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Talking small biz and economic development with four mayors and a county commissioner at locally owned restaurants in Millwood, Rockford, Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and Felts Field.

If the near pound of meat on the Monster Burger at Harvest Moon in Rockford isn’t enough for you, it comes with bottomless fries.


Cats and Compassion

SCRAPS chief talks about the joys and challenges of building a more humane community Page 2


Profiles: Jesse Sheldon

The 17-year-old founder of an award-winning nonprofit on diapers, college and changing the world Page 10

Living the dream

For former Spokane Chief and Liberty Lake native Tyler Johnson, the ice is nice in Norfolk, Va. Page 28


2 • March 2012

The Current

Current file photo

After taking in two dozen felines in one day last month, SCRAPS Director Nancy Hill announced plans to emphasize cat adoptions and public awareness for unwanted cats for the remainder of the year.

2012: Year of the Cat Bolstered feline focus among many efforts SCRAPS director leading to ‘build a more humane community’ By Josh Johnson Current Staff Writer

“This is not a 9-to5 job,” SCRAPS Director Nancy Hill shared by way of understatement. She was responding to gratitude offered by a reporter for the return call Hill was placing on a Saturday morning. It was 9:15. Hill had already been to the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center and back to check on the welfare of 91 mostly emaciated animals seized by animal protection officers the day before, a day she worked 16 hours. Earlier in the same week, she held a press conference announcing the regional animal protection agency’s 2012 initiative declaring the “Year of the Cat.” Earlier in the same week, she helped announce the county’s plans seeking regional collaboration to relocate the SCRAPS shelter from its aging, hard-to-find facility near the Spokane Industrial Park off Sullivan to a former Harley-Davidson dealership on East Trent. Earlier in the same week, she was attending to the normal duties of running an organization with 18 full-time employees, six

to eight part-time employees and about 50 active volunteers. What motivates someone to not only handle such a week in stride, but call a reporter back? “Well, I love people, and I love animals,” Hill said. “I couldn’t ask for a better spot.” The 45-minute conversation that ensued covered everything from Hill’s extra-busy week to the day she netted a stray bobcat on the Sullivan overpass. Excerpts are below.

A Cup of Joe


So let’s start with the news of the moment. A lot of folks dwell on the shelter side of animal control services, but events like serving a warrant on this rural property and rescuing these animals underscore a law enforcement emphasis as well. How does SCRAPS keep this aspect a priority as well?


SCRAPS is an interesting mix because we are a division of Spokane County, and part of our original purpose of forming (in the 1920s) … was to both enforce the county’s animal laws and house the county’s stray animals. We have a first-class investigative team of officers. One of the things we take very,

See SCRAPS, page 34

The Current

March 2012 • 3

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The Current

4 • March 2012


Dorn: Revenue may still be sought for basic education State’s top public schools official addressed Valley gathering in February By Josh Johnson Current Staff Writer

SPOKANE VALLEY — A revenue package to provide education funding will still be discussed during the current legislative session, but not for the reasons it was originally floated, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn told a crowd of Spokane Valley education and business leaders at the Mirabeau Park Hotel Feb. 17. Dorn, the keynote speaker for the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast, spoke three days after voters approved maintenance and operations levies for the Central Valley, East Valley, West Valley and Freeman school districts. He said it is many of the things paid for by these local levy dollars — not a state budget shortfall — that will fuel discussions in Olympia about some type of tax increase to fund education. “What has this session been about?” Dorn said. “Well, we heard about a revenue package to start with to pay for filling the hole (in the budget). Now there’s no hole there.” Citing an improved economic forecast and recent reports showing other savings measures, Dorn said items that once seemed on the chocking block no longer appear to be threatened. This includes items like levy equalization funding, a method for equalizing the playing field for school districts with lower property values that is relied on by Valley districts. Instead, January’s McCleary Supreme Court decision, which found the state not living up to its obligation to fund basic education, is now weighing on lawmakers, Dorn said. He cited transportation as an example. Getting students to and from school is considered basic education. “The state underfunds, per year, $110 million of that (transportation cost),” Dorn said. “So where does that money come from? That comes from what you just passed: local levy dollars. Local levy dollars are not supposed to be used for basic education things. That’s the state’s responsibility.” Dorn said many other items, from special education to all-day kindergar-

In case you missed it Compiled by Josh Johnson Current Staff Writer

‘Troyzan’ graduated from CV The 24th installment of the popular CBS reality series, “Survivor,” debuted Feb. 15 with a cast that included a freelance photographer with Spokane Valley roots. Troy “Troyzan” Robertson is a 1979 Central Valley High School graduate who last lived in the Spokane area in 1985. As of The Current press deadline, Troyzan, 50, had avoided elimination on the show.

Valley Hospital’s ‘hip’ distinction Valley Hospital has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for its knee and hip replacement program, becoming the first Inland Northwest hospital and second in Washington state to be so designated. “We have felt for a long time that here at Valley, we have one of the best joint replacement programs in the area,” said Dr. Jonathon Keeve, an orthopaedic surgeon with Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists and the lead physician in the certification project at Valley Hospital. “The official certification from The Joint Commission not only validates this perception, but it also pushes us to keep our standards at the highest level and strive for enhanced quality continuously, as the survey process will now be ongoing.” SUBMITTED Photo by Gary Roberto/Gary Roberto Photography

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn speaks to Spokane Valley education and business leaders at a Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce breakfast Feb. 17 at the Mirabeau Park Hotel. ten to technology, are basic education responsibilities of the state but are often costs footed by local districts. “Technology is actually basic education now,” he said. “Every parent, every citizen understands that if we don’t have quality training for technology and updating technology in our school system, are we really preparing students for the 21st century?” The West Valley School District passed a separate $500,000 levy specifically for technology Feb. 14, and other Valley districts build some basic technology needs into normal levy requests. Eight percent of Central Valley School District’s $27.1 million levy request was for basic bus transportation. Dorn said levy dollars should be for districts to respond to localized needs, not to fund another jurisdiction’s responsibility. “So you pass a levy, instead of using them for extra things that individual districts think are important and extra like an extra arts program, an after-school tutorial program, maybe somebody wants an orchestra program that is beyond your normal band pro-

gram. ... Those kinds of things districts would like to fund, that’s what local levies should do, not pay for to and from school,” Dorn said. “So that revenue package that may go forward I believe in June or August would help pay for those state basic education issues that districts are having to pay for today.” Dorn said he expected any such basic education revenue package to be put to a vote of the people. While funding problems persist, Dorn said at the most foundational level of education, there is no reason for discouragement. “What gives me hope about education?” he said. “The hope about education is that whether the budgets are better or the budgets are worse, I have an absolute belief that to the educators in the room, that really doesn’t matter. The reason they got into education was to make a difference for their students, and whether the budgets are good or the budgets are bad, they will be there for kids. (Washington state’s education system) is not the best in the nation, but it’s one of the best. And it’s based on very good people doing very good work.”

Food bank takes challenge to bolster donations Spokane Valley Partners announced recently that it is seeking cash, check or food donations in March and April as part of a Feinstein Challenge grant program that annually distributes $1 million among participating food banks nationwide based upon contributions from the local community. The more donated by community members, the larger share of the $1 million distribution Spokane Valley Partners will receive. The Valley nonprofit said the number of people fed by the food bank has increased 74 percent over the past four years. For more or to donate:

Hostage negotiators "sniff out" marijuana While at the scene of a standoff near the 12100 block of East Valleyway Road in Spokane Valley Feb. 15, Spokane County Sheriff 's Office hostage negotiators smelled the odor of marijuana emanating from a different residence in the area. After a peaceful resolution to the business at hand, the officers passed along information about the suspected marijuana house. Additional investigation led to Sheriff 's Office ISU detectives serving a search warrant at the residence on Feb. 23, where they found an active grow of 49 marijuana plants, two pounds of finished product and baggies and scales consistent with drug sales.

The Current

March 2012 • 5

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6 • March 2012



The Current

West Valley School District Superintendent Polly Crowley announced Feb. 22 that she will retire, effective at the end of the school year. Crowley, 65, has worked for West Valley since 1995 and has been superintendent for the past seven years.

City Planner Tom Richardson submitted a grant application in February to the Spokane Parks Foundation to receive funding to renovate the Millwood City Park’s wading pool. The grant would augment the $4,000 raised by community members since the pool was threatened for closure last year when the city did not have funding for necessary repairs.

The Central Valley School District Board of Directors gave the go-ahead to purchase an old Rite Aid building on Sprague Avenue and University Road to be used for a Valley Skills Center branch. The move is intended to increase technical education offerings for students as a collaborative effort among all Valley school districts.

In a rare double, both the boys and girls basketball teams at Central Valley and University high schools have earned bids to the state tournament in Tacoma, which will be held March 1-3. Sidenote: Another team that plays its home games in a Central Valley School District gymnasium (the old U-High building) also made state. The Valley Christian boys will play in the 1B tournament at the Spokane Arena.

The Current

March 2012 • 7

Three Up, Three Down features at-a-glance news of what’s coming UP in March or went DOWN in February. Check out these six on this rendering of the Valley by homegrown artist Casey Lynch, and then turn the page for a breakdown of items by jurisdiction. (The placement of news items on this artistic map do not necessarily denote the actual location of the item described.)

While temporary fixes to the southbound Sullivan Road Bridge in Spokane Valley wrapped up two weeks early last month, plans for replacing the 51-year-old span continue with a meeting 6 to 7:30 p.m. March 14 at CenterPlace. Project engineers will present bridge construction sequencing and traffic routing plans for the construction project.

Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke will be hitting the road soon to talk with the cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley about collaborating on a regional animal shelter. The county has identified a former Harley-Davidson dealership at 6815 E. Trent Ave. that could replace the currently overcrowded SCRAPS shelter, but the three entities would need to partner together to fund the purchase and renovation of the building.

8 • March 2012

3UP 3DOWN Three Up, Three Down features at-aglance news from the Spokane Valley area: — what’s coming up in March — what went down in February Six of these items are represented on the artistic rendering of the Valley by local artist Casey Lynch on the previous spread. Compiled by Josh Johnson Current Staff Writer

City of Spokane Valley From 5:30 to 7 p.m. March 7 at Spokane Valley High School, 2011 N. Hutchinson Road, an open house will be held to talk about improvements to the Argonne Corridor planned for the summer. Significant construction between I-90 and Trent Avenue is planned, and the city is looking to minimize the impact on businesses, residents and drivers. While temporary fixes to the southbound Sullivan Road Bridge wrapped up two weeks early last month, plans for replacing the 51-year-old span continue. For more info, see spread on pages 6-7. After receiving 2,198 reckless driver calls in the city in 2011, the Spokane Valley Police Department announced in late February it is inaugurating ADEP — Aggressive Driver Enforcement Program. Officers in the traffic unit will be utilizing unmarked patrol cars to step up their focus on enforcing and curbing aggressive driving. City Council and staff held one of their twice-annual retreats Feb. 7 at CenterPlace. Among many topics of discussion was consideration of finding a dedicated funding mechanism to preserve and reconstruct the city’s streets. Staff emphasized an annual multi-million dollar shortfall for roads while the Council expressed hesitation about creating a new revenue source. Also at the retreat, the Council discussed results from a survey returned by 459 residents in 2011. While opinions were all over the board on most issues, 87 percent of respondents believed Spokane Valley is a good place to live. The City Council considered options for a “gateway” sign that would greet visitors approaching the city’s western side, at Appleway Boulevard and Thierman Street. The proposal is intended to upgrade the area where the Sprague-Appleway couplet initiates, although Council members remain unsettled about the project’s price tag, which exceeds $100,000.

news City of Millwood The City Council will begin discussing the need to raise water rates at its March 5 meeting after a consultant last month warned the funding available to manage the city’s water system would be deep in the hole by 2016. Also at that meeting, the city plans to continue discussions on the role it’s playing in developing the Spokane Valley/Millwood Trail on old railway property that crosses through the community. The trail would begin in Spokane and connect to the Centennial Trail near the Spokane Valley Mall. With a six-month moratorium on establishing or licensing medical marijuana dispensaries or collective gardens set to expire in March, the Council will hold a public hearing and consider extending the moratorium another six months. The moratorium was originally put in place to give the city time to consider how such establishments fit into local zoning requirements. City Planner Tom Richardson submitted a grant application to receive funding to renovate the Millwood City Park’s wading pool. For more info, see spread on pages 6-7. The city’s seven employees began feeling the pinch of a $10,000 2012 budget cut to the medical insurance plan. With insurance costs skyrocketing, the quality of the plan was cut back and employees are now required to pay a portion of the monthly premiums. The City Council approved a resolution at its Feb. 6 meeting to adapt the bidding and purchasing policy to allow the mayor to approve buys of equipment or other city needs of up to $15,000 provided the city has received at least three quotes.

City of Liberty Lake With an application deadline of Feb. 29 passed, the City Council is diving into the task of narrowing the field of applicants to fill the city’s new city administrator position. After six years without one, the city plans to make the hire this spring. A week before the deadline, the city had already received about 40 applications. As decisions near on items such as moving forward with the first phase of developing city property or considering a request from the library to expand funding, some City Council members are questioning how the city will be able to pay for it. Requests have been made to take a closer look at funding priorities before committing to potentially spendy decisions this month. The city is considering a request from the Liberty Lake Municipal Library board to expand its 2012 operation bud-

get by $36,000. The addition would bump a part-time librarian to full-time and add a part-time clerk. A board representative said the additional staffing would alleviate over-burdened staff as well as expand operating hours. Liberty Lake businessman Keith Kopelson, who narrowly lost election in November to the City Council, was appointed by that Council to take the place of Ryan Romney, who resigned his seat. Kopelson’s first full meeting as a Council member was Feb. 7. Discussions continued on plans Mayor Steve Peterson announced his first day back on the job after a four-year hiatus: development of the city’s 6.4-acre property at Appleway and Signal. Peterson would like to see the city push forward with beautifying the site and adding parking and infrastructure that could be utilized by both the Liberty Lake Farmers Market and as overflow parking for the packed STA lot. Some Council members have questioned the project’s priority over other needed city expenditures. After discussing changes to City Council rules and procedures over several meetings, including a controversial measure to strengthen attendance requirements, Council members decided — for the most part — to leave well enough alone. The document was freshened and updated, but no significant changes were made.

Spokane County County Commissioner Todd Mielke will be hitting the road soon to talk with the cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley about collaborating on a regional animal shelter. For more info, see spread on pages 6-7. The Spokane County Sheriff ’s Office is enrolling interested citizens this month for an eight-week academy beginning in April that will teach participants about use of force and officer-involved shootings. The hands-on course will include everything from defensive tactics training and firearm demonstrations to spending a shift with an officer. For the first time in more than three decades, the Spokane County Library District will operate underneath a new executive director March 1. Nancy Ledeboer, most recently library director for the Pima County (Ariz.) Library District, takes the reins from Mike Wirt, who was named director in 1979 and has worked for the district for 40 years. SCRAPS announced in late February that 2012 would be the “Year of the Cat” as the agency steps up efforts to meet a live release goal of 75 percent for cats that come to the shelter. This means three of every four cats would either be returned to their owner, adopted or

The Current

transferred to a partner shelter. SCRAPS current rate is 65 percent. The Spokane County 911 department began the long process last month of verifying every address in the county as an early step in the process toward Next Generation 911. The initiative entails obtaining the latitude and longitude coordinates for each address, and a 911 employee is driving and walking through neighborhoods with a handheld GPS unit. The Spokane County Sheriff ’s Office arrested a Newman Lake man Feb. 1 for at least 17 recorded instances of scamming local residents using Craigslist ads. The victims were promised vehicles or rental homes, but delivery would never happen and the man would make off with hefty deposits.

East, West and Central Valley school districts Valley districts will emphasize the PACE character trait of the month for March. The local character education program defines diligence as “persistence, dedication and hard work.” After passing levies that at least partially anticipated the possibility that levy equalization funding from the state could go away, the trio of districts will keep an eye on the Legislature, which will consider the fate of the funding as it finalizes the budget this month. If levy equalization dollars are preserved, the districts will roll back tax rates. In a rare double, both the boys and girls basketball teams at Central Valley and University high schools have earned bids to the state tournament. For more info, see spread on pages 6-7. The Central Valley School District Board of Directors gave the go-ahead to purchase an old Rite Aid building for a Valley Skills Center branch. For more info, see spread on pages 6-7. Four levies passed among the three districts Feb. 14, with West Valley voters approving a technology levy alongside the maintenance and operations levies. In Central Valley, 59.3 percent of voters approved a $27.1 million request, numbers that totaled 56.3 percent and $7.8 million in West Valley and 53.1 percent and $10.9 million in East Valley. The $500,000 technology levy in West Valley was approved by 55 percent of voters. West Valley School District Superintendent Polly Crowley announced that she will retire. For more info, see spread on pages 6-7.

