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Something as simple as a cleaner fire truck makes a difference for North Bend firefighter Bob Venera. With a shiny truck, “you can take more pride in what you have,” and in the job you do, he says. In six months, Venera and his fellow crew members can take more pride in shinier trucks, and shinier everything. With construction proceeding without a hitch on the new Station 87 on Maloney Grove Avenue, local firefighters will bid farewell to the 60-year-old station, adjacent to City Hall on Second Street—and its archaic layout. Life as a firefighter will be very different. For starters, washing a truck won’t require the rigamarole of hanging up plastic sheets and catch-basins inside bays that were never meant for wash duty—when Station 87 was built in 1947, trucks got washed outside, with nary a care for storm drains.
They didn’t always get the ink or take home the big trophies. But these Mount Si High School athletes shone in different ways. They show that perseverance and hard work have rewards that go beyond scores and limelight. Griffin McLain, a senior forward and post on the Mount Si boys basketball team, doesn’t post big numbers, but the team wouldn’t have gone all the way to districts without him. According to outgoing coach Steve Helm, McLain does all the vital dirty work for the team, playing defense on all the “big, wrong kids in the league.” McLain gets physical when he needs to, working his keister off in practice. This senior plays his role, and it may not lead to glory. But it helps the entire team.
Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson ended speculation Monday on whether he will seek a third term. "It's been an honor for the past seven years to serve with such a fine group of people, the staff and this council," Larson said at the close of the February 25 council meeting. "If the citizens of Snoqualmie allow me, I'd like to throw my hat in for another four years." Larson was unopposed in 2009. In 2005, he beat James Harrelson, 55 percent to 43 percent. His announcement prompted the rest of the council to declare their intentions, and like Larson, all those due to re-run this fall choose to do so. "I echo your comment, and I will be running," Maria Henriksen, position five, told the mayor.
Champions of cheer: Total team effort delivers with first state title, surprise national finals appearance
It happens in moments. Cheerleaders hit the floor between quarters in a varsity basketball game, unroll a mat. Four form a platform with their arms, and Natalie Holmes, a Mount Si junior, is catapulted into the air. She twists in the air, then lands in the arms of the four girls below. In a few seconds, they’ve rolled up the mat. Their stunt is done, and the game continues. This performance took many hours to perfect. It may not be the main event of the night. But these cheerleaders are part of a squad that has gone farther than any Wildcat team this year.
You can walk the block and find color and music in unexpected places in downtown Snoqualmie. Try this for example. On the same February morning, four string musicians—Sheila Bateman and her three children in the Giovani String Quartet—played at City Hall, a teen choir sang in the downtown storefront, and youth and local art was on display in city hall and at the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce office. It was all part of an art walk organized by the Snoqualmie Arts Commission, Downtown Snoqualmie Merchants Association and the Chamber, “For the Love of Snoqualmie."
"To state" was the sign that Sarah Stauffer carried out of the locker room to boisterous clapping from the crowd. Cedarcrest's varsity girls had just earned a historic appearance, beating visiting Sehome, 37-29, in front of a pumped home audience Tuesday, Feb. 12. "We're going to state for the first time," said a "super overwhelmed" Kathryn Smith. "All the work is paying off. We knew we could do it." Tuesday night, Cedarcrest pushed to a quick lead early on; It was 18-12 CHS at halftime. However, Sehome started putting pressure on the basket in the latter half of the second quarter, and into the third, evening things up to 25-23 by the end of the third.
The atmosphere at the mat room was intense Monday and Tuesday, lightening Wednesday, as Mount Si's state-bound grapplers prepared to handle their business. Mitch Rorem and Tim Corrie are stepping up to the big show, today at the WIAA state wrestling championships in the Tacoma Dome. The team departed Thursday, along with Mount Si gymnasts for state action. Today, Rorem will face Meadowdale's Ciaran Ball in the 195-pound weight class. Rorem knows a little bit about his opponent. They've never wrestled, but both competed at an Everett tournament this winter.
Extreme nursery makeover: Friends get busy to help cancer-battling Nels Melgaard’s business prep for spring | Second work party is Saturday
Nels Melgaard has never seen his friends and neighbors come together in such a big way before—not locally, certainly not on behalf of a single person. Yet Nels was the man at the center of a two-weekend effort that saw patrons, friends, fellow members of Sallal Grange, and their families, arrive at his Nursery at Mount Si, for work parties aimed at getting this cancer-battling North Bend man's business a huge boost before the busy season.
Dial change: After 51 years, Snoqualmie’s Ed Wentz passes electronics business over to his sons | Slideshow
The memories are everywhere in Ed Wentz’s place. Each glance turns something up. On a recent winter evening, Ed and his son Russell explored the hometown headquarters of Wentz Electronics, Inc., on Snoqualmie’s King Street—the converted home and adjacent garage that’s been the center of the Wentz family business for 51 years. A hunt for family photos became a journey into electronic history. With every step, there’s a photo, piece of hand-tinkered equipment or handmade sign, that points to the pride and ethos that Ed, now 81, is passing on to his sons, Russell and Bob, as he eases into retirement.
