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2 • NOVEMBER 2013

The Current

New CEO sees opportunities at Valley Hospital By Josh Johnson


About 30 years ago, Tim Moran worked on a pair of hospital projects “in the kingdom.” The challenge: that “kingdom” was Saudi Arabia, and Moran’s job was to get them operating to Joint Commission standards — not a small feat in a country where such universally recognized health care accreditation was far from the norm. He succeeded, MORAN and over the course of a 35-year career as a chief executive he has also led hospitals in Oregon, South Carolina and for many years in California. When former Valley Hospital CEO Dennis Barts resigned early this summer, Moran, who was working already for parent company Community Health Systems, took over for Barts in an interim role. By the end of August, both he and the hospital’s board decided he should get a little more comfortable, removing the interim tag.

A Cup of Joe The Current visited with Moran recently to talk about what attracted him to the position, what he sees ahead for Valley Hospital and the competitive health care scene in the Inland Northwest.

Q. A.

Looking over your bio, it’s clear being the CEO of a hospital is nothing new to you.

I’ve been a hospital CEO pretty much all my professional life. I started as a hospital CEO when I was 25 in Los Angeles, Calif., and went to run a small county hospital. I think at the time, I was probably one of the youngest CEOs in the country. I was fortunate because I had a strong director of nursing and a strong chief financial officer.

In the course of my career — I’m 60 years old now — I’ve had the great fortune to build two hospitals from scratch. ... So I’ve learned a lot and grown a lot professionally by doing that, as I had to be really involved in the communities where those were done because I needed to create the first governing board. So you need to know who’s who in a community that can make a contribution and wants to give back. Q. With all of the experience you’ve had all over the world running hospitals, what about Valley Hospital piqued your interest at this point in your career? A. I was interested in a medium-size hospital I could run. I had opportunity to come up here for what was initially an interim assignment. As each day went by and I got to like it, I got to know it, and I was attracted by the fact that Valley is a really good hospital. Dennis had done a fantastic job of not only the services here, but also reaching out to the community with business breakfasts, engagement, (work with the) Chamber and that kind of thing. And the docs: I think we have really good physicians here, and if you don’t have good physicians, you don’t have a good hospital. And that of course helps elevate the quality


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of life in a community through health care. Q. Outside the walls of the hospital, has the transition from California life to the Inland Northwest suited you so far? A. (I was looking for) a community I could enjoy living in, and the fact that I’m an avid fly fisherman entered into it not one iota — nothing to do with it whatsoever (laughs). And it did not escape me that there is a fly shop on the other side of Interstate 90. I’ve been in there, and I’ve invested already. So I guess what I’m saying is I think it’s a nice place to live. Everybody I’ve come across says they really like living here and wouldn’t consider leaving — which I think says a lot about the community. Q. We’ve talked some about how this situation suits Tim, but I’m sure you were placed here because the powers that be feel like Tim really suits Valley Hospital, as well. What do you feel like you bring from your background that will be helpful to where Valley Hospital is at right now? A. I have a lot of experience as a hospital CEO, and a variety of experiences. There’s

See MORAN, page 4

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MORAN Continued from page 2

not a lot I haven’t seen in the course of my 30 years or more. And I think experience when you’re working in an environment now where who knows what health reform really is going to mean? Who knows what Obamacare is really going to do or not do? And I think you want to have people in leadership roles that have a good foundation of experience. And I think the other thing I bring that is kind of related to experience is a desire and willingness to listen. I think the best strategies come from teams, not individuals. I’ve been around enough to know that I don’t know everything. And when you surround yourself with good people, they help you bring the organization along. Now it won’t be a secret if you print this, but I’ve always said the secret to being a good hospital CEO is contained in one question: What do you think we should do? I ask that question every day, and if I have the right people in their roles, they know the answer. They just need validation. … There isn’t a job in this hospital I know how to do — I don’t know how to take blood pressure, I can’t do surgery, they won’t let me in the OR and I don’t blame them — but I can lead. And I think for Valley, I hope at least what I can help them do

is to look forward. Dennis did a lot of great things in the past five years; I’d like to think my coming here will help Valley in the next five years. When the board asked me to stay, I think they did so because they wanted an experienced person, and they know that’s an important ingredient to success. Q. You’ve shared a lot of what you found to be strengths of this hospital. What are your goals for areas that you hope to improve? A. We do a real good job in the (emergency department) of seeing patients in a timely manner, but I’d like to see us do even better. I’d like to see us have efforts we can take so that when it gets really busy that we can react to that busyness really quickly, whether it’s through things we do here at Valley or through relationships that we build with other area hospitals. For example, patients having heart attacks. You may need to get them to a cath lab and potentially bypass surgery, and time makes all the difference in the world. So those are areas of development for us. It’s not a weakness; it’s just developing further what we do. I’d like to see more people from the Valley area see Valley as their hospital. We’re part of this community; we try to give back to the community. And I’d love to see more patients see valley as a place where they want to have their baby or their surgery or that type of thing. So that’s kind of an op-

portunity. Q. Another health system in the region, Providence, is building a campus in the Valley near the Sullivan interchange a couple exits down. Is this bit of competition we’ve seen in the local medical industry — and increasingly here in the Valley — a threat to what Valley Hospital is accomplishing and hoping to accomplish in our community? A. Is competition a threat? No. Competition is a good thing. I think the absence of competition would be a bad thing. How many sole-source entities can you think of that people think are great and provide good service? ... Maybe some do, but healthy competition is a good thing. The way I approach that is to do the best job we can for patients in our community and make sure they know what services we can provide to them. Q. Before you arrived, there was an appeal from Valley Hospital regarding the “certificate of need” — specifically that Providence was looking to provide certain services to the Spokane Valley without, in effect, showing a great enough need for those services. Do you know if this dispute is behind us or if it’s an ongoing issue? A. No, that’s in play right now. As I understand it, that project involves some surgery suites, and they did not file for certificate of need. And then events developed after that.

The Current

Q. So when we talk about the positives of healthy competition and this other issue regarding certificate of need, we’re talking about two different things? A. I think what you try to do is look at demand for certain types of services. I’ll use a silly example: If we’ve got 10 cardiologists practicing in Liberty Lake for the 7,500 people that are there, you’re probably not going to find me recruiting another one. So I think that’s where a lot of the competitive element exists. Business people look for if there is an opportunity someplace, and you try to be progressive. So that’s how I look at the positives of competition. Q. I’ll give you the last word. If you were writing this article, what would be the important message you would want to leave people with? A. Growth. You are going to see Valley Hospital grow in this community. You are going to see us grow some of our service lines. I think you’re going to see more and more people utilize our hospital’s emergency room. Certainly, as the population grows, that’s going to continue to be an important resource. But I think you’re going to see us do more surgery, you’re going to see us deliver more babies and you’re going to see us bring more physicians into the community, hire more employees, support the economy. How many? I don’t know. A lot. As the community need is there, we want to respond to it.

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The Current

6 • NOVEMBER 2013

Valley Council candidates state case at forum By Josh Johnson


Eight candidates vying for four positions on the Spokane Valley City Council shared time with a smattering of attendees Oct. 16 at a candidate forum organized by the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce. Outside of opening and closing statements, moderator John Guarisco of MDI Marketing, the current chair of the Chamber board, addressed individualized questions to the four sets of pairs running against one another.

Position 1 Incumbent Rod Higgins has held his seat since early February, when a coin toss broke three consecutive tie votes by Council members choosing a replacement for Brenda Grassel. The person who landed on the losing end of that coin toss, Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council (GSSAC) Executive Director Linda Thompson, is challenging Higgins HIGGINS again, this time in November’s election. When asked at the forum the city’s primary responsibility to its citizens, Thompson emphasized “engagement with citizens” and Higgins answered “public safety.” THOMPSON Higgins praised the way the city has become increasingly welcoming to both businesses and new residents, adding that doing so has enabled increased economic activity. He said the possibility of finding a permanent home for City Hall and the police department

would “channel the rent we current pay into a tangible asset.” Thompson, who lost a child to a drunk driver, said two decades of work through the GSSAC have taught her how to balance budgets, work with limited funding and leverage resources. She also noted an absence on the Council she hopes to fill. “We have no women on the Council; we need more diversity,” Thompson said. “Let me be the one to come onto the Council and bring my perspective as a grassroots leader with good heart for the people here.”

Position 4 The last remaining original Spokane Valley Council member, Gary Schimmels, is receiving a challenge from Ed Pace, pastor of caring ministries at Redeemer Lutheran Church. The candidates were asked a top priority for their work in office, and Schimmels said “the very top equation would be to maintain what we have in the city today.” Pace said the SCHIMMELS “most important thing is we need to figure out how to deregulate businesses as much as possible so that we can aggressively attract new businesses.” When asked about frustrations during his long tenure, PACE Schimmels recalled how he was the first to vote against a city center concept several years back, but “at some point, we need to take a couple steps and do something that centers the population in Spokane Valley that is affordable.” Pace responded that “city centers happen; we can’t contrive it.”

Pace added that he felt that his commitment not to raise taxes — and potentially lower them, separates him from Schimmels, who he has accused in the past for departing from the original tenets of the “Positive Change” platform several candidates successfully ran on in 2009. Schimmels responded that he would “like to dig a hole and bury the word, ‘positive change,’” a remark that brought a smattering of applause. He said the dialogue connected to the term distracts from “common sense” items that should be discussed.

Position 5 The race with, by far, the greatest age disparity pits 81-year-old Council member and retired educator Chuck Hafner against 28-year-old financial advisor Donald Morgan Jr. Morgan said he would like to see “more people of my age contribute,” and noted a younger perspective would be positive for the Council. Hafner said he MORGAN is running for reelection to apply his “integrity, honesty, experience and common sense” to keeping Spokane Valley a great and familyfriendly community. He listed public safety, good roads, sustaining a 50 percent HAFNER reserve and a balanced budget among his priorities. Morgan said that a close look at how the city is spending its money would be the first priority if faced with a budget shortfall. “If we’ve completely exhausted that op-

tion, one of the things I would have to look at is raising taxes,” he said. “Cutting essential services is not on the table.” Hafner alluded to the hypothetical nature of the question given the city’s enviable cash position. “There is not a city in the state of Washington that wouldn’t just love to have a 50 percent reserve in their arsenal,” he said.

Position 7 The only race without an incumbent pits a former Spokane Valley Planning Commissioner, Fred Beaulac, against the planning body’s current chairman, Bill Bates. Beaulac, operations manager and safety director for Hatfield Enterprizes, said he aims to represent working families on the Council, a demographic he noted was in short supply among current leadership. In BEAULAC response to a question about how to revitalize Sprague Avenue, he focused on the need to bring in more living wage jobs. “As people have more money in their pockets, you are going to find that businesses flourish,” he said. BATES Bates, a retired Rosauers Supermarket executive who grew up in Spokane Valley and raised five kids here, said the solution starts at City Hall. “We have outsourced economic development basically to an outside agency — a ‘greater Spokane’ agency, and I think with limited success,” Bates said. “What the city is attempting to do now, and I agree 100 percent, is to bring that in house. We are our best advertisement. Our people can do a great job of attracting businesses.”

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The Current

NOVEMBER 2013 • 9

Millwood mayor hopefuls speak to packed house Freeman and Hamlin share different perspectives of city By Josh Johnson


Every chair was accounted for — and a few people stood in the back — at a Millwood mayoral candidate forum held Oct. 15 in the Millwood City Hall Council Chambers. The crowd of 50-plus came out to hear City Council Member Kevin Freeman and resident Dennis Hamlin, the two candidates vying to replace Dan Mork as mayor. Mork is resigning after eight years as the city’s leader and more than 30 as an elected official serving Millwood. From opening statements, the two men differentiated themselves along the lines of how they would view their role as mayor and how they view the city’s recent progress. For Freeman, who has served on the Council for eight years and spent six years as a member of the Millwood Planning Commission, a desire to “continue the progress made” in the past eight years is part of his mantle.

“I’ve taken an active role in helping improve the city’s finances, policies and infrastructure with the goal that Millwood is able to remain an independent city,” he said, listing off accomplishments including becoming a code city, addressing public safety issues and making “significant progress” in balancing finances. Hamlin said that, on the contrary, as he has walked to 730 homes while campaigning he has learned “there are a lot of things that need to be addressed.” “I see where I can make a big change to Millwood, helping Millwood, benefitting Millwood, putting money back into the general fund instead of spending it on general contractors,” Hamlin said. “With my experience in owning corporations, partnerships, sole proprietor, I believe I would be a benefit to the city.” When it comes to serving as mayor, Hamlin intends to turn it into a full-time position, saying he will have a cell phone on his side and be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. “I’m going to run as a different style of mayor,” Hamlin said. “It will be something new for the city of Millwood. I would be a full-time mayor, not a part-time mayor

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or a namesake mayor. I will be heavily involved in the different meetings and working with the businesses and corporations to develop their strengths.” Freeman said he would hold regular office hours, would be available by cell phone and believes he can be as available and responsive as the city needs him to be while he continues to work a full-time job. “Will I be sitting there from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.? No,” he said. “Will I be accessible? Absolutely.” He also praised the city’s staff. “We have folks who are more than capable of doing their work and doing it well,” Freeman said. Hamlin said the city could save money by purchasing equipment and doing work in-house as opposed to using outside contractors for tasks such as street sweeping or striping roadways. He also said the city should explore ideas such as holding court once a month in town and working with the Sheriff ’s Office to bring in a law enforcement officer — perhaps one that is retired or that the city could get at a reduced cost to focus specifically on writing speeding tickets. “That officer would pay for himself in

his own tickets — and probably show a profit in the first year,” Hamlin said. “Everyone who lives around here knows how it works.” Freeman said the idea of adding a law enforcement presence specifically assigned to Millwood is something the city has studied. “We’ve looked at ticketing officers, we’ve looked at these practices, and those issues of having a ticketing officer devoted to your city are a difficult proposition,” he said. “You end up paying for that officer. If you want a full-time officer, you pay a full-time wage.” Both candidates were asked about where they believed they could find waste in city spending, and Hamlin reiterated his point about work done by outside contractors that could be accomplished in house. Freeman had a more difficult time pinpointing waste, though he acknowledged a recent retirement may have “right-sized staff a bit.” “We run a very lean ship here,” he said. “We endeavor to make sure the money we get in is not wasted. I cannot think of something that we have recently quoteunquote wasted money on.”

