Spokane Valley Online
The Spokane Valley News Herald
City of Spokane Valley, WA
Sand volleyball proves aces in 2015

12/25/2015

By MIKE HUFFMAN
Managing Editor

This is the first half of a two-part look back at the newsworthy events and happenings in Spokane Valley in 2015. The second half will appear next week.

January
A bitter cold snap meant that area social-service agencies were partnering to help the most vulnerable to the conditions.
Washington state’s new, higher minimum wage took effect. The 15-cent increase to $9.47 was announced by the Department of Labor and Industries.
Mayor Dean Grafos started the first Spokane Valley City Council meeting of the year making several committee appointments.
The new board of directors was chosen for the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Influenza rates were skyrocketing throughout Spokane County, and health officials pleaded for residents to receive flu shots.
Some members of the Spokane Valley City Council expressed reservations about participation in the state Commute Trip Reduction Plan, saying it was just another example of Washington’s governor attempting to roll roughshod over local jurisdictions.
Spokane County CEO Marshall Farnell announced he would retire before the year’s end. Recruitment for a replacement was underway, and the post was being advertised nationally.
Washington’s lawmakers opened the year’s legislative session amid predictions of a long and contentious debate focused on budget and tax votes for the K-12 education system.
The Spokane Valley City Council authorized the city manager to settle a pair of lawsuits from the owners of the Montgomery Court Apartments over a nearby roundabout for $40,000
Just one month into a year-long ban on unlicensed marijuana businesses, the Spokane Valley City Council was urged by several residents to enact further restrictions.

February
Based on the findings of the police reports, three independent accident reconstructions and eyewitnesses, no criminal charges would be filed against the deputy involved in the incident resulting in the death of a West Valley High School student. The May 2014 incident involved Deputy Joe Bodman and 15-year-old Ryan Holyk, who died at the scene at Vista Road and Sprague Avenue.
Local registered voters affirmed bond and levy requests nearly without exception. The news was especially good in the Central Valley School District, where a bond hadn’t passed in 17 years.
Spokane County signed a 15-year interlocal agreement with the city of Spokane for the implementation and maintenance of a new Emergency Dispatch Response and Records system.
Avista requested a statewide rate increase in order to improve infrastructure, technology and system modernization.
Plans continued for a new Spokane Valley City Hall at the former University City site.
To encourage more children to walk safely to school, Spokane Regional Health District launched a Safe Routes to School program, which include Seth Woodard Elementary School.
The Spokane Valley City Council passed an emergency mining ban in order to reconcile in-development new rules with an update of the state-mandated comprehensive plan.

March
Work was expected to start on sand volleyball courts at Browns Park in anticipation for the summer season.
A Spokane Valley man was charged with faking on-the-job injuries and using the last names of several Seattle Seahawks players to obtain narcotics and other prescription drugs.
The Washington state Senate passed a $15 billion transportation package and agreed to an 11.7-cent gas tax increase.
It took a couple of tries, but the Spokane Valley City Council finally got around to approving a list of lodging-tax allotments for 2015. The previous December, the council flatly refused to approve a funding list provided by the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.
The Argonne Road Safeway store shuttered its doors for the final time. The company did not renew its lease at the location, and employees were offered the chance to work at other stores.
Area voters were going to get another chance to build two new libraries in Spokane Valley, one on Sprague Avenue across from the former University City and another in Greenacres.
The city’s mining moratorium was decried by several individuals, especially those representing Central Pre-Mix and Spokane County. John Pederson, Spokane County planning director, said the city has “certain obligations” under Washington’s Growth Management Act.

April
According to an in-progress, 400-page study on the potential future impacts of a proposed University Road overpass at Interstate 90, traffic would be largely unaffected on congested Argonne and Pines Road arterials.
A bomb threat shut down University High School for a day, but no device was found. Two other incidents followed, and Spokane Valley Police offered a reward for information leading to the suspect’s or suspects’ capture.
Spokane Valley officials were considering lowering the city’s gambling tax on card rooms from 10 percent to 6 percent in order to better compete with neighboring jurisdictions.
Methods to preserve Spokane Valley historical sites got some discussion before the Spokane Valley City Council. Some council members, however, weren’t supportive of the program.
Spokane County voters and those casting ballots in the East Valley School District appeared to be in a giving mood, as measures reaffirmed support for juvenile detention and new buses for the school district. Meanwhile, a request by Spokane Transit Authority to increase the area’s sales tax failed at the polls. The .3-percent increase would have increased service and an anticipated $72 million electric trolley.
The city of Spokane Valley sought public input regarding its first municipally owned city hall.

May
The southbound Sullivan Road Bridge across the Spokane River was closed as crews prepared to begin demolition of the aging bridge. All traffic was shifted to the northbound bridge.
The city of Spokane Valley was considering an admissions tax on entertainment venues, but there was no clear answer how much money would bring in.
Former Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey announced he would run for a return to office, zeroing in on Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard.
The Spokane Valley City Council looked to temporarily fill the position of ailing Bill Bates.
The project to improve traffic at the intersection of Knox Avenue and Argonne Road finally began.
Avista announced a partnership with Colorado-based solar developer Clean Energy Collective near Barker Road and Trent Avenue.
Lance Cpl. Joshua E. Barron, a 24-year-old former University High School student, died after sustaining injuries in an aircraft crash in Hawaii during a training exercise.
Wilbur H. Peters, longtime Valley resident and business owner of Peters Hardware, passed away at the age of 97.
Mayor Dean Grafos would be unchallenged in Spokane Valley elections, however incumbent Ben Wick would be challenged by Sam Wood for City Council.
Summer vacation would start three days later in the East Valley School District, as there would have to be a makeup day for a union-approved walkout for educators.

June
Just over four years earlier, the main suspect in a triple homicide in northern Spokane County – 30-year-old Roy H. Murry – was one of the top Republican Party picks to represent Spokane Valley in the Washington state Senate.
Eighteen were interviewed for a temporary Spokane Valley City Council position, and the choice was a familiar face: Bill Gothmann, former council member.
A new automatic-aid agreement among four of the area’s largest fire districts promised to bring faster dispatch, leading to quicker response times.
The Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office determined that sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Thurman was justified in his use of deadly force while attempting to take Christopher Myers into custody on Jan. 30.
A heat wave was proving to be unhealthy, especially to those participating in Hoopfest and the Coeur d’Alene Ironman event.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony kicked off the opening of 16 sand volleyball courts at Browns Park.

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TheSpokane Valley News Herald
is the City of Spokane Valley, Washington's official Newspaper. The City Council of the City of Spokane Valley, Washington named the Spokane Valley News Herald as the city's "official" newspaper. The designation means the Spokane Valley News Herald will publish the city's legal notices on a contract basis for one year.

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2012 Valley News Articles Archive