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Senior Fair set for April 25 at CenterPlace

April 16, 2014 5:34 p.m. - Updated: 5:36 p.m.

The Senior Empowerment Resource Fair is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 25 at CenterPlace Regional Event Center in Spokane Valley.

“The goal of the event is to inform seniors and their families about the services and resources that are available in Spokane Valley and region wide,” said Spokane Valley Senior Specialist Karen Clark-Parson, who noted that the senior center is often the first contact point when looking for senior-focused housing, financial, and grief counseling services.

This year’s fair features 54 vendors and is free to attend. The event center is located at 2426 N. Discovery Place, just northwest of Indiana Avenue and Mirabeau Parkway.

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First pot license issued in Spokane Valley

April 1, 2014 7:19 p.m. - Updated: April 2, 2:45 p.m.

The first recreational pot license has been issued in Spokane Valley.

Farmer J's LLC has been issued production and processing licenses for a site located in an industrial park north of Interstate 90 and east of Argonne Road. The company reportedly specializes in infused marijuana products.

Spokane Valley City Council members were advised tonight by legal staff that the licenses had been issued. The announcement came as council members were contemplating zoning restrictions designed to open up more industrial zones to production and processing but tighten down potential retail locations.

No retail licenses have been approved yet in Spokane Valley, which can have three under state rules.

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Ballots arrive this week in Spokane Valley

March 31, 2014 8:23 a.m. - Updated: 8:59 a.m.

Voters in Spokane Valley are being asked to increase their property taxes $14 per $100,000 of assessed valuation to pay for a $22 million library expansion. Ballots must be postmarked by April 22 or taken to official drop boxes located outside public libraries countywide and the measure requires a 60 percent supermajority to pass.

The plan calls for a new 30,000-square-foot branch at Sprague Avenue and Herald Road that would be part of an expanded Balfour Park and revitalization effort in the heart of Spokane Valley; a new 10,000-square-foot branch at Conklin Road serving Greenacres; and a remodel of the existing Argonne branch to expand the library into a portion of the building that currently houses the Spokane County Library District's administrative office. The Valley's existing main branch would be converted to an administrative and operations facility, though none of the proposed bond revenue would be used for that transition.

The ballot measure was examined in an article published in Saturday's edition of the Valley Voice. The library district also has a section dedicated to the proposed plan on its homepage.

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Spokane Valley might be lightening up (just a bit) on pot

March 25, 2014 8:01 p.m. - Updated: 8:25 p.m.

Just a month after banning marijuana operations within 1,000 feet of recreational trails, Spokane Valley appears to be reconsidering the move after commercial real estate brokers, landlords and pot entrepreneurs warned it's driving away potential new jobs.

Industrial property north of the Spokane River, where several potential pot processing operations are hoping to locate, was rendered off limits by the city's interim zoning restrictions adopted in February because the southern property line is barely within 1,000 feet of the Centennial Trail on the other side of the Spokane River. Landowners suggested the river is its own natural buffer zone between the trail and the potential marijuana operations.

City Council members agreed.

“I think we need to use some common sense,” said Councilman Bill Bates.

The required buffer around recreational trails in Spokane Valley is in addition to the state-mandated buffer zones around parks and schools.

Mayor Dean Grafos wants a proposed amendment drafted that would impose the local buffer restrictions on retail operations only, which effectively would clear the way for the industrial property north of the river.

The proposal likely will be considered next month.

But some council members don't want people getting the wrong idea.

“I still don't like marijuana (and) … wish we could just ban it,” said Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard. “But I think the intent of what we were trying to do was prevent families from being accosted by it, and I think the river becomes a pretty good barrier.”

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Spokane Valley app gets trade show rollout

March 24, 2014 6 a.m.

Spokane Valley's clever smartphone app is getting a trade show rollout.

The app, which relies on GPS coordinates and Google Places to steer users to the services or activities they're looking for, will be among the featured tech innovations at the city's booth in Thursday's Spokane Valley Chamber Business Show, set for 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Mirabeau Park Hotel and Convention Center, 1100 N. Sullivan Road.

Developed in-house, the app was launched last summer but city officials are still trying to get the word out that it's available for free download from both the iPhone App Store and Android Play Store. It's considered an economic development tool because it seeks to help tourists and residents alike realize the Valley generally has the services, activities and recreational opportunities they want.

