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Here is Part 2 of the annual Year in Review: a roundup of some of the past year's stories

JULY

Historic toys on display at Molalla Library

There's something very special and very Molalla waiting to be examined at the Molalla Public Library through the month of July.

Ivor Davies is a well-known name in Molalla historical circles and thanks to the good folks at the Dibble House Museum, a special peek into a hobby he enjoyed is on display at the library.

According to Diana Hadley, library director, a suggestion from staffer Ria Sconfienze led to a loan of a collection of Davies's antique toys.

"It's an amazing collection," said Hadley. "There's a mini tool set, a mini bowling set, the Russian nesting dolls, a train and more. I found it really fascinating to look at them and for people interested in antique toys, it should be interesting."

Jim Belushi meets and greets in Molalla

Actor Jim Belushi spent a couple of hours at Today's Herbal Choice dispensary in Molalla on Tuesday, July 3, meeting and greeting a crowd of people from the greater Molalla area. The large crowd filled the dispensary and snaked out a hallway to the back door into the parking lot.

This isn't the first time THC has held meetings with farmers. Typically, there's a lot of planning that goes into such meetings, said Kevin Smith, dispensary manager.

"We have (the same thing) with lots of different vendors," Smith said. "Typically, they are planned out far in advance to allow these vendors to showcase their materials."

Fiddle Fun

It's one thing to listen to music on a radio or a CD, but it's entirely better to watch them in person, tapping your feet to the beat. That's what it's like listening to the Fiddlesticks, a group of mostly Molalla musicians and singers that take you back to childhood listening to your parents and even grandparents' music along with the emotions and excitement that music brings.

The Fiddlesticks is a group of four men and a woman whose history takes you back a "few" years to Molalla in the 1950s. At that time Frank Williams and Walt Hardy used to have jamming sessions in the William's basement near Mulino.

AUGUST

KRISTEN WOHLERS - Franklin Graham greets eventgoers backstage at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds and Event Center on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018.

Talking sin, forgiveness & politics

Franklin Graham's visit to the Portland area landed him at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds and Event Center in Canby, Oregon on Sunday, Aug. 5, where he preached a message about God's judgment to a crowd of more than 12,000 people.

He urged them to get involved in politics through praying, voting and running for public offices.

The event was one stop on his "Decision America Pacific Northwest Tour," during which Graham is urging Christians to vote in the midterm elections. He made it clear before the event though that his priority is to preach a message about faith.

Special release

Colton-raised pianist and songwriter Kit Taylor experienced two devastating blows in 2016, but both have propelled him to do what he does best—write music. Taylor released his solo album "LOVE + PAIN" in June, featuring some distinguished musicians.

The album is a collection of catchy pop songs, "taking inspiration from the Michael Boltons and Katy Perrys of the world," Taylor said.

It features established musicians such as Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackson guitarist) and David Torn (John Legend and Madonna guitarist and songwriter).

Oh, what a night

It may have been very hot with that bright yellow sun shining on Sally Fox Park, but that didn't stop many parents and children from having a lot of fun at Molalla's 2018 National Night Out.

It appeared at least 100 people traveled around the park, meeting and greeting new friends and old. The event featured booths for face painting, games, crafts and even a splash pad where kids danced in the cool water.

Libraries are 'more than just books'

"Libraries are more than just books," said Diana Hadley, director of the Molalla Public Library. "Seriously, people are like, 'I just don't have time to read.' Well, here's the thing, we're more than just books."

In fact, in addition to a plethora of books, the library offers community classes from wheat weaving to citizenship, entertainment for kids and families, online research resources and more—more than just books. (But also books.)

This summer, Molalla Public Library has held many events, of which, Reptile Man and slime-themed were the favorites, according to Hadley. The Reptile Man brought a crowd of 750 people.

Now, to finish off the summer, they have a few more events in store.

SEPTEMBER

Learning to love rocks

Before Jean Miller married her husband Wayne, she didn't know much about rocks. But she quickly grew to love them as much as her rock hound husband. The two worked together to make rocks, crystals and gems into something that would encourage people see and fall in love with nature's beauty too.

The Molalla couple wanted to develop an operation that would allow people and children to see the beauty of rocks and crystals without spending a lot of money to do so. Then 36 years ago they came up with the idea of rock, crystal, gem and mineral shows and chose to hold them inside the Clackamas County Fairgrounds buildings.

The old with the new: Molalla celebrates

Sept. 22 dawned cloudy with intermittent rain and drizzle, but that didn't dampen the spirits of the crowds that attended Celebrate Molalla and the Heritage Apple Festival. They came in droves and stayed for the music, the corn hole tournament, the yummy food, the vendors, the pies and the exhibits. And they all seemed to be having a good time, no matter where they came from.

People came from as far away as Vancouver and as near as Mulino; some came from Milwaukee, others from Beaverton and of course there were lots of people from Molalla.

