A Look Back: Take a Trip Through Our Community’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:

- The children of “Mr. and Mrs. Edward Taylor” set flame to their playhouse on Mitchell Road after playing with matches. They were lectured on fire safety by local authorities.

- Rainier Sportsmen Motorcycle Club sponsored eight races during 1976. A change was made to the club’s rules, detailing how participants must have first obtained a license to race.

- Jerry Jenkins was seriously injured at his work after being struck in the eye by a piece of metal from a hammer. He was moved for treatment from local clinics to the University of Washington.

- Yelm High School Drama Club presented two offerings to the public in spring of 1976, “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Ladies.” Both were short comedies and were “icing for Yelm’s best year in drama,” according to the Nisqually Valley News.

- Yelm Timberland Library held an evening of folk dancing at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 14, 1976, free of charge. Children under the age of 12 needed to be chaperoned, and the skill level was friendly to dancers of all varying degrees of experience.

- A wedding reception for Alma A. Harmer and Warren Simons was set to be held from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, May 8, 1976, in the Carlson Scout Cabin.

- Longtime area resident Stella Fielder had plans to celebrate her 80th birthday on Mother’s Day, May 9, 1976, at the Heritage Nursing and Convalescent Center, which was located at 7410 Pacific Ave., in Tacoma.

- Washington state accumulated $12 million in sales tax revenue, with Yelm receiving $4,693.71 of that number.

- The Yelm High School boys and girls track teams defeated Orting 81-18 and 86-13, respectively.

A Look Back At This Week, 35 Years Ago:

- Fall 1986 projected enrollment in Yelm Community Schools was set to fill all the district’s empty classrooms at the elementary level, causing school board members to consider portables for the future.

- Yelmites Frank and Frances Weiler were featured in the Nisqually Valley News as state directors for the National Campers and Hikers Association, a position they held for nearly a decade. “We’re mainly interested in having a good time together,” the couple stated to the paper.

- A new Washington state law required employers to publicly post a list of the hazardous chemicals used in their workplaces.

- County Commissioner Karen Fraser wrote an informational letter to the editor about plowing and sanding county roads during snowfall events. “Countywide there is a total of 860 miles of paved county roads that must be considered for this service,” she wrote.

- Keri Gatke and Christy Pritchet were Yelm’s entries, among 12 other contestants, in the quest for the title of “Miss Thurston County.”

- A and M Electronics opened on Yelm Avenue, a shop that affiliates Rick Maughan and Robert Acherson said had the “best prices in Thurston.”

- George C. Green, 73, of Rainier, died April 27, 1986, in an Olympia hospital. He was born, 1912 in Lamoni, Iowa. His wife, sister, three daughters and 10 grandchildren survived him.

- Out of the 550 high school students from Oregon, Washington and Idaho that were selected to go to the 38th annual Pacific University “Music in May” festival in Forest Grove, Oregon, were Yelm High School students John Ledington and Annie Wilkinson. They were set to rehearse and perform under guest conductors for ensembles in either choir, band or orchestra.

- Eight girls and two boys were named as fall 1986 cheerleaders for Yelm High School. They included Gretchen Graham, Mishelle Heath, Jody Miller, Nicole Libby, Laura Wesen, Karol Prosser, Pepsi Durant, Stacey Maxwell, Tony Nyitray and Randy Kerlee

A Look Back At This Week, 25 Years Ago:

- In a May 1996 issue of the Nisqually Valley News, the Springfest “bed race” was the main feature. The paper reported: “A city street was closed Saturday afternoon as two rival ‘gangs’ representing the Yelm Prairie Eagles and McDonald’s battled …” with the Eagles winning the race.

- After a catastrophic February 1996 flood in McKenna, a FEMA truck “armed with neon fliers and pastel pamphlets” arrived in early May 1996, a response that the Nisqually Valley News reported locals saying was too little, too late.

- Also on the flood front, a Roy Helping Hands-funded portable used to aid flood victims outside Old Steeple gift shop was no longer going to be staffed, though aid was still available to help those affected by the McKenna flood.

- Yelm Police Department offered a $500 cash reward for those who knew information about a string of burglaries that affected businesses Cafe Paradisio, Escrow West Inc. and Transamerica Title, all located on Yelm Avenue West.

- Rainier Fire Chief Rita Hutcheson carried the olympic torch in the local version of the Olympic Torch Relay on Deschutes Parkway in Olympia.

- Irene M. Bennett, 84, a lifetime resident of Rainier, died Wednesday, May 1, 1996, of natural causes. She was born November 11, 1911, in Tenino and was married to Arthur Eide, who preceded her in death in 1954.

- Members of Rainier’s Voluntary Citizen Water Committee, Washington State Department of Health officials and engineers from Gray and Osborne worked together to create a new water plan for the city, which was due for its five-year update.

- Ed Berg was awarded a grant from C-SPAN that allotted his students the use of a color television and video cassette recorder in the classroom. Berg was a longtime Yelm High School social studies teacher, and history columnist for the Nisqually Valley News.

- Prairie Elementary students participated in an Olympics-style event, where they walked around a track, collecting different colored circlets made to symbolise the Olympic Game rings in an activity designed to promote exercise.

- Rainier softball lost to Toutle Lake 17-6, only its second loss of the 1996 season, though it won three other contests that week.

A Look Back At This Week, 15 Years Ago:

- After a 13-year-old boy, Eric Holmes, was left unattended with 53-year-old Terry A. Howick’s loaded handgun, Holmes died of a gunshot wound to the head. “Know where your children are, who they’re with and what they’re doing. Have a talk about how they should respond if a gun comes into their possession. And those who stupidly or callously allow handguns into the hands of children should face prosecution,” read a 1996 Nisqually Valley News editorial regarding Holmes’ death.

- There was only one interested applicant to fill two empty seats for Yelm City Council, though interested parties still had until May 24, 2006, to apply, which was still a couple weeks out.

- The new Yelm High School building was unveiled for the first time to local business leaders in May 2006 in a limited tour.

- The Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce named Yelm School Board President Denise Hendrickson as Citizen of the Year.

- A letter to the editor of the Nisqually Valley News espoused that those who abandon kittens too young to be separated from their mothers in grocery store parking lots only to have them be collected and euthanized by authorities should meet the same fate as the kittens.

- Thurston County Methamphetamine Coalition and TOGETHER! were set to sponsor a special free workshop on Wednesday, May 31, 2006, for area hotel and motel staff workers to learn about how to respond to drug use and production on their premises.

- Taxable retail sales in Washington state totaled $101.37 billion in 2005, up 9.3 percent from the previous year.

- The Yelm High School baseball team was narrowly barred from the district competition after losing to Aberdeen 8-3. The team’s record for the spring season of 2006 was 8-8 in league and 8-10 overall.


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