Users are provided with easy-to-follow maps to whatever they're looking for in a format that has drawn widespread accolades from tourism and city officials across the Northwest.

But while the app puts an impressive, almost encyclopedic array of local information at your fingertips, there's one Spokane Valley question even 21st century technology can't answer: where's downtown?

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Registration opens Monday for summer recreation programs

March 23, 2014 11:50 a.m. - Updated: 12:02 p.m.

Spokane Valley's summer recreation guide is available and registration opens Monday for camps and programs.

Copies of the guide can be picked up from the CenterPlace Regional Events Center, 2426 N. Discovery Place, or viewed online, where you'll also find information about scholarships, parent packets for summer camps and electronic registration options.

Additional information also is available by calling (509) 688-0300.

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Watch rail safety briefing

March 17, 2014 6 a.m.

If you've been wondering what kinds of plans are in place for dealing with potential train derailments across the Inland Northwest, you might want to tune in to Tuesday night's Spokane Valley City Council meeting.

Spokane Valley Fire officials will be updating city leaders on exiting rail restrictions and what multi-community preparations already have been made for dealing with rail disasters. The issue is getting more attention these days because of plans to ship millions of gallons of Bakken crude oil to ports and refineries on the West Coast, which would increase the number of mile-long trains rolling through the Inland Northwest daily.

Federal regulators are contemplating new safeguards on oil trains following a string of fiery accidents in other states in the past year. Also, new reports indicate Bakken crude is more flammable than other oil.

The City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday. You can either head to Spokane Valley City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague Ave., to watch in person or steer your favorite web browser to www.spokanevalley.org/content/124/938/329/2138.aspx and watch the presentation live on SCTV.

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Valley Council urged to enforce gender-only restrooms

March 12, 2014 3:03 p.m. - Updated: March 14, 3:15 p.m.

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After discovering that a cross-dressing man was using a women's restroom at a recent conference, Wendy McElroy headed to Spokane Valley City Hall last night to express concern over the lack of enforcement.

“A woman's restroom is our only sole private area,” she told council members during the public comment portion of Tuesday night's meeting.

“Society has provided men and women with individual designated places to relieve him or herself in private in the form of restrooms clearly marked `men” and `women.' ”

She also expressed concern over sexual attacks and wondered if women need to begin arming themselves before using public restrooms.

Council members thanked McElroy for her comments and several audience members applauded but Washington is among a handful of states that have extended civil rights protection to transgendered individuals.

The state's Human Rights Commission has concluded “transgender employees should be permitted to use the restroom that is consistent with the individual's gender identity,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Few courts, however, have weighed in on the issue.

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Pothole patrol

March 3, 2014 4:53 p.m. - Updated: 5:21 p.m.

Spokane Valley wants your help finding potholes that need filling.

The pothole hotline is (509) 921-1000. Reports also can be filed online at www.spokanevalley.org/CARES — select the “Report a Pothole” link. 

The city says it needs the following information to be included in pothole reports:

  • Location of the pothole - a street address closest to the pothole, or a description that includes the name of the street, nearest cross streets, side of the street (north, south, east, west) and the lane in which the pothole can be found (northbound, southbound, eastbound, westbound, curbside, turn lane, etc.);
  • The size or severity of the pothole;
  • Any additional information that may help us fix it.
  • If you wish to be contacted about your report, please provide your name and an email address or daytime telephone number where you can be reached.

      

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Welcome to the land of free parking

Feb. 18, 2014 3:22 p.m. - Updated: 3:30 p.m.

Don't be surprised if you see Spokane Valley boasting about the abundance of free parking in future advertisements and other marketing materials.

City leaders, pleased with the response they've received from the “Friendliest Permitting in Washington” marketing campaign, are looking to broaden community promotion efforts.The next step likely will be to expand the economic development push to a regional audience in hopes of improving business recruitment.

But council members also discussed the possibility of introducing new themes that some might construe as a way of differentiating the suburban Spokane Valley from nearby Spokane, the state's second-largest city.

“Can we add something about good roads and free parking,” Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard asked.

Other council members quickly endorsed the idea, though no budget for the effort was mentioned. The current promotion is part of a $200,000 marketing effort.

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