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2 • JANUARY 2018
Department, a job that included his college tuition being covered.
The Park Bench
Langford would later work for the New Orleans Police Department before latching on as an officer with the police force in Harahan, a suburb of New Orleans. He would remain there for 23 years, rising to the rank of captain.
The Survivor – Langford’s council service eclipses a decade
“A lot of my work today as a council member carries over from my time in law enforcement,” Langford says. “I’m looking out for citizens. It’s what I did. I say ‘Let’s do the best we can for them.’” Langford is the father of a grown daughter from his first marriage. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking – with an emphasis on Southern/ Cajun dishes.
By Craig Howard Splash Editor
Those who view Odin Langford as a somber bump on a log have their reasons. The longtime member of the Liberty Lake City Council can be cantankerous during council meetings, speaking in sullen tones from his trademark corner seat at the dais. His line of questioning is thorough, his topics wellresearched – but those hoping for a modern-day version of Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” may be in for a wait. While he may not bring his jolly exterior to municipal discussions, those who know Langford outside of council workshops, budget hearings and ongoing philosophical squabbles with Mayor Steve Peterson will tell you to not judge this book by its choleric cover. Langford has a quick wit and a ready smile, has served as a Sunday School teacher at his church and will listen patiently to residents’ concerns even if it means interrupting his grocery shopping or morning coffee. He has compassion for the less fortunate based largely on his own experience growing up. Leading up to the most recent general election, Langford doorbelled extensively, chatting with fellow Liberty Lakers about subjects ranging from traffic congestion to multi-family housing. Those who met Langford on the campaign trail saw the more genuine Odin, more gregarious than grouchy. “I feel I am misunderstood,” Langford said. “People see the outer shell and think I’m cranky. I’m working for the citizens. I want what’s best for them.” Langford won his re-election bid in November, collecting 57 percent of the vote against challenger Jeanette Nall. It was his third
Q: What were your first impressions of the Liberty Lake community when you moved here in 2001?
Texas native Odin Langford has served on the Liberty Lake City Council since October 2007. Langford won his most recent re-election bid in November, earning 57 percent of the vote against challenger Jeanette Nall. Photo by Craig Howard victory at the ballot since 2009. “Losing doesn’t sit well with me,” Langford says. Learning does. He has earned the Advanced Certificate of Municipal Leadership from the Association of Washington Cities, a distinction that AWC says is reserved for city leaders “who continue to strive for excellence by attending conferences and trainings, serving their community and further developing leadership skills.”
knew that Liberty Lake was where they wanted to be. “This community is special,” Langford said. “I don’t ever want to leave here.” Langford, 65, took a circuitous route to the Inland Northwest. He was born in Ft. Worth, Texas, the son of a long-haul truck driver and a mom who sewed his clothes and worked as a waitress. Humble circumstances defined his childhood.
The senior member of council, Langford began serving in October 2007 when he was appointed to replace Joanna Klegin who relocated outside of the area. Langford had faced Klegin in the 2003 general election, losing by 17 votes in his first run at council.
“We lived from apartment to apartment,” Langford recalls. “We ate a lot of beans.”
Winning in the fall was rewarding for Langford who noted that more people reached out to support him than in any other campaign.
Langford’s folks, who had met in Ft. Worth at a helicopter manufacturing plant during World War II, moved with their son to Louisiana when Odin was 8. The family lived in a New Orleans apartment where Langford remembers “naming all the spiders.”
“This election was different,” he said. “I had people calling me who I didn’t know, saying ‘How can help?’ Being re-elected gave me pause. I found it great that the community said, ‘You’re the guy.’ I felt I won their confidence.” Langford and roots in the after moving Washington in
his wife Jill planted Inland Northwest from Vancouver, 2001. They both
The homemade clothes wore well but Langford remembers feeling “a little out of step” with his classmates and their store-bought attire.
Things changed when Langford’s dad started a medical supply company. Langford worked there while attending East Jefferson High School in New Orleans. When he graduated, Langford signed on with the Jefferson Parish Police
A: Coming from the Deep South, it was the natural beauty that first grabbed me. Compared to New Orleans, the cleanliness of Liberty Lake also made for a great first impression. As we settled in, we learned that for the most part, the people who lived in Liberty Lake were warm, generous and family inspired. They liked being outdoors in all types of weather and were happy to lend a hand, at a moment’s notice. Being dog lovers, it didn’t take long for Jill and I to notice that this community shared that trait. Jill and I are just as much in love with Liberty Lake today, as we were in 2001. Q: How did your experience in law enforcement and working for municipalities in Louisiana affect your decision to enter your name into consideration for the Liberty Lake City Council? A: Actually, it’s a mindset. You see, when you make a career out of helping, protecting and serving, that doesn’t change simply because you retire. At least it didn’t for me. It’s also a matter of parallel or crossover skill sets. Being on the City Council, is in many comparable ways, just a continuation of helping, protecting and serving. You wear different hats, have different jobs, but one influences the other. I had represented the police department before the City Council for many years while I was still on the job. I was experienced in preparing annual budgets, maintaining budget oversight and periodic reporting of budget analysis. I also enjoyed working with department’s legal
See LANGFORD, Page 5
JANUARY 2018 • 3
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Ribbon cut on new Liberty Lake Fire Station By Staci Lehman
Splash Correspondent Liberty Lake’s new fire station is now open – and it came in under budget and ahead of schedule. “We’re still going through invoices so we don’t have the final numbers but it’s definitely going to cost us less than we were expecting,” said Melanie Rose, Community Affairs officer for the Spokane Valley Fire Department. “And we were about a month ahead of schedule.” Construction started on the $4 million station at 21300 E. Country Vista Drive in March and operations started out of it on Nov. 30. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held a few days later on Dec. 4. Liberty Lake officials, civic leaders and citizens all came out for the event. The new facility has something
other stations don’t – doors that open horizontally rather than rolling up.
“The doors are twice as fast as roll-up doors,” said Rose, “They cost a little more up front but will pay off eventually in maintenance costs.” The doors’ speed was definitely one reason they were chosen – in order to improve response time to emergencies – but Rose says there were a few other reasons. Roll-up doors sometimes get hit by fire truck drivers who can’t easily see them when leaving the station in a hurry, but their aesthetic value also played a part. “We really wanted the station to blend into the setting in Liberty Lake,” she said. “Our architects and designers spent some time looking at doors to get the look we wanted.” The building also features three drive-through apparatus bays, seven sleeping dorms and four bathrooms; a very roomy building for the one crew who will occupy it at a time for the foreseeable future. At 11,000 square feet, it could accommodate multiple crews
in the future. “It’s built for expansion,” Rose said. “It’s so much cheaper to build it now than add on later when the space is needed.”
from a capital reserve fund, along with a little money from the fire department’s operating fund. That means taxes will not increase to pay for the building.
Community growth will dictate when that space is needed, just like it influenced the building and location of a new station. The Country Vista site was selected for its proximity to new homes and businesses that are both under construction now and planned for the future, as well as the Country Vista Apartments. It is also close to where the proposed Henry Road/I-90 overpass could be built in the future. The new building replaces the old Liberty Lake fire station on Harvard Road north of Interstate 90. That building has been sold to the Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District. Officials say moving the station won’t increase risk for homes and businesses on the north side of the freeway. Station 4 is located just two miles from the old station on Wellesley Avenue and can easily service the area. The new station was financed
Spokane Valley Fire Department Chief Bryan Collins (second from left) receives a plaque from Spokane Valley Chamber CEO Katherine Morgan (third from left) at the ribbon cutting for the opening of Spokane Valley Fire Department Station #3 in Liberty Lake on Dec. 4. Photo courtesy Spokane Valley Fire Department
Liberty Lake Mayor Steve Peterson (left) helps to cut the ribbon to officially open Spokane Valley Fire Department Station #3 in Liberty Lake on Dec. 4. Photo courtesy Spokane Valley Fire Department
Continued from page 2 section developing ordinances, so I had a pretty good idea what the councilman’s role was. Q: You have been the senior representative of council for several years now. How do you think that experience and background as a city leader serve as an asset? A: You develop a deeper understanding only available by having a history, a history that will shed light on the present and guide the future. History is filled with wins and losses. So many times, I can share from experience, what we “should not” do with the council. That can be valuable, since it can save time and money and starting over. One of the reasons that I dig deeper, ask harder questions and look for more than one answer to problems, is because I know where it can lead, if it’s not done on the front end of the project. Once money is spent, it’s very hard to admit that we were wrong or that we need to re-assess the situation and possibly cut our losses. Rarely in governance is a single problem, only affecting a single outcome. They are all interconnected one way or another. It does no good to solve a problem today, just to find out that tomorrow your decision was short-sided or made on limited information. Ask the hard questions. Ask the questions that the residents elected you to ask. Q: You were one of two council members, along with Bob Moore, to oppose putting the Town Square community center bond back on the ballot earlier this year. Do you think the discussion about how to utilize that property is on a far back shelf for now? A: This is a perfect example of what I was saying about everything being interconnected. The quick answer, the short-sided answer would be “Yes, it needs to be on the back shelf.” Actually, something could come up tomorrow that brings that piece of property back to the front lines for action. So we can’t just say “yes” or “no”. What we can say is this: development of this property isn’t high on our list of goals for 2018. Q: Are there lessons you learned while growing up in challenging economic circumstances that have carried over into your adult life? A:
JANUARY 2018 • 5
grandpa talk about back in the day when he walked 20 miles in the snow to get to school, even if it was true. But I will say this – the way everyone is brought up, including their economic situation, is going to shape their attitude, either positively or negatively into adulthood. From age 7 to when I left home, we lived in one-bedroom garage apartments. I slept on a folding bed in the living room. My mother made most of my clothes and I learned a gazillion ways to cook beans. But here’s the lessons that I finally learned from those more challenging times: Want to improve yourself? Get an education! Want to change your economic condition? Work! Want to make your life better? Help others! Want to live happily? Remember that the clay is not greater than the potter! Q: With your victory in the latest general election, you have now completed three successful campaigns to defend your council seat. What do you think have been some of the keys to being re-elected? A: You have to have a base of support, from which to run. Take a stand and be able to communicate that position with the electorate and speak from the heart – don’t just say what you think they want to hear. People want to know your position on current events. But really, what they want to know is – can they can trust you? Don’t try to be something you aren’t, for the sake of an election. Finally, work harder and longer than your opponent, spend your money wisely and remember that it doesn’t end with the election. It’s only started.
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6 • JANUARY 2018
“A community is known by the schools it keeps”
Delivering on our promise
with the completion of the following construction bond projects:
Please Join Us in Celebration!
Mica Peak High School (formerly Barker) & CV Early Learning Center Dedicated February 17, 2016 15111 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley
Central Valley Virtual Learning Center
Opened September 2016 13208 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley
Completed four additional classrooms Jan. 2017 13313 E. Broadway Ave., Spokane Valley
Opportunity Elementary School Dedica on Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Liberty Creek Elementary School Dedicated August 15, 2017 23909 E. Country Vista Dr., Liberty Lake
Ceremony • 6:00-7:00 PM School Tours • 7:00-8:30 PM 1109 S. Wilbur Rd., Spokane Valley
Evergreen Middle School
Dedicated August 22, 2017 14221 E. 16th Ave., Spokane Valley
Greenacres Elementary School
Dedicated August 24, 2017 17915 E. 4th Ave., Spokane Valley
Chester Elementary School
Dedicated August 29, 2017 3525 S. Pines Rd., Spokane Valley
Sunrise Elementary School
Dedicated September 14, 2017 14603 E. 24th Ave., Spokane Valley
Ponderosa Elementary School
Not only are we delivering on our 2015 bond promise, but we also leveraged state matching and grant funds to deliver
two additional new schools! NEW
Riverbend Elementary School
Comple on Date–July 2018 17720 E. Mission Ave., Spokane Valley
North Pines Middle School
Comple on Date–August 2018 11900 E. Broadway Ave., Spokane Valley
Comple on Date–March 2018 10105 E. Cimmaron Dr., Spokane Valley STAY CONNECTED...
509-558-5400 • www.cvsd.org
JANUARY 2018 • 7
The Lookout MEMO from the
By Mayor Steve Peterson
I am happy because in December we began purging our files at home and preparing for the next year. It was not an easy task, but it’s done. The same happens with the city as we finalize our budget plans and begin to implement those plans in 2018! We clean out the stuff we no longer need and make the transition to what we will keep and
depend on in 2018. No big changes are contemplated in 2018 but we will need to determine where our community will be in 2028 -- just 10 years away. To do so, we must begin with an informative canvas of our community and what it is you desire. This is the basis for a quality strategic plan. A strategic plan based on community data, objectives, vision and outcomes. The city of Spokane has just finished a twoyear process to define their next two to eight years coming down to a “one vision, one plan and one
voice!” In 2018, we will begin the same process to establish our goals and the objectives which we “wish” to accomplish and the “how” it will be done. Strategic planning requires committing resources to back up the actions necessary to achieve those goals and outcomes. I encourage you all to be part of the process in defining our future by coming to City Council meetings, responding to surveys that involve this outreach and visiting our website to express your views. A strategic plan is only as good as the
As the year rounds out, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department looks toward the New Year. With the New Year, comes the favorite part of the community for many residents – the city garden plots.
The city does not allow residents to roll over their previous year’s rental status. Once the first working day of the New Year arrives, all plots are restored back to an open and available status. Plots are rented out on a first-come, firstserve basis, and the city does not retain a “waiting list” in order to keep the playing field fair. For more information regarding the garden plots and application information, please call 755-6700 or stop by City Hall.
data that is gathered. I learned many years ago that you plan your work and work your plan! That’s exactly what we are going to do. We are going to get your “buy-in” by involvement in our goal setting. We aim to plan and implement those ideas by having our community form a single voice based around desired outcomes. Thanks again to all of you who will contribute and all of you who have helped make Liberty Lake Spokane County’s premier address! Happy New Year.
Meet your new City Council rep – Mike Kennedy
Think Spring – Sign up now for garden space
For those unfamiliar, the city provides two enclosed garden areas, each containing several garden plot boxes that become available for rental to Liberty Lake residents come the first working day of every New Year. For $25, a resident can rent out a plot for a full season. Many residents with limited yard space find being able to grow their seasonal goods in the rentable plots a great relief.
Please keep sidewalks clear of snow
Now that winter is in full swing, we would like to remind residents that it is up to property owners to keep sidewalks clear for pedestrians. More information about this maintenance requirement can be found on the Liberty Lake website ( https://www.libertylakewa.gov/ DocumentCenter/Home/View/931). “It is the responsibility of the abutting property owner to keep the adjacent rights of way free of anything that obstructs or interferes with the normal flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic, unless specifically authorized by ordinance
to do otherwise. This responsibility includes, but is not limited to, removal of earth, rock, and other debris, as well as projecting or overhanging bushes and limbs that may obstruct or render unsafe the passage of persons or vehicles. Sidewalks - Must be maintained in a safe condition at all times by removing snow and ice, or any accumulation of debris, materials or objects where the same endangers or interferes with the public convenience in the use of such sidewalks. All sidewalks must be clear of obstructions by earth, rock, or vegetation from edge to edge and to an elevation of 7.5 feet above sidewalk level.”
