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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
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,.”

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.

Liberty Lake Welcomes Anita Eylar

in Community Spotlight/Featured/Government and Politics
Anita Eylar

Anita Eylar, Activities and Events Associate for the City of Liberty Lake, joined the staff in April 2019.

When asked what the responsibilities of her new role are, Eylar responded, “I help coordinate all the events and activities in the city, work on special projects, help the horticulturist with landscaping and gardening (I like that part a lot), and things I don’t even know about yet. I have a very flexible and diverse position that supports all the departments I work with.”

The position was filled by an intern last year. However, the city’s growth and increased workload prompted the need to create and fill the full-time position.

Eylar is looking forward to helping the city be successful in all its endeavors and growth. “I want to make a positive difference for the citizens, who are the core of the city,” states Eylar. “A city is made by its citizens and what they contribute to create a community. Every day is a new experience and there is such a positive energy here! I want to accomplish any work I can that will benefit the city and its citizens.”

The things Eylar likes most about the city of Liberty Lake is its old neighborhood feel, the safeness of walking the city streets and the opportunity in the city with the “parks, lake, trails, playgrounds, golf courses, library, recreation, community groups and activities, the list goes on and on,” she said.

Eylar wanted to be sure to say, “If you see me in a 50’s Willys pick up, or a Cancun blue Harley Davidson around town, wave hello!”

Draft Day Diary – Liberty Lake’s Stocker Recalls Plunge Into Pro Baseball

in Community Spotlight/Featured/Sports
Kevin Stocker shortstop

Cell phones were hardly en vogue when Kevin Stocker found himself among the potential selections in the 1991 Major League Baseball Draft.

Most baseball pundits expected Stocker, who had just finished an impressive junior season as the starting shortstop at the University of Washington, to be taken in one of the early rounds. Yet by the evening of June 3, the first day of the draft, the Spokane Valley native and 1988 Central Valley High grad was still waiting.

“I figured by early afternoon, I’d be getting a phone call if I was taken in one of the first few rounds,” recalls Stocker who was taking finals at the time.

That May, the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs had reached out to Stocker, who was eligible for pro baseball after three years at UW. He had not considered baseball as a career option until after his sophomore season.

Turns out the team who picked the standout infielder had trouble finding his number.

By around 8 that night, Stocker was called to pay phone on the Seattle campus. A representative of the Philadelphia Phillies was on the line, letting him know that he had been picked in the second round, 54th overall.

The team had to go through Kevin’s parents, Chuck and Lu in Spokane Valley, to find out how to reach him. Bill Harper, a regional scout for the Phillies, eventually met with Stocker and his dad to discuss his first contract and signing bonus.

“They offered $100K at first,” Stocker said. “I remember Bill getting on the phone with the Phillies’ scouting department. I wanted $140K to sign. We got to $130K and Bill says, ‘We’ve never paid that much to any second round pick.’”

Stocker took a break from the negotiating table and went for a walk in nearby parking lot. At first, he had no intentions of budging from his request. Finally, he settled for the Phillies’ offer with the rationale that “you make your real money in the big leagues.”

Kevin Stocker headshot
Kevin Douglas Stocker
Position: Shortstop
Bats: Both, Throws: Right
Height: 6′ 0″, Weight: 178 lb.
Born: February 13, 1970 in Spokane, WA

Stocker, now 49, will be the first to tell you that times – and signing bonuses – have changed from his day. While broadcasting the college baseball post-season last week, Stocker was part of coverage that included updates from the 2019 MLB Draft. Oregon State, one of the teams in the super regional Stocker was covering, boasted the No. 1 overall pick in junior catcher Adley Rutschman, who will be paid $8.2 million by the Baltimore Orioles just to sign on the dotted line.

Had Stocker been the 54th selection this year, he could have walked away with a bonus of over $1.3 million.

At 21, Stocker was wise with his signing cash. He was paid in two installments of $65,000 and spent part of the first portion on a two-door Honda Accord. The rest went into savings. These days, his penchant for less-than-flashy but reliable vehicles continues as he can be found behind the wheel of a Honda truck.

