The Independent takes a look at the top stories of 2016
Compiled by Lew Arnold
The New Year opened with a report that 49 Degrees North was off to a great season following the resort’s best December in many years.
The Chewelah City Council appointed Dee Henderson to fill the vacant seat following the discovery that Jolene McGee did not meet the residency requirement to hold office.
Fire District 1 announced that it would re-run the bond issue that failed in the November 3 general election.
Michael Reed Larsen and Dominick Coleman celebrated their Eagle Scout Court of Honor with Troop 989 in Valley.
The county commissioners passed a one percent property tax increase while local jewelry maker Tim Nielsen announced the opening of a new art gallery at 101 North Park and Portland artist David Anderson announced a month long exhibition of his art at the Trails End Gallery during the month of February.
At least five members of the Dirty Shirt wolf pack surrounded two dogs near a residence in Burnt Valley and attempted an attack until the owner opened fire above their heads and scared them off.
Members of the StageTime Theatre School were selling Wonka Bars from the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory (Heather’s Custom Cakes) as a fund-raiser prior to their presentation of “Willy Wonka, Jr.” in April.
All bond and levy measures in Stevens County, including the Chewelah Track and Field Levy, passed as a result of February’s special election.
JHS students participated in a mock city council meeting as part of their government class.
Johnathan and Matthew Crise each placed first in their weight classifications at the regional wrestling championships and the four JHS wrestlers who placed at the state tournament were Conner Krouse, Kaden Mackowiak, Johnathan Crise and Jesse McCoy.
The JHS girls roundball team defeated Freeman in the district basketball tournament to qualify for the regional competition.
The Chewelah PD was at full strength after hiring two new officers: James Glover and Matthew Miller.
Zillah High School ran over JHS in the regional round of the State 1A Girls Basketball Tournament. Sixth-ranked Zillah bettered Chewelah, 51-31.
Radio station KCHW (102.7 FM) marked its fourth year on the air with a free pancake breakfast, open house, and telethon.
JHS football coach Jim Fisk announced his retirement after 13 years with the Cougar football program.
Superior Court Judge Allen Nielson announced that he would retire at the end of this year.
A local wolf pack was suspected of attacking a young Great Pyrenees dog near Red Marble Road. State wildlife maps show a number of wolf packs surrounding Chewelah – of the 16 wolf packs in Washington, 13 of them reside in Northeast Washington.
Kayti Hilzinger was named the 2016 Distinguished Young Woman of Chewelah. First alternate was Andras Bakken and second alternate was Bailey McCoy.
Fire destroyed the Hansen Logging shop near SR 395 and Logan Road.
Spring was in the air as the annual Chewelah Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt featured 3,000 brightly colored eggs in the City Park while chicks were on sale at North 40 in Colville.
The county Coroner reported that deaths from drug overdoses were up in 2015 compared to 2014.
The “Flags Over Chewelah” promotion easily surpassed its first goal of 55 flags. Organizer Del Barber reported that 71 flag sponsorships were sold.
A Waitts Lake resident fired gunshots over the heads of thieves attempting to take his fishing boat, boots and a new Stihl chainsaw.
Lady Long Rider Bernice Ende planned to stop in Chewelah on her 8,000-mile coast-to-coast horseback ride. She had logged over 28,000 miles over the last 12 years.
Early warm temperatures caused many area cherry trees to put on an early bloom.
JHS hired Levi Hogan as the new football coach. Hogan planned to run a triple option type offense.
Gess Elementary teacher Stephanie Wolfe was named Teacher of the Year by both VFW District 9 and the local VFW post.
Community members came together to repair the damages caused by vandals who struck Chewelah’s Pioneer Cemetery. Damage included headstones which were tipped over and it was reported that some of the damage was permanent.
The WSLCB reported that recreational marijuana sales topped $1.6 million in the county during 2015.
Restoration was underway as the old Indian Agency cabin was readied to receive new sill logs.
JHS baseball coach Luke Jeanneret stepped down as head coach to spend more time with his own children.
Three Cougars captured first place honors in five events during the 1A Track and Field Championships. Maggie Cobb took first in the long jump, 100 meter hurdles and the triple jump while Connor Krouse took first place in the shotput and second in the discus. Kyrstan Miller took first place in the women’s shotput.
Chewelah opened a new recycling and composting facility near the new maintenance shop at South 120 Hunt Street. The center is open to city residents only.
JHS trackster Conner Krouse, Maggie Cobb and Kyrstan Miller earned medals in all six events they entered in the state championships.
JHS graduated another outstanding class with Samantha Trudeau as Valedictorian and Salutatorian Michael Larsen.
Mary Walker’s Class of 2016 included Trevor Crossly as Valedictorian and Salutatorian Eilish Smith.
JHS senior Tiffany Carr received the Mayor’s Youth Award and Tyler Goldman was hired as JHS basketball coach to fill the position vacated by Jason Norman.
Former Colville HS standout Sawyer Bardwell was selected to fill the JHS baseball coaching position vacated by Luke Jeanneret.
The inaugural “Flags Over Chewelah” featured nearly 90 flags on display along Main Avenue.
PACA was gifted $140,000 worth of stage equipment from Tait Towers via Chewelah’s own Matt Hales.
