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2 • MARCH 2017

The Park Bench

Leadership Pedigree – Hill has led SCRAPS since 1995 By Craig Howard Current Editor There was a time when Nancy Hill’s office looked out on a forlorn fringe of the Spokane Business and Industrial Park with piles of sand and gravel next door. Shortly before EXPO ’74, the headquarters of Spokane County Regional Animal

NEWS Protection Service (SCRAPS) had moved to an obscure space that seemed to represent the visitorfriendly antithesis of the World’s Fair.

bid adieu to its 12,000 square foot home for a space on Trent Avenue that sprawls 32,000 square feet. Staff doubled with the move, from 25 to 50.

Hill made the best of the situation, first as an animal control officer hired in February of 1986 after a stint as manager of a nonprofit cat sanctuary in Connecticut. By 1995, she had risen to the status as agency director, guiding a staff that welcomed visitors to the rickety old building with the enthusiasm of maître d’s at a five-star hotel.

A native of Delaware, Hill grew up in a home where her mom was allergic to dogs and cat hair, so she had a pet parakeet. She also remembers “befriending every animal in the neighborhood from dogs and cats to horses.”

Hill pushed for a regional model of animal protection from her window office, touting improved efficiencies. She finally achieved her goal in January 2014 when the city of Spokane came on board after contracting with SpokAnimal for years. Cities like Liberty Lake, Millwood and Spokane Valley are also under the SCRAPS’ umbrella. The transition to a truly regional system also included a step up in real estate. In June 2014, SCRAPS

Hill’s family moved to Bartlesville, Oklahoma when she was 6 years old. She was raised in the town of around 30,000 just north of Tulsa but also traveled extensively with her family. To date, she has visited 49 states. Her dad worked for the Phillips Petroleum Co. and was a lifetime member of the Audubon Society. Hill attended the University of Arkansas after high school but eventually transferred to Mendocino College in Northern California where she earned a degree in Environmental Science. She latched on with the U.S. Forest Service in North Idaho after college as a hydraulic technician but found herself out of a job in a few years following federal budget cuts. Hill’s career in the animal field began shortly after the layoff with a move to Utah. After accepting a job as groundskeeper with a local parks department, she was trained on the job as a zoo keeper for a small zoo owned and operated by the same agency. Hill remained there five years before she left for Connecticut and a position with a community cat sanctuary. Before long, she found herself missing the West. She had scarcely unpacked her bags in Spokane when she saw an ad for an animal control officer with SCRAPS in February 1986. Hills parents followed her to the Inland Northwest in 2004, settling in Liberty Lake. Her dad passed in 2008. Hill and her husband, RC Lavasseur, have been married for 15 years. The couple lives in Liberty Lake near Hill’s mom who is now 93. Hill has two grown children from a previous marriage – Allison and Dylan who both reside in the area.

Nancy Hill has served as director of Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) since 1995. She was originally hired as an animal control officer with the agency in February 1986. Photo by Craig Howard

As regional director, Hill plans, organizes and directs the operations, activities and personnel of SCRAPS including management of the animal shelter. She also holds both a Special Deputy and a Special Police Officer commission to enforce animal laws in Spokane

The Current

County and its municipalities. Hill also walks the talk – literally. While promoting the value of pet adoption at work, she can often be found walking her dog “Zoey,” a SCRAPS’ rescue animal away from the office. Q: Did you think from an early age that you might want to have a career that involved working with animals? A: I didn’t think a lot about my career when I was growing up. When I was in high school, I was the school newspaper/yearbook photographer and worked at a photography store/studio. Initially, I thought I would go into photo journalism. I volunteered in high school at the local ASPCA taking pictures of adoptable animals for promotional purposes. When I went to college I majored in journalism and then eventually changed to the environmental sciences. I was a member of the Ozark Mountaineers Society. I loved hiking, canoeing and being in nature. When I was going to school at the University of Arkansas I rescued a Blue Tick hound at a junk yard. That was my first dog as an adult – I always wanted to be around and save animals. Q: How and when did you get your start working in the field of animal protection? A: I really got my start in animal welfare by accident. After being laid off from the U.S. Forest Service, I took a job with a parks department in northern Utah as a landscaper/groundskeeper. The department also ran a small zoo housing primarily animals native to America and a large collection of birds of prey and upland game birds. I loved when I worked around the zoo area. So, when a zookeeper job opened up a few months later I applied and they hired me. I was trained on the job. I loved my time at the zoo and developed close relationships with many of the animals. I used to give tours and visit schools, helping to educate our youth. A raven named “Ralph” assisted me and we were a great team. I loved working with the animals so much that I decided to make it a career if I could. I eventually left the zoo to manage a cat sanctuary in Connecticut that housed over 400 cats. Deciding I missed the West, I moved Spokane. I saw an ad in the paper for an animal control officer for Spokane

See HILL, Page 6

The Current

MARCH 2017 • 3

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4 • MARCH 2017

Appleway Trail project moves forward while appreciating the past By Steve Christilaw

Current Correspondent The Appleway Trail will take two major steps forward in 2017. By the end of the year it will more closely resemble a trail, for one thing. “We have one section completed,” said Mike Stone, city of Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation director, referring to the section that stretches from University Road to Pines Road. “It’s only a mile long at this point and I think that it doesn’t give the public a full idea of what this will become.” Two more sections of the fourpart project will be completed this year. “The good news for this year is that we will be constructing the sections from Pines to Evergreen and also the section from Corbin to Sullivan,” Stone said. “The


Pines-to-Evergreen section has already been designed and bid. Our contractor is ready to go on that section as soon as Mother Nature lets us start, which will probably be sometime in April.”

concept was being talked about for just one of the four sections of trail. Over time that evolved into an approach that would be part into all four sections with each celebrating a different era of the area’s history.

The next phase will require a little more discussion.

“We want this trail to be an important part of the City of Spokane Valley,” Stone emphasized. “We want to see schools using the trail for field trips so that kids can interact and learn from the trail.”

“For the Corbin-to-Sullivan section, we still need to go back to the council after working with the public on some ideas,” Stone remarked. “We’re hoping that we can be ready to go by the first of June and have that section completed in this calendar year.” The final section, from Evergreen to Sullivan, is still in the planning stages. Stone hopes that this portion can be completed in 2020. The first part of the trail broke ground in late August 2014 and was completed that fall. Actual construction is just one part of the project, however. There has been feedback about incorporating some of the Valley’s culture and history into the pathway. “One of the things that came out of our conversations with the public was the idea of theming these sections,” Stone said. “That’s something that really has only come up in the last six-to-eight months. We want this to be about more than just transportation.” Originally, Stone said, the themed

“We’re looking at doing a section devoted to the geologic history of the Valley, a space that can talk about the flood that formed the Valley and talk about the importance of the river,” Stone said. “Perhaps we can involve some kind of a water feature to emphasize that, and we’ve talked about including a play area that incorporates that concept, say a section that involves rock climbing. And we would include historical and interpretive signage.” Another section would concentrate on the influences of Native American tribes and the importance of both agriculture and timber on the area. And a fourth section would emphasize the Spokane Valley of today. In many ways, the construction phase is just the beginning. “I think that, once people see

The Current

The next phase of the Appleway Trail will consist of a section from Pines to Evergreen. The third part will stretch from Corbin to Sullivan. There has also been talk of incorporating historic Valley themes along the pathway. Photo by Craig Howard what we’re doing here they’ll want to be more involved,” Stone said. “I think an important step will be when we get the first street crossing installed at Pines Road. There has been a lot of input on that crossing and I think once people see that it will work with the area and not be a cause of traffic congestion, then they’ll say ‘Ah, I get it.’” A great deal of importance is being placed on making the trail and park area fit the surrounding neighborhoods. Public input stressed the importance of having rest areas and restrooms installed at regular intervals. Areas are being earmarked for public gardens, for example, areas that could include space where residents could plant their own vegetable patch. The city of Spokane Valley is working with the community’s history expert, the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum, on the design of the different themes and there is a growing sense of excitement about the project and its potential, Stone said. And, Stone added, there are some lessons that were learned from the installation of the first section. “We tried to be a little too cheap with some of what we did,” he said. “Especially with the topsoil and with the native plants we put in. That part didn’t work the way we’d hoped.” Stone said the city has done an excellent job taking this project from the concept stage to construction in a relatively short time. That, he said, is a testament to the dedication the city has displayed toward creating parks and common areas in its development plan.

The Appleway Trail is a four-part project facilitated by the city of Spokane Valley. The first portion of the trail, from University to Pines Road, was completed in fall of 2014. Photo by Craig Howard

“At the end of the day we’re going to have a facility that our community can be proud of,” he said.

The Current

MARCH 2017 • 5


Millwood fields resident concerns over land purchase By Mary Anne Ruddis Current Correspondent

Top of mind at the Millwood City Council meeting on Feb. 14 was the recent action of the city to purchase two parcels of land on South Riverway and the proposed use of those parcels. Residents packed the meeting room waiting for public comments. In related news, Mayor Kevin Freeman stated that newly appointed Council Member Connie Smith had tendered a letter of resignation. Smith reportedly resigned amid controversy surrounding the legality of the council’s authority to appoint a member to Position 1 and questions of conflict of interest over the purchase of the recently acquired real estate parcels where she, as the Realtor, represented the seller. Prior to the public comments section was a presentation by Spokane Valley Fire Chief Bryan Collins who reported on the recent accomplishments of the fire department and the improved Washington Survey and Rating Bureau (WSRB) rating from a Class 3 to Class 2. According to Collins, this is not an easy accomplishment. What it means for homeowners as well as business owners is that fire insurance premiums should go down. The rating takes into account the department’s ability to respond to incidents in their districts. The fire department will post notifications once the report is published. Chief Collins also presented information concerning the ballot measure reauthorizing one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax for public safety. He was reporting for Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich who was unable to attend. The funds are needed to maintain police/ fire/ambulance interdepartmental communications as well as Crime Check and other necessary communications infrastructure. The renewal proposal will be part of the April 25 ballot. During public comments for items not on the agenda, resident Spencer Harrington stated that the City Council acted illegally in appointing Smith as a council member. He

maintained that the governing board lost its authority to fill the vacant position by appointment after Sept. 16. Harrington also spoke about a meeting with Mayor Freeman and City Attorney Brian Werst two weeks prior, concerning the creation of a park from the two recently purchased parcels of land in a residential neighborhood. Harrington refused to yield comments after the appointed three minutes that council allows individuals for comments. Amidst shouting from Harrington, council hastily voted to adjourn the meeting. Many residents in attendance were not able to be heard. As to the conflict of interest between Smith and the city, there was no conflict of interest, according to Werst, because the city was committed by contract to purchase the parcels prior to Smith’s joining the council. Werst also explained that the city would have been prepared to petition the Spokane County Board of Commissioners to address any concern regarding Smith’s appointment to the council as authorized by RCW 42.12.070 but that became unnecessary since Smith resigned from the council. The Feb. 14 meeting was reconvened on Feb. 17. The room once again was filled with residents eager to have their voices heard. Resolution #17-02, referring the South Riverway Property Study to the planning commission was passed. The council referenced that written comments were received and disallowed public comment on the issue. The planning commission will schedule public input meetings to address resident concerns about the property. During public comments for issues not on the agenda, several residents spoke about the Riverway parcels and their objections to have a park in their neighborhood. Gary Edwards questioned the purchase of the property stating that it was a problem property with back taxes owed that would have come up for a tax auction. He questioned the spending of city funds for such a purchase. He also expressed concern over conflict of interest as well. Peggy McCartney spoke to oppose building a park on the South Riverway parcels. Her concerns were about the impact of a public park among private residences. Property values, privacy, security and litter were issues cited. Mayor



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CALL OR REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT ONLINE the purchase: Two lots became available that had the potential to satisfy the shoreline plan creating public access for the river. There will be opportunity for public comment through the planning commission. He requested that comments concerning the use of the land be reserved for that forum. Additional comments were made expressing concerns over the use of the parcels continued as well as frustrations about the process the council employed. Records of the meetings as well as notifications for upcoming meetings can be accessed at

The Current

6 • MARCH 2017


Continued from page 2

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County. I immediately applied, was hired and started my career with SCRAPS. I loved being an animal control officer and working out in the field. As an officer, every day I made a difference in the life of a person or animal, often with a few challenges and an occasional adventure. I find the same reward being director, no two days are alike and I still get to help both people and pets. I am blessed with the opportunity to lead this amazing organization. Q: Do you think the perception of the cantankerous town dog catcher has given way to a more informed understanding of what you and your colleagues do? A: SCRAPS has been in existence since 1922 when dog licenses were $1 and the most common breed of dog was a “cur.” Certainly in those days the animal shelter was a “dog pound” and “dog catchers” patrolled the streets. I believe that when I came to SCRAPS as an animal control officer in 1986 that perceptions were starting to change. Today, the dog catcher has given away to today’s professional animal protection officer. The dog pound has been replaced by a modern regional animal shelter. We have come a long way, but are still not there yet. People occasionally use terminology like “dog pound” and think our animal protection officers simply exist to catch dogs. We continue to work on public education to help build more responsible pet owners. We are definitely heading in the right direction. Q: You lobbied for many years for Spokane County to develop a truly regional animal control system. It's finally in place now but why do you think it took so long? A: The road to regional has been long and winding with a few speed bumps. It began almost a decade ago with a simple conversation and then became more serious six years ago when county government and municipalities within the county formed a Regional Animal Control Task Force. Government officials recognized that the current system was disjointed, a county agency providing service to some areas and a nonprofit to others. There was also the issue of an aging animal shelter. Officials recognized

that there were benefits to a regional service but was it cost effective and how would a new facility be funded? Initially, the task force decided it best to go to the voters to fund a new regional facility. Unfortunately, due to a low voter turnout and confusion about language on the ballot issue the measure failed. So, it was back to the drawing board. Everyone recognized the benefits of a regional service but funding continued to be an issue. A model regional budget was carefully developed and it appeared there was some economy of scale, enough to pay the debt on a new facility. If the county and all municipalities within the county came together it might work. At that point negotiations began in earnest to join together in a regional animal protection service. Spokane County and the cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley entered into a 20-year interlocal agreement and the small cities (under 10,000 in population) signed three-year agreements. The new facility was expected to last 50 years and it would take 20 years to pay off the debt. Today, in Spokane County there are professional animal protection officers that provide a regional service out of a brand new animal shelter. The road to regional has been a long one that began with a vision. Thankfully, we are into our fourth year of providing the regional service and all our customers are happy. Since we have been in the new regional facility adoptions numbers have skyrocketed and our volunteer program has grown tremendously. Animal Protection officers are responding to and investigating everything from a simple dog running loose to felony animal cruelty. These officers respond 24/7 to animal emergencies where people or pets are in danger or need help. Regional animal services simply made sense for our community and we finally got it done. It was a long road to regional but definitely worth it. Pet owners are becoming more responsible, understanding the laws and reclaiming their lost animals in our one stop shop system. The public is more involved and sympathetic to the plight of our community’s homeless animals.Today’s animal shelter is not something that should be hidden on the edge of town or on a dead-end road. It should be part of the community – vibrant, engaging and welcoming. The regional

See SCRAPS, Page 7

The Current



Q: Dog and cat licensing continues to be a priority for you and SCRAPS. Where does that effort stand currently?

service has brought a new level of awareness to Spokane County. Our community is now part of the solution through their volunteer hours, donations, adoptions and responsible pet ownership.

