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The Issaquah Press
Issaquah, Washington
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December 31, 1986     The Issaquah Press
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December 31, 1986
 

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I Thirty-fivc cenls per copy SERVING ISSAQUAH SINCE 1900 Vol. 86, No. 53 December 31, 1986 ii I I Toddler boy and father die The book closes on in Cedar Grove hou fire the chapter called 1986 by Peg Carver An early morning fire at a home along Cedar Grove Road claimed the lives of a man and his young son on the day after Christmas. The dispatcher at King County Fire District 10 received a call at 2:30 a.m., on December 26 from a woman who screamed that her house was on fire and her child was trapped inside. Although the phone went dead, the dispatcher was able to locate the address of the fire as 17225 Cedar Grove Road through the 911 com- puter. When firefighters arrived the small rambler was fully involved in flame. The body of 23-month-old Owen Reilly-Felton was found in his bedroom and the body of the boy's father, 44-year-old Ronald Felton, was inside the house by the back door. Of- ficials say Felton had helped his wife escape the fire through a window, but was overcome by smoke before he could make it out. Ac- cording to reports, the woman re-entered the home to call the fire department. Henrietta Reilly, 37, received cuts to her arms and legs while escaping the blaze, but was treated and released at Overlake Hospital Medical Center. County fire investigators The Christmas-week fire at this home on Cedar Grove Road the heater, but the blaze was so intense the roof over the boy's bedroom collapsed and the structure is a total loss. An unidentified neighbor viewed the charred remains The man says he was par- ticularly fond of the little boy, who would have celebrated his second birth- day on January 6. He says he stopped by on Christmas Day claimed the lives of two members of an Issaquah family. wasn't supposed to be eating them instead and she just said 'he thinks it's more fun this way,' " the neighbor recalled. The man turned and was have determined the cause of of the home later that day to deliver the child a present, just about to leave the burn- the fire to be an electric and remembered the young only to find the toddler fling- ed out site when he stopped. he r on top of a dresser in family, describing them as ing hs" lunchtme" carrots at "Why does it always have to,, the baby's room. It is not "the best people you'd ever the windows, happen to the good people?  known what was ignited by want to meet." "I asked his mother if he heasked, 00Sch el board looks for answe s !during closed-door marathon by Peg Carver related questions of the issue "I think it's really been it should not be assumed that Issaquah School Board during a public meeting on blown out of proportion," there will be firings or members spent Friday and much of the weekend holed up behind closed doors, in an executive session to deter- i mine the "how's and why's" of the district's current budget deficit. On December 10, Superin- tendent James Swick notified board members of a $437,000 deficit in the school budget during the last year. How- ever, documents indicate Swick and other top adminis- trators were warned of the impending problem up to a Year ago. The closed door session was called to find out I!AL why the board was not noti- fied of the deficit sooner. "We know the nature of problem," Board Presi- dent Mary Scott said after  Sunday's executive session. W "We are trying to determine : how the problem occurred, !i how to fix it and how to keels;, : happening again, it from "i referring to the break-down  in communications. During its executive ses- board members have grilled five district officials and say they will not reach any conclusions until questioning one more. Tentative plans are to continue the meetings this Friday and possibly Saturday well. Because the law re- quires the executive sessions deal strictly with personnel Swick said while board members met this weekend, "We're making a huge mountain out of a molehill." Swick says the deficit amount is only three percent of the district's total budget and points out there has been no misuse of funds. "It's just that more money was used in one year than should have been used, so we had to balance that out over the rest of the year;" Swick said. "We're using every dime we can get our hands on to do things for the kids in the classroom." Swick says insurance premiums and utility costs markedly higher than an- ticipated helped contribute to the deficit. He also said the district needs to build cash reserves. "The funds we have have been very, very limited to maintain programs," Swick said. "If you have cash re- serves you can absorb (higher premiums and utility costs.)" Board members, mean- while, have been reluctant to discuss what, if any, action may come out of