This is the first in a four-part series of articles reviewing news that occurred in 2022. This first installment breaks down the period of Jan. 1 to March 31.

Teacher and students with face masks in classroom
Masks will be optional in Philomath classrooms beginning March 12. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

JANUARY

• Jan. 3 — Flooding occurs on Grange Hall Road, South 13th Street, Fern Road, Chapel Drive and Bellfountain Road, and in the Blodgett vicinity, North Creek Road.

• Jan. 7 — The Community Health Centers Board and Benton County Board of Commissioners last month selected Carla Jones, of Philomath, to serve as the director of the Community Health Centers for Linn and Benton counties. 

• Jan. 7 — The west side of Reser Stadium came crashing down on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis. The planned demolition, part of the “Completing Reser” project, could be heard in Philomath and beyond.

• Jan. 10 — A fire destroyed a three-bay shop and garage structure on South 16th Street near Main Street.

• Jan. 10 — Mayor Chas Jones removed city councilors Jessica Andrade and Catherine Biscoe from the Public Works Committee.

• Jan. 12 — Just 18 months after leaving his position as Philomath’s superintendent of schools and through a series of health issues, Philip “Buzz” Brazeau died at his home in Salem. He was 72.

• Jan. 14 — The latest surge of COVID-19 infections in Oregon forced school districts to re-examine their teaching options as higher numbers of educators and students test positive.

• Jan. 20 — Negotiations took several months but the Philomath School District and the Philomath Education Association this week finally reached a two-year contract settlement. Teachers had been working without a contract five months into this academic year.

• Jan. 20 — The Philomath School District’s graduation rates continue to rank among the state’s best at 89.8%, according to data released by the Oregon Department of Education.

• Jan. 24 — A two-vehicle head-on collision on West Hills Road north of Philomath claimed the life of an 80-year-old man, John W. Lisenby, of rural Benton County.

• Jan. 24 — The Philomath City Council through a series of close votes opted to move forward with continuing its discussion about making improvements to North 11th Street. Councilors debated the issue for 3-1/2 hours.

• Jan. 25 — Schools superintendent Susan Halliday talked about a plan for the district to ease workloads over the final months of the academic year for educators and staff.

Gwen Carr, right, talks to students about Black history in Oregon on Tuesday. She and her granddaughter, Grace Caldwell, left, were featured in a program hosted by the PHS Student Racial Equity Committee and paid for through a Benton County Cultural Coalition grant awarded to the Philomath Youth Activities Club. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

FEBRUARY

• Feb. 1 — Philomath School District counselors Maria Drennen and Mike Panico have each been nominated for the 2021-22 National LifeChanger of the Year award, the organization announced.

• Feb. 1 — Legislators returned to Salem to start the 2022 legislative session. The House elected a new speaker, Corvallis attorney Dan Rayfield, who currently represents Philomath as part of his district.

• Feb. 3 — Although further discussion remains, the Philomath School Board during its January meeting directed Superintendent of Schools Susan Halliday to plan on putting a local option operating levy renewal vote on the November general election ballot.

• Feb. 7 — The Millpond Crossing housing development in Philomath appears to be headed in a new direction. Originally planned as a 169-home subdivision to be constructed in five phases, Millpond went back to the drawing board following a series of challenges over the past several months, including a methane issue that brought in the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, rising construction costs and pandemic-related supply chain issues.

• Feb. 15 — In a 60-minute program in front of local high school students, Oregon Black Pioneers longtime board member Gwen Carr covered everything from fascinating early history facts to thoughts on today’s antiracism movement. Her granddaughter, Grace Caldwell, contributed enlightening perspectives of a biracial high school student. Together, they provided a glimpse into their worlds.

• Feb. 18 — Philomath Emporium to open at former longtime site of gun shop.

• Feb. 19 — The Philomath High cheerleading program appears to be flourishing under coach Kathy Kohler with 13 students in uniform.

• Feb. 23 — A 26-year-old California man lost his life in a single-vehicle crash on Fern Road.

• Feb. 26 — The Millpond Crossing developer received approval from the Planning Commission earlier this week to move forward with plans for a redesign that includes the addition of townhomes and a new location for a neighborhood park.

Blodgett Elementary students point to their favorites in response to the question posed by teacher Elaine Hall. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

MARCH

• March 1 — Moku Chocolate owner Maureen Nikaido’s idea for a business developed out of a 2013 trip to Nicaragua.

• March 3 — The faces of Philomath’s youth will return to school campuses beginning March 12, Superintendent of Schools Susan Halliday announced. Face coverings will become optional on district property and in school buses.

• March 7 — A veterans memorial park planned for the corner of North 16th and College streets that will carry the name of a Philomath High graduate killed in Vietnam took a step closer to reality last week with the city receiving official word that it had been awarded a $50,500 grant.

• March 9 — The Reading Retrievers took first place in the Philomath Elementary Battle of the Books finale.

• March 14 — The Philomath School Board adopted new language arts curriculum for Philomath Middle School and moved forward two facilities projects through the approval of bids for a new roofing system at Clemens Primary School and new boilers at Philomath High School.

• March 16 — In front of a small gathering, two Philomath Academy students in blue graduation gowns turned their tassels after receiving diplomas to wrap up a short ceremony.

• March 17 — Philomath’s downtown redesign project received news of a delay that will impact the release of bid requests but City Manager Chris Workman anticipates no change with the project’s expected completion.

• March 17 — Blodgett students take their first field trip in two years with activities in Philomath, including the local museum.

• March 24 — Dating back to 1977, E.D. Hughes Excavating established itself as a local business focused on the community while specializing primarily in residential projects. Today, Gerding Companies runs the operation and there have been a few notable changes.

• March 29 — Philomath High students stage a spring play called “Crazytown.”