December 2015 Current

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2 • DECEMBER 2015

Career contributor


The Current

A Cup of Joe

Accomplished Gothmann vital to Valley’s progression By Craig Howard


As a leader known for his work ethic and efficiency, Bill Gothmann didn’t waste any time jumping back into the business of municipal government. A day after he was appointed to the Spokane Valley City Council in June, the longtime Ponderosa resident was right in the thick of a day-long budget workshop along with his council colleagues. The numbers crunching session was old hat for Gothmann, who served on the Valley’s governing board from 2006 to 2011 and the planning commission for three years prior to that. Gothmann was appointed to fill the seat of Council Member Bill Bates, who is recovering from an illness. He will remain around the dais for a year — or whenever Bates is well enough to return. Gothmann’s first go-around on council began after he replaced Mike Flanigan, one of the original seven who launched the city in 2003. Bill and his wife, Myrna, knocked on an estimated 4,500 doors leading up to the fall 2005 election. The strategy worked as Gothmann received 54 percent of the vote to defeat Ed Mertens. A native of Spokane, Gothmann graduated from North Central High School and went on to earn a degree in electrical engineering from Gonzaga University in 1962. Shortly after, Bill and Myrna transitioned to Seattle despite not wanting to leave the Inland Northwest, where jobs in electrical engineering were few and far between. Bill signed on with Boeing and remained in the Puget Sound area until a position with Edgerton, Germeshausen and Greer and the opportunity to work on a rocket engine project opened up in Nevada. The career track would take the Gothmanns to California and Massachusetts before they returned to Spokane in 1970. Bill began teaching in the electronic department at Spokane Community College and authored the first of several textbooks he would publish on digital electronics. By 1972, he had earned his master’s in teaching from Whitworth. A master’s in business administration from Eastern Washington would follow in 1984. Bill and Myrna — who taught for years in the Central Valley School District — have been married since 1955 and may


Bill Gothmann served six years on the Spokane Valley City Council before leaving at the end of 2011. The former college professor and engineer returned to the governing board in June when he was appointed over 17 other candidates to temporarily fill the seat of Bill Bates, who is recovering from an illness. have been the Valley’s first edition of a “power couple,” albeit a very humble one. They have lived in the same Ponderosa home since 1972. A devout Christian, Gothmann wrote a book on early Christianity in 2002 and has served in a number of leadership callings in his church. It was a land zoning issue in Ponderosa that led to Bill’s support of Valley incorporation in the early 2000s. Spokane County had changed the designation in the community from one lot per acre to six lots per acre, a change that Gothmann found both troubling and puzzling. His support of more local control soon followed. Gothmann taught at Eastern Washington from 1990 to 1999 in the technology department, serving for a time as department chair. In addition to his teaching and engineering career, he served in the Air National Guard and built his own airplane. Bill and Myrna have three grown children, six grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, all of whom live in or near Spokane Valley.


What was your opinion of the campaign for Valley incorporation leading up to the vote in May 2002? Where had you stood on previous efforts to form a city?


Although I was born and raised in Spokane, we had lived in Chelmsford (Mass.) where the minimum lot size was one acre. Thus, we became spoiled and, when we returned to Spokane, looked for a large lot. We found it in Ponderosa and enjoyed the horses in our neighborhood. All of a sudden, our neighbors could no longer have horses. It turned out the county changed our zoning from one acre lots to six lots per acre and, of course, horses were not permitted in such zones. We decided that we needed to have more local control, and the incorporation effort was the method. Because we live south of 44th, (Fire District 8) our area was included, then excluded, then included in the new city on the various votes. Once the vote was successful, we called Deanna Hormann and she put us onto the pre-incorporation roads committee, which she chaired. We met many

times to develop a report for the new council that described our options and made recommendations about what we as a city should do. Eventually, I wrote the roads committee final report and led many of the meetings. Q: You were part of Spokane Valley's original planning commission. What do you remember about serving as part of that group? A: The first I heard about the planning commission was when one of the council members — I think it was Rich Munson — asked if I was going to apply. I asked him what a “PC” was and what they did. He told me and, having been encouraged by him, I applied. The primary recollection of that time was of hard work. First, we were all neophytes, so we had to be brought up to speed. This took a lot of work — especially the ethics and law required for the PC. After this, we developed our first comprehensive plan. That was a very large task. We met many, many evenings to complete it. Finally, we threw it to the council. However, Mike Flanigan retired and I ran for his office and, even though I instructed the council to get it done before I got there, they didn’t and I had to go through the process a second time. Q: Why did you decide to run for City Council in 2005? A: Mike Flanigan called me aside and told me he was not going to run again. Myrna and I were attending all the council meetings — it was kind of a date night. During one break, Mike DeVleming called out, “you’re going to run for Mike’s seat, aren’t you?” I thought about it and looked around and felt I was the best qualified because of my PC and pre-incorporation work. I also asked (former Community Development Director) Marina Sukup if PCs ran for council and she replied, “Oh, we love it when PCs run for council.” Q: The city had been officially incorporated for less than three years when you took your seat at the council dais in January 2006. How much of the foundational work of becoming a city remained at that time? A: The council had already been very, very busy setting up the city. They were heroic in that effort. I picked it up at the comprehensive plan level. Some of the most difficult and heated parts of the comp plan were setting up the different zoning zones of the city. Some preferred small lots,

See GOTHMANN page 4

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others large lots. In the final analysis, we adopted a rather centric position relative to the Growth Management Act. Q: The complexion of the council changed dramatically after the election of 2009. What do you recall about being only one of two council members not affiliated with the "Positive Change" movement when the newly reorganized council convened at the start of 2010? A: It was hard to receive insults, especially from a legislator whom I had always admired and who supported my election. Others took his lead toward those with whom they disagreed. It was in sharp contrast with the previous council, where we had energetic disagreements but remained cordial and respectful of one another. However, I was elected by the citizens and believed I needed to represent them. I also felt there was a learning curve. Running for council is an individual sport, leading is a group sport. Eventually they would learn that the staff was not their enemy, not incompetent. I believe they have, for the most part, learned this, although I believe we lost some good staff during the learning process. I am now treated with respect, and I treat the other council members with respect. After all, they are the representative of the citizenry and, as such, deserve this respect. Q: You were also part of the minority when it came to supporting the Sprague/ Appleway Revitalization Plan. As you look back on the much embattled SARP, what are some of your thoughts? A: I have had a great deal of time to think about this. First, our objectives were correct — a city center with a City Hall, attracting business to the city center area and revitalizing Sprague Avenue. I note that the present council has done precisely this. However, I think we were wrong to try to include all of Sprague and Appleway. I believe Spokane has the right approach — focus on one small part of the city at a time. I also believe we became too restrictive in our development regulations. The citizens did the right thing — they expressed their displeasure by voting for those who more closely reflected their views. That’s our American system and it works and I respect their decision.

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Q: How do you think your background as a college professor, engineer and author have helped you address your responsibilities as a leader in municipal government? A: I always defined my role as a teacher as one who translates complex ideas into easily learned concepts. This, combined with my engineering background, permits me to summarize complex questions and to simplify the decisions that we must make as a council. The MBA work discussed both decisions under uncertainty and decision trees. These, and many other learned concepts, are very relevant to our council work. Q: You are an avid cyclist who actually founded a local event called the Spokane Valley Cycle Celebration that celebrated its third year this summer. How did this idea get started? A: After I left the council, (Spokane Valley Public Information Officer) Carolbelle Branch was getting a committee together to select what to do for the 10th anniversary of the city. I volunteered to serve on the committee. At one meeting, I suggested we have a bike ride. They agreed and said, “Go ahead.” I contacted John Abernathy who, at that time ran Wheelsport East — he now runs BikeHub. He said, “We have tried to get this going several times,” and was very interested. I also discussed it with my son Bud Gothmann, and he also encouraged me to do it. John brought in a couple of other avid riders, including Marc Mims, Frank Ping, Dave Merriman and Dave Trimmer. They formed the committee. These experts chose the routes and amenities for the ride. I contacted Rick Wilhite for advice on forming a nonprofit. That eventually led to his speaking to Valleyfest about being the umbrella organization. Q: How has your latest service with City Council compared to your previous tenure? A: This council is both cordial and divided. However, they represent the citizens, and I respect that. It also seems to have much less work than the previous council. Q: Finally, what do you appreciate most about living and serving in Spokane Valley? A: Myrna and I go camping now and then in our 19-foot travel trailer. Many times we have camped in the middle of a green forest and said to ourselves, “We can have this in our backyard.” I like the varied topography, the pine trees, the abundance of wildlife and the proximity of city amenities. I enjoy Spokane Valley’s bike-friendly roads, great schools, the partnership with the sheriff, the outstanding fire departments, the rivers and lakes in the area and the dedicated city employees who serve all of us so well. There is just so much to appreciate.

The Current

DECEMBER 2015 • 5


SVFD Report A total of 1,222 emergency calls were reported by the Spokane Valley Fire Department between Oct. 25 and Nov. 19: Fires* 116 Emergency Medical Services 882 Hazardous Materials 25 Motor Vehicle Accidents 87 Water Rescue 1 Extrication 3 Confined Space Rescue 1 Building Alarms 79 Service Calls 28 *Types of fires include brush, commercial, residential, rubbish, vehicle, unauthorized burning and downed power line calls

Highlighted calls • Travel trailer fire – SVFD crews responded to a reported trailer fire behind 18108 E. Cowley at 7:48 p.m. Oct. 29. Upon arrival, crews found a 30-foot travel trailer engulfed in flames with the fire threatening a nearby shop. Crews quickly deployed hand lines and knocked the fire down, preventing extension to the shop. The trailer was in the process of being remodeled and was totally destroyed. Fire investigators determined the cause to be an improperly grounded electrical extension cord. Damage was estimated to be $5,000. The trailer was not insured. Eight apparatus from SVFD and Spokane County District No. 8 responded to the fire. • Garage fire – A late night fire in the 26600 block of East Nebraska destroyed a detached metal garage/shop. The fire began about 11 p.m. Nov. 7 and due to the magnitude of the fire along with structural stability concerns, firefighters suppressed the fire from outside the structure. The garage contained a dry sauna that the homeowner was heating with a fire in a fireplace. The garage/shop was a total loss, with damage estimated at $30,000. A total of nine fire apparatus, including Spokane County District No. 8, responded to the fire. • Unauthorized burning – SVFD crews responded to a report of unauthorized burning in the 200 block of North Legacy Ridge Drive shortly after noon Nov. 8. The resident was burning a brush pile in the backyard, which is always illegal. The fire was extinguished. • Extrication – A two-car, head-on accident at 13900 E. Indiana just before 3 p.m. Nov. 13 initially trapped one of the drivers. Crews prepared to extricate the driver, who was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident shut down the roadway for several hours. • Confined space rescue – Just before 5 p.m. Nov. 17, SVFD crews responded to a report of an injured man trapped inside his garage in the 12100 block of East 19th Avenue. Crews arriving on the scene found a man with a head injury who was outside the structure. He had been hit by

flying debris in the wind storm. • Power lines down – SVFD crews responded to dozens of reports of power lines down Nov. 17 as the wind storm swept through the Spokane area. Along with our team of trained volunteers, crews reported the downed power lines and blocked roads until utility crews arrived. • Structure fire – A candle left unattended in a powerless house caught fire and set off the smoke alarm. The incident happened just after 8 a.m. Nov. 18 in the 12500 block of East Houk Road. The 85-year-old resident escaped harm, and SVFD crews quickly knocked down the small fire. The homeowner’s son had replaced the batteries in all smoke detectors the previous week. • Carbon monoxide poisoning – SVFD crews responded Nov. 19 to a report of a patient who was not fully alert with difficulty breathing, while being alerted to high levels of carbon monoxide in the home by a carbon monoxide monitor. The patient and her husband were quickly evacuated and transported to the hospital. SVFD crews found the source of the carbon monoxide. The homeowner had been running a generator in the attached garage to provide power to the house. SVFD recommends only using a generator outdoors and far from open windows and vents. Never use a generator indoors, in garages or carports. Never cook or heat inside on a charcoal or gas grill. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas produced by fuels that cannot be seen or smelled and can kill a person in minutes. Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home, and change the batteries frequently.


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6 • DECEMBER 2015


The Current

News Briefs Election results tallied

Check in here.

As of mid-November, the Spokane County auditor’s office said there was nearly 42 percent voter turnout for the Nov. 3 election. Some of the results affecting Spokane Valley area residents included: • Dean Grafos, Arne Woodard and Sam Wood all received top votes to secure spots on the Spokane Valley City Council. • Dan Dunne defeated Josh Beckett for his seat on the Liberty Lake City Council with 61 percent of the vote. • William Benson won over Robert Tollefson for the town of Rockford Council position with 68 percent of the vote. • Mike Pearson defeated challenger Kristopher Pockell to remain on the board of commissioners for the Spokane Valley Fire Department. • Spokane County Proposition 1, the measure to increase the number of seats on the commissioners board, failed. Results were expected to be certified Nov. 24. For more, go to www.spokanecounty. org/elections.

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Application deadline extended for planning commission Residents who are interested in helping plan the future growth and development of the city of Spokane Valley are encouraged to apply for one of four openings on the planning commission. The deadline was recently extended to 4 p.m. Dec. 18. Planning commissioners are responsible for making recommendations pertaining to plans for future development, the city’s comprehensive plan, environmental protection and a variety of other development-related topics, a press release said. The group typically meets 6 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at City Hall. Application forms can be found under the “News” link at For more, call 720-5102.

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County appoints new CEO Spokane County commissioners voted at the end of October to offer the job of County CEO to Gerry Gemmill, a former county manager who was in line to replace outgoing CEO Marshall Farnell. He was offered the position on a 2-1 vote of the commissioners. An employment contract was finalized in early November, and he is scheduled to officially begin the first week of December. Gemmill started working for the county in 1975 as a heavy equipment operator and put himself through college earning both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He then worked his way up through several management positions at the county and the city of Spokane. His most recent position was as vice president of finance and administration at Whitworth University.

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DECEMBER 2015 • 7


Community Briefs STA offers free rides on Nov. 27, launches holiday website Spokane Transit Authority (STA) is offering free bus rides on all routes on Black Friday, which lands on Nov. 27. STA provides one free fare day annually, a press release said, and the organization hopes to help ease the stress and hassle of driving and parking on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. STA is also debuting a new online website,, that provides a compilation of holiday activities. Starting on Black Friday and running through First Night, visitors can find event information along with corresponding bus routes that will take them there. STA is partnering with local businesses and organizations to bring this resource to the region, and the website also contains coupons from local shops and restaurants to encourage citizens to spend money locally. For more, visit

Photography contest open to high school seniors Applications are currently being accepted for the 2016 Student Photographer of the Year Award, which is open to all Washington State high school seniors who will be graduating in the year 2016.

A panel of members from the Professional Photographers of Washington will select the finalists. The award will be chosen based upon photographic and scholastic studies, as well as the student’s wish to continue their studies in the photographic arts. The prize is a $2,000 scholarship grant. Submission deadline is Feb. 15, 2016, and the winner will be announced in March of 2016. For more information or to receive an application, call 425-776-4426 or visit www.

SCLD offers assistance with health insurance enrollment With the open enrollment period for Washington Healthplanfinder underway, the Spokane County Library District is offering services to assist people in securing medical insurance. SCLD has 11 staff members trained as Affordable Care Act (ACA) Navigators, a press release said. Anyone interested in applying or renewing coverage is encouraged to set an appointment to meet with a representative since there are new plans to choose from and some prices have changed. To set an appointment, either email or call 893-8400. To learn more about Washington Healthplanfinder, visit

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The Current

‘Artistic chick’ spreads joy with paintings By Treva Lind


At Christmas time a year ago, Spokane Valley resident Robin Johnson drew a coworker’s name in a gift exchange. With little time to spare, Johnson quickly created a painting of a whimsical chicken to give as a present. “I drew my friend’s name in a secret Santa gift exchange,” said Johnson, who works as a hospice nurse. “I knew she had a chicken coop. I drew her name on a Monday and then had to go to work three days with 12-hour shifts. I painted it Wednesday night and gave it to her on Friday morning.” That artwork inspired what grew into Johnson’s popular “Chick Time” series of paintings, playing off what people might say as slang for women, such as “Cool Chick” or “Tough Chick.” Johnson now marks nearly a year into launching her artist business, Pansy Pogue Paintings, and she continues creating colorful paintings with subjects from bulldog images to a new “The Girl Friends” series. “I like to paint things that make you think of a memory or something fun,” Johnson said. “I like bright colors and to paint so that the art makes you feel happy.” Today, her artwork is sold at Simply Northwest in the Valley, Hurd Mercantile in Rockford, Uniquely Chic in north Spokane, and online at her website, www. Also, Southern Charm Painted Furniture in Spokane Valley carries some gift cards with her art. During summers, Hansen’s Green Bluff Orchard stocks her work as well. Right before giving that first “Chick” painting as a gift, Johnson had Spokane Valley-based Ink to Media scan the original, in case she wanted to reprint it. The


company now handles all of her art reproductions. “I never really had the idea of painting chicks, but with that first chick, everyone liked it so much,” Johnson recalled. “They said, `You should paint the ‘Hot Chick,’ so I did.” Originally planning to do four themed “Chick Time” pieces, she said other ideas stretched the series to 12 images, available on greeting cards and as reprints. A few in the series include “Hip Chick,” “Vintage Chick,” “Disco Chick” and “Goth Chick.” Raised in Spokane, Johnson spent time as a child creating art with supplies bought by her grandfather, William Pogue, also an artist who encouraged her creativity. However, Johnson said she didn’t really turn to