You may have heard that Mike Kennedy won his bid for the Liberty Lake City Council in the most recent general election. What you may not know is Kennedy is a Navy veteran, a former member of the planning commission in both Spokane and Liberty Lake and a successful business owner in the telecommunications field. Here are a few more facts about the newest addition to Liberty Lake’s governing board: Kennedy is a native of Spokane and the middle child in a family of five. His family vacationed on the shores of Liberty Lake when he was a kid. In high school, Mike was an adept tuba and string bass player. While in the Navy, Mike served as an assistant public relations officer with the Blue Angels. Mike and his wife Betty have been married since 1966 and are the parents of two children. They have lived in the Liberty Lake area since 2002. Kennedy was selected to be the facilitator at a Liberty Lake City Council retreat in 2012.
https://www.facebook.com/libertylakewa • www.libertylakewa.gov
8 • JANUARY 2018
Council delves into idea of equipment reserve fund
By Craig Howard Splash Editor There was no squabbling over the importance of police cars at the Dec. 5 Liberty Lake City Council meeting. The differences cropped up when it came to how the city would set aside funds for the purchase of such vehicles. With a relatively new building reserve fund having reached $125,000, the city is now considering the possibility of a similar account for the acquisition of equipment needed for everything from public safety to snow plowing. The conversation around the dais began with Council Member Bob Moore recommending that $700,000 be transferred from the city’s general fund to a dedicated reserve for the replacement of police vehicles. “Public safety is my highest priority,” Moore said in making the case for the transfer. “I just want to make sure we don’t spend funds for
that purpose on other things in the city.” Mayor Pro Tem Shane Brickner said the finance committee had brought up the option of a reduced amount for such a fund, enough for two vehicles at a time. The $700,000 amount would be enough to replace the entire existing fleet of 15 police cars. Council Member Cris Kaminskas, who also serves on the finance committee, said the thought was to “go to the (police) chief and see how much they need,” while adding that “$700,000 seems like a lot of money.” Police Chief Brian Asmus said the department currently rotates one to two vehicles a year. He added that the rotation plan was put in place years ago after the city began to compile their own fleet. “We just didn’t want to wait and have 10 cars with 100,000 miles each on them that would need to be replaced,” Asmus said. Mayor Steve Peterson expressed confidence that if the city was faced with a situation where two or three police vehicles were needed, “they would be in our lot tomorrow,” based on existing agreements with the Spokane Police Department and
Mike Kennedy was sworn by City Clerk Ann Swenson on Dec. 5 as the newest member of the Liberty Lake City Council. Kennedy defeated Dylan McGuire in the November general election to earn the bid as the Pos. 6 representative. Photo by Craig Howard the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. Peterson said it would make sense to earmark $125,000 for an equipment reserve fund. “The police department is our number one priority but parks, library, streets are also priority services for us,” Peterson said. Moore said he struggled with the funds not being committed exclusively for police cruisers, particularly if the economy reaches a point when it is not as robust. “If we have an economic downturn, I want to make sure we have that money set aside for police vehicles not for whatever cause you say.” Brickner said council has appreciated Moore’s emphasis on the need to develop a long-term strategic plan, pointing out that the discussion about police vehicles has brought it to the forefront again. “We’ve heard you,” Brickner said to Moore. “We don’t want to get caught in a situation where we need funds for something.” Council Member Mike Kennedy, the newest addition around the dais, said he supported earmarking funds to different causes. “We can’t take care of it if we don’t have the overall picture,” Kennedy said. “It’s critical that we look at what those needs are. If we haven’t earmarked funds, then we’re confusing our citizens.” In other city news: • Kennedy took the oath of office as the Pos. 6 member of City Council at the Dec. 5 meeting. Kennedy, a resident of the Liberty Lake area since 2002 and a former member of the planning commission,
defeated Dylan McGuire in the general election. “I’ve seen the great things this council has accomplished in the past,” Kennedy said. “And I think we will accomplish great things in the future.” Kennedy noted that he took his campaign seriously despite McGuire dropping out of the race after ballots had been determined, knocking on some 1,800 doors. “The same commitment I brought to my campaign, I’ll bring to council,” Kennedy said. • LeAnn Yamamoto spoke on behalf of the Spokane County Commute Trip Reduction program on Dec. 5, noting that 10 Liberty Lake companies take part in the effort. She said the program has goals to decrease vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gases by 18 percent by 2019-20. • In her report from the finance committee, Kaminskas said sales tax revenue was up 11 percent from this time last year. • Council discussed the possibility of utilizing cell phones provided by the city that would make access to public records requests easier. The phones would be used for city-related matters. “It would provide for better transparency,” said Mayor Peterson. • Liberty Lake Sewer and Water Commissioner Tom Agnew told council that the utility’s plant upgrade would by complete by Dec. 8 with a grand opening sometime by May or June. “It takes a while to get optimized,” Agnew said. • Council unanimously confirmed the mayor’s reappointment of Lu Embry to the Liberty Lake Municipal Library Board.
Workshop explores potential fixes at Trailhead By Craig Howard Splash Editor
The polite but ardent applause at the Dec. 12 workshop on the Trailhead at Liberty Lake Golf Course was reminiscent of something you might hear on a green at Augusta or Pebble Beach. Instead the sound came from attendees at City Hall expressing their support of the city’s executive golf venue, currently the subject of serious discussions regarding improvements to both the irrigation system and driving range deemed critical by those in the know. City Administrator Katy Allen acknowledged early on in the meeting that Trailhead “is near and dear to many people” while emphasizing that “no decision has been made” on exactly what upgrades and expenditures lay ahead for the site. “We want to gather ideas so we can do more research and come back with more information,” Allen told those in attendance. Finance Director RJ Stevenson said the city has “reinvested in Trailhead as capital needs arise,” yet the combination of addressing both an aging irrigation network and inadequate driving range nets amount to the most significant “todo” list the course has ever seen. In November, the city’s risk management consultant made it clear that, based on the current state of the driving range nets, the city could face severe legal repercussions if a stray golf ball struck a bystander. Allen said city officials have been observing the number of drives that escape the nets, including a share that find their way to the grounds at nearby City Hall.
architecture – said each application is drastically different.
teams at Central Valley, East Valley and West Valley utilize the site for practice.
Trailhead pro Chris Johnston told council that he had been quoted $1.4 million on a new netting configuration at the driving range that would raise the height from 70 feet to 135 feet.
Council Member Bob Moore reiterated his position that “a golf course in not the best and highest use for this land” while reminding his council colleagues that the city has other properties to keep watch over.
“It’s sticker shock when you think about fencing,” Johnston said. Johnston pointed out when Trailhead was established in 1973, the terrain around the course was much different and did not present the concerns with errant golf balls now so prevalent. “The city has grown up around the range,” he said. The city purchased the former Valley View Golf Course in 2002 for $2.6 million. The note and bond are now paid off. The 55-acre property is currently assessed at a value of over $5 million. Addressing the idea of shortening the driving range, Johnston said the net would need to be correspondingly higher. Johnston gave the example of a course in the Seattle area that installed a 110foot net but had to replace it later with a 125-foot version. Revenue from the driving range continues to increase. When Johnston took over as head pro in 2011, proceeds were at $55,000. In 2016, that number was at $101,000. “If you reduced or eliminated the driving range, we’d be losing customers,” Johnston said. “It would have a ripple effect on the overall revenue.” Council Member Cris Kaminskas brought up the possibility of a surcharge for those who use the range to help cover the costs of replacing the nets. Severs reminded those in the room that talk around the dais in the past has revolved around making Trailhead “a premier practice facility.” Currently golf
“This is only one of the properties the city owns,” Moore said. “Are there other properties we should be spending $3 million on instead? It’s not our money, it’s the taxpayers’ money. I’d like to learn if the taxpayers want to spend $3 million on a golf course. I think we have to figure out how we’re going to pay for it in the context of a larger financial strategy.” Moore was among several around the dais who pointed out that the city still needs to address a clubhouse and banquet room at Trailhead that have both been characterized as insufficient and antiquated. Johnston aid it’s not uncommon to miss out on hosting events due to the inadequate space. The public comment portion of the workshop was defined by Trailhead enthusiasts concerned about the future of the venue. While the words varied, the theme was similar – those who spoke see Trailhead and golf in general enhancing the quality of life for both golfers and non-golfers in Liberty Lake. Tom Kendall, vice-president of the men’s golf club at Trailhead, teed off first. “I would like to see you maintain your golf course but I understand you have a huge job here,” he said. Marc Dershem said golf was one of the main reasons he and his family moved to Liberty Lake. “Trailhead is a place where youth can play golf,” he said. Susan Kinyon, president of the Trailhead ladies’ club, said she plans to move to Liberty Lake at some point and
JANUARY 2018 • 9
hopes to teach her grandkids to golf at Trailhead. She noted that membership in the ladies’ club has increased every year. “This course is more challenging than people realize,” she said. Resident Scott Murray emphasized that Liberty Lake is “a golf community.” “Golf tourism provides a lot of economic impact that maybe we’re not even aware of,” Murray said. Council members acknowledged the negative effect that eliminating or scaling back Trailhead would have on surrounding property values. Mayor Pro Tem Shane Brickner referred to Trailhead as “a staple for our city” while Council Member Mike Kennedy drew applause for his comment about “never getting rid” of the course. Kaminskas also pointed out that Trailhead continues to be a revenue generator for the city. “We’re getting sales tax revenue from those who come to play,” she said. “We’re willing to put $2.5 million into something like Orchard Park that brings in no revenue. For me, it’s a no-brainer to spend $2.5 million on Trailhead.” Short-term strategies to improve safety at the driving range included using limited flight golf balls, adding warning signs around the perimeter of the range and having golfers use only center tee boxes to reduce the chances of drives going beyond the nets. Allen noted that there was currently nothing set aside for Trailhead irrigation or driving range nets in the 2018 budget. Stevenson pitched in that funds could be drawn from revenue already in city coffers from the Real Estate Excise Tax to fund the irrigation system. Allen said the process to install a new system would mean “putting together bid documents and having the lowest qualified bidder do the work.”
On the watering side, Parks and Open Space Director Jennifer Camp said city maintenance staff have done their best to maintain an outdated irrigation setup but main line upkeep continuous to be “laborious.” Meanwhile shortfalls in the system “are just snowballing,” Camp said, putting a strain on staff time and costs. “We’ve got a 45-year-old well and pump that need to be replaced,” she said. “It’s inevitable that those parts are going to fail in the next few years.” Camp said a report submitted to the city from an outside consultant showed the replacement “could be done in phases but was not recommended.” The cost to replace the entire system is estimated at around $1.3 million. In responding to several comments about the viability of a new irrigation system servicing a park setting if Trailhead ever made such a conversion, Council Member Hugh Severs – who spent time in the field of landscape
The Liberty Lake City Council discussed the future of the Trailhead Golf Course at a Dec. 12 workshop. The course, purchased by the city in 2002, is facing various capital facility needs including replacement of the irrigation system and driving range nets. Photo by Hayley Schmelzer
10 • JANUARY 2018
Amendments aplenty as council passes 2018 budget
a matter of priorities,” Severs said.
The biggest ticket on the revision list was a $1.3 million line item to replace the irrigation system at the Trailhead at Liberty Lake Golf Course. Brickner made it clear that setting aside the funds did not necessarily mean the money would be spent in 2018.
By Craig Howard
It took overtime for the Liberty Lake City Council to pass the 2018 budget. A three-hour meeting on Dec. 19 was not quite enough for the governing board to sort through a maze of amendments and mayor’s budget questions (MBQs) that cropped up in the process of approving the financial game plan for the New Year. A bonus session two days later made the document official. Council decided Dec. 21 to remove a line item of $680,000 for upgrades to the north field at Liberty Creek Elementary. Council Member Dan Dunne raised the possibility of the city setting aside $375,000 for the project that would have created a turf playing field for sports like soccer and lacrosse. Dunne proposed that the city and the Central Valley School District collaborate in “joint development” of the space. Mayor Pro Tem Shane Brickner said it should be up to the district to develop the land. Others around the dais agreed. “I don’t think it’s fair for the city and the citizens to finish this field,” Brickner said. Council Members Hugh Severs and Mike Kennedy both expressed enthusiasm for the idea of developing a recreational space but stopped short of committing city funds. “I love the project, I just think it’s
The budget amendments came about in the series of council deliberations that followed Mayor Steve Peterson’s presentation of the preliminary budget on Oct. 17. “We’ve added things as we’ve had discussions going along,” said Finance Director R.J. Stevenson.
“It’s there if we need it,” he said. Council did not approve another proposed expenditure for the course, a new driving range net estimated at around $1.4 million. Stevenson said the city is taking other steps right now to improve safety conditions related to the existing net. Council approved an amendment for $90,000 to re-stripe a section of Appleway in the eastern section of the city from Fairway Lane near the Hawkstone development. City Engineer Andrew Staples said the wide roadway has caused issues for some motorists. The new configuration will mean three lanes with a center turn lane as well as a bike lane. Also passing was $140,000 for a concession stand at Orchard Park, the city’s new largescale greenspace that will begin construction later this year in the River District. Council also dealt with the dilemma of state shortfalls affecting the municipal budget, specifically anticipated funds for traffic signals on Appleway at Signal Road and Madson Road. The city had already set aside $400,000 for the projects but learned the balance of the
Liberty Lake 23505 E Appleway Liberty Lake, WA 99019
509•891•6800 *Open 24/7 to Members
$1.27 million cost would not be coming from the Transportation Improvement Board (TIB), a state agency that distributes and manages grants for street maintenance and construction. Council wound up approving a $200,000 transfer from the general fund to ensure the construction of the Signal/Appleway traffic light in 2018. Police Chief Brian Asmus said there have been several crashes at the Appleway/Signal intersection. There was also hope that TIB support would help in the future with the Appleway/Madson signal. Allen said the city plans to reapply for grant assistance on that project this year. Construction of the Appleway/Signal light is expected to be completed by this summer. The Dec. 19 meeting also included an update on largescale transportation projects that may be closer to breaking ground than anticipated. Allen said there have been “good conversations” with representatives from the Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT) about the widening of Harvard Road, the Henry Road overpass and a Barker Road roundabout at Cataldo, just outside city limits. “DOT, the legislature and the city of Liberty Lake are all on the same page,” Allen said. “That wasn’t the case before.” Discussions have included entities like the city of Spokane Valley, Central Valley School District and Spokane Valley Fire Department as well as input from Sen. Mike Padden, the 4th Legislative District delegate to the state senate. The scenario would mean DOT taking the fiscal lead on the projects. “The goal with DOT and the city is to try and move these projects in a three to five-year cycle,” said
Peterson who emphasized that the Henry Road work would address the overpass not the costlier interchange proposal. “We should know in 90 days to six months the results of our efforts.”
More Budget Takeaways
• The city concluded 2017 with an ending fund balance of $4 million. • After much discussion, council opted against forming a building and equipment reserve fund. • Council approved $20,000 for a consultant to help improve the city’s approach to public engagement particularly through social media. Liberty Lake officials sought advice from representatives with Spokane County and the city of Spokane regarding their approach to distributing clear and consistent messaging. • One of the MBQs addressed on Dec. 21 involved the lease agreement the city has with Palenque restaurant at the Trailhead facility. The lease is up in April. “I think we need to address this sooner than later so we can have these negotiations,” Kaminskas said. • Council approved $10,000 for social services support, reinstating a line item that Keith Kopelson had introduced when he served on council. The consensus on the governing board was that the funds should be used to raise awareness about substance abuse issues, specifically opiod use. • Council approved $40,000 for an additional community messaging sign like the one in place at Liberty Lake Road and Country Vista. The funds will be added to $45,000 already in place for the project.