Kay Comer-Lupton was named 2016 Chewelah Honored Citizen in recognition of her many contributions to the community.
Valley School and Paideia HS named school counselor Natalee Reid as Valley Citizen of the Year.
Local dignitaries joined resort owner John Eminger for groundbreaking ceremonies to kick off construction of 49 Degrees North new Sunrise Basin Alpine Glade housing community.
The 43rd annual Chataqua went off without a hitch.
City council awarded a $100,000 airport improvement project to a contractor from Ione.
Chewelah Mayor Dorothy Knauss was elected to the board of directors for the Association of Washington Cities.
Shipping containers were fastened together as a security barrier for the Wildfire Cannabis grow operation south of Chewelah. They were growing 1,940 marijuana plants outside with plans for 90,000 square feet of indoor growing space.
Rev It Up for the Vets’ annual car show hit town along with entertainment by the Six-Strings ‘n Pearls band Friday evening for the Chewelah Arts Guild’s “Dancing with the Cars” event.
The Valley Fair celebrated its 84th anniversary while Chewelah businesses joined in to support the “First Thursday Art Walk” featuring Ed Brobeg’s photography.
After a fourth cattle kill, the Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that they would begin using lethal force against the Profanity Peak wolf pack consisting of at least 11 members.
The Mayor’s Youth Award for August went to JHS sophomore Zakary Kubik.
Resurfacing Chewelah’s Sand Canyon Airport was completed.
The region was hit by three major wildfires in August.
Prompted by more cattle deaths, the WDFW made the decision to kill all members of the Profanity Peak wolf pack.
Stevens County unemployment was 8.2 percent – the lowest in the Tri-County area while the statewide rate remained 5.8 percent.
Owners of the Lodi Water Company north of Chewelah sold their business to Crystal Springs Water Company, a 95-year-old national bottled water company.
Citing concerns about the West Nile Virus and recent cases of Equine Herpes, the Northeast Washington Fair cancelled all horse related events.
The JHS Cougars football team took a first quarter 42-0 lead over Bridgeport and went on to a 48-0 blowout as Bridgeport netted a negative 18 yards for the game. The Cougars went on to the season’s second win (20-0) over Riverside.
Music on the Mountain featured the Spokane Symphony conducted by Jorge Luis Uzcategui performing a variety of opera classics.
For the first time, 49 Degrees North hosted a cross-country meet.
CenturyLink announced plans to upgrade equipment to increase Internet speeds for customers in the Chewelah area in 2017.
KCHW (102.7 FM) upped its broadcast strength to serve most of the county thanks to a new antenna location a few miles west of Chewelah.
Amber Leigh Kennedy, 26, originally from Colville, died in a head-on collision on Flowery Trail Road. The Riverside HS graduate was living in Chewelah at the time of her death.
A seventh member of the Profanity Peak wolf pack in Ferry County was removed with extreme prejudice by the WDFW while Stevens County Commissioners declared wolves within the county a public nuisance. Seven of the 15 attacks by the Profanity Peak pack had occurred after the department began lethally removing them in August.
Despite some opposition, the Chewelah council increased the speed limit from 25 to 35 MPH on Flowery Trail Road between Ehorn Lane and Cottonwood Creek Road intersections.
Chewelah chiropractor Steve Weatherman retired after nearly 40 years in practice.
The community mourned the loss of Don McLaughlin, 66, who died of head injuries after collapsing on his basement stairs.
WDFW suspended its pursuit of the Profanity Peak Pack leaving one female and three juveniles.
Andres Clark of Loon Lake and Isaac Cochran of Chewelah joined the ranks of the Eagle Scouts with a Court of Honor recognizing their achievements.
Jaelynn Skok was named to the All-NEA League second team after a standout volleyball season at JHS.
School Board members gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Snyder Field track.
A Nevada architect was planning to build a $253 million castle on 70 acres overlooking Lake Roosevelt.
Local scouts gathered 1,667 pounds of food during their November food drive.
Santa Claus made an early visit to Chewelah and the Valley school to have breakfasts with many area kids and he took the opportunity to double-check his list of children who had been naughty or nice.
Despite budget problems plaguing area schools, 49 Degrees North announced plans to continue its tradition of providing skiing and snowboarding instruction to students from the Chewelah, Addy and Valley areas.
The JHS boys began their basketball season with a pair of wins over Cusick and Davenport. Elan Krausz and Neils Berger each had 10 points against Davenport. The girls began their season with a loss at home against Davenport (40-58) but recovered for a win at Cusick (45-17) where Maggie Cobb scored 19 points.
Results of second quarter retail sales were available and showed that Chewelah had retail sales of $9.5 million which was nearly 7 percent higher than the same period in 2015.
Senior Isabel Taylor received the final Mayor’s Youth Award for the year.
With the Snyder Field track upgrade, the district was looking to expand parking to accommodate future events.
As the Christmas break approached, the Jenkins Junior/Senior High School was evacuated after a bomb threat was found written on a wall in the school. After a search of the school, law enforcement personnel and a bomb sniffing dog cleared the building and classes were resumed the following day.
The Kiwanis Operation Santa raised over $8,000 to give families in need a better Christmas.
The Independent wished everyone a safe, happy and prosperous New Year.