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painting until five years ago. She became more serious as an artist in the past year. Grandpa Pogue retired when Johnson was about 8 years old and moved to Kettle Falls. He taught art and painted oils, mostly landscapes and some animals. Today, Johnson is trying to pass along the same love of art to her 13-year-old granddaughter. She also has a grandson, nearly 3. Johnson’s Grandma Pogue inspired her in youth as well, which is behind her business name. “Pogue is my maiden name, and my grandmother had huge gardens,” Johnson explained. “She didn’t really want us to play in her gardens, but she’d let me play in her pansy beds. I’d lay in the pansy

See PAINTINGS, page 9


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Professions Registered Nurse at Hospice House in north Spokane and artist

Pastimes, hobbies Art, quilting, singing, playing the dulcimer (a string instrument)

Someone I admire Kelly Rae Roberts, a Pacific Northwest artist whose work has encouraged me

Favorite artist My grandfather, William Pogue

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PAINTINGS Continued from page 8

beds. I’d pick them. I’d smell them. When I was a kid, they were my favorite flowers, and I always think of her when I see them.” Another favorite subject of Johnson’s life and paintings is her bulldog, Phoebe Wilhelmina. Despite a busy schedule, Johnson also finds time for singing and playing a string instrument called a dulcimer as part of Micah 6:8 Ministries, a Spokane-based nonprofit with several musicians who perform songs for the terminally ill. When creating her artwork, Johnson mainly uses bright acrylic paints on canvas, or colored pencils, to create happy images. Johnson said she hears people will buy a piece based on happy memories or personal connections. She added, “So many people tell me they love this ‘Tough Chick’ because their grandma was a Rosie the Riveter, and I painted it off the Rosie the Riveter idea.” Johnson currently is launching the new “The Girl Friends” series and held her first artist show Nov. 13-14 at Hurd Mercantile in Rockford to unveil that work. The show proved popular, and the store requested to keep Johnson’s pieces on hand for sale through Christmas. Currently totaling six, the new coloredpenciled series includes “Whistling Wanda The Happy Camper,” red hair pulled up, with images of a vintage camper, fishing pole, book and camping cup woven into her locks. Others in the series are “Proud Penny,” “Frankie’s Fetish,” “Stella’s Escape,” “Gabby’s Moment,” and “Belle Remembers.” Additionally, Johnson has produced many other pieces, including an acrylic and mixed-medium “Watering Day,” with an image of a woman with a bird in her hair. Other artwork includes images of bulldogs, nature-inspired designs and women in different settings. A piece called “Be Yourself ” is an artful image of herself with her dog on a bicycle, with poppies in the background. Johnson said her art business is gaining momentum, adding, “I’m meeting other artists, and I hope by next year to do a few shows. I feel encouraged that the stores have allowed me to be included in their shops with me being so new.” She described a balance from enjoying her job as hospice nurse and creating art. “Every person you meet, you learn their life story,” Johnson said about her hospice work. “It’s end of a life, and everyone comes together. They honor that person. I’ve just met the coolest people.” “I totally know my art is an outlet for me because it can be stressful to work as a hospice nurse,” she added. “I have fun with my art.”

DECEMBER 2015 • 9

The Current

10 • DECEMBER 2015

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Calendar of Events COMMUNITY EVENTS Nov. 26 | Thanksgiving Nov. 29 | The Very Merry Santa Claws Event Noon to 4 p.m., Spokane County Fair

and Expo Center, 404 N. Havana St. People and crowd-friendly animals are welcome to this free event featuring photos with Santa with a $5 donation, animals available for adoption and more than 25 local animal welfare groups and pet friendly businesses vending. For more: www.

Nov. 29 | Christmas Tree Lighting 3 to 5

p.m., Spokane Valley United Methodist Church, 115 N. Raymond Road. The afternoon includes games and crafts, a tree lighting, live Nativity scene, carols, refreshments and a puppet show. Donations of toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, Clorox wipes and baby wipes for Hearth Homes will also be accepted. For more: 924-7262 or

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Dec. 1 | Too Fun Tuesdays: Build It

4 to 5 p.m., Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. Build with Keva Planks, straws and connectors, and other construction materials. Children 6 and under should be accompanied by an adult. For more:

Dec. 2 | Tween Club: Gingerbread House 4 to 5 p.m., Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. Especially for tweens in grades 4 and up, the library will provide graham crackers, icing and candy for participants to design. For more: www. Dec. 2 | Spaghetti Feed 5:30 p.m., Central



Valley High School, 821 S. Sullivan Road. This fundraiser for the CVHS wrestling program will feature dinner, raffles and matches between the team. Cost is $10. For tickets or more: www. or cvbearswrestling@

Dec. 2 | Grange potluck and meeting

6 p.m., Tri Community Grange, 25025 Heather St., Newman Lake. A potluck will be followed by a 7 p.m. meeting for this community-based service organization. For more: 481-7447 or geje2@

Dec. 2-23 | Community Advent Bible Study 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, Rockford United Methodist Church, 217 S. 1st Street. For more: 291-3444

Dec. 4 | Annual Christmas Bazaar 9:30

a.m., Sunshine Gardens, 10410 E. Ninth Ave. Proceeds from this free event featuring homemade baked goods, white elephant items, crafts and a raffle benefit resident activities at Sunshine Gardens. For more: 926-3547

Dec. 4, 5 | Book signing of “Excitement! Shot At and Missed” 11 a.m., Halletts Market

& Cafe, 14109 E. Sprague (Dec. 4) and Barnes & Noble, 15310 E. Indiana Ave. (Dec. 5). Author Bob Lonn recalls his brother’s experiences in the Marines.

Dec. 4 | Millwood Tree Lighting 6 p.m.,

Inland Empire Paper Co., 3320 N. Argonne Road. For more: 924-0960

Dec. 5 | Breakfast with Santa 8 a.m. to

noon, Tri Community Grange, 25025 Heather St., Newman Lake. Donations will be accepted for this pancake breakfast sponsored by the grange

and fire auxiliary. Pictures with Santa are $2, and there will be a holiday shop for kids to purchase gifts for their siblings and parents (nothing over $3). Proceeds benefit the Grange and the Newman Lake Volunteer Fire Department. For more: 723-6064

Dec. 5 | Breakfast with Santa 8:30 to 11 a.m., CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place. Enjoy a pancake breakfast, games, crafts and have your picture taken with Santa. Hosted by the Spokane Valley Rotary Club and the City of Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation Department, cost is $5 per person. To register or for more: santabreakfast Dec. 5 | Christmas on the Palouse

9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Businesses along Highway 27 (Golden Gem Mercantile, Freeman Store), Rockford (Methodist and Catholic Churches, Harvest Moon Restaurant), Fairfield Community Center Christmas bazaar and Rosalia (Community Center and Pinewood Cottage). The Rockford Methodist Church, 221 S. 1st Street, will hold a Christmas Bazaar from 9 a.m. To 2 p.m. featuring homemade baked goods, fresh mincemeat, cookie and candy goodies, plus lots of handcrafted items; a luncheon will be served 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The North Palouse Food Bank is also participating in the event by offering a soup lunch in the Fairfield Community Center lower level from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Dec. 5 | Toy Store 2 to 4 p.m., Opportunity

Presbyterian Church, 202 N. Pines Road. The eighth annual Toy Store will be open for lowincome families to shop for new Christmas gifts for their children. Shoppers must have tickets in order to shop. For more: 924-9750

Dec. 12 | STARS Training: New Picture Books from 2015 10 a.m. to noon, Argonne

Library, 4322 N. Argonne. Take a look at new books from 2015 to use with babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 2 STARS credits. Preregistration is required. For more: www.scld. org

Dec. 12 | Wreaths Across America Day Noon, Pines Mausoleum, 12116 E. 16th Ave. This national event to honor veterans with beautiful wreaths is a public event. For more: 891-8588

Dec. 12 | Lions Club hosts Santa 1 to 2 p.m., Rockford Lions Club. The club will hold a bonfire with s’mores and hot chocolate. Santa Claus will also stop by in horse and wagon. Dec. 15 | Too Fun Tuesdays: Legos 4 to

5 p.m., Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. Keep your imagination stimulated with an abundance of Lego bricks. Children 6 and under should be accompanied by an adult. For more:

Dec. 16 | Spokane Valley Book Club

2 to 3:30 p.m., Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. Join fellow book lovers to discuss “Go Set a Watchman” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. For more:

Dec. 17 | Random Fandom 4 to 5:30 p.m., Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. Whovians, Bronies, Otakus, Trekkies and more are invited to geek out on all things fandomrelated. This program is for teens in grades 6-12. For more: Dec. 19 | Blessings Under the Bridge Winter Event Noon to 3 p.m., 4th and

Dec. 6 | Auction for an Angel 2 to 5 p.m.,

Spokane Valley Event Center, 10514 E. Sprague. This benefit for the Josie Freier Scholarship Fund will feature auction items, finger food and entertainment by Cool Waters Band. For tickets and more:

McClellan, downtown Spokane. This 9th annual event will provide brunch, hot beverages, clothing, winter gear and more to the area’s homeless. The non-profit organization welcomes volunteers and donations. For more: www.butb. org

Dec. 8 | Too Fun Tuesdays: Art 4 to 5

Dec. 22 | Too Fun Tuesdays: Games

p.m., Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. The library will have supplies to make an artistic masterpiece. Bring a smock or old T-shirt; children 6 and under should be accompanied by an adult. For more:

Dec. 9 | Bonds of Love and Remembrance 7 to 8 p.m., Spokane Valley

Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. In honor of Pearl Harbor Day, local author Cindy Hval will share excerpts from her book, “War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation.” Local jazz group, Hot Club of Spokane, will set the mood with 1940s love songs. For more:

Dec. 10-12, 14-19 | Christmas Bureau

10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Spokane County Fair and Expo Center, 404 N. Havana St. This annual holiday assistance program provides toys, books and grocery store vouchers for low-income individuals and families. For more: www.

Dec. 12 | North Palouse Food Bank

11 a.m. to 2 p.m., behind the Fairfield Fire Station, Railroad Avenue. The North Palouse Food Bank serves the communities of Waverly, Latah, Fairfield and Rockford. For more: 2834250

4 to 5 p.m., Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. From classic card games to popular tabletop games, the library will have plenty to choose from. Children 6 and under should be accompanied by an adult. For more: www.scld. org

Dec. 23-24 | Christmas Eve Services 5:30 and 7 p.m. (Dec. 23) and 1, 2:30, 4, 5:30 and 7 p.m. (Dec. 24), Valley Real Life, 1831 S. Barker Road. Children’s classes for infants to age 5. For more: 232-0840 or Dec. 24 | Christmas services 6 p.m. (Christmas Eve Service), 7 p.m. (AA meeting at RUMC parsonage) and 11 p.m. (Christmas Eve Silent Vigil), Rockford United Methodist Church, 221 S. 1st Street. For more: 291-3444 Dec. 25 | Christmas Dec. 29 | Too Fun Tuesdays: Pokémon 4

to 5 p.m., Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Ave. Whether you’ve played before or are just beginning, we think you’ll enjoy this math and strategy game! We play for fun, not for keeps. Children 6 and under should be accompanied by an adult. For more:

See CALENDAR, page 11

The Current

DECEMBER 2015 • 11


CALENDAR Continued from page 10 Dec. 31 | Puttin’ on the Ritz gala

9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Davenport Hotel, 10 S. Post St., Spokane. Enjoy live entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, door prizes, late night fare, midnight champagne toast and more. Tickets are $85 per person, and a no-host bar is available. For tickets and more: 624-1200 or www.spokanesymphony. org

Recurring ACT 2 senior classes Affordable classes

are offered through 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. For more:

Café Card Club 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, On Sacred Grounds, 12212 E. Palouse Hwy., Valleyford. Play pinochle, cribbage or hearts. For more: Catholic Singles Mingle This group with no

dues is for single adults of all ages. For more:

Liberty Lake Library 23123 E. Mission Ave., Liberty Lake. Various clubs and weekly meetings including book clubs, children’s story times, LEGO club, computer drop-in class, knitting club and more. For more: www. Pancreatic Cancer Action Network 6:30 p.m. the first Monday of each month, Liberty Lake Municipal Library, 23123 E. Mission Ave. For more: or 534-2564

Rockford Crochet Class 10 a.m. to noon,

Saturdays. The Harvest Moon, 20 S. First St. Hairpin Lace, knit, embroidery, needlepoint and arm knitting of infinity scarves are some of the activities. For more: 892-4412 or 291-3722

Spokane County Library District Valley

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

Spokane Valley Eagles 16801 E. Sprague.

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. For more:

Spokane Valley Kiwanis 6:45 a.m. Tuesdays, Valley Hospital Education Center, 12606 E. Mission. For more: www. Spokane Valley Writer’s Group 6:45

p.m. the first and third Thursdays of every month, Lakeside Church, 23129 E. Mission. This supportive critique group welcomes adult writers. For more: 570-4440

MUSIC & THE ARTS Dec. 1-13 | Christmas Tree Elegance

Davenport Hotel and River Park Square, Spokane. Presented by Spokane Symphony Associates, this raffle provides a chance to win a custom-decorated tree and its gifts, a Father Christmas sculpture or a Victorian dollhouse. For more:

Dec. 2-5, 9-12 | “A Christmas Carol”

7 p.m., Central Valley High School Performing Arts Center, 821 S. Sullivan Road. The nationally award-winning CVHS Theatre Department is proud to present this Charles Dickens class. Tickets range from $8 to $12. For more: www.

Dec. 4 | Craft Fair 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Valley Hospital, 12606 E. Mission Ave. Admission is free to this fair in the Health Education building. For more: 473-5455

Valley Chamber Valley Chamber




Dec. 5 | Spokane Community College Art/Craft/Food Fair 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Spokane

Community College, 1810 N. Greene St. For more:

Dec. 4-5, 10-12 | “The Addams Family” 7

p.m., University High School, 12420 E. 32nd Ave. The show is a musical comedy put on by U-Hi Drama Department. Tickets are $12. For more:

Dec. 5-6 | EVHS Winter Arts & Crafts Sale 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Saturday) and 10 a.m. to

4 p.m. (Sunday), East Valley High School, 15711 E. Wellesley Ave. Presented by the EVHS Band Parents’ Association, this event features crafters selling mostly handmade items and over 80 vendors in attendance. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. Admission is $1. For more: 850-5714

Dec. 5 | Eastpoint Mission Team Arts & Crafts Sale 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 15303 E. Sprague Ave. The Eastpoint Church Guatemala Mission Team is putting on this fair and still looking for vendors. For more: 998-2401

Dec. 10-19 | “Every Christmas Story Ever Told & Then Some” Liberty Lake Community

Theatre, 22910 E. Appleway Ave. Tickets cost $12 for this family holiday show. For more: www.

Dec. 11-13, 18-20 | “Grease: School Edition” Theater Arts for Children, 2114 N.

Pines Road, Suite 3. For more 995-6718 or www.

Dec. 11-13, 18-20 | “Christmas On The Concourse” 7:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat. and 2

p.m. Sun., Ignite! Community Theatre, 10814 E. Broadway Ave. This original musical play was created by Gary Edwards and Kim Roberts. Admission is $15 at the door ($14 for adults and $13 for students and seniors presale). For more:

Dec. 15-16 | Auditions for “How the Other Half Lives” 6:30 p.m., Ignite! Community

Theatre, 10814 E. Broadway Ave. Actors only need to attend one night of auditions for this play which will run Feb. 19-21, 26-28 and March 4-6. For more: 993-8540

Dec. 15-16 | Auditions for “The Merry Wives of Windsor” 6:30 p.m., Ignite!

Community Theatre, 10814 E. Broadway Ave. Actors only need to attend one night of auditions for this reader’s theater which will run Jan. 2224. For more: 999-4047


Annual Meeting:

“The best way to predict your future is to CREATE it”




Friday, November 20, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. “Stories of Good Will”




Mirabeau Park Hotel, 1100 N Sullivan Rd, Spokane Valley

It’s a wonderful life, thanks to our non-profit members. Keynote

Building a Plan for Speaker: Fri., Dec. 18 Business We are honored to welcome asa.m. our keynote Tourism in Washington 11:30 - 1:30 p.m. The Valley Chamber is proud to share Connections speaker, EdmundMirabeau Schweitzer Park III, President Washington remainsof thelives onlychanged state that does have Hotel the many stories for notDr. of the Schweitzer EngineeringOct. Laboratories. Schweitzer 16, 7-9 a.m. agood, state-wide tourism program. In 2011, Washington thanks to our member non-profit Engineering Tourism Office closed and a grassroots effort was Laboratories, Inc. (SEL) has been Members: $35 organizations — and the charitable support Mirabeau Park Hotel launched by tourism industry leaders making to advocate more reliable, and 1100 N Sullivan Rd, provided by our member businesses. electric power safer, Future Members: $45 on creating a sustainable funding model for economical tourism more for over 30 years. SEL has Spokane Valley promotion.

employeesHost: working in Dr. The public is invited to join us forgrown this from half a dozen Non-profit $25 - Members Schweitzer’s basement to over 4,000 employees special holiday-themed Business ($35 after October $150 (includes display12) The Washington Tourism Alliance was established world-wide, meeting the complex and unique Connections lunch. table lunch for one as a not-for-profit organization. The WTA worked to $35 &- Future Members needs of session their customers with the highest levels of introduce legislation during the 2015 legislative representative) ($45 after October 12) Host a non-profit organization: andalive, service in the industry. As a company, and progress was made. Although thequality bill is still Member encouraged to Sponsor: funding hasbusinesses not yet beenare secured. SEL employee ownersTable endeavor to incorporate UNDERWRITTEN BY: select a non-profit organization to host for $300 (table ofthat 8) they do innovation and creativity into the work this Thethat non-profit receives a display In this informative program, for anlunch. industry moves energy at the speed of light. Dr. Schweitzer will share his our speaker, Cheryl Kilday, table and lunch for one representative. passion for creativity and innovation, and the importance of “grit” in driving prosperity. President & CEO of Visit the non-profit During the program, SAVE THE DATE Spokane and current Board For more information, visit organizations are introduced by their host Chair for the Washington S AV E 22 TH E D AT January | Gem of E and invited to share a story about their Tourism Alliance, will present UNDERWRITTEN BY: the»Valley November 20 Gala Awards mission. information about the plans for a state-wide tourism program and Traditionally, the host business makes a what it means to your business:

donation to their non-profit organization. Update on thefor legislative for the Visit• our website a list ofplans non-profit Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) organizations to host for this special • What challenges need to be addressed in holiday program. the next legislative session

For•more information, visit like to join the Determine whether you’d cause to establish a state-wide tourism

Annual Meeting Our annual Awards of Keynote by Dr. Edmund Excellence program and O. Schweitzer, III auction, honoring individuals December 18have and businesses that Business Connections substantially contributed to Lunch “Stories of the economic prosperity Good Will” and community vitality of the For more information Greater Spokane Valley region.


or to register, visit: S AV E T H E D AT E program for Washington state For more information December 18 | Business Connections Lunch: Stories of Good Will


or to register, visit

An inspiring to initiatives honor our nonprofit members.Spokane Valley Theevent BIG 5 for Greater GREAT ER For more information or to register, visit were announced in September. FOR



Learn more at

Recurring Pages of Harmony Wednesdays, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Thornhill Valley Chapel, 1400 S. Pines Road. If you enjoy singing, you’ll love the four-part a cappella harmony of this men’s barbershop chorus. For more: www.