A: I have never understood why more pet owners do not license their pets. A license might be the most important gift that you can purchase for your pet. A pet license is more than a small metal tag – it is a phone call home if your pet is ever lost and will instantly identify your pet as a family member. Animal Protection officers can look up a pet license 24/7 so your animal can be quickly returned to you. Many pets in our community are not licensed and if lost do not always find their way back home. Additionally, pet license revenue helps to fund SCRAPS animal protection services which directly benefit the stray, homeless, abused and abandoned animals in our community. Everyone in our community should take pet

Continued from page 6

Q: What are some of your memories of your former home, the SCRAPS facility on the edge of the Spokane Business and Industrial Park? A: First of all, today no one would put their business on a dead-end road, on the wrong side of the railroad tracks with no sewer or mass transit access. SCRAPS, at our Flora road location, was a destination that many found difficult to find. Aside from the access and visibility issues, the facility was antiquated and aging. Q: How has your new building on Trent Avenue benefited the mission of SCRAPS? A: The new regional shelter needed to be central to the service area, on a bus route for public accessibility and large enough to handle over 10,000 animals annually. It made sense to look for an existing building that could be retrofitted which is generally more cost effective than new construction. Additionally, it was difficult to find undeveloped land in a central area, so the search for a building to retrofit began. A former Harley Davidson dealership seemed perfect – on a major arterial, about 30,000 square feet and centrally located. The building was on 3.5 acres which also meant greenspace, definitely a plus for an animal shelter. This would allow staff and volunteers to walk/ exercise/train dogs outside. The dealership was built in 2001 so it was a new, modern and energy efficient structure which made it even more appealing. The building was purchased and the layout of the new facility was carefully planned. It was very important logistically to think about how the public, the animals and staff would move through the facility. The result is today’s regional shelter – light, bright, open and inviting with modern animal health systems. The new shelter has adequate animal space, a community room for training/education and enough room for all special lifesaving programs. The new facility has a retail feel that is definitely attracting more adopters and volunteers.

licensing seriously. It is required by law for all dogs and cats six months of age or older. Owners of unlicensed pets may receive a $200 fine. Licenses can be purchased online at scraps at the SCRAPS shelter or via the mail. Q: Why should people consider adoption of a pet? A: Everyone should consider adopting a shelter pet. It is a unique opportunity to make a difference in the life of a stray, homeless, abused or abandoned animal. Just like people animals deserve a second chance and what better way to give them one then to adopt a shelter animal. Plus, adoption fees are low and include the sterilization, first round of vaccinations, a microchip and a pet license. Adoption is very affordable and rewarding. Q: Finally, what's the best part about being director of

MARCH 2017 • 7

SCRAPS? A: I love my job – it’s not a job it’s an adventure. Every day is different and every day is challenging. I enjoy the problem solving aspect of what we do and love working in public service. Whether it is investigating an animal cruelty case to simply figuring out how to increase the number of licensed pets in our community. It is very rewarding to be able to help people through the public safety aspect of our service. But I also like protecting animals and saving pets from neglectful or abusive situations. This job has been a perfect fit for me and I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given. SCRAPS staff are awesome and truly make the organization what it is today. They say it takes a village and it does. It takes our staff, our volunteers and the community to make the world a better place for both people and pets.

SCRAPS moved into its new facility on Trent in June 2014, part of a transition to a regional animal protection program. Nancy Hill doubled her staff from 25 to 50 upon moving into the 32,000-square-foot facility. Photo by Craig Howard

The Current

8 • MARCH 2017

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The Current

MARCH 2017 • 9

Valley Pointe: A new community of affordable homes By Staci Lehman

Current Correspondent If you are looking to buy a home but aren’t sure you can afford one or aren’t happy with the options in your price range, you may want to check out the Valley Pointe community. Valley Pointe is a new neighborhood of townhomes located at Appleway and Balfour in Spokane Valley. The neighborhood is being developed by Community Frameworks, a nonprofit that creates affordable housing by providing homeownership opportunities of brand new, affordable and energy efficient homes for moderate income buyers. Currently, in phase one of the development, there are eight of the 1,200-square-foot, two-story, two-bedroom and 1.5-bath homes built and waiting for owners. “We’re looking for that first magical buyer,” said Mark Wilson, Housing developer of Community Frameworks. Ideally, that first buyer would have been in one of these homes several years ago. “We broke ground and developed the property right before the recession hit,” said Wilson. That set the project back as the bottom dropped out of the real estate market and mortgages became more difficult to secure. With the economy looking better today and real estate having a solid year in 2016, Community Frameworks felt the time was right and finished the eight homes on the site last August. Eventually there will be almost 30 homes in the development for qualified, moderate income buyers who don’t exceed the income cap criteria. A single person purchasing one of these homes can make up to $35,100 per year. A two-person household can have an income of $40,100 and a household of four people caps out at $50,100. Substantial downpayment assistance is also available for qualified buyers, up to 20 percent of

The Valley Pointe neighborhood at Appleway and Balfour in Spokane Valley will feature nearly 30 energy efficient town homes when fully built out. The development is a project of Community Frameworks, a nonprofit specializing in affordable housing. Photo by Staci Lehman the home purchase price. Houses in Valley Pointe range from $180,000 up to $189,000 for new homes and buyers even get to choose interior color and finish palettes. But it’s the help with putting money down that is the major perk. “Instead of having a mortgage of $180,000, they could have a mortgage of $144, 000,” said Wilson, adding that the home includes no out of pocket money down. Eligibility and down payment assistance eligibility are dependent on income, household size, need, home ownership status, existing debt and credit scores. Buyers may also be able to get a lower interest rate on their loan than if they bought in just any neighborhood. The Valley Pointe homes were built to exceed performance requirements of the Washington State Energy Code, one of the most stringent energy codes in the country. The homes qualify for the Energy Spark program offered by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, which can reduce the percentage rate of the mortgage by a quarter of a percent. Valley Pointe residents will save in other areas too, due to the home’s energy efficiency. “These are the greenest homes on the market right now,” said Wilson. “The utility bill should be about $50 a month.”

Valley Pointe’s convenient, central location could save buyers money on gas and other transportation costs as well. The neighborhood is close to shopping, dining, outdoor recreation and public transportation. The University Shopping Center, with a grocery store and restaurants, is located across the street and the Spokane Transit Authority transit center is a block away. The city of Spokane Valley’s newly built Appleway Trail is a half mile to the east. If you are not sure if you can afford a home or if you are in a position to buy a house right now, or you want to fix credit problems or work toward buying a home in the future, Community Frameworks

can also help with credit and finance issues. The organization offers free credit and financial fitness coaching, first-time homebuyer classes and financial, credit and mortgage education specific to your situation. The nonprofit also has specific mortgage lenders who are familiar with first-time homebuyers and down payment assistance programs who can help make the application process easy. Community Frameworks is currently accepting applications for homes in the Valley Pointe neighborhood. For a virtual home tour, more information on Valley Pointe, or to see if you qualify, go to or call Mark Wilson at 484-6733 ext. 108.

10 • MARCH 2017

The Current


Valley Council retreat addresses road maintenance funding

collect the traffic from cell phones and send it to the cell tower. These small cell facilities are about the size of a briefcase and can be located on street light poles, adjacent to traffic signal cabinets and elsewhere. Whereas cell towers are, in general, not placed within the city’s right-of-way, these small cell facilities can be so placed. Therefore, the city needs to develop regulations, both as to where they can be located and as to esthetics.

By Bill Gothmann

Current Correspondent At the Spokane Valley City Council’s winter retreat on Feb. 21, City Manager Mark Calhoun offered a plan for educating both the council and the public concerning the funding shortfall in road maintenance and preservation. The plan calls for discussions on such items as revenue sources and expenditures of the various road funds as well as revenue sources and expenditures for the Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) fund consisting of revenue generated through a tax on real estate transactions Part of the plan includes an understanding of evaluation methods like the Street Condition Report and the resulting Pavement Condition Index (PCI) which indicates the condition of Spokane Valley streets on a scale of zero (poor) to 100 (excellent). Overall, PCI in Spokane Valley has decreased from 77 in 2010 to 71 in 2015.

Food event coming to Spokane Valley

The city of Spokane Valley evaluates the state of municipal streets by utilizing a system called the Pavement Condition Index or PCI. Above are examples of PCI ratings. The range goes from zero (poor) up to 100 (excellent). From 2010 to 2015, city streets dropped from 77 on the PCI scale to 71. Contributed images Relevant questions surrounding PCI include how the index is determined; at what level the city should maintain PCI and whether or not commercial areas should have a PCI different from residential areas. Also to be determined is just how much funding the city currently has available to apply towards street operations and maintenance, street construction and pavement preservation. If a shortfall exists, that number must also be part of the conversation. Some of the other street funding topics brought up at the retreat included an awareness of resources such as the Transportation Benefit District (TBD), an organization that taxes citizens for transportation projects through auto license tab taxes, sales tax increases, or other sources. Utility taxes were also mentioned along with questions like what utilities may be taxed and how much revenue each utility tax might generate. As part of this program, the city will hold community meetings to determine the best way to fund municipal streets. It will then go to the council for their discussion where they will need to determine what an acceptable PCI should be as well as the costs and evenue sources to fund at that PCI level. It is expected that this information program may take multiple months to accomplish.

The Spokane Valley City Council is looking at ways to improve sidewalk access in the neighborhood that includes Opportunity Elementary. Contributed map

Ending fund balance Calhoun also discussed the ending fund balance the city keeps. Some have suggested Spokane Valley maintains too much in the

bank. “We begin each general fund budget development cycle with two goals: Recurring revenues must equal or exceed recurring expenditures and the ending general fund balance must be at least 50 percent of recurring expenditures,” Calhoun said. The 50-percent figure is a calculation based upon city needs for both cash outflow and cash inflow. For example, Spokane Valley receives real estate taxes (a cash inflow) from the county twice a year, in May and November. Therefore, the city needs to keep a balance of at least half of what it receives in real estate taxes. There are numerous other cash inflows such as this and all contribute to the city’s cash balance. As to outflow, consider that the city is paid for a construction project grant after the work is completed. The city needs to keep enough cash to pay contractors until it gets paid. Spokane Valley’s cash balance requirement is determined by adding all cash inflow balance requirements and cash outflow requirements. This figures out to be about 49.6 percent of recurring expenditures. Small cell facilities neighborhoods


City Attorney Cary Driskell noted that changes are coming to cell phone networks. Because of greatly increasing data traffic through cell towers, there is now an effort to place small cell facilities (transmitter/receivers) within neighborhoods. These facilities will

At their Feb. 21 meeting, council approved a contract for $50,000 for a food event at CenterPlace/ Mirabeau Point Park This event will, according to the contract, “consist of a variety of tastings, hands-on classes, collaborative dinners and panels.” “Crave! NW” will be held June 15-18 and is expected to bring “1,500 to 2,000 attendees daily, with 100 overnight lodging stays due to the out-of-area visitors.” If it is successful, it is expected to be an annual event. The money will come from the 2017 economic development marketing funds and will be partially offset by the CenterPlace rental fees. This is part of the city’s tourism effort started in 2015 to increase overnight stays and tourism spending. Snow removal from sidewalks a difficult challenge In addressing the task of removing snow from sidewalks, Driskell summarized some of a previous discussion. He noted that, if, after several warnings, the snow was not removed, a penalty of up to $500 could be assessed as part of our nuisance regulations. Council members preferred that a lower level of penalty be assessed. Driskell noted that snow removal does not translate into a nuisance very well because it melts and the nuisance disappears. It would be better as an infraction, similar to a traffic ticket. Several council members noted the difficulty of removing snow where the back side of their property is along an arterial, such as along 32nd Avenue. Council Member Caleb Collier asked if the city could plow snow into a berm in the center of the street, a practice employed by the city of Spokane. They would then deposit the snow in the Spokane River. However, because of environmental considerations this can no longer be done.

The Current


East Valley educators to retire after over three decades with district

East Valley Superintendent Kelly Shea is fairly new to the district, only having worked with McAdam and Savage for a year and a half, but he says, in that time, both have impressed him considerably with their devotion to students.

Current Correspondent

Savage, director of Student Services, started with East Valley in 1986. Since then, he has filled many roles and had many titles, including DECA teacher (where he taught The Splash/Current’s co-publisher Ben Wick during his high school career), football and wrestling coach, and middle school principal. He has been in his current position for about a year and describes it as involving pretty much anything that helps kids get a better education. “I’m kind of connected to all services helping kids,” Savage said. Which is perfect considering Savage says he just likes supporting kids in general and even quit his job years ago in sales to do that. While his last day isn’t until June, Savage already has some plans for retirement with his wife, including spending time with their two

John Savage

Jim McAdam

grandkids. He also plans to spend plenty of time outdoors.

East Valley School District a little later – in 1979 teaching at East Valley Middle School for six years before moving up to teach at the high school. He went on to teach at other schools around the district before moving into administration in 1997. He says the rest is history – a very good history.

While Savage is looking forward to these new adventures, he is also looking back at a lot of great years with students and district staff and has a message for them. “’Thank you,’ basically,” he said. “I owe my whole life and my whole career to East Valley. So thank you.” Jim McAdam will retire at the end of the 2017 school year as well. He has spent the last four years as principal at East Valley High School. McAdam’s years in the district go back much farther than that though, to the 1960s. “I tell everyone I’ve been in the district 55 years,” he said. “I started as a second grader.” McAdam isn’t joking – he actually went to East Valley schools starting in second grade when he attended Trent Elementary School. His nowgrown children also attended East Valley schools. McAdam’s career started with the

Miss Spokane Valley and Valleyfest Court to be picked this month

2426 Discovery Place, in Spokane Valley. The pageant is open to high school sophomore and junior girls living in the Spokane Valley.

