Edmonds Beacon - Your Hometown News Source

Edmonds 2019 year in review, part 2


Last updated 1/2/2020 at 9:09am

Brian Soergel

Paws in the Pool at Yost Pool in Edmonds.

Ruston was among about 30 other dogs chasing rubber balls and perfecting their doggie-paddle strokes in the morning session of the inaugural Paws in the Pool at Yost Park, reserved for dogs 50 pounds and under.

Corgis were a hit with human spectators, who were not allowed in the water with their best friends for sanitary reasons. And Yost Pool is now closed for the season.

(The pool was thoroughly cleaned as it is every year at the end of the season, City recreation coordinator Kim Anderson said. The Snohomish County Health Department will inspect the pool prior to opening next summer, as is required every year.)


Former Beacon cartoonist is now Edmonds' first mayor

When Edmonds native Brian Hanchett learned in 2015 that the 5K Fun Run for An Edmonds Kind of 4th was going to be renamed the Beat Brackett 5K, he approached Edmonds Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Greg Urban.

"I asked him who was going to be Brackett for the race, and they told me they hadn't decided," said Hanchett, the Beacon's editoral cartoonist for 14 years. "He asked, 'Do you want to be Brackett?' I said, 'Sure.' "

On Thursday, Hanchett will portray Brackett – the logger who established Edmonds in 1876 and was the city's first mayor – for the fifth year in a row.

Let freedom ring

Thousands of residents and visitors thronged the streets of downtown Edmonds for the Chamber of Commerce's annual Independence Day celebrations, including two parades, 5K and 1K races, a waterball competition and, of course, fireworks.

Didja feel it? Yes. No. Maybe subconsciously

Edmonds residents were quick to respond to the Beacon's Facebook post early Friday morning, July 12, after a 4.6 earthquake in Snohomish County near Three Lakes/Monroe/Lake Tye area at 2:51 a.m.

Readers shared more than 80 comments, checking in from the Bowl, Sherwood Village, Westgate, Seaview, Perrinville, Meadowdale, Yost Park, Firdale Village, Woodway, Sherwood Forest, Maplewood, Picnic Point, and other locations. Readers also checked in from Lynnwood, Shoreline and Richmond Beach.

Candidates for Edmonds mayor state their cases

During two mayoral forums over the past week, it became clear that the four candidates for Edmonds' top job agree on a few salient points: The city needs to communicate better, Highway 99 is a mess, Edmonds's quaint character needs to be preserved, and homelessness and housing issues need to be addressed.

As expected, the four – City Councilmembers Kristiana Johnson, Mike Nelson, and Neil Tibbott, as well as City planner Brad Shipley – touted their accomplishments and explained why Edmonds citizens ought to tick off their names in the August primary.

Edmonds residents reflect on moon landing anniversary

On July 20, 1969, the world got just a bit smaller when the lunar module Eagle landed on the moon, with Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin stepping on its surface while Michael Collins circled in orbit above in the command module Columbia.

For a time, for many, the spectacle of Apollo 11 and man's first landing on the moon stopped time. Parents gathered children in front of the black-and-white TVs. Others watched in public places.

The Beacon asked readers around for the big moment to share their recollections. Here are some memories from Edmonds residents.


Village at Westgate first with multifamily tax exemption

The Village at Westgate, a four-story apartment complex at Edmonds Way and 100th Avenue West, has opened as the first in Edmonds to include the multifamily tax exemption program, which means 20 percent of the units are reserved for families or individuals earning 80 to 115 percent of area median income.

An Edmonds park fit for everyone

When Edmonds resident Julie Kuehn realized that it was getting more difficult to take her son to the park – Jacob, 4, who has cerebral palsy – she decided to reach out to a councilmember seeking public feedback for Edmonds parks on social media.

"I had been lamenting that we couldn't come to the park anymore because Jacob is so much bigger, and it's hard for me to physically get him to each piece of equipment," Keuhn said. "So I was pretty bummed."