See CALENDAR, page 12

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

The Current

12 • DECEMBER 2015


Nonprofit Spotlight

Toy Store

How you can help Opportunity Presbyterian Church is holding a Toy Store where low-income families in the Valley can shop and purchase Christmas gifts for their children at greatly reduced cost. This will be the 8th year the church has offered the holiday event.


Toy Store is a community event hosted annually at Opportunity Presbyterian Church to help families in need during the holiday season. Last year the event assisted families in shopping for over 250 local kids for Christmas. The 8th annual Toy Store will be held 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 5 at the church, 202 N. Pines Road.

Founding Toy Store started in 2008 by the church youth group that wanted to do a little something to help families at Christmas. Brad Hauge, who is now a youth director at First Presbyterian Church in Spokane, was the youth director at OPC who was instrumental in getting it started. The idea was to provide parents an opportunity to come and have a say in what toys they wanted to shop for but at a greatly reduced cost so they could afford to buy purchase gifts.

What they do The object of Toy Store is to invite lowincome families from Spokane Valley to come and shop for new Christmas gifts for their children. Toys are donated by church and community members and then tagged to sell at prices nearly 80 percent off the re-

CALENDAR Continued from page 11 Spirit of Spokane Chorus Tuesdays, 6:45

p.m., Opportunity Presbyterian Church, 202 N. Pines. Make new friends by joining this women’s chorus, specializing in four-part, a cappella harmony in the barbershop style. For more: 218-4799

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. All levels of ability — students through experienced photographers — are invited to learn. Social events include field trips and workshops. For more: 951-1446 or org — Next meetings are Dec. 21 and 28

CIVIC & BUSINESS Nov. 27 | U-Cut Christmas Trees available 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Carver Farms, 9105 N. Idaho Road, Newman Lake. Enjoy free coffer, cider and hot cocoa while selecting your Christmas tree. For more:

Nov. 28 | Small Business Saturday Dec. 3 | Open House 7 p.m., Rockford Town

Hall, 20 W. Emma Street. Rockford residents are invited to come meet staff and council members.


tail value. Over the years, several local businesses have supported the store and some schools have had toy drives for the cause. The church also has established partnerships with local schools to help identify families to invite confidentially.

OPC Pastor Kevin Lind said the church has received great feedback over the years from families who feel a sense of ownership and pride in being able to purchase Christmas gifts for their children.

Who benefits

“We have tons of fun joining with so many families in our community to celebrate the Christmas season! Christmas is about God's gift to us of his son, Jesus, and we celebrate by giving gifts. Toy Store continues to grow each year as a way for us to work together in the Valley to celebrate that ultimate gift.” -Pastor Kevin Lind, Opportunity Presbyterian Church

Families are referred to Toy Store through local elementary school counselors out of respect for confidentiality. However, the church does have some additional tickets for families who contact the church to come and shop. Families are allowed to buy one toy per child for infants through fifth grade, as well as stocking stuffers.


Dec. 5-6 | SCRAPS Open House 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 6815 E. Trent. This holiday event will include photos with Santa, pet treats and giveaways, door prizes, raffles, refreshments and activities for kids. For more: program/2795/2015-Ugly-Sweater-VolleyballTournament-Winter-2015

Dec. 5-6 | Spokane Gun Show & Flea Market 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Saturday) and 9 a.m. to

Park, 16528 E. Desmet Court. Cost for the 4-hour course is $55. For more: washington.providence. org/events/phc/pediatric-first-aid/

4 p.m. (Sunday); Spokane County Fair and Expo Center, 404 N. Havana St. Admission is $8 per day ($4 per day for Flea Market only). For more:

Dec. 18 | Chamber Business Connections Lunch: Stories of Good Will 11:30 a.m. to

1:30 p.m., Mirabeau Park Hotel, 1100 N. Sullivan Road. The public is invited to this special holidaythemed lunch featuring stories of lives changed for the good by non-profit organizations as well as the charitable support of local businesses. Cost is $35 for members and $45 for future members. For more:

HEALTH & RECREATION Dec. 6 | Crank it Up: Adult Volleyball Tournament 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., HUB Sports

Center, 19619 E. Cataldo Ave. This ERVA sanctioned event is for co-ed teams of six. Cost is $150 per team; space is limited. For more: www.

Dec. 13 | Ugly Sweater Volleyball Tournament 9 a.m., HUB Sports Center,

19619 E. Cataldo Ave. This tournament is for co-ed teams of six. Cost is $75 per team; registration deadline is Dec 7. For more: http://

Dec. 17 | Pediatric First Aid and CPR/ AED class 5 to 9 p.m., Providence Medical

Dec. 19-20 | AAU Santa Slammer Tournament 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., HUB Sports

Center, 19619 E. Cataldo Ave. This mid-season tournament is for boys and girls in 4th through 8th grades. Cost is $295 per team. For more:

Dec. 21 | Ugly Sweater Pickleball Tournament 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., HUB Sports

Center, 19619 E. Cataldo Ave. Players are invited to wear their ugliest sweaters for this blind draw, round robin tournament. Cost is $35 to enter; registration ends Dec. 14. Proceeds will benefit Blessings Under the Bridge. For more: www.

Dec. 21-22 | ESS Futsal Fun Camp 9 a.m.

to 3 p.m., HUB Sports Center, 19619 E. Cataldo Ave. Cost is $90 for half day (9 a.m. to noon) or $160 for full day option. Teams who register together can receive a discount. For more: www.

Dec. 23 | Drop N’ Shop 4 to 7 p.m., HUB

Sports Center, 19619 E. Cataldo Ave. Parents are invited to let kids in grades 1 through 6 play while they finish their Christmas shopping. Activities

The church will accept donations of new toys at the church, 202 N. Pines Road, until Dec. 3. Toys or funds can be dropped off 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 28 and then again from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 30 through Dec. 3. Pastor Lind said the toys that tend to go first are items around the $20 price range in stores, such as Legos, dolls, action figures, sports balls and art kits. But the church also welcomes the donation of stocking stuffer items such as small games, little stuffed animals, gloves, hats, chapstick, Christmas ornaments and candy. Volunteers for the Toy Store come from the church and community, but anyone interested in working on Dec. 5 can do so by calling the church office. Help is needed with jobs such as gift wrapping, serving cookies, working as cashiers, keeping toys stocked and more.

To learn more Contact OPC at 924-9750 or serve@ You can also find more information at or by searching Facebook for Opportunity Presbyterian Church. Do you know of an organization in the greater Spokane Valley area that should be featured as a Nonprofit Spotlight? Tell us at include basketball, volleyball, soccer, capture the flag, kickball, handball and more. Cost is $10 if pre-registered ($15 at the door). To register or for more:

Dec. 28-29 | Snowball Shootout Futsal Tournament 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., HUB Sports

Center, 19619 E. Cataldo Ave. This 5 aside futsal tournament is for boys and girls U7 through high school. Registration is $250 per team if received by Dec. 4 ($275 until Dec. 18). For more: www.

Recurring KidFIT Spokane HUB Sports Center, 19619 E. Cataldo Ave. This children’s movement and fitness program offers classes in dance, gymnastics and cheerleading for girls and boys ages 3 and older. For more: 953-7501 or www. Sports opportunities HUB Sports Center, 19619 E. Cataldo Ave., Liberty Lake. Badminton, basketball open gym, pickleball, Zumba and other recreational options available. For more: www. Yoga in Rockford 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Rockford Park. When the weather doesn’t allow, classes will be held in Dave’s Autobody. All calendar listings were provided to or gathered by Current staff. If you would like your event considered for the community calendar, please submit information by the 15th of the month to

The Current

DECEMBER 2015 • 13


Original Christmas comedy comes to Valley stage By Treva Lind


A homegrown musical will make its December debut in Spokane Valley, bringing Christmas tunes along with original songs, as performers grapple with being stranded at an airport. Ignite! Community Theatre will perform the musical comedy “Christmas On The Concourse” Dec. 11-13 and 18-20 in its Valley theater at 10814 E. Broadway. Two local talents, Gary Edwards and Kim Roberts, jointly penned the new production, said Marty Kittelson, Ignite! president. “This original musical was created especially for Ignite! and has one of the largest casts in our history,” Kittelson said. Roberts, who is also the production’s director, described the play as lighthearted. In the works for two years, the play developed as a project by her and Edwards, a longtime musician who also is the production’s musical director and composer. Characters are stuck in an airport starting on the day of Christmas Eve, as a blizzard strands more than a dozen passengers and three or four airport employees. “During the course of the evening, you learn a bit about most of the characters’ stories,” Roberts said. “Some of them are in stressful times in their lives. Of course, there is the underlying theme of the meaning of Christmas, and how that helps them. We do have a bit of the traditional story of Christmas from Luke.” After the Ignite! December show, the group’s remaining season lineup promises a variety of entertainment choices, including “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” “How The Other Half Loves, “Around The World In 80 Days,” and “The Hostage.” Kittelson said Ignite!, which is in its 11th season, offers live theater as a nonprofit, all-volunteer group. Members include about 20 dedicated volunteers, and the nonprofit’s main income source is ticket sales. For the past four years, the group has leased its theater space from Spokane Valley Partners. “Many of the productions we do have complex concepts that might be difficult for younger audiences to understand,” Kittelson said, adding that this year’s “Christmas On The Concourse” is an exception as one a variety of ages would enjoy. For its 2015-16 season, the group prepared seven shows: five fully-staged productions and two reader’s theaters. Earlier this fall, the theater launched the full production, “Play On” in late September, followed by a Nov. 13-15 reader’s theater


Members of the cast of Ignite! Community Theatre’s production of “Christmas on the Concourse pose for promotional phtoos. Above, from left on the floor, Rose Mayne and Lily Savage. Middle: Bob Gariepy, Tracey Rice, Kristen Nauditt, Laureen Savage and Gage Savage. Back: Clara Gobin and Kyle Ross. At left, pictured from the left, are Jonathan Barnes, Kristen Nauditt, Cambria Ravsten, Finley Romano, Mark Sims and Megan Curran.

IF YOU GO ... “Christmas On The Concourse” 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11-12, 18-19 2 p.m. Dec. 13 and 20 production of “To Kill A Mockingbird.” The theater seats up to 100 people, and season tickets typically cost $50 for seven shows. However, Kittelson said Ignite! has extended a special offer until just before “Christmas On The Concourse” of a $40 season package covering admission to the five remaining shows. For individual shows, presale tickets are $14 for adults; $13, seniors/students; and $10, groups of six or more. Tickets at the door are $15.

“Attendance continues to increase as our reputation for excellent quality productions spreads,” Kittelson said. “Our motto is, ‘It takes a community to ignite a theatre!’" For the next reader’s theater show in January, audiences will find “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” written by William Shakespeare. This play was supposedly written at the request of Queen Elizabeth I to feature one of her favorite characters: Sir John

See IGNITE, page 15

Ignite! Community Theatre 10814 E. Broadway Tickets $15 at the door Cast: Jonathan Barnes, Brian Cheney, Megan Curran, Bob Gariepy, Clara Gobin, Rose Mayne, Kristen Nauditt, Cambria Ravsten, Finley Romano, Kyle Ross, Gage Savage, Laureen Savage, Lily Savage, Mark Sims, Tracey Rice, and Jason Young. For more:

14 • DECEMBER 2015


The Current

A Spokane Valley Christmas — 85 years ago Jack Frost as Santa Claus, and other memories from 1930

crowd of people to the exercises. Mrs. Claude Forkner directed the community singing of familiar Christmas carols, beginning at four o’clock, and everyone enjoyed the affair. Committees in charge of the arrangements included C.H. Tart, C.C. Brown, T.H. Bienz, Mrs. O.D. Reinemer, C. Rumburg, and Mrs. Earl Patterson.


In 1930, America had entered the Great Depression, Herbert Hoover was president and the cartoon character Betty Boop made her debut. In 1930, the first television drama is broadcast in London, the influential Turkish city of Constantinople is renamed Istanbul and nonviolent civil rights movement led by Mohandas Gandhi was marked by a 240-mile march from Sabermati to Dandi and its salt beds along the Arabian Sea. It was a different world then, to be sure, even in Spokane Valley, where many families combatted the Depression by growing their own food in the agriculturally-oriented community. Take a glance through the December 1930 issues of the Spokane Valley Herald, however, and there is one overriding similarity between then and now: holiday spirit was alive and well. Take this light-hearted story from that time, headlined “Big crowd at municipal tree.” The subhead: “Jack Frost plays part of Santa Claus.” Believe it or not, Jack Frost, himself, in person, acted as Santa Claus at Dishman’s third annual municipal Christmas


This circa 1930 photograph was taken of the Beckemeier family of Otis Orchards showing their presents in front of the Christmas tree. The Meccano set pictured was a model construction system for building working models and mechanical devices. tree last Sunday afternoon, and passed out the treats to 350 men, women, and children. To be sure, it wasn’t so cold last Sunday, but, if the truth be known, Dishman has Jack Frost’s presence 365 days of the year. For Jack Frost (yes, that’s his real name) recently bought the Gil-

patrick home and acreage on Farr Road, and has come to the Valley to stay. Next summer, when the thermometer hovers around the century mark elsewhere, Dishman will still be able to boast the presence of Frost. Anyway, the municipal tree, erected on the school grounds, drew a large


A flip through the pages of the Spokane Valley Herald issues from December 1930 reveals all kinds of Christmas spirit, from cartoons to images to a litany of seasonal advertisements.

While Christmas spirit was in the air then as it was now, other highlights of the December 1930 Herald show just how much has changed, such as this excerpt from an ad for ZIV Department Store, 1826 E. Sprague Ave: “New designs and color combinations in ladies’ Purses made of imported leathers. Some have zipper inside fasteners. Grouped in three attractive price ranges.” Those prices? $1.95, $2.50 and $2.98. The cheapest item on the ad? “Boys’ Fancy Handkerchiefs. Fast colors.” Each one sold for a mere nickel. That’s to say nothing for the 79 cent bedroom slippers or the “Big Necktie Special” for 48 cents, including a Christmas box with each tie. Back to the future: Good luck finding those deals at the Spokane Valley Mall. The Current’s history page is made possible the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. For more about this topic or other aspects of our community’s heritage, visit the museum at 12114 E. Sprague Ave. or call 922-4570.

The Current

DECEMBER 2015 • 15


Education Briefs WVSD receives award The West Valley School District was named one of nine boards in the state of Washington to earn the Board of Distinction award by the Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA). This program honors school boards that demonstrate effective use of the Washington School Board Standards. WVSD was the only board to receive this honor on this side of the mountains, a press release said, and also one of just four districts to earn a special award for attaining Board of Distinction honors five times. The Board was honored Nov. 20 during the WSSDA Annual Conference.

Jarvis named to Dean’s List Jordan Jarvis was named to the Dean’s

List of Biola University (La Mirada, Calif.) for the 2015 spring semester. Jarvis, a Greenacres resident, was one of 1,566 students named to the list for maintaining a grade point average of 3.6 or higher.

Send in your own community announcement Do you or a loved one have an educational accomplishment to share? The Current routinely prints these items submitted by schools and families. Other community, business and newsworthy honors and accomplishments are also sought to share elsewhere in the paper. Send your contribution to

These are a few of your favorite things … SHARE FAVORITES • HONOR COMMUNITY MEMBERS • ENTER TO WIN Our annual publication, the 2016 Spokane Valley Guide, is landing April 2016, and we want to incorporate your favorites into this year’s publication. How can you be involved?

STEP 1: Choose at least 10 of the categories below, and send in your “favorites” (and, as much as you are able, WHY they are your favorites) to by Jan. 15. You can also mail your entry to PO Box 363, Liberty Lake WA 99019, or fill out the survey at, if you prefer. And yes, you can answer all 20 if you want to, you overachiever!)