The Current

10 • NOVEMBER 2013

DeVleming, Schmidt bring leadership experience to race for SVFD commissioner By Craig Howard


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Mike DeVleming and Ron Schmidt are both touting backgrounds of proven leadership in their respective campaigns for Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioner, Position 2. Now it’s a question of voters deciding which candidate has the best leadership pedigree for the job. Schmidt has been a fixture on the board of fire commissioners for the past 24 years while DeVleming brings a background in municipal government, having served as the inaugural mayor for the city of Spokane Valley as well as a City Council member. SVFD commissioners meet twice a month and are responsible for governance and setting district policy. They each earn $104 per meeting, are reimbursed for mileage and can be paid a maximum compensation of just over $9,000 per year. The Current caught up with DeVleming and Schmidt recently to talk about their goals and priorities if elected, diversity on the SVFD staff, building support for levies and other topics on the campaign trail. Q: Why did you decide to run for fire commissioner? Mike DeVleming: Since my early days as mayor, I have been intrigued by the Spokane Valley Fire Department. I have attended many of the commissioner meetings as a city council person and as a private citizen. I have watched the evolution of this fire department and how the changing community has impacted the services Spokane Valley Fire provides. I think it is time for fresh ideas on the Spokane Valley Fire Board, and I believe I can provide some of those ideas. Ron Schmidt: I have been involved with the fire service for over 30 years, first in education and then as a fire commissioner for the Spokane Valley Fire Department. I have seen this district go from a basic fire district to a celebrated premium district. It has been a great experience, and I see many growth areas ahead that I would like to be a part of. Q: How would you describe your campaign approach leading up the general election? DeVleming: All of my previous campaigns have reflected my leadership style. I like a positive, low-key approach. I believe that the best campaign strategy is to connect with the community, talking with the citizens so that I have a better idea of how best to represent them. I think this campaign has reflected that style. Schmidt: My approach would be to let the



people know what an outstanding fire district they have. Q: The current board of fire commissioners has set a goal to improve the department’s insurance rating from 3 to 2, an upgrade that would mean a considerable savings for both residents and businesses. How would this shift benefit the community and the department and what do you think the board’s role should be in this campaign? DeVleming: One of the many items that will improve the Fire District’s rating is an improved level of service and response time. This benefits everyone that the Fire District serves. Again, communication is the role of the fire commissioner. This message, among others, needs to be delivered by the commissioners. Once the commitments to this has been decided and approved, the commissioners also need to give the staff the resources to accomplish these goals. Schmidt: To achieve the distinction of a No. 2 status would be a great happening. By achieving this status, homeowners, businesses and industry would get a savings on insurance rates. The most affected with the largest savings, would be industry. Achieving this No. 2 designation is another tool that will help attract industry to move to the Spokane Valley or Liberty Lake. The board’s role is to support administrative decisions to achieve this goal. Q: SVFD Fire Chief Bryan Collins has recently formed a committee to address the issue of diversity in the department, or more precisely, the lack of it. How important is it for women and people of all races to be represented as fire district employees? DeVleming: Diversity is important for any organization. As long as we aren’t lowering the requirements for an individual to become a firefighter, all other unreasonable obstacles should be removed. Schmidt: Diversity is powerful in many ways. Women and minorities are people just like you and me. This is a great nation because of our diversity. You will find strength within any organization by representing all minorities. Q: The district has operated with no

debt and has a healthy undesignated reserve fund, but currently has no fund earmarked strictly for capital improvements. With a fire station running around $2 million to build these days, do you think it’s sustainable to take on zero debt moving into the future? DeVleming: Yes, zero debt is preferred. We must be clear what the appropriate amount of reserves is and not retain more than necessary. After all, it is the taxpayers’ money. Schmidt: Absolutely. The board is accountable for the final budget each year, similar to the City Councils. By being very cautious, we expend dollars where needed. The reason for no line item on capital construction this year is that we are upgrading our older buildings to meet today’s standards. After these projects are accomplished, we will re-evaluate the district future needs. Q: There are two unions that represent different factions of SVFD staff outside of the administrative managers. What do you think is the role of a commissioner in working with these labor groups? DeVleming: There are very clear labor laws in the state of Washington and when it comes to dealing with labor issues, an elected official better be completely aware of the rules. Schmidt: The commissioner counts on the battalion chiefs to pass on pertinent information to the firemen. Keeping in touch helps the commissioner have an ear for items that need to be addressed. Also, the commissioners visit different fire stations to talk with firemen regarding their needs. Q: Finally, the department recently hosted a successful open house attended by around 600 people. How important is outreach and education in the overall picture for SVFD and what can you do as a commissioner to support both? DeVleming: 600 people at an open house is good by most anyone’s standards. However, let’s remember that those folks made up approximately 1 percent of the district. Our Commissioners have to do more to get the district message out to the public. They need to do more than visit the crews at the various stations. If I am elected, you will see me leading the push for more and better communication. That will mean not only telling the Spokane Valley Fire District story, but also listening to what the citizens want and expect from their fire district. Schmidt: I support and attend the open houses. It is important for our citizens to visit with our firemen, see our stations and equipment and have an opportunity to ask questions regarding operations and costs.

The Current

NOVEMBER 2013 • 11

From left, Deanna Ervin, Justin Voelker, Fred Helms, Mike Novakovich, Heidi Gillingham and Kerri Lunstroth prepare to answer community questions at the candidate forum at Trent Elementary School Oct. 16.


K-8 dialogue dominates EVSD forums

By Kelly Moore


Candidates for the East Valley School Board fielded community questions in multiple debates leading up to the mailing of ballots Oct. 17, and the implementation of the district’s new K-8 programming held up as one of the key talking points. The candidates include incumbent Kerri Lunstroth and Fred Helms vying for the seat in Director District 4, incumbent Heidi Gillingham and Justin Voelker in Directory District 3 and newcomers Deanna Ervin and Mike Novakovich vying for the seat in Director District 5. During candidate introductions at the Oct. 16 forum at Trent Elementary School, Ervin, Novakovich and Voelker all came out of the gate saying they decided to run for the school board out of frustration with the current board, its decision-making processes and what they referred to as a rushed implementation of the new K-8 system. d an Gr ing en Op

“It’s not that I have a problem with the K-8 programming, so much as I have with the implementation of it,” Novakovich said. “I don’t understand why we had to push this through so quickly.” The new K-8 system, first discussed as part of the district’s revisioning in mid2011, houses kindergarten through eighth grade together while sending eighth-grade students to the former Mountain View Middle School building one day per week for elective activities. “We’re shoving kids into buildings that weren’t meant for them, looking at holding P.E. in classrooms and having kids bused to Mountain View,” Voelker said. “It’s in these circumstances that we have kids not learning to their full potential.” Ervin echoed this sentiment during the forum, saying that as a parent she felt disenfranchised with the program’s implementation, and as long as there was a lack of trust among the district and its constituents, the necessary support needed to im-

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prove schools would continue to diminish. Both Gillingham and Lunstroth, current board members, defended the program and it’s implementation, saying it was about looking outside the box at innovative, alternative education. “It’s not a band-aid,” Gillingham said in response to a question about the effectiveness of the program, in light of spending time transporting students to Mountain View. “It’s about giving kids true electives.” Lunstroth said the new programming was the result of the board’s searching for ways to boost test scores and raise graduation rates. “We wanted to take a look at learning differently and find a model that would provide the change we needed,” she said. Helms remained relatively neutral on the subject, saying the district needs to review its programs, keep what works and get rid of what doesn’t. He also noted he

would like to see the district better off financially. The change was implemented shortly after a failed construction bond attempt in April 2011, at least in part as a means for the district to cut costs. When asked if the board would pursue another bond in February 2014, all candidates agreed that would be too soon. “I’ve heard rumors of people saying not to vote for any of the current board members because we’re planning to run a bond and raise taxes, but that just isn’t true,” Gillingham said. Other hot topics included district budgeting and perceived school board duties. Candidates across the board suggested opening up communication with the public to increase transparency and keep everyone on the same page. Helms even suggested a monthly newsletter for constituents. Ballots must be returned by Nov. 5.

12 • NOVEMBER 2013


The Current

In case you missed it Best attended forum: Millwood? The Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted three candidate forums in October, one each for the cities of Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and Millwood. The Current was at all three. Estimated attendance: 1. Millwood (50-plus) 2. Liberty Lake (about 50) 3. Spokane Valley (less than 40) Say what?

Rep. Crouse stepping down Rep. Larry Crouse, R-Spokane Valley, is resigning in the middle of his two-year term representing the 4th District. He cited health issues endured by both he and his wife. Once the resignation becomes final Dec. 31, Republican precinct committee officers will forward three names to Spokane County Commissioners to decide his replacement until the 2014 election. Three names that have already expressed interest: 1. Diana Wilhite, former Spokane Valley mayor; 2. Tom Towey, current Spokane Valley mayor who isn’t running for re-election; 3. Bob McCaslin Jr., current Spokane Valley planning commissioner and son of the late Sen. Bob McCaslin.

Library closure Nov. 11-16 Spokane Valley Library will be closed Nov. 11-16. Books and materials may still be dropped in the book return during that time. The closure will include a minor reconfiguration of space and will address safety issues in the 58-year-old building, a library news release stated. Valley residents may still access library services at Argonne Library and Otis Orchards Library during the closure. Through a reciprocal agreement with Spokane Public Library and Liberty Lake Municipal Library, library services are provided at no charge to residents of each service area. 

Museum gets key to city The Spokane Valley Heritage Museum received October’s Community Recognition Award from the city of Spokane Valley, presented in celebration of Spokane Valley’s 10-year anniversary. The honor has been given out each month at a City Council meeting along with a commemorative key to the city. A city press release noted that the museum was nominated by multiple parties. The focus of the Community Recognition Award is to honor an individual or organization that positively impacts the community. Information on the program and nomination forms can be found  by selecting the Community Recognition button, or by calling 720-5102.

The Current

COMMUNITY Remembering the week we all became Titans

By Jennie Bradstreet


A gathering of more than a thousand people in a football stadium is usually a noisy affair. But on Sunday, Oct. 6, you could have heard a pin drop in the grass as the community of Spokane Valley came together in support after the tragic Saturday night accident with Preston Maher and the deaths of McKenzie (Kenzie) Mott and Josie (Jojo) Freier, all students at University High School. Rather than being eerie, the silence was comfort. Every now and again, the sound of a sob escaping or sniffling noses interrupted the quiet.  The pain was palpable within the crowd.  Every student, parent, teacher, counselor and pastor was there to support one another. A bouquet of balloons was released, and a Chinese Kongming sky lantern floated into the sky, the light flying high into the heavens.  Not only was the community grieving the loss of the two girls, but it was worried for the fate of Preston. Rumors circulated of his impending death, but in reality Preston was in a coma, allowing his brain to heal from the swelling that had been occurring. The fire chief made an announcement on behalf of the families expressing gratitude for the outpouring of support to the families involved, but also asking for privacy for them.  Vice Principal Ken VanSickle shared a little about how the school was preparing with support counselors who would be available to the students the following week.  His big, expressive eyes were filled with the sorrow and exhaustion of a weekend of preparing staff and creating the plan to help his students through a tragedy of this magnitude. A local youth pastor gave a fervent prayer over the crowd, and everyone raised their candles to the sky: “We can’t ask why this happened.  We can’t know the answer to this. But our Father in Heaven knows the reason and feels this community’s sorrow.”

