By Polly Keary, Editor
As 2013 comes to an end, we review the stories that marked each month. The year seemed to be distinguished by a large number of community efforts to assist neighbors. In Sultan, the community rallied to help longtime volunteer Susie Hollenbeck pull through cancer treatments. In Monroe, people set up support structures for a single uninsured mom injured in a hit and run, a 31-year-old man who had to have a heart transplant, the family of a boy who needed a long series of surgeries to correct a stunted leg that otherwise would need to be amputated, and the family of Calvin Bradham, 41, who died after a year-long bout with an aggressive cancer.
Relay for Life raised a record amount in the Sky Valley, and the family of a boy with epilepsy organized a walk to raise money to support families affected by epilepsy and to research treatments. Monroe High School students established a theme of inclusiveness as well as charity for third world schools. Former team mates of the girls basketball program played an alumni game to support their cancer-stricken former coach Alan Dickson.
And a coffee stand on Main Street and US 2 pledged to start donating a percentage of all sales to local and international charities.
But the year was marked with less pleasant events as well. Hardly a month passed without a house fire, and one bad week had two of them. Property crime rose over the summer, a summer that was marred by the murder of a domestic violence victim by her estranged husband. And gun violence broke out on Easter Sunday when the occupants of a car and a house exchanged fire.
Several long-running political and court matters were resolved after years. Walmart won a court victory that cleared he way for construction. The cable park at Lake Tye was granted a final needed permit. A piece of property on the east edge of Monroe was approved for rezone to commercial designation after more than a decade of controversy. And Monroe prison inmate Byron Scherf was sentenced to death for the murder of correctional officer Jayme Biendl in 2011.
Health care options increased in the valley when Providence Medical Center opened a $22 million medical office building, and voters loosened their purse strings, approving levies for both Valley General Hospital and the Monroe Police Department.
A Kent man made the statewide morning news when he apparently drove a truck through the wall of his ex-wife’s Kent home, shot and wounded her, then fled to the Lake Serene trailhead near Index, where he committed suicide.
Debbrah Marie Pesce, 53, was riding a bicycle near Old Owen Road and US 2 when she was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver. She had been struggling with personal problems for some time, and had been homeless for a while, but had been rebuilding her life. She was living at the Brookside Motel and had a housecleaning business, and did a lot of volunteer work around the city.
Update: There still has not been an arrest in the case.
Valley General Hospital got a new CEO. Eric Jensen, who previously ran the Regional Hospital for Respiratory and Complex Care in south Seattle, Forks Community Hospital and Kittitas Valley Community Hospital in Ellensburg, took over for Mike Liepman, who left to run a hospital in Mount Vernon.
Local activists joined others in the region to raise concerns about a potential increase in coal train traffic through the area in coming years, as increasing coal production in the midwest led to more delivery to ships bound for Asia from Washington ports.
It was likely to be several years before the traffic increase began, as coal producers still needed to get export permits and Washington ports needed to expand before they could start handling coal exports.
Update: Amtrak this month canceled five of its western routes on BNSF tracks, which were bought by billionaire Warren Buffet in 2009, citing increased congestion due to coal and oil trains carrying fuel from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin and the Bakken region of North Dakota. The Cherry Point refinery in Anacortes expects to have a crude oil train terminal running within a month, which will add a train a day. So far, there has been an increase of 85 trains per day coming from the Bakken boom. BNSF also cites an increase in grain trains from 60 to 122 per day. The train company plans to invest $125 million on rail improvements in Washington.
Valley General Hospital got a new Chief Nursing Officer. Debbie Brown came over from EvergreenHealth, VGH’s affiliate hospital.
A renovation of a building on Main Street revealed a bit of history when the old siding was removed and exposed an older wall. E-Man Data Recovery was moving into the building vacated by M&M Antiques on the corner of Blakeley and Main and during renovation exposed a wall mural sign of a stare called Lon’s. The owner of the new business hoped to protect the sign and leave it exposed or remove it, protect it, and mount it on the new wall, but the old sign was too fragile. So he made a time capsule, put it in the wall with next to the old sign, and covered it over again, to reopen in 50 years.