Town of Rockford/ Freeman School District The Freeman High School girls

See 3 UP, 3 DOWN, page 38

The Current


March 2012 • 9

Finding the light Liberty Lake man turns family loss into hope for others

more than two years. People in the group come from all aspects of loss, including murder, suicide, drug addiction and natural causes. However, the program is tailored specifically to loss caused by a death. Those experiencing loss from a runaway child or diBy Kelly Moore vorce are encouraged to find other supCurrent Staff Writer port groups. In January 2007, Liberty Lake resident “It’s been really neat to see the growth Shane Brickner was woken by one of people have had,” Brickner said. “We those late-night calls everyone fears. His have people just getting their feet wet, brother, Greg Smelcer, was punched in a coming just to check it bar. He fell backwards out and see what it’s all and hit his head, causabout. … We also have ing his brain to bleed. If you go ... people that have been Smelcer was raced through the program GriefShare into surgery, but three times now.” A support group for those passed away later He’s said he’s mourning the death of a loved one that night. His death watched some go set a chain of events Where: through the program into motion that sent ONE* and then branch off Brickner to what he to form other support 15601 E. 24th Ave. said was rock bottom groups in leadership — and back. Spokane Valley roles. All the while, “My life spiraled out When: he said, he’s learning of control because I himself. Thursdays at 7 p.m. didn’t know how to “I’m always learning handle it,” Brickner For more: something new about said. “I stopped caring 993-8276 my grief,” Brickner and just completely said. “It does creep up shut down emotionon you. … It’s good to ally to everything that be prepared for that. mattered.” Now I understand “It’s a support group at At his worst, Brickwhat’s healthy and apner said his relationthe very sense of the word. propriate.” ships diminished, and The program conhe and his wife almost Everyone there, every leader, sists of a video and separated. He said has been through some kind group discussion each guilt and anger stemming from the loss of of devastating loss. The main week. A workbook assists with note-taking, his brother piled up idea is that you’re surrounded journaling and a grief and left him feeling hopeless. But he’s hapby people who understand study. The videos feature specialists, celebpy to report the story what you’re going through. rities and everyday didn’t end there. people discussing the To me, that’s a big deal.” “I decided I can eiweek’s topic. And evther let this destroy — Shane Brickner, Griefshare eryone, even each spemy life, which it was support group leader cialist, has lost somebeginning to, or I can one. allow it to turn into “It’s a support group at the very sense something positive,” Brickner said. of the word, ” Brickner said. “Everyone The first step was contacting his church there, every leader, has been through to find a support group. The second step some kind of devastating loss. The main was offering to start one when he found idea is that you’re surrounded by peoout one wasn’t offered. ple who understand what you’re going He went through training with Grief- through. To me, that’s a big deal.” Share, a national organization with an esAfter viewing the videos, there’s a distablished 13-week program for handling cussion, but Brickner stressed the laidbereavement. Brickner took his training to ONE*, a church in Spokane Valley, and back atmosphere. The group starts a new he’s been running the program there for 13-week cycle March 1, but people can — and usually do — jump in at any time.

Current photo by Kelly Moore

Liberty Lake resident Shane Brickner holds the photo of his siblings he takes to every GriefShare support group meeting. He started the group in Spokane Valley as a way to cope with his brother’s 2007 death. Each week, the videos discuss different topics like living with grief, the effects of grief, your family and grief, when your spouse dies, and heaven. Each session is self-contained and those entering midcycle can finish in their own time. Brickner encourages group members to go through the program two or three times, but he said he keeps it laid back. “I always tell people, ‘There’s no obligation here. Don’t feel like you have to go to every meeting to get something out of this,’” Brickner said. “No one is keeping attendance or anything… it’s just a matter of what you feel comfortable with.” Two rules govern the meetings: what’s

talked about at GriefShare stays at GriefShare, and you don’t have to talk until you’re ready to. The group averages anywhere from six people to 20. Through the program, Brickner said helping others and seeing their progress has proven to be his saving grace, and he’s since visited the man who threw the fateful punch at his brother to formally forgive him. “It’s taught me that you can either allow something to take you down in life, or you can figure out a way to help other people,” Brickner said. “That alone has provided me healing.”

The Current

10 • March 2012

A cure for the baby blues


Non-profit founder shares quest to aid Inland Northwest children By Kelly Moore Current Staff Writer

When Spokane Valley resident Jesse Sheldon was in eighth grade, he read an article in Time magazine about The Diaper Bank in New Haven, Conn. The article featured the efforts of The Diaper Bank founder Joanne Goldblum, who distributed 250,000 diapers a month to area families. By the ninth grade, Sheldon founded a similar organization, Inland Northwest Baby. Now a junior at Central Valley High School, he’s taking classes online to free up his schedule for early-morning business meetings. “It is very humbling to be his mother,” Julie Sheldon said. “There is a presence and maturity about him that teenagers don’t have. … He’s willing to tackle huge projects, and he’s not afraid about things not working out.” Inspired by the work of Goldblum, Jesse Sheldon decided to investigate the diaper need in his own community, only to learn local organizations could only give 14 diapers per month per child. To compound the issue, diapers aren’t covered by food stamps or WIC. “That was disturbing to think about,” Jesse Sheldon said. “Families were having to decide whether to eat or whether to diaper their kids. Diapers really are a necessity.” He started out with a project he called Spokane Diaper Drive. Fueled by its success, Jesse Sheldon set out researching ways to grow his mission. He e-mailed coverage of his diaper drive to Goldblum, and she connected him with Westside Baby, the Seattle-based organization from which Inland Northwest Baby is modeled. “I can’t really look back and imagine what my life was like before Inland Northwest Baby,” Jesse Sheldon said. “It runs through ever nook and cranny of our lives now. We live and breathe for diapers and babies.”

Founding a nonprofit at age 14 Jesse Sheldon said he relied mostly on the Internet and his mom, a former non-

Current photo by Kelly Moore

Jesse Sheldon founded Inland Northwest Bay when he was 14. The non-profit now distributes diapers and children’s clothing to area families out of a donated space in Spokane Valley. profit administrator, when researching the process for establishing 501c3 status and building community partnerships. The decision to go from Spokane Diaper Drive to Inland Northwest Baby included the addition of clothes, shoes, hygiene items and extras here and there. “We knew we could make so much more of an impact if we did more than diapers,” Jesse Sheldon explained. “Diapers are our No. 1 priority still, we’re just doing other things to help too.” When filling orders from social workers, volunteers take time to make sure clothes match, sometimes as coordinated outfits. In December, they send out Christmas dresses. “We feel we’re giving out more than just diapers and clothes,” Jesse Sheldon said. “We’re increasing self-esteem — not just for kids, but for parents too.” In the future, he hopes to lobby to add diapers to the list of things families can purchase with food stamps. No doubt, his experience with the Washington State Legislative Youth Advisory Council — the official government agency repre-

senting youth in the state legislature — will help. “When the day comes and we’re ready to push for legislation getting passed, that’s going to be a key part,” Jesse Sheldon said. “Those skills and the connections I’ve made will definitely come in handy.” Just in the last year, he said Inland Northwest Baby about doubled the number of partners. In January 2011, the team serviced about 75 kids a month. In the last few months, it’s been supplying items for about 100 kids a week. The organization estimates somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 babies in Spokane are born into extreme poverty — defined as a family of four living off less than $10,000 a year. Making sure those babies have diapers is the target of Inland Northwest Baby. “The need has always been there,” Jesse Sheldon said. “It’s more about people finding out about us and knowing this resource is here and here to stay. Our donations are increasing so we can distribute more. The awareness for the need and for

Jesse Sheldon Age 17

Side job Ski instructor at Mt. Spokane

Favorite author Malcolm Gladwell

Most people don’t know He competed in an Iron Chef competition at age 10

Hidden talent Mind reading (“I know you’re reading this article,” he joked.)

When he grows up “I want to be me, just older.”

us is the big difference.” He admittedly didn’t know his venture would turn out the way it did, but he said he always hoped it would. Still, he envisions more.

See BABY, page 37

The Current

March 2012 • 11


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The Current

12 • March 2012


Bricks, trains and recreation characterized early Chester By Bill Zimmer For the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum

The community of Chester is located in southern Spokane Valley (Bowdish and Dishman-Mica area) near Painted Hills Golf Course. Chester Township received its first tax money from Spokane County in 1910, just a year after townships were authorized by the State Legislature. In 1888, a group of citizens met and decided to go ahead with building a new school. Amos Lewis, one of the three newly appointed school directors, donated an acre of land. The school district was organized as School District 71. The new two-room Plouf Gulch School, which opened on Oct. 1, 1888, was paid for by donations. In territorial days, the average school term was three months. Most districts ran two terms: one in the fall and one in the spring. The Chester District hired Cora Bussard to teach for a three-month term for a salary of $25 a month. Her salary was paid by subscription from families who had children in the school. Amounts collected ranged from $10 to 25 cents. Bussard’s husband operated a sawmill and one of the first threshing machines in the area. In 1889, when the Oregon Rail and Navigation Company completed the railroad through the area, the local station was named Chester. That also became the town and school name. The Gerimonte family has a long history in Chester. Sally Gerimonte’s grandfather came to the area in 1904 as a partner in the brick plant at Mica. He married and then started a brick and sewer plant in Chester. Sally (1935-2008), who spent her life in the community and was very involved in civic affairs, became known as the local historian. Chester in its heyday boasted a school, a hotel and boarding house, a brick and pottery plant, a store and a post office. The clay for the brick plant was hauled by horse and wagon from the pit at the south end of Adams Road. The demand for bricks and tile was partly due to the Spokane fire of 1889. Many wooden structures were rebuilt with brick. A railroad siding in Chester was used for loading brick and tile. The mail came by train to the post office in the store. Train service for passengers was provided to and from Spokane. The train operated between Wallace/Kellogg and Spokane. This service was discontinued some time before 1945. However, the Milwaukee Railroad operating out of Chicago had daily trains (the Hiawatha) going through Chester en route to Portland or Seattle.

Valley of the sun A monthly series of historical chronicles providing a window into the past — and a connection to the heritage — of the communities that make up the Spokane Valley. February Dishman March Chester April Opportunity May Vera June Greenacres July Liberty Lake/Saltese August Spokane Bridge September East Farms/Otis Orchards October Trentwood November Orchard Avenue December Millwood

Photos courtesy of the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum

The Chester School, shown here in this circa 1930s photo, was constructed as Plouf Gulch School in October 1888. It educated the community for years before being closed in 1955 upon consolidation with the Central Valley School District. At left: Ski-Mor, shown operating here in 1935 near what is present-day Ponderosa, featured an Olympic-size ski jump and was a popular winter destination for the Spokane region. In 1939, the store, which served as the hub of the community, burned, and the post office was moved to a nearby house. The census during the previous decade showed a population of about 400. A non-denominational church was organized in 1940, though Sunday School had been provided as far back as 1910. Another fire started near Chester in 1944, burning along the railroad tracks over a large area and into the hills to the south. The brick plant quit operating at about that same time. The Chester store was rebuilt after the fire of 1939 and again in 1995. At that time, Wayne Ady, who had owned and operated the store for over 20 years, turned it over to his son, David, the current owner. Winter fun was abundant in the Chester area. Before there was a resort on Mt. Spokane, Ski-Mor was the place to go for winter recreation. Ski-Mor was located on the east side of Brown’s Mountain near what is now

the Ponderosa area and boasted an Olympic-size ski jump. The Torrey and Shafer families established and operated the resort. The lodge had a huge fireplace and served hot chocolate and coffee. Those who administered townships had to do it for love of service to the community, certainly not for money. In 1967, the Washington state compensation statute specified that a Township supervisor “shall receive no more than $75 per year” and the Clerk “no more than $100 per year." In 1969, the State Legislature took away the right of townships to levy taxes, effectively putting an end to townships around the state. Chester Township dissolved around 1970. Though Chester no longer exists as a government entity, it still has life socially and through the business community. The school closed in 1955 after the district consolidated with the Central Valley School District.

Though various writers have identified and recorded pieces of the history of Chester, the Chester Lunch Bunch seem most effective in bringing that history to life. The Lunch Bunch is a group of former Chester schoolmates who get together once a month at various restaurants to socialize and share memories of life in the Chester community. Over time, things they have shared include: Sledding and tobogganing through the cemetery which had the only hill, community dances at the school, year-end picnics including kids and parents, and recollections of teachers and other staff (in particular Nora McNearney, or “Aunt Nora," who cooked the meals at the school.) Sally Gerimonte was always an active member of that group until her death in 2008. Incorporated in 1901, the Chester Community Cemetery is now 111 years old. It was cleaned up and restored in 1995 through the efforts of a 17-year-old Boy Scout named Sam Turner working on his Eagle Scout rank. There are more than 50 scattered gravestones in the 5-acre plot. The earliest recorded burial is in 1902, though one headstone for a 4-year-old child is dated 1890-1894. Among the most recent burials is Wayne Ady, the former owner of the Chester Community Store, who died in 2004. The area marked by Bowdish Road and Dishman-Mica Road may no longer produce bricks and tile, it may no longer have its own school district or its own train stop, but it is still providing important services to the community and is continuing to build on the history of Chester and the Spokane Valley. Bill Zimmer is a retired teacher and volunteer at the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum, 12114 E. Sprague Ave. Additional items about the history and culture of the Chester area — or any of the communities in the Valley of the Sun series — are available in the museum archives. For more information, call 922-4570 or visit

The Current

March 2012 • 13


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Hearth Homes Executive Director Karen Fournier clips the tape while Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Eldonna Shaw emcees at a ribbon cutting Feb. 23. The organization celebrated the opening of a second group home, more than doubling the nonprofit’s ability to house women and children in difficult situations.

Hearth Homes Description

Provides housing and support for women and children in difficult and dangerous situations through two Spokane Valley group homes.

Founding Started by Karen Fournier with a home in Spokane in 2003, she says the real impetus for the organization came as a vision from God when, broken, homeless and addicted at age 15, she was unable to find the group home environment she needed. Years later, she is working to provide that environment to others. The organization moved to a home on East Broadway in Spokane Valley in 2009.

Mission statement “To serve women and children by meeting their spiritual, emotional and physical needs of safe housing and other necessary related services.”

Their vision “To encourage and assist women and their children to attain self-sufficiency and have an opportunity to grow in their relationship with Jesus in a safe, nurturing environment so they can restore their lives and impact generations to come.” The program is set apart from others in that residents can stay as long as they need to, as long as they are progressing in their lives and following the family guidelines.

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Quotable “I feel like housing is really the first piece of the pie. I’ve said before, you can give them a block of cheese, but if they’re freezing in their car, are you really changing their lives?” — Executive Director Karen Fournier, on programs for the homeless that offer food and clothing, but don’t address housing needs

How you can help There are myriad ways for people to help, from monetary donations to giving of their time: • Cash donations to help pay rent or a heating bill • Donations of furniture, linens, clothing, toys or food • Mentoring young mothers • Fundraising • Grant writing • Remodeling and basic handyman skills • Providing basic lawn care • Legal assistance • Christian counseling • Assisting with children’s activities • Helping in the office For more information about how you could volunteer or donate, contact Hearth Homes at P.O. Box 371, Spokane Valley, WA 99037, 926-6492 or Do you know of an organization in the greater Spokane Valley area that should be featured as a Nonprofit Spotlight? Tell us at

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The Current

14 • March 2012

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Glossary of terms

Wave photo by Tammy Kimberley

Cambrie Wiese works out on the stair climber at Liberty Lake Athletic Club to prepare for the Big Climb at the Columbia Center in Seattle later this month. She will tackle 1,311 steps (69 flights) to raise funds for cancer research.

Stepping it up

to beat down cancer

Young racer enters Big Climb to raise funds for cancer research By Tammy Kimberley Wave editor

LIBERTY LAKE — Exactly 1,311. That’s how many stairs 8-year-old Cambrie Wiese is planning to ascend during the Big Climb on March 25 in Seattle. It’s not just to get a 360-degree view of the city (she could do that by taking the elevator). Nor is it to give her legs a good workout (a long bike ride could do the same).

Cambrie is climbing the Columbia Center, Seattle’s tallest skyscraper, to raise awareness and money for cancer research. It’s the first year she is eligible to race to the top since participants have to be at least 8 to enter. But she’s attended past events when her dad, Bobby Weise, made the climb in this fundraiser for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This year, she decided to join her dad and others on Team Isabelle, a team made up of workers and family members from the company where Bobby works. Cambrie knows 11-year-old Isabelle Snyder because both their dads work together. “Isabelle was 3 when she found out she had leukemia,” Cambrie said. “She went through two years and two months of

Refer to these definitions if you need help understanding some of the words used in this story. Chemotherapy: special chemicals that destroy or slow the growth rate of cancer cells Diligence: constant and hard effort to accomplish something; persistence Leukemia: cancer found in the blood-forming cells of bone marrow Remission: when a disease subsides for a short or long time period Sources:, chemotherapy. She lost her hair.” Isabelle’s cancer is now in remission, so she will be joining the team as well as four other 8-year-olds, including one of Cambrie’s local friends, Rilee Homer. Cambrie has participated in other events in the past that have tested her endurance and taken diligence, such as the Coeur d’Alene Kids Tri and the Marine Corps Mile kids’ race in Washington D.C. She is preparing for the climb by going to the gym to practice on the stair climber with her dad. “He’s done it five years, and it will be fun to do something like this with my dad,” she said. Cambrie said she’s guessing it might

take around 15 minutes to reach the top of the 69 flights of stairs, since it has taken her dad around 10 minutes to complete it. Regardless of how long it takes, she and her dad will stick together and meet the rest of their team at the top. Cambrie’s mom, Angela Wiese, and her sister, Daelyn Wiese, will be cheering on the team from the lobby of the Columbia Center. Angela said she is proud of how her daughter is doing the event to support a friend and help others. She said Cambrie has raised more than $300 so far, which is more than any adult member of the team. “It proves that kids can do this type of stuff and help people just as much, if not more, than adults,” Angela said. To find out more about the Big Climb or to donate to Cambrie’s team, go to www., click on the “donate” tab and enter Cambrie’s name.