Monday, Oct. 7 As students arrived at Uni-

NOVEMBER 2013 • 13

versity High School for classes, again the halls were silent except the cries of students. Normally, excited teenagers entered first period with tales of the weekend or groans that it was Monday.  Not this Monday.  Silent tears flowed down cheeks, eyes glazed still in shock as the teachers explained what happened. Some kids found out only that morning, making their grief even fresher than most.  Teachers struggled to give out the information about the counseling rooms, took questions from students and gave a lot of hugs — wiping their own tears along with their kids.  Throughout the day, other schools arrived with banners to hang, expressing their love for U-Hi students.  Valley Christian felt so much gratitude toward CVSD for the support received when VCS student Drew Swank died after a football game in 2009 that the school brought a banner with “VCS loves U-High we are praying for you” along with snacks and prayer support. Central Valley, U-high’s archrival, showed support by wearing Titan colors (something that has never happened in school history) to school on Monday and posting it on the community Facebook page. Local businesses began donating food, drinks and snacks to the school for the staff and students. Every need that was posted on the community page was met with abundance, in minutes.  Classes were fluid as the students sought out comforting teachers, private classrooms or just congregated with their own groups of friends. Small circles of students were found everywhere, some sharing stories of Josie and McKenzie, some praying over Preston.  The library became the makeshift comfort and grief area, with counselors soothing and loving on the students.  The room was a revolving door of students, coming in pairs, groups or by themselves.  If you ask the students, most will tell you that this tragedy made everyone realize that life can change in an instant; this is evident in the amount of, “I love yous” being heard throughout the day and seeing students in every corner giving hugs and words of encouragement. Signs of philanthropy projects began to

be seen as well. A Toys for Tots drive was being formed, with students hoping to cover the entire floor of the gym by Friday. Fundraisers for Preston, McKenzie’s family and Josie’s family began to form. Talk of crowning them the Homecoming court quickly got shot down by friends who knew them best, knowing they would have hated that kind of attention. As the numbness began to wear off, the tears became rivers and the sobs louder, but mixed in there were little sad giggles as well, as funny memories of the students came to mind. The group who sat with Josie and Preston at lunch left their table empty, unable to face the missing laughter, jokes and ribbing the two provided.  Instead, they found a different spot to sit, sharing their memories — Josie’s hatred for zits or McKenzie’s exuberant greetings or Preston’s love for crazy shirts —and a little laughter returned.  The spot where the accident happened became a makeshift memorial to the girls.  Posters tacked to the tree that the car hit, a giant Winnie the Pooh bear, flowers upon flowers, notes tucked into the tree bark, chalked messages on the sidewalk and street, candles, balloons and teddy bears cover the site.  The students were free to go to the site throughout that first day, most hoping that it would give them some closure, but for most it was another shock to see right where the girls lost their lives. At one point, a circle formed around the site, kids holding hands and students leading others in prayer.  They took turns praying for the families and for Preston to be healed and for the pain of all their losses to be eased. The day finally ended, shoulders drooping as the students left the building almost as quietly as they entered it. 

Friday, Oct. 11 The halls are still quiet, whispered conversation can be heard here and there; everyone is getting ready for the memorial assembly. The philanthropy the leadership decided on, a drive supporting Toys for Tots, was called Toys 4 Titans. A modest pile of toys sits in the middle of the gymnasium, the choir and ensemble band stands


At an Oct. 11 memorial assembly for two University High School students who died in a tragic accident, the U-Hi gym floor slowly filled until it was covered with toys. Representatives from Central Valley, East Valley, West Valley, Freeman, North Central and Gonzaga Prep high schools as well as Greenacres Middle School, Greenacres Elementary and Horizon Middle School were among attendees who delivered toys. A teacher declares them “honorary Titans.” ready to perform. The students enter the gym, single file they walk in and lay their toys down around the pile before finding a spot in the bleachers. The football team comes in united in their jerseys for the homecoming game that night, their strong arms carrying loads of toys.  McKenzie’s soccer team files in, wearing their purple shirts with the number nine printed on the back; they deposit their toys and sit up front, arms around one another. The floor of the gym is filling with toys; the amount is staggering.  When the last of the students are situated in the stands, Mr. Watson, the leadership teacher, speaks, his voice cracking as he announces how proud he is of the Titans and how they have come together in the face of adversity. Next, he welcomes special guests. From an open door behind him walks representatives from Central Valley High School carrying bag after bag, box after box of toys collected by fellow students.  Then representatives from East Valley, West Valley, Freeman, North Central, Gonzaga Prep, Greenacres Middle School, Greenacres Elementary and Horizon Middle School file in, all with their arms full of toys.  The student body gives them a standing ovation, astonished by the sight before them — an entire high school gymnasium floor, filled with toys. Mr. Watson steps forward

again thanking the guest schools and declaring them honorary Titans. The choir and band begin to play the beautiful song specifically prepared this week for today. The notes and angelic voices fill the gymnasium with comforting peace. Not a wiggle in the bleachers as the students listen and feel the words being sung to them. With the assembly over, the students are released back to classes. This time in the hallway there are comments of awe and amazement, and they are astonished by the support of our community. That night, a pang of sadness hangs over the Titans homecoming game against Central Valley, but instead of it being the typical competitive Greasy Pig game, it was a night where a united Central Valley School District could come together and celebrate the students, staff and volunteers who have endured this horrific week. Hearing the crowds cheer for one another and hugs all around, this Central Valley School District family came together trying to infuse life back into our amazing community. Jennie Bradstreet is a Spokane Valley resident whose son attends University High School. A freelance writer, her work has been published in several outlets, most recently in the 2013 compilation book, “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Wives.”

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The City Hall is downstairs, right by the City Lights Café and down the hall from the bank. A radio station plays oldies while students prepare a haunted house with ghouls, ghosts and black paint. This is not a small hamlet or village. This is West Valley City School, a middle school like no other, centered around projects, experiments, field trips and jobs. The last section of each school day is titled CityEscape/Job, where students have the unique opportunity to participate in a city by working jobs. One of the job components created just last year under the guidance of teacher Matthew Phillipy is Washington Green Schools. The Washington Green Schools group strives to make to make City School the greenest school in the state by working in areas such as water, food, energy, waste and recycling, school grounds and air quality. During the last hour of each day, students collect compost and recycling, turn off lights in classrooms and brainstorm new ideas to make City School eco-friendly. Audrey Wartinger, who serves as energy monitor, said her job is to visit classrooms to ensure the lights and computer monitors are turned off. “And if it’s a nice day, teachers turn off the lights and open the shades to let the natural light in,” Audrey said. Mr. Phillipy explained that over 200 schools are participating in the Washington Green Schools statewide initiative but less than a hundred have become certified. In order to become certified, students have to earn points for the school by doing audits of the various areas and coming up with plans to make the school a greener place. Some of these actions have included placing a student-made air filter and compost bins in classrooms. “We’re conducting audits because we

FOR MORE… City School, Washington Green Schools, want to be certified by Washington Green Schools, and we want to be the first school to be a level five,” component manager Emily Powers said. Each student is in charge of an audit, and then the students come up with action plans. Leah Berkowitz is in charge of food and air quality for the school. “Food quality deals with how much food we are using and how we compost,” Leah said. “Air quality is concerned with the types of chemicals and cleaners we use just to make the air quality cleaner.” Hale Jones is in charge of the water audit. “I see how much water we are using per week or per month, and then I see how I can save it,” he explained. The Washington Green Schools component hopes to have a compost bin in every classroom by the end of the year. The students have also created a 3-D computer model of an ideal green version of the City School that would include a rooftop garden, solar panels, a structured outdoor classroom and the school’s own bus station. Mr. Phillipy believes their work will prepare a future generation to take care of the earth. The school has already been honored by the Washington State Department of Ecology and was a part of the Terry Husseman School Awards Program. “My generation grew up believing that resources were unlimited, but these guys are starting to get that their actions have consequences and there’s only so much of everything to go around,” Mr. Phillipy said. “And it’s that sense of responsibility that’s going to lead to real change.”


West Valley City School students and their teacher, Matthew Phillipy, work to remove old plants and clean flower beds on school grounds. Students at the school are working to become certified as a Washington Green School.

The Current

The art of upcycling

NOVEMBER 2013 • 15


Brenna Holland


Upcycling is the act of using old or discarded materials to create objects of higher quality or usefulness. Upcycling can also mean using common objects to create new items with a different purpose. It’s reducing, reusing and recycling with a fun twist! Old mason jars is one example of how an item can be upcycled and repurposed. Here are a few ideas: • Paint the jars to store crayons in a new creative way. Match certain hues with the correctly painted jar—you’ll never have to worry about losing an essential crayon color again! • Print letters of different fonts or select some cool images to insert into upside down jars to create a lovely message for all to see. • Create your own terrarium and bring the outdoors indoors for colder months. • Store your Legos in decorated mason jars, and there will be no more stepping on painful Lego pieces! You can even paint the jars to resemble a Lego man’s yellow head. Here is some further inspiration for creative crafts involving upcycling: • The simplest craft that incorporates upcycling is some old-fashioned finger painting. Use an old cardboard box as a canvas, and have fun getting messy!


Ordinary household items such as egg cartons, mason jars and soup cans can easily be upcycled. Decorate them with ribbons, papers or other craft items, and then use them to store buttons, beads, pencils or paintbrushes. • Create fun insect friends with recyclable egg cartons. Use paint, googly eyes, glitter, pom poms and other decorations to create a variety of bugs buddies! Follow the instructions at

cled-egg-carton-insects/ • Make shorts out of worn pants (maybe add a little bling?) by following these instructions: summer-denim-refashion-for-girls/

America Recycles Day America Recycles Day, celebrated on Nov. 15, is the only nationally-recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled goods. Spokane Regional Solid Waste System will host a variety of activities, including the America Recycles Day annual student poster contest and a recycling day at Mobius Kids. The top 30 finalists of the poster contest will be featured in Riverfront Park Square in downtown Spokane Oct. 28 through Nov. 15. On Nov. 11 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mobius Kids Museum will offer fun recycling activities. With paid museum admission, kids can make recycled paper, explore the world of compost and worms, play “Trash Grabbers” by sorting recyclables and nonrecyclables, use magnets to test metals and more. For details, go to You could consider adding to the festivities by hosting a recycling lesson or special

assembly at your school. If you would like to join the 42,000 Americans who have taken the pledge to recycle more, go to And be sure to not just celebrate on Nov. 15, but do your part to help the earth for the rest of the year as well!

Did you know? Check out these fun facts about recycling:

• When a tree is cut down, only a quarter of it will actually be turned into paper. • The first year that more paper was recycled in the U.S. than dumped into landfills was 1993.

• Powerful magnets sort through metals at the recycling plant.

• If Americans recycled all their newspaper, that would translate into 250 million trees a year.

• A glass bottle can take 40 centuries to be

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broken down if not recycled.

• A variety of different materials can be recycled including paper, plastic, glass, metal, textiles and even electronics.

• Glass recycling is usually separated into colors because glass keeps its color after recycling.

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About and for Valley seniors

McCoul retiring after 33 years serving Millwood By Valerie Putnam


Turning in his pair of coveralls for the life of leisure, the city of Millwood's long-serving maintenance supervisor, Cleve McCoul, is retiring after 33 years. "It's been a great job," said McCoul, 61, who has worked for the city since 1980. As supervisor, McCoul was instrumental in acquiring new equipment and developing a popular leaf pick-up program that is still in operation. He worked through the introduction of computers into the city's dayto-day operation and has seen department communication upgrade from hand radios to smart phones. "We've faced lots of different challenges," said Paul Allen, who has worked in Millwood’s maintenance department with McCoul for 30 years. "We've learned a lot together." Being in the right place at the right time landed McCoul his position. During a hunting trip, he had been staying at a friend’s cabin on Sacheen Lake. The cabin happened to be next door to the cabin owned by Clarence Pence, Millwood’s mayor at the time. McCoul was offered the position during the course of a conversation with Pence. "He (Pence) said he needed a guy who can wear coveralls," McCoul remembered. "I said, 'I can do that.'" Hired as an assistant that November, McCoul was promoted to supervisor two years later following the departure of his boss. McCoul considers his department's greatest accomplishment the oversight of the sewer installation for the entire city. "The only part of the city that was sewered was the old part of Millwood," Allen said. "It had clay tile pipes in it, so there were a lot of leaks there. We were constantly battling that." The grant-funded project divided the city into different phases, with a section being tackled


Cleve McCoul is retiring as Millwood’s longtime maintenance supervisor. each year. Over the course of five years, the old city sewage plant was taken off line, and the entire city's sewer, water lines and roads were replaced. "By the time the sewer projects were all done, we came out with a completely new infrastructure for water, sewer and streets," Allen said. "It was quite the accomplishment." After the project was completed, McCoul and Allen were given a crash course on inspecting sewer connections by a Spokane County inspector. "He showed us how to measure and how to draw it up," McCoul said. "Voilà — we're sewer inspectors now." McCoul and Allen averaged five to six inspections a day as residents hooked up to the new sewer system. McCoul also played an active role in the city acquiring new maintenance equipment. When he was hired, the city plowed snow with a 1968 Dodge dumptruck and a 1951 International. "The old trucks were so slow," said McCoul, who along with Allen would average 18 hours a day clearing the streets. "They wouldn't even push the snow."

The city purchased two new diesel dump trucks and a back hoe. This resulted in speeding up day-to-day responsibilities such as cutting the time to plow snow in half. "Getting good equipment makes a difference," McCoul said. "It helps us do our job better." Addressing a growing concern over illegal dumping along the railroad tracks — a problem connected to the city's previous leaf removal program — McCoul eliminated the problem by initiating new city-wide leaf removal process in 1988. "We had so many problems with everybody in the whole valley dumping there," said Allen. The dumping was a result of others adding waste material to the city's leaf pile staging area. "The last time we ended up hauling 10 loads of nothing but dump material." McCoul's solution uses a large leaf vac to suck up the leaves along the City streets, eliminating the staging pile and extra dumping. The program runs from midOctober to mid-November. Allen and McCoul developed a workplace friendship, spending

lunch breaks playing tennis, ping pong and darts. "He was very good at tennis and ping pong," Allen said. "But I was better at darts." Outside of the work, McCoul and Allen hunted, golfed, fished and are currently learning to play acoustic guitar. "He has a lot more time to practice than I do (now)," Allen laughed. Born and raised in the area, McCoul grew up on 30 acres in Bigelow Gulch. The oldest of two brothers and one sister, McCoul remembers spending a great deal of his youth outdoors, riding dirt bikes, hunting, fishing and spending time on his horse, Checkers. McCoul, who started riding at age 13, competed in equestrian speed and agility events on Sundays at area horse arenas. He met his wife of 41 years, Donna, when her family rented the house next door for six months. "We would roller skate in my garage," Donna remembered. The couple started dating their senior year of West Valley High School, when McCoul invited

Donna to the KJRB Haunted House. After graduating in 1971, McCoul enlisted in the Navy and served four years as a gunner's mate on the ship San Bernadino. "I wanted to see the world." McCoul said of the reason he enlisted. Donna and McCoul were engaged the summer after graduation, before he left for basic training. They married one year later in Spokane. They have three daughters — Amy, Angela and Jenessa — and 11 grandchildren, with one on the way. Over the years, the couple have enjoyed hunting, fishing and camping together. They also enjoy going to garage sales to find old furniture that Donna repurposes and sells. Recently retired, McCoul is adjusting to his new life. He plans to spend more time with his family and grandchildren and stay healthy by taking daily 2 ½-mile walks with his wife. When asked about other retirement plans, Donna replied: "We will play it by ear."

