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Sequim’s newsmakers of 2010
It was a year marked by challenge, change and a renewed commitment to our community.In 2010 public officials made difficult decisions to balance dismal budgets. Sequim’s city leadership was turned around. Several high-profile deaths and disturbing crimes shocked and saddened neighbors and friends. Despite the slow climb to recovery after the Great Recession, voters passed a levy to increase funding to libraries. Regional groups raised $75,000 to keep Hurricane Ridge Road open year-round. A long dreamed-of health clinic opened its doors on Fifth Avenue.
In offering a chance to reflect, the good and the bad of 2010 are presented below, as chosen by Sequim Gazette staff.
School, library levies pass
In February, voters approved a three-year, $14.7 million maintenance and operations levy proposal for the Sequim School District by a nearly 60-40 margin.The levy dollars help reduce class sizes, upgrade curricula, buy supplies and materials, refurbish facilities and restore a number of programs that district officials cut in recent months and years.
More books, materials and longer hours are on their way in 2012 with the passing of the North Olympic Library System’s levy lid lift.
Optimism was high among supporters, who voted 59 percent in favor of paying 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation for 2011. Paula Barnes, the library system’s executive director, said the new levy lid lift for one year helps with financial security for the next 10 years.
City sees changes in staff
Three key positions within the city of Sequim ranks saw changes in 2010.Frank Needham, Sequim capital projects chief, was laid off in May.
City Manager Steve Burkett ended the contract of then-police chief Bob Spinks in July. The city hired Bill Dickinson, former chief of police in SeaTac, Burien and Tigard, Ore., in August.
In October, Dennis Lefevre, then planning director for the city, announced he would leave his position after eight-and-half years. B&G Club makes director switchIn May, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula announced the resignation of executive director Bob Schilling.
He was hired in June 2007 to succeed Todd Bale, who hadn’t been in the position for more than a year.
At the time of his hiring, Schilling was senior executive for the Boy Scouts of America in Clallam and Jefferson counties.
Mary Budke served the organization as interim director until November, when she was named the executive director.
She’s worked her way up since 2004 when she started as a summer program counselor, then snacks coordinator and teen room supervisor. In 2006, Budke was promoted to unit director of the Carroll C. Kendall club in Sequim, where she created and implemented KinderKids, a kindergarten enrichment program.
Elections send Sequim candidates to House
Two Sequim men will be serving in the Washington State Legislature after winning November’s election.Kevin Van De Wege, who will be serving his third term, and Steve Tharinger, a Clallam County commissioner serving his first term, defeated their Republican opponents in an intense race that featured debates in front of hundreds of voters.
Nearly 75 percent of registered voters in Clallam County cast their ballots in the election.
Van De Wege received 7,700 more votes than opponent Dan Gase, of Port Angeles. Tharinger won with 2,873 over Jim McEntire, of Sequim. In Clallam County voting, McEntire topped Tharinger by more than 1,100 votes while Van De Wege edged Gase by less than 270 ballots.
Jamestown clinic opens
The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe opened a medical clinic, the Jamestown Family Health Clinic, on North Fifth Avenue in June after seven years of planning and more than a year of construction.The 35,000-square-foot building has room for 18 providers and started seeing an average of 200 patients a day from its opening.
The tribe received 2.5 acres for the clinic from Olympic Medical Center.
Hurricane Ridge Road goes year-round
Local agencies came together to fund the year-round operation of Hurricane Ridge Road in hopes the increased access will help tourism revenue.On Aug. 16, the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce presented a check of $75,000 to the U.S. Park Service, which had agreed to supplement the $75,000 with $250,000 to keep the road open.
The Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club held several fundraisers and garnered more than $16,000 for the effort. Clallam County and the city of Port Angeles donated $20,000 each, with Sequim pitching in $5,000 and 7 Cedars Casino $2,500. The Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce donated $2,000, the Olympic Peninsula Bed and Breakfast Association donated $1,000, Capacity Provisioning raised $2,000 by auctioning off a fiber optic service, and $3,000 was donated by the Olympic Peninsula Tourism Commission.
Pastor goes to prison
A former Sequim pastor was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison after he was convicted of child sex crimes in Clallam County Superior Court.Steven Welty, 59, was arrested in August and charged with six counts of child rape, six counts of child molestation and six counts of incest.
Judge S. Brooke Taylor found Welty guilty on all charges after a two-day non-jury trial on Oct. 6. The crimes occurred at least once a year from the time the victim was 4 years old until she was 11, and two other family members testified they had been subjected to similar abuse at similar ages.
Mountain goat kills manA Port Angeles man was gored to death by a mountain goat Oct. 16 near Hurricane Ridge after trying to keep it away from his hiking partners.
Robert Boardman was hiking with his wife and a female friend on the Klahhane Ridge trail when a large male mountain goat approached them. Boardman told the women to continue on without him while he attempted to make the goat leave.
The goat attacked Boardman and gored him through the thigh then stood over him while onlookers tried to help him.
First aid and CPR were administered at the scene once the goat was scared away and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter transported Boardman to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles where he was pronounced dead.
Park spokesman Barb Maynes said it was the first incident of its kind in park history.
Other top stories readers might have missed:
Tragedy near Sequim airportTwo Sequim men were killed on Jan. 8 when their RV-8 experimental aircraft crashed in a field north of Sequim Valley Airport.
They were identified as 68-year-old Carroll B. “Jeep” Larson, the pilot, and 61-year-old Bob Reandeau Sr.
Heroes join Haiti helpersMedics from Clallam County Fire District 3 joined the international relief effort in Haiti in February.
After a 7.0 earthquake on Jan. 12 hit Port-au-Prince that killed an estimated 600,000 people and left hundreds of thousands missing, a quartet of Sequim-area medics joined a team of Seattle nurses to provide medical assistance.
Sequim High boasts seven valedictoriansThey have different career goals and plans for college, but seven Sequim High School 2010 graduates are inexorably linked by their academic ranking: tied for first.
The seven graduates — Turi Anderson, Kyla Hall, Jason Kowitz, Nicole Masangkay, Chase O’Neil, Caitlin Pallai and Meredith Roberts — each earned 4.0 grade-point-averages for what some school officials say is the biggest group of co-valedictorians in school history.
Linguist reveals new Sequim translationDr. Timothy Montler, a research professor in linguistics at the University of North Texas, revealed this summer that the Klallam translation for prefix of the word Sequim means “reason, thing, or place for,” that the root means “shoot” (with gun or bow and arrow) and the ending means, “go to.”
Previous translations indicated the word Sequim meant “quiet waters.”