What Were 1995’S Top Stories? You Tell Us Survey Asks Readers To Rank Top News Events Of The Year
UNPUBLISHED CORRECTION: The name of Evel Knievel is spelled incorrectly in this story.
On New Year’s Eve, The Spokesman-Review will ring out 1995 with lists of the top stories of the year.
Picking the top stories of Spokane and the Inland Northwest is always difficult, because one person’s big news can be another person’s big snooze.
That’s why the newspaper is again asking readers to help pick the area’s most important stories.
By calling, writing, faxing or e-mailing, readers can tell us what were the 10 most important stories to them. They can vote for stories on the ballot prepared by the newspaper’s reporters and editors, or vote for other stories.
Read the ballot - the stories are in no particular order - then follow the instructions in the box next to this story.
STA. The transit authority starts running “trolley” buses in downtown and opens its $20.6 million bus station. The project was supposed to cost $12.5 million, according to 1991 estimates.
Wolves. Federal government reintroduces wolves to Idaho over the objections of some ranchers. A few quickly wind up dead.
Evel Kneivel. The motorcyclist sues the Ridpath Hotel after he is punched in his hotel room by Spokane’s favorite bad boy, Cip Paulsen. Even though the jury isn’t sure what happened, Evel gets $50,000.
Ritalin. Increased use of a drug that helps control hyperactive children prompts concern about misuse by schools eager to keep students quiet.
Mark Fuhrman. After house-hunting in Sandpoint, the famous L.A. detective assaults a newspaper photographer in the Spokane airport. He eventually relocates to the Inland Northwest.
Mike Lowry. Washington’s governor, under fire for alleged sexual harassment, receives a critical report on the incident which he claims exonerates him. Lowry later signs an out-of-court settlement for $95,000 and undergoes training to be made aware of sexual harassment.
GOP. Republicans stream to Olympia and Washington, D.C., to fulfill their contracts with voters.
Salmon. As the controversy over reservoir drawdowns continues, endangered Snake River salmon decline dramatically. The number of young wild chinook that heads for the ocean is the largest group that scientists expect to see for a long time.
Strikes. Kaiser Aluminum, Broadview Dairy and Boeing workers all strike. Kaiser’s strike, the first in 49 years, lasts eight days. Boeing settles in mid-December but Broadview workers remain on the picket line as Christmas approaches.
Zoo. Walk in the Wild loses its lease in the Valley when the county refuses to accept the land, but it could get a new home at Silverwood in North Idaho.
Libraries. Spokane city and county libraries get into a turf war, which forces non-residents of each district to pay to use the other’s services.
Science Center. The City Council approves a lease for the Science Center for Riverfront Park in March, but citizens force it onto the ballot. It is narrowly defeated in September and put on indefinite hold in December.
Baby Ryan. The baby that was given little chance to survive when he was born in late 1994 goes home to his parents in March and celebrates his first birthday in October.
Militia. The anti-government movement grows in the West and comes under national scrutiny in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing. Some members threaten public officials in Montana; others take pot shots at helicopters in Washington and Idaho.
WWP. The utility tries to merge with Sierra Pacific, but federal regulators raise questions and delay the deal.
Health care. Washington state’s landmark Health Care Reform is reformed into a much smaller program.
Russian tragedy. Six members of the Solodyankin family, Russian immigrants to Spokane, die in a fire in Bellingham.
Hate mail. Gonzaga University investigates after hate mail is sent to four black GU law students.
Legislators. Several decide enough is enough - Mike Padden becomes a judge, Todd Mielke becomes a lobbyist, Dennis Dellwo runs unsuccessfully for judge.
Commission race. County commission race features appointee George Marlton, who loses his primary after making offcolor remarks, off-and-on independent Chris Anderson and the eventual winner, mountain climber John Roskelley.
Ballpark. When Seattle voters reject a sales tax increase to buy the Mariners a new stadium, a special session of the Legislature comes to the rescue.
Tax troubles. Tax reassessments scramble local government budgets throughout Spokane when projections turn out to be high and businesses successfully argue for lower evaluations. Assessor Charlene Cooney blames the numbers on bad luck and a new computer.
Church split. 150 members of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church split from their denomination, join the Antioch Orthodox Church and wage an unsuccessful court fight for their building.
Incorporation. Valley voters say no to a new city - again. But new proposals quickly crop up that could mean future votes.
B-52. Former Fairchild colonel pleads guilty to dereliction of duty in the fatal crash of the base’s last bomber.
Endangered. Hearings on the Endangered Species Act bring out vocal opponents and plans to rewrite the landmark legislation, but by year’s end there’s no clear favorite replacement bill in Congress.
O’Grady. Former Spokane resident Scott O’Grady survives six days behind Bosnian Serb lines after his F-16 is shot down, is rescued by Marines and becomes a national hero.
Dean Mellberg. The Pentagon admits Air Force officials ignored warnings for nearly two years that Dean Mellberg was unstable and possibly dangerous. Mellberg went on to kill four and wound 22 at Fairchild. One victim files a $15 million lawsuit, and claims are pending.
