Edmonds Beacon: 2017 in review (January-June)

Dec 29, 2017
Photo by: Brian Soergel Hundreds marched from Civic Field through town in February in support of immigrants, refugees and Muslims.

January

10th annual Polar Bear Plunge kicks off 2017

The 10th annual Polar Bear Plunge at Brackett’s Landing North was created locally by Daphne’s owner Brian Taylor. He was inspired by a 1930 photo, hanging in the Main Street bar, picturing the Edmonds Uplift Society, a drinking club formed during Prohibition.

Today, it’s a new version of the Edmonds Uplift Society that sponsors the event, which begins at Daphne’s and whose members meander celebratory-style down Main Street to the water. They proudly wear their white robes, and more than a few fuel up on liquid courage beforehand, thanks to Rainier beer and a shot, or two. Singing and toasting commences.

Former mayor reconciled with past

Former Edmonds Mayor Larry Naughten still loves the city – he subscribes to the Beacon to keep in touch – but is happy in Las Vegas, where he and wife Sandy settled in 2000.

Still, the irony. When he answered the phone recently, he had to chuckle. “Today we’re having a big storm. It’s raining right now.”

Nothing but blue skies in Edmonds, he was told.

“That’s the weather I like,” he said, perhaps explaining his move to the desert. “Clear and sunny.”

Naughten, who turned 83 on Tuesday, Jan. 10, just celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary. The 1952 graduate of Edmonds High School, now the home of the Edmonds Center for the Arts, met his future wife, Sandy, through a friend. “She went to Ballard High School. My friend lined me up.”

Could Edmonds become a sanctuary city?

When Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas proposed a resolution calling for Edmonds to be known as a “safe city,” she probably didn’t expect it to raise such as fuss.

After all, the resolution was placed at the bottom of Tuesday’s City Council agenda, which meant it would no doubt be discussed after about two-and-half hours of previous council activity.

But after several councilmembers, including Fraley-Monillas, saw their inboxes stuffed with comments from citizens on the matter, it was scooted to the top of the agenda. That no doubt pleased the full house that showed up to lend their support for the resolution.

One voiced her disapproval, saying the resolution was written suspiciously close to the inauguration of President-elect Trump and suggested the resolution would turn Edmonds into a so-called sanctuary city, where undocumented immigrants are not prosecuted for violating federal immigration laws.

David Martin: Mr. Early Northwest Art

When museum owner and Cascadia Art Museum curator David Martin dove into the artwork of brilliantly talented but forgotten early 20th century Northwest artists, it seemed there was nothing that could derail his single-minded quest to introduce them to the world.

OK. There was one thing.

“I started contacting people at local museums, and no one was interested,” Martin said. “They weren’t even slightly interested. In fact, they were hostile, to be honest with you. And this was women curators, most of the time.”

That was then.

Today, Martin is acknowledged as the preeminent art historian on the paintings, prints, photography and sculpture created exclusively by artists active in the Northwest during the late-19th through the mid-20th centuries.

IGA: ‘Just wasn’t enough business’

Three-and-a-half years after IGA opened at the Fifth Avenue South space occupied by Petosa’s Family Grocer for 26 years, it’s clear the large grocery store concept in downtown Edmonds is dead and buried.

IGA has announced that it is giving up on the city, citing the familiar lament of competition and changing consumer habits.

“I wish the community had supported us more,” said IGA manager Jamie Flint last week, surrounded by emptying shelves. “We could have made a go here. There just wasn’t enough business.”

Bud’s Bait House gone after 53 years at Port of Edmonds

What is arguably the longest continuous business enterprise on the Edmonds waterfront is gone.

Bud’s Bait House – a floating barge that stocked herring, crab, tackle items, snacks and plenty of salty fish tales – was demolished Jan. 16 after 53 years at the Port of Edmonds.

The shop was operated by Budwin Christensen, who everyone at the Port knows as “Bud.”

The Port plans to relocate the Puget Sound Express whale watching operation, currently at the south end of the marina, to the space formerly operated by the bait shop. Boat moorage may also expand at the space.