She decided to reach out to Councilmember Mike Nelson about her family's experience, and he just ran with it, she said.

"I got all kinds of feedback that our parks aren't accessible as they should be," Nelson said.

Mayor appoints new HR director

The City of Edmonds has its third Human Resources director in eight years, as Mayor Dave Earling on Aug. 5 appointed Jessica Neill Hoyson to fill the position after the prior HR director, Mary Ann Hardie, resigned in May to take a similar job in Lacey.

Hardie worked for the City for 14 years, and was the director after City Council brought the postion back in September 2016.

Suit calls for protection zone as more orcas die.

Whale-watching groups, including one that departs from Edmonds, are once again defending their practices this week after conservation groups sued the Trump administration Aug. 19 for ignoring a 2016 legal petition to protect critically endangered southern resident orcas in their prime Salish Sea habitats.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington state by the Center for Biological Diversity and Orca Relief Citizens' Alliance (ORCA), follows news that three more of the starving orcas are presumed dead, dropping their population to just 73.

Pets now free to roam parks and waterfront pathway – on a leash

If you have a dog in Edmonds – and who doesn't, really – you may be confused about just where your canine companions are allowed on leashes in our pet-friendly city.

Be confused no more.

The rules about dogs in parks have been changed and codified into Edmonds law. It's much simpler now, City officials say.

City Council members have approved an updated code regarding dogs in parks on a trial basis. Repeat, trial basis. This means dog owners need to play along. So dogs in parks must remain on a leash and in the owners' control.

Invasive Asian gypsy moth trapped in Woodway

Seasonal trappers from the Washington State Department of Agriculture captured an unwelcome guest last month in the Town of Woodway, Edmonds' verdant neighbor to the south. What makes this capture particularly newsworthy was that the insect has never before been trapped in the United States – the Hokkaido gypsy moth, a variety of the Asian gypsy moth.

The species was confirmed by a U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory in Massachusetts. During the week of Aug. 29, the WSDA confirmed the catch inside a trap in the southern portion of Woodway.


EdCC president gets pay raise after first year

Edmonds Community College president Amit Singh is getting a pay increase from the Board of Trustees after his first year at the Lynnwood school. Singh received a 3% cost-of-living-adjustment, bumping his salary to $258,258 a year, or more than $21,500 a month.

Singh replaced former President Jean Hernandez as the college's sixth president since its founding in 1967 in Edmonds.

Lightning, thunder show dazzles Edmonds

It takes a freak of nature to turn away from the TV during the golden era of prestige TV – even more so during prime time.

But anecdotal evidence from Edmonds (OK, evidence gathered from an Edmonds living room) suggests that Saturday night's explosive thunder and lightning show did just that. Remotes killed TV signals, blinds and curtains rose, and more than a few awestruck Edmondsites witnessed a storm that lit up the sky with craggy bolts of lightning and cracked a few explosive thunderclaps seemingly parked over our fair city.

Thief steals camera. It's found. Suspect isn't

The Edmonds Police Department is seeking the public's help in identifying a suspect who stole a surveillance camera – from the police department.

"The camera was actually stolen on July 10," said Sgt. Shane Hawley. "We didn't know about it until September 10, when a member of the facilities department noticed wires hanging from the wall."

Now it gets even weirder.

"He had talked to a parks department worker," Hawley said, "and it turns out they found the camera in July, across the street at the Civic Center field. We went back through our video and found the moment when the camera was taken."

Lederhosen alert: First Edmonds Oktoberfest

It won't be Leavenworth, but it's much closer.

When you hear "Oktoberfest," you might conjure up that Highway 2 hamlet and visions of German celebrations with beer, sausages, lederhosen, and chicken dances.

Those visions will become reality with the first-ever Edmonds Oktoberfest, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Sept. 20-21, at the Frances Anderson Center playfield.

Organizers say that, in addition to those above-mentioned items, there will be some Edmonds-specific tie-ins.