Rachel Carver. When a 9-year-old fails to show up for the last day of school, a massive search is launched. Her body is found two days later, and her uncle, Jason Wickenhagen, who once claimed he walked her halfway to school, is arrested. He pleads guilty to murder.
Guinea pigs. The federal government concedes that the Atomic Energy Commission conducted human radiation experiments, hid the tests from the public and lied about them to the media.
Coroner. Newly elected County Coroner Dexter Amend is denied his own key to the morgue in a dispute with the hospital, creates controversy with his comments on homosexuality, and becomes the subject of a recall and a state investigation.
Neal Degerstrom. Mining magnate Neal Degerstrom, facing a lawsuit from a fired employee, goes to court to secure the return of his collection of photographs of nude women.
Hostage. Spokane psychologist Donald Hutchings, while hiking with his wife in Kashmir, is kidnapped by Muslim separatists who want India to release jailed comrades. India refuses, and Hutchings, apparently ill, remains in captivity with three other Western hostages.
Hanford. The nuclear reservation comes under congressional fire for wasting money on cleaning up waste, and faces funding cuts from an angry, costcutting Congress.
Chain gangs. Spokane County commissioners propose chain gangs to ease jail crowding.
Egghead Software Company relocates to Spokane, and employs about 500 by year’s end.
County board. Steve Hasson switches to the GOP. Commission contemplates possible takeover of the health district, clashes with the director of the air pollution board, fires some department heads and is hit with a sex discrimination suit by an angry job-seeker.
Randy Weaver. Former Idaho separatist’s saga continues as four FBI officials are suspended, Senate holds hearings on the shootout and federal government settles the family’s complaint for $3.1 million.
Smith’s Home Furnishings goes bankrupt and closes. Dozens of customers are stiffed for warranties and products they paid for but didn’t receive.
Kara Claypool, who taught children and adults in Spokane schools not to fear people who have AIDS, dies of the disease.
Smoke. Grassgrowers get a boost, and homeowners feel burned, when the Legislature quietly changes the law to allow them to extend their burning season. The season prompts a record number of complaints. Air quality board then decides to phase out burning within seven years.
Arena. The Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena opens and the Coliseum is demolished.
Dogs. Post Falls dog track shuts down racing amid reports of animal mistreatment and poor revenues.
Standoff. Richard Ross kills his brother, wounds his sister, then dies after setting his Valley house on fire in a family dispute about putting his mother in a nursing home.
Gambling. Indian tribes in Washington state ask voters to approve casino-style gambling on reservations. Voters say no.
Property. A law to require government to pay property owners any time a regulation lowers property values is approved by the Legislature but rejected by voters.
Consolidation. City-County Charter, the product of two years of work by freeholders, is overwhelmingly rejected by voters.
Wenatchee. The Wenatchee sex ring cases result in some convictions, but acquittals and dropped charges raise questions about an overzealous detective on a witch hunt.
Children. Fire kills four children in their north Spokane home, the worst fire in the city in 40 years.
Ken Arrasmith is convicted of murdering Ron and Luella Bingham, who he said sexually assaulted his teenage daughter.
Primates. University of Washington primate center in Medical Lake develops a drug that may be a breakthrough in blocking the AIDS virus, then announces plans to move its facilities elsewhere.
Floods. Late fall rains cause flooding in North Idaho and Western Washington.
Murder. From drive-by shootings to murder-suicides, a record number of homicides are committed in Spokane.
Snow. Heavy snows end nearly a decade of drought in parts of the Northwest.
Cominco. A Canadian smelter dramatically decreases the amount of heavy metals and nutrients it sends downstream to Lake Roosevelt. It stops dumping slag into the Columbia River.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: HOW TO PICK YOUR TOP STORIES Here’s how to vote for the top 10 local and regional stories of 1995. Read through the list of stories and number your choices from 1 through 10. If there’s an important story not on the ballot, write it down and send it to us. To vote by telephone, call Cityline at (509) 458-8800 on a TouchTone telephone. At the prompt, press 9884. After the recorded message, just say “Number 1” and the key words of the story you think was the most important. Then say “Number 2” and the key words for that story, and so on, through 10. You can also leave brief comments on the line, with a name and daytime telephone number. A reporter will contact some readers for a story about the poll. You also can mail your list by Friday to Top Stories, The Spokesman-Review, Box 2160, Spokane, Wash., 99210. Or fax them to (509) 459-5482. Or send the list via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This sidebar appeared with the story: HOW TO PICK YOUR TOP STORIES Here’s how to vote for the top 10 local and regional stories of 1995. Read through the list of stories and number your choices from 1 through 10. If there’s an important story not on the ballot, write it down and send it to us. To vote by telephone, call Cityline at (509) 458-8800 on a TouchTone telephone. At the prompt, press 9884. After the recorded message, just say “Number 1” and the key words of the story you think was the most important. Then say “Number 2” and the key words for that story, and so on, through 10. You can also leave brief comments on the line, with a name and daytime telephone number. A reporter will contact some readers for a story about the poll. You also can mail your list by Friday to Top Stories, The Spokesman-Review, Box 2160, Spokane, Wash., 99210. Or fax them to (509) 459-5482. Or send the list via e-mail to email@example.com.