Greenacres girl wins Feb. Wave contest

Submitted artwork

Danyel Swenson was awarded first place in The Wave’s Valentine contest for her photo card. The 7-year-old from Greenacres received a gift card from Chuck E. Cheese for her prize.

The Current

March 2012 • 15


Signs of St. Patrick’s Day

Kids invited to go on scavenger hunt for next Wave contest By Tammy Kimberley Wave editor

Did you know there’s more to St. Patrick’s Day than getting pinched if you’re not wearing green? While the pinching tradition was most likely started by kids, the holiday is actually several hundred years old. St. Patrick’s Day was first publicly celebrated in Boston in 1737, where a large population of Irish immigrants lived. The

Are you a lucky leprechaun?

The challenge for this month’s Wave contest requires a bit of luck. We’re asking kids to go on a scavenger hunt for the symbols listed above — Ireland, leprechaun, four-leaf clover and pot of gold — hidden somewhere in the pages of The Current (other than this page, of course). They may be lurking around an ad, by a photo or even within a story. All you need to do is find each of the symbols above and write down the page numbers where you locate them. The Wave will collect all entries submitted by the deadline of March 9 and then conduct a drawing. Two lucky entries will be drawn to receive a $5 gift certificate from Just Chillin’ in Liberty Lake.

holiday was named in honor of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland who lived during the fourth century. He is credited with spreading the teachings of Christianity among the Irish. Now St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated around the world each year on March 17 with lots of green, Irish food and cultural fanfare. Listed below are some of the symbols associated with Irish heritage and folklore. Ireland: This country is the third largest island in Europe and the 20th largest island in the world. Ireland is sometimes referred to as the “Emerald Isle” due to the natural greenery and lush vegetation found on the island. Kids in kindergarten through sixth grade who live or attend school in the Valley area are eligible to enter the Lucky Leprechaun contest. Be sure to include your name, age, parent’s name, phone number and city of residence with your entry, as well as the page numbers where you found each symbol.

Leprechaun: These mythical creatures look like little old men in top hats. Legends say that fairies pay them to fix their shoes and, in return, they are paid with golden coins which they collect in large pots.

Four-leaf clover: Most clovers found in nature have three leaves, but finding a rare four-leaf clover is said to bring good luck. Some say the leaves each represent different things such as hope, faith, love and happiness. Pot of gold: These are the places where leprechauns collect their gold. Rumor has it they can be found at the end of a rainbow.

You can either e-mail your entry to tammy@ valleycurrent. com or mail it to The Current office, 2310 N. Molter Road, Suite 305, Liberty Lake, WA 99019 by Friday, March 9. May the luck of the Irish be with you!

Sources: www.holidays.,

Kids Tell it Like it Is

Compiled by Tammy Kimberley at Otis Orchards Elementary School

What would you do if you found a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow? “Spend it all really quick.” Dylan Stutzke, 11, fifth grade

“Give all of it to the poor.” Patrick Husband, 9, third grade

“Keep it. I would hide it and play with it.” Owen Graham, 7, first grade

“I would get a hot pink monster truck.” Alexis Hunter, 8, third grade

“Buy a zoo and a lifetime supply of pizza.” Ethan Pearson, 11, fifth grade

“I’d split it into three parts — take some for myself, give some away to others and pay a tithe to church.” Tyler Smyly, 8, third grade

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16 • March 2012


Kindergarten registration starts this month From staff reports

Several area schools will begin kindergarten registration in March for the 2012-13 school year. Central Valley, East Valley, Freeman and West Valley school districts begin registrations on different days throughout the month. Some private schools in the Valley area also offer opportunities for families with kindergarten students to enroll or learn more about their schools. A child must be 5 years old on or before Aug. 31 in order to be eligible for kindergarten in any of the public school districts. Admission requirements include an official, state-certified birth certificate and proof of residency in the district, such as a rental agreement or copy of a current electric bill with a home address. In addition, Washington state law requires all students to be immunized before enrolling in school, so parents must bring an up-to-date immunization record. Registration dates vary by district: • Central Valley: Begins 8 a.m. March 15 at the child’s home school. For more information, go to • East Valley: Begins March 6 at neighborhood schools. For more information, go to • Freeman: Starts March 26 at the elementary office. For more information, call 291-4791. • West Valley: Begins March 5 at neighborhood schools. For more information, go to Private and parochial schools also offer various dates for families to enroll their kindergarten students: • Valley Christian School will host a kindergarten visitation day 1 to 3 p.m. March 7 at the school, 10212 E. 9th Ave. in Spokane Valley. Interested parents can reserve a spot by calling 924-9131. • The kindergarten registration deadline for Pioneer School, 618 N. Sullivan Road in Spokane Valley, is March 15, although spots often fill before that deadline, according to Director Betty BurleyWolf. For enrollment information, call 922-7818. • St. John Vianney, 501 N. Walnut Road in Spokane Valley, will begin registration for new families on April 16. For more information, email sfloresdavis@

The Current

Charity benefit planned for 4-year-old fighting leukemia By Kimberly Cauvel Current Correspondent

A network of community members from the Spokane Valley and surrounding areas are rallying around a local family in a growing effort referred to as “Team Tristan.” A special event March 3 is the latest example of their efforts. A benefit concert featuring local musicians Luke Jaxon and Tanner Rowe and an auction will be hosted at the Black Diamond, 9614 E. Sprague in Spokane Valley, to raise funding for the family’s battle against leukemia. A $5 cover charge for the event will go directly to the family, as well as any proceeds from the auction. The auction begins at 7 p.m., with the band playing at 9 p.m. Tristan Seubert, who celebrated his fourth birthday Feb. 19, was diagnosed with leukemia on New Year’s Eve following a week-long bout of severe flu-like symptoms. He has spent 2012 undergoing steroid and chemotherapy treatments at a hospital in Tacoma. He is currently following a three-year treatment plan and may require treatment for the rest of his life. His family said he is responding well to treatment, however, and has expressed confidence in his recovery and appreciation for the upcoming fundraiser. “We are so very moved, touched and thankful for all of those that put together this benefit,” Tristan’s father, Mark Seubert, said. “With everyone's love, care, prayers and support, Tristan will be a cancer survivor.” Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells, which starts in the bone marrow where blood cells originate. Healthy bone marrow produces white blood cells that are a key component of the immune system, red blood cells that provide the body with oxygen flow and platelets which help blood clot as needed for healing. With leukemia, abnormal white blood cells are introduced into the body and cause an array of symptoms. The most common leukemia seen in children is acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which Tristan is fighting. Tristan is the only child of Mark and Jill Seubert, who recently relocated to Federal Way from Spokane Valley as new owners of the Federal Way Grocery Outlet. Both of the Seuberts grew up in the Spokane area, and both come from close-knit families. Several family members and friends will be attending the upcoming benefit to show support for Tristan. If Tristan’s physicians deem him OK to travel, he and his mom may even make an appearance. Heidi Johnson, Tristan’s godmother, and

If you go ... WHAT: Team Tristan fundraiser and Luke Jaxon Band concert; $5 cover charge and auction to benefit 4-year-old battling leukemia WHEN: 7 p.m. March 3 WHERE: Black Diamond, 9614 E. Sprague, Spokane Valley FOR MORE: www.teamtristan. HOW YOU CAN HELP: In addition to the benefit concert, donations can be made to the “Tristan Seubert Benefit” bank account at any Bank of Fairfield location, including in Spokane Valley on 32nd and Pines. Julie Primmer, Tristan’s cousin, started arranging fundraising for Tristan’s medical bills after they found out he didn’t have insurance. They organized a spaghetti feed at Freeman High School on Tristan’s birthday and said it was a success. They hope to draw a large crowd to the benefit concert as well. Johnson and Jill Seubert are life-long friends who grew up across the street from each other in Rockford. The two were in each other’s weddings, and Johnson was in the room when Tristan was born. She said he is a “trooper,” energetic and full of life, and is often equipped with one-liners that will inspire a laugh. A few weeks ago, when he was ready to be released from the hospital and the doctor asked him if he was ready to go, he responded pointedly with “show me the exit.” “He is so funny and keeps you on your feet,” Johnson said. “(There’s) never a dull moment.” While his primary dislike has become hospital stays and folks in scrubs, Tristan’s biggest obsession is trains. His birthday was complete this year with Thomas the Train decorations and party plates, and he was thrilled to open a build-it-yourself GeoTrax train set. Primmer arranged a similar fundraiser two years ago for her brother, who died of leukemia. She is a resident of Liberty Lake and local real estate agent. The owner of the Black Diamond is one of her clients, and Jaxon is a friend of hers. Jaxon is a local pop-country musician who was born and raised in Millwood. Tanner Rowe, also a Spokane native and local musician, is a friend of Jaxon’s and occasionally sits in with the Luke Jaxon Band.

Submitted photos

It has been quite a 2012 for Tristan Seubert, who was taken to the hospital New Year’s Eve after a week of severe, flu-like symptoms. By Jan. 8 (above), he was well into treatments for leukemia. A bright spot was his Thomas the Train-themed fourth birthday party on Feb. 19 (below).

Both musicians work full-time jobs, Jaxon at Radio Spokane and Rowe with a national mineral exploration company. The two always enjoy performing but are particularly excited to contribute to the benefit for Tristan. “Myself and my bandmates are proud to be volunteering to play for such a great cause,” Jaxon said. “And why not have a killer party in the mean time? We have played at the Black Diamond a few times before and have always had a great experience. There is plenty to do there, including a dance floor.” For the March 3 event, the Black Diamond’s bar will host a silent auction beginning at 7 p.m., with a live auction following. Johnson said local businesses have provided an array of donations for the auction. “We can’t believe the support we have received from our family and our friends — it’s overwhelming,” Jill Seubert said. “No parent should have to go through this, but if they do, we hope they have the support system that we do. We are so proud to come from where we come.”

The ICurrent N - H O M E




March 2012 • 17


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The Current

18 • March 2012



innovation and the web economy. Cost is $25 by March 9 and $35 after March 9. For more: www.

March 3 | “The Princess and the Frog” Father/Daughter Dance 7 to 9

p.m., CenterPlace at Mirabeau Point, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley. Cost is $40 per father/daughter and $15 per additional daughter for long-stem rose, favors and refreshments. For more:, 951-3573 or 979-6652

March 6 | Swim a Mile for a Meal The Liberty Lake Seamonkeys are doing a fundraising event to bring awareness to community hunger. They are soliciting donations for the Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels program. For more: 255-5130 March 6, 13 & 20 | Free parenting sessions 7 to 8:30 p.m., St. Joseph Parish,

4521 N. Arden Road, Otis Orchards. Topics include dealing with conflict, adolescent development and communication, protecting and guiding your teenager, how to strengthen family bonds, and behavior and consequences. For more: 926-7133

March 7 | Spokane Valley Argonne Project Open House 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.,

Spokane Valley High School, 2011 N. Hutchinson Road, Spokane Valley. The Public Works Department will share information on the Argonne Corridor Improvements Project and ask for input from community members. For more: 720-5411 or

March 9 | Friends of the Centennial Trail Adventure Auction 6 p.m., Northern Quest Resort & Casino, 100 N. Hayford Road, Airway Heights. With a mix of dinner, live and silent auction items, this event raises funds to help complete the missing section of the Centennial Trail. Tickets cost $45 each or $350 for a table of 8. For more: www. or 624-7188

March 14 | Sullivan Bridge Replacement Project community meeting 6 to 7:30 p.m., CenterPlace Regional

Event Center, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley. Project engineers and design consultants will go over the options that were influenced by community input. For more: 720-5001 or

SPORTS March 1 | Liberty Lake Running Club

6 p.m. at Palenque Restaurant, 1102 N. Liberty Lake Road in Liberty Lake. Runners, joggers and walkers are welcome to join others for a 3-mile loop on Thursday nights from March to October. For more: 927-9372 or

March 1-3 | WIAA State Boys and Girls Basketball Championships 1B

Fatherdaughter duos get down on the dance floor at last year’s Kiwanissponsored dance. This year’s March 3 event is themed, “The Princess and the Frog.”

Table Pizza, 15402 E. Sprague Ave, Spokane Valley or Liberty Lake Elementary School, Liberty Lake. Online registration will be available through March 17. For more: riverviewlittleleague/ or 855-540-2255

March 10 | Hoopster Challenge HUB


March 10 | Senior Irish Festival 11

March 3 | 17th annual Blues Cats for Kids 1 p.m., Spokane Valley Eagles, 16801 E.

Sprague Ave, Spokane Valley. The event will feature VIBE as well as other bands to raise funds for Crosswalk, Project Safe Place and 2nd Harvest Food Bank. Admission is $2 or two cans of food. For more: 534-8185

March 3 | Luke Jaxon and Tanner Rowe

March 16 & 17 | “Anne of Green Gables Reader’s Theatre” 7 p.m. on March 16 and

March 27 | Valleyford Historical Club meeting 1 p.m., On Sacred Grounds Coffee

March 6 | Riverview Little League walk-up registration 5:30 to 7 p.m., Round

Spokane. Free admission. For more: www.

March 20 | Senior Circle Lunch and Learn 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Valley Hospital

March 24-25 | Spokane Bike Swap 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 24 and 3 to 8 p.m. on March 25, Spokane County Fair and Expo Center, 404 North Havana St., Spokane Valley. A variety of merchandise will be available at booths in addition to bikes to buy, sell or trade. Admission is $5 per person (or free for age 12 and under). For more:

Cataldo Ave., Liberty Lake. For more: www.

Shop, 12212 E. Palouse Hwy., Valleyford. The group will work on a visual display for historical documents dating to the 1920s and discuss future officers.

Noon, downtown Spokane. For more: www.

Health and Education Center, 12606 E. Mission, Spokane Valley. Rockwood Diabetic Educator Mary Beth Sherwood will discuss management of pre-diabetes and diabetes. The event is free for those age 50 and older, but RSVP is required, 473-5639.

March 3-4 | Apex Academy Volleyball Tournament HUB Sports Center, 19619 E.

Current file photo

9 p.m., The Black Diamond, 9416 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley. The event will include a live auction at 7 p.m. followed by music at 9 p.m. There is a $5 cover charge, and all proceeds go to the family of a 3-year-old boy recently diagnosed with leukemia.

March 17 | St. Patrick’s Day Parade

&2B, Spokane Arena; 1A & 2A, Yakima Valley SunDome; 3A & 4A, Tacoma Dome. For more:

3 p.m. on Feb. 17, The Kave, 4904 N. Harvard Road, Otis Orchards. Presented by Liberty Lake Community Theatre, admission is free but donations will be accepted. For more: www.

March 23 | “Travel Treasures and Memories” art reception 5 to 7 p.m., On

Sacred Grounds Coffee Shop, 12212 E. Palouse Hwy., Valleyford. The exhibit, which includes multi-media collages, watercolor paintings, weaving and paper by Dian Zahner, will be on display March 2-28 at the shop. For more: 747-6294

March 31 | “Behold Jesus!” Easter drama 1 & 6:30 p.m., INB Performing

Arts Center, 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd,


Sports Center, 19619 E. Cataldo Ave., Liberty Lake. This 3-on-3 basketball tournament is offered for kids in grades 4 through 12. For more:

March 12 | Spokane Shock Season Opener 7 p.m. at Spokane Arena vs. Iowa

Barnstormers. For more:

a.m. to 3 p.m., Evergreen Fountains, 1201 N. Evergreen Road, Spokane Valley. This event features live music, food and community tours. For more: 922-3100 or

March 17 | Dodge the Madness Dodgeball Tournament HUB Sports Center,

March 16 | Spokane Valley Chamber Breakfast 6:30 a.m., Mirabeau Park Hotel,

March 17 & 19 | 2012 NCAA Division 1 Women’s Basketball Tournament

1100 N. Sullivan, Spokane Valley .The Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a networking breakfast around the topic of “Biz Buzz.” Cost is $25 for members and $35 for non-members. For more: www.

March 24 | PetQuest at Paradise 10

a.m. to 2 p.m., Paradise Pet Resort, 11420 E. Jackson, Spokane Valley. Admission is free to this event featuring speakers, exhibitors, demonstrations and performances. For more: 290-6024 or

March 24 | “Kairos Letters” book signing by Michael Mann 3 to 5 p.m.,

Twisp Café & Coffee House, 23505 E. Appleway, Liberty Lake. Andrean Accounting is sponsoring a charitable event during the month of March where every “Kairos Letters” book purchased for $12 will result in the donation of a book to women inmates. For more: 928-8500

March 28 | THE Innovation Show

11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mirabeau Park Hotel & Convention Center, 1100 N. Sullivan Road, Spokane Valley. This networking event will feature panel discussions, break-out sessions and a trade show on the topic of harnessing

19619 E. Cataldo Ave., Liberty Lake. For more:

McCarthey Center at Gonzaga University, Spokane. If Gonzaga makes the field of 64, the team is guaranteed to play at home. For more:

March 24 | Rapid Rabbit Run 10 a.m., East Valley High School, 15711 E. Wellesley, Spokane. This 5-mile and 3-mile run is a fundraiser for the Class of 2012 All-Knighter. Entry fees range from $7 to $15 depending on time registered by and if participants want a shirt. For more: 226-2197 or March 24-25 | March Mania Pickleball Tournament HUB Sports Center, 19619 E. Cataldo Ave., Liberty Lake. For more: www.

