Thursday, November 29, 2012

Season of giving

‘Holidays and Heroes’ Program Makes the Season Bright

By Sergeant Christie Wood
Public Information Officer

The holiday season is approaching bringing wonderful events and memories for our community members.

Although many of us will be celebrating with our families, others are not as fortunate. Sadly, some in our community do not have the basic necessities, let alone the opportunity to feel the joy of Christmas.

This year as in years past, officers from the Coeur d’Alene Police Department, Post Falls Police Department, Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department, Coeur d’Alene Tribal Police, Kootenai County Fire & Rescue, Rathdrum Police Department, Spirit Lake Police Department, Idaho State Police, Spokane County Sheriff’s Department, and numerous employee volunteers are proud to join together and participate in the ‘Holidays and Heroes’ program.

Police officers and firefighters volunteer their time to make this event special, and are happy to work in partnership with businesses, civic groups, and citizens in the surrounding area to make a disadvantaged child’s Christmas a little bit brighter.

The agencies will be following the same format as in prior years in which several police officers and firefighters will take children shopping for the day. Children’s names are provided to the organizers by School Resource Officers, school counselors, patrol officers, deputy sheriffs, or firefighters who have come into contact with a less fortunate child during the past year.

The event begins on December 16th. Children are picked up at their homes by a police officer in a patrol car and then taken to the Wal-Mart in the Spokane Valley or in Post Falls. Police and firefighters take the children through the store picking out Christmas gifts for the children and their families.  

After the shopping is complete, the children are taken to the Greyhound Park to visit with Santa. The Greyhound Park facility is provided free of charge for the event. While the children are meeting Santa, volunteers wrap their presents, and prepare large food baskets for the children’s families. At the end of the day, the officers load the presents and food into their patrol cars and take the children home. All of the officers and firefighters participating are volunteering their time.

Won’t you help?

‘Holidays and Heroes’ is now accepting cash donations and food items.

Drop-off locations are:
  • Spokane County Sheriff’s Office at 1100 W. Mallon Avenue and the Valley office at 12710 E. Sprague.
  • Post Falls Police Department at 1717 E. Polston Ave.
  • Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department at 5500 N. Government Way
  • Rathdrum Police Department at 8178 W. Main St.,
  • CdA Police Department at 3818 Schreiber Way
  • Kootenai County Fire Administration Office at 5271 E. Seltice Way
As more donations are provided, additional children can be put on our shopping list. Citizens are asked to make a food or cash donation at upcoming food drive events in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene where police and fire departments will be participating. 

Farewell Open House to be Held for Retiring City Clerk Susan Weathers on Friday, December 7th

After 26 years of faithful service to the City of Coeur d’Alene, Susan Weathers will be retiring as the city’s Municipal Services Director/City Clerk as of December 31, 2012. The City of Coeur d’Alene will be hosting a Farewell Open House on Friday, December 7th, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in the Library Community Room, and citizens are invited to stop by and thank Susan for her dedicated service. Cake and punch will be served.

For more information, please call 769-2300.

Specialized Needs Recreation's 11th Annual Christmas Party Fundraiswer - Hosted by Real Life Ministries

Specialized Needs Recreation (SNR) will be holding their 11th Annual Christmas Party Fundraiser on Saturday, December 1st, from 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., at Real Life Ministries. (1866 North Cecil Road in Post Falls).

Suggested donation is $5.00 per person or $20.00 for a family of four or more. A traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings will be served thanks to Real Life Ministries Home Groups who have agreed to provide the meal and desserts for SNR for the fourth year in a row. Santa will be making an appearance and there will be music and raffles throughout the event as well as a performance from the SNR Choir.

All proceeds raised at the event will go toward scholarships for Camp All-Stars Winter Break Day Camp, a day camp designed for children who have special needs that takes place during the winter break.

If you would like more information about this event, or other programs and activities SNR provides, or would like to volunteer, please contact Angie Goucher, Executive Director at 208-755-6781 or

Specialized Needs Recreation is a non-profit organization that provides recreational opportunities for youth and adults who have disabilities and or special needs. Visit our website at

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

City Council in Brief

Unable to attend the City Council meeting Tuesday? Missed it on Channel 19? Here are some of the  highlights. You can also watch the meeting in its entirety on

Seltice Way headed for improvements
City Council gave the Engineering Department the go-ahead to fund a study of city’s portion of Seltice Way. The Department will contract with JUB Engineers to evaluate the former federal highway and what repairs are needed. The city’s Public Works Committee recommended the expenditure so the city can move forward on fixing the bumpy road. Council’s approval allows only for the study. Further discussion on actually fixing the road will come later. The study is estimated to cost $10,000.

