A Look Back: Take a trip through our area’s rich history


Enjoy these snapshots of articles written in past issues of the Nisqually Valley News from 45, 35, 25 and 15 years ago, respectively. 

A Look Back at This Week, 

45 Years Ago

• Rainier School District planned to continue to service the McIntosh Lake area of its district after some residents had requested a transfer of property from Rainier to Tenino School District.

• Changes to the McKenna water system moved ahead as the three McKenna Water District commissioners made their way through a maze of rules and regulations. Commissioners planned to invite financial institutions to participate in funding the expansion of the district.

• A Thurston County prosecutor found sufficient substance for one charge to warrant proceedings on a recall petition aimed at removing Rainier Mayor Floyd Short from office. 

• Three Yelm 4-H Club members returned home on Feb. 11, 1979, from the West Cascade Polled Hereford Association show at the Southwest Washington fairgrounds in Chehalis with trophies. Jeanette Norton, intermediate champion; Lane Yenne, intermediate reserve champion; and Dennis Norton, junior champion, earned awards.

A Look Back at This Week, 

35 Years Ago

• Yelm Middle School started a drug and alcohol awareness group, led by Rich Coulter, Brett Cook and Jerry House. The group aimed to promote fun activities and help the school and community become more aware of drug and alcohol abuse.

• A petition to recall Rainier Mayor James Gehrke circulated around town and was slated to be presented to the Town Council. Fifteen residents, including ex-Town Clerk Paul Longwell, sponsored the petition and claimed that Gehrke did not follow rules when conducting town business and on occasion acted without prior communication with the Town Council.

• Three Yelm residents and a Yelm police officer sustained minor injuries from a hit-and-run accident near Highway 507 and Vail Road on Feb. 24, 1989. 

• Yelm High School senior Ben Charles participated in the play “Peace Child.” The musical play was presented as a flashback to events that led to a U.S.-Soviet Union summit meeting in the year 2025.

A Look Back at This Week, 

25 Years Ago

• Cassie Olsen, 18, was able to swim to safety after her 1987 Nissan Sentra hydroplaned, then floated off the roadway and started to sink in the midst of record-breaking rainfall. The vehicle became completely submerged on the side of the road.

• Powerful winds that swept through the Yelm area forced the closure of all schools in the Yelm Community Schools district and cut off power briefly to more than 1,600 people along Bald Hill Road.

• Thurston County’s Transportation Policy Board and Planning Commission approved a deal to allow work to potentially begin on the Yelm to Tenino Trail in late spring of 1999. The $275,000 project allowed for development of a trailhead and pavement of 5 miles of trail between Yelm and Rainier.

• After leading Rainier High School wrestling to its most successful season yet, head coach Gene Cinkovich was named A/B Wrestling Coach of the Year for Washington. A school record 11 grapplers advanced to compete at the state championships at Mat Classic XI.

A Look Back at This Week, 

15 Years Ago

• Yelm Mayor Ron Harding testified in Olympia on Feb. 24, 2009, against a Senate bill that, he said, was directed at the city. Senate Bill 5867 was slated to require municipalities to prove water availability at the time of preliminary plat approval.

• The community gathered on Feb. 26, 2009, to celebrate the grand opening of the new Yelm Historical Museum. Items in the exhibit included old aerial photos of Yelm, clothing items and equipment. There was also a room entirely dedicated to early Yelm, which featured a collection of old newspaper articles.

• Racing fans and then some showed up on Feb. 24, 2009, to see celebrity NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne at McDonald’s in Yelm as part of the Ronald McDonald House Charity events.

• Yelm High School’s boys wrestling team took second place at the Mat Classic. Sophomore Marcus Crone, who dislocated his right shoulder at districts, won the 119-pound title.