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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.
Members of Episcopal Church of the Resurrection from left, Alan Terry, Jerry Combs, Karen St. Clair and Jackie Woolf work together to build raised beds at the church on Sunday. SR photo/Kathy Plonka
While it is not quite Friday yet, it is time for some highlights from today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on Valley Christian School moving to a four day school week in the fall. Fridays will become a day with optional extra programs that students can sign up for at no extra charge.
The congregation of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection had a work day Sunday to start building 20 new raised garden beds that will be available to the community. The church is also taking steps to revive an old orchard behind the church that has been neglected for decades.
Valleyfest was one of several organizations to recently receive funding from the Spokane Parks Foundation. Reporter Pia Hallenger has the story here. Lisa also has a story on the final play of the year at Central Valley High School, “The Outsiders.”
Chief Bob Anderson of Spokane County Fire District 9 has retired after more than 25 years with Spokane County Fire. He’s shown at District 9's Station 92 on Friday. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
We've got some great stuff in today's Valley Voice to go over while to wait to see if we ever get any snow that sticks around longer than required to make the streets slippery. Spokane County Fire District 9 Chief Bob Anderson has retired. In fact, he's probably sipping coffee in his retirement home in Boise as I type this. He's had a very long career that is very unusual for its tenure (26 years as chief) and his expertise in incident management that has helped make the whole state safer.
The Spokane Valley City Council came through for Valleyfest again, voting to give the organization $35,200 in lodging tax funds after the majority of the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee did not recommend funding the organization. At the end of this week's meeting, council woman Brenda Grassel made a surprise announcement that she is resigning her position because she is moving outside the city limits.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the annual foreign exchange student mixer hosted by West Valley High School for the last 20 years. Students representing 19 countries attended the recently event.
Joshua Bailey, 5, enjoys a kiwi during lunch with fellow kindergartners on Wednesday at Broadway Elementary in Spokane Valley. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland
There is a strange, golden orb in the sky on this Monday morning. While we are enjoying some sunshine, check out some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on an experiment in Central Valley schools to serve lunch to half-day kindergartners. It's being tried at Broadway Elementary, where 72 percent of students quality for free or reduced price lunches.
Valleyfest organizers are once again waiting to see if they will receive lodging tax funding from the city of Spokane Valley. For the second year in a row the organization was not recommended to receive any by the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.
Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a story on the discussion at the recent Millwood City Council meeting over the public access requirement for properies on the shore of the Spokane River under the state-mandated update of their Shoreline Management Program.
The town of Fairfield is looking for donations of personal hygiene items for gift baskets for local teens. There is still a week to make a donation. SCRAPS is also looking for donations as it hosts several adoption events and fund raisers during December.
Joe Wardell holds his son, Clive, who holds the book Wardell wrote for him to explain to his son what he did in Afghanistan during his deployment. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
Happy Thursday, everyone. For me it's Friday, since I won't be around the blog tomorrow. But until then I've got some Valley Voice highlights for you. Correspondent Cindy Hval has a great story on Army Sgt. Joe Wardell, who wrote a children's book called “Doodey the Combat Camel” for his son while he was stationed in Afghanistan. Wardell took pictures of the camel in various places while he was in the war zone and used them for the book.
The Spokane Valley City Council discussed lodging tax awards this week after the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee made its funding recommendations. The recommendations to not include Valleyfest or the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum, which have both traditionally been funded. The final vote on allocations is expected in December.
Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on Orchard Center Elementary School, which recently received a $1,000 donation from the new Spokane Valley Wal-Mart.
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.
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.
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.
Hot air balloons lift off from CenterPlace Event Center at dawn as part of Balloons Over Valleyfest in 2011. A balloon named “Spuds,” operated by Stephanie Hughes, of Spokane, is being filled as another lifts off toward the east. SR file photo.
