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Looking back on 2013: Snoqualmie Valley’s celebrities, scares and searches make the news

By CAROL LADWIG
Snoqualmie Valley Record Staff Reporter
December 31, 2013 · Updated 1:05 PM
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Valley resident Austin Jenckes returns home for a surprise concert during his run on reality show “The Voice,” in October. Jenckes' story was the most-read on the Valley Record website this year. / Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

Local musician Austin Jenckes broke into the top 10 on TV’s “The Voice,” and he beat out Hollywood star Johnny Depp for the number-one spot on the Valley Record website for the most-read story of 2013.

With roots and friends throughout the Valley, plus national exposure, Jenckes may have been a lock for the top spot, but many of the Record’s stories reached a nationwide audience.

Here are the the Record’s most-read stories of 2013:

Austin Jenckes is on ‘The Voice’

Locals know he’s got talent, but television audiences nationwide got the chance to see it, too, when Jenckes appeared on the NBC show “The Voice,” starting in September. The 25-year-old former North Bend resident and Cedarcrest graduate auditioned for the musical competition/reality show, became a fan favorite, and stayed in the game until November, when he was voted off.

 

Family seeks missing Maple Valley girl, 17, in Snoqualmie

In August, family members of Sarah M. Streight, 17, hung posters in Snoqualmie, seeking her return to the family home in Maple Valley. Streight, who was reportedly living with a friend in the Valley, turned 18 a few weeks later.

 

Mount Si wildfire was caused by people

Smoke curls behind DNR’s Seth Barnes during a wildfire that spread on Mount Si in July.  Photo by Carol Ladwig

What fire crews from the Washington Department of Natural Resources called the “444th Fire” on Mount Si was held to about 20 acres in late July. The brush fire burned in steep, rocky terrain at the base of 4,100-foot Mount Si, between the Si and Little Si trails.

Crews had managed to contain the blaze, building a tight fire trail around the brush fire to keep it from spreading.  It took about three days for the fire to be put under control, and weeks for all the trails at Mount Si to reopen.


Resident stabs and kills home intruder near North Bend

In May, a North Bend family, defending themselves from the second home invasion attack in 12 hours, stabbed and killed an intruder in their home on 420th Avenue Southeast. In the first intrusion, a man entered the home that afternoon through an unlocked back door. The wife, her mother-in-law, and the baby were in the house when the intruder hit the wife, stole some money from the house, and fled. When he returned at 1:40 a.m., he got in a fight with the husband and was stabbed with a kitchen knife.

 

Snoqualmie police arrest six in early morning drug raid

On December 6, Snoqualmie Police seized a large amount of methamphetamine and arrested six adults in an early morning raid on a home in the 38000 block of Southeast Northern Street. The successful raid was the joint effort of Snoqualmie Police and the King County Sheriff’s Office, with support from firefighters. The raid had been planned for some time. Most of those arrested were local residents, ranging in age from 22 to 50.

 

Star sighting: Johnny Depp spotted in Carnation


Film crews converge on the Mount Si Tavern during filming of “Lucky Them.” Photo by Carol Ladwig

Keep your binoculars when you visit Carnation. The little city on the Snoqualmie and Tolt Rivers, population 1,905, seems to be ground zero for spectacular sightings.

In early March, the Internet was abuzz with news of movie star Johnny Depp (Captain Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series) being spotted in Carnation and later at the Salish Lodge on Snoqualmie Falls.

Several people confirmed seeing Depp in Carnation, although most of the Internet posts with photos of him there were quickly deleted. There was speculation that he was associated with the movie “Lucky Them,” but production staff would not confirm that, so very little about Depp’s visit could be verified. He was in Carnation on Monday, Feb. 25, the same day that two off-duty Mercer Island Police officers came to the city to help with traffic control for the movie being filmed there.


