Murder at Greenleaf Farm: The Tragic Downfall of Theodore Cushing and His Ties to Francis H. Cook and Wandermere Golf Course

by Ty Brown Theodore Cushing arrived on the west coast from Chicago and made his home in Portland, Oregon, in the summer of 1883. While a resident of Portland, he invested in real estate in Spokane Falls and made a small for- tune in the rise in values there. Cushing’s brother, William, was already well established in the area and operated a large mercantile store, Cushing and Bryan, in the town of Mead, just north of the city. Theodore moved to Spokane in 1888 and erected a flamboyant building which was known as the Cushing block on the northwest corner of Howard and Sprague. This building was the first commercial building designed by famed architect, Kirtland Cutter. Cushing was the director of the Washington National Bank and the Washington Savings Bank of Spokane Falls located in his new building. During the Panic of 1893, Cushing lost the block to foreclosure and it later become known as the Spokane and Eastern Trust Company. This space is currently occupied by the Bank of America tower, constructed in 1980. Following the financial downturn, Cushing took up residence at a farm owned by his father-in-law, Thomas Hampton, on the Little Spokane River (site of […]

Back to School

by Kirk Neumann This September, approximately 640 kindergarten through 6th grade students returned to a newly transformed Midway Elementary School.  As part of the Mead School District’s construction bond which passed in 2015, Midway has undergone a $16.75 million remodel. The school has been nearly totally upgraded from floor to ceiling with several new classrooms being added. Money saving features have been incorporated into the new design such as LED lights with occupancy sensors which turn the lights off when no one is in the room. The carpet has been replaced with tile in the halls, and the sinks have been moved outside the bathrooms.  These changes are designed to cut maintenance and cleaning costs. The gym has been totally remodeled, complete with a new wood floor and a large door that connects it to the cafeteria. This allows for a larger audience during the school’s very popular Christmas programs.  One of the major challenges during the 15 month project was to perform much of the work while students were still attending classes. This was achieved by rotating classes around and having 8 classrooms in portable buildings behind the school. Now that all the dust and noise are gone, students […]

The Dreamer and the Doctor

by author Jack Nisbet John Leiberg was a prospector and plant lover who came to the Inland Northwest with the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1884. His wife Carrie worked as a family physician and raised a difficult child while they carved out a homestead on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille.  Their saga, loaded with unlikely turns, reflects an American West on the ragged edge between frontier and modern times.  On November 1 Jack will do a reading from his new book at:  Aunties Bookstore downtown Spokane 7:00 pm

Spokane County Little Spokane Drive Sewer Extension Project

by Michael Kennedy You may be wondering why the signs on Little Spokane Drive. The road will be closed from October 1 through the month of November for sewer installation and full width repaving.  However, local and emergency access will be maintained.  The purpose of this sewer pipeline is to convey wastewater from the densely-developed Mead-Mt. Spokane area to the County’s existing sewer system in Little Spokane Drive. Though this new segment of sewer will be constructed on Little Spokane Drive, it will not be available for connection to the adjacent properties because these properties are located outside of the Urban Growth Area (UGA). If you are interested in receiving updates on this project, email:  to request to be added to the email distribution list.  For construction related questions, you can also call Wendy Iris, Spokane County Construction Manager, 509- 477-7441 Call Kristen Armstrong or Gene Repp at at 509-477-3604 with the Spokane County Environmental Services for sewer related questions.

Walking to School is a Smart Choice

Spokesman-Review article. September 1, 2017 Reprinted by permission. OK, so parents might’ve exaggerated when they told their kids they trudged many miles to school – uphill, both ways – but they probably did walk. And it was good for them. Half of students nationwide walked or biked to school in 1969, as The Spokesman-Review reported on Thursday. That figure dropped to 13 percent by 2009. We don’t imagine that trend has reversed, given the mini-traffic jams around schools each morning and afternoon caused by parental chauffeurs.  Students are eligible for bus rides if they live a mile or more from their school. For those living closer, that’s a manageable walk or bike ride.  Sadly, it might be the only exercise some children get outside of school recess and gym classes. Health experts recommend children get at least an hour of physical activity per day. Walking to and from school provides a nice aerobic workout.  Unfortunately, many kids get a ride home and then plop down with electronic devices or television. Since the 1970s, childhood obesity rates have tripled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 20 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 19 are […]