The Monroe Monitor ran a three-part series on the struggles of the downtown business region. The year began with 14 storefronts empty in just three blocks of Main Street. Business owners cited low traffic, high rents, parking issues, a suboptimal business mix, the lingering recession, rising utility costs and taxes.
Christine Kies, 40, died January 21, a shock to many parents and students at the Sky Valley Education Center, where she’d been a very popular teacher for about a decade.
Union Bank was robbed by a man who passed a note to a teller, demanding money, then fled on foot. He got away, but got careless at the Tulalip Casino, bragging to a woman of the heist. The woman later went to police, and the man, 53, an Idaho resident, was arrested.
Monroe High School’s Hi-Q team not only saved the high school’s program, the saved the entire regional program, by taking over the management of it from Everett Community College and figuring out how to administrate it much less expensively.
Best friends Sean Peters, 23, and Ryan Kenyon, 25, died in an early morning car crash that shocked and grieved the racing community, of which Peters had been a member since he was a boy. Peters and his father had a racing team called Battlewagon. The two friend had just become roommates in a home in Sultan.
Park Board chairman Jeff Rasmussen had to leave the board when the mayor refused to reappoint him. The mayor citied differences in vision between Rasmussen and the city.
A new Spanish-English kindergarten program proved to be very popular with the parents of the children enrolled.
Business boomed at Monroe’s gun show at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds. Crowds grew to record size, as many worried that gun laws could change in such a way as to curtail gun sales.
Monroe city government celebrated a legal victory when an appeals court ruled an anti-traffic camera initiative invalid. It was an expensive victory; the city spent about $86,000 on legal costs, but the camera program easily covered the cost, generating more than $100,000 in revenue per year. The camera program ends at the end of this year.
Volunteers held a huge work party to finish the work on six transitional housing units that self-help housing company Housing Hope put in place on Fremont Street. The buildings brought the low-cost housing units at Woods Creek Village to 14.
Monroe High School student Taylor Gese, who had been able to get into New York University with support from the Monroe business community, established a scholarship called the Dream Scholarship, in order to pay it forward.
A year after the murder of Jacque Rothenbuhler in Monroe, a suspect still had not been arrested, although the police department continued to work on the case every day.
Former city councilman Geoffrey Thomas announced his intention to run for mayor of Monroe.
Steve Jensen of Monroe created a winning design for a Washington state Lotto ticket. His Martian-themed ticket went on sale in March.
Two houses burned down in the same week. Once was a chimney fire, the other started in a garage, where paint cans and ammunition set off small explosions.
The Monroe School district settled a long-running legal dispute with a former landlord over the early termination of a lease. The district had a lease on a Fryelands building that housed the Sky Valley Education Center. There was $2 million remaining on the lease when the district moved SVEC into an old middle school building, citing changing in school funding, which the contract stated was a legitimate reason to break the lease. The landlord sued, and the district ultimately settled for $900,000, half of which it had been going to pay anyway, for building improvements that had been made.
A farmers market that had been planned for the downtown was postponed for a year, as the organizers hadn’t had enough time to create a good plan. Krishna Raven-Johnson, who had experience with large festivals in Arizona, took the project on, and hopes to produce a large market in 2014.
Monroe High School student Savannah Fordham, 17, was accepted to the extremely exclusive Coast Guard Academy. She received a $325,000 scholarship, and plans to be a helicopter pilot.
A gun fight erupted at an Esther Avenue house on Easter Sunday, when occupants of a car fired on the home, whereupon two men ran from the home and returned fire. The car involved was recovered, and bullet holes were found in it. The incident was thought to be gang-related. Two Monroe men were arrested later in the month after turning themselves in.
