuesday. Wheat from the East Valley Community Garden was ground into flour for use in school lunches. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a nice, restful holiday weekend. We're back at it again to day, so let's go over some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. The city of Spokane Valley approved new rules regulating the attire of baristas. The rules are aimed at a coffee shop near City Hall that advertised topless Tuesdays and Thursdays, when baristas wore no more than G-strings and pasties. The crowd attending last week's council meeting was largely pleased by the decision, though a couple of people did testify against the new rules.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story following up on the wheat harvest from the East Valley Farm and Community Garden earlier this year. The farm, which supplies fresh produce to East Valley School District kitchens, had a good year for wheat. The district recently took delivery of 400 pounds of low-gluten flour. Also in East Valley, three new school board members were sworn in during the most recent school board meeting. A crowd turned out for the event. New board member Mike Novakovich was elected board president.

Lisa also has a story on Central Valley High School teacher Carolyn Schafer, who headed up an effort to ship 140 quilts to send t0 a co-worker's Army unit stationed in Afghanistan. Members of the community rallied to make enough quilts, which were shipped last week.

Saturday’s highlights

A group of middle schoolers sign University of Minnesota Duluth cross country runner Sam River’s arm after she signed notebooks and posters for them on Thursday at Pasadena Park Elementary School in Spokane Valley. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Happy Monday before Thanksgiving, everyone. Let's mark the beginning of what is a short work week for most people with a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Pasadena Park Elementary last week when the students received a visit from about 80 athletes in town for the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships. The kids appeared to be inspired by the visit and topped off the experience by running around the playground with the visiting athletes.

Kids and kids at heart will be disappointed to learn that this year's Spokane Valley Christmas tree lighting has been cancelled. The annual event is run by the Spokane Valley Rotary. The tree was damaged last year and after the person in charge of organizing the event moved away suddenly the tree was not fixed in time. The club president promises that the tradition will be back up and running next year, however.

Despite the ongoing angst in some cities about the use of police body cameras, the city of Liberty Lake just approved a new contract with its police officers that requires the use of body cameras. Six people in the 10 man department have been wearing the cameras on a voluntary basis for several months and the footage they recorded has already proven itself useful many times.

Today’s highlights

Volunteers Kathy McAteer, left, along with Kathy and John Malone sort through donated food on Tuesday at Spokane Valley Partners. SR photo/Dan Pelle

I have to begin by apologizing for not blogging much this week. I've been scurrying about trying to work ahead for next week, which includes two days off (yay) and early deadlines (ugh). For now we should celebrate being exactly one week from Thanksgiving by going over some highlights from today's Valley Voice.

Eight Spokane Valley churches have been collecting money to give to the Spokane Valley Partners Food Bank to buy turkeys and other items for Thanksgiving baskets that will be handed out to those that need them next week. The churches are collecting money instead of actual turkeys this year because Thrivent Financial has promised to match their donations up to a $1,600 cap.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on several Central Valley High School music students that created the LETEM Play non-profit that distributes donated musical instruments to low-income students. The students have handed out $13,000 worth of instruments and have begun offering music clinics.

The results of the November elections will be certified next week, but the outcome of at least one race is still unknown. There is a tie among two city council candidates in the town of Latah and one race for Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioner is very near the threshold that will require an automatic recount. In Spokane Valley challenger Ed Pace has cemented his lead over City Council incumbent Gary Schimmels.

The Spokane Valley City Council debated on whether to request state funding for the Appleway Trail Project or the expansion of Balfour Park. The city's finance committee recommended Appleway Trail, but Balfour Park also has some support.

Saturday’s highlights

A hair-raising experience. Daisy Daines grimaces while stylist Shawna Indahl bleaches his hair on Wednesday, at Paul Mitchell the School in Spokane Valley. Six Central Valley High School students pledged to bleach their hair if their classmates donated more than $10,000 to the Spokane Valley Partners Food Bank. Students raised $12,600 and the six had their hair done. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Here we are at Monday again. Bring on the extra coffee! While you are enjoying that second or third cup, check out some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked with six Central Valley High School students that pledged to bleach their hair blond if their fellow students raised more than $10,000 for the Spokane Valley Partners Food Bank. The students, all boys, followed through after the school raised $12,600 and collected 26,500 pounds of food.

