2018 was a busy year for KXRO.
We had over 1,000 stories written at KXRO.com, over 1,600 postings on Facebook , 1,200 Tweets, and over 15,000 Likes on Instagram in 2018. This has led to over 6 million views on KXRO content in 2018.
This year, a lot of stories impacted our area from all aspects of news. Stories saddened us and garnered community outreach, some stories gave us hope, and others gave us worry.
We have looked through the analytics and insights from all our media outlets, reviewed the stories that hit us hardest, reached out to listeners for feedback, and together have put together a list of the stories we feel highlighted this year.
Top Stories of 2018
June 26, 2009 marked the day that Lindsey walked home from a friend’s house in McCleary, never to be seen again. In May, the Lindsey Baum search changed from a Missing Persons case to a Kidnapping/Homicide investigation as Grays Harbor County Sheriff Rick Scott was joined by local sheriffs and the FBI when he announced said that the remains of Lindsey were found in September of 2017 in a remote area of Eastern Washington.
On June 9, A fire burned the Aberdeen Community Center & former Armory Building, housing the Aberdeen Museum of History, Coastal Community Action Center, Aberdeen Senior Center, and other resources. Since that time, CCAP moved their offices to the former bank building at 101 E Market St, the Friends of The Aberdeen Museum moved into a space into the Aberdeen Art Center, and the museum is still recovering and looking for a new location.
On August 20, a fire broke out in a back room at Harbor Saw & Supply, destroying the Simpson Avenue building. Following the fire, the local company moved into their former location at 2211 West First Street until they can rebuild.
34-year-old Daniel McCartney, a former Hoquiam Police Officer of 6 years, Navy veteran, and three-year veteran of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office was shot and killed in Janueary of this year following a foot chase after responding to a 911 call.
Following his death, which left behind a wife and three young boys, the Hoquiam community mourned and organized a number of vigils and fundraisers to assist his family.
City of Aberdeen government has been working for a number of years to appease business owners and residents following a growing homeless population and issues being attributed to them. This year the City purchased the “Hobo Beach” or “River City” land and have put in regulations that would remove the current residents.
In addition to this action, the City has also worked to decrease the amount of vagrancy within the downtown, adding a portable toilet, restricting shopping cart use, and enacting a sit-lie ordinance to discourage sleeping on sidewalks. All of these changes have been emboldened under the new Aberdeen Police Department leadership of Chief Steve Shumate.
A 20-year-old woman was walking in Montesano in May when 41 year old Isaac J. Gusman attempted assualted and attempted to kidnap her as she was walking near Church Street and McBryde Avenue . Following the incident, the search for the man led into Mason County.
Gusman was originally found guilty of Unlawful Imprisonment by Superior Court Judge Ray Kahler, which carried a sentence range of one to three months in jail. His potential short jail sentence created a public outcry and in August, when the man was set to be released, his charge was updated to Attempted Kidnapping 2nd Degree and his sentence was extended to eight months in jail.
One of our most popular stories of the year, generating worldwide attention, the sign made famous by a famous photo of Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselić turning the distances to local cities to “666” was changed. A vast amount of people have made pilgrimage to the area to remake the iconic image of Nirvana history, although during construction in the area, Washington State Department of Transportation crews changed the sign for safety reasons.
Doug Adamson with the Washington State Department of Transportation told KXRO that the sign was causing issues as people were parking and crossing lanes to take their own photo. Adamson says that it is unlikely the sign will be changed back.
In September of 2001, the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office investigated a death of a man at a motel in Amanda Park. A man had checked into the hotel under the name of Lyle Stevik, and following an apparent suicide, the Sheriff’s Office began looking for his true identity, spending “countless hours over the years”. Working with online sleuths, the non-profit DNA Doe Project worked to match DNA found at the scene with a nationwide database, finding the true identity of the man.
The group was able to come up with a possible match of a man from California, although the 17 year mystery will remain a secret as the family of “Lyle” requested that his real name not be released.
KXRO listeners have a special interest when a major retail name looks at property in Aberdeen, and that was no different when the owners of the Dutch Bros. Centralia/Chehalis location purchased property in East Aberdeen with plans to bring a Dutch Bros. to the area.
Franchise owner Jeff Bass told KXRO that the plans are to retrofit the current building on Wishkah St will begin in early 2019 and his hope is to hire around 25 local employees and baristas for the store, with an early Spring opening.
In what was likely the most fun story to write this year, and another story that has acheived worldwide attention, a new species was discovered locally. In the first week of 2018, a new species of ancient seal that lived in the Grays Harbor area during the Miocene Epoch was discovered near Matlock.
Published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society by Robert W Boessenecker of the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences at the College of Charleston and the University of California Museum of Paleontology, the new species is called Allodesmus demerei.
Much ado about nothing, for now, but the Proposed Capital Facilities Plan originally called for the closure of 5 local Timberland Regional Library locations.
In the proposed plan from Timberland Regional Library, multiple changes would come to the Grays Harbor and Pacific County library system. They say that a “reimagined library” could be coming to the region after TRL has “reached the point where revenues are not keeping up with expenditures”. In Grays Harbor, the proposed plan would close the Hoquiam, Montesano, Oakville, and Amanda Park libraries and merge services with other facilities, and in Pacific County it would close the South Bend location.
That plan has been placed on hold indefinitely following widespread community discord.