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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Peter Barnes

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News >  Spokane

Valley council opposed wards

Five of the seven Spokane Valley City Council members live within a one-mile radius at the south end of town, and only one lives north of the Spokane River where rapid development has angered many longtime residents. A bill in the Legislature last year could have changed that by allowing voters to replace citywide council elections with a system requiring council members to come from different wards.
News >  Spokane

Lessons for life

While the class of 2008 will be the first to face a new Washington state requirement that students develop a post-graduation plan, schools in the Inland Northwest have spent time and resources for years preparing students for the increasingly complex job market. "We have to educate our students on what it is going to require for them post-high school, and we have to start really early," said Central Valley High School counselor Pam Stickney.
News >  Spokane

Work awaits engineers

Spokane Valley's list of road projects is ripe with state and federal grants. Spending that money, though, and overseeing the work has eclipsed the manpower in the city's small public works department, which also faces several job openings for highly coveted engineers.

News >  Voices

Streets to be vacated

The City Council voted Tuesday to give portions of two streets to a Sprague Avenue car dealership, turning down a suggestion by public works officials that would trade land for another cross-street on the couplet. The Appleway automotive group and Gus Johnson Ford asked the city to vacate about 1,000 feet of First Avenue and Sipple Road between Sprague and Appleway Boulevard to make way for new buildings and remodeling plans.
News >  Spokane

Region studying impact fees for roads

As the region's leaders try to reconcile growth with Washington laws forbidding new development that overloads public roads, local governments are taking a closer look at impact fees. "The bottom line is we are at a point where development is causing intersections to fail," Spokane Valley City Attorney Mike Connelly told the City Council Tuesday night.
News >  Spokane

Valley street plans to change

Spokane Valley can be a dead-end place, and a lot of people like it that way. The disjointed streets and the bulbs of private cul-de-sacs that speckle the Valley floor are often held in high regard by the families who live along them. But in the coming months the city will replace the rules on roads it inherited from the county with standards that could make residential developments more interconnected.
News >  Spokane

Contest has voters talking

A Spokane Valley City Council race that wasn't even contested a month ago now has voters talking, and former U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt is chiming in. Nethercutt, Councilman Steve Taylor's former boss, has voiced his support for the deputy mayor recently in a recorded phone message dialed in to likely Valley voters.
News >  Voices

Student parkers frustrate homeowners

Neighbors a short walk from University High School are fed up with students using their street as a parking lot, and the Spokane Valley City Council agreed Tuesday to consider lengthening the school-hours no-parking zone on Collins Road. "It's frustrating because we were here before the high school went in," said Randy Kenworthy, who submitted a petition from homeowners favoring the change.
News >  Voices

Fire department requests levy lid lift

One of the most significant public safety measures before Spokane Valley voters this fall has carried a fairly low profile. The Spokane Valley Fire Department is asking for a six-year levy lid lift, arguing that the additional revenue will help the department keep up with growth in both population and 911 calls.
News >  Spokane

West Valley teachers, district have deal

Negotiators on Monday reached a tentative agreement on a labor contract for teachers in West Valley School District, which would end 12 weeks of tense negotiations in which the union and district filed unfair labor practices complaints against each other. Superintendent Polly Crowley and Washington Education Association UniServ representative Michael Boyer confirmed the sides had reached an agreement, although details will not be released until it is finalized.
News >  Spokane

Valley council races hinge on growth

In many ways, this year's race for Spokane Valley City Council is as much a referendum on what the council has done in the last few months as it is about the candidates' plans for the next four years. As Position 3 Councilman Mike DeVleming makes his exit and two other council members face re-election, the council race could have offered hopefuls a chance to join a City Council where six of the seven members have held office since the city incorporated.
News >  Voices

Property taxes likely to drop

With property values continuing to climb, Spokane Valley homeowners will likely see a reduction in the rate they pay for city property taxes next year, although the total amount of money the city collects will actually increase. At its meeting Tuesday, the City Council moved the city's budget and tax levy to a second and final vote on Oct. 23, said City Clerk Chris Bainbridge.
News >  Spokane

Valley hopefuls differ on city center, fees

While Spokane Valley council candidates David Crosby and Rose Dempsey agree on several key issues, they offer voters diverging views on neighborhoods, impact fees and plans to develop a mixed-use city center. With few exceptions, their tone was cordial and their answers brief Thursday night as they faced questions from journalists with The Spokesman-Review, the Pacific Northwest Inlander and the Spokane Valley News Herald during a debate at the CenterPlace community center.
News >  Idaho

