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Craig Howard

Craig Howard has 20 articles published.

Craig Howard
Craig Howard began his writing career in grade school as the author of a retrospective on the 1978-79 NBA Champion Seattle SuperSonics. Since earning a degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon, Craig has written professionally since 1997 and worked for newspapers like the Goldendale Sentinel, Spokane Valley News Herald, Liberty Lake Splash and Greater Spokane Valley Current. He has also been a contributing writer for the Seattle Times and Northwest Runner magazine and had editorial cartoons published by the Spokesman-Review. He has covered the Liberty Lake community since 2002. In 2004, Craig received the Exemplary Media Award from the Washington Department of Social and Health Services. He has served as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Spokane County Juvenile Court. Craig is a devoted fan of the Zags, Seattle Mariners and Chicago Cubs. Above all, he enjoys spending time with his three kids, teaching them the finer points of Wiffle Ball.

Youth Commission a Platform for Leaders of Today, Tomorrow

in Community Spotlight/Featured/Things to Do in Liberty Lake
Liberty Lake Youth Commission

Chloe Brynteson thinks the younger generation should carry their weight.

The chair of the Liberty Lake Youth Commission (LLYC) is joined in that perspective by seven of her cohorts who took the initiative to restart the city-sponsored program last spring after a five-year hiatus.

Liberty Lake Youth Commission
The Liberty Lake Youth Commission has coordinated a talent show, organized a winter festival and clothing drive and facilitated a summer reading program for kids at Liberty Creek Elementary. LLYC members from left to right: Chloe Bryntesen, Natalie Alva, Tom Dunne, Garrett Packebush and Sarah Pecha.

“It seems like there are a lot of adults in this community who are leaders and volunteers,” said, Brynteson, a junior at Central Valley High School. “I feel like I should be doing that as much as they do. I need to give back.”

Originally formed in 2006, LLYC coordinated events for kids as well as food drives benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank and fundraisers supporting Crosswalk, a downtown youth shelter.

In 2008, the group was honored for their efforts in community leadership at the Chase Youth Awards.

Since 2013, however, the commission has been largely silent.

That changed last April when the newest rendition of LLYC held their first meeting at City Hall. Brynteson and Natalie Alva, who serves as vice chair, were the catalysts in reviving the mission. All eight commission members are juniors at CV.

“These are society’s future leaders,” said Mayor Steve Peterson. “They have a youth vision and they are volunteering to make the community better.”

The city provides monetary reimbursements as well as advisors like Finance Director R.J. Stevenson and Maintenance and Operations Director Jennifer Camp. Stevenson said the group has been mostly autonomous.

“I’m here to support them but I try to stay out of their way,” he said. “They’re pretty independent. They got things going on their own and City Council has been supportive of their efforts.”

LLYC coordinated a well-attended talent show at Pavillion Park last August and will host the second annual event Aug. 3 at 11 a.m. during Barefoot in the Park.

“The talent show last year was the first big event we hosted as a youth commission, so I thought it went pretty well,” said LLYC Treasurer Cooper Young. “We hope to have a big crowd this year because people will already be at the park.”

The commission also put on a Winter Festival last December that included a clothing drive with donations going to the Salvation Army. This June, LLYC kickstarted a summer reading program for kids at Liberty Creek Elementary that will conclude Aug. 16 with a celebration and prizes.

Young, who is the “tech guy” at the talent show, said being part of service projects “has been fun” and also fulfills required hours through National Honor Society. His sister, Maci, is also part of LLYC.

“I think it’s cool that we’ve brought the youth commission back,” Cooper said. “It’s important to be involved in your community.”

The rest of the commission includes Savannah Pratt (secretary), Thomas Dunne, Garrett Packebush and Sarah Pecha.

Bryntesen recalls attending events sponsored by LLYC when she was in elementary school.

“I want to be an example like that to kids,” she said. “When we started this last year, it just came back to this idea of getting involved and putting down your phone, your computer and video games. There are people here who have made a difference in this community for years. If we keep that going and have youth step up, we’re going to continue to make Liberty Lake a great place to live.”