March 30-31 | Pacific Northwest Qualifier Volleyball HUB Sports Center,

19619 E. Cataldo Ave., Liberty Lake. For more:

All listings were gathered from information provided to 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

March 2012 • 19

Their tomorrow starts TODAY!

Highlights from your Chamber • Small class size • Community-minded • Inclusive opportunities • Caring school environment • College/career placement • Home school program • Spiritual formation

K-12 Day & Home School Programs

10212 E. 9th Ave. Spokane Valley, WA 99206

THE Innovation Show lands March 28

Let us help shape your child’s future

Now ENrollINg!


The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce an exciting upgrade to an already-successful annual event. In collaboration with LaunchPad INW, the 2012 edition of the Chamber’s annual trade show and business fair is now THE Innovation Show. This event is an excellent way to promote your business, cultivate business relationships with Chamber and LaunchPad members and develop leads from the general public. The event features: • Networking light lunch 11:30 a.m. • Keynote speaker at noon; panel at 1 p.m. • Vendor breakout sessions in the afternoon • Sponsored after-hours networking party at 5 p.m. with no-host beverage service • Demonstrate and sell products at public trade show • Live radio Interviews with exhibitors • Limited to the first 107 registered exhibitors • Event to be promoted on radio and TV, in print and through social media

″Offering tree removal and pruning services with the highest regard for Safety, Beauty and Tree Health.″

Contact the Chamber to reserve your spot!

Work is performed by certified arborists.

Winners honored at Gala

SUPPORT YOUR LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED FAMILY BUSINESS • SINCE 1980 Proud to be a drug-free workplace. TREESA035JC | 509-624-2172

The convention center at the Mirabeau Park Hotel was booming with conversation and laughter during the social hour and silent auction that led up to the program to honor the Awards of Excellence winners at the Chamber’s Gem of the Valley Gala Jan. 28. The following award winners were honored at the annual event:

Small Business of the Year Tracy Jewelers

Medium Business of the Year

Baker Construction & Development Inc.

Large Business of the Year Valley Hospital

Non-Profit of the Year Valleyfest

Chamber Member Volunteers of the Year Rick & Diana Wilhite

Community Caring Award Hutton Settlement

Ambassador of the Year Sonya Hutnik

Harry E. Nelson Citizen of the Year Chuck Stocker

Thanks to the following sponsors for making this annual celebration possible: • Diamond Sponsor — Numerica Credit Union • Sapphire Sponsors — Avista, Banner Bank, Modern Electric Water Co. • Emerald Sponsors — Greenstone Corp., Graham Construction and Management, Inc., Valley Hospital

Photo: Gary Roberto Photography Cecil Jackson of PACE Staffing and Joel Novin of Income Solutions celebrate after each winning drawings at a February Meet the Chamber Member Reception held at Craftsmen Construction. As new Chamber members, Novin and Jackson were asked to pick names for the drawing, and the men randomly drew one another.

Networking breakfast planned The Chamber’s monthly breakfast program will feature a “Biz Buzz” networking event on Friday, March 16. Attendees are encouraged to bring lots of business cards and a one-minute elevator speech to share while networking with other local businesses. Doors open at 6:30 a.m., and the program begins at 7 a.m. at the Mirabeau Park Hotel, 1100 N. Sullivan Road. The cost for the breakfast is $25 for members, $35 for non-members. This month’s breakfast is sponsored by The Current and The Splash community newspapers. For more information or to register, call 924-4994 or visit

New members

Please join us in welcoming the following members who have recently joined the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce: Allied Waste Services BN Builders Income Solutions Liberty Lake Internet Portal Northwest Images Pace Staffing Network Peters Hardware Revita Rehab Sweeney International Accucon Inc Brunette Sportswear Inc. Decade Awards Froyo Earth Game World Key Global Marketing Liberty Lake Community Theatre

9507 East Sprague Avenue • Spokane Valley, WA 99206 • Phone: 509 924 4994 1421 N. Meadowwood Lane • Liberty Lake, WA 99019 • Phone: 509 210-2425

local lens

20 • March 2012

The Current

Spectacular sky

Local student serves as page

Submitted photo

Submitted photo

Erin Wallman, a junior at East Valley High School, recently participated in the Senate Page Program. In January she worked for a week as a page for Sen. Mike Padden and others in Olympia. Erin is the daughter of Karl and Tina Wallman of Newman Lake.

Haley Dexter, a senior at Central Valley High School, recently captured a sunset from her home in Liberty Lake.

VCS students serve community

Freeman math champs

Submitted photo

Submitted photos

Above: Valley Christian School students (left to right) Ben Terry, Adam Hirschel and Scott Worley sort food at the Spokane Valley Partners food bank. At left: Bo Piersol and Nora Grund put together emergency food kits at Spokane Meals on Wheels last month as part of Valley Christian School’s service projects. High school students volunteer at various organizations during the morning service hours they perform the first Friday of each month.

The Freeman sixth grade Math is Cool team took first place at the regional tournament on Feb. 10. Pictured are (front row) Odie Landoe, Michael Coumont, Brayden Mueller, Tashi Rush, Ana Wilson, Makena Douglas; (middle) Carson Atwood, Jarett Wright, Ryan Crosswhite, Isabelle Miller, Erick Flack; (back) Nathan Longhurst, Tanner Antons and Colson O’Connor. (Students with names in bold placed in the individual competition as well.)

Local Lens

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

The Current

March 2012 • 21

local lens

Presidential fanfare

Submitted photos

Students in Ms. Edwards’ class at Freeman Elementary School show off their outfits and accessories during the second grade Presidential Wax Museum on Feb. 22. At right: Darby Barratt and Lily Baxter dress in period gear to represent the first president of the U.S., George Washington

Aleah Paine shows off her display for President Richard Nixon.

Derek Cecil tried to channel his inner President Franklin Pierce, even going so far as to mimic his hair style.

Dancing the night away

Submitted photos

Students in the East Valley School District enjoyed the second annual family dance on Feb. 8 at East Valley High School. The East Valley Washington Drug Free Youth and the elementary health and fitness programs sponsored the evening, which featured a DJ, snacks and photos.

Jericho Lara donned a beard to emulate President Benjamin Harrison.


22 • March 2012

The Current

POWER LUNCH About this article

area of jurisdiction.

This story is the result of five February lunch appointments made at five Valley-area restaurants, one each with the mayors of Rockford, Liberty Lake, Spokane Valley and Millwood as well as Spokane County Commissioner Mark Richard, who represents a portion of the county that includes the bulk of the Valley. The lunches were arranged around a handful of ground rules:

2. Each person covered the cost of his or her own meal.

1. They would be eaten at a non-chain restaurant within the elected leader’s

Four mayors and a county commissioner share recipes for the local economy Story and photos by Josh Johnson Current Staff Writer

Who knew a parallel universe existed between making smart dining decisions and rejuvenating the local economy? I didn’t until I spent five lunch breaks in February visiting local eateries with elected officials. Like the latest diet craze, opinions will differ about whether to take or leave the prescriber’s advice. That’s for constituents to decide. What follows are a few recipes shared by local leaders on what’s best for the local economy’s appetite.

“Encourage consumers to stop” Feb. 3: Harvest Moon, Rockford My first lunch might have been my last, if I’d finished. Harvest Moon ended up being the only destination where the owner placed the order for us. In this case, Craig Swanson wanted Mayor Micki Harnois and me to experience his “Monster Burger,” and we agreed under one condition: we split. The Monster Burger starts with twothirds of a pound of ground beef from Emtman Brothers Farms in Valleyford. Stack on a quarter-pound of ham, bacon and turkey plus the typical dressings and garnishing, and the accompanying bun could better be described as a loaf. Swanson serves the monster with bottomless

3. For the purposes of writing this article, the main topic of conversation would be local business and economic development. 4. The people’s representatives would not be asked to be the people’s food critics, though a snapshot would be taken of what they ordered. (In the end, rest assured, the mayors and commissioner seemed to enjoy their meals just fine.) fries for $12.95, which caused me to wonder if the mayor and I were getting special treatment or if he typically allowed people to split. “Oh yeah, absolutely,” Swanson laughed. “We don’t want to hurt them. We don’t want to be responsible for any deaths. … It becomes a real partnership burger a lot of times.” And even then, you better know when to stop. I partook beyond my level of comfort, unfortunately, but still left untouched another meal’s worth to bring home. As it turns out, stopping is foundational to the town of Rockford’s economy, Harnois explained. With State Highway 278 bisecting town, including making a 90-degree turn at Rockford’s main intersection, Harnois said getting people to stop their vehicles and enjoy the charm and quality of hometown businesses was vitally important. While she hasn’t studied traffic counts for a while, she said lots of traffic passes through the community, often headed the six miles east to visit the Coeur d’Alene Casino or make a connection on Idaho’s Highway 95. The color of that light greeting eastbound traffic at the critical intersection is actually Harnois’ chief concern. The light has traditionally been yellow, something that proponents argue helps large trucks make the sharp corner but that detractors feel hurts the pedestrian friendliness of the downtown area. “You want to know what to me is the biggest challenge to business, and I would have a fight with the Council members on this, is the color of that light,” Mayor Harnois said. “If it was all red, it would make a big difference. If they had to stop, then they could look at the surroundings, they could come around the corner, watch for pedestrians, see the businesses — that to

The Harvest Moon

20 S. 1st St., Rockford 291-4313

Rockford Mayor Micki Harnois me is the biggest challenge.” While the local farming population is counted on to support the agricultural businesses that remain central to Rockford’s economy, Harnois said an additional challenge was to get the many locals who commute to work into Spokane and Spokane Valley to do more than sleep in their home community. Dining, filling up with gas at the renovated Exxon and doing local shopping are also critically important, she said. There again, the pedestrian friendliness of the Rockford’s main intersection has Harnois believing it would help visitors and residents alike. “The traffic engineer with the state said, ‘Tell me when you want the light changed because I’m ready to do it,’” Harnois said. “He came to a Council meeting, but it was obvious there was no consensus to do it. … That to me will be a big key in helping us out. It’s a very small matter; it doesn’t cost us a thing, but the mindset is not there.”

“Make it easy” Feb. 6: Twisp Café and Coffee House, Liberty Lake As a coffee shop at its core, Twisp was the only destination for this story where you order at the counter. I arrived early for my appointment and placed my order. My sandwich and pasta salad nearly beat

Mayor Harnois’ order: The Monster Burger with bottomless fries and a water, $12.95 (shared). My order: Split with the mayor. My two cents: I guess saying the portions are generous is a bit on the obvious side considering our order. The environment was far larger than I anticipated. The restaurant is split into a family-friendly dining area, a large bar area with room for dancing, games and dining, and a reception area. As for the food, my eyes expected to enjoy the taste of the Monster Burger more than my mouth actually did, but that’s not to say it wasn’t excellent. It was just too much competing for the attention of my simple palate, but I still might order it again for the novelty and the buy-in-bulk value, sort of like the Colossus at Pizza Pipeline. Plus, I loved the fries. My rating: 4 out of 5 stars. — Josh Johnson me to my seat, and I felt a bit like I had forgotten my manners when I realized I was a couple bites in before Mayor Steve Peterson arrived. A good diet plan is similar. If it’s fast and simple, there’s better chance for success. Turns out, Peterson feels the same way about the Liberty Lake economy. The first thing he ordered was a glass of white wine, which has been available at Twisp for quite some time. However, the restaurant had recently changed ownership, and

See LUNCH, page 23

The Current

March 2012 • 23


Twisp Café and Coffee House

Liberty Lake Mayor Steve Peterson

LUNCH Continued from page 22

the new owners were waiting for their liquor license to go through the proper channels. Peterson made a note to check and make sure the city was doing everything it could to speed things along. “I look at the mayor’s job as being a facilitator,” Peterson said. “I look at what are the city’s opportunities for being a good partner. What can we do or help you do to make our community better?” Whether that’s partnering with local businesses or partnering with those who are recruiting new businesses, Peterson, a retired salesman, said it’s about promoting the benefits that doing business in Liberty Lake can provide. He listed that ease of business as being one of them, along with quality of life things like short commute times, well-maintained streets and a beautiful natural environment. A vocal critic originally of a utility tax the city instituted in late December 2010 when he wasn’t mayor, Peterson said he is utilizing that money now to help provide community benefits that drive the economy. While he believes being supported by sales tax revenue is a true sign of economic vitality, he plans to use utility tax funding currently in place according to “my new equation at City Hall, $=B.” “Dollar sign equals benefits,” he said. “What are the benefits I’m going to provide you with the money I take? If I’m providing a benefit that you believe in, can buy into and understand, then we’ll all be in good shape. But my ultimate focus is that it’s the economic vitality of sales tax revenue that’s going to provide the most for the community.”

“Don’t go it alone”

Feb. 10: Skyway Café, Felts Field The Skyway Café was crowded, no ifs ands or buts about it. Spokane County Commissioner Mark Richard had already

23505 E. Appleway Ave., Liberty Lake 474-9146 Mayor Peterson’s order: Pick two special, ham and swiss sandwich and garden salad with Caesar dressing, $7. Bottled Coca-Cola, $2 My order: Pick two special, turkey cran sandwich with pasta salad, $7. Glass of water. My two cents: Twisp is located a 5-iron away from my office, so this wasn’t my first visit. Even more than the convenience, I appreciate the clean and casual atmosphere, with the work of local artists lining the walls and a sure chance to bump into someone you know. For a coffee shop, the lunch menu is extensive and adequately tasty. It’s not a destination for my taste buds, but it’s never a disappointment. My turkey cran was served fresh and fast, and it may just have found a place as my go-to lighter substitute to my normal order: the delightfully toasty French Dip Panini. A fine business lunch selection. My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. — Josh Johnson

Skyway Café

6105 E. Rutter Ave., Spokane 534-5986 Spokane County Commissioner Mark Richard accomplishments made to this end and how they have helped with everything from recruiting companies to limiting intergovernmental lawsuits. “When I started in this job, I would argue the city of Spokane and the county were barely talking,” Richard said. “The relationship between Spokane Valley and Spokane County and the city of Spokane was tenuous. I think the relationship with Liberty Lake and Spokane County was tenuous. There were a lot of strained relationships, right, wrong or indifferent. I don’t want to say it’s perfect now, because it’s not, but I will tell you that the relationship is very solid, and it transcends who’s in office. Relationships are everything.” He said relationships not just between jurisdictions, but with the local airports and community organizations, played a role in recently bringing Caterpillar to the West Plains. The required timeline to meet Caterpillar’s needs required relationships to be in place for things to move quickly.

See LUNCH, page 24

Commissioner Richard’s order: Half of grilled tuna sandwich with cup of hamburger vegetable soup, $6.85. Glass of water. My order: Turkey melt with fries, $8.95. Glass of water. My two cents: To my surprise, Skyway Café was by far the busiest destination of the five I visited, and that alone — an endorsement of numbers — says a lot. The appeal no doubt is helped by the environment. Diners can watch aircraft take off and land while sitting in a historic terminal with aircraft-themed décor everywhere. The turkey melt, while not special, was above-average. Perhaps it was the first-class treatment I had received at the other places, but the service felt a couple notches rushed, but given the crowds and noise, I really can’t flag the place for it. I give it extra props for being a unique destination that stands out from the crowd. My rating: 4 out of 5 stars. — Josh Johnson

been seated and fortunately cued the hostess into connecting us. When ordering, Richard explained his current diet didn’t allow for a lot of protein, although there was a time he might have ordered a bacon cheeseburger on the menu. As he ordered a tuna melt, I made a last-minute shift away from some heavy red meat options toward a turkey melt. Call it influence. While it wasn’t on purpose that we landed at a crowded Felts Field restaurant (it had more to do with Richard’s role as chairman of the Spokane Airport Board), Richard likes to emphasize the importance of not going it alone. I covered his first campaign for office eight years ago, and I remember one of his priorities then was to strengthen and diversify the regional economy, in part through collaboration. On this day, he listed

The décor at The Skyway Cafe leaves no doubt it’s located alongside an airstrip.

The Current

24 • March 2012


Millwood Mayor Dan Mork

LUNCH Continued from page 23

He believes landing Caterpillar is already having a ripple effect to bring others to the region, something that would not have been possible without collaboration. “I get so tired of politics and a lack of sense of trust in a relationship preventing government from being more efficient and wise with my dollar, and I think we’ve come a long way,” Richard said.

