November 2021 Splash

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NOVEMBER

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LIBERTY LAKE

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LIBERTY LAKE PREPARES TO SAY GOODBYE LONG TIME CITY MANAGER KATY ALLEN APPROACHES RETIREMENT PAGE 10

MEET BLESSINGS VISIONARY PAGE 2

RIDGELINE FOOTBALL INAUGURAL SEASON PAGE 9

READERS WRITE IN PAGE 20, 23


2 • NOVEMBER 2021

The Splash

DOCKSIDE Bearer of Blessings –

Kovac launched iconic nonprofit in LL By Craig Howard

Splash Contributing Editor

There is no bronze plaque with an inspiring inscription at the corner of Fourth and McClellan in downtown Spokane – but the words of Emma Lazarus may be worth considering for a future landmark. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.” Lazarus penned the poem she called “The New Colossus” in 1883 as part of a fundraiser for the pedestal the Statue of Liberty would eventually rest upon in New York Harbor. Those who passed through Ellis Island from distant shores in search of dignity, opportunity and respect could relate to the message.

Colby Jack cheese, chips, cookies and bottled water. Each sack lunch she made included hand wipes, Q-tips and napkins. “I wanted it to be special,” she said. The shipment of 40 brown bag lunches was organized neatly in Kovac’s SUV. She headed downtown having never talked to a person affected by homelessness. “I’d never volunteered for something like that, never donated,” Kovac said. “When I stopped at a traffic light and there was someone on the street corner, I was the kind of person who just stared straight ahead.” After arriving downtown, Kovac parked her car and started walking with lunches in hand. The first person

she spoke with was not receptive. For a few moments, Kovac thought about getting back into her car and driving home. The second try was nearly as disappointing. The man took the lunch and walked toward a nearby garbage dumpster. “I thought he was going to throw it in the trash,” Kovac recalls. “Instead, he sat down and devoured the food. “ Every Saturday for the next several months, Kovac made lunches and delivered them to men and women who were often overlooked and marginalized by others who passed by them on the street. After awhile, her husband Mike joined her. The two had moved to Liberty Lake in 2006. “It was a breath of fresh air I didn’t have in my life,” Kovac says. On one excursion, the couple met Homer, a man who had been homeless for many years and lost track of his family. Jessica and Mike

For all those who arrive downtrodden at the gate, Lazarus closes her sonnet with a reminder that hope – not scorn – awaits. “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Each Wednesday, a group led by Jessica Kovac extends a glowing lamp of encouragement to a crowd of people in need of food, clothing, blankets and a warm smile. Most who arrive at the weekly meal night are experiencing homelessness for one reason or another – sometimes many reasons. Kovac and her crew never judge, they simply serve and uplift.

Kovac went shopping at the Albertson’s on Liberty Lake Road and loaded her cart with whole wheat bread, sliced turkey and roast beef,

“We thought Homer was our ‘blessing under the bridge,’” she said. “But people encouraged us to keep it going, to start a nonprofit. I didn’t even know what a 501c3 was back then.” Kovac’s faith was a constant presence along her path of helping others in a way that transformed her and those she served. Books like “Driven by Eternity” by John Bevere and scripture passages such as Psalms 40:17, that addresses the importance of not delaying support of the poor and needy, acted as catalysts. A native of California, Kovac grew up with Attention Deficit and Hyperactive Disorder that wasn’t diagnosed until she was in her 30s. She experienced abuse a child and unraveled the pain many years later in counseling. At home, her mom suffered from severe depression and was often emotionally detached from her kids. “When I see people who are suffering, I can relate,” Kovac said. After Blessings Under the Bridge attained official nonprofit status in 2010, recognition grew. The cause was featured on the cover of the Spokesman-Review and, in 2014, won the Agora Award from Greater Spokane Inc. for Best Small Nonprofit. National attention followed, including a story in People magazine, an appearance on the Rachel Ray Show, a TED Talk at the University of Idaho and a segment on the Lifetime Channel. For Kovac, shining light on the need and response was welcome, the sudden celebrity status was not.

“Many of us assume the worst by how one looks, that they must be ‘homeless’ but now, I often ask others to ask themselves what homelessness really looks like,” Kovac said. “After all, aren’t we all a little homeless? We want to be loved, we want to be heard, we want to be recognized.” It was 14 years ago this fall that Kovac was waiting tables at Hay J’s Bistro in Liberty Lake and felt impressed to, in her words, “go to those who feel unheard and unseen.”

took up the cause of reuniting Homer with his children, a process that took almost three years. In 2010, the couple accompanied Homer on a journey to Florida to see his daughter who had cystic fibrosis. After the reunion, Kovac felt the purpose had been served.

“I didn’t ask for any of that,” she said. “It wasn’t about the notoriety.” Contributed photo Jessica Kovac was working at Hay J’s Bistro in Liberty Lake when she began delivering sack lunches to people living on the streets of downtown Spokane. The endeavor developed into a nonprofit called Blessings Under the Bridge that has been featured in People magazine, on the Lifetime Channel and the Rachel Ray Show.

In October of 2018, Jessica decided it was time to leave Mike after years of turbulence that she chronicles in her book, “A Blessing Under the Bridge” published in 2017. The couple divorced in 2020. See KOVAC, Page 5


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KOVAC

that I have not nor will not waver or compromise. Our mission is a true reflection of that.

Those who show up on Wednesday evenings at Fourth and McClellan will spot Kovac scampering intentionally from station to station, checking in with volunteers, chatting enthusiastically with those in line and making sure the entire operation runs smoothly. As founder and executive director, she is the nonprofit’s only full-time employee. Five part-time staff, a board of directors and an army of volunteers act as sturdy reinforcement.

Q: As you began talking with people on the street experiencing homelessness and hearing their stories, what did you learn and how did it change previous perceptions you may have had?

