JANUARY

  • The Nisqually Indian Tribe donates $2.1 million from 2017 casino gaming revenues to more than 197 local agencies and organizations. 
  • The Lincoln commercial Matthew McConaughey filmed in Roy makes its debut during the Rose Bowl. 
  • An unnamed Yelm physician’s practice is included in a lawsuit filed by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson accused of overprescribing Purdue opioids. 
  • Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy and Yelm resident Daniel McCartney, 34, is fatally shot while responding to a home invasion in Fredrickson on Jan. 7. Much of the Yelm community mourned the passing of McCartney as he was an active member and coach at CrossFit in Yelm. He left behind a wife and three sons ages 4, 6 and 9.
  • House Republican leadership selected Rep. Andrew Barkis, R-Olympia, to serve as the ranking Republican on the House Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee.
  • Citizens for Support of Yelm Schools kicks off its campaign for a $76 million bond for Yelm Community Schools.
  • The state Legislature passed Senate Bill 6091, deemed the First “Fix.” The bill authorizes the Department of Ecology to create a task force to recommend mitigation strategies to obtain additional water rights. Yelm City Administrator Michael Grayum said the bill creates a clear path forward in obtaining additional water rights for the future of the community.

FEBRUARY

  • City of Yelm took action to clean up two drug houses. The two houses accounted for more than 100 police responses for mostly drug-related calls in 2017. The city at the same time was criticized for removing a homeless encampment on the banks of the Nisqually. 
  • Two of three Yelm High School seniors who participated in the Regional SkillsUSA Competition placed. Kyle Johnson took first place and Dennis Lingle took third. 
  • T-9-O Pizza Co. held its grand opening at the new restaurant located in Tenino. 
  • Early returns show the Yelm Schools bond failing with 58.9 percent of the needed 60 percent vote. District officials said at the time they believe late votes will push the bond into passage. It ended up failing by 64 votes.
  • The Yelm Farmers Market announced it will be moving back into Yelm City Limits, taking residence at the Yelm Community Center. 
  • The Yelm High School Drama Club take the stage to present the musical comedy “Zombie Prom,” a complicated love story between an innocent teenage girl and the “bad boy.” 
  • Thurston County received just over $1.7 million from the Washington state capital budget for 11 specific projects throughout the county. 
  • Yelm Australian shepherd Tango wins the 2018 Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City. 
  • After 21 years in business, Chinese Wok owner In Suk Lind closed her doors for retirement. 

MARCH

  • Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson the completion of a sweep to crack down on illegal housing discrimination against veterans with disabilities, resulting in enforcement action against eight companies across the state, including Yelm’s Tustin Apartments.
  • Roy residents Jennifer Harshfield and Noel Harshfield set off on a six-month trek from Virginia Beach, Virginia to Tacoma. The pair plan on raising funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society.
  • Nisqually Valley Brewing Company celebrated its opening at 704 W. Yelm Ave. Owners are Yelm High School history teacher Tasha Johnson and her husband, Marine Corps veteran John Johnson. This is Yelm’s first microbrewery.
  • Yelm Schools notified parents of Southworth Elementary students that a water test by Clearwater Utilities conducted Nov. 20 found two faucets in the elementary school to have an elevated level of lead. 
  • Yelm Dollars for Scholars raised $88,000 at its 23rd annual auction at Yelm High School. Since the foundation was organized in 1991, it has provided well over $1 million to Yelm graduates.
  • The Yelm community continues to reap the excess budget dollars out of Olympia as the state Legislature has passed a supplemental capital budget request to refurbish both the historic Yelm Water Tower and the Triad Theater. 
  • State Rep. JT Wilcox was elected to be the next Republican leader on the last day of the 2018 legislative session following Rep. Dan Kristiansen’s retirement. 
  • City of Yelm ended its funding agreement with Yelm Community Services after city administration found the contract to be “inactive and irrelevant to the current needs of the city and their organization.”
  • After multiple citizen complaints and multiple code violations, the Yelm City Council unanimously declared seven properties a “nuisance” for being hazardous to the health and safety of the occupants and their neighbors.  