the, marathon sessions. President Scott says the board has used the executive session format to protect the rights of some of those interviewed because "somewhere down the road they might want to make a career move." Scott also says January 5. The board began its ques- tioning Friday morning with Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Kateri Brow, moving on to Kirstine de Weyert, the direc- tor of accounting services, later in the afternoon. De Weyert was called back on Saturday. Much of the rest of that day was spent talking with Harold Scow, the district's former business manager, who warned ad- ministrators of impending debt as early as the fall of 1985. Although Scow would not comment on the closed door session, he did tell reporters he "got his wish" to work through the school board and not the media in clarifying matters. School board members also questioned Assistant Superintendent of General Administration Tom Hedges on Saturday, reserving five hours on Sunday for Super- intendent Swick. Swick emerged from the session in good humor, although he joked he had "lost three pounds" sitting through the meeting. Swick has maintained he has done nothing wrong in not notifying the board of the deficit sooner, saying he was disciplinary action as a result of the inquiries. "I don't think that we're looking to fire anyone," Scott says. "I don't think that the board is headhunt- ing. We're looking for solu- tions to problems. We're looking at the best interests of the kids." "We will not know what the solution will be until we have all the data," Scott said, referring to the decision to continue meetings this weekend. In the meantime, the state superintendent of public in- struction's office has given the nod to the district to bor- row $900,000 from next year's tax revenues to erase the deficit. Although that solves the money woes for the moment, the money comes with some strings at- tached. The district has been pro- hibited from borrowing addi- tional money until the end of 1989, and can receive an ad- vance on its budget ap- propriation in the summer only during the 1987-88 school year. Swick says those restric- tions are not really new, they're just in writing this time. However, he says SPI has asked that the school district report to them more often than usual. kd ( matters, Scott says the board unaware of the amount of the t Will address the budget- deficituntilDecember 10. ' Fire District 10 buys Klcrnanie property will now apply for a condi- proving housing develop- site, which Haworth King County Fire District I. 10 has purchased land near ] the Klahanie housing  development for construc- : tion of a new fire station. 6 Fire District 10 Chief Ron Haworth says the property is i located near the intersection of Issaquah-Pine Lake Road and SE 32nd Way. The land Was purchased from plateau residents Ronald and Adrian ! : Medved for $150,000, and the sale was closed yesterday. Haworth says the county ments, but not approving us so we can provide fire protec- tion for that growing area." To ward off the controver- sy that surrounded purchase of land for a fire station near Green Acres, Haworth says the county worked closely with most of the neighboring landowners before purchas- ing the plateau land. So far, he says, none of them have expressed a problem with the describes as a prime location for accessibility to serve that region of the District. Although the county will pay for the land for the new station, Haworth says Klahanie developers will reimburse them for the pur- chase price because of the proximity to the develop- ment. Exactly when that pay- back will occur is still being negotiated. tional use permit, but predicts that process could take as long as a year. "The bureaucracy in King County is horrible," Haworth says. Haworth says he is par- ticularly upset that necessary services like fire protection are not given priority in the permit process. "The thing that disturbs me is they (Building and Land Development) are ap- Not buckling up can cost big bucks It's always a good idea to buckle your seat belt when you're driving or riding in a car, but now there's another good reason. Wearing sat belts has been the stateaw since June, but as of tc.orrow you can. receive a .