With a $127,000 grant, the city of Monroe funded the completion of the Rotary Club’s Miracle Field, a $1.5 million project that created a ball field for disabled kids. The field is a regional destination for the teams of Miracle League, in which volunteers assist the young people to play softball.
The Monroe fairgrounds was host to a new spring festival that brought live music, a root beer garden, a BBQ competition and a carnival to the fairgrounds.
Valley General Hospital had a bad audit, in which the state found many problems with the financial management of the hospital in recent years. New CEO Eric Jensen said that the hospital’s new management team was working to improve financial practices.
Monroe pageant queen Stormy Keffeler, 19, took on a new sort of competition when she started playing football for the Seattle Mist.
After a long and focused campaign, Valley General Hospital supporters celebrated the passage of a tax levy that will bring in as much as $2.2 million in revenue to the struggling hospital each year. In combination with an affiliation with EvergreenHealth of Kirkland, management believed that the levy could stabilize the hospital on a long-term basis.
The long-empty Cyrk building, a large manufacturing building on Fryelands Avenue, became home of vitamin manufacturing giant Natural Factors Group. The Canada-based company makes products for Costco, among other things, and plans to grow some of the ingredients in its preparations on land nearby.
The city of Monroe won a final legal victory over opponents of a Walmart design plan that the city had approved, although opponents argued that it was inconsistent with the city’s own design guidelines for the area. The legal victory cleared the way for construction. Currently earth movers are preparing the land near the intersection of North Kelsey and Chain Lake Road for a new Walmart Supercenter.
Jacoba Ramirez-Rodriguez was murdered by her husband Oscar Garcia Pacheco on the sidewalk on Lewis Street near Main in the early evening. He made accusations against her, then when she went to her car to retrieve a protection order to serve on him, he stabbed her to death with a knife he had bought earlier in the day. He was badly injured in the ensuing arrest. The community rallied and held a vigil against domestic violence in her honor in October in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and police worked to raise awareness of the issue, especially in the Hispanic community.
The fortunes of Main Street seemed to improve over the spring, as eight new businesses came to the downtown. Among them were E-Man Data Recovery, Gumby’s Emporium, Kung Fu Kwoon, SOS Bookkeeping, RD Sportwear, The Paradise Tavern, Camp 1928, and Player’s Music Mart. Some were slower than others to open their doors; Camp 1928, an antiques store, was set back when the owner suffered a broken foot. That business opened this month.
Byron Scherf, 54, a Monroe prison inmate, was found guilty of the 2011 murder of correctional officer Jayme Biendl, after a week-long trial. Scherf admitted to attacking and strangling the woman that evening in the prison chapel, but it was the job of the jury to determine whether Scherf has premeditated the crime. The jury found that he did, paving the way for the death penalty. A week later, the jury handed down a sentence of death. He has been transferred to death row at Walla Walla.
The election season got underway after the deadline for filing for elections. Running for mayor were councilman Ed Davis and former councilman Geoffrey Thomas. Councilman Kevin Hanford faced Brad Waddell, a shift sergeant at the Monroe Correctional Complex. Councilman Kurt Goering was challenged by aerospace worker Dan Williams. Councilwoman Patsy Cudaback ran unopposed. County councilman Dave Somers ran against Republican Chris Vallo of Lake Stevens.
Alumni of the Monroe High School girls basketball program returned to Monroe to play a game to raise funds to support the family of long-time coach Alan Dickson, who was stricken with terminal cancer. The game was also held in the man’s honor. He lead the team to seven state championships in 13 years at Monroe, but more than that, he offered guidance and support, his former team members said.
Supporters of Monroe’s Carswell family held a walk to raise funds to send their son Loch, 3, to Florida for a long series of surgeries to correct a congenital issue in which one leg grew at a normal rate and the other not at all. The surgeries will eventually result in a normal leg and full ability for the young boy. The alternative to the treatment was amputation of the shortened leg.
