Everything tagged

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Another Green Monday

It was a busy week in the Inland Northwest, probably because many citizens were finally able to dig out and thaw off enough to try and reclaim some sort of normalcy in their lives.  So in case you missed out on some of the environmental coverage in the region - DTE has you covered.

Just when most of you (us included) thought our mayor may have been buried under snow, she made her presence known, and in a big way.  Mayor Mary Verner vetoed part of the city’s shoreline master plan over an amendment that would make an exception to the no-construction buffer zone from 100 to 200 feet along most of the waterway.  The exception, voted in favor of by the City Council, was for a 900-foot section in Latah Creek owned by former Spokane CEO John Pilcher.  The City Council will vote on whether or not to override the veto this week.  Read more HERE.  

Last week wasn’t easier on everyone.  High mountain snow, gnarly weather, and depleted resources have forced wild animals out of higher elevations and closer to city limits.  Up near Boundary Dam in Pend Oreille County late last week, about 20 wild elk took refuge in an old hay barn.  Unfortunately, the barn collapsed like many other structures in the region, killing 5 elk instantly and breaking the back of another resulting in the animal having to be euthanized. Fortunately, volunteers were able to salvage the meat for a local food bank.  Read more HERE. 

Idaho Congressman nabbed to lead GOP spending panel for Department of Interior and environmental agencies.  Republican Mike Simpson of Idaho’s 2nd District has been assigned as the Ranking Member for the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environmental and Related Agencies for the 111th Congress, meaning he will have a great deal of decision-making power to help steer money to local projects like support for public lands.  Read the S-R’s coverage HERE, and the press release HERE.     

Blame “global warming”, it has big shoulders.  For the third consecutive year, Western Washington is under water and many are wondering why - some say climate change, some logging, and others development.  The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports all three are causes.  “Logging and development are prime suspects because dense forests intercept and slow down rainfall before it becomes a flood, while development plasters concrete and asphalt across marshy areas that once soaked up floodwaters. Meanwhile, climate change appears to be increasing the incidence of extraordinarily heavy rainstorms,” says the report in the P-I.  And some are just saying, “I told you so”, as is the case of University of Washington geologist David Montgomery who warned state legislators this time last year that something needed to be done.  Read more HERE.  


Dog and owner escape as roof caves in

Two commercial buildings in Coeur d’Alene at least partially collapsed today due to the snow on their roofs.

One, at 140 Spruce Ave., housed two businesses — Allen Pest Control and Accurate Edge.

Leonard Allen, owner of the pest-control business, said he had been concerned that his roof was sagging and managed to move some of his company trucks before the roof collapsed.

The other, at 2615 N. Fourth St., was inhabited by a business owner and his dog when the roof started collapsing.

“My shop dog, Macine, and I ran out as it was coming down,” said Brian Rice, owner of Bedrock Jewelers, one of two tenants in the building. 

The roof collapsed over a vacant space. “Most people know it as the old Wonder Bread store,” Rice said.

Aside from Rice and his dog, the building was empty. A second business, ARI Abadan Reprographics & Imaging, was closed.

The cave-in occurred at 9 a.m. Rice heard popping and cracking sounds, and Macine, a yellow Lab, headed for the door with her tail between her legs. Rice followed her out while the eastern section of the building imploded.

Rice was waiting for a structural engineer to assess the building. He’s hoping the section he rents is still sound. Most of the jewelry store’s trade is repair and custom work. With Valentine’s Day and wedding season coming up, Rice said he’s heading into the busiest time of his year.

Friday’s snowball graphic

Hardly breaking news, but we’ve received some requests for an online version of staff artist Molly Quinn’s snowball graphic, which ran on page A9 in today’s newspaper. Here it is.

Click here to download a higher-resolution version.

Warming centers re-activated

With temperatues expected to plunge this evening, Spokane is activating community warming centers for the homeless.

The Salvation Army, 204 E. Indiana, will be open to couples and families with children in need of emergency shelter from the cold. The House of Charity, 32 W. Pacific, will be available for single men.

