The Year in Review: 2012


Due in part to my age, this past year seemed to fly by at almost supersonic speed.

I’m not sure what climate change had to do with it, but our winter was brutal and the snow up in Squalor just kept falling right through our spring and summer seemed sneak by almost undetected. Fall wasn’t too bad and, so far, this winter hasn’t been a complete loss . . .

So, in recapping the year 2012 – and the end of the Mayan calendar – some of the bright spots might offset the post fiscal cliff blues for a moment or two:

January – While Deer Lake and other Stevens County residents were up in arms over increased property assessments, Chewelah’s Performing and Cultural Arts board said that they remained committed to securing an appropriate community facility (theater) for the performing and cultural arts.

John May, Nichole Bowe, and Carra Nupp were sworn in as new members of the Chewelah City Council.

By the end of the month, Stevens County Assessor Al Taylor explained that the state claims that Stevens County property has been undervalued and that it is not over-assessed. Taylor explained to property owners that the “values are LOW.”

February – Angered by increased property assessments, about 250 M.A.D. property owners demonstrated against governmental tyranny on the snow-covered lawn of the county courthouse.

The local Kiwanis club announced the sale of Chewelah Manor to a newly formed nonprofit organization.

Voters approved the local school district’s Maintenance and Operations Levy but rejected a short-term capital levy to improve Snyder Track and Field facilities.

Three of the five Chewelah wrestlers who made it to the state championships placed in the finals – Adam Collins and Dalton Mudgett placed 7th and Russell Smith placed 5th in their weight classifications.

March – After two years of planning, Chewelah’s new community radio station (KCHW) began broadcasting on FM 102.7.

The Independent publisher Jared Arnold announced that digital newspaper archives are now available at the Chewelah library, after 109 years of printed weekly newspapers The Independent added a digital online version at

With forecasts calling for winter driving conditions through Easter weekend, studded tire use was extended until April 16.

Mallorie Powell was named Distinguished Young Woman for 2012 with alternates Atasha Edwards and Daniele Bradley.

April – Carl Walden, the son of early Addy area homesteaders, turned 100 years old.

The boys JHS tennis team swept Lakeside and Riverside to open the season.

Several local citizens agreed to donate a total of $20,000 to keep the city swimming pool open for at least 8 weeks this summer.

May – A Spokane fisherman drowned in Waitts Lake on opening day.

Of all the small town festivals in the northwest, according to readers of The Pacific Northwest Inlander, Chewelah’s Chataqua stands out above all the rest.

Vintage cars and motorcycles returned to Chewelah’s annual Nostalgia Days car show sponsored by the Chokes and Spokes Antique Car Club.

Zack Schneider won the state championship in the 110-meter high hurdles.

A local retired couple, Loren and Donna Hafer, won an $11 million Washington Lotto jackpot.

June – JHS named the top 2012 graduates as Valedictorian Emmet Patton and Salutatorian Colter Garcia.

The Chewelah city council voted to meet twice a month. Future meetings will be on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month at 6:30 p.m.

The local Safeway store donated $10,000 to the Chewelah Food bank. The money was part of the $110,000 the store received from the sale of the $11 million Lottery ticket sold to the Hafers. The balance will be donated to other charities at the regional division’s discretion.

After more than 50 years in Chewelah as a nurse and dedicated volunteer, 91-year-old Mary Firor was named Chewelah’s Honored Citizen for 2012.

July – The month opened with a concert by the “Jazz in Blue” ensemble of the Air National Guard Band of the Northwest to a full crowd in the Chewelah City Park.

Local police and sheriff’s deputies searched Chewelah Creek to recover items stolen in recent burglaries.

As the Department of Wildlife confirmed a seventh Washington State wolf pack they also confirmed a wolf attack on sheep in northeast Washington. The sheriff and wildlife agents also responded to wolf and cougar attacks in Laurier just east of the Kettle River near the Canadian border.

Herrick, Men In the Making, The Kelly Hughes Band and Nobody Famous were featured on CenterStage during Chataqua 2012.

August – Donny and Marty Brooks were chosen as the 2012 Grand Marshals for the 80th Valley Community Fair.

After spending nearly $94,000 for property on the southwest corner of East Main and Fourth Street purchased in 2004, the city council agreed to sell it to Frank Sety for $80,000.

Morihiko Nakahara will conduct the Spokane Symphony Orchestra’s 10th annual Music on the Mountain concert.

State wildlife managers killed a wolf from a pack that has repeatedly preyed on livestock in a remote area of northeast Washington for the past five years.

Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital was one of 10 critical access hospitals nationwide to receive the 2012 VHA Leadership Award for Clinical Excellence.

September – With school back in session, the JHS Cougar football team was ready for its season opener against Deer Park. Although they lost their opener, the Cougs shocked the Colville Indians 45-21 in Colville.

The Chewelah City Council discovered they could no longer transfer money from the electric utility fund to the general fund starting in 2013 in result of audit findings. The council then began the process for finding ways to eliminate $250,000 from the general fund.

The Chamber of Commerce dinner and auction featured world-renowned fly tier John Newbury as the featured artist.

Westside Pizza moved from East Main Avenue to new digs in the former state liquor store on North Park and North Country Building Center celebrated 20 years in business.

Former City Administrator Dorothy Knauss was sworn in as the newest member of Chewelah’s City Council.

October – The state Department of Fish and Wildlife concluded actions to eliminate a pack of wolves in Northeast Washington after an agency marksman killed the pack’s alpha male just south of the Canadian border. Several members of the Stevens county Cattlemen’s Association submitted testimony to the WDFW on the resurgence of Gray Wolves in Eastern Washington.

JHS royalty for homecoming included Homecoming King Sam Cobb and Queen Ryann Richmond.

The JHS Cougars won the Northeast 1A League Championship by completing a perfect 6-0 league season with a 55 to 71 victory over Riverside.

An inmate from the Airway Heights Corrections Center on a work crew died of electrocution while cutting a small tree near a power line on Cemetery Road Near Springdale.

November – By act of the city council, Richmond Lane will no longer be used as a taxiway for aircraft.

The investigation by the Department of Fish and Wildlife involving the activities of the Smackout Wolf Pack was inconclusive in terms of a year-old cow discovered dead near Rocky Creek about 20 miles Northeast of Colville.

December – Chewelah received nearly $1 million to improve Main Avenue and Lincoln Avenue.

A benefit dinner was held to help the family of former Chewelah Police Department officer Tom Elwess who was battling cancer. He passed away on Dec. 15, 2012.

The Chewelah City Council approved the 2013 budget, which included eliminating three permanent employee positions and all funding for the pool and library. The city has agreed to allow the district use of the building for three years until alternate funding is available.

Although the world did not come to an end on 12-21-2012, there are some signs that leadership in Washington, D.C. has, in fact, come to an end.

Compiled by Lew Arnold, The Independent Staff

In This Photo: Chewelah’s 2012 Distinguished Young Woman Mallorie Powell, first alternate Atasha Edwards (right) and second alternate Daniele Bradley (left) were selected in March. Jared Arnold photo