APRIL

  • NVN editor and publisher Michael Wagar was promoted to president of Lafromboise Communications, owner of the Yelm paper, the Centralia Chronicle and Battleground Reflector.
  • A  parent of a previous Yelm High School football player filed a lawsuit against Yelm Community Schools for violating the Public Records Act in an alleged cover-up of bullying, threatening and retaliation against the student for outing coaches who consumed alcohol and swore at players during a summer football camp. 
  • Yelm Community Schools builds on their partnership with Central Washington University and South Puget Sound Community College to offer 22 college-level courses equalling 106 credits at Yelm High School. Stemming from the Every Student Succeeds Act, YCS is advancing in their ability to provide students with meaningful classes to improve graduation readiness. 
  • The Yelm High School sports medicine program had their best collective showing at the state competition in school history, taking fourth place in their division.

MAY

  • The SkillsUSA club at Yelm High School became state champions in the community service category of their competition, make it the first time the club has ever gotten a ticket to nationals.
  • Andrew Kollar, former Nisqually Valley News reporter, sets off on an adventure up the Pacific Crest Trail.
  • Masonry Cafe establishes itself in downtown Yelm.
  • Car charging became available at Yelm Community center. The charging ports can be found in the building’s parking lot.
  • Yelm High School’s FFA team became state champions in two categories — prepared public speaking and marketing. The students were bound for nationals in Indianapolis in the fall.
  • The Quarry Pool in Tenino received a $220,000 Community Development Block Grant for the pool to be remodeled. 
  • With a split vote, 4-3, Yelm City Council voted to buy the Fairmont building as the new location for City Hall.
  • Joseph Brumbles, a Republican, and Tamborine Borelli, an Independent Progressive, were the two Yelm-area candidates who filed for the U.S. Congressional District No. 10 seat against incumbent Denny Heck.
  • A teenager was arrested for allegedly attempting to stab his grandmother during a confrontation. His grandmother suspected mental illness.
  • Rainier City Council approved the final plat for a new subdivision in the area that was set to bring 11 new homes to the area.
  • City of Yelm hosted its first free 5K run, walk, bike event the last week in honor of service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice for this country. 

JUNE

  • After searching for a new police chief for nearly two months, City of Tenino selected out-of-state candidate Robert Swain for the job.
  • Enrollment opened for the new High School 21+ program at Yelm Extension school that aims to help those over 21 earn their high school diplomas. This program is in partnership with South Puget Sound Community College.
  • Jani Morrish, a committed community volunteer, passed away.
  • Eric Rolfe opened Auto Bright Car Detailing, which operates out of Attwood Yelm Auto Sales.
  • The US Supreme Court upheld a decision that Washington state is responsible for repairing culverts that impede salmon spawning habitat. The decision ends a nearly two decades long dispute.
  • Dancer Mandi Albright purchased Studio One, a dance studio in off of Creek Street in Yelm, and took over the classes that it provides its students.
  • Yelm City Council approved a $20,000 assessment of the functionality of Cochrane Park’s reclamation ponds.
  • South Puget Sound Community College announced that it was establishing a campus at Yelm High School fall 2018. 
  • Bear sightings abounded in Yelm as people called in from Bald Hill Road, Solberg Road and Lake Lawrence.
  • City improvement group We Love Rainier made itself known, planning various projects that would enhance City of Rainier.
  • Red Lantern, a thai restaurant, opened in Yelm to praise from customers.
  • After walking more than 8,000 miles across eight states, the mom and daughter team of Jen and Noelle Harshfield had to return home after a medical emergency. 
  • Yelm Prairie Days returned with a new parade route and new location — behind Yelm Middle School.
  • The Land Trust acquired two properties that will provide substantial protection for over a mile of salmon habitat along the Nisqually River.
  • The Roy City Council voted to adopt a program that is set to help law enforcement remove drug offenders from certain areas of town. 