Continued from page 2

In 2019, Kovac branched out to work with Bowdish Middle School on a program that provides to-go food, clothing and personal hygiene items to students in need. Earlier this year, Blessings Under the Bridge unveiled “The Portal,” a resource van that provides mobile assistance to those experiencing poverty and/or homelessness through partnerships with nonprofits like SNAP, Revive Counseling and American Behavioral Health Systems. Kovac said she would eventually like to bring the Blessings Under the Bridge model to other cities as a way “to get people out of their cubicles to help.” “As I’ve grown, Blessings has grown,” Kovac said. “I want to speak, write and inspire others.” Q: When you packed your SUV with sack lunches in early October of 2007, what was your hope and what kind of reactions did you hear from people who knew you? A: My hope was to allow God to lead me to wherever He wanted me to go. I was willing to go in the dark and low places not many would go. Especially alone. My hope even more was to be led to a place where others knew they were seen, heard and were not alone. I was looking for that same hope. God knew that I strived for the very thing I set out to give others. Q: You could have thrown together a bunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and called it good that day. Why did you go the extra mile to make sure those lunches were so good? A: One word – reflection. I wanted my heart to be reflected onto those I served and “handed out.” It was important from day one that others “received” my heart. Going above the standards and dollars, that they were worthy of going the extra mile. Blessings Under the Bridge and I still hold that same standard – one

A: It changed my perceptions 100 percent. Aside from that fear of the unknown, I received immediate confirmation that this was more than helping someone in need. It was to teach and educate my own assumptions about what I did not know but to see the reality and truth – the needs and the suffering that many feel and face emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. That they are dying and starving to be seen and heard. Homelessness stems simply from pain. A root that grew from a situation, rejection, abandonment, abuse, anger, addiction, loneliness and isolation. A place that many have been accustomed to use as protection from their very own mind. The “unknown.” Being conditioned for so long can only change with unconditional love, hope, hands, resources and compassion. Q: It didn’t seem like you had intentions of starting a nonprofit when you first began delivering food to people downtown. How did it go from a personal volunteer project to one of the most recognizable social service causes in the Inland Northwest? A: When I stepped out in my high heel shoes it was meant for one simple Saturday. But God had a plan before I even took that step of faith. He never sent me out there to save anyone. He sent me there to be saved. To relate with those who felt the same pain and struggles I hid and carried. I was being served myself through others and that is exactly what has spread all over our city. Seeing thousands of volunteers being led to a place that they once feared as the unknown, a place they feel at home and a place they can feel alive, feel love, give love and serve others but most of all be served too. A movement that is changing one’s eyes but most of all their souls.

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Police Report - Sept. 2021 Splash news sources

Total incidents generated by Officers and emergency calls for service last month 540 Traffic Collisions/Hit & Runs / Injury Collisions 16 Citations (Traffic/Criminal/NonCriminal) 28 DUI (Driving Under Influence) 1 Thefts / Vehicle Prowls / Vehicle Theft / Burglaries 16 Malicious Mischief 5 Argument / Assault DV / Simple Assault / Assault w/a Weapon 17

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Parking Violations 0 Suspicious Vehicles 36 *The above numbers are as of 10/01/21 Hit and Run/DUI, 09/08/21; Officers responded to a report of a hit and run where a white Toyota Struck a Black Tahoe near the intersection of Appleway Avenue/ Molter Road. The white vehicle had fled the scene, but left debris on the roadway to include part of a front bumper. Officers were able to locate the vehicle and tow it to the PD as evidence. The driver was later located in order to charge her with the hit and run. Another incident occurred later in the month with the same driver who borrowed her neighbors vehicle and she was

charged with another Hit and Run along with DUI. Retail Theft, 09/26/21; Officers responded to the 21700 block of Country Vista to a report of a male attempting to remove tags from the items in the store in order to steal them. Officers located the male and discovered he also had a warrant for additional thefts. They recovered items from his person as well as located items within his car. The vehicle was seized and taken to the PD for a search warrant where the items were recovered. The male was booked for his warrants as well as Retail Theft. Assault, 09/24/2021; Officers responded an Assault call at the 20100 block of E. Country Vista. A

circles contain the number of incidents in a given area.

male was detained after assaulting staff as well as the officers on scene. The male was taken to the hospital after the altercating for injuries received from his assaulting others and was referred to the prosecutor’s office for charges of Assault 3rd, Assault 4th x 2, and resisting arrest. Vandalism, Month; Officers responded to a variety of different incidents involving damage being done to the schools, parks, and various other locations. Some of the specific markings have been associated to individuals who are being investigated for their involvement. Stay well and be safe!


NOVEMBER 2021 • 7

The Splash

The Lookout Applications being accepted for new city commissioner The Community Engagement Commission is a new commission established by the City Council in September of this year. This is a citizen-based volunteer commission, consisting of five to nine members, that will serve in an advisory capacity to the council. The city is currently accepting applications. If you are interested in being part of this commission, please return an application form via email to khardy@libertylakewa.gov. The mayor will review all applications and will conduct interviews in November.

The primary functions and focus of the commission are to: • Study and submit recommendations to the mayor and City Council regarding the best methods to actively and sustainably engage residents in co-production, engaging citizens in the planning and implementation process, for upcoming projects, capital improvements, community initiatives and other matters as directed by the mayor and council. • Explore dynamic, creative, responsive and inclusive methods that may include investment in

Liberty Lake Access Area closed for upgrades

This $319,705 project is being funded by the Washington State

• Advocate for the active engagement of all residents through a variety of methods and platforms to ensure that there is sufficient and various opportunity for citizens to meaningfully engage and offer their perspective to the mayor and council. • Mobilize and maintain a sustainable network of community leaders who will work to solicit and gain input from local community areas that facilitates co-production now and as the city grows and

Liberty Lake rooted in Tree City USA designation Thousands of communities across the country consider their tree canopy a source of pride and continually strive to improve it — and through the Tree City USA program they garner national attention and recognition for it every year.

The popular Liberty Lake Access Area in Spokane County closed for construction starting Sept. 7 as contractor crews began renovations including improving the existing boat ramp, sealing and striping the parking area, installing new signage and a new fishing pier with benches and replacing the current vault toilets with a new double vault ADA accessible toilet. “Liberty Lake is one of our most used access areas in the Spokane area, and it gets a lot of wear and tear,” said Dan Dziekan, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) access manager. “Unfortunately, the small window of time when we can complete work near water means this area will be closed for a while when the weather is still warm, but the result will be a nicer access for the future.”

technology to support community connections and information sharing.

Recreation and Conservation Office. Liberty Lake is a popular lake for trout, bass and perch fishing, as well as water sports. It opens for fishing March 1 through Oct. 31. The site upgrade will continue after closure until approximately early December. WDFW works to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.