Free activities including cornhole and giant beer pong (for the grown-ups).


Students, teachers leave King's Schools over perceived intolerance of LGBTQ people

King's Schools, an independent, interdenominational Christian school for students from preschool to grade 12 in Shoreline, is under fire from teachers and students who feel the school is not supportive of LGBTQ members and allies. Enrollment includes many students from Edmonds and Woodway.

Both faculty and students have left in protest.

Much of the protest focuses on the school's doubling down on its stance of gay marriage. Jacinta Tegman, who in January was named president and CEO of CRISTA Ministries, and the head of the school, Eric Rasmussen, cite biblical inerrancy.

Cascade Symphony names Rose Gear executive director

Rose Gear, a music and arts administrator, business professional and musician, has been appointed full-time executive director of Cascade Symphony Orchestra by the organization's board of directors.

Gear, who has served as executive assistant to the Seattle Symphony's music director Ludovic Morlot during the past four years, will be the CSO's administrative leader.

Rick Steves awards first climate smart commitment grants

Edmonds-based Rick Steves' Europe has selected 11 nonprofits to receive its first annual $1 million Climate Smart Commitment grants.

Steves said the company's yearly investment will go directly to two kinds of organizations: groups advocating in Congress for U.S. policies to fight climate change, and nonprofit organizations who are helping farming communities in the developing world mitigate their contribution to climate change by employing climate-smart agriculture and forestry techniques.

By supporting organizations with its "self-imposed carbon tax," the company will help mitigate the carbon emissions of the 30,000 people it took on Rick Steves tours in 2019 by directly supporting U.Ss advocacy and climate-smart initiatives in the developing world.

School District issues advisory on fentanyl

The Edmonds School District on Monday, Oct. 7, sent a letter to families regarding the increase in the number of fentanyl-related overdose deaths among young people, including high school students.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid drug that can be up to 100 times more powerful than other opioids. Fentanyl is often added to illicit street drugs such as fake pills and white powder. Fentanyl and other opioids cause overdose by slowing breathing, and eventually can cause death.

Beacon: Robust website gives you news on your terms

With the launch of our new, user-friendly website at edmondsbeacon.com, Beacon readers have several ways to keep abreast of the community news that affects their daily lives.

As always, the Beacon newspaper is free at racks and stacks throughout Edmonds and surrounding areas. Where carriers are available, readers can have the paper delivered directly to their doorstep. It's still free.

Readers who prefer to receive their newspaper in the mail are welcome to go that route. Cost is $80 per year, which just covers the cost of postage. Six-month and two-year subscriptions also are available.

And now, readers who prefer to access their community news online can enjoy the Beacon's new and robust website, designed with a clean, easy-to-read look and updated regularly at edmondsbeacon.com.

Bonus: the complete paper, in its original form.

Bond would build new College Place Middle School

Edmonds students who attend College Place Middle School in Lynnwood – the main campus for local kids – will see a new school in the near future if voters approved a $600 million capital construction bond proposal approved Oct. 8 by the Edmonds School District board.

The board of director unanimously approved the bond, as well as a $96 million replacement technology/capital levy. Voters will decide on the measures in an election Feb. 11. A bond requires 60% approval, while a levy requires a simple majority.

Beacon journalists honored at newspaper conference

Two members of the Beacon Publishing newsroom were honored with a handful of awards last week at the annual Washington Newspaper Publishers Association convention in Olympia.

Sports editor David Pan won five awards, including 2nd place for 2019 Sportswriter of the Year. In addition, Pan won a 1st place for a Color Sports Photo in the Features category for a story in the Edmonds Beacon titled "Edmonds-Woodway wraps its season."

Edmonds Beacon Editor Brian Soergel walked away with four honors for three stories he wrote and one photo he took for the Edmonds Beacon. He took a 1st place in the Social Issue category for a story titled "A New Man," another 1st in the Personality Profile category for a story about Emily Locke, a woman who persevered despite a rare disease, and a 1st in the Color Portrait category for his photo on the "Memorial Day Salute."