JANUARY 2018 • 11
Liberty Lake community flag winner announced
By Tamara K. Williams After nearly six months of collaboration and deliberation, participation from a slew of contributors, sponsors and judges, a decision has been reached in the Liberty Lake community flag contest. Congratulations goes to Rebekah Wilding for designing the flag judges felt best represented and reflected the spirit of the Liberty Lake community for all residents, government officials and local businesses. Wilding, 36, a lifelong resident of Liberty Lake said was honored and thrilled at the news. “I was at the movie “Star Wars” when I got the phone call,” Wilding says. “I feel so blessed to have my design chosen to represent this beautiful little community and city.” The mother of five is a self-taught graphic designer who works for her family’s local business, NBS Promos. She was encouraged by her husband Kevin and her family to enter a design for the contest. Challenged by the criteria of flag design, Wilding utilized a three-color scheme using a simple design depicting Mica Peak, the sunshine “Crown of Liberty” rising over the lake and the distinguishable canopy from Pavillion Park, surrounded by rich green representing golf courses and green space. The following is the narrative that Wilding included with her flag: “It shows the beautiful mountains that surround Liberty Lake as well as a silhouette of the historical pavilion. Underneath the pavilion, the lake is represented with the blue lines. The green on the left symbolizes the green parks and golf courses that are spread throughout Liberty Lake. To tie in our city name, I used the Statue of Liberty's crown as inspiration. Even though our city was named after Stephen Liberty (LaLiberte), I think most people think of our nation's liberty and freedom when they hear Liberty Lake. The ""crown"" also represents the sun/summer and all the activities and recreation our city provides especially in the summer.” “A winning design,” according to Liberty Lake City Council Member Dan Dunne who first presented the idea for a community flag and coordinated the contest. “I was pleased and thrilled with the participation from both the contributors who provided entries and the members of our essential community groups who assembled to select the final entry. Rebekah’s entry is beautiful and appropriate. I look forward to introducing it to our community.”
The winning flag includes symbolic colors and features, including green for the community’s parks and golf courses, blue representing water, a crown reminiscent of one on the Statue of Liberty and an image of the trademark canopy at Pavillion Park. Judges representing the Central Valley School District, Liberty Lake Kiwanis, Spokane Valley Arts Council, Friends of Pavillion Park, Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District, The Splash, Spokane Valley Fire Department, city of Liberty Lake and Liberty Lake Police Department gathered on Dec. 18 at City Hall to vote on the three flag finalists. Jenne Hatcher, an art teacher at Central Valley High School, and Liberty Lake resident and retiree David Hardin contributed the other two flag designs in the final mix. According to Wilding – who works a lot of overtime between part-time graphic designing and being a stayat-home mom – having her design chosen is a huge confidence builder moving forward in her career as a graphic designer. “This was a fun challenge for me, as a longtime resident of Liberty Lake,” she said. “I have enjoyed watching this community build and grow into the strong feeling of family it is today. I’m thankful for my friends and family, for being my biggest cheerleaders and for the sponsors and representatives of Liberty Lake who gave their time and attention to make this project happen.” According to Dunne, the next step forward will be to introduce Wilding’s design as a resolution to the City Council in adopting the design as the official flag for the community.
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12 • JANUARY 2018
Hope by the Shore – Liberty Lake residents, groups place priority on caring By Craig Howard Splash Editor In October 2015, Jason Brubaker wrote a guest column for the Splash straight from the heart. A month earlier, his father, Tom Brubaker, had passed away following a valiant battle with cancer. Jason’s words rang with gratitude for his dad and the profound lessons and legacy he handed down to his family. The column also featured an earnest thank-you message to the Liberty Lake community for rallying on behalf of his father. The support included a wide range of generosity, from grocery runs to fundraisers to the renovation of Tom’s backyard where he could recuperate from treatment and enjoy his beloved hobby of gardening. When he was first diagnosed, Tom was given around three months to live. He survived for threeand-a-half years more, buoyed by the reinforcement of family and neighbors who lived by one of Tom’s favorite mantras – "It's more blessed to give than receive."
lunches and a case of bottled water into downtown Spokane to feed the homeless. A decade and over 100,000 meals later, Blessings Under the Bridge is recognized as one of the region’s most influential nonprofit causes. Other examples of the caring spirit are not as well known. Greenstone Homes founder and longtime Liberty Lake resident Jim Frank was integral to the formation of the local Meals on Wheels program that rose from community roots in the mid-1970s. Last year, the effort that started in the basement of a Valley church served over 270,000 meals to those in need. With the theme of hope in mind to coincide with the arrival of a New Year, the Splash reached out to several local nonprofits and community causes and invited them to tell their respective stories. The following compilation reaffirms what we already knew – the streets in Liberty Lake and the surrounding area are paved with layers of generosity and goodwill.
Food4Thought By Pat Dockrey As of Dec. 1, Spokane Valley Partners, through its backpack program, Food4Thought, is providing weekend food for over 425 students in the Central, East and West Valley School Districts. We partner with four churches and
two CVSD special needs classes to sort and distribute the food.
By Joe Frank Schneidmiller
We expect to grow to 500 served per week by the end of the school year and will distribute well over 100,000 pounds of food this year. In addition to the weekend food, we also supply supplemental food boxes for the three high schools in CVSD This food is used at the discretion of the staff to help students who need food assistance during the week. All food is provided at no charge to the schools or the recipients. The following comments come from some of the staff at the participating schools:
The Friends of Pavillion Park (FOPP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the sense of community in Liberty Lake by providing safe and affordable opportunities for recreation, education, entertainment and the arts. FOPP was established by a group of volunteers in 1992 who had a vision for a regional community park that celebrated some of the community gathering history of Liberty Lake.
“As a school community, it is such a blessing to support families in need of the most basic resources such as food.” “Last year a student told me that he used to just stay home until lunch because he couldn’t learn anything when he was hungry anyway. Now he comes to school because he knows that he can get breakfast.” “Having access to snacks through Food4Thought has been a blessing not only to the children, but also to me! Having the ability to meet a child's most basic need is wonderful.” More at www.svpart.org/foodfor-thought.
Friends of Pavillion Park
The design of the park's pavilion was modeled after the large pavilion on Liberty Lake that burned down in 1962. The venue attracted many area residents to the shores of Liberty Lake. It is through this history of gathering together as a community that founded the vision for Friends of Pavillion Park. As an organization, we have a passion for the free events we are able to bring to our community, that in turn give us the opportunity to come together in a safe and family-friendly environment. That being said, we need additional board members to help bring new ideas and perspective to our group. We want to encourage any community member interested in seeing us continue the tradition of the Summer Festival, to reach
See HOPE, Page 13
“Much can be said about the quality of Liberty Lake's streets, the amenities in its recreational areas and the handsome landscaping around its homes and businesses,” Jason wrote that fall. “But it's people that really make our area such a wonderful place to live; people who don't just occupy adjacent spaces, but know and care about their neighbors. That's what truly forms the heart of any close-knit community, and our family has had the privilege of seeing that caring spirit at work.” Other examples of that same caring spirit are abundant throughout greater Liberty Lake. Kelsy McHenry started delivering what she called “Chemo Comfort Bags” – full of blankets, water bottles, warm socks and other reassuring fare – to local cancer patients after her friend and fellow Liberty Lake neighbor Laurie Denney was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. Liberty Lake residents Mike and Jessica Kovac are also familiar with the spirit of caring. In October 2007, Jessica hauled 40 sack
Friends of Pavillion Park has been a community catalyst in Liberty Lake since 1992. The volunteer-based group coordinates the popular Summer Festival each year, featuring free concerts, movies and Shakespeare in the Park. Photo by Craig Howard
Continued from page 12 out and join our board. For those interested, please submit the form at www.pavillionpark.org/want-tovolunteer.
By Phil Champlin
Life brings many challenges for everyone. Spokane Cares is designed to empower people to help themselves but sometimes a person’s heart feels broken and their burden so great, they become discouraged and lose hope.
Charity is the underlying message of Spokane Cares – charity for those in need and charity from those who serve. For seven years, Spokane Cares has seen a surge in requests for volunteer opportunities during the holidays, which quickly drops after Christmas. As we begin a New Year, it is good to remember that people are in need 365 days a year, not just during the holidays. Spokane Cares is a trusted source of community information for social workers, ecclesiastical and community leaders, the poor and the rich. People repeatedly visit SpokaneCares.org, seeking help for themselves, and meaningful ways to help others.
opportunities by visiting www. ywcaspokane.org/how-to-help. Call 789-9305 to learn more about how you can make a lasting impact in the lives of those who need it most. The YWCA 24-hour domestic violence helpline can be reached at 326-2255.
HUB Sports Center
By Donna Orme
We are all surrounded by people who are suffering, leaving us countless ways to serve others. That is when friends and neighbors can step in to help people survive challenging difficulties and restore their hope for a better life. Volunteers are essential in lifting burdens. They offer far more than food and money – they offer a beacon of hope, love, friendship, caring and trusting relationships, as well as encouragement to endure trials. In addition, those who serve others find their own burdens are lifted.
JANUARY 2018 • 13
Founded in 2007, HUB Sports Center in Liberty Lake is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a purpose to provide events that have a positive impact on youth and the community. We make a difference to people of all ages by providing a safe place for outstanding programs and activities.
The HUB Sports Center in Liberty Lake hosts a variety of events, tournaments and training programs throughout the year, including a "Dad and Dudes" event each May. The venue premiered as Sports USA in 2004. Photo by Craig Howard Spokane Cares is helping to change the course of many lives for the better. We can’t solve all of the problems in the world, but we can do something – and so can you. More at www.spokanecares.org.
YWCA By Nicole Nimens The YWCA Spokane began in 1903 with a focus on offering night school classes for women new to Spokane. It has grown into a multi-service organization serving over 12,000 women, children and families each year who are impacted by domestic violence, homelessness and unemployment. We are proud of our 115-year history in Spokane and our ability to adjust services and our approach to meet the current need of women and children, as well as serve as a voice for what is right, fair and just. YWCA Spokane currently helps
thousands of women and children escape from domestic violence, get access to legal support and receive a safe place for healing and growth. YWCA grants opportunities for women to gain safety and stability, to learn new skills, increase employment opportunities, and provide access to resources for their children’s education and wellbeing. At YWCA Spokane, we believe in a community where all women and children have a safe place to live. A place where women have the opportunity to earn a livable wage and families can live free from violence, in peace, and with dignity. You can make a difference in the lives of the women and children we serve every day. Consider donating funds, clothing and necessities, or your time through one-time, short-term, and ongoing volunteer
We work alongside other nonprofit organizations (YMCA, AAU, club volleyball, Special Olympics, local school districts, etc.) to provide a first-class facility to conduct and/ or expand their programs through leagues, tournaments, games, camps and clinics. In addition, HUB Sports Center creates programs to meet needs in the community such as afterschool programs for at-risk youth, father/son play night, pickleball for senior citizens, preschool/daycare sports day and homeschool activities. Without the HUB, these programs would be limited in their participation or would not exist. Valuable life lessons are being caught and taught through events and activities, such as how to work together as a team toward a common goal; how to get along with people you don’t know; how to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat; how to respect authority and much more. Youth are learning about hard work, discipline, sportsmanship and building selfesteem through these activities. Over 175,000 youth and families will visit the HUB this year and out-
See IMPACT, Page 16
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14 • JANUARY 2018
Ring In The New Year In Your New Home! 0 4,90 3 3 $
Calendar of Events COMMUNITY EVENTS Dec. 30-Jan. 7 | Christmas tree recycling at Central Valley High School and University High School parking lots. Times are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 30 and 31, Jan. 7 and 8. Home pick-up of a tree (within about 12 minutes of CVHS or U-Hi) is also available. Cost is $5 for drop-off, $10 for pick-up (minimum suggested donation). All proceeds support Boy Scout Troop 400 in Spokane Valley. Call 720-8357 for more information.
0 9,90 $42
Through Jan. 1 | Winter Glow at Cowley Park, near Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, 101 W. Eighth Ave., Spokane. Cowley Park becomes “Christmas Park” for 40 days during the holiday season. There are lights high up in trees and displays throughout the park. Enjoy the music and animation by walking through the park. The park is decorated especially for children on the fifth floor of the Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital to look out and enjoy.
0 9,90 $42
Jan. 10 | Liberty Lake Community Blood Drive, 9 to 11 a.m., Greenstone Homes office, 1421 N. Meadowwood Lane, Ste. 200, Liberty Lake. The Inland Northwest Blood Center along with the Liberty Lake Community Blood Drive volunteers led by Paula Young will be coordinating the blood drive. INBC needs an average of 200 blood donors every day to meet the needs of more than 35 hospitals in the Inland Northwest. A single donation can save the lives of up to three people. For more information, visit www.inbcsaves.org.
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ACT 2 senior classes | Affordable classes offered by Community Colleges of Spokane to those who are retired or planning to retire. A wide range of courses from geology and history to exercise and art are offered at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place, as well as other locations throughout the area. “Focused Fitness on Dishman Mica,” a yoga class, is now part of the schedule. More at www.sccel. spokane.edu/ACT2 Military Sobriety Support Group | 10 to 11: 30 a.m., Spokane Vet Center, 13109 E. Mirabeau Parkway, Spokane Valley. Call Steve at 8934746 for more information Baha’i
| 7 to 8 p.m., third Thursdays of the month. Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. Discussion of Baha’i teachings, history, and perspectives on resolving the challenges facing humanity. All are welcome. More at 599-2411 or www.bahai.us Catholic Singles Mingle | meeting times and locations vary. This group, with no dues, is for single adults of all ages. More at www. meetup.com/Catholic-SinglesMingle DivorceCare Recovery Support Group | Tuesdays 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Eastpoint Church, 15303 E. Sprague Ave. Learn how to heal from the deep hurt of divorce and discover hope for your future. DivorceCare for Kids (ages 5-12) meets at the same time and location. Cost is $25 for workbook. More at 892-5255 or eastpointchurch.com Grange Meeting and Dessert | 6:30 p.m., first Wednesday of the month, Tri-Community Grange, 25025 Heather St., Newman Lake. The public is welcome for this community-based service organization. For more information call 226-2202 or see us on Facebook Liberty Lake Library | 23123 E. Mission Ave., Liberty Lake. Various clubs and weekly meetings including book clubs, children’s story times, LEGO club, computer drop-in class, knitting club, and more. More at www.libertylakewa. gov/library Men’s Weekly Bible Study | 7 a.m. Tuesdays. Millwood Presbyterian Church, 3223 N. Marguerite Road, Millwood. The men’s weekly Bible Study meets in the Reception Hall with different members sharing in the leading of the study. All men are invited to join. More at www. milwoodpc.org Pancreatic Cancer Action Network | 6:30 p.m., the first Monday of each month. Liberty Lake Municipal Library, 23123 E. Mission Ave., Liberty Lake. More at www.pancan.org or 534-2564 Toastmasters, Liberty Lakers #399 | 5:45 to 7 p.m., Wednesdays at the Liberty Lake Library, 23123 E. Mission Ave., Liberty Lake. This is a speaking and leadership development club. Spokane Valley Quilt Guild | Meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of February, April, June, August, October and December at Valley Assembly of
God Church, 15618 E. Broadway, Spokane Valley. Open to all interested in sharing ideas and skills of our quilting craft. Participants have can access a comprehensive library, can engage experienced teachers and participate in community service projects. More at www.svqgspokane.com
MUSIC & THE ARTS Jan. 26 | Master Class for Violin with Mira Wang, 3 to 5 p.m., at the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox, Before her performance with the Spokane Symphony on Jan. 27 and 28, violinist Mira Wang will present a master class for local violin students selected by audition. The master class is free and open to the public. More at www.spokanesymphony.org/ master-classes. Jan. 27-28 | Spokane Symphony Classics: “Scheherazade.” Music Director Eckart Preu conducts the Spokane Symphony performing the U.S. premiere of Torsten’s Rasch’s “Tropoi” Violin Concerto, featuring violinist Mira Wang. This is the first of four concerts celebrating Bach’s 333rd birthday. The others are “Classics 6, 7 and 9” Saturday, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 28 at 3 p.m. at Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox. Tickets range from $17 to $60. More at www. spokanesymphony.org.