Liberty Lake is committed to planting and caring for trees and has demonstrated so by applying to the Arbor Day Foundation and being awarded with the Tree City USA designation for the first time in 2003. Every year since, the city has been approved for this outstanding recognition. To become a Tree City USA, a community must have: •

A tree board or department

A tree care ordinance

• A community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita • An Arbor Day observation and proclamation. In Liberty Lake, the city’s Parks and Arts Commission acts as an

November 2021 changes. • Ensure that the work of the Community Engagement Commission does not duplicate efforts of the city, city staff, and other city commissions, but rather complements and supports the overall mission and goals of the city. • Establish effective relationships with existing and future city commissions to ensure that co-production is a core focus that guides citizen input. Meetings will begin in early 2022, with regular meeting dates and times to be determined. The commission will meet at least once a month.

advisory board for the Tree City, USA and Bicycle Communities programs. In addition to featuring a wide variety of tree types throughout the community, the city boasts a top-flight arboretum just east of City Hall. Founded by the Arbor Day Foundation in 1976, Tree City USA is an annual designation for communities that meet minimum standards for community forestry programs. The Washington Department of Natural Resources Urban & Community Forestry program staff help Washington cities and towns qualify for, apply and maintain this distinction. Municipalities of any population are eligible to apply annually. In its 46th year, the Tree City USA program is still going strong. Did you know? 48.92 percent of Washington residents live within a Tree City USA community. A total of eight Washington cities received a 2020 Growth Award including Bellevue, Burien, Edmonds, Monroe, Renton, SeaTac, Snoqualmie and Walla Walla. A reported 37,507 trees were planted by Washington Tree City USA communities in 2020.

https://www.facebook.com/libertylakewa • www.libertylakewa.gov


8 • NOVEMBER 2021

The Splash

NEWS

News and Notes – November

the Oct. 5 council meeting. Williams comes from California and brings 20 years of experience including a background in transportation, construction, civil and hydraulic engineering. Williams’ first day was Oct. 27.

By Craig Howard

Splash Contributing Editor

• Resident Greg Cronin spoke in the public comments portion of the Oct. 5 council meeting, asking if the city would consider an illuminated pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Sharp and Country Vista in the 2022 budget. Cronin spoke in June with then City Engineer Ben Schmitt about the project, learning that the project might be moved from its original schedule of 2023 to 2022 based on lower than anticipated installation costs. Cronin noted that a student bus stop is in the vicinity of the crossing and a sidewalk that leads up to the intersection is currently blocked and needs to be reconfigured along with drainage. Cronin said that the situation means pedestrians having to step onto the street before reaching the crosswalk. • A groundbreaking for the Kramer Parkway project took place on Oct. 11. The work will mean installation of a new crossing over I-90, connecting Mission Avenue on the north to Country Vista to the south. • The bid for the traffic signal at Legacy Ridge Drive went out Oct. 22 and is expected to be awarded this month. The bulk of the construction is expected to take place in spring of 2022. • David Williams Jr., the new city engineer, was introduced at

• The city is interviewing for two positions in the Operations and Maintenance department including a full-time streets and maintenance worker and mechanic. • The Friends of the Library will hold a book sale Nov. 19 and 20. • Planning, Engineering and Building Director Lisa Key provided council with an update on the Trailhead renovation project last month, noting that four general contractors and three architectural firms were represented at a preproposal meeting on Oct. 5. “This is a rapidly moving project,” Key said. Plans are to present the design-build contract to council for review by early December. Construction could begin by as early as April 2022, Key said. On Oct. 19, representatives from Byrd Real Estate Group and Goodale & Barbieri Co. each presented their cases to council for their services in the search for an anchor restaurant at Trailhead. “It’s critical that we have someone there who really appreciates what we have,” said Mayor Pro Tem Mike Kennedy. • Library Director Jandy Humble told council that the library is now offering free COVID-19 test kits available for curbside pickup. “We’re excited to be able to offer this,” Humble said. The program is part of a partnership with the Spokane Regional Health District.

• Finance Director Kyle Dixon gave an update on American Rescue Plan funding at the Oct. 19 council meeting. The city received applications from 13 nonprofit groups for ARP support, noting a loss of just over $346,000 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The city has been allotted just over $3 million as part of the ARP program. “I think this is an important action,” said Council Member Dan Dunne. “We’ve gathered together a group that does important work for our community.” Council moved ahead with funding for each of the nonprofits with the amounts ranging from 25 to 100 percent of the requested amounts based on the specific impact of the causes in the Liberty Lake community. Funds are expected to be distributed in late November. • Council unanimously approved the purchase of liquid de-ice and granular salt at its Oct. 5 meeting. Also approved at the same meeting was an action item to authorize the mayor to sign a three-year agreement for a backhoe with annual installments of $14,438.52. Earlier in the meeting, council received an update on the city’s snowremoval strategy for this winter.

• In the public comments portion at the end of the Oct. 5 council meeting, resident Jamie Freeze Baird said community involvement should play a role in the city’s budgeting process, pointing out that the soon-to-beformed Community Engagement Commission could be a catalyst for gathering feedback from residents.

Council grapples with stout capital facilities slate By Craig Howard

Splash Contributing Editor

As the planning director for the city of Spokane, Lisa Key was accustomed to large-scale development agendas. When she arrived in Liberty Lake in April of 2018, Key was familiar with Spokane County’s easternmost jurisdiction and the abundance of land ripe for residential and commercial construction. These days, Key has plenty on her plate as director of the Planning, Engineering and Building department. Moving forward, she will have some additional help in addressing the workload after the city brought on David Williams Jr. as its new city engineer and Michelle Binion as a building permit technician. “I’m very much looking forward to 2022 and having a full staff,” Key said. Last month, Key caught the City Council up to speed on the hefty list of capital facilities projects slated for next year as part of a larger discussion on an update to the sixyear Capital Facilities Plan that will outline projects from 2022 through 2027. The first read ordinance on the plan is scheduled for Dec. 7 with second read set for Dec. 21. Workshops can take place until Nov. 16. “This is still just a working draft,” Key said. “Right now, I think council is just trying to process the

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The Splash information.” Key said the focus on next year’s construction agenda at the Oct. 5 workshop was intended to align with the preliminary budget presented to council by Mayor Cris Kaminskas. “I wanted them to see it in the context of the mayor’s budget,” she said. As has been the case for almost two years now, the municipal golf course at the corner of Country Vista and Liberty Lake Road took centerstage in the discussion. For the Trailhead makeover, $400,000 had already been set aside this year with $8 million slotted for 2022 instead of splitting the funds between next year and 2023. The focus will be on the clubhouse, driving range and parking lot. City Administrator Katy Allen told council that approximately $7 million of the $8.4 million total for the project would be directed to design and construction. “This is an opportunity to make the improvements to Trailhead in a way that will enhance revenue generation at the course,” Key said. When asked by Council Member Odin Langford why the city would frontload so much money for Trailhead next year, Key indicated that the project will be hitting its stride by then. “My understanding is we’ll have the contract and will likely go out to bond for the full amount,” Key said. While it takes up much of the spotlight for 2022, Trailhead is not the only major project that Key and her team are prioritizing for next year. The city has set aside $1,722,800 for the Kramer Parkway Overpass venture that will add a much-needed crossing over I-90, connecting Mission Avenue on the north to Country Vista to the south. The allotment represents the balance of the $6 million the city has committed to a trio of projects overseen by the Washington Department of Transportation – Kramer, Barker Road interchange and Harvard Road Bridge expansion. Just over $1 million has been earmarked for the Public Works Yard and final site improvements while the Legacy Ridge/Country Vista traffic signal is ticketed for $650,000. Trails and pedestrian pathways would receive $380,000. Asset management for parks and public facilities checks in at $613,700 with the price tag for purchase of