Valleyfest will be holding a pageant on March 25 at 2 p.m. to select the 2017 Valleyfest Court and Miss Spokane Valley. The pageant will be held in the auditorium at CenterPlace Regional Event Center,

The judging for the pageant will consist of a panel interview, a speech with the topic of “What does Spokane Valley mean to me?” on-stage question and a display of

From Current New Sources

year after 39 years with the Cheney School District, plan to spend a lot of time with their grandchildren. Beyond that, he doesn’t have a lot of idea as to what he will do. “Whatever my wife tells me to,” he said.

By Staci Lehman

Two long-time East Valley School District employees are wrapping up their respective final year of employment, retiring after 30-plus years each with the district. John Savage and Jim McAdam have both spent their entire careers at various schools and administration positions in East Valley.

MARCH 2017 • 11

The winners of this pageant will be asked to represent Valleyfest this summer and will host the hospitality for other teens at the Valleyfest parade. Through the interview process and appearances at other parades, Valleyfest organizers are hoping to build upon public speaking skills and confidence in the applicants.

“East Valley has great kids,” he said. “They have great parents. East Valley has done so much for me. It’s just been a blessing for me.” Even so, McAdam is ready for a long-term vacation. He says things have changed since he became a principal in 1997. It’s more timeconsuming, demanding and more difficult in general. And you really have to like kids. “You have to have a love for kids, no matter how rough and tough they are,” he said. “But there hasn’t been one I haven’t liked.” In his retirement, McAdam plans to spend time with his grandkids. He and his wife, who retired last

a talent or hobby. Upon the completion of the mutually agreed upon engagements during the summer, the Miss Spokane Valley Court will receive a Miss Spokane Valley Scholarship. There is no cost for the young women to enter this pageant. The application is located at www.Valleyfest. org. If you have any questions concerning this pageant or the application process please contact the Valleyfest office at 922-3299.

“Both are extremely studentcentered,” Shea said. “And they’re both phenomenal advocates for kids. No matter what the conversation seems to be, they’re always coming at it with the perspective of ‘How does this benefit the kids?’” Shea is waiting to see what the state legislature does concerning school funding before filling John Savage’s position for the 2018 school year. The process is underway now to find a new East Valley High School principal. More information on that process can be found on the East Valley School District website at A recommendation as to whom to hire will be made by Shea at the May 23 school board meeting. Shea used a sports analogy to explain how truly remarkable the contributions of Savage and McAdam have been to East Valley. “Rarely do you see an athlete play for the same team his or her whole career,” he said. “For these guys to spend their entire career in the same school district, it’s not just a service to public education but it was a service to this community. That, to me, is exceptional.”


12 • MARCH 2017

Addressing the Abode – Home improvement season springs forward

The Current

By Staci Lehman

Current Correspondent With apologies to baseball, home improvement has become the great American pastime. American’s spend over $333 billion on repair and improvement projects each year, according to the Home Improvement Institute, an organization of manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers in the home improvement industry. And that number is growing every year. Home improvement is such a strong industry that it has kept Peters Hardware, at Sprague and Pines, in business for 83 years. “Home improvement and home repair is our big thing,” said owner Gary Peters.

Home improvement across the U.S. has turned into a multi-billion dollar business with a range of upgrades, colors, styles and fashions available. In the Spokane Valley area, the modern-day home makeover has become especially popular in the spring when the snow and ice clear and make it possible for homeowners to actually view how their dwellings could be improved. File photo Peters’ grandfather started the business in 1934 and it has been going strong ever since. As the weather warms, the business’ busy season is just around the corner. “Spring is definitely our busiest

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time,” said Peters. Darren Folsom, owner of Hands for Hire contractor service, based in Spokane Valley, agrees. “I’ll see it ramp up here in about a month or two,” Folsom said. “Then it will be really busy through the summer.” Being a general contractor, Folsom works on a wide variety of home improvement and repair projects and sees some definite trends. From colors and materials to landscaping and gardening, just like clothes, Folsom says house styles change with the decades. The latest trend, when it comes to remodels, is to make homes more accessible as the population ages and homeowners try to stay in their homes longer. “The split entry was very popular for many years,” said Folsom. “It allowed for more useable floor space, but the trend has gone away from California split entrances to more of a rancher style or one level.”

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Many homeowners are also renovating by combining rooms or building additions for the same reason, as well as for entertaining. “They like the bigger great room or bigger entry room or they combine the entry room and kitchen,” Folsom said. “A big kitchen, dining room and living room are what I see as trends.” A movement toward reducing your carbon footprint with environmentally-responsible or

“green” building methods and supplies has also been underway lately, but Folsom says being smart about how you use any kind of materials can be more effective. “It’s more about being efficient,” he said. “It’s about being smarter in how you put things together to make them more efficient.” While adding insulation and replacing leaky windows and doors may not necessarily add to the resale value of your home, Folsom says such upgrades can have more of an impact in the amount of fossil fuels you use to heat or cool your home than investing in more expensive recycled materials. You also may be eligible for rebates from your power company and will save money on energy in the long run. “If you’re saving $10 to $20 in the really hot and really cold months, you’re probably looking at a fiveyear payoff on your materials,” he said. Another smaller-scale energy saving change Folsom recommends that will spruce up the look of your home is adding new doors. “Energy loss through a home, number one, is through your ceiling, then doors and windows.” If you really want to change the appearance of your house but an addition or kitchen remodel isn’t in the budget, both Folsom and Peters agree the most cost-effective and

See RENOVATE, Page 13

The Current


MARCH 2017 • 13

Home upgrades usher in change of seasons By Staci Lehman

Current Correspondent At local hardware stores, winter can be a predictable time for inventory.

Peter's Hardware on Sprague Avenue is known as a popular hub for home improvement projects. The business began in 1934 and carries a wide range of products for household upgrades including many varieties of paint. Photo by Staci Lehman


Continued from page 12

easiest improvement you can make is paint – both inside and out. Folsom and his crew are hired fairly often to paint homes. “Because paint is relatively inexpensive. It’s 80 percent labor and 20 percent materials and it makes it look new,” he said. Peters also suggests some small changes that can make a big cosmetic difference. “Updating knobs or locks, stuff like that, it’s not too expensive,” he said. “And small landscaping projects. We sell a lot of garden stuff.” And a lot of plumbing items, especially for sprinkler systems. “Plumbing is our biggest seller by far,” said Peters. “I don’t know if you have a sprinkler system but they’re always breaking and you have to fix them every spring. Especially this winter because of the heavy freeze.” Despite the hard winter, deep snow and lingering ice, on a recent rainy Saturday, Peters said people were already buying seeds and outdoor supplies. Others were looking for items as varied as hose clamps, sandpaper and paint. “We have quite a variety of customers,” said Peters. “Onefourth are contractors/remodelers and another one-fourth are businesses.” The rest are do-it-yourselfers, looking for ways to make their

homes more comfortable, more energy efficient and more valuable when it comes time to resell. And the warmer weather seems to bring out the makeover specialist in all of us. Although many of us will also find out the hard way that our ambitions are bigger than our skill set when it comes to projects around the home. So who do you go to to build that deck, remodel your bathroom or lay new flooring? Folsom, the contractor, says there are many qualified handy men or contractors in the area but he says it’s important to do your homework when hiring one. “I would recommend someone that’s licensed, bonded and insured,” he said. “Contractors are required to have a minimum of two million dollars in liability insurance.” He also says to keep in mind that if you hire a person that is not a licensed contractor, that person is essentially your employee so if they get hurt on the job, your homeowner insurance is on the hook to cover them. For that reason he recommends checking contractor reviews on sites like Angie’s List and to ensure the person you are hiring is a professional. As for what projects to tackle, Folsom says he believes finances usually have the final say for many homeowners. “The economy seems to be a big driver in whether it’s big projects or little projects,’ he says.

“All winter long it’s been just sand, salt and shovels,” said Josh Hughes, a sales associate at Miller’s Hardware in Spokane, of the store’s biggest sellers. That’s about to change though. While March may come in like a lion, many people are hoping it goes out like a lamb, as the saying goes, so they can fix some of the damage caused by winter and get a jump on other home improvement projects. Bent and broken rain gutters were casualties at some homes this winter from heavy snow loads and a few people even had structural damage such as collapsed carports. While some homeowners are taking care of those issues, others are already planning how to get their yards back in shape for summer. “Spring through summer its sprinklers and irrigation stuff,” Hughes said of the most popular seasonal items he sells. If you are considering some improvements around the house, spring, known as a time of renewal, is a great time to get started. It could be something small like switching from traditional light bulbs to LEDs if to save money, or the environment, is your goal.

Many people prefer how LEDs look, but they are also easier, and safer, to dispose of than Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs). Because they contain mercury, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you recycle CFLs rather than throwing them away to prevent mercury from escaping into the atmosphere. You can’t put them in your recycle bin though, so how to get rid of CFLs? Hughes, at Miller’s Hardware, and all locations of area Do It Best hardware stores, can help. “We have a recycling drop off for CFLs for customers,” he said. “Up to 10 bulbs per customer per day.” Plumbing repairs and upgrades are other common projects Hughes and his colleagues hear about often. “We probably spend more time in these two aisles than any other,” said Hughes of the plumbing section at Miller’s. He says his business does have handymen and contractors who come in every day for materials, but most of their business is doit-yourselfers. “We have our fair share of people who come in here and ask questions,” he said. They also have a lot of people who come in to visit the store’s “real” boss, the resident dog “Bear.” Because not everyone is a natural handyman, Hughes’ has some advice on when you should take on a project yourself and when you should hire someone to do it: “I would just say keep an open mind and talk to people to make sure you have an understanding of what it involves and if you can handle it,” he said.


14 • MARCH 2017

The Current

Calendar of Events COMMUNITY EVENTS 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 Registration is $15. For more information call 924-6976. March 11 and 18 | Spokane Valley Library quilting workshop, 3 to 6 p.m., Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave., Spokane Valley With the help of a Kenyan Batik artist and local teens and tweens, the Valley Library will be creating a new quilt to display in the library. Registration and additional information can be found here: ilt-de s i g n -w i t h - l ocal-art istnicholas-sironka/. March 17 | West Valley Kiwanis Saint Patrick’s Day Music Jam and Fundraiser, 5 to 9 p.m., Longhorn Barbecue, 2315 N Argonne Rd., Spokane Valley. There will be an open mic upstairs and jamming groups throughout the restaurant. Bring your instrument, family, friends, have dinner, and join the fun listening or playing. All proceeds go to the West valley Kiwanis Foundation which will provide scholarships to study music, fine arts, or performing arts. For more information please call Red Weiler, 928-0955. March 24 | New Liberty Lake Fire Station #3 Groundbreaking, 11 a.m. Join SVFD as it breaks ground on our new Liberty Lake Fire Station #3, to be located at 21300 E. Country Vista Drive. The current fire station on Harvard Road is being relocated to help assure our emergency response coverage keeps pace with development and growth. Construction will be complete by the end of the year. March 24 | Merciful March, 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., downtown Spokane. This unique fundraiser benefits Blessings Under the Bridge, a nonprofit started by Liberty Lake residents Mike and Jessica Kovac that provides food, clothes, hope and encouragement to this region’s homeless population. Participants

will “spend 12 hours in the shoes of a homeless person” with donors pledging money for each hour spent outside. For more information, contact Blessings Under the Bridge at 869-6697 or go to www.butb. org. March 31 | Spaghetti Feed Fundraiser, 4-7 p.m. at the Tri Community Grange, 25025 Heather Street, Newman Lake. All you can eat spaghetti, salad, bread, dessert and beverage. Take outs are welcome. Adults $8, children age 5 and above $5, children under 5 free. More information at 2261389 or email eyrock13@gmail. com.

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 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 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. DivorceCare Recovery Support Group | Mondays 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 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. 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 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 8924412 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 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 physically-

handicapped 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.

MUSIC & THE ARTS March 14 | Painting with a Twist benefit for Children FIRST Therapy, 7 to 9 p.m., 11703 E. Sprague Ave., Ste. B3. Sign up at Spokane-valley.

RECURRING Drop-in Square Dance Lessons | 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 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 org Spokane Valley Writers’ Group

The Current

MARCH 2017 • 15


| 6:15 p.m. the first and third Thursdays of the month. Lakeside Church, 23129 E. Mission Ave. This supportive critique group welcomes adult writers. More at 570-4440.


Teen Writers of the Inland Empire | 4 p.m., first Thursday of the month (except holidays). Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. Teen writers (grade six and older) meet to write and share their work. More at 893-8400.

• Badminton open gym: 7 to 9 p.m. Tues., $5/person

HEALTH & RECREATION March 11 | Para Sport 3-on-3 on Wheels Basketball Tournament, the HUB Sports Center, 19619 E. Cataldo Ave., Liberty Lake. Love basketball? Want a new challenge? Try playing wheelchair basketball with your friends in a fun 3- on-3 format tournament that benefits ParaSport Spokane, a program for athletes with physical disabilities. Cost is $250 per team with up to 10 players per team. For more information, call David at 8506858. March 11 | 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 There will be a $10 landing fee for participants. March 20-30 | Spokane Valley Bears Sports Club tryouts, various times, all at Central Valley High School gymnasium, 821 S. Sullivan Road, Spokane Valley. Tryouts are for AAU and Competitive Y basketball for incoming third through seventh graders. For more information, email svbearsclub@ March 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.

HUB Sports Center 19619 E. Cataldo Ave. Various activities and events occur throughout the week including:

Father Daughter Dance 2017

• 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)

Under Sea

• Classes including Kenpo Karate, Modern Farang-Mu Sul, and Zumba Aerobics. See website for cost and times.


KidFIT Spokane HUB Sports Center, 19619 E. Cataldo Ave. This children’s movement and fitness program offers classes in dance (ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop), cheerleading and gymnastics for girls and boys ages 3 and older. More at 953-7501 or www.


Yoga in Rockford | 5:30 p.m. 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.

