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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

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.  

Thursday’s highlights

Greg Williams and Colleen Ramsey (reflected in mirror) drive the streets of Spokane Valley during a training session last week for the West Valley School District. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a safe and fun Fourth of July celebration. Before the weekend starts, lets take a look at some highlights from Thursday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the training required to become a substitute bus driver in the West Valley School District. Aspiring drivers have to complete days of classroom work and road tests before being hired.

The town of Rockford has paid its bill for law enforcement services from the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. The City Council had balked at paying the $32,000 bill, but they recently voted to pay what is owed to date. At a recent town hall meeting residents had expressed concern that the Sheriff's Office might stop responding to calls because the town hadn't paid its bill, but the Sheriff promised not to abandon the town.

Correspondent Stefanie Pettit has an update on Miss Chicken, who is now well settled in her new Spokane Valley home. The formerly feral chicken was trapped and relocated after hanging around Pettit's house for quite some time.

Saturday’s highlights

East Valley Middle School eighth-graders Austin Prochnow, 14, left, and Anthony Huck, 14, use lathes to chisel and sand tulipwood into parts to make fountain pens on May 7. Students have been making the wooden pens to give to veterans who plan to take the Honor Flight. Above, one of the pens. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

I'm back and have successfully weeded through the hundreds of emails that awaited me when I arrived back at work this morning. Now it's time to bring you some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. This one is the Lisa Leinberger edition, since she put in a lot of hard work filling the section while I was gone.

Lisa's first story is on an after school program through East Valley Middle School that allows students to make hand crafted pens to be given to local veterans. The students get a chance to practice their skills while also presenting gifts to World War II veterans who are traveling on Honor Flights to see the WW II memorial in Washington, D.C.

Lisa has two stories out of the West Valley School District. The school board gave a thumbs down on three new names suggested for Contract Based Education. Everyone agrees that the alternative high school needs a new name but no decision has been made yet. The district also is set to host its 12th annual Community Block Party on Tuesday. This year Centennial Middle School Principal Karen Bromps will be in the dunk tank.

This weekend is the sixth annual Eastern Washington Farm Heritage Show put on by the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. Visitors can learn about Spokane Valley's history and check out hands-on exhibits.

Saturday’s highlights

WVHS sprinter-jumper Terrynce Duke runs through block starts Wednesday at the school. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

All I have to say is that Monday came much too early this week. With that said, let's move forward with some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on the Central Valley School District's new computer system that allows students and parents to check progress online. The new software also means that teachers don't have to hand schedule students anymore.

The city of Spokane Valley held a public meeting last week to go over a planned stormwater improvement project on 14th Avenue between Carnahan Road and Custer Street. The project is expected to be completed this summer and should end the frequest flooding and erosion after heavy rains.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw has a story on West Valley senior Terrynce Duke, who is becoming a standout track athlete after years of playing football and basketball.

Saturday’s highlights

John Rice, 15, acts out an improvisation scene with Tori Heischel during a creative writing exercise designed to show how characters influence story on Tuesday at RiverCity Leadership Academy in the West Valley School District. RiverCity will close at the end of the school year. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Good Monday morning, everyone. You may have noticed that I ducked out of the office on Friday and didn't post on the blog, but I'm back now with some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Anyone who drives down Sullivan Road will notice that a construction project has begun north of the Spokane River to Trent. Over the next six weeks or so northbound and southbound traffic will be limited to one lane each direction, so be prepared if you need to head that way.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger had a story on West Valley's RiverCity Academy, which is closing for good at the end of the current school year. Enrollment at the project-based school is down to 17 and the students will go to other alternative schools in the area.

Lisa also had a story on a driving tour of the Lake Saltese area organized by the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. The tour, which was held over the weekend, visited several historical sites in the area. The former Lake Saltese was drained in 1894 to create the Morrison Ranch.

A big crowd turned out for last week's meeting on whether or not there should be an I-90 overpass at University Road. Several neighborhood residents were there to speak out against doing such a project while others were in favor of at least a pedestrian/cyclist overpass. Right now no construction project is planned, the city is doing a study on whether an overpass is needed.