Click here for Liberty Lake Youth Commission Talent Show event details

Lake Life: Dwight goes for stroll

in Comic Strip/Featured

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“Lake Life” is an original comic strip by local writer/artist and Gazette contributor Craig Howard featuring Liberty Lake themes, history and characters. It features the adventures of the Liberté family – dad Jake, mom Peg, daughter Claire, son Satchel and dog Dwight. No one is quite sure if they live north or south of Sprague Avenue but they love Liberty Lake.

Moving Memorial — LLPD Puts Tribute Car in Motion

in Community Spotlight/Featured/Public Safety
John Bujosa

tribute car and lake
The tribute car honoring fallen police officers made its debut in April and has appeared at close to a dozen community events since. It is the only mobile memorial of its kind in the state.
For John Bujosa, it is more than four wheels and an engine – it’s a heartfelt salute to friends and colleagues.

As a police ambassador with the Liberty Lake Police Department (LLPD), Bujosa helps with agency events as well as public relations and social media. Yet it is his role as the coordinator of a unique new project that has the longtime law enforcement volunteer delivering a compelling message throughout the region.

In April, Bujosa premiered a tribute car that honors police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty or through the effects of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Bujosa’s friend, LLPD Sgt. Clint Gibson, is one of the names on the vehicle. Gibson took his own life in April 2014 after serving over 20 years in law enforcement.

“When I first starting putting the names on the car, I was so emotional,” Bujosa said. “I wasn’t sure I could do it — but once I got past that part, it was a little easier, just knowing I was honoring them. I’ve done a lot of projects and this is by far the most meaningful.”

Liberty Lake Police Chief Brian Asmus said he turned the project over to Bujosa earlier this year.

tribute car hood
Names of fallen officers are listed in random order on the hood of the tribute car. The placement was done purposefully as a way to emphasize the scope of the sacrifice made by law enforcement.
“We felt this project was important and John’s just run with it,” Asmus said. “He’s booked until the end of summer. People are stopping to remember those who have given their lives to protect others.”

According to the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund, 144 officers in the U.S. lost their lives in the line of duty last year, up from 129 in 2017. The average age was 41 with a dozen years being the average tenure in law enforcement.

Another national organization, Blue H.E.L.P. (Honor Educate Lead Prevent) reported 167 officer suicides last year in the U.S. The mission of Blue H.E.L.P. is “to reduce mentail health stigma through education, advocate for benefits for those suffering from post-traumatic stress, acknowledge the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers we lost to suicide, assist officers in their search for healing and to bring awareness to suicide and mental health issues.”

Sgt Gibson name on tribute car
The late Sgt. Clint Gibson is remembered as part of the tribute car coordinated by the Liberty Lake Police Department, the agency he served with from 2002 until his death in April 2014.
“This is a very high-risk job on all fronts,” said Shane Brickner, a longtime LLPD volunteer officer who also serves as the city’s mayor pro tem. “You look at the amount of sacrifice and scrutiny involved. We are very fortunate here in Liberty Lake to have such great community support but a lot of officers don’t have that kind of support.”

Brickner, who was close friends with Gibson, said seeing the tribute car for the first time had an impact.

“I teared up,” he said. “It was very emotional.”

Awareness and response to the effects of PTSD among officers have improved, said Asmus who now mandates that officers take three days off following a critical incident. The agency also provides resources for counseling with the priority of sustaining positive mental health.

“Before these things were not really talked about,” Asmus said. “I think that culture is changing but we still have a ways to go. We want to encourage officers to talk about it and get that help. We have a broader use of sick leave that is part of that shift in mindset. We want to promote resiliency.”

Bujosa, who spent time in the Air Force along with years as a reserve officer, said he has grown close to many of the families whose loved ones are part of the tribute vehicle.

“I got a call from this guy in Arizona who said, ‘I heard my dad’s name is on that car,’” Bujosa said. “I’ve created a bond with the families I’ve met. Every one of them has been so appreciative.”

Debbie Jacobs with tribute car
Debbie Orchard Jacobs is pictured above with the tribute car. Her father, Officer Brian Orchard, is one of nearly 100 names memorialized on the hood of the vehicle.
While LLPD could have funded some or all of the project, Bujosa made it a point to reach out to local businesses for help. The response of in-kind donations has been overwhelming, from a new sound system to custom detailing and more.

