Spokane Valley Online
The Spokane Valley News Herald
City of Spokane Valley, WA
Sequestration threatened Felts Field in early ‘13

12/27/2013

By MIKE HUFFMAN
Managing Editor

This is the first of a two-part look back at the notable news and events of 2013. The second installment will appear next week.

January
The old order changeth on the Spokane County Board of Commissioners as Shelly O’Quinn joined Todd Mielke and Al French on the three-member governing body. The Republican defeated Democrat Daryl Romeyn in the November 2012 general election.
The city of Spokane Valley jumped into its 10th anniversary year with both feet, launching a community-recognition program that would honor worthy citizens and organizations throughout 2013. Awardees would be recognized at City Council meetings each month, complete with a Key to the City.
Avista Utilities raised its rates, charging 2-percent more for electricity and 3.7-percent more for natural gas.
Spokane Valley approved a contract with the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service as part of a regional pact.
The Central Valley High School Marching Band was awarded the high honor of performing in the 57th Presidential Inauguration Parade in Washington, D.C.
The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce held its 10th annual Gem of the Valley Award presentation, and the honor went to Bill Gothmann, a longtime community activist and former City Council member.
The Spokane Valley City Council named Kevin Anderson, Amy Biviano, Lewis Higgins, Linda Thompson and Sam Wood as potential replacements for Brenda Grassel, who had moved out of the city.
The former Harley-Davidson dealership at 6815 E. Trent Ave. would be fast-tracked for a retrofitting in order to make it usable as a new regionwide animal shelter operated by SCRAPS.

February
Spokane Valley Fire commissioners made quick work out of naming its next chief, giving Bryan Collins the job without any discussion. Collins retired in 2012 from an assistant fire chief post at the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District after 27 years of fire service.
Greenacres Elementary School first-grade teacher JoAnn Dowling was honored by Mayor Tom Towey for her contributions to the community.
Newest Spokane Valley Council Member Lewis “Rod” Higgins was sworn in by City Clerk Chris Bainbridge – after winning a coin toss. The currency had to be flipped by City Manager Mike Jackson after the council vote was deadlocked between Higgins and Linda Thompson.
Spokane County officials were looking at foreclosing on the property of several home owners who were delinquent in paying their sewer bills. Some owed thousands of dollars.
A federal judge ruled that civil case filed by the family of Wayne Scott Creach could move forward. Creach, a Spokane Valley pastor, had been fatally shot by a Spokane County sheriff’s deputy in August 2010.
It was back to the drawing board in the East Valley School District after voters denied a $65 million bond request at the polls.
The Spokane Valley City Council OK’d funding to hire a consultant to develop a site-development plan for an expanded Balfour Park at Herald Road and Sprague Avenue. The $76,000 cost would be split between the city and the Spokane County Library District, which was hoping to construct a new Spokane Valley Library at the site.

March
Members of the Spokane Valley City Council declared their support for Valleyfest, but how that support would translate into dollars would depend on a decision by the state Legislature.
Mike Thompson, chief for the Spokane Valley Fire Department, retired after eight years. His replacement, Bryan Collins, took over March 1.
Board members of the East Valley School District regrouped after the $65 million bond failure the month before. However, they reaffirmed the ongoing transition to the heavily criticized K-8 curriculum.
The Central Valley boys basketball team too fourth place in state 4A play, while the University and West Valley girls finished sixth in 4A and 3A divisions, respectively.
Sally Blakely Guthrie, owner of Flamin’ Joes at 11618 E. Sprague, was charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs along with 40 others in Spokane, Seattle and Los Angeles. Federal investigators, after an extensive sting, believed those charged were conspiring to distribute OxyContin.
The city celebrated its first decrease in a free bash at CenterPlace that featured dignitaries, vendors and, of course, lots of cake.
Four more fire stations in Spokane Valley got names: University Fire Station (formerly Station 1), 10319 E. Sprague; Edgecliff Fire Station (formerly Station 6), 6303 E. Sprague; Pinecroft Fire Station (formerly Station 8), 2110 N. Wilbur; and South Valley Fire Station (formerly Station 9), 12121 E. 32nd Ave.
Booth Gardner, 19th governor of Washington state, passed away at the age of 76.
Hollywood Erotic Boutique on East Sprague was declared a “public nuisance” by a Superior Court judge. The problem, it was asserted, was the upstairs viewing rooms that made the business more akin to an adult-entertainment venture than a retail establishment.
Felts Field felt the effects of sequestration with news that the federally controlled tower would be shut down as of April 7.

April
Cathy McMorris Rodgers, 5th District congresswoman, paid a visit to Spokane Valley and chatted with council members about the city’s progress and future needs, including funding for a replacement for the southbound Sullivan Road Bridge.
Felts Field’s tower would stay open for the time being as funding was secured through the middle of June. The additional time would allow for the Federal Aviation administration resolve legal challenges. Meanwhile, Sen. Maria Cantwell had joined the effort to keep the tower – along with 147 others across the nation – open.
With a brief agenda before them, the members of the Spokane Valley City Council quickly agreed to finalize and execute an agreement for engineering consulting services for a decant facility near Pines Road and Interstate 90 on property owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Dangerous dog rules were chewed over by the Spokane Valley City Council in order to make the code consistent to other local jurisdictions.

May
While there definitely were no certainties, the congressional passage of a bill that sent furloughed air-traffic controllers back to work was noted as a possibility that Felts Field’s tower could remain open.
Campaign signs were starting to pop up along Spokane Valley arterials, and Mayor Tom Towey again asserted he would not seek re-election in November. Towey’s half brother, and the current chairman of the Planning Commission, Bill Bates filed for his seat.
Interest was piqued in a local farmers market, but it would require private interest – not city funds – to get it started.
All were invited to join Mayor Tom Towey and other Spokane Valley leadership as they dedicated the city’s first gateway sign at Thierman Road and Appleway Blvd.
The Spokane Valley City Council took a “wait and see” approach to coming up with new regulations governing the legalized sale of marijuana. It was expected that the state Liquor Control Board would develop a list of regulations later in the year.
The lights would remain on at the Felts Field tower until at least September when the fiscal year would end, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Rod Higgins would face a challenge from Linda Thomson – director of the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council and loser of coin toss earlier in the year that put Higgins on the Spokane Valley City Council – in November.

June
An investigation began into what motivated an officer-involved shooting at a north Spokane Valley apartment complex that led to the shooting death of a 48-year-old man.
Teenager Jesse Sheldon was presented with a Key to the City by Mayor Tom Towey. Sheldon, a Central Valley High School senior, was the founder of Inland NW Baby, a nonprofit group that helps low-income mothers acquire diapers for their children.
The Spokane Valley City Council OK’d the construction of a decant facility at Pines Road and Interstate 90.
The third annual Neighbor Day at Felts Field took place, with visitors checking out a twin-engine World War II-era B-25 bomber.
A local man kept a burglar at bay with a shotgun until law enforcement could arrive to arrest the suspect.
Phil Kiver, who works for the Greater Spokane Valley chamber of Commerce, was a finalist for People magazine and Major League Baseball’s “Tribute for Heroes” honor for his military service.
The family of Wayne Scott Creach would receive $2 million in a settlement with Spokane County. The county’s insurance carrier opted to cut its potential losses. However, Deputy Brian Hirzel – who fired the single shot that killed Creach in 2010 – was still attached to the lawsuit.
Spokane County commissioners voted to expand a no-shooting area in the Newsman Lake and Mica Peak areas.

 

 

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