Cheney Free Press -

Looking Back


10 Years Ago

July 24, 2003

A Sunday afternoon wildfire threatened homes just south of Cheney as 30 mph winds pushed the flames toward the southern outskirts of town. The fire, estimated to have consumed 1,000 acres, started near Watt Road and Learning Tree Lane and forced the evacuation of 20 homes.

Cheney voters were to get a second chance to approve a 4.75 percent electricity and natural gas surcharge that would help reinstate funding for city parks. The Cheney City Council voted unanimously to place an amended proposal on the ballot that would raise approximately $377,000 to fund programs. Earlier, a citizen’s group failed to gather enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot.

Medical Lake’s Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival got approval from the City Council to allow camping at the two-day music event in Waterfront Park.

After four years of serving Cheney residents, Twenty-Four Frames movie theater announced it would close. The theater, located at 421 Second across from Brewster Hall, was never able to attract solid support from the community.

20 Years Ago

July 22, 1993

Cheney School District was to receive state matching money in order to complete construction projects at Betz and Sunset Elementary as well as Cheney High. The state would contribute $8.6 million to go with the $9 million that voters approved to fund a variety of projects, the bulk of which – $7.6 million ­– would go to work at the high school.

The death of a Cheney Care Center resident was being investigated as suspicious according to police detective Greg Beeman. Emma Smith, 85, died at the center June 27. Suspicious bruising was found on Smith’s nose.

The filing deadline for upcoming primary elections was fast approaching. Already filing and paying the $102 fee was Cheney Mayor Al Ogdon. Both Joe Chatburn and Fred Johns announced earlier that they would not run. In Medical Lake both the position of mayor, and four council seats were up for grabs.

The city of Medical Lake used a $6,000 block grant to hire an Eastern Washington University planning intern, Doug Ross, who was to assist full-time planner Doug Chase. “He’s just sharp, not your typical intern,” Chase said. When he graduates, Ross said he hoped to start his career in a small city like Medical Lake.

Cheney’sAmerican Legion team, sponsored by Spokane Federal Credit Union and coached by Larry Hattemer remained in contention for the final playoff berth with a 14-11 league record.

30 Years Ago

July 21, 1983

Missing from our archives.

40 Years Ago

July 19, 1973

Missing from our archives.

50 Years Ago

July 19, 1963

A single car rollover accident on Craig Road, a half-mile north of Medical Lake, claimed the life of city resident, 47-year-old Margaret M. Whitmer. The car she was driving went off the road and landed upside down in a ditch full of water and the victim died of drowning.

Cheney Fire Chief Cecil Charlton said that citations would begin to be issued to citizens for not having screens on their home burning barrels. An estimated 75 percent of incinerators in the city were thought to be subject to fines.

Cheney residents were being queried in a new Free Press column on issues related to the community. The question for this week asked residents if city police should double as dog catchers, to which each of the five respondents said no.

Continental Baking Company offered the low bid to Medical Lake schools for bread products in the upcoming year offering pricing for a standard loaf of white bread at 21.7 cents, French bread at 19.8 cents and buns at 34.8 cents a dozen.

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