Today’s highlights

Collette Bise, who raises Angus beef on a farm near Newman Lake, nuzzles Fluffy, one of the farm cats, Nov. 16. Her dog, Tibby, was shot and killed nearby on Oct. 25. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Good Thursday morning everyone. It's time for some highlights from Today's Valley Voice. First up is a sad story by correspondent Cindy Hval about a family dog shot by a poacher new Newman Lake. The dog was killed at the same time as a fawn on private property that was liberally posted with “No Hunting” signs. The dog's owner heard her dying yelps. Both the property owner and the Humane Society are offering rewards for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a report on higher than expected enrollment in the Central Valley and West Valley school districts. The Spokane Valley Fire Department is working to put togetther a history wall in its new Administration Building.

Correspondend Stefanie Pettit has a column about Bing Crosby's history in Spokane before he left law school to persue a Hollywood career. It's an interesting look at his early life.

Today’s highlights

Improvements made to Woodlawn Cemetery in Spokane Valley include a new entry gate and central bench/columbarium. SR photo/Kathy Plonka

We've got several good stories for you in today's Valley Voice. Correspondent Cindy Hval talked to 12-year-old Justin Peterson, who has been working to raise money for Honor Flight. The organization takes World War II veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the WW II memorial. Peterson recently won a national competition that will result in a $15,000 donation to Honor Flight.

The Spokane Valley City Council held a special meeting last week with local state legislators to pitch the importance of replacing the west Sullivan Bridge. The city is trying to come up with the last $10 million it needs to fund the project, which is estimated to cost $19.5 million, and wants the state to help fund the projects.

Correspondent Stefanie Pettit has a story on Woodlawn Cemetery in the Edgecliff Neighborhood. The cemetery was overgrown until residents of the neighborhood banded together to clean it up. It was called Englewood Cemetery when it was established in 1888. The cemetery is now owned and maintained by the Fairmount Memorial Association and is again open for burials.

Spokane County Fire District 8 is looking at a budget deficit for 2013 after a maintenance and operations levy failed at the polls last November. The fire commissioners are looking at ways to fill in the gap while also making numerous cuts.

The results of the West Valley School district mock election are in and mirror the actual election results, reports Lisa Leinberger. The experience gave students a taste of what a real election is like.

Today’s highlights

Kate Steen, nanny for twins Reed Swain, left and Harrison Swain, age 3, reads to them at the Liberty Lake Library Tuesday. When the city of Liberty Lake incorporated, it started it’s own library rather than contract with the Spokane County Library District. Now the two agencies are forming a partnership. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Thursday is not only one day removed from Friday, it's also a Valley Voice day. As always, we have some highlights for your perusal. There is a new agreement between the Liberty Lake Library and the Spokane County Library District that allows Liberty Lake patrons to get a free non-resident library card at the county libraries. The Liberty Lake Library has given free non-resident cards to county residents for years.

Repoter Lisa Leinberger has a story about a new electronic reader board at Ness Elementary School in West Valley. The money for the sign was raised by the school's Parent Teacher Organziation over the last three years. Previously the PTO purchased playground equipment for the school.

Correspondent Jill Barville spoke the owners of Valley Produce and Supply at 32nd and Best Road. The business sells produce grown by Spokane Valley farmer Chuck Utecht and other local suppliers. Since it is almost Halloween, there are plenty of pumpkins to be had.

Saturday’s highlights

Farmer Robin Jons hands customer Dawson Smith, 5, a pumpkin he just bought Wednesday, at AC Starr Farms. The Otis Orchards farm will present its annual Pumpkins for Pets Fall Festival, a fundraiser for Partners for Pets in Spokane Valley and River City Pet Rescue in Post Falls. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Ah, Monday. How we've missed you. Of course, Monday means it's time to take a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. There is some new landscaping going in near Discovery Playground and Centerplace. The spot will also include two small picnic shelters that can be reserved for birthday parties or just family picnic.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger wrote a story about the Pumpkins for Pets festival at AC Starr Farms. The annual event, which benefits two local pet rescue organizations, includes hayrides, a corn maze, face painting and more. Pets are invited to attend as well.

