A Look Back: Take a trip through our area’s rich history


Enjoy these snapshots of articles written in past issues of the Nisqually Valley News from 45, 35, 25 and 15 years ago, respectively.

A Look Back at This Week, 45 Years Ago

• An additional 14,062-square-feet of floor space was added to the existing Yelm Telephone Company building as the company moved into the new area. Featured in the single-story structure was a drive-up window for use by customers paying their accounts.

• Shauna Dickson, 9, of Yelm, placed fourth in the gymnastic mini-national held in Tacoma. She was a student of the Puget Sound School of Gymnastics in Tacoma, where the competition was held on Dec. 3, 1978.

• Bud Ockfen was elected president of the Nisqually Valley Rockhounds. His wife, Lucille, was voted vice president. Lillie Norman was voted secretary-treasurer, and Bruce Painter was voted to be the federation director.

• Clownball — a basketball game with a show — was featured in the Yelm fieldhouse on Dec. 15 when the Harlem Clown arrived for a contest. The Clowns combined razzle-dazzle ball handling, precision pass patterns, trick shooting, fancy dribbling and comedy.

A Look Back at This Week, 35 Years Ago

• Music students in Yelm schools performed for the public in many free events, including Christmas in the Park, the Christian Women’s Society meeting, the Prairie PTA annual potluck family get-together and the high school winter concert in the fieldhouse.

• Two vehicle accidents caused vehicle damage but few physical injuries to the drivers. Penny Goodman of Yelm struck a pole after swerving her vehicle to miss an on-coming speeding motorist. Jim Marsh was proceeding toward Yelm on Vail Road when he lost control on a curve, crossed the road and proceeded down a slight hill, striking a tall bank and coming to rest on the vehicle’s top.

• Yelm High School’s Ted Riddall was named to the all-league first team as a running back and as a defensive back, and he was named to the second team as a kick returner. Kurt Kominski earned first-team honors as a linebacker and second-team honors as a tight end, while Mike Henslee was the first-team punter.

• Dolores Cloran was selected by the Yelm School Board to fill the seat being vacated by board member Marion Nelson. Cloran previously served as the Yelm Municipal Court administrator.

A Look Back at This Week, 25 Years Ago

• Two Yelm men were charged with vehicular homicide in separate accidents. Shawn Klontz, 23, of Yelm, was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide and failing to remain at the scene of a hit-and-run accident that caused the death of a pedestrian. Klontz was arrested in an accident that claimed the life of a Roy bicyclist.

• Due to budget cuts, Yelm Police Department had to have one less police officer at the end of the year. Officer Jeff Wilkinson was slated to ride his last patrol on Dec. 30, 1998.

• Yelm Billiards, a Yelm Avenue pool hall in operation for less than a year, was warned by Yelm police in October 1998 that it may have to close its doors after undercover police officers stated they had observed at least three drug dealers using the business for sales and delivery of narcotics.

• Rainier High School hosted the Thurston County wrestling championships on Dec. 5, 1998, and won the overall team title.

A Look Back at This Week, 15 Years Ago

• The Thurston County HOME Consortium allocated $500,000 for new low-income housing in Yelm. The $7.4 million construction project was slated to start in August of 2009.

• Citizens of Rainier attended Rainier City Council meetings demanding their neighbors be forced to follow the nuisance abatement ordinance. This came after the city won a long-fought lawsuit with a property owner on Tipsoo Loop.

• Yelm Cinemas adopted a new mascot, Reel E Cool, on Nov. 25, 2008. Cool was used for more than just promotional purposes, as his first job assignment was to help get customers and the community excited about a holiday food drive.

• The only thing keeping Walmart from building a connector to 103rd Avenue was a permit from the state Department of Transportation. A stipulation for approving the super-store was that the connector had to be built 18 months after right-of-way was purchased, which occurred in July 2007.