JULY

  • The majority of the Clearwood community board of directors resigned after concerns about the HOA bookkeeper being a convicted felon. Dolanna K. Burnett formerly pled guilty to theft, ID theft and forgery.
  • Staff from the City of Yelm are working with the state to help find water solutions through a new pilot program. The task force was established to develop and recommend a mitigation sequencing process and a scoring system to address such appropriations and to review the Washington Supreme Court decision in Foster vs. Dept. of Ecology.
  • Beautiful Inspiration Spa opened in Yelm off of First Street, offering microblading and micro shading. 
  • The TOGETHER! program came to Yelm. It partners with Yelm Community Schools to support students with resources they might lack, such as shoes, clothing and some food items. 
  • Yelm High School SkillsUSA team took 13th at nationals.
  • Yelm RV and Boat Storage opened off of Rhoton Road.
  • Tyler Nard, a Yelm resident who happened to be 5 years old, got to realize his dream of spending the day with real police officers. The day brought about mutual respect between Nard and the officers.
  • A large brush fire near the Yelm roundabout shut down the highway for more than an hour as crews fought the blaze that threatened several homes and a businesses. The fire started in a field at AR Hay LLC. On their Facebook page, the business said it started from a lawnmower hitting a rock, which caused a spark.
  • South Puget Sound Community College and City of Yelm announced that there would be a continuing education campus at the Yelm Community Center starting this winter.
  • The Thurston County Boys and Girls Club announced that it is eager to start serving youth in Yelm and hopes it will be able to use the old city hall building in the near future.
  • A house fire in McKenna, next to The Pet House forced two family to move, as the blaze left nothing to be salvaged — a total loss.
  • For the second year in a row, Jazz in the Park swung through a weekend afternoon at Yelm City Park.

AUGUST

  • Yelm celebrated its second annual UFO Fest. 
  • Thurston County Commissioner approved a draft for a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) to be sent for final approval by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. This plan would establish protocol for how to deal with Mazama pocket gophers.
  • Rutledge Corn Maze worked with the American Cancer Society to design a maze with the nonprofit’s logo on it. The corn maze also donated a portion of it’s earnings to fight cancer.
  • Puget Sound 2 Go put out a search for drivers as it moved into Yelm, as part of its service area. The company is a food delivery business that brings food from restaurants to people’s driveways.
  • Tenino celebrated its Oregon Trail Days festival.
  • Scott Petersen, “The Reptile Man,” brought his tortoise, python, alligator, bearded dragon and other reptiles into Yelm Timberland Library for two packed shows of laughter, shudders and everything in between.
  • Former Nisqually Valley News owner Don Miller died at the age of 93.
  • Yelm officials began reviewing a proposed camping ordinance that would primarily restrict people from parking on city streets and living in their cars.
  • Gravity Learning Center set up a satellite campus at the Yelm Timberland Library. Gravity Learning Center is an option for students that don’t quite make it at Yelm Extension school. It is an alternative to the alternative.
  • Learning Tree Preschool Expanded to Rainier on Centre Street, more than doubling its capacity between the two locations.
  • Multiple police agencies including the Washington State Patrol bomb squad responded to an attempted arson and suspicious device at the Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall on Vail Road last week.
  • Rainier Round-up Days a Pick’n Party came back to town, complete with a parade.
  • An Air quality advisory was issued for wildfire smoke that blanketed the Pacific Northwest.
  • A Lynnwood woman believed to be the causing driver in an Aug. 6 accident in Roy that killed three people and injured two more faced three counts of vehicular homicide. 
  • A brush fire swept across a field near Railway Road and First Street, spreading to one neighboring home and threatening many others. Firefighters had the multi-acre blaze contained in a timely manner and no one was injured.
  • After increasing teachers’ salaries, as mandated by the McCleary Decision, Yelm Community Schools’ budget showed a net loss from the previous school year to the current.