A house fire on Kelsey Street that fire inspectors initially called suspicious was found to be accidental, the result of a heater placed too closely to combustible materials.
Monroe High School senior Nicota Stevenson was accepted to Yale. The Native American youth credited a third grade teacher for initiating his interest in academic excellence.
Eugene Williams, 83, of Monroe, bowled a perfect 300. He’d been bowling for 50 years, but his last 10 years have been his best.
The class of 2013 graduated with a record amount of scholarship money, earning $5.6 million toward college.
Three firefighters were injured in a Tualco Valley house fire. One had in injured hand that required surgery, another had heat exhaustion, and a third suffered a concussion. Injuries are rare, and the three injuries happened in unrelated instances, making it a very unusual fire.
Monroe’s Relay for Life broke records, raising $124,000 to fight cancer. That was $6,000 more than the previous year. However, ti wasn’t quite enough to make the mayor shave his head: Mayor Robert Zimmerman vowed to shave off his hair if Monroe could raise $200,000.
Twelve players from the Monroe Bearcats flew to Chicago to represent the Seattle Seahawks in a national tournament. The event is part of the High School Player Development Program, and also included a curriculum on life skills and football fundamentals.
Monroe held it’s first-ever Fathers’ Day festival, including a classic car show, an Elvis impersonator, a classic rock band and a 1950s pageant.
Dino Rossi, former senate and gubernatorial candidate, was one of a group of investors that bought Monroe’s Morning Run apartments. They said they believe Monroe has a bright economic future.
The family of Johntiago Arellano, 2, organized a walk to raise money for epilepsy research, as well as to raise awareness of the disorder. Johntiago suffered as many as 30 seizures a day.
Dexter Taylor, a Monroe historian, published a book on Monroe history. The book, published by hyperlocal history press Arcadia, was two years in the making, with Taylor sifting through hundreds of old photos and pieces of ephemera.
A Monroe hiker survived a 50-foot fall over the lower part of Wallace Falls. The man, 23, had only minor injuries, and was rescued after he climbed onto some rocks in the river below the falls.
Popular restaurant and night club Eddie’s Trackside was forced to close after the landlord went into foreclosure. The live music venue, opened by close friends Wendy McDowell and Stacie Ballweg in 2006, closed after the bank doubled the rent.
Former D.A.R.E. officer Carlos Martinez was charged in connection with a decade-long sexual relationship he allegedly began with a Monroe student when she was just 14. Martinez, at the time a very popular Monroe police officer and school board member, lost his job after an internal investigation in which his wife alleged domestic violence. He moved to Texas with the young woman, then of age, but the relationship soured, and the young woman went to police, alleging that Martinez had exploited her since she was a minor. Martinez was formally charged with six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor in August.
Students at Sky Valley Education Center made quilts and donated them to DSHS in honor of 20 children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre. Each quilt was made for one of the victims, and reflected his or her favorite colors and things.
Two occupants of a small airplane suffered only minor injuries when their plane flipped on approach to the runway at Monroe’s airport and landed upside-down.
A Puget Sound Energy worker was startled to see a bear cub strolling through a residential park at the corner of Rainier View Road and Chain Lake Road. The little bear ambled through the children’s play area, then climbed over a chain link fence and disappeared into the woods.
A High Rock Road couple captured images of a truck smashing their garbage cans. The High Rock Road area had been targeted by a great deal of vandalism in recent months, the couple said.
Haight Carpet closed its long-time Lewis Street location, but a pho restaurant and a frozen yogurt restaurant came to Lenton Place.
A Monroe firefighter was trying to put out a fire in a tree when he was struck in the head by an errant firework and had to go tot he hospital for stitches.
A clothes dryer may have caused a fire that consumed a house on 154th Street S.E. and 175th Avenue S.E. A young woman at the home noticed smoke coming from the dryer, opened it only to be greeted by a blast of flames, and fled the house, which was engulfed within 10 minutes.
