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FEBRUARY

2017

SNOW REMOVAL PAGE 6

Five Years of

CHAMBER GALA A SMASH PAGE 12

FREE

LOVE NOTES PAGE 27

Celebrating Our First Direct Mail Issue , Mailed to Over 15,000 Valley Homes!


2 • FEBRUARY 2017

NEWS

The Park Bench

Former WV teacher strikes new chord with symphony chorale

By J.R. Conrow Current Correspondent Any artist with a passion to create magic has a distinctive background for the finished product to flourish – a chef has a kitchen, an artist has a canvas and a vocalist uses the variances of sounds. For Kristina Ploeger, an associate professor of Music at Eastern Washington University, the backdrop is music and the vocal sound is her guiding light to help others. The quest to make a difference in her chosen field has led Ploeger to the prominent position as director of the Spokane Symphony Chorale, which works in conjunction with the Spokane Symphony and its director, Eckart Preu. "I am thrilled that Kristina agreed to be the director for the Spokane Symphony Chorale,” Preu said. “She is a wonderful and thorough musician and pedagogue, who can work with singers of all backgrounds. Her personality and expertise will be instrumental in raising the voices of the chorale to a new level.” Ploeger’s responsibility as director is to lead the chorale through all rehearsals in preparations for the symphonic concerts but when both come together she turns the chorale over to Preu who has led the orchestra since the 2004-05 season. “I am getting to work with really wonderful people that care,” Ploeger said. “I get the opportunity to help these voices shine and if I do my job right, once I turn them to Preu he can direct without missing a step. He is being handed a silver platter with a group of performance ready singers. He doesn’t have to be involved in the entire process from the beginning.” The opportunity to direct the

Kristina Ploeger, a former choir teacher at West Valley High School, has been named the new director of the Spokane Symphony Chorale. Contributed photo Spokane Symphony Chorale was the result of Preu and others suggesting she take a chance, Ploeger said. “I met with Eckart to discuss any reservations I would have,” Ploeger said. “Eckart was very supportive and clear in his direction of what he wanted the chorale to be.” Ploeger said Preu was gracious in his direction and expressing his interest in renewing his commitment to bring and maintain the chorale as an important part of the local symphonic family. “After I met with Eckart and told him I needed some time to think it over, I went to the first audition and knew it was right.” Ploeger said. “I felt it was important to give of myself.” At Eastern, Ploeger is director of Choral Activities. Prior to EWU, she was the artistic director of the Spokane Area Youth Choirs. She has also taught choral methods at Gonzaga University, choir at St. George's School and West Valley High School. Before relocating to the Spokane area, she taught at Everett High School, Ephrata High School, and AC Davis High School in Yakima. Ploeger is currently working on her doctorate in Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Kentucky. She has earned degrees from Edmonds Community College, Central Washington University and Eastern Washington University. Ploeger has also received several honors throughout her career. She was awarded the "Arts in Education Award" by the Spokane Arts Commission of the city of Spokane in 2005. She was honored

with Spokane's "YWCA Woman of Achievement in Arts and Culture Award” in 2009. The chorale – comprised entirely of volunteers who receive no financial compensation – meets once a week, Monday nights at Spokane Falls Community College. The chorale started its new season under Ploeger’s leadership Sept. 12 when they met for the first rehearsal. For the 2016-17 season, the chorale joined the symphony in October for Mahler’s “Symphony No. 3” and in December for “Holiday Pops” and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9.” Brahm’s “Requiem” and Verdi’s “Requiem,” paired with Vaughan Williams’ “Serenade to Music” are scheduled for April 2 and May 6-7, respectively. Ploeger’s role of chorale director is not her first journey in the musical world. Music has been interconnected through her life starting early from her family, particularly her mom, Penelope who passed away in August from complications of cancer. Ploeger said that music was an important part of her mom’s life, right up until her passing. “My mom was a high school and church choir teacher while I grew up,” Ploeger said. Music followed Ploeger throughout her life and she said while she loved all as of it by the time she reached college she knew her career choice would be one of music teacher, which followed in her mom’s footsteps. “I sang and played flute for a while as at that time back in school there was more than one elective to

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take,” Ploeger said. “Over time I lost interest in the flute and band side of music and came to a realization that my soul is fed in the choir.” From singing to joining quartets and other musical outlets Ploeger said she started branching out from just singing to becoming a teacher in how to access and use the voice. Once she reached grad school Ploeger she signed on with the Spokane Area Youth Choir and working with 7 year olds. She also taught high school choir at West Valley High as one of the stops on her journey. “From the children’s chorus experience, I learned a lot about kids and music,” Ploeger said. “In my first day I saw all the faces ready and excited to sing, but one student found the chair near the front of the room and hid under it. No matter when I asked the boy (Nathan) that I would love to hear his voice sometime if he wanted to sing, but he would listen and stay behind.” Ploeger said eventually Nathan came out more but seemed more interested with the toys in the room. Ironically, Ploeger said Nathan today is in his final quarter at Eastern and will be a student teacher in January in music. “I wish I could say I’m responsible for Nathan’s pursuing music, but I really think he would’ve been a musician regardless of who he interacted with,” Ploeger said. “Early on in my teaching I learned a lot that music should be shown early for kids to learn about it,” Ploeger said. “Every interaction should be a joyous one.” For all of Ploeger’s teachings and leaderships of choirs locally and abroad on a few occasions the experience Ploeger said is all about helping others grow. “It’s about being a cheerleader and wanting to uplift others,” Ploeger said. The recipe for success is how to be a cheerleader for who you are working with.” Ploeger’s new role with the symphony adds another layer to an already busy schedule. Along with her work at Eastern, she serves as director of the Le Donne (Women’s) Choir and Spokane Area Youth choirs. She noted the Spokane area is very supportive of its musical excellence. “For cities the size of Spokane we in the Inland Northwest are so lucky to have the professional symphony that we have,” Ploeger said. “The community is invested in both the chorale and symphony and that support marbles the quality. To be part of this is a really huge honor for me.”


The Current

FEBRUARY 2017 • 3

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4 • FEBRUARY 2017

Valley Chamber

HIGHLIGHTS

NEWS

Now is the perfect time to “Love Your Heart” By Chief Bryan Collins

Spokane Valley Fire Department

CONNECT. CONNECT.

EMPOWER. EMPOWER.

INNOVATE. INNOVATE.

Motivating Greater Learning The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce is leading a collaborative set of initiatives, The Big 5, to serve as a beacon and compass for economic prosperity and community vitality. Greater Learning, one of The Big 5 initiatives, is focused on integrating business and education to create the workforce of the future. Join us in building that workforce through Lemonade Day! Lemonade Day is a national educational initiative that introduces youth to entrepreneurship: teaching them how to start, own, and operate their own business – a lemonade stand. On Saturday, May 20th, you will see lemonade stands in front of chamber member businesses across this great valley! The success of this initiative relies on members of the community coming together to train the next generation of entrepreneurs, civic leaders, and engaged citizens. Sponsorships are available.

Saturday, May 20 For more information and to get involved, visit greaterspokanevalley. lemonadeday.org or contact Melanie@spokanevalleychamber.org

Sponsors: Start-Up Sponsors: Avista City of Liberty Lake Youth Partners: Central Valley School District, West Valley School District Media Partner: The Splash/The Current

SAVE THE DATE May 11 The Business Showcase, Spokane County Fair & Expo Center To register, visit spokanevalleychamber.org

February is an odd month. It is the shortest month of the year. The holiday season is over, most of us have abandoned many of our New Year’s resolutions. The weather is bitter and spring seems far away. However, there is no better time than February to focus on a healthier you, especially when it comes to your heart. Heart (cardiovascular) disease is currently the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. In fact, cardiovascular diseases claim more lives each year than all forms of cancer combined, accounting for one out of every four deaths nationwide. In 2016, the Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) responded to nearly 1,100 calls related to cardiovascular issues; that’s an average of three calls every single day. The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented or reversed when people make healthy choices and proactively manage their existing health conditions. That is why the American Heart Association sponsors American Heart Month activities every year in February. This year, the Spokane Valley Fire Department is joining the national effort with our local “Love Your Heart” campaign. During the month of February, we’ll be doing free blood pressure checks on Feb. 11 at the Liberty Lake Library and on Feb. 25 in the Spokane Valley Library. You can also stop by any SVFD fire station and our crews will be happy to check your blood pressure. Additionally, the SVFD hosts free community “hands-only” CPR classes on the second Saturday of each month at our Training Center. Register online at www. spokanevalleyfire.com. The skills taught are vital tools that could help you save a life. Here are some helpful tips to help you “Love Your Heart” and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease: • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight

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• Engage in regular, moderate aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week or more vigorous workouts at least 20 minutes a day, three times a week • Quit smoking and stay away from second-hand smoke • Know your risk factors and discuss them with your primary care physician • Learn CPR • Learn the symptoms of a heart attack • Learn how to respond if you or someone you know experiences a heart attack Half of the deaths from heart attack occur in the first three or four hours after the onset of symptoms, so it is important to know and recognize the warning signs. Symptoms of a heart attack can be different from person to person, but generally include: • Chest pain or discomfort • Shortness of breath Other symptoms can include: • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach • Breaking out in a cold sweat • Nausea and/or vomiting • Light-headedness It is important to note that women are more likely to experience the other symptoms of a heart attack, and that 33 percent of women who experience a heart attack do not experience chest pain. If you think that you or someone in your presence is having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately. Every minute you delay can result in more damage to the heart muscle. If possible, have the victim chew an aspirin, which may help reduce the size of the blood clot. If the victim loses consciousness and/or stops breathing, begin CPR and have someone else locate an Automated External Defibrillator (A.E.D.) nearby. For more information, visit our website at www.spokanevalleyfire. com and American Heart Association at www.heart.org. Know CPR and want to help our first responders save a life? Download PulsePoint Respond, a free app that notifies you via your smartphone if you're in a public place and CPR is needed within a quarter mile of your location. Get it at the App Store for Apple devices and at Google Play for Android users. Join with thousands of your neighbors and help save a life today.


The Current

NEWS

Railroad crossings take one step forward, two steps back

By Lincoln Dowright Current Correspondent After having three prior discussions, the motion to award a contract with David Evans and Associates/HDR worth $1,274,031 to continue the design process on the Barker Road/BNSF Grade Separation Project failed at a split vote by the Spokane Valley City Council on Jan. 10. Prior to the meeting, the council and staff had been trying to figure out how far this amount of professional services dollars will get the project (depending on how the project goes and it is estimated that this amount of money would complete approximately 50 percent of the design work). In trying to determine the approximated completion percentage, it was discovered that the designs completed over 10 years ago and considered to be at the 30-percent design level are actually closer to 10-percent design level once the new standards and regulations are taken into consideration. Council Member Caleb Collier stated, “I’m concerned that we are throwing money at something that may or may not come to fruition.” Council Member Pam Hayley agreed saying, “There are a lot of changes coming up and it seems like we are just throwing money and we aren’t even sure if the requirements are going to change or not.” The vote was defeated with Council Members Ed Pace, Hayley, and Collier voting no and Mayor Rod Higgins, Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard, and Council Member Mike Munch voting in favor, Council Member Sam Wood was absent from the meeting. Later Woodard requested that the issue be brought back up again when all are in attendance. The $1,274,031 for the project was being funded from a $720,000 federal earmark, $300,000 of Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) previously approved and another $300,000 from the REET fund. On the same meeting agenda the City Council unanimously approved $470,000 to purchase right-of-way for the Pines Road/ BNSF grade separation project.