Stocker, who has lived in Liberty Lake with his wife Brooke since 1999, has no bitterness about missing out on the big baseball money of today. He played in the major leagues from 1993 to 2000 with the Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays and Anaheim Angels, posting a career .254 batting average and committing only 116 errors in 3.756 chances at shortstop.

Stocker had a less-than-auspicious start to his pro career after reporting to the Phillies’ low-A farm team in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the first time he had been east of the Mississippi River. Earning a salary of $750 a month, the highly touted pick hit only .220 over his first two months. Still, Stocker’s defense was stellar and he received encouragement in the dugout.

“I think it was just the pressure I was putting on myself,” he said. “As a young player, you think they’re going to release you. On the team’s end, they know you’re going to stay around so they say you’re doing great. They want you to move through the minor leagues as quickly as possible.”

Things improved for Stocker the following year as he adjusted to a wood bat from his aluminum days in college. He rose to the AA-club in Redding, Pennsylvania by the end of 1992, hitting .250 and continuing his defensive handiwork. Later that year, in the Arizona Fall League, his average elevated to over .300.

That winter, while working out at Hec-Ed Pavilion on the UW campus, Stocker got a call from the Phillies, informing him that he would be a non-roster invite to the big league camp the following spring. While he did not make the final cut, Stocker impressed the Phillies’ brass. In early July, while playing at AAA Scranton, he got the call every baseball player hopes for.

Kevin Stocker battingStocker’s first big league game with the Phillies came on July 7, 1993 against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Philadelphia. The starting lineup posted in the dugout included the rookie’s name on a patch of tape, not the ornate plates used for veteran players. In a game that went 20 innings, Stocker came up with a critical throw to the plate in the top of the 10th inning, preventing a Dodgers’ run. The Phillies eventually won 7-6.

Stocker would go on to hit .324 in 70 games for the Phillies who won the National League pennant for the first time in a decade. Philadelphia advanced to face the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1993 World Series, falling in six games. It would be 15 years before the team appeared in another Fall Classic.

These days, Stocker is adjusting to life as an empty nester with Brooke. They are proud parents of three grown kids – McKenna, Logan and Zach – all CV grads. Stocker has established a successful career as a broadcaster with the Phillies, CBS College Sports and PAC-12 Networks.

Looking back 28 years ago this month to his draft day adventure and foray into the majors, Stocker still rings with game-day enthusiasm.

“You’re excited, you’re anxious,” Stocker recalls of breaking into pro ball. “You realize that if you want extra hitting, that’s your problem. You learn to think of it as a career, not just playing baseball.”

From Shrub Monster to Dueling Squirrels – Screen Tek’s Foliage Saga

in Business Spotlight/Community Spotlight/Featured/Other News
Screen Tek shrub monster

It may have been the closest thing Liberty Lake ever came to Bigfoot.

When the Weeping Blue Spruce outside Screen Tek Inc. on Appleway began to take on a life of its own, longtime employees like Emily Synold recall bypassers stopping by to gawk. A co-worker had added a pair of giant googly eyes, transforming the massive shrub into a leafy version of the Abominable Snowman.

“We’d see people in the parking lot, taking pictures,” Synold said.

Screen Tek, a manufacturer of custom-made printed graphics, has called Liberty Lake home since 1988, six years after it was founded. Sybold said the company’s most recognizable plant “just kind of started to weep the wrong way.” A dense, sprawling version of the Evergreen Tree, the Weeping Blue Spruce is known for growing in a narrowly upright and columnar fashion. Screen Tek’s spruce was positioned just to the right of the main entrance, scaling over 10 feet and acting as a foreboding de facto gatekeeper.

“It was a novelty that was fun and kind of cute but you had to walk around it,” said Screen Tek co-owner Scott Mader who purchased the company last year with his wife Miesha. “We had customers that would have to duck to get in.”

