December 25, 1997

‘97 In Review

 

Remember when …

JANUARY

Flooding hits the Inland Northwest. A state of emergency is declared.

Playfair Race Course opens its first-ever winter season.

Authorities take more than 200 dogs - many neglected and abused - from kennel near Newport. Owners Jeanette and Swen Bergman later convicted of animal cruelty.

Vernon Baker of St. Maries, Idaho, receives Medal of Honor for valor in World War II. First African-American honored.

Washington’s Gary Locke sworn-in as first Asian-American governor in continental United States.< Newt Gingrich disciplined for ethics violations as House members reprimand him and fine him $300,000.

Allen and Trudy Mattausch gunned down in their Waverly farmhouse and two young men arrested. One sentenced to life in prison; the other still undergoing mental evaluations.

Green Bay Packers pound New England Patriots and former WSU quarterback Drew Bledsoe 35-21 in Super Bowl XXXI.

Spokane City Council gives final approval to $100 million downtown redevelopment project involving River Park Square shopping center.

Spokane County sheriff’s Deputy Tom DiBartolo charged with fatally shooting his wife in a South Hill park.

FEBRUARY

Spokane Valley voters, who already had defeated three incorporation attempts since 1990, crush proposals to form cities of Evergreen and Opportunity.

Civil jury orders O.J. Simpson to pay $33.5 million in damages for killing his ex-wife and her friend. Ruling comes more than a year after Simpson’s acquittal in criminal court.

Spokane county commissioners draw lines separating areas of the county where urban development will be encouraged from places set aside as rural. The land-use decision - required under state’s Growth Management Act - is arguably the biggest in county history.

Deng Xiaoping, Chinese leader who opened his country to Western-style capitalism but called out the tanks to kill students demanding Western-style freedom, dies at age 92.

White House documents reveal President Clinton personally approved plans to reward big campaign contributors with personal favors, including overnight stays at White House, meals and coffees.

MARCH

Dan Fitzgerald ends 15-year tenure as men’s basketball coach at Gonzaga University.

City of Spokane pays $2.78 million for former Salty’s at the Falls restaurant site, preserving land for Lincon Street bridge project and thwarting plans of Clinkerdagger Restaurant to relocate there.

Republic boys and Ritzville girls win State B basketball titles in Spokane.

North Idaho resident becomes fourth man arrested for Spokane Valley bombings and robberies. Brian E. Ratigan later convicted and sentenced to 55 years in prison.

Kootenai County passes English-only language resolution.

One of longest winters in memory ends. The many months of cold featured October snowfall, November ice storm and 42 inches of snow in December alone.

West Plains couple gets $1.2 million bill for losing control of burn barrel fire in August 1996. Ensuing fire destroyed eight homes and burned more than 3,000 acres.

“The English Patient,” a romantic war epic, wins nine Oscars, including best picture. Geoffrey Rush, mentally disturbed concert pianist of “Shine,” wins best actor and Frances McDormand (right), pregnant Midwestern cop in “Fargo,” wins best actress.

Thirty-nine members of group called Heaven’s Gate die in mass suicide in California, leaving behind mystical computer postings and videos explaining they were ready to graduate from their human shells and ascend into heaven.

Comet Hale-Bogg lights the night sky with an impressive display. transported by an alien spacecraft tucked behind comet Hale-Bopp.

APRIL

Tiger Woods, 21, becomes first person of color to win pro golf’s signature event, The Masters tournament.

Washington Gov. Gary Locke signs sweeping welfare reform bill, ending a 60-year-old government guarantee of assistance to the poor. Idaho later reports dramatic drop in assistance to needy families.

Jurors shock city of Spokane officials by ruling riverfront land north of downtown public library is worth $2.184 million. City says it might back away from plan to condemn property to preserve view of Spokane Falls from library.

State regulators call Washington Water Power’s response to November 1996 ice storm that wiped out power for up to two weeks “well-organized and well-executed.”

Red River sends walls of floodwater into streets and homes in Grand Forks, N.D., forcing most of the population of 50,000 to flee.

Regional whooping cough epidemic kills infant and sends hundreds of people to health clinics and pharmacies to see if they’re infected.

Film crew transforms Metaline Falls into post-apocalyptic setting for Kevin Costner’s flick “The Postman.”

Irate over three years of racist threats to blacks on campus, about 100 Gonzaga students hold an impromptu meeting to demand a more aggressive response from the school.

MAY After years of bitter partisan wrangling, Clinton administration reaches agreement with Republican congressional leaders to balance federal budget in five years.

