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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Indoor soccer center wins approval in Spokane Valley

The Spokane Valley hearing examiner has cleared the way for an indoor soccer business to set up shop in the old Itron building in the Spokane Valley Industrial Park. It’s a Soccer Life Inc. is owned by Greg and Heather Moore. The business plans to provide field space for soccer games, camps, tournaments and clinics. The building is located near the northeast corner of Sullivan Road and Marietta Avenue.

City hopes to extend sewage outflow deadline

Spokane city leaders have promised for more than a decade to stop the flow of raw sewage into the Spokane River by 2018.  But with five years left until that state-mandated target, the city is abandoning the goal, as well as a $350 million plan to reach it and the accompanying rate increases that would pay for it.

Health district takes safety online

People prefer to learn about food safety in their pajamas – or at least from their home computers. Earlier this year, the Spokane County Regional Health District’s food safety program began offering the education and testing for food-handler permits online and there has been a 12 percent bump in the number of people getting their food worker cards. The cards are required for anyone who handles unwrapped food or beverages when they are serving the public.

Liberty Lake shoreline improvements allowed to remain

Most of the shoreline improvements installed without proper permits by a Liberty Lake homeowner will be allowed to stay after a recent decision from the Spokane County hearing examiner, but a covered cabana/deck must be reduced in height. Hearing examiner Mike Dempsey said he based his decision to grant the retroactive shoreline substantial development permit on expert testimony that the concrete steps, retaining walls and bulkheads were necessary to stabilize the slope below the home owned by Lloyd Herman at 24603 E. Tum Tum Drive.

Liberty Lake man wants retroactive permit for shoreline changes

A Liberty Lake homeowner argued before the Spokane County Hearing Examiner on Wednesday that he cannot comply with a court order to remove features he built on his Liberty Lake shoreline property because doing so would destabilize the hillside beneath his home. Lloyd Herman was making a case for a retroactive permit to cover improvements that have been deemed illegal by the courts and the state Department of Ecology. He said he bought the property at 24603 E. Tum Tum Drive from his father in 1970 and has lived there since 1954. In 1993, Herman made several improvements, including building a bulkhead, enlarging a concrete deck and adding stairs. He was fined $1,000 by the Department of Ecology for violating shoreline management rules for doing the work without a permit. In 1995 he reached an agreement that called for him to remove some of the improvements in exchange for the $1,000 fine being dismissed.

Valley installs new permitting software

A switch to new software in the Spokane Valley planning department has left employees happy but busy as they work to adapt to a program that offers so many more benefits than the old software that it nearly boggles the mind. “It’s a way bigger deal than we imagined,” said Community Development Director John Hohman. No longer do employees have to maintain multiple databases to try to track permit applications. It’s not just new software but a whole new way of doing business, Hohman said.

City mulls street fixes

The need to pay for street preservation ran headlong into the Spokane Valley City Council’s often-stated opposition to new taxes during the council’s winter retreat on Tuesday. No one argued against funding roadwork, but council members seemed reluctant to consider creating new tax revenue to pay for it. The city’s estimated annual revenue for street preservation is $2.3 million. Public Works Director Neil Kersten estimated the city needs to spend $13.2 million annually on street preservation and reconstruction.

Sewage plant set to open this week

Spokane County officials expect to get a state permit today to operate their new sewage treatment plant – and to celebrate on Thursday. There may be some crossed fingers when the high fives are handed out at the $173 million plant’s dedication ceremony.

City will apply for state Ecology grant

Spokane Valley City Councilwoman Brenda Grassel cast the only vote against applying for a $125,000 grant from the Department of Ecology to help pay for the ongoing update of the city’s Shoreline Master Program. In 2009 the city budgeted $150,000 in general fund money to pay for the state-mandated update, which must be completed by 2013. The plan, which will regulate development along the shores of the Spokane River, must be approved by the Department of Ecology before it can take effect.

Complaints and fines stoke fruit stand feud

Richard Phillips, who owns the Farm Fresh Fruit stand at 10 S. Argonne Road, recently paid a hefty fine for violating the terms of his temporary use permit last fall. It was one in a series of complaints that have been filed against the fruit stand, though Phillips places the blame for many of the complaints on a neighbor he has been feuding with for years. Phillips gets a temporary use permit every year, which allows him to operate his fruit stand for six months.

County recalculates building permits

Spokane County commissioners decided Tuesday evening to charge more for dog licenses and change the way building permit fees are calculated. No one objected. Almost no one was there.

Per-hour formula proposed for building-permit charges

An overhaul of building-permit fees in unincorporated Spokane County could reduce costs for big projects and make small ones more expensive. County commissioners will take testimony Nov. 30 on a proposal to charge for building permits according to the time it takes to process them instead of the value of the project.

By popular demand, the Smith is the most restricted recreational river in Montana

Swollen rivers choked with silt were raging throughout much of the Inland Northwest in recent weeks, prompting fishermen to be judicious about launching rafts or drift boats – at least until the water cleared enough for trout to see their lures. But anglers with assigned dates to float central Montana’s Smith River had to go with the flow.

Armed clerk thwarts robbery

An armed robber was turned away at a north Spokane pizza shop Wednesday night when the clerk pulled his own handgun and told the robber to drop his weapon.

County Oks Antique Store In Barn

In/Around Trentwood A woman can continue to operate an antique store in her barn despite a neighbor's complaints. Spokane County officials granted Penny Simonson a conditional use permit for a home industry Tuesday.