The property was needed to realign Pines or Highway 27 to be more of a perpendicular angle to the railroad lines being crossed. The 62,669 square feet of land is on the northeast corner of Pines and Pinecoft Way and previously belonged to Pinecroft, LLC. The $470,000 was a transfer from the Cities Capital Projects Fund and had no matching grant funding. More staff changes at City Hall Also announced at the Jan. 10 City Council meeting, John Hohman was promoted from Community and Economic Development director to deputy city manager, the position that was recently vacated by Mark Calhoun when he was selected as the new city manager replacing Mike Jackson. Hohman joined Spokane Valley in July of 2003 just after the city incorporated and has had positions under both Public Works and Community and Economic Development before serving as the director for Community and Economic Development for the last five years. In his new roles, Hohman is now responsible for both Community and Economic Development and Public Works. Just over a week later, Eric Guth, Public Works director and Steve Worley, Capital Improvement program manager were no longer with the city of Spokane Valley. City officials would not comment on what had instigated the departure of two senior city employees. Guth joined the city management team on Aug. 22, 2012. He holds bachelor of science degrees in geology and in civil engineering. His municipal experience includes working for a private contractor as the Public Works/Services manager for the city of Centennial, CO. and as the first director of Public Works as well as the city engineer for the newly established city of Castle Pines, CO. Guth also served for f15 years with the town of Breckenridge, CO, initially as the assistant town engineer before his appointment as town engineer, a position he held for 10 years. Worley joined the city just after Spokane Valley incorporation coming from Spokane County. He has had a hand in many of the city’s major public works projects such as the railroad grade separation projects considered part of the Bridging the Valley plan. More recently Worley and Guth were heading up the City Hall construction project which is currently underway and were also most recently the point contacts with the railroad grade separation projects which were stopped previously in January.

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6 • FEBRUARY 2017

Stay in the know when there's snow

From Current News Sources The winter season is upon us in Spokane Valley. To keep residents informed about snow plowing and deicing operations, the city of Spokane Valley provides a variety of options for getting helpful information and updates. In addition to options for accessing snow-related information and updates and getting answers to frequently asked questions, below you'll find information on how to report snow-related concerns. On the web: Go to www. spokanevalley.org/snowinfo to learn about Snow Plowing/ Deicing priorities, and locate your street on the Snow Plowing/ Deicing priorities map. You can read the latest SnowInfo Update on plowing/deicing activities whenever winter operations are under way, and find information about snow removal crews and equipment, as well as links to more helpful resources. E-mail: Subscribe to receive emailed SnowInfo updates by going to our website at www. spokanevalley.org/signup. You'll get the same updates provided to local radio and television stations at the same time they get them. Just enter your email address and choose "SnowInfo Updates" from the list to receive updates as soon as they are available. You'll also find a link on the page for subscribing to our SnowInfo RSS feed. Telephone: Hear the latest SnowInfo updates by calling 509720-5311 at any time of day or night. Recordings are updated every time a new SnowInfo update is sent out. Spokane Valley C.A.R.E.S.: Report snow- or ice-related concerns online at www. spokanevalley.org/CARES or call 921-1000. Printed copies: General information and answers to frequently asked questions about snow plowing and deicing are also available in brochures you can find at the following locations: CenterPlace Regional Event Center; Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce; Spokane Valley Fire Department stations; Spokane Valley Library; Spokane Valley Heritage Museum; Spokane Valley Partners; Spokane Valley Police Precinct and City Hall offices.

NEWS

Spokane Valley takes proactive approach to clearing winter roads By Mary Anne Ruddis Current Correspondent

When temperatures plummet or after a large snowstorm, winter driving can be challenging. Roadway conditions can quickly change and it is important to have a plan in place. Fortunately, the city of Spokane Valley Winter Operations closely monitors the weather forecast and has a plan to keep traffic moving during the winter weather. Snow plowing and deicing are conducted according to a City Council-approved priority level plan and map. Roads are assigned a priority level with primary arterials as number one. The primary arterials, Mission, Sprague, Sullivan and others span the city and provide crucial access. Next are the secondary arterials that web the city. Anyone who has ever slid backward down a hill or through an intersection will be grateful for the third priority – hillsides and critical intersections. The fourth priority is the Valley floor residential roadways. A street map with priority levels is available on the city website (www. spokanevalley.org/snowinfo). Residents are also encouraged to keep sidewalks clear. Creating clear pathways is important not just for the streets but for the sidewalks as well to keep everyone as safe as

possible. “Each year, the city is contacted by people whose kids must walk in the street (due to snow covered sidewalks) and by people with mobility issues,” said Spokane Valley Public Information Officer Carolbelle Branch. The schedule for snow plowing is based on the accumulation of snow. Between 1 and 3 inches, there will be limited plowing on priority 1, 2, and 3 roadways. Full plowing happens when the accumulation exceeds four inches. When traffic function is inhibited, Priority 4 residential roadways are then considered for plowing. Deicing is a critical component of the Winter Operations Plan. With up-to-date weather monitoring, the city begins deicing activities along priority 1, 2, and 3 roadways as soon as snow, ice or frost are predicted. Bridges, arterial intersections and specific hillsides are given focused attention. Priority 4 residential roadways typically are only deiced at controlled intersections and problem areas. “Operations have been smooth,” said Shane Arlt, Public Works Maintenance superintendent, “The kind of weather we have had has been unusual and the city has gone through a lot more deicer than in past years." Drivers also have a responsibility when it comes to winter driving. There are basic safety measures that will help alleviate problems. First, be sure that your vehicle is in good running order. Check the battery, belts, hoses, tires and windshield wiper fluid. It is never fun to have your car break down

The Current

but it is downright miserable in bad weather. Also, it is a good idea to keep at least a half tank of gas in the car in case you get stranded. It is not recommended to keep the car running but instead to turn the car on/off to keep warm. Be sure the tail pipe is clear of any snow – you don’t want fumes coming back into the car. Another winter idea is to stock your car with some basic items: snow shovel, snow brush, ice scraper, sand or kitty litter in case you get stuck, blankets, a cell phone charger, water, food and other basic items for year-round use like flashlights and flares. An important driving tip to remember to keep you and others on the road as safe as possible is “don’t tailgate.” Rear-end collisions are the most common accidents in winter. In optimal conditions, you should follow the threesecond rule. When the car ahead of you passes a fixed object, count 1-1000, 2-1000, 3-1000 and if you pass that same object before three seconds, you are following too closely. In heavy traffic, at night or when weather is not ideal, double that distance/time to six seconds. When road conditions worsen with heavy snow or ice, it is important to slow down and increase your following distance even more. According to the US Department of Transportation, 24 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes each year occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement and 15 percent happen during snowfall or sleet. (www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/weather/ weather_events/snow_ice.htm). Spokane Valley crews are ready to roll 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond as needed. Winter Operations have the following crews and equipment: five regular driver/ operators with additional contracted personnel as needed, six plow/ sander trucks, three plow/deicer trucks, one deicer truck and one backhoe. During extreme weather, additional contract personnel and equipment are available. When residential streets require plowing, on-call road graders are used. As the city’s crews are out doing their part to ensure access and safety on the roads, drivers can also do their part to increase safety during winter driving conditions.

The city of Spokane Valley maintains a stout fleet of snow removal vehicles including half a dozen plow/sander trucks. Above, city rigs clear winter residue from Broadway Avenue. Contributed photo

Visit the city’s website for additional information as well as ways to stay up-to-date on operations. You can also call 9211000 for more information.


The Current

Current Class – Print journalism is alive and well in the Valley By Ben Wick

Current Publisher If anyone would have asked me if I was ever going to be in the newspaper industry 14 months ago, I would have quickly said, “Not likely” and laughed a little to myself afterwards. But 14 month ago, I found myself reflecting on election results where a lost my Spokane Valley City Council reelection campaign by less than 100 votes and was trying to figure out what I was going to do next. I felt that very little news or information about what was happening at the city or about the candidates was making it out to the community. I knew that I wanted to stay involved and wanted to find some way to help get the word out about what is going on. Then in a literal passing of the hallway moment, I heard that The Current and The Liberty Lake Splash were going to be closing as Josh Johnson, former publisher and owner, had decided to go in a new direction. That night I jokingly asked my wife “Hey, honey, what do you think about buying a newspaper?” To my slight surprise, without hesitation, she said “OK!”

COVER STORY Two weeks later, and just before the January 2016 issue was sent to the printers, we came to an agreement with Josh, became the new stewards of The Splash and The Current and the headline changed from announcing the closure to welcoming the new owners. Little did we realize how much preparation and effort goes into each edition. Nor how fast a month really flies by. The first few months we found ourselves closing down the McDonald’s on Argonne working on the papers. Luckily, we have great help. Craig Howard, our new editor and previous news editor of the Spokane Valley News Herald, was the one who connected Josh and I after bringing Josh’s plans to my attention. My lovely wife Danica who recognized the layout and graphics design as something she did in her school yearbook classes jumped in with both feet to learn as much as possible from Josh and his team as they assisted us with our first issue and we were off. As we often hear, the rest is history. Today we remain dedicated and passionate about our mission of “Honoring local communities and encouraging citizen involvement.” Each month, we expand the paper in new directions. We offer stories that go more in-depth on topics and provide coverage of news from within our community that often gets missed. Topics such as what is happening in our schools, highlighting the amazing work that our fellow community members are doing or help bring attention to a nonprofit that is trying to get the word out. Our readers learn what our local government jurisdictions

are doing and local businesses have a forum to share their stories and offerings. We have added a community spotlight section in the paper where we highlight not only a student of the month but an athlete and a community member as well. For the first time, we offered all political candidates appearing on the November ballot the opportunity to provide a statement in an unedited voters’ guide for no cost and co-hosted a candidate forum with the students from the Central Valley School District asking questions. Last June, we started a tradition of celebrating the graduation season by printing a page designed by each of our local high school senior classes. In our November editions, we started saluting the members of our community who have or are serving in the military by printing photos and snippets of each of their stories. As we look to the future, we seek to expand our reach within the community. Starting this month, we are more than doubling the monthly circulation by adding free direct mail delivery to certain areas within the Spokane Valley. So if you are reading this for the first time, welcome! If you have any story ideas, people or organizations you believe should be recognized, or even photos of things you would like to share, we are your neighbor and local community newspaper and would love to hear from you.

FEBRUARY 2017 • 7

Current celebrates five years of delivering the Valley’s news By Craig Howard Current Editor I first heard about the idea for a monthly newspaper dedicated to the greater Spokane Valley over a plateful of noodles. The HuHot Mongolian Grill, a sand wedge from Spokane Valley City Hall on Sprague Avenue, was where I had lunch with Josh Johnson in late 2011 to provide feedback on this ambitious, albeit slightly nutty concept. I’d known Josh for years, going back to when he’d taken over the Liberty Lake Splash from founders Shaun and Nathan Brown. When I covered stories in Liberty Lake as news editor for the Spokane Valley News Herald, Josh was usually somewhere in the vicinity. Now, he was about to venture out on an expedition to tell the story of the Valley, one month at a time. Despite the local economy still sluggish from the lingering Recession, it seemed like the market might just be ready for a publication that recognized the Valley’s considerable ability to generate compelling, relevant and uniquely local news. After all, the city of Spokane Valley boasted more residents than jurisdictions in the state that had sustained daily newspapers. Mix in wellestablished communities like Millwood, Otis Orchards, Rockford, Newman Lake and Greenacres, and it appeared that the time may be right for a Valley periodical that did not include national news off the wire or updates on the chess club in Mead or the South Hill’s latest moose sighting. Josh was convinced that there were more stories to be told, more readers to be informed. He was right. Now came the question of what to call the collection of pages. Following the water-themed titles of the “Splash” and “Wave” already under the banner of Peridot Publishing, Josh went with the “Current” and it caught on quickly.

