For years it seemed like Deer Park Airport's biggest draw was gravity. It was simply impossible for cross-country pilots to make it over the Rockies en route to the coast without landing to refuel and use the bathroom. There, pilots found a rough-planked toolshed of a building with an ever-evaporating pot of Folgers perched on a card table and a use-if -you-dare commode tucked behind a suspect partition. This place was charitably referred to as "The Lounge."
It wasn't that long ago that a private jet landing at the Coeur d'Alene Airport/Pappy Boyington Field sparked a real rubberneck moment, the kind that transformed the saltiest of airport hands into Lookie Lous. The sky reflected in Lake Coeur d'Alene suggests that's no longer the case. Inland Northwest community airports are rapidly changing largely because of noncommercial flights, which have ushered some into the private jet age and others into real estate market of leisure hangars. The trend has yet to hit cruising speed, say experts.
It may be a subdivision of middle- to upper-class homes with tightly manicured lawns, but lately Spokane Valley's Ponderosa neighborhood has been looking like a tattooed tramp. Graffiti mars the subdivision's entryway at Schaffer and Dishman-Mica roads. The damage starts on an east-facing chain link fence bordering some railroad tracks and winds more than 100 feet to the community's gateway. There, suburbanites streaming into the neighborhood are greeted by white poofy letters exclaiming "Bomb The World," though the only person really being blasted is builder Dennis Crapo.
Some birthdays you just don't celebrate with candles. Sixteen years ago this coming Tuesday, in the middle of the afternoon, residents of Spokane Valley's Ponderosa neighborhood heard the roar of a late-season forest fire torching the trees for which their neighborhood is named. Before long, 14 houses were burning and Ponderosa neighbors were driving down the only two roads out of the neighborhood.
Just a few weeks ago, Spokane Valley seemed like it was going to sleep through the 2007 election. Campaign signs were scarce. Candidates stumping door to door were even more so. The only two incumbents running for the re-election to Spokane Valley City Council were headed back to office by virtue of being unchallenged. The city's only contested race, one to replace a council member uninterested in running again, featured one candidate with no intention of waiting up on the night of the primary to see if he'd won and another unwilling to shelve her personal life to meet with voters.
An early morning Sept. 28 bust outside a sheet metal shop in Liberty Lake yielded two alleged metal theft suspects with apparent drug ties. The suspects, 41-year-old Diane M. Putnam and 44-year-old Felix R. Colon, both of Spokane, were arrested behind Acrifab Display Products, which works with sheet metal. Police say they found the two pulling metal from a bin behind the store and loading it into a blue, 1984 Chevy truck.
Developers of a high-end housing project along the Spokane River near Arbor Crest were granted a significant step forward last week when Spokane Valley rezoned 37 acres on the river's south bank to allow up to 22 housing units per acre. The gravel-rich land just off of Cement Road had been zoned for mining, but the change approved Tuesday by Spokane Valley Interim Hearing Examiner Michael Dempsey would open the land to a mix of 285 homes and condominiums planned by Neighborhood Inc. of Coeur d'Alene. The project is being called Coyote Rock.
Edgecliff officials are wasting no time transforming recently vacated Pratt School into a community center. The building, shuttered last spring as a cost-cutting move, opened part time this month as a hub for children's programs, including a computer study center. Spokane Valley food bank will begin using the building soon to distribute food. And more programs could be on the way.
Is any city's future brighter than Liberty Lake's? Its property values are on a meteoric rise. Its weekly police reports won't fill a single page. Its oldest houses are less than 30 years old and its business district is swelling with good paying, light manufacturing jobs.