Relay for Life organizers rally support for fourth rendition of LL event
By Craig Howard
Gordy Klatt hoped to generate money and awareness for the fight against cancer when he walked around the track at the University of Puget Sound for 24 straight hours in 1985.
Nearly three decades later, the humble fundraiser originated by the Tacoma surgeon is recognized as a worldwide happening with more than 5,000 communities holding their respective versions of Relay for Life. Liberty Lake will continue its own tradition with the fourth annual event this summer.
At Tuesday night's City Council meeting, Relay for Life Co-Chair Jean Simpson told the governing board that organizers have ambitious goals for 2014.
"We want our survivors to be celebrated, and we want a cure – that's why we do Relay," said Simpson, whose husband passed away from cancer 10 years ago this month. "We're making great strides."
The Liberty Lake Relay for Life is scheduled for July 18-19 at the Meadowwood Technology Campus. Simpson told council that the fundraising objective has been set at $30,000. Last year's event generated $27,000. Organizers are hoping for 25 teams to register.
"It's been really rewarding," said Simpson, who has been a part of the event since the first Liberty Lake Relay in 2011. "Relay is growing in Liberty Lake. I would just like to see the entire community look forward to it each year."
Relay for Life has developed into the largest fundraiser for the American Cancer Society since originating 29 years ago. Registration fee for the Liberty Lake event is $10 per person. Those who raise $100 or more receive an official Relay for Life T-shirt.
Simpson's presentation on Tuesday also included references to programs like Living Well and Staying Well, designed to prevent cancer. She pointed out that Cancer Resource Centers provide support and information at local hospitals. ACS has reported that 85 percent of cancer deaths could be avoided by a combination of regular screenings, a healthy diet, regular exercise and avoiding tobacco products.
Council Member Shane Brickner, who has been active in the Relay for Life festivities from the beginning and walked the entire first event without taking a break, said residents who may not want to participate in the event can still make a donation online. More information can be found at www.cancer.org or www.relayforlife.org/libertylakewa.
Mayor Steve Peterson stepped up to the plate on Tuesday, passing along his $10 registration fee to Simpson.
Regional solid waste update
Also on Tuesday, City Administrator Katy Allen provided an update on the transition of regional solid waste management from the city of Spokane to Spokane County, noting that the county hosted a workshop on the matter Feb. 27. Allen said the county has taken the first step with an outline of an interlocal agreement but noted that cities "must now decide what that interlocal agreement will look like."
Allen told council that county has yet to release specifics on the cost, hours of operation and programs that would be part of the agreement.
"We didn't learn a lot of information on Feb. 27," Allen said.
On Feb. 28, Allen met with the city administrators from Millwood, Deer Park, Airway Heights and Spokane Valley to discuss the county's proposal. She said Liberty Lake would still like to proceed with its own request for proposals, adding options from the private sector into the mix.
"We still want to go out with our own RFP," she said. "We probably won't get a price point from the county until this summer. Right now, we don't have a voice at the table. It's more complicated than just curbside collection – there's household hazardous waste, there's education, waste reduction, recycling."
Allen noted that mayors from jurisdictions affected by the regional shift will be meeting on March 13 in Medical Lake for further discussion.
In other city news:
• The finance committee has asked Finance Director R.J. Stevenson to make a presentation at the March 18 council meeting on the final numbers generated by the Washington State Department of Transportation related to the cost of the Harvard Road Roundabout.
• The citizen comments portion of the meeting on March 4 included a report of a dog falling through the ice on Liberty Lake on Monday night. The Liberty Lake Police Department and Spokane Valley Fire Department were commended for their prompt response.
• Mayor Pro Tem Cris Kaminskas provided an overview of the Spokane Regional Council of Governments meeting on Feb. 28. She, Allen and Peterson were in attendance.
• Allen announced that the yearly update on Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and the Local Infrastructure Financing Tool (LIFT) will be hosted by Spokane County on March 11.
• Allen, Peterson and City Attorney Sean Boutz attended a meeting of the Spokane County Noxious Weed Control Board last week. Allen said the board "was very responsive" regarding concerns raised by Liberty Lake. "They understood our concern that there are tremendous inequities in how the program is funded and run by the county," Allen said. "Going into 2015, we received a 100 percent verbal commitment that the structure will be more equitable than it is today."
• Brickner noted that GriefShare, a support group for those affected by the loss of loved ones, is now meeting at Valley Real Life Church, 1813 S. Barker, Monday evenings at 6:30.
• Allen provided an update on the Liberty Lake Ball Fields, noting that a pre-construction meeting was held on March 4. She said the contractor would like to begin the project the first week of April. The contract spans 85 days which, weather permitting, would put completion sometime in July.
• Tree pruning started in Pavillion Park last week. As weather allows, crews will address trees on Country Vista, east of Molter.
• Allen told council that the design for Town Square Park is in the works. A document should be ready for council review at some point in April. Allen said the goal is to go out to bid and have the contract awarded in May.
• Allen said council feedback would be critical to the development of a community survey on potential changes to the Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails Plan. A presentation on the process of updating the plan is part of the March 18 council agenda.
• A workshop on upgrading the Trailhead Golf Course Pro Shop and facility will be held on April 1.
• Resolution No. 47C, updating chapters 4, 5 and 7 to the city's personnel manual, was unanimously approved by council, as was Resolution No. 01-012B, updating the local government investment pool.
• Council unanimously passed a second reading on a budget amendment appropriating $32,500 from the library capital fund to the replacement of the roof on the library/police building. The police capital fund will cover the remaining half.
• The March 18 council meeting will include a second read and public hearing on updates to the Harvard Road Mitigation Plan.
• Council Members Odin Langford and Hugh Severs missed the meeting on March 4 with excused absences.