See ANNIVERSARY, Page 8


8 • FEBRUARY 2017

Current Kudos – What locals are saying about the paper’s fifth anniversary

Compiled by Craig Howard Current Editor “Congratulations! The Current has become our “local” paper, allowing us to connect with our residents and friends around the area. We appreciate you being there and look forward to each edition.” - Carrie Roecks, Rockford mayor “Having a local paper such as the Current is an important part of creating a sense of community. People need to feel connected and reading about your neighbors and what is happening in your community helps maintain a feeling of connectedness.” -Pam Almeida, Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels executive director “Glad to be back with the Current. I think it’s a great publication. It tells about what people and business are doing in the Valley.” -Gus Johnson, owner, Gus Johnson Ford “The Current gives us a format for our citizens to tell our story about where we live, our events, schools, businesses, services and government. Valleyfest has been featured in the Current for five years, telling our story. Cartoons even. The warmth transferred from one owner to another last year and the writers and staff have continued to be professional and supportive of the Valley businesses and the community volunteers. It is a pleasure to work with a local business such as the Current. Congrats to make it five years!” -Peggy Doering, Valleyfest director “The Current has been a fantastic way to stay in touch with everything happening in the greater Valley area. Congratulations on your anniversary.” -Mike DeVleming, inaugural mayor, Spokane Valley “Thank you to The Current on your anniversary for the gift to your readers of helping us get to know more about folks who are making a positive difference in our community. From Rick Scott with SCOPE to Pam Almeida with Greater Spokane Meals on Wheels to Peggy Doering with Valleyfest,

just to name a few, it has been wonderful to be inspired by these dedicated leaders. By sharing these encouraging stories on the very first page of the paper readers start off on a positive note that makes it hard – at least it does for me – to put The Current down until they’ve read it cover to cover. It’s fun to read informative articles, positive news, celebrate achievements and realize that we are a caring community with so many citizens (young and older), businesses and organizations that give of themselves to make this a wonderful place to live. Congratulations and keep on keeping us informed, engaged, and grateful.” -Linda Thompson, Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council executive director “I really appreciate having the Current available to have another source of information that focuses on the Valley (and Millwood). I really like the design of the newspaper and I also like the features they do on Valley events and people. As a city planner, I thought the story about Ian Robertson’s tiny house project was great, as well as the story on the plans to redevelop the Painted Hills golf course. Keep up the great work! -Tom Richardson, Millwood city clerk/planner “The Current is a local publication that consistently reports in-depth articles of interest to the residents of the greater Spokane Valley. These pieces are comprehensive and informative and give people information on what is happening in the region. I always look forward each month to seeing the stories that make a difference in our community.” -Diana Wilhite, former mayor, Spokane Valley “The Current has been a wonderful addition to the Valley. They have taken the focus the Splash provides telling stories for Liberty Lake and used those skills to keep us informed on what is going on in Spokane Valley.” -Phil Champlin, HUB Sports Center executive director “The Current and the Splash are my “go to” publications for staying connected with the “goings on” within the Valley. Lots of information on businesses and local events along with great human interest stories. I look forward to each and every issue!” Chief Bryan Collins, Spokane Valley Fire Department

COVER STORY

ANNIVERSARY

Continued from page 7 Premiering in February of 2012 with a cover story about the troubling issue of the Valley’s homeless youth, the Current quickly found its way into retail sites from Rockford to Otis. It was a free publication that folks could read at their neighborhood deli over a turkey sandwich and review later over warmed soup at home. The Current’s debut year featured stories about the Valley’s best cupcakes, bike shops and lunch plates. Ken Briggs, CEO of Spokane Valley Partners told readers about the challenges and rewards of running the Valley’s only dedicated community center. A cover story that November showcased an exclusive interview with Gonzaga basketball coach Mark Few as well as side stories on Valley residents who shared their history as part of Zag Nation. I was fortunate to latch on with the Current/Splash team in April 2012 after 10 years with the Valley Herald. When I would interview people for Current stories, many would ask me questions about the start-up publication. In covering the news of the Valley, we became part of its continuing story. Along with lighter themes like organic gardens, a pizza championship bracket and a feature on Gunhild Swanson, the PRSRT STD ECRWSS U.S. Postage Paid Permit #017 ZIP CODE 99019

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There are more of us than you might think Population of homeless students skyrocketing in Spokane Valley school districts

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Citizen of the Year: Chuck Stocker shares his perspective on giving back Page 12

Cruisin’ for Coffee: Five Valley coffee stands, two hours, one mighty big caffeine rush Page 18

Kids Zone! Check out The Wave, a special spread just for kids Pages 14-15

The inaugural issue of The Current appeared in February 2012 with a cover story about homeless youth.

The Current

Valley’s world-renowned senior ultra-marathoner, the Current has tackled tough topics over the years. A cover story in 2014 told of resources for victims of domestic violence including a new refuge in the Valley sponsored by the YWCA. That same year, an article encouraged readers to sign up for an innovative app introduced by Spokane Valley Fire Chief Bryan Collins that alerted residents who know CPR to incidents of cardiac arrest. The Current became known for its contemporary design, engaging color and dynamic layout, courtesy of gifted designer Sarah Burke. The paper was also able to dedicate more space to certain themes when they came up such as the 10th anniversary of Spokane Valley incorporation, development of the U-District area, the 25th anniversary of Valleyfest and the emergence of Valley-based Wagstaff as “the Microsoft of the aluminum industry.” Staff writers from the Splash contributed stories to the Current and were joined by a collection of skilled freelancers, many of whom brought impressive backgrounds with other local publications. When Mike Vlahovich showed up to cover high school sports for the Current, most coaches knew his experience with the Valley Herald and Spokesman-Review went back to the days when basketball teams still wore canvas Converse. Readers came to realize that the Current had become the adhoc journal for communities that once had – or never had – their own newspaper. These days, when residents of Millwood or Rockford want to catch up on the latest happenings in their respective towns, they turn to the Current. Profiles in the “Park Bench” section provide a sketch of local personalities from fields like politics, education, business, sports and more. Regular contributions from the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum and Spokane County Library District have educated and entertained. The Current has been there to celebrate community victories like the Central Valley School District winning at the bond ballot in 2015, then followed it up with coverage of exactly where those tax dollars are being spent. The paper has put exclamation points on inspiring

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The Current

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Continued from page 8 accounts of the human spirit overcoming adversity from U-Hi grad Mitch Carbon’s remarkable triumph over cancer to the feats of Spokane Para Sport athletes

Current founder weighs in on formative days of paper By Josh Johnson

He was the stereotypical inky wretch, grizzled and grumpy. Coffee: black and bottomless. Blood type: CMYK. His opinion from decades in the business: Publishing a community newspaper was challenging enough on its own without doing it for Spokane Valley. “What do you have, like three city or town councils in the greater Valley?” he asked me. “Four, because we want to cover Rockford, and of course there are thousands of unincorporated residents governed by Spokane County, so keeping tabs on the commission will be important, too.” “And four or five high schools?” “Four school districts, six high schools to report on.” “Shoot, you have like a billion water districts.”

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soaring to national and international acclaim. In late 2015, Ben Wick – known by most for his service on the Spokane Valley City Council – stepped up with his wife, Danica, to purchase the Current and Splash “Close, but that’s an interesting story in itself. You see, our agricultural heritage means many of our community place names and identities were formed around a patchwork of irrigation districts …” “Yeah, yeah,” he interrupted. “The bottom line is that community newspapers thrive because of a shared sense of community. With such a mishmash of overlapping jurisdictions and loyalties, that’s a challenge in Spokane Valley.” And it was. And it is. But to this day, I remain convinced that even if I’m a Central Valley Bear and current owner and publisher Ben Wick is an East Valley Knight, our common interests far outweigh a couple miles of geography. And so, five years ago, when I led a team made up of greater Valley folks like myself to launch The Current, the name itself was intended to be a reflection of what holds us together, like the Spokane River winding its way through our neighborhoods. We wanted to build a community newspaper for everyone in the greater Spokane Valley, whether their kids attended East Farms or Seth Woodard, whether they rose

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from Josh. The new owners live in Spokane Valley, are invested here and understand what matters to their neighbors. As handoffs go, the two papers could not have landed in better hands. As the Current embarks on its early to see the hot air balloons off at Mirabeau or floated frogs down Rock Creek in the annual regatta. As for dealing with all the jurisdictional dividing lines, we employed twin strategies. One, we would hit the high points. In the early years, we did a “3 Up, 3 Down” feature to give “at a glance” news from around the community and we always made a point to dig deeper into the most important jurisdictional items. But mostly, we relied on strategy two: Write about the issues we have in common, because there are an awful lot of them. I wrote the cover story for the very first issue of The Current about homeless students in the greater Valley. This is an issue we should continue to address as a community, because suburban homelessness is a growing problem nationally, and it is one that isn’t always effectively fought with the same tools we would deploy downtown. By issue 12 (January 2013), we shared what we called our “One Valley Initiative.” These were four “topic threads” – Growing Business, Poverty in the Valley, Healthy Valley and Innovative Education – we used to help us focus and plan our

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next five years, the future looks brighter than ever. Readership is growing, advertising is up and the stories keep generating talk. Thank you for the support, greater Spokane Valley. This is your paper. coverage. Of course, we also had so much fun along the way. There was our annual food bracket placing Valley eats in a single elimination competition. The idea here was to advance great Valley menu options through a bracket while sitting on couches watching the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Not a bad gig. Indeed, owning and publishing The Current through its first 48 issues remains a highlight of my life, but I am certain I couldn’t say that save for one qualifying factor: We covered the greater Spokane Valley, my home and yours. And it’s the home of current owners Ben and Danica Wick, who beautifully share the heritage of this now 5-year-old publication: a commitment and love for the Valley. The Wicks share this, I share this and I am going to take an educated guess that you are reading this right now because you do, too. And that, Mr. Grizzled Newspaper Publisher, is why this works.


COMMUNITY

10 • FEBRUARY 2017

The Current

Calendar of Events COMMUNITY EVENTS Jan. 31 | Stinky Sneaker – Spokane Arena, 720 W. Mallon, Spokane. The annual basketball rivalry between Central Valley and University high schools features the faceoff of thematic halftime presentations and awarding of the event’s namesake to the winning school. The varsity girls’ game begins at 5 p.m. followed by the boys’ game at 7:30. Feb. 3 | Rotary Fashion Show Fundraiser, Mirabeau Park Hotel and Convention Center, 1100 N. Sullivan Road, Spokane Valley, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 and include hors d’ oeuvres and the show. Proceeds benefit Rotary scholarships for youth and Books for Kids. For more information about tickets or sponsorships, call 590-6531. Feb. 11 | “Love Your Heart” – Liberty Lake Municipal Library, 23123 E. Mission Ave., 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Celebrate American Heart Month with the Spokane Valley Fire Department. Stop by for your free blood pressure check and learn more about keeping your heart healthy and our free CPR classes. More at 892-4155 or www. spokanevalleyfire.com. Feb. 25 | “Love Your Heart” – Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave., 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Celebrate American Heart Month with the Spokane Valley Fire Department. Stop by for your free blood pressure check and learn more about keeping your heart healthy and our free CPR classes. More at 892-4155 or www.

spokanevalleyfire.com. March 1 | March for Meals – Spokane Valley Mall, 8 to 10 a.m. Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels is sponsoring the annual March for Meals Walk-a-thons as a way to raise money and awareness. Trophies will be awarded to individuals and teams. Register at www.gscmealsonwheels.org. Registration is $15. For more information call 924-6976.