Bloomsday ‘97 finishers number 49,467 - enough men, women and children to fill a small city but smallest number to grab Bloomsday T-shirts in more than a decade.

Many students and faculty members are outraged as Gonzaga University Board of Trustees forces Rev. Edward Glynn to resign as president after less than 10 months in office, citing “deep philosophical differences.

Lingering snow allows Silver Mountain ski resort in Kellogg to continue operating later than ever before, serving Saturday skiers until May 17.

Potlatch Corp., giant San Francisco-based timber and paper company started 94 years ago in North Idaho, announces it’s moving corporate headquarters to Spokane.

Spokane native John Stockton’s last-second shot lifts Utah Jazz into NBA Finals, where the team succumbs to the Chicago Bulls.

Powerful winds and a fierce thunderstorm with nickel-sized hail rip through Inland Northwest, tossing trees and snapping power lines.

JUNE

Jury finds Timothy J. McVeigh guilty of worst mass murder in American history, bombing of Oklahoma City federal building that killed 168 people. He later is sentenced to death.

North Idaho College trustees oust longtime president Bob Bennett.

Despite heavy opposition outside Puget Sound, Seattle Seahawks gain voter passage of partially state-funded plan to build pro football and soccer stadium.

Pol Pot, who presided over Cambodia’s killing fields of late 1970s as leader of Khmer Rouge, surrenders to former comrades.

Jury convicts Dwayne A. Woods of 1996 baseball bat-murders of two women in Spokane Valley trailer home. Woods later sentenced to death.

Robot garbage ship collides with Mir space station, first of several mishaps that keep Russian and American space officials scrambling.

Referee disqualifies Mike Tyson after he bites both ears of Evander Holyfield during their heavyweight championship boxing match. Tyson later fined $3 million and loses boxing license.

Hoopfest attracts more than 4,500 teams and about 18,000 competitors to 3-on-3 basketball tournament on nearly 30 blocks of downtown Spokane.

China reclaims Hong Kong, prize possession of vanishing British Empire, ending 156 years of colonial rule.

JULY

City of Spokane agrees to pay Gypsy family $1.43 million to end bitter civil rights fight over police searches 11 years ago.

Jimmy Stewart, Hollywood icon for half-century, dies at age 89.

Gonzaga University athletic director Dan Fitzgerald placed on administrative leave during NCAA investigation into possible violations of finances and accounting.

Pathfinder probe lands on Mars and sends back photographs from surface. One revelation: Mars looks suspiciously like Eastern Washington scablands, where the Soujourner rover was tested before being sent into space.

U.S. Senate spends summer with hearings into possible campaign violations by Clinton White House. Despite Senate and House hearings, no changes to the nation’s campaign laws are passed by Congress, and Attorney General Janet Reno refuses to appoint special prosecutor to look into possible violations by Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.

Gianni Versace, fashion designer to rich and famous, gunned down in front of Miami Beach home by serial killer Andrew Cunanin. Eight days later, as police closed in on houseboat, Cunanin kills himself.

For first time since 1985, Seattle Seahawks return to Cheney to open training camp at Eastern Washington University.

Spokane attorney Carl Maxey, 73, longtime champion of civil rights, dies of self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Study surpressed by National Cancer Institute shows up to 50,000 Americans may have developed thyroid cancer after being exposed to radioactive fallout from bomb tests in 1950s.

Idaho inmates riot in Louisiana, highlighting concerns over Idaho’s crowded prisons back home.

Three Sandpoint white separatists are convicted of eight felonies stemming from series of bombings and robberies in Spokane Valley in 1996. Charles Barbee, Robert Berry and Verne Jay Merrell later sentenced to mandatory life terms.

AUGUST

Spokane native Ryne Sandberg, Chicago Cubs star second baseman, announces he will retire - again.

Subud, an international spiritual organization, brings some 2,700 people from 64 countries to Spokane for its World Congress.

Spokane City Council borrows $2.66 million for emergency repairs on city’s worst stretches of roads, betting voters will approve gas tax increase in November. City later loses bet.

Korean Air 747 crashes in jungle hilltop while trying to land on Guam, killing 225 people.

Five years after Ruby Ridge siege, Boundary County Prosecutor Denise Woodbury charges Kevin Harris with first-degree murder in death of U.S. marshal, and FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi with manslaughter for death of Vicki Weaver.

WSU Cougars open season with 37-34 victory over UCLA, a result that later proves crucial in Rose Bowl race.