The Current

NOVEMBER 2013 • 17


Appraisals can be valuable investment ‘Collecting’ column by Larry Cox KING FEATURES SYNDICATE

Q: I have an Arabian folding rocker, which was said to be carried on the backs of camels during travel. Can you give me any idea of its value and authenticity? — Hope, Coventry, R.I. A: Your rocker is, indeed, unique. You are now faced with a decision. Do you pay a professional appraiser to date, document and value your rocker, or do you just continue to enjoy it? Only you can determine the answer. To find an appraiser in your region, go to the International Society of Appraisers ( or American Society of Appraisers (http:// Before you fret about spending money for this service, let me share a true story.


1. TELEVISION: What popular TV show features a nerdy physicist named Sheldon? 2. MOVIES: What was the name of Tony Stark’s assistant in “Iron Man”? 3. MEDICAL: What is the common condition described in medical terms as “xerostomia”? 4. U.S. STATES: What is the capital of Louisiana? 5. ASTRONOMY: Which planet in our solar system has the largest number of moons? 6. FAIRY TALES: What was the first item that Jack stole from the giant in “Jack and the Beanstalk”? 7. GEOGRAPHY: What is the world’s smallest ocean? 8. U.S. PRESIDENTS: Which president

A reader contacted me about a year ago about five older rugs she had. I recommended she have them appraised. She decided, instead, to rely on the advice of a neighbor. To cut to the chase, she sold her rugs for about $1,500 only to discover that three were Navajo rugs from the 1920s and worth about $5,000 each. There is a lesson to be learned here. Q: I have a Princess Diana Bridal doll that I would like to sell. — Anne, Sun City West, Ariz. A: I went to eBay, where I found dozens of Princess Diana bridal dolls being offered for sale. I don’t know who manufactured your doll, but you should be able to research it online and get a rough idea of current values. Incidentally, this website might be a good marketplace to sell it, too. Write to Larry Cox in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to Due to the large volume of mail he receives, Mr. Cox is unable to personally answer all reader questions. Do not send any materials requiring return mail. was born on July 4? 9. LANGUAGE: What does it mean for someone to be in “high dudgeon”? 10. ANIMAL KINGDOM: What makes up a shark’s skeleton? © 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.

Answers to Trivia Test 1. “The Big Bang Theory”; 2. Pepper Potts; 3. Dry mouth; 4. Baton Rouge; 5. Jupiter, with 63 moons; 6. A bag of gold; 7. Arctic; 8. Calvin Coolidge; 9. Outraged; 10. Cartilage

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Community tours available daily! Please call to RSVP. Locally Owned and Operated by the Arger Family

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The Current

18 • NOVEMBER 2013

Liberty Lake

PORTAL 23403 E Mission Avenue

Our new state of the art facility will be available to the public for use on weekdays, outside of business hours, & on Saturdays. Come visit the PORTAL and see how this new space might benefit your organization or business.


You may recognize the amazing sound of Vocal Point from NBC’s ‘The SING OFF.’ This event is presented by BYU Management Society of Spokane as a fundraiser to provide scholarships for local students.

Tickets to the November 16th Vocal Point performance can be purchased at

Reserve your seat to attend the Competition: Please visit and click on Calendar. Go to November 2 and select ‘Let’s Hear It Spokane-General Admission’. Admission is free but registration is required to reserve a seat. For more information, contact Steven Daines at 509.343.0103

The Current

NOVEMBER 2013 • 19



Calendar of Events COMMUNITY EVENTS Oct. 31 | Harvest Party 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.,

Word of Life Community Church, 6703 N. Idaho Road, Newman Lake. The public is invited to this free event with games and goodies in a safe, fun environment. For more: 226-5148

patterns found on duct tape. Everyone will leave with a completed project. Also offered 4 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Otis Orchards Library, 22324 E. Wellesley. For more:

Nov. 16 | Heritage Program luncheon, fundraiser and silent auction 11:30 a.m.

Center, 19619 E. Cataldo Ave., Liberty Lake. Three sports-theme mazes are available across 10 acres. A haunted trail of fear is also available. For ticket prices and more: www.hubsportscenter. org/CornMaze

to 1:30 p.m., Opportunity Presbyterian Church, 202 N. Pines Road. Join the museum to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with a luncheon, period music and living history presentation by Civil War re-enactors. Cost is $20, and RSVP is required. For more: 922-4570

Oct. 31 | Trunk or Treat 6 to 7 p.m., Millwood

Nov. 16 | Wishing Star dinner banquet

Oct. 31 | Corn Maze 6 to 10 p.m., HUB Sports

Presbyterian Church, 3223 N. Marguerite Road. Trick-or-treaters are invited to enjoy hot chocolate and cider while making the rounds to decorated trunks to collect candy and goodies. For more: 924-2350

Nov. 1 | Great Candy Buy Back 4 to 8 p.m.,

KiDDS Dental, 1327 N. Stanford Lane, suite B, Liberty Lake. A dental office buys unopened Halloween candy for $1 per pound and sends it to troops overseas during this sixth annual event. Goodie bags, prizes and letter writing to troops are also part of the event. For more: 891-7070 or

Nov. 2 | Used Book Sale 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.,

Liberty Lake Municipal Library, 23123 E. Mission Ave. Books, movies and CDs will be available during the Friends’ largest book sale of the year. Donations of books published no later than 2000 can be dropped off at the library desk prior to the sale.

Nov. 2 | Mobius Science Saturday 11 a.m., Argonne Library, 4322 N. Argonne Road. Join Mobius to explore the forces that influence the world around us. The program is also offered 2:30 p.m. the same day at the Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. For more: Nov. 3 | Daylight Saving Time ends At

2 a.m. the time officially changes, but we suggest turning your clocks back before heading to bed Saturday night. For more:

Nov. 5 | Election Day Information on voting, issues, candidates and election results can be found at Nov. 5 | Let’s Decorate Cakes! 6:30 p.m.,

Otis Orchards Library, 22324 E. Wellesley. Learn basic cake decorating, borders, simple flowers and writing. Also offered 6:30 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Argonne Library, 4322 N. Argonne Road. For more:

Nov. 6 | Heritage Day 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fair and Expo Center, 404 N. Havana St. The Spokane Tribe will offer education for all ages about the culture of the Spokane Tribe of Indians, including history, music and dance. Admission is free. For more: 258-4827

Nov. 8 | Veterans Day program 10:30 a.m., New Life Assembly of God, 109 E. Sprague Ave. Valley Christian School students will perform patriotic music and drama, and all veterans will be honored. The public is invited to attend. For more: 924-9131

5:30 to 9 p.m., Mirabeau Park Hotel, 1100 N. Sullivan Road. Celebrate Wishing Star’s 30th birthday with this fundraising dinner including a silent and live auction, Cake Wars live decorating contest, games and more. Tickets are $50 a piece or $350 for a table of eight. For more:

Nov. 16 | Spaghetti Feed & Silent Auction

5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Newman Lake Grange Hall, 25025 E. Heather, Newman Lake. This fundraiser benefiting the Liberty Lake Lions Mitey Mite Team will include dinner, drinks and live music by The Buck Lopez Band. Tickets for this 21 and older event are available for $20 and can be purchased at the door or at libertylakelions. For more: 869-6981

Nov. 20 | Spokane Valley Library book club 2 p.m., Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. Read “Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker” by Jennifer Chiaverini and come prepared to discuss. For more:

Nov. 22 | Ladies Night Out Shopping Extravaganza 7 to 9 p.m., Spokane Valley

Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. Get a jump on your holiday shopping while spending a fun evening with friends. Vendors include Thirty-One, Tupperware, Body By Vi, Isagenix, Wildtree, Usbourne Books, Barefoot Books, Paparazzi Jewelry, Lazy Rae Crochet, coffee cozies and other crafty ladies with headbands and more.

Nov. 23 | Catching Fire 3 p.m., Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. A teen-based program based on the book will allow students to earn points as they compete in the Hunger Games. For more: Nov. 24 | Free Thanksgiving meal 1 p.m., Otis Orchards Food Bank, 4308 N. Harvard Road, Otis Orchards. Nov. 28 | Thanksgiving Nov. 28 | Free Thanksgiving dinner 11 a.m.

to 2 p.m., Otis Grill, 21902 E. Wellesley Ave., Otis Orchards. The restaurant will be accepting donations to help local families who are in need. For more: 922-9136

Recurring Spokane County Library District Valley

Nov. 11 | Veterans Day

branch locations include Argonne, Fairfield, Otis Orchards and Spokane Valley. Special events and weekly activities for all ages including book clubs, children’s story times, classes, teen anime club and writing clubs. For more:

Nov. 14 | Kids Explore and Discover Club

Liberty Lake Library 23123 E. Mission Ave.,

4 p.m., Argonne Library, 4322 N. Argonne Road. Use your design skills to pair the colors and

Liberty Lake. Various clubs and weekly meetings including book clubs, children’s story times,

LEGO club, computer drop-in class, knitting club and more. For more: library

Sunday School

Rockford Crochet Class Saturdays, 10 a.m.

WorShip Service

to noon, 229 S. First, Rockford. Join others at the weekly Crochet class held in the Rockford Community Center. Other types of craft, sewing, needle work are also enjoyed. Stop in and stitch and visit with others. For more: 291-4716

9:30 a.m.

10:45 a.m.

Spokane Valley Eagles 16801 E. Sprague. Breakfast served Sundays 9 to 11:30 a.m. For more: Spokane Valley Writer’s Group 6 p.m. the

first and third Thursdays of every month, Liberty Lake Municipal Library, 23123 E. Mission Ave. This supportive critique group welcomes adult writers. For more: 570-4440

23304 E. Wellesley, Otis Orchards, WA


CIVIC & BUSINESS Nov. 1-3 | Collectible Antique Flea Market & Gun Show Noon to 6 p.m. (Fri.), 9

a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sat.), 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Sun.), Fair and Expo Center, 404 N. Havana St. Admission is $7 per day (or $4 for flea market only). For more: 208-746-5555

THE INTERSECTION CHURCH 905 N. McDonald Rd. • Spokane Valley Sunday Services: 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. 924-3705

Nov. 9 | Spokane Cork & Keg Festival 7 to 10 p.m., Mirabeau Park Hotel, 1100 N. Sullivan. Sample hundreds of wines, handcrafted beers and spirits from the Northwest region and beyond during this event sponsored by the Washington Restaurant Association-Spokane Chapter. There will also be live music with the Martini Brothers. Tickets are $45 in advance or $50 at the door. For tickets or more: www.

Nov. 10 | Bump to Baby Expo 11 a.m. to

4 p.m., Fair and Expo Center, 404 N. Havana St. This expo will provide resources for everything baby and toddler with seminars, services, entertainment and great deals. Admission is $5 for adults (kids 12 and under are free). For more:

Nov. 15 | Greater Spokane Valley Chamber Annual Meeting Luncheon

11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Mirabeau Park Hotel, 1100 N. Sullivan. Tony Bonanzino will be the featured speaker, and new board members will be installed. Doors open at 11:30 a.m.; program is at noon. Cost is $40 for members and guests; $50 for non-members. For more: www.

Nov. 15-17 | Hurd Mercantile and Company Holiday Open House 10 a.m. to

5 p.m., Hurd Mercantile and Company, 30 S. First, Rockford. The Hurd Girls invite shoppers for a wine tasting and their annual open house. For more: 291-4077 or hurdmercantileandcompany

Nov. 15-17 | Man Show 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

(Fri.), 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Sat.), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Sun.), Fair and Expo Center, 404 N. Havana St. The Man Show will cater to all interests by displaying all the products and services essential to a man’s lifestyle. For more: www.

Nov. 16-17, 23-24, 30 | Pictures with Santa 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Saturdays), noon to

6 p.m. (Sundays), Residence Inn by Marriott, 15915 E. Indiana Ave. In addition to photos,

THE CHURCH DIRECTORY For as little as $7 a month, area churches can share service times, special programs or upcoming events in The Current. Call or email to learn more: 242-7752 or enjoy a hot cocoa bar and craft corner. Cost is $10 which includes a CD with two photos. Proceeds benefit Toys for Tots and Meals on Wheels. Space is limited, so make your appointment by calling 892-9300.