RECURRING ACT 2 senior classes | Affordable classes offered by Community Colleges of Spokane to those who are retired or planning to retire. A wide range of courses from geology and history to exercise and art are offered at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place, as well as other locations throughout the area. More at www.sccel.spokane.edu/ ACT2. Baha’i Fireside Conversation | 5 to 6 p.m., third Friday of the month. Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. Discussion of Baha’i teachings, history, and perspectives on resolving the challenges facing humanity. All are welcome. More at 599-2411 or www.bahai.us. Inland Empire Blues Society monthly meeting | Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m., Bolo's 116 S. Best Road. Café Card Club | 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Tuesdays. On Sacred Grounds, 12212 E. Palouse Hwy., Valleyford. Play pinochle, cribbage, or hearts. More at www. onsacredgrounds.com. Catholic Singles Mingle | Meeting times and locations vary. This group, with no dues, is for single

adults of all ages. More at www. meetup.com/Catholic-SinglesMingle. DivorceCare Recovery Support Group | Tuesdays 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Eastpoint Church, 15303 E. Sprague Ave. Learn how to heal from the deep hurt of divorce and discover hope for your future. DivorceCare for Kids (ages 5-12) meets at the same time and location. Cost is $25 for workbook. More at 892-5255 or eastpointchurch.com. Military Sobriety Support Group | 10 to 11: 30 a.m., Spokane Vet Center, 13109 E. Mirabeau Parkway, Spokane Valley. Call Steve at 8934746 for more information. Grange Meeting and Dessert | 6:30 p.m., first Wednesday of the month, Tri-Community Grange, 25025 Heather St., Newman Lake. The public is welcome for this community-based service organization. For more information call 226-2202 or see us on Facebook. Men’s Weekly Bible Study | 7 a.m. Tuesdays. Millwood Presbyterian Church, 3223 N. Marguerite Road, Millwood. The men’s weekly Bible Study meets in the Reception Hall with different members sharing in the leading of the study. All men are invited to join. More at www.milwoodpc.org. Pancreatic Cancer Action Network | 6:30 p.m., the first Monday of each month. Liberty Lake Municipal Library, 23123 E. Mission Ave., Liberty Lake. More at www.pancan.org or 534-2564. Rockford Crochet Class | 10 a.m. to noon, Saturdays. The Harvest Moon, 20 S. First St., Rockford. Activities include hairpin lace, knit, embroidery, needlepoint,

and arm knitting of infinity. More at 892-4412 or 291-3722. Rockford Historical Society | 11:30 a.m. second Friday of the month (Feb. to Nov.). Harvest Moon restaurant, 20 S. First St., Rockford. More at 291-3193. Spokane County Library District | 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, Lego club, teen anime club and writing clubs. More at www.scld.org Spokane Valley Eagles | 16801 E. Sprague Ave. Breakfast served Sundays 9 to 11:30 a.m. Lunch served Thursdays 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. followed by bingo from 1 to 3:30 p.m. More at www.foe3433. com. Spokane Valley Partners Food Bank | Weekly distribution takes place Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10814 E. Broadway by appointment. Appointments are available during the following days/times: Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Thursday (reserved for advanced-age seniors — age 60 and over — and/or physicallyhandicapped people with limited mobility): 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Address verification is required. To make an appointment, call 927.1153 ext. 10, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.

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The Current

COMMUNITY

| 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (through May 18). Western Dance Center, 1901 N. Sullivan Road. Square dance lessons for $3 per person; no partner needed. More at 2709264. Pages of Harmony | 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Wednesdays. Thornhill Valley Chapel, 1400 S. Pines Road. If you enjoy singing, you will love the four-part, a cappella harmony of this men’s barbershop chorus. More at www.pagesofharmony.org. Spirit of Spokane Chorus | 6:45 p.m., Tuesdays. Opportunity Presbyterian Church, 202 N. Pines Road. Make new friends by joining this women’s chorus, specializing in four-part, a cappella harmony in the barbershop style. More at 2184799. Spokane Novelists Group | Noon to 4 p.m., second and fourth Saturday of the month. Otis Orchards Community Church, 23304 E. Wellesley Ave., Otis Orchards. A support/critique group for writers. Open to anyone with an interest in writing fiction (no memoirs, nonfiction, poetry, etc., please). Participants should bring 5-10 pages to read aloud and 6-8 copies for others to read along and critique. More at 590-7316.

Spokane Valley Camera Club | 7:15 p.m., third and fourth Monday of the month (September through April). Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District building, 22510 E. Mission Ave., Liberty Lake. All levels of ability—students through experienced photographers—are invited to learn. Social events include field trips and workshops. More at 951-1446 or www.sv-cc. org Spokane Valley Writers’ Group | 6:15 p.m. the first and third Thursdays of the month. Lakeside Church, 23129 E. Mission Ave. This supportive critique group welcomes adult writers. More at 570-4440.

HEALTH & RECREATION Jan. 1-Feb. 28 | Winter Futsal League. The HUB Sports Center runs a five-aside futsal league for ages 9-14 taking place January/ February each Friday night. Each session is six weeks. Sign up for both sessions online to receive a discount. Feb. 20 | HUB Multi-Sport Camp, HUB Sports Center, 19619 E. Cataldo Ave., Liberty Lake, 9 a.m.

to noon ($35) or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ($55). It’s a day of fun and games at the HUB Sports Center. Kids from first through sixth grade can participate in a variety of sports, including basketball, volleyball, futsal/soccer, whiffleball, dodge ball, pickleball and more. For more information, call 927-0602 or visit www.hubsportscenter.org. Feb. 24 | Indoor Fly-In hosted by the Inland Empire Quiet Flyers – HUB Sports Center, 19619 E. Cataldo Ave., Liberty Lake, 6 to 9 p.m. Join the IEQF and the HUB Sports Center for the Indoor Fly In. Bring you RC foamies, park flyers, helicopters and free flight models to beat the cold with two full courts of indoor flying fun. For more information, call 927-0602 or visit www.hubsportscenter.org. There will be a $10 landing fee for participants. March 30 | Liberty Lake Nine Hole Golf Club will hold their registration on Thursday, March 30 at 9 a.m. at 24403 E. Sprague Ave., Liberty Lake. All new golfers welcomed. Please contact Bette at 928-6854. Feb. 2017 | Finding Your Balance and Igniting Your Joy, Willow Song Music Therapy, E. 21101 Wellesley, Otis Orchards. This is a mindfulness-based class, exploring the connection with the physiology of stress and tension and well-being. Includes a guided progressive muscle relaxation. Understand how to use music mindfully to support body, mind and soul optimum function, discover your rhythm and learn how to reduce stress. $25 per person. For schedule and more information, call 592-7875 or visit www.willowsongmusictherapy. com.

RECURRING HUB Sports Center 19619 E. Cataldo Ave. Various activities and events occur throughout the week including: • Badminton open gym: 7 to 9 p.m. Tues., $5/person • Basketball open gym: Noon to 1 p.m. Tues. and Thurs., $4/person • Pickleball drop-in: 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Mon. through Thurs.; 10 a.m. to noon Tues. and Thurs.; and 7 to 9 p.m. Wed. and Sun. $2/seniors ($4/non-seniors) • Classes including Kenpo Karate, Modern Farang-Mu Sul, and Zumba Aerobics. See website for cost and times. Yoga in Rockford | 5:30 p.m.

See CALENDAR, Page 12

FEBRUARY 2017 • 11

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The Current

12 • FEBRUARY 2017

CALENDAR

Continued from page 11 Wednesdays. Rockford Park, 20 W. Emma St., Rockford. In case of inclement weather, classes will be held at Dave’s Autobody, 8 W. Emma St.

CIVIC & BUSINESS

go to http://www.spokanevalley. org/MoviesInThePark and choose the "Click Here to Vote" link. You can also cast your vote by email at jpapich@spokanevalley.org. Or, if you don't have access to the Internet, you can vote over the phone by calling 720-5408 during regular office hours.

RECURRING

Feb. 17 | Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Connections Lunch – Center Place Regional Event Center, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Member price: $35; future member price: $45. Spotlight table: $150 (includes two lunches); Nonprofit spotlight table: $100. For more information, email info@ spokanevalleychamber.org or visit www.spokanevalleychamber.org. Movies in the Park voting | Your assistance is needed in selecting three of your favorite movies to show at the 2017 “Movies in the Park” sponsored by the city of Spokane Valley. To vote, simply

Flag Museum | Sponsored by the Sons of the American Revolution and the Fairmount Memorial Association, details the rich history of the American flag, Mondays-Fridays, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Saturdays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Pines Cemetery, 1402 S. Pines Road, Spokane Valley. For more information: 926-2753 or www. fairmountmemorial.com/southpines-cemetery Spokane Valley Kiwanis | 6:45 a.m. Tuesdays. Valley Hospital Education Center, 12606 E. Mission Ave. More at www. spokanevalleykiwanis.net. Spokane Valley Rotary | Noon to 1 p.m., Tuesdays. Darcy’s, 10502 E. Sprague Ave. More at www.svrotary.org.

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Valley Chamber recognizes community ‘Gems’

By Staci Lehman Current Correspondent Spokane Valley celebrated some real treasures at the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce Gem of the Valley Awards Gala on Jan. 20 at the Mirabeau Park Hotel and Convention Center. The 14th annual event featured dinner, an auction and an awards ceremony to recognize businesses and individuals who made a difference in Spokane Valley in the past year. The Splash and The Current were media sponsors of the event. There were many well-known faces in the crowd along with local dignitaries such as Spokane County Commissioner Shelly O’Quinn, Spokane Valley Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard, Central Valley School District Superintendent Ben Small, Liberty Lake Mayor Steve Peterson and more. Honorees included Todd Kiesbuy of Avista Utilities for Volunteer of the Year, Jim Reincke for Chamber Ambassador of the Year and the Union Gospel Mission (UGM) for Nonprofit of the Year. “This is really a tribute to you because we couldn’t do what we do without your support,” said Phil Altmeyer, UGM executive director at UGM. Altmeyer went on to say that UGM helped 167 people to find jobs in 2016. The HUB Sports Center won the Heart of the Community Award for making improvements to the community through volunteer service. Brewz on Barker was honored as the Small Business of the Year and Spokane Gymnastics was named Medium Business of the Year. Spokane Gymnastics staff member Tucker Frye celebrated the win with a handstand on stage. Large Business of the Year went to STCU and Chef Adam Hegsted of the Eat Good Group that includes the Wandering Table, Yards Bruncheon and Eat Good Café was recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year. The Valley School Districts each honored a staff member as Educator of the Year, with Librarian Misty Snyder from East Valley School District being recognized for her work with students at Otis Orchards Elementary School. West Valley teacher Carol Preston was honored for making learning something her students anticipate and Brando Dunn of Opportunity Elementary in the Central Valley School District was celebrated for his work with children in the area of physical education, including starting the “Fitness Friday” program where students and staff start the day with dancing and the “Active for Youth” student cross country program.

“I just feel extremely humbled,” said Dunn, who has only been teaching four years. “My principal, Mandi Larson, I emailed her and told her to hire me. She took a chance on me.” A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 2016 Harry E. Nelson Citizen of the Year Award to Frank Tombari, senior vice president of Banner Bank. The Citizen of the Year is chosen by past award recipients and current Valley Chamber executive board members. The honoree is an ndividual who has demonstrated exemplary service to the greater Valley community. Tombari has worked in the Valley striven to make it better since he joined the Farmers & Merchants Bank Valley branch in 1988. His office has since moved downtown but he remains active in Valley happenings. “Most of my customer base is out there and I chair the Transportation Committee for the chamber,” he said. Tombari is also on other area boards and committees, including the Valley Hospital Board and Spokane Youth Sports Association and is a past member of many boards. He gives his employer credit for much of his involvement. “Part of it is just giving back to the community,” he said. “I enjoy it and the bank allows me to do it.” Tombari went on to joke that his community service is related to his wife watching two of their grandchildren. “Why do I continue doing this?” he said. “I’ve got nothing else to do. I can’t go home cause that’s Shelley’s time with the kids. And those who have seen me golf know I spend all day in the woods.” As for winning the Harry E. Nelson Citizen of the Year Award, Tombari says he’s in good company. Nelson was the founder of the Spokane Valley Herald in 1920 and co-founded the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce in 1921. He was later hired there as managing secretary and served until his death in 1959. The award was named after Harry Nelson because of his passion for Spokane Valley and commitment to the business community. Past Citizens of the Year include former Spokane Valley City Council Members Bill Gothmann and Chuck Hafner; Marti Hollenback of Dishman Dodge Ram Chrysler Jeep; former Spokane Valley Mayors Mike DeVleming and Diana Wilhite and former East Valley School District Superintendent Chuck Stocker. “You look at the past winners and you’re amongst an elite group,” Tombari said. “I’m not sure I belong in that group but I’m honored to be there.” The auction raised several thousand dollars for the Valley Chamber and a scholarship fund for students applying for vocational and trade school programs at Community Colleges of Spokane.