“Make it taste like home” Feb. 13: The Corner Door Fountain and Books, Millwood When Millwood Mayor Dan Mork walks into a place in town, chances are he’s been there before. That’s what happens when you’ve lived in a place for essentially a lifetime. Mork’s family moved to Millwood in 1959, and he has served as an elected representative for more than 30 years. He was certainly familiar with the Corner Door Fountain and Books, which is housed in a circa 1925 building along Argonne. The soup was served piping hot, and the menu had a taste-of-home emphasis. Everything about my encounter with Mork — including discussions about business and economic development — centered around a focus of being part of a community, part of a hometown. The art shops around the corner have been collaborating around a First Friday concept to bring in traffic. The community business leaders meet together regularly and share opinions with city officials that reflect a desire to protect and strengthen the community’s heritage. Mork said the businesses must also be embraced as part of this tight-knit community for successful economic outcomes to transpire. After all, the town was originally built around a business — a mill — and Inland Empire Paper Company

The Corner Door Fountain and Books

Conley’s Place Restaurant

Mayor Mork’s order: Roast beef sandwich and cup of beef barley vegetable soup, $6. Glass of water. My order: Barbecue pork sandwich and cup of vegetable cheese chowder, $6. Glass of water. My two cents: The Corner Door Fountain and Books describes itself perfectly on a flyer: “Our familyrun establishment is small, neighborly and sometimes a little quirky — a great antidote to chain-store monotony.” Everything about my experience was unique: the atmosphere in a historic Millwood building, the collection of books, art and gift items that literally clutter the place with personality. The food and menu reminded me of good home-cooked meals —fresh, simple and piping hot. The selections are priced ala carte and incredibly reasonably. I can’t put it better than the owners themselves: Try Corner Door for a quirky, neighborly experience. My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. — Josh Johnson

Mayor Towey’s order: Cup of chicken noodle soup with Irish Soda Bread, $6.29. Glass of water. My order: French dip sandwich with fries. Glass of water. My two cents: This is the only destination I picked entirely on my own. The process for selecting destinations was usually collaborative, but Mayor Towey had me set this up through a staff member, so it was up to me. I picked Conley’s because it isn’t too far from City Hall, it isn’t a chain and — OK, I’ll just say it — I’m a longtime fan. I remember dining here as a boy during the Pioneer Pies days. The restaurant still serves first-class pie and wonderful, Irish-inspired home cooking. I don’t know the ownership, but I admit this is a homer pick. My saving grace is that when I met with Mayor Towey, I learned he has Irish heritage and even visited long-lost relatives and ran the Dublin Marathon during a 2002 visit. You can’t go wrong with any of these restaurants, and you definitely can’t go wrong with a visit to Conley’s. My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars. — Josh Johnson

N. 3301 Argonne, Millwood 921-9253

remains critical to the city’s success, representing approximately half of its revenue base, Mork said. This is why he takes exception to people making assumptions or drawing “us vs. them” comparisons when it comes to a community and its businesses. This is particularly true when people allege businesses are just in it for money and aren’t giving their fair share to a community’s development and well-being. “How do you know they are making money?” Mork said. “Are you their accountant? Do you know how well they’re doing? We don’t want to be hurtful to businesses. That’s what makes the whole thing work.” His priority of hometown collaboration has taken the form of community surveys

12618 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley 924-5411

and face-to-face communication with business owners, Mork said. He pointed out the same community that is rallying together to save the Millwood City Park’s wading pool must also come together for local business — and often does come together for that purpose. When Argonne was torn up for repairs years ago, business was down 50 percent or more for many of the shops along Millwood’s Argonne business stretch. It took time, but the community rallied together to bring business back after the construction. It’s an effort that continues. Mork said he is considering signage pointing to free parking and encouraging the thousands of

Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey Argonne motorists to give Millwood businesses a chance. “We need to get people to pull off of Argonne and look around and spend some time here,” he said.

“Gather all of the facts”

Feb. 15: Conley’s Place Restaurant, Spokane Valley If the goal was a good lunch and a good environment, then it didn’t hurt that I had done my due diligence when selecting Conley’s to meet with Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey. While talking with the city’s public information officer, Carolbelle Branch, to set up the lunch, I learned that the mayor didn’t have any input about where to meet. The onus on me, I leaned on a standby down Sprague a mile or so from Spokane Valley City Hall where I’ve eaten off and on my whole life: Conley’s Place. Having already gathered knowledge from years of visits, I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to order when I arrived and what I could expect from the experience. When it came to talking about economic development and tackling the needs of businesses in Spokane Valley, Towey referred often to a similar process of gathering information and doing due diligence to achieve desired outcomes. During the course of the lunch, which also included Branch, time was spent on a statement attributed to the city’s Community Development Director, John Hohman: “When working with recruiting businesses, find out how to get to ‘yes.’” It’s that finding out part that the city of Spokane Valley’s Council has been engaged in since many of them first came to office just over two years ago, Towey said, adding that until recently the city and its partners were studying why some businesses were choosing to locate in Spokane Valley, but missing an important part of the equation.

See LUNCH, page 38

The Current

March 2012 • 25


SVBA looks to future for Valley business By R. Dale Thomas Current Correspondent

The past year has been a rocky road for the Spokane Valley Business Association, but the organization’s board plans to continue to work to improve the economic development of the area. The passing of two board members, the scrapping of the Sprague-Appleway Revitalization Plan in April and the November defeat of a ballot measure to return the Sprague-Appleway couplet to twoway traffic has the remaining board looking to members of the group for direction on what their priorities should be now. “We are sending out a questionnaire

Spokane Valley Business Association

Goals for 2012: Provide accurate information and assist in timely responses to issues and activities of interest or concern to businesses and property owners in the greater Spokane Valley area. Topics on this year’s agenda include economic development, signage, zoning, quality growth and development and traffic patterns. Meetings: The second Wednesday of each month at 7:30 a.m. in the conference room at Fire Station No. 8, 2110 N. Wilbur. Guests are welcome. Membership: Open to businesses and property owners; $50 annually, or $35 for an individual membership. For more: Call 842-2322 or send mail to P.O. Box 14402, Spokane Valley, WA 99214. E-mail inquiries may be sent to Acting Chair Dr. Philip Rudy at or Treasurer Karla Kaley at Source: SVBA press release



to determine what is our purpose,” said Chuck Simpson, a Valley engineer who has been on the board for several years. “We’ve got to look at what direction the association needs to go, is it feasible?” The board will be seeking ideas on how to improve the effectiveness of the association. “We need to have a connection with homebuilders, realtors, architects, restaurants,” he said. “We need to get on the same page and form an agenda on what we want to do.” Reversing the $18.9 million one-way conversion of Sprague Avenue and Appleway in 2000, three years before Spokane Valley incorporated, had been the main focus of the group. The efforts were spearheaded by SVBA founder and key board member Dick Behm, who died in September. The ballot measure in November, a $2.14 million proposal, was shot down by 83 percent of voters. “That was No. 1 on our agenda,” Simpson said of returning the couplet to twoway traffic. “It had a lot of interest.” The Sprague-Appleway Revitalization Plan, commonly referred to as SARP, would have accomplished the return of two-way traffic on Sprague, among other measures that would impact zoning along the couplet. SARP was passed by a previous City Council that was mostly defeated at the ballot by members of a “Positive Change” group in the November 2009 election. That Council repealed SARP last April. Simpson called that action a positive measure. He said SARP was excessively restrictive and only a benefit to a limited area. “I’m glad we got rid of it,” he said, adding that cleaning up the wide range of zoning is something SVBA should be a part of, so costs of developing the Valley can be lowered. He said it will remain a challenge to recruit big-box stores on the one-way streets. Participation in SVBA by Valley businesses has declined in the past year or so, he said, with usually fewer than two dozen attending monthly meetings of the group. Still, there is no consideration of shutting down the association that will mark its 20th anniversary in November. “We’re just figuring out what to do, if there is a purpose,” Simpson said. Membership in SVBA ranges from 60 to 90, depending on current issues, said Dr. Philip Rudy, a Valley dentist and longtime member and acting chairman of the board. That board now has five members, down from the typical seven

See SVBA, page 35

Submitted photo

Dick Behm accepts an award as Chamber Member Volunteer of the Year at the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce Gem of the Valley Awards Gala held in January 2011. Behm, who founded the Spokane Valley Business Association and was a lifetime resident and business owner, died in September. Remaining board members are restructuring and strategizing, but have no plans to disband SVBA, which will turn 20 years old in November.

W e’re here for you. Senior cottages and apartments Assisted living | Skilled nursing Memory care | Rehab therapy To learn more about our community in Spokane Valley, call (509) 924-6161 or visit All faiths or beliefs are welcome. 10-G1443

26 • March 2012


The Current

The Captain’s Plate at Pryor’s is, in Craig Swanson’s words, “Ecstasy in a basket. Not shown in this picture are the highly worthy supporting characters: Coleslaw, fries and chowder.” Submitted photo

Pryor’s worthy C Plate recalls Sea Galley memories Over the years, great Valley seafood destinations have been few and far between By Craig Swanson Spokane Valley Scoop

Considering that we are located along the same latitude as the seafaring, seafood-loving Scandinavian countries and hence the blood of those countries flows through the veins of so many Valley natives, it has always struck me as odd that the Spokane Valley is bereft of seafood restaurants. There is not one in the Valley, and I have to go back to the beginning of our marriage, 28 years ago, to recall a time when things were different. Looking back, it brings to mind Richard Harris speaking forlornly: ”Don’t let it be forgot / That once there was a spot / For one brief shining moment / That was known as Camelot!” That is exactly how I feel about the old Sea Galley, where Elaine worked as a waitress not long after we were married. She had actually begun her waitressing career at another long-ago-and-far-awaybut-not-to-be-forgot downtown sandwich and dessert shop called The Early Dawn Ice Creamery on the street level of the Parkade. From there, she moved

attached to Newberry’s on to the Valley and worked briefly at another golden the east side at University If you go ... memory called the Golden City. That was back when Hour at University City in they called buffets “smorPryor’s Restaurant 1984, just prior to Pat and gasbords.” They should 24706 E. Wellesley Greg Kroetch taking over, have called them gorgeasAve., Otis Orchards closing for remodel, and bords, because that is what then renaming it Percy’s diners did: gorge them509-226-3707 Eating and Drinking Esselves. To top it all off, tablishment. That was a there was the Karmel Korn lifetime ago (at least for the Shop just across the mall Valley’s beloved Percy’s), but I have car- from Newberry’s, where the tastiest form ried a torch in my heart for the Sea Gal- of caramel popcorn the world has ever ley, where Elaine went after we realized seen was stirred up with a large wooden the remodeling was going to last longer paddle in a shiny copper kettle the size of than our savings. a wine barrel. It is interesting looking back because Those were the days when places like those are what I would rank as the two the Sea Galley and the Golden Hour were best restaurants the Valley has ever seen, able to swoon the Valley through their in my years at least. The Golden Hour and doors just by laying out steaming-good the Sea Galley were culinary versions of food that drew healthy crowds by the King Arthur and Sir Lancelot. For a brief dent of their scent and words from their time, they were the brightest stars in the appreciative customers’ mouths. hospitality heavens in Spokane Valley. How far that is from today, as the ValThere were a few other great, though ley’s mall sprawls far from its center on slightly less noble, spots nearby that also the other side of I-90, with its corporate have fond memories still rumbling in my franchise restaurants resting on their tumbly. How could a kid not love the old parking lot pads, using national, millionIHOP with its careening blue roof shelter- dollar marketing campaigns to draw cusing the most sinfully scrummy pancakes tomers like mouths to a flame. Not one and waffles and crepes? In the now-dis- of them could hold a candle to the Holtant time before the Happy Meal, IHOP land House, let alone the Golden Hour or was every kid’s vote for dinner. It was like my beloved Sea Galley. Time, of course, going to the candy store for supper. adds seasoning to all the dishes I fondly Then there was the old Holland House remember from those beloved old places.

It was way back at the Sea Galley, where I dined every Friday night and my young bride served me, that I always ordered my favorite version of a dish served by many restaurants called “The Captain’s Plate.” It typically comes with deep-fried clams, shrimp and fish filet accompanied by a potato and salad, preferably coleslaw. The Sea Galley outclassed every place I have ordered the Captain’s Plate by giving me a merry go around their circular salad bar, which my belly’s eye still weeps for as it lovingly dreams of the baked beans and Jell-O and a vast selection of savory salads. I have tried the Captain’s Plate at dozens of places through the years, and not only has no one ever offered anything remotely close to the Sea Galley’s round salad bar of delight, nor has anyone in modern times come close to the quality of the fish, the texture and taste of the clams and the succulence of the shrimp. I have eaten the C Plate once at the northside Red Lobster and once at the Valley’s Black Angus and will never return if mine is the deciding vote because I put them both up to bat at the old C Plate, and they struck out like the mighty Casey. I know that of which I speak concerning this matter of the Captain’s Plate, the dish that I have ordered a hundred different times at a hundred different places. I had actually given up on it because no

See PRYOR’S, page 37

The Current

March 2012 • 27


Local residents can help grow small businesses By Eldonna Shaw Current guest column

The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce received a great opportunity a few years ago to begin the work that would later define our organization as one dedicated to helping small businesses grow. We got started quite by accident, or rather had a series of opportunities come our way at just the right time. Just before we left our location on Mission Avenue near Argonne, we had offered temporary office space to help a small business owner trying to relocate to the area from Wenatchee. When we moved to 9507 E. Sprague, the location was perfect because it contained 12 small offices around a training classroom. This new location also allowed us to offer supportive services. Our first incubator tenant moved with us, and soon we filled the incubator. Word got out that we were more than just a furnished executive office space with low-cost rent. Our facility was one where people could get help in the way of referrals and could immediately connect with the business community in the Valley. When we were offered the opportunity by the Washington State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to provide entrepreneur training, we jumped at the chance. Two years ago,

we opened the Valley Business Center in Liberty Lake at the Liberty Square Building with more incubator offices and another classroom/conference room. Fast forward to the present and you will find the Valley Chamber has helped start 43 small businesses in the incubator facilities we manage and have trained 98 new small business entrepreneurs with our NxLevel® Entrepreneur program. To “home grow” business is a great form of local economic development. If people connect with our community, I believe they are likely to stay. I am often surprised that more communities do not look for these same types of opportunities. It seems to me to be a perfect role for a Chamber of Commerce. We are very proud of the distinction we have earned through our relationship with the SBDC. Terry Chambers, SBDC program and network training director, has said publicly, “During the past five years the Spokane Valley Chamber has built the strongest NxLevel® program in the state and perhaps the nation. They have certified more instructors and offered more courses than had been accomplished over the past many years in the state.” Although the great recession of the past few years have taken a toll on small business and our incubator occupancy has been down, we are hoping that things are starting to pick up. We continue to see eager new business entrepreneurs. Many are looking at creating their own jobs due

See BUSINESSES, page 37

In Biz Chamber, LaunchPad prepare for trade show The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce in association with LaunchPad Inland NW is presenting The Innovation Show at the Mirabeau Park Hotel at 11:30 a.m. March 28 with the theme, "Harnessing Innovation and the Web Economy.” "Since both organizations have as a high priority small business development and networking to build strong relationships, it was a logical step to combine talents to produce this event," Valley Chamber President and CEO Eldonna Shaw said. The event is open to all businesses wanting to promote products and services. Preference for exhibits will be given to Valley Chamber and LaunchPad members. Registration information is online at

The Innovation Show will start with a light lunch, network and a presentation from the yet-to-be-named keynote speaker. A moderated panel and breakout sessions with information for entrepreneurs will follow. A trade show with 100 exhibits will be open to the public starting at 2 p.m., and a networking party will close out the day. The cost to attend the lunch, discussions and breakout sessions is $25 if registered by March 9. After that time, registration is $35. Attendance to the trade show is free. For more information, call the Valley Chamber at 924-4994 or LaunchPad at 953-3305. In Biz features business items from the Spokane Valley area. Contact The Current with business news at

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The Current

Johnson chasing hockey dream in Norfolk Liberty Lake native was fouryear star for Spokane Chiefs By Ryan Collingwood Current Correspondent

NORFOLK, Va. — Tyler Johnson wasn't lost on the whispers that stemmed from his lofty childhood aspirations. The Liberty Lake native was conscious of the fact his measurables weren't gleaming and the Inland Northwest was far from a hockey Mecca. For someone with hopes of garnering a slot on an NHL roster, those facts conveyed an arduous path and brought on a slew of doubters. Not that the 5-foot-9, 170-pound center was ever one of them. "I was always undersized, always have had to adapt my game to that and never show fear,” Johnson said. “I don't really think size has to do with anything." And with each ascending move in Johnson's now-budding career, the few skeptics are beginning to agree with the Central Valley High grad's sentiment. Johnson, who enjoyed the atypical opportunity of beginning his pro career in his own backyard with the Spokane Chiefs, has moved up this winter to compete for the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League. The AHL, essentially the AAA baseball of hockey, is a notch up the food chain from the Western Hockey League of the Spokane Chiefs, which is a league comprised of juniors ages 16-20. The Admirals, a developmental club which belongs to the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning, signed Johnson to a three-year entrylevel contract last spring. Since then, Johnson has exhibited why he was named the WHL's Western Conference Player of the Year last season, tallying 18 goals and 18 assists for the Admirals (33-18), which sit alone atop the

Johnson honored with media award

The Inland Northwest Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association named Liberty Lake native Tyler Johnson its Pro Athlete of the Year at its annual awards function in February. Johnson, who finished his career with the Spokane Chiefs last spring, led the Western Hockey League in goals with 53 and fell one point shy of the overall

