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Year In Review: The Stories That Made Top Headlines In 2013

(Editor’s note: In this edition of The Enterprise, we take a look back at the last six months of 2013 and the stories that made front-page news.)

JULY

Bingen public works officials cited high temperatures for the cause of buckled sidewalks in several places throughout the town. The most noticeable damage to the sidewalk was in front of the office of Dickey’s Farms where a slab of cement buckled so much that it cracked in half and a gap formed underneath.

Fire crews battled a wildfire at Major Creek early in July that spread to 150 acres and closed a portion of Old Highway 8 for multiple days. The Major Creek Fire started on July 3 and took three days to completely contain. No one was hurt and no structures were damaged while the fire spread west of Major Creek and east of Catherine Creek.

A ceremonial groundbreaking at the site where Insitu’s new 127,525 square-foot production facility is being built on Bingen Point occurred on July 10. The event brought together most of the partners who played key roles in helping to move the multi-million project from conceptualization to realization. They included respresentatives from Insitu’s parent company, The Boeing Co., and local, state and federal elected officials, including Gov. Jay Inslee. The ceremony took place nearly four years after Insitu issued a call for proposals for a business campus in the Columbia River Gorge.

SDS Lumber Company and Bingen were featured in a new commercial for Dodge Ram pickup trucks. The trucks rumbled through the SDS mill and around a construction site while shots of the Columbia River Gorge, Portland, and Astoria were thrown in the commercial mix.

Longtime White Salmon dentist Curt Mathisen died while on a dental mission to Peru.

AUGUST

The White Salmon Valley School District Board of Directors voted to require students at Henkle Middle School to wear uniforms to physical education classes. One of the biggest reasons for requiring the shorts and T-shirts just for physical education was hygiene.

Voters in Klickitat County Emergency Medical Services Dis-trict No. 1 on Aug. 6 validated the election to authorize an emergency medical services (EMS) levy for six years and were passing the measure with nearly 70 pecent of the vote running in favor.

A manhunt that spanned most of Aug. 22 resulted in the Bingen-White Salmon Police Department and other law enforcement agencies to apprehend Charles Kuneki for multiple warrants in Klickitat and Skamania counties. Kuneki was wanted by Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Enforcement on two warrants, Skamania County Sher-iff’s Office on a drug-related warrant, and Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office on a domestic violence charnge. He was also a suspect in a motor vehicle theft and of stealing a gun out of a car in Bingen.

SEPTEMBER

The Washington Supreme Court issued an unanimnous decision to uphold a Site Certification Agree-ment for a 35-turbine windfarm to be built in southeastern Skamania County between Willard and Underwood on private timberland. The ruling capped a process that began in March 2009 with Whistling Ridge Energy Partner’s filing their project application with the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council.

After more than a year of negotiations, Bingen and the International Union of Operating Engineers reached an agreement regarding cost of living increases and insurance benefits. The collective bargaining agreement with the union, of which five city employees belong, was unanimously passed by the Bingen City Council.

NorthShore Medical Gorup was named as one of two locations in Klickitat County where those eligible could enroll for low-cost health insurance through the Affordable Care Art.

Three schools in White Salmon were placed on lockdown just before dismissal on Sept. 12 when law enforcement officials responded to an individual walking past the elementary school with a gun on their hip. No incident stemmed from the man carrying the gun near the schools and the man never stopped near any school or made an attempt to engage with students, parents or teachers. The man was of age to carry a weapon and had a concealed weapons permit.

OCTOBER

A 29-year-old Lyle man suspected of robbing the Lyle Post Office on Oct. 1 was arrested by Klickitat County Sheriff’s deputies following a brief foot pursuit. Deptuies booked Randal Lee Osborn into the county jail on the charges of first-degree robbery, second-degree assault, and third-degree theft. A knife and an undisclosed amount of cash were found on Osburn at the time of his arrest.

The Mt. Adams Park and Recreation District’s board of commissioners decided to proceed with development of an aquatic center in the west end of Klickitat County. The commissioners based their decision on the findings contained in a twice-revised Aquatic Feasibility Student prepared over the summer by TSE Consulting. Intitially, the commissioners agreed to focus on the level of service the aquatic center should offer, rather than the type of center to be built.

A change order was approved by the Bingen City Council as the discovery of groundwater and “unsuitable soil” was discovered during Phase II construction the town’s skatepark.

The County Board of Commis-sioners enacted a moratorium on Oct. 15 in response to the potential impacts of the state’s new recreational marijuana law. The commissioners took the measure because at the time the county’s land use ordinances did not contain regulations for such activities as growing, processing, and selling marijuana for public consumption.

NOVEMBER

Klickitat County Port District No. 1’s temporary levy lid lift request failed by a more than 2-to-1 margin on Election Night, Nov. 7, as more than 68 percent of returned ballots said No to the proposition.

The White Salmon City Council approved an ordinance amending the city’s vehicle code to regulate the stopping, standing, and parking of vehicles inside the city limits, including limiting parking on Jewett Boulevard between Main and Estes avenues to two hours per vehicle on week days, and banning over-night parking in the same area.

Everybody’s Brewing canned it’s first batch for brew – roughly 9,600 cans of Country Boy and another 9,600 cans of Little Sister ISA were processed.

The White Salmon City Council voted 4-0 to approve an ordinance granting an exclusive organics recycling franchise to Dirt Huggers, LLC, to provide compost collection and processing to city residents on a fee-for-service basis. The rights will remain in force for three years. Persons wanting the service must contact city hall.

DECEMBER

White Salmon Council approved an annexation petition from the Six S Company. Now, more than 63 acres owned by the Stevenson family located on both sides of NW Lincoln Street is now part of the city limits.

A group of residents of Klickitat County Fire Protection District No. 3 has started a lawsuit in Superior Court challenging Fire District No. 3 Commissioners’ decision to make the district’s property tax levy permanent at 92 center per $1,000 of assessed valuation. As one of its options following a special community meeting, the fire board approved a resolution calling for a special election for Feb. 11 to reaffirm its decision to make the Fire District’s current level of property tax funding permanent.

The White Salmon Valley School Board of Directors unanimously approved running a three-year $2.63 million maintenance and operation levy. The election date will be on Feb. 11.

Three food banks in Klickitat County and one in Skamania County are looking for ways to ensure food continues to make it to the shelves and to those in need after the Washington Gorge Action Programs (WGAP) was forced to eliminate its delivery services indefinitely.

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