“I wanted the community to own this,” Bujosa said. “So, I just started knocking on doors. I’d ask people if they could help and they’d say ‘What do you need?’ The support has been absolutely amazing.”

At the Fourth of July celebration in Pavillion Park, Bujosa talked with dozens of people interested to hear more about the car, the only one of its kind in Washington. The hood is inscripted with names of nearly 100 officers from Washington and North Idaho who have died since 1980. A PowerPoint presentation inside the vehicle goes back to 1970 in its remembrance of fallen officers as well as K9 deaths in the line of duty.

One inquiry at Pavillion Park came from a Kennewick resident who found his uncle’s name on the vehicle.

“He just happened to be at the event and saw the car,” Bujosa said. “I think he was pretty surprised. He took pictures and I’m sure he shared it with his family.”

Bujosa, who knew seven of the officers honored on the vehicle, said most who approach the car begin looking for names in alphabetical order or some other sequence.
“The names aren’t in any order,” he said. “And we did that on purpose. We want people to look at all the names, not just the one they’re looking for. It helps them appreciate the extent of the sacrifice.”


Code 4 Northwest is a free and confidential crisis response and referral network for active and retired first responders, public safety personnel, EMS, corrections, civilian support personal and their families. The 24/7 crisis line can be reached at 425-243-5092 or go to https://code4nw.org to learn more.

Behind the Badge Foundation exists to honor law enforcement officers who have died or suffered serious injury in the line of duty. The foundation serves as a trusted resource that provides immediate and ongoing support to families, agencies and communities in times of need. More at https://behindthebadgefoundation.org.

Learn more about Blue H.E.L.P. at https://bluehelp.org.

The list of donors to the LLPD tribute car include: Spokane Sunscreen, Toby’s Body & Fender, RACOM, I Guard International, Clark’s Tire and Automotive, Setina, Federal Signal Corporation, Whelan, Sound Off, Spokane Detail, Aspen Sound and Behind the Badge Foundation.

city council with tribute car
The Liberty Lake City Council is pictured above at City Hall with the tribute car honoring fallen officers. (From left to right): Spokane Valley Fire Chief Bryan Collins, Hugh Severs, Bob Moore, Mike Kennedy (City Council), Mayor Pro Tem Shane Brickner, Cris Kaminskas, Dan Dunne (City Council), Mayor Steve Peterson and Liberty Lake Police Chief Brian Asmus.

Screening Scooters — Lime May Be Riding Into Liberty Lake

in Featured/Government and Politics/Traffic and Roads
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They have become the newest mobile landmarks in downtown Spokane — bright, green electric scooters that whisk people to a variety of destinations. After a pilot program last fall, the scooters returned in May on a more permanent basis after the city approved an agreement with San Francisco-based Lime Company.

Now there is talk of bringing the two-wheeled trend to Liberty Lake.

Liberty Lake City Council Member Dan Dunne became a fan of the alternative transportation device after utilizing them from his office downtown.

Lime app
Those who use Lime electric scooters must be at least 18 years old and accept all liability in case of an injury or incident. Users download an app and pay $1 to unlock the scooter and 25 cents a minute to ride. (Image courtesy of Lime)
“I can get from Riverfront Park to Gonzaga University in about five minutes,” said Dunne. “These (scooters) eliminate car trips and create more opportunities for pedestrians.”

The city of Liberty Lake passed an ordinance in 2005 addressing the growing craze of motorized scooters, prohibiting them from public parks, trails or sidewalks. Dunne said the policy was put in place as a public safety measure to address aluminum scooters with loud motors attached.

“They were popular back then but you don’t see them now,” he said. “It basically had a weedeater motor on it. With the noise and smoke, they really were a nuisance.”

Lime scooters, Dunne says, qualify as “non-motorized wheeled vehicles” that run quietly and are recharged daily after use.

“Liberty Lake is, by virtue of our comprehensive plan, a pedestrian-oriented community,” Dunne said. “We also embrace new technology. This brings a focus on bike lanes and non-motorized transportation.”

The City Council would need to agree on changing or eliminating the existing ordinance in order for Lime scooters to legally operate in the city. Dunne said there is also the option of introducing a pilot scooter program with an understanding that the ordinance would “temporarily not apply.”