Screen Tek squirrelsEarlier this year, the decision was made to retire Screen Tek’s most famous landscape landmark. Don Nelson of Tree Artistry in Otis Orchards, who trims the foliage around the Screen Tek property, transformed the tree into a carved piece of art featuring two squirrels scrambling for an acorn. The Screen Tek Inc. acronym, in patriotic red, white and blue, is also part of the design.

“It had really become too overgrown,” Mader said. “It had its time. Some folks wanted to keep it, others wanted it to come down. We were just more concerned about our customers scraping their heads.”

Synold, who has worked for Screen Tek since 1997, said the transition from shrub monster to dueling squirrels has been accepted in stride.

“There may have been some people who were a little sad that it went away but there was no protest or anything,” she said.

Mader said Liberty Lake’s rendition of a non-deciduous Sasquatch will be remembered fondly.

“After the eyeballs were added, people were like, ‘What’s the deal with this?’” he said. “It was just kind of this weird company mascot that will always be part of Screen Tek lore.”

InteGRITTY Fitness: “Changing lives, 45 minutes at a time!”

in Business Spotlight/Community Spotlight/Featured
InteGRITTY Fitness logo

Have you ever faced a task that seemed unmanageable or a point in your life where you just knew in your heart you couldn’t go on even one more step?

Business owner, Paul Miethe, is no stranger to feelings and situations that seemed insurmountable. At the age of 25, Paul had back surgery, which was almost the beginning of the end for him. He became horribly addicted to pain medications. Up until this point in his life he had never experimented with any type of drugs or marijuana. One could barely call him a casual or social drinker.

In no time at all, Paul fell deeper and deeper into addiction. He had worked at the URM for several years, had a solid work ethic and a great rapport with his employer. It wasn’t long before his employer became aware of his addiction and paid for him to enter into a treatment program after he was caught stealing pain killers out of a co-workers lunch box. He returned to work after completing the treatment program but his sobriety was short lived. Once again they sent him into a treatment center but Paul just couldn’t stay sober.

Pain medications were no longer giving him the feelings he was looking for. Pain medication turned into heroin, heroin to meth, and so on. He was now addicted to intravenous drugs. His addiction went on for approximately ten years.

Paul lost everything in his life that meant anything to him: his marriage and career of 13 years, his relationship with his children, every element of trust with every person in his life prior to his addiction and every moral and ethical belief he had. He lied, cheated and stole so much that even his closest family and friends were afraid to be around him. He became suicidal and hopeless.

Paul wasn’t able to keep a job because he was consistently fired for stealing. He slept in his 1996 Ford Explorer until he signed it over to his drug dealer for drugs. Then, a family member allowed him to sleep in their pop-up camper on the property of a close family friend, but that didn’t last long. He broke into their home and stole from them while they were out of town and was kicked out of the camper and off of their property. At this point, he was truly homeless and spent a few weeks on the streets sleeping in parking lots and under trees.

During this time, Paul made several attempts at recovery and had brief stints of sobriety. He continued to car prowl and steal in order to stay loaded. At this point, he was wallowing in self-pity and had given up on himself. He didn’t believe in his heart he’d ever change and he truly thought he’d die a drug addict. Each time he’d enter treatment his body would go through physical withdrawals. “I felt like my skin was crawling. I was puking. I had uncontrollable sweats and terrible body aches,” said Miethe. “Meth cured me from opiate withdrawals but now I had that monkey on my back.”

Paul’s family stopped enabling him early on, but they never gave up on him. After completing his 8th round of treatment, Paul moved into the Oxford House in Spokane, WA, a home for “clean and sober living, ” where he resided for 6 months. During this time he was able to stay off drugs but was still drinking and pretending to be fully sober for the people who ran the house. During this same time, he met his now wife, Krystal. He fell in love with her immediately. Within a few short months, the power of addiction had hijacked him again. Krystal begged him to go back into treatment. He doubted himself and the ability of the treatment center to help him, after all, he’d been in 8 times before. This time something different happened.

On March 28, 2013, Paul entered his 9th and final treatment center. Upon entering the center, he met a counselor who talked straight to him, “You are an addict and will die an addict. You want somebody else to fix you,” said the little older gentleman. Those words hit Paul deep inside. He went through their 30-day program and immediately went to an AA meeting the day he was released. He found a sponsor, became very active in the program, worked the 12 steps to the best of his ability and has continued ever since. To this day, he still attends weekly meetings.