East Division. Johnson went undrafted in the 2011 NHL Draft, but Tampa Bay still fell in love with his intangibles. The Lightning's director of amateur scouting, Al Murray, noted that Johnson was one of the best players in all of junior hockey, prompting the free-agent contract. "You've got to recognize his strengths and see if it fits a role for your team," Murray told the Tampa Bay Times. "For us, he fits. (GM Steve Yzerman) wants quick, competitive people who have skill. This is him." Norfolk, a city akin to Spokane in population (250,000 in the metro area), sits a stone's throw from the Atlantic Coast and neighboring Virginia Beach. It is, however, a shade under 3,000 miles from home. Considering Johnson had the luxury of living at home during his four-year stint with the Chiefs while out-of-town teammates were posted up with host families and apartments, living on his own has been a new, but welcome, experience. "It's a great city — reminds me a lot of Spokane," said Johnson, who lives in a two-bedroom apartment with teammate Cory Conacher. "We get a good crowd. People recognize you when you go out to dinner, and that's pretty neat." Not that the baby-faced Johnson wasn't recognizable in the Lilac City. If anything, he was the basketball-crazed town's face of hockey during the four-year window he played for the Chiefs. From Central Valley High, where balancing school and the demands of his job on the ice made his 3.97 GPA that much more noteworthy, to even the most modest area hockey fan, Johnson had become a prominent figure. But he does admit this high school experience was a bit aberrant. So is the life of a 21-year-old professional hockey scoring title. He is currently playing for the Norfolk Admirals, a developmental league (AHL) team of the Tampa Bay Lightning. “It’s unreal. It’s really cool and quite an honor,” Johnson said of winning the award. “So many great pro athletes have come out of Spokane to win this award. “Guys like Mark Rypien, John Stockton. ... I really appreciate it.” The complete list of honorees at the awards function Feb. 15 included: Pro Athlete of the Year: Tyler Johnson, Spokane Chiefs

Submitted photo by John Wright

Liberty Lake native and former Spokane Chiefs star Tyler Johnson uses his trademark speed to push the puck up the ice for the Norfolk Admirals during a December game. player, whose friends are mostly plugging through college. "It's a little different," Johnson said." They're doing their homework. I'm doing my job. If hockey doesn't work out, God forbid, I'll go back to school and get my degree. I've always liked school, anyway." Getting coached up by both your mother and father would fall in the realm

of different, too. Debbie and Ken Johnson — who interestingly met while playing rec-league hockey at Eagles Ice Arena in Spokane — were competitive players who had their only child in skates seemingly around the same time his first steps were taken. So, understandably, Tyler's love for the

See JOHNSON, page 37

Amateur Male Athlete of the Year: Bo Levi Mitchell, Eastern Washington University football

Junior Female Athlete of the Year: Katie Knight, North Central High School cross country

Amateur Female Athlete of the Year: Courtney Vandersloot, Gonzaga women’s basketball

Junior Male Coach of the Year: Shawn Amos, Coeur d’Alene High School football

Coach of the Year: Kelly Graves, Gonzaga women’s basketball

Junior Female Coach of the Year: Jim Redmon, Lewis and Clark High School girls basketball

Team of the Year: Gonzaga women’s basketball Junior Male Athlete of the Year: Chad Chalich, Coeur d’Alene High School football

Junior Male Team of the Year: Coeur d’Alene High School football Junior Female Team of the Year: Lake City High School softball

The Current

March 2012 • 29


Eight elite reasons I love March Madness By Chad Kimberley Current Staff column

March Madness is here. As the calendar flips from the dreary, cold days of February to the hopeful, grass-isstarting-to-look-greener month of March, the greatest time in the sports calendar gets under way: the madness that is basketball tournaments. The Super Bowl might be the best single day of sports over the course of the year, and as a baseball junkie I still believe the 10 days of the World Series is must-watch television (especially the year the Cubs win the World Series and validate my lifelong obsession). But there is something special about six weeks of basketball that begins with the WIAA high school state tournaments, moves into NCAA conference tournaments and then finally culminates with the Big Dance. March Madness is about underdogs, buzzer beaters and eating mounds of nachos and wings at your favorite sports bar. It is about filling out your bracket and then ripping it to shreds after the opening two rounds of the tourney. It is about finding ways to take sick days or blatantly watching the games on your computer in your cubicle. It is about cheering on your favorite team and jumping on the bandwagon of that year’s Cinderella story. If you are not convinced this is the greatest sports season of the year, let me give you a few more reasons I get passionate about March Madness:

1. 1989 Princeton Tigers Now you might wonder why an Ivy League team gets the first entry into the reasons I love March Madness, and it is very simple. Princeton was part of the game that got me hooked. As a 13-year-old kid

watching ESPN, I came across the idea of hope watching this game. Princeton was the No. 16 seed facing off against the No. 1 seed Georgetown Hoyas. Princeton had no hope. ESPN commentator Dick Vitale said he would wear a Princeton cheerleading outfit if they won. Although no No. 16 seed had ever won a game in the men’s tourney, Princeton took them down to the final second before losing 50-49. I was hooked on hope, and it is why I still watch the NCAA tourney.

2. Upsets, upsets, upsets The 1989 Princeton Tigers gave me hope, but they didn’t seal the deal on the upset. But every year, double-digit seeds pick up wins over conference giants to stoke the passion that is March Madness. Ask 10 people on the street, and you will probably get 10 different answers on their favorite upset, but one always comes to mind for me: 1998 Valparaiso. This 13th seed won over Mississippi, the No. 4 seed, when Bryce Drew, the son of the head coach, sunk a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the win. The scene of the father and son hugging after the game was priceless and what makes March Madness special.

3. The WIAA Gold Ball Being relatively new to the Washington area, I am quickly learning the importance of the gold ball. The gold basketball is awarded to one boys team and one girls team in each division (1B through 4A) who finishes the season as the best in the state of Washington. This year, it is personal for me as I have the pleasure of coaching the Valley Christian boys basketball team as we attempt to win the first-ever state title in basketball for our school. We’re making our first trip since 2003. This year has been a strong year for the Spokane Valley schools, as the Freeman girls get to chase a third consecutive state championships, the University girls return

High Five

from Todd Beamer High School.

By Chad Kimberley

Schoultz, a senior, capped off his wrestling career by earning a third-place finish at the Mat Classic in the 285-pound weight class. Schoultz, who lost in the second round, won four consecutive matches to win the third place match and help Central Valley to a seventh-place finish as a team.

Current Staff Writer

Colton Orrino, Central Valley Wrestling Orrino, a sophomore, wrestled at 126 pounds to a third-place finish at the recent WIAA Mat Classic. Orrino dropped a semifinal match before wrestling back to win the third place match 10-2 over his opponent

Dan Schoultz, Central Valley Wrestling

Kyle Cosby, University Wrestling Cosby, a senior, finished off his prep

to state for the first time since 2007, while the Central Valley girls make their first trip to the Big Dance since 2004. The boys side also features a trip to state from the Central Valley Bears, who are returning for the first time since a runner-up finish in 2006, while the University High boys make their first trip to the state tourney since 1985. Three area boys teams, three area girls teams: How about three state championships coming to the Valley?

4. 1999 Gonzaga Bulldogs The Gonzaga Bulldogs as a No. 10 seed burst onto the national scene with a dramatic run to the Elite Eight. On their way to the regional final, they took out a No. 2 seed Stanford (which was in the Final Four the previous year) as well as SEC power Florida on a dramatic final-second tip-in from Casey Calvary. Then, they took eventual National Champion Connecticut down to the wire before the Cinderella season ended. At the time of the Bulldogs run, I was living in Ohio, cheering against the Buckeyes and getting hooked on a team with the strangest name I had ever heard: Gonzaga.

5. Crazy brackets A more recent craze that has settled into our cultural landscape seems to be the yearly crazy bracket conversations that now occur. Who would be the greatest of 64 actors, candy bars, movies, rock bands and fast food restaurants? You pick the topic, and there is a bracket that could be made for it. The challenge now becomes creating a crazy bracket that hasn’t happened yet (or at least I haven’t seen). My vote: How about a bracket of best Nintendo video games ever? No. 1 seeds in my view have to include Super Mario Brothers, Tecmo Super Bowl, Contra and Super Smash Brothers Melee.

6. Selection Sunday On Sunday, Feb. 26, the WIAA had its wrestling career with a second-place finish at the Mat Classic while helping the Titans to a ninth-place finish as a team. Cosby, wrestling at 285 pounds in the 3A tournament, made the finals off of an 8-2 semifinal win before dropping an 8-4 match to the state champion from Shorecrest High School.

Braydan Berezay, East Valley Wrestling Berezay, a senior, ended his high school wrestling career with a second-place finish at the Mat Classic while helping to lead his

version of Selection Sunday. While it was not quite as dramatic as the made-fortelevision, must-see viewing of the NCAA Tournament (names pulled out of a hat over a web simulcast), there is still something about your school’s name being called that gets the adrenaline flowing through the veins and an immediate examining of the pairings. NCAA Selection Sunday is March 11, and once that happens, the great bracket debate begins. Spouses battle spouses; the accounting department battles the sales crew; classrooms battle classrooms. The beauty of the brackets is anyone can fill it out, and it seems anyone can win it. Pick your favorite mascot, states you have visited or all the teams in your favorite conference; it is the joy of Bracketology.

7. Buzzer Beaters Is there anything as exciting as the buzzer beater? It is the blend of pure joy and absolute agony, depending on what side you are on when the shot goes up. It is the moment that causes coaches to run around like crazy (think Jim Valvano and the 1983 championship game) and fans to throw objects at the television (think me when No. 14 Northwestern State hit a last-second 3-pointer to beat my third-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes in 2006). And it is what makes everyone jump out of their seat. Much like the great upsets, everyone has their favorite buzzer beater joy moment as well as their punch-in-the-gut late basket — UCLA vs. Gonzaga 2006, anyone? — that kills the dream.

8. One Shining Moment The end of each telecast of the NCAA championship game features highlights of the tourney set to the song, “One Shining Moment,” and this is the moment that officially brings to a close March Madness for that calendar year. I love this moment, I love this song and I love March Madness. And now off to work on my brackets. Chad Kimberley writes for The Current and teaches and coaches basketball at Valley Christian High School. He can be reached at team to an eighth-place finish. Wrestling in the 152-pound weight class, Berezay won his first two matches by falls and won his semifinal match 10-2 before dropping the championship match.

Taylor Glidewell, Freeman Wrestling Glidewell, a senior, also finished off his prep career by earning a third-place finish in the 152-pound weight class at the Mat Classic. Glidewell won his third-place match with a fall in 2 minutes and 11 seconds for the victory.

30 • March 2012


The Current

Current photos by Kelly Moore

Above: In addition to controlling speed, a computer allows drivers to alter anything from tire pressure to suspensions. At left: A driver takes the racecar simulator for a test drive. The simulators offer an array of car and track varieties, including the recently added Spokane International Raceway.

Area drivers simulating Spokane track indoors By Dave Trimmer Correspondent

Despite the probability of ice in the shaded corners of the Spokane International Raceway track on a recent cold winter morning, a few local car enthusiasts were practicing. They were also getting some great laughs, but more importantly, they were staying warm and safe. That’s because Indoor Golf and Racing in the Valley has added the local track to its lineup of options for its three race simulators. “We decided it would be worth our while because we would have more of a local interest to practice on the track,” manager Deb Humphreys said. Members of Autosports Northwest have become the first to take advantage, setting up weekly practice time as well as a league. “We’ve all been on this track a lot,” said Mike Gregg, who holds the current onelap record among the Autosports racers at 1:01.992. “You can race a lot better when you know the track.” While the local drivers like to run Formula One cars on the local track, every

track and car imaginable are available — feeling the force of acceleration or the sprint cars at Indy or stock cars at Monte pull in corners because the seats can be Carlo. engaged to give the real feel of a racecar. Or teach your teenagers the first steps “It does add a degree of realism,” Autoin safe driving, and everything in-be- sports Northwest member Lee Skidmore tween. said. “This is distinctly not a video game. You “Anyone who wants have to maintain your to be a professional If you go ... focus throughout the racer, I make them do Indoor Golf and Racing entire time. … After this first,” owner Johnan hour, your mind is ny Humphreys said. 19223 East Appleway worn out from keep“Show me you can Spokane Valley, WA 99106 ing your focus the handle a car.” whole time, especially Hours of Operation: Humphreys, Deb’s if you want to get good father, is a Sports Car Monday-Saturday: 10 am-10pm times.” Club of America racer, Sunday: 10am-8pm and he uses a simulaIt certainly increases For more: tor before every race. the admiration for 509-290-6695 drivers on television, “You can learn the whether it’s NASCAR, track so you can reIndy or F-I. ally focus on nuances when you get there,” “Those guys are inhe said. tense; they’re good,” Skidmore said. “It He demonstrated how the computer shows what professional racers do, the allows drivers to alter anything, from tire physical conditioning, the mental condipressure to suspensions. Humphreys said tioning. the advanced program gets so technical “We come out here and race, and the only car designers would use it. top four or five people are within a few All of that could take the fun out of it seconds. To maintain that half second for the average driver. But what is fun is consistently on every lap is extremely dif-

ficult. When you start thinking about the people that do this for a living and realize they have to do that every single lap for hours on end, it’s rather incredible.” And the virtual driver never has to worry about hitting a wall or another car and having any more damage than falling far behind. When someone walks in off the street with no experience, Johnny Humphreys, who likes to race Porsches on street courses, puts them on a NASCAR oval while they learn the car. “If they’re spinning out and crashing all the time, they’re not having much fun,” Humphreys said. Employee Paul Grief, who prefers FI racing, puts rookies on a simple road course, even though a majority of walkins are NASCAR fans. “For your money, there are only so many times you can go around in a circle,” he said. “It gets old after a while.” On-line racing allows for facing competition worldwide, but there hasn’t been any interest in that yet. Mostly, it’s individual racing against the clock or three racers going man-to-man.

See DRIVERS, page 36

The Current

March 2012 • 31


‘Shoenami’ and ‘Shoe Story’ take over Spokane Arena during Stinky Sneaker Photos by Bob Johnson/ Spokane Sports Shots and Janet Pier/The Splash

At left: University High School senior Connor Johnson goes up for a layup in front of Central Valley High School defenders Austin Rehkow and Dustin Dach. Johnson scored seven points in U-High’s 70-57 loss to the Bears. Both CV boys and girls teams claimed victory, and CV won the spirit award for its Shoenami theme during the annual Stinky Sneaker rivalry game.

CV senior Danny Nimri puts up a shot over the outstretched arm of a Titan defender. Below: C V sophomore Mariah Cunningham attempts a shot while surrounded by University defenders.

Kickin’ it indoors

VIP volleyball claims victory

Submitted photo

The U-14 VIP Juniors took first place in the VIP Block Party volleyball tournament held recently at Central Valley High School. Pictured are (front row) Hannah Byrd, Sam Hansen, Shelby Frank, Meaghan Rockwood, Keann White; (back row) Kelly Hooper, Morgan Ness, Emma Smith, Rachel Feldmeier, Jade Rockwood and Taryn Ungaro. Submitted photo

An indoor soccer league was held in February at the HUB Sports Center in Liberty Lake. The Futsal League consisted of 30 teams of boys and girls across six divisions.

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The Current’s photo page. E-mail with game shots and team photos.

32 • March 2012


The Current

Current Editorial

A levy of lessons Spokane Valley schools would be scrambling had it not been for one Republican’s decision to choose local control over his anti-tax sensibilities.