 SEPTEMBER

  • Teachers at Rainier School District began a strike against the district over McCleary-based funding, fighting for higher wages and smaller classroom sizes. The two-day strike ended after only a day, by which the teachers and district came to an agreement. 
  • A group of girls from Roy established their own all-girls Boys Scouts of America troop. Some of the younger girls could also possibly make Eagle Scout.
  • Yelm Police and Yelm Community Schools highlighted their joint safety efforts. This year, officers began auditing the safety of the district’s schools and conducted active shooter response simulations. 
  • The City of Rainier changed the way it processes business license applications to accommodate a recent law passed by the state. The ordinance made it so business licenses would be done primarily online. 
  • The Sgt. Justin Norton Memorial Fund gifted a new wrestling mat to Rainier High School. The fund has donated about $72,000 of high school scholarships in Norton’s name since his death in Iraq. 
  • Mother 2 Many Ministry, a local nonprofit that feeds marginalized youth in three counties, dropped by the Yelm Skatepark to feed local skaters. 
  • Thurston County District Court Judge Brett Buckley stopped by Yelm Middle School for Constitution Day to talk about the importance of civic education. History Teacher Cody Colt said he wanted to bring a judge into the classroom because his students were conducting a mock trial. 
  • After eight years of teaching, Phoenix Rising School closed permanently due to financial complications. The school taught preschoolers through fifth grade children at their Rainier location, and some parents and staff had their sights on “new, more sustainable education models.”
  • Yelm resident Anthony Joyce was reported to be halfway through his four-month kayaking trip in late September. Joyce, and his friend David Rochelle, were on an expedition to kayak the Mississippi River, from top to bottom.
  • Former NVN reporter and Yelm High School alumnus Andrew “Backtrack” Kollar detailed the final days of his trek along the Pacific Crest Trail. Kollar hiked the 2,650 mile trail from Mexico to British Columbia, which spanned over four months. Each mile was earned, Kollar said. 

 OCTOBER

  • Yelm Community Schools hosted their first of three public meetings to receive feedback on what the community would like to see happen following the possible passing of a community bond. Citizen Support for the Support of Yelm Schools also announced their intent to fundraise for a campaign. 
  • It was reported that the Rainier Historical Zion Church received a $10,000 grant from the Port of Olympia to begin installation of the church’s first septic system. An administrator with the City of Rainier said they wanted to rent the church out for weddings. 
  • Yelm Prairie Lanes hosted a 21+ comedy night, Comedians Fight for the Cure, the benefit of which went to the American Cancer Society. 
  • The Triad Arts Theater hosted a local Yelm Meet-and-greet, for the community members to meet some of the candidates running for local and county office. 
  • A ballot box was installed outside the Nisqually Administration Building, in anticipation for the upcoming November midterm elections. Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall gave the dropbox its inaugural opening. U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, Washington state Sen. Sam Hunt and members from the Nisqually Indian Tribe were in attendance. 
  • It was reported that the Yelm Community Schools’ Student Services hosted a district-wide Community Night for students to learn about local education, organizations and professional development services. 
  • Tenino resident and Market Fresh store associate Lori Holt was slated to compete against 10 other grocery baggers in Spokane at the 2019 National Grocers Association Best Bagger Championship, a competition which matched baggers from every corner of Washington state. 
  • Dr. Erin Flynn joined Yelm Family Medicine spoke about her practice and adjusting to the rural charm of southwest Washington state. 
  • Rainier High School’s SkillsUSA club unveiled a trebuchet, or a large catapult, the team was engineering for a pumpkin launch at Hunter Farms. A trebuchet can launch pumpkins around 570 feet. 
  • Yelm City Council rejected a sales tax increase for the November ballot that would have benefited improved transit services, citing apprehension that the city would use the system. 
  • Rainier High School junior Mckinley Michaelson told her story of success and the national competition she’s faced as a weightlifter. 

