Spokane Valley Online
The Spokane Valley News Herald
City of Spokane Valley, WA
Library effort falls short in 2015

01/02/2016

By MIKE HUFFMAN
Managing Editor

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

July
After a loooooooong session, the Washington state Legislature finally passed a bipartisan capital budget for 2015-17 that would build more than 500 new K-12 classrooms, make the largest-ever investment in state parks and trails, and devote $60 million to local-government infrastructure projects statewide.
Spokane Valley man was sentenced to six months in jail for faking on-the-job injuries and using Seattle Seahawks players’ names to get narcotics and other prescription drugs.
Spokane Valley Police officers searched for a Spokane County Detention Service Work Crew inmate who stole a Spokane County 2002 Ford Ranger at the fairgrounds.
The deputy who was involved in an incident that led to the death of a 15-year-old West Valley High School student last year violated Spokane County Sheriff’s Office policies.
The Spokane Valley City Council rejected the idea of a 5-percent admissions tax.
Spokane County Commissioners Todd Mielke and Shelly O’Quinn voiced their support to place on the Nov. 3 general election ballot the opportunity for voters to decide on increasing the number of commissioners from three to five.
The Washington state Attorney General’s Office challenged Avista Corp.’s request to raise rates for its utility customers, instead recommending a reduction in electricity rates.

August
The needed 60-percent supermajority vote to build a new Spokane Valley Library main branch only reached 57 percent. The $22 million bond request would have allowed for the library to be constructed at Herald Road on Sprague Avenue across from the former University City. Another library would have been built in Greenacres, and the Argonne Road branch remodeled.
The most dangerous wildfire weather of the year arrived, as temperatures soared. The Spokane County Parks Department closed the Liberty Lake ORV Park due to increased fire danger.
A couple of early-morning fires had Spokane Valley fire personnel wondering if there were any others that weren’t noticed or reported.
Members of the Spokane Valley City Council expressed disappointment that that Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific railroads would not partner to work with Spokane Valley to separate train traffic from roadways in a 42-mile corridor between Spokane and Athol, Idaho.

September
After being granted a search warrant, Spokane County sheriff’s SWAT team members successfully forced entry into a residence located in the 200 block of North Blake and freed a female victim who was being held against her will.
Slow and steady continued to be the pace of the Spokane Valley budget, which was deemed to be sustainable headed into 2016.
Designs for Spokane Valley’s new $14.6 million City Hall were revealed by architects. The structure is set to be built at Dartmouth Road and Sprague Avenue.
CenterPlace’s 10th anniversary at Mirabeau Point was celebrated with an open house.
While half of those who asked for funding went away empty-handed, the Spokane Valley City Council divvyed up $107,000 to nine outside organizations.

October
With only a handful of public comments, it didn’t take long for the Spokane Valley City Council to reach agreement to move forward with the conceptual design for a new city hall.
Washington State Department of Transportation crews would remove dead and diseased portions of about 50 trees along Interstate 90 just west of Pines Road north of the freeway.
A Spokane Valley City Council study session turned unexpectedly busy as a call to halt any new licensed marijuana businesses in the city appeared as an amended agenda item. The council approved the emergency moratorium 6-1, with Council Member Ed Pace voting no.
Spokane County became the proud owner of a 44-acre expansion to the McKenzie Conservation Area on the northwest shore of Newman Lake.
Questions over a planned 580-home development at the former Panted Hills Golf course resulted in the city of Spokane Valley developing an informational Web page.
With the completion of the Mansfield Connection project, there was a new east-west route between Pines Road and Mirabeau Parkway.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced a lawsuit against Monte L. Masingale, a Spokane-area car salesman, for a pattern of sexual harassment against female employees and prospective employees.
Not surprisingly, there were some strong opinions for and against Spokane Valley’s latest moratorium on any new licensed marijuana-based businesses.
In a 2-1 vote, Spokane County commissioners voted to offer the job of county CEO to Gerry Gemmill, a former county manager who had been in line to replace outgoing CEO Marshall Farnell. Gemmill had been working as vice president of finance and administration at Whitworth University. Commissioner Al French voted no.

November
While early election returns favored incumbent Ben Wick, it turned out that challenger Sam Wood would be the newest member of the Spokane Valley City Council. With nearly all of the ballots counted, Wood had 8,243 votes to Wick’s 8,144. Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard fended off a challenge by former Mayor Tom Towey with nearly 53 percent of the vote.
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes detectives investigated a fight that occurred in the 14800 block of East Queen that resulted in a death.
High winds knocked out power for days for over 200,000 and also knocked down trees and power lines. Utility crews scrambled to get service restored.
Rick Giampietri, 23-year Central Valley High School head football coach, announced his retirement.
A stubborn fire at Kaiser Aluminum was knocked down.
The West Valley School District board of directors was honored by the Washington State School Directors Association as one of the 2015 school Boards of the Year.

December
November’s windstorm cost the city of Spokane Valley nearly $300,000 out of the city’s winter reserve fund. Adjustments would be made in 2016 to repay the fund.
The Spokane Valley City Council OK’d a list of committee-recommended lodging tax allocations.
The Spokane Valley Police Department was awarded reaccreditation by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. It remained the first and only law-enforcement agency in Washington state with the honor.
Several city projects – including a new traffic light on Pines Road and the Mirabeau Parkway – were awarded $1.8 million in state grants.
Spokane Baptist Church, 12915 E. Broadway, was heavily damaged in an early morning fire.
It took several years, but Spokane Valley’s Shoreline Master Program got final approval by the City Council.
Representatives from Second Harvest unveiled the organizations’ new Mobile Kitchen – a vehicle that will be used for cooking demonstrations and nutrition support at various distribution points in the area.

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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.

E-mail: vnh@onemain.com
Phone: (509) 924-2440