The Current

Library offers a hearty agenda for February By Gwendolyn Haley

February here in the Inland Northwest can be dreary. Days are short, nights are long and both are cold. The snow that filled us with delight in December has turned into a gray slush that refuses to melt. What was once charming and lovely now only irritates. Clearly, the romance has gone out of winter. But fear not! Spokane County Library District will help you find a new literary love to warm your spirits in February as we celebrate the world of romance. Local romance authors Spokane County is home to several prolific and well-known romance writers. And we’re having a party with three local romance novelists—Asa Maria Bradley

Preschooler skills help kids prepare for kindergarten By Mary Ellen Braks and Erin Dodge

Starting kindergarten can be exciting, fun and a little scary. And that’s just for the parents. So what does being ready for kindergarten actually mean? Children need to have some basic skills so that are ready to successfully learn and adapt to a kindergarten classroom environment. These skills include language, literacy, physical movement, math, science, cognitive ability and socialemotional. The first question you may have is: How can my child begin developing these skills? To build each of the skill areas, there are activities that you can do at home with your child. Some of these you may already be doing, and some may be new to you. It is good to keep in mind that children

LIBRARY (author of “Viking Warrior Rising”), Katee Robert (author of “The Marriage Contract”), and Rebecca Zanetti (author of “Fated”). Fans of romance and these local authors will get two chances to meet them, find out what inspires them, learn how they got started and celebrate the genre of romance on Thursday, Feb. 9, from 7 to 8 p.m. at Spokane Valley Library and on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2 to 3 p.m. at North Spokane Library. Blind date with a book Take a chance on a new literary love. You’ll find “Blind Date with a Book” displays at your library all month long. We’re covering up the book jackets, so you won’t be able to judge these books by their covers. We encourage everyone to try something new. You might just love a book you wouldn’t ordinarily read. Point of View documentaries We’re hosting free screenings of two documentaries from the PBS’s “POV” documentary series. POV, short for “point of view,”

develop at different rates, so if your child is not grasping a concept right away, you can try again at a later time. To help you get started, Spokane County Library District is holding “Kindergarten Kickoff” workshops starting in January and continuing through February. We’re sharing information, tips and activities. You and your soon-to-be kindergartener are invited to explore hands-on learning activities and get important information for kindergarten registration, which begins on March 1 for all Spokane County school districts. For workshop locations, days, and times, visit www.scld. org/kindergarten-kickoff-2017/. We also have a ‘Getting Ready for Kindergarten’ webpage ( w w w. s c l d . o r g / g e t t i n g - r e a d yfor-kindergarten/) with helpful information and lots of activities to try at home. Let’s take a look at one of the basic skills to give you an idea of what you’ll find. As schools put a bigger emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), introducing early math skills to your child becomes more important. Early math skills can include counting,

FEBRUARY 2017 • 13

is television’s longest-running showcase for independent nonfiction films. You can see the British documentary “Guilty Pleasures” on Monday, Feb. 13, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Moran Prairie Library. “Where the Heart Roams” takes a look at the world of romance in America in this 1987 documentary, and you can watch it on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at Cheney Library. Zentangle: drawing relaxation and focus

for

In this special Valentine-themed Zentangle drawing class, you’ll learn how to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. Zentangle is easy to learn and promote relaxation and focus— perfect for those looking to tug on heartstrings. You can find these events and many more in Spokane County Library District’s programs and events magazine, “Engage,” available for free at all of our libraries and online at www.scld. org/engage/.

number recognition, shape knowledge, sorting, patterning, one-to-one correspondence and math vocabulary. You can help your child with early math by making it fun and using numbers in everyday situations. At our Kindergarten Kickoff workshops, we’ll talk about what you need to know to register your soon-to-be kindergartener and share lots of fun activities. We look forward to seeing parents, caregivers, and their preschoolers as we explore getting ready for kindergarten.


The Current

14 • FEBRUARY 2017

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Every American should know President Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. "Honest Abe", as he was commonly known, was born in Kentucky on February 12, 1809, making him the first president born outside the original 13 states. He didn’t have a middle name nor did he like being called “Abe”. Growing up very poor he didn’t have much schooling and was self taught through avid reading. He worked many jobs; postmaster, shopkeeper, and surveyor, before deciding to practice law, without a degree. He even argued in front of the Supreme Court, allthough he lost. Wrestling was a favorite pastime of his. As was reading Shakespeare. He didn’t hunt, drink, chew, fish or smoke. Reading the bible was important to him, but he never belonged to an organized church. His favorite poem was “Morality” by William Knox. He won his campaign for the House of Representatives after only spending 75 cents (that was for apple cider to share.) on his campaign. He lost his bid for the Senate twice before becoming president in 1861, winning 40% of the popular vote. His presidency contained many firsts: first to have a beard, first to use a telegraph, first to hold a patent. Establishing Thanksgiving, the Department of Agriculture and the National Banking System were just some of his accomplishments while in office. Although he hated war, he believed it was

Our coaches are passionate about gymnastics and focus on teaching quality gymnastics in a fun and safe environment. Classes run year-round with three 13-week sessions (Fall, Winter and Spring) and one 10-week summer session.

the only way to save the nation, after the southern states declared their secession from the Union. In addition to serving as president during the civil war and saving the Union, Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation paving the way for the thirteenth amendment which ended slavery in the U.S. forever. He believed that women should have the right to vote as early as 1837, but wouldn’t become the 19th ammendment to the constitution until June 4, 1919. He also wrote and gave The Gettysburg Address, memorializing the bloodiest and most important battle of the Civil War. At just 272 words, it is considered one of the greatest speeches in American history and one of the most quoted. Shortly after the war ended, Abraham Lincoln became the first U.S. President to be assassinated. After being shot and mortally wounded on Good Friday, April 14, 1865 by John Wilkes Booth in Ford's Theatre he died the next day. His coffin has had to be moved 17 times due to disturbances. Although he had four sons, there aren’t any direct descendants living today. In 1909, the Lincoln penny was the first coin to have a presidential likeness. It commemorated the100th anniversary of his birth. He is still the most popular president in American history.

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The Current

FEBRUARY 2017 • 17

PACE Trait Honesty

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Abraham Lincoln liked to keep important things www.spokanegymnastics.com in his stovepipe hat like documents and papers. Do you have something Every month we feature an information on special you’d like to hide? a different animal. Cut them out and collect MATERIALS: Empty Container (Oatmeal, Jar, Needs to have a them all! functioning lid) Bobcat - North America Plate - 26” to 46”, 11 to 30 Glue pounds, and 15-25 years. Paint - Tom, queen, kitten, Embellishments clowder or clutter INSTRUCTIONS: - Most abundant wildcat with greatest range We used an empty oatmeal canister but you could use a jar if you’d prefer. Attach a paper plate - Males will share their territory, but females or construction paper that is at least 1 ½” larger will not than your container of choice. You could use glue - Name comes from or have a parent use a hot glue gun. When it’s their bobbed tail all put together paint it black. You can cut a slot - Twice as big as a if you’re going to use it as a coin bank otherwise house cat, but can bring you can use the lid for entry. down a deer ten times This project is great for all ages and can be its size customized to your taste. Using a bowl with a lid - Pounce up to 10 feet to make a ladies hat would be really fun and cute - Good Swimmer too.

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The Current

18 • FEBRUARY 2017

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The Current

FEBRUARY 2017 • 19

Student of the Month East Valley senior DeVonte Gorman has established himself athletically and academically in his time as a Knight. He has earned All Great Northern League honors in soccer the past three years. As a junior, he was part of a squad that advanced to the first round of state. Gorman also plays for the Spokane Sounders in then U-19 Regional Champions League. On the basketball court, DeVonte is EV’s starting point guard. He netted 16 points against Cheney earlier this season. In the classroom, Gorman maintains a 3.82 grade point average and is a member of the National Honor Society and Honor Roll. He serves as ASB president and is a member of Washington Drug Free Youth (WDFY). He plans to attend Whitworth University and play soccer.

Citizen of the Month and

Thanks you for all you do in our community

Whether it’s delivering a melody as part of the All-State Choir or vaulting to a new personal record as a member of the track team, East Valley senior Laurel Weberg has set a standard for excellence. She maintains a 3.5 grade point average and is part of the National Honor Society. She was named a Spokane Scholar for Fine Arts and is also an AP Scholar. The senior serves as president of EV’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter which has advanced to nationals the past two years. In addition to track, Weberg has competed in cross country all four years. She is also part of her school’s Washington Drug Free Youth (WDFY) chapter. She plans to study elementary education at either Washington State University or the University of Montana in the fall.

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Athlete of the Month From 2012 to 2015, MJ Bolt made a positive impact on the Central Valley School District Board. Now she is one of two elected Eastern Washington representatives on the Washington State Board of Education. Recently, Bolt earned another role of distinction as she was elected to the National Association of State Boards of Education. MJ was also critical in the formation of the Greater Valley Support Network, a consortium that addresses issues like homelessness, hunger and health in the Spokane Valley. “It’s about working together to help people,” Bolt said of GVSN. The Idaho native graduated from Mead High School and Eastern Washington University where she played varsity golf. Bolt and her husband Brandon are parents to two sons, Austin and Preston.

Alongside the Central Valley High School Key Club

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The Current

20 • FEBRUARY 2017 Brought to you by

About and for Valley seniors

Humble resolve propels Spokane’s ‘Iron Nun’ to iconic status

By Craig Howard Current Editor Things were fairly normal for Sister Madonna Buder before last summer – as normal as they can be for a nun in her 80s who competes in triathlons across the world. Then an ad from Nike appeared on TV, portraying Buder in panoramic settings, running, cycling and swimming in true Ironman form. Toward the end of the promotion, as Buder is galloping down the sand to take on the 2.4-mile swim that represents one-third of the Ironman’s rigorous agenda, a voiceover warns her to sit this one out. A fellow competitor quickly sheds light on the situation by identifying Buder as “the Iron Nun.” Buder then tells the ad’s incredulous host that she has completed 45 Ironman events, which consist of a 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile marathon along with the swim. The cynicism must have rung familiar for Buder, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, who moved to Spokane in 1970. When she took up running at the age of 47, she was a nervous wreck before her first competitive race, the second rendition of Bloomsday in 1978. Training in flimsy canvas tennis shoes until shortly before race day, Buder alternated between walking and running the distance of just under 7.5 miles, proving to herself and others that she had found her stride. “It was really uplifting,” Buder recalls. “The camaraderie was great.” She would graduate to longer races before completing nearly 40 marathons. Buder remembers the whisperings that a place for a nun was not on the race course. Even her mother in St. Louis, who raised her Catholic, struggled with the growing legacy of the sister in running shoes. Around that time, Buder set about on some soul searching.