NOVEMBER 2021 • 9

NEWS

File photo The clubhouse, driving range and parking lot at the Trailhead at Liberty Lake golf course are headed for a major overhaul in the near future. The city has discussed an earmark of $8 million toward the project in 2022. new and replacement equipment deemed essential for the city set at $499,460. As proposed, the total 2022 capital facilities budget stands at just over $15.5 million. As usual, the capital facilities roll call included a wish list of projects that have been discussed for some time such as a community garden at Orchard Park, River District message board, Rocky Hill Park shade structure and more. At one point during the workshop, Council Member Dg Garcia made a motion to “move all unfunded projects to a future workshop to see if we can see if those projects will ever move forward.” “So we can assess and align what the future holds,” Garcia said. Key said it would be important to keep the projects intact as part of the development game plan. “It’s critical that we prioritize the different projects relative to the funding sources as well as our staffing availability,” Key said. “These are projects you may want to consider in the future.” Key pointed out that entities like the Transportation Improvement Board require transportation projects – funded or unfunded – to be identified in order to qualify for grant support. Council Member Dan Dunne parlayed the information to address arguably the most talked-about unfunded project Liberty Lake has ever seen. “Tomorrow a foundation announces it has a grant for a dog park and the fact that we have a

dog park in our plan means we can apply for a grant,” Dunne said. Eventually, the motion passed to address unfunded capital projects at a date to be determined. Garcia said she will make a push for council to have that conversation before the final update to the Capital Facilities Plan is due in late December. “The people want to see us working and moving,” Garcia said. “We need to vet these projects out.” Mayor introduces budget It has become a familiar autumn tradition in Liberty Lake along with leaves changing color, pumpkins on porches and the unearthing of pecan pie recipes. The mayor’s preliminary budget each fall provides the City Council with a bird’s eye view of the financial terrain for the upcoming year with sufficient time for feedback, ideas and edits. On Oct. 19, Kaminskas addressed the governing board with her debut of a municipal budget.

“2021 has been a year of change,” Kaminskas said, noting the year began with a new mayor, police chief and council member, followed by another new council member. “Like so many other organizations during this time, we said goodbye to old friends as they retired, changed careers and moved to be near family and we welcomed new ones as we added positions to make operations at City Hall more efficient and to maintain the amazing level of service that our community expects and deserves,” Kaminskas said. The mayor reminded council that the city has achieved record sales tax revenue nearing $4.8 million this year and will start 2022 with more than $1.3 million in its restricted reserve fund, surpassing the amount required by 350 percent. “In 2022 we are investing in our employees with the addition of more full-time employees including more police officers, a city planner, a facilities Lead, a Communications/ Engagement position and additional training for our employees across the board,” Kaminskas said. The mayor gave an overview of capital facilities projects for next year, including heavy lifts like the Trailhead upgrade, Kramer Parkway overpass and completion of the Public Works Yard. Kaminskas also referred to projects with less fanfare such as upgraded security cameras in public spaces, installation of a traffic signal at Legacy Ridge and Country Vista and installation of four flashing crosswalk beacons to improve safe routes to school. “Over the next eight weeks, the council will review the budget, evaluate priorities and request changes based on those priorities,” Kaminskas said. “Community input is very important in this process and I encourage all of you to participate in this process.”

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Longtime City administrator retires

The Splash

By Nina Culver

Splash contributor

Liberty Lake city administrator Katy Allen has announced her retirement and the city has launched a search for her replacement while Operations and Maintenance Director Jennifer Camp functions as the interim city administrator. Allen, 66, will be in and out of the office for the next few months. She said she wants to complete the city’s effort to get a design/ build contract for the Trailhead Golf Course improvements, among other projects. “I am in a transition period between now and the end of the year,” she said. Allen said she also wants to stay and help for a while because the city has several employees out on leave for various reasons. “I just want to help,” she said. “Our staff resources are challenged right now. Our staff is stretched and we have a lot of development coming in.” The city administrator is appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the city council. Allen said she wanted to postpone her departure until after the November election to make sure the mayor who will be sworn in has a say in selecting her replacement. Current Liberty Lake mayor Cris Kaminskas is being challenged by former mayor Steve Peterson on the ballot. “Whoever is going to be mayor has to be involved in the process,” she said. This decision has been a long time coming for Allen. “I was wanting to retire in 2020 and things got turned upside down because of COVID,” she said. She decided she couldn’t leave the city as it struggled through the early stages of the pandemic. But now, it’s time. “After working 44 years in the public sector, I’m ready to shift gears,” she said. “It’s time to unwind and relax.” It’s a change she’s looking forward to, but Allen acknowledges that it might be a difficult transition. “What is my hobby?” she said. “My

Photo by Craig Howard After a year of delay, Katy Allen pictured above nears retirement, but pledges to be around and in and out of the office to support city staff, complete projects, and provide a smooth transition for the city. hobby is working.” Allen worked for the City of Spokane for 25 years in a variety of roles, including director of public works, before becoming the city engineer for public works in San Jose, California. She was briefly the director of public works and utilities in Bremerton before taking the city administrator job in Liberty Lake. “I’ve never had the same job twice,” she said. Allen said she enjoyed bringing her experience from other cities to Liberty Lake, but one of her biggest challenges was learning how smaller cities operate. “I had a lot to learn,” she said. She focused on having the city plow its own streets instead of contracting the work out, creating a streets department and growing community events with the efforts of volunteers and service providers. The key was determining how to allocate the city’s limited resources

so they’d have the maximum effect. “We can’t be everything all the time,” she said. She has guided the city as it has grown both in terms of population and new businesses coming to town. She’s collaborated with the Central Valley School District in the construction of a new elementary school, middle school and high school inside city limits. But if someone asks about her greatest accomplishment as city administrator, she doesn’t talk about street projects or something else that greatly impacted the community. She tells the story of an elderly woman who came in with questions about a Comcast bill. “I was able to make phone calls to people who could help,” she said. “We got her problem solved. It’s the little things.” That’s not to say she’s not proud of improvements to Harvard Road, Appleway Boulevard and

other major transportation routes in Liberty Lake over the last decade. The improvements have made getting around easier for the fire department and the police department as well as residents, Allen said. She was also named one of the Inland Northwest Women of the Year in 2020. Allen said she will miss the people the most, including the small army of volunteers who are ready to help someone in need in the community. “We have such fantastic employees and city council,” she said. “The volunteers in this community are beyond what you could expect.” Meanwhile, Camp is getting settled into the interim position. “It’s definitely been a great experience,” she said. “Of course, I’m honored to fill in for Katy. She’s the best.”


