Take a Trip Through Our Community’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:

- The Yelm Police Department was in the process of unionizing back in September of 1976. The department contacted people at the state to get the ball rolling.

- Charles Wright Academy was next on the docket to compete against the Tornados in Yelm during the league opener.

- The Tornados football team beat Montesano 6-0 in their home opener.

- A work party was set to work along the Nisqually River Delta on Saturday, Sept. 25. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was set to give an ecological presentation at 1:30 p.m. at the delta that same day.

- With incumbent George Yantis losing the primary election to George Barner, the Thurston County commissioners were set to see at least one fresh face on the board in November 1976. Also during the primary, county voters aligned with a trend in the rest of the state, voting for Henry Jackson in the U.S. Senate race with 17,745 votes, or 68.8 percent.

- The annual dance for Yelm High School was scheduled for Friday, Sept. 24. The band “Riverfox” was set to play music at the event, which ran from 10 p.m. to midnight.

- V. Zimmerman applied for a $20,000 building permit for a residence at the Thurston County Engineer’s Office.

- Anita Rotondo, of Roy, was appointed as the new postmaster for the city.

A Look Back at This Week, 35 Years Ago:

- Yelm City Hall was the site of arson, as the clerk’s office, mayor’s office and building department went up in flames. The library-council chambers were damaged by the smoke the fire caused, along with some library books.

- Yelm football ousted Tenino 21-9, though a lightning storm made the teams stop halfway through the Friday night game. The teams returned on Saturday to finish the competition.

- Marcia Costello, principal of Yelm Middle School, resigned moments before the school board meeting, citing differences with district administration.

- Mayor Ron Lawton approached Yelm Community Schools with the offer of joining forces to bring a swimming pool to town.

- A Yelm woman received probation and a $280 fine for animal cruelty against her four horses. She was barred from owning grass-grazing animals in the future. Her original 10-day sentence was cancelled due to concerns for her health.

- Gertrude and Harry Rich celebrated their 50th anniversary on Oct. 5, 1986.

- Lesner R. Rygg, 83, of Yelm, died Sept. 17, 1986. Rygg was born in Osnabrock, North Dakota and moved to Yelm in 1984 from Tacoma.

A Look Back at This Week, 25 Years Ago:

- Yelm, Rainier, Roy and McKenna were the sight of a historic presidential visit from President Bill Clinton. The Yelm Police Department was praised for their efforts in coordinating Clinton’s tour through the area. Clinton invited 73 Prairie Elementary students to sing at his inauguration if he were to be reelected in November 1996. Yelm resident Tom Philips, 80, recalled giving Clinton his first campaign contribution after the then boy claimed he would be president back in 1958 in Hope Arkansas.

- Longtime resident and consummate volunteer Paul Quails, 65, died on Monday, Sept. 23, 1996, at Madigan Army Medical Center after battling lung cancer and suffering a stroke and heart attack.

- Gladys “Pete” (Rice) Neat, died Aug. 28, 1996. Neat was born Oct. 22, 1917 in Yelm.

- Loretta and Steven Harder announced the birth of their son, Cody, who was born on Sept. 17, 1996.

A Look Back at This Week, 15 Years Ago:

- Yelm resident David Woodcock, 60, went over the center lane on Highway 510 and struck several other vehicles, resulting in his death.

- The “Life After RSE” event was held. Thirty former Ramtha School of Enlightenment students met and discussed their time at the school. One resident said she paid about $13,000 to the school for “events” over a period of 10 years.

- A camper and wood home burned to the ground at the 15000 block of 119th Avenue one morning in late September 2006.

- Another fully-involved fire took down a camper and fifth-wheel on Old McKenna Road.

- Southeast Thurston and EMS Co-fire Chief Rita Hutchenson said recent fires were an example of why the fire levy lid lift would have been useful if it hadn’t been turned down by voters as she discussed the primary election in September of 2006.

- Several Yelm primary mail-in ballots were returned to voters in 2006 after votes had been counted.

- The Mountaineers football team toppled the Toledo Indians 21-14, bringing their record to 4-0.


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