Jim Clements’ 2007 was a lot like Jeff Baxter’s 2011. Both men were Republicans appointed by their respective county commissioners to fill an unexpired term in the Washington State Senate, Clements in the Yakima area and Baxter here in Spokane Valley. And both men were defeated in elections later that year by members of their own party. It’s Clements’ single Senate session that Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn likes to remind people about, including the crowd he spoke to in Spokane Valley Feb. 17. Dorn told a Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce breakfast gathering that as school districts expressed gratitude to voters for passing mission-critical maintenance and operations levies Feb. 14, they ought to save a thank-you note for Clements as well. In 2007, he represented the required 33rd “yes” vote to put an amendment to the state constitution before voters that November. The amendment, passed with 50.6 percent approval across the state, allowed local school district levies to pass by a simple majority (more than 50 percent) as opposed to the previously required supermajority (more than 60 percent). Dorn

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

recalled that this same amendment had died on the Senate floor more than once over the years, but Clements’ appointment a couple month’s prior to the vote finally made the difference. The impact five years later? Well, not a single levy in the greater Spokane Valley would have passed without Clements’ vote. Instead, every single one of them did, including a second levy devoted to technology in the West Valley School District. Most local districts lean on the levy for nearly a quarter of their funding. With the strength of our schools already a backbone of the strength of this community, failed levies would have been devastating to not just the school districts, but to the Valley’s quality of life. Which is not to imply we all agree on this particular topic. Dorn recalled how Clements was defeated in a Republican primary later in 2007 by an opponent who used Clements’ deciding vote to paint him as someone who raises property taxes. Not that folks here in the Fourth District would have saved his job. As much as we like to think of ourselves as pro-education, anti-tax may be a higher Spokane Valley value. All three of the legislators representing the Fourth District in 2007 — Sen. Bob McCaslin and Reps. Larry Crouse and Lynn Schindler — cast no votes on the measure. To their credit, Fourth District lawmakers also have a reputation for trying to protect local school boards and jurisdictions from pass-the-buck, unfunded mandates. Failing that, however, it would be nice to have greater power to respond to unfunded mandates without robbing local budgets that provide quality services and jobs. The problem with uncompromising stands against taxation of any form is that occasionally they are taken at the expense of local control. Much of Dorn’s speech focused on how much the basic education responsibilities of the state and federal governments are now born by local school district levies. In a nutshell, what happened in 2007 is that a state government so bloated it has to be bailed out by local school districts was determining whether to lessen the strain on those local districts as they attempted to cover the costs. We’re not sure exactly when it was that local levies became critical to providing basic education as opposed to being truly supplemental, but it’s beginning to feel like we’re following a glutton around

See LEVY, page 33

Students share how they put diligence into action From staff reports

Partners Advancing Character Education (also known as PACE) is a grassroots initiative to promote good character through partnerships with businesses, schools and other groups in the Spokane Valley area. A different trait is highlighted community-wide each month to help students and adults develop good character. The trait for March is diligence, which is described as persistence, dedication and hard work. Thank you to Orchard Center Elementary School for sharing with The Current how they practice diligence in their lives. To find out more about how PACE is encouraged in the community, visit

“Diligence is not just something you can just get. It is something you have to put effort into. If you can achieve that, you can achieve so much more.” — Ema Espinoza “I once was playing kickball and I kept trying to kick the ball far, and someone said I was diligent.” — Sergey Lukin “I was all messed up on my drawing. I kept trying over and over until I got it right.” — Connor McLaughlin

“When I was in class I was doing math and it was so hard. But I tried and tried, and finally I succeeded.” — Jorden Pasols “Reading is hard for me. I read at home every week, but not on the weekends. I also do reading group at school. I have improved my reading level this year. I never give up.” — Heather Penniman “I worked with Ms. Smith on my Rs, and I graduated. I can now say my Rs!” — Jonathan Ramirez “I was diligent by not giving up in karate when I couldn’t get a move.” — Samya Schafer “One time I tried to jump rope but I couldn’t. I kept trying, and I didn’t give up. If you don’t succeed, try, try again. Be diligent.” — Molly Stevens “I practice my recorder every day, but it is really hard when I practice my Ds.” — Gavyn Witcher

The Current

LEVY Continued from page 32

a food court in order to cover the difference every time he upsizes the fries and soda. We have no problem with Spokane Valley being The problem with anti-tax. A fruuncompromising gal and simple lifestyle is not stands against only a defining taxation of any and charming characteristic form is that of our comoccasionally they munity, it repa reare taken at the resents sponsible and expense of local sustainable way of life. More control. of those folks wearing the nice clothes in Olympia should try it. That being said, we should place just as high a premium on supporting and strengthening our local community’s ability to have all the tools possible to respond to what is tossed at it from higher levels of government. Somewhere down the line, this may mean supporting measures such as revoking the supermajority requirement for school districts to pass construction bonds. With the exception of Freeman (a community that can be proud of its sparkling new facilities that were supported by local voters), facility upgrade and expansion needs are rampant in Valley school districts. In this day and age of Super PACs and spendy campaigns, it is just too easy for a deeppocketed minority to scare an election result that is bad for a community, when all it needs to do is convince 40 percent of voters. This is not to say that voting “no” isn’t absolutely prudent in many circumstances, but that should be for more than 50 percent of a community to decide, not less. Here’s hoping Fourth District lawmakers continue to fight against costs that are passed on to local government, but strengthen their sensibility toward protecting local control. Spokane Valley’s values are best represented when we are both pro-education and against greater tax burdens — all under the context of protecting our local autonomy and strengthening our local capabilities. Current editorials express the institutional opinion of the newspaper and are written by Editor and Publisher Josh Johnson. All other opinion columns or letters in the newspaper represent the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Current.

March 2012 • 33


March PACE trait, diligence, is foundational to success By Abbas Faridnia Current guest writer

“Get back on Defense!” “Pick up your work rate!” “Give it your all!” On any given Saturday in the fall and spring, all of these quotes can be heard throughout the Spokane Valley as young individuals on freshly cut grass try to score a round ball in an 8-foot by 8-yard frame. The adrenaline, the excitement and the sweat all lead to achieving something great for individuals composed together to form a team working their hardest to earn a victory. The opportunity for victory, though, does not become attainable until the diligent work of training, practice and working on your own is accomplished leading up to the competition. The foundation must be set first. Hard work, putting in the effort, working when no one is looking: These traits are qualities that individuals in any endeavor need to have to succeed and contribute to our society. Diligence is an integral part of an individual’s quality of life and for the ability of an individual to help their community. Without diligence, no foundation can be set. Watching a soccer game or being a part of a team brings the quality of diligence out at its finest. Spokane Soccer Club Elite is composed of more than 40 teams ranging in age from third graders to seniors in high school. The success and development of each team is fundamentally related to hard work, to diligence. Our foundation for each team starts with the amount of effort everyone involved with the team puts out. This starts with their leader, their coach. Each coach must diligently work on training sessions, analyze games and motivate their players. The harder the coach works, the better the practice, in turn the higher likelihood of victory on Saturday. Each of the players that arrive to training is an integral part of the ability for the team to achieve victory on Saturday. Each player must put in the diligence of taking what the coach is offering to not only reach potential in individual development, but for the team to be a cohesive unit on Saturday. The greater amount of effort from all leads to the highest like-

lihood of having a successful year from both a development standpoint and victories. The value of diligence learned for all these individuals in a team setting can directly show in society. Spokane Valley is composed of doctors, lawyers, businessmen and women, construction workers, teachers, government, etc. Each of these great individuals work hard and contribute to our community. All are integral parts in the Spokane Valley and allow for us to have a cohesive community. Each bring an element to the table that makes the Spokane Valley thrive. The harder

each of these individuals work in turn brings to our community an enhanced city to live in. Diligence and hard work are a must in any endeavor you do. In the undertaking you so desire to accomplish, the success of that venture will be directly related to the amount of diligence you put toward that venture. Abbas Faridnia is director of Spokane Soccer Club, a PACE (Partners Advancing Character Education) Partner. He wrote this column as part of a special monthly series highlighting the PACE character trait of the month.

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The Current

34 • March 2012


SCRAPS Continued from page 2

very seriously is animal cruelty and neglect. It is very unacceptable to us, and it is becoming more and more unacceptable to the community. Some of the situations we are seeing are fairly horrific. For example, in 2008 we did a search warrant within walking distance of West Valley High School investigating felony dog fighting. We got the first conviction in Washington state on two codefendants for felony dog fighting. I got a call afterward from the city of Seattle asking how we did it. Q: I saw where other agencies — volunteers from the Humane Evacuation Animal Rescue Team (HEART), national responders from the American Humane Association, Department of Emergency Management volunteers, Mounted Search and Rescue volunteers, to name a few — were involved in the investigation and search of this rural property. Talk about the collaboration involved for investigating a case like this. A: A complaint of this magnitude takes a lot of resources. We even called in some national-level support. … It’s all about prioritizing and not being afraid to ask for help. Q: And I understand volunteers help fill in the gap financially as well? A: When I think about the money we spent yesterday, it’s kind of overwhelming, but that’s what we’re here for; that’s part of our mission. Animals are safe, people are safe, and we’re building a more humane community. Historically, what has happened is people give donations here and there. Five years ago, we created a more fundraising side to SCRAPS. You can’t budget for these large-scale events. We are a Spokane County general fund department, and we have contracts with cities like Liberty Lake and Spokane Valley, but if we can fill in the gaps with unexpected, critical cases like this by ramping up on donations from the public, (that fulfills) the whole government thing of doing more with less. Q: So earlier this week you had a press conference to announce 2012 is the “Year of the Cat.” What do you mean by that? A: (As background), what we’ve done with dogs is almost gotten to that perfect spot with something called a live release rate. What that means is the percentage of positive outcomes for animals that are in animal shelters. You can accomplish a positive outcome by first returning an animal to its owner. Second, you can adopt the animal into a home. The third thing is to find a like-minded partner to transfer the animal into. We’ve developed a lot of like-minded shelters on the west side. … In 2011, we transferred more than 2,000

By the Numbers 91: Number of animals seized

on rural property in north Spokane County on Feb. 24, including 2 turkeys, 1 guinea hen, 6 chickens, 26 horses, 1 miniature horse, 3 cows, 14 llamas, 19 goats, 17 sheep, 1 donkey and 5 dogs.

5,582: Number of animals

SCRAPS took into its shelter in 2011

2,200: Approximate num-

ber that were dogs (the rest were cats; other animals SCRAPS works with are not part of this statistic)


The combined live release rate for dogs and cats at SCRAPS in 2011

$110,000: The combined worth of spay-neuter vouchers SCRAPS distributed in 2011

animals to the west side, where there is a larger pool of homes (to adopt into). Our live release rate for dogs is 86 percent. That 14 percent being euthanized is pretty much for two reasons: extreme health or extreme temperament. We are pretty much saving all animals that are suitable for adoption and safe to go into homes. But we are not quite there on cats yet. The cat live release rate for 2011 was about 65 percent. Although that rate has gone up steadily every year, it’s not where we want it to be. We want to be at the same place with cats as we are with dogs. Our goal is to get to 75 percent. We’re going to do that by ramping up our life-saving programs. Some of them are internal. We have lowered the adoption fee from $63 to $40 for adult cats, because they are the most at risk. For adult cats, for the whole year, it will be $40 to adopt. Adoption includes spay and neuter, vaccinations, the first round of licenses and the microchip. You can’t go out and shop a veterinarian office and find anywhere close to that (price), so we’re making it extra affordable to adopt a cat. And then we’re doing other things, promoting spay and neuter, vaccination, holding microchip clinics, providing behavior information if people are having a problem. We have a food bank if people need help, we give them food — all kinds of stuff like that to really focus hard on cats and to educate the public that they need to be a part of the solution. SCRAPS

Submitted photo

To help To donate to SCRAPS or to learn more about volunteering, visit the office at 2521 N. Flora Road, Spokane Valley, or can’t make a perfect world; we need to help people step up and be responsible. Q: Would a 75 percent cat live release rate be rare? A: We did some research. The average cat live release rate in our country right now is about 30 percent. In Memphis, Tenn., the overall live release was at 20 percent. I’m on the National Animal Control Association board of directors, so I’m in a fortunate position to see what is going on, but there are a lot of sections in our country that are frankly not doing very well with their animals. Part of it is the local government not prioritizing animals. I will tell you that our board of county commissioners over the years, including this board, is good at understanding that a community is judged by the treatment of its animals. Q: So the last time many of us checked in on the need for a new SCRAPS facility, it was watching election returns in November (when voters gave the concept of a bond for building a new facility only 43.6 percent support). That didn’t change the needs and challenges at the SCRAPS present facility, and now there’s news that the former Harley-Davidson dealership on Trent could be a workable solution. Catch us up on what’s been happening on the facility front. A: I have a lot of conversations with the commissioners about this, and as Todd Mielke likes to say, our current facility is literally on the wrong side of the railroad tracks. There is no sewer available, so we can’t even get a building permit to expand. Our program does not fit the facility anymore. … Measure No. 1 faced a bad economy, a short amount of time to educate voters, and voters said no. So we and the commissioners have been talking about how we and our partners can do this without having a ballot issue. There is some economy of scale with the city of Spokane joining us in a regional program. … As you know, we’re focusing on the old Harley Davidson

building because it has a lot of infrastructure in place, but while no retrofitting is minimal, it is minimal by comparison to other buildings we looked at. Q: SCRAPS serves a large geography, but how does that translate into the workload for the agency? A: When you look at the activity study, off the top of my head, the city of Spokane Valley is going to come in at about 46 percent of our workload, the unincorporated county is at 48 or 49 percent, and then the small cities — Liberty Lake, Cheney and Millwood — are going to take up the other 5ish percent. Q: I read that you once netted a bobcat on the Sullivan overpass? That sounds like a unique situation. What’s the story there? A: That was back in my officer days. (Hill started with SCRAPS as an officer in 1986; she was named director in 1995.) … Someone called and said there was a lynx at the Sullivan overpass, and we said, ‘Yeah right.’ I was at the shelter, so I drove over. … (On my second pass), I suddenly saw two ears sticking out. … Half way up where the pedestrians go is a concrete wall and little railing. It was sitting on the concrete wall between two supports in the railing, just frozen with fear. It had no clue what to do. And of course I’m sitting here going, ‘Wow, hmm, what are we going to do about this?’ One of our officers said to just shoot it with a tranquilizer gun. But no, then it would fall onto I-90. … At the time, Walk in the Wild Zoo was open, and they had a long-handled net. We all carried a shorter, 3-foot net. … I told the Sheriff ’s deputy that for a moment in time we needed no traffic going south on Sullivan, and I told the Washington State Patrol that for a moment in time we needed no traffic under the overpass. And for a period of time, I told the fire department to go down underneath with a tarp so if the bobcat fell, it would land in the tarp. And one of them says, “What are you going to do if it attacks us?” I said that more than likely, it’s going to shoot past you like a rocket, but they are all trained paramedics, so they’d be OK. It’s better to keep a sense of humor (in these situations). … Another officer and a zookeeper came from one side with the long-handled net, and I came from other side with the shorthandled net. Its little eyes were looking at them, and by the time it noticed me, I was right there. When it saw me, it stepped back just at the moment I put the net into the wall and caught it. I sandwiched my net with the other net, and we got it in a cage just like we planned it. … Then we released it in a rural area. … That was an insane story. I used to use it when I did training.

The Current

March 2012 • 35


SVBA Continued from page 25

or eight. There is still interest, he said, with meetings often packed when an interesting speaker is scheduled. The new focus of the organization will be on economic development, he said. “We would like to see an increase in the tax base to take the burden off the private area,” Rudy said. “I would like to see transportation up to speed.” He also hopes the organization can work to gain approval of a bond to build a new library in the Valley in 2013 or 2014. Most recently, SVBA has worked on improving awareness among businesses of which tax district they are in to ensure Spokane Valley receives its due. Sometimes a business errs in reporting its correct district number, which in the case of Spokane Valley is 3213. “The tax commission has no checks,” Rudy said. “It’s important each business indicates which district they are in.” Communication will be key to the success of SVBA, he said. “We want an awareness of what’s happening and what’s not happening.” Since the passing of Behm in 2011 and Milt Neumann in December 2010, both significant forces in the association, along with multiple changes in its leadership, SVBA has not been as much of a factor in Spokane Valley economics. “The organization suffered severe losses with the passing of Mr. Behm and other members,” says Karla Kaley, board member for a couple of years and operator of a property management company. But, “We are alive and well and strong.” She agrees economic development should be the primary work of SVBA. “We will be exploring a number of avenues to improve the quality of life,” she said. “The process will take a lot of time, and the organization will need to work with the wider community to determine how best to improve the city. “The bottom line is whether we are easy to do business with.”

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DRIVERS Continued from page 30

“There’s a little bit of pride involved, but that’s about it,” Skidmore said. Gregg added, “There’s a lot of ego in here.” To get the feel of the Dayton 500 or the Indy 500, computer generated cars can help fill up a lineup. In other words, there’s something for

everyone. Golf is in the next-door building at 19223 E. Appleway Ave. “It’s good for working on your swing,” said Jeremy Mott, who is also a summer pro at Trailhead Golf Course in Liberty Lake. “You never have to put your clubs up.” There are golf leagues Monday through Thursday with tee times at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. There are a variety of famous courses to play as well as driving ranges for the

consistency of swing analysis. Both operations are open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., from about mid-October into April, basically while local golf courses are closed. The cost is $30 an hour. However, there is year-round availability for parties or business outings. In the meantime, Deb Humphreys is hoping local racers take advantage of the opportunity to “pre-drive” Spokane International Raceway.

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The Current

PRYOR’S Continued from page 26

one seems to be able to deliver the goods any more, except one place that I had all but forgotten about until this past summer. That would be a lowly but lovely little diner out on Wellesley in Otis Orchards called Pryor’s. I used to build homes out there in the early ’90s and had their Captain’s Plate for lunch at least once a week. This summer I was at a wedding up at Riblet Mansion, and a lady came up to me and said, “Captain’s Plate with fries, chowder and coleslaw, right?” I had no idea who she was or what she was talking about. Come to find out, she was one of the owners of Pryor’s and had served me my lunches in those few years I had worked out in Otis Orchards 15 or so years before. That reminded me that there still existed a place that served a Captain’s Plate that made me heart swell like a puffer fish, not to mention me tummy. So it wasn’t long before I found an excuse to be in Pryor’s vicinity around the vicinity of lunchtime. I was curious to see if they were still able to put out what others have failed to do. I was very nervous as I waited for my meal to arrive. Fifteen years, after all, is a long time to maintain a standard of excellence. But then my coleslaw arrived, and it was just as creamy and full of flavor as I remembered it. Then came my clam chowder, and I began to quiver with excitement as I tasted the same rich chowder that I remembered. My stomach did flips like a Sea World dolphin as it looked forward to the prawns and filets and clams it had not seen in 15 years. On top of all this, Pryor’s does something that no one, not even the mighty Galley of lore, did: They pack the plate with two more delicacies, two of my favorites, the oyster and scallop. I have

JOHNSON Continued from page 28

game is innate. It was his parents' support that spearheaded his development, though. "They worked so hard to get me to play hockey," said Johnson, who helped Team USA to the gold medal at the 2010 World Junior Championships. "It's an expensive sport. They gave me every tool possible to succeed, and I'm very thankful for that." Not that Johnson was a one-trick pony. He was also a standout second baseman up until junior high and a member of Central Valley's freshmen golf team. Football tickled his interest, even. But the rigors of his first love took precedent — and a little bit of incentive didn't hurt, either.