Four prison officers who lost their jobs over issues related to the night that correctional officer Jayme Biendl was killed in the line of duty at the Monroe Correctional Center all got their jobs back and a monetary settlement, too. An arbitrator found that in most cases, the men had erred to some degree, but not so much that they deserved to lose their positions.
A series of four free Thursday evening summer concerts kicked off at Lake Tye. The Snohomish Artists Guild hopes to produce the series annually.
Well-known police dog Taylor, a yellow lab who served with the Monroe Police Department for nine years, died. Taylor’s long career included helping located 149 kilos of cocaine in a vehicle on Main Street and finding $700,000 in cash in a sophisticated car compartment on another occasion. Taylor retired in April of 2012 to the home of her handler, and died at the age of 12.
Bulldozers began moving earth to clear the way for a possible new apartment building on the shores of an artificial lake created by larger-than-life real estate broker Pete Woods, who built an event venue on the lake called “Pete’s Party Pit.” As many as 200 apartments could come to the site on Blueberry Lane, so long as permits can be obtained.
About 70 people turned out to Merrill Gardens to celebrate the 100th birthday of Rosella Roff. She had been a teacher and a real estate investor, and had gotten her drivers license renewed at the age of 97. Roff died shortly after the party.
Joshua Hawken, 14, qualified for the Boy Scouts’ highest honor, the Silver Hornaday Award, for building a 58-foot, 8,000 bridge to be placed in a Granite Falls park. It was the fifth bridge the young man had built. His service history also included removing invasive English ivy from a Whidbey Island park, and making 104 emergency preparedness kits for the families of deployed soldiers, at the age of 9.
The Monroe Police Department passed a levy that put in place a tenth-of-a-penny sales tax in Monroe. The levy is expected to generate about $225,000 per year, to fund additional officers and reinstate the three-beat system, which guaranteed that there was a police presence in the city’s three main sections at all times. The levy passed with 62.2 percent of the vote.
A man was arrested for viewing child porn on Monroe Library computers. He later was allegedly found to have photos on his phone of himself molesting the child of a friend.
National Night Out had a record turnout, with about 3,000 turning out for hot dogs, popcorn, pizza, bouncy houses and many educational booths.
City Hall got a new roof after the old one had been leaking for 35 years. The roof was original to the building, which was built in the 1950s as a car dealership. The project cost about $45,000, and the new roof is expected to last about 50 years.
Friends sought help and regional media covered the story when an SUV driven by Michelle Orr was struck and flipped by a hit-and-run driver. Orr was injured. The single mother of two had just started at her waitressing job in Kirkland and hadn’t been eligible for the company’s insurance yet, so she wasn’t covered. The hit and run driver was never caught.
The Monroe School District had a budget increase for the first time in years. The increase from the state was only slight, but it was in response to a lawsuit last year in which a judge ruled that the state wasn’t meeting it’s obligation to education. The school district added two Montessori grades in Maltby, increased pool time at the YMCA for the swim team, expanded the popular Spanish-English kindergarten program and brought back a school counselor, among other things.
Grocery workers picketed at Fred Meyer, Alberston’s and Safeway, protesting a proposal to take away some holiday pay and stripping part-time workers of access to health insurance, among other things. The union and the store management finally hammered out a deal later in the autumn that averted an imminent strike.
Monroe got a new city clerk in the person of Elizabeth Smoot. The clerk’s position had been vacant for years, due to budget cutbacks.
The Monroe Arts Council held a raffle to help restore the historic Wagner Performing Arts Center. The 1939 theater had fallen into a state of disrepair, but the MAC wants it to once again be an important community theater, and to that end is repairing plaster, modernizing the bathrooms, replacing torn upholstery and more.