IGNITE Continued from page 13

Falstaff. Comic complications abound as Falstaff tries to seduce two wives of wealthy citizens. Tables are turned and Falstaff gets what he deserves in the end. “How The Other Half Loves” follows, and it’s a play written by Alan Ayckbourn. The production features a single set, which represents two separate but overlapping living rooms. Action takes place in both houses simultaneously. The play follows the misunderstandings caused by a couple having an affair and covering tracks using an innocent third party. The complications and unique simultaneous staging of a dinner party create the fun of this famous farce. “Around The World In 80 Days” in April is a play adapted by Mark Brown from the novel by Jules Verne. This features an amazing race with fearless adventurer Phileas Fogg and his faithful manservant to circle the globe in 80 days. Their every step is dogged by an unrelenting detective while danger, romance and comic surprises abound. A small cast (5-7 actors) plays 39 characters covering all seven continents. The season caps off with “The Hostage,” written by Brendan Behan bringing a mix of politics, religion and romance when a British soldier is captured by the IRA and hidden in an Irish brothel in hopes of a prisoner exchange. The bawdy, tragic romp is filled with poignant personal passions of colorful characters set to the music of the Emerald Isle. “The Hostage” includes Irish folk music, Kittelson said. “It’s not like a musical where people break into song. It’s like more realistic placement of singing.” For all performances, concessions are provided on a by-donation basis for

2015-16 SEASON LINEUP Ignite! Community Theatre “Christmas On The Concourse” Director: Kim Roberts Musical Director: Gary Edwards Performs: Dec. 11-13 & Dec. 18-20

“The Merry Wives of Windsor” (Reader’s Theater) Director: Brian Cheney Auditions: Dec. 15-16 Performs: Jan. 22-24

“How The Other Half Loves” Director: Barry Brathovde Auditions: Dec. 15-16 Performs: Feb. 19-21, 26-28 & March 4-6

“Around The World In 80 Days” Director: Jessica Loomer Auditions: Feb. 22-23 Performs: April 8-10, 15-17, & 22-24

“The Hostage”

Director: Scott Finlayson Auditions: March 28-29 Performs: June 10-12, 17-19 & 24-26 items including cookies, brownies and popcorn. “People who enjoy live theater often have to make decisions how to spend dollars and still get the best quality they can; I think we’ve been able to provide that,” Kittelson said. “You can plan an entire date night for around $30, and have free parking.”

Look for your answers to be interspersed throughout the new 2016 Spokane Valley Guide. (Hint: This is a great way to give a public “tip of the cap” to local people and other standouts. We plan to cram as many “favorites” into the publication as possible.)

STEP 3: Include your name, city of residence, email address and phone number with your entry, as each person who responds by the deadline is entered to win a $100 gift card to a local business of your choice. (That’s a lotta lattes — or whatever you choose to spend the dough on.) Winner will be contacted by Feb. 1. We will only use your phone number or email address to contact you if you win the drawing — they will not be shared or reproduced publicly.

My local favorites:


1. Neighbor 2. Teacher 3. Nonprofit or community organization 4. Community member or volunteer 5. Business person or employee 6. Medical/dental care provider 7. Government official or employee 8. Event 9. Business 10. Place to be pampered Cover desig 11. Coffee shop order n is for sa purposes on mple ly 12. Thing to order at a nearby restaurant 13. Hike 14. Running route (or bicycling route) 15. Natural landmark or scene 16. Place to play (park, recreation area, golf course, etc.) 17. Exercise amenity (a place, partner or thing) 18. Lake activity 19. Item of local trivia or nostalgia 20. Thing about living here By sharing your favorites with us, you acknowledge that your name and favorites may be published in our 2016 Spokane Valley Guide.



16 • DECEMBER 2015


The Current

SCLD takes community-first approach to planning By Valerie Putnam


does it mean to be human?

Discover for yourself at the library this January details coming soon

The Spokane County Library District (SCLD) is nearing the completion of its three-year Community Engagement Plan. “The Community Engagement Plan is essentially our strategic plan for 20162018,” SCLD Deputy Director Patrick Roewe said. “It identifies the areas of strategic focus in which we’ll be directing staff and resources.” The areas identified include early learning, business and career readiness, education and enrichment and digital information and sharing. “The District is uniquely situated to respond,” Roewe said. “In addition, the Community Engagement Plan affirms the District’s ongoing commitment to the core services we’ve always provided.” Featuring a name change from the District’s previous Community Impact Plan developed in 2012, the areas of focus for the updated Community Engagement Plan came out of the District’s community feedback program. “That community engagement program served as the basis for the strategic plan,” Roewe said, “though we blended elements of our previous plan and from several oth-

ABOUT THE PLAN Spokane County Library District Community Engagement Plan will be voted on by the Board of Directors in December. If approved, the plan will take effect on Jan. 1. SCLD’s core services include books, movies and music in a variety of formats, community meeting spaces, programs and resources for all ages, and ‘technologies that encourage productivity and creativity.’ The Community Engagement Plan’s draft goals include: Digital Interaction and Sharing Goal 1: Community members interested in engaging with their communities will find information about local events and opportunities to connect via engaging online content. Goal 2: Local experts will share their knowledge with community members through a dynamic digital platform. Goal 3: Local creators will share their work and be discovered by community members. Goal 4: Local historical societies will share their community’s story through digital pre-


Providing services that support early learning is one of the key goals in the new Community Engagement Plan that is set to be voted on by SCLD Board of Directors in December. er plan models into a new approach.” The updated approach incorporates elements of the Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) 18-month, team-based community engagement training pro-

gram. The District was one of ten public libraries selected to participate in the program which began in May of 2014. The training was completed last month.

See PLANNING, page 17

sentations of photographs and artifacts.

and the arts.

Goal 5: Community members interested in technology will find local experts that will help them learn the skills they need.

Goal 2: Community members interested in instructional and lifelong learning experiences will have opportunities through enrichment programs that leverage cultural and community partnerships

Business Support and Career Readiness Goal 1: Teens and adults focused on postsecondary educational opportunities will have the resources needed to succeed. Goal 2: Career-oriented teens and adults will have the resources they need to attain gainful employment. Goal 3: Local businesses and non-profits will have the information they need to develop and maintain successful and viable enterprises. Goal 4: Community members with financial information needs will have the resources to develop financial security. Education and Enrichment Goal 1: School-age youth in the District’s service area will have access to fun and free extended learning opportunities and activities that promote literacy, STEM skills

Goal 3: Community members interested in learning how to make and create will have spaces and opportunities to do so. Early Learning Goal 1: Parents, teachers, caregivers and other early learning professionals will have programs and services designed to help them prepare their children to start kindergarten and succeed in school. Goal 2: Children ages birth through age eight will have the services and programs they need to develop skills for kindergarten readiness and school success. Goal 3: Children, parents, caregivers, teachers and other early learning professionals will have access to outreach programs and services for early learning and early elementary grades to support school readiness and school success.

The Current

DECEMBER 2015 • 17


Resource Review

3D printing now available at SV Library By Gwendolyn Haley


PLANNING Continued from page 16

“I recently spoke to a librarian from Indiana who had heard that we were integrating what we’ve learned from our Libraries Transforming Communities work into the strategic plan, and wanted to hear more about the approach,” Roewe said. “So I think this community-first approach to library strategic planning is a continuing trend. “ The purpose of the plan is to direct library resources to support the interests of the community it serves. The District’s boundaries include Spokane Valley, Airway Heights, Argonne, Cheney, Deer Park, Fairfield, Medical Lake, Moran Prairie, North Spokane and Otis Orchards. “Ideally there is something for everyone in the plan,” Roewe said. “Whether you’re a library user interested in our core services or a parent with a child getting ready for kindergarten, we’ll have the staff and resources to help you out.” According to Roewe, the District began collecting public input last summer but the bulk of the planning efforts didn’t begin until this past May.

If you haven’t seen it in action, the 3D printing process is mesmerizing. The printer builds an object from a digital file by adding layer after layer of plastic filament. It’s a little bit like a hot glue gun, but instead of glue, it extrudes PLA (polylactic acid) filament — a hard bioplastic derived from renewable starch based resources. From action figures with moveable parts to custom cellphone charging stands and prosthesis prototypes, few limitations exist when it comes to 3D printing. If you can design it, now we can print it. The Spokane County Library District recently installed an Ultimaker2 3D printer at the Spokane Valley Library. Available for all members to use, the printer is located on the first floor so you can see it in action “A new focus area for us in the 20162018 plan is digital information and sharing,” Roewe added. “We’ve heard from our community members that they don’t always feel like they know what’s going on in their community.” In addition, three strategic areas from the previous plan - early learning, business and career readiness and education and enrichment — continue to be priorities. “I think one of the biggest challenges was determining which community issues we would focus on,” Roewe said. “We heard a lot from our community conversations, and we unfortunately can’t act on everything. We had to determine what issues best aligned with the library’s resources and mission.” Roewe said the District is further addressing ways local writers and artists can reach a broader audience. “We think there’s an opportunity to leverage our library resources,” said Roewe, “to better share community information and to create a digital platform that provides the opportunity for local creators to share their stuff.” As community needs and interests

whenever it’s operating. Last year, the District experimented with 3D printing by working with a local entrepreneur to offer the opportunity for members to create unique cookie cutters. There was so much interest in the class, and 3D printing in general, that we decided to make 3D printing a permanent part of the services we offer. Students in some area schools have the opportunity to design and print in 3D, but we wanted to ensure that anyone in our community had easy access to all 3D printing has to offer. If you have a design idea that you’d like to see in real life, I recommend starting with the free software, Tinkercad. You can also take a look at change quickly, Roewe noted the District plans to update it every three years. “We want to make sure we keep our ear to the ground so that we direct library resources to address those needs and interests as they change,” Roewe said. A draft of the plan was presented to the Board of Trustees at the November meeting with the final version to be voted on in December. Once approved, the plan will take effect January.

for inspiration. Once you have a design in a .stl file, you will need to make an account (it’s free) on The District charges a small fee for using the printer ($0.25/cubic cm.) with a minimum charge of $2. After you submit your design, it will be ready to pick up in a few days. Over the next year, the District will be offering more classes and opportunities for members of all ages to try their hand at designing and printing in 3D. I have been noodling around with an idea for custom cookie cutters as a Christmas gift for family members… but shhh, don’t tell them. Gwendolyn Haley is a library resources manager at Spokane County Library District. “There’s certain scalability to the plan,” Roewe said. “Some of the actions can be implemented rather quickly. Some will take longer as we build capacity towards the goal. The nice thing about a three-year plan is that it can accommodate both quick wins and longer efforts.” More information on the plan will be available later this year on the District’s website,, or at any of the library locations.

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The Current

18 • DECEMBER 2015 Brought to you by

About and for Valley seniors

Marine’s book inspired by heroic brother

Spotlighting timely needs our community can meet together

By Lauren Campbell


More than 60 years ago, a little boy’s big brother put on his uniform and headed off to the Korean War. This year, that little brother finally published his hero’s story. Bob Lonn followed in his brother’s footsteps and joined the Marines after high school but was never deployed. After retiring, he realized he had the time to write down the stories he’d been hearing all his life. “Ken has always been my hero,” Lonn said. “We’re both getting older, and I wanted to get his story down. Plus, he lives near Seattle and this was a good excuse to spend more time with him.” The book, “Excitement: Shot at and Missed,” which was published with Tate Publishing, explores Ken Lonn’s time in Korea. It includes plenty of adolescent hijinks, but it doesn’t shy away from the darker side of war. “He always told me, ‘War is men killing men.’ People don’t die like they do in the movies. It’s a lot slower and more painful,” Lonn said. Ken Lonn was a mortar/rockets section chief with Fox Company 2nd Batallion 5th Marines, 1st Marines Division, or the F-2-5,


Bob Lonn and his wife, Suzanne — both are authors — are surrounded by some of their work at a recent Colfax Library book signing. in Korea from 1951 to 1952. He was commended for a Silver Star, the third highest medal for valor, but his commanding officer was killed before he was able to finish the paperwork. Lonn’s book takes the reader along for this veteran’s journey from his hometown, through boot camp and on to the battlefield. After publishing his book in June, Lonn heard from a few men who served with his brother. They all appreciated the chance to reminisce, remember the men they lost and laugh at long-ago practical jokes. He’s heard positive reviews from veterans around the country who recognize both the horror and the humor from their own experiences. “This book isn’t just about the Marines,” he said. “It’s about everybody who served.” This is Lonn’s second book. His first, “American Holocaust,” was published in 2012. It’s a novel, the story of an imagined terror attack, inspired by the events of 9/11. He has almost finished its sequel, “Warrior/ Warrior,” which he plans to publish next year. All of his writing is inspired by his fascination with history — especially the World War II/Korean War era — and the military. “I love history,” he said. “It always comes around, no matter what.” Lonn was inspired to write by his wife, Suzanne, a high school English teacher who has published three novels herself. She was the one who told him to just sit down and start trying. Lonn doesn’t follow any writing rituals, create intricate plot maps or have

AUCTION FOR AN ANGEL Bob Lonn is more than an author. Proof? His rock band, Cool Waters, will be performing at Auction for an Angel Dec. 6. Two years ago, Lonn’s 15-year-old granddaughter, Josie Freier, was killed in a car crash along with her best friend. She would have graduated from Central Valley High School this spring, and her family has decided to raise money for a scholarship in her honor. The silent auction will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Spokane Valley Event Center, 10514 E. Sprague Ave. Scholarship criteria includes volunteer work in the community and a clean driving record. The event is open to everyone, and tickets are available at www.auctionforanangel. com. People can also donate through a GoFundMe page or in person through STCU in the name of the Josie Freier Scholarship Fund.

any secrets to overcoming writer’s block — he simply sits down at the computer and begins to type. “The amazing thing to me is I’ll look back and say, ‘Wow, did I write that?’ All of a sudden it’s all there,” he said. Writing has connected Lonn with a

See MARINE, page 19

To our friends and neighbors in the greater Spokane Valley: The holidays are a time of celebration, and Spokane Valley Partners works hard every year to share this celebratory spirit with the food bank clients served. Specifically, the organization provides “holiday food baskets” for Thanksgiving and Christmas to help all of our neighbors celebrate this special season. As with everything Spokane Valley Partners does, these efforts are only as successful as the many partners who contribute to the cause. Would you consider making a special effort to focus on donating food basket items like instant mashed potatoes, stuffing mix, gravy, green beans, corn, muffin or cornbread mix, fruit, dessert mixes or other similar holiday items as Spokane Valley Partners gears up for the holiday season? Donations can be dropped off at 10814 E. Broadway Ave., or call Spokane Valley Partners with any questions at 927-1153. Thanks for joining us in helping to make this season bright for our entire community. Sincerely,

The Arger Family

Investing in Spokane Valley since 1979 Local owners of Evergreen Fountains, sponsor of The Fountain senior spread in The Splash and The Current

The Current

DECEMBER 2015 • 19


Trivia Test 1. GEOGRAPHY: How many U.S. states border the Gulf of Mexico? 2. TELEVISION: Who lives at 124 Conch Street, Bikini Bottom, Pacific Ocean? 3. LITERATURE: What was the name of the first mate in “Moby-Dick”? 4. MOVIES: What film was the first fulllength “talkie”? 5. MATH: What is the decimal equivalent of the fraction one-eighth? 6. HISTORY: In what year did President Jimmy Carter pardon all Vietnam War draft dodgers?

7. FOOD & DRINK: What is the traditional liquor used in making a Tom Collins drink? 8. ANATOMY: What is the only muscle in the human body that’s attached at only one end? 9. ANIMAL KINGDOM: What is the offspring of a cockroach called? 10. DISCOVERIES: Who was the first to show how anesthesia could be used to relieve surgical pain? — 2015 King Features Syndicate Inc.

MARINE Continued from page 18

whole new community — he now regularly gives readings and book signings around the Spokane area, including at military bases. He loves the chance to build connections with people. “I was talking to a café owner about doing a reading,” he said. “She told me she didn’t think her customers were very likely to buy a book, and it might be a waste of my time. I told her, ‘That’s alright, it’ll be a chance for me to have some interesting conversations.’ That’s the fun part about it anyways.” He has a few signing dates coming up. Lonn will be presenting at Main Street Books in Colfax at 3 p.m. on Dec. 3, at Barnes & Noble in Spokane Valley from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 5 and at Fairchild Air Force Base on Dec. 11 and 12. This retired Marine isn’t just a writer — he’s also a musician. A few years back, he picked up the drums for the first time since high school and joined a rock band named Cool Waters. They have an original CD and perform at events around the Spokane area, including the upcoming Auction for an Angel (see sidebar). Lonn’s advice? “If you want to do something, just do it.” Lonn’s book is available for purchase on Amazon and at any of his signings.

Answers to Trivia Test

1. Five (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas) 2. SpongeBob SquarePants 3. Starbuck 4. “The Jazz Singer” (1927) 5. 0.125 6. 1977 7. Gin 8. The tongue 9. Nymphs 10. William Morton (1846)

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20 • DECEMBER 2015

The Current

A salute to veterans CVKC head custodian Dave VanVlaenderen held the honor of raising the flag before students and their visitors.

Mrs. Thew, CVKC paraeducator, closed the ceremony by playing “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.


Students decorated hats, sang patriotic tunes and honored veterans during the annual Flag Raising Ceremony Nov. 10 at the Central Valley Kindergarten Center. Above, Micah Hale from Mrs. Pecha’s class presents a card to his grandfather, Larry Hale (Air Force).

Running at regionals

Waving red, white and blue


Members and coaches of the West Valley High School Cross Country team paused for a photo after successful performances at regionals. All three of the runners pictured competed at the state meet in Pasco.

Grange feeds community


West Valley High School hosted their annual Veterans Day assembly for the community. Students presented the colors using an oversized flag.

Lessons over lunch Thanks to a grant from the West Valley Education Foundation, some Orchard Center Elementary students have been given guitar lessons during their lunch hour.