A group of residents at Broadway Court Estates recently shipped of 1,000 children's books they collected to establish a library in Africa. They are the most recent group to participate in the African Library Project. Their books are going to a school in Botswana. The effort was led by a mother and daughter, both retired educators, who had previously established two libraries in Malawi through the non-profit program.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam reports that the city of Millwood's 2014 budget is in the black for the first time in years. The city is even planning several capital projects next year, including a sidewalk on Buckeye Avenue.

Today’s highlights

Army veteran Jesse Linn hugs his 9-year-old daughter Erikah Linn after a ceremony honoring veterans on Friday at Freeman High School. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

As we look forward to Friday, it sounds like we can also look forward to some snow this weekend. I'm just glad I won't have to try to drive through any mountain passes anytime soon. Meanwhile, we have some highlights from today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on a testy recent East Valley School Board meeting where one board member walked out in the middle of the meeting. By the time the meeting was over, there were allegations of improper expense reports and disappearing reserve funds.

Lisa also stopped by the Freeman School District for their recent Veteran's Day breakfast. Students at the elementary, middle and high school all got involved by serving food and singing patriotic songs. The Spokane Valley City Council advanced an ordinance to regulate barista attire, a move that was greeting with praise from people in the audience. The issue is scheduled for a final vote at the Nov. 26 meeting.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department Fire Chief spent some time at last week's commissioner meeting outlining his response to neighbors concerns about the department's response to a recent fire. There were rumors circulating that it took more than 20 minutes for crews to arrive, but the chief organized a meeting with the neighbors to refute that. The meeting appeared to be well received, he said.

Saturday’s highlights

Central Valley High senior Chris Pittella, center, works the anchor position during the taping of CV’s weekly sports show on Monday. The show airs Thursdays at 10:35 p.m. on KAYU. SR photo/Kathy Plonka

I am here at my keyboard even though many people have today off in observance of Veteran's Day. On the plus side, though, there wasn't as much traffic heading into downtown this morning. As usual there are highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice to present. We caught up on updated election results in the Spokane Valley City Council and East Valley School Board. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the newcomers that seem to be winning all the seats on the school board, which could lead to changes in the district. Newcomer Ed Pace is ahead of incumbent Gary Schimmels in a Spokane Valley City Council race. Change could be coming to the city as well if Pace and his supporters form an ultra-conservative voting block.

Lisa also has a story on Central Valley High School students that help put together the “This Week in High School Sports” show that airs on KAYU Fox 28. The students learn the skills they need to put the television show together, skills that can be useful in future careers.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a report on a special Millwood City Council meeting last week, where the council voted on its first contract for the Buckeye Avenue water main replacement project tentatively planned for next year.

Today’s highlights

Third-graders from McDonald Elementary listen to the national anthem while waiting to sing near the truck carrying the Capitol Christmas Tree on Tuesday outside the INB Performing Arts Center. The tree is starting a regional tour before heading to Washington, D.C. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Happy wet and windy Thursday, everyone. While we're inside staying dry we can take a look at some highlights from today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger went to the Spokane stop of the Capitol Christmas Tree, which will be put on display in Washington, D.C., for a singing performance by the McDonald Elementary School third graders. The kids had a week's notice before their performance of patriotic songs.

On Election night Spokane Valley City Council incumbent Gary Schimmels was three votes ahead of challenger Ed Pace and we have their reactions to the initial results. More votes have been counted since then, however, and we'll have another update in Saturday's Valley Voice.

The Spokane Valley Library will be closed next week as new carpet is installed by the front door and the desks are reconfigured. Books can still be put in the drop box, but the doors will be locked Monday through next Saturday, Nov. 16. Parents will have to bring their kids to other library branches for story time or miss out.

Saturday’s highlights

Oh, dear. It's coming. This morning on the way in to work I saw a truck sporting a cap of about an inch of snow. While we contemplate the arrival of snow flakes, we can check out some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a report on student enrollment in the Central Valley School District. Many more students are projected in the coming years and eventually the district will have to consider a third high school.