Providence Medical Group opened a $22 million facility on Tjerne Place in Monroe. The no-frills building consists mainly of 58 small but efficient exam rooms with a fair amount of cutting edge technology. It also houses rooms for tests as MRIs, X-rays and ultrasounds.
A months-long survey of Monroe School District parents and staff revealed that parents tend to feel good about the staff at the district’s schools, but that they feel the technology isn’t sufficient. Also, staff and community members said that communication between the district, staff and community needed to improve.
A list of suggestions generated by the survey results included more professional development for staff, updating older technology, improving student access to computer labs, more educational options for high school students, increased communication and more volunteer opportunities.
The planned cable-towed water sports park at Lake Tye cleared a final hurdle with a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. The ownership hopes to open the park as early as April.
An inmate was found dead of a heart attack in a cell at the Monroe Correctional Complex, and may have been dead for more than a day before it was discovered. The man had the cell to himself, and wasn’t scheduled for work for two days.
Monroe police warned of a rise in vehicle prowls, mostly in the downtown and in the Fryelands area. Officers urged residents to lock their cars and homes, and to remove all valuables from vehicles, even in store parking lots when making a quick trip into the store. Almost all the car prowls in which valuables were taken happened to unlocked cars.
A vandalism spree downtown resulted in windows in more than a dozen cars shot out with BB pellets.
Chain Lake and Salem Woods elementary schools were closed for a day when water service was interrupted by a water main with a 10-foot crack. Water flooded the area near Ingram and Brown roads, including the basement of one home. About 75 homes lost water service that day.
The Monroe Correctional Complex debuted a pilot program to offer group mental health services to people locked up in the prison’s maximum security unit, where some people spend years locked in their cells 23 hours a day. The program is designed to help them reintegrate into the prison’s main population, and in most cases, eventually the outside world again. About half of the people in “supermax” are mentally ill, prison administrators believe.
The Monroe School District announced an intention to run a school levy in February. The levy currently in place is set to expire next year.
The sudden death of Monroe writer Alex “Stott” Peabody left friends, members of his family, and his writing community shocked and grieving. The writer had moved to Monroe from Los Angeles where he had been involved in entertainment in order to help his sister’s family open the children’s bouncy house business Jump, Rattle and Roll. Peabody and been a member of Monroe’s Wednesday Writers group, and the facilitator of the group called him the most talented writers she’d seen. He was also remembered for being funny and gentle. He died of kidney failure at 47.
The Monroe Senior Center asked for an increase in a city grant that helps pay for the senior bus program. The city had been giving $9,000 a year; director Marc Avni asked if the city might help the program accommodate a 59 percent increase in ridership by increasing the grant to $12,000. The council decided to grant $15,000.
A History Channel reality show called “American Daredevils,” featuring a Monroe stunt performer known as Mr. Dizzy, debuted. The 16-episode series follows the careers of three such stunt performers as they traverse the country performing at race tracks and county fairs.
There were two fatal crashes on US 2 within one week. The first occurred when a 55-year-old man with a history of DUI convictions tried to outrun police and ended up in a high-speed head-on collision with another car near Gold Bar. The other driver was injured; the speeding driver was killed. The second collision occurred when a 22-year-old Federal Way man attempted to pass another vehicle on a curve and struck another vehicle. The young man was killed; his pregnant passenger went into labor and delivered a baby at Providence in Everett.
The Monroe High School ASB established a theme for this school year, called Under One Roof. The theme has two meanings; the first is to promote inclusiveness in the student body, and the second to encourage participation in a project to raise money to help fund schools in third world countries.
A group of high school students teamed up with the Monroe Historical Society to complete an unfinished veterans’ memorial plaque that was installed at an athletic field on Kelsey Street in 1951. The plaque was eventually supposed to carry all the names of veterans from Monroe killed in the line of duty. The names, however, were never added. Now a group of teachers and eighth grade students are working with the Monroe Historical Society to collect the names and add them to the small monument.