Britain’s Princess Diana dies with her lover, Dodi Fayed, when their car crashes while trying to evade paparrazzi in Paris tunnel. Diana’s death sparks worldwide outrage and mourning.

SEPTEMBER

North Idaho’s Jacklin family sells grass seed company with 120 workers to J.R. Simplot Co.

Mother Teresa, Catholic nun who inspired people of all faiths to help the poor, sick and destitute, dies in Calcutta where she began caring for the sick a half-century earlier.

Spokane Transit Authority announces proposal for first major route changes in 16 years, but later amends plan after complaints.

Spokane City Council agrees to ask voters next spring if they want to change city’s name to Spokane Falls.

Feds order two popular diet drugs, used in combination as fen-phen, off shelves after studies show they can cause serious heart problems.

Tiffany Cook, Woodridge Elementary sixth-grader who said she’d rather study in empty room than be bused to another school, gives up fight to remain at overcrowded Woodridge. She later enrolls in private school.

NBC sportscaster Marv Albert pleads guilty to assault and battery, ending trial with lurid details about his sex life. The plea costs him his job; judge later sentences him to year’s probation

The Seattle Supersonics send disgruntled star Shawn Kemp to Cleveland in three-way trade that brings Vin Baker from Milwaukee to Sonics.

OCTOBER

Seattle Mariners finish atop American League West, but lose to Baltimore in baseball playoffs. Florida Marlins win World Series over Cleveland.

An estimated 500,000 Promise Keepers flock to Washington, D.C., vowing to be faithful to families and churches. The event is one of biggest religious gatherings in nation’s history.

Senior FBI official E. Michael Kahoe sentenced to 18 months in prison for destroying document critical of bureau’s role in 1992 Ruby Ridge siege.

Vermont activist Jody Williams wins Nobel Peace Prize for work to ban land mines, turning spotlight on U.S. policy that opposes anti-land-mine treaty.

Pop singer John Denver, 53, dies when his experimental plane crashes into Monterey Bay.

Republican U.S. Sen. Dirk Kempthorne announces he will run for Idaho governor, trying to replace Phil Batt, who is retiring. Republican Rep. Mike Crapo later says he will try to make switch to Senate.

Novelist James Michener, who blended historical fact with sweeping fiction, dies of kidney failure at 90.

Following series of sharp drops in Asian markets, New York Stock Exchange posts largest point drop in history - 554.26 points on the Dow - and 12th-worst decline overall. The next day, it registers largest point increase in history, recovering much of the ground it lost.

District Court judge throws out lawsuit filed by school districts against Idaho for failing to adequately fund education.

NOVEMBER

Voters narrowly choose challengers over incumbent mayors as John Talbott beats Jack Geraghty in Spokane and Steve Judy unseats Al Hassell in Coeur d’Alene. Washington voters crush initiatives regarding gun safety, gay rights, drug legalization and health insurance.

NorthTown Mall announces $54 million expansion plan in north Spokane, including 12-screen movie theater, expanded Bon Marche and sixth anchor department store.

Spokane Engineering Director Phil Williams fired following revelations about his affair with scientist hired to study city’s waste-to-energy plant.

Louise Woodward, au pair who faced life in prison for death of baby in her care, is freed after Massachusetts judge reduces her murder conviction to manslaughter.

Post Falls seventh-grader Nicholas Scherling is killed by drunken driver while bicycling home in the dark.

U.S. appears on brink of military action against Iraq until Saddam Hussein averts crisis by allowing all U.N. weapons inspectors back into country.

Ferris High wins Washington state volleyball championship.

Iowa woman gives birth to four boys and three girls who doctors expect will become first known septuplets to survive.

Sandpoint wins Idaho state football title.

Cougars upend Huskies in Apple Cup to earn first Rose Bowl trip in 67 years.

DECEMBER

Violence in pro sports reaches new low as Latrell Sprewell assaults basketball coach P.J. Carlesimo. Golden State Warriors terminate Sprewell’s contract, and NBA suspends him for one year.

Attorney General Janet Reno angers congressional Republicans by deciding not to seek an independent counsel to investigate telephone fund-raising calls made by President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.

Central Valley wins state 4A football championship by thumping South Kitsap 49-13.

Jury convicts ex-Deputy Tom DiBartolo of killing his wife.

Eastern Washington’s storybook football season ends on cold day in Albi Stadium as Youngstown State wins national semifinal, 25-14.

Washington State fans head south for school’s Jan. 1 appearance in Rose Bowl against Michigan.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 32 Color photos Graphic: Remember when …


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