Sister Madonna Buder moved to Spokane in 1970 and took up running in 1978 at the age of 47. She has competed in 377 triathlons and 45 Ironman events and was inducted into the U.S. Ironman Hall of Fame in 2014. Photo by Craig Howard “I climbed a mountain top and asked God about the situation,” Buder said. “The answer I got was, ‘You don’t have to apologize for the gifts you have been given but you do have to apologize for not using them.’” When she prepared for her debut as a triathlete in 1982 at the age of 52, Buder again heard the skeptics. Later, when the idea of an Ironman cropped up, even Buder found herself wondering aloud. “At that point, I knew I could handle a marathon, but an Ironman?” she said. “Would there be anything left of me?” Buder was 55 when she crossed the tape at her first Ironman. Over the years, she would win gold medals in her age bracket at events in eight countries and over half the states in the U.S. At Ironman Canada in 2009, she set a new world record in the 75-79 age group, one of several world marks she still owns. Back in Canada for the event’s 2012 rendition, Buder became the oldest person ever to complete an Ironman at the age of 82. She was inducted into the U.S. Ironman Hall of Fame in 2014. The legend of the Iron Nun gained momentum as Buder channeled spiritual strength into athletic

Medals, plaques and trophies take up most of one room in Sister Madonna Buder’s humble north Spokane home. She competed in her first triathlon at the age of 52 and her first Ironman competition at 55. Photo by Craig Howard success. She opened half-a-dozen new age groups for women at various events and raised money for charities along the way. Somehow, she found time to earn two Master’s degrees and become an accomplished photographer. In 2010, she published a wellreceived autobiography, “The Grace to Race.” Sometimes, fellow competitors ask for blessings from the Iron Nun before the start. Propelled by faith and her best effort, Buder found herself becoming a fitness icon. “My faith has certainly given me an ultimate trust that if I think I can do it, I can with God’s help,” she said. “When people say, ‘You’ve got God on your side, I say, ‘You do, too, you just have to refer to Him.” When not traveling to a race,

Buder lives a quiet life in Spokane, training on the Centennial Trail and a YMCA near her humble home. Service and spiritual pursuits take precedence with daily Mass and visits to the Spokane County Jail where she tells prisoners they “are treasured beings.” “Everyone is a masterpiece,” she says. “Everyone is precious in God’s sight.” Whether appearing on “The Doctors” television show as she did last November or fielding media calls in response to the Nike ad, Buder said she has struggled somewhat with the newfound fame. She cringes when people use a term like “idol” and has refused to sign an agent, saying it would only add another layer to an already busy schedule. Buder will kick off the spring racing season in March with a sprint triathlon in Arizona. In July, she will celebrate her 87th birthday. Along with training for the latest event, the Iron Nun confides that she spends time these days “trying to figure out how I’ll fit into the great beyond.” Even with the demand of celebrity, Buder welcomes the opportunity to instill hope and encouragement at any turn. “I tell people there is no such thing as failure – the only failure is not to try,” she says. “Success is in the effort.”

Spokane resident Sister Madonna Buder set the Ironman Canada record for the 70-74 age group in 1995 with a time of 14:46.21. At one point, Buder held the record in five different age categories for the event. Contributed photo


The Current

FEBRUARY 2017 • 21

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The Current

22 • FEBRUARY 2017

EV’s Gorman sets stellar standard in sports, school

with leadership camps and student government; he is this year’s ASB president.

Current Sports Editor

“I always pushed them to be responsible for themselves academically and have goals,” said Donna, a teacher in the Coeur d’Alene school district. “I told them they could choose the extracurricular activities they wanted, but they needed to give their all and work hard.”

By Mike Vlahovich

To say DeVonte Gorman is driven is an understatement. He has more irons in the fire than a blacksmith. Gorman is point guard and unquestioned leader on East Valley’s basketball team. Last spring he was first team All-Great Northern League in soccer. He played football until it interfered

He’s even coached a younger brother in youth sports. DeVonte’s mom, Donna said she’s made it priority to teach accountability at home.

She adopted DeVonte when he was a baby. Her parents had been foster parents in the Valley for years and she decided to adopt through the foster care system. She filled out the necessary paperwork, did her home study and a social worker called shortly thereafter about an 18-month old who needed a home. “I got him a couple of days later,” Donna recalls.

East Valley senior DeVonte Gorman excels in soccer, basketball and the classroom. The ASB president maintains a 3.82 grade point average and plans to continue playing soccer at Whitworth after high school. Photo by Mike Vlahovich

Sports Notebook

DeVonte has taken his mom’s admonitions to heart. He’s as much academically as athletically driven. EV basketball coach Jason Wilson said DeVonte is an extension of the coach when on the court. “Several times he’ll say something Don’t get CV girls basketball coach Freddie Rehkow started on that. Despite being unbeaten over the last two years, the girls are ranked sixth in state according the RPI state seeding.

Local high school athletes are entering the post-season this month.

“We keep dropping,” Rehkow said. “Here’s the crazy thing – if we won out we could be (as low as) number nine. I’ll tell you what, if it’s a nine versus a 16, there might have to be a statement made.”

The new Ratings Performance Index (RPI) by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association will factor into how basketball teams will be seeded this year following regional tournaments that advance 16 to the tournaments.

Even the road to the playoffs is convoluted with a checkerboard eight-team regional bracket that includes five GSL schools (fourth and fifth place teams face off, loser out) encompasses 17 games from Feb. 7 through 18 and qualifies three teams to what is essentially

By Mike Vlahovich

Current Sports Editor

before I say it,” Wilson said. “He definitely has confidence in himself. I guess what I’m trying to say is that’s he’s not afraid to challenge the other guys.” Standing just 5-foot-7, but able to grab the rim, Gorman runs the offense, averages roughly seven points per game has quickness that is evident right away on the court. “His speed is amazing,” Wilson says. “When he decides to go, there’s no keeping up with him. When he’s not on the court it makes a huge difference.” That speed carries over into soccer where, in three years, the outside midfielder has amassed some 20 goals and 12 assists. It’s a sport that took up much of his summer traveling with the Spokane Sounders, when not attending leadership camps or playing basketball tournaments. Studentbody activities make for long days at school and he’s working diligently to earn an Act Six scholarship for faith-based colleges that will enable him to play soccer at Whitworth tuition-free. Although coaches opine he’s better in soccer, Gorman did say that “I really enjoy basketball. It’s my passion. When talking about his upbringing

a 16-team state tournament. The whole thing takes a month to complete and who knows how much a part the RPI plays. By comparison, the wrestling post-season is familiar. Wrestlers advance through district and regional tournaments beginning Feb. 11. The Greater Spokane League moves six wrestlers on to a three district 16-team tournament. Top four finishers per weight qualify for state. University hosts gymnastics regionals Feb. 11 to qualify a team and individuals A quick look at how Valley teams have fared to date: Basketball Greater Spokane League

he cites his mother and the Holecek family as his influences. Eli Holecek is Gorman’s best friend and the Knights’ second leading scorer. They’ve been pals since Kindergarten. “His dad asked me to play on a basketball team and Eli’s been my best friend for 14 years now,” Gorman said. “We’ve played basketball together ever since.” An incident outside sports that impacted his life, he says, was when a classmate committed suicide. “She sat right behind me in AP history and I could remember maybe 20 words I said to her all year,” he said. “It changed my life not because I knew her, but because I didn’t know her. I thought to myself if someone so close to me had thoughts of committing suicide (and he didn’t recognize it) I wasn’t doing my job.” The tragedy has influenced his decision to one day become a public servant and get involved in politics like former professional basketball player Bill Bradley. When asked about his strengths as both athlete and scholar, Gorman said, “My biggest strength is just being unselfish. I don’t know if that sounds selfish to say.” Spoken like a true politician.

Central Valley girls, unbeaten in 16 games are led by the Hull twins, Lexie and Lacie, and Hailey Christopher. Combined, the three were scoring 39 of CV’s average 61 points per game. Rehkow also put in a good word for the team defense and sophomore Mady Simmelink. The point guard dishes out almost five assists for every turnover she has committed. The CV boys lost for the second time to Gonzaga Prep and dropped into a share of fourth place in the GSL (third among 4A) schools. University girls (9-7) with nary a senior, stood fifth in league (fourth

See NOTEBOOK, Page 23


The Current

NOTEBOOK

Continued from page 22

among 4A teams) and are led in scoring by Ellie Boni, one of two freshman on the team and junior Claire Dingus. Half a dozen girls scored in double figures scores at least once. Boston Tacke had scored in double figures each of 16 games, averaging nearly 15 points per outing for the U-Hi boys. The Titans were sixth in the GSL. Great Northern League East Valley – The EV girls have a habit of winning regardless of experience. The young team was assured a share of first place, leading the league at publication by three games. They have no superstars, but freshman Brie Holecek, sophomores Genesis Wilkinson and Faith Adams average between 8.5 and 9.7 points respectively. The roster has only one senior.

Final Point CV alum, ex-hurler Falkner carved his career as Bullpup By Mike Vlahovich

Current Sports Editor Al Falkner wasn’t going to amaze anyone with his fastball. But two score and seven years ago, the left hander with a nasty curveball and deceptive pick-off move earned Central Valley a memorable 2-1 victory over Gonzaga Prep that put the Bears in the driver’s seat during the district baseball tournament series. I vividly remember how things unfolded while I watched along the right field line at Spokane Indians Stadium, then the home of Los Angeles Dodgers’ AAA baseball affiliate. There is certain irony in all this. It came to mind after seeing the Spokesman-Review’s Valley Voice, my former employer. There was a picture of Falkner for a story pronouncing his retirement after 40-plus years as English teacher,

FEBRUARY 2017 • 23

SPORTS

A bump in the road kept the Knight boys (8-9) from being a bit closer to the pack than they are having been beaten by Cheney, winless in league at the time. Jeremiah Hillard was averaging 14.5 points per game and Eli Holecek 11.6.

are the returning state finalists. Unbeaten in league and with one loss overall, they have a shot at a title return. Michael Coumont and Ryan Maine combine for 35 points a game and Dylan Oja is scoring just under 10 points a game.

a returning state placer.

West Valley –The WV girls made a jump under new coach Rick Jones. The Eagles were four games over .500 at publication and in a virtual tie for second.

Valley Christian’s Phoebe Trigstad had the Panthers second in the 1B, with her 17.4 scoring average.

East Valley was the Great Northern League power, third place in state, Randy McDonald, leads a team of hopefuls, Zachary Bowski, Ethan Smith and Winston Scott among them. Freeman again was in the hunt in the toughest state 1A league. Logan Holt reached the state finals last year, Hunter Smith took fifth and Jason Iltz, Brandon Iris and Zack Hyta are state vets. West Valley had state champion Drake Ferguson in its lineup.

No girl averages in double figures, but nine have put up double figures nights. Kim Koppenstein leads at 7.4 points per game and Grace Phan has had five double figure games. The boys (9-7) were part of a three-team traffic jam for second place behind league unbeaten Clarkston. Collin Sather led scoring, backed by fellow football standout Conner Whitney and Cletis Hydrick. Freeman’s veteran Scottie boys are second in the state 1A RPI and

baseball coach, athletic director, principal and finally president at, of all places, G-Prep, the very school he beat so many years ago. It drew a chuckle from him when I called and told Falkner he’d scarcely aged since that memorable playoff performance lo, those many years ago. Valley schools CV, University and West Valley had been ousted from the city league for lack of competitiveness, mainly in football. They formed the Border League. There were no state baseball tourneys at the time so the champions from each league squared off for the equivalent – end of season area bragging rights in a best-of-three playoff. “It was two great teams in classic Border-City League games,” recalls Falkner of the 1970 playoffs. He wasn’t kidding. Lineups of both teams were loaded with athletes who would go on to play collegiately or professionally – including eventual Major League player Bump Wills from CV – in one sport or another. Falkner was essentially CV’s no. 2 pitcher behind sophomore Brad Darrow based on Darrow’s firstteam All-Border selection versus Falkner’s second-team choice. Falkner had a 5-1 record and 0.84 ERA so not much separated them.

Wrestlers gear for battle District and regional tournaments are beginning their route to state, but not before The Battle of the Bone between Central Valley and University. Many years the match factored in the Greater Spokane League championship. This year only pride was on the line, the two teams shared third place two matches behind the leaders.

Both state placers Braedon Orrino and Bridger Beard were unbeaten in league. The team could advance several more past district, Wyatt Wickham and John Keiser among them.

Gymnasts in hunt

It was a down year for the Titans, if you count a 6-2 record down, who only had a couple of seniors in the lineup, Max Clark and Clayton Fincher. Terrell Sanders is

University and Central Valley were among the top teams in gymnastics. Titans are led Demri Oglesbee, Anna Johnson and Pam Styborski, the Bears by Victoria Axtell.