$47 fine for not complying with the law if you're stopped by police. The lssaquah police admit the law is one that will be dif- ficult to enforce and will pro- bably only come in handy when a driver is stopped for another traffic violation. But that doesn't lessen the im- portance of the law. Police say the driver of a car is responsible for seeing that all passengers 16 years of age or younger are buckled up, and can be fined for each infraction. Those in the car over 16 are responsible for themselves and can be fined inaiviidalf, en' if'they ale passengers. The police say that because the law will be enforced only during traffic stops, it is recommended that you leave your seat belt on if you are pulled over by the police, so they can see you are in com- pliance. New downtown light Front Street has a new light fixture near the comer of the Sunset Way intersection. The street light was installed last week by Valley Iron and Steel Company as a sample for downtown property owners to check out before they agree on the style. It,.is hoped that landlords will approve a local Improvement district for the downtown this spring with funding for new street lights and redevelopment of the parking lot between Front Street and the railroad track. The cast iron pole would be painted a forest green to match traffic light fixtures already at the intersection, and would line the street from Issaquah Creek south to Clark Street and along Sunset Way from the creek bridge to Se- cond Avenue. While the business owners have not yet had a chance tO seethe lamp illuminated, City Project Manager Bill Nims says a county maintenance crew will replace a fuse soon to make it work. No other street lights currently work on Front Street. Picketing Corporate Park Developers of the propos- ed 138-acre Picketing Cor- porate Park got the go-ahead in May to begin grading the site. The grading, which will take an estimated 500,000 cubic yards of fill, was put on hold, however, through ap- peals by the lssaquah En- vironmental Council and the Washington State Parks Department. Although the issuance of the grading permit was upheld in July, grading won't commence, at least for the time being. That's largely due to the Issaquah Develop- ment Commission's denial of the project, mainly because there were insufficient alter- natives for maintaining the community landmark Sky- port. The project is now before the city council. Issaquah Skyport Early in the year, the development commission heard reports from the city staff that retention of the Skyport on a portion of the proposed Pickering Cor- porate Park would be dangerous. Serious liability risks could be involved because a good portion of the airfield's glide path lies over the proposed Cabot, Cabot & Forbes 1-90 Business Park to the south and recreational soccer fields to the north. In April, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that Pickering developers have the right to evict Skyport operator Linn Emrich and thus mean the end of the recreational air- it was ruled that if Emrich posted a $40,000 bond he could stay on .the site until construction began on the business park. In August, a new word entered the eight-year Skyport struggle -- com- promise. The Issaquah Historical Society approach- ed the developers with a plan that calls for citizen's pur- chasing the Skyport site. The plan also called for preservation of the historic Pickering Barn site with a possible historical and inter- pretive center and bed and breakfast village. The plan was dismissed by the de- velopers as being unreason- able. About the same time, a new group entered into the battle to preserve the recrea- tional airfield. MOthers and Others to Save the Skyport was formed from a group of mothers and citizens who hope to raise enough cash to purchase the Skyport site. Then, in November, a group of Issaquah business people approached site developers and the city coun- cil with another buy-out plan. The group proposed buying the site through a community-backed bond. The asking price for the bond is set at $6.5 million, but an appraisal has not been com- pleted. The group is also stu- dying other possible funding sources such as FCC grants or cash from the King Coun- ty Parks and Recreation Department. To get the issue on the ballot will take up to $15,000 for a feasibility study. Backers are hoping King County will supply half, the city wants to supply $3,750 and the rest will have to be raised from the general population. In early December, Skyport operator Linn Emrich offered to sell developers his exclusive operating covenant over the Skyport in exchange for $250,000 he hopes to apply to his mounting legal fees sur- rounding his eight-year fight to keep the recreational air strip. Developers refused the offer, saying Emrich's cove- nant has expired. CC&F 1-90 Business Park Developers Cabot, Cabot & Forbes got a conditional use permit to locate a hotel on the site of their proposed 52-acre business park in lssa- quah. In June, lssaquah Mayor A.J. Culver stepped in to help streamline a plan that would allow Quantum Medical to build its 53,500- square-foot corporate head- quarters and research and development center in Issa- quah, on the corner of 12th Avenue and Newport Way. The site ultimately picked was the CC&F site. In a hustle to help Quan- tum meet its deadlines need- ed so production of its blood- flow monitoring equipment wouldn't be disrupted, two planning meetings were held on the same night. The Plan- ning Policy Commission met to iron out and amend lssa- quah municipal codes to allow building on a site prioi" to completion of a master site plan. The development com- mission met to get documen- tation to allow grading to begin on the