RECURRING Drop-in square dance lessons | 7 to 8:30 p.m. (through May 18). Western Dance Center, 1901 N. Sullivan Road. Square dance lessons for $3 per person; no partner needed. More at 270-9264 Pages of Harmony | 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Wednesdays. Thornhill Valley Chapel, 1400 S. Pines Road. If you enjoy singing, you will love the four-part, a cappella harmony of this men’s barbershop chorus. More at www.pagesofharmony.org Spirit of Spokane Chorus | 6:45 p.m., Tuesdays. Opportunity Presbyterian Church, 202 N. Pines Road. Make new friends by joining this women’s chorus, specializing in four-part, a cappella harmony in the barbershop style. More at 2184799 Spokane Novelists Group | noon to 4 p.m., second and fourth Saturday of the month. Otis Orchards Community Church,
Spokane Valley Camera Club | 7:15 p.m., third and fourth Monday of the month (September through April). Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District building, 22510 E. Mission Ave., Liberty Lake. All levels of ability—students through experienced photographers—are invited to learn. Social events include field trips and workshops. More at 951-1446 or www.sv-cc. org
Vet Center, 13109 E. Mirabeau Parkway, Spokane Valley. Eligibility: Combat veteran from all eras, military sexual trauma survivors, Contact Steve at 893-4746 to make an intake appointment.
Jan. 9 | Liberty Lake City Council workshop to discuss improvements at Trailhead at Liberty Lake Golf Course, 5:30 p.m., City Hall, 22710 E. Country Vista Drive.
Spokane Valley Writer’s Group | 6:15 p.m. the first and third Thursdays of the month. Lakeside Church, 23129 E. Mission Ave. This supportive critique group welcomes adult writers. More at 570-4440 Teen Writers of the Inland Empire | 4 p.m., first Thursday of the month (except holidays). Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. Writers (sixth grade and older) meet to write and share their work. More at 893-8400
Jan. 23 | Boots to Business – free business and entrepreneurial training for veterans, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., SBA Training Room, 801 W. Riverside, Ste. 444, Spokane. Contact Joel Nania at 353-2810 for more information.
Wednesday mornings | Mindful Music & Movement class, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Specifically designed for those living with chronic health issues such as: Parkinson's, dementia, COPD, MS, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, cancer. Supporting body, mind and soul. $10 donation suggested. Facilitated by board-certified Music Therapist, Carla Carnegie. Willow Song Music Therapy Center. 21101 E. Wellesley #102. Otis Orchards. For more information, visit www. willowsongmusictherapy.com or call 592 7875.
RECURRING HUB Sports Center 19619 E. Cataldo Ave., Liberty Lake. Various activities and events occur throughout the week including: • Pickleball drop-in: 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Mon. through Thurs.; 10 a.m. to noon Tues. and Thurs.; and 6 to 8 p.m. Wed. and Sun. $3/seniors ($5/ non-seniors) • Classes including Kenpo Karate and Zumba Aerobics. See website for cost and times Tuesday afternoons | Decreasing Anger Group, 3 to 4:30 p.m., the
CIVIC & BUSINESS
Jan. 23 | Vietnam War Commemoration and Welcome Home Event, 1 p.m., Spokane Vet Center, 13109 E. Mirabeau Parkway, Spokane Valley. This event is being held to recognize, thank and honor U.S. veterans who served during the Vietnam War. Family, friends and community members are welcome. For more information, call the Vet Center at 444-8387.
HEALTH & RECREATION
T h e N a t i o n a l ly A w a r d - W i n n i n g C e n t r a l V a l l e y h i g h s c h o o l T h e a t r e D e p a r t m e n t P r o u d ly P r e s e n t s
RECURRING Central Valley School Board | 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of each month, CVSD administration building, 19307 E. Cataldo, Spokane Valley Liberty Lake City Council | 7 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month, City Hall, 22710 E. Country Vista Drive Liberty Lake Library Foundation | Noon the first Wednesday of each month, 23123 E. Mission Ave.
15-18 & 21-25
Liberty Lake Merchants Association | 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays, Liberty Lake Portal, 23403 E. Mission Ave., Suite 120. More at 999-4935 Liberty Lake Municipal Library Board | 10:30 a.m. the first Thursday of each month, 23123 E. Mission Ave. Liberty Lake Planning Commission | 4 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month, City Hall, 22710 E. Country Vista Drive Liberty Lake SCOPE (Sheriff’s Community Oriented Policing Effort) | 6:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month, City Hall, 22710 E. Country Vista Drive Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District Board | 4 p.m. on the second Monday of each month, 22510 E. Mission Ave.
Presented with special permission of Musical Theatre International New York, New York ™
23304 E. Wellesley Ave., Otis Orchards. A support/critique group for writers. Open to anyone with an interest in writing fiction (no memoirs, nonfiction, poetry, etc., please). Participants should bring 5-10 pages to read aloud and 6-8 copies for others to read along and critique. More at 590-7316
JANUARY 2018 • 15
CV Performing Arts Center | 821 S Sullivan Rd, Spokane Valley
Purchase your seats now at cvtheatre.com
Underwritten in part by:
Thea s Booster
16 • JANUARY 2018
coverage provide barriers to care.
Continued from page 13
of-town visitors will generate $7 million in economic impact to our local economy. We are committed to this community and especially its youth. We have a passion to be a vital resource for future generations. More at www.hubsportscenter.org or call 927-0602.
Elevations By Mary Anne Ruddis The mission of Elevations is “elevating children with special needs to reach their full potential by providing access to the resources and support they need to improve their families’ overall quality of life.” No parent should have to choose between seeing their child thrive and putting gas in the tank or food on the table. The current health insurance structure is forcing families of children with special needs to decide between paying for effective, evidence-based speech, occupational, physical and other therapies/equipment or paying their household bills. Multiple copays, high deductibles, limited insurance benefits and lack of
As one parent wrote: “Even with the best insurance policy in the world, the out-of-pocket costs can be debilitating. Coming to the realization that you aren’t going to be able to provide those services to your child no matter how much you sacrifice is a tough place to be.” Elevations bridges the gap. We are so thankful for our caring community. Whether you like to dance to the music, run/walk in the sunshine or dress up in costume, Elevations has several events in 2018 to have a great time and support a great cause. The calendar includes the following: March 12 – Elevate Concert at the Roadhouse in Spokane Valley; June 2 – Stache Dash 5k run/walk in Liberty Lake and Oct. 27 – the Ghost Ball costume party with a purpose in downtown Spokane. Visit our website at www. elevationsspokane.org or call 3852116 to learn more.
focused on youth. The Kiwanis Foundation, founded in 2003, is an extension of the local club and has given over $170,000 in scholarships to area students. The Liberty Lake Kiwanis present various events around Liberty Lake, including the concession stand at Pavillion Park (during the Friends of Pavilion Park Summer Festival), the Liberty Lake Community Yard Sale, the FatherDaughter Dance, Barefoot in the Park and our newest event – the Mother/Son Golf Scramble, coming up in September. The Liberty Lake Kiwanis founded
the Food4Thought food backpack program which sends food home on the weekend with area students in the free and reduced lunch program – so that kids can have good nutritious meals on the weekends when not in school. It is only in partnership with the community that are we able to do this. If you would like to be part of this valuable group and make a difference for the kids in our community, join us on Wednesday mornings before work (6:45 a.m.) at Liberty Lake City Hall. More at www.libertylakekiwanis.org.
Liberty Lake Kiwanis By Dan Dunne The Liberty Lake Kiwanis, founded in 2001, is a member of the Kiwanis International service organization and a local community group
The Liberty Lake Kiwanis Club is part of a variety of signature civic events and programs, including the Liberty Lake Yard Sales, foundation scholarships for high school seniors and the Father Daughter Dance. The mobile Kiwanis concession booth is also a familiar trademark of the club. Photo by Danica Wick
You are The Splash Want to see your name in print (for all the right reasons, of course)? Or maybe you just want to help point out great ideas for content worth sharing with your neighbors? The Splash is a community newspaper, so if you are part of the Liberty Lake community, we want to know what’s important to you. We like to say there are five of us, and there are more than 100,000 of you. Maybe one of the questions below applies to you? If so, you can help us out. Do you go on vacation? Maybe you’re heading somewhere fun (and warm) for spring break. If so, pack a copy of The Splash and pull it out to snap your photo in front of your favorite destination or landmark. When you return to the Liberty Lake, drop us a line with the pic, and we’ll share it with readers. Are you part of a club or service organization? Well, what do you know? Let us add you to our list of recurring Liberty Lake events in the near future
that will be well-suited for clubs and organizations that have regular meetings. Send us the info. Do you celebrate? We want people to know about everything from your new baby, to your upcoming wedding or anniversary, to your incredible office or sporting achievement. Photos, announcements, honors — please send! We will feature it in the “Local Lens.” Did you capture a shot? Shutterbugs, unite! If you are capturing great Liberty Lake moments, whether while out and about or in your backyard, e-mail us your photo so we can share it around the neighborhood. Send along names of those pictures and complete caption information as much as possible. Are you a local freelance journalist? The Splash sets aside great assignments for people like you. Send some clips and your resume our way, and we’ll be in touch.
Do you eat? We thought so. Perhaps you have a favorite order at a Liberty Lake eatery? Before you clean your plate, get your picture taken with your order and send it to us. Include the place, order, cost and why you love it. It’s just one more way we can point one another to all the best Liberty Lake offers.
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New facility offers unique boat, RV storage options
JANUARY 2018 • 17
By Staci Lehman
Splash Correspondent Renee DiFronzo and Betsy Legg want to help their community by providing a secure home for their belongings. DiFronzo and Legg, both Liberty Lake residents, are co-owners of the new Eagle Rock RV & Boat Storage at 940 N. Beck Road in Post Falls. Both DiFronzo and Legg are retired military members and law enforcement officers who once worked together on the graveyard shift for the California Highway Patrol. “That was 25 years ago,” said Legg. And the start of a long friendship. Since then, both have retired and gone through some life changes. Legg’s husband passed away while DiFronzo bought an RV and started traveling, eventually ending up in the Spokane area, reporting to Legg that she had found “the most lovely area in the world.” Ground was broken on the facility in May and construction completed in September. The co-owners have been getting the word out over the last several months, including setting up an informational booth at Barefoot in the Park at Pavillion Park in early August. The facility’s groundbreaking in May featured dignitaries like Marc Eberlein, Kootenai County commissioner and Jamé Davis, Post Falls Chamber of Commerce CEO. The first phase of building construction is 80,000 square feet with 180 units that range in size from 24 to 50 feet in length with LED lighting and electricity available in all units. The entire development is situated on a 15-acre parcel that DiFronzo and Legg plan to build out in future phases as business grows. “We are open to any storage,” said Legg, “But this first phase is focused on vehicle storage.” With a shortage of available rental houses and homes for sale in the area, both Legg and DiFronzo feel there is a big need for storage units for people having to make do with housing arrangements that may not be ideal. They say their facility
Eagle Rock RV & Boat Storage opened in Post Falls last month. The business is owned by Liberty Lake residents Renee DiFronzo and Betsy Legg. Photo by Staci Lehman is perfect for collector cars, RVs, boats and other recreational toys that might not fit in the traditional two car garage. The building boom also means new people are moving to the area with vehicles and recreational vehicles that may not be allowed to be parked on the streets of planned neighborhoods. “Within a mile of us there are 600 homes planned to be built,” said DiFronzo. “It’s definitely a needed service,” said Legg. “Our security system is about a $100,000 security system. A lot of our clients’ vehicles are worth thousands and thousands of dollars so we want to make sure we provide them a safe and clean facility.”
want to, not because we have to,” said Legg. “We live here in Liberty Lake and want to be a service to residents.” “We’re actively involved in the community,” agreed DiFronzo. “For instance, we’re involved with the humane society and once we get the business off the ground we would like to give back more and help out the community.” Both say it’s the least they can
do considering the reception they have received in our area. “The people we work with here in our area have been so professional,” said Legg, “So supportive.” Want to find out more? Eagle Rock RV & Boat Storage is located at 940 N. Beck Road in Post Falls. For more information, call 208-477-1824 or visit www. eaglerockrvboatstorage.com.
They are also concerned about something most other storage facilities haven’t considered – providing space for maneuvering large vehicles in narrow spaces. “One of the biggest things we pride ourselves on is the maneuverability of our drive aisles,” said Legg. “We think our maneuverability is going to set us apart. Our drive aisles are 30 percent larger than industry standards.” Both Legg and DiFronzo also feel that their location, conveniently situated between Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, less than a mile off I-90, will be an advantage for them. They believe that their commitment to the community will help as well. “We’re doing this because we
The first phase of construction at Eagle Rock RV & Boat Storage encompasses 80,000 square feet with 180 units that range in size from 24 to 50 feet. Photo by Staci Lehman
18 • JANUARY 2018
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ENROLL TODAY! Our coaches are passionate about gymnastics and focus on teaching quality gymnastics in a fun and safe environment. Classes run year-round with three 13-week sessions (Fall, Winter and Spring) and one 10-week summer session.
National Hot Tea Month
In 1908, Thomas Sullivan created small silk bags to hold samples of tea for his New York customers. One plant, Camellia sinensis, produces the four major tea types- black, green, white and oolong. Three varieties are used for commercial production. The Chinese variety grows to 15 feet and produces 2 inch long leaves for up to 100 years. The Assam plant grows up to 60 feet tall producing 6-14 inch long leaves for about 40 years. The Cambodian variety grows about 15 feet, it is used to create hybrids. The higher the altitude, the better the quality and flavor are. The art of tea leaf reading is called tasseography. In 2737 BCE, it is thought that tea leaves accidentally fell into Chinese Emperor Shen Nung’s bowl of hot water to create the first hot tea. Rooibos is made from a plant with needle like leaves that grows in South Africa. The leaves are fermented like regular tea to create a popular herbal tea. It took almost 3,000 years for tea to become
an everyday drink instead of only being used medicinally. Tea was introduced to Russia in the 1600’s when the Chinese ambassador gave Czar Alexis a gift of tea. Even though it took over a year to arrive Hudson Bay Company began importing tea to Canada in 1716. “The agony of the leaves” is the special name for when the tea leaves uncurl as hot water is poured on them. Leaves are fermented and then heated to create black tea. Green tea leaves are steamed then heated to remove moisture, but not fermented. In China, tea was pressed into bricks and used as currency. Portugal’s Catherine of Braganze brought chests of tea as part of her dowry when she married Charles II in 1662, thereby introducing tea to England.
20 • JANUARY 2018
Dragons Really Do Love Tea by Sara Ernst 2017 ages 5 – 8
Bravely she sets out to see if dragons are real and as s c a r y as everyone says. She hikes for days and when she meets the dragon it isn’t what she was led to believe at all. They become friends. Kids love the happy drawings.
The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi 2015 ages 3–7 A beautifully
book that follows a little girl on her trip to deliver pie to Grandma that her father had forgotten. Misfortune happens. She is invited to a tea party with a group of animals who graciously offer some of their desserts to replace the pie she damaged. The pops of color add drama to the charcoal drawings to hold your attention.
