The year 2009 in review

The first decade of the 21st century is in the history books and, in keeping with our tradition, it is time to highlight some of the happenings of 2009, the last year of that first decade.

The year started out with the inauguration of President Obama. Much of what has made national and international headlines comes from his presidency–either as a consequence of President Bush’s administration or through goals and promises made by Obama during his campaign. Issues have included:

Bernie Madoff and the greatest ponzi scheme this country has ever experience, ending with sending Madoff to prison. The crisis at some our biggest financial firms including AIG,Citigroup, Bank of America and as Chase took over Washington Mutual, turbulence in the automotive industry, stimulus millions and millions and millions with promises of large increase in employment only to be met by numbers from 10-14 percent unemployed a standard.

The year 2009 teetered on Depression but has managed to settle on Recession (there’s the D and R words). To make matters a bit more jittery, we played host to something called H1N1. And as the year concludes, the U.S. Senate made some sort of history by working on Christmas Eve to pass its part of a national health plan. This has been the number one campaign pledge of President Obama and was the thing Senator Ted Kennedy wanted to live to see. As we begin this new decade, that plan still swings between the House and Senate and a possible compromise.   As a bill of some 2,000 pages it seems no one has read it, but the word is that every Senator  “worth his or her salt” has put something special in it for his or her state (maybe Oregon will be cutting timber in the middle of a health plan)

And much of the country found the song, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” far more than they ever imagined, needed or wanted.

It was an airplane that attracted numerous headlines early in the year as Cpt. “Sully” Sullenberger glided a commercial plane into a perfect landing in the Hudson River, with no fatalities. Just as the year began with airline news, so did it end as Christmas in the U.S. was nearly a disaster. Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab tried blowing up a 300-passenger airplane just prior to landing in Detroit with explosive material hidden in his underwear and connected to his legs. Fortunately, it only burned him but it has raised fear around the world. 

The name Palin was huge in 2008 as she was the Republican vice presidential candidate. Who would have thought she would make even bigger news on her own in 2009 as she resigned as governor of Alaska, wrote a #1 best seller and is a big speaking ticket coast to coast. Perhaps there is a positive and that is that people will learn to spell the word Rogue not as Rouge, and learn to pronounce it correctly, as well.

While each year there are literally several hundred prominent deaths, we would point to a few. Our short list includes Walter Cronkite at the age of 96, Michael Jackson, age 50, Senator Ted Kennedy, Paul Harvey, 90 years of age and Ed McMahon, age 85.

Closer to home.
January 2009
Lincoln Charley, 94, died on his birthday,  Dec. 27, 2009 Lee Roy Draper, 78, died Jan.  8; Ret. Col. Walter Kilroy, former District 9 board member died; as did former District 9 board member, Yvonne Fletes, on Jan. 24 at the age of 63.

An altercation of EPHS Anglo and Hispanic students occurred on Jan. 20. Shady Cove voters elected Leith Hayes and Margaret Bradburn to the city council and put Ron Holthusen in as mayor.

The EPHS FFA judging team won the national judging contest in Arizona, Patriot Insurance opened in downtown Eagle Point and the Eagle Point Museum had a grand re-opening after becoming part of the city.

The District 9 administration proposed the same percentage increase as teachers receive and said they would freeze their 09-11 salaries. And, the Independent added the half page of weather news to its publication.
February 2009
Terence Blake, born in May 1937, died Feb. 10, 2009; Tim Bell, 68, died Feb. 14;,
Michael Campanelli published his book “Route 66- A photographic journal.” Spencer Davenport resigned from the District 9 school board while applying for the business managers position. The board selected Ted Dole to fill the seat.  EPHS Vo-Ag/FFA instructor, Curtis North was selected the District Ag Teacher of the Year.

District 9 talks about cutting 12 days ($1.2 million); Eagle Point Education Association declares an impasse in bargaining; EPHS sends 13 to state wrestling and Shady Cove Middle School Principal Tiffany O’Donnell tells the council it is possible the city will have a teen center.

City of Eagle Point makes cuts to balance budget and approves bed and breakfast zoning.

EPHS gives Bob and Debbie Russell, Butte Creek Mill, the Spirit of Eagle Award.

Allen Alley, former Chief of Staff to Gov. Kulongoski, announces he is candidate for governor.
March 2009
We lost Willard Walch, age 85, on Mar. 5 and Lloyd Dodenhoff, 77, on Mar. 16 and toward the end of March, 91-year-old Lloyd Walch died. Carol Lenhart died Mar 27 and Hannie Fuller died on Mar. 11.

Two Joannie’s retired- Jo Ann Leffel, long-time WaMu bank teller and community advocate, retired and Joannie Holland, retired as the dispatcher for Eagle Point Police Department.

District 9 announced several changes. They hired Randy Struckmeier, who spent 20 years with Harry & David, as D9 business manager. Jay Sparks, principal at WCE announced he would retire at the end of the school year. That prompted the district to announce several changes for the fall of 2009, including: Ginny Walker would move from WMMS to WCE, Lisa Yamashita would stay at MVE and also take over as principal at Lake Creek; Dan Johnson would move from EPMS to WCMS; Joni  Parsons would be the principal of  ERE and EPMS with Harry Hedrick moving from the high school to become assistant principal at both EPMS and WMMS.

Nut lovers found a major recall began on various kinds of nuts. Just one of many recalls during 2009.

March 31 found D9 staff rallied at Cascade Bingo to authorized a strike.
Leaving us during this month was Pat Guild, 87, who died Apr. 4. She started the birthday book program in Shady Cove which has continued for many years. Walter Barker, 86, died Apr. 9, He was a former mayor and active member of the Eagle Point Seniors; Morey Pingle, 99, Butte Falls; Blossom Flury House, born in 1909 died as did Thomasine (Tommie) Smith, 83, on Apr. 21. She and her husband were former owners of Mon Desir and Bel Dis.

It was no April Fool’s joke on April 1 when at 6:30 a.m. a tentative agreement was announced with the EPEA union.

Early April found the Butte Falls Volunteer Fire Department in a nationwide contest to get a new fire truck. They weren’t successful but it wasn’t for lack of effort on the part of thousands.

Prospect announced plans and a board to become a charter K-12 school. By the start of the 2009 school year they were a charter school. District 9 lost about 60 students to their charter school.

Nine run for the D9 school board while Teresa Hulla and Doug McKinley, both past D9 board members, run for Jackson ESD board.

The Upper Rogue Independent becomes a Clearwire representative.
Joe Petko, 92, of Shady Cove died May 1, Harry Dietrick died on May 14 at the age of 80; Ken Trautman, 79, died May 10.

Former District 9 employee Gail Rasmussen was elected president of the Oregon Education Association.

Shady Cove Water District loses a law case over charging $6 mo. fee for water service when there was none. Court held it was a tax and thus could not be charged.

The Eagle Point Chamber of Commerce sponsored the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus for a one day performance in Eagle Point.

District 9 election found Ted Dole and Jim Mannenbach elected but it was some time before the Mark Bateman- Spencer Davenport election was confirmed because only one vote separated the two. Bateman was finally declared the winner.
Daylon Harrington, died May 23, in a plane crash. He was born in 1983. Jerry “Chub” Capello, 52, died June 14.

Eagle Point hears concerns from businesses regarding a major increase in the TUF (transportation utility fee) and the city finds it necessary to
reduce their budget by $1 million.

Ferry Morris announces it will open in White City in the old Royal Oak Charcoal facility on Agate Road.

District 9 seeks an RFP for a 48,000 school at Main and Tabor. After printed, it was withdrawn as it was premature.

The EPHS Equestrian Drill Team placed first in state competition.
Carol Erickson passed away on July 2.

Bob and Tessie Fisher, Eagle Point,  were honored by the Jackson County Fair Board and had the premium book dedicated to them.

Curtis North was named Oregon Ag Teacher of the Year.

Eagle Point City Council agreed to spend some of its park system development charge funds to purchase the small corner lot at Main and Royal. And the reconstruction of the intersection at Main and Royal began. It closed that corner until Sept. 4.

The new Lake Creek General Store held its grand opening. Lake Creek artist Teresa Schleigh’s panorama painting, The Fruit of Our Labor” is a feature on the outside. It is 5 ft. high and 23 ft. in length.
Well knowns who died during August included Louis Walch, 87, who died Aug. 15 and Sam Glass, 78, died on Aug. 20.

August began with a weather story on Aug. 4 in the Independent saying there had been five days over 100 degrees.

Flo Wright was named Grand Marshal of the 59th Prospect Jamboree & Timber Carnival Parade.    Providence Medical Center announced it would move from Shady Cove to Eagle Point.

The Dahack structure fire that destroyed the historic structure at 880 S. Royal was a three alarm fire. Justin William Keaton was arrested and charged with 1st degree arson. His trial was postponed but is now scheduled in February.
Virginia Cohoon, 77, died Sept. 2.

The Shady Cove Water District turned records over to the newly elected water board.

John Kitzhaber announced he would once again seek to be Oregon’s governor. He served two terms from 1995-2003.

Newly elected D9 board chair Scott Grissom announced he had a new board policy ordering EPHS to get their school colors in compliance and that they were to be royal blue and gold.

Two major fires in the valley- one in Ashland hills and one called Deerridge, in the hills off Foothills and in area of new homes. Governor quickly declared a conflagration and help from around the state supported local efforts and  control.

White City Community Health announced it would celebrate its 10th year in its current facility.

Mike McLane and Mike Wendel announced they were Republican candidates for the seat currently held by Repr. George Gilman, who is not seeking re-election.

Myron Dover, 89, died. He was well-known as a winner in the Senior Olympics.

Flu closed Prospect schools the week of Sept. 28, first flu closure this year in Oregon.

Stimulus funds were available and used to repave Main St. from Royal to Buchanan in Eagle Point. This also included curbs, gutters, sidewalks where needed and this also involved removal of numerous large trees.

Elise Smurzynski, Shady Cove City Administrator, resigns and is hired to be administrator in Gold Hill. Shady Cove appoints Dale Shaddox as interim administrator.
Marjorie Holmquist Seyboldt, 87, died Nov. 6. Susan Sherman died Nov. 7 and Scott Joseph Van Jacob, former Eagle Point resident died at the age of 53.

Eagle Point Police and Fire Safety Chief Dave Strand announced his retirement effective Dec. 31 after 12 years with Eagle Point.

Bryce Thornton, 14, seeks help filling needs of veterans serving in Afghanistan.

Veterans Day program saw a plaque dedicated to Gulf War veterans at the park by the covered bridge.
Ken Lemke, 4, died Nov. 24.

Bryce Thornton’s effort found the community filling the need for 760 boxes to be sent to Kandahar and the 4th Battalion. The boxes arrived before Christmas.

The annual Scholarship Dessert saw $5,680 in donations and money is still being received as of the end of December.

Fire District 3 employee appeal changes original decision made by the fire board.

The Eagle Point Planning Commission approved a “slick stick” cell tower conditional use permit for AT&T to install a tower by the EPHS football announcers booth. District 9 and AT&T have not signed a contract.

FERC approved the very controversial pipeline which would run through the Trail area, go under the Rogue, and head toward Butte Falls and into California. The governor and the City of Shady Cove have filed letters of opposition to the decision.

The District 9 board approved releasing its food managers to become employees of Sodexo effective Jan. 1, despite a massive showing in opposition by union members at the December board meeting.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent


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