Lisa also has a story on mock elections at West Valley. All the high school students are learning about the candidates for local, state and federal candidates before they hold a mock election at the end of the month. They've been asking pointed questions of candidates who have come to speak to them.

The Liberty Lake Police Department is joining a new domestic violence program being spearheaded by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. The new Lethality Assessment Program is designed to get domestic violence victims the help they need immediately instead of officers just handing out a brochure with phone numbers. The new program will be used in Spokane Valley as well.

Today’s highlights

Skyway Cafe owner Sandy Melter, left, talks with Jerry Martin, center, and Ron Webber, right, at the “pilots table,” Tuesday. Located at Felts Field, the Skyway is 63 years old and filled with aviation memorabilia. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Welcome to another hot and sunny day in Spokane. To celebrate we have a tour of today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger is continuing her tour of places to see in the Spokane Valley area and this week she visited the Skyway Cafe at Felts Field. The cafe is known for its good food and prime location that allows diners to watch planes taking off and landing at the airport.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department and Spokane County Fire District 9, both of which serve residents in the Spokane Valley area, have replacement maintenance and operations levies on the August ballot. Both districts get a significant amount of their annual budget from the levies. The ballots should begin arriving in the mail this week and must be returned by Aug. 7.

The Spokane Valley City Council got its first look this week at draft goals and policies for the shoreline plan that have been recommended for approval by the city's planning commission. There will be a lot more dicussion on this at future meetings.

Lisa also wrote about new West Valley School District assistant superintendent Jean Marczynski, who most recently worked for the Central Valley School District for many years.

Saturday’s highlights

Senior Jake Hochberg leads an experienced pitching staff at Central Valley. Hochberg has split a pair of decisions in CV’s first four games. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

It's Monday and it's not raining. Everyone cross your fingers that this will last at least a little while. Meanwhile, it's time to take a look at Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a profile on Gene Sementi, who is stepping up to become West Valley's superintendent. He has worked with the district for many years as a teacher, coach, principal and assistant superintendent.

The Spokane Valley City Council discussed how much of the city's year-end balance to commit to street preservation on Tuesday. It was a split decision, with four of the seven council members favoring taking $2 million. That would leave $26 million, which the council has previously identified as the minimum amount it wants left over.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw spoke to the coach of the Central Valley High School baseball team, who is dealing with a soggy start to his season. The field is soaking wet and pitchers haven't been able to get much practice time on the mound.

Saturday’s highlights

After seven years as superintendent of the West Valley School District, Polly Crowley is stepping down. She visits with Orchard Center Elementary School Principal Travis Peterson on Tuesday in Spokane Valley. SR photo/Dan Pelle

There was a good mix of stories in Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger topped off the front page with a nice profile on West Valley Superintendent Polly Crowley, who has announced her retirement at the end of the school year.

The issue that is likely to generate some debate was a discussion by the Spokane Valley City Council last week on whether they should ban curbside fundraisers such as Fill the Boot. The city currently gives out permits to local charities to do this once a year, but many groups apparently aren't following the rules and there are safety concerns.

The 2011 numbers are in for the Spokane Valley Fire Department and show an increase in arson fires and a decrease in accidental fires. The number of arson arrests are up as well and the department is proud of it's high solve rate for the criminal fires. Correspondent Valerie Putnam attended the recent Millwood City Council meeting, where they voted to change the regular meeting date and spent a lot of time discussing water rates.

Saturday’s highlights

At the Spokane County regional fire dispatch center, dispatcher Mike Cappellano monitors a call of a tree that fell onto a house Wednesday. SR photo/Colin Mulvany

Well, judging by our wild weather this weekend, I guess it is still winter. Today's chilly temperatures may not stop teenagers from wearing shorts, but it makes a perfect day for the rest of us to sit inside with our coffee and get caught up on Saturday's Valley Voice.

The Spokane Fire Department runs a fire dispatch center that serves all of Spokane County and last year they purchased some new software that allows calls to be sent to firefighters sooner. Response times have improved as dispatch times have improved.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger spent some time with Freeman Elementary School students portraying each of the nation's 44 presidents in a fun “wax museum” event. Lisa also has a story on the retirement announcement made by West Valley Superintendent Polly Crowley. She will leave the district at the end of the school year after seven years as superintendent.