Although the Hope House, which serves single women, and Crosswalk, which serves homeless youth, are not being activated, both shelters have beds available, said Brittany Lane of the city’s Human Services department.

CdA bans parking on some streets

Coeur d’Alene police are issuing emergency “No Parking by Police Orders” signs throughout the city in areas where streets are becoming impassable due to the record snowfall, the police department said in a news release.

The areas included at this time are: Second Street between Sherman and Lakeside avenues; Fifth Street from Front Street to Sherman Avenue; Sixth Street between Sherman and Lakeside avenues, the south side of Sixth Street; and Seventh Street between Sherman Avenue and Front Street.

Additional areas may be added, the release said.

Vehicles parked in violation of the emergency order will be towed at the owner’s expense and a $15 citation will be issued.

People with questions or concerns can call the police department at 208-769-2320.

ISP: 19 slideoffs today

Idaho State Police reported 19 slideoffs Friday, compared to 51 on Thursday. Other accident numbers were similar to Thursday’s numbers, with two hit-and-run crashes and six property-damage crashes reported by ISP each day. One injury crash was reported Friday compared to two on Thursday, according to a news release.

Also in the news release, ISP thanked people who have stayed off the roads since the record snow storm began Wednesday. ISP also offered the following tips for travelers this weekend and into next week:

- Be prepared to stay warm if you’re stuck. “Response times have been pretty good for most areas, but the chances for an extended arrival time is possible in this weather,” according to ISP.

- If you’re stuck, keep your muffler pipe free of snow to keep carbon monoxide from entering the vehicle.

- Keep emergency supplies in your car like bottled water, blankets, gloves, flares, flashlights, batteries, a shovel, clothing and a first-aid kit.

For Idaho road reports, call 511 from a cell phone, 888-432-7623 from a landline or visit http://511.idaho.gov.

Parting Shot — 12/19/08

Emma Burke, 12, and Jessica Fortis, 13, ski down the sidewalks on Sherman Ave. in Coeur d’Alene Thursday, as snow continued to fall from the massive snowstorm that blanked the region.  Though it was only eight days until Christmas, few shoppers braved the conditions in downtown Coeur d’Alene.  JESSE TINSLEY The Spokesman-Review.

Business trash pickup on track

Trash pickup for downtown Spokane businesses is continuing more or less normally today, says Dave Mandyke, of the city’s public works department.

No residential trash pickups in the city will take place until Monday.

The downtown garbage collection will occur as long as trucks can reach trash cans or Dumpsters. Garbage receptacles that are buried will be skipped until a later day.

Men suspected of preying on stuck driver

Sometimes good Samaritans aren’t so good.

Two Spokane Valley men have been charged with felonies after a woman reported a vehicle prowling in progress. Officers Timothy Jones and Tyler Smith arrived in the area of 17200 E. Mission Avenue shortly after 3 a.m. Thursday and arrested two men, Spokane Valley Police spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagn said.

Arrested were 25-year-old Curtis Mathew Jones and 26-year-old David A. Hallquist, who were parked next to a burglarized 1995 Volvo. But the suspected car prowling was only the beginning, Reagan said.

Tracks in snow lead to burglary arrests

Even suspected burglars don’t have it easy in the snow.

Two Spokane Valley men are facing felony charges after officers tracked footprints in the snow to one of the men and later found another sleeping on an apartment floor, Spokane Valley Police spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan said.

Snowshoers, nordic skiers make tracks

All roads and parking areas have been cleared from this week’s massive snowfall, Mount Spokane State Park rangers reported Friday morning.

Grooming on the parks 25 miles of cross-country skiing trails has been slow as the snow cat struggles to pack the deep powder. Although no tracks had been set, the groomer was working Friday afternoon and rangers hoped they would get system packed before the weekend is over.In Spokane, snowshoes will be available to rent for a wintery stroll through Manito Park on Sunday.Spokane Parks and Recreation Department staff will be at the Manito shelter off Grand Boulevard from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. with snowshoes to fit all ages. Rental cost is $8. Reservations are recommended: www.spokaneparks.org and enter class No. 8222, or call 625-6200.