According to an email I received from Valleyfest yesterday, time is running out to buy tickets for the dinner and auction Friday that benefits Valleyfest. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place, and will be catered by Red Rock Catering. The items up for bid include a cruise, a Cessna 182 flight, a vation house, Mariners tickets, wine baskets, an international time share and gift certificates to local restaurants. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased by calling (509) 922-3299 or visiting www.valleyfest.org.
Spokane Valley Heritage Museum Executive Director Jayne Singleton highlights a photograph of Titanic's grand staircase on display in the museum's exhibit about the April 15, 1912, sinking of the ship. SR photo/Dan Pelle
Here we are, having yet another rainy day. But it's also Thursday, which means there are some great stories from the Valley Voice to read while you have your coffee. The Spokane Valley City Council voted Tuesday to provide $30,000 in lodging tax funding to Valleyfest. This is the second round of allocations of lodging tax money for 2012 and there was a bit of a furor when Valleyfest didn't get funded in the first round.
In other news from the city, Spokane Valley Public Works Director Neil Kersten has confirmed that he is leaving the city sometime in May. He's one of the few department heads left who has been with the city since the beginning. He'll be going back to Alaska, where all his children and grandchildren live.
The Spokane Valley Heritage Museum has opened a new exhibit on the Titanic as the 100th anniversary of the sinking approaches. The exhibit includes information on local passengers who went down with the ship.
The town of Rockford is trying again to pass a one-year replacement levy to help fund the town's fire department. The levy failed in November, though is did get 56.71 percent approval. The levy requires a 60 percent supermajority to pass. The levy, which is on the April 17 ballot, would provide nearly 40 percent of the department's annual budget.
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.
The Clock Tower in Riverfront Park originally was part of the Great Northern Railway Depot building. The depot opened on May 30, 1902. The structures were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. SR file photo.
Thursday brings you another edition of the Valley Voice on your front porch (or on your computer screen). In today's edition reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the Reading Buddies program at Opportunity Elementary School. The school brings in volutneers from Eastpoint Church to help third graders practice their reading skills.
There was an interesting twist at this week's Spokane Valley City Council meeting, where a council member said that Valleyfest organizers had been offered money in years past to not apply for lodging tax funding. The discussion was part of the ongoing debate over the council's decision to not grant Valleyfest any lodging tax money this year.
Lisa also has a story on several decisions made by the Liberty Lake City Council. The council voted to approve the 2012 budget, pay of a golf course bond and reduce the city's utility tax to 3 percent. The Clock Tower in Riverfront Park isn't in Spokane Valley, of course, but it is a regional icon. Correspondent Stefanie Pettit has a story on the landmark and the man who keeps it running.
The landowner of a 3.77-acre parcel, just west of Shelley Lake and north of Central Valley High School at 15818 E. Fourth Ave., is proposing to build 41 townhomes. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak
First of all, let me apologize for being MIA from the blog a lot this week. I was moving my base of operations and have spent a lot of time packing and unpacking files. But I'm all settled in now, so it's back to normal. Today's Valley Voice is full of news stories, including one from reporter Lisa Leinberger on the fun High 5 program at Evergreen Middle School. Nearly all the students have signed a pledge to stay drug free and participate in High 5 events.
Valleyfest organizers are worried about the future of the annual festival in the aftermath of the decision by the Spokane Valley City Council not to grant lodging tax funding. There will be a second round of applications accepted, but organizers worry it may be too late. This week the council also had a lengthy discussion on the city's street maintenance contract and whether the term is too long and if the contract should be re-bid.
A hearing was held last week on a proposed 41 townhome development just west of Shelley Lake on Fourth Ave. Neighbors spoke against the project because they believe it violates a developer's agreement negotiated between Spokane Valley and the property owner. A decision on whether to approve the plan for the development should come within two weeks.
Lisa also has a report on the Liberty Lake City Council budget discussions this week. The council decided to have a special meeting next week to discuss it further.