The Splash

NOVEMBER 2021 • 11

COVER STORY

Camp has been employed by the city since 2011, which is the year before Allen was hired. “She’s been my mentor all these years,” Camp said of Allen. “I’ve always looked up to her. She’s done a lot to help me get to where I am now.” Camp said much of her time in her interim job has been spent making sure city staff have what they need. “It takes a lot of energy to keep up with all the staffing needs,” she said. Allen has the ability to interact well with a wide variety of people, Camp said. “She’s somebody I aspire to be like,” she said. “She’s very smart and knowledgeable and very humble at the same time. I love watching her lead council meetings. She commands respect from the people around her.”

Camp said she understands that it’s Allen’s time to retire, but she’ll be missed. “I don’t think she’ll be far, no farther than a phone call,” Camp said. The city began advertising Allen’s position in October and the first review of applications will be on Nov. 1, Allen said. The city will do phone screenings to narrow the field and select finalists to come to Liberty Lake to be interviewed by panels that will include city staff, city council members, community members and business owners. Those panels will make their recommendations to the mayor, who will select the new city administrator. That selection must be confirmed by the city council, Allen said. Allen said the next city administrator should have plenty of relevant experience, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be as a city administrator. She points out that she had never been a city administrator before coming to Liberty Lake.

younger residents who get all their information on social media. Allen points out that when she started her career, fax machines hadn’t been invented yet. Now there’s text messaging, Zoom calls and more. “It’s a whole new world for people of my generation,” she said. A city administrator should solve problems, be innovative and be efficient, Allen said. Retirement Allen has lived in Liberty Lake since 1983 and that includes the nine years she spent commuting to her job in San Jose. She has no plans to leave the area after her retirement. She and her husband Randy have two sons, one in Post Falls and the other in Liberty Lake, and four grandchildren. Her husband, an avid golfer, has been retired since 2012 and Allen said it’s time to join him. Her goal is to eat healthy and be more active, something that has been hard to accomplish with her work schedule. She also wants to visit friends and travel with her husband. Allen has a long list of places she’d like to visit. “I want to see Niagara Falls, I want to see the Grand Canyon, I want to see the Liberty Bell, I want to see Boston and I want to see the east coast,” she said. “I love the Atlantic.” There’s a reason behind everything she wants to see. Her parents honeymooned in Niagara Falls. She’s always heard about the Liberty Bell, but never seen it. She’s visited Boston before and loves the history and architecture of the city. Allen admits having a soft spot for cities. “Every city has a story,” she said. “I love to see how cities have maintained their services while expanding their amenities.”

“These are changing times,” she said. “I think being adaptive and flexible as well as having experience is needed.”

She admits that her interest in cities may sound work-related, but she’ll just be a well-informed tourist. “I’ll just look at it,” she said. “I won’t have to live it.”

Technology has changed so much that whoever leads the city should be well versed in its use, Allen said. It can be difficult to determine the best way for the city to engage all its citizens, ranging from seniors who don’t use computers to

She and her husband also have plans to become snowbirds in a few years, though they haven’t settled on a location yet. Allen said she wants somewhere warm and her husband wants easy access to golf courses.

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On the campus of a new school, Isaac Jeppson has brought a spirit of generosity and kindness. The Ridgeline junior goes the extra mile through Link Crew, a program where upperclassmen provide support to freshmen in a mentoring role. “Isaac represents our Falcon community in how he cares for others,” said Ridgeline counselor Kara Twining. Jeppson maintains a 3.5 grade point average and has a parttime job. “I want freshmen to feel included and know that high school can be a fun place not somewhere you don’t want to go,” Jeppson said. The junior has been part of community service projects through his church, including volunteering at Blessings Under the Bridge, a nonprofit that provides support to those experiencing homelessness. He plans to attend Brigham Young University-Idaho and serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Zoe Crockett is wrapping up her soccer career at Central Valley High School with a flourish. The senior tallied 19 goals in the regular season along with nine assists as the Bears placed third in the Greater Spokane League. Crockett scored two goals in each of CV’s first five games. She had two goals and an assist in a win over North Central. As a junior, she was named GSL co-Offensive MVP. As a sophomore, Crockett netted 23 goals and was named to the All-GSL first team and also earned All-State honors. She has participated in club soccer with the Spokane Sounders (formerly Shadow). She maintains a 3.8 grade point average and has been part of National Honor Society and DECA, a business/marketing club. Crockett will continue with soccer and studies at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

Since 2004, Jon Thorpe has been a pillar of Sheriff Community Oriented Policing Effort (SCOPE), providing an extra set of eyes and ears to local law enforcement. “Jon has been a great asset,” said SCOPE Director Rick Scott. “He’s someone we can always count on.” For Thorpe, a resident of the Liberty Lake area for the past 35 years, volunteering is a way of life. “I think it’s just a chance to give back to the community,” he said. “I’m using some of my time and energy to keep Liberty Lake a good place to live.” Thorpe has also volunteered for the Spokane County Search and Rescue Team since 2004. The Idaho native has his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and master’s in business administration from the University of Idaho. He has been a member of the Spokane Mountaineers since 1992.

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Ridgeline football makes strides in inaugural season By Craig Howard

Splash Contributing Editor

The prospects of Ridgeline High School earning its first football win in program history appeared slim on Oct. 8 after Cheney marched downfield and converted a long field goal to go ahead 10-7 with just over two minutes remaining. That was until Falcon fortitude kicked in. Quarterback Tanner Smith led the Greater Spokane League’s youngest team downfield, putting Cheney on their heels. The Falcons may have been 0-5 coming into the game but it didn’t show. A short touchdown toss to freshman receiver Brayden Allen with six seconds on the clock secured a dramatic Falcons’ win and a place in the Ridgeline record books. “For our kids to win that way with the adversity they faced was really uplifting,” Falcons’ head coach Dave Myers said of the 13-10 win. “They saw what they’re capable of and they could celebrate the progress they’ve made.” Myers said the Falcon defense was stalwart against an older, bigger Blackhawks’ squad. “Our defense was amazing,” he said. “Cheney tried to throw something new at us and our defense adjusted wonderfully.” Up until the win on the West Plains, it had been a rigorous introduction to the GSL for a team with no seniors. Ridgeline’s debut against perennial power Lewis and Clark in the season opener on Sept. 3 ended with a 3413 defeat but generated plenty of promise. “I expected us to competitive in that game,” said Myers. “We’ve just had limited experience playing against varsity kids.” The positive showing against the Tigers was followed by two humbling losses to Ferris (55-0) and Mt. Spokane

(41-0). Myers said the games both served as reminders to maintain proper perspective. “We talk a lot about the things we can control like mental mistakes,” he said. “It’s all about the future. This is not anyone’s Senior Night.” Myers brings plenty of experience as a leader of developing programs against stout conference play. His first head coaching opportunity was at Garfield High in the Seattle area where he led the Bulldogs against top-flight competition like Skyline, Bothell and Issaquah in the KINGCO 4A ranks. Later, he coached Interlake on the 3A side of the conference, battling elite football schools like Bellevue, Juanita and Lake Washington. “Both of those schools were rebuilding jobs,” Myers said. “I learned a lot about playing very good, established programs with young players, helping them compete and stay positive.” Myers served as offensive coordinator at Central Valley from 2016 to 2018 and was part of a Bears’ squad that advanced to the 4A state semi-final bracket in 2017. At Ridgeline, Myers said this season is about building the Falcons’ football culture. “Everyone knew it would be a process,” he said. Ridgeline suffered a rash of injuries in a 42-20 loss to University on Sept. 24 making the Gonzaga Prep the following week a tenuous proposition.