Election Day is tomorrow, so don't forget to mail in your ballot or drop your ballot off at any library. (Look for a ballot drop box by the book return.) The Spokane Valley City Council candidates got some late donations from PAC's last month, allowing a last minute advertising push. Tomorrow we will find out the results, or at least get a look at the first count. The race to watch is between established incumbent Gary Schimmels, who has served on the council since the city formed, and his well-funded challenger, Ed Pace.

Lisa also spoke to the new Miss Washington, Allyson Rowe, who started the Miss Washington competition as Miss Spokane Valley. She will compete in next year's Miss USA pageant.

Today’s highlights

Hugh Grim watches from the top of a Fairbury farm windmill tower as his son, Jim, keeps a hand on a guide-line as they use a crane to lift the windmill to the top of its tower Tuesday at the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Happy Halloween! Just remember to limit your sugar intake and everything will be fine. Meanwhile, we can take a look at some highlights from today's Valley Voice in between sugar breaks. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on a “new” 1930s windmill that was just installed behind the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. The Valley was once full of such windmills, which pumped water for farmers. The windmill has made previous appearances at the museum's annual farm show.

The Rev. Craig Goodwin of Millwood Presbyterian Church was recently diagnosed with a form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He is currently balancing his pastoral duties with an aggressive chemotherapy schedule that has him in the hospital for five days every three weeks. He said his diagnosis has given him a new perspective when dealing with people struggling with their own health issues.

The Spokane Valley City Council is moving forward with a proposed ordinance that would regulate the attire of bikini baristas at a business near City Hall who routinely go topless on certain days of the week, wearing only pasties and g-strings. The new law would mandate that their breasts be at least half covered. The proposal is sure to generate plenty of public comment at future council meetings as the ordinance moves through the approval process.

Saturday’s highlights

Leslie Malloy and cancer survivor Barb Gady, staff members at Freeman Elementary, hug after posing for a group photo with other Freeman employees in front of a pink tractor from Northwest Farm Credit Services. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Welcome to winter. At least, that's what it felt like with this morning's wind. Brrrrrr. With that said, it's time to move on to some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a couple of stories on how local schools are promoting awareness of cancer during October, which is national Breast Cancer Awareness Month. East Valley High School social studies teacher Dave Robinson is sporting bright pink hair, beard, mustache and eyebrows after his students collected 54 pounds of candy for the school's annual Fall Festival. His new (temporary) look has gone viral and Robinson has appeared on Good Morning America.

A pink tractor stopped by Freeman Elementary School last week in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month on a day when nearly all the staff members wore some sort of pink. The annual pink day started 13 years ago after one staffer was diagnosed with breast cancer.

A hearing was held last week to consider a rezone request for a vacant piece of property owned by Arger Real Estate just east of Evergreen Road immediately northwest of where Alki Avenue ends. The request, if granted, would change the single family zoning to single family-urban. The change would allow multi-family housing such as duplexes, a nursing home or an assisted living center.

Today’s highlights

Anthony Matthews, 30, an 11-year veteran of the Marine Corps and a student in Spokane Community College’s Natural Resources program, plants foliage to restore the south side of the Spokane River at Stateline on Friday. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

As we slide through our Thursday (nearly to Friday), lets take a look at some highlights from today's Valley Voice. I stopped by a Spokane River shoreline restoration project last week near Stateline and found volunteers industriously planting 800 trees, shrubs and other plants. In our rocky soil, that's no picnic. The project will help repair damage done by vehicles driving down to the water's edge to launch boats illegally.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in with the West Valley, East Valley and Central Valley school districts to check on student enrollment. Some numbers are lower than expected and others are higher. Central Valley is seeing a growth in high school students.

The Spokane Valley City Council approved a flat property tax for 2014 this week, though one council member argued that the city should consider taking the allowed 1 percent increase because of all the projects coming up.

Saturday’s highlights

Chris Sheppard dons only one costume on Halloween, a robe, crown and sweatshirt reading “Queen of Halloween.” Indeed, her house dominates the neighborhood, with hundreds of whimsical items for the holiday. Sheppard is shown at her home on Bettman Road in Spokane Valley, on Wednesday. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Saturday's Valley Voice was packed full of stories (and quite a few election advertisements), so lets get right to the highlights. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by the home of the Queen of Halloween, aka Chris Sheppard. Her home turns into a festival of the orange and spooky every year and this year is no different. She starts decorating the inside of her home in August but waits until September to start putting in the skeleton crawling out of its grave in the yard.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw has a story on the University High School girls soccer team, which is rallying after losing one of its star players in a car crash recently. The team had a small ceremony at their recent home game. The Spokane Valley Lodging Tax Advisory Commission recently met to make recommendations for 2014 funding to agencies that promote tourism.