JANUARY 2018 • 21
Out t h g i N s t Paren
509-315-5433 2515 N. Locust Road Spokane Valley 99206
PACE Trait for January – Fairness
By Wade W. Magers Lincoln County Sheriff The definition of fairness can be paraphrased as: the state, condition or quality of being fair, marked by impartiality and honesty, free from self-interest, prejudice or favoritism. In short, fairness is doing the right thing, at the right time for the right reason. Fairness is all around us. Externally, fairness affects the way we do business with our favorite retailers and likewise how they conduct themselves with us to ensure that we will continue to do business with them. The perception of fairness is not just about outcomes. According to research, people consider both the outcome of a decision and the process by which the decision was made when forming their opinion about whether a decision was fair. Community satisfaction with law enforcement is important because the safety of officers may depend upon it. For example, if a member of the public receives a speeding ticket (negative outcome) but was treated fairly during the interaction with the officer issuing the ticket (positive process), the driver is more likely to feel that the encounter was fair and less likely to contest the ticket. The driver is also more likely to comply with the officer’s requests, such as producing identification when asked. They may also be influenced by the fairness and consistency of the process used to reach those outcomes. This suggests that if executives and supervisors are fair and consistent in the allocation of internal resources, in decision-making and in resolution of disputes, employees will view the agency and fellow employees as more legitimate and therefore will be more supportive of agency goals and policies. Words without action are merely the noise of a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. To truly change the
world around us, we must take action and do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason. This starts with asking questions such as “What do I know? Or more importantly, “What don’t I know and how can I find out?” And lastly, “How will the action I take in this matter effect those around me and be free from self-interest, prejudice or favoritism?” If these cannot be answered objectively, one should evaluate the situation based on the balance of what feels good and what is right. Fairness is not always easy and it most certainly is not comfortable. It must be put into action into our dayto-day activities for it to be present and to make sure that everyone has the chance to succeed and to make our home, school, community and world a better place for all people. Here are some fairness lessons to go by: 1. Treat all people equally - the same 2. Cooperate with one another. 3. Be respectful and listen to what others have to say. 4. Be willing to do what is best for everyone. 5. Play by the rules at all times; be a good sport. 6. Include others in games and activities. Don’t leave people out. 7. Understand that being fair doesn’t always mean the same treatment in every circumstance. 8. Stand-up for someone you see being treated unfairly – you can make a difference! In summary, fairness of the decision-making process is critical to the legitimacy of decisions as well as employees' acceptance of them. Ensuring that all individuals perceive decisions as procedurally fair literally can transform your workplace from one in which complaints, mistrust and dissatisfaction are common to one in which employees take disappointments in stride and continue to contribute positively to the organization. You have the power to shape your child and adult behaviors in a positive way or a negative way. Which outcome do you choose for your organization?
coaches are passionate about gymnastics and focus on ENROLL Our teaching quality gymnastics in a safe, fun and encouraging environment. Classes run year-round with three 13-week sessions TODAY! (Fall, Winter and Spring) and one 10-week summer session.
Ninja Zone • Bitty Bee Academy and Flippin’ Fun Movie Night • Parent’s Night Out • Open Gym for All Ages • Parkour and Breakdance Classes • CompetitiveTeams • Gymnastics Birthday Parties
Cut them out and collect them all! SQUIRREL - Worldwide, except Australia - 5 to 6 inches tall, weighs .5 to 4 pounds, lives 3 to 7 years - Nest is called a dray - 280 species, three subspecies (tree, ground, and flying) - Brain is the size of a walnut - Rodent whose front teeth never stop growing - Use their tail as protection from rain and to create shade
22 • JANUARY 2018
Kate was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. As a child she enjoyed both of her parents reading aloud to her. Her favorite place to be was the public library. Her favorites were Pippi Longstocking, Greek Myths, The Borrowers, Nancy Drew and comics, especially Mad Magazine. When people asked what she wanted to be when she grew up her answer was always “a reader”. The books taken home were shared with her pet guinea pigs George and ZaaZaa who inspired her Fluffy series. After graduating from the University of Tulsa ad Ohio State with degrees in elementary education, she taught in Los Angeles and on an American Air force base in Germany. She switched careers in 1976 and began editing in New York City. Within one year her first book was published and she’d met her future husband Jim who happened to be a picture book illustrator. Now she has written over a hundred books. She continues to teach writing classes and write to this day.
Author Spotlight en Kate McCull
The Noisy Giants’ Tea Party 1992 ages 5 and up.
Kate and her husband Jim have collaborated for an interesting picture book. The art isn’t bright and happy but it is beautiful and engaging. Quite a twist for a bedtime story.
Myth-O-Mania Series 2011 ages 8-12
Starting with Have a Hot Time, Hades! The ten book series introduces all of the major Greek characters in a fun way for kids. They don’t all match the myths that we’ve been taught but they are quite entertaining.
Dragon Slayers Academy Series 2003 ages 7-10
A series of amusing adventures that occur at Dragon Slayers Academy with Wiglaf, Erica and Angus. The first book has Wiglaf unable to slay the dragon with his magic sword but he is able to tell enough bad jokes to become a hero without spilling a drop of blood. There are 20 books in the series so if you like them there’s plenty for you to read.
JANUARY 2018 • 23
Student of the Month Central Valley senior Chloe Robbins has been one of the standouts this season in Greater Spokane League gymnastics. She has placed second in all-around at CV’s first two meets, both team victories over fields that included defending GSL champion Mead. Robbins qualified for state in three events last season and has also made it to state her first two years. She competes regionally in meets on the club level through Spokane Gymnastics. The senior has also participated in track and field since her freshman year. She is among the top 10 all-time pole vaulters in school history and has qualified for regionals twice. In the classroom, Robbins maintains a 3.95 grade point average and has been a member of the National Honor Society all four years. She also participates in DECA, a business marketing and communication program.
Citizen of the Month
& Thanks you for all you do in our community
Whether he’s running cross country or the business of student government, Central Valley senior Fielding Demars excels. He serves as ASB president, maintains a 4.0 grade point average and is a member of the National Honor Society. An Eagle Scout, Demars regularly participates in community service through his church youth group and has taken an active role in CV service projects such as the food drive and blanket drive. He is also the student representative on the Spokane Valley Partners Board of Directors. Demars has run cross country all four years and this season served as cocaptain for a team that placed second at the 4A state meet and 13th at Nike Cross Nationals. In track, he participates in the 800 meters, mile and 4 x 400-meter relay. He has qualified for regionals the past two years in the 800.
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Athlete of the Month Not many Liberty Lake residents can say they helped install the playground equipment at Pavillion Park. David Himebaugh, a resident of the community since 1990, has served on the Friends of Pavillion Park Board of Directors for the past 15 years. He says he enjoys being part of the process to bring the free Summer Festival to the park each year. Himebaugh is currently FOPP board vice president and has been past president. Himebaugh has also been part of the board at the HUB Sports Center for two years, actively participating in the facility’s capital campaign. A financial planner by trade, Himebaugh has also taught martial arts for the past 11 years and currently instructs at NW Taekwondo at the HUB. He is a third-degree Black Belt. Himebaugh and his wife Debbie have five children and one grandchild.
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24 • JANUARY 2018 Brought to you by
About and for Liberty Lake seniors
Longtime head of Medicare education program to retire By Staci Lehman
Splash Correspondent The greater Spokane area is losing a major resource when it comes to navigating the Medicare system. Kathy Dugan of Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) is retiring after 12 years as the program coordinator. SHIBA, part of the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner, provides free, unbiased and confidential help with Medicare and health care options to people of all ages and backgrounds. Primarily staffed by volunteers, advisors at SHIBA work with clients to assess health care coverage needs and determine eligibility for health care programs. Advisors also help compare available plans and programs, provide enrollment help and make referrals to other agencies and programs, as needed.
to help after using the program themselves. She does, however, conduct a lot of outreach to let members of the public know SHIBA services are available and free. She does this mostly through area senior centers and by making presentations to community groups. Ultimately, Dugan credits her volunteers with SHIBA’s success, especially considering the learning curve they face. The dedication of those who donate their time has been inspiring, Dugan says. “These are people who have chosen to learn everything about Medicare,” she said. “Medicare is incredibly complicated and making sure that volunteers understand is complicated.”
After a dozen years, Dugan is ready for a break. She says the sheer number of clients SHIBA serves can be exhausting. A hiring process is currently underway to find a replacement for her position after she officially retires on Feb. 2. Dugan plans to relax a little with her husband but ultimately plans to return to the world of social services. “We’re going to do some traveling,” she said. “And I’m looking for volunteering opportunities. In the meantime, puttering. Doing those things you just never get done because you’re working all the time.” Dugan doesn’t plan to completely separate from SHIBA either. She says that after a year or two, she will come back and volunteer for the cause after a new director gets settled into the job. And why not, when the rewards of helping
people and knowing she has made a difference has kept her with the agency for this long? “I get to watch people walk in the door in tears or close to tears and walk out smiling,” she said. “It brings great joy to your heart.”
SHIBA understands health care coverage and helps people understand their health insurance options. SHIBA provides free, unbiased and confidential help with Medicare and health care decisions and is part of the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner. The effort was established by the commissioner's office to protect insurance consumers.
Senior Medicare Patrol volunteers can provide presentations to your group to teach you about ways to avoid fraud and scams. They will advise you about Medicare fraud and how to avoid it. This free service provides counseling regarding prescription drug programs, long-term care options, health policy comparisons and the many programs you qualify for.
“We try to educate people so they know what their options are,” Dugan says. “If you don’t make quality healthcare decisions, you’re basically throwing money away.” Dugan says SHIBA’s service is extremely important because the Medicare system is a difficult one to grasp and if you don’t enroll when you are supposed to, there can be penalties and long waits until the next open enrollment period starts. She says you might feel rushed or pressured once open enrollments starts if you don’t get help.
For the most part, Dugan doesn’t do much recruiting of volunteers as most have come to her asking
Expert volunteers will help you learn about different health care options and coverage from Medicare, Medicaid, Basic Health and other private health care insurance providers.
Dugan has stayed extremely busy keeping the program both staffed with volunteers and making sure volunteers are up to date on the latest developments in the field of health care programs. She manages a group of almost 60 volunteers who serve Spokane, Whitman and Asotin counties. The local SHIBA office is facilitated by Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington.
“Open in enrollment is our crazy busy time,” Dugan says. “But we’re busy all year. People are turning 65 like mad.”
SHIBA also has volunteer opportunities available. If you have basic computer skills and an interest in health insurance and helping people to navigate the Medicare maze, the SHIBA HelpLine is the place for you.
Kathy Dugan is retiring after a dozen years as the program coordinator for the local Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors office, a free resource that sheds light on the often-complex world of health insurance, including Medicare. Photo by Staci Lehman
For more information call 625-4801 (Spokane) or the statewide, 24-hour, toll-free hotline at 1-800-562-6900 or visit www.insurance.wa.gov/ statewide-health-insurancebenefits-advisors-shiba. Snapshot content courtesy of SpokaneCares.org.
JANUARY 2018 • 25
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26 • JANUARY 2018
CV football turned in season to remember By Mike Vlahovich
Splash Sports Editor Following Central Valley’s semifinal loss to Richland in the state 4A football playoffs, someone told Bears’ coach Ryan Butner, “You know, your problem against Richland was you had them third and long.” The observance, while facetious, was spot on. Several times the CV defense had the Bombers third down and many yards to go, just where CV wanted them. Long pass completions continuously let Richland off the hook or produced touchdowns that led to the Bears’ downfall. But it couldn’t entirely put a damper on the remarkable season the Bears had. CV finished 10-2 and was one of the state’s top four 4A teams. It was the second-best finish in school history as well as the second straight state appearance for Butner. “There’s so much happening to go deep into the playoffs,” he said. “It’s all about matchups and having things go your way. It’s not having injuries.” Butner, who just wrapped up his second season as head coach, said the goal is to work hard so “at the
EV grad Johnson subs in to guide WSU sports By Mike Vlahovich
Splash Sports Editor As a standout pole vaulter at East Valley High School, John Johnson gave the aphorism “setting the bar high” a different meaning. Johnson set the EV school record by raising the pole vault bar ever higher until
end of the year they are playing the best football and that just happened.” The Bears lost their non-league season opener by two points against Lake City and didn’t lose again for three months. They scored 40 or more points in seven games and allowed two touchdowns or fewer in every game except three – Lake City, Richland and Greater Spokane League rival University in a 49-42 victory. “I knew going into the season that this was a special senior class,” Butner said. “They were intelligent and enjoyed each other’s company. When we beat Gonzaga Prep it gave our kids confidence and when we beat (defending 4A champ) Camas (in the state playoffs) that really sealed the deal.” The Bears’ post-season run also included a 41-0 drubbing of former 4A state champion Skyline in a quarterfinal matchup. CV had nine first-team All-GSL selections this year. Quarterback Grant Hannan, the league’s MVP on offense, had a remarkable season. A two-year junior varsity player, he took over when projected sophomore starter Matt Gabbert was injured. “Coming in and doing what (Grant) did, he was so dangerous, I think, for opposing teams because of his running ability,” Butner said. “We turned into an option team and had a great one-two punch in Hunter Chodorowski and (wide receiver/defensive back/punter) Austin Tomlinson. he reached 14-feet, 1-inch some 40 years ago. Johnson continues to set the bar higher beyond track and field with a work ethic that has helped him climb the ranks of collegiate sports administrators. The former Knight was recently named the interim athletic director at Washington State University. I had known Johnson and followed him throughout his threesport career at EV. Besides setting the school pole vault record that lasted some three decades, he ran sprints and relays in track, played quarterback, running back and
The Central Valley Bears finished 10-2 and reached the state 4A semifinals this year (above against eventual state 4A champ Richland). It was the most successful football campaign in school history outside of CV's 1997 state championship season. Photo by Erik Smith Tomlinson was the GSL AllPurpose Player and was joined on offense by linemen Triston Kelley and Aaron Williams. Defensive selections were junior lineman Wyatt Wickham, senior linebackers Jacob Lewis and Bekk Martin and defensive back Jase Edwards. Five others were second team choices, including Correy Quinn. “Quinn and Wickham never came out of the game,” Butner said. “Correy was an animal and is going to have the opportunity to play in college. Bekk might have led the league in interceptions.” It was the defense that carried the Bears and must be an emphasis next year for Butner and company who must replace nine of this year’s 11 starters.
defensive back in football, was on the basketball team and even played some summer baseball. I had run into him from time-totime in various sporting capacities and at gatherings in Spokane. And when I saw he was elevated at WSU after A.D. Bill Moos bolted, I figured it was time to catch up. Getting ahold of him was another matter, considering Johnson was busy dealing with bowl game logistics for the Cougars, with rumors about Mike Leach leaving and with taking over the duties Moos left behind.
“They were smart, put in the time and then they were opportunistic,” Butner said. “They picked off footballs, recovered fumbles doing what defenses do. They were so solid all year long.” Because so many players graduated a year ago, opposing GSL coaches felt lightly about the Bears’ chances, picking them to finish third in league. The program will face a similar challenge next season, replacing a slew of key seniors. “It will take work,” Butner said. “We’re graduating some great leaders, playmakers, smart kids. What the senior class left is a blueprint on how to lead, practice, get along with one another and be good students. We knocked on the door and want to see if we can make it back.” Finally the man with movie star good looks found a few minutes to tell of circumstances after high school graduation that ultimately led him to Pullman. Call it serendipity. He got into athletic administration almost by accident. Since college he’s been athletic director at his alma mater, Eastern Washington University, moved to Weber State and then been an assistant A.D. at WSU the past 13 years involved with fundraising, getting buildings built and athletic
See WSU, Page 27
Splash Sports Notebook
I know we have a lot of talent in the program,” Monrroy explains. “The main key is just building chemistry in the team with players from club.”