East Valley School District Superintendent Kelly Shea and his wife enjoyed dinner at the Tri Community Grange spaghetti feed in Newman Lake on Nov. 6. The grange will hold a pancake breakfast with Santa on Dec. 5. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Local Lens


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


The Current

DECEMBER 2015 • 21

Gems of all kinds stocked at mercantile By Staci Lehman


If you’re looking for unique gifts this holiday season, new items for your wardrobe, or food for your pets or farm animals, a new store near Rockford can fill your order — all in one location. And while there, you can get a coffee and catch up with neighbors. The Golden Gem Mercantile on Highway 27 just north of Rockford has a little of everything. Owners Amanda and Jeff LaShaw opened the store in early October, along with four employees, and have had a good reception to the wide variety of products they offer. “There’s really something for everyone,” Amanda LaShaw said. “We’re an all-around, one-stop shop.” She’s not exaggerating. The store stocks everything from scarves, purses and clothing in the women’s boutique area to antiques, homemade jams, jewelry, candles, and pet and livestock food. Most of the goods are provided by local vendors, so the LaShaws aren’t just supporting their family with the store, but others in the community. Where Golden Gem differs from other stores is that, besides selling gift and household items, it also functions as a farm store. Jason LaShaw makes his own pig and chicken feed, which are popular items. The store is also a dealer of Purina and Afco feed, garden and pet supplies and sells hay, alfalfa and pellets for wood pellet stoves. Golden Gem is the only feed store for many miles, which has made farm and animal supplies some of the LaShaw’s best sellers so far. “We get business from Latah, Tekoa and Oakesdale,” Amanda says of their customers. “The other direction the closest feed store is North 40 in Spokane.” If Rockford seems a little off the beaten path for a store, the LaShaws disagree. Amanda points out that it’s a 10 minute drive to Spokane Valley, and a lot of people drive past on their way to other small towns, the Coeur d’Alene Casino, Lake Coeur d’Alene and other destinations. “It helps being right on the highway,” she said. “A lot of people tell us they were driving by and saw and stopped to check it out.” Besides being highly visible, the only advertising the LaShaws have done so far is on Facebook and by word of mouth. “Being in a small community, we get a lot of word-of-mouth business,” Amanda said. “Everyone is local within a 25-mile radius.” Jeff LaShaw grew up in the area and his family has a long history on the property where the store is located. “My husband grew up here. He has


Led by owners Amanda and Jeff LaShaw, the team at Golden Gem Mercantile keeps the store and accompanying farm running.

farmed here with his dad, with his grandpa,” Amanda said.

IF YOU GO ... Golden Gem Mercantile

made from goats that eat Jeff ’s feed are all products produced in the region.

18805 S. State Route 27, Rockford That tradition lives on, with Jeff The couple plan Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. continuing to farm to add more local Saturday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. the site with the farm and seasonal Sunday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. help of the couple’s items to their stock two sons, ages 6 soon. In the spring, and 13, as well as naturally fed meats other family members. They grow alfalfa, will be available, as well as local produce wheat and oats and raise cows, chickens, and specialty cheeses. Golden Gem will turkeys and guinea hens. sell Christmas trees this December and The combination of farming and retail stock Christmas décor and other holidayis a natural fit for the LaShaws, as they sell themed items from area vendors for the many products made from local crops. holiday season. Honey, camelina oil and goat milk soap

If you’re more interested in an eye-

opener on the way to work in the morning, Golden Gem Mercantile can also hook you up. “Our coffee is local, too,” said Amanda. The store opens early to accommodate customers in the coffee shop and the drive through. The coffee is supplied by Tom Sawyer Country Coffee, which has been producing coffee for 50 years in the Hangman Valley. Amanda attributes a lot of their success to the unique local products, but says their business has very much been a community effort in other ways. “We have lots of family help and awesome community support,” she said. “Everyone works together and takes care of each other.”

22 • DECEMBER 2015


The Current

Biz Notes Dutch Bros. opens in Valley Dutch Bros. Coffee of Spokane held a grand opening on Nov. 11 at their new Valley stand at 20 N. Pines Road. They offered $1 drinks all day and raised over $3,000 in proceeds being raised for Operation Spokane Heroes. Hours of operation are 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, according to the business Facebook page. For more, visit

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After 80 years of being a family-owned and operated business at 6901 E. Sprague Ave., Jaremko Nissan is under new ownership. According to a press release, former owner Paul Jaremko looked diligently for the right buyer to take care of their customers as well as their employees and selected Dave Smith because of their service and reputation within the community. His sons, Dave and Mark Jaremko, will be staying on to manage the new company, Dave Smith Nissan, as well as numerous other employees of Jaremko Nissan. Dave Smith Motors touts itself as the world’s largest Chrysler Jeep Ram Dealer, as well as the Northwest’s largest GM and Ram Truck Dealer. For more, visit www.

SV researcher awarded grant Kimberly Honn, a researcher in the Sleep and Performance Research Center at Washington State University, was recently awarded a $1.435 million, three-year grant from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It is part of a $2.5 million award to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Honn and colleagues in Spokane and Virginia will use wrist watch-like devices and smartphones to collect data on the sleep schedules of more than 200 long-haul truck drivers. Her “Flexible Sleeper Berth Pilot Program” may help determine if drivers should be allowed more say in their driving schedules to help improve safety on the road. Honn was born and raised in the Spokane Valley area. She earned her Ph.D. in neuroscience at WSU Spokane and B.S. degrees in neuroscience and psychology from WSU Pullman.

Trovato offers new furniture line Trovato Interiors, located at 18 S. Union, recently welcomed the arrival of Bramble Furniture to its line of offerings. According to a press release, each of Bramble’s hand-painted pieces is finished by

experienced artists at their workbench using the highest quality materials. The company is committed to using only sustainable wood, has an ongoing tree-planting project, and is a member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council. For more on Trovato Interiors, call 2176646.

Couple opens Caring Transitions A new Caring Transitions franchise was recently opened by Alan and Anne Beckley at 506 N. Sullivan Road, suite F, # 115. Caring Transitions Inland Northwest is a woman- and veteran-owned senior services company, a press release said, that offers experience in business, law, human resources management and religious education. Caring Transitions is America’s largest resource for managing senior relocations as well as downsizing and estate liquidations. For more, call 436-1629 or visit www.

Port-A-Cover offers U-Haul U-Haul Company of Washington announced in October that Port-A-Cover, 16624 E. Sprague, signed on as a U-Haul neighborhood dealer. Port-A-Cover will offer U-Haul trucks and support rental items 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Owners Regina and Gregory Walter are proud to team with the industry in do-it-yourself moving and self-storage to meet the demands of Spokane County, a press release said. To reserve a truck or for more, call 9224465.

Chamber CEO honored with award The Greater Spokane Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) recently honored four leaders with 2015 Communication Leadership Awards on Nov. 20. Among the leaders recognized for their overall excellence in communications and public relations was Katherine Morgan, president and CEO of the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce. She was given the award of Executive Communicator of the Year which recognizes a C-suite executive for advancing their organization through demonstrated support of public relations and communications functions Selected through a highly competitive nomination process, this year’s award winners participated in an informal panel discussion that shared their experiences, insights and thoughts on leadership and the importance of effective communication and public relations, a press release said. To learn more about the 2015 Communication Leadership Award winners, visit

Brought to you by

By Tammy Kimberley


“Dancing is like dreaming with your feet.” This is how 10-year-old Kelsey Koch described one of her passions during a recent interview about her role in the upcoming “The Nutcracker.” One of her fellow cast members, Bazzy Huffmanparent, 9, mentioned how he had met many new people and made good friends through his involvement with ballet. Cast as young guests in the party scene, Kelsey and Bazzy will be taking the stage as dance partners during the ballet Dec. 3-6 at The Fox Theater in Spokane. The fifth grade students discovered their interest in dance at a young age. Kelsey’s mom put her in dance classes when she was just 3 years old. She’s been cast as a bon bon and small angel during the past four Nutcracker seasons and is looking forward to taking the stage again this year. “I like making people smile when they see us dance,” she said. “I sometimes get nervous, but usually when I start dancing, my nerves go off my shoulders.” Kelsey said she has really enjoyed interacting with the professional dancers from State Street Ballet in Santa Barbara, Calif., who come to perform the main parts in The Nutcracker. “It’s really fun because we get to talk with them backstage,” Kelsey said. “Last year, I got to see them stretching back stage, and they helped me get rid of my hiccups.” Mary Koch, Kelsey’s mom, said she appreciated the good habits, skills and adult interaction that dance brings to her daughter’s life, not to mention the social aspect. “Most of her closest friends are in ballet,” she said. Emily Grizzell, rehearsal assistant for The Nutcracker, said that studying ballet


Bazzy Huffmanparent performed as a school child in “Toy Shelf” for two seasons, but he has been cast as a young party guest in this year’s production of “The Nutcracker.” requires a lot of self-discipline and concentration. Dancers from many different areas and schools practice weekly on The Nutcracker to help them come together as a cohesive group. As a former professional dancer who has performed in over 100 Nutcrackers during her lifetime, Emily said that nothing compares to this type of experience for young dancers. “The production week for Nutcracker means some long days for the kids, with costume fittings, spacing and dress rehearsals and performances,” she said. “But this is the only Nutcracker in the city with a live orchestra, and this may be the only opportunity for many of these young dancers to perform with live music.” The experience of dancing with different people is what Bazzy said he enjoys about being in stage productions. He began taking jazz, tap and Irish dance lessons when he was 5 years old, and then started in ballet just before he turned 6. “He was interested in ballet from the start and just kept asking me when he could take

lessons,” said his mother, Hyphen Huffmanparent. “He kept coming back to ballet — it’s what he excels at.” Hyphen said she values that ballet teaches her son discipline, a chance to understand the body in an artistic way, and the opportunity to perform in front of others. For two years, Bazzy danced the part of a school child in a local production at the Bing Crosby Theater called “Toy Shelf.” This is the first year he’s had a Nutcracker role, and he said he’s looking forward to meeting new people as well as dancing with friends. “I like that I’m dancing with my friend who is a party boy as well,” Bazzy said.

See NUTCRACKER, page 26


Kelsey Koch has played a bon bon and small angel during the past four seasons of “The Nutcracker,” but this year she plays a young party guest.

The Current

24 • DECEMBER 2015




1. Advent wreath 2. Candy cane 3. Candles 4. Christmas cards 5. Dreidel 6. Kinara

Elementary kids who live or attend school in the greater Spokane Valley area are encouraged to enter this contest for the 2016 Spokane Valley Guide by following three simple steps:

❶ Draw, color or paint a

picture of what it means to play in our community, whether that be a place to explore, experience nature or enjoy time with friends!

❷ Drop off or mail in your artwork by JANUARY 15

to The Current newspaper office (23403 E. Mission Ave., Suite 102, Liberty Lake, WA 99019) with your name, age, city of residence, school, grade and contact info.

❸ Discover if your picture is

featured in the Guide coming out in April 2016. Prizes from community businesses will also be awarded to top entries. It’s that simple, so get creating!

Questions? Contact 242-7752 or S P O N S O R E D B Y:


Kids are surrounded by loads of images associated with the season this time of year. From commercials to songs to holiday decorations, you can’t go long without seeing signs of the holidays. To find out more about some of the symbols associated with December holidays,

read the descriptions below and match up with your best guess. Answers can be found at bottom of page 25. Sources:; top-8-symbols-of-the-holiday-season-andtheir-meanings/; www.apples4theteacher. com/holidays/christmas/christmas-symbols/

A) Sir Henry Cole is credited with creating the first of these at Christmas in the mid-1800s B) Candles are placed on this and are lit the four Sundays leading up to Christmas C) This symbol originated in Germany over 200 years ago as a straight, white sugar stick D) A top used to play a popular game during Hanukkah E) Based on a real person who delivered presents to children and needy people F) An item associated with Jesus’ birth and often placed on top of Christmas trees

7. Mistletoe

G) This symbol is typically set upon a mat made of straw during Kwanzaa

8. Poinsettia

H) St. Nicholas supposedly threw gold coins down a chimney that landed in these

9. Santa Claus 10. Star 11. Stockings 12. Yule log

I) An ambassador to Mexico first brought this to the U.S. J) Originally a Nordic tradition, the custom of burning this goes back to medieval times K) These are used in Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa celebrations L) Custom dictates that people standing under this can kiss

The Current

DECEMBER 2015 • 25


Kids Tell It Like It Is “In honor of this month’s PACE character trait, what is one way you can care for others during the holidays?”

Compiled by Tammy Kimberley CURRENT STAFF WRITER

“The Nutcracker” is a two-act ballet based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.” Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote the music for the ballet in 1892, but it did not become truly popular until the late 1960s.

This ballet tells the story of a young girl who helps break the spell on her wooden nutcracker and transforms him into a handsome prince who then takes her to an enchanted land. Unscramble the letters below to reveal some common terms connected to The Nutcracker. Answers can be found at the bottom of the page.

Compiled by Tammy Kimberley at Central Valley Kindergarten Center

“Help people get in the spirit of Christmas.” Owen Wheeler, 5

“If someone falls down and bleeds, you can get them a bandaid.”

“Do the dishes for my grandma and grandpa and mom and dad.” Leora Wright, 5

Gavin Brooks, 6

“Go caroling to my friend’s house.” Lizzie Isom, 5

“Give them a hug.” Huntar HarmonNearing, 6

“Ask my friends what they want for Christmas and then get it for them.” Saige Skinner 6

“You could give them a present.” Cody Herrara, 6

“If someone is getting bullied, ask them to play with you.”

“Tickle them!” Roland Lindenfelser, 5

Ella Wheeler, 5

Congratulations to Bella! She’s the latest

KiDDS Dental No Cavity Club winner! Bella won a $25 Toys “R” Us gift card and a photo session with

Call our office to schedule an appointment to see if your child is cavity-free!

Grow Up Smiling! Sources:; 1327 N. Stanford Lane, Suite B, Liberty Lake 509.891.7070


Find out about all of our events and contests on Facebook!

Answers to Nutcracker Trivia: 1) Christmas Eve; 2) Fritz; 3) Doll maker; 4) Mouse King; 5) Land of Sweets; 6) Sugar Plum; 7) Tutu; 8) Waltz; 9) Choreographer; 10) On-pointe; 11) Pirouette; 12) Leotard Answers to “Symbols of the Season”: 1) B; 2) C; 3) K; 4) A; 5) D; 6) G; 7) L: 8) I; 9) E; 10) F; 11) H; 12) J

Posting Date November 16, 2015

26 • DECEMBER 2015


Posting Date NovemberThe 16,Current 2015

Posting November 16, 20 Posting DateDate November 16, 2015


“We’ve been at the same summer camp, but we’ve never danced (in the same production) together.” The dancers’ mothers agreed that being in ballet productions has opened up new opportunities and provided real-world experiences for their kids. “They work together with people of different ages and stages to learn the benefit of rehearsal for the final product,” Hyphen

Why did the surfers think the sea was friendly?

Continued from page 23

said. “It gives them a chance to perform in front of a crowd with all that it entails.” Mary echoed that dance has opened up the world for her daughter. “They are able to meet people from other communities and with different experiences,” she said. “The kids get the opportunity to push themselves in that arena.” Both Bazzy and Kelsey said they have grand dreams of dancing not just as kids but throughout their lives. Kelsey said she wants to open up her own dance company. Bazzy was more broad in his ambition. “I just want to dance until I die,” he said.

Because it gave them a big wave.


The Current

DECEMBER 2015 • 27

Happy Holidays, Spokane Valley!


elcome to “Eat, Shop & Be Merry,” our guide to celebrating the holidays in Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake, Millwood, Rockford and the surrounding areas. One of our favorite projects on the calendar, this special section was designed to be both a holiday road map and a community celebration. Road map: The articles and advertisements in the pages that follow are intended to inspire you with great gift ideas, practical tips and some succulent dining options to help you pave a path through the holiday season and into 2016. Do you know where to find a great prime rib special to close

out a crazy week? It’s in here. Want to shop local but short on ideas? We did the work for you: There are dozens of local gift ideas included. Community celebration: It will serve as no surprise to our readers that we live in a fabulous slice of the world. From the natural beauty to the incredible people we call our friends and neighbors, life in the greater Spokane Valley is worth celebrating. This section is not some corporate or dot-com guide to the holiday season, but something that could only be put together face to face by people who live in your community. As such, we hope that the anecdotes, the traditions and the ideas shared in the pages that follow will make

you nostalgic for our shared home during this special season. Indeed, it’s worth noting that you, the reader, helped make this section possible. To come up with ideas and content, we solicited the help of local readers, leaders and businesses. A massive thank you to the many who contributed to the content shared on the following pages. As such, there will be no plugs on the following pages for shopping on the web. While online commerce has its place, we always encourage readers to support local merchants, restaurants and organizations first. As neighbors, we share a common goal of maintaining and building upon what we have in this amazing community. It would behoove

us all, therefore, to remember how important supporting one another is to that pursuit. There is a reason these next few weeks are immortalized as the “most wonderful time of the year.” May it be that for you, and may this special section play a small role in adding to the spirit of a great season. On behalf of our team, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and (since it will be here before we know it) Happy 2016! May it be for you a season of wonder, joy, peace and love — and perhaps some local food and gifts enjoyed along the way.

Josh Johnson

Publisher, The Current

The Current

28 • DECEMBER 2015

Shop local for these great gifts By Valerie Putnam


We’ve made our list — now it’s your turn. Welcome to our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide, full of hidden local gems to give — and get — this holiday season. All our finds are from locally owned and operated businesses. Most are easy on the wallet, though we included a few for those wanting to splurge a little.

Hand-made Pottery The Pottery Bug, 4707 N. Harvard Road, Suite 2, Otis Orchards Customize your own Christmas platter, meaningful mug — or make a Seahawks snack tray, for that matter. The point is: Pottery offers a simple way to find a gift for anyone on your list that is unique, affordable and heartfelt. The added bonus here is the ability to make some memories and unwind with a loved one while doing some artistic “shopping.”

Poinsettia Plant Farm, 14208 E. 4th Ave. Brilliant red floral foliage makes this a holiday favorite, and Plant Farm has more than 30,000 of these festive blooms on display every year. Both inexpensive and easy to care for, poinsettia are a great gift for anyone on your list. A 6.5-inch poinsettia sells for $8.99 or add some personal touches for $10.49.