Director of Planning and Engineering Lisa Key has had conversations with Lime representatives over the last month.

“They would like to pursue something in the city of Liberty Lake,” she said. “There’s a lot of pros and cons. It’s a great alternative form of transportation but at the same time, there are some challenges in terms of where you ride.”

Lime — which also offers manual and electric bikes — charges $1 to unlock a scooter and 25 cents each minute to ride. Riders take on all on liability and must be at least 18 years old. Scooters are activated by downloading the Lime app on the iPhone App Store or Android Google Play.

Lime electric scooter sharing
The city of Spokane ran a 74-day pilot program with Lime scooters and bikes last fall. In the first week, over 5,000 miles were logged. This May, in conjunction with Bike Everywhere Month, the city brought back the scooters and bikes under a memorandum of understanding with Lime. (Image courtesy of Lime)
In Spokane, Lime pays the city 75 cents for every scooter and bike operated in the course of a day. The agreement is expected to generate around $50,000 in annual revenue.

Mayor Pro Tem Shane Brickner said the city “would need to have all our ducks in a row” in order to bring Lime to Liberty Lake.

“They say the user takes on all liability,” Brickner said. “I need to see that in writing. I see the value of it but we need to have everything in place to enforce the rules.”

Council Member Mike Kennedy said he is “in favor of looking at this” while also wary of potential risks.

“The challenge in Liberty Lake is we have already have walkers, bikers and golf carts on the trails,” he said. “Now if you add scooters to the equation, that’s a concern.”

Lime-S Liberty Lake
Lime-S Electric Scooters (Image courtesy of Lime)
Kennedy said that while scooters have been a success downtown, Liberty Lake presents different challenges.

“If we aren’t able to police golf carts, how are we going to monitor scooters?” he said. “I think it will just add more confusion.”

In June, a woman on a Lime scooter was injured when she collided with a truck in north Spokane. She was transported to the hospital with what was later determined to be a concussion.

Lime uses GPS technology to automatically regulate scooters in certain areas. For example, riders can only travel up to 7 mph in Riverfront Park. The company also offers a program called “Lime Access” for low-income users featuring an unlock fee of 50 cents and a rider fee of 7 cents a minute.

Key said the future of Lime scooters in Liberty Lake resides with the governing board.

“It really requires that the City Council takes the lead on this,” she said. “I get the opinion that there could be some conflict between scooters and golf carts. It’s just like riding a bike. You’re expected to know the rules of the road. There’s a learning curve with scooters.”

Tale of a Typo – Pavillion Park Spelling has Historical Basis

in Featured/History/Parks and Arts
pavillion park ticket

Newcomers to Liberty Lake often sheepishly bring it up. Freelance writers who begin covering the community point to Spell Check when making their case while contractors routinely go astray when writing up agreements with the city of Liberty Lake.

pavillion park sign
The entry sign that greets visitors to Pavillion Park has a unique backstory as novel as the park’s unconventional spelling.

Welcome to the world of Pavillion Park with the double “L” that few people can explain.

“I’m a spelling geek so I wondered about it when I started with the city,” said Liberty Lake Operations and Maintenance Director Jennifer Camp. “I would keep changing it until I realized that’s how people spelled it. You could politely argue and say ‘No you’re spelling it wrong,’ but that’s just the way it is.”

While dictionaries make it clear that “pavilion” is the universal format for “decorative building used as a shelter in a park or large garden,” there is a widely accepted exception in Liberty Lake. The anomaly goes back to the days of the Liberty Lake Dance Pavillion, an ornate structure built in 1909 that served as the cultural hub for the 35-acre Liberty Lake Park, known far and wide as “Spokane’s Inland Seashore.”

Local historian Ross Schneidmiller remembers the discussions leading up to the naming of the modern-day park. A committee was formed in 1993 to oversee volunteer engagement and funding for a long-awaited community park that was the epitome of a grassroots effort. Ross’s father Elmer Schneidmiller donated 14.1 acres to Spokane County that got the project off the ground. Construction of the park’s first phase began in 1995 and was completed in July of 1999.

pavillion park fourth
Pavillion Park has been a regional destination point since opening in 1999. The annual Summer Festival includes popular events like the Fourth of July concert and fireworks (above).