Wastewater improvements on the horizon
City officials authorized a bond council to prepare revenue bonds and set a Dec. 18 public hearing on wastewater capital improvements. The city must reduce phosphorus levels in the treated wastewater that is released into the Spokane River. The EPA is requiring all wastewater dischargers along the river to do this under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System. The bonds would be repaid through user fees. The public will have a chance to learn about project, the federal requirements and what it all means to them at the December hearing.

Police Chief awarded Citizen of the Year
Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Steve Wilson presented Police Chief Wayne Longo with the chamber’s Citizen of the Year Award. Upon accepting the award, Longo said,  “I’m very humbled by this.” You may have read about the award in the CDA Press. Click here to read that story. 

Crime Prevention hero
The Police Department awarded David Travieso with the department’s Crime Prevention Award.  Travieso, a citizen, witnessed a robbery on Oct. 25 at a Food Mart on Northwest Boulevard. He followed the suspect, who was armed with a knife. Chief Longo, who happened to be the closest unit, took over the pursuit. “I personally witnessed his unbelievable bravery,” the Chief said. “We would not have been able to capture this individual had it not been for this man’s commitment to keeping our city safe.” Mayor Sandi Bloem called Travieso “a good example for our community.”

Leaf Fest winds down
Streets Superintendent Tim Martin updated Leaf Fest 2012. Tuesday was Day 6 of the leaf pick-up program. Crews had covered about 85 percent of city with just a few spots left in the northeast and from Francis to Fourth Street. Martin expected to be finished Wednesday. One of the challenges has been the weight of the leaves, which affects the number of loads crews can clear. With all the water and snow, loads have been heavier than usual.

Snow Plan ready to go
Martin also presented the city’s Snow Plan, which Council adopted during its last meeting. Martin called the city’s snow program “one of the most customer-focused programs in the United States.”  But there are challenges, he noted. The city has over 250 lane miles of street and 500 plowable miles of roadway. Many of the streets, mainly the arterials, require 5 or 6 passes to clear. That keeps crews busy in a storm.

Some of the plan’s highlights:
  • Plow operations start with 4 to 5 inches of snow on the ground or 2 inches on the roads with more expected.
  • The snow plan calls for 37 hours to complete a plow.
  • The department partners with KVNI to constantly update efforts.

Martin’s snow tips:
  •  Allow extra commute time when it snows
  •   Keep cars off the streets when plows are in the area.
  •   Help your neighbors.

Did you know in 2007, a record 172 inches of snow fell? To put that in perspective, last year, we saw 83 inches for the season. What will happen this year? “I think it’s anyone’s guess,” Martin said.  But, he added, “Whatever comes, the department’s going to be ready for it.”

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

City Engineer Gordon Dobler

Next steps in levee renewal
Council to address issue Dec. 4 

The city of Coeur d’Alene is a step closer to recertifying the Dike Road levee, a process that has involved a series of repairs and maintenance to the 1.5-mile stretch between Harbor Center and Independence Point. One sticking point has been the 500 trees that line a portion of the levee. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the trees must go. City officials and an ad hoc steering committee, however, have been working to find a way to keep at least some of the mature ones. City Engineer Gordon Dobler updates the effort and the city’s next steps.

What is the status of the recertification effort? We will seek a third-party to re-evaluate the levee and the trees in front of North Idaho College. The issue will go before City Council Dec. 4. Once approved, we’ll put out bids for an engineering consultant.

Why seek a third-party? Isn’t the Army Corps overseeing the recertification? The Corps began its evaluation two years ago and identified several maintenance issues for the city to address. It also required 500 trees along Rosenberry Drive to be removed. We addressed the maintenance issues, but before we remove trees we want to be absolutely certain no other options exist. That’s why we formed the ad hoc steering committee, to study ways to receive certification and keep our trees. As it turns out, the Corps ended its involvement in the recertification program. Now cities will have to go elsewhere for recertification.

Will the city have to pay for the third-party evaluation? Yes, we will have to pay a consultant. But the good news is we will split the cost with NIC. Our share will be about $125,000.

What is the deadline? Our certification in 2007 expires next summer, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency will extend a two-year provisional certification to allow a third party to complete its evaluation and us to address any issues.
Why is recertification important, anyway? Certification removes the requirement for property owners behind the levee to purchase flood insurance.  Without the certification, property owners would be required by their mortgage lenders to purchase flood insurance.

What changes has the city made to the levee, so far? In the last two years, since the Corps did its initial evaluation, we have done a lot to improve that stretch of waterfront. We cleared debris and brush, installed pedestrian trails, repaired concrete deficiencies and hauled in 10 tons of sand to improve the public beach. We created a sizable amount of accessible public waterfront.

Can you really save the trees on Rosenberry Drive? We will do everything we can to save as many mature trees as we can. But we have to be prepared for the worst. A third party may agree with the Corps’ evaluation. We may have to clear the trees. But we haven’t given up hope nor have we stopped trying to make a case for keeping the trees.