A look back at 2016: Leadership changes, unexpected endings mark part 1 of the Valley Record’s year-end review

  • Thursday, December 29, 2016 5:12pm
  • News

Geoff Doy, president of the Snoqualmie Valley School Board, uses a jack hammer to break the ground at Mount Si High School June 8, on a multi-year remodel and rebuild of the facility. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

The year 2016 was a year of transitions. Leadership changes affected many Valley organizations, starting with the top spots in the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital and Snoqualmie Police Department and trickling up and down the Valley from there. North Bend saw a huge change to its council. The Sno-Valley Senior Center welcomed back a new and former director. Mount Si High School brought on a new athletic director and new coaches.

It was also a year of endings. Boxley’s, a staple North Bend restaurant, closed its doors. Houses and ball fields were demolished for the start of construction on a new high school, and a hydropower company pulled the plug on its proposal to build a new dam on the North Fork of the Snoqualmie River.

In our last issue of the year, we hope you will enjoy taking a look back at some of the events that defined the Snoqualmie Valley in the past 12 months.

Today, we have the first six months. Look for the rest of the year’s summary on the website tomorrow.

January 6

• Eastside Fire and Rescue hired a new Fire Chief, Jeff Clark, all the way from Arizona. Clark began his role as Fire Chief on Feb. 1 and took over the position after serving as the Fire Chief in Chandler, Arizona.

January 13

• The Snoqualmie Valley Riding Club announced it was in danger of closing due to low membership. Linzie Walker stepped down as the president and was replaced by Diana Wirt, who has maintained the club and is planning more activities for 2017.

• North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing swore in four city council members at the first meeting of the North Bend City Council. New members included Martin Volken, Trevor Kostanich, and Brenden Elwood, along with Johnathan Rosen, who was re-elected in November.

January 20

• Three North Bend men found a perfect day to ski down Mount Si, thanks to the year’s heavy snowpack. Trevor Kostanich, Peter Avolio and Dave Jordan climbed to the summit at 6 a.m., skied down the mountain and were back in town in time for lunch. Due to Mount Si’s low elevation, the mountain does not get the quantify or quality of snow for good skiing conditions very often. “It was great to see your town right below you and it’s super fun, as a passionate skier, to be there with your skis on your feet, doing what you love on the local hill,” Kostanich said.

February 3

• The Snoqualmie Muslim Association’s first-ever open house drew a standing-room-only group for a morning of learning about Islam and its followers. Association President Mujeeb Mohammed spoke at the event along with Islamic Scholar Alaa Badr and Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson.

• Snoqualmie Valley Relay for Life was named the 2015 North Bend Community Organization of the Year. The group, led by chairperson Bev Jorgensen, was honored at the Feb. 2 North Bend City Council meeting. Since the beginning of the program, Snoqualmie Valley Relay for Life has raised more than $1 million.

February 10

•With a new location this year at the Cedarcrest High School commons, the Snoqualmie Valley Seed Exchange brought in a whole new crowd of people.

February 17

• Exchange students from Snoqualmie’s sister city of Chaclacayo, Peru, worked with Spanish teacher Jenny Foster at Mount Si High School to conduct a Spanish test for Mount Si students. The test created a mock airport, staffed by Peruvian students, which local kids had to make their way through, entirely in Spanish.

• The Snoqualmie Valley Hospital’s Board of Director voted to terminate CEO Rodger McCollum’s contract with 30 days notice, and three months’ severance. Board President Dariel Norris said some fiscal issues raised red flags for the board.

February 24

• North Bend’s Planning Commission unanimously recommended the city prohibit new commercial truck center/service areas and prohibit the expansion of the existing truck stop. The action, when formalized by the City Council, created a furor on social media.

• Six Mount Si wrestlers traveled to compete at the Tacoma Dome for the KingCo State Championships. Mason Marenco and Andrew Harris both placed sixth in the 152 and 220-pound weight classes respectively.

March 2

• Two Rivers School in North Bend raised $1,656 through crowdfunding, for supplies to expand their student garden and greenhouse. The garden, started two years prior, is used by students to grow vegetables for school meals.

March 9

• Students at Cedarcrest High School celebrated the 15th anniversary of their Random Acts of Kindness Club. The club participates in community events, but also hosts its own kindness events around the school and the community.

• Former Snoqualmie Planning Commissioner Darryl Wright, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud for fabricating claims of disability and receiving thousands in payment from the Veterans Administration and Social Security Administration.

