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

• Three women presented Rainier Town Clerk Sybil Wendler with a stack of eight petitions containing 71 names asking for an election to recall Mayor Floyd Short. The petitions claimed that Short “committed the act or acts of malfeasance or misfeasance while in office and violated his oath of office.”

• The Prairie Wrangler Arts and Crafts club brought home prizes and ribbons from a cake-decorating contest. Janet Newby won the special occasion section, junior division, with a wedding-theme cake.

• The Washington Senate voted almost routinely to update the building code used throughout the state but not before an amendment was approved that saved the state about $1.5 million in federal funds.

• It was age versus experience as the Yelm Middle School students challenged the faculty to a  basketball contest. With the taller, more aggressive faculty running out of steam, the youngsters took charge to win the contest.

A Look Back at This Week,  

35 Years Ago

• On the annual Yelm spring clean-up day, officials planned on an increase from previous years, so they had two 50-yard dumpsters in the park. When the event ended, the pile had grown to fill two additional 50-yard containers.

• Danielle Degon, 18-year-old Yelm High School student, was among seven young women competing for the title of Miss Thurston County 1989. The Miss Thurston County scholarship pageant awarded over $3,000 in scholarships annually and an additional $1,000 in awards and gifts.

• A request for a petition to recall Rainier Mayor James Gehrke was taken to Thurston County Superior Court on April 6, 1989. The petition stated that Gehrke failed to consult the Town Council when making several personnel appointments. 

• A home owned by Keith Bell of Rainier was completely destroyed by fire. The house, located at the corner of Vail Loop and Weyerhaeuser Road, was completely engulfed in flames when fire officials arrived. No injuries were reported.

A Look Back at This Week, 

25 Years Ago

• Local residents felt the pinch in their wallets as gas prices continued to soar. Cheryl Calhoun, acting manager at the Rainier Commons Chevron, said the price of regular unleaded gas increased from 96 cents to $1.41 in a month and a half.

• A Lakewood teen was arrested in connection with the March 5, 1999, shooting death of Roy cab driver Donald Ray Barker, who was found shot in his cab on Fort Lewis property.

• Outgoing Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce President Joe Williams surprised Yelm resident Bob Wolf when he presented him with the inaugural Chamber Citizen of the Year award. 

• Yelm baseball chugged to its fifth win in a row over Timberline on April 9, 1999, before getting derailed by Centralia a day later. Joe Bravo went all five innings for the Tornados against Timberline and allowed only one hit.

A Look Back at This Week, 

15 Years Ago

• Both the state House and Senate transportation budgets included more than $11 million in funding for the Yelm Bypass. “We’ve got all the money we need to complete phase one,” Rep. Tom Campbell, R-Roy, said. “I don’t think there’s going to be a problem.”

• Local food banks were “egg-static” over a donation from Wilcox Family Farms of Roy. A total of 109,356 eggs were delivered to six local food banks in time for Easter.

• A Roy man died after a Fort Lewis tank crashed into his Ford F-250 truck on state Route 507. The incident occurred after a Fort Lewis soldier pulled out onto Highway 507 from Eighth Avenue, turned left, and hit Gregory Wood, 55, who died at the scene.

• In placing third at the Yelm equestrian team meet, Yelm’s Erika Smith qualified for state in dressage and saddleseat. The drill team — Tawny Gallegos, Hollin Wisehart, Shelby Peck and Sarah Adkins — also qualified.