The Falcons opted to forfeit and prepare for the Cheney game. “Depth is a challenge,” Myers said of a varsity roster that features just over 40 players. There is no junior varsity program at Ridgeline this season although the freshman squad numbers almost 50. Following the Cheney win, the Falcons pushed West Valley to the limit, dropping a 21-20 decision to an Eagles team that is now 4-3 overall. A tough 55-0 non-conference defeat to Walla Walla at home came next. Ridgeline closes out its inaugural season with a rival game against CV on Oct. 29 and a crossover contest with a yet-to-be determined foe from the Mid-Columbia Conference the following week. “Central Valley will be a very familiar group for everyone,” said Myers. Area Football Roundup Central Valley Central Valley improved to 6-1 in the GSL, 6-2 overall, with a 24-8 drubbing of Mead on Oct. 22. It was the Bears’ fourth win in their last five games. Senior quarterback Luke Abshire threw for 284 yards and two touchdowns while Justin Finn hauled in a touchdown catch and finished with 163 receiving yards. On Oct. 1, CV stormed back from a 24-10 third quarter deficit against crosstown rival University for a 27-24 victory. A late 32-yard field goal by Aiden Labrosse

Photo by Erik Smith/Erik Smith Photography Ridgeline quarterback Tanner Smith prepares to pass downfield in the Falcons’ season-opener against Lewis and Clark in Liberty Lake on Sept. 3. Ridgeline dropped the program’s inaugural contest 34-13.

proved to be the difference. The Bears handed Mt. Spokane its only loss of the season on Sept. 24. Abshire racked up 291 yards and three touchdowns in the 21-19 win. West Valley West Valley defeated Clarkston 2814 on Oct. 22 to even its record in the GSL at 2-2 and advance to 4-2 overall. A touchdown toss from Raesean Eaton to Ethan Carrell put the Eagles up 21-6 in the third quarter. Da’Marre Williams was a standout on both sides of the ball, thwarting the Bantams’ offense with stellar play at defensive end, including an open field tackle that prevented a touchdown. Williams also kept Clarkston on its heels with substantial gains on kick returns. University The Titans lost for the first time in three games on Oct. 22, falling to Mt. Spokane 38-13. U-Hi trailed 17-7 at half before the Wildcats scored 14 points in the third quarter. A week earlier, University crushed Ferris 40-6 on the strength of quarterback Caleb Wolcott who passed for two touchdowns and ran for another two. Jalen King had two touchdown grabs and 114 receiving yards. On Oct. 8, U-Hi edged Lewis and Clark 21-17, propelled by junior running back Malaki Miller who rumbled for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Freeman The Scotties continued their quest for a Northeast A League trophy with a convincing 34-10 win over Brewster on Oct. 22. The victory moved Freeman to 4-1 in conference play and 6-1 overall with the only blemish against Riverside. On Sept. 16, the Scotties shut out Deer Park 21-0 as junior signal caller Boen Phelps passed for 205 yards and three touchdowns, including two to standout receiver Taylor Wells. East Valley East Valley improved to 3-2 in the GSL, 4-2 overall, with a 26-20 win against Pullman on Oct. 22. Earlier in the month, the Knights’ Deizel Wilkinson led the charge in a 50-18 rout of North Central. Wilkinson started at free safety and returned an interception 80 yards for a score. As a replacement quarterback, Wilkinson led EV on four touchdown drives. He reached the end zone twice with scampers of 40 and 50 yards.


NOVEMBER 2021 • 17

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An Open Letter to our CVSD Community To our Greater Central Valley School District Community: We sincerely thank you for your enthusiastic support for Central Valley School District (CVSD) in the past and your continued support today. Together, we have built new schools, remodeled schools and are working hard to create safe learning environments for all our students. Together, we have managed to navigate some very challenging times and today we acknowledge there are difficult challenges ahead. We cannot lose sight of what we accomplish when we work together to improve the quality of education for our children. As a school board of directors, our primary goal is to provide quality education while keeping our children physically and emotionally safe. Over the past 18 months, the COVID-19 global pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges for our families, community and world. We applaud our teachers, administrators and support staff who have gone above and beyond to help keep our children safe during this health emergency. We have heard from many in our community regarding the district’s response to the pandemic and there are differing opinions in the community as to how we should move forward in the current school year. Some people are advocating that we take positions which would violate the law, bring increased financial liabilities to our district and jeopardize the safety of our students and staff. As a board, we have a longstanding commitment to hear all the opinions within our community. Over the past several weeks we have received a number of emails, public comments and had personal conversations with many of you. While many are supportive of our actions and decisions, some people are very critical and even threatening to us. As school boards and communities around our nation face the health and safety needs of our children, we are not unique in our divisions. What makes our community unique is what we can accomplish together. Our commitment to our community regarding our responsibilities during this health emergency is to continue to work within the law and with the guidance of our state and local health professionals. We take our responsibility to provide a safe

OPINION learning environment for each and every student very seriously and this will remain our primary focus. What makes our CVSD community special is the strength of the individuals and families who reside here. We have a long history of working together for the greater good of our children. Our school board members bring different perspectives and backgrounds to our work and yet we always have the ultimate priority of placing the needs of our children above any differences we may bring to the discussions. We have confidence that working cohesively will benefit our children far more than adversarial actions. Whether in person or virtual, at our regular school board meetings we continue to welcome and encourage public comments. We continue to expect orderly and respectful public comment. Together, we can continue to build upon the successes of the past to provide a great future for our children. Sincerely, Central Valley School District School Board Directors Debra Long, President Mysti Reneau, Vice President Cynthia McMullen, Legislative Representative Keith Clark, Board Member Tom Dingus, Board Member Dear Editor, Cris Kaminskas needs our vote as Mayor of Liberty Lake. In the short time that she has served as mayor she has streamlined city hall operations and brought technology up to date-- in other words brought a fresh perspective of leadership during Covid. She has been a fixture on the City Council for over 11 years and is intimately acquainted with the workings of the city. Her colleagues who have worked with her for years, appointed her as mayor. I also support Cris because I believe in term limits. If a leader cannot accomplish their vision in two terms, then it is time for others to step in. As an observer, I find it curious that Cris’ opponent was elected mayor twice and lost his re-election campaigns twice as an incumbent. Most of the multi-family units were also built during his tenure, which he now criticizes. It is time for new faces and new ideas to lead Liberty Lake. A vote for Cris Kaminskas will move us forward! E.H. (Ellen) Williams