Hiker falls 150 feet to his death off Rattlesnake Ridge

In August, a hiker fell to his death while trekking in the Rattlesnake Ridge area of Snoqualmie near Rattlesnake Lake. A woman dialed 911 just before 11 a.m., telling the King County Sheriff’s Office that someone had fallen from Rattlesnake Ridge. According to a report by the sheriff’s office, when police arrived, they talked to a friend of the victim, who said she and the man had hiked to the top of the ridge. She was taking pictures of the man near a ledge when he slipped and fell as he was trying to jump to a rock.


Hunter accidentally shoots, kills himself near Duvall

A hunter died of an accidental shooting December 2, near Duvall. According to a report from the King County Sheriff’s Office, at about 9:20 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, a sheriff’s deputy was conducting an area check of a trailhead near the 17000 block of the Northeast Duvall-Monroe Road. As he entered the trailhead, he found a man who was dead next to his vehicle, with an obvious gunshot wound to the chest. It appeared that the man had accidentally shot himself, as he was putting away his hunting gear.

 

Missing man’s body found at Snoqualmie Falls

A Sammamish man, reported missing by his family, fell to his death early Saturday, April 6, at Snoqualmie Falls. Police pinged the 40-year-old man’s phone in the early morning hours, and found that he was in the vicinity of the Falls. His body was found below the overlook at first light. It was the first such death at the Falls since mid-December of 2012, when a man fell to his death from the overlook.

 

Boeing Classic tourney kicks off with 777 flyover

An Emirates Air Boeing 777 cruises above the TPC Snoqualmie Ridge to kick off the start of the Boeing Classic tournament.

On August 23, the Boeing Classic golf tournament on Snoqualmie Ridge kicked off in high style with the ceremonial flyover of a Boeing 777 jet from Emirates Air. As golf fans headed to the ropes to watch Champions Tour athletes compete, it was also Kids’ Day, with families introducing children to the sport. Learn more about the Boeing Classic at www.boeingclassic.com.

 

 

Bolt from the blue: Did North Bend man get hit by lightning through a window?

Pointing out the spot on his chest where he experienced a jolt, Travis Bridgman of North Bend survived a nearby lightning strike. Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

Time didn’t work quite right. He didn’t hear a thing, but the people with him said the noise was deafening. He stayed on his feet, with not even a hole in his shirt

Travis Bridgman, 33, of North Bend, was inside the Shilow Life Fellowship building on Sunday, Sept. 15, with about eight other people, when he was struck by an apparent bolt of lightning after the last service of the day.

“A little bolt, about as big as a pin, just came through the window and pinged me in the chest,” he told the Record.

Afterward, he remembered them staring at him, shocked, but he didn’t really feel much.

Bridgman defied a lot of conventional wisdom with his experience. First, he says, “You would really think that the inside of a building is safe.” Usually, it is, and lightning safety education materials often advise “When thunder roars, go indoors.”

 

 

Skydiver lost: Search operation called off after Florida squirrel-suit flyer vanishes

A photo posted by King County Search and Rescue on Saturday, Jan. 5, shows what searchers were dealing with over the weekend. The post read: 'View of Mt Si this morning. Weather hampered helicopter deployment until afternoon.' Courtesy Photo

Four days and nearly 4,000 man-hours into a search and rescue effort, King County officials called off the search for a missing skydiver on January 6.

Searchers looked over nine square miles before giving up the search for a 29 year-old Lakeland, Fla., man, Kurt Ruppert, who’d been with two friends, taking turns jumping from a helicopter near the west peak of Mount Si.

He was reported missing on January 3 by the private pilot after his second jump, when he didn’t return to the landing zone. The pilot estimated the men were jumping from a height of about 6,500 feet. Mount Si’s highest point is about 4,100 feet, and the west peak near the jump area is about 2,500 feet.

“What we understand (from the friends) is they were jumping out of the helicopter just past that west peak,” Sheriff’s Spokeswoman Cindy West explained. “Once they made it past the peak, they’d deploy their chutes.”   West could not comment on whether the activity was legal.

 

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