March 23

The Snoqualmie Valley Schools Foundation strict honored its Educators of the Year, Nikita Armbruster, Alexandra Clark, Karen Rockow and Ingrid Garhart, at its annual luncheon.

• Lisa Yeager, the former director of the Sno-Valley Senior Center from 2001 to 2007, returned to the position after the previous director, Peggy McNamara left the Valley. Yeager was appointed as an interim director until a permanent decision could be made and has stayed on as director for the rest of the year.

March 30

The Snoqualmie city council voted to prohibit the production, processing and retail sales of marijuana and marijuana-infused products. The ordinance covered both medical and recreational use and banned those types of businesses in every zoning area in the city. The ordinance states the prohibition of marijuana production and retail will “protect public safety, morals, health, and welfare of the city of Snoqualmie, its residents and businesses.”

• The Metropolitan King County Council has presented its inaugural MLK Medal of Distinguished Service to 12 county citizens, including Fall City activists Del and Nancy Moore. The award recognizes those who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to make a difference in communities across King County.

April 6

• The city of Snoqualmie, which provides information technology services to King County Fire Protection District 45 in Duvall, paid a ransom of $750 to hackers who had taken control and encrypted files on a computer at the fire district. The ransom was required to unlock a computer on the district’s network, which was encrypted when an employee clicked a link in a fake e-mail message.

• The Mountaineers, a non-profit outdoor education organization, has sold its historic Snoqualmie Pass property to Boyne Properties, which manages the Summit at Snoqualmie. The property, which housed the historic Snoqualmie Lodge before it burned down in 2006, will allow the ski area to connect Summit West and Summit Central and provide an easement for the rerouting of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.

April 13

• Mario Bonfante, a paraplegic rally car driver, come out to DirtFish in Snoqualmie to test out his new steering technology and train with the DirtFish instructors. Bonfante developed the steering wheel technology he uses to drive a car himself through rigorous study and practice. A DirtFish rally car was customized to be able to accomodate his steering wheel.

• Danny Kolke, owner of Boxley’s in North Bend, announced the restaurant would close at the end of April. Kolke ran the popular live music venue and restaurant for seven years. Closing the business will allow Kolke to focus on his passion for music. The restaurant inspired Boxley’s Music Fund/Jazz Clubs NW, a non-profit that has funded much of the live music at Boxley’s.

April 20

• On April 16, approximately 25 volunteers from Boeing teamed up with Stewardship Partners to remove invasive plant species and maintain trees planted alongside Ames Creek in Carnation.

• Jacob Belceto, a Mount Si sprinter, broke the school’s record for the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.01 seconds at the Arnie Young Track Invitational. He went on to break his own record again at the NIKE Eason Invitational with a 10.9 second time.

April 27

• The city of North Bend held the grand opening of the newly renovated E.J. Roberts Park. The park, which was formally dedicated on July 2, 1972, received a brand new bridge, play equipment, and improved access to play areas.

• More than 1,600 fans were packed into 20 venues all over North Bend during the North Bend Jazz Walk. With upwards of 200 musicians performing at the event, the Jazz Walk was also the last event to be hosted at Boxley’s before its closing.

May 4

• The Northwest Railway Museum officially broke ground for its new Railway Education Center Construction. Representatives from the museum, the city of Snoqualmie, and King County spoke at the event.

• North Bend Elementary students took first place in the Snoqualmie Valley School District’s Battle of the Books. Held at Fall City Elementary, the Battle of the Books is a reading program and trivia competition between the district’s elementary schools. The North Bend Elementary team was able to win with a one-point lead over Fall City Elementary.

May 11

• Three fires were reported within 45 minutes of each other on the Snoqualmie Ridge. The fires damaged park play equipment on Stellar Way S.E. and on Fern Avenue S.E., a traffic cone and trash can were damaged. The fires were considered an act of arson and a King County fire investigator was called.

• The Carnation Farmers Market opened to big attendance in May. Run by the Sno-Valley Tilth, the market ran for its 13th year of operation and has continued its pattern of growth. Opening day included the annual children’s Maypole dance.

May 18

• Susie Thompson of North Bend shared the story of Shy, her blind horse, which was rescued in 2014. Shy has become popular in the North Bend community, with neighbors often dropping by to feed and pet her.

• A temporary stop in the North Bend wastewater treatment plant’s processing pipeline led to a minor overflow of sewage. The spill reportedly occurred Sunday, May 8, when a worker at the plant turned off a pump to do some maintenance work. A centrifuge in the plant continued operating, which caused a small amount of untreated wastewater to overflow a weird and spill onto the ground.