Christmas Bureau update

The Christmas Bureau plans to open again Saturday, at 10 a.m., and “serve everyone who comes,” says Marilee Roloff, head of Volunteers of America.

The bureau has been closed for two days, due to the weather. Both Roloff and Rob McCann, head of Catholic Charities Spokane, are worried that poor people in our community won’t get gifts and food vouchers this Christmas.

So on Monday and Tuesday, recipients who weren’t able to make it out to the Christmas Bureau, or who showed up Thursday and Friday to find it closed, will be able to receive vouchers Monday and Tuesday at Volunteers of America, 525 W. Second (Go through the red red door) and at The Chancery building, 1023 W. Riverside.

For more information, call (509) 624-2378 or (509) 358-4250.

Let’s Hear It For Winter Storm Heroes

One of the local news stations last night had a segment in which it applauded the neighborhood heroes who helped others out during this Mother of all Snow Storms. There’s one in my ‘hood. A man down the street has access to a large front-end loader. He plowed out the entire street, which was virtually impassable, as well as driveways — both during lunch and after work. Incredible. At my mother-in-law’s home in Coeur d’Alene Place, two teens shoveled her driveway for free. But she gave them $10 apiece and chocolate.

Question: How about you? Does your ‘hood have a Snow Storm ‘08 hero?

Christmas Bureau closed again today

The Christmas Bureau charity will remain closed today, organizers said, and extended hours are being considered for Saturday, the bureau’s final day.

In addition to concern about the safety of the people who get food vouchers and toys at the bureau, dozens of volunteers would have been unable to make it to the Spokane fairgrounds, organizers said.

Season of Sharing gift distribution canceled

Spokane Valley Partners has closed its center at 10814 East Broadway Ave.
and canceled a big gift distribution through its Season of Sharing program.

About 650 families were to have taken part. The event hopefully will be rescheduled next week, a volunteer there said today.  

Be prepared for more snow

Even before most residents will have a chance to dig out from the record snow fall on Wednesday and Thursday, another system is heading this way that could dump another 4 to 6 inches on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

“Our next weather system will start affecting the Inland Northwest starting Saturday evening,” meteorologist Greg Koch said. “By Sunday morning, we’ll have snow starting in Spokane. We have a preliminary forecast for the Spokane area of 4 to 6 inches.”

Spokane Valley plowing


All city offices of Spokane Valley remain closed today as a result of the storm.

However, Spokane Valley crews continue their plowing operations and the city has contracted with road graders to work with the five county-contract graders to clear city streets, city spokeswoman Carolbelle Branch said in a press release.

Residents can view a copy of the snow plowing priorities and information at www.spokanevalley.org and selecting the link under “What’s New.”   

No garbage collection today in Spokane

Get Adobe Flash player
Marlene Feist / Friday snow update

The city of Spokane will not be picking up garbage today, according to a news release.

Thursday and Friday customers can put out twice their normal garbage next week, but mind the Christmas holiday, city public affairs officer Marlene Feist said in the release. Thursday customers will have their trash picked up on Friday, and Friday customers on Saturday.

Limited transit service again Friday

Spokane Transit is restricting service again today to just a handful of routes, and officials warn all buses are running behind schedule because of road conditions.

Available routes for the morning commute are:

* Route 23 Ash/Maple to Five Mile Park and Ride only.

* Route 25 Division

* Route 90 Sprague to Sullivan and the Mirabeau Park and Ride only

* Route 74 Valley Limited to Mirabeau and Liberty Lake park and ride lots.

SR 194 closed in Whitman County

State highway 194 is closed from Pullman to Almota, according to the Washington State Patrol. The road has been cleared for emergency vehicle travel, but is still closed to the public.