7 TO 9 P.M.

Doors open at 6:30pm

CIVIC & BUSINESS RECURRING 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. Spokane Valley Kiwanis | 6:45 a.m. Tuesdays. Valley Hospital Education Center, 12606 E. Mission Ave. More at www. Spokane Valley Rotary | Noon to 1 p.m., Tuesdays. Darcy’s, 10502 E. Sprague Ave. More at www.

Want us to include your event in our calendar? It’s free! Just send us the event, date, contact information, and any other vital details to

To purchase tickets: GO TO: Space is limited, early registration is encouraged!

Dana 995-4043 or Linda 951-3573

The Current

16 • MARCH 2017

Central Valley voters to decide on new schools By Staci Lehman

Current Correspondent The Central Valley School District (CVSD) may be adding a third high school. The CVSD School Board voted unanimously at its Dec. 12 meeting to include three major projects and several smaller ones on a bond that would go to voters in 2018. Those large projects include renovating Horizon Middle School, constructing a sixth middle school in the district and constructing a third high school to alleviate crowding at existing Central Valley and University high schools. A 2015 fact sheet says that, since 2005, the district has grown by 1,700 students, without adding new schools. That is the equivalent of one new high school or three new elementary schools. And that number is projected to grow. Around 900 additional students are expected to be added between now and 2021.

While the district is experiencing capacity issues, members of a Capital Facilities Committee made up of parents, staff and community stakeholders say the need for more space is most apparent at the high school level. At the December meeting, CVSD Board President Debbie Long told committee members that a quality education is the most important factor, no matter which school a student attends. “Space is an issue,” Long said. “I think the toughest conversation that we have is that third high school. We may be a Bear, we may be a Titan…I want my child to get the most they can out of their education in an environment that is responsible. So space is an issue and I appreciate it that you took it to heart.” A new high school has been discussed for almost 40 years since the district purchased approximately 50 acres at 16th and Henry, near the Saltese Uplands Conservation Land, in 1980. “There was a discussion about this for many, many years and it is also one of those things that I heard through the interview process, through the community response,” said CVSD Superintendent Ben Small. “It was brought up an awful

lot and every single time we would think about doing a bond in the Central Valley School District,” If the bond passes, the school will be built to accommodate about 1,600 students. Initially though, it will only have to house between 1,400 and 1,450. During the process of researching the potential for another district high school, officials also looked into whether the Saltese site is the best location. A review of alternative sites turned up only one comparable property and it had a major drawback. “With the price that we paid for the property in 1980, compared to what we would pay for a piece of property on Country Vista or a piece of property in the Telido Station area (north of I-90 near the HUB Sport Center) of that size, you quickly can do a cost-benefit ratio and find that building it here versus buying property at $10 to $12 million is what you would spend on property,” said Small. “I think we would take criticism for doing that when we already have this property purchased.” If voters approve the bond and a new high school is built, the site could include a potential bonus. “We have space on that site

plan for about a 15,000-squarefoot building that would house an interpretive center,” Small said. “It would house some kind of an amphitheater and house our students that are coming to the site to learn about the wetlands to learn about the conservation land that’s up to the east of it and we have already been talking to people from the Community Colleges of Spokane, from other school districts that would love to have that kind of space available to them.” The 2018 bond will also include a new middle school at Telido Station that would be built for 450 students, with capacity to expand to up to 750. The renovation of Horizon Middle School, also slated for the bond, would update the HVAC and electrical systems, flooring, car and bus pickup zones and other areas. Built in 1982, the school is in serious need of updating, district officials say. While the numbers are preliminary, the Capital Facilities Committee anticipates the bond amount to be around $130 million. The proposed new high school would require approximately $86 million of local funds and $13 million in state matching funds. The new middle school would account for $26.6 million in local funds and does not qualify for state match money. The renovation of Horizon Middle School is expected to be about $18.4 million in local funds and $6.6 of federal dollars. In addition, some smaller projects, such as HVAC upgrades at the two existing high schools, would be included in the bond. The school board will pass a resolution in 2017 to set the amount of the bond and decide on the date in 2018 that it will appear on the ballot.

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The Current

Library welcomes traditional Irish music with Floating Crowbar By Gwendolyn Haley

LIBRARY you tapping and clapping along. Concerts at the library are always free and suitable for all audiences and are a great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. For those of you in the Spokane Valley area, you can hear Floating Crowbar play at the Otis Orchards Library on Wednesday, March 15, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. If you can’t wait that long to listen to Irish music, you can find a wealth of artists and compilations

to borrow on hoopla, the library district’s streaming service for music. Simply visit the library’s webpage at, and select “Digital Library” and then “hoopla.” You use your library card to create a hoopla account. The library also has a local music collection of Irish folk music on CD, including the Floating Crowbars’ album “Torn Jacket.” If you haven’t heard the dulcet tones of Celtic music, I encourage you to give these artists a listen.

While I was growing up in North Carolina, my parents often spent Sunday afternoons listening to “Thistle and Shamrock,” a public radio program featuring Celtic music. I’d bring whatever book I was reading into the living room and curl up on the couch to listen and read.

MARCH 2017 • 17

FREE CONCERT FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY! Whimsical tunes Magical melodies Classic covers of The Beatles

That led to a lifelong love of the genre and Celtic music makes me think of home. So, naturally, I am excited that local band Floating Crowbar is performing at several of our libraries during the month of March. Floating Crowbar features musicians Morgan Andersen, James Hunter, Rick Rubin and Don Thomsen. All four play several instruments, including uilleann pipes, flute, whistle, banjo, mandolin, fiddle and guitar, and contribute vocals. Their high-energy mix of Irish instrumental music and songs drawn from traditional and contemporary sources will have

Discussing poetry’s influence with Washington’s poet laureate By Erin Dodge

Poetry can sing us a song, open us to a moment, inspire us to reach higher and go further. Washington State Poet Laureate and Gonzaga University Professor Tod Marshall leads a poetry discussion series at Spokane County Library District this March and April. Each event has a casual atmosphere where everyone is welcome to hear poems and discuss the influence and impact of poetry on our communities. “Never Too Much of the Green: Irish Poetry through History” takes

The Spokane County Library welcomes the band Floating Crowbar to the Otis Orchards branch on March 15. Contributed photo place at the Spokane Valley Library on Thursday, March 16, from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. Here are a couple of my questions and Dr. Marshall’s answers from our recent online interview. Erin Dodge: The limerick may be the first thing to come to mind for many when they hear the words “Irish poetry.” What else should come to mind? What can we discover from the Irish poets? Tod Marshall: Ireland has an incredibly rich history, both in poetry and fiction. I had the chance to teach for Gonzaga in Ireland last summer and Irish culture is one in which the word, written and spoken, is revered. Here is a short list of Irish poets to investigate: William Butler Yeats, Eavan Boland, Paula Meehan, Tony Curtis, Theo Dorgan, Mary O’Malley, Paul Durcan and John O’Donohue, to name only a few. Politics and poetry are as relevant to Irish poetry as they are

to questions of civil rights in our nation. ED: What poem or poet sparked your love for poetry? What about poetry made you choose it as your life’s work? TM: Well, I’ve always been a reader, going back to childhood books like ‘The Great Brain’ series and Tolkien. I became obsessed with poetry late, though. A great teacher in college asked me to focus a little bit more on the delightful sounds poetry makes rather than making immediate sense of a poem. Hart Crane’s ‘The Bridge,” incredibly challenging, woke me up to the music of poetry and I was hooked. Since then, I’ve continued to be enthralled by poetry because of the many directions it shares with other art forms – song, story, theater, all can manifest themselves in a poem. You can read the full interview online at

Sing. Dance. Enjoy the music! Bring a blanket to sit on (for when you’re not dancing). All ages are welcome. Saturday, April 1 10:30–11:30am CENTERPLACE, 2426 N Discovery Pl, Spokane Valley Sponsored by the Friends of the Spokane County Library District.

The Current

18 • MARCH 2017

PACE Trait of the Month – Diligence

be and knowing that this process wasn’t going to happen overnight, helped me to hone in on the mindset needed to accomplish getting healthy and back to playing the game I love. Accepting that progress is progress no matter how big or small and knowing that if I worked diligently my once wishful thought could - and now has become a reality.

By Trevor Kennedy Spokane Empire

I am at the tail end of what can only be described as excruciating rehabilitation process. For those who do not know, I broke my ankle just eight months ago and to think I would be able to return to play in such a short amount of time was seemingly only a wishful thought back then. This process has possibly been the single most difficult thing that I have done in my life to this point. There were a lot of peaks and valleys from day to day, some days went extremely well, but other days were equally as catastrophic. The diligent work that it took to get me to the point that I am today, not only physically but mentally, was definitely not easy. It was through such diligence

Trevor Kennedy and tedious planning and tenacious work ethic that even made it possible. There were days that I wanted to give up or maybe not try as hard but I have great friends and family that support me and have helped to keep me positive. They also motivated me on those days I didn’t feel like motivating myself.

Trevor Kennedy rejoins the Empire for his second season as a member of the IFL after earning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2016. Despite missing the final three games of the regular season due to injury, Trevor finished his rookie campaign leading the IFL in rushing yards (720), rushing touchdowns (28) and total points scored (236). He also added 35 receptions for 273 yards and nine

touchdowns, plus finished third in the league in all-purpose yards with 1,613. Trevor joined the Empire in 2016 after participating in the team’s open tryout at The Chamber in Miami, Florida. Before joining the IFL he Kennedy spent time with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League, the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers. During his collegiate career at Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania, he finished second all-time in receptions (194), receiving yards (2,758) and allpurpose yards (4,249). He also tied the school’s career receiving touchdown record (28) and holds the record for all-purpose yards per game, averaging 118 per game over 36 career games.

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National Umbrella Month

Competitive Teams • Parkour, B and Hip Hop Classes • Parent’s • Bitty Bee Academy & Flippin’ Night • Open Gym for All Ages • G Birthday Parties • N


Umbrella Facts • The basic umbrella was invented over four thousand years ago. • An umbrella protects against the rain whereas a parasol protects against the sun. • Umbrellas are also known as a brolly, rainshade, gamp or a bumbershoot. • Parasols are said to have originated in ancient Egypt, they laced palm leaves together with sticks to protect royalty from sunlight. • Waterproof umbrellas were an invention of the ancient Chinese dating back to around the 11th century BC. • It wasn’t until the 19th century that umbrellas were made accessible to the public, until that time they were only for the wealthy and noble women. • At present, the majority of all umbrellas are made in China, in particular the city of Shangyu has over 1000 umbrella factories. • There are over 3000 active patents for umbrellarelated inventions in the U.S. at this time. • Approximately 33 million umbrellas are sold in U.S. annually.

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.

Ways to Celebrate

• To celebrate you can watch Mary Poppins or Singin’ in the Rain. • There’s fantastic books you can enjoy like • The Umbrella Party, Janet Lunn, 1998 • Christie’s friends all decide to give her umbrellas for her birthday, all shapes and sizes. She loves them all and nothing can ruin her umbrella party. • Ella’s Umbrellas, Jennifer Lloyd, 2010, • Ella has so many umbrellas that her mom wants her to get rid of some but that’ so hard to do. The bright artwork and nice moral about the positives of sharing. • You could decorate your umbrella. • Enjoy a nice dance with your umbrella in the rain. • Sing Rain, Rain, Go Away • Color our umbrella page.

20 • MARCH 2017

In Like A Lamb, Out Like A Lamb By Lorie Hill

The Current

March roars in like a lion So fierce, The month rolls on The wind so cold, And Spring draws near, It seems to pierce. And March goes out Like a lamb so dear.

Lion/Lamb Craft Materials: It all depends on what you have… You can use two paper plates, 2 rounds of paper or even 2 plastic lids. Decorations may include pens, paper, crayons, cotton balls, eyes or… For our lion we started with drawing a face then we added small loops of colored paper to create the mane but, you could also use strips of paper, or if you don’t have colored paper, coloring or painting the mane are terrific options. Now for the lamb. We cut out a face and ears (the first try really looked like a pig), drew the snout, added a nose and eyes. Then comes the wool. The easiest way is cotton balls but, of course we were out, so we cut up tissue paper into squares, wrapped them around the end of a pencil, dipped it in glue and placed to create wool. Attach your two creations back-to-back to hang because March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.

The Current

MARCH 2017 • 21

PACE Trait Diligence

Persistence, dedication and hard work


FOR ALL GOALS & ABILITIES TODDLER THROUGH ADULT Competitive Teams • Parkour, Breakdance and Hip Hop Classes • Parent’s Night Out • Bitty Bee Academy & Flippin’ Fun Move Night • Open Gym for All Ages • Gymnastics Birthday Parties • Ninja Zone

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

315-5433 2515 N. Locust Road Spokane Valley 99206

Animal Facts

Cut them out and collect them all! Lion - Africa - 4.5 to 6.5 feet long, 265 to 550 pounds - Lifespan average of 12 years, twice that in captivity - Lion, lioness, cub, pride (3-40) - Seven species threatened, lessthan 20,000 - Second largest and most social of all cats with very few predators - Female is primary hunter - Run 50 mph, rest for 20 hours per day

The Current

22 • MARCH 2017

David was born and raised in Bridgewater, New Jersey and graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a Fine Arts degree. In 1980, he did the illustrations for the first of over a dozen books that were published with other authors. Loathsome Dragon, a book co-written with his wife was published in 1987. Since then, he has written and illustrated nine books along with illustrating several for other authors. He has won three Caldecott medals. a feat that has only been accomplished by one other person, and been nominated for three others. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have won numerous awards in America and around the world.

Author Spotlight ner s e i W d i Dav

Books we recommend The Three Pigs (2001) ages 4-7 A very inventive take on the classic where pigs fly and dragons are real. Winner of the 2002 Caldecott medal.

The Loathsome Dragon (1987) ages 5-9 Written with his wife Kim Kahng, this is a memorable version of an English fairy tale. David’s illustrations are beautiful. The recent re-release has had some changes so try to find the original from 1987.

Hurricane (1992) ages 4-9 The exceptional artwork in this story really makes you look. It encourages you to use your imagination and want to play outside.

Flotsam (2006) ages 4-10 Winner of the 2007 Caldecott Medal, this wordless book is colorful and sure to inspire those who read it to create their own magic.

The Current

Student of the Month In the classroom and on the court, Kaleen Pope achieves at an exceptional level. The senior at Valley Christian School was an all-league selection in volleyball this season and part of a squad that advanced to state for the first time in 16 years. In basketball, Pope averaged nine points, seven rebounds and two assists per game for the Panthers who qualified for districts and won 13 games. The senior had a season-high 24 points against Columbia. Pope has also participated in track, throwing the discus and shotput and running the 200-meter dash. She serves as ASB president and maintains a 3.92 grade point average.