We also had a ton of election coverage Saturday since ballots have now been delivered. Correspondent Valerie Putnam tackled the Millwood Mayor race between Kevin Freeman and Dennis Hamlin while Lisa covered the East Valley School District school board and Liberty Lake City Council. There was also a candidate forum last week featuring those running for Spokane Valley City Council.

Today’s highlights

Jennifer Papich walks through the first section of the haunted pool at Valley Mission Pool. Samantha the doll sits in the corner waiting for visitors. SR photo/Liz Kishimoto

Oh, dear. I nearly managed to get through the day while forgetting to post the highlights from today's Valley Voice. It's a good one, too, with lots of interesting stories. First up is the Valley Mission Haunted Pool that opens tomorrow. The pool has been transformed into a haunted house that will be open the next two weekends. It was freaky enough when it was half-finished in daylight; I'm sure it will be frightfully good.

In keeping with our (unplanned) Halloween theme, reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the new corn maze at the HUB Sports Center. This is the first year for the event, which features a haunted area for the adventurous. There are also plenty of regular mazes for families and those who like to get lost.

Spokane Valley City Council incumbent Chuck Hafner took his turn answering a series of questions we posed to all the candidates. His opponent, Donald Morgan Jr., did not respond. We also have a quick roundup of the races in Rockford, Latah, Fairfield, Spokane County Fired District 9 and the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

The city of Spokane Valley is considering whether to change the zoning of a parcel of land sandwiched between the Centennial Trail and Mirabeau Park from park/open space to mixed use. Nothing has been decided yet, but it may be part of a deal to get land needed for the Pines Road overpass above the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad tracks.

Saturday’s highlights

McKenzie Mott's jersey was retired during an assembly held in honor of her and fellow classmate Josie Freier at University High School on Friday. The two were killed in a car accident on Saturday, October 5, 2013. SR photo/Kathy Plonka

It's Monday again. Monday seems to come around much too quickly, but at least it means we have a Saturday Valley Voice to go over. This weekend correspondent Jill Barville wrote a column based on her perspective as a parent with a student at University High School, where students are struggling to cope with the death of two students killed in a car accident. An assembly was heldto remember Josie Freier and McKenzie Mott on Friday and hundreds of toys were collected in their honor for the Toys for Tots charity.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by North Pines Middle School for a seventh-grade class that was studying the laws of motion. They were running experiments to learn whether balls of the same size but different weight behaved differently when rolled down a ramp.

Spokane Valley City Council incumbent Gary Schimmels and challenger Ed Pace answered some questions about their views on Spokane Valley issues. Ballots will be mailed this week and this story is one of a series featuring City Council candidates.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a report from Millwood, where the city councilvoted to accept a loan to fund a water line replacement project. Residents have also reported increased vandalism and Mayor Dan Mork indidated he would ask for extra police patrols.

Today’s highlights

Jayden Immonen, 12, left, and seventh-grade classmate Garrett Black, 13, center, and eighth-grader Lauren Green, 13, work on a poster for friend Logan Becker, a seventh-grader at North Pines Middle School battling cancer, on Oct. 4 at the school. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

It's Thursday, which means two things. It's nearly Friday (thank goodness) and it's time for some Valley Voice highlights. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by North Pines Middle school on a day when nearly everyone was wearing purple in honor of one of their classmates. Logan Becker, a seventh-grader, is fighting cancer and students came up with the idea of wearing purple to show their support.

We also have the second installment in a series of question and answer format stories featuring candidates for Spokane Valley City Council. Appointed incumbent Rod Higgins is facing off against challenger Linda Thompson for Position 1.

The Spokane Valley City Council took care of a few housekeeping items on Tuesday, including moving the 2014 budget forward to a final vote and awarding a contract for a series of street preservation projects in the spring.

