YEAR IN REVIEW A16 • HERMISTONHERALD.COM WEDNESDAy, DECEMbER 26, 2018 YEAR Mark Gomolski and county commissioner George Mur- dock beat challenger Rick Pullen. Hermiston drivers had to get used to two new traf- fic signals on 11th Street, at Elm Avenue and Orchard Avenue. The Hermiston Warm- ing Station opened on Nov. 19 after a last-minute surge of volunteers. The nonprofit emergency shelter had been planning to delay opening after a volunteer shortage. Portland State Univer- sity’s annual population report, released in Novem- ber, announced Hermiston had passed the 18,000 pop- ulation mark. Continued from Page A12 than its share of violence in the early hours of June 4. Just hours apart, police responded to a stabbing, and two unrelated gunshot deaths. The two victims of the stabbings recovered, and the perpetrator has since been charged. No suspect has been publicly named in either shooting death. After months of debate by school board and com- munity members, Hermiston High School’s Class of 2018 walked across the stage at Kennewick’s Toyota Center. The board voted to continue holding graduation there in subsequent years to accom- modate the growing student body. An early-morning fire destroyed much of the Herm- iston Seventh-day Adventist church, engulfing the entire west side of the building. Fire Marshal Scott Goff said foul play was not suspect, and the culprit was thought to be a lamp too close to a wooden table. On June 27, Umatilla city manager Russ Pelleberg resigned to pursue a new job in Washington. Com- munity development direc- tor Tamra Mabbott served as an interim city manager until David Stockdale was hired in September. JULY On July 14, Hermiston celebrated the opening of its new festival street in front of city hall with a ribbon-cut- ting and bathtub races. During the month of July the Hermiston city coun- cil also began to reconsider its food truck rules, which residents complained were too restrictive. In August the city finally lifted some restrictions, including rais- ing the cap on the number of licenses. AUGUST A fire at the entrance of Hat Rock State Park didn’t harm any structures, but closed the only road in and out of the park and residen- DECEMBER Staff photo by Kathy Aney A crowd of about 4,400 people watched the Hermiston High School Class of 2018 graduate Thursday, June 8 at the Toyota Center in Kennewick. tial area for more than an hour, and burned about 20 acres. Port of Morrow man- ager Gary Neal retired after nearly 30 years at the helm, and was succeeded by his son, Ryan, who was previ- ously the port’s warehous- ing manager. The port board interviewed several can- didates, and held a public meet-and-greet with four, before selecting the younger Neal. August brought the Uma- tilla County Fair, and it was an especially memora- ble one for those who wit- nessed one lamb at the youth auction bring in more than $23,300 for Maddy Thomas, an 11-year-old 4-H student with a brain tumor. After a year on military leave, Hermiston Superin- tendent Fred Maiocco sub- mitted his resignation on the first day of school, cit- ing extended military duties that would keep him away longer than expected. The board unanimously selected interim superintendent Tri- cia Mooney to assume the permanent role. Mooney had previously served as the dis- trict’s Human Resources director, and was the interim school chief for a year. Hermiston High School officially joined the Wash- ington Interscholastic Activ- ities Association in fall 2018, joining a larger and more competitive league, and cut- ting down on travel time for sports teams. More than a year after he was charged with the death of James Cragun, Herm- iston resident Tyree Houf- muse was cleared of murder charges, and sentenced to a few months in jail for felon in possession of a firearm. In a string of pre-trial hearings, Houfmuse claimed self-de- fense, and while the entry point of the bullet into Cra- gun’s body made it impossi- ble for the incident to have happened as Houfmuse claimed, his DNA was not found on the gun, and pros- ecutors had insufficient evi- dence to convict him. Echo School’s newly remodeled building was unveiled as a spot for all community members to use and enjoy. The new facility, which included a gymna- sium, classrooms, art