“I really wanted the first Falkner said. “I don’t why Harry Amend) chose me. it was a hunch. Personally, pitching in that place.”

transferred to Whitworth, playing with a couple of CV teammates.

game,” (coach Maybe I loved

Perhaps, in part, it was because Falkner was the senior. Been there done that. The “gamble” if you will, paid off. Falkner pitched a classic 2-1 triumph over Prep’s number one hurler, Mike Davey, to give the Bears a leg up with Darrow ready for the next game against Prep’s no. 2. Unfortunately there is no happy ending to the story even though Darrow pitched one-hit ball and took a three-run lead into the bottom of the seventh inning of game two. It appeared the Bears were on their way to a title. “Don’t sack your bats before the game’s over,” the baseball adage goes. The young, uber-confident coach didn’t heed the advice and a bases-loaded triple to the fence in right field in the bottom of the seventh ruined Darrow’s dandy. Prep had Davey ready the next day and dream turned into nightmare. It was something Falkner and I have never forgotten. He counts his win and a 13-inning victory over University among his high school highlights. He went on to the University of Washington and

A teaching position fortuitously opened at Prep and he ultimately spent his career entirely as a Bullpup. “I wanted to get into teaching and we meshed in a couple of good ways,” Falkner recalls. “There had been no openings at either CV or U-Hi. Former Titan teacher John Traynor was president at Prep and called Falkner about an English opening. For 17 years Falkner taught and was the Bullpups’ baseball coach, winning two GSL championships. “I really enjoyed it. We had a pretty good run here,” he says. Then he spent seven years as athletic director, another nine as principal and since 2004 has been president in charge of “mission and money.” Since there is no public money at the private Jesuit school it has been his job to raise it privately. The Voice story talked about his work on the Fair Share tuition plan and fundraising to upgrade the school and athletic facilities. “There’s no trick to it,” Falkner says. “It’s all about relationships. We’ve been blessed.” Maybe that upset 2-1 victory over Gonzaga Prep 46 years ago was an omen.


The Current

24 • FEBRUARY 2017

Adorkable Flowers & Gifts premieres with creative flourish By Mary Anne Ruddis Current Correspondent In a massed produced world, it is a breath of fresh fragrant air to discover a flower and gift shop that believes there is no such thing as a “cookie cutter” expression of love. Adorkable Flowers & Gifts, LLC in Liberty Lake opened its doors on Oct 10 of last year. Owners Andrea and Joshua Wallgren are both former Marines who left active duty status in 2013. They began the business out of their home in January 2014 before moving to 21950 E. Country Vista Drive, Suite 500 in Liberty Lake. The opening date, as well as the date of their recent ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 24, is significant. “We wanted to open on October 10

because that is my grandmother’s birthday and the day we celebrate our wedding anniversary,” said Andrea. Her grandmother passed before her wedding and this was a way for Andrea to honor her. Andrea first got the idea to open her own flower shop in 2012 as she was preparing to leave the Marines. A friend joked that she should buy a floral shop that was for sale near where her friend lived. Andrea and Joshua decided to move back to Spokane after being stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina but the seed of opening a flower shop was securely planted. Andrea is originally from Otis Orchards and Joshua is from the Spokane Valley. The name of the shop, “Adorkable,” was Andrea’s nickname in high school. The shop is a dream come true that both Andrea and Joshua are continuing to build upon. Andrea points out that flowers mark the special occasions in our lives – both joyful and challenging. “When we feel good, we share it,” she says. “And when we don’t feel good, people share with you.” She believes that flower arrangements should be as unique as the loved one receiving them.

Adorkable

Flowers & Gifts

Adorkable Flowers & Gifts opened last fall on Country Vista Drive in Liberty Lake. The shop has already established itself as a go-to place for those looking for creative, unique flower arrangements and gifts, such as these personalized roses. Contributed Photo At Adorkable, they can prepare traditional and non-traditional arrangements but pride themselves on creating arrangements that truly reflect the recipient. “We’ve been conditioned with (online shopping sites) to think we know what a flower arrangement should be,” Andrea said. “But computers don’t know anything about us.” Andrea much prefers talking with her customers directly, getting an idea for what they would like and creating something customized and unique. “We once did a Seahawks arrangement for a funeral,” she said. “Flowers signify our lives. Flowers are a part of big events. The colors have meaning. The flowers have meaning. When someone leaves my shop, I want them to leave happy. The individual person is what is important.”

We are Officially Open!

thank you to all those who attended to support us 21950 E Country Vista Drive Suite 500 Liberty Lake WA 99019

509.922.6300

Veteran Owned Business Hours: M-F 10 am - 6pm • Sat 10 am - 5 pm

Andrea started her flower business using a technique to print directly on flowers and still offers that service. It is a unique niche and the script can be customized to say anything a customer wants. Andrea is a licensed vendor for the process and is the only business in the Northwest to offer this feature. Along with cut flowers, Adorkable also carries potted flower plants. “Flowers add a bit of color to life,” said Joshua. He recalled being in the drab environment in Afghanistan and seeing vehicles that the Afghanis decorated with flowers to add color. “That stayed with me.” Joshua has even tried his hand at creating a few floral

designs as well. He likes natural and wild arrangements. The shop also carries unique gifts and is continuously looking for new items to add. Some are consigned items from local entrepreneurs. “I like helping out locals,” said Andrea. She believes that we should all support our local community and spend our dollars with integrity. Joshua creates many of the items in the shop from repurposed materials. He is continuously on the lookout for unique items that can be crafted into something new. He also creates custom orders. “I can do anything within reason,” he said. They’ve used burlap, canvas and even dip cans to create unique, one-of-a-kind orders. “The limitation is your imagination,” said Andrea. Adorkable is slowly adding more gifts as Andrea and Joshua learn to understand what their customers are looking for. In the meantime, they continue to keep things fresh and unique. Adorkable does not currently have a website, preferring to wait until they can get the custom website that will accurately reflect their brand. “I want my website to be as unique as we are,” Andrea said. You can find Adorkable Flowers & Gifts on Facebook or reach them at 922-6300. “Life is a series of events,” Andrea said. “We want to help make every memory a great one. You can’t have a bad day around flowers.”


The Current

HISTORY

FEBRUARY 2017 • 25


The Current

26 • FEBRUARY 2017

SVFD Report – February 2017

smoke column and upgraded the incident to a working fire, bringing more firefighting resources to the scene. Firefighters arrived to find smoke billowing from a single story Spokane Valley Fire Department detached garage. They quickly (SVFD) crews responded to a total of contained the fire to the garage, 1,708 emergency calls from Dec. 20 preventing any damage to the through Jan. 24. Incidents include: adjacent manufactured home and a • Vehicle Fires – Dec. 25 – SVFD large camper trailer parked outside. crews responded to a reported car A neighbor noticed the smoke and fire in the 400 block of South Eastern alerted the home’s occupants, an Road shortly before 8:30 p.m. adult family of four, who were home Firefighters quickly extinguished at the time and safety evacuated. a fire inside a Dodge Durango. As The cause of the fire was electrical. they were leaving, crews noticed • Chimney Fire – Dec. 30 – smoke coming from inside a nearby SVFD crews responded to a reported motorhome. They made entry structure fire in the 18300 block of and found the motorhome was East Sharp Avenue just before 11:45 empty but a small fire was burning a.m. The small home was full of next to a broken-out window. Fire smoke coming from the wall behind investigators determined the cause the wood stove. Firefighters quickly of both fires was arson. extinguished the blaze. Investigators • Oven Fire – Dec. 27 – Just after determined the cause of the fire was 6:30 p.m., SVFD crews responded chimney failure. The homeowner to a report of a fire in the oven of was treated for smoke inhalation. a home in the 1600 block of North • Vehicle Extrication – Jan. 2 Holiday Lane. Crews arrived on the – Shortly before 8:30 p.m., SVFD scene as the homeowner reported crews responded with Spokane that the fire had been extinguished. County Fire District 8 to a report The cause of the fire was burned of a person trapped inside a single food. vehicle rollover in the 23000 block of • Garage Fire – Dec. 29 – SVFD East Henry Road. Crews arrived to crews responded to a reported find the car was vacant. structure fire in the 18800 block of • Motor Vehicle Accident – East Marlin Drive at 4 p.m. Crews Jan. 10 AM – At 3:15 p.m., SVFD crews GraceSon_invitations_2017_back_pr.pdf 1 12/13/2016 11:25:32 traveling to the fire noted the

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responded to a report of a single car rollover accident eastbound on I-90 near the Harvard Road exit. The driver had overcorrected to avoid a bumper in the road and drove nose first into the snow on the south side of the freeway. This caused her car to flip over, coming to rest in the deep snow. The driver was able to exit the car and was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. • Hazardous Materials Investigation – Jan. 12 – SVFD crews responded to two separate reports of a natural gas odor in the 2600 and 2500 block of North Bradley Road at 8:45 a.m., a resident reported coming outside to start her car and smelling natural gas. At 9:05 a.m., a resident reported returning home to a faint smell of gas near and in her home. Crews investigated inside and outside the homes but found nothing and the smell had dissipated. • Fatal House Fire – Jan. 22 – A residential fire in the 10400 block of East Springfield Avenue claimed the life of a 3-year-old girl just after 3 a.m. SVFD crews responding to the fire were notified of a possible trapped person in the basement of the residence. Spokane Valley Police deputies in the immediate vicinity responded to the residence and attempted to enter the basement to

rescue the girl. They were stopped by severe heat and smoke. Fire crews arriving on the scene quickly entered the residence to rescue the girl but found she was already deceased in a basement bedroom. The fire started in a basement bedroom that was occupied by three young children. Two children escaped. Two families with three adults and six children were living in the home at the time of the fire. Three children were away from the home on the night of the fire. The home had working smoke alarms. Spokane Valley Fire investigators assisted by the Spokane Valley Police major crimes unit carefully examined and eliminated all potential causes of the fire with the exception of a child playing with a heat source. “Love Your Heart” Blood Pressure Checks – Feb. 11 and 25 – SVFD is celebrating American Heart Month by offering free blood pressure checks. On February 11, we’ll be in the Liberty Lake Municipal Library at 23123 E. Mission Ave between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. On Feb. 25, stop by the Spokane Valley Main Library at 12004 E. Main from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition to a free blood pressure check, learn more about how to keep your heart healthy and about SVFD’s Free CPR classes. By the numbers: • Fires* = 79 • Emergency medical service =1,315 • Motor vehicle accidents = 188 • Hazardous materials = 17 • Building alarms = 78 • Service calls = 24 • Vehicle Extrication = 6 • Water Rescue = 1 *Brush, Commercial, Residential, Rubbish, Vehicle Fires and Unauthorized Burning About SVFD - Spokane Valley Fire Department serves the cities of Liberty Lake, Millwood, Spokane Valley and unincorporated areas of Spokane County including the communities of Otis Orchards, Pasadena Park, and the area surrounding Liberty Lake, with a combined population of 125,000 across approximately 75 square miles. SVFD firefighters and paramedics responded to more than 16,250 emergency calls in 2016. Established in 1940, SVFD is an Accredited Agency by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI), one of only a handful in the state of Washington. SVFD operates 10 stations providing fire suppression, emergency medical services, vehicle extrication, hazardous materials response, special operations rescue, fire investigation, fire prevention, commercial property inspection, CPR and fire safety training. SVFD also offers free home fire safety inspections and free smoke detectors For more information call 928-1700 or visit www.spokanevalleyfire.com.


The Current

Love Notes

FEBRUARY 2017 • 27

roses are red, violets are blue, those that you love, have a message for you

Thanks for 21 great years together. Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Anniversary Dale. Eternally your, Jessie

Happy 94th Birthday to the most special and wonderful grandmother a grandson could ever have. Thank you for all the support and love throughout my life. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without you. Oh, and Happy Valentine’s day also. Ben Dena, Every couple has their nicknames for each other. I always call you Deenar because there isn’t a nickname that can tell you what you mean to me. It’s hard to come up with something that says “you are the best thing that’s ever happened to me and you are the reason I am a happy man.” I love you Dena Happy Valentine’s Day. ​Alana, I was going to write the lyrics to an 80's ballad but I couldn't because of copywrite issues. So I will say this Happy Valentines Day to my lovely sweetie pie, for the 10th year as husband and wife.