It was the discovery of a dance ticket from the heyday of the waterfront venue that led to the distinctive spelling.

“When it came time to spell Pavillion Park, the first thing I went to was that dance ticket because it was the most official thing I had,” Schneidmiller said. “The Liberty Lake Dance Pavillion had published this ticket, probably circa 1912, and it was spelled that way. It was pretty common back then. You see that spelling on postcards and other places.”

The extra “L” stuck and has remained ever since. Camp said there are no foreseeable plans to invest in buckets of White Out.

“It would be time-consuming and costly to change,” she said. “We’d have to redo the entry sign and all the signage within the park to start.”

Former Friends of Pavillion Park (FOPP) President Ken Kaiyala was commissioned to carve the entry sign that still welcomes visitors to the greenspace.

“There was this conversation about keeping the historical spelling or going with Spell Check,” recalls Schneidmiller. “We even talked about putting two “L’s” on one side and one “L” on the other. Ultimately, we felt that the unique spelling was appropriate.”

golf cart pavillion park
Golf carts (with one “L”) have become the unofficial vehicle of Pavillion Park over the years.

Schneidmiller said the clincher was the site’s tie-in with the volunteer group that remained intact after the park was built, coordinating a free Summer Festival that has become a staple on the regional warm-weather calendar.

“The county was pretty surprised because most groups like that go away after a park is completed,” he said. “We made it clear we were going to stick around. So, we figured — unique board, unique spelling — let’s go with that.”

Dave Himebaugh, longtime FOPP board member, said he still sees plenty of examples of the site’s one “L” version, despite this year marking the park’s 20th anniversary.

“I constantly see articles or posts or flyers that have the wrong spelling,” he said. “Whereas, if I write ‘pavilion’ with no relation to Liberty Lake, I will try to work in the double ‘L’s.’ When you think about it though, it’s the name of a place, not an object. You could reserve a pavilion at Pavillion Park.”

Snack Central — Kiwanis Dishes Up Community Support

in Community Spotlight/Featured
Mike Kennedy popcorn

Keith Dotson stood patiently in line at Pavillion Park last Thursday, carefully deliberating over flavors of ice pops.

Kiwanis concession stand
The concession stand at Pavillion Park has been a fundraising boon for the Liberty Lake Kiwanis Club. Low prices are popular with visitors to the annual Summer Festival.

At $1 a piece, Dotson couldn’t go wrong.

“These are awesome prices,” said Dotson, a Spokane resident who brought his family to the park for the annual Fourth of July concert and fireworks. “Way cheap for an event like this.”

The drive east on Independence Day has become a regular pilgrimage for the Dotson family. Stopping by the Liberty Lake Kiwanis concession stand is one of the highlights of the visit, according to Keith who first found out about the free Summer Festival from a friend three years ago when he was working in Liberty Lake.

“It’s a great for your family to get out of the house,” he said. “I work all week long and this is a guaranteed day where me and the family can just hang out together.”

Earlier in the evening, Dotson was able to buy dinner for his entire family — including four kids — for a bargain price that left plenty left over for a refreshing dessert.

“The kids want ice pops, so I’m back for ice pops,” he said. “I like the hamburger meal. You can get a hamburger, chips and a pop for six bucks and it goes toward a good cause. The volunteers here are not here to make money.They’re here to help out. It’s perfect service with a smile.”

hamburger meal
A hamburger, chips and a soda run for the bargain price of $6 at the Kiwanis concession stand.

Mike Andriolo owns one of the smiles behind the snack booth. He moved to Liberty Lake in 2001, the same year the local Kiwanis Club was founded. He is an original member of the Liberty Lake club and a Kiwanian since 1973.

As for staffing the concession stand, Andriolo said he makes it a point to help out most of the summer, whether it’s concerts or movies.

“I’ll be out here when I can,” he said. “I like meeting the people and helping our community.”

In addition to providing $12,000 in scholarships last year,. Liberty Lake Kiwanis sponsors the K-Kids program at local elementary schools, the annual Father-Daughter Dance and Liberty Lake Yard Sales. The list of causes the club supports includes Ronald McDonald House, Meals on Wheels, local food banks, Children’s Miracle Network and more.