Citizen of the Month

Thanks you for all you do in our community

MARCH 2017 • 23

“Honoring local communities and encouraging citizen involvement” 509.242.7752 | PO Box 363 | Liberty Lake, WA 99019 |



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Join Us












soaring to national and international acclaim.

mu Com







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.

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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.

The Current now has a 25,000 copy Current founder circulation with 15,000 being direct weighs in on formative days of paper mailed to households across the Spokane Valley area in addition to the 10,000 copies being available for pickup at over 250 business locations. About 9,000 copies of The Splash are distributed around the end of each month, 5,500 of those through direct mail to every home and business in the greater Liberty Lake community.

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

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 …”

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.”


When it comes to a community volunteering effort known as SCOPE (Sheriff’s Community Oriented Policing Effort), Rick Scott leads with skill, intelligence and generosity. The Spokane native and West Valley High graduate began volunteering with the group in 1997 while as resident of the Edgecliff community. He was a catalyst in an effort that transformed the neighborhood and drastically reduced crime. He was named director of SCOPE in 2003. Scott was honored with a national volunteer award by Bank of America for his work in Edgecliff. Led by Scott, SCOPE contributes 80,000 volunteer hours each year. The organization features nearly 20 programs and has 18 stations throughout the county.







Come visit your Spokane Valley Neighborhood Financial Center located at 615 N Sullivan Road

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FEBRUARY 2017 • 9


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A native of China, Hanyu Sun came to the U.S. in 2014 and quickly established himself as an outstanding scholar. The senior at Valley Christian School maintains a 3.98 grade point average and is a member of the National Honor Society. He serves as senior class treasurer and yearbook photographer. As a member of the VCS Knowledge Bowl team, Sun is recognized as to go-to person for math questions. He was selected for the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists Award of Excellence and is part of the National Society of High School Scholars. When not studying, Sun plays club badminton. Sun has an interest in biochemistry and mechanical engineering and hopes to go into international business after college.

“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

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

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.

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24 • MARCH 2017 Brought to you by

About and for Valley seniors

Senior singers, musicians chime in with Project Joy By Tyler Wilson

Current Correspondent Look out, Taylor Swift, because the entertainers of Project Joy are booking gigs all over the Inland Northwest. Project Joy is an organization of performers age 50 and over who provide a variety of entertainment for local care centers, assisted living facilities, retirement complexes, civic and fraternal organizations, schools and more. Entertainers include solo musicians and singers, as well as groups and bands in a variety of musical genres. The Hillyard Belles and Trainmen, for example, is an ensemble comprised of about 30 seniors who present music, dance and costuming from the 1920s and railroad era. L’Agreable is a cello and piano duo, Tap Grandmas are tap dancers and the Project Joy Orchestra combines strings, woodwinds, brass and percussions from approximately 50 local musicians. Currently, there are more than 25 individual acts and groups available for booking through Project Joy on the organization’s website. Performers are volunteers and the program is partially funded by the city of Spokane Parks and

Project Joy is a volunteer-based program consisting of senior musicians and singers 50 years or older. The organization has 40 different groups comprised of 220 volunteers. Contributed photo Recreation, with supplemental support from facilities, grants and donations. Spokane Valley resident Jan Munson is a singer who performs with two groups through Project Joy – the Senior Serenaders chorale alongside about 50 other singers, and the Les Femmes ladies ensemble comprised of six to eight singers. The music is a collection of classics and familiar standards across many styles. “We sing a lot of songs we grew up on,” Munson said. “I like all kinds of music besides rap.” Project Joy keeps her busy. Munson said the groups typically perform a few times per month, plus weekly rehearsal time. “We retirees just have lots of fun, you know?” Munson said. While many of the performers have a long history of music, anyone age 50 and older with a love of music, dance and dramatics is encouraged to join Project Joy. The Senior Serenaders are led by Harlan Henderson, who spent 40 years teaching choir in the Cheney School District.

“It gives the performers an outlet to continue doing something they were involved with when they were younger,” Henderson said. “We also get to share that with other senior citizens who may not have that ability. Maybe they can’t get out to entertainment, so we bring the entertainment to them.” Henderson said leading the choir is all fun compared to teaching the occasional group of unruly teenagers, as he had to do sometimes in his career. “There is no discipline issue at all,” Henderson said. “They are highly motivated to work and get things done.” The groups often perform for memory care units and for people facing dementia and Alzheimer’s. Munson said music in many cases can be therapeutic to those individuals. “Some people mouth the words and we encourage them to sing with us,” Munson said. “We even have a song called ‘Music Speaks,’ about when words fail us, music speaks. So it definitely lends itself to those things.”

Project Joy groups perform at care centers, assisted living tacilities, retirement complexes, civic and fraternal organizations, schools and for special events. Contributed photo Availability for Project Joy performers is typically during daylight hours on weekdays, though early evening and weekend times can be arranged on a caseby-case basis. Performances are typically 30-45 minutes in length. The amount of donation per performance is determined at booking and is based on the production costs for the type and size of group. Want to find out more? For more information on Project Joy, including details and videos of the available performers, visit The web site also contains information on how to join the organization. The Project Joy office is located at 3151 E. 27th Ave. in Spokane and can be reached at 535-0584 or by email at The office is open 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.

The Spokane Parks and Recreation Department partially funds Project Joy with supplemental support from facilities, grants, community development monies and personal donations. Because most of the participants are volunteers, the shows and concerts are generally during the daylight hours on weekdays. Contributed photo

The Current

MARCH 2017 • 25

Where Wellness Is A Way Of Life

Come join us for a

Senior Irish Festival SATURDAY, MARCH 18th 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Live Music from the Crooked Kilt musicians Dancing with the Turner Sisters Irish Food & Beverages Community Tours! • Independent Living • Light Assisted Living • Walking Trail • Wellness & Fitness Center • Gourmet Chef • Cottage Homes • Swimming Pool & Spa • Assisted Living • Bistro

Locally Owned and Operated by the Arger Family

The Current

26 • MARCH 2017

Unified Sports offers inclusive arena for athletics

By Jamie Borgan Current Correspondent The benefits of team sports for young athletes are well known but unfortunately those opportunities are often unavailable to special education students. A program at University High School in Spokane Valley focuses on inclusion as a way to bridge that gap. The Unified Sports model pairs a special education athlete with a fellow student who assists the athlete as needed during the sporting event to allow for participation as fully as possible. The rest of the rules of the game remain the same; fields are a standard size and the same equipment is utilized as would be in traditional games. The Unified Sports program began at U-Hi with a grant from Special Olympics of Washington. Western Washington had employed this model of sports for special needs athletes for years, but Eastern Washington only had traditional Special Olympics programs to offer its athletes. With a threeyear start- up grant from Special Olympics of Washington, U-Hi was able to build its own program, recruiting coaches, athletes and partners. The program has grown so substantially that there are now multiple Unified Sports teams at U-Hi for flag football, basketball and soccer.

Not only do the Unified Sports teams create opportunities for special needs students, they also draw students who haven’t traditionally participated in sports, says Unified Sports Assistant Coach Samantha Kern. She says many of the partner athletes were never interested in sports, but appreciate the Unified Sports approach for other reasons, often for the opportunity to work with special needs students in such a unique way. Kern says that the program creates not just athletic opportunities, but also the chance for students who might not otherwise interact to get to know each other and form community. A high school athlete herself, Kern was excited for the chance to coach youth in such an inclusive way. Kern says the rewards for athletes and coaches are enormous and that the program is worth “pouring your heart into.” She says she’s seen the program be transformative, both for special needs students and their partners, as they learn leadership skills and the value of teamwork. MJ Bolt, a local parent who once served on the Central Valley School District Board of Directors, saw the benefits of Unified Sports when her son, Preston, began participating as a sophomore at U-Hi. He would go on to play basketball, football and soccer through his senior year. “Unified sports is a fabulous opportunity for all students involved,” Bolt said. “Special Olympics athletes get the opportunity to play a school sport with their school peers, helping them to feel more a genuine part of the school community. It is great for all involved because it also offers inclusive opportunities for

Each fall, the Unified Sports flag football team from University High School competes against the crosstown rival from Central Valley High School during Homecoming weekend. Contributed photo

Unified Sports is a program at that offers student-athletes with developmental disabilities the opportunity to participate in basketball, flag football and soccer. Each participant is paired with fellow student during games. Contributed photo the partners (non-Special Olympic athletes) who may not have school sport opportunities otherwise.” Bolt said Unified Sports creates a level playing field with fairness and respect carrying over into the classroom. “Kids know when they are excluded from activities for whatever the reason, which unfortunately can sometimes send them the message that they don’t belong,” she said .”Unified Sports brings the entire school community together and shows that we are better together and that everyone, even our most disadvantaged, are an important part of our community.” None of the coaches involved in the program are paid. Unified Sports Head Coach Kelvin Martin says that the only funding coming into the program at this point has to be raised by coaches and volunteers, many of whom are athletes’ parents. Martin acts as coordinator and part-time booster for the program, helping to organize teams and recruit coaches, athletes and volunteers. Before becoming a special education teacher, Martin spent 12 years in the Marines. He hadn’t been involved much in sports himself, but started coaching a traditional Special Olympics team when he became a teacher five years ago. When the opportunity to put together a Unified Sports team came about, Martin was excited to get involved. The Unified Sports teams at U-Hi started with only a soccer season, but expanded to basketball in the second year, eventually adding a

flag football team. The flag football team plays U-Hi’s rival, Central Valley, every year for Homecoming. Though both Kern and Martin emphasize that the purpose of the Unified Sports teams is to create a safe space for students of all abilities to play sports and have fun, they both assert that the program can be quite competitive. Their basketball and soccer teams have both made it to state competitions and done well, but Martin says he’s been surprised at the high level of competition they face, especially from teams west of the Cascades with older, more established programs. Unified Sports has been warmly embraced by the U-Hi community. Kern says many staff come out to watch games and the administration helps them promote their program. She says the teams easily attract students to support the athletes and often have athletes join from other U-Hi sports programs, simply for the camaraderie and opportunity to help others enjoy athletics. Both Kern and Martin hope to keep sustaining Unified Sports. They recognize that the opportunities it creates for students are incalculable and provide long-lasting benefits. Many colleges, including Eastern Washington University, now offer their own Unified Sports programs, so that athletes can keep participating beyond high school. Martin loves the creation of such a non-exclusive way of experiencing sports. “The whole program is based on inclusion,” she said. “Everybody can participate.”

The Current

Valley Sports Notebook

By Mike Vlahovich Current Sports Editor State tournament competition is left to basketball following completion of the wrestling and gymnastics seasons. Valley schools had their share of wrestling successes during Mat Classic XXIX in Tacoma. Central Valley and University tied for 11th in class 4A team scoring and combined to place a total of eight wrestlers in the top eight. East Valley placed three of four and West Valley sent four to state (two boys and two girls) and all four placed. The Bears’ Braeden Orrino captured the elusive state title he’d chased the past four years. He only had one scare, a 6-5 decision that put him in the championship match. Other victories came by pin, a minute into his opener, 9-2, and 8-1 for the title. Teammates Bridger Beard finished third at 138 pounds and John Keiser fifth at 220. Also qualifying for state was Bradley Wiggs at 132. West Valley’s 160-pound Drake Ferguson, a defending state champion, suffered a heart-wrenching 1-0 loss in the finals and was denied a second straight state title.

Final Point Modern-day Titans and one historic Piston

By Mike Vlahovich Current Sports Editor “I’ve got to become a decent coach this year.” That’s what Don Owen said. That’s kind of like saying Gonzaga coach Mark Few better step up his effort. This season, Owen’s University wrestling team lost for the first time ever to Mt. Spokane. Later on, they would be thrashed by Mead. In U-Hi’s defense, Greater Spokane League champion Mead thrashed everybody. But the Titans were young and there were some kids, Owen said, who hadn’t bought in to what their coaches were trying to teach. “After our first match of the year, I brought them back and said our goal is to become one of the most improved teams in January,” Owen told me at the time. “With young kids like that, you have to give them something to fight for.”


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“If there was a more loaded bracket I’d be shocked,” Eagles coach Geoff Hensley said. “Every round he wrestled a multiple state placer.” Eagles’ teammate Quintin Stansbury was seventh at 170 and girls Miranda Scott and Jasmine Fryer were fourth and seventh respectively. University had five placers out of seven entrants: Terrell Sanders, took seventh at 128; Max Clark was fifth at 126. Caleb Thomas was fifth; Neftali Lopez sixth at 195, and Clayton Fincher fifth at 285. Also competing were Tim Westbrook and Hunter Greggerson. East Valley finished ninth in the 2A state tourney. Randy McDonald reached the 132 pound finals as did Winston Scott at 182, both finishing second. Teammate Brennon McDermott, a sophomore, was seventh at 113. Landon Hofstee also competed at 220. Freeman’s 1A League wrestling team finished seventh, including Hunter Nees’s championship at 113 pounds. Logan Holt was third at 120, Zach Hyta fifth at 195 and Garrett Trevino, seventh at 220. Nathan Werner and Colton Thiede were other Freeman state qualifiers. Titan gymnasts sixth University represented the Greater Spokane League as a team at the state 4A gymnastics meet, finishing fifth out of eight foes.

Pam Styborski, Shaunay Garcia, Demri Oglesbee, Anna Johnson, Autumn Gallagher and Stacey McNeely were the state competitors. Individually, Johnson finished 12th on uneven bars, Styborsky and Oglesbee placed 10th and 12th respectively during floor excercise and Garcia finished among the top 30 on vault and balance beam. Central Valley’s Chloe Robbins in floor exercise and Victoria Axtell on vault and floor also competed during the meet. Experiment continues The defending champion Central Valley girls’ basketball team is at the center of the “Great Experiment,” that, though highly unlikely, could conceivably pit the state 4A first and second ranked teams back-to-back in the first and second rounds. Despite going unbeaten and being the defending champions with 51 straight wins, the Bears get no respect. They are seeded fifth in the tournament and likely to play No. 2 Moses Lake in the second round, presuming CV got past No. 4 Sunnyside in the seeding regionals after presstime. The Bears outscored Pasco, Richland and Gonzaga Prep by a combined 206-91 to reach regionals. Lexie Hull averaged 16.2 points per game during the season and scored 56 points during three district wins.