Oktoberfest hits the Inland Northwest

With snow frosting the Selkirks and clouds intermittently blocking the sunshine, revelers in North Idaho made the most of the first full weekend of fall and the festivities that come with it. In its 13th year, Oktoberfest at Daanen's Delicatessen in Hayden had cars lining Wayne Boulevard by early afternoon. "We've done this so long now we get phone calls, 'When's Oktoberfest?' " said Mark Daanen, who's sold European fare in the community with his wife, Irene, for 15 years. Like Daanen, a few others donned their lederhosen to complement the German atmosphere, replete with music, beer, food and activities to occupy the kids. Just up the street, the Kootenai County Farmers' Market was in also full fall mode, with pumpkin painting, a warmly dressed bluegrass band and the scent of cider wafting on the crisp air. "Our season's kind of done now," said Marie Schnore. Signs notified passers-by that Saturday was the last day this year for plant sales at the longtime stand. Although Wednesday was the final day for the Wednesday market in downtown Coeur d'Alene, the farmers market at Highway 95 and Prairie Avenue will continue through Oct. 20th for those looking for locally grown food, crafts and potential Christmas presents. Near Bayview, 350 people walked in Farragut State Park to raise a record $51,000 for Alzheimer's research and resources for caregivers, according to a release from the Alzheimer's Association. Selkirk School also held its fall fundraiser Saturday at Sandpoint City Beach. The school of about 20 students in preschool through second grade usually raises $3,000 to $4,000 with the event and community sponsorships. In years past it was held at the school, but this fall children bounded in the bounce house and parents perused the silent auction while the odd sailboat tacked behind them through the calm waters of Pend Oreille. "It's nice to have other people from the community here," said teacher and face pain
News >  Voices

Barrier inside police precinct to be replaced using federal funds

Following attacks on police in North Idaho, the Spokane Valley Police Department will fortify the public areas of the Valley precinct using money from a federal grant. Even before the fatal shootings in Moscow last May, Chief Rick Van Leuven and his staff had been working on an emergency plan and looking at how to improve security in the building.
News >  Spokane

Valley council race gets new face

With a month left before ballots are dropped into voters' mailboxes, a new challenger has placed his bid for a seat on the Spokane Valley City Council. Tom Towey launched the city's first write-in campaign against Councilman Steve Taylor for his Position 2 seat last week. As a rule, write-in campaigns are a long shot, but the Ponderosa neighborhood resident said he's been quickly drawing support from community leaders in Greenacres, Central Valley and other segments of the city.
News >  Spokane

Valley testing finds 60 weak hydrants, increases pressure on water districts

Beside the east shore of Liberty Lake, on the hillsides overlooking Spokane Valley and in scattered neighborhoods below, homes surround about 60 fire hydrants that might not provide enough water to put out a fire. Water pressure is critical to firefighters, who can run through a pumper truck's 700-gallon tank in less than five minutes.
News >  Voices

Greenacres’ lot size decided

Dismissing hours of earlier public testimony that some City Council members characterized as misinformed, Spokane Valley's council made what will likely be its final decision by approving tighter development in north Greenacres Tuesday. In a 4 to 3 decision, Mayor Diana Wilhite cast the deciding vote in favor of 7,500-square-foot minimum lots in most of Greenacres.
News >  Voices

New purpose for Pratt

Class may have ended for good at Pratt Elementary, but the Spokane Valley City Council's vote Tuesday to help fund a community center there has Edgecliff residents hopeful they can keep the building open for neighborhood programs. With few businesses, churches or other large places to gather in the area, many Edgecliff residents described the school as the heart of the community and argued passionately against Spokane Public Schools' decision to close it this year.
News >  Spokane

Valley hears final zoning comments

The council chambers swelled with people intent on changing the course of development in Spokane Valley one last time Tuesday as the City Council held its final public hearing on the city's new development code. "We've played this dance with you for years now, and it's becoming very exhausting," said Greenacres resident Alice Beattie.
News >  Spokane

Plan to benefit 100 properties

In addition to the city center development itself, consultants hired by Spokane Valley also outlined a broader city center "neighborhood" that currently includes about 100 commercial properties covering 130 acres that could be prime for redevelopment if the project is successful. They are owned by some 70 companies and individuals, based on an analysis of property records. The Magnuson family of North Idaho controls about a third of the property in the city center neighborhood, including the University City mall.
News >  Voices

Restrictions near Felts Field to be examined

The Spokane Valley City Council indicated it would revisit restrictions on subdividing residential land near Felts Field where several landowners paid for extra sewer hookups only to be told they couldn't develop their lots. At its meeting Tuesday, the council asked the city's legal counsel to round up the city's options and liabilities when it comes to rules for a specially designated area around the airport.
News >  Spokane

Valley OKs rezoning criteria

The Spokane Valley City Council tentatively adopted criteria Tuesday that developers must meet for zone changes. The rules would give meaning to the city's new zoning for single-family residential areas, which have consistently been built at higher densities because rezones are so easy to get. The council's action followed a compromise that planners fleshed out last week for the city's contentious new zoning map, proposing more tightly built subdivisions for some neighborhoods while preserving large lots in others.
News >  Voices

Grass fires account for half of blazes

The Spokane Valley Fire Department handled 219 emergency calls between Aug. 23 and Wednesday. Crews were called to put out 16 fires, Fire Marshal Kevin Miller said. They included eight grass fires, two car fires, two trash fires and two fires in clothes dryers and a fire in an oven, he said.
News >  Spokane

School buses go the extra half-mile

Parents at the Parkside apartments in Spokane Valley can see Trent Elementary from where a school bus picks up their children to take them across the street. Although the East Valley School District plans to reduce busing close to schools, children at the complex near I-90 still must be driven to class because delayed roadwork has yet to provide a safe way across busy Pines Road.