March 2012 • 37

NEWS/business/sports found no one but Pryor’s, in all my vast experience of ordering the Captain’s Plate across America and up into Canada, has ever included both of these worthy mollusks on the C Plate where they so richly deserve to be bedded amongst the other little fishies. After every last piece of Pryor’s prizeworthy C Plate had plummeted down into my paunch and I ached in ecstasy, I slowly stood and waddled my way out. I could barely make it through the door because I was beside myself knowing that even though the Galley of my youth had long ago sailed away with the other worthy vessels like the Holland House, IHOP and the Golden Hour that had so nobly served the Valley from their U City district moorings, Pryor’s still served a worthy Captain’s Plate. The thought of it warmed my Scandinavian blood as it rushed to my swollen belly to help digest all that sumptuous seafood.

Craig Swanson and his wife, Elaine, operate a blog and newsletter called The Spokane Valley Scoop, where this article first appeared. A graduate of University High School, Craig is a lifetime resident of Spokane Valley. The Spokane Valley Scoop can be read online at spokanevalleyscoop. "I remember when my mom gave me $100 not to go out for football," Johnson recalled. "She just didn't want me to get hurt and to focus on other stuff." Making weekend trips to Vancouver, B.C., to compete with the best of Western Canada was a boon to his success, too. Each weekend during the summer, Johnson's folks would make the sevenhour jaunt. In fact, between the regular trips across the border and the Canadian teammates which take up the bulk of his roster, Johnson's acquired a sizable accent for someone who grew up in the Spokane Valley area. "I used to say 'eh' as kind of a joke," Johnson chuckled. "Now I pretty much talk like a Canadian."

BABY Continued from page 10

“I see us as being the hub,” Jesse Sheldon said. “I would love to see us fill semitrucks full of diapers. … That’s where I see us going. That seems to be way out, but looking back, the point we’re at now seemed way out too. I definitely didn’t think we’d get to the point where we are so quickly.”

Keeping up the pace Since getting the ball rolling with Inland Northwest Baby, Jesse Sheldon has garnered a fair amount of attention. Last year, he was a distinguished finalist for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, and this year he’s the state honoree — essentially naming him the top high school volunteer in Washington. The most recent honor includes a $1,000 scholarship and a trip to Washington, D.C., in May. There, he’ll be eligible to place among the top ten of national youth volunteers. As if he weren’t busy enough, he also plays trombone and baritone in the marching band, pep band and wind ensemble. He also serves as the vice chairman of the Washington State Legislative Youth Advisory Council. “My friends joke that I’m overqualified for any job a 17-year-old could have,” Jesse Sheldon said. “Just because I have this experience, I still want to be as normal as possible. I want to be able to fit in, which I do.”

BUSINESSES Continued from page 27

to cutbacks at larger companies. Our success in helping small businesses grow has been due to good will from our Chamber members and an increasing number of dedicated volunteers. Our NxLevel® program succeeds because we use a system of team teaching by volunteer instructors and guest lecturers from our business community. We appreciate the role of college interns in our program as well as chamber volunteers from the community. There are also other roles for volunteers that are meaningful and can make

In the meantime, he stays grounded with his signature sense of humor. “The issue of how poverty is impacting babies in our community is a serious issue, but he brings such humor and positive light to everything,” Julie Sheldon said.

Planning for the future In the last six months, Jesse Sheldon’s changed his mind about college plans about a dozen times. “I have a list of places I would love to go, and then a list of places where I’d have a good chance of being able to go to,” he explained. “Because school has been in the back seat for me, I’m not even on the honor roll.” When the time comes for college, he plans to step away from the organization a little. To prepare, he’s hoping to elevate the nonprofit to a self-sustaining level. “When we started this, we never said, ‘Inland Northwest Baby for life,’” Jesse Sheldon said. “That doesn’t mean I’m not going to be involved. It’s my baby.” In college, he said he plans to study something in business or political science, and some day he might run for office somewhere. He said he isn’t quite sold on wanting to be President of the United States, but he gets excited about rocking the boat in a school board position. “He believes he can change the world,” Julie Sheldon said. “He believes what he does makes a difference, and he tells other young people they can make a difference too. If his generation actually believes that, they can.” a difference for the new businesses in our community. Right now we have a need for office volunteers in our Valley Chamber Business Center in Liberty Lake. If you have a couple of free hours per week and would like the opportunity to help as a volunteer, please give us a call at 924-4994. In the future, I plan to share some great stories about our successful new business entrepreneurs. If you are interested in talking to me about volunteer opportunities, I look forward to visiting with you. It takes all of us working together to grow our community. Eldonna Shaw is president and CEO of the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce. Write to her at eldonna@

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38 • March 2012

news Volume 1, Issue 2 Editor/publisher

Josh Johnson General Manager

Tammy Kimberley staff writer

Kelly Moore staff writer

Senior account executive

Chad Kimberley

3 UP, 3 DOWN

Around 8,000 free copies of The Current are distributed near the end of each month at locations from Newman Lake to Rockford, from stateline to Havana. The Current can be found at the following locations (organized alphabetically by community and then by street proximity):

basketball team finds itself in familiar territory this time of year, playing in the Yakima SunDome March 1-3 in the state basketball tournament. With a 25-1 record (a 43-game winning streak ended in the district tournament), the Scotties are seeking to win their third consecutive state title.

Liberty Lake

Janet Pier

Albertsons, Anytime Fitness, Barlows Restaurant, Carl’s Jr., City Hall, Dominos, Great Harvest Bread Co., John L. Scott, Just Chillin’ Frozen Yogurt, KiDDS Dental, Liberty Lake Athletic Club, Liberty Lake Library, Palenque Mexican Restaurant, Papa Murphy’s, Quiznos, Safeway, Twisp Cafe and Coffee House, Walgreens

account executive

Cindy Esch

graphics editor

Sarah Burk

Office manager

Kelli Dexter

Circulation manager

Wondering where you can find The Current?

Mike Johnson

On the cover: Current design concept by Sarah Burk

About The Current 2310 N. Molter Road, Suite 305 Liberty Lake, WA 99019 Phone: 242-7752; Fax: 927-2190 The Current is published monthly. It is distributed by or before the first of each month to more than 150 drop-off locations in Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake, Millwood, Rockford, Otis Orchards, Newman Lake — just about anywhere that has historically been referred to as part of Spokane’s Valley.

Mica, Rockford and Valleyford Freeman School District office, Fredneck’s, Freeman Store, Hand Mercantile Gifts, Harvest Moon, On Sacred Grounds, Rockford Mini Mart

Millwood Albertsons, Anytime Fitness, Dairy Queen, Millwood Library, Papa Murphy’s, West Valley School District

Newman Lake and Otis Orchards Exxon Gas Station, Jack and the Bean Shop, KH Grocery Market, Otis Grill, Otis Orchards Library, River City Pizza

Spokane Valley Off or near Barker Road Indoor Golf, Central Valley School District, Cozy Coffee, Lone Wolf Harley Davidson, Hico Village, HUB Sports Center, Scrumdiddilyumttious Donuts, Ziggy’s

Off or near Sullivan and Evergreen Roads

Deadlines: The deadlines for submitting story ideas or placing advertising vary slightly with each issue. To be safe rather than sorry, consider the 15th of each month the cutoff point to be considered for inclusion in the following month’s Current.

Subscriptions Subscriptions for U.S. postal addresses cost $12 for 12 issues, or $24 for 12 issues to addresses outside of Spokane or Kootenai counties. Send a check and subscription address to P.O. Box 363, Liberty Lake, WA 99019 or call 242-7752 for more information.

Correction policy The Current strives for accuracy in all content. Errors should be reported immediately to 2427752 or by e-mail to Confirmed factual errors will be corrected on this page in the issue following their discovery.

Advertising Integrity Inaccurate or deceptive advertising is never knowingly accepted. Complaints about advertisers should be made in writing to the Better Business Bureau and to advertise@ The Current is not responsible for the content of or claims made in ads.

Copyright © 2012 All rights reserved. All contents of The Current may not be reproduced without written permission of the publisher.

Ace Hardware, Carl’s Jr., Dairy Queen, Fitness Center Valley, Forza Coffee Co., Froyo Earth, Great Clips, Hastings, Jack in the Box, Mirabeau Park Hotel, Mongolian BBQ, Oz Fitness, Panda Express, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Round Table Pizza, Safeway, Subway, Walgreens, Zip’s

Spokane Valley Mall area Barnes and Noble, Boston’s, Krispy Kreme, Twigs

Off or near Pines and University Roads Albertsons, Buck’s Pizza, Burger King, Centerplace, Cuppa Joe’s Cafe, Dairy Queen, East Valley School District office, Flamin’ Joe’s, Halpin’s, HuHot Mongolian Grill, Jack in the Box, The Luxury Box, Northwest Orthopedic Surgeons, O’Doherty’s Irish Pub and Grill, Qdoba, Quiznos, Ringo’s Casino, Ron’s, Senior Froggy’s, Spokane Valley Library, Subway, Thrifty Scottsman, Valley Heritage Museum, Valley Hospital ER, Valleyfest Food Bank, Value Village, Walgreens, White Elephant

Off or near Argonne and Havana Roads Ben’s Yogurt and Deli, Caruso’s, Chester Store, Curves, Global Fitness, Goodtymes Bar and Grill, Jack in the Box, Jenny’s Café, Little Caesars, Longhorn BBQ, Panda Express, Rite Aid, Savageland Pizza, Senior Froggy’s, Subway, Starbucks, Valley Bowl, Walgreens, Yoke’s Fresh Market, Zip’s

We’re always on the lookout for business and community partners willing to be drop-off points! If you are interested in carrying this monthly publication in your place of business, please contact our circulation manager at

Continued from page 8

Rockford is accepting application through noon on March 16 for a new vacancy on the Town Council. Council Member Stan Seehorn announced his resignation in February. The Council hopes to have a new member in place by its first meeting in April. The Hangman Creek Chamber of Commerce is working with Rockford Mayor Micki Harnois in hosting a Newcomer’s Dessert March 13. As of The Current’s press deadline, the time and location of the event were still being finalized.

LUNCH Continued from page 24

“The piece that we’re missing — and it is important to find out why a business picked the Spokane Valley — but what’s more important is why they didn’t,” Towey said. “Then, we as decision makers can decide and see that if a certain company opted to go somewhere else because of, say, a zoning problem, we have a decision to say, ‘Are we so restrictive that we’re losing these companies?’” Towey mostly stopped short of offering solutions, instead using the word “evaluate” often and a focus on working with “stakeholders,” including Greater Spokane Inc. and the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce among many others, to pinpoint the best direction for the future. “These are our partners,” Towey said. “These organizations are going to help us focus on what direction we are going to go in the future. Every single one of these are important to us if we are going to accomplish what we want to accomplish.”

The Current

Voters gave a Valentine’s Day gift to the Freeman School District, passing a school levy that accounts for $1.47 million, or about 17 percent, of the district’s annual budget. About 54.4 percent of voters said yes. The latest piece of a nearly $20 million construction project was checked off the list for the Freeman School District in February, when the newly refurbished Freeman Elementary School gymnasium opened for classes. The gym is one of the final phases to a bond that has constructed a new high school, middle school, elementary school and new administrative offices for the district. This year’s Southeast Spokane County Fair committee president, Rockford Mayor Micki Harnois, reported great turnout for the fair’s first planning meeting Feb. 6. She said she hopes to have all of the officers in place by the March meeting. Organizers selected a theme for the 2012 fair, which will be held in September: “Poultry in motion.” Towey said Hohman is leading the city through a 12-step economic development “roadmap.” A heavy emphasis to the plan has been improving the city’s permitting processes, and Towey said he’s received feedback that the improvements have made a “night and day” difference. Meanwhile, the big picture of information gathering continues with city staff members meeting with various community organizations to gather more data to bring the greater community behind a single mission. On the day we met for lunch, city staff was meeting with the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. “So we’ve started that process, and hopefully we’ll get to the point where all of us will be working toward the same goals instead of each one working their own separate goal,” Towey said. “So I think it’s started, and I’m really enthused about what the future is going to be because we are going to be able to partner with a lot of stakeholders in helping us get to where we want to be. I think that’s going to be the key.”


Delivered free to 150+ businesses in the greater Spokane Valley area and by subscription to residential homes. The Current is possible because of its advertisers. Following are the local advertisers in this month’s Current. Please consider them when offering your patronage.

Andrean Accounting 11 The Black Diamond 3 Bundle Bean Boutique 5 Callahan & Associates Chtd. 5 Clark’s Tire & Automotive 3 Comfort Keepers 17 Evergreen Fountains 33 Good Samaritan Society Spokane Valley 25 Great Harvest Bread Co 3 Gunsaulis DDS, Molly 19 Inland Empire Utility Coordinating Council 27

Inland Natural Health 17 Mitch Johnson, CPA 17 KiDDS Dental 15 Lakeside Vision PLLC 13 Liberty Lake Family & Sports Medicine 27 Liberty Lake Orthodontics 17 Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute 27 North Idaho Dermatology - Stephen Craig MD 13 Paradise Pet Resort 17 Pawpular Companions Pet Supplies 11 Rockwood Health System 40

Simonds Dental Group 3 Sleep City 2 Spokane Home & Garden Show 17 Spokane Symphony 11 Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce 19 Tree Specialists 19 Valley Christian School K-12 19 Valley Hospital 5 Windermere - Thomas McLaughlin 5

The Current


March 2012 • 39

Finding community in Rockford (Spoiler alert: It wasn’t a difficult task.)

By Josh Johnson Current staff column

The problem with doing a story like this month’s cover is that you leave people out. We picked five restaurants to dine at last month, and we could have picked 50 times that with the number that dot the greater Valley area. But “leaving someone out” is more complicated in Rockford, where Mayor Micki Harnois insisted we visit every single one of the community’s restaurants. “How can I pick one over the other when there are only two?” she asked. Good point. I felt for her. And while I only intended to include one in our story, I figured I could at least gather some ideas at the second for future issues of The Current. By the time we left lunch at Harvest Moon, I was already developing a bit of a crush on Rockford, a town I had passed through a few times but admittedly never spent much time in. Then we walked into the Hurd Mercantile, a “gift mall” of treasures you have to see to believe it exists in a town of 500. And then down to the local convenience store. And then through the community park. And then to the bank, where they serve cookies on Friday and everyone is so friendly. I was a bit captivated. It wasn’t until I walked into Fredneck’s Saloon and Beanery (aka restaurant No. 2)) that I started to pick up on not just the town’s folksy charm, but its personality. Owner Pete Abbey greeted me at the door. “You came from the second-best restaurant in Rockford,” he told me, “to the first-best restaurant ... “In Spokane County.” Don’t get the wrong impression. The confident spirit I found at Fredneck’s was much like what I found when visiting with Harvest Moon owner Craig Swanson. Both men are proud and hands-on. But they smile and give credit to their cross-town rival. There was a vibe of mutual respect and a rooting for one another that surprised me for a community that hardly seemed large enough to support both establishments.

Current Photo by Josh Johnson

Pete Abbey, left, sits at the bar of Fredneck’s Saloon & Beanery in Rockford. Abbey owns Fredneck’s, which is also a restaurant known for its hamburgers, which is literally named for the neck of his father, Fred, the founder of the restaurant. Fred Abbey still owns the building. Already full, I nonetheless sat down with some clam chowder and homemade potato chips to chat with Pete and his father, Fred, who founded the place in 1996 and gave it its name. “I took my wife to see the building when it was for sale, and I said, ‘I’m thinking about buying this place,’” Fred Abbey recalled. “‘Well, it’s your neck,’ she said. So we bought it and called it Fredneck’s.” Both men have spent a lot of the years since doing their best to give back to the community, and a lot of the incentive stems from one event that happened on New Year’s Day, 1997, near the very beginning of the establishment’s existence. The building, built next to a creek, was completely flooded. Indeed, the whole town suffered from flood damage to the point Washington Gov. Mike Lowry even visited to assess the damage in the town. “They saved this place for last because it was the hardest hit,” Fred Abbey re-

called. “The governor came in, Lowry, and I kind of had to stop him at the door, and I said, ‘Well, you know, you’re not going to see the devastation of the flood. What you’re going to see is a community that pulled together.’ And when he opened the door and came in, he said, ‘I’ve drank in places that looked worse than this.’” The Abbeys still seem moved by the response of the community following that flood, a response that not only salvaged the building, but it may have salvaged the business.

frog race each April that now brings in about $7,000 for the community each year, Pete Abbey said. They singled out the townspeople, the Lions Club, an improving town government — in the 40 minutes we visited, it felt like they must have named everyone in town. I love that in a place like Rockford you can not only do that, but perhaps even genuinely mean it. As I got ready to leave, I thanked the men for their company and asked if there were any other ideas, anything else we didn’t talk about but should have.

“I would have quit,” Fred Abbey said. “I had enough, because we virtually had to start over. But the only thing that saved this place was this town. I mean it was unbelievable. The second day in here at 1 o’clock in the morning there were still 30 people helping clean up and get us back on our feet.”

“Well, if you’re going to mention the flood in your article, I’d just like you to reassure your readers that they are safe,” Fred Abbey said. His tone way dry, classic deadpan. Then the slightest of smiles curled on his lips. “We have a supply of water wings and a dingy, so I just don’t want them to worry.”

The Abbeys have worked on ways to give back through the years, including turning the creek into a positive with a

Josh Johnson is editor and publisher of The Current. Write to him and share your ideas at

40 • March 2012

The Current

The March 2012 Current  

Power Lunch: Talking small biz and economic development with four mayors and a county commissioner at locally owned restaurants in Millwood,...