Top local stories of 2009

December 8th, 2009 by Ken

From my perch, here in little old Lacey are my views of the Top Local Stories of 2009.

1. The demise of Venture Bank.  With 18 branches and assets of more than $1 billion, this Lacey headquartered bank was a big player in the local community.  First started as Lacey Bank in 1979, its failure left hundreds of local stockholders with no equity.  Also hurt were scores of community organizations which looked to Venture Bank for support.

2.  The defeat of three incumbent Lacey councilmembers.   No matter the reason, whether it be the efforts of Lacey’s unionized fire-fighters or just a national trend which saw 75 percent of all incumbents across the country ousted, this was a big event.  Lacey Mayor Graeme Sackrison, Deputy Mayor John Darby and senior councilmember Ann Burgman were all ousted depriving the council of institutional memory and leadership.

3.  Lacey’s efforts to start its own fire department.   Brought moot by the anti-incumbent election, the City of Lacey, under the leadership of City Manager Greg Cuoio, hired consultants, convened a citizen’s committee and led an all-out effort to convince city residents that they’d be better off with their own fire department.

4.  The opening of the Regional Athletic Complex.   This multi-field sports complex on the outskirts of Lacey opened this year to rave revues and crowded ball fields.  The construction is the result of Public Facility District funds and shows that taxpayer money can be used wisely and well.

5. Lacey’s red light camera.   With the first red light camera in Thurston County, the City of Lacey made lots of money when the camera was installed at the intersection of Sleater Kinney and Pacific Avenue.  As the year wore on, the amount of revenue generated declined and the future of the camera is unsure.

Posted in Business, Government, History, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News

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