Splash Sports Editor
That may be more difficult than it seems. Athletes coming together from various club programs can be used to lead roles. Sorting out alpha egos and building a cohesive unit for the good of their school is a coaching gift.
By Mike Vlahovich
Combined, the girls’ soccer program at Central Valley lost one match in 2017 – and that came in the state 4A championship final. The varsity had swept through the season unscathed until then. The junior varsity was perfect and the freshmen were unblemished as well. With five All-Greater Spokane League players returning to a team that graduates five seniors from the 19-player varsity roster, don’t expect things to change. The league’s offensive and defensive most valuable players, Maggie Ames and Alyssa Molina, return as do All-GSL midfielder Kailyn LaBrosse defender Mady Simmelink and goal keeper A.J. Crooks. CV won 18 straight matches before dropping the 4A finale, 2-1, to Issaquah. Including this fall’s runner-up trophy, the girls’ program has reached the state semi-finals six times beginning in 2011, the finals three times and won two championships. The boys have been to state five of the past six years, been in the semi-finals four times, finishing second, third and fourth twice. Coach Andres Monrroy is obviously doing something right, although he defers credit. “As a coach I know there is a large talent pool in the Valley and
“The first thing you do is make them understand you represent Central Valley High School,” Monrroy said. “You are Bears and team comes first. The players and athletes do a great job of buying into that. We are able to overcome injury with our bench and we don’t drop off.” He addresses parental concerns by explaining that there are no guarantees and that the players must earn playing time. “You develop mostly through experience,” he continued. “You learn from a team’s failure. You do things to build the team, have fun, make friendships and learn from that.” Of this year’s near-perfect season, he said, “I think the girls really wanted to improve from the previous two seasons (When the Bears missed state.) I was amazed to see the growth and how they responded to the challenge.” Anna Hilbert and Kaelyn Barnes were the seniors who played on CV’s last state title team. “It was nice having them as leaders of the team to guide them,” Monrroy said. “They made my job easier as a coach.” The rest hadn’t been to the
years at Montana State and played two years of football as a receiver for coach Dick Zornes.
He earned his business degree and with a quarter left over began to work on his Master’s. Johnson interned with Eagles A.D. Ron Raver, selling radio and television advertising and helped set up Eastern’s radio broadcast with Paul Sorenson’s Impact Sports. He had found his niche.
Continued from page 26 “It’s been a lot of fun,” Johnson said. “I don’t believe I’ve worked a day in my life.” Johnson said that his EV track coach, the late Howard Dolphin, helped steer him toward the college business degree he was contemplating. “(Dolphin) said, ‘You know, business gives you lots of options and opportunities, it’s hard to go wrong.’” Johnson recalls. “I kind of ended up in that vein.” He transferred to EWU after two
“It was a time when we were building the program and I have fond memories,” he said. With the advanced degree, Johnson was eventually named A.D. at “the ripe age of 32.” He was hired at Weber State job in
finals before, but understand the expectations and tradition of the program. CV didn’t rely on one person, as evidenced by the number of All-GSL selections. But keeper Crooks, he said, was “amazing in goal, one of the most talented players we’ve had.” At the same time, he said, the Bears didn’t rely on one player. “We could score from nearly every position,” Monrroy said. CV boys finding their way Central Valley’s boys’ basketball team got off to a relatively slow start, but in defense there are extenuating circumstances. Football ran late, taking some returning players from last year’s team and one of those – 6-foot-4 Billy Ames – is sidelined so far this year with a leg injury. Coach Rick Sloan isn’t sure when he’ll return. With injury, lack of post presence and newcomers, the Bears have had to play three veteran guards out of position. Jase Edwards, Zach Stocker and Grant Hannan have so far kept the ship afloat with their double-digit scoring averages. The only others with size are a sophomore, Quinn Johnson, and 6-foot-9 freshman, Gavin Gilstrap, who could get some minutes with the varsity. He’s the tallest player in school history Sloan was told. “I’ve had some 6-foot-4 players, but 6-9 is a different breed,” Sloan said, indicating the youngster will swing between junior varsity and varsity. “His work and athleticism have gotten a lot better.” “Really we’re just trying to get by,” said Sloan just prior to the Bears two-point escape over rival University to level their record 1997 when they were in a period of flux and helped elevate the sports program and “got to build some buildings” as well. Connections with people he’d met along the way – WSU administrators Jim Sterk and Moos among them – led him to Pullman in 2004 where he says he had the chance to build a foundation for long- term success. WSU has spent multi-millions of dollars on sports facilities upgrades (although there’s also a little matter of digging out of debt being currently addressed.) With Moos now at the University of Nebraska, the athletic director opening must be filled in Pullman, but Johnson won’t be a candidate. WSU President Kirk Schulz wants
JANUARY 2018 • 27
at 2-2 in mid-December. “I don’t know if there’s a master plan. We’ve got to focus on the things we have control over and worry about the wins later.” CV girls undefeated CV’s veteran girls are poised for another run at a state title. Senior Lexie Hull scored 26 points in the Bears’ 63-18 season opening win over Mead. In a 55-28 win over U-Hi, Lexie put up 16 points and 12 rebounds while sister Lacie had 12 points and 11 boards. The Bears – state 4A champs two seasons ago – faced their toughest test against Post Falls in a non-league matchup on Dec. 16. Lexie led CV with 24 points in a 59-48 win. Wrestling coach returns A year ago, Shaun Williams took a leave of absence because of military duty. The coach is back and the Bears appear to have the numbers to make a run in the Greater Spokane League. An indication was performances in the Inland Empire Tournament in early December. The Bears had four finalists, two of them champions, at 145 (Bradley Wiggs) and 220 (John Keiser). CV second placers were Bryce Gardner at 138 and Wyatt Wickham at 285. They had split two GSL matches. Gymnastics start Central Valley gymnasts won their first two Greater Spokane League meets. State veteran Chloe Robbins was second all-around in both, Victoria Axtell and freshman Rebekah Ross, were other high placers.
to go outside perhaps to avoid that charge of nepotism. If an athletic director position opens elsewhere, Johnson says he isn’t averse to applying. But there would be incentive to stay. His wife Lisa is golf coach at the University of Idaho. They have 7-year-old twins who are already on their second set of clubs. This is how he and Lisa met (with a hope that John will pardon me for sharing this story). He was on a flight and sitting with the Rev. Bernard Coughlin, chancellor at Gonzaga University. Father Coughlin got off the plane at his destination and Lisa took his seat. Serendipity.
28 • JANUARY 2018
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Liberty Lake’s Ice Age – The business of keeping things cold
By Ross Schneidmiller Liberty Lake Historical Society Just imagine ice harvesting was one of the 10 largest industries in the United States at one time. Thirty-two million pounds of ice were consumed in Spokane alone in 1905. This ice was not primarily used to chill beverages but rather to keep food from perishing. Prior to electric refrigerators becoming a common household appliance, ice boxes were used to preserve food. The typical ice box was made of wood – often oak – and the shelves were lined with tin or zinc. The compartment for the ice block was behind a door or in a drawer at the top of the unit. The nicer ones found in well-to-do households looked like a fine piece of furniture and likely had a pull-out drip tray. The ice harvest in the Inland Empire usually took place between the latter part of January into the first couple weeks of February. Of course, it was totally dependent on the weather and when the ice was thick enough to harvest. The ice
companies would send armies of workers to the local lakes, including Liberty Lake. Farm labor trying to make ends meet until spring field work began was a ready source for this trade. The process was labor intensive. Often snow had to be removed from the ice first. Then men marked lines on the ice in a grid pattern and cut grooves on the grid with a tool. This could be done with a push saw or plow saw pulled by a work horse or mule (the top two saws pictured above). Once a scored grid was established, the cutting tool would go over and over until a deep groove was cut into the ice. With a plow saw like one pictured it would take about eight passes to make a 12-inch groove in the ice. Eventually gasoline and electric powered circular saws replaced the push and plow saws. For safety reasons the ice cutters used breaking-off bars or hand-held crosscut ice saws to get all the way through the ice. Once the ice block was separated it would be floated down a water channel on to skids and into a wagon. The ice wagons would haul the frozen crop to ice houses where the blocks would be separated by layers of sawdust used as an insulator.
Due to developments in refrigeration, uncertainty of sustaining cold temperatures in the Spokane area and the fear of an ice famine, the Diamond Fuel and Ice Co. (the largest of the Inland Empire’s ice companies) built an artificial ice plant. This manufacturing facility, capable of producing a third of the areas ice needs, opened in 1906. Developments in commercial refrigeration progressed quicker than innovations for residential use, keeping households dependent on the ice man for many more years. Eventually artificial ice replaced natural ice harvesting. Then with widespread electrification and safer refrigerants, mechanical refrigeration in the home became possible and the need for artificial ice produced outside the home was reduced. This happened much earlier in the city than it did in rural areas. At Liberty Lake some of the resorts harvested ice from the lake into the mid-20th century. The rental cabins at Dreamwood Bay, Neyland’s Grove and Wayside resorts had ice boxes as well as others. These resorts put up enough ice during the winter time to provide ice all summer long to their guests.
JANUARY 2018 • 29
Longtime resident Lloyd Herman, in an earlier Splash article, recalled as a youth working with his brother Gary at Wayside Resort. One of their responsibilities during the summer of 1945 was to go to the ice shed, hose off the sawdust and deliver ice to the cabins using ice prongs, so the resort guests could keep their milk, food and drinks cool. The late Lyle Stephenson had memories of harvesting ice on the lake in the late 1920s into the 30s at Neyland’s Grove. “Every winter I would be out there cutting ice and putting it up in the shed,” he said. In addition to filling the ice boxes built into the ground near each cabin, he sold ice and delivered it to the summer homes along Wicomico Beach. Like a scene out of the classic movie “Meet Me in St Louis,” I can close my eyes and see Lyle delivering ice and milk in the horse drawn wagon to the cottages in the summer colony. Children playing about hoping for a broken off ice chip and thinking it was quite a treat. I smile though because today having different standards on what is sanitary, I will tell my grandchildren this year, “It is probably best to not snack on that ice!”
DID YOU KNOW: Search: “Pocono Manor Ice Harvest in 1919” on YouTube for a short film on this subject.
Taken from atop the Liberty Lake School looking southwest you see Neyland’s Grove. Going left to right you see its beach, store, cabins, fields, ice house and farm buildings. Beyond this resort is Liberty Lake Park and then Wicomico Beach Summer Colony. Photo courtesy of Liberty Lake Historical Society
30 • JANUARY 2018
Meadowwood golf event benefits veterans’ cause By Tyler Wilson
Liberty Lake’s golf event was arranged by a group of locals hoping to start a long-lasting fundraiser that honors veterans.
for next year’s tournament with the expectation of continuing the Patriot’s Day Golf Classic in Liberty Lake for years to come.
“We’re a committee formed in this local area but there are several hundred golf tournaments every year,” said Duane Tait, one of this year’s organizers for the Meadowwood event.
Whiting became involved with the local cause after hearing about it following a round of golf. The retired neurological surgeon especially connected to the organization because of a relative who suffered combat injuries.
More than 80 golfers participated in the Patriot’s Day Golf Classic at Meadowwood Golf Course at the end of summer to raise scholarships for the families of fallen soldiers and veterans with disabilities.
The tournament yielded net proceeds of more than $15,000 for the program, enough for three $5,000 scholarships through Folds of Honor, according to organizer Craig Whiting.
The event, held Sept. 15, benefitted the Folds of Honor Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization formed in 2007 by Major Dan Rooney, an F-16 fighter pilot in the Air National Guard, to honor the sacrifices made by American service members and to offer support to their families.
“Preferentially, they provide scholarships to applicants in the same region of the golf tournament,” Whiting said. The proceeds national fund, system and a “unmet need” is scholarships.
The foundation’s motto puts it in even simpler terms: “Honor Their Sacrifice. Educate Their Legacy.”
Considered a “high-performing” nonprofit, Folds of Honor averages about 85 percent of total funds supporting the scholarships to recipients.
While there are several larger chapters of the Folds of Honor Foundation across the country,
will go to the where a point determination of utilized to award
Tait said plans are being made
“The money is going to those in need and I thought it was a good thing to get involved in,” Whiting said. While he was encouraged by the turnout for a first-year event, Whiting hopes the committee can attract even more golfers, as well as more corporate sponsorships and raffle prizes for the event. “We’ve had a really gratifying response from companies,” Whiting said. The event corresponds with the Patriot Golf Day campaign, a year-round national fundraiser backed by the PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) of America and the USGA (United States Golf Association). In 2016, a record
$6.4 million was raised for Folds of Honor through Patriot Golf Day donations and events hosted across the country. In 2015, more than 5,200 facilities registered to host Patriot Golf Day events nationwide. Since 2007, Folds of Honor has awarded more than 10,000 educational scholarships across all 50 states, as well as Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. There are Folds of Honor chapters in Florida, California, Texas, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Kansas. Rooney, a PGA professional who served in the Oklahoma Air National Guard, founded the organization to honor the late Corporal Brock Bucklin and others. When Rooney was returning home from his second tour of duty in Iraq, he watched Bucklin’s casket removed from the plane, escorted by fallen soldier’s twin brother. Bucklin’s family – including his young son Jacob – was waiting at the airport. Although the pilot had asked all of the passengers to remain seated until the casket deboarded, over half disregarded the message. Rooney started Folds of Honor as a way to pay respect to the sacrifice of soldiers and to remind citizens to not take for granted the freedoms those soldiers made possible. Bucklin, of the First Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division in Fort Carson, Colorado., was killed in action in Balad, Iraq on May 31, 2006. He had served since August 2004. The Folds of Honor website contains videos and much more information on the foundation and the impact it has made across the country. Visit www.FoldsOfHonor. com. The site includes stories of families supported by the cause.