The theme of paying it forward wasn’t lost on Spokane Valley resident Dusty Silva, who took time out of her Independence Day festivities to brave a growing line of customers and buy cotton candy and ice pops for her two kids.

“I don’t mind waiting,” Silva said. “The prices are really affordable and I like the fact that the money is going to community services.”

While Kiwanis has been serving up snacks at Pavillion Park for over a decade-and-a-half, the club experienced a venue upgrade in 2015 when the city of Liberty Lake added a permanent concession stand along with other improvements to the park. Before that, a sturdy trailer was the home for Summer Festival refreshments.

“Thanks to the mayor and the council, we have a permanent concession stand,” Andriolo said. “This is so much better.than the trailer.”

Kiwanian Melissa Niece said the club still uses the trailer for a back-to-school barbecue and other community events outside the park. She added that it is available for other groups to borrow or rent.

Popcorn and cotton candy are two of the more popular items on the menu at the Kiwanis concession stand.

On July 4, around 10 volunteers showed up at 3 p.m. to set up and prepare for the steady stream of snack connoisseurs. When asked about splitting up shifts for the event, Niece looked puzzled.

“A shift? she said. “What’s a shift? You get here, you stay here from open to close. It’s interesting. You’re doing math all night long.”

Niece and Andriolo both emphasize that volunteers are needed this summer to help at the booth. The club’s membership ranks could also use a boost.

As for the most popular item among concession stand shoppers, the two Kiwanians can’t reach a consensus.

“Skittles for sure,” Andriolo said.

“Tonight, it’s been popcorn,” Niece said.

While the top-selling product may still be up for debate, there is agreement that the cost-effective menu and community-conscious agenda are here to stay.

“To me, the prices should be low because we’re providing a service to the community,” Niece said. “People are so gracious. They’re thanking us for doing this. We’re here to make it a fun event for the community,.”

Tradition of Dueling Fireworks to Continue on Fourth

in Featured/Other News/Things to Do in Liberty Lake
Fourth of July parade in Liberty Lake

It helps to be tall on Independence Day in Liberty Lake.

Once again, altitudinous attendees at the Fourth of July celebration in Pavillion Park will have improved odds of seeing fireworks overhead while also catching portions of a lakeside display taking place in the distance.

Since 2015, a fireworks program sponsored by the city of Liberty Lake has gone head-to-head with the long-running Liberty Lake Fireworks Display, an effort entirely funded by community donations. For the fifth straight year, both shows will begin at 10 p.m.

“I think most fireworks displays start at 10,” said Liberty Lake City Administrator Katy Allen. “We’ve never talked about moving it. I suppose it could be considered.”

The lakefront show has been running for over 30 consecutive years with Liberty Lake native Denise Coyle overseeing the process. Her grandfather Homer Neyland started the first incarnation of fireworks over the lake in the 1950s. Local historian Ross Schneidmiller brought the popular show back before turning it over to Coyle.

“The people who donate to this display are never disappointed,” Coyle said. “People are very supportive. I’ve seen a lot of new names (donating) this year.”

Coyle said overall cost of the display this year will run $12,000. Allen said the city’s fireworks budget for 2019 is hovering just under $11,000.

Coyle recalls some easiness when the city announced in early 2015 that it would be getting into the fireworks business. City Council approved the idea that February.

“We were a little nervous at the get-go,” Coyle said. “But I think it’s gone fine. When we get a chance to share a day like this, it’s pretty neat.”

fireworks over Liberty Lake
The Liberty Lake Fireworks Display has been illuminating the local waterfront for over 30 years. This year’s version will begin at 10 p.m. on July 4, the same time as a show sponsored by the city of Liberty Lake over Pavillion Park.

When only one fireworks festival appeared on the local schedule, donations were accepted at Pavillion Park on the Fourth while groups like Friends of Pavillion Park and Liberty Lake Kiwanis pitched in funds of their own. When the city moved up to share the stage, Coyle said fundraising took a hit.

“Initially, it did hurt us,” she said.

Allen said the city began discussions of putting on its own program after July 4, 2014.

“It was a combination of traffic issues and logistical issues with people who couldn’t see the fireworks,” she said. “People would come to hear the music at the park and to see the fireworks after but they couldn’t see the fireworks.”