Goodbye, yellow van man

Every town has its characters.

Steve Bell, who parked his yellow VW Westfalia on the Sunset Avenue bluff in Edmonds just about every day for the years, was among them. In Bell's case, the van – a dab of mustard against the blue Puget Sound – was as distinct as its owner: Friendly enough to curious passers-by, but a mystery to those who could only see an old man by the side of the road.

But a few curious souls did reach out, and they are remembering the retired gent who died at home last week at 77.


101-year-old Buck Weaver has been alive for every Armistice/Veteran's Day

Buck Weaver is a veteran's veteran, a World War II hero, and a proud member of the Greatest Generation.

Buck is 101.

He was born three months before the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, which marked the end of World War I. The next year – on Nov. 11, 1919, 100 years ago – saw the first official Armistice Day. In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower changed the name of the celebration to Veterans Day.

Yes, that means Buck Weaver has been alive for every Armistice/Veterans Day observance. And, in an interview from his Walnut Street condo on Friday, Buck said he plans to attend Monday's Veterans Day services at Edmonds Veterans Plaza.

Mike Nelson elected Edmonds mayor

Forty-four-year-old Councilmember Mike Nelson won 33 out of 51 districts in the city to become Edmonds' 36th mayor, beating fellow councilmember Neil Tibbott.

After the latest round of votes were tallied in the 2019 general election, Nelson has 8,621 votes (52.93%) to Neil Tibbott's 7,611 (46.72%).

New look for City Council

The Edmonds City Council will see a new look in 2020, with six of its members being female, including incumbents Diane Buckshnis – who beat Jenna Nand – and Adrienne Fraley-Monillas and Kristiana Johnson

Winning council seats in this year's election were Vivian Olson (over Alicia Crank), Susan Paine (over Diana White), and Laura Johnson (over Nathan Monroe).

If a seventh woman is appointed in January – to take place of Mike Nelson, who won his mayoral race, it would result in Edmonds' first all-female council in its 130-year history.

City will appeal gun-storage ruling

The Edmonds City Council voted Tuesday to appeal a court ruling last month that the City's gun-storage ordinance "impermissibly regulates firearms in violation" of Washington's 36-year-old preemption law.

Councilmember Mike Nelson proposed the ordinance last summer, and was in the majority of members voting to appeal. Joining him were Tom Mesaros, Diane Buckshnis and Adrienne Fraley-Monillas.

Neil Tibbott, Dave Teitzel, and Kristiana Johnson voted against the appeal, making the argument that I-639, passed by 59% of state voters last year, is already on the books. That ordinance, however, does not require that firearms be stored in a particular place or in a particular way.

City hires new state legislative lobbyist

After several years of service by Olympia lobbyist Jennifer Ziegler, who is cutting back her workload in 2020, Mayor Dave Earling has hired Olympia-based Debora Munguia to provide government relations and lobbyist services in 2020.

The City received proposals from two competent firms. After interviews and reference checks, Munguia come out on top as the best fit for Edmonds, Earling said. In fact, included among her references was outgoing Ziegler.

Single-use plastics ban effective Jan. 1

Starting Jan. 1, it will be illegal in the city of Edmonds for any restaurant, café, grocery store, coffee shop, cafeteria, or other food service business to sell or provide for consumption, on or off premises, food and beverage items in single-use plastic containers.

Any person or business violating the ban on single-use plastic containers and utensils is subject to a civil penalty of $100. The penalty for a second or subsequent offense within two years of any previous offense shall be $250.

The rule is per City ordinances 4139 and 4145.

Man walks to police station to report he's shot his father

Just before 3 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21, a 24-year-old Edmonds man walked to the Edmonds Police Department, picked up the phone at an outside callbox, and said he killed his father.