Saturday’s highlights

Dan Mork, shown in his office at city hall on Sept. 24, has served the town of Millwood for more than 30 years, including the last eight as mayor. He will step down Dec. 31 and take a break from public life. He works at HollisterStier. SR photo Jesse Tinsley

Good Monday morning, everyone. Welcome to the first full week of October. As usual we have some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice in case you missed it. Reporter Lisa Leinberber has a story on Christmas ornaments being made by West Valley School District students for the 2013 Capital Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C. This year's tree will be cut from the Colville National Forest and 5,000 ornaments are needed to decorate it.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a story on the retirement of Millwood Mayor Dan Mork. Mork first began serving in the Millwood City Council in 1981 and was on the councl continuously until beging elected mayor in 2005. For the first time in decades he is not running for re-election.

Ballots for the November general election will begin arriving in mailboxes next week, so we have the first in a series of stories on the Spokane Valley City Council races. First up is the only race that doesn't have an incumbent. Bill Bates and Fred Beaulac are facing off in the race for the seat held by Mayor Tom Towey, who is not running for re-election.

Today’s highlights

Toni Halloran, Deputy Chief of Newman Lake Fire and Rescue, concentrates as she maneuvers a water tender into the cramped confines of Station 1 on Tuesday. Newman Lake Fire and Rescue is again preparing to ask voters to pass a bond to replace Station 1. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

I hope everyone is having an excellent Thursday despite that nasty frost we had to scrape off our windshields this morning. Thursday is, of course, Valley Voice day, so we have some highlights. Newman Lake Fire and Rescue is considering tyring to pass a construction bond again to replace the aging Station 1. A bond failed at the polls in 2011, but this time commissioners are considering asking for only half the amount they asked for previously.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger attended a candidate forum this week featuring the candidates for the East Valley School District board of directors. Additional forums are planned for Oct. 12 and 16 for people unable to make the first session.

The Washington State Court of Appeals recently threw out the sentence of a former University High School teacher on a driving under the influence charge, ruling that he was improperly sentenced. However, Michael F. Cronin still served time in jail on other charges. He was fired by Central Valley School District in January 2012. A lawsuit Cronin filed in response to his firing is currently before the Court of Appeals.

Lisa checked in with Spokane Valely Rotary president-elect Mike Payson on the Spokane Valley Men of Rotary Fashion Show coming up this weekend. The fundraiser raises money for scholarships for high school seniors and books for local elementary schools.

Saturday’s highlights

Tiffany Allen, who has Down Syndrome, sits beside the formal dress she will wear as she vies for homecoming princess at East Valley High School. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Hold on to your hat, and your Saturday Valley Voice, so it doesn't blow away on this very breezy Monday. We had a couple of stories about teenagers doing well to start off with. Reporter Lisa Leinberger wrote about East Valley High School junior Tiffany Allen who has been nominated for homecoming royalty. Allen, who has Down syndrome, is getting a lot of support from her fellow students.

Teenager Micaela Halpin won second place in the recent video and photo contests run by the city of Spokane Valley in celebration of the city's 10th anniversary. Halpin's winning entries and the entries of the other winners can be seen at www.spokanevalley10.com.

A recent dog attack in the small town of Latah is illustrating the problem that many small towns are having with animal control. Many of the towns contract with SpokAnimal, which doesn't have any enforcement powers outside of the Spokane city limits. Now the towns are looking to the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service for help.

Today’s highlights

Meghan Palmer demonstrates her leaps in her dance studio in Spokane Valley. The avid Highland dancer traveled to Scotland and placed third at the World Highland Dancing Championships. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Happy chilly Thursday, everyone. We've got another great collection of Valley Voice highlights for you today. Reporter Pia Hallenberg talked to Highland dancer Meghan Palmer, 16, who recently placed third at the Scottish World Highland Dancing Championships. Photographer Jesse Tinsley also took some great photos of some of her high flying moves.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Pasadena Park Elementary, where musician Joel Brantley recently brought his anti-bullying message and his Elvis impersonation. He made the kids part of his show, complete with rubber guitars and Elvis sunglasses.

This week the Spokane Valley City Council allocated funding to outside agencies and looked at Community Development Block Grant funding. They also heard more than two hours of public comment against the XXXtreme Espresso coffee stand that features bikini baristas and topless Tuesdays and Thursday.