"As We Forgive Those"


Christmas is in the air at Trellis Marketplace, 4102 S. Bowdish Road, which was already fully entrenched in the season in time for its holiday event Nov. 13-14. The shop is brimming with seasonal gifts such as those pictured above and featured on the cover.

Charles F. Finck, The second release of this book by Finck, a Liberty Lake author and counselor, encourages readers to consider a present more important than anything you’ll find under the tree — the gift of forgiveness. Built around a simple prayer, the book’s mission can be found in its subtitle: “How to forgive others, ourselves and God.”

children 6-12, $20.75 for adults; $19.75 for seniors). The cruise runs through Jan. 3 and features more than 250 displays and over a million lights. Children will delight as Santa calls their names from his North Pole workshop, and nightly fireworks highlight every cruise.

Holly Jolly Party Time Gift Basket

Chocolate Myracles, 11616 E. Montgomery Drive, Suite 23

Simply Northwest, 11806 E. Sprague Ave. The Holly Jolly Party Time holidaythemed gift basket is filled to the rim with selections such as gourmet popcorn, soft peanut brittle, triple cherry nut mix, candy cane caramels, peppermint shortbread cookies, chocolate graham crackers, chocolate covered pretzels and an assortment of candies. Baskets range from $35 to $150.

This award-winning chocolate delicacy is born from the famed Criollo bean. Close your eyes as you savor the smooth, rich finish with delicate notes of fruit. Choose a five-piece gift box for $17.25.

Journey to the North Pole

A timeless Valley tradition returns to The Trellis. Formerly sold at Halpins, the beautifully crafted Fontanini Nativity sculptures are available to gift the collector on your list. Price ranges from $12 to $50.

Coeur d’Alene Cruise, Give the gift of holiday spirit with a gift certificate for the “Journey to the North Pole” cruise on Lake Coeur d’Alene ($6 for

Chocolate Port Truffle

Simply Northwest

Fontanini Nativity Sculptures Trellis Marketplace, 4102 S. Bowdish Road

See GIFTS, page 31

Chocolate Myracles

The Trellis Marketplace

The Current

DECEMBER 2015 • 29

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The Current

30 • DECEMBER 2015

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Now in its second release Learn how to forgive using a simple prayer that brings healing and restoration to the heart. Includes NEW chapter discussion and study questions. “With anything, there is a moment when it begins. As We Forgive Those is the moment where so much can begin. The book is well written, thoughtful, and effective. Get the book. Read the book. Then, let your process begin.”

~Amazon Reviewer

Available at Liberty Lake Chevron, Hastings, Kaufers and Abba bookstores Order your copy today at or

Winner of the Illumination Book Awards Bronze Medal in Theology ‘Shining a light on Exemplary Christian Books’

Living with Forgiving January 22, 2016 • 6:00pm to January 24, 2016 • 1:00pm Immaculate Heart Retreat Center 6910 S. Ben Burr Rd. Spokane, WA 99223

• Recognize what you might be doing instead of forgiving... And why... • Discover your role in God’s work of healing in your life... • Learn to practice daily the sacrifice of forgiving through a simple but powerful prayer… $192/person • $294/couple $100/commuter Charles F. Finck, M.S. has been counseling and teaching for over 30 years, specializing in individual and marriage and family counseling. In the fall of 2001 he founded Liberty Cross Ministries.

Register today at or call (509)448-1224

The Current

DECEMBER 2015 • 31

GIFTS Continued from page 28

Washington Bottle Opener Jensen Handcrafted, Cleverly marketed as a “timeless and stylish hand tool celebrating the upper left, the WAsomePNW,” these state-shaped openers are handcrafted by Spokane Valley resident Josh Jensen. Starting at $40, the pricing depends upon your selection of the 12 species of wood used for the handle.

Badass Backyard Brewing

Rewards Credit Card STCU, Who says you can’t give a gift to yourself, too? STCU recently introduced MasterCard options that emphasize rewards, rewards, rewards. These programs are designed to maximize the reciprocal benefits from all those holiday dollars being spent — something worth considering before any spending spree.

Jensen Handcrafted


Avian Balloon, Spokane Valley A scenic hot air balloon ride is a great gift idea for the person who has everything. The balloon goes “wherever the wind blows” for a 2 ½- to 3-hour experience starting over the Spokane Valley. Call Avian Balloon at 928-6847 or email forey@avianballoon. com.

Spokane Spine & Disc, 2207 N. Molter Road, Suite 250, Liberty Lake A one-hour massage for a mere $20? That’s the holiday offer at Spokane Spine & Disc for new clients. (Hint: It can be purchased in the form of a gift certificate.) Or how about turning it into a gift that keeps on giving, with their monthly membership program that offers continued discounts at up to 50% off the regular value.

All Better Butter

Hand-crafted Teas

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Green Girls, A perfect stocking stuffer, All Better Butter is an all-natural cream for cuts, scrapes and dry skin. It is made locally from all natural ingredients, including local beeswax. The local business (you may recognize them from the Liberty Lake Farmers Market) also offers face serums formulated for three different ages and stages of life, made with therapeutic grade essential oils and edible base oils.

Winterwoods Tea Co., Spokane Valley Tea lovers will enjoy savoring the flavor of three glass jar tea samplers. Choose from a variety of teas such as Trailhead Huckleberry, Homestead Peach or Rose City Chocolate. All are made from 100% organic Fair Trade herbs and hand-crafted in Spokane Valley. Find out more at; also available at Simply Northwest and Trellis Marketplace.

Goat's Milk Lotions

Marlé Worm Growers, 24411 E. Joseph Ave., Otis Orchards This is the gift for the individual on your list who is concerned about his carbon footprint. Composting with worms allows you to turn kitchen scraps, paper waste and cardboard into nutrient-rich soil for your plants. The entire process is simple to set up and operate. Its compact design makes it perfect for use in any household.

Golden Gem Mercantile, 18805 State Route 27, Rockford Used as healthy skin care for centuries, goat’s milk lotion is a natural gift idea for the woman who cares about what she puts on that all-important organ … the skin. Goat’s milk is packed with essential vitamins and natural nutrients, including vitamin A, known for its ability to repair damaged tissue and reduce wrinkles.

Specialty Nails Serendipity Salon, 21101 E. Wellesley Ave., Suite 101, Otis Orchards Looking for a perfect pedicure? Can’t find a salon that specializes in IBD hard-gel nails? Serendipity Salon has your answer. Give the gift of professional, beautiful nails to your loved one this season!

Kitchen Composter-Worm Factory 360

iFetch Pawpular Companions, 21950 E. Country Vista Drive, Suite 100, Liberty Lake The award-winning interactive dog toy, iFetch, launches miniature tennis balls 10, 20 or 30 feet. iFetch saves the day — and your arm — when you’re too tired or busy to keep playing. It keeps the most enthusiastic fetch-loving dog entertained for hours.

The personal energy-saving design retails for $115.

Raffle Tickets North Idaho College Foundation, The 23rd annual Really Big Raffle includes, as a grand prize, a $270,000 home. Runner-up prizes include a car, boat, vacation and shopping spree. Tickets are $100, and only 5,500 are sold. The raffle funds scholarships and other needs at NIC, so there’s built-in value in that present already. But the chance you are giving your loved one a new home? Like the name says, that could be “really big”!

Ellena's Sangiovese Latah Creek Wine Cellars, 13030 E. Indiana Ave. Whether grabbed as a gift on the go or a delicately chosen offering for a connoisseur, a bottle of wine from a local cellar is elegant and easy. Ellena’s Sangiovese from Latah Creek is a popular choice. Add a little water, one of Latah’s mulled wine space bags, brown sugar, then heat through and you’ve got a special holiday treat. The wine sells for $18 and spice bags for $3.99. A special holiday 2-pack is $30. Other local wine stops include: Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, 4705 N. Fruit Hill Road; Vintage Vines, 106 N. Evergreen Road; Halletts Market & Cafe, 14109 E. Sprague Ave.; Bottles, 3319 N. Argonne Road, Millwood

Telescoping Flag Pole Uncle Sam’s Flag & Gift, 14109 E. Sprague Ave., Suite 6 This specialty of store owner Lance Johnson has unsurprisingly been one of his store’s most popular items for many years now. Telescoping from 15 to 25 feet, the flagpole is rated for 100 mph winds, carries a seven-year warranty and is made locally in Idaho.


Stainless Steel Growler Badass Backyard Brewing, Millwood Give that beer connoisseur a taste of local with a stainless steel growler filled with Black Stout, brewed in our own backyard. Characteristic of a porter, this deep rustic malt offers a smooth finish. If dark isn’t your cup of brew, choices include Raspberry Wheat and an IPA. Growlers are $20, with $12 for fill of beverage. Open twice a month or by appointment at

Spice Rubs and Blends Spiceologist, These rubs aren’t just for the BBQ. In the oven, on the stove top or under the broiler, the cook in your life will love to experiment with four best selling spice rubs and blends, including Smoky Honey Habanero, Chile Margarita, Greek Freak and Black Magic. Spiceologist is based in Spokane.

A Furry Friend SCRAPS, 6815 E. Trent Ave. Dozens of dogs and cats are always available for adoption at SCRAPS. A great time to visit the shelter would be during the Howliday Open House from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 5-6, featuring treats, giveaways, games and much more. Current pet owners, pick up a SCRAPS license while you’re there.

See GIFTS, page 32

The Current

32 • DECEMBER 2015

GIFTS Continued from page 31

Beverages that Benefit Double J Dog Ranch, Show your support for one of the Inland Northwest’s most unique and special charities by purchasing coffee or wine that benefits Double J Dog Ranch. Certified organic wines of all kinds and a dark and light roast of organic free trade coffee (Barnaby’s Bark Roasted Blend and Bunny’s Breakfast Blend) are available for purchase.

Authentic Mink Eyelashes Zenaida Spa & Studio, 23801 E. Appleway Ave., Liberty Lake Whether a gorgeous gift to that special someone — or a holiday treat to yourself, a full set of 100 percent authentic mink lashes is on sale in December for $79 (regularly $150).

Star Wars Armada The Gamer’s Haven, 2114 N. Pines Road Fight for the fate of the galaxy in Star Wars Armada, a two-player miniature game of epic Star Wars space battles. With the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Star Wars merchandise is a must for those feeling the force this Christmas. Other

games include Star Wars Imperial Assault and X Wing.

Robin Johnson Original Artwork

Polka Dot Pottery

Simply Northwest, 11806 E. Sprague Hurd Mercantile & Co., 30 S. 1st St., Rockford The first in a series of “The Girlfriends,” “Whistling Wanda, The Happy Camper” was introduced in November by local artist Robin Johnson and can be purchased as an original art piece or 5x7 note cards. The cards are available individually or in a set of six. Learn more about Johnson’s artwork at

Hand-blown Christmas Ornament

custom pieces are also a gift option. Imagine it and they will help you make it a reality.

Glass Gods, 2302 N. Argonne Road, Suite F

Personalized Ornaments

Glass Gods

Each hand-blown icicle ornament is hand-crafted by a master glass blower and sells for an average of $5 each. In addition to ornaments, jewelry and beads, you can also find novelties and original art pieces available for gifts. Glass-blowing lessons or

Polka Dot Pottery, 118 S. Pines Road Hand-made ornaments give that personal touch. Choices include over 50 different ornaments to paint and personalize for that special someone. Staff writer Josh Johnson contributed to this report.

Give a unique gift while giving back to a great cause! Coffee lovers will delight in our locally roasted, custom brew. Visit our website or call in your order. Sold in 1 pound bags for $10 (shipping charges apply).

Share a bottle of wine while sharing the story of Double J Dog Ranch. All wines made with certified organic grapes and are vegan friendly. Purchase at or call us for more information.


About Double J Dog Ranch This special place, located in beautiful Hauser Lake, is the Inland Northwest’s premier sanctuary and re-homing center for dogs with special needs. At Double J Dog Ranch, our program focuses on the unique needs of each dog. This includes specialized vet care, nutrition, training, therapies, acupuncture, end-of-life care and nourishing their souls. Learn more about how you can support our mission with your tax deductible year-end gift! • • 208-457-8600 • Hauser Lake, Idaho

The Current

DECEMBER 2015 • 33

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The Current

34 • DECEMBER 2015

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The Current

DECEMBER 2015 • 35


If you need inspiration for creative gift wrapping, look around the house for paper and supplies. A map or sheet music can be used to dress up gifts for your favorite traveler or music lover. At left: Wire, craft accents, floral items and stamps all can be used to add flair to typical gift wrapping. For children, use coloring pages along with a handful to crayons to keep them busy prior to opening time. Mismatch those small scraps of leftover wrapping paper in coordinating colors or patterns to cover boxes. EAT, SHOP & BE MERRY PHOTO BY SARAH BURK

Wrap up your shopping - creatively By Staci Lehman


It’s the thought that counts when giving a gift, as the saying goes. But how you present the gift can be almost as nice as the thought behind it. While store-bought wrapping paper is classic, if you want to wow that loved one, score some points with a client or mollify the neighbor after a particularly loud holiday party that went way too late, try something a little more creative this year. From maps and sheet music to photos and fabric, if you’ve got it in your house, you can find a way to make it look good on a gift. And you don’t have to be Martha Stewart or own stock in Pinterest to achieve the looks below. In fact, most are so easy, a child could do it. The best part: While you can spend almost as much money on wrapping as you did on shopping, it’s definitely not a requirement, as we demonstrate here.

Wrap jobs on a budget If you spent a little too much on gifts this year, you can take some pressure off your budget by not buying wrapping paper and bows. For a colorful package for your favorite traveler, wrap a travel-themed gift in free road maps from rest stops or those old maps from your glove box. You’re not using them anyway since the smart phone came along. Dress them up with a bow, ribbon or any other kind of thread or cord you have around. Have a musician in the family? Along the

same lines as maps, you can repurpose sheet music as wrapping paper. If available, use a seasonal tune, such as “Jingle Bells” or “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” to add that extra holiday touch. If you have a rag bag or old clothes or shirts destined to be used to wash the car or change the oil, use a piece of the (clean) fabric to wrap your gifts. You can also use a holiday dishtowel. To literally “dress up” your package wrapped in fabric, clean out old costume jewelry from your jewelry box and stick a brooch or two on top for flair instead of a bow. This not only results in a creatively and attractively wrapped gift, it also tastefully re-gifts items you’re not using. If you don’t have a brooch you’re willing to give away, hit the thrift shop; they’re cheap and readily available. Most people have tons of wrapping paper scraps that aren’t quite big enough to wrap an entire present and are headed for the trash can. Don’t throw them away and buy more — mix and match them! If women can do it with their clothes this season, you can do it with your gift-giving. Use two or more different, but color- or pattern-coordinating, papers. The key here is to overlap or fold seams under for a neat effect. Another option is to use a mix of pages from magazines, maps or other printed materials that appeal to you.

Personalized gift wrapping We all have favorite pictures of friends and family members that bring back great

memories. Personalize their gifts by making that photo into wrapping paper. If you want it to look professional quality, you can send your photos to Walmart or another photo printing store online to pick up later, but keep in mind that the paper is probably going to get ripped, so you may not want to spend a lot of money on this. Your other, less expensive option is to print photos yourself. All you need is a printer hooked to your computer, and it’s no big deal if it’s not a color printer. Black and white photos make a strong impact, especially when tied up with a colored ribbon or bow. First there were chalk boards, then there was chalk board paint and now there’s chalkboard paper. Chalk board paper lets you dress up a gift any way you like, and, if you mess it up, you can erase your picture or message and do it again. Chalk board paper can be found on Etsy, Zazzle, Amazon and other websites for anywhere from $4 for three 8 ½” by 11” sheets to $12 for a 30-foot roll. If you want an all-chalkboard theme, there are also chalkboard gift tags available.

Recruit the kids The holiday break is known for shopping, family time and kids home from school driving you crazy. Keep them busy with a roll of brown shipping or butcher paper from pretty much any all-purpose or craft store and a metallic paint pen. Have them draw pictures or designs on the paper (with a pencil first then trace over it with the paint pen), then wrap your gifts in it. Now grandma and grandpa don’t just get a gift, but one

wrapped in a work of art! Alternatively, you can set the kids free with paper and glitter glue and use what they come up with as wrapping paper.

Recycled (or up-cycled) If you don’t have the time or motivation to make alternative gift wrap, we get it. You’re busy and your creativity is often limited by everything else you have to accomplish every day. Wrap your gifts in good old wrapping paper then slap a bow on it. Done. Wait, no bows? No big deal. Most households have a container of lost/mismatched buttons that will never grace the front of a blouse or the cuff of a shirt again. Stack different sized buttons and glue them together to make a tiered “bow” for the top of your package. You can also use dried or paper flowers, ornaments, wine bottle corks glued together and a plethora of other household items to dress up the tops of your presents. And don’t stop there. You probably have a house full of other items that can be used to make your gift wrapping incredible this year. Don’t hold back, go with your imagination and the spirit of the season for gifts that will wow even the biggest Grinch. Sources: how-to/g1053/gift-wrapping-ideas;; creative-gift-wrapping-ideas/;; gifts/wrapping/unique-gift-wrap-ideas

The Current

36 • DECEMBER 2015

Frosted with cream cheese vanilla icing and topped with toasted walnuts, the carrot cake at Rocket Bakery is the establishment's most popular dessert.


Your pick of the menu Try these standout orders at local restaurants By Valerie Putnam


The holidays are here. Their arrival means different things for different people, but one custom seems universal — enjoying good food. Preparing you for the arrival of family and guests, we have compiled a list of memorable dishes and desserts to enjoy when dining out this holiday season from local restaurateurs.

Carrot Cake

Flamin’ Joe’s Hot Code 6 sauce may just overload your senses. Place your order: Available for $13.99 at Flamin Joe’s, 11618 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley.

