2013 rewind: The year in local news

10:22 am January 2nd, 2014

By Pat Jenkins
The Dispatch
Time flew last year. It doesn’t seem that long ago that 2013 was ringing in, but here we are 12 months later with a new year.
For auld lang syne’s sake, here’s 2013 in review as the year unfolded locally in the pages and online edition of The Dispatch.


Same-sex couples in Pierce County haven’t wasted any time heading for the altar after being cleared by voters to legally marry. In approximately the first month since the legalization of same-sex marriage in Washington, the county issued licenses to 161 such couples.
Machaela Graddy’s prowess as a soccer player at Eatonville High School has gained statewide attention with her selection for the All-State class 1A team for the 2012 season. The honor was voted on by members of the Washington State Soccer Coaches Association (WSSCA).
Eatonville School District superintendent Rich Stewart formally tells the School Board that he’ll resign June 30. Stewart, 64, said he wants to spend more time with his family.
Two people in Pierce County have died of the flu so far this year in what health officials are describing as the earliest-arriving flu season in 10 years.
Warren Smith, returning to an office he held once before, joins the Bethel School Board after being appointed to replace former member Ron Morehouse, who resigned.


Plans are announced for Pierce County’s Sheriff Department’s 20-officer Mountain Detachment to relocate its office from just outside of Eatonville to the basement of Town Hall.
Joseph Gomez of Graham-Kapowsin High School wins the 195-pound championship in the 4A division of the Mat Classic XV state wrestling tournament at the Tacoma Dome.
Eatonville Family Agency’s board chooses Lori Culver to be the social services organization’s new executive director.


Booth Gardner, who was Pierce County’s first county executive and went on to become a two-term governor of Washington, then after leaving office applied to be superintendent of Eatonville School District, died at the age of 76 from complications of Parkinson’s disease.
The names of 11 National Park employees – including Mount Rainier National Park rangers Margaret Anderson and Nick Hall – who died in the line of duty have been enshrined at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Kenn Kildahl, a former Eatonville Town Council member, dies at the age 65. As a state wildlife agent, he was active in stocking a pond at Smallwood Park for kids’ fishing. The council later names the pond in his memory.


The message for Eatonville School District officials was clear: Improve your financial house, but leave Columbia Crest Elementary School alone. About 100 people attended a one-hour public meeting hosted by the School Board for citizen input on the district’s budget problems. Of the 24 speakers who took their turn with the microphone, all strongly opposed the option of possibly closing Columbia Crest as a money-saving move.
First Citizens Bank officials in Raleigh, N.C. announce that the branch in Eatonville will close in July, one of four such actions the bank is taking at four locations in Washington.
The team from Eatonville High School finishes second in the 1A division of the Knowledge Bowl state competition, which tests aptitude in math, science, history, language skills, literature, music and geography.


A single-engine airplane that was forced off its original course by bad weather skidded off the runway and struck a house during a landing at Swanson Field in Eatonville, resulting in minor injuries to the plane’s pilot and one passenger.
Lucas Hatton finished second in two events and teammate Logan Moose placed in the top five in two others to pace Eatonville High School in the state 1A track and field championships in Cheney.
A community-based fund-raising drive has produced nearly $34,000.that will enable the Roxy Theater in Eatonville to convert to a digital film projection system and stay in business. Its owners said the 71-year-old theater would have closed without the switch.
Community togetherness in Eatonville has its 87th annual incarnation during Community Day. It features dancing, displays, awards and activities to promote a strong relationship among schools, businesses and the general public.
Krestin Bahr, a Tacoma School District administrator, is announced as the new Eatonville School District superintendent.


Graham Fire and Rescue chief Reggie Romines retires, ending a 40-year career in firefighting.
The classes of 2013 graduate at Eatonville, Graham-Kapowsin and Bethel high schools.


Ryan Baskett takes the reins as chief of Graham Fire and Rescue, which serves an area where he was born and raised.
The 13th annual Relay for Life in Eatonville draws 22 teams and a combined 179 individuals who raise $48,015 for the Ameican Cancer Society.
Niagara Bottling, the largest family-owned bottled water manufacturer in the U.S., announces plans to open a $50 million, 311,000-square-feet bottling facility in Frederickson that will initially create 36 jobs.
Bob Schaub announces he won’t seek re-election after 12 years as an Eatonville Town Council member.
Fire in a building at Swanson Field in Eatonville destroys two airplanes and two automobiles. The blaze started when fuel being drained from one of the planes ignited accidentally.