Calvin Bradham, a dad and the son-in-law of former food bank director Julie Morris, died of cancer. The friends of the family set up a fundraising effort called “Bradham’s Heroes” to help the family through Bradham’s difficult medical treatments. Bradham’s was embarking on a new, experimental course of therapy when he died after more than a year fighting a very aggressive cancer.
After the November elections, winners included Geoffrey Thomas for the mayor’s seat and Jeff Rasmussen, Kurt Goering and Kevin Hanford for council seats. Dave Somers won reelection to the Snohomish County Council.
During the King 5 Best of Western Washington contest 13 Sky Valley businesses and service providers were named among the top five in their respective categories. First place winners included the Maltby Cafe for best breakfast, Chaplain Dale for best wedding officiant and Sultan music teacher Jill Sumpter for best teacher.
Fryelands Elementary teacher Randy Brown was awarded the prestigious Stanley O. McNaughton Award for exceptional educators for his innovative use of technology to give kids prerecorded lessons on one side of the room while giving them individual instruction on the other.
World champion senior athlete Al Erickson died at the age of 84. The Monroe farmer and former University of Washington professor and Marine took up decathlon at 74, winning the gold at the World Masters Athletic Championships in Sacramento at the age of 82.
Valley General Hospital cut 8.5 positions, mostly in management, in order to pull the hospital through a lean year that included a financial setback inherited from earlier administrations. The state demanded repayment of $1.7 million that had been overpaid to the hospital, and VGH is playing it off over the course of two years. However, the passage of a levy earlier in the year as well as a new detox for pregnant women are expected to increase revenue in 2014.
A group of Monroe neighbors, concerned about property crimes, gathered at the Monroe Police Department to discuss setting up neighborhood watch programs. People in the Old Owen and Van Brocklin area reported a high number of incidents. The citizens agreed to hold community meetings and get some Neighborhood Watch signs.
Members of the Morningstar Lutheran Church’s youth group gathered on a cold November evening outside the church and constructed a tent city out of large cardboard boxes and spent the night to gain insight on the plight of the homeless. They were inspired to the action when some realized that classmates were among those appearing for free Tuesday night dinners and learned that there are a number of homeless teens in Monroe.
Historian and long-time Monroe Monitor writer and lifestyle editor Nellie Robertson died of cancer at the age of 86. At the time of her death, she was working on her seventh novel. She had also written two history books on Monroe.
After 21 years on the Planning Commission, Dave Demarest attended his last meeting in December. He was ready to step away, he said, but wouldn’t have been able to get reappointed anyway, due to new laws requiring commissioners to live with in the city limits and serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.
Monroe Attorney Ken Berger, 59, a mountain climber and pilot, constructed a plane out of a kit. It took him three years to make the amphibious plane, which so far has flown trouble-free for about 40 hours.
Friends of Monroe’s Bailey family worked to raise money to help the family after Bailey, 31, required a complete heart transplant. The transplant was so successful that within a day Bailey felt better than he had in years, but the family is on the hook for about half a million dollars in medical bills.
Popular Monroe police officer Derrel Johnson retired after 28 years of service. He was instrumental in setting up the chaplain program and trained all but one of Monroe’s police officers. He loved the job, he said.
Eleven businesses sought licenses to grow or sell marijuana in the Sky Valley area. Monroe passed an emergency ordinance banning the retail store that the Washington Liquor Control Board had okayed for the city. The council will discuss a more permanent resolution in 2014.
Barking dogs awoke the residents of a Monroe home in time to escape the flames that started as the result of a Christmas tree catching fire.
A group of female military veterans met at the Worksource building in Monroe to visit and make craft projects. They hope to make the meetings monthly, and are seeking more female veterans to join in.
The Monroe City Council decided to start reducing the amount developers pay to schools to offset the cost of the increased school population associated with housing developments in 2015. The council also voted to approve a rezone of a piece of East Monroe land to commercial after many years of controversy and debate over the proposal.