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

• A brief fire at Wood Fabricators plant caused just $25 in damage to equipment as “V” belts had to be replaced on an air compressor. Yelm firemen had to dismantle the side of the building to get at the stubborn burning sawdust inside the sheet metal structure.

• Checking of 92 signatures on recall petitions for Rainier Mayor Floyd Short was scheduled by the Thurston County auditor for April 19, 1979. The auditor indicated that it would take about three hours to check the 92 signatures contained on eight documents.

• Roy Mayor Sid Coggins resigned his position after nine months at a special meeting of the Town Council. Also resigning were John Zrofsky, police chief, and Lance Elliott, a patrolman. This came after Coggins was criticized for his actions concerning the police department.

• Kristine Vancil, a 1975 Yelm High School graduate serving in the U.S. Navy, was named “most valuable player” during an intersport tournament held in Perth, Australia. The basketball contest was played between U.S. Navy and Australian Navy women’s teams. 

A Look Back at This Week, 

35 Years Ago

• A Thurston County Superior Court ruled that there were no legal grounds for recalling Rainier Mayor James Gehrke. The decision ended a month-long effort to instigate a recall election.

• Members of Cub Scout Pack 268 were awarded the “God and Country” award on April 12, 1989, at Yelm City Hall. The award was given to scouts who work at home, within the community and with local religious leaders “to improve their understanding and appreciation of God, home and community.”

• Erickson-McGovern Architects of Tacoma announced its acceptance by the American Association of School Administrators to nationally exhibit two schools. The projects were selected for outstanding features in architectural design for the addition and modernization of Roy Elementary School and Eatonville Middle School.

• A Rainier-area resident reported her 16-year-old son had been assaulted on April 1, 1989, around 1 a.m. The victim advised he accidentally backed his car onto the suspect’s lawn while leaving a party, and the suspect ran to the open car window and punched the victim several times in the face. 

A Look Back at This Week, 

25 Years Ago

• Yelm High School students and local preschoolers participated in the Yelm hydroelectric facility’s first salmon release on April 14, 1999. They helped release about 12,000 coho salmon into the Nisqually River.

• Two suspects entered Northwest Deli-Mart dressed from head to toe in skeleton costumes with the intent to commit armed robbery, police said. One of the suspects displayed a small-caliber revolver, pointed it toward a store clerk and demanded money. Both suspects fled after the clerk refused to hand over any money.

• Dorothy Bennett, 39, of Yelm, was found guilty in Thurston County Superior Court of criminal mistreatment of a child for letting a methamphetamine lab operate in her home. She faced a prison sentence of one to three months.

• In a tie-breaking vote cast by Mayor Joel Derefield, the Roy City Council approved the appointment of John Hawk as the city’s new chief of police. Hawk came to Roy after serving as the chief of police in Kake, Alaska.

A Look Back at This Week, 

15 Years Ago

• A Tacoma man was caught by K-9 teams on April 13, 2009, after he fled a shooting in Yelm that injured one. Kenneth Adams Jr., 32, was held on $100,000 bail after he allegedly fired shots while retrieving his vehicle from an ex-girlfriend.

• The Nisqually area Foodraiser brought in more than $1,200 in cash and almost three tons of food for local food banks. Organizers said more than 30 volunteers helped during the event on April 11, 2009.

• Beating out some tough competition, Yelm High School’s name was on the map for automotive education. Two seniors earned a spot in the state Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills contest, a competition that accepts just 10 teams statewide.

• Prairie Elementary students received a heavy uplifting during an assembly in preparation for the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL). Jayson Kline, a powerlifter and Yelm High School graduate, broke the Washington state raw deadlift record with a 555 pounds without his powerlifting suit.