To my wonderful mother, Although I may not be the definition of a “valentine” I want to take this opportunity to tell you that I love you. You are the most influential person in my life and I am thankful every day for your guidance. As life continues I will gladly lend an ear, be your shoulder and share this and every other day with you. Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Birthday! Love you bunches! Tandy, Even after almost 30 years, I am still amazed that god led me to you. I can't imagine life without you. I love you more than ever and I 'd do it all again in a heartbeat. Of course, that's easy because I got the best end of the deal. Love, Dave

Tim, Thank you for noticing me at the airportand talking with me. Now we are engaged to be married. Will you be my Valentine forever? Joy Dear Sarah: You are the most courageous person I know. Thank you for being my wife, my companion, my friend, my support. Thank you for leaving your favorite city in the world to be with me here in Spokane and to start an amazing family. I love your laugh, your creativity, your wit, your intelligence, your bright eyes and your radiant smile. Most of all, I love you. Happy Valentine's Day (El Dia de Amor). Love, Craig Happy Valentine’s Day to the love of my life, V. You are my everything. My other half. The finisher of my sentences. The joy and light in my world. I love you baby. Forever and always. Chuck

Adric, You are a blessing beyond measure in my life and I could not be more thankful that god brought you into my life. Every day we grow closer together and I cannot image in a life without you in it. I love our adventures, singing Disney music in the car together, snuggles, the good times and the bad times together and everything in between. You are my rock, provider, husband, best friend and biggest supporter and every day that we spend together is the best day of my life! I love you so much, happy second Valentines! - Love, Hayley

Happy Valentine ’s Day to all our readers

- The Splash and The Current team


The Current

28 • FEBRUARY 2017

YMCA Livestrong program helps cancer survivors find balance, fitness

By Jamie Borgan Current Correspondent Deborah Chan hadn’t even been in a gym before beginning the Valley YMCA Livestrong program in 2015. “To tell you the truth, I was a little nervous,” she says. Chan had fibromyalgia and so visits to the gym hadn’t been part of her routine when she was referred to the program by her Cancer Care coordinator. A yearand-a-half later and Chan couldn’t have more positive things to say about the program, “I can’t speak highly enough of it,” she says. The Livestrong program is part of a national effort to help survivors of cancer physically, emotionally, socially and mentally. The Livestrong Foundation partnered with YMCAs around the country in 2007; the Spokane YMCA first applied to host the program in 2010 and was accepted in 2012, graduating its first class of cancer survivors in January of 2013, says Nicole Manus, YMCA Healthy Living coordinator who oversees the program. The Livestrong program is now offered at the Central, North and Valley locations and with this February’s upcoming graduation will have graduated 384 people from the program. Manus says the impetus behind the program was the fact that many survivors feel worse after treatment than they did before starting. The program combines physical conditioning with community group time, so that survivors not only regain strength and stamina, but also find mutual support and camaraderie with other participants. Participants meet twice a week for 90 minutes over 12 weeks, working directly with specially trained YMCA coaches to address their own unique physical situations. Staff go through a specific instructor course that focuses on understanding exercise physiology from the unique perspective of cancer survivors. Instructors also learn to understand the emotional and cognitive struggles that cancer survivors are going through. A total of 60 minutes of the 90-minute session are focused on physical training, while the other 30 minutes are devoted to community-building time, where

EDITOR/PUBLISHER

Ben Wick

EDITOR

Craig Howard

ben@libertylakesplash.com craig@libertylakesplash.com GRAPHICS EDITOR/ Danica Wick A DVERTISING COORDINATOR danica@libertylakesplash.com OFFICE MANAGER GRAPHICS

Paula Gano

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Hayley Schmelzer

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CIRCULATION Dean Byrns circulation@libertylakesplash.com CONTRIBUTORS

The Livestrong program has been part of the nationwide YMCA agenda since 2012, helping cancer survivors find and maintain physical and emotional health. Livestrong is offered at each of the YMCA’s greater Spokane-area branches including the site in Spokane Valley. Contributed photo survivors can connect with other survivors and process what they’re going through. For many of them, this is their first opportunity to do so. Chan says she didn’t know any other survivors when she started the program and that the connections she made with other survivors were invaluable. She said cancer can be a very lonely experience and the opportunity to speak unfiltered hard truths to others who understood her brought healing. Earl Reed, a 2013 graduate of the Valley YMCA program, echoes Chan’s assertion about the value of the community-building time. A Vietnam vet, Reed readily admits he was skeptical about the community sharing at first. “I’m not a touchyfeely kind of guy,” he says, but he quickly understood the value of sharing with other survivors. He too says that cancer can be very isolating, but that it was reassuring to be in a room with so many people who understood the traumas he’d experienced. Both Chan and Reed speak highly of the physical improvements they achieved as well. Reed says when he began the program after his chemotherapy, he was physically drained and at times could barely walk; with the help of staff and other participants, Reed made it through some very tough physical issues. He laughs dryly and says, “I probably exercise more now than I did before I got cancer,” and says he still walks four or five miles a day. Chan says the Livestrong motto of “start low and go slow” worked perfectly for her. When she began the program, Chan was at the point where she had no “good days.” Chan was skeptical about

the gym, but was willing to try. She says she was very physically weak at first, but saw her strength improve substantially by following the coaches and committing to the program. “To me, Livestrong was about possibility,” she says. Chan was able to achieve physical fitness levels she hadn’t even envisioned for herself, emerging from the program with newfound confidence. Like Reed, she credits much of her progress to the staff. Reed describes them as very experienced and very professional and says that he too is still employing much of what he learned in the program. Neither Reed, nor Chan were members of the YMCA before beginning the program; in fact, participants don’t even have to be members, says Manus. The only qualifying criteria is that they be a survivor of cancer. Further, while in the program, not only can they access the YMCA at any time, but they can register a support person who can also access YMCA services with them while they’re in the program. Upon completion, participants can continue to access alum services and events for Livestrong graduates to stay connected to staff and each other. Even without funding specifically earmarked for the program, Manus says the YMCA sees it as mission critical and will continue to support it. As Reed says jovially, “there’s only one weakness to the program – not enough people know about it.” Want to find out more? To learn more about the YMCA Livestrong program call the Spokane Valley YMCA at 777-9622 or visit www. livestrongattheymca.org.

Jamie Borgan, J.R. Conrow, Lincoln Dowright, Craig Howard, Josh Johnson, Staci Lehman, Mary Anne Ruddis, Ross Schneidmiller, Jayne Singleton, Mike Vlahovich The Valley Current P.O. Box 363 Liberty Lake, WA 99019 Phone: 242-7752; Fax: 927-2190 www.valleycurrent.com The Current is published monthly by or before the first of each month. It is distributed free of charge to every business and home in the greater Spokane Valley area. Copies are located at drop-off locations in Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and the surrounding area.

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The Current

FEBRUARY 2017 • 29

GSSAC announces 2017 scholarship competition

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The 2017 scholarship winner will read his or her winning essay at the GSSAC Board of Directors’ meeting on Tuesday June 13 at 8 a.m.

From Current News Sources As part of its ongoing commitment to support healthy, drug-free decisions among our community’s youth, the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council (GSSAC) is proud to sponsor the 2017 Scholarship Essay Competition. One scholarship in the amount of $1,000 will be awarded to the Spokane County high school senior who submits the winning essay on “Why I Have Chosen to Be Drug Free.”

Submissions must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 16 at GSSAC’s Prevention Center, 200 North Mullan Road, Suite 102, Spokane Valley, WA 99206 (note new address from previous years). Emailed or faxed forms will not be accepted. For more information, call 922-8383 or visit www.gssac.org.

To apply, write an essay highlighting why you have made the decision to be drug free. The essay is to be type-written, doublespaced and a maximum of two pages. Creativity, grammar and punctuation will be considered.

The Current is committed to serving the Greater Spokane Valley area through excellent community journalism. We can’t do it at all without you, our readers, and we can’t do it for long without support from our advertisers. Please thank our business partners and look to them when offering your patronage. Our sincere appreciation to the following businesses for their foundational partnerships with The Current and its partner publications:

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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 advertise@valleycurrent.com. With story ideas, contact editor@valleycurrent.com.


The Current

30 • FEBRUARY 2017

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The Current

ON THAT NOTE

The Corner Door in Millwood dishes up unique servings of nostalgia By Mary Anne Ruddis Current Correspondent Preserving the past can sometimes be accomplished in the institutions of the present. The Corner Door Fountain & Books in Millwood reminds one of simpler times when parents felt comfortable sending their children out on their bikes to the corner store, dollar in hand, to enjoy an ice cream cone or soda. Nestled in the Millwood Historic District, The Corner Door is located at 3301 N. Argonne. Siblings Greg and Betsy Mott have owned and operated the neighborhood shop for over 25 years. The historic building is owned by their sister and the Corner Door is truly a family enterprise. Greg began the business as a corner café with a full menu and the Motts have adapted the offerings over the years to what works and fits in with the neighborhood. The Corner Door is secure in knowing

its customers and the menu reflects the tastes and interests of the neighborhood. The café is intimate with just three tables and a few counter seats. Today, the café offers a variety of items including fresh soups, sandwiches, espresso, fountain beverages and old-fashioned milkshakes using Mary Lou’s locally made ice cream. “We are a healthy alternative to the fast food places down the street,” said Greg. Families can stop in on their way to an event at West Valley High School and know they are getting quality food. “We don’t fry anything,” added Betsy. Greg even bakes fresh cookies daily. Betsy joined the business shortly after Greg established it. Her previous experience was with Walden Books and when she came on board, she brought along books. The store offers new and used books primarily about local history, carrying local authors as

FEBRUARY 2017 • 31

well as others. They also carry other niche books, seeking out-ofprint books and things that are not carried in big box stores. A variety of children’s books also adorn the shelves. “You may not find the newest novel, but we do carry some paperbacks,” said Betsy. The Corner Door is also known for carrying the area’s large selection of puppets of all sizes and is a favorite among teachers. Prices for the puppets range from $4 to $50. The store prices everything at a reasonable rate – “at Millwood rates, not big city rates,” said Greg. “We make enough money to stay in business but not enough to retire to Hawaii,” he joked. Carrying original artwork by Betsy – paintings, jewelry, and drawings – the Corner Door is a place to find unique, one-of-a-kind items. The walls are lined with oil paintings and prints with a science fiction theme. She also creates pencil architectural drawings of local buildings. These are available as cards and have a nostalgic hometown quality. The jewelry is hand painted. The Corner Door serves as an unofficial clearinghouse for information about what is

The Corner Door Fountain & Books has been a staple in Millwood for a quarter century. The shop offers books, art, lunch items and more. Photo by Mary Anne Ruddis happening in Millwood whether it’s flyers for Millwood Days, local history information or participating in the Millwood Farmers Market. The Millwood Historical Society meets here every Wednesday. “We even have non-current issues of The Current,” joked Greg, “we have all the past issues right here.” Most of the customers are local or people looking for a specific item such as a puppet or historical book. “We have one customer who comes by once every year passing through Spokane to Seattle,” said Greg. “We’ve also had customers who never knew we were here until they were stopped waiting for a train and saw our sign.” Folks recognize the cozy setting as a distinctive place to grab a bowl of soup on a cold winter day, a thick cool milkshake during the warm days of summer or a unique local gift for the holidays or a special occasion.

Situated on Argonne Road in Millwood’s Historic District, The Corner Door is bordered by the town’s busy main street on one side and rows of shade trees and historic homes on the other. Photo by Craig Howard

Without pretense, the densely packed store has a unique character that cannot be found anywhere else. The Motts have created a small piece of Americana conjuring the nostalgia of days gone by as the train whistles blow reminding patrons of Millwood’s roots as a rail town.


The Current

32 • FEBRUARY 2017

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February 2017 Current