MUSIC & THE ARTS Nov. 1-3 | “Little Shop of Horrors” 7:30

p.m. (Fri. and Sat.) and 2 p.m. (Sun.), Ignite! Community Theatre, 10814 E. Broadway Ave. In the first musical production for Ignite, a floral assistant becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers an exotic plant with a craving for blood. Advanced tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors/military and $15 for students. Tickets at the door will be $20. For more:

Nov. 2-4 | TAC auditions for “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” Theatre Arts for Children, 2114 N. Pines Road, suite 3. A free auditions class will be held 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 2. Auditions will be 6:30 p.m. Nov. 3 and 4. No preparation needed. The play will run Dec. 13-22. For more: www.theaterartsforchildren. org

Nov. 2 | Let’s Hear It Spokane competition 6:30 p.m., Liberty Lake Portal,

23403 E. Mission Ave., Liberty Lake. A few lucky high school students will be selected as the opening act for Brigham Young University’s Vocal Point concert Nov. 16 and North Idaho College. Admission is free, but tickets must be reserved to attend the competition at www. For more: 343-0103

See CALENDAR, page 29


20 • NOVEMBER 2013

Rescuers reach out to the community

The Current

Night marching


The West Valley High School marching band participated in the Valleyfest Hearts of Gold Parade on Sept. 20.

Teachers embrace STEM training

Shutterbug shot


The Newman Lake Volunteer Fire and Rescue District 13 (NLFR) held an Oct. 5 open house where families learned fire safety skills, saw Med Star and Jaws of Life demonstrations and enjoyed a firefighter chili cook off. The Auxiliary sold T-shirts and cookbooks, raising almost $300 for the fire department. NLFR wishes to thank the following organizations for their support: SCOPE, DNR, AMR, Newman Lake Boy Scouts, MedStar and EDITH House.


The West Valley School District STEM team spent a week in Portland training to bring the best in science, technology, engineering and math instruction to West Valley students.


Michael Hassett of Liberty Lake took this photo of a bald eagle Oct. 11 on the Centennial Trail just west of Plantes Ferry.

A ‘HUB’ of happenings ...

Over 80 players participated in the Slamma Jamma Pickleball tournament on Sept. 21-22 at the HUB Sports Center.

Some of Liberty Lake’s finest celebrated the HUB’s 6th anniversary with Otto during the Family Fun Festival and Open House on Sept. 28.


Over 100 players from the U.S., Canada and China traveled to the HUB Sports Center to participate in the Ultimate Table Tennis Tournament Oct. 12-13. Eugene Wang from Canada won the open event with a 3-1 win in the finals. Joola and Spokane Sports Commission sponsored the event, and Spokane Table Tennis was the hosting club.

Lori Cambridge and Terry Kawamoto (on right of net) were the mixed doubles champions. Rrunners up were Lance Thiede and Cathy Harper (on left of net).

Local Lens Share your snapshots for The Current’s photo page. Email with scenes from around town, community events and group photos.

The Current

NOVEMBER 2013 • 21


Hulen to enjoy homecoming with Momix performance By Eli Francovich


Every little girl wants to be a ballerina, but very few get a chance to live out their dreams. Dave Diehl remembers the moment his daughter, Amanda (Diehl) Hulen, made the choice to seriously pursue her ballerina dreams — come what might. “When she became 12, she pretty much put the blinders on,” he said. “She just pursued it and pursued it and pursued it.” At that point, all he could do was support her — and hope for the best. “If a child wants to follow their dream and stuff, why, you should support that,” he said. “We did everything we could to support that.” In Hulen’s case, it worked out just fine. Now, the Spokane Valley native is a professional dancer. After spending 13 years at the Louisville Ballet, she made the jump to Momix, a modern dance company, where her husband Morgan Hulen also dances. Switching dance styles has been an adjustment process, Hulen said. But it’s still dancing and still something she loves to do. She describes it as a more flowing, creative dance style. “Most people always walk away from the show saying, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen anything like that before,’” she said. And that is what Amanda has always loved about dancing. “There is just a love of it, I don’t know, there is something in you that is the spark,” she said. “Because it hurts, and it doesn’t pay enough. But there is just something in you that makes you want to perform.”

AMANDA HULEN Favorite place to eat in Spokane The Davenport and Catacombs Pub (now closed)

Favorite music “I like today’s pop hits. I do love Adele.”

Best part of parenting? “It’s just fun to be a part of (Corinne’s) discovery of the world, and to show her the world.”

Favorite food “My weakness is potato chips and bacon. … We can pretty much eat whatever we want because we are working all the time.” (Hulen qualified this by saying she still tries to eat moderately.)

Favorite drink Starbucks latte (ginger bread or pumpkin spiced flavored during holidays)

Places she is excited to see in Spokane Parent’s house and brother’s house


Spokane Valley native Amanda (Diehl) Hulen returns to her hometown crowd Nov. 6 for a performance with the touring contemporary dance company Momix. That spark is fed by the audiences’ reaction. The awe and wonderment that they experience infuse her movements with meaning, she said. This has fueled her career. Starting in high school, when she transferred from Central Valley to North Carolina School of the Arts to focus on dance, and afterward, when she danced in Louisville, she said she’s always had an eye on the audience and her effect on them. For her, it’s about creating something new, whether it’s an individual movement or a full routine. That creative urge is backed up by a healthy dose of ambition, Dave Diehl said. When she was 9 or 10, she won her first trophy in a group performance. He said she was bummed that she didn’t get her own, individual trophy. So she signed up for a solo dance competition and brought home “a trophy taller than her,” he said. “She was kind of hard on herself lots of times, and we had to be encouraging,” he said. That drive is necessary. To become a professional dancer of any sort is no small feat. He relates it to professional football players. Many, many children want to play football, very few actually do.

IF YOU GO ... Momix — “Botanica” What: A contemporary dance company performance featuring former Central Valley student Amanda (Diehl) Hulen When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6 Where: Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox 1001 W. Sprague Ave., Spokane Tickets: $28 to $38 at

And it’s not an easy job. It’s full time and can be hard on the body. Additionally, because she has spent the past 13 years in Louisville, at a show that doesn’t travel, she doesn’t see her parents much. “I haven’t really been able to wrap my arms around her since last year,” Dave said. “But we knew that would be part of the bargain.” They do what they can, between Skyping, almost yearly visits and phone calls, they’ve patched together a good distance

relationship. That is also why her new job at Momix is exciting. When she comes to the Martin Woldson Theater on Nov. 6, it will be the first time she’s performed professionally in her hometown, Hulen said. “There have only been like three or four people that have been able to go back and watch her perform,” Diehl said. He expects there to be around 200 people that come to the show just to see Amanda dance. “I’m really excited to share this awesome show with my friends and family,” Hulen said, adding that it always changes the dynamic of a performance knowing that some of the audience members are there specifically to see you. Diehl and his wife and Hulen’s mom, Gloria Diehl, are excited to see the show — and their 2-year-old granddaughter, Corrine Hulen. It will, in short, be a family affair. Corrine travels with her parents. She spends her days in the theaters while they rehearse, and then at night a babysitter watches her while Amanda and Morgan perform. “To bring our daughter along is really fun,” Hulen said. “It’s definitely not your typical family lifestyle, but she’s adjusted to our schedules so well.”

22 • NOVEMBER 2013


The Current

When the call to war came to Spokane Valley By Jayne Singleton and Bill Zimmer SPOKANE VALLEY HERITAGE MUSEUM

In the spring of 1941, Central Valley, West Valley and Otis Orchards high school seniors were looking forward to graduation. Most students were planning careers and weddings, but others heard the call of duty and would be bound for Europe and the South Pacific. The United States entered the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Spokane Valley young men were signing up for service in the Army, Army Air Corp, Coast Guard, Navy and the Marines. The Central Valley 1945 annual includes a page titled “Service Honor Roll” and lists 264 veterans who attended Central Valley High School and had or were serving in the Armed Forces. The annual also dedicated a page — “In Memory of our Gold Stars” — to those CV alumni who gave their lives to free the world from Hitler and Mussolini: Gordon Patterson, Arnold Derifield, Frank O’Brien, Donald Kilgore, Vern Maughan, Hayes Van Hise, Glen Smith, Dick Smith, Wallace Butz and Ned Finch. Families of fallen service personnel would display a Gold Star in their windows. A Gold Star Mother’s group was formed in Opportunity for support for these grieving mothers. Otis Orchards High School annuals 19411945 are all dedicated to fellow students who were serving or had lost their lives serving their country. West Valley High School student Keith Gibler joined the Marines and lost his life in the South Pacific. Spokane Valley young women were also signing up for service in the WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots). Jean Smith, daughter of local insurance man Sidney Smith, had learned to fly at Felts Field and joined the WASPs after high school. Lt. Florence Sandstrom Crabtree became a flight nurse and served in Europe. Capt. Dorothy Prindle Coulter of Opportunity served in the Army Nurses Corp on Leyte in the Philippines. Space here does not allow a listing of all brave Valley men and women who served during wartime; however, the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum has a list on display of Spokane County military personnel who died while serving in the Armed Forces. It includes names from the Spanish American War through the early period of the Iraq War. The war changed life as it was known, abruptly and tragically, as all wars do. Valley folks found items usually readily available were now rationed and in short supply. Gasoline was rationed at the Trentwood Garage and Orchard Avenue stations. Sugar was hard to get at the Myers & Farr or the Hands General Merchandise. There were more than 22,000 Victory Gardens in the Valley by 1942. Scrap metal drives were held by the Spokane Valley Women’s Club.

A VALLEY OF OPPORTUNITY A monthly series on the heritage of the greater Spokane Valley


The old Spokane Valley Growers Union apple packing warehouse had sat empty until finding a use during World War II as an Army ordinance depot used for storage of war equipment and materials. Funerals were held at the Pines, St. Joseph’s and Saltese cemeteries for Spokane Valley boys killed in action; they were attended by hundreds. Blue Stars (for families with a loved one serving in the Armed Forces) and Gold Stars began appearing in more windows as the war continued. Spokane Valley was chosen as an inland (safe from enemies) site for an aluminum rolling mill. It was completed and opened as Alcoa in 1942 and was later purchased by Henry Kaiser. Much of the aluminum was used in the war effort. It employed more than 400 local residents. The old Spokane Valley Growers Union, which had sat empty since the decline of the apple orchard industry, became an Army ordinance depot and was used for storage of war equipment and materials. The Navy selected the Spokane Valley for a supply depot. A site was chosen east of Sullivan Road and became known as Velox Naval Supply Depot, so named after the Northern Pacific Railroad platform, Velox. It was built in record time, and when it was eventually decommissioned, became the Spokane Business and Industrial Park. Many of the original buildings are used today and reflect the “military” function of the buildings’ past. In 1943, All Valley Veterans of Foreign Wars met in the Opportunity Township Hall. While the Spokane Valley didn’t have a fort to report to for enlistment or basic training, B-17s were sighted flying over the Valley. In fact, several unfortunately crashed in the area, one on Ragged Ridge north of Newman Lake, one in Fairfield and one atop Signal Point toward the Idaho side. Felts Field had become the home of the Washington Air National Guard in 1924, and occasionally aircraft such as B-17s and B-24s landed at shows to support the war effort, encouraging citizens

to buy war bonds. During the war years 1943-1945, Spokane Valley — and the rest of the 5th Congressional District — was represented by Walt Horan in the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. Rep. Horan received an interesting letter from the Spokane Valley Women’s Club (SVWC). Apparently there was some talk of establishing a German POW Camp in Opportunity, and the members of the SVWC were strongly opposed to the idea and were adamant that Rep. Horan oppose it as well. The idea must have faded or been voted down because there is no mention or fact about a POW camp existing in Opportunity or anywhere in the Spokane Valley. Perhaps others have information about this and will fill in the details. Veterans Day is this month, and we at the Spokane Valley Museum are proud to host exhibits honoring our war veterans, researched and installed by our veteran volunteers. Most veterans, by their very nature, are civic-minded. Their willingness to serve their country in war and peace make this very evident. Not only are they willing to serve their country, but many are actively serving their community. For example, many of the volunteers at the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum are veterans: Representing the Army: Bill, Herman and Jerry; Navy: Don, Jeff and Gene; Air Force: Larry, Bert and Dan. A special thank you to our museum veteran volunteers for their willingness to protect us and to all who have served so that freedom is preserved for all who live in the Spokane Valley and the United States of America. Lincoln, in his Gettysburg Address, said it best: “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased

Jan. Missionaries and Indians Feb. Bridge Builders and Ferrymen March The Lake Men April The Real Estate Developers, Land and Power May Immigrants claim their Valley June Irrigation July Depots and Platforms Aug. Purveyors of Leisure Sept. Commerce Oct. Ladies of the Valley Nov. Veterans of the Valley Dec. Old Timers’ stories

This photo of a Central Valley High School graduate who died in World War II was included in the 1943 CVHS yearbook with the following inscription: “To Gordon Patterson and all of the other boys in the armed services who have and who will give their lives for the sake of freedom for this country, we, the class of 1943, hereby dedicate this annual.” devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Jayne Singleton is executive director of the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum, and Bill Zimmer is a retired educator and long-time West Valley School District board member. For more about this article or other aspects of the history of the Spokane Valley region, visit the museum at 12114 E. Sprague Ave. or call 922-4570.