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Meadowwod Golf Course in Liberty Lake was the host site for the Patriot’s Day Golf Classic on Sept. 15, an event that supports the Folds of Honor Foundation benefiting veterans and their families. File photo
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CVSD goes to voters for bond, third high school
By Julie Humphreys Splash Correspondent Voters in the Central Valley School District (CVSD) are being asked to approve both a bond and a levy next month in what district officials say would mean continued momentum in education upgrades and economic growth in the rapidly growing cities of Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake. The momentum began in February of 2015 when voters approved a bond for construction and renovation of a dozen schools including a new K-2 grade school in Liberty Lake. It was the first time in 17 years voters in the district had approved a bond. Not since 1998 when bond passage funded two new high schools, Central Valley and University High, were people living in the district willing to see their taxes raised for new school construction. When they passed a $121.9 million bond three years ago, it signaled the time was right to begin a comprehensive process of right sizing schools throughout the district. The next phase of the process requires a $129.9 million bond that will appear on the Feb. 13 ballot. CVSD Director of Communications Marla Nunberg is optimistic the bond will pass, in part because she says the district “over-delivered” on the last bond. The district secured a state grant for class size reduction which it was able to apply to the new K-2 Liberty Creek Elementary moving bond dollars to build two more schools, North Pines Middle School and Riverbend Elementary. Both are set to open in the fall. Nunberg says for every bond dollar spent the district was able to leverage 85 cents from the state. “We planned well and we used the dollars wisely,” she said. “We heard voters in 2015 when they said ‘We don’t our tax rate raised’ and we honored that. Once again, the district is hearing voter concern about higher tax rates and once again we are able to present a bond that does not raise the rate. We hope the community has the confidence in us to continue to deliver on our promise to them.” By replacing the expiring bond, the bond rate will be maintained at $1.79 per $1,000 of assessed property value. That means if you have a home worth $100,000 you would pay $179 a year in taxes toward the bond. The total bond amount will allow the district to receive $27.4 million in state matching funds to put toward school construction projects. The biggest project connected to the latest bond is a new high school
JANUARY 2018 • 31
to be located at the corner of 16th and Henry on land purchased by the district in 1980 with an eye to a third high school. By 2014, more than three decades later, overcrowding at Central Valley and University High had parents, teachers and others ramping up the conversation to build a new school sooner than later. They discussed the need, the timing, and more through an online forum. Marty Dickinson has three children currently enrolled or graduated from the district. She is co-chair Central Valley Citizens for Education, a citizenbased, pro-bond group. “Now is the time,” she said. “As a parent and a voter, there is a window of time to pass this bond where we can address overcrowding and safety because the district has been very thoughtful in the planning. If we push this out another couple of years we don’t get the same opportunities for education excellence that we have right now.” The new high school will have the capacity to house 1,600 students. Boundaries for the school would be determined after bond passage. Nunberg says the district would like voters to decide on the bond based on its merit, rather than by which high school their children may attend under any boundary change. But she adds the district has made provisions around boundary issues that provide choice for students and parents if the new school is built now. “Seniors will be able to stay at their current high school,” she said. “Juniors could opt back to their old schools and there are options for siblings to stay together at the same school. We have a transition plan and by building the new high school now we have the capacity to offer choice. That may not be the case in the future.” The district is growing at the rate of some 350 students a year. Nunberg says that’s like growing a half a school every year and is why a new middle school and renovation of an existing middle school are also slated for construction under the 2018 bond. Horizon Middle School would be renovated and expanded to increase the student capacity from 480 to 600 while updating current codes and safety standards. A new middle school that would house 600 students would also be built in the Telido Station area east of the HUB Sports Center. At the same time, voters decide on the bond for facilities construction, they will be asked to pass a three- year levy for school programs and operations. Like the bond, it is a replacement for dollars designated in 2015 and will cost home owners $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property. Voters in the district have historically approved levies which cover line items like teacher and support staff, special programs,
after-school activities, school safety, textbooks and teaching supplies. With passage of the 2015 bond and levy, the district has been able to move the student/teacher ratio from 22/1 to 17/1 – as required by the state – in all elementary schools, K-3, and has begun to ease crowding in middle schools as well. Building and expanding schools and hiring new teachers – 140 certified staff were added just last year – all help to provide a better educational experience for students in an environment that district officials say better meets safety standards. Now the district would like to
continue that effort in the remaining middle schools and the high schools with passage of the replacement bond and the replacement levy next month. “Whether or not you are directly impacted by a school or whether you have a child in school, the outcome of the bond and levy still affect you,” Nunberg said. “You may be improving education for a child in your neighborhood who grows up to be the pharmacist at your local pharmacy. You may put a laid off construction worker back on the job or hire a teacher. A strong education system and a strong economy are good for everyone.”
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Bears Who Care – CV food drive impacts community By Michelle Valkov
Splash Correspondent Reflecting on another banner year for the food drive at Central Valley High School, ASB Advisor Leanne Donley pointed out that this campaign is about students working together “to help their community” not earn gold stars for civic participation. “We don’t do any competitions or prizes for the program,” Donley said. “it’s all altruistic.”
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From Oct. 18 through Nov. 1, students raised money and collected food to support the Spokane Valley Partners Food bank. The program has been around for 22 years. This year’s goal was 12 pallets of food, which is over 20,000 pounds and this year it came out to about 18,400 pounds. Senior Fielding Demars was one of the students helping out with the drive. “I love the food drive, always have,” he said. Since his freshman year, Demars has gone out and collected donations for several hours one night. He said he has enjoyed working on the service project with those who are also dedicated to the cause. “I’m on the cross country team and we do a combined boys/girls cross country collecting night and we always collect so much food,” he said. “I think it’s so amazing that what we do here at the school will make a difference in the lives of others.”
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money as possible. He says the last day of the drive, when the food is organized on pallets and prepared to ship is one of his favorite parts of the project. “That’s when everyone who went out trick-or-treating for cans of food on Halloween bring in all their food along with everyone else who had been holding back their goods,” he said. Demars describes the final day as a fast, efficient, exciting scramble. The challenge is to bundle everything up in time and count the money to see if they made their goal. Donley notes that the food drive is facilitated completely by the students. The monetary goal was $10,000, which the students hit this year. Donley said she is really proud of the kids and their dedication to the cause. This was senior Bella Roullier’s second year of helping with the food drive and she oversaw the assembly. She said the campaign helps students better appreciate “issues in our community.” “I love seeing my fellow classmates get excited to help the community and their peers,” she said. “Each year I am stunned at how much my school can do in a week.” Student Madison Reynolds was another one of the students who helped out this year. “This year’s food drive was super fun,” she said. “It felt good knowing I could help the community.” Want to help? To learn more about supporting the Spokane Valley Partners Food Bank or accessing help, call 9271153 or visit www.svpart.org.
Demars also serves as a student delegate with the Spokane Valley Partners Board of Directors, giving him a unique perspective on how his school’s effort impacts the community and helps those in need. In 2016, the food bank provided help to over 10,000 local families. “The food drive is a lot of work but the difference it makes in the lives of the people in our community makes it all completely worth it.” Being a part of the leadership at CV as ASB president, Demars says one of the duties of he and other student leaders is to help fellow students bring in as much food and
The annual food drive at Central Valley High School generated 18,400 pounds of food and $10,000 in donations. The campaign supports the food bank at Spokane Valley Partners Contributed photo
City introduces inaugural Parks and Arts Commission By Staci Lehman
Splash Correspondent The city of Liberty Lake now has a new group whose job is to advise city decision makers on all things related to parks, art, trees and recreation. The deadline to submit applications for the new Parks and Art Commission passed on Nov. 30, leaving staff to review the 10 applications that were received. The applications were then passed on to Mayor Steve Peterson to decide who should be on the inaugural commission. The process for approving members to the commission then went to the City Council for final approval after the mayor named his appointees. The approach is similar to the selection of those on the city’s planning commission. The makeup of the sevenperson committee was decided at the Dec. 19 council meeting. The group includes: Bridget Harris, Tom Sahlberg, David Himebaugh, Jeanette Nall, Laura Frank, Tom Chamberlain, Laina Schultz, Bob Schneidmiller and Sam Nelson.
JANUARY 2018 • 33
Brickner suggested that one council representative be in attendance at each meeting. “They’re going to provide guidance and recommendations on events in the parks,” said Camp. “They’ll help decide fee structures for golf courses, among other things. Their work will really stay up at the policy level.”
Commissioners will represent each park district within the city, including Rocky Hill Park (Frank and Chamberlain), Pavillion Park (Himebaugh and Nall) and Orchard Park (Harris and Sahlberg). In addition, there is one at-large member (Schultz), an adjunct member (Schneidmiller) and a student representative (Nelson). Members will provide guidance and make recommendations to city staff and council members on policy and planning for park or art decisions. On Dec. 19, Mayor Pro Tem Shane
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The commission will meet two times a month starting in January but Camp says that schedule could change based on workload and time commitments. The group does have a big job to do though. Liberty Lake’s parks and open space level of service is 30 acres per 1,000 people, which is currently exceeded. The city right now, without Orchard Park – the newest addition to the greenspace inventory scheduled to begin construction in the River District later this year – has a parks and open space level of service of over 34 acres per 1,000 residents. That doesn’t include golf courses.
By BiJay Adams LLSWD General Manager Construction for phase two of the Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District’s (LLSWD) Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) upgrade is now complete. The improvements will upgrade effluent quality standards and objectives in the Spokane River/ Lake Spokane Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for dissolved oxygen. This additional treatment will further reduce phosphorous discharge to less than a half pound per day. This will equate to better than 99 percent removal of phosphorous entering the facility. The end-product will be “Class A” reclaimed water. Total cost of this upgrade is $17 million. In early 2015, the district received loan funding through Washington State Department of Ecology’s State Revolving Fund. The $15.1 million loan must be paid back over 20 years. The district’s NPDES permit mandates the district
Camp would like to see the group start with an area of consideration beyond parks. “Liberty Lake doesn’t have a lot of art, so if the community had ideas for art in the city that would be a good place to start,” she said. “That would be a good thing for the group to start working on.”
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Primarily, qualifications for inclusion on the committee were based on where applicants live, not what they know about art or parks. “Being a city of Liberty Lake resident was the first priority,” said Jennifer Camp, Parks and Recreation director for the City of Liberty Lake. “We were looking for people evenly spread out. We ended up with a really good mix.”
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to upgrade the WRF to meet the new nutrient criteria by March 1, 2018. The district’s treatment facility upgrades and increase in sampling have ultimately resulted in increased sewer rates in the recent years, as well as planned increases for the future. For 2018 specifically, the new monthly base rates for sewer reflect an increase of 10 percent over 2017 rates and will be effective Jan. 1, 2018. Monthly sewer service increases $4.99 to $54.90 per month. The upgrade to the WRF includes the addition of effluent filtration with submerged membranes, chemical equipment for coagulation, modifications to the existing UV disinfection system for future reuse, addition of a second headworks fine screen and other improvements to existing buildings and sites. In addition to the facility upgrades, the district purchased the fire station on Harvard Road from the Spokane Valley Fire Department for a new lab and operations building for the WRF. Century West Engineering was the district’s engineer and project manager for the project. The district’s inspector, Larry White, was the owner’s representative. Design for the upgrade was performed by Esvelt Environmental Engineering, B2 Architecture, Budinger & Associates, Coffman Engineers, LSB Consulting Engineers and Trindera Engineering. Construction was completed by Williams Brothers Construction/ Clearwater Construction and Management as a joint venture. The district would like to commend the outstanding work performed by district staff, design team, consulting engineers, numerous construction contractors and product suppliers. For more information and pictures visit: http://libertylake.org/waterreclamation-facility-upgrades/. The district plans to incorporate an education center in this building to host public tours and education groups. If you are interested in a tour of the district’s treatment facility please contact us at 9225443.
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34 • JANUARY 2018
SVFD Report – January 2018
Spokane Valley Fire Department crews responded to a total of 49 emergency calls in the greater Liberty Lake area* from Nov. 14 – Dec. 17, 2017: • Emergency medical services – 74 • Fires - 6 • Motor vehicle accidents – 6 • Hazardous Material – 1 • Building alarms – 6 • Service calls - 1 • Dispatched and cancelled en route – 8 • Test calls (related to opening new fire station) - 4 *Service area for SVFD Station #3 in Liberty Lake
Cooking Fire – Nov. 23 – SVFD crews responded to a report of a structure fire shortly after 1 p.m. in the 23300 block of East Sinto Court. They arrived on the scene and found evidence of an extinguished fire on the back deck. A charred electric smoker was still
smoking about 6 inches from the wall and electrical outlet, next to a charred section of siding and decking. Firefighters checked the walls and deck to ensure the fire was completely out. The resident reported he had been cooking a turkey in an electric smoker for about eight hours and moved it closer to the house to avoid the wind. He used a garden hose to put the fire out shortly before fire crews arrived. Alarm – Dec. 7 – SVFD firefighters responded to an alarm system at the Quality Inn Suites, 2327 N. Madson Road just before 7 a.m. Upon arrival, the crew found that the front desk clerk had scorched a tortilla while preparing the Continental breakfast. The crew returned to service. Vehicle Fire – Dec. 11 – Just after 2 p.m., SVFD crews responded to a reported vehicle fire at 22000 E. Appleway Ave. Upon arrival, firefighters found a 1970 Ford pickup truck in the northbound lanes of Liberty Lake Road. An off-duty Liberty Lake police officer had stopped and used his fire extinguisher to put out an engine compartment fire in the truck. Firefighters helped push the vehicle
into an adjacent parking lot. Relocated Liberty Lake Fire Station #3 – On Nov. 30, Spokane Valley firefighters began providing service from the newly-relocated SVFD Liberty Lake Fire Station #3, located at 21300 E. Country Vista Drive. The station was relocated from 2218 N. Harvard Road to help assure that response coverage keeps pace with development and growth, while maintaining the fast response the community relies upon. A ribbon cutting hosted by the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce took place on Dec. An open house is scheduled for April 28, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. About SVFD - Spokane Valley Fire Department serves the cities of Liberty Lake, Millwood, Spokane Valley and unincorporated areas of Spokane County including the communities of Otis Orchards, Pasadena Park, and the area surrounding Liberty Lake, with a combined population of 125,000 across approximately 75 square miles. SVFD firefighters and paramedics responded to more than 16,250 emergency calls in 2016. Established in 1940, SVFD is an Accredited Agency by the Commission on Fire Accreditation
International (CFAI), one of only a handful in the state of Washington. SVFD operates 10 stations providing fire suppression, emergency medical services, vehicle extrication, hazardous materials response, special operations rescue, fire investigation, fire prevention, commercial property inspection, CPR and fire safety training. SVFD also provides free fire safety inspections and installation of free smoke detectors. For more information call 928-1700 or visit www.spokanevalleyfire.com.
JANUARY 2018 • 35
THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR ADVERTISERS AND READERS WHO SUPPORT AND CONNECT OUR COMMUNITY!