February


 

All 4 corners: Hundreds protest Trump’s immigration action

The big cities get all the attention, but hundreds of people in Edmonds protesting President Donald Trump’s immigration ban showed that quaint, seaside villages can get riled up, too.

They chanted, raised signs and waved at a steady stream of motorists passing through 100th Avenue West and Edmonds Way, most who leaned on their horns in thumbs-up approval. A few flashed single-digit disapproval.

It was quite a sight, as concerned citizens of all ages gathered on all four corners of the busy intersection Sunday, Jan. 29, in the largest and most vocal Edmonds rally of recent years.

LGBT flag stealers would be welcome at Edmonds church

The Rev. Tim Oleson has a message for those who continue to steal his church’s LGBT rainbow pride flags.

“We’ll keep spreading our message of love and acceptance, and that goes for the people who take our flags, you know? We love you just the same, and you would be welcome to come here even if you can’t stop stealing our flag. We would walk beside you.”

Oleson and his staff at Edmonds Lutheran Church began placing the flag on its 84th Avenue West sign two years ago when it gained status as a Reconciled in Christ Congregation, one that celebrates and welcomes participation and membership from the LGBT community.

Since then, thieves have swiped the flags four times, the last coming Sunday, Feb. 5, during a morning service.

Game for thrones: Downtown bathroom opens

Edmonds’ downtown bathroom officially opened Tuesday, Feb. 7, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

In addition to entrances for men and women, there also is a unisex/family room.

The final touch will be installation of three informational panels within the metal faux window frames on the Fifth Avenue facade. These three panels will depict images and information related to Edmonds’ maritime history, arts and culture, and indigenous peoples and resources.

Woodway beach attacker given 19 years

An Edmonds man convicted of attacking a woman on a Woodway beach just south of Edmonds' popular off-leash dog park was sentenced Tuesday to 19 years for attempted murder and 7 years, 9 months-to life for attempted rape. Both sentences will be served concurrently.

A jury found Charles Frank Fisher, 59, guilty of the two charges Jan. 24 in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Guess what? We’re still not ‘Deadmonds’

It didn’t take long for Mayor Dave Earling to mention the “D” word in his State of the City presentation.

“We still ain’t Deadmonds anymore,” he told an overflow crowd at Edmonds Theater Feb. 9. You may remember that Earling first mentioned the word at last year’s State of the City, reminding all that Edmonds has not been “Deadmonds” for a long time.

Still, some perceptions die slowly.

After that was over, Earling quickly transitioned to touting the city – “We have a balanced and healthy city budget” – while reminding citizens that Edmonds still needs to be cautious about spending in the near future.

Average home price hits $500K in Edmonds

Congratulations.

If you are an average homeowner in Edmonds, living in an average home that you have owned for at least 10 years, your average home is now worth half a million dollars. Actually, about $501,000, although, of course, yours could be lower (not by much) or higher (a lot higher).

That’s according to Scott James, who charts such things for the city of Edmonds as its finance director.

March


 

City agrees to settle sexual harassment suit

The city of Edmonds has approved a settlement with an Edmonds police officer who filed a $500,000 claim in August 2013, alleging sexual harassment from a police sergeant.

The city will pay Jodi Sackville $235,000, in addition to $2,455 toward medical benefits.

The decision was made in executive session on Tuesday, Feb. 28, meaning details of the case were not made public. Councilmembers voted 6-0, with Thomas Mesaros absent, to approve the settlement.

Standoff in Edmonds

An Edmonds man is temporarily homeless after a burglary suspect broke into his Edmonds apartment and held police and SWAT teams at bay for five hours before giving himself up.

Timothy Danaher, who lives in the apartment at 2901 76th Ave. W, is unable to enter it; the front window was smashed to bits and is boarded up, and police sprayed tear gas and lobbed stun grenades inside. A sign posted on the apartment door notes that “chemical agents have been used on this premises (sic). Entering without proper personal protective equipment will expose you to eye, skin, and lung irritants.”