The suspect, identified by Edmonds police reports as John H. Fry, gave his address as a private residence in the 18700 block of 84th Avenue West, two blocks north of Seaview Elementary School.

There, officers discovered a 64-year-old man with multiple stab wounds inside. He was dead when officers arrived, and the residence was secured.

Hawley confirmed the homicide was the first of 2019 in Edmonds.

Edmonds business owner indicted on arson charge

A business owner arrested Nov. 21 on an indictment charging her with arson and wire fraud currently runs a business in Edmonds.

U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran announced the indictment of Connie L. Bigelow, 52. She was released on bond and is scheduled to appear at a plea hearing Dec. 5 at Seattle District Court.

The indictment alleges that Bigelow set fire to her business April 30, 2018, to collect insurance money as the store was struggling to make enough money to pay the rent.

Bigelow moved her business, CJN Miniatures LLC, from Edmonds' Firdale Village into the building at 23030 Highway 99, just south of 230 Street SW in unincorporated Edmonds, in September 2017.

Following the fire, Bigelow reopened the store as Miniatures & More at 610 Fifth Ave. S in Edmonds.


Winter is a peak time for coyote sightings and attacks

Ted became one of the most recognizable dogs in Edmonds earlier this year after the fluffy and unbearably cute 10-pound Pomeranian went missing July 26. His owner, Mary McAllister – beyond tears with grief – stapled his picture on trees and telephone poles throughout town.

A few weeks later, McAllister– who lives in Edmonds' verdant Sherwood Forest neighborhood – discovered Ted in a wooded area near the former Woodway High School's tennis courts.

A scrap of fur was all that was left of the 5-year-old.

McAllister is sure that Ted became just another victim of hungry coyotes, who are especially ravenous this time of year. Almost daily, gossipy social media posts detail frightening encounters with coyotes, who seem increasingly brazen in their sightings and attacks – both under cover of darkness and even in broad daylight.

Law firm gets a new 3-year contract

Edmonds City Council members have signed off on a new, three-year contract with its longtime city attorney, Lighthouse Law Group, but only after some acrimony and bruised feelings.

The group, founded by Jeff Taraday, has served as the city's attorney since 2011. The group also provides services to the City of Maple Valley.

The 5-2 vote was approved Nov. 27, with council President Adrienne Fraley Monillas and Mayor-elect Mike Nelson voting against.

One family's donation erases student debt

A former Hazelwood Elementary family gave an $18,000 donation to erase school meal debt for every student in the district as of Dec. 17. Many district families will have a special gift to be thankful for this holiday season as they are able to start the new year with no student meal debt.

All families with students who will have student meal debt erased will be notified by email and text message this week and will be encouraged instead to make deposits for future school meals.

Edmonds police chief is now ready to retire

Funny how life turns out sometimes. Al Compaan can tell you stories.

Edmonds' police chief was about a year from retiring from the police force at age 53 when his career abruptly took a U-turn. Compaan was Edmonds' assistant police chief in April 2007 when David Stern – named chief in 2001 – died suddenly April 25, 2007, from a brain aneurysm.

Compaan – living up to the department's "Service Before Self" motto, a phrase he chose – became acting chief, a position made permanent in October 2007.

File photo

An Edmonds Kinds of 4th.

More than 12 years later, Compaan is finally retiring, and Mayor Dave Earling and Mayor-elect Mike Nelson have agreed on the appointment of Assistant Chief Jim Lawless as acting chief in 2020.

Mayor Earling reflects on his long career in Edmonds politics

To learn about the recent history of Edmonds and south Snohomish County, a visit with David Orrin Earling would be a wise step in building a bibliography.

Last week, as the 76-year-old shared stories and reflected on his long career as an Edmonds elected official, businessman, and civic and nonprofit leader, gathering some of that history was as simple as turning on a voice recorder and asking a few questions.

He made it clear there will be no let-up before handing over the reins to Mayor-elect Mike Nelson.


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