site. Because of controversy over the build- ing's design aesthetics, the development commission denied architectural concepts of the building. That denial was eventually overturned by the city council, construction has begun and the building is expected to be finished by May. Two city floods In January, heavy rains Gilman Boulevard The ribbon was cut on the Gilman Boulevard local im- provement district in April, ending the $2.5 million pro- ject that saw its initial plan- ning in 1979. Waterworks Park Waterworks water-recrea- tion theme park filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March but opened for perhaps one last season last summer. Plans called for the site to be sold for a business park but the deal fell through. Plans are now in the works to sell the site to a private investor for about $2.5 million. The future use of the site is undetermined. Cedar Hills Citizen activists kept the Cedar Hills Landfill in the news this year. Last spring, King County held scoping hearings on its plans to expand the mam- moth dump. Residents living near Cedar Hills told the county to hold off on any ex- pansion until it could take care of the current traffic, noise and smell problems. In July, those opponents got their first chance to tackle the city of Seattle over plans to bring its 1,000 daily tons of garbage to Cedar Hills. It was a fight the citizens would eventually lose in December. but along the way they made a difference. Because of their efforts, County Councilman Bruce Laing became a leader on the council for the citizens' rights people than just those living adjacent to the dump. Now the newly-formed En- vironmental Task Coalition includes residents from Maple Hills to Mirrormont and from Maple Valley to lssaquah. In the midst of their December defeat, the ac- tivists also won their biggest victory. The King County Council asked the county ex- ecutive to implement the coalition's ideas for quality control at Cedar Hills. A report on that project is due in March 1987. Schools Positive and negative cash flows dominated 1986 for the lssaquah School District. The school district and its volunteers spent the first three months of the year working on passage of a $16.2 million bond and a $4.2 million two-year levy. Their work paid off on March 18, when voters ap- proved both by significant margins. But the school district could not begin collecting those monies for awhile, and the tight 1985-86 budget was not enough to cover increas- ing costs. Skyrocketing in- surance premiums, escalating cent floods this November, the January event was relatively minor. At the time of the January flood, the city council called for a study of stormwater management. Little was done. Then, on December 1, after the November deluge, the coun- cil called again on the city ad- ministration to survey the problem and provide possible solutions to the problem. The administration fin- dings are due in February, almost one year after an in- itial study was requested. Citizens groups have formed to study long- and short-term solutions to flooding. The flow of the November flood was gauged to be between a 10- and 25-year event. Flow was high although volume was relatively low and some blame development over wet lands. Historical preservation Despite efforts by lssa- quah's Historical Society, the home of Frank Tibbetts, brother of one of Issaquah's founding fathers George Tib- belts, was demolished. However, the society was able to save another historic home, the Anderson farm- house, which was moved in utility bills, decreased revenues late September. The house is and faulty estimates slated to become the flagship on revenues meant the school home in what the Historical Society hopes will be a bed and breakfast village and in- terpretive historical center. In addition, work on the Issaquah Depot continued with a foundation being laid, a new roof being installed, replacement of floor joists and interior floors. The pro- ject is ahead of schedule and plans call for its completion for Washington State's 100th birthday in 1989. It will even- tually house a city museum. Community Center A $6.9 million community center bond went down to defeat in September's primary elections along with a proposed parks and recrea- tion service area planned to encompass most of Issa- quah's school district. district finished the fiscal year in the red. Unfortunate-. ly, the school administration failed to notify the school board of the deficit and the superintendent's future with the district is uncertain. The tight budget put a strain on negotiations bet- ween the district and its teachers during the.final con- tract talks in August and September. Teachers became angry enough to strike, but instead chose to go back to school without a contract. It took a state mediator to bring the sides together before contracts wre signed September 18. Teachers had their hands full as the 1986-87 school year began with 200 more students than expected. Continued on Page 3