Correspondent SteveChristilaw checked in with the University High School boys basketball team last week before their regional game with Kennewick as they looked back on their season.

Today’s highlights

Trail developer Mark Pinch stops to enjoy the view from the top of the 552-acre Saltese Uplands, an area of Liberty Lake that was recently purchased through Spokane County’s Conservation Futures program. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

One of the highlights in today's Valley Voice is a story by correspondent Jill Barville on the new Saltese Uplands natural area. Spokane County is working to buy the 552 acre property south of Liberty Lake off Henry Road as part of the Conservation Futures program. A trailhead will be built on Henry Road next year and hikers and bikers will be able to enjoy a network of seven miles of trails.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a report on enrollment in the Central Valley, West Valley, East Valley and Freeman school districts. Most of them have larger numbers of students, but enrollment at East Valley's Continuous Curriculum School took a huge jump. This week the Spokane Valley City Council debated the need for a facility to precess water and debris removed from the city's numerous drywells. A decision on whether to apply for a grant for the project will likely be made at the Nov. 15 council meeting.

Reporter Pia Hallenberg has a touching story on Libby McGrory, who has battled breast cancer four times. She recently participated in a 200-mile fundraising bike ride called the “Tour de Pink” in California.

Coming Thursday

The Valley crew has been hard at work this week getting everything ready for Thursday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked in the local school districts (East Valley, West Valley, Central Valley and Freeman) to see how district enrollment is doing. We'll have a story on the new Saltese natural area and a report on Tuesday's Spokane Valley City Council meeting. There was a lengthy discussion on stormwater projects that are eligible for grant money. There were a bunch of other topics covered, but those will have to wait until Saturday's Valley Voice. Don't forget to pick up your paper in the morning to check out the stories.

Saturday’s highlights

Electricians have begun to rewire the Valley Mission Professional Building after an explosion and fire rocked the building Sept. 19. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Two weeks after an explosion and fire heavily damaged the Valley Mission Professional Building, the six medical offices housed in the building are picking themselves up and moving forward. A story in Saturday's Valley Voice outlined what each office is doing and where they are seeing patients.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked out new murals on the walls of the common room at Spokane Valley High School. Artist Jena Ponti painted the walls over summer break to give students a surprise when they restarted school. Lisa also had information on the West Valley teachers union's concerns about buget cuts.

With a month to go before the general election, Spokane Valley City Council candidates are busy raising and spending money. Check out the story for more details. Correspondent Cindy Hval had a story on Widows Might, a ministry program that provides assistance to widows of all ages that recently earned non-profit status.

Saturday’s highlights

The newest roundabout in the Spokane Valley is at Flora Road and Mission Avenue. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

We managed to pack a lot of news into Saturday's Valley Voice. We looked into the growing popularity of roundabouts, which are popping up all over Spokane County. The city of Spokane Valley now has three.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger listened to the superintendents of four Spokane Valley school districts talk to the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce education committee about cuts they have made over the years because of reduced funding from the State. She also stopped by East Valley High School, which installed an automated external defribrillator last week.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department had a busy week with several arson fires and a major two-alarm fire at a medical building.  

Saturday’s highlights

Glen Prosser of Prosser and Sons, and his son, Jason, finish up the construction of a structure playground in the new Greenacres Park at Boone Avenue and Long Road on Monday. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

It never fails. I take a Friday off and there ends up being a ton of breaking news - fires, accidents, criminal mayhem, etc. But I can bring you the highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. The new Greenacres Park is taking shape and is on track to be done in mid-October. But people won't be able to use it this year because the grass needs time to get established. Look for a grand opening ceremony in the spring.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger attended a meeting of West Valley School District staff where concerns were raised about changes to library and music schedules after budget cuts. She also stopped in at the newest Meals on Wheels site at the Appleway Court Retirement Center.

Correspondent Juli Bergstrom Wasson also has details on a new sports bar and sandwich shop now open at Trent and Argonne.