Dear Editor, A lot of attention has been placed on the CVSD School Board elections. CVSD is a good school district. The Board, and teachers have done great things in the past years. There are shiny new schools, attracting a lot of new residents. No one has said otherwise. Pam Orebaugh (d.5) and Bret Howell (write in for d.2) are the best candidates to get us back on track. They have school age children and care deeply about what is going on in CVSD schools. Bret brings light to what happens/isn't happening for special needs students. Both have been very transparent with their campaigns, answering any and all questions. Last week they both were at two different community forums. Teresa showed at one, Stan didn't show at all. Instead of reading/listening to others' viewpoints- listen to the candidates themselves: https://fb.watch/8P0NRogPph/

Thank you,Robin Joncyk Dear Editor, I am so excited to be voting for Pam Orebaugh and writing in Bret Howell for position 2. I have gotten to know the candidates over the last 6 months as they have showed up and spoken out for our children. They are not from the inside of the district and will be a wonderful balance and a voice for each and every parent and child. Shannon Balmes Dear Editor, I would love to tell you why I am voting for Pam Orebaugh for Position 5 and Writing In Bret Howell for Position 2. Both Pam and Bret are devoted parents that share my interest in having a choice in our children’s education. They are not Anti-mask or Anti-vaccine but Pro-Parent Choice. There are many rumors being said about them that are not true, both candidates are accessible and transparent, they are always willing to speak to the public and clarify their stances. CV is an excellent school district, but the school shutdowns have greatly impacted our children, so we need fresh faces on the school board to help get our children caught up and back on track to excel. If you don’t want the state making your parenting decisions for you then Pam and Bret are the candidates you want fighting for you and your children. Amy Mulhern

The Splash Dear Editor, On October 13th, the Spokesman published a guest opinion by Stan Chalich. I read his article with interest because I knew very little about Stan’s positions on controversial topics burgeoning in public education (sexual health education, critical race theory, vaccine mandate, etc.). Unfortunately, his positions remain unclear because 1) he used this platform as a scare campaign by fallaciously misrepresenting Pam Orebaugh (and Bret Howell) regarding state funding for CVSD, and 2) he refuses to participate in public forums where community members can inquire regarding his ideological views. His website is devoid of answers to these topics, his Facebook page is similarly bereft, and he refuses to respond to emails. Will his interaction be any different as an elected schoolboard member? Instead of sharing his views publicly, Stan chose to create a wildly deceptive straw man argument regarding state funding and a superficial criticism of a potential schoolboard recall. Unfortunately, Stan is not above the rhetorical posturing that is frequently a frustration with recalcitrant politicians. Pam and Bret desire a return to normalcy, transparency, open dialogue with the public, and honest representation of the community. This will be a welcomed change to the current schoolboard. Tim Barker CVSD parent of four Dear Editor, My wife and I are residents within the CVSD school district, and we have been attending the school board meetings since July of this year. At the meetings, when they were still in person, we were able to meet and get to know Pam Orebaugh. As we continue through these tough times, we need someone like Pam, with her knowledge as a teacher and a nurse on the CVSD board. While we've had the pleasure of meeting Pam in person at school board meetings, we have not seen nor heard from her challenger at any of the CVSD board meetings. Why not? We need someone like Pam Orebaugh who will be a director who listens to parents and students. We urge all other concerned CVSD parents to vote for Pam Orebaugh for CVSD Position 5. Dennis Reed


NOVEMBER 2021 • 21

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Continued from page 5 businesses and donors support. We all want to be part of something real and something we can see directly the impact of how far a little kindness and true empathy can go. That those who serve see the impact of their dollar, a pair of socks and a warm blanket can spread. The hand that blesses is always the most blessed.

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Q: What do you think are some of the most widespread misperceptions of those who experience homelessness? A: What immediately comes to mind is exactly that – “perceptions.” So many of those are misleading others into a one-way mindset and assumption that they too are conditioned into thinking. The biggest one is thinking that it’s a snap of your finger, quick fix, logic. The hardest thing for people to realize is we all EN R ICH ED LIV IN G . LA STIN G VA LUE. have areas that we struggle with – depression, vanity, spending, striving, seeking, hiding and running from our flaws and failures. But without hope THE friends, family, to change or the right co-workers or surroundings it is hard to overcome. It works both ways on both sides of the train tracks.

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Craig Howard, Nina Culver, Ross Schneidmiller The Liberty Lake Splash P.O. Box 363 Liberty Lake, WA 99019 Phone: 242-7752 www.libertylakesplash.com The Splash is published monthly by or before the first of each month. It is distributed free of charge to every

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A: I am extremely blessed by Liberty Lake residents receive a complimentary copy those first tips I made as a server at each month. Subscriptions for U.S. postal addresses Hay J’s inVE 2007. Those seeds that were THE YOU DESER outside of the 99019 ZIP code cost $12 for 12 issues. planted have spread and grown past Send a check and subscription address to P.O. Box through and beyond the Liberty Lake 363, Liberty Lake, WA 99019. Subscriptions must be THE LIBERTY LAKE community. love the relationships I d’Alene. received by the 15th of the month in order for the New homes in Spokane, Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake, IPost Falls & Coeur have built with so many over the past Index of advertisers subscription to begin with the issue printed the end Following are the local advertisers in 14 years. As once a longtime resident of that month. this issue of The Splash. I have COMMUNITY NEWSMAGAZINE Correction policy gr e e nst o ne ho me s.c obeen m blessed by the fruit that has come from all those seeds. There The Splash strives for accuracy in all content. Errors Spokane Family Dental 3 Liberty Lake Family Dentistry 5 Amaculate Housekeeping 22 is a very long list of donors, sponsors, should be reported immediately to 242-7752 or by servers and friends that have helped email to editor@libertylakesplash.com. Confirmed Liberty Lake Sewer & Water District 12 Banner Furnace & Fuel 5 Spokane Transit Authority 9 reap a harvest under the bridge. factual errors will be corrected on this page in the isLiberty Lake Smile Source 15 City of Liberty Lake 7, 15 Liberty Lake is small but has a huge Spokane Valley Partners 9 sue following their discovery. heart of compassion and kindness Lilac Eye Care 8 Clinic 5C 18 Advertising information Steve Petersen 4 and that is why the community has Display ad copy and camera-ready ads are due by Mark Rubin 8 ElectPam4kids 3 5 p.m. on the 15th of the month for the following continued to grow and prosper. Tate Law Offices 21 Proudly printed by