Saturday’s highlights

Instructor Adam Smith teaches karate to autistic students, left to right, Tessa Merritt, 17, Matthew Pretz, 17, and Paul McKinley, 18, at Tazmanian Martial Arts in Spokane Valley on Tuesday. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Welcome to fall, everyone. Let's ring in the brisk weather by checking out some highlighs from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on University High School math teacher Mike Conklin, who was recently nominated for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. There have only been five previous winners of the award in the Spokane area.

The Spokane County Library District is in the final stages of deciding whether to put a bond on the ballot in April to build two new libraries in Spokane Valley. The bond, if approved, would build a new Spokane Valley Library and a new neighborhood library on Conklin Road. The board of trustees is scheduled to vote on the issue in October.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam wrote about a special needs class offered at Tazmanian Martial Arts. Students gain self confidence along with better balance, strength and coordination. Lisa also has information on a free vaccination clinic for children that will be offered Tuesday at North Pines Middle School.

The fall elections are fast approaching, so we fact checked some claims made by Ed Pace about his opponent, incumbent Gary Schimmels. A check of Schimmels' voting record show that some of the claims are true, but others are false or only partly true.

Today’s highlights

Rustin Hall and his son Joseph unfold the wing structure of the 24-foot, 75-pound dragon they built for the University High School drama department production of “Shrek.” SR photo/Dan Pelle

Now that I have finally found my copy of today's Valley Voice that was sitting right in front of me on my desk, I can go over some highlights. (Don't ask. It's one of those days.) Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a cool story on a local family that built a huge mechanical dragon for the University High School's winter play “Shrek.” She breathes smoke, she talks and she moves. It will take five students to control the beast. The production is scheduled for Dec. 5-14. Is it too soon to buy tickets?

The Southest Spokane County Fair is this weekend in Rockford. The 69th annual event features a parage, 3-on-3 basketball tournament, live music, a pancake breakfast, a fun run and much more. Of course, you can't forget all the animals either. They even play center stage in the Cow Chip Bingo.

A woman interested in opening a gymnastics facility is asking the city of Spokane Valley to make changes to its zoning code to allow her business to be located in an industrial zone. In a close vote, the city council sent the proposal back to the planning commission for further deliberation.

The city of Liberty Lake has finished a couple of missing links in its trail system along Sprague Avenue. There will be a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday at Sprague and Molter Road.

Saturday’s highlights

Second-grader Isabella Collier reads quietly in her class at South Pines Elementary School on Wednesday. Isabella is in the Student, Parent Alternative Classroom Experience program, where parents opt in and promise to volunteer and contribute funds to the program. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

I trust we have all dusted ourselves off from last night's storm and are ready for another Monday. I made the mistake of having my windows open when the storm hit last night and had to scurry around closing them when I started choking on the dust. There is dusting in my future.

Now on to the highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. A final community meeting was held last week to discuss the design of the Balfour Park expansion. Several well attended meetings were held in the spring to get input on what amenities to include and people who stopped by last week seemed pleased with the result. The Spokane County Library District has also installed a Little Free Library on the site in lieu of the expected Spokane Valley Library branch that is planned for the site.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by South Pines Elementary School to check out their Student, Parents Alternative Classroom Experience (SPACE). Parents help keep the class organized so the teacher has more time to spend with students.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam reports that the city of Millwood is considering whether to accept a $448,208 loan from the state to repalce a 60-year-old water main that runs under Buckeye Avenue. A special meeting is planned later this month so the council can vote on the loan.

Paving work is expected to begin next week on Indiana Avenue between Pines Road and Mirabeau Parkway and on Carnahan Road from Eighth Avenue to the city limits. The city is making one final road construction push before the weather becomes too cold for paving.

 

Today’s highlights

East Farms STEAM Magnet School students attended the East Valley School Board meeting Sept. 10 with their heavy backpacks in tow to advocate for lockers at their school. From left: Marena Stewart, 12, Tizara Belback, 12, Riley Wallwork, 11, and Shontelle Belback, 12. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Well, it's better late than never when it comes to highlights from today's Valley Voice, right? Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on a protest at Tuesday's East Valley School District board meeting staged by middle school parents and students. They were objecting to the lack of lockers for middle school students now that the district has moved to a K-8 model that puts those students in the elementary schools.

