Spokane Valley Online
The Spokane Valley News Herald
City of Spokane Valley, WA
Bawdy baristas get city in tizzy in ‘13

01/03/2014

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 2013. The first half appeared last week.

July
Sadly, the owners of Halpin’s Pharmacy announced they would close the business after 64 years as a Spokane Valley institution. The business would sell off merchandise and close by the end of the summer.
After two sessions lasting more than 150 days, plenty of back-and-forth and even some compromise, the 2013 Legislature finally came to a close.
The first six months of 2013 saw crime on the rise in several areas, reported the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
The Spokane Valley City Council decided to relax business sign rules, though there were concerns voiced by Council Member Ben Wick that additional signage would lead to more “clutter” on Sprague Avenue.
The Spokane Valley Cycle Celebration, the first of its kind, was held on July 28 would be hosted by Valleyfest and feature 10-, 25- and 50-mile rides.
Tony Nielsen was named the new chief of Fire District 8, which serves the area south of Spokane Valley.
Links lovers petitioned the Spokane Valley City Council to save Painted Hills Golf Course by buying the property at a Sept. 13 auction at Spokane County Courthouse. There was fear that someone would buy the land and develop the property for homes rather than continue the nine-hole course.

August
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. was the target of a new lawsuit filed by environmental groups over concerns of coal dust from open-topped coal trains. The suit was filed by the Spokane Riverkeepers and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The Sierra Club had previously filed a complaint.
Gary Schimmels learned he would face Ed Pace in the general election as DeeDee Loberg was eliminated in the primary. Pace was receiving more financial backing than Schimmels, as well as support from several affiliated with the Positive Change political movement.
U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) visited a Spokane Valley grain inspection lab to stump for a new Farm Bill.
Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation Director Mike Stone suggested the city make a bid for the Painted Hills Golf Course property – but not to continue its former use as a nine-hole course. Stone envisioned the land could be used as future park property.
The Friends of Pavillion Park pulled quite the coup by landing blues legend Robert Cray for a performance at the Liberty Lake park.
It was learned that funding had been secured for the replacement of the Sullivan Road Bridge. The news was delivered by Sen. Mike Padden, who helped work to secure the state dollars to do the work, which was set to begin as early as 2014.

September
The city of Spokane Valley wouldn’t pursue Painted Hills Golf Course, as the City Council voted 3-2 to allow a private investment group to have first dibs on the land. The news was disappointing to Mike Stone, parks director: “This is likely the last large piece of property that’s available in our city.”
Spokane Valley resident Sally Jackson – who also led more than one attempt to disincorporate the city – was presented a Key to the City as part of Spokane Valley’s 10-year anniversary Community Recognition Program.
Construction work to resurface the pavement on Indiana Avenue, from just east of Pines Road to Mirabeau Parkway, was tentatively scheduled for two weeks beginning in the middle of September.
Following a public hearing on Sept. 10, the Board of Spokane County Commissioners voted unanimously to support Proposition 1 in the upcoming general election. The idea would be to collect property taxes to eliminate encroachment at Fairchild Air Force Base.
County commissioners pondered the hows and whys of allowing ATVs on rural roadways.
Spokane Valley’s Sprague Avenue had a new scourge that had nothing to do with sandwich boards or one-way traffic: bikini baristas who would don pasties and G-strings on “Topless Tuesdays and Thursdays.” More than 50 testified before the City Council to complain over XXX Extreme Espresso, located just a couple of doors down from City Hall, although council members remained initially mum on the subject.

October
Peggy Doering, Valleyfest organizer, was given a Key to the City by Mayor Tom Towey as part of a Community Recognition program celebrating Spokane Valley’s 10th anniversary.
The Spokane Valley City Council set up a special workshop in order to address the issue of barely covered baristas on Sprague Avenue and directed legal staff to draft an ordinance to deal with the issue. The Spokane City Council, a week earlier, voted 4-2 not to follow a similar path.
The community was saddened after learning that two University High School teenagers – Josie Freier and McKenize Mott -- died in a car crash in the area 5200 S. Bates Road. The 16-year-old driver, who had been speeding, survived and was recovering at a local hospital in satisfactory condition.
Larry Crouse, longtime 4th District representative, announced he would retire at the end of 2013. Crouse said his reasons included “family health concerns.” It didn’t take long for other interested persons to announce their interests in replacing Crouse, including Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey, former Mayor Diana Wilhite and Robert McCaslin Jr., son of the late 4th District senator.
The Spokane Valley City Council unanimously voted to not raise property taxes while approving the 2014 budget.

November
Spokane Valley city staffers let it all hang out as to what a new ordinance to regulate bikini baristas would look like, much to the delight of the Spokane Valley City Council. Those facing re-election in just a few days were likely even more excited that the law would curtail those selling java in the near-buff.
The Spokane Valley Heritage Museum was recognized for its contributions to the community with a Key to the City as part of the municipality’s 10-year anniversary celebration.
The Spokane Valley Library closed for several days in order to undergo remodeling and reconfiguration of high-traffic areas.
Initial general election returns had incumbent Gary Schimmels leading by just three votes over challenger Ed Pace for Spokane Valley City Council. There were also close races in the East Valley School District board races, where the incumbents were also in trouble of losing their jobs. As time went on, however, the challengers began to pull away and it was clear there would be some new faces in certain areas of local government.
The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office forwarded charges to the county prosecutor against the driver of a car that crashed on Oct. 15, killing to teenage University High School girls. Preston Maher, 16, could face two charges of vehicular homicide.
Dr. James Harken was awarded the Key to the City as part of Spokane Valley’s Community Recognition Award program as part of the city’s 10-year anniversary.
An armed robbery at Spokane Valley Mall resulted in the evacuation of the nearby movie theater.

December
Citing a need for increased staff and a firm contract, nurses at Valley Hospital took to the chilly streets in a one-day strike. However, hospital administrators would not allow the picketers to return to work until the following Saturday, stating a need to honor the commitment to the temporary workers they had hired to fill in.
The Board of Spokane County Commissioners unanimously approved a 2014 budget of $441,372,742. Included was a 1-percent increase in property taxes designed to preserve existing levels of services and personnel.
The Freeman Scotties football team celebrated its 1A victory in the state championship at the Tacoma Dome over Mount Baker.
With women making up 67.5 percent of its bicycling commuters, the city of Spokane Valley was ranked first of eight communities identified as “Top Cities for Women Bicyclists”  by the League of American Bicyclists.
Adams Elementary was shut down after severely cold weather froze pipes, which burst and damaged computers and other instructional materials in several classrooms.
The Spokane Valley City Council gave its assent and authority to the city manager to possibly seek condemnation of property at Argonne and Montgomery for a much-needed right-turn lane.
Mayor Tom Towey and Deputy Mayor Gary Schimmels presided over their last City Council meeting. Towey was stepping down after one term, and Schimmels had been ousted by Ed Pace in November in the general election. Schimmels has been on the council since 2003.

 

 

Print Advertising - contact:
Steve Barge
Account executive - Spokane Valley News Herald
Cell: 509-230-3355
Office: 509-924-2440
e-mail: vnh@onemain.com
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
2012 Valley News Articles Archive