Mulino Elementary principal resigns suddenly, interim principal announced

Some Mulino Elementary families were startled when they received a letter from the superintendent introducing the school's interim principal, according to one parent who made a public comment at the Sept. 13 school board meeting.

The letter introducing Mario Alba as interim principal was sent to families after Principal Alan Willey suddenly resigned just weeks into the new school year.

OCTOBER

Molalla Pioneer office to close

The newspaper industry as a whole is undergoing changes, big changes, and the Molalla Pioneer is not immune from feeling those ripples.

Newspapers across the country are consolidating and centralizing their operations as staffs shrink. Currently, the Molalla Pioneer and Canby Herald share one staff, a stark departure from years gone past. A changing economic landscape has prompted these changes.

Another change begins Wednesday, Oct. 3, when the business side of the Molalla Pioneer closes at its Molalla location.

Molalla fire station gets seismic upgrade

Just in case you've driven by the Molalla fire station in the last couple of weeks and noticed a six-foot fence around it, don't worry. It's still functioning, just not at that spot at the moment.

The station is actually getting a seismic upgrade to bring the building up to code so an earthquake doesn't topple it over with the trucks inside.

The building, which was originally built in the 1970s will also get a bit of remodeling with more dorm rooms and a bigger kitchen. The money to do this work comes from a $1.3 million grant the station received, as well as retrofitting the Mulino station.

The work will take a few months and should be completed by mid-February.

COURTESY PHOTO: CAROL WILSON - Carol Wilson poses while hiking the second leg of her hike across the Appalachian Trail.

Conquering the Appalachian Trail

Colton resident Carol Wilson just returned home after completing the second leg of her hike across all of the Appalachian Trail, the world's longest hiking-only trail.

The trail extends between Georgia and Maine and covers 14 states and 2190.9 miles.

The task was grueling, as she encountered heavy rains, humidity and steep climbs, but Wilson is no stranger to hiking. She first learned about long-distance hiking years ago, when she began hiking up and down the Pacific Crest Trail.

Hitchin' Post mural gets needed update

For more than 25 years, there's been a fading stagecoach mural at the Hitchin' Post. It's not fading anymore because the original artist, David Alexander, took some time over the summer to repaint the same mural, this time in a way that will make it last longer.

"It's well worth what I paid for it. I love it," said Eugene Antonich, owner of the Hitchin' Post. He says customers and even those passing by in cars shout out how much they like it. "People stop and roll down their windows and give me their compliments," he added.

Molalla Alumni give huge donation to high school for CTE

A small group of generous Molalla alumni just handed over $220,000 to the high school for career and technical education, specifically in the wood and metals departments; and the donors are hoping others in the community will join in the giving.

The donors are Terry and Cheryl Holden and Dale and Julie Burghardt, who all now live in Las Vegas.

NOVEMBER

A fairy house fantasy come to life

Billy Dillard is a perfectionist. He's also a brilliant artist that got the idea to build a house for fairies, but to make it life-sized so humans could enjoy it.

Hidden down Union Mills Road in the forest surrounding his home, is what appears to be a large doll house that's decorated with flowers, leaves and forest creatures Dillard has made himself.

He began in 2014 and is nearly finished with the 12-foot tall house that's decorated with different flowers, leaves and stained glass.

Teachers, school district reach contract deal

After a drawn-out negotiation process, Molalla teachers and the school district have reached agreement on teacher contracts.

The Molalla River Education Association and the Molalla River School District have been in negotiations since the labor agreement between the two expired June 30, 2018. The normal time for bargaining was nearly up, but the parties came to an agreement at the end of October, and the school board voted to approve the three-year contract at their Nov. 8 meeting.

"It was a compromise," said Clarkes teacher and MREA representative Annette Delbridge. "We appreciate the district's meeting us on that."

ODOT accelerates pedestrian crossing plan

It's been at least three years since the City Council has been working with Oregon's Department of Transportation to get a pedestrian crosswalk put in at Highway 211 and Hezzie Lane.

Even last year after a middle school student was hit crossing the street, ODOT still told the council it was a couple of years off.

All that has now changed. ODOT's Region 1 Manager Rian Windsheimer called Mayor Jimmy Thompson on Nov. 16 to tell him that the state's Transportation agency will install a flashing beacon when they get the equipment in six to eight weeks.

DECEMBER

SCTD hires new manager

South Clackamas Transportation District Chair Dave Weber recently announced the retirement of Shirley Lyons, who had held the position of District Manager since the SCDT's inception in 1989.

Her job will be taken over by Tom Strader, whose extensive experience includes 17 years at TriMet, where he most recently managed Fare Policy and Programs for TriMet's Public Affairs division.

Three-week investigation leads police to arrest

Molalla Police officers, with assistance from the Canby Police Department, culminated a three week investigation into recent thefts around Molalla with an arrest.

On Thursday, Dec. 6, at about 8 a.m., the Molalla and Canby officers executed a search warrant on the home of Hutch Kimble in the 300 block of S. Molalla Avenue.

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