Her twin, Lacie, averaged 13 points during the year. Camryn Skaife had a huge tournament, scoring in double figures twice after averaging 3.4 points during the regular season. Knights after fourth East Valley girls (16-6) were seeking their fourth straight state 2A trip, having placed sixth, fifth and third the previous three seasons. They were seeded 10th in the 16-team regional. Sophomore Genesis Wilkinson had 18 points in two games during regionals and Brie Holocek, a freshman, lone senior Elle Burland and sophomore Faith Adams averaged 10 points each per game. Freeman the favorite Based on RPI, the Scotties boys’ basketball squad (21-1) is the team to beat. A finalist last year, Freeman opened against Northeast A League foe Newport during their play-in game for state after presstime. Freeman was led by Dylan Maine with a 17.4 average this season followed by Michael Coumont at 16.3 and Dylan Oja at 10.7. Trigsted stars Phoebe Trigsted scored in double figures in each of 23 games leading Valley Christian School to the girls 1B district playoffs. She averaged 18.2 points during the regular season and the Popes – Jolynn, Kaleen and Kendra – combined for another 20. The Panthers finished 13-10.

Sure enough, this team was right where Owen’s teams usually are at this point during the season. U-Hi finished 7-2 in the GSL. Seven wrestlers, half of the 14-weight classes that make up a dual match, qualified for the state 4A tournament from an expanded regional and five placed. Two are seniors. It doesn’t surprise me. I’ve always considered Don a coaching savant, the best in the GSL regardless of sport. He’s made silk purses out of sows’ ears with his knack of finding weaknesses in other teams and propelling the Titans by jockeying wrestlers into different weight classes. Cases in point: Clayton Fincher wrestled mostly at 220 pounds and qualified for state at 285 where he placed fifth. State qualifiers Caleb Thomas and Neftali Lopez made it at 195 taking fifth and sixth. Thomas wrestled his season at 220 and 285. Hunter Greggerson made Tacoma at 170. He wrestled half the season at 182. The list goes on. Returning state placer Terrell Sanders qualified at 120 and Max Clark at 126 but each spent their dual seasons a weight higher, as did Tim Westbrook who made it at 113. Sanders finished seventh and Clark fifth.

Owen’s teams have won three state team titles – in 2005, ‘10 and ’11 – and finished second once. In the past 20 years, U-Hi has brought home 11 top four trophies and had 23 individual champions among countless placers. And his wizardry isn’t relegated to wrestling alone. The longtime softball assistant calls pitches in the spring and it’s as if he’s clairvoyant. It struck me one particular game at state when my daughter, Linse, pitched, walked something like 10 batters and won 3-2. I apologized for the wildness, but Don told me she did exactly what he wanted her to do. He knew who could hit and who couldn’t and she walked the hitters that could cause trouble. ‘Nuff said. The Good Old Days? Former Detroit Piston Isaiah Thomas, in a column by sportswriter Shawn Windsor of the Detroit Free Press, was quoted as saying essentially that yesteryear’s NBA basketball players would easily overshadow today’s stars. Thomas called today’s professional game, “Straight summer league,” and said that he’d put up “crazy numbers,” in today’s league. Windsor countered that Thomas’s

era couldn’t hold a candle to the current athletes. “Their combination of shooting, ball-handling, vision and athleticism is altering how the game is played,” Windsor wrote. “This is a good thing.” Was the All-Star game score, 192-182, Exhibit A? Sounds like giant matadors swishing their capes aside as the bulls brush by on their way to the china shop. I don’t argue that what Windsor wrote may be true. But I recall an alumni basketball game at West Valley several years ago. Most were young kids not far removed from successful high school careers. Two exceptions were classmates of mine, Joe Pettit and Fred Sackett, who could have been their fathers. Like today’s professionals, the youngsters could get up and down court in a hurry and entertain. But their elders opened eyes. As we used to say in our recreational basketball days, “old age and treachery beats youth and skill.” The fundamentals and defense they learned in high school trumped the much younger runners and gunners. Maybe Isaiah Thomas had a point.

The Current

28 • MARCH 2017

Valley Chamber





Business Connections In this month’s Business Connections program, Colonel Ryan Samuelson, Commander and Chief for the 92nd Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base, will provide a detailed presentation about current base operations as well as update on its future. Get an inside perspective and update on the mission of Fairchild. Join us for this informative program about one of our region’s leading employers.

Friday, March 17 11:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m. Spokane Valley Event Center For more information and to register, viist our website:

West Valley’s Scott rallies for fourth at Mat Classic

By Mike Vlahovich Current Sports Editor Miranda Scott figured her season was over. The West Valley wrestler was defeated in the match that qualified the fourth and last berth to state during regional competition and would have to rely on another’s misfortune if her season could somehow continue. “I was very disappointed in being the alternate, but sort of thankful I was,” Miranda said, looking on the bright side. “I was happy to be an alternate.” Scott went along for the ride to Mat Classic in Tacoma with three state qualifying teammates for the experience of the Tacoma Dome if nothing else. The girl who beat her in regional wrestling had told her at the time that and might not be able to compete because of a shoulder injury. The night before state, began Miranda got a call that she would take her place. For a wrestler who wasn’t supposed to be there, this movie has a fairy tale ending. Scott brought home the fourth-place medal.

“Being fourth wasn’t even in my mind,” she said. “Win or lose, it was just amazing that I could compete.” Wrestling for female athletes was introduced a couple of years before Geoff Hensley returned as coach of the WV program this year. Miranda’s dad Ron, a former wrestler himself, became the girls’ coach. Seven girls finished the season, including sophomore Jasmine Fryer, who placed seventh in state at 235 pounds. Girls wrestling is growing, but at this point their tournament combines all school classifications with 224 competitors each in 14 weight classes. That’s one-sixth of the number of boys with five tournaments. If anything was lacking in Miranda’s game, Hensley said, it was self-belief. “Once she got confident you really saw (her talent) in the second match,” he said. Scott opened the tournament with an 8-4 victory. Trailing in the quarterfinals, she had a single leg takedown leading to a second-round pin. After losing to the eventual state champion who won the class with three pins and a technical fall, Miranda won two matches by pin before losing the bout for third and fourth. “At the beginning I didn’t have much pressure being the alternate,” Scott said.

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New Members ABC Office Equipment Company | Advanced Mechanical Systems, Inc American Heart Association | Binns Family Chiropractic | Bouten Construction Co. Clear Channel Media (iHeartMedia) | Contract Design Associates Intelligent Balance Spinal Care | Kershaw’s Inc | Krispy Kreme Spokane Premier Mortgage Resources – Carrie Eutsler | QBSI-Xerox Thrivent Financial – Brad Messerschmidt | Wilder Dentistry Renewing Members 1 – 5 YEARS: Affordable Optics | Canon Solutions America | Children FIRST Therapy Copiers Northwest Inc | De Leon Foods | Kelly Services, Inc | Le Catering Mountain Dog Sign Company | Nick’s Handmade Boots | Northwestern Mutual ParaSport Spokane | Precision Cutting Technologies | Premera Blue Cross Proactive Health Chiropractic | Purfect Logos, Inc | Schooley MitchellSloan’s Plumbing Vibrant Payments | Viking Builders LLC | Wells Fargo Bank | Wendy’s Windermere Valley/Liberty Lake | Winston & Cashatt Lawyers 6 – 10 YEARS: Evergreen Fountains, LLC | Fairmount Memorial Association | HDR, Inc HOTSTART, Inc | Pearson & Weary Clinic | Red Lion Templin’s Hotel 11 – 25 YEARS: ActionCOACH Business Coaching | Associated Builders &Contractors Baker Construction & Development, Inc | Century West Engineering Corporation City of Liberty Lake | Dr. Sue Weishaar, DDS | GSI Outdoors | Numerica Credit Union Poe Asphalt Paving, Inc | The Splash/The Current 26 – 49 YEARS: IEDS Logistics | Jim Custer Enterprises, Inc | Mirabeau Park Hotel Spokane County Library District | Spokane Valley Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastics The Hutton Settlement | Valley Hospital 50 YEARS PLUS: American Medical Response | Hazen & Jaeger Valley Funeral Home/ Thornhill Valley Chapel | Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation

Now Accepting Scholarship Applications!

Graduating seniors active in one of the following schools’ Key Clubs are eligble:

Central Valley High School, East Valley High School, Freeman High School and University High School

Applications can be found online at: Applications must be submitted by: 03/24/2017 For more information contact: Jan Hutton at 509-922-5941 or

1421 N. Meadowwood Ln. Liberty Lake, WA 99019 | 509-924-4994 |

Spokane Valley Kiwanis is always looking for more members. If you are interested in learning more about the Spokane Valley Kiwanis Club join us any Tuesday morning at 6:30am at the Valley Hospital Education Center.

The Current

Team effort means historic success at Valley Heritage Museum


MARCH 2017 • 29

By Mary Anne Ruddis Current Correspondent

The building itself is the first artifact that one encounters at the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. When Museum Director Jayne Singleton first saw the building located at 12114 E. Sprague Ave. in Spokane Valley, she was drawn to it. Built in 1912 as the Opportunity Township Hall, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Spokane architect and Opportunity resident C. Harvey Smith designed the Spanish Colonial style structure. Singleton talks about the building with a deep affection. “Something about the building was speaking to my heart,” she said. “I had the sense that opportunity was knocking.” Singleton was part of a group of volunteers that had been exploring an idea that began in 2000 to create a local museum to capture the unique and rich history of the area. She was also involved in the incorporation campaign to form the city of Spokane Valley. It seemed appropriate to commemorate the history of the region with the birth of the new city. In 2003, the building was transferred from Spokane County to the city. In 2004, it was given to the Spokane Valley Legacy Foundation to create the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. The museum opened in 2005.

homelands and the slaughter of the horses to farming and apple orchards to communications with dial telephones and typewriters to a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian about space exploration. “We put the story in history,” she said. “History is all around us and we preserve it and make it accessible.” Exhibits here are always changing and a large part of the museum is for educational purposes. Teachers and students alike can see history come alive in exhibits that are not flat but multidimensional. Among the plans for this year is an exhibit about World War I featuring stories about men from the Valley who served in the war, as well as an exhibit about Spokane’s “Nature Boy” - Willie Willey. The museum relies heavily on volunteers who range in age from 14 to 88. Volunteer Rae

Giffin (Reed), who was born in Opportunity, has been volunteering for about four months. “My parents met in the apple packing plant in Otis Orchards in 1938,” she shared. When they passed away, Giffin donated many of their belongings to the museum. The archives include over 4,800 records in a searchable database. Someone can research family history, the history of the railroad, the early apple culture discover how the landscape changed over time and find historical photographs. The museum features pieces like an 1865 ledger from a Walla Walla store. Board member Tom McArthur saw the sign a few years ago as he was driving by and stopped in. He met Singleton and used the museum to research the Spokane Bridge. Finding answers that he was looking for, he got involved with the museum so he could help others find the answers they were

Singleton credits her grandparents for instilling her love of history. She remembers growing up with family heirlooms and feeling a sense of connectedness to her Belgium heritage. She loves sharing history with visitors. Her passion for the museum is apparent. She knows that history represents our roots and the more we know, the more grounded we are. “We all have a calling,” she said. “If you don’t follow your passion, you’re wasting your time here.” The museum is clearly Singleton’s passion. Walking through each exhibit, Singleton narrates the history of the region beginning with the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene tribes’ ancestral

looking for and discover history for themselves. “This is my story and I can answer why something is here,” he said. The exhibits “engage as many senses as possible,” Singleton explains. “We are a smaller museum with a big vision.” The museum has reference materials, subscriptions to ancestry registries and can provide answers to questions like, “What is my road named for?” “The goal is to collect, preserve and exhibit the history and culture of Spokane Valley,” Singleton said. The museum is open Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Group tours and presentations are also available. For more information visit the website at or call 922-4570.

Hours Wed. - Fri. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Ever since opening in 2005 along Sprague Avenue near Pines Road, the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum has relied heavily on volunteers. Those who donate time at the museum lead tours, set up displays, archive materials and help with promotional efforts. File photo

Children under 7: Free Children 7-17: $4 Ages 18-54: $6 Seniors (55+): $5 Military: $5

12114 E Sprague Ave. Spokane Valley, WA 509-922-4570

The Current

30 • MARCH 2017

UGM Motors – A business with a Mission By Staci Lehman

Current Correspondent Looking to buy or sell a car? Or need a year-end tax write-off? Union Gospel Mission (UGM) Motors is more than just a car dealership – it’s a business that helps the community, in multiple ways, every time a car is sold. UGM Motors supports the Union Gospel Mission’s work by selling cars, motorcycles, boats, RVs and pretty much anything else that runs on gas and/or wheels. The proceeds from sales go to help community members struggling with homelessness and poverty. The car lot also provides jobs to almost 20 people, several who have been through the mission’s programs and job training themselves. “We have four people who have been through the program,” said General Manager Jim Stroh. “We train men and women from the mission in administration, sales and detailing.” Stroh has been with UGM Motors for three years and has seen the operation grow from a handful of cars being sold in front of the Mission’s thrift store to several hundred for sale at a large complex on Auto Row in Spokane Valley. The business opened in 2005 as a way to liquidate vehicles that were donated and to provide training opportunities for Union Gospel Mission shelter residents. Today, UGM Motors has about 100 cars a month donated on average. If you have a vehicle you no longer want but maybe don’t want to go through the hassle of

UGM Motors features a tire shop and repair shop with Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)-certified technicians. There are plans to open a detailing service down the road. Photo by Staci Lehman selling yourself, or it doesn’t run and you don’t know how to get it into saleable condition, let UGM Motors do it for you. Because it is a nonprofit agency, anything you donate can be written off on your taxes. UGM staff will pick up any vehicle, running or not, except for non-running motorhomes. They are test-driven, inspected, and repairs completed, as needed, by experienced mechanics. This is done for several reasons; to maximize UGM Motors’ profits, to sell quality cars that they can stand behind and to maximize the amount of your tax deduction. Vehicles are also detailed before going on the lot or showroom floor to increase the value, which is often more than a private seller can get for a car without paying for expensive repairs. “The tax deduction often benefits

them more than the cash resale value,” said Stroh of vehicle donors. Apparently, many people are taking advantage of this because September saw a record number of cars donated – 125. That is the same amount of donated vehicles the UGM Motors in Portland received during the same time period. Pretty impressive considering the population there is much larger, along with the median household income. “It amazes me,” said Stroh. “Spokane is extremely generous in their giving.” People are generous with donations other than cars and trucks too. Last year, 17 boats were donated, along with several jet skis, motorcycles (both with and without side cars), scooters, mopeds and generators. For collectors, the lot currently has a 1955 Cadillac, a 1949 Packard Clipper and some sort of Harley-Davidson threewheeled scooter with a canvas top. The most unusual item Stroh has seen though had wheels and wings.

two-year, 24,000-mile warranty. There is a tire shop and plans to eventually open the detailing shop to the public, which will result in more jobs, and more gratitude. “I think the reason that we’re all here is to serve,” said Stroh. “The majority of us could probably go somewhere else and make more but it wouldn’t be as rewarding.” UGM Motors is has literally been rewarding for the larger UGM mission. After payroll and expenses last year, it returned $300,000 to the mission to help pay for its work; symbolism that isn’t lost on Stroh. “The mission rebuilds lives,” he said. “We do that with cars.” You can browse UGM Motors inventory at or on-site at 7103 E. Sprague Ave. in Spokane Valley. There is also information on the website on how to donate vehicles. Business hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and closed on Sundays.