Hummers to the rescue

George Gee Automotive employees used Hummers today to help nurses and doctors get to the Hospice of Spokane and to reach snowed-in Meals on Wheels clients.

Staff at Mid-City Concerns Meals on Wheels had two days worth of meals to deliver to senior citizens.

Had it not been for the Hummers, “We would have had to hike in, and we would have been doing it all night,” said Mollie Dalpae, executive director of Mid-City Concerns Meals on Wheels.

Even with the Hummers, Gee General Manager Scott Brewer said his employees had to walk a block or so to reach some people. But they had a great time doing it, he said.

“It was just fun stuff,” he said. The Hummers are on call tonight in case the Hospice needs them, he said.

Kootenai County: Stay home, but don’t forget about your taxes

The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department is asking people to stay home Friday to make room for road and emergency crews.

Drifting snow is covering roads across the county, and “crews don’t believe that they will be able to keep up with the drifting throughout the night,” according to a news release.

Road conditions are worse up north, prompting the sheriff’s department to urge travelers to stay off the roads.

“Travelers should consider staying the night in a motel or hotel if they have more than a short distance to go yet this evening,” Capt. Ben Wolfinger said in a news release.

All schools in the county will be closed Friday, as well as non-essential county offices. But that won’t get you out of paying your taxes on time: Property taxes are still due no later than 5 p.m. on Monday. Tax payers can mail their taxes, drop them by any U.S. Bank location in Kootenai County or bring them to the treasurer’s office on Monday.

The sheriff’s department urges citizens to keep fire hydrants clear and said non-emergency calls may be delayed more than 24 hours.

Panhandle Health District closed Friday

All Panhandle Health District offices will be closed Friday due to severe weather and safety concerns. The health district will reopen Monday and operate regular hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The health district regrets the inconvenience to clients, said spokeswoman Cynthia Taggart.

ISP: 51 slideoffs today

Idaho State Police report problems with wrong way drivers on Highway 95, including one drunken driver who was jailed hitting a car and driving away. The person in the car that was hit followed the driver home. Several drivers received citations for reckless driving.

In a news release, ISP thanked people who didn’t drive today and thanked businesses that allowed employees to stay home.

Here are today’s accident numbers from ISP: Fifty-one slideoffs, two hit-and-run crashes, six property-damage crashes, two personal-injury crashes.

Highway 41 partially blocked

State Highway 41 is restricted to one lane just south of Rathdrum because a semi-truck slid off, according to the Idaho State Police. ISP recommends avoiding the area for the next several hours.

1st and Monroe blocked

A truck is blocking the intersection of 1st and Monroe in downtown Spokane. If you’ve made it downtown to work today and haven’t yet left for home, avoid that frustration.

Graders working residential streets

The city’s street grader crew began clearing residential streets this morning and are working in the Eagle Ridge neighborhood on the south side and Indian Trail on the north.

Public Works Director Dave Mandyke said those streets were chosen first because they are hilly.

The city has 10 graders that will work almost exclusively in residential streets, Mandyke said.

School is closed, Friday too. It’s vacation time!

Just an FYI:  School is closed tomorrow and you can all offically start your holiday vacations early. Here’s the Educatiional Service District website that has all the Spokane area school closures and delays. Stay warm out there!

Some STA buses moving

Spokane Transit Authority has pared its operation for the evening commute to No. 25 North Division; No. 74 Valley Limited; No. 23 Ash/Maple to the Five Mile Park and Ride lot; and the No. 90 to Sullivan Road and the Mireabeau Park Park and Ride lot.

Paratransit is only making emergency or medical service trips, said Molly Myers, STA spokeswoman.  

Road closures in Kootenai County

The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department advises that the following county roads are closed until further notice:

* Lancaster Avenue between Huetter and Meyer roads

* Wyoming Avenue from state Highway 41 to Meyer Road

* Meyer Road between Hayden and Meyer avenues

* Greensferry Road north of Prairie Avenue due to drifting snow

* Corbin Hill Road from U.S. 95 to Rimrock Road