Vietnam Veteran Pat Payne Receives his Combat Infantry Badge
Spokane Valley resident and Vietnam Veteran Pat Payne personifies bravery, resilience, and a profound commitment to supporting his fellow service members. Having served in the Vietnam War, Pat received both the Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals for his exceptional contributions and sacrifices. Unfortunately, at the time of his service discharge, a key ‘box’ was left unchecked, and he did not receive his Combat Infantry Badge or CIB until fifty-six years after leaving Vietnam.
Return Ticket Home; Fisher helped establish LL city roots
In the acclaimed 1940 novel, “You Can’t Go Home Again,” author Thomas Wolfe paints the picture of ambitious writer George Webber who leaves his rural hometown roots to seek fame and fortune in New York City.
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Sean Owsley’s first big break in the media world came when he was living in a modest apartment on Skipworth Road in Spokane Valley.
Spokane Valley Library employee is recognized by the Library of Congress
Spokane Valley Library was recently honored to receive a Certificate of Appreciation from the Library of Congress for its involvement in the Veterans History Project. The Library of Congress recognized the library's continuous dedication to preserving the stories and experiences of our nation's veterans. As part of this recognition, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Jeremy Mullin, a local resident actively involved in the project.
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Council social media training degenerates into confrontation
Valley City Council training on policy regarding social media accounts and use
of the city's logo turned from benignly informative to heatedly combative after
an exchange between two council members at the Jan. 9 meeting.
the Jan. 2 meeting Councilman Rod Higgins requested city staff review and bring
forward policy on using the city's logo on social media accounts. The request
came after it was discovered newly elected Councilman Al Merkel was using the Spokane
Valley logo on the social media site Next Door for a newly created group covering
local governmental issues.
Manager John Hohman said he had talked with Merkel about this issue, and had
received a lot of communications from council over the past week. Hohman said
they reviewed the account and couldn't determine if it was an official account
is trying to limit Al's First Amendment rights," Hohman said. "The big question
is how do you utilize social media in a way that makes it clear when you're
utilizing a personal account vs. an official city account."
his presentation, City Attorney Kelly Konkright reviewed sections of the city's
Governance Manual dealing with the logo and social media. The logo serves as a symbol
of the city's authority, and with few exceptions can only be used for official
city purposes. The logo can be trademarked as allowed by law, and any use of it
outside city business must be made in writing to the city clerk and have prior
approval by the city manager.
property, intellectual property," Konkright said.
logo may also be used by news media "where the reproduction of the City logo is
incident to the publication, communication, or broadcast of news information
about the City." Merkel contended his usage fell along this line since as part
of his podcast "Spokane Valley Speaks," which he said has been deemed an
official news source by other media outlets, even though it hasn't been active since 2022.
also explained the Governance Manual's section on social media accounts, passed
at the council's Dec. 19 meeting. The section covers accounts, governmental and
personal, for discussing city business, noting usage of either of these for
city business falls under provisions for preserving and disclosing as a public
record under the Public Records Act.
advised council members against using personal accounts to discuss city
business, noting the policy asks members not to do this for issues that "relate
to the conduct of city government or the performance of your office." Doing so
can create liability for the city as it is not able to follow proper archiving
procedures for posts on personal accounts.
recommended council send the discussion to the city's newly created City Governance
Manual Committee for further discussion.
are a lot of pieces we have to work through yet," Hohman said about
establishing a "robust" city communication's policy, one of the council's
priorities for 2024.
was during the subsequent question and answer session that the discussion went
sideways. Merkel said he had "a lot of questions" regarding the policy he felt
was directed at him. Specifically, he questioned Konkright on the trademark
issue and his use of the logo as a news media outlet. He then questioned the
use of staff time in preparing the presentation, trying to pin down Hohman on
the cost of the time Merkel felt could be use for other city priorities.
one point, Merkel held up a chart he had prepared showing costs of various
items and asked Hohman to show where the staff time costs for the presentation
might fit in.
don't track our time on council activities like this," Hohman said. "This is
one of those topics that from all the communication traffic going around I
deemed to be pretty important that we should probably be tackling it sooner in the
year than later."
continued to press Hohman regarding the chart, at which point the city manager summed
up a presentation process that probably took about an hour between himself and
this point, Higgins was recognized by Mayor Pam Haley with a point of order.
Merkel is turning this into a circus," Higgins said. "We're trying to conduct
business here and I think where this isn't a debate society, that's exactly
where we're going. We need to put this into the Governance Manual Committee and
deal with it there."
Jessica Yaeger brought up the portion of the logo section regarding prior
permission to use.
Merkel could have saved all of us a lot of time and efforts in our emails and
staff time, since that's what we're talking about, if he would have simply
asked to use the logo and been guided appropriately," she said.
a short silence, Haley tried to move the discussion towards consensus, but was
interrupted by Merkel asking if he was being interrupted by Higgins. Haley
asked if he had more questions or simply wanted to debate, and Merkel said he
said he didn't think he needed permission, and asked if this was the most expedient
way of handling the issue given other issues facing council.
are you asking that question of?" Haley asked.
Higgins. Councilman Higgins because he brought it up," Merkel responded.
Higgins asked, at which point Merkel repeated his question.
what I heard tonight, this has been discussed with the city manager, the city
attorney and with a number of people and apparently you're going to bring it
out here and extend this meeting God knows how long for your self-gratification,"
of order, I take offence to that," Merkel said.
it was intended that way. OK?" Higgins replied.
of order, intending offence is against our ethics code in the governance manual,"
I'm glad you read it," Higgins said.
asked for a ruling on his point of order of being interrupted, to which Higgins
replied he hadn't received a ruling on his point of order to "cease and desist"
discussion and move the meeting along. Higgins again said Merkel could discuss
the issue with Hohman and get direction so that "you can spare us all of this."
you don't choose to do that," Higgins said.
sorry, what is it I don't choose to do," Merkel replied.
this point, Haley jumped in, stating council was involved in a business meeting
and was supposed to be discussing city business, something that wasn't taking
place. She closed the question and comment period and asked for consensus to
move the issue to committee.
vote was 5-2 to move to committee, with Merkel and Councilman Ben Wick voting