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The Splash Dear Editor, Pam and Bret Champion Parental Rights and involvement Pam Orebaugh and Bret Howell are currently running for CVSD schoolboard positions. They have been painted by their opponent as “extremists” - this couldn’t be further from the truth, and this language is unnecessarily divisive. Pam and Bret have both been open about their intentions respecting their participation on the school board. They call for more transparency, more parental involvement, and more community input. For an entire year, the current CVSD schoolboard removed parents from the decision-making process, kept an arm’s length distance by implementing Zoom schoolboard meetings, silencing public comment and involvement, and briefly attempted to placate the community with part-time schooling in order to get their levy passed in February. Other neighboring districts were holding full day, in-person learning from the beginning of the 2020 school year. The CVSD schoolboard is again blocking community involvement in board meetings via Zoom, and are anything but transparent to the community they serve. Stan Chalich is supported by the schoolboard because he will maintain the status quo. We need change. We need members of the board that will fight for and communicate with the community, we need members that will stand up and ask hard questions, instead of sitting cowardly behind a camera proclaiming that ‘these are [their] meetings and [that] the audience better shut up.’ Please help CVSD become better by voting for Pam Orebaugh for Pos. 5, and writing in Bret Howell for Pos. 2. Anniece Barker (A Voice for Washington Children), a CVSD parent. Dear Editor, Stan Chalich is the person that taught me about Civics and the importance of responsible citizenship in high school. We need reasonable voices and thoughtful influencers on the Central Valley School Board. I support Stan-theMan Chalich as we called him at CVHS. I grew up, along with my seven siblings, in the CV district. Stan represents the vision of what our school board should be doing. Dan Daines

OPINION

Dear Editor, I have read with interest the letters to the editor, op Ed’s, news articles etc. regarding the Central Valley School of Directors. As a former educator I feel compelled to weigh in on the election. Clearly I have a bias for public education. An education is the best way for children to have successful career and meaningful life. I have worked with many school board directors and have found all members to be well intentioned, educated and committed to children and the process of education. They are dedicated to children, teachers, principals, support staff and community. They are leaders that strive to help their district be the best. They care about the safety and welfare of students and staff. They take their responsibility to provide guidance and leadership very seriously. They are difference makers. They are highly respected and valued by the members of the community they serve. Let’s review what are the primary responsibilities of a school director. The role of a Board of Of Directors of a school district is to: *Developer and approve a strategic plan *Establish and monitor a district improvement plan *Evaluate student achievement *Set data-driven expectations *Monitor for district accountability *Provide fiscal oversight *Establish district policies in compliance with state and federal laws *Advocate for public education *Promote excellence in district schools I can with great confidence tell you the Central Valley school Board is an outstanding group of individuals that strive to achieve success with reference to their defined responsibilities. I am dismayed that a small number of individuals who are extremely critical of CVSD appear to have focused on singles issues that are lightning rods. I have concern that some of our school board candidates have a very narrow vision of what their role encompasses. If what I read and understand has any element of truth it appears their focus and style of communication is driven by anger and they use verbal abuse to communicate their priorities. They cross the line of human

decency. Their actions in leadership are contrary to how quality school boards function and carry out business. In thirty-five of teaching and leading in private and public education I never experienced what educators are experiencing today. Not even close! The name calling, use of expletives, and threats to property and personal safety is beyond disgusting. To even think these individuals could one day provide some form of leadership to our schools is against everything I believe about how local school boards should function and lead. What has recently transpired at our school board meetings is embarrassing and disheartening. Our children deserve better. The topics of Mask/no masks, vaccine/no vaccine, Critical Race Theory, sex education, etc. are lighting rods that escalate into irrational anger. These issues make for great news and have become a cancer of negativity on the process of educating our young people. We are, on a daily basis, witnessing adults that have little self control. They fail to think rationally and lack the use of a moral compass. They are impulsive and their actions are of a bully on a playground. Our children deserve better. Our community, country and the world have gone through “hell” for the past 18 months. It has been a time of fear, frustration, confusion, great sadness but also hope. Leadership, at all levels, have been challenged to find a sense of direction. At every turn a new roadblock turns positive momentum into another cloud of confusion. And it repeats. Unfortunately, I fear we are going to find it necessary to live with this yoke of uncertainty for some time. No matter the challenges before us our role modeling and actions must send the message to our children that we will strive to keep you safe, secure. This must be our priority if children are going to continue to have success in learning . Our children deserve to be cared for. Central Valley School District has a long history of providing high quality education for our youth. Parents and Grandparents enjoy and are thankful for a school community that strives to help children be successful and happy in their learning. The district has benefited from envious citizen and community support. Our business community benefits from well educated young people entering the workplace. We are fortunate to live in a great community to learn, live and work. Our children deserve this.

NOVEMBER 2021 • 23

However, their is a cloud of concern and uncertainty that now has a presence in our community. A frivolous recall effort against three outstanding current board members is unnecessary and uncalled for. They have served well and deserve to continue in their role. The past and present district accomplishments under their leadership is simply enviable. Their focus is on the full range of a school board directors responsibilities. They lead and analyze the district from a macro perspective. They listen and guide from experience. They know how to lead and are successful. They deserve our continued support. Director district #2 and #5 are open positions. Pam Orebaugh and Rob Linebarger are two candidates running for the #5 position. A write in candidate for position #2 is Bret Howell. All three candidates actions appear to have ax to grind against existing board members and the administration. Their rhetoric and recent actions focus on masks, vaccinations and CRT. It appears to be a very narrow focus and yes, that is a criticism . We need board members that listen, analyze and seen the big picture. Orebaugh, Linebarger, and Howell do not meet the criteria for forward thinking and the desire to provide uniting leadership. District #2 candidate Teresa Landa and district #5 write in candidate Stan Chalich are both knowledgeable and highly competent professionals. They have no ax to grind but rather a desire to lead and improve our district.They are guided by a moral compass to serve, support, and educate children. Jay Walter Dear Editor, My wife and I are residents within the CVSD school district, and we have been attending the school board meetings since July of this year. Bret Howell is a write-in candidate for CVSD Position 2. We have gotten to know Bret and his two boys. Bret is running to bring accountability and transparency back to the school board. Bret is a constitutional conservative. Bret believes teachers and students have the right to choose whether to wear a mask or to take shot. We will be writing in Bret Howell, CVSD position 2, and urge you to do the same. Dennis Reed


24 • NOVEMBER 2021

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