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October 28, 2009 Locally owned Founded 1992 50 cents

Signs of the season

Marivaux neighborhood asks to join Sammamish By J.B. Wogan

About 6.46 acres on the east side of Sammamish might join the city within the year. Residents from the Marivaux neighborhood (referred to as Ravenhill in some city documents) have petitioned to annex into Sammamish. If the process goes smoothly, the 21 lots, and about 64 people, would become part of Sammamish by March 2010. Steven Johnson, one of the four residents to sign the first petition, said early signs indicate the annexation should go off without a hitch. Map by Dona Mokin “In discussions, everyone’s The neighborhood on the eastern edge of the city would add been for it,” Johnson said. “It’s about 64 new residents. kind of an easy deal.” Douglas Wiener, a next-door he supported the annexation, would want,” Wiener said. “I just neighbor of Johnson’s, didn’t too. sign the first petition, but said See ANNEX, Page 3 “It’s something I personally Photo by Christopher Huber

A festive Halloween display sits beneath the Sunny Hills Elementary reader board Oct. 26.

After 35 years, cop still has time to play By J.B. Wogan

Much to his surprise, a group of teenagers was waiting at the Seven years ago, a student student’s house to see the match. came down “I kind of from the walked into a On the Web bleachers durtrap,” Chapin ing an To see video of Stan Chapin as a said. “He was Eastlake basvelociraptor or Hannah Montana, good. He ketball game visit took the lead and chaland then I lenged Stan Chapin in pingpong. came back and then I finally beat Chapin, a Sammamish police offi- him.” cer, was working the game, but he agreed to play afterwards. See CHAPIN, Page 8

Council allows reader boards By J.B. Wogan

Ruth Weaver, a senior at Eastlake High School, waited for two hours on a school night for a chance to talk about electronic reader boards with the Sammamish City Council. Weaver has been in student government since ninth grade. “I’ve been in leadership in four years. I’ve been changing the reader board for four years. That has not been fun,” Weaver said, describing weekly efforts to change the school’s current sign by 228th Avenue and Northeast 4th Street. Weaver said students have to climb a ladder amid rain and wind for more than an hour at time. “It’s just an unpleasant expe-

rience, but it’s something that we do because we care about the community,” she said. Weaver was one of a handful of residents and school officials that spoke in favor of making an

“It’s something that we do because we care about the community,” – Ruth Weaver, Student – exception in the city’s sign code to allow high schools to have electronic reader boards. Administrators at Eastlake and Skyline high schools said electronic reader boards would

Bouncing chairs

Rushing wolves

schools page 16

sports page 22

save students class time, make changing the signs less dangerous, and provide an opportunity to advertise the school’s full range of weekly events, not just a football game or a weekend play. They got their wish. The City Council voted 6-0 in favor of a five-year pilot program that allows high schools on 228th Avenue to use electronic reader boards. (Councilwoman Kathy Huckabay was absent.) The signs can be 10 feet tall and up to 32 square feet in size with static messages that change once a minute. While the end vote was unan-

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See READER, Page 2

8 • October 28, 2009


Chapin Continued from Page 1

Chapin, a righty with a strong backhand, prides himself on his pingpong prowess. He still owns a paddle he bought in 1969, which he prefers because of its leather wraparound grip. The rubber surface has worn smooth over time, he said. “He’s not really like any other cop,” Eastlake High School sophomore Alex Gibson said. “I think everybody likes him.” The city of Sammamish certainly does. On Oct. 20, the City Council recognized Chapin for 35 years of service in the King County Sheriff’s Office. For the last 10, Chapin has served as the school resource officer at Eastlake and at Inglewood Junior High where he patrols the schools and acts as a liaison between the Sammamish Police Department and the Lake Washington School District. Students, school officials and co-workers describe Chapin as fun, accessible and capable of laughing at himself. Chris Bede, an associate principal at Eastlake, said Chapin exercises compassion in how he works with struggling students. “He’s great at addressing the issue and not necessarily having that jade his perception of that kid,” Bede said. “He’s wonderful with the kids,” said Alana Hall, Sammamish’s school resource officer in the Issaquah School District. “One of the things that it (the job) requires is an outgoing personality, and he absolutely has that.” In reflecting on his 10 years as a school resource officer so far, Chapin first mentions the school

Photo by J.B. Wogan

Stan Chapin admires the award he received from the Sammamish City Council. championships he’s seen, the Odea High School basketball girls soccer team that took first in team when they won the 1968 state, the football team that went conference championship against undefeated one season. the other catholic schools in the “I like being around high Seattle area. school sports because they’re Chapin, 59 and longtime playing for the love of the game,” Bothell resident, became a police he said. officer in 1972 but took a twoSports have been an ongoing year leave of absence in 1978 to thread in Chapin’s life. train for the Olympic trials. He Chapin was a guard on the wanted to qualify for the

been teen-focused. Before joining marathon, which required runthe Sammamish Police ning a bit more than 26 miles in 2 hours and 20 minutes. He ran a Department, Chapin spent time on the county’s fugitive task force pace of about 5 minutes and 45 and the major crimes unit and on seconds per mile, but missed the a drug abuse resistance education qualifying time. program. “My husband is very competiSusan, a 911 center dispatch tive,” observed Susan, Stan’s wife. “He runs. He used to run in races supervisor for the King County Sheriff’s Office, said her husband all the time. Now he doesn’t race has learned to assume different as much because he says, ‘If I personas, depending on the situawant to race, I want to win.’” tion. Chapin’s sense of play is eviShe said she’s noticed that dent in his YouTube videos, some cops have a more difficult Susan said. time shedding the serious, offi“I call him Peter Pan. He’ll cer-like attitude when they are never grow up,” she said. “Watch those and then you’ll know exact- off-duty. “He can be one of the kids. But ly what I’m talking about.” then, when Two short clips show a “I think everybody likes something happens, it’s like screeching him.” flipping a Chapin, neck – Alex Gibson, switch … He’s extended, really good at it. arms folded Eastlake student – He wasn’t at up, imitating a first,” she said. velociraptor. “I remember saying to him, In another clip, Chapin in lipyou’re not on-duty, knock that off.” stick and a blonde wig dances Having children helped, Susan before a gym full of students — said. The Chapins have three he agreed to the stunt if students children, the youngest being a raised a certain amount of 15-year-old attending Inglemoor money for cancer research. High School, a rival of Eastlake. In the weeks prior to his perBaxter said Chapin’s ability to formance, Chapin watched the connect with students is invalumusic video of Hannah able to the police department. Montana’s “Nobody’s Perfect,” “It gives us a very big edge,” memorizing the choreography Baxter said, adding that having a and lyrics. school resource officer allows “He kind of went overboard, I teenagers to feel comfortable thought,” Susan said. “He’s going, around police. ‘How do you think this makeup “It’s letting the kids know that looks? Is this too much lipstick?’” we are there to help them. I Sgt. Robert Baxter, of the think that’s what Stan gets across Sammamish Police Department, said it’s typical of the way Chapin so well.” can let loose. Reporter J.B. Wogan can be “He can be crazy and loony reached at 392-6434, ext. 247, or and all that sort of stuff, but he To comcan also be very serious,” Baxter ment on this story, visit said. Chapin’s work hasn’t always

Eastlake gets money from Evergreen Ford

You can make a