“They weren’t profitable though,” he laughs. “Two hang gliders.” There are benefits at UGM Motors for those in need of a car also. The sales staff promises full disclosure and every vehicle comes with a report on what was done to improve it. They also offer a nopressure sales approach.

Donated cars to UGM range in make and model. Currently, the lot has a 1955 Cadillac and 1949 Packard Clipper on the lot. Photo by Staci Lehman

Even if you don’t have a car to donate or a need to buy one, you can use UGM Motors to have your vehicle serviced. The business has a shop with Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)- certified technicians that handle most services, all with a

Situated on Spokane Valley’s Auto Row, Union Gospel Motors opened in 2005 as a vehicle to provide funds for the local branch of Union Gospel Mission, a nonprofit that helps the less fortunate get back on the right track. Photo by Staci Lehman

The Current

Family Medicine Liberty Lake promotes healthy living with unique approach By Staci Lehman

Current Correspondent From weight loss to aging issues, emergency care to sleep apnea, if you have a medical complaint or need, chances are good that Dr. Susan Ashley can help. Located at 1431 N. Liberty Lake Road, Ashley’s Family Medicine Liberty Lake office is a combination urgent care and private practice with an emphasis on healthy living, so she sees a little of everything. Originally from Houston, Texas, Ashley has been practicing in the Spokane area since she did her residency here in 1992. She is a graduate of University of Texas Medical School and is board certified in Family Medicine, AntiAging and Integrative Medicine. A big difference between Ashley and most doctors though is that she independently owns her practice, which she says is beneficial for both her and her patients. “I still enjoy medicine,” she said. “And they (patients) get to know us. It’s a small practice. It’s just me and my PA (physician’s assistant).” The office also has five medical assistants, two receptionists and an office manager. On the private practice side of things, Ashley puts an emphasis on


MARCH 2017 • 31

healthy living. “I have a much more holistic practice than most doctors,” she said. “I’m trying to get people off prescription medicine.” Instead, Ashley encourages people to use vitamins and supplements. She stocks a variety in her office because she says there are so many vitamins available today that it is hard to know which are good quality. According to Ashley, many vitamins of lower quality aren’t absorbed into the body for several reasons and are a waste of money. She stresses that every older patient should be using some basic supplements. “A good vitamin and mineral supplement, fish oil and Vitamin D,” she said. In addition to helping people stay healthy using vitamins rather than medication, Ashley specializes in weight loss and nutrition. She also offers a procedure called “cool sculpting” that freezes fat cells to permanently eliminate them. Another new technology she has that you won’t find at most doctor’s offices is a procedure called “Mira Dry” for those who sweat excessively or who are worried about chemicals in deodorant. Mira Dry eliminates underarm sweat glands in one treatment. “You never have to use deodorant anymore for those who don’t want to use it because it has aluminum in it,” Ashley said. While the National Cancer Institute says there is no conclusive evidence, there is concern that aluminum in deodorant can cause breast cancer. Aluminum is also suspected of increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s. For her older patients who are starting to show signs of mental deterioration, Ashley uses a Quantum Electroencephalography

Dr. Susan Ashley is the proprietor at Family Medicine Liberty Lake, a combination urgent care and private practice with an emphasis on healthy living. A native of Texas, Ashley has been practicing in the Spokane area since her residency in 1992. Photo by Staci Lehman (EEG) machine to monitor electrical activity of the brain. “It helps us tell if it’s dementia or is it a ‘senior moment,’” she said. Because these ‘healthy living’ services aren’t found at just any medical facility, Family Medicine Liberty Lake has patients that travel here from other states. “We get them from all over – the Valley, Post Falls; Helena, Montana; Kalispell,” Ashley says. In her private practice, Ashley also sees a lot of thyroid and fatigue issues, but on the urgent care side, the flu has been keeping her busy. “We’re seeing a ton of influenza lately,” she said. Ashley also does a lot of allergy testing, physicals, Department of Transportation exams for those who drive heavy trucks or equipment for a job, and even sleep apnea testing, which she says can be done at home now through new technology. “You don’t have to go to a sleep

Susan Ashley, MD Ashley Wilkinson, PA-C

509-928-6700 1431 N Liberty Lake Rd, Ste B (between Verizon and Jimmy John’s)

lab anymore,” she said. “You just take it (a sleep monitor) home then bring it back and we plug it into a computer and download the data.” This is more effective because people tend to sleep better at home than in a lab setting so Ashley can see what is really going on from the data the monitor provides. It is also much more convenient for patients than having to make an appointment at a sleep lab. Also for the convenience of patients, Family Medicine Liberty Lake has extended office hours. “We’re open Saturday 8 a.m. to noon for those who work during the week,” Ashley said. “So Saturday is very popular. And we’re open during the week from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. to help with the urgent care and for people who work.” Walk-ins are welcome for urgent care health issues or you can call 924-6199 for appointments. More information on Family Medicine Liberty Lake can be found at www.

The Current

32 • MARCH 2017

Spokane Valley Summer Theatre returns for second season By Tyler Wilson

Current Correspondent Spokane Valley Summer Theatre (SVST) will return this year with two full-scale productions, a special Broadway concert and acting conservatory courses for kids. The 2017 season will include locally produced presentations of the acclaimed musical, “Always, Patsy Cline” and the Tony Awardwinning family musical, “The Secret Garden.” Performances will be held again at the Central Valley Performing Arts Center, located on the Central Valley High School campus. SVST Executive Artistic Director Yvonne A.K. Johnson said the theatre hopes to build off the positive feedback of the inaugural season in 2016 which consisted of three shows. She credited the partnership with CVHS as a major factor in the launch of the summer series. “They’ve been so gracious to provide us that space, they’ve been a great artistic collaborator,” Johnson said. “We saw great progress in getting things underway that very first year.” Audition Coordinator Ryan Patterson, who performed in a SVST production last year, considered last year a major success, especially given the challenges associated with launching such an endeavor.

Spokane Valley Summer Theatre premiered last year with three shows at the Central Valley Performing Arts Center on the campus of Central Valley High School. The theatre will return this summer with two shows, a Broadway concert and acting conservatory classes for kids. Photos by Steve Rodenbough - Northern Exposures Photography “You’ve got to build everything from the ground up and show the community you can produce quality shows,” Patterson said. “The big part is building that audience, reaching out to people and letting them know there’s a new option.” Working in the theatre’s favor is the premium work space at Central Valley High School. “It has one of the nicest stages in Spokane,” Patterson said. “The school has made sure to keep up to date with the newest lights, sound boards and equipment.” That stage will again be a showcase for local actors. Auditions are open to the public and will begin

March 15. Patterson said the small-scale production of “Always, Patsy Cline” provides a personal experience for the audience. She also touts the contemporary musical elements of “The Secret Garden” as a fresh perspective on the beloved story. “It’s something people can go see with their kids, but it’s also written for adults,” Patterson said. “It’s about loss and family and building a family.” Each show will run for three weeks. Additionally, a benefit show, “SVST Broadway in Concert,” will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 2. A portion of the proceeds will benefit

the David Malinak Scholarship Fund. Malinak was a former student and actor with CVHS and Spokane Civic Theater. Patterson said the show will highlight songs and styles from a wide variety of Broadway productions, providing an excellent primer for those interested in seeing live performances of theatre classics. SVST will also provide an acting conservatory program for students entering grades 2-6. Kids will be producing play-in- a-week courses, culminating into a Friday performance for friends and family. The curriculum, developed by

See SVST, Page 33

The Current


Continued from page 32 Johnson, will include adaptations of “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Adventures of Harry Potter and Friends” and “James and the Giant Peach.” Cost is $95 per play, $65 for set making. “It’s a great way to get kids started in the arts, and you don’t have to have any prior experience,” Johnson said. Auditions for the role of Louise in “Always, Patsy Cline” and the various roles in “The Secret Garden” will be held March 15-18. Auditions are by appointment only and require specific preparation parameters. Go to the SVST website at www. for more information and email Patterson at

MARCH 2017 • 33

to schedule a timeslot. “Always, Patsy Cline,” written by Ted Swindley, will run June 23-25, 28-30, July 1-2, 6-9. “The Secret Garden,” written by Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman, will run July 21-23, 26-30, Aug. 3-6. Season tickets are available now. Cost is $68 for adults, $65 for military/seniors and $35 for students. Single tickets will be available beginning April 1 with prices running $38 for adults, $36 for military/seniors and $20 for students. Parking at the school is free. The Central Valley Performing Arts Center is located at 821 S. Sullivan Road in Spokane Valley. More information and tickets available at www. To contact the theatre, call 368-7897 or email

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you've probably passed us by a time or two. Just two residential homes on Broadway Avenue, most assume we're a construction company or sell fireplaces, but much more is happening inside our doors! Hearth Homes serves single mothers and their children who have found themselves homeless and hoping for lasting change. Beyond providing a safe environment, Hearth Homes staff and volunteers are dedicated to creating a family culture, modeling authentic relationships and communication to provide an experience most of the women and children have never had.

Hearth Homes provides supportive refuge, life-changing springboard By Angela Lorenzi

Hearth Homes Executive Director If you live in Spokane Valley,

With nine bedrooms, there is an average of six moms and 10 kiddos housed at Hearth Homes at any given time. Every aspect of the ministry is intentional, such as the five family dinners a week that go beyond food preparation and structure, but intentionally model how to facilitate positive conversations with your family. The intensive Life Skills program dives deep into strengthening interpersonal relationships, parenting and domestic skills. These establish a crucial foundation for children's development and


Carpet Gala An Evening Benefiting SATURDAY, MARCH

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Mirabeau Park Hotel 1100 North Sullivan Road Spokane Valley, Washington, WA 99037 Purchase Tickets @

strengthen the skills needed for gainful employment. When single mothers come to Hearth Homes after an intensive interview process, they are often recovering from a life steeped in trauma – issues like domestic violence, poverty, homelessness and substance abuse. All of the mothers share a common goal – healing. With determination many of us never achieve, mothers at Hearth Homes choose to examine life choices and heart wounds that have set in motion the patterns of pain in their lives. The staff and mentor team choose to enter into the very messy and uncomfortable conversations that value relationship and protection above performance and conformity. The results are freed women who are given a safe environment to examine themselves without shame, build their lives without fear of failure and be accepted by a family they've never had. Acceptance is no small accomplishment for a woman whose addiction has led to destruction of her family. "I didn't realize I was an alcoholic,” one single mother at Hearth Homes shares. She found herself at a fork in the road – either deny she's an addict in need of help or accept that she must battle her addiction and seek accountability. Fortunately, she chose the harder path of personal accountability and it's made all the difference. She now has her children placed back in her care and is staying clean, sober and present in the challenges of single parenting. This isn't an uncommon story at Hearth Homes; the only transitional home in all of Spokane County that will serve homeless single mothers working toward reunification with their children. Most agencies provide housing for either single women or women with children and if their

status changes, such as regaining custody of their children, they must find other housing. For the mom parenting sober for the first time or without the tyrant partner dictating everything, this is a new and sharp learning curve. One mother, who graduates this January, has been at Hearth Homes for almost two years. No other transitional home in Spokane offers this amount of time for healing and restoration. Having spent much of her adolescence in abusive environments and foster care, becoming a mom and now a mother of three, she wasn't provided the foundations many of us take for granted. During her time at Hearth Homes, this precious mother gained custody of her children, learned how to provide a safe home, completed parenting classes, finished a job training program and is working on her GED. "I'm stronger than I was before," she says, "I can say no to people who want to take advantage of me." This is a huge victory. Hearth Homes will continue to surround her and her children long after she moves out, providing friendship, accountability and assistance. Once you are part of the Hearth Homes family, you are always a member. Hearth Homes invites the community to learn more about the need all around us and how they can help. Anyone interested in volunteering or giving can contact us, as we only are able to have visitors by appointment for the safety and dignity of the families we serve. Hearth Homes is funded entirely by individual donors, private grants and fundraisers. You can join us March 25 for our Red Carpet Gala event and enjoy an elegant evening of fun while impacting lives. Visit us at for more information or call our office 9266492.

The Current

MARCH 2017 • 35

Valley Christian students dedicate day to community service

By Staci Lehman Current Correspondent Students at Valley Christian School recently took a day off from their studies not for a snow day – although it was very snowy – but to help area nonprofit agencies with a day of service. “We go out to different places just so it gives them a chance to see what these organizations are and what they need,” said Terri Antonson, director of Operational Fundraising and Promotions at Valley Christian, who organizes quarterly days of service for students. Valley Christian School is a nondenominational, nonprofit 501(c)3 private school that has been part of the Spokane Valley community since 1974. Once a quarter, secondary students spend a day helping social service agencies around the area with a variety of tasks. These service days lead up to a larger, all-school “Panther Project” later in the year when over 400 volunteers will provide over 2,400 hours of community service in a day. The first service day of 2017 was held Friday, Feb. 3. Students in seventh-through-12th grades, along with teachers and a handful of parents, spread out across nine different organizations in the area. They spent time at Second Harvest food bank, City Gate Ministries; GraceSon Housing’s

Valley Christian students listen to Inland NW Baby Executive Director Shannon Dayton explain how the organization's annual Diaper Drive works. Students created posters for the event as part of a day dedicated to community service on Feb. 3. home for expectant and parenting teenagers, Inland NW Baby, the ORION Project that advocates for vulnerable populations Hearth Homes’ transitional housing for homeless women and children, HRC Ministries, Teen Closet, a boutique for foster and homeless teenagers and the Women’s Hearth that offers services, support groups and education classes. Antonson said, with the need for volunteers in our community being so substantial, it isn’t hard to find places for the students to pitch in. “I send out an email to quite a few of them (organizations) and see who contacts me back and who

has a need,” she said. Teams of eight to 12 students, staff and parents are then sent out to the agencies that express interest in receiving help for everything from cleaning to organizing, decorating, sorting donations and preparing meals for the greater good of the community. At Inland NW Baby, a diaper bank that collects and distributes diapers and clothes to local social service organizations to hand out to families in need, a group of students and two adult chaperones organized piles of baby socks and other clothing and prepared diapers for distribution.