Allen said she “has never sensed the competition” between the two shows, although there has been some feedback that fireworks are not the best use of taxpayers’ money. She has also heard at least one complaint about the noise and air pollution during and after the display.

“The people who don’t enjoy it are vocal,” she said. “The people who enjoy it usually don’t say much. Overall, it’s been well-received. Many people in Liberty Lake can watch it from their homes.”

For Coyle, this year’s program will include special poignancy. Her mother, Mary Floy Dolphin, passed away in March at the age of 90. Mary called the lake home for 78 years. Coyle said the fireworks’ organizer is planning a special tribute to Mary as part of the show.

“She loved the lake and she loved the fireworks,” Coyle said.

Donations to the community display are being collected outside Safeway and at he Liberty Lake Farmers Market. Coyle’s husband, Tim, is a catalyst on the fundraising front. Coyle said she has veered away from pursuing a corporate sponsor, saying she intends to keep “the country, hometown feel.”

“People ask me, ‘Why don’t you get a corporate sponsor?’” she said. “We don’t want to do that. There was a display in Seattle that had a corporate sponsor one year when the economy was bad and they bailed out two weeks before the event. My philosophy is to let the people who donate have ownership of the display.”

Those interested in supporting Liberty Lake Community Fireworks Display can send donations to P.O. Box 430, Liberty Lake, WA. 99019 or go to libertylakefireworks.com.

“We do our thing and they do theirs,” Coyle said of the concurrent lake/city shows. “It doesn’t really bother me. It’s a wonderful day.”

Fourth of July events this year include:

The 31st annual Liberty Lake Fourth of July Community Parade through the Alpine Shores neighborhood. Parade lineup will begin at 11 a.m. with the procession beginning at noon. Decorated golf carts, scooters, strollers and bikes are welcome. Games and food will follow at the Alpine Shores common area. Pat and Mike Lutzenberger will serve as this year’s parade grand marshals.

Concert and fireworks in Pavillion Park featuring Twenty Dollar Bill, The Rub and Tuxedo Junction. Music begins at 5:30 p.m. Liberty Lake Kiwanis will be selling concessions.

Orchard Park

in Comic Strip/Featured
Lake Life Orchard Park

Lake Life Orchard Park

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“Lake Life” is an original comic strip by local writer/artist and Gazette contributor Craig Howard featuring Liberty Lake themes, history and characters. It features the adventures of the Liberté family – dad Jake, mom Peg, daughter Claire, son Satchel and dog Dwight. No one is quite sure if they live north or south of Sprague Avenue but they love Liberty Lake.

Spine Support – Friends of the Library Utilizes Creative Fundraising

in Featured/Other News
Liberty Lake library

What do Greenstone Homes, a pair of chihuahuas and a couple of local service clubs have in common?

All are stepping up to support their community library.

Judi Owens
Liberty Lake resident Judi Owens is constructing a quilt as a fundraiser for Friends of the Liberty Lake Municipal Library. Owens was part of the first community library committee after the vote for Liberty Lake incorporation passed in 2000.

When Liberty Lake resident and seasoned quilter Judi Owens pitched an idea for a unique fundraiser to Friends of the Liberty Lake Municipal Library, the concept took off. Donors will have their names embroidered on the spines of books sewn onto a quilt that will be displayed at the library as a blend of decorative blanket and legacy wall. .

So far, the list of philanthropists includes local businesses like Greenstone, service clubs like Kiwanis and Rotary, a collection of families and individuals and “Rico,” a chihuahua belonging to Steve and Charmaine Peterson. “Pecos,” the Peterson’s dog who passed away last year, will also be represented on a spine of his own.

“I thought this was some way I could contribute,” said Owens who served as a City Council member for 10 years beginning in 2001. “I feel I have an investment in Liberty Lake. I hope people think of me as someone who has a heart for this community.”

Time is running out to reserve a spine. Orders must be placed by the end of June. A trio of levels are available for donors starting with Silver ($50 to $249); Gold ($250 to $499) and Platinum ($500 and up). Owens says she plans to have the quilt ready by some point this summer.

Local businesses, families, individuals and service clubs are to be represented on a quilt that will be displayed at the Liberty Lake Municipal Library.