Company Ballet School dancers get into costume before rehearsal for “The Nutcracker” on Nov. 7 in Millwood. SR phto/Colin Mulvaney
We've got a lot of news for you in today's Valley Voice. Correspondent Valerie Putnam checked in with the dancers with the Millwood Ballet Theatre and Company Ballet School who are putting on performances of the holiday classic “The Nutcracker.”
The Spokane Valley City Council did not allocate the community festival Valleyfest any lodging tax money for the first time since 2004. In 2011 the $36,000 the city gave to the festival accounted for 27 percent of its budget. Putnam also has a second story on the discussion at the Millwood City Council's special budget workshop. The city is facing a budget shortfall and is reportedly considering a 2 percent utility tax on Avista natural gas customers.
A group of members of St. Mary's Catholic Church have put together a petition calling for the dismisal of the parish priest, the Rev. Victor Blazovich. They have presented the Bishop with a six page document outlining their complaints against Blazovich.
In a story that reaches much further than Spokane Valley, reporter Pia Hallenberg writes that Camp Fire USA Inland Northwest Council has decided not to run Camp Dart-Lo as a day camp in 2012 because of a budget shortfall.
Rob West, 41, of Hillyard, poses in the stocks as his son, Jasper, photographed him with John Brooks, of Cheney, playing a sheriff. The display was provided by the Living History Players at Valleyfest, Sept. 25, 2010 at Mirabeau Point Park. SR file photo.
If you need something to keep you busy this weekend, the 21st annual Valleyfest starts tonight with a parade down Sprague Avenue at 7:30 p.m. The parade route is reversed this year, so it will start at New Life Assembly of God Church (10920 E. Sprague) and head east to Robie Road. No candy will be thrown during the parade this year because of safety issues, but kids can still get their candy on Sprague between Bowdish and University before from 6:15 to 7 p.m. before the parade begins.
A whole bunch of events are planned in Mirabeau Park and at CenterPlace on Saturday and Sunday. You can click here for a full schedule, but the highlights for Saturday are the pancake breakfast, fishing at the falls, classic car show, live entertainment, free activities for kids and more than 200 booths. Sunday is dominated by Responsible Dog Ownership Day events, but all the booths will still be open and more live entertainment is planned.
Click here for my story in Thrusday's Valley Voice that has information on more events and details on parking.
Dylan Stevens, of Medical Lake, shows a rainbow trout he caught at Mirabeau Falls, to his sister, Rheese, last year during Valleyfest. The Mirabeau Falls will be stocked for fishing at the 21st annual Valleyfest this weekend. SR file photo.
You can grab a copy of today's Valley Voice for details on Valleyfest and the Southeast Spokane County Fair in Rockford. Both events are happening this weekend. The 21st annual Valleyfest features a parade, classic car show, live entertainment, hot air balloons and much, much more. The Fair includes animal exhibits, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, parade, live enterainment and competitions. Neither event charges admission.
The Spokane Valley City Council decided this week to move forward with $358,000 in repairs to the Sullivan Bridge over the Spokane River so weight restrictions can be removed. The council still needs to decide how to pay for the project, however.
Even though it is not located in Spokane Valley, many residents are familiar with St. Aloysius Catholic Church near Gonzaga University. Reporter Pia Hallenberg has a story today on an interior restoration effort that is underway in advance of the church's 100th anniversary in October.
If you need to make plans for the weekend, you will have to pick up a copy of Thursday's Valley Voice. We will have previews of Valleyfest and the Southeast Spokane County Fair in Rockford, which are both this weekend. Don't despair, though. If you plan properly you can check out both events.
The Spokane Valley City Council discussed repairs to the Sullivan Road bridge as well as the proposed Bike and Pedestrian Master Program, which got a less than warm welcome the first time the council saw it. Activity has picked up in Liberty Lake, with police officers logging more arrests. You can also read about a young boy who ran away from home when he got into trouble.