Welcome New Readers of The Current We are your local community newsmagazine. Our mission is to “honor local communities and encourage citizen involvement.” In our efforts to continue with our mission, we would love to hear from you! Want to see your name in print (for all the right reasons, of course)? Or maybe you just want to help point out great ideas for content worth sharing with your neighbors? The Current is a community newspaper, so if you are part of the greater Valley community, we want to know what’s important to you. We like to say there are eight of us, and there are more than 100,000 of you. Maybe one of the questions below applies to you? If so, you can help us out.  Do you go on vacation? Maybe you’re heading somewhere fun (and warm) for spring break. If so, pack a copy of The Current and pull it out to snap your photo in front of your favorite destination or landmark. When you return to the Valley, drop us a line with

the pic, and we’ll share it with readers. Call it “Current Travels.”  Are you part of a club or service organization? Well, what do you know? Let us add you to our list of recurring Valley events in the near future that will be well-suited for clubs and organizations that have regular meetings. Send us the info.  Do you celebrate? We want people to know about everything from your new baby, to your upcoming wedding or anniversary, to your incredible office or sporting achievement. Photos, announcements, honors — please send!  Did you capture a shot? Shutterbugs, unite! If you are capturing great Valley moments, whether while out and about or in your backyard, e-mail us your photo so we can share it around the neighborhood. Send along names of those pictures and complete caption information as much as possible.

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Photo by Staci Lehman Inland NW Baby Executive Director Shannon Dayton said the students were filling a big need at her organization for volunteers. “For us, we have three employees and we’re all part time,” said Dayton. “So they sorted through donations and packaged diapers. They’re really helping with the background work.” The students accomplished that work quickly and then got to show their creative sides by helping to make posters for Inland NW Baby’s upcoming diaper drive in April. Antonson said it is common for the teams of students to accomplish a lot more on their one day of service than expected. “They always come back to the school surprised by what they got done,” she said. Valley Christian’s service days don’t just benefit the agencies that the students work at; it is also a growing and learning experience for them as volunteers. Antonson divides the kids up so that the teams aren’t made up of all boys or girls or all students from one grade. Having younger students work with older ones and girls and boys working together teaches them how to work with diverse populations. “So it can be somewhat of a mentoring program,” Antonson said of the program. In addition, Antonson said that getting people out into the community while they are young not only teaches them to live a life of service, but also lets them develop interest areas and skill sets that will serve them throughout their lives.

The Current

36 • MARCH 2017

Grant provides chance for collaborative study of Saltese Flats By Julie Humphreys

Current Correspondent Fanned out beneath the rolling hills and peaks surrounding Greenacres, southeast of the Spokane Valley, is a lush stretch of land rich in peat soil with a history as rich as the soil and a future perhaps even richer. Saltese Flats is 1,000 acres of marshy land where long ago a lake lived and today the promise of an enhanced wetlands teeming with wildlife resides. Now some high school students are about to become part of this history, using technology to bring geology, biology and even hydrology together. Spokane



environmental science department has received a grant in partnership with Central Valley High School’s Advanced Placement (AP) environmental science program to create environmental interpretive signage, among other things, for Saltese Flats that the public can use and enjoy. The college already has a partnership with Spokane County which owns about 500 acres of Saltese Flats, where college students are collecting and monitoring ground water, surface water and soil samples of the area. The grant means high school students will join SCC students for an expanded field project. Students will use tablets, water quality meters, GIS (geographic information systems) mapping software, graphic design software and wetland sampling equipment to gather data on local wildlife, soil, water quality, vegetation and other statistics. Environmental sciences instructor Dave Stasney heads the project for SCC. “It allows us to train technicians and give them real world

experience, and it allows us to provide a product or service.” Stasney says there are plenty of jobs available for students in the field of environmental sciences. He adds that SCC’s water resource program is one of only five in the country. Students receive a specialized technical degree that sets them up for jobs with employers like the U.S. Geological Survey. “We have a new Center for Environmental Research in the department and as part of that we want to produce tangible results for the public,” Stasney said. “Unlike university studies that are costly and can take many years to complete, our students are hands-on, right now. I’m excited we are filling a niche that is not being filled by universities. There’s really a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) gap and we have the opportunity to provide students a real-world experience where they can use math, engineering and more.” The





Hagan Foundation of Spokane will be used to purchase the analysis equipment, cover transportation for students to Saltese Flats and for staff to oversee the service learning project. The interpretive signage students will design will help educate the public on not only the environmental importance of the wetlands, but also on the cultural significance of the area. Saltese Flats was named after a chief from the Coeur d’ Alene Tribe and the area was important to Native American history. Students working on signage for Saltese Flats will no doubt get a good history lesson in general. The area, which is at the base of Mica Peak, was once home to Saltese Lake before it was completely drained in the 1890s by Valley pioneer Peter Morrison. The draining involved a painstaking process of building canals and moving water to what is now Saltese Creek and Shelley Lake. The end result was an area of rich farmland where crops are still harvested. Students in the field will collect, analyze and visualize real-time data on everything from bird and fish identification to marking, recapturing and releasing western painted turtles. They will develop a mobile application that walkers and hikers can use to learn about wetland wildlife. Krista Larsen is the AP environmental science teacher at Central Valley who will oversee the project at the high school level. “We’re excited because this is a long-term, consistent project that allows students to experience everything from planning to end result,” Larsen said. “t’s not just a lab we’re doing in class. Students will see their work used in the real world with the county, the Department of Ecology and the community. When people visit the Saltese Flats they can use their mobile device to discover pertinent information and really get an understanding of the history and geology of the area. That’s one of the strengths of the Valley, that sense of community.”

Distinctive wildlife like this Great Horned Owl call the Saltese Flats area near Greenacres home. A new collaboration between Spokane Community College and Central Valley High School will involve students gathering data on wildlife, soil, water quality and vegetation inherent to the area. Photo by Michael Hassett

Stasney says the technology used in this project is increasingly commonplace in the 21st-century workplace. The grant, he says, provides students an advantage as they pursue their technical training and prepare to enter the workforce in the growing field of environmental sciences.

The Current

Family safely evacuates fire after smoke alarm alert

From Current News Sources Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) units responded shortly before 3:30 a.m. on Feb. 20 to a report of a structure fire in the 19500 block of East Trent Avenue. The first SVFD unit on the scene observed smoke coming from the small, single-story home and upgraded the incident to a working fire, bringing more resources to the scene. Firefighters entering the home found a kitchen ceiling fan lying on the floor. They quickly extinguished a small, slow burning fire in the attic above the kitchen, preventing further fire damage. A mother and her two children, ages 13 and 11, were sleeping at the time of the fire. They were alerted by working smoke alarms and safely evacuated with one small dog. A total of 11 fire apparatus and support vehicles responded to the fire. Units responding from Spokane County Fire District 8 and the Newman Lake Fire Department were cancelled en route. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Traffic on East Trent Avenue was limited to one lane for a short period of time, allowing firefighters to operate safely. The Spokane Valley Fire Department would like to remind residents about the importance of working smoke alarms. Test smoke alarms monthly and change batteries at least twice a year (when the clocks change). Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. The department also offers free home fire safety inspections and installation of complimentary smoke detectors. For more information on the program, call 892-4153 or visit About SVFD - Spokane Valley Fire Department serves the cities of Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake, Millwood and unincorporated areas of Spokane County 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, 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. For more information about Spokane Valley Fire Department, visit www.

MARCH 2017 • 37


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Valley Chamber offers scholarship to local students From Current News Sources

A combined need-based and merit-based scholarship program has been cultivated by the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber Foundation to support students in the Spokane Valley region. The scholarship is open to high school seniors and prior graduates of Spokane Valley area high schools who are pursuing a degree or certificate in a trade. Students who attended the following schools and/or school districts are eligible: Spokane Valley Tech, Central Valley, East Valley, West Valley and Freeman. Scholarships will be for $1,500 annually which can be used for tuition, fees and the cost of any tools/equipment needed for their program. Students can apply at opportunities/2545. Deadline is March 15.

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Lud and Rich – Remembering two of the area’s civic pioneers By Craig Howard Current Editor Lud Kramer and Rich Munson were born a decade apart on opposite sides of the country – Kramer in New York City in 1932 and Munson in California in 1942. Both were Air Force veterans who established successful careers and eventually found their way to the Inland Northwest. Later in their lives, Kramer and Munson shared another parallel as both became synonymous with neighboring cities in Spokane County that incorporated in the early 2000s and still echo with their respective influences. I knew Rich through my work as a reporter with the Spokane Valley News Herald. He was one of nearly 60 candidates for seven seats on first Spokane Valley City Council after the vote for incorporation narrowly passed in May 2002. He won at the ballot that November and served as the city’s first deputy mayor. Munson was known for being opinionated and assertive but he also had an easy smile and a generous heart. In the early years of Spokane Valley, he was one of those leaders that helped establish the city’s brand. If there was a community event in the vicinity, Rich was usually there, shaking hands and fielding questions about the latest municipal happenings. “Rich was tireless in his service to the Valley and directed all of his ambition and energy into promoting our new city,” said Steve Taylor who served with Munson on the inaugural council and now works as the city manager in Kelso, Washington. “Rich was a true friend of Spokane Valley. I was proud to serve with him.” Kramer was a catalyst in the effort to incorporate Liberty Lake in the fall of 2000. He and his wife, Patti, moved to the area in 1995 and quickly became involved in civic efforts such as the rally to build Pavillion Park and carve out a trail network that would eventually rival any in the region. After incorporation, Kramer threw his energy in with other residents to start a new library. “Lud’s footprints are everywhere,”

ON THAT NOTE said Jim Frank, founder of Greenstone Homes who also had a major role in the incorporation campaign. “He was a leader and someone you could count on for elbow grease.” When I began covering the Liberty Lake City Council for the Herald in April 2002, Kramer was always there at the makeshift City Hall in the Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District building, accompanied by his oxygen tank and dutifully taking mental notes. While he never held office in Liberty Lake, Kramer was a dedicated resident who helped the fledgling city gain quick traction. It made sense that Kramer brought some insight to the scene. In 1961, at the age of 29, he’d been elected to the Seattle City Council. Three years later, he ran for secretary of state and won, becoming Washington’s youngest person to ever hold the office. He would be re-elected in 1968 and 1972. For first-time city leaders like Mayor Steve Peterson, having Kramer as an advocate in Liberty Lake was like discovering Hank Aaron in the dugout of your expansion team. “It was Lud's vision that harnessed the opportunity to control our community with local city governance,” Peterson recalls. “He knew from being a councilman for the city of Seattle and secretary of state that the best government is local government, that we could set our priorities and have the financial capability to achieve them. He was tireless and focused.” Like Kramer, Munson brought leadership savvy and experience to his new city. He’d retired as a

MARCH 2017 • 39

lieutenant colonel after 28 years between active and reserve Air Force duty that spanned from the Vietnam War to the Gulf War. Munson also found success as a stockbroker and volunteered with groups like Spokane Valley Youth Soccer, Rotary 21 and the Boy Scouts. “Rich was enthusiastic about the new city of Spokane Valley,” recalls Peggy Doering, longtime director of Valleyfest. “He knew the vision, and brought a background of his military service to the new council. He did his homework.” Doering remembers Munson being one of the catalysts in the move of Valleyfest to Mirabeau Point Park, a transition that lifted the event to a regional level. Rich also stepped up to support other causes, including the effort to build CenterPlace and the first campaign Bill Gothmann ran for Spokane Valley City Council. As the story goes, Rich offered to lead the doorbelling effort, helping Gothmann earn a seat at the dais. Rich and Jan Munson were married 45 years and had three children. Growing up in a military family and later during his Air Force tenure, Munson had lived all over the world. Yet once he and Jan found Spokane Valley in 1977, they never looked back. “Rich’s leadership abilities were honed in the Air Force,” said Jan who joined her husband in many volunteering efforts. “He was never one to sit back and leave everything to others. He was enthusiastic and a go-getter. His majors in college were headed toward politics.” While Munson was not involved in the Valley incorporation campaign like Kramer in Liberty Lake, he

Rich Munson served as Spokane Valley's first deputy mayor and later as mayor. The Air Force veteran moved to the Valley with his wife Jan and their three kids in 1977. Contributed photo

joined the municipal movement soon after the vote passed, signing up with one of the transition committees. He would go on to serve as the city’s third mayor and hold the prestigious role as president of the Association of Washington Cities. Jan recalls her husband saying at one point in 2002, “If they’re going to form a new city, I want to be in on it and help to do it right.” Kramer was able to witness the first three years of Liberty Lake’s dynamic existence before he passed away from lung cancer in April 2004. A plaque in his honor is part of the landscape at his beloved Pavillion Park while each Labor Day weekend, the Lud Kramer Memorial Concert is held at the greenspace with the Spokane Symphony as the headliner. “Lud was the perfect advisor,” Peterson said. “He would listen, think, make suggestions but never tell you what to do. That allowed us to grow with our responsibility and own our success or failure. He was a true mentor.” Munson passed away in January 2011 of complications from lung cancer. Just a month before his death, he’d volunteered to serve on the board of the area’s community center, Spokane Valley Partners.

Rich Munson (far left) was part of the inaugural Spokane Valley City Council elected in November 2002. Munson's council colleagues included (from left to right): Dick Denenny, Gary Schimmels, Diana Wilhite, Mike DeVleming, Mike Flanigan and Steve Taylor. Contributed photo

Rich and Lud are each missed, although their legacies live on resolutely in Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake. Like pillars of a signature building, the efforts and commitment of both men still carry substantial weight whether citizens of their former communities are aware of it or not. Looking back, Kramer and Munson were both, without doubt, the right leaders at the right time.

The Current

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