Take a journey through this area’s rich history


Enjoy snapshots of local history written in past issues of the Reflector from 30, 20 and 10 years ago, respectively.

A look back at May, 30 years ago

During a meeting on May 16, 1994, three Battle Ground City Council members walked out, citing grievances with Mayor Marvin Brothers, who previously removed Councilman James Correy from the Waste Management Board. Correy called for an executive session during proceedings on May 2 to discuss the city attorney, an action Brothers said did not demonstrate respect for the public. Correy said the mayor planned to fire the city manager, believing it to be an emergency topic. City Councilor Bob Brown called Brothers a “little Caesar” for his retaliation. Brown said, “He’s thinking about getting even. He’s taking responsibilities away from council members,” regarding the mayor’s decision.

Wayne Su Kim, 54, pleaded guilty for the murder of Ridgefield woman Vivian Schurman as part of a plea deal. Clark County Superior Court Judge Thomas Lodge sentenced Kim to 164 months in prison for second-degree murder. Kim had shot Schurman at his apartment on Nov. 8 the previous year, serving 145 days in jail prior to his sentencing.

Hockinson voters rejected Hockinson School District’s proposed maintenance and operation levy on a May 3, 1994, ballot. The levy received 58.1 percent approval from voters, close to the needed 60%-plus-one majority vote required. The levy was expected to increase taxes to $4.37 per $1,000 dollars in property value the following year if approved by voters. Hockinson School District Superintendent Roger Bieber said he was frustrated with the levy’s rejection. He expected to cut staff the following year, as personnel made up roughly 80% of the district’s budget.

A look back at May, 20 years ago

A May 18, 2004, bond proposal for the Battle Ground school district was rejected by voters. The bond would have taken $55 million in property taxes, with $40 million matched by the state. It would have funded the construction of two K-8 school campuses and repairs for existing buildings. At the time, 12,400 students were enrolled in the district. Staff noted that enrollment had increased by 33 percent in the past 10 years, and 1,600 more students were expected to enroll in the next six. Roughly one-third of eligible voters cast their ballots, according to the Clark County Elections Office. Of those, 7,032 voters supported the bond (57.8%), while 5,142 voters rejected it (42.2%). A 60%-plus one vote majority is required to pass bond measures.

Battle Ground neighbors notified the public that a cat killer was on the loose. Since May 2004, 15 cats either died or disappeared from Battle Ground neighborhoods. Most cats were shot with pellet guns, according to cat owners. Pasado’s Safe Haven, an animal welfare group based in Sultan, Washington, put out a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators. Battle Ground neighbors matched a $100 reward, brought forward by a family whose cat was shot in the shoulder by a pellet gun the prior year.

A hearing was held on May 13, 2004, regarding a rezoning proposal near East Fork Lewis River for gravel mining. J.L. Storedahl & Sons Inc. wanted to begin gravel mining on a site near Daybreak Park. Proponents of the plan argued the agreement would provide needed materials for road projects in Washington and hundreds of family-wage jobs. Eleven opponents of the plan spoke during the session, many of whom were from the Friends of the East Fork environmental group. Critics of the plan argued the on-site mining would cause silt to leak into the river and would cause it to run too shallow, both harmful for fish. Speakers who were in opposition to the rezoning called for further groundwater studies at East Fork Lewis River. A future hearing was set for June of that year.

A look back at May, 10 years ago

On May 5 2014, Woodland’s City Council rejected Mayor Grover Laseke’s recommendation to hire a new police officer for a second time. Councilor Al Swindell had moved to hire Vern Thompson, who was police chief of Eagle Point, Oregon, at the time, but the motion failed by lack of a second. Councilman Marshall Allen said the mayor failed to notify the council that Thompson violated three policies during his time in the Kelso Police Department in 2009. A subordinate of Thompson filed a $50,000 civil lawsuit against the City of Kelso, citing intimidation from Thompson while he was her superior. Laseke had reportedly quoted Bible scripture to gain support for his nominee, which did not sit well with some council members. In an interview with The Reflector, Councilor Jennifer Hefferman said the move changed her mind from supporting Laseke due to his “inappropriate” use of scripture in city government.

Battle Ground’s Walmart Supercenter opened its doors to guests on May 21, 2014. Noting the site’s proximity to rural areas including Yacolt and Amboy, store manager Katie Zadak said the new retail store would have large-animal feed available and would focus heavily on its garden center. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held with the Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce before opening hours. Zadak said a few hundred residents attended the celebration.

An American Thoroughbred racehorse named “California Chrome” won the 2014 Kentucky Derby on May 3, 2014. The horse was trained by 2010 Battle Ground High School graduate Anna Wells, who was 21 years old at the time. Wells moved to California in 2012 and later earned a job as a racehorse trainer for the Sherman Team of horses. Wells said, “I get chills watching this horse run. He pulls away from the field of horses with ease,” after watching California Chrome take gold. He was the first California- bred horse to win the derby since 1962.