One day after finishing fourth in the primary election race for mayor, Eatonville Town Councilman Jim Valentine resigns unexpectedly and without explanation.
Art, music and good times were in abundance during the 42nd annual Eatonville Lions Club Art Festival.
Police broke up a candlelight vigil involving more than 100 people at Mill Pond Park in Eatonville because they hadn’t obtained permission to use it and were there after hours. The participants, who were memorializing a teenage girl who died in an accident, criticize the police action.


Regulations established by the Liquor Control Board would allow 31 stores in Pierce County to sell marijuana under Washington’s voter-approved, legalized market for recreational use of the drug.
About 175 people take the time to serve the Eatonville community by volunteering for beautification projects as part of the 9-11 National Day of Service and Remembrance.
Security has been tightened at schools in the Bethel School District for the start of the 2013-14 school year. During school hours, all school doors will be locked, and parents and other visitors will be admitted only after school staff use a camera and intercom to identify them.
Three mountain climbers from Canada were rescued from Mount Rainier after falling into a crevasse. Two climbers are airlifted to Harborview Medical Center for treatment of serious injuries.


Emily Randolph, 15, of Eatonville is eliminated from “The Voice” after a lengthy run in the nationally televised talent show on the NBC network.
Graham-Kapowsin High School clinches its first South Puget Sound League 4A South division championship by whipping Beamer 35-10.
Emily Saito is crowned as Eatonville High School’s Daffodil Festival princess.
Large crowds turn out for the first Eatonville Salmon Fest, hosted by the Nisqually Tribe and the Nisqually River Council.
Northwest Trek Wildlife Park’s effort to save Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits earns national notice when the prestigious North American Conservation Award is presented by the Association of Zoos and Aquarium during a convention in Kansas City, Mo. It’s the second year in a row the wildlife park near Eatonville has won the award.
Mount Rainier National Park reopened to visitors after a budget stalemate between Congress and the White House ended Wednesday with a budget agreement that halted a 16-day shutdown of the federal government.
James Schrimpsher, an Algona Police Department detective, is appointed to the Eatonville Town Council.
A five-mile section of State Route 7 in the Alder Canyon area near La Grande reopens to traffic after a three-month closure while crews built a wall to stabilize a hillside prone to landslides.
A storm that added to record amounts of rain in the Puget Sound region also spawned a rare tornado that damaged buildings and railroad cars in the Frederickson industrial area. No injuries were reported.


Three days before his loss in a race for Thurston County auditor becamem official, Gary Alexander resigned as a state legislator representing south Pierce County.
In races for town of Eatonville offices, Mike Schaub is elected as mayor and Bob Walter wins a contest for Town Council against Ray Harper, who runs for council instead of re-election as mayor.
South Pierce Fire and Rescue’s bond measure seeking money for new and remodeled fire stations doesn’t pass, falling short of the 60 percent supermajority of voters.
King’s blanks Eatonville 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the state 1A high school girls soccer tournament.
Casey Park is chosen as Graham-Kapowsin High School’s new Daffodil Festival princess.


Eatonville School District officials are bolstering security at school buildings with an automated school lockdown system.
The County Council won its struggle with County Executive Pat McCarthy by overturning her veto of council legislation that prohibits licensed marijuana vendors and manufacturers from doing business in Pierce County until Congress removes pot from the list of federally controlled substances.
The body of a worker who died after a silo at Wlcox Family Farms in Roy collapsed, burying him under tons of corn, has been recovered.
Owners Terry and Sharon Van Eaton mark the 50th year of their Eatonville business, Founding Family Antiques.
For the first time, the semi-annual Santa’s Bikes drive in Eatonville tops 100 donated bicycles as gifts for underprivileged children.
Teague James and Foster Sarell of Graham-Kapowsin High are named to the Associated Press All-State football team for 4A high schools.

MAY: A single-engine airplane sits next to a home it struck after skidding out of control while landing at Swanson Field in Eatonville. (Michelle Pate/Dispatch file photo)

MAY: A single-engine airplane sits next to a home it struck after skidding out of control while landing at Swanson Field in Eatonville. (Michelle Pate/Dispatch file photo)

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