More Outdoor Learning Center open houses

At the Outdoor Learning Center in Spokane Valley, volunteer Chris Hatten, 14, holds a barn owl named Willie during an open house at the center July 22. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

If you have not had a chance to visit one of the open houses at the West Valley Outdoor Learning Center, you still have three chances left. The center usually caters to school children and educators and is rarely open to the public. It houses birds of  prey that cannot go back to the wild as well as snakes and turtles. There is also a trout pond. The open houses promise to be a fun and interesting few hours for anyone interested in animals.

The next open house is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The last two open houses are set for Aug. 12 and Aug. 26. Both are also from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The suggested donation is $3, but no one will be turned away if they can't pay. The center is located at 8706 E. Upriver Drive.

Outdoor Learning Center open house today

I meant to post this earlier, but our web site was busy having a hiccup. The West Valley School District has an Outdoor Learning Center that provides hands-on education to children. There are plants and live animals including reptiles, birds and snakes. The center is rarely open to the public, but there are several open houses planed during July and August that will give people a chance to check it out.

The first such open house is today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Center, 8706 E. Upriver Drive. But if you can't make it on such short notice, there's another open house next Friday (July 22) at the same time and another on Saturday, July 30, also from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Meeting the animals is fun for children and adults alike, so try to include a visit in your summer schedule. You can check them out on the web here.

Today’s highlights

Cleve Penberthy, Contract Based Education principal and longtime West Valley School District educator and administrator, is retiring after 40 years in education. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

I apologize for the lateness in posting links from today's Valley Voice. My computer went a little bonkers this morning. It now seems to be cured, but I have no idea why. I'm not going to argue, though. So, on to the highlights. Every spring we highlight notable retiring educators from the large Spokane Valley school districts - East Valley, West Valley and Central Valley. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has those stories in today's Valley Voice, including Contract Based Education princpal Cleve Penberthy. He's retiring after 40 years in education and I think he will be sorely missed. He was an oustanding advocate for his students. The other educators featured are East Valley teacher and librarian Linda Carper and Central Valley business teacher Sherry Johnson.

Kids will be happy to learn that Spokane Valley pools are opening this weekend. Splash Down is already open, but it only opens the doors if the weather is nice. I put together an introduction to the three newest candidates for a Spokane Valley City Council seat - John Baldwin, Marilyn Cline and Lewis Higgins. The City Council also had quite the debate this week on whether to let voters decided the fate of the one-way stretch of Sprague.

Today’s highlights

“I like to see them all go down,” Spokane Valley Police Lt. Matt Lyons said, concerning the Spokane Valley crime rate. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

I have to say I sure could get used to this nice, sunny weather. But before we start our day it's time to check out the highlights from today's Valley Voice. The 2010 crime rates are in for Spokane Valley and the numbers show that violent crimes are down while property crimes are up. The city is following the same trends as Spokane County and other cities in the county. The Spokane Valley Police Department is also facing a growing population and increased calls for service with the same number of officers it had in 2003.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger attended a recent West Valley School District meeting that was all about the budget. People are being asked to let the district know what programs can be cut and which should be saved. Some of the things on the chopping block are the golf program, C squad sports teams and intramural sports. Another public meeting is scheduled for Monday.

The Newman Lake Fire District is moving closer to building a new Station 1 at land the district owns at Starr and Moffat roads. The old Station 1 is too small and doesn't meet current regulations. A public meeting was held this week to get input and more meetings are planned. The commissioners must decided whether to ask voters for a construction bond.

Spokane Valley City Council woman Brenda Grassel recently sent a letter to Spokane Home Builders Association members asking for input on the city's permitting process, but she did it a little differently than usual. The letter invited people to send in their comments to SHBA executive officer Joel White so he could forward them as anonymous.

Coming Thursday

It has been a fairly quiet day today at Valley Voice headquarters, but we'll have a bunch of stuff for you in the paper tomorrow. I headed out to Newman Lake this week for a special meeting to get public input on a planned new fire station. The Newman Lake Fire District commissioners are considering asking voters for a small construction bond to replace the aging, too-small Station 1.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger attended a special West Valley School District meeting this week. The district is trying to get input from the public on which programs it can cut and which it should save. I checked in with the Spokane Valley Police Department on the most recent crime numbers recently. Some types of crimes are up; some are down.