room and woodshop, also featured a public workout room and gathering space that any city resident could use, and was the result of $8 million of bond money and state grants. SEPTEMBER Hermiston’s new senior center, known as the Har- kenrider Senior Activity Center, opened in front of an eager crowd on Sept. 8. The 7,000-square foot cen- ter, named for late Herm- iston mayor and the city’s biggest fan, Frank Harken- rider, boasts gathering areas, a deck, a gas fireplace and a commercial kitchen. Hermiston School Dis- trict was sued for $38.9 mil- lion by a family who said their son suffered multi- ple head injuries while on the junior varsity football team, and cited the inaction of district and athletics staff to ensure proper follow- ups. Todd and Dawna Mar- tin filed a lawsuit on behalf of their son Connor, stating that he was allowed to return to the field after a concus- sion, and that staff did not inform them, nor direct him to see a doctor. They cited bodily injury, medical costs and emotional distress. As of December 2018, the case has been moved to federal court. OCTOBER An expansion of EOTEC got underway on Oct. 8 when the Hermiston city council hired Knerr Con- struction to begin design work on new offices for the fair and an upgrade of the RV park. On Oct. 16 Columbia Court Club owner Steve Watkinds announced he had sold the property after a fire led to two years of fighting to re-open what had been the only building in Herm- iston with an indoor pool. The new owners haven’t yet announced themselves or their plans for the property. Pendleton Grain Grow- ers put 122 acres of indus- trial land in Hermiston up for sale in October, suggest- ing the property across from Hinkle Rail Yard could be the future home of a large shipping operation. NOVEMBER The general election on Nov. 6 brought a resolution to campaigns that had run throughout the year. Lori Davis successfully defended her council seat against An improved Insurance Services Office rating for Umatilla County Fire Dis- trict announced in Decem- ber should mean lower home and business insur- ance premiums in Hermis- ton and Stanfield. The Port of Morrow con- tinues to grow, netting a $19 million federal grant, which they will use to make upgrades to the rail system. The grant will allow for expanded rail-to-barge load- ing at several marine termi- nals at the port. On Dec. 11, Greater Hermiston Area Chamber of Commerce president Deb- bie Pedro announced she was stepping down after 18 years to pursue a new career opportunity. After dealing with the clo- sure of Interstate 82’s Ore- gon-bound bridge through- out 2018, moving all traffic across the river to a single two-lane bridge, residents found out in December that construction on the bridge has fallen behind, delay- ing completion to sometime in the spring or summer of 2019. Hermiston residents also waited all year for the open- ing of retailer Ranch & Home, which had originally been set to open in Decem- ber 2017, but the store remained closed through the end of 2018. 49th Annual Christmas Express Purchase a vehicle in December and a portion of all proceeds will go towards purchasing new toys for the Christmas Connection. New toy donations will also be accepted at the dealership. TUNDRA NEW 2019 TOYOTA /MO $ 399 $ Up to 36 months. On approved credit. 0 DOWN Stk# 19h108. See dealer for details. Sale Price 43,003.03. GFV 33,265.37. $1500 Toyota Financial Service customer cash included. 10k miles per year USBANK lease. 36 month lease. $0 cash down. 399/Mo. On approved credit. Plus tax, title and $75 doc fee. Offer expires 01/02/19. NEW 2018 TOYOTA /MO $ 295 $ Up to 36 months. On approved credit. RAV4 0 DOWN Stk# 18h1080. See dealer for details. MSRP 27544. Sale Price 26365. GFV 14323. $2400 Toyota Financial Service lease cash. 36 month 12k miles per year 295/Mo. $0 Cash down. On approved credit. Plus tax, title and $75 doc fee. Offer expires 01/02/19. NEW 2019 TOYOTA COROLLA 239 $ /MO Up to 36 months. On approved credit. 0 $ LE DOWN Stk# 19h196. See dealer for details. MSRP 20450. Sale Price 19430. GFV 10225. $1500 Toyota Financial Service lease cash. 36 month 12k miles per year 239/Mo. $0 Cash down. On approved credit. Plus tax, title and $75 doc fee. 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