Teen killed by falling tree not on main trail

When the large tree snapped with a crack and fell on 17-year-old Diana Olidinchuk, her hiking friends tried unsuccessfully to lift it off her. But it was just too heavy.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said the tree killed Olidinchuk instantly Friday, March 10, at Meadowdale Beach Park in unincorporated Snohomish County just north of Edmonds.

Olidinchuk and friends were not on a marked trail, said Tom Teigan, director of Snohomish County Parks, Recreation, and Tourism.

Babies heal with help from their volunteer cuddlers

Daryl Hanauer of Everett loved driving his elementary school kids around during his bus-driving years. Now semiretired and driving for Uber, he finds his days filled with shuffling grownups around instead.

But something was off. It didn’t take long for Hanauer to guess the reason: He missed his kids. Although he’d love to surround himself with some of his own, he said it doesn’t look like his 33-year-old daughter is going to make him a grandfather anytime soon.

He discovered a solution, although with a much, much younger subset of kids – infants.

“Four months ago, a friend said she was going to be cuddling babies at Swedish Edmonds hospital.”

After shooting off an application and undergoing six weeks of interviews and tests, Hanauer found his calling as an official member of Swedish’s Cuddler Volunteer Program.

Fire commissioners admit wrongdoing with racial remarks

Two Snohomish County Fire District 1 commissioners have apologized but are refusing a growing public clamor to resign after a video surfaced of them laughing while making racially tinged remarks at a recent meeting.

Fire commissioners on Tuesday, March 21, voted 4-0 to reprimand David Chan and Bob Meador. The vote included assent from both Chan and Meador, who agreed to write apologies to residents and employees of the district, refrain from similar communications in the future, attend diversity training and to consider resignation.

Sales tax jumps past 10 percent on April 1

You didn’t think taxes would go down just because you filed your taxes early, right?

On April 1, Edmonds saw its state and local sales tax rate hurdle the 10 percent barrier, as it jumps from 9.8 percent to 10.3 percent. Save those dimes.

The half-percent increase is thanks to voters who checked “yes” on the ballot box, with the money going to Sound Transit (Regional Transit Authority).

Ferry law enforcement calls double in 1 year

Is it a sign of the times or just another reason to hate on 2016?

Shocking new numbers from Washington State Ferries show that the number of calls to law enforcement from a terminal or ferry more than doubled from 2015 to 2016 – from about 1,000 to more than 2,100.

Most calls to Washington State Patrol are for what WSF spokesman Ian Sterling calls “bad behavior.”

Eighty percent of cases on the Edmonds-Kingston route were traffic related.

April


Expect delays at busy Edmonds intersection through November

Although the city’s reconstruction of the congested 212th Street SW and 76th Avenue West intersection officially begins Monday, April 10, you may have noticed that utility work already has ripped up some of its approaches.

Get used to it.

Improvements to one of the city’s most maligned crossroads – if not the worst, it’s close – will provide dedicated left turn lanes on 76th Avenue West with simultaneous turning movements during the left-turn phase. This, along with the addition of right-turn lanes and a new traffic signal, will increase the capacity and improve intersection signal operation, traffic flow and vehicle delay. And reducing vehicle emissions mean improved air quality.

Publishing squabble ends the music at Cafe Louvre

An Edmonds coffee shop is caught up in a strong-armed attempt by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) to force performance venues to pay licensing fees for the more than 10 million works in its catalog of copyrighted music.

As a result, the live music has ended at Cafe Louvre on Fifth Avenue South, which for the last four years has refused to pay for its open-mic shows presented by Edmonds Tunes.

Confused vandals tag vehicles with swastikas, ‘Trump’

Maybe vandals who spray-painted swastikas on more than 10 vehicles and residences in Westgate and Esperance meant to impart hope, goodwill and peace among their neighbors. After all, the symbols as sprayed – backwards – displayed the characteristics of an ancient Buddhist practice.

More likely, the vandals were just dum-dums who weren’t aware that they were unsuccessful in conveying their message of hate as co-opted by Nazi Germany. They also sprayed “Trump” on the side and rear of one car in Esperance.