So check in tomorrow and check out the stories I've mentioned as well as a few more.

Now then, where was I?

University High School senior Lauren Archibald was part of the No. 1 doubles team that won the district championship and advanced to regionals last year. U-Hi shared the GSL girls tennis title last year and returns several key players. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Well, I managed to make it back to work today after unplugging from the blog and twitter for a week. I'd like to give a hat tip (as Huckleberries blog master D.F. Oliveria would say) to fellow reporter Lisa Leinberger, who kept the blog from being a vacant white space while I was gone.

Now it's time to get back to the Monday routine, which means a recap of what you may have missed in Saturday's Valley Voice. Lisa has written a story about West Valley School District teachers getting training on new web site software that lets them post online and allows students to listen to a class they may have missed.

Correspondent Cindy Hval took a look at the 2011 Inland Northwest Homeschool Conference, which will be held this weekend in the Valley. Correspondent Steve Christilaw talked to the tennis coach at University High School about the challanges of practicing indoors because of the weather and what the team looks like this year.

West Valley meeting change

If you were planning to go to the West Valley School District board meeting tomorrow, make a note. The meeting date and time has been changed to Monday, Jan., 31, at 7 p.m. in the District Conference Center, 8818 E. Grace. The change was made because of a scheduling conflict.

Saturday’s highlights

SCRAPS animal protection assistant Rachel Sayer sits with a dog that was found Nov. 19 and brought into the shelter by a citizen. The dog had no microchip, no license and no ID on its collar.

There was a lot to read in Saturday’s Valley Voice, so here’s a chance to check out some of the stories in case you missed them.The Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service is hoping that more people will license their pets to fund programs, but a check of records from the 1920’s show that getting people to pay is not a new problem.

Liberty Lake has had an ongoing problem with garage burglaries and vehicle prowlings, aided and abetted by residents’ habit of leaving their garages and cars unlocked. The police chief says that habit has made Liberty Lake an “easy target” and pleads with people to lock up.

A 15-year-old West Valley student is following in his father’s footsteps. He is already a successful race car driver even though he isn’t old enought to get his driver’s license. A local magician is the new manager of Players and Spectators and is hoping to create a little magic to bring people in the doors. Some teachers at University Elementary are using technology to enhance their lessons by using grant money to purchase Smart Boards (essentially large touch screens) for the classroom.

Coming on Saturday

We’ve got a great lineup of stories coming in the Saturday Valley Voice that you can peruse while having a turkey omelet or turkey sandwich. The struggle of the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service to get pet owners to license their pets is not a new one, proven by the “dog tax” rolls from the 1920’s found in a warehouse several years ago.

A 15-year-old West Valley student is having a successful career as a race car driver even though he doesn’t have his driver’s license yet. A local magician is hoping to create some magic as the new manager of Players and Spectators. The garage buglary/car prowling crime spree is continuing in Liberty Lake. There were nine new thefts reported last week. Residents are in the habit of leaving their garages and cars unlocked, which is frustrating efforts by Liberty Lake Police to stem the surge in thefts.

I’ll post some links to stories next week, or you can browse them yourself on Saturday here.

Thursday’s highlights

We’ve got a couple interesting stories in today’s Valley Voice for when you need to take a break from turkey and pumpkin pie. Starting Saturday you can head out to the Hutton Settlement off Upriver Drive and buy a u-cut or pre-cut Christmas tree for the holidays. The children living there have been tending the trees for the last six years. A group of West Valley students visited the Eastern Washington University science lab to look at bugs and do a few experiements.

Check back in tomorrow for a preview of what is coming Saturday.

School walking routes workshops

This just in: the City of Spokane Valley is teaming up with the Spokane Regional Health District, the Central Valley School District and the West Valley School district for two community workshops this week to discuss safe walking routes to schools. The workshops are designed for parents, school administrators, city employees and law enforcement. It is the first step in creating a Safe Route to School program and becoming eligible for grant funding.

The Central Valley workshop is Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to noon at South Pines Elementary School, 12021 E. 24th. The West Valley workshop is from 8:30 a.m. to noon Thursday at Woodard Elementary School, 7401 E. Mission. Anyone with questions about the process can call (509) 324-1555.