The Current

BUSINESS Otis Grill continues Thanksgiving tradition to honor late co-owner’s legacy NOVEMBER 2013 • 23

By Craig Howard


Less than a year into owning and operating the Otis Grill, Vance and Ronda Emerson decided it was time to give away some food. The free meal would be served on Thanksgiving Day 2005, with everyone invited, from those who couldn’t afford a holiday feast to others who may have otherwise spent the day alone. Vance recalls the idea originating when he and Ronda realized the Otis Orchards restaurant “had a lot of customers who didn’t have a place to go for the holiday.” “My wife was kind of worried about them,” Vance said. That first November, more than 100 people dropped by the barn-shaped building on Wellesley Avenue to dine on a traditional dinner of turkey and a full array of sides. Even though the meal was complimentary, quite a few guests left donations. “We had all this money, and we didn’t know what to do with it,” Vance said. Proceeds from the event were utilized the following month to sponsor less-fortunate families from nearby Otis Orchards Elementary School. From covering power bills to buying presents, the ad-hoc Otis Grill grant has been the source of more than a few surprise gifts during the Christmas season. A number of families from East Farms Elementary have also been recipients over the years. “It’s pretty awesome to know that you’re helping someone in need,” Vance said. “That’s the best part, the cool part.” Ronda was the ringleader of the benevolent campaign, looking out for neighbors well beyond the annual dinner offered on the house. When she found out a customer at the restaurant was battling cancer and had lost her job, Ronda stepped forward to cover the woman’s rent so she could travel to Seattle for treatment. It was one of many examples of Ronda putting others first. “My wife was always helping people,” Vance said. “People would come up to me all the time and say, ‘Your wife helped us out a ton.’” This November, Ronda’s legacy of giving will continue at the Otis Grill, more than two years since she passed away from injuries suffered in a snowmobile accident in Montana on Feb. 28, 2011. She was 41. “It’s been real difficult,” said Vance, his voice trailing off. “That first year, (after Ronda passed) we weren’t sure we were going to continue with the Thanksgiving meal, but we knew she would want us to.” Tony and Kila Hill of Otis Orchards have


Above: The team at Otis Grill is readying for its annual free Thanksgiving Day meal. The meal will be served at the Otis Grill restaurant, 21902 E. Wellesley Ave. in Otis Orchards. The event will last from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day — Nov. 28. been volunteers at the diner each Thanksgiving since the event began. Both recall Ronda greeting each volunteer with enthusiasm when they arrived and making sure they had some food to eat before they left. “Ronda had a big heart, she was just very kind and patient,” Kila said. Tony said the first Thanksgiving gathering at Otis Grill after Ronda’s passing included a special tribute to the one who started it all. “Normally everyone gets there and there’s just a big welcome and a hello,” Tony said. “That year, they still welcomed us, but then we gathered around and had a moment of silence and Vance said a prayer. We’ve felt so honored to be a part of it, especially that year. It was very emotional for everyone.” The Hills were having breakfast at the Otis Grill in the fall of 2005, about three weeks before Thanksgiving, when they heard some of the wait staff talking about the inaugural event. They asked if they could volunteer and Ronda called them to confirm. “That first year was amazing,” Tony said. “Everyone worked together as a team.” Over the years, a diverse crowd has gathered at the café for the occasion — some leave a donation, others don’t. Last year, 225 people showed up for the meal. Total contributions came to $1,800, enough to spon-

sor three families for the holidays. “Some put money in, and that’s great, and if not, that’s great, too,” Vance said. The first year, Tony remembers helping an elderly woman with a case of rheumatoid arthritis so severe, she had difficulty holding a fork. Tony cut some of the food on her plate and learned that the woman would have been home alone dining on a TV dinner if not for the gathering. “She had a nice, homemade Thanksgiving meal where otherwise she wouldn’t have had anything like that,” Tony said. “For us,


Ronda Emerson founded Otis Grill’s free Thanksgiving meal in 2005. She passed away in a snowmobile accident in 2011, and the tradition has continued in her memory.

it’s a special experience each year. We get just as much out of it as the people there for Thanksgiving.” The next year, a woman and her three children dropped by with another relative in a wheelchair. The woman’s husband was deployed in Iraq at the time. A number of guests bring home food to friends and family who are unable to attend. “It’s very humbling,” said Kila. “We feel we’re very blessed with all we have, and it’s just very nice to go and see these people who maybe don’t have a lot. We see a lot of people who maybe wouldn’t have cooked dinner for themselves. It brings a lot of joy.” Locals like Milly Kropp — former postmaster at the Otis Orchards Post Office — said the Otis Grill has become “the place to go” in town since it opened almost a decade ago. On any given morning, she said the breakfast conversation will feature topics like “farming, politics and old cars.” “Any place that can stand the test of time in Otis Orchards, we’ll support them,” Kropp said. “The grill is a community gathering place.” Kropp remembers the grill’s late co-owner as “an ambitious and very caring person.” “Ronda would be glad the grill is still here for the community,” Kropp said. Like many restaurant customers, Milly and her husband, George — who once leased the restaurant site in the 1950s when it was a gas station — make it a point to donate to the grill’s Thanksgiving fund. “We support it because it’s our community,” Milly said. Shannon Baker, one of the many restaurant employees who helps out on Thanksgiving, said the event is a reminder of the way Ronda looked out for neighbors in need of encouragement. “It’s just a very cheerful atmosphere on a holiday where it might not be so cheerful for them otherwise,” Baker said. “I think it’s so cool that Ronda and Vance always gave back and that the money from this event is still given back to help people. I wish every restaurant would do something like it.” This year’s dinner will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 28 at the grill on 21902 E. Wellesley. The usual list of vendors, including URM, Food Services of America and Franz Bakery, will support the cause. The Hills will be back, as well, continuing a holiday tradition of helping others that started back in 2005. “It’s just being able to visit with the people and hear their stories,” Kila said. “I think it’s made our Thanksgiving better.”

24 • NOVEMBER 2013

Highlights from your Chamber Chamber presents Inland Empire Non-Profit Summit December 4 The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce is presenting a non-profit summit featuring Patrick McGaughey’s “157 Rules for Executive Success in Organization Management,” a two-hour interactive presentation for non-profit professional executives and staff who work with boards and volunteers on Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The summit includes lunch with a bonus keynote by Patrick titled, “They Didn’t Hire Us to Break Even.” Patrick McGaughey is an international business speaker,

Chamber events in November Nov. 5, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Government Action committee meeting, Valley Hospital Education Center, 12606 E. Mission. Program: Spokane Urban Growth Area (UGA) with speaker Dave Andersen, Interim Managing Director, Growth Management Program for the State of Washington Department of Commerce. Cost is $20 (includes lunch). Register at Nov. 6, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Business After Hours, Valley Hospital Health & Education Center, 12606 E. Mission Ave. Nov. 15, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Annual Meeting Luncheon, Mirabeau Park Hotel, 1100 N. Sullivan. Program: Featured Speaker Tony Bonanzino, Installation of the new Board Members for 2014. Doors open at 11:30 a.m.; program is from noon to 1:30 p.m. Cost is $40 for members and guests; $50 for non-members.  Reserved VIP table costs $400, which includes signage and seating for 8. Register at spokanevalleychamber. org. We appreciate the support of our Annual Meeting sponsor, Banner Bank.

consultant and certified professional facilitator who has developed this dynamic list of 157 Rules to live and work by for professionals in non-profit organizations. Pat has been a regular faculty member for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management  at five major universities since 2000.  The event will run from  9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (includes lunch) at the Mirabeau Park Hotel and Convention Center, 1100 N. Sullivan Rd. in Spokane Valley.  The registration fee is $89 for the first person and $69 for additional registrations from one organization. Late registrations after  Nov. 22 will be $119 per person. A bonus included with each registration will be an audio CD (value $49) of the 157 Rules.  Please call the Chamber at 509-9244994 for more information, or check additional details on our website at November 28 & 29, Valley Chamber Office closed due to Thanksgiving holiday.

Be sure to check our website at for more details and updates.

New members

Please join us in welcoming the following members who have recently joined the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce: American Cancer Society American Drilling Corp BN Builders Buffalo Wild Wings Café Rio Mexican Grill Cartridge World COGO CAPITAL Dr. James G. Hood, Family Dentist K9 Country Club Larry H. Miller Toyota MWG, LLC Pacific Steel Recycling Plant World Roses & More, Inc The BM Gordon Edge TSYS Merchant Solutions Value Logic Real Estate Appraisers

1421 N. Meadowwood Lane • Liberty Lake, WA 99019 • Phone: 509 924-4994


The Current

Biz Notes Gustafson promoted at library Sonia Gustafson was recently promoted from librarian to managing librarian of the Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. Gustafson has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, and a master’s in library and information science from the University of Washington. She has GUSTAFSON worked for the Spokane County Library District since 2007.

Deckard elected to CBW board Greg Deckard, chairman, president and CEO of Spokane Valley-based State Bank Northwest, was recently elected to the Community Bankers of Washington (CBW) Board of Directors during the group's annual meeting Sept. 13. Deckard will also serve as Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) state director during the 2013-2014 term. DECKARD Community Bankers of Washington is a non-profit group dedicated to “protecting and enhancing the value of the state's community-based financial institutions.”

Ethics Talks to offer training Spokane Valley-based Ethics Talks LLC has received approval from the Washington State Office of Insurance Commissioner to provide three-hour ethics courses to help insurance license holders meet continuing education requirements. The training is done by Ethics Talks Owner and President John Pederson. For more, visit or contact Pederson at 979-9100 or john@

Numerica receives award Numerica Credit Union was recently honored with an excellence award for innovative solutions optimizing credit union performance. Winners were recognized at a Credit Union National Association (CUNA) conference in September. Numerica's award was in CUNA's “Sales and Service Management” category for its entry, "Decentralization of Consumer Lending Authority." The entry described the process involved in restructuring the consumer loan process

so that underwriting decisions could be made at the branch level.

Celebrations Bakery opens in Valley Owners Amber and Joe Owens are expanding their business, Celebrations Bakery, into Spokane Valley. The couple purchased the Celebrations location at 713 W. Garland in Spokane two years ago and plan to open the new location Nov. 4 on the corner of 4th and Sullivan. Celebrations offers cupcakes, cake pops, cookies and custom-order cakes for all occasions.

Total Wine & More opening Nov. 21 Less than a year after opening its first Eastern Washington location in North Spokane, Total Wine & More will open its second wine and spirits superstore Nov. 21 at 13802 E. Indiana Ave., just west of the Spokane Valley Mall. The grand opening will include live entertainment, spirits, beer and wine tastings and special events Nov. 21 to Nov. 24. The store will also host a ribbon cutting ceremony and charitable contribution check presentation at 6 p.m. on Nov. 21. The 25,000-square-foot store will feature a collection of more than 13,500 wines, spirits and beers, including more than 1,500 Washington wines, 80 Washington and Oregon distilled spirits and 550 Pacific Northwest beers, according to a company news release.

Current staffers honored The Current’s graphics editor, Sarah Burk, and Editor and Publisher Josh Johnson both won first-place awards this October in the annual Washington Better Newspaper Contest organized by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association. The work recognized was published in The Current’s sister newspaper, The Liberty Lake Splash, during the BURK 2012 contest period. Burk was honored for designing the best large ad promoting a sale or event among the community newspapers in WNPA’s largest two circulation categories (Group III and IV). Johnson’s award was for the best business feature story among WNPA newspapers in circulation Group III, those which distribute 5,001 to 12,750 copies. Did your business recently open, receive recognition or experience some other noteworthy milestone? What about a new hire or promotion? Submit the information to Biz Notes at

The Current

NOVEMBER 2013 • 25


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Carlos Fuentes stands outside Choo Choo Pizza at 11027 E. Sprague Ave. Along with his family, Fuentes worked six months to remodel former dental offices that had been housed inside the restored train.

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At right: Carlos and Alex Fuentes, ages 17 and 12, stand in the engine cab of Choo Choo Pizza. The Fuentes family opened the restaurant in mid-September.

Family steams into Valley pizza business By Valerie Putnam


A newly opened Spokane Valley pizza restaurant is hoping to be on track with customers’ palettes with its unique location: a bright orange restored three-car train. Choo Choo Pizza opened in mid-September on East Sprague Avenue between University and Bowdish roads. "We thought it would be a fun place for kids," Carlos Fuentes said about opening Choo Choo Pizza in the restored train. The restaurant is a family venture; originally from Toluca, Mexico, owners Carlos and Amelia Fuentes, along with their two sons, Carlos and Alex, run the business. The entire train sits on 180 feet of railroad track, running north to south on the property. Customers can dine in the engine originally built for the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1951 or in a renovated 1914 Pullman sleeping car named “Blystheswood.” The engine features seating, a kids’ play area with toys and a big screen monitor

IF YOU GO ... Choo Choo Pizza, 11027 E. Sprague Avenue, is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The pizzas are made to order for either dine in or takeout. To order, call 868-5067. hooked up to an Xbox 360. Children are encouraged to explore the cab, sit in the engineer's seat and blow the train's horn. The Pullman serves as another dining car and is decorated with railroad plaques. Choo Choo's kitchen is in the former Burlington Northern 11389, a 30-foot-long, metal caboose. The restaurant offers lunch and dinner and serves seven different pizzas on handmade crusts. Using fresh ingredients, the selections include cheese, garlic chicken, barbecue chicken and vegetarian. Cheesy bread, hot wings, calzones and garden salads also are served. Choo Choo offers dine in and takeout; the Fuentes family plans to provide deliv-

ery service in the Valley in the near future. They also plan to expand their menu with items such as hot dogs, pulled-pork sandwiches and potato patties. Eventually they will serve breakfast all day. Friday through Sunday, kids up to age 10 are served a free pizza with purchase. Other specials include a large pepperoni pizza for $6 until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Choo Choo is the second restaurant for the Fuentes family; four years ago, they owned and operated La Cabana, a restaurant in Mexico. "We were looking for a nice place to live," Carlos said about the reason they moved to the area. "Spokane is a quiet place, nice people here." Before becoming a restaurant, the railroad cars had been the pediatric dental office of John Ryan, who renovated the cars from 1979 to 1985 and then operated his practice there until 2009. "It was a labor of love," Tom Ryan, John Ryan's brother, said about the restoration project. "He spent every free moment renovating it."