Seafood Cobb Salad Not your typical cobb. Grilled gulf prawns, langoustine and blackened ahi tuna sit atop mixed greens, avocado, bacon, chive, gorgonzola, cucumber, tomato and hardboiled egg. Finished off with gorgonzola vinaigrette. Place your order: Enjoy this unique salad for $16 at Hay J’s Bistro, 21706 E. Mission Ave., Liberty Lake.

A delicacy since the store opened in 1992, this three-tier round cake is made from scratch using fresh carrots and pureed pineapple. Frosted with cream cheese vanilla icing topped with toasted walnuts. Place your order: Sold either by individual slice ($3.75) or the whole cake ($40) from Rocket Bakery, 3315 N. Argonne Road, Millwood.

Thai Garlic Delight

The After Burner Burger

Touted as the best fish and chips in the area, this entrée features three pieces of hand-cut hand-battered fish served with French fries and a choice of coleslaw or

Hot and spicy — these words aptly describe this ‘flamin’ hot burger. Jalapenos, peppered bacon, pepperjack cheese and

chowder, served in this small neighborhood diner near the state line. Place your order: Available for $10.45 (other prices available depending upon quantities) at Pryor’s, 24706 E. Wellesley Ave., Otis Orchards.

The Spicy Hawaiian Pizza Liberty Lake’s newest pizzeria offers a spicy twist on a Polynesian style pie. Topped with roasted Jalapeno, roasted pineapple, felino, and provolone and mozzarella cheeses spread on top of a rich tomato sauce.

Latte Art The Tasa Mocha is dessert in a cup. It combines the tastes of white chocolate sauce, toasted marshmallow syrup and Tiramisu syrup. Place your order: A 16-ounce version runs $3.50 at Country Brewed Coffee House, 5 S. 1st St., Rockford.

See MENU, page 37

Place your order: Available daily for $15 at Piccolo Artisan Pizza, 21718 E. Mission Ave., Liberty Lake.

Choose your meat sautéed in a homemade garlic sauce to be served on a bed of steamed broccoli, zucchini, carrots and cabbage. Place your order: Available for $13.99 at Thai Bamboo, 12722 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley.

Fish and Fries

Spicy Hawaiian Pizza, Piccolo Artisan Pizza

Tasa Mocha, Country Brewed Coffee House

The Current

DECEMBER 2015 • 37

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING IS HARD. We make life easier with dozens of festive wines, beers and spirits ...

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Ahi Tuna Salad, Ambrosia Bistro

MENU Continued from page 36

Ahi Tuna Salad This seared togarashi crusted ahi has been on the menu since opening day. It is served with mixed greens tossed in a hoisin vinaigrette and topped with red onions, red bell peppers and wasabi peas. Place your order: Available for $15.99 during lunch and dinner at Ambrosia Bistro, 9211 E. Montgomery Ave., Spokane Valley.

Chicken Taco Bowl, Vintage Vines

Chicken Taco Bowl Shredded chicken cooked in homemade chipotle adobo sauce, served over cabbage slaw and topped with avocado and feta cheese provide a popular holiday option. Place your order: Available at lunch and dinner for $10 at Vintage Vines, 106 N. Evergreen Road, Spokane Valley.

The King's Omelet A well-made omelet is a thing of culinary beauty. The King’s Omelet brings that beauty to life with six eggs folded over diced ham, green peppers and onions mixed with cheddar and Swiss chesses. Served with a choice of cottage fries or hash browns and toast. Place your order: Available for $10.95 at Cottage Café, 6902 E. Appleway Ave, Spokane Valley.

CALL TODAY TO BOOK YOUR HOLIDAY PARTY Prime Rib Special, True Legends Grill

Prime Rib Special The prime rib takes center stage Fridays, with a week-capping lineup included a vegetable and potato choice, dinner salad and the “Truly Legendary” cheese bread. Place your order: Friday special is $18.99 for an 8-ounce and $21.99 for 12-ounce at True Legends Grill, 1803 N. Harvard Road, Liberty Lake.

See MENU, page 38



The Current

38 • DECEMBER 2015

Festive food facts and figures


Courses that Ukrainians prepare in a traditional Christmas Eve meal


Average cost each year to feed cookies, milk and carrots to Santa and his reindeer on Christmas night

Soup and Salad, Forza Coffee Company

MENU Continued from page 37

Soup and Salad Nothing warms a soul more than a bowl of steaming homemade soup. Soup selections rotate daily, served with Forza house salad and focaccia bread. The house salad is mixed greens with slivered almonds, cranberries, blue cheese and poppyseed dressing. Place your order: Available for $8.99 from Forza Coffee Company, 325 S. Sullivan Road, Spokane Valley.

Pastrami Burger This all-American classic burger provides a little extra with two slices of American cheese, grilled pastrami, lettuce topped with Thousand Island dressing and served with a choice of soup, salad or endless steak fries. Place your order: Available for $9.79 at Otis Grill, 21902 E. Wellesley Ave., Otis Orchards.

Unforgettable Sandwich Bacon, turkey, cream cheese, mayo, tomato, sprouts and avocado served on fresh 12-grain bread earns this sandwich its “unforgettable” name. Served with a homemade chocolate chip cookie. Place your order: Available for lunch for $7.99 at High Nooner, 523 N. Pines Road, Spokane Valley.

Hot Bacon Dip Need we say any more? This dish blends bacon, caramelized sweet onions and Point Reyes blue cheese, served with kettle chips. Place your order: Order for $9 off the starter menu at CorkHouse, 1400 N. Meadowwood Lane, Liberty Lake.

Arroz con Pollo Starting with a bed of rice, this dish is loaded with chicken sautéed with mushrooms, tomatoes and green onions then smothered in melted jack cheese and special Mexican sauce. Served with tortillas. Place your order: Dinner menu price is $12.95 at Palenque Mexican Restaurant, 1102 N. Liberty Lake Road, Liberty Lake.


The year England’s Long Parliament banned mince pie, Christmas pudding and Christmas dinners of more than three courses. These laws were never repealed, so technically they are still in effect.

Bacon Avocado Florentine Benedict, Little Euro

Bacon Avocado Florentine Benedict Smothered in hollandaise sauce, this unusual benedict entices the most discriminating taste buds with its unique combination of spinach, bacon, tomato, and avocado on an English muffin. Served with fresh hash browns. Place your order: Available for $11.99 at Little Euro, 517 N. Pines Road, Spokane Valley.

466 Chan’s Chow Mein, Chan Bistro

1.75 million

Candy canes sold around the world during the Christmas season

Chan's Chow Mein Bring your favorite holiday chop sticks and dig into fresh pan-fried Udon noodles with hand-cut vegetables stir fried in a home-made clear garlic sauce. Place your order: Choose from beef, chicken, pork or tofu for $10.99 or prawns for $2 extra and a seafood combo for $4 extra at Chan Bistro, 1409 N. Argonne Road, Spokane Valley.

Grilled Mac & Cheese Sandwich with Extra Cheese Bacon makes this twist on the mac and cheese sandwich worth taking a shopping break. Grilled on French bread and served with Buffalo ranch dressing. Place your order: Available for $5.99 at Halletts Market and Café, 14109 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley.

Szechuan Scallops Heat up a cold winter day with this hot, chef-recommended dish. The meal includes large scallops with peppers stir fried in hot garlic sauce. Place your order: Available for $16.95 at Ding How, 1332 N. Liberty Lake Road, Liberty Lake.

Voodoo Pasta Awaken your taste buds with Andouille sausage, Cajun cream, red bell peppers with choice of prawns or grilled chicken makes this dish magical. Place your order: Max at Mirabeau, 1100 N. Sullivan Road, Spokane Valley.

Weight in pounds of the largest gingerbread man, baked by The Gingerbread House in Rochester, Minn., in 2006


December day that Oaxaca, Mexico, residents celebrate the Festival of the Radishes

Grilled Mac & Cheese Sandwich, Halletts Market and Café

Sources: fchristmas.html; woodinville/10-weird-facts-about-christmasfoods-woodinville

Did You Know?

December Christmas Pickle Celebration in Berrien Springs, Mich., with a Pickle Parade lead by the Grand Dillmeister.

• Carp is a common item on the Christmas dinner menu in the Czech Republic. But guests who dine on traditional fish soup and carp should beware: lore says if there aren't an even number of guests at the table, the person without a partner will die after the New Year.

• Mince pies are commonly made of fruit today. But when they originated in Medieval times, the Christmas Eve treat was made of chopped beef, nuts and spices with dried plums, according to

Holiday Food Edition

• Europeans baked fruitcake with nuts at the end of the nut season and saved them for one year, to be eaten at the beginning of the next harvest for good luck. Apparently, eating fruitcake was prohibited other than on special occasions because it was "sinfully" rich and delicious. • A German custom dictates that good luck or an extra present goes to the first one to find a glass pickle ornament hidden on a Christmas tree. There is an annual

• Wassail comes from the Old Norse "ves heill" which means to be of good health. This evolved into the tradition of visiting neighbors on Christmas Eve and drinking to their health. • It is a British Christmas tradition that a wish made while mixing the Christmas pudding will come true only if the ingredients are stirred in a clockwise direction. Sources:; html

The Current

DECEMBER 2015 • 39

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The Current

40 • DECEMBER 2015

12 Gifts of Christmas Turn materialism into generosity this season

12 Dollar Bills

9 Hours of Time

One of the best things you could do this Christmas season is keep a plethora of dollar bills (at least 12) in your car so that each time you stop at the grocery store or the department store you can drop a dollar into the red kettles that the Salvation Army has out and about throughout this holiday season. The Salvation Army helps over 4 million people in the Unites States each year through those red kettles each Thanksgiving and Christmas season.

Perhaps making a donation isn’t possible this season, but many organizations all over the Valley would love to have you show up to donate time to help them meet needs. Whether it is one of the organizations mentioned in this column or another group that you are passionate about, please take an hour a day to make a difference.

11 Cans of Food

By Chad Kimberley


I love Christmas music. I love that some radio stations start playing Christmas carols Nov. 1, despite the argument that an elf kills a baby reindeer each time a carol is played before Thanksgiving. I love the kid-like jingles and imagining mom kissing Santa Claus (and truly hoping that it is dad and not the mall Santa) and grandma being run over by a reindeer. I love the classics and listening to Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole along with all the odd releases like Guns N’ Roses and Alvin and the Chipmunks. Despite the literally thousands of different Christmas carols out there, the one I always come back to, for purely selfish reasons, is “12 Days of Christmas.” You see, when I was a kid I always imagined that song being my personal Christmas gift list. I wanted 12 new Star Wars action figures (I never did get Admiral Ackbar), nine posters of Alyssa Milano for my walls (you know nine is the ladies dancing), seven new Nintendo games (I played Contra for hours), four boxes of baseball cards (still bitter my mom threw them all out) and one trampoline (asked for it every year — never got it). I see now that the whole aiming to get 78 gifts each Christmas may seem a bit selfish (OK, a lot selfish), but now as an adult with three kids who all have their own Christmas wish lists, I have come to realize the importance of teaching a bit of balance and selflessness. After all, this is a season that becomes a bit materialistic. So let’s turn that same song around. Instead of giving our first loves (friends and family) tons of gifts, how about we show some love to those in our community who could really use the gift of our generosity this season. I think the new song may start a bit like this … “On the first day of Christmas I gave my community …”

There are many groups doing food drives throughout the holiday season, and you can pick from multiple organizations you want to help. One group I have volunteered with and given to is Second Harvest, who in turns partners with lots of groups in our community. Second Harvest distributes over 2 million pounds of free food each month throughout Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

10 Pairs of Gloves Gloves, blankets or even hand warmers would be a great donation to Blessings Under the Bridge, who will then distribute them to folks in need who are out on the streets or struggling to find consistently warm places to sleep and stay. We can all relate to be freezing cold, but most of us can remedy that situation quickly. Let’s help those who can’t this holiday season.

8 Holiday Voices Grab together a few friends and head out to a local retirement or nursing home and bring some holiday cheer by singing out a few Christmas carols or stopping in for a great conversation. Put a smile on someone’s face, make a new friend and spread some Christmas joy.

7 Clothing Items Teen Closet is an organization that aims to help boost the confidence of teens in foster care by providing contemporary and fashionable clothes. Teen Closet looks for items that are brand new or gently used, suited for a current teenager and have no stains or holes in the clothing.

6 Tree of Sharing Gifts Spokane Valley Partners is a local organization that provides various services, including a clothing and food bank for local families. During the Christmas season,

the organization has a Tree of Sharing that provides gifts for nearly 100 families in the Spokane Valley community. Make a commitment to provide six of those gifts this holiday season.

5 Toys For Tots What would the Christmas season be without toys? Yes, it is important to help provide basic needs like warmth, food and shelter, but for a kid it does make for a special Christmas when you get a brand new toy. Toys for Tots aims to deliver a new toy at Christmas, and more importantly a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters and lets them know someone, somewhere cares.

4 Bags of Dog or Cat Food It is not just kids and adults who might need some help during the Christmas season, but it is also our four-legged friends. SCRAPS is the only animal protection agency for Spokane County and could use donations to help meet needs. One of the big needs is quality puppy or cat food — and preferably Purina One brand food. You may not be able to adopt a new pet this Christmas season, but you can help some furry critters stay healthy until someone else can bring them home.

3 Packages of Diapers Inland NW Baby is an organization trying to help families who struggle to provide clothing and diapers for those in need. One of the largest needs is diapers, so this Christmas season make it a point to pick up some diapers each time you do some Christmas shopping and be able to help bless local families this winter.

2 Tickets To "White Christmas" By picking up two tickets to the show “White Christmas” at the Spokane Civic Theater on Dec. 16, you will be participating in a fundraiser for Hearth Homes in Spokane Valley. Hearth Homes is the only transitional home in the Valley for women recovering from domestic violence, chemical dependency and other traumas. Not only do you see a great show, you can participate in a silent auction and impact lives.

1 Happy Camper It is easy to get caught up in the chaos, busyness and potential grumpiness of the Christmas season. Make a commitment to yourself and others to be a happy camper this holiday season, and greet one and all with a smile and some joy. Chad Kimberley is a local teacher and coach. He lives in Liberty Lake.

The Current

DECEMBER 2015 • 41


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Celebrating the season

Local personalities create meaningful moments through holiday traditions “My holiday traditions include gathering with children, grandchildren, family and friends; making Christmas cookies; reading holiday books and decorating the tree with grandchildren; going to a holiday movie; sharing memories; favorite foods and holiday cheer. And, of course, skiing if there is snow!” — Joanne Comer, principal, Liberty Lake Elementary

“For a few years now, we have decided to give our children three Christmas presents: something they want, something they need and something to share. It’s been fun to keep it simple and purposeful, while still taking the opportunity to spoil them a little bit — hopefully somewhere short of ‘rotten.’” — Josh Johnson, publisher, The Splash & The Current

“My favorite holiday tradition began the year we moved to the Spokane Valley. After much searching for a tree at Greenbluff, we found a tree at Huckaba Christmas Tree Farm. Every year since, our entire family makes the return trek to Huckaba’s and painstakingly chooses the best Christmas tree on the farm. Ultimately, it isn’t the tree that is the most important part of the tradition … it’s the togetherness and the stories created and retold year after year that makes this such a cherished family tradition.” — Ben Small, superintendent, Central Valley School District

“Our community is strong because of the connections between people. In our “For our family Christmas dinner, every member randomly family, we select an early draws a course that they must decide what to prepare and December Saturday evening serve. There are no rules except for any allergy restrictions. and share hospitality with As you can imagine, we have had very interesting meal our friends and neighbors. combinations including crab mac-n-cheese for dessert, a mashed potato appetizer, and garlic bread as the main dish.” Some would call it a house party, but I like to think of — Mike Hittle, principal, Central Valley High School it as a gesture, an open welcome to people who “In our first year of marriage, “Passed down from my great have been a part of our lives my husband and I took time on grandparents, every Christmas Eve during the year gone by, to Thanksgiving to fill a notecard with the kids open their first present - a things we had to be grateful for recognize we appreciate new pair of warm winter pajamas. during the past year. We continued This serves two purposes. It’s them and what they mean the practice as kids entered the easier to get the kids ready for to us. I like to boldly greet picture, and they now get a kick bed because they can’t wait to everyone as they arrive and out of going back through 20 wear their new pajamas, and they years worth of notecards each welcome them with a warm, look great in the pictures the next Thanksgiving to see how our lives ‘Merry Christmas.’” morning.” have changed.” — Dan Dunne, council — Jennifer Ophardt, president, — Tammy Kimberley, general Liberty Lake Community Theatre member, City of Liberty Lake manager, The Splash & The Current “Traditions change as our adult children have children and other family members to share the holidays with, but our traditions seem to revolve around food — Christmas Eve dinner of crab or seafood chowder, cookies that we have made for weeks — followed by the evening church services. We reconvene on Christmas Day with dinner, presents and hopefully outdoor snow activities!” — Peggy Doering, executive director, Valleyfest

“My wife and I received an advent calendar from my grandmother when we got married. It has little doors to open with mini-ornaments inside to hang the calendar on which tell the Christmas story. As we had children and introduced the advent calendar to them, it’s become one of their favorite things to do in counting down to Christmas day, waking each other up in the morning so they can do it before school.” — Phil Champlin, executive director, HUB Sports Center “Although it is not a traditional holiday setting, we’ve made a tradition of spending the holidays at the beach. We don’t have a white Christmas, but palm trees decorated with Christmas lights and hoping to see Santa riding a surfboard is something we all look forward to. Mele Kalikimaka!”