Shortly afterward, Paul found a newfound strength in fitness. He lost over 130 pounds and has kept it off for over four years. He and Krystal were married, they adopted a child and had a child of their own. He sponsors several men and supports them on their journey of sobriety.

In 2017 Paul opened InteGRITTY Fitness in Liberty Lake. While waiting for his gym to open, Paul taught fitness lessons in the park free of charge for nearly 3 months. Since the doors opened in November 2017, enrollment has exceeded 300 members. “InteGRITTY Fitness is unlike any other gym out there. We have created a unique environment. It’s like one big family. We are the “Cheers” of gyms, where everybody knows your name…We have fun and truly enjoy our workouts but we also produce results unlike any other gym out there. It’s a special thing,” states Paul. “Whether you are a 19-year-old Rugby player getting ready for the season or a 74-year-old grandmother trying to lose 10 pounds, you will feel just as comfortable.”

InteGritty Fitness is quickly becoming known to many as “a place of healing.” They offer 45-minute classes every hour. Additionally, they have a staffed, beautifully decorated and well stocked Kids Zone. “We wanted to provide a gym where parents could bring their children and be able to get an awesome workout without having to worry about their kiddos!”

Paul states, “Hitting rock bottom forced me to a level of self-examination that I don’t believe most people have the privilege of seeing. I had to tear apart every old idea, every belief, every value and every single element of who I am. There was not one relationship that I didn’t do damage to. I’ve since gotten to make amends thanks to the miraculous teachings of the 12 steps of AA. But the fact of the matter is that I will be repairing broken relationships until I draw my last breath.” He wants every person struggling with any type of addiction to know, “You can’t do it alone…It’s a cunning, baffling and powerful disease and you have to find a higher power. Something or someone bigger than you. You have to work at it every day.”

The staff at InteGRITTY Fitness can’t say enough great things about Paul and what he’s brought to the community. One member of the coaching staff states, “You have to watch him coach. He is truly amazing!” Another states, “Where he’s been, what he’s accomplished and what he does for people is so inspiring.”

InteGRITTY Fitness offers a one week free trial to everybody. They are located at 22820 E Appleway Ave STE B in Liberty Lake. You can also follow them on Facebook.

Liberty Lake author releases fourth novel

in Community Spotlight/Featured
No One Left Behind by David C Perry

Local Liberty Lake author David Perry has just released his fourth novel, No One Left Behind. This is David’s first book in the Post Apocalypse genre. His first three books, Not Self but Country, Crucible of Tradition, and First to Fight, are Historical Fiction novels set in the Continental Navy during the American Revolution. All of Perry’s books are painstakingly researched, even the newest which is futuristic.

No One Left Behind is set in the near future and most of the action takes place in Washington and California. As the story opens, the three West Coast states are not happy with the new conservative federal government and presidential administration. The citizens of those states have voted to give their governors authority to secede from the union at their discretion. The story follows the main character from Boise who must lead a group of untrained followers on a critical rescue mission in unfriendly territory.

David and his wife, Bonnie, have lived in Liberty Lake since 2012, when they returned to the Lower 48 after living in Anchorage, Alaska for seventeen years. While in Alaska they raised a son and daughter. They are now proud to have three grandchildren and five step grandchildren. David and Bonnie are active at Valley Real Life Church on Barker Road in Greenacres.

David grew up only three hours to the east of Liberty Lake in Libby, Montana. After graduating from Libby Senior High School, Perry attended the U.S. Naval Academy. Commissioned an Ensign in the Navy, he served five years of sea duty in the Pacific and several years later retired from the Naval Reserve in 1999. He has been writing for just over four years.

dave perry
All of David Perry’s books are available on Amazon. You can find all four novels and five short stories at www.amazon.com/David-Perry/e/B00G04V4T6.
His website, which contains interesting historical vignettes, is www.daveperrybooks.com.

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