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The Fuentes worked about six months to update the space for a restaurant. “It has been a big challenge,” Carlos Fuentes said.


26 • NOVEMBER 2013

The Current

Local football teams battling into November Volleyball reaches postseason

By Mike Vlahovich


In late summer, every football team is unbeaten and hopes are high. Then reality sets in. By November, only a select few will continue into the postseason. Last year, both East Valley and West Valley were part of a four-way tie for first place in the Great Northern League but missed the playoffs based on tie-breaking criteria. This year, five teams were still in contention right up to the end, but the Knights had a leg up with a 4-1 record and one league game remaining, Nov. 7 at Deer Park. West Valley would be part of a multiple tie for second if it beat Pullman in its final game, but playoff hopes were pinned on its win earlier over rival EV. Knight quarterback Colton Ramm led the league in passing, his favorite target Gage Burland, and Isaac Jordan was among GNL rushing leaders. 1A — How good is Freeman? The unbeaten Scotties were scarcely tested this year — certainly not in the Northeast A League where the average victory margin is some 38 points per game. The Scotties have wins over two Great Northern League teams, including over playoff contender Pullman 40-14. Running backs Max Laib and Markus Goldbach have done the heavy lifting, accounting for some 20 touchdowns between them.

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Elisha Allred and Jordan Phelan. 1A — The Freeman Scotties, who earlier this season defeated Central Valley, tied with Lakeside for the Northeast A League title with 11-1 records. Each beat the other in taut three-game matches. Freeman is headed into postseason play ranked sixth in state. Key to the team was the offense of 6-foot senior Kaela Straw, who has been a force for the Scotties.

3A — University’s volleyball team personifies a Greater Spokane League trend of new coaches and young players. Despite the youth — only two seniors — and a new mentor, the Titans are into the postseason with Class 3A district and regionals Nov. 5 followed hopefully by state in Lacey on Nov. 15. Barring an upset, the Titans, under first-year coach Mike Summers, shared the Greater Spokane League with Shadle Park and Mead. Titans soccer inspired U-Hi earlier won a tournament in AnaUniversity had to press on under the cortes, and although retired Mead volleydarkest of circumstances, the death of two ball coach Judy Kight noted recently that the state coaches poll is unscientific, they young soccer players, McKenzie Mott and voted the Titans third, three spots ahead of Josie Freier, in a tragic automobile accident that resulted in an outpourShadle, who they beat early ing of community sympathy in the GSL season. CV NOTEBOOK and support. University’s offense reThe Titans soldiered on, ONLINE volved around junior Sydcompleting a 7-2 Greater ney Schlect, who recorded Looking for Spokane League season, a double figures kills in nearly an update share of second place and every match and has been on Central the top seed in the 3A disdigs leader numerous times. Valley High School fall trict tournament. It’s mainly Setter Kylie Collins is the sports? Contributor been about defense, most of team assists leader, and Alex U-Hi’s matches low-scoring Mike Vlahovich wrote Douglas, Sarah Carpenter contests. The Titans seldom an all-Bears report for and Brooklynn Tacke are scored many goals, but alThe Current’s sister other cogs in U-Hi’s success. lowed fewer behind sophopublication, The Splash. more goalkeeper Ryann 2A — In the Great NorthView it online at www. Rydeen. Sydney Weiler and ern League, the name of the or Sarah Melvin were among game is parity. With one check out the full issue scoring leaders. match remaining, East Valat ley shared first place at 8-3 2A — West Valley and with Pullman. Two other East Valley finished 10-2 to teams were a match behind, and EV’s final share the Great Northern League regular opponent, Clarkston, was only two back season championship, each shutting out the heading into the postseason. other. There were a number of one-sided Key components of EV’s attack have been matches. The Eagles were led by Morgan

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The value of athletics … in academics

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Williams and Halie Gronenthal among a dozen players who piled up the points. The Knights, with only two seniors, also had plenty of offense. Chelsea Love was the leading scorer, but with plenty of help from senior captain Alex Rankin and sophomores Sammantha and Madison Bastin.

State next for runners State cross country races at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco Nov. 9 are a cacophony of sights and sounds. Ten races scheduled at half-hour intervals, the infields covered with colorful team tents. Not lost on this season are the efforts a pair of East Valley distance runners who went one-two in every Great Northern League race, leading the Knights to a second-place finish. Scott Kopczynski is hoping to improve on last year’s 12th place state finish. Teammate Chad Stevens seeks to join him in Pasco. West Valley’s McCall Skay, sixth in state last year, had the better of EV’s Brittany Aquino, third last year, this fall. Both are chasing higher finishes.

Segalia shines Valley Christian School is making a run at a boys soccer state appearance due mainly to James Segalia, who has piled up the goals. He had five in one match, four in another and at one point had scored 17 of the team’s 37.

Champs again University’s slowpitch softball team continued its stranglehold on the GSL sport. The Titans were 22-0 in capturing the regular season and tournament championships.

Where’s Chad? Regular contributor Chad Kimberley’s monthly column has moved to The Splash. This month, he wrote about working out on the exercise equipment — and reflecting on Veterans Day — at the newly installed Fallen Heroes Circuit Course at Rocky Hill Park in Liberty Lake. Check it out at or high school.

By Mike Vlahovich THE FINAL POINT

Sports enabled former University High football coach Joe Espinoza to escape the cycle of poverty. An article he has kept, written by a female educator from a New York high school, contends that the sport of football is the best taught subject in

Albeit hyperbolic (“Laden with the hot armorial gear, for what but scrimmage is he willing to give up all his golden autumn afternoons?”), she was not glorifying athletics as much as pointing out that the classroom must follow its example. Education is certainly the raison d’etre for schools to open our minds and prepare

See ATHLETICS, page 27

The Current

NOVEMBER 2013 • 27

A culture of learning Espinoza gives back to sports, school By Mike Vlahovich


Joe Espinoza, dapper in his broad-brimmed hat, scurried about Liberty Lake County Park on a day in September helping at a University High cross country race. It is but one of the myriad hats worn by the athlete, coach, educator, vintner, wood-worker and cultural advocate during his 76 years. His is a fascinating story of the third-youngest of 14 children of Hispanic migrant farmers. Education and sports were Espinoza’s escape. Although unable to speak English when he began school in Wapato, Wash., he would become one of three Espinoza children to graduate high school. His athletic prowess led to a college education and his arrival in the mid-1960s at University High, where he taught and coached for more than 30 years. Though retired, Espinoza still keeps his hand in by helping with the Titan cross country program. “I’ve always been blessed,” Espinoza said. “Things just fell in place.” Espinoza also became active statewide in the implementation of programs that helped teachers understand and help Hispanic students meld into American culture. “Why did I make it and why didn’t they?” Espinoza had told himself. “I started looking at the education program and basically

ATHLETICS Continued from page 26

productive citizens. But I have long believed from writing about high school competition that sports prepare us for life. Not every high school student is academically inclined, but for many, athletics become their identity, their sense of self-worth, a means for acceptance, and, like Espinoza, the carrot that keeps them in school, providing the opportunity for a future. Sports teach collaboration, promote work ethic and provide the discipline and closeness of

it did not fit the needs of minorities. That’s where bilingual classes were formed.” Growing up, Espinoza’s closeknit family from California followed the crops during the growing season, parents and children alike working the fields to eke out their existence. Initially, none but his father spoke English. “The language at home was Spanish. Dad spoke English like a cowboy because he was out working and meeting people,” Espinoza said. By age 6, Espinoza was in Wapato living on farm acreage purchased by his father. Older brothers and sisters had to teach themselves English and to read and write. His oldest brother, Chester, went from working the fields to purchasing a truck, then another to haul the crops to market. He would become a restaurateur in Wapato and opened one of the first Mexican restaurants in Seattle. Other brothers became successes of their own. “Not one of these kids went to school, right?” Espinoza said. “Can you imagine them becoming a businessman?” School became Espinoza’s identity. “I remember it just like yesterday,” he said of his first day of class. “I knew something was weird because it was not even Sunday and momma was putting on my good pants and shoes.” It was his first time away from



Standing with his wife, Alice, Joe Espinoza holds up a picture of himself coaching the University High School football team more than 40 years ago. Before that, he was a standout athlete himself as a three-time all-conference football player in high school who had a college career that culminated at the University of Idaho.

See ESPINOZA, page 30

the nuclear family they might be missing. “Not only are the players given theory, they are also given hours of practice in that theory,” Dorothy J. Farnan, the article’s author wrote. “The standards are severe. Of a large school of aspirants (a relative few) are chosen for the squad. And only one or two ever gain high recognition in the course of four academic years. The final ‘examinations’ are those difficult, glorious games upon the field.” Athletics, she continued, demand more sacrifice and promote risk-taking. At the time this was written, she penned that the

young athlete “lives years of almost monastic austerity.” That’s a tad overdramatic in today’s age when athletes are less likely to suffer sacrifice over socialization. But the general theory that sports develop character, or as some say, reveal it, still has merit. “Football is the best-taught subject in the American high school,” Farnan wrote, “because it is probably the only subject that we do not try to make easy. We attempt to make learning ‘interesting’ and ‘fun.’ As a result we have made it neither.” Teachers, you have full right of rebuttal.

Her premise, as an academician, was that students do not want a life made easy. The demands placed on athletes must be the same in the classroom. When that was written, I doubt Farnan quite envisioned that sports would arrive at the state it is today. The summers and offseason demands on multi-sport athletes tug them hither and yon. Club programs are profiteering at the athletes’ expense, more and more forcing them to choose one sport over another. College programs are on a precarious ledge of corruption and wretched monetary excess at the expense of an education.

Still, I believed when I became a sportswriter that there was value in high school sports and that athletes willing to risk failure while aspiring for success as the public face of their schools deserved all the recognition they get. Over the years I discovered that in many cases, academic and athletic success do indeed go hand-in-hand. Mike Vlahovich is a veteran Spokane Valley sportswriter who was inducted in October into the Inland Northwest Sports Hall of Fame’s Scroll of Honor.

28 • NOVEMBER 2013


Citizenship education — the responsibility of all Americans By George Nethercutt Jr. CURRENT GUEST COLUMN

Citizenship education is the responsibility of all Americans. It binds our nation, helping us understand the concepts that made the United States unique throughout history. For at least a generation, Americans have been undereducated about civic learning and engagement, routinely failing standardized surveys testing their civic knowledge. Citizens with a basic knowledge of America, and the active citizenship it produces, are essential to our democracy’s prosperity, particularly when multiculturalism and globalism have complicated what it means to be American. To most Americans — today, and in decades past — to be a good citizen has meant to take pride in being an American, a patriot, to love our country, to know its history, its state capitals, what the branches of government are and how they work together, to vote in elections, to work hard at our job, to pay our share of taxes and to volunteer and participate in our community. To be patriotic and a good citizen should not mean saber-rattling or chest-pounding, but rather a willingness to sacrifice, in battle or at home, to support decisions of our government leaders or take issue without rancor. It also means to take pride in the American story and its ever-evolving culture, and to participate in civic affairs, whether that means attending town meet-

About the Opinion Page The Current wants to hear what’s on your mind. Interact with the opinion page with a leer to the editor (350 words or fewer), guest column (700 words or fewer; please send a mug) or via Facebook or Twier: @valleycurrent As with all content, opinion page submissions may be edited for space, style or clarity. This is a community newspaper, so be relevant to the Valley for the best chance at publica…on. “In all debates, let truth be thy aim, not victory or an unjust interest. And endeavor to gain, rather than to expose, thy antagonist.” — William Penn

ings, marching on Washington, D.C., writing your congressman or simply voting in elections. Citizenship and patriotism create a sense of unity, of belonging to something bigger than us, of accepting all-for-one and onefor-all, while at the same time celebrating, and respecting, our differences. The argument could be made that too many Americans, particularly among the young, are citizens of no country, no continent and no world — except perhaps the United Friends of Facebook. Too many can’t identify Arizona or Nebraska, Iraq or Brazil, on a map. They can’t state who was president during World War I or II, or what the Battles of Bunker Hill or Antietam were about. Even current elected officials seem clueless about the precise amount of our national debt, how taxpayer dollars are really spent and how federal policies affect domestic and international economics. Clearly, there’s a massive disconnect between Americans’ love of country and what they know about it. Studies show that citizens with a workable understanding of the American system are more likely to vote, become active in community affairs, have stronger families and engage in the discussion and debate of political issues. They are more patriotic. The fabric of American society — an enlightened society — can be enhanced by a civically knowledgeable younger generation. As the next generation of leaders, young people particularly are charged with perpetuating the American system, for the best kind of patriotism is that which embraces national values and lives them through citizen actions. Attend a naturalization ceremony celebrating new American citizens. Ask them what American citizenship means to them. Their answers will help all of us appreciate our citizenship and rich heritage even more. George R. Nethercutt Jr. is a former member of Congress from Eastern Washington. His nonprofit foundation, The George Nethercutt Foundation, is sponsoring a Citizenship Tournament this fall for 4th-, 8th- and 12th-graders to win up to $10,000 scholarships and a trip to Washington, D.C. Visit for more information. He wrote this column as part of a series highlighting the Partners Advancing Character Education (PACE) trait of the month. The trait for November is “citizenship.”

The Current

Editorial Cartoon

Letters to the Editor Make time to vote for Gillingham, Lunstroth For those East Valley parents in the silent majority — those of us who believe our district is heading in the right direction and may not feel motivated to vote in the upcoming school board race — it has never been more imperative that you cast your vote to retain Heidi Gillingham and Kerri Lunstroth. It was quite clear at a recent “debate” that, if elected, all of the new candidates will vote to have our district move back to the comfort zone of middle schools and negate all of the progress we've made. Ms. Gillingham and Ms. Lunstroth are focused on fine-tuning our K-8 model and bringing our district into the forefront of innovative education in the state of Washington. Please keep our district and our kids moving forward by voting for Kerri and Heidi.