— Lindsay Ehlers, principal, Greenacres Elementary

“On New Year’s Eve we have pizza, watch movies and play games. It’s a great time for our family to share with each other all we are thankful for in the last year and celebrate the start to a new year!” — Randy Russell, superintendent, Freeman School District “Our tradition is to decorate the Spokane Valley Museum with the historic Christmas bells that were used at the old University City Mall to celebrate the season as well as put lots of lights on the building. The bells are large and red and a lot of people recognize them.” — Jayne Singleton, director, Spokane Valley Heritage Museum

“Growing up, my parents started a tradition of gifting my brother, sister and I with an ornament to hallmark a special event that occurred in the year — a hot air balloon for my first marketing internship with the Lake CDA Balloonfest; a Christmas package for my first job as a gift-wrapper at Troutman’s Emporium; a piano for my childhood passion for music. My tree is now filled with treasured memories that serve as a great reminder of the beautiful life I’m blessed to live surrounded by loving family and friends.” — Katherine Morgan, president and CEO, Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce


44 • DECEMBER 2015

Valley teams wrap up fall campaigns

The Current

Area’s elite running family had its roots at West Valley

By Mike Vlahovich


When slowpitch softball season ends, you can count on Jon Schuh’s University Titans riding high. This year U-Hi won its eighth district championship in the 10 years the Greater Spokane League has fielded the sport. It came 13-3 at the expense of uncharacteristic foe, Mead. Typically it’s been Central Valley that finished second in league, but was upset by the Panthers in an inexplicably low scoring 3-1 semifinal. The Titans were a blend of youth and experience, including GSL MVP sophomore Gracee Dwyer, who led the team in hitting with a .688 batting average, in runs scored and home runs with 11. Kirsten Anstrom hit .611, and was an all-league utility player. Schuh said she played shortstop, first base, second base and in the outfield. “She was the ultimate team player,” Schuh said. Freshman infielder Mikayla Marshall hit .583, catcher Natasha Nelson, .560, and outfielder Courtney Awbery .462. All were first-team All-GSL selections. Lexi Ivankovich, U-Hi’s starting pitcher for four years and All-GSL in each, was 17-1 and “may be the best fielding pitcher I have ever had,” Schuh said. “This team was young, but came together well. Losing Lexi will be a huge blow.” During her career, Ivankovich went 81-3. University has compiled a 1799 record since the sport’s inception in 2006. The team batted .477 as a whole, including Brianna Hecker (.577) and Rachel Hawley (.543).

Football statistics The season may have ended with a 30-3 loss to Richland, but it will be one the Bears can look back on fondly. They compiled an 8-3 record, finished second in the GSL and reached the State 4A round of 16 for coach Rick Giampietri, who announced his retirement after nearly half a century mentor kids. Gage Connole, Alec Doyle and Tanner Sloan will be seniors missed

See NOTEBOOK, page 46

By Mike Vlahovich THE FINAL POINT


East Valley state cross country champion Brittany Aquino crosses the finish line at the state cross country meet in November with a time of 18 minutes, 28.9 seconds. It was the fourth time the senior appeared at the state meet.

Aquino adds to running honors with state title By Mike Vlahovich


Who would have thought that a standout distance running career would begin, of all places, at a roller skating rink? But that is the case for East Valley’s Brittany Aquino, who took up running at the suggestion of the father of an elementary school classmate after he watched her racing around the rink. “I was a fifth grader at a school roller skating party,” Brittany explains, “and one of my friend’s dad said, ‘Hey, Brittany, you’re really good at roller skating, why don’t you try cross country,’ so I did.” Success came early for Aquino, and there would be no slowing her down. The Knights senior has put together a record of remarkable consistency beginning her freshman season, taking her to the top of the State 2A awards stand in early November after winning the championship with a personal best 18 minute, 28.9 seconds in her fourth state cross country meet at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco. Aquino had placed third as the Great Northern League’s top state finisher as a freshman in 2012, with a time of 18:36.6. In between that and her title, she finished

seventh and third. It wasn’t as if she snuck up on the field with November’s state title. Last spring in track, she won the 1,600 meter championship in 4:59.6 after taking second at 3,200 in 11:02.35. The year before, she placed third and second respectively. Mulling over the November championship, Aquino said, “This whole season I hadn’t had any competition in the district. I knew at state against the girls from other regions that this is where I really (needed to) compete.” She nervously took the pace of the first mile out slowly, recalling how in her freshman race she had taken off so fast that she was hanging on at the end merely to place third. “I didn’t know how to pace myself (then),” she said. Even leading wire-to-wire this year she admitted nervousness, thinking, “It can’t be like my freshman year. Coming down the straightaway at the end I was thinking, ‘don’t give up.’” After having the bug put in her ear at the roller skating party, Aquino immediately took to distance running like a duck

See AQUINO, page 46

After reading that North Central’s Justin Janke won the State 3A boys cross country championship and led the Indians to a record-setting 10th straight team title, it took me back 40 years. West Valley’s Weitz clan begat a distance legacy passed on through two generations. Janke became the fourth state champion in the remarkable story beginning with his uncle Lynn’s state two-mile track championship in 1974. Aunt Judy captured an individual state title in 1978, a year after she and older sister and Justin’s mother Jan had sparked the Eagles team win. Cousin Nathan Weitz followed in the footsteps of his dad — the man who set the bar - winning state cross country at Shadle Park in 2010 and finishing second a year later. He also placed second twice in both the 1,600 and 3,200 races in track and took third in the 3,200 as a sophomore. And another cousin, Nathan’s sister Kendra, placed fifth twice at state while helping Shadle to the 2009 cross country team title and placed as high as third in track. Factor in that Jan coached NC to the 4A girls cross country state team title in 2001 and you get the drift. Distance running, obviously is in the family’s DNA. “I got to thinking, Mike,” said former Eagles coach Jim McLachlan. “I think this, arguably, is the best running family in Spokane history.” Two other families, he said, the Duryees and Riehles, also made him look like a genius.

See FINAL POINT, page 47

OPINION Show some compassion The Current

By Ryan Bird


Whitworth University has been a PACE partner since its inception. Every September, classes at this university are cancelled for the better part of a day in order for students to take part in service projects throughout the community. The following is my reflection on the traits of caring and compassion as they apply to my own life and my experience at a local elementary school on Community Building Day. The study of compassion is an essential piece of the collegiate experience. Understanding compassion will help any college graduate, regardless of major, succeed in the real world or when they are trying to get a job. By showing compassion, you begin to understand the hardships of others and put yourself in their shoes. As a personal example, I want to be a chiropractor following my years at Whitworth, if I can use compassion to understand and console a patient of mine, the job becomes more personal. Instead of showing up to work and simply using the techniques I learned to help the patient physically, by using compassion I can understand a patient’s personal life and possibly truly make a difference in their life. Helping others is a trait that I would love to instill in my career, something that goes hand in hand with compassion. Our community-building task was an excellent practice in compassion as we helped out in a low-income neighborhood with youth. I was in a group with my classmates Kelly, Daniel and Jacob, and we were assigned a sixth grader named Isaac. Initially, Isaac was paired with a group of all girls and just to see the joy on his face when he switched into our group and realized that he was amongst his peers was an indication that it was going to be a good day. As we walked around the neighborhood picking up trash, I began to understand one of the main points of this mission. Isaac just enjoyed being around us and being one of the guys. I began to realize that these kids really just wanted a friend. Being that friend to these kids and showing compassion in the form of listening and laughing was re-

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ally the biggest takeaway of the day for me. Not to mention, the compassion we showed toward the environment, cleaning up trash and starting the standard for cleanliness, which is essential for a healthy environment. As I began to realize the importance of being a friend to Isaac, it made me remember another experience in my life where I witnessed great amounts of compassion. My high school has a program where the psychology class meets on Friday with a class of students with special needs. Many of these students had never had friends before and were brutally picked on in middle school and elementary school. The sole purpose of this meeting between students from completely different backgrounds was to show compassion and be a friend to someone who desperately needs it. This experience changed my life dramatically, and I will always remember when I was brought to tears by a girl with severe Downs Syndrome as she told me that I was her best friend. The joy of truly making a positive difference in someone’s life is a feeling that is incomparable to any other and relies solely on one thing: showing a little compassion to someone who desperately needs it. My personal experience and the experience of Community Building Day are essentially the same concept. Whether it be a low-income little boy or a wheelchairbound girl with severe mental disabilities, the concept is the same. In either one of these situations, the kids just wanted a friend that they could talk to and they could actually call their personal friend. All it takes to make this difference is to let your guard down and show some compassion to another human being. As I mentioned before, in my career as a chiropractor I am looking forward to the opportunity to help people. The education in compassion that I am receiving from Whitworth will help in the formation of that. Ryan Bird is a junior at Whitworth University, majoring in health science. He is on the Whitworth Pirates baseball team. He wrote this as part of a series on the PACE character traits of the month. The trait for December is “caring.”

DECEMBER 2015 • 45

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Letter to the Editor Valley voters duped Sam Wood, Arne Woodard, Ed Pace and Rod Higgins have misled the people of Spokane Valley about Ben Wick, his intentions and the effort he has put into preserving and establishing the city he loves. Ben has a full-time job, city responsibilities and a young family, things none of these older men have to contend with. He spent every possible opportunity to door bell, speak with citizens and campaign.

But he didn’t have every day to only campaign, so the city fell victim to falsehoods. Ben has the most integrity and strength of character of any person I know. These men don’t want you to know that any organization that spoke with both Ben and his opponent endorsed Ben. They don’t want you to know that there were five council members endorsing Ben, along with every Spokane Valley mayor the city has had. They don’t want you to know that

Ben is the only councilman to do what is right for our city regardless of the backlash it gave him during the campaign. Because this is what a public leader is supposed to do. This group of people that now controls the destiny of our city doesn’t care what you want or the city needs. It’s too bad the citizens of Spokane Valley got duped.

Paula Gano Mead

46 • DECEMBER 2015


AQUINO Continued from page 44

“I think he’s what made me so much more successful,” Aquino said. “He was the most incredible coach.”

to water. She competed in youth events, even qualifying for a USA Track and Field national race. Watching her run as a high school freshman during regional cross country competition at Plante’s Ferry Park, you knew she was a special talent. But the journey wasn’t without speed bumps. She had mononucleosis during her sophomore year when she took seventh in cross country. There were times, she admitted, that when she struggled physically or ran poorly contrary to her fierce competitiveness that she’d run to her mother, Stacy, and say, “Maybe I shouldn’t be running any more. I’m not improving.” Or, “I’m done with this sport.” Mom offered positive encouragement reassuring Brittany that she had a bright future. Over the course of her EV career, there was no coaching continuity. She had three, all with something to offer. Nick Lazanis was her coach as a freshman. Andrew Walker coached her the next two years when she started training with the boys.

This year John Preston took over and, she said, had the ability to “draw out the athlete and give specific workouts, which was pretty cool.”


and 23 touchdowns and rushed for another TD. West Valley was 5-5 overall, including games against four postseason qualifiers. Freeman’s Jack Paukert rushed for 1,064 yards and 14 touchdowns, was second in receiving and led the team in defensive statistics. Quarterback JT Neely threw for more than a 1,000 yards and 12 TDs. Brandon Campbell, Konner Freudenthal and Jesse Unfred were among the defensive standouts for the Scotties, who were 6-3 for the year.

Continued from page 44

along with lineman Scott Peck. Connole led the team in rushing in the GSL with 408 yards on 91 carries and overall gained more than 600 yards. Doyle added nearly 400 yards on the ground, with 297 of them coming on 79 attempts in the GSL. Quarterback Sloan was fourth in the league with 104 completions in 188 attempts and 1,037 yards in the GSL and exceeded 1,600 yards overall. Although University’s final outcome was disappointing for University — after a 5-0 start the Titans finished 5-5 — individuals finished statistically at or near the top of the GSL. Logan O’Neill led in passing, completing 100 of 187 passes for 1,586 yards and in total offense with 1,716 yards. He passed for 17 touchdowns and rushed for three more. Overall he was 131 for 241 for 2,008 yards and 21 TDs. Teammate Tre’von Tuggles led the league in rushing with 665 yards on 108 carries, gaining 166 more yards than the next highest. In all games he ran 177 times and gained 1,085 yards. Two receivers, Griffin Thorson and Tanner Chase, finished first and eighth in receiving, the former with 42 catches for 728 yards and six touchdowns (51-830-7 overall), the latter 25 catches for 303 yards and fiveTDs (44-572-7). East Valley’s season nearly mirrored last year. The team won its final three games to finish 5-4. Quarterback Dante Clayton completed 114 of 236 passes for 1,627 yards

By her sophomore season, she’d lowered her 1,600 meter track time to 5:01.22 and 3,200 to 11:04.06 while placing twice in state. She improved on those times last year. Although she preferred cross country to track, she said winning the 1,600 last spring “was probably the most memorable moment in running.” The Border Clash and Foot Locker cross country invitational races wrap up her fall schedule. Track and field beckons next spring when her high school career comes to an end. “I’m going to just play it out, train in winter, run invitationals, keep my head up and keep positive,” she said. Colleges are beckoning, so there’s likely more racing in Aquino’s future. Just don’t expect it at the roller rink.

CV, Freeman volleyball placers Ten Central Valley senior volleyball players were part of a two-year act that could be tough to duplicate. They were part of a Bears team that earned successive trophies in state improving to seventh place this year after winning the regular season Greater Spokane League championship. The thrilling end to the season included second place district and regional finishes behind state sixth-place Mead, a team they played three times in matches that went to five games. At state, CV drew eventual tourney second-place finisher Emerald Ridge in its opener and lost in five games, then won the next three matches for the trophy. Middle KeAnn White, the Rockwood twins, setter Jade and libero Meghan, defensive specialist Taryn Ungaro and middle Hannah Reiman are among the seniors who will be missed. The GSL swept three regional berths against Mid-Columbia Conferences foes,

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with University going 0-2 at state. Thirdplace West Valley and Eisenhower from Yakima also qualified for state. Unfortunately, The Titans drew then-unbeaten WV-Yakima in its state opener. The Titans were without standout Daryn Griffith, who had an ankle sprain. Kills leader Rachael Schlect, Kaitlin Pannell and Kendall Collins paced the state effort. Like CV, Freeman lost its 1A tournament opener, then won three straight to finish seventh.

EV soccer quarterfinalists East Valley’s veteran team reached the State 2A quarterfinals before losing 3-1 to Ellensburg and finishing the season at 15-4. University girls had one of their more successful seasons, one win shy of state. The Titans were second in the GSL and finished 12-7 for the season. They beat Central Valley 2-0 to qualify for regional and beat Richland 3-2, then lost a heartbreaker to eventual state semifinalist Gonzaga Prep in a shootout and were eliminated by Ferris. Julia Adair scored four goals during the playoffs. CV’s young team won once and lost twice in the playoffs and like U-Hi dropped a shootout match to Gonzaga Prep following a 0-0 stalemate. Of CV’s 20-player roster, four — Cassie


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Peterson, Marissa Terry, Olivia Fielding and Kaite Van Etten — are seniors. Scoring leader Kaelyn Barnes is a sophomore.

State cross country University and Central Valley boys teams finished seventh and ninth in state respectively, the Titans led by senior Hunter Simpson who finished 11th individually in 15 minutes, 41.1 seconds. Sophomore Gabe Romney was tops for CV, placing 24th in 15:55.5. Five of the Titan’s seven runners were seniors, but the Bears bring back all but two. Central Valley’s girls finished 10th and like the boys have five underclass runners. Senior Briegan Bester finished 18th in her final state race, timing 18:40.3. Junior Kearan Nelson timed 18:45.4. Titan sophomore Claire Dingus finished 22nd. In 2A state, West Valley junior Jacob Nicholson was the highest Great Northern League boys finisher in 11th place.

The Current

DECEMBER 2015 • 47


Josh Johnson


Tammy Kimberley

Sarah Burk GRAPHICS EDITOR CIRCULATION Dean Byrns Stefanie Byrns Mike Wiykovics CONTRIBUTORS

Kelly Breakie, Lauren Campbell, Gwendolyn Haley, Craig Howard, Chad Kimberley, Staci Lehman, Treva Lind, Sam McGhee, Valerie Putnam, Mike Vlahovich

On the cover: Current photo by Kelly Breakie


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FINAL POINT Continued from page 44

“You lucky sucker,” McLachlan said to himself of that good fortune. The coach nicknamed “Otis” and I hashed old memories over breakfast at the Otis Grill. Lynn Weitz, he noted, competed in state cross country, but was literally frozen out of a state trip when he was a senior. “It was 23 degrees and snow was blowing sideways at East Valley,” Otis recalled. “He couldn’t move. The snow just totally destroyed him. Then he came back and won the two-mile in state the following spring.”

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He still ranks second on West Valley’s all-time 3,200 meter list and sixth for 1,600 meters. Judy and Jan are in the top 11 in the distances, Judy second in both 800 and 1,600 meters. She currently coaches at Bonney Lake. Everyone, including oldest sister Diane, ran, runs and likely will run in college. Interestingly, Diane is a reason girls cross country became a varsity sport at WV. “She (and Laurie Curry are the ones) who came to me and said, ‘Hey coach, we want to have a girls team,’” McLachlan recalled.

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He said he wouldn’t recruit the halls and told them, “’Well, go find me some girls,’ and they did. We won 33 straight meets and won a state championship in the third year of the program.” Diane competed at state in 1975, the first of six straight trips by Eagles girls teams. Jan finished fifth overall and Judy 14th to lead the 1977 title team. The next year, Judy won as a sophomore before injury struck, ruining her final two years, and Jan placed fourth. This remarkable family tree took root at WV, and branches spread throughout Spokane. Many are the photos I took and interviews conducted of the remarkable family over that 40-year span. I followed the Weitzes closely during those Eagles years, was at state covering Jan’s Indians title team and was impressed by Justin’s gregariousness and poised demeanor while talking with him after a race he won at NC’s home course, Audubon Park, a year or so ago. It’s a remarkable story of one family’s influence in a community that embraces distance running. And it started right here at WV. Mike Vlahovich is a longtime Spokane Valley sportswriter and member of the Inland Northwest Hall of Fame Scroll of Honor.

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48 • DECEMBER 2015

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