“This is going to be an heirloom for the library,” said Friends President Holly Woodruff. “We laugh that we can envision it on “Antiques Roadshow” one day. This is a way you can have your name associated as a contributor to this cause.”

Woodruff said funds raised through the quilt project and other Friends’ efforts help ensure that library programming is available year-round. That means everything from Lego Club to drop-in computer classes to Nerf Wars and more. Support from Friends has also secured free passes to the Mobius Science Center and Spokane Symphony.

“The library does so much but the funding it gets from the city’s property tax goes toward salaries, building maintenance, some purchase of books and a few other things,” Woodruff said. “Without funding from the Friends of the Library, the library wouldn’t be able to put on this programming.”

After the vote for Liberty Lake incorporation passed in November 2000, Owens was part of a committee that began discussing plans for a municipal library. When the city secured a small space in the Greenstone building, Owens helped procure donated bookshelves from the Central Valley School District where she worked at the time.

Funds raised by Friends of the Liberty Lake Municipal Library sustain year-round programming at the library.

In addition to donor names, Owens says she plans to include images on the quilt representing the city and longtime Library Director Pamela Mogen who retired last year.

Woodruff said Friends continues to operate with a low overhead of around 1 percent. Annual membership dues are only $10. The group meets at the library on the last Wednesday of each month at 2 p.m.

“It’s great being part of something that is such a central part of Liberty Lake,” Woodruff said. “This is our community center.”

On July 24, Friends will host “A Summer Soiree” at Liberty Lake Wine Cellars from 6 to 8:30 p.m. After a successful inaugural event last year, the agenda will remain much the same with lawn games, hor d’oeuvres and gourmet desserts. Wine and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase. Tickets are $25 per person. The musical stylings of the Anne and Dan duo will also be featured. Theme baskets will be offered as part of a silent auction.

“Ticket sales for the first soiree cleared $1,200,” Woodruff said.

Tickets for “A Summer Soiree” are available at the library and Liberty Lake Wine Cellars.

To donate to the quilt project and have a name included on a book spine, email Holly Woodruff by June 30 at hollyw0607@gmail.com.

Resident Roll Call — Dave Himebaugh

in Community Spotlight/Featured
Dave Himebaugh

As a native of SoCal, it makes sense that Dave Himebaugh would become a Laker.

Only in this case, the allegiance has nothing to do with the NBA team based in Los Angeles. Dave and his wife Debbie have been Liberty Lakers since moving here from Southern California in 1990.

Since then, Himebaugh has grown accustomed to the stark contrast in winter weather and devoted himself to a variety of community causes. He has volunteered with Friends of Pavillion Park (FOPP) since 2003 and been a past president of the entity that oversees the Summer Festival and other civic programming.

“From fundraising to event planning of the movies and concert series, Dave’s leadership with Friends of Pavillion Park has made a difference,” said Liberty Lake Mayor Steve Peterson.

Himebaugh brought his insight and experience to the city’s Parks and Arts Commission when he became an inaugural member after the advisory group was formed in early 2018 to provide the community with direction on greenspace, recreation and community art. He has been serving as the vice chair.

“Dave was an easy choice to put on the Parks and Arts Commission,” Peterson said. “His knowledge of community, his involvement with all aspects of FOPP, his appreciation of the value of public art in public places and a great financial grasp to pull it all together have been outstanding. He is recognized as a true leader with the commission.”

Some people know Himebaugh as a third degree Black Belt who serves as owner and lead instructor of Northwest Taekwondo Academy based at the HUB Sports Center in Liberty Lake. He has also been a longtime HUB board member.

An avid Gonzaga men’s basketball fan, Himebaugh is a season ticket holder and can rattle off the latest Zags’ recruits as well as much of the program’s history. When FOPP would host its annual Holiday Ball fundraiser at the historic Davenport Hotel, Himebaugh could be counted on to donate a basketball signed by the team along with tickets to games at The Kennel.

Dave and Debbie are proud parents of five kids, all graduates of Central Valley High School. The couple enjoys boating on Lake Coeur d’ Alene in their spare time.

Himebaugh has a degree from Cal State-Long Beach University in Business Administration and Finance. A seasoned financial advisor, Himebaugh has worked for Shearson Lehman Brothers and Paine Webber and is currently a senior vice president with Robert W. Baird & Co.

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