 NOVEMBER

  • Educators at Yelm Community School’s SITE House spoke about the job experience students were receiving in the special needs program.
  • The Nisqually Land Trust announced three major projects designed to protect two miles of Puget Sound and estuary shoreline, in conjunction with Puget Sound Orca Recovery Day. Orcas weren’t reportedly the only beneficiaries of these projects. One project included a $175,000 landowner donation to match a $550,000 Conservation Futures grant. 
  • The community worked to rally behind Thomas McCann, a homeless person, by giving work assignments to a man who was looking for more than some spending money and to have the cycle end with his children. 
  • The daughter of a Yelm woman killed in a 2012 car accident began an anti-drowsy driving campaign in remembrance of her mother. 
  • A citizen advisory committee made up of members from Yelm Community Schools, Citizen for Support of Yelm Schools, and construction experts presented funding and construction specifics to the public, following the passage of a bond in February’s special election. It was also announced that the bond would completely rebuild two schools, Yelm Middle School and Southworth Elementary, and add district wide security upgrades. 
  • HWY 507 Young Life announced a November showing of their own rendition of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” 
  • In the week following the midterm elections, it was reported that the race for a Thurston County commissioner seat was too close to call. Tye Menser lead incumbent Bud Blake by less than a thousand votes and the race would go on to narrow further, with Menser eventually claiming victory. 
  • Yelm City Council approved a resolution to form a homelessness task force following weeks of debate. The motion was approved 4-3 and stated that the city would spend up to $2,500 and one year forming a task force to review the city’s homeless problem. 
  • City of Roy officials announced in a preliminary budget that the Roy City Library would likely be cut from the 2019 city budget, effectively closing its doors for the last time on Dec. 31. Long time employees and volunteers were sad to hear of the news. 
  • Bounty For Families, a local nonprofit charity, continued their annual tradition of donating a hundred turkey dinners to families in need during the Thanksgiving season. The program, called The Gift of Gobble, is community funded through the Yelm Food Co-op.  
  • In other Thanksgiving news, Yelm Walmart generously offered to match donated turkeys funded through a special NVN advertisement campaign. For every ad sold in the NVN Volume 1 holiday issue, a turkey was purchased for donation. Yelm Walmart matched NVN’s 16 turkeys for a total of 32 total turkeys that were donated to Yelm Community Services.  
  • A few new businesses moved into Medicine Creek Enterprise Corporation, expanding the economic opportunities for the residents living near and on the Nisqually Reservation. Nisqually Post & Print and She Nah Nam Seafood, a seafood retail store, now call the business park home. 
  • The Yelm Community Schools Board of Directors moved forward with a finalized resolution to put on the ballot for a special election in February. 
  • A lifelong resident of Roy celebrated her 102nd birthday on Nov. 23. Elizabeth Wallace of Roy celebrated the occasion with 50 close family members and friends. 

 DECEMBER 

  • The community of Rainier came together to deck the town in holiday cheer and sing Christmas carols on high during the city’s annual tree lighting event. 
  • A giant, nine-foot menorah was present at Yelm City Park to bring a little light to community members. The candelabra stood for all eight nights of Hanukkah.
  • Two Yelm men died of drowning one morning after their truck careened off State Route 507 near Vail Road into the Centralia Power Canal during an early morning commute. Gofundme accounts were set up to cover the burial expenses of 20-year-old Jeremiah Yeagley and 26-year-old Antony Morgan. At the time of reporting, there was no evidence as to why the truck left the road. 
  • Rainier High School students and staff were in lockdown for the better part of Dec. 6 after a car chase ended with the suspect shooting herself in the school parking lot. The suspect, Catherine Gilles, 63, of Olympia, had nearly a dozen dogs inside her van at the time of the incident. Gilles was pronounced dead at the scene. 
  • The City of Yelm awarded lodging funds that its been collecting for 10 years to two event organizers within the community. The Triad Theater and the UFO Festival each received $6,000 from the 2018 fund. The city has received about eight applications for the 2019 funds. 
  • A myriad of stray cats have been well-fed this cold season, thanks to the caring efforts of 79-year-old Joan Richman. Each afternoon, Richman drives out to one of multiple locations in Rainier to feed the strays. She said she spends about a hundred dollars a week feeding the cats. 
  • Southeast Thurston Fire Authority commissioners have been in discussion to possibly fill a full-time assistant fire chief position, which has been vacant for almost seven years. The commissioners are expected to take action on whether or not to fill the position early next year. 
  • The Yelm Police Department will be promoting one of its own, Officer Joel Turner, to the rank of sergeant, the first act of its kind in 12 years. Officials said this new structure cleans things up and will expand how the department serves its community. 
  • A volunteer fire captain with East Olympia Fire District 6 died of an apparent heart attack after responding to a structure fire in the Bald Hills area. John Ostergard collapsed on scene while responding to the incident and was shortly transported to Providence St. Peter Hospital. 
  • Santa Claus must have gotten letters from Rainier children on time. Rainier City Hall had its annual North Pole mailbox on display for children to mail out their last-minute Christmas wishes. By Dec. 17, eight children had dropped off letters to Santa. 

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