“This sort of criminal behavior has no place in our society and is strongly condemned by me and any who stand up for the law and basic human dignity,” Edmonds Police Chief Al Compaan said. “We are asking for the public’s help with identifying suspects.”

City denies culture of sexual harassment

Despite settling a recent sexual harassment lawsuit with a large sum of money, and hearing from two citizens concerned about an alleged culture of harassment and discrimination toward women at the Edmonds Police Department, the city is denying that any such situation exists.

“I am not aware that there is any ‘culture’ of harassment or discrimination in any department at the city,” HR Director Mary Ann Hardie said at a City Council meeting April 11. “This simply would not be acceptable or tolerated.”

It was on Feb. 28 that the city of Edmonds, behind closed doors in legal executive session, approved a settlement concerning Jodi Sackville, a police officer who filed a $500,000 claim in 2013 alleging sexual harassment from two members of the Edmonds Police Department – Sgt. David Machado and Cpl. Aaron Greenmun.

Rick Steves donates Trinity Place to YWCA

Edmonds-based travel expert Rick Steves has donated ownership of a 24-unit apartment complex to YWCA Seattle-King-Snohomish to provide stable housing for women and children experiencing homelessness in Snohomish County.

Steves purchased Trinity Place in 2005 and partnered with YWCA and Edmonds Noon Rotary to operate and support the housing program for the past 12 years. While his original plan was to will the ownership to YWCA, Steves decided to instead make the donation much sooner.

“In these unstable times, you never know what’s going to happen,” said, who in December pledged $2 million to the future Edmonds Waterfront Center. “By gifting this now, YWCA gains the certainty that comes with ownership, and is in a better position to plan for their future.”

Council extends ban on crumb rubber

Despite a state report and continued pushback from the Edmonds School District, the city of Edmonds is doubling down on its ban on the installation of synthetic turf made from recycled tires until it gathers more definitive information on its effects.

The extension continues through February 2018.

The City Council approved extending the 18-month ban on “crumb rubber” it instituted in December 2015 a few months after the school district opened two synthetic turf sports fields on the grounds of the former Woodway High School. The city contributed $500,000 of the $4.2 million price tag.

May


State OKs program for protection of city’s shorelines

After 11 years, it’s over. At least for now.

After years of debate, concessions, controversy and public input, the fate of the Edmonds Marsh is settled. The Washington Department of Ecology has approved the Edmonds Shoreline Master Program (SMP) comprehensive update, which the city began in 2006, with an effective date of May 10.

City Council: Committee meetings now twice monthly

If you can’t get it right, keep trying.

That seems to be the position of the Edmonds City Council, which recently changed – again – the way its meetings will be held.

The skinny: The first and third Tuesdays of the month are set aside for full council meetings, videotaped for TV and online viewing. Meeting minutes are then posted on Fridays. The second and fourth Tuesdays are now for committee meetings.

The meetings will not be videotaped, although the audio will be recorded.

Edmonds FEMA chief warns of the dangers to come

More than 30 years ago, geologists and seismologists in the U.S. and Japan – using field research and studying meticulously kept records spanning centuries in Japan – determined that Cascadia’s last big rip occurred in 1700. Jan. 26, to be exact. It unleashed tsunamis on both Pacific Northwest and Japanese coasts.

But as scary as the image of a 9.0 earthquake shaking the Pacific Northwest and tsunamis swamping coastlines is, there is another fault that could wreak serious damage. It’s not capable of producing a 9.0, scientists say, but it doesn’t need to.

Today, there is an increased recognition of Cascadia Subduction Zone’s not-when-but-if inevitability. And it just so happens the fault runs between Edmonds and Mukilteo.

Some relief in sight for parking in Edmonds

At the top of the list of pet peeves in Edmonds is the need for more parking in downtown Edmonds.

You’ve circled the block a few times – you know what we’re talking about. What was a breeze just a few years ago can today be a frustrating exercise in patience.

With the city’s increased visibility and with the busy summer season creeping up – Memorial Day weekend is in sight – the city of Edmonds is offering a modicum of relief.