It's that time again: Valleyfest is approaching fast. One of the new events this year is a triathlon that features a 1.5 mile paddle on the Spokane River in addition to a bike ride and a run. Organizers are still looking for participants, so register online at www.valleyfest.org if you have something that floats. The classics are returning too, like the hot air balloons, the parade, the pancake breakfast, the live music and lots more. It's all heppening Sept. 20-22.

The Washington State Court of Appeals has handed down a split decision in a lawsuit over a roundabout at Wilbur and Montgomery in front of the Montgomery Court Apartments. The court upheld a decision to throw out the property owners' claims that restricting vehicle access to their complex was an unconstitutional taking but also ruled that the property owners are entitled to a trial on whether or not the city of Spokane Valley has to put in an additional driveway on Montgomery as they allegedly agreed to do.  

Saturday’s highlights

T.J. Williams Jr., the director of photography, frames up a shot with a digital movie camera in Fairfield, on Wednesday, while shooting a feature film assisted by North By Northwest. At right is Adam Miller, the first assistant camera operator. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Oh, it's Monday again. Pardon me while I shake off the weekend cobwebs. As we start the work week there are some Saturday Valley Voice highlights to greet us, as always. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a report on the safety of Mountain View Middle School in the East Valley School District. Building and fire inspectors recently toured the building to make sure it was safe after parents raised concerns about the partially boarded up building.

The small town of Fairfield hosted a movie crew from North by Northwest last week. Portions of the movie “West of Redemption” starring Billy Zane were filmed there while grain trucks lumbered by on their way from the nearby grain elevators.

Lisa stopped by University High School during the morning on the first day of school when freshmen had the run of the buliding. The school had a special program that morning to help the students acclimate to the school and get to know each other.

The City of Spokane Valley and Spokane County had a joint meeting last week to discuss solid waste options under a new regional plan. The city would like to own the Valley transfer station, but County Commissioners seem to favor a plan that has the County owning and running the facility.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department is considering spending a budget surplus on remodeling several fire stations, two of which are decades old. Problems include leaking roofs, failing floors and kitchen cabinets in disrepair.

Today’s highlights

David Schultz, second from left, talks with incoming sixth-grader Brandon Hawvermale, 11, and his parents Keith, left, and Amanda, at Centennial Middle School during an open house on Tuesday. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

I've been zipping all over the county during a very busy week, so my apologizes for not posting this earlier today. There must be some rule of journalism that says that every jurisdiction must scheduled a special meeting during the same holiday week. But on to the highlights from today's Valley Voice.

The City of Spokane Valley will not participate in next week's auction to purchase the Painted Hills Golf Course. The property is being auctioned off in a trustee's sale on the steps of the Spokane County Courthouse to satisfy bankruptcy debts. The city council narrowly voted Tuesday not to try to buy the course after several residents spoke against it, including one person who said he represented a group trying to buy and preserve the golf course.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Centennial Middle School this week for a meet and greet session before the first day of school. Students picked up their schedules, met their teachers and tried to get their lockers open.

Recently some Newman Lake residents invited Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke to come take a tour of the lake and look at areas that have been severely eroded. Reporter Mike Prager was along for the ride as well as homeowners asked for new regulations to help save their beaches and homes.

Saturday’s highlights

Otis Orchards School principal Suzanne Savall hugs cousins Devon Nelson, 7,left, and Zachary Hughes, 7, as they return for second grade on the first day of school Thursday. Kindergarten teacher Stacey Brinkley awaits arrivals at left. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone enjoyed a nice, extended weekend. Let's celebrate our shorter work week with a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. The Positive Change coalition that swept into power at Spokane Valley City Hall in 2009 is fracturing, with some supporting incumbent Gary Schimmels in this year's election and some supporting his challenger, Ed Pace. It's shaping up to be the race to watch in November.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by the Otis Orchards School in the East Valley School District for the first day of school last week. This is the final year of the district's transition to schools that combine kindergarteners through eighth graders under one roof. Lisa also has a brief look at the school year budgets for the East Valley, West Valley and Central Valley school districts.

The YWCA is preparing to open a new confidentail domestic violence shelter in Spokane Valley this month. They're looking for donations from the community to provide basic household items like pots and pans. This shelter will be able to house three single women and three or four women with children at a time.