Fairwood Farmer’s Market

by Merry Maccini I love going to the Fairwood Farmer’s Market in the summer. Most years I plant a small vegetable garden, but due to travels this summer I did not. The Farmer’s Market became my garden. There are several organic farms which offer fresh produce and eggs. The selection is better than anything I could have grown myself!  I enjoy samples of fresh baked bread and heirloom apples. Local honey is available, and the aroma of roasted nuts, kettle corn, flowers, soaps, and spices is intoxicating. There are homemade caramels for my sweet tooth, beer from a local brewery, hard cider, and mead (honey wine) from the local meadery.  Most Tuesdays I go home with a selection of locally produced food to make a delicious dinner. There are protein offerings including grass fed beef and other fresh meats. A variety of herbs are offered by vendors as well as delicious salsas and homemade chips to accompany dinner. If I don’t feel like cooking, I can pick up a prepared lasagna or sauce. Or, I can just visit one of the food trucks and have dinner at the market while listening to the entertainment.  The Fairwood Farmer’s Market is held […]

What’s Happening on the Middle of The Little Spokane River?

by Daniel Collins Volunteers we have an upcoming stewardship planting event for all volunteers on Waikiki Springs and its scheduled for May 12th from 9Am-12 noon; meet at the northern end of Fairwood Drive near Mill Road! Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will be hosting this event. The event was added, following a poorturnout of volunteers on April 28th. Did rain dampen spirits? if so, pray for sun or community inspiration on the 12th, we need to plant 25 trees and shrubs.  For context, our trails around the Springs have had a hillside of trail cuts! By addressing the worst problems, we hope to reduce the erosion. We, through the Fairwood Farmers Market began addressing needed repair to the switchbacks within Waikiki Springs in October and felt that a consistent volunteer effort in fall and spring months would change the occasional poor behavior on these trails. Planting trees on public lands also contributes to a greater understanding of ecology and helps Fish and Wildlife staff focus on bigger issues. In fact, the synergy with current Wildlife staff have generated a brainstorm list of ideas, and momentum; SOS is part of this. Between three of us on the 28th, we […]

Water Quality

by Lindell Haggin Spokane Conservation District (SCD) has been partnering with the Friends of the Little Spokane for over 10 years. During that time Lindell Haggin has been heading up the volunteer Water Quality sampling in three sections of the Little Spokane Watershed; Dragoon Creek, Little Deep Creek, and the Little Spokane River (see Figure bellow). SCD is incredibly thankful for the continued efforts by Lindell and her team of volunteers, who in the rain, snow, and shine collect quality data in these three reaches. During the report at the Friends of the Little Spokane Banquet, SCD laid out how each set of data contributes to understanding trends in the river and smaller tributaries. While the data itself cannot define the health of the stream, as plantings and water quality actions are implemented, the changes may begin to shed light onto the potential for what is effective.  SCD was asked how and what landowners can do to support the Little Spokane River? SCD responded that in addition to planting riparian cover along stream edges and supporting healthy upland practices in agriculture, property owners can think about everyday impacts their actions may have to the watershed such as not over fertilizing […]

Seeing Red Over Dog Poop? Oregon Town Paints it Orange

Spokesman-Review article. October 13, 2015 Reprinted by permission. Originally published July 28, 2011 The Bellingham Herald Students and veterinarians in Corvallis, Oregon, have a bright idea for raising awareness of the amount of dog poop pet walkers are leaving around parks and wild areas. They’re painting it orange and leaving it to make a point. They’re on to something. From what I’ve seen around Spokane, in natural areas and Riverside State Park trailheads, the number of people hiking with dogs is mushrooming while the problem of people not picking up after their pets is growing into an epidemic.  Here’s a report on the Oregon project from the Associated Press.  For the last three weeks, it’s been difficult for anyone walking McDonald Forest trails not to notice the countless mounds of dog poop littering the trails and walkways. And it wasn’t just because of the smell; orange poop is kind of hard to miss.  On Saturday, volunteers set about picking up all of the piles of poop that were previously spray painted orange with a construction-grade paint to make the poop stand out. About 20 volunteers picked up around 1,000 piles of poop at Oak Creek, Peavy Arboretum, Lewisburg Saddle and […]