Larkin Barnett Legacy Church Liberty Creek PTO Liberty Cross Ministries Liberty Lake Athletic Club Liberty Lake Baptist Church Decks for Backyard Living Liberty Lake Centennial Abstract Painting Rotary Club Eagle Rock Rv and Boat Adorkable Flowers and Liberty Lake Children’s Storage Gifts Academy Affordable Arborist Tree Evergreen Fountain Liberty Lake Church Exercise Institute - LIFT Care Inc Liberty Lake Community Amaculate Housekeeping Family Medicine/Healthy Theatre Living Liberty Lake Amazing Day PreSchool Liberty Lake EyeCare Center Fieldhouse Pizza Anytime Fitness Liberty Lake Family Folds of Honor Aspire Community Dentistry Friends of Chris Jackson Theatre Liberty Lake Farmers Friends of Pavillion Park AutoCraft Market Friends of the Liberty Ava Medical Center Lake Municipal Library Liberty Lake Fireworks Avista Utilities Fund Friends of Town Square Banner Furnace & Fuel Liberty Lake Flag Garden Expo BECU Competition George Gee Automotive Beth Gordon Liberty Lake Orthodontics GraceSon Housing Bill Anderson Liberty Lake Pet Sitters & Foundation Breakthrough Recovery Pooper Scoopers Great Clips Group Liberty Lake Sewer & Water Greater Spokane Valley Brooke Carey District Chamber of Commerce Bruce Peterson Liberty Lube Greenstone Homes Carla Langdon Liberty Spring Ranch LLC Guardian Angel Homes Carol WorthingtonLinda Thompson for Gus Johnson Ford Borodin Council Hallett’s Market & Cafe Casey Family Dental Live Real Estate -Thomas Hannah Hirshfield Central Valley School McLaughlin Holistic Festival District Marlé Worm Growers Horizon Credit Union Central Valley Theatre Mary Sloan HUB Sports Center Christian Brothers MeadowWood Golf Course Ignite! Community Automotive MeadowWood HOA Citizens to Elect Ben Wick Theatre Michael’s Berry Farm Inland Empire Utility City of Liberty Lake Michelle’s Dance Studio Clark’s Tire & Automotive Coordinating Council Mike Kennedy Inland NorthWax Inc Coeur d’Alene Deck Intelligent Balance Spinal Mike Wollan Coldwell Banker - Rob Millwood Daze Care Brickett Mitch Johnson Jeanette Nall for Public Committee to Elect Mother’s Cupboard Office Brandi Peetz NAI Black Jim Custer Enterprises Committee to Elect Ed Naomi John L Scott Real Estate Pace NIC Foundation Liberty Lake Committee to Retain North Idaho Dermatology Just a Shine Patrick Burch Northern Quest Resort & K9 Country Club CorkHouse Casino Cornerstone Pentecostal Kathrine Olson DDS Northwest Insurance Brokers Kealee Giese Church Northwest Painting KiDDS Dental Courtney Hanks Northwest Painting Kiwanis of Liberty Lake Cullings Family Dentistry Solutions Kiwanis of Spokane Valley Custom Fit Lighting
These Advertisers Supported
Northwest TaeKwondo NW Video Protection ONAC - CenturyLink Opportunity Christian Church Opportunity Spa Otis Orchards Community Church Ott Knott Used Golf Carts PACE. (Part of CVSD) Park Street Group Patty Roll Pawpular Companions Pet Supplies Peridot Publishing Ponti Veterinary Hospital Positive Changes Northwest Premera Blue Cross Pristine Lawn Care Relics Republicans of Spokane County Richard Sarber Rider for Fire Commissioner R’nR RV Sally Jackson Swim Lessons Sam’s Percussion Studio Sarah Hamilton FACE Simonds Dental Group Sleep Better Northwest Small Engine Rehab and Repair SNAP Eastern Washington Spokane County Interstate Fair Spokane County Library District Spokane Gymnastics Spokane Health & Fitness Expo Spokane Indians Spokane OBGYN Spokane Roofing Spokane Spine and Disc Spokane Symphony
Spokane Symphony Associates Spokane Train Show Spokane Transit Authority Acct. Spokane Valley Arts Council Spokane Valley Business Association Spokane Valley Fire Dept Spokane Valley Heritage Museum Spokane Valley Summer Theatre Stateline Plaza Stauffer & Associates Stephen Howard Stolp Vision Clinic Sue Hammond Tandy Luhn Photography The Business Center The Friends of Manito The Mat THE WELL Coffee House and Eatery Thrivent Financial Toe Tubs Organic Spa Tony Martin Tracy Jeweler Tri-Community Grange True Legends Grill Union Gospel Mission Corporate Uplift Church Valley Hospital Valley Real Life Vision Marketing Waste Management of Spokane Weishaar, Sue Weishaar D.D.S. Willow Song Music Therapy Services Windowworks NW LLC Wish Upon a Star Events Yoke’s Fresh Markets You’ve Got It Maid
m o r f r a e Y Happy New and The Splash t! The Curren in 2017
36 • JANUARY 2018
With regard to law enforcement, the public is often exposed to negative information regarding specific instances. However, these people do great things for others and the community on a daily basis. These efforts rarely make the news reports. Police officers are ordinary people just like you and me with the exception of a different job title. The intent of our letter is not to make a social or political statement, rather to recognize and thank all of the officers of the Liberty Lake Police Department. The police department has been extremely helpful to our family over the past year. They have provided great support and direction while trying to help with our teenage son, Kyle. When Kyle was recently reported as a missing person, they jumped into action. All officers diligently worked to locate our son. They utilized all available resources and spent many hours working for both Kyle and our family with the hope of a safe return.
Does my mom have options besides dentures? A patient of mine who wore dentures once told me how she chose what to order from a restaurant menu. Her question was not, “What looks delicious?” It wasn’t even, “What would be healthy for me?” Instead, she was looking to order the few limited items that she knew she could chew. Her life changed dramatically when we were able to replace her dentures with dental implants instead. While dentures give you about 25% the chewing power of normal teeth, implants provide an actual replacement for natural missing teeth and restore over 90% chewing power. Secured in the gum or jaw, this method of placement makes them the most natural tooth replacement system. In short, they look and feel like your own teeth. You even care for them as you would your natural teeth. While dentures can be initially more affordable, their removable nature not only makes them less reliable, but less functional as well. Dentures require maintenance and care that is both time-consuming and potentially costly over time. We would be happy to visit with you or your loved ones about whether dental implants are right for you.
— Dr. Timothy J. Casey
Liberty Lake resident Member, American Dental Association
We cannot thank them enough for working with us in such a personal and professional manner and bringing our son home. Steve and Jennifer Van Liew Liberty Lake
About the Opinion Page The Splash opinion page is intended to be a community forum for discussing local issues. Please interact with us by sending a letter to the editor or Liberty Lake Voices guest column for consideration. Letters to the editor of no more than 350 words or guest columns of about 700 words should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to P.O. Box 363, Liberty Lake, WA 99019. A full name and telephone number must be included for purposes of verification. A photo of the author must be taken or provided for all guest columns. The Splash reserves the right to edit or reject any submission. Business complaints or endorsements will not be accepted, and political endorsement letters will only be accepted if they interact with issues of a campaign. Views expressed in signed columns or letters do not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper or its staff. Editorials, which appear under the heading "Splash Editorial," represent the voice of The Splash and are written by Publisher Ben Wick.
JANUARY 2018 • 37
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BiJay Adams, Brian Asmus, Craig Howard, Julie Humphreys, Staci Lehman, Wade Magers, Ross Schneidmiller, Michelle Valkov, Mike Vlahovich, Tyler Wilson
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Be smart and safe on winter roads By Chief Brian Asmus Liberty Lake Police Department
The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it. Don’t go out until the snow plows and sanding trucks have had a chance to do their work – and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.
Love The Splash? Support our partners. The Splash is committed to serving Liberty Lake through excellent community journalism. We can’t do it at all without you, our readers, and we can’t do it for long without support from our advertisers. Please thank our business partners and look to them when offering your patronage.
Our sincere appreciation to the following businesses for their foundational partnerships with The Splash and its partner publications:
If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared and that you know how to handle road conditions.
Simply put – ice and snow, take it slow! Here are some recommendations for driving safely on icy roads:
The Liberty Lake Splash P.O. Box 363 Liberty Lake, WA 99019 Phone: 242-7752; Fax: 927-2190 www.libertylakesplash.com
• Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
• Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
YO U WAN T
• Stopping on snow and ice without skidding requires extra time and distance. If you have anti-lock brakes, press the pedal down firmly and hold it. If you don’t have anti-lock brakes, gently pump the pedal. Either way, give yourself plenty of room to stop. • Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists. THE
• Keep your lights and windshield clean. • Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
• Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first.
Fieldhouse Pizza • George Gee Automotive
g re e n s t o n e h o m
Kiwanis • Liberty Lake Family Dentistry • True Legends
• Don’t pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
Index of advertisers
• Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.
Following are the local advertisers in this issue of The Splash. Amaculate Housekeeping
Family Medicine Liberty Lake
• Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
Simonds Dental Group
• Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
Ava Medical Center
Banner Furnace & Fuel
John L Scott - Pam Fredrick
Kiwanis of Liberty Lake
Casey Family Dental
Liberty Lake Baptist Church
Central Valley Theatre
• Use a light touch on the gas to ease your car out. • Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car. • Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels to help get traction. • Try rocking the vehicle. Shift from forward to reverse and back again. Each time you are in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going. Additional winter driving tips and information on road conditions can be found at www.wsdot.gov/winter.
New homes in Spokane, Spokane Valley, Libe Gus Johnson Ford • Stateline Plaza
• Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
If you get stuck:
Liberty Lake EyeCare Center
Central Valley School District
Liberty Lake Family Dentistry
Coldwell Banker - Rob Brickett
Stauffer and Associates The Mat True Legends
3 32 8
Liberty Lake Sewer & Water District 33
Cornerstone Pentecostal Church 10
North Idaho Dermatology
Liberty Lake Petsitters
Of note: This thank you message was produced by The Splash’s advertising team, which works its tail off on behalf of partner businesses, helping them share their messages through advertisements. This is an independent function from The Splash’s editorial team, which has its own evaluation process to determine the community news stories and features it pursues. For more information about a win-win partnership that expertly markets your business to thousands of readers (while making this home-grown community newspaper possible), email email@example.com. With story ideas, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
38 • JANUARY 2018 Looking for a great way to improve your child’s self-confidence, self-esteem, and overall fitness? Check out NWTKDA.
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ON THAT NOTE
By Tyler Wilson Splash Correspondent
How it began – and how it changed the lives of its founders For more than 10 years, Blessings Under the Bridge has helped many of Spokane’s homeless with food, fellowship and support. How it began – and how it changed the lives of its founders Jessica and Mike Kovac – is almost too dramatic to be true. “You can’t make this stuff up,” Jessica said. “It’s a pretty good story, I have to admit.” The beginning of that journey is chronicled in Jessica’s new book, “A Blessing Under the Bridge.” Back in 2007, the Kovacs, who are Liberty Lake residents, were struggling to save their marriage. Jessica, then a server at Hay J’s Bistro, was looking for a more purposeful path. “I was just at a point where I was feeling completely helpless in my own life and God led me to this place I never thought possible,” Kovac said. So she ventured into downtown Spokane, giving out brown bag meals and talking with the area homeless. At first, Mike didn’t like the idea, but Jessica eventually convinced him to take up the cause with an open mind.
Homer’s journey after meeting Jessica and Mike became an even more compelling story of redemption and reconciliation. After working to get off the streets, Homer wanted to find the family he left behind 28 years before. “In 2010, when I found this family, they thought he was dead for 17 years,” Jessica said. Homer spoke fondly of his “baby girl,” a daughter he left when she was just 8 years old. Jessica found her and the family in Jacksonville, Florida. She was living with Cystic Fibrosis, a progressive genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections. The disorder is incurable, requires daily care, and those with it only live on average to their mid-tolate-30s. Homer’s daughter made a poignant wish - to reconnect with a sober father. Getting there proved to be challenging, as the book documents, but ultimately Homer boarded a plane to Florida and stayed there. “They spent her last five years together, she lived way longer than she was supposed to,” Jessica said. In his daughter’s final two years, after his ex-wife passed away, Homer took care of her completely, even in his own weakened state. “He’s on oxygen and he’s taking care of her,” Jessica said. “To go back
Homer himself died at 67, just a few months after his daughter passed. “I’m so honored to have even known him,” Jessica said. “How many people judge the homeless and have no clue how one person can change your life?” she continued. “If we all stopped judging and assuming, the world could be a better place.” The story in Jessica’s book ends around 2010, when Homer first reconnected with his daughter. She said his journey to her is the “Blessing Under the Bridge.” The reach of Jessica and Mike’s cause is intrinsically tied to Homer’s story and the influence on the Kovacs.. “Look at the legacy he left,” Jessica said. “Because of his story, he’s saved thousands of lives. The story is why people give and donate. Homer was such a huge part of our lives, whoever reads this book or hears this story, I hope will look at the man on the corner a little differently.” Jessica considers the book to be a lifelong dream, though she initially had little knowledge of the process. “I always had a hook for writing, but I didn’t learn how to write until this book,” shes said. “I’m talking grammar, punctuation, but I always knew I wanted to tell a story.” As far as the distribution of the book goes, Jessica says things are a bit on hold now as bigger
“I was praying this would open my husband’s heart and eyes,” Jessica said. “And that first day he met Homer.”
Can a marriage filled with adultery, attempted suicide, alcohol abuse, and deceit, be redeemed, restored and reborn by serving the homeless? This is the story of Mike and Jessica Kovac’s brave steps into the world of those whose homes don’t have walls. Their lives entwined with one drifter’s, Homer Hill, and were healed.
A Blessing Under The Bridge One woman’s calling, One man’s struggles, Another man’s hope.
Jessica Kovac tells the story of establishing a dedicated cause to feed and support the homeless in Spokane in her new book “A Blessing Under the Bridge.” Contributed image opportunities may lay ahead. Those interested in purchasing a copy can go to the nonprofit’s website at www. butb.org. “I was planning to proceed with self-publishing but I’ve pushed the pause button on the advice of film and literary agents who would like to get broader distribution for our story,” Jessica said. “We’re going to print smaller quantities right now just for family and friends and our immediate networks, in case there’s interest from major publishing houses and studios. We’ll know in a few months the right next step for the book, but for now we’re waiting on which irons in the fire heat up and we’re just happy to have a few irons in play.” The story of Blessings Under the Bridge has already reached many. The Kovacs and the nonprofit have been featured on “The Rachael Ray Show,” cover of the SpokesmanReview and in People Magazine. Still, the book is a more personal dive into her life and her once-troubled marriage. “I went through so many struggles that nobody knew about,” Jessica said. “We know many people who have gone through this and nobody talks about it. We’re just an average Joe and Jane couple who went through all this.”
Homer Hill was a 58-year-old homeless man living under the freeway bridge. Jessica said her husband formed an immediate connection with him.
“We’re going on 30 years of marriage, and our marriage was saved because of this,” she said. “We didn’t save Homer, he saved us.”
“My husband was like Homer just 30 years from now,” Jessica said. “He could have easily gone down the same path.” Jessica said their relationship became like a father and son. Homer and Mike’s connection eventually came to represent the ultimate message of Blessings Under the Bridge, now one of the region’s most recognized nonprofit efforts. “It was never about saving them or sobering them up,” Jessica said. “We all have our own stuff, and we deal with things differently. Some are under the bridge, some are taking pills or drinking too much. These are
I drive the downtown streets of Spokane, searching. For the hungry. God prompts me down an alley to the first person, a man carrying a garbage bag. I roll down the window and say, “Are you hungry?” He looks right into my eyes, and with sadness says, “Yes!” His eyes fill with tears as I hand him a brown bag. I watch with doubt, wondering if he will really eat it. I hear the voices in my head: from my church, friends, family, and my husband, Mike. “They’re not really hungry, they’re free-loaders and addicts.” Doubt creeps in, but God’s voice is louder. I keep watching. The man walks to a dumpster. Is he going to throw it away? He uses the dumpster as support and slides to the ground. The sack is opened like a wrapped gift, and he shovels the food into his mouth. With a laugh, I let out the breath I’d been holding. Relief and joy replace doubt. That man was the pebble that created the ripple effect, as this journey began, ten years ago. I learned everything important I know, from the homeless whom I now call my friends, and in Homer’s case, family. The increase did not start until years later, after Homer’s story. This is Homer’s story, and mine.
For more than 10 years, Blessings Under the Bridge has helped many of Spokane’s homeless with food, fellowship and support.
amazing people who have lost their way.”
Bind and trim as 6 X 9 / Gloss Laminate
A Blessing Under The Bridge
New book chronicles birth of Blessings Under the Bridge
and face your family after 28 years of taking off and leaving. He did more than an average father could do. He redeemed himself in every way.”
JANUARY 2018 • 39
Homer Hill (center) was living under a freeway bridge in downtown Spokane when Liberty Lake residents Mike and Jessica Kovac met him as part of a homeless outreach effort in 2007 that would eventually become the nonprofit Blessings Under the Bridge. Contributed photo
“A Blessing Under The Bridge: One Woman’s Calling, One Man’s Struggles, Another Man’s Hope” is now available. For more information on the book, the Blessings Under the Bridge nonprofit and more detailed stories of the Kovac’s work and their connection with Homer Hill, visit www. BUTB.org
40 • JANUARY 2018
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Published on Dec 29, 2017