Next week, the list for our annual Best of the Valley competition should be nestled in your newspaper. For some years, the Record has conducted a reader poll on favorite businesses, services and public officials in the Valley. It’s one of the more popular contests we do annually, with reason. We’re polling residents for their picks in nearly 60 categories in the contest, which is both an annual bragging-rights showdown among local business, and a snapshot of our community and its movers and shakers. It’s about more than business: It’s a way to gauge buzz for the best non-profit, the best Valley event, the best volunteer, firefighter, national treasure, police officer and city employee. Public servants and business people with a lot of friends, family and local connections typically get a good showing, but newcomers and dark horses can often shine.
A young man in a black, hooded jacket boards the bus by the credit union, takes his seat, and slips on headphones. On an iPod, he clicks on some of his favorite Ozzy Osbourne songs. But the rock can wait as he tells his story. Garth is in his early 20s, and the Snoqualmie Valley Transportation bus is his link between Transitional Learning Classes at Mount Si and home in North Bend. For a buck, he’s got a lift that’s safer than a walk in the rain or hitchhiking across town. Garth got grief on the school bus. Riding the SVT for more than two years, he’s never looked back.
On the strength of long shots and some tight free throws, Mount Si held off a physical Juanita Rebels team to win a weekend bye and the number two seed at KingCo. "Our guys beat a good basketball team tonight," said Mount Si coach Steve Helm, following Mount Si's overtime battle Thursday, Jan. 31, at home. In a fast, physical game, Mount Si rushed to a 12-9 lead in the first quarter, powered by a three-point shot from senior Trent Riley. Jason Smith sniped two big buckets in the third, and Jack Nelson got one of his own at 4:45, but Rebel point leader Ty Eng answered with his own long bomb at 3:50.
The Route 922 bus doesn’t come through any more. It was never perfect, but David Egan still misses it. A 26-year resident of this neighborhood west of Carnation, Egan has been “pretty much totally blind” for most his life. He doesn’t drive, and that’s made him beholden—more than he’d like— to his family and neighbors for rides. “You always feel like you have to make it right for people,” Egan says. So, if he doesn’t want to ask around for a ride, there’s public transit—if and when he can get it.
It doesn’t feel like 20 years, not for Scott and Jill Massengill. But this married couple, both chiropractors, get a sense of how time has passed when they see the children. “We’ve got kids we started taking care of when they were babies. Now,” like their own daughter Danielle, “they’re in college,” Jill says. Thursday, Jan. 31, marks the 20th anniversary of the Massengills’ practice in North Bend. They’ve followed their healing profession on the same street, moving once—last year.
Driving from Snoqualmie to North Bend a few weeks ago to see a show about a certain Hobbit, I had to slow down on Elk Tourism Row. That’s not an official title for State Route 202, but it’s a good descriptor for what happens when a two-lane highway must also accommodate parked cars on both lanes. Dozens of folks—it’s impossible that they were all out-of-towners—had jumped out of their cars to witness a major conclave of elk on Meadowbrook Farm. Momentarily inconvenienced, my reactions jumped from impatience at the traffic jam to wonder at the sight. Why get upset? I thought. The elk were in the field, doing their thing. So were the camera-packing travelers.
‘I feel like I can only go up from here’: Mount Si gymnasts breaking boundaries on floor, beam | Slideshow
“She’s dancing out there!” Jenn Rogers watched Hailey Johnson’s bouncy, upbeat routine. Like Rogers, Johnson’s sophomore year has been marked with great strides. It all came together, out on the floor, where confident moves and calm, smiling faces showed Mount Si gymnasts are hitting their stride this season.
Major projects, signs of economic growth, and citizens and residents stepping up to make Snoqualmie work better. They've all got Mayor Matt Larson on a much more optimistic beat in 2013. Giving his annual 'State of the City' talk to the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce at their packed January 18 luncheon at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, the Snoqualmie leader was upbeat, sharing signs of the times like the new dual police force, Tokul roundabout, new parks and street repairs. "The state of the city remains vibrant and strong," Larson said.
On our website this week are two articles that don’t seem related. Yet they are. First, we meet Tia Borgioli, whose family has lived in Snoqualmie for two years, and who happens to be, through circumstance as well as by design and effort, deeply connected to her neighbors. So connected, in fact, that she put herself in harm’s way to protect, not just her family, but her tightly-knit neighborhood. Tia did something that I think many others might not have the guts to do—confront two burglary suspects, demand to know their business, and then promptly call the cops. She braved a gun to the head in her effort to stop the threat of crime in her neighborhood.
The collective of local service groups, churches and organizations called One VOICE recently wrapped up its second seasonal holiday drive. The One VOICE Holiday Event provided gifts and necessities to more than 230 families and 750 Valley children. One VOICE began last year with the purpose of bringing Valley organizations together to help others and avoid duplication of effort.
‘This was our one chance to get them’: Snoqualmie woman stands up to armed burglars to stop home invasions
A friend has already rearranged the letters in her name to spell ‘Batgirl’. She now owns an official plaque of commendation from the Snoqualmie Mayor. Tia Borgioli is a hero. The Valley woman, who works in customer service and is a married mother of three, is definitely a crime fighter.