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T The year 1889 was a big one for the Valley. It was the year that Washington territory became the 42nd state. It was also the year that trains rolled into the Valley for the first time. Railroads transformed daily life for the people here, opening the local economy up to a wider world. The train came here mainly due to tourism—big city folk wanted to see the wonders of the Snoqualmie waterfall.
“Isn’t it cool?” Cindy Walker asks. The North Bend Theatre owner is justly proud of her new digital projector. Its high-tech computer system and 4,000-watt bulb took the local moviehouse out of the old days of film and into the modern era. Bought with the assistance of Walker’s neighbors and customers, this $100,000 machine shows how much locals love the business.
MacNichols departs Snoqualmie government after 10 years; City weighs utility rate increase, new parks head
After exactly 10 and a half years on the Snoqualmie City Council, councilman Jeff MacNichols, the longest-serving council member, has left city government. MacNichols, who works as an attorney, is moving his family to Redmond; his last day was May 31. "It is with a very heavy heart," he told the council last Monday, May 26, "but I ask that you accept the resignation."
Consider this a confession. My headline last week, “Vandals behind fish caper,” really didn’t do the story justice. As I thought about it, after the pages had gone to press, I realized that those four words didn’t fit the strange and interesting situation that happened May 13 at the Tokul Creek fish hatchery near Snoqualmie.
The next few months are going to be interesting ones for the Valley voter. We’ve got a four-way primary shaping up in the local State Representative race—in Position 2, incumbent Chad Magendanz faces a challenge from an Issaquah resident, Ryan Dean Burkett, and a Fall City man and Mount Si High School alumnus, Colin Alexander. David Spring, North Bend, who has unsuccessfully challenged for a seat in 2008, 2010 and 2012, and tried for school board in 2013, is also back for another go.
Remembering the Cabot: Handmade model brings back WWII shipboard experiences for North Bend’s Bill Walker
The handmade replica means a lot to North Bend resident Bill Walker. Walker, 90, was 21 years old when he walked the decks and worked the boiler rooms of the USS Cabot during World War II. Seventy years later, he wanted to remember his experience with a 12-inch model kit of the Independence-class ship. But his failing eyesight made it a challenge. So, at a dinner party, friend and neighbor Bob Malone volunteered to build it.
Vicki Tennant Bettes has lived in a lot of places—New Jersey, Hawaii, California. But, “no matter where I’ve lived, the Valley is my home,” said Bettes. A fourth generation Valley resident, she was among locals singled out for special attention by local photographer Mary Miller, during her third annual Heart of the Valley community photo session, held Sunday, May 18, at Centennial Fields Park in Snoqualmie. Miller’s photo was more lightly attended than in past years. So, she improvised, working with the crowd to create memorable images.
Our reporter, Carol Ladwig, attempted a novel Question of the Week idea last week. It almost worked. She had heard about how local businesses were stepping up, and wanted to recognize them in person.
The Battle of the Books is not for the faint of heart. If you’ve never gone to the annual Battle of the Books—a Jeopardy game-show-style battle that puts teams of elementary-age readers in competition to see which school has the most storybook smarts—then you’ve missed out.
Hunt for KingCo: Mount Si baseball heads into Mercer battle after small-ball Liberty win | Photo Gallery
The Liberty runner was getting a bit too much of a lead-off for comfort. So, "We decided to go for it," said Mount Si shortstop Carson Breshears, who was on the receiving end of a pick play, tagging a runner in the dirt and shutting down Liberty for the night. Defense like that, and fundamental 'small ball' play got Mount Si that much closer to a fourth and final KingCo title. The Wildcat baseball team beat Liberty, 3-0, on Saturday, May 10. Few big hits, but strong basics, set them up for a battle against Mercer Island tonight (Monday, May 12).
Full circle for Valley filmmaker: Brooks Malberg brings ‘Lost Dutchman’ to where it all began | Photo Gallery
Brooks Malberg is coming home to share the fruits of his filmmaking studies. The allure of making movies drew Malberg, a 2010 Mount Si High School grad, to Los Angeles. Four years later, he’s returning for the local premiere of his senior thesis film, “The Lost Dutchman,” 11 a.m. Saturday, May 10, at North Bend Theatre.
Looking for satisfaction, Mount Si holds off hungry Wolverines; Seniors get the goals | Photo Gallery
Both Mount Si seniors put in goals on Senior Night, in a win over the Bellevue Wolverines. Yet neither coach Darren Brown nor the players were resting on the laurels of their 3-1 win over an outnumbered team. “I’m not satisfied,” said junior midfielder Evan Betz. “We should have won by a lot more.” Within minutes of the start, a hand-ball called on a Bellevue player meant a red card that left the Wolverines a man short for virtually the entirety of the game. Senior midfielder Alex Dolewski took the penalty kick and sunk it to make it 1-0 just before the third minute.
It takes a lot of people and a lot of focus to build a stone church in just five days. OK, the church may be in miniature—the sanctuary can fit perhaps one small visitor—but it’s still real local granite, done much the way its models were built in Ireland 1,000 years ago. “We laugh about it being a church for a congregation of one,” said Alexandra Morosco, founding co-director of StoneFest, the instructional seminar hosted by Preston’s Marenakos Rock Center for the past decade. “But the design will be true to a style seen in that period.”
I love the sound of the train’s horn. There’s something so evocative about it—the announcement of a journey about to begin, or of the arrival of newcomers and merrymakers to our downtowns in North Bend and Snoqualmie.
Steam power could make a big comeback on the Valley’s railroads. And locals can help. Fundraising for a visit by a vintage steam locomotive to Railroad Days, the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie is one beneficiary of the Seattle Foundation's Give Big benefit, held for a single day, Tuesday, May 6. The museum hopes to raise $12,000 to bring a 1909 steam train to town.
‘They’ve never seen anything this huge’: Massive mess, few injuries when North Bend pizza place explodes
First they felt it. Then they heard it. Many thought it was an earthquake. The blast that woke North Bend in the predawn darkness on Friday, April 25, was centered on the former Pizza Place restaurant at 540 East North Bend Way, shuttered for years but recently under remodel construction. Nothing of the restaurant was left after a huge explosion tore the building to bits, hurling beams and pipes dozens of feet in all directions, and coating much of North Bend, for a quarter of a mile or more in all directions, with bits of insulation and debris.
In their after-game huddle, Mount Si’s fastpitch team gave out praise in the form of claps. Seniors who held it down in last week’s road match against the Sammamish Totems earned double-claps. So did younger players who showed fire in defensive plays. The Mount Si team battling for a league first place rank doesn’t really have any superstars—there’s no telling in any given game who will surprise or make a big difference. That’s part of its key to success.
Clean-up efforts are already underway in North Bend, following the explosion that leveled a long-closed pizza parlor on North Bend Way. On Friday morning, locals walked along police-tape barriers to witness the damage and debris, which affected homes and businesses for blocks around.
Tennis is not a mean sport. So says doubles player Amber Caudle, who took to the court with partner Emily Schwabe and was perfectly polite, even as the duo beat their Sammamish Totem opponents in two sets. “You can play competitively and still be nice,” Caudle said afterward. There’s certainly no reason for chips on shoulders this season, one of the best that Mount Si’s girls tennis squad has ever had.
Showtime in the garden: Season’s changes on display at North Bend’s Nursery at Mount Si | Photo Gallery
With spring in full swing, color comes quickly to the grounds of North Bend’s Nursery at Mount Si. So staff are hard at work to keep the plants, and the knowledge, growing and spreading to customers. “It’s showtime in the garden business,” says owner Nels Melgaard, who’s at the center of the activity.