May 25

• The U.S. District Court dismissed a discrimination lawsuit filed against the city of Snoqualmie by the Snoqualmie Tribe. The suit was filed over increased sewer utility rates the city planned to charge the Snoqualmie Casino.

• Jazz Clubs NW announced a partnership with Piccola Cellars in North Bend to bring back live music back to the Valley after Boxley’s closed its doors. The North Bend city council, which owns the building where Piccola is located, voted to amend the lease to allow the venue to expand into more of the building and add a stage for live music.

June 1

• Caroline McCall of Snoqualmie wanted to find a way to help the Seattle Humane Society, but was too young to volunteer on her own. So, she joined the organization’s teen club and and helped to gather more than 500 pounds of food for the society’s pet food bank. She started a crowdfunding campaign and raised $1,000 in 20 days.

• Mount Si High School students Jack Mulligan, Olin Woodyard and Cody Copitzky earned awards of excellence at the 2016 Northwest High School Film Festival May 17.

Taylor Mitchell, a Mount Si graduate and former football player, has started a youth football camp, with his brothers, Josh, Nick and Caleb, to raise funds for a scholarship to a local student.

June 8

The Snoqualmie Tribe filed a lawsuit against the city of Snoqualmie to stop development of homes and a hotel on Tokul Road. The lawsuit, filed May 27, claimed that the development agreement between the city and the Muckleshoot Tribe for the expansion project is based on an outdated environmental determination that violates the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and tribe members’ religious freedom.

• Tom Parker, the Chief Operating Officer of Snoqualmie Valley Hospital, was appointed to the position of Chief Executive Officer. The hospital board unanimously approved the appointment of Parker, who’d been interim CEO since March, June 2.

• Early the morning of June 2, a car crashed into the Fall City Roadhouse. The building was empty and the driver had only minor injuries. Larkin Krahling, owner of the Fall City Roadhouse, said the driver was on S.R. 202 and missed the turn onto Preston-Fall City Road S.E. The car’s airbags deployed and the driver, who was briefly stuck inside the vehicle, walked away from the crash with minor injuries.

June 15

• Snoqualmie Valley School District broke ground twice on June 8, once for the construction of a new gym at Snoqualmie Elementary School, and then for the new Mount Si High School.

• Fall City Day hosted its annual community festival, between downpours, on June 11. The day featured a parade, fun run, classic car show, and traditional favorites like the watermelon-eating contest and the ducky derby. Grand marshals for the parade were Bob and Patty Hogan.

June 22

• Snoqualmie Police Chief Steve McCulley has retired from his position. Former Snoqualmie Police Chief Jim Schaffer, who retired in 2012, was appointed Interim Chief, while the city began an extensive process to find a permanent Snoqualmie Police Chief.

• To address the problem of roads along scenic Washington trails becoming clogged by hikers parking illegally in the area, Washington Department of Natural Resources officers gained ticketing authority in order to enforce parking laws along Mount Si Road and Cedar Falls Road in North Bend.

June 29

• A grant for a skate park to be built on the Snoqualmie Ridge in 2017 was approved by Snoqualmie city council. The project, which has been in the works since 2007, is planned to be 2,500 square foot park built next to the Snoqualmie Valley YMCA facing S.E. Ridge Street.

• The Raging River Quarry was ordered to stop operations due to noise complaints from more than 50 area homes.

Trevor Kostanich glides down Mount Si Dec. 30 in video captured by ski buddy Peter Avolio. The ski trip was a once in a decade opportunity for Kostanich, Avolio and Dave Jordan. Courtesy Photo

Alaa Badr, an Islamic scholar from Redmond, holds a bilingual Quran as he discusses Islam with some 200 guests at the Snoqualmie Muslim Association open house. Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

Danny Kolke, owner of Boxley’s Place, announced in April that the restaurant would close by the end of the month. File Photo

Jay Thomas and the Neo-Boogaloo Cats lit up the North Bend Jazz Walk Saturday with a brassy performance at Chaplins Chevrolet. Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

Mario Bonfante was on the DirtFish track in Snoqualmie practicing Rallycross on Tuesday, April 5. Courtesy Photo

Nancy and Del Moore, recipients of the inaugural King county MLK Medal of Distinguished Service, are pictured here on a trash cleanup patrol along the river in Fall City. Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

Susie Thompson pets Shy, the blind mustang she rescued last year. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

A car crashed into the Fall City Roadhouse June 2, after the driver missed the curve on S.R. 202 in Fall City. No one was seriously injured. Courtesy Photo

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