Connie Jensen Spokane Valley

Trio of EV candidates merit support Last August, I ran for an East Valley school board position in Director District No. 3. I was defeated. The purpose of this letter is to ask those who supported me (approximately 500 voters) to consider placing their November vote in favor of incumbent Heidi Gillingham. Since all voters in the district vote for each position in November, I also ask each of you to place your vote in favor of incumbent Kerri Lundstroth and candidate Deanna Ervin. Personally, I believe the three candidates I mention above are the most qualified to

carry out the duties in a very professional manner. The recent decision to return East Valley's program to a PK-8 and 9-12 configuration was very well thought out. Financially, the district is struggling since bond issues have failed to pass for several years. Not just recently. These failures have nothing to do with the particular program.   The economy is what influences the "yes" or "no" vote. I served 27 years in East Valley as a teacher, counselor, coach and assistant administrator. I have degrees in all those areas. During those years, we operated as K-8 and 9-12 and later as K-5, 6-8 and 9-12. It matters not which configuration a district chooses as long as finances and a good staff are made available. I'm aware that many will disagree with what I have stated.  Personally, having two daughters, one a chemist and the other an engineer, are proof that high standards can be reached. It takes effort! That old statement holds true: "Until you have walked in others' shoes, have run the race and have played the game, don't criticize!"

Marvin Moore

Spokane Valley

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NOVEMBER 2013 • 29



Church, 10920 E. Sprague Ave. Explore the many different artisans and handmade crafters in one venue. For more:

Continued from page 19 Nov. 2-3 | Giant Fall Arts & Crafts Fair

9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central Valley High School, 821 S. Sullivan Road. Admission is $2, and proceeds benefit the CV band programs. For more: www.

Nov. 8 | Celebrate 10 years with KYRS

7 p.m., Silver Auctions, 2020 N. Monroe, Spokane. In addition to dancing, appetizers, drinks, and over 60 auction and raffle items, there will be music by Son Dulce to celebrate a decade with Thin Air Community Radio. Cost is 15 per person, $20 per couple, and free for kids 12 and under. For more: 747-3012 or

Nov. 16 | Holiday craft show 10 a.m. to

3 p.m., Meadowwood Golf Course Clubhouse, 24501 E. Valleyway Ave., Liberty Lake. Crafty gift ideas will be for sale including Christmas comforter sets, barbed wire crosses, homemade breads, jellies and soaps and more. Proceeds benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. For more:

Nov. 16 | Improv comedy show 7 p.m., Ignite! Community Theatre, 10814 E. Broadway Ave. This live, family-friendly show is improvised on the spot based upon suggestions from the audience. Admission is $5. For more: www.

Nov. 9-10 | U-High Craft Fair 9 a.m. to

Mirabeau Blues Weekends 9 p.m. to

1 a.m., Max at Mirabeau Restaurant and Lounge, 1100 N. Sullivan Road, Spokane Valley. Fall into the House of Blues during the month of November with Bobby Bremmer (Nov. 1-2), Martini Brothers (8-9), Usual Suspects (15-16) and Laffin Bones (22-23 and 29-30). For more:

Nov. 2 | Spokane Chiefs Washington Army National Guard Buck Night & Cheerstix Giveaway Join other hockey fans

10 p.m. (Saturday), 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Sunday), Spokane Community College (The Lair), 1810 N. Greene St., Spokane. This event, which is free to the public, features eight stages of traditional and ethnic dance, music, workshops, entertainment, crafts and more. For more: www.

Nov. 9 | New Life’s Perfect Gift and Holiday Fair 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., New Life



Nov. 9-10 | Fall Folk Festival 11 a.m. to

4 p.m., Riverview Terrace Retirement Community, 1801 Upriver Dr. A great assortment of creative crafts and food items will be for sale. For more: 939-1279

to 6 p.m. (Sat.), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Sun.), Fair and Expo Center, 404 N. Havana St. Over 300 dealers will showcase holiday treasures in all price ranges. Admission is $7 for adults; children 12 and under are free. For more:

Spirit of Spokane Chorus Tuesdays, 6:45 p.m., Opportunity Presbyterian Church, 202 N. Pines. Make new friends by joining this women’s chorus, specializing in four-part, a capella harmony in the barbershop style. For more: 218-4799

5 p.m. (Saturday) and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Sunday), University High School, 12420 E. 32nd Ave. Presented by the high school marching band and color guard, the public is invited to find the perfect gift or décor for the holidays. For more: 891-5278 or www.uhicraftfairspokanevalley.

Nov. 9 | Riverview Craft Sale 11 a.m. to

Nov. 22-24 | Custer Christmas Arts & Crafts Show 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Fri.), 10 a.m.

for $1 hot dogs, Coca Cola and popcorn. The first 5,000 fans will receive a set of cheerstix. For more:


Improv Comedy at the Lake will be performing 7 p.m. Nov. 16 at Ignite! CommunityTheatre where the audience is part of the improv show. Troop members write that the show is smart enough for adults to enjoy and comical enough for kids to repeat the funniest parts.

Nov. 2-3 | Boo Ball Fall Classic Basketball Tournament HUB Sports

Center, 19619 E. Cataldo Ave. For more: www.

Nov. 5 | DSHS Mobile Unit 1 to 4:30

p.m., Banner Bank, 2 N. 1st St., Rockford. The Department of Social and Health Services Mobile Unit will be in Rockford, and those

from South Spokane County with questions or problems are welcome to attend. For more:

Nov. 28 | 2nd annual Turkey Trot 8 a.m.,

Trailhead Golf Course parking lot, Liberty Lake. Join the Liberty Lake Running Club for a 3-mile walk/run. Runners are asked to bring donations for Blessings Under the Bridge. Items needed are socks, mittens, gloves, hand warmers, toiletries and cocoa mix. For more: 954-9806 or

Nov. 30-Dec. 1 | Turkey Shoot-Out Futsal Tournament HUB Sports Center,

19619 E. Cataldo Ave. Boys and girls teams U7 through U14 are invited for some indoor futsal action. Registration is $250 per team (if registered by Nov. 5). For more: www.

Recurring Medicare Open Enrollment Tuesdays,

9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Aging & Long Term Care of Eastern WA, 1222 N. Post St., Spokane. Those wanting to change their Medicare Advantage of Medicare Part D plan must do so by Dec. 7. For free, non-biased advice, bring your list of medications with dosages and your Medicare card. For more: 458-2509

Sports opportunities HUB Sports Center, 19619 E. Cataldo Ave., Liberty Lake. Badminton, basketball open gym, pickleball, Zumba and other recreational options available. For more: All calendar listings were provided to or gathered by Current staff. If you would like your event considered for the community calendar, please submit information by the 15th of the month to

You are The Current 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 Current is a community newspaper, so if you are part of the greater Valley community, we want to know what’s important to you. We like to say there are six 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 vacation. If so, pack a copy of The Current and pull it out to snap your photo in front of your favorite destination or landmark. When you return to the Valley, drop us a line with the pic, and we’ll share it with readers. Call it “Current Travels.”  Are you part of a club or service organization?

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30 • NOVEMBER 2013


Josh Johnson


Tammy Kimberley BUSINESS MANAGER Kim Johnson


Sarah Burk CIRCULATION Sandy Johnson Mike Wiykovics CONTRIBUTORS

Jennie Bradstreet, Hope Brumbach (editing), Eli Francovich, Brenna Holland, Craig Howard, Valerie Putnam, Jayne Singleton, Mike Vlahovich, Bill Zimmer On the cover: Current design by Sarah Burk


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ESPINOZA Continued from page 27

home, and he marveled at being outside with foreign-speaking kids, then trooping into school where Spanish-speaking students were sent to a corner of the classroom until they could understand English enough to be mainstreamed. “There was no bilingual English as a second language,” Espinoza said, “or dealing with cultural nuances and problems.” But, he points out, had it not been for the teachers who made him feel special, who knows what might have happened? And then he discovered sports. “I could run faster, throw farther and became an athlete,” he said. “Birds of a feather flock together. They became family.” Espinoza would become Wapato’s football quarterback, a three-time all-conference player and all-state game participant, despite having had a bone graft on a broken wrist that nearly derailed his senior season. He said he sat under the bleachers that year, cast on his arm, crying until his coach motivated him by suggesting he show his understudy how to properly throw a football. “That night I sawed the cast off and played,” he said. “Had I not done that I wouldn’t have gotten those honors and wouldn’t have gotten offers from colleges.” Letters from interested schools went unanswered. “I loved sports, loved the notoriety, but to tell the truth I was kind of tired of it,” he said. Teachers and coaches insisted he continue. He played two years at Yakima Valley Community College, and two years at University of Idaho where he met his wife of 52 years, Alice, and became a high school teacher. First stop was in tiny Cusick where he taught, including woodshop, coached all sports and even borrowed a tractor to remake the football field. A fellow teacher told him of a Spanish opening at U-Hi and he jumped at it. Espinoza also taught English, saying it was the first time he truly understood grammar. He would become head football coach a couple of years later before passing the torch in 1973. He also was head coach in softball, ushering in the fast-pitch era, and assisted in baseball, track and cross country. A visit to the home of Espinoza, an introspective Renaissance man, also speaks volumes about his accomplishments outside the classroom and field. Inside the home above Ponderosa Elementary is the work of a craftsman who built most of the furniture. Intricate wood-working pieces include frames that hold pictures of his heritage. Out back is a terraced, flower-filled yard with a brick walk leading to the garden and grapes grown for the wine he makes. “Things just happened to me,” Espinoza said, “and most of them were good.”

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Liberty Lake

PORTAL at Mission & Molter

Barlows Family Restaurant City of Liberty Lake Clark’s Tire and Automotive Family Medicine Liberty Lake George Gee John L. Scott Real Estate

KiDDS Dental Liberty Lake Liberty Lake EyeCare Center Liberty Lake Orthodontics STCU Sunshine Gardens

Index of advertisers Following are the local advertisers in this issue of The Current. Aging & Long Term Care of E WA Amaculate Housekeeping Avista Utilities Barlows Restaurant Casey Family Dental Casey’s Place City of Spokane Valley City of Spokane Valley Clark’s Tire & Automotive Cornerstone Pentecostal Church Evergreen Fountains Gus Johnson Ford

7 10 5 6 4 3 9 12 8 11 17 32

J M Garden Restorations 3 Kathrine Olson DDS 11 KIDDS Dental 15 Liberty Lake EyeCare Center 5 Liberty Lake Orthodontics 3 Liberty Lake Portal 18 Maggie Breens 10 MAX at Mirabeau Restaurant & Lounge 12 Northern Quest Resort & Casino 3 Northwest Insurance Brokers 5 Ron’s Drive-Inn 9 Side by Side Counseling Services 10

Simonds Dental Group 2 Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce 24 Spokane Valley Heritage Museum 12 SportClips Haircuts 26 Summerfield Salon 5 Sunshine Gardens 7 Treasure Trove/Pirate Traders 7 Zephyr Lodge & Conference Grounds 10 Church Directory 19 Service Directory 25

Of note: This thank you message was produced by The Current’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 Current’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 With story ideas, contact

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NOVEMBER 2013 • 31

Freeman students, staff think pink for breast cancer awareness By Kelly Moore


In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, the 850 students in the Freeman School District joined staff members Oct. 23 in dressing pink for Think Pink Day. “I think just the fact that we’ve had staff, parents or even students who’ve dealt with cancer or known someone who dealt with cancer, makes this more meaningful,” Superintendent Randy Russell said. “It’s just an opportunity to really unify the district. We are a close community already, but this really does unify us even more.” In addition to students and staff wearing pink, school board member Chad Goldsmith coordinated to have a pink tractor parked in front of the district campus for the day. The tractor came courtesy of Northwest Farm Credit Services and AgDirect. Think Pink Day at the Freeman School District is a tradition that has slowly grown over the last decade. It started as a simple celebration between to coworkers. Leslie Malloy, a paraeducator, wanted to find a way honor her friend, Pre-K teacher Barb Gady, a cancer survivor. “Every October we would do something small, like give her a gift basket, and every year more and more people wanted to chip in and get involved,” Malloy said. “On her 10th anniversary of being cancer free, three years ago, we wanted to do something special. That’s when things really picked up momentum.” That year, Malloy encouraged her fellow staff to wear pink and gather on the track to walk a mile together in Gady’s honor. The next year, students joined in wearing pink as well. “It’s starting to grow up through the schools, so even the older kids are getting involved,” Malloy said. “We are having conversations with kids about how to keep ourselves healthy.” As part of breast cancer awareness month, Malloy said the high school students have a pink day every Wednesday during the month of October, and in years to come the tradition is sure to continue its momentum. “I’m seeing kids being more empathetic and caring about things like cancer,” Malloy said. “We are having mature conversations and learning that it’s ok to talk about.”


Students pass by a pink tractor that was part of the festivities during the Freeman School District’s Think Pink Day Oct. 23. The event was held in honor of Breast Cancer awareness. At left, Reagan Sevigney, 9, wears pink while working on a math problem. At right, Colby Conklin, 9, shows off his T-shirt. Below, staff members at the Freeman School District pose with the pink tractor.

32 • NOVEMBER 2013

The Current

The November 2013 Current  
The November 2013 Current  

Heart of the Valley: Three stories of local generosity, love and community.