Shoppers and visitors to downtown Edmonds might have an easier time finding parking, thanks to some recent changes to the city’s on-street employee parking program and the launch of a pilot program that creates newly marked parking spaces.

Michael Reagan’s portraits of fallen soldiers help families heal

Michael Reagan is one of Edmonds’ best-known personalities, known worldwide for his precise and vivid portraits, so lifelike, so representative. He started by sketching Hollywood stars, moving on to sports and even Playboy playmates.

But Reagan is best known for his Fallen Heroes Project, sketchings of military men and women killed in combat. He’s completed nearly 5,000 now. The project had its genesis in 2003 after an “Evening Magazine” profile, but really began near the Demilitarized Zone (DMW) between South Vietnam and North Vietnam 49 years ago.

The Vietnam War was raging, and Reagan was in its bull’s-eye.

June


Cemetery and new Veterans Plaza honor those who fell

More than 1,000 people gathered under clear blue skies on Memorial Day at two Edmonds locations to remember those killed in war.

They paid their respects at the 35th annual Memorial Day ceremony at Edmonds Memorial Cemetery and Columbarium. And they paid their respects at the ribbon cutting and dedication of the new Edmonds Veterans Plaza.

It was Edmonds residents Ron Clyborne and Jim Traner, both Vietnam War veterans, who began the three-year push to bring the Edmonds Veterans Plaza to fruition. They both wanted the city to have a place for all veterans – past, present and future – to gather.

Rick Steves calls on community to support Waterfront Center

Rick Steves is calling on those with means – “means” meaning money – to dig deep to finish funding for the future Edmonds Waterfront Center.

“The mark of a community, to a large extent, is how they care for their seniors,” he said last week when accepting his award as 2017 Edmonds Kiwanis Citizen of the Year. The $11 million Waterfront Center would replace the current Senior Center and serve all community members, including seniors.

“You know, I’m one of those progressives, and I spend a third of my life in Europe, where they pay taxes and have high expectations, and their seniors have dignity,” said Steves, a multimillionaire who employs more than 100 people at his Rick Steves’ Europe office on Fourth Avenue North.

Working to preserve the Demo Garden

Susie Schaefer has a sunny disposition. But Schaefer – who coordinates much of the activities and upkeep there – was downright displeased when coming upon the carnage at her beloved Wildlife Habitat Native Plant Demonstration Garden, affectionately known as the Demo Garden.

City workers, in preparation for installing lights along the garden’s adjacent sidewalk, had hacked away much of the bushes and shrubs, leaving behind what she thought was an ugly scar.

Schaefer gave voice to her displeasure during a City Council meeting May 23.

“It’s a shame so much damage happened to the carefully tended garden,” she told councilmembers after earlier sending them a letter. “I’m sorry for all the people who worked so hard to bring that patch to life.”

Later that evening, councilmembers decided to delay the $20,000 lighting project.

Rejected candidate: I don’t support discrimination

An Edmonds man who filed for a volunteer seat on the Salary Commission said he was caught off-guard when councilmembers turned him down.

Councilmembers approved four residents to its reformed Salary Commission during a council meeting last week: Jay Grant, Ava Dubno, Don Hall and Carl Zapora.

But Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas did not support confirmation of 31-year-old Tyler Nebeker, a Microsoft worker from Edmonds, because he has worked for the Washington Policy Center and during an interview indicated he still supports its policies.

“I absolutely do not support pay discrimination, and the thought that the council would make a decision based on a perception that I do is offensive,” he told the Beacon.

Graffiti mars Madrona K-8 once again

For the second time in the 2016-17 school year, vandals have tagged Madrona K-8 in Edmonds with graffiti. This time was worse than the last.

According to Edmonds Police Sgt. Josh McClure, the graffiti damage – a malicious mischief misdemeanor – happened sometime between Friday night, June 23, and Sunday morning, June 25. The school’s graduation was held 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Vandals spray-painted several areas of the school roof, including a skylight, and new sidewalk. The graffiti included messages of hate, political disdain, sexual references and other vulgarity, McClure said. In addition, the damage included other letters, numbers and unidentifiable images.

 

 

 

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