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A look at what made news in 2018

Pacific Seafoods' Frank Dulcich speaks at the grand re-opening of his business, five years after a fire destroyed it on Warrenton's waterfront. (Peggy Yingst)
Thursday, January 3, 2019

Warrenton had some milestones in 2018 and most of them were positive.

New shopping and dining opportunities came to town and the city government got busy making Warrenton a better place to live and look at.

Here’s a month-by-month look at some of the biggest local stories this year:

** January

Warrenton Police became the first law enforcement agency in the county to carry Naloxone, a drug that can revive someone dying of a heroin overdose. Other agencies soon followed suit.

Warrenton-Hammond School District begins planning for a new campus after learning it cannot expand at either of its two campuses because they are within or near tsunami inundation zones.

District Attorney Josh Marquis announces his retirement after 24 years in Clatsop County. He leaves office in January 2019.

** February

Pacific Power lineman Gary Dick and the late Hal Snow, Warrenton’s former city attorney, receive the top awards for community service from the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Spc. Devin Kuhn, a soldier from Philadelphia, dies of an accidental shooting during training at Camp Rilea.

Prolific car prowler Randy Stackhouse pleads guilty for burglarizing dozens of vehicles and is sentenced to two years in prison.

A heavy snow blankets most of Clatsop County.

** March

Natural Grocers, a nationwide health-food and vitamin company based in Colorado, opens a 21,800-square-foot store in Youngs Bay Plaza.

Warrenton Community Library applies for, and eventually wins, a grant to automate its inventory and check-out system.

Warrenton High School announces plans for a new career-oriented teaching center and allows the fire department to conduct a training burn on an old shed on campus to make way for it.

Noelle Moor is arrested on suspicion of cooking Bolt, her 7-year-old Chihuahua, in the oven, believing it possessed the spirit of her ex-boyfriend.

The city’s first “tiny” dwelling unit is approved by the city’s Planning Commission in Hammond. The City Commission goes after blighted buildings in hopes of increasing the city’s economic vitality and beautifying downtown.

** April

The Wendy’s fast-food chain submits plans for a 2,400-square-foot restaurant across from Home Depot.

The Port of Astoria promotes plans for a center for environmental studies on commercial land it owns near Astoria-Warrenton Regional Airport.

Mayor Henry Balensifer holds a town hall meeting on elk, which have become a problem throughout town.

** May

Two teams from Warrenton Grade School placed first and second in the state Marine Advanced Technology Education competition with remotely operated underwater vehicles.

Lifelong friends and local historians Diane Collier and Charlotte Bergerson talk about their former childhood homes near Trina & Ron’s Place as the fire department burns them down to make way for an apartment complex.

Former Warrenton Mayor Mark Kujala easily wins a seat on the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners, receiving 67 percent of the vote against two contenders.

** June

Walmart opens its 150,000-square-foot supercenter in the North Coast Business Park.

Richard Reinsch is sentenced to 10 days in jail after he pleads no contest to providing alcohol to Warrenton High School student Trevor Secord, who ran into traffic and was killed in 2017.

** July

Thousands brave the cold, wind and rain to celebrate the Fourth of July with a picnic, car show and old-timey parade.

A man and woman from Colorado break into a car in Chinook and go on a shopping spree throughout Warrenton with the victim’s credit cards. They are caught, in part, by state-of-the-art security cameras at the new Walmart.

“Oregon by the Numbers,” a project of the Ford Family Foundation, shows Clatsop County residents are 86 percent white and earn slightly less than the state’s average income of $53,270. Residents here get more exercise than almost anywhere else in the state.

Warrenton High School celebrated its 100th birthday with an all-class reunion.

A skimming device is found on a drive-through automated teller machine at Wauna Federal Credit Union’s Warrenton branch.

** August

Raymond Heath, who “borrowed” a motorized cart from Walmart, is charged with auto theft when he is found with the scooter a half-mile away.

A drunken driver crashes into the back of El Compadre Restaurant on Main Avenue.

Pacific Seafood celebrates its grand reopening, five years after a fire destroyed its Warrenton processing plant.

Warrenton High School senior Catherine Tapales is crowned Regatta queen.

Warrenton begins holding a series of economic vitality roadmap sessions, getting dozens of people interested in making the town stronger and prettier.

Mark Cox of Santa Barbara, Calif., announces plans for a 100,000-square-foot data center in the North Coast Business Park.

Hampton Lumber and other businesses sponsor Girls Build, a weeklong camp for young girls focusing on the construction trades.

As many as 40 truckloads of boulders a day arrive at Warrenton Fiber’s docks and make their way through town to Ilwaco, for a project that’s rebuilding North Jetty.

The Peter Iredale isn’t the only wreck stuck in beach sand after a man drives his van and travel trailer into the surf.

The city’s new veterans memorial statue is dedicated in the small park next to the post office.

** September

The halls at Warrenton’s two campuses are overflowing as the most students ever attend on the first day of school.

Oregon Department of Transportation makes some changes to the Highway 101 intersection with Ensign Lane in hopes of improving traffic flow.

Warrenton High School math teacher Dan Hansen and student Chris Quashnick-Holloway join Oregon State University scientists on a science cruise.

Sunset Empire Transportation District drivers and mechanics unionize.

** October

Warrenton Grade School Principal Tom Rogozinski, 50, runs in his 13th or 14th 200-mile endurance race in Moab, Utah.

The city holds its first disaster preparedness event with its new Community Emergency Response Team.

Fibre Federal Credit Union files plans for a 3,250-square-foot TLC branch in the North Coast Business Park.

A grudge between mayoral candidate John Washington and Commissioner Rick Newton boils over at a City Commission meeting.

The Army Corps of Engineers will transfer Hammond Marina to the city by quitclaim deed within the next six months, the corps tells the city.

Arnie’s Café announces plans to move from its location near the high school to the former Warrenton Auto Parts building near City Hall.

Pacific Seafoods reveals plans for Alaska-style bunkhouses for seasonal workers, which upsets some of the neighbors.

The WHS volleyball team is named No. 1 in the league going into the playoffs.

** November

Henry Balensifer defeats opponent John Washington by a 3-to-1 margin in the Warrenton mayor’s election. Both school and jail bonds are approved by voters.

Fire destroys a commercial fishing building at Warrenton Marina.

The Warriors football team loses its first play-off game since 2012.

Warrenton Warming Center finds itself homeless this winter and changes its plans to focus on meals, clothes and other assistance.

Warrenton School District Superintendent Mark Jeffery announces his retirement effecting the end of the school year.

Police Officer Alfonzo Fontana retires after 26 years with the city.

A hazmat team is called to Warrenton Grade School after a student brings a hazardous substance to school made from household cleaning products.

Tractor Supply Co., a farm and garden store, is approved by city planners off Highway 101 near Les Schwab Tire Center.

Warrenton High School hosts the county’s first all-girls wrestling tournament.

A van and trailer become stuck in the surf.


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