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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
•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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Danny Kolke, owner of Boxley’s in North Bend, announced the restaurant would close at the end of April.
• 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.
• The city of North Bend held the grand opening of the newly renovated E.J. Roberts Park. The park 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.
• The Northwest Railway Museum officially broke ground for its new Railway Education Center Construction.
• North Bend Elementary students took first place in the Snoqualmie Valley School District’s Battle of the Books.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Tom Parker, the Chief Operating Officer of Snoqualmie Valley Hospital, was appointed to the position of Chief Executive Officer.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• The Raging River Quarry was ordered to stop operations due to noise complaints from more than 50 area homes.