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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Valley hires public information officer

Carolbelle Branch, instrumental in turning the West Plains Chamber of Commerce into a vibrant organization, has accepted a job with the Spokane Valley City Hall.

Branch was named Spokane Valley’s public information officer and will serve as a coordinator between the community and the media. She is the first person to fill the job and started work on June 20.

“An opportunity like this comes along and you’ve got to go for it,” said Branch, who saw the job opening listed in a newspaper classified ad.

Branch worked in the chamber’s small office at 201 W. First Ave., in Cheney for 31/2 years. She had part-time help, which amounted to 15 hours a week, but was regarded as a one-person operation.

She said she succeeded in one of her main goals as executive director, increasing the Chamber membership from 146 to 186. It was not unusual to see Branch in the audience at sparsely attended City Council meetings throughout the West Plains.

She also organized the Best of the West annual banquet, which honors people in education, public safety, military service and business from the Cheney, Airway Heights, Medical Lake and Great Northern communities.

Branch traveled to Washington, D.C., over the past two years with the Regional Chambers Alliance. The purpose was to advocate saving and expanding Fairchild Air Force Base. The alliance is made up West Plains, Spokane, Spokane Valley, Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene chambers.

She will be immensely missed,” said Chamber president Dan Villalobos.

Branch was born in Omak, Wash., and moved to Spokane to attend Eastern Washington University. She graduated in 1996 with a degree in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in public relations and communications. Branch worked at Nx Technologies for 4½ years before working at the chamber.

Villalobos said about 12 people, mostly local, have applied for the job. The deadline to apply was June 24, however it has been extended to Wednesday.

Villalobos said the executive board search committee will review all applications and schedule interviews for about six candidates. It will share its information with the board of directors. The salary is about $32,000.

“We are looking for someone who is outgoing with an energetic personality to replace Carolbelle,” Villalobos said.

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