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

  • Firefighters in the Bald Hills Fire District No. 17 spent two months in an extensive training period initiated by Chief Bob Schuetz. The training covered firefighting skills, operation of firefighting equipment, and care and first aid in medical emergencies.
  • Freddie Wattenbarger, a student at Southworth Elementary School, was awarded a mystery sleuth wrist watch for having read the most books in his school for the multiple sclerosis read-a-thon. 
  • Ann Clifton, Thurston County assessor, announced that her office would begin mailing revaluation notices in April to taxpayers in the portion of the county that was re-appraised for the 1980 tax year. The Yelm and Rainier school districts were included in the revaluation area for the 1980 tax year.
  • In an attempt to absolve itself from responsibility for four wrongful death suits, Bellefonte Insurance Company of Kentucky filed suit in Thurston County Superior Court. The original suits were filed against a Bellefonte client, Sky King Ltd., of Yelm, by relatives of four Pierce County softball players who were killed in a plane crash in Montana.

A Look Back at This Week, 35 Years Ago

  • A car drove through the front of Tim’s Pharmacy on April 4, 1989, at approximately 5:45 p.m. The car was driven by John Fronia, 78, of Graham, who stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brakes. The flying glass and shelves caused a minor injury to a woman and her daughter. 
  • Yelm and Rainier high school students filled the Little Theatre at Yelm High School to hear Lt. Col. Simon P. Worden offer a lecture about the strategic defense initiative. 
  • The Rainier Town council asked both Mayor James Gehrke and Police Chief Dan Lilley to resign. Neither offered their resignation. The council objected to Gehrke’s firing of Town Clerk Charmayne Frost on April 1, 1989.
  • An 8-foot camp trailer of Jim Locey and Karen Wright, Molly Road, was completely engulfed in flames when Yelm firemen arrived on the scene to extinguish the fire. Neighbors who reported the blaze stated two youngsters were near the fire. The trailer was a total loss, but there were no injuries.

A Look Back at This Week, 25 Years Ago

  • Yelm Police Chief Glenn Dunnam said he would introduce a youth curfew ordinance to the Yelm City Council modeled on a Virginia curfew law that was upheld by the Supreme Court. The new ordinance would have required that children age 17 and under be off the streets between midnight and 6 a.m.
  • Yelm police reported more than 20 cars were broken into during the night of March 30, 1999, in neighborhoods around the Nisqually Valley Golf Course on the south side of Yelm.
  • Already enmeshed in a dispute over a Roy-area mine owned by Miles Sand and Gravel Co., the Pierce County Department of Planning and Land Services applied to revoke or modify a permit for another Roy-area mine, this one owned by Manke Gravel Co. Inc.
  • A sheep belonging to Burnell and Ardis Kansanback gave birth to triplet lambs just before Easter. The three new lives were the most recent in 15 years of raising sheep for the Roy-area couple.

A Look Back at This Week, 15 Years Ago

  • With the state Senate releasing its proposed 2009-11 budget, Yelm Community Schools Superintendent Andy Wolf said he was taking a wait-and-see approach before announcing any additional reductions. He added that the district was already anticipating about $1.9 million in cuts for Yelm schools.
  • Residents reported hearing three gunshots outside Singletree Estates near Clearwood in Yelm.
  • The Yelm High School boys soccer team won six-straight non-league games to begin the season to the joking dismay of head coach Mark Tate, who said, “It’s like we’re putting a big target on our back. There’s too many things to worry about being undefeated.”
  • Eight members of the Yelm Martial Arts and Education Center placed at various tournaments. Orange belt Markus Weller, 11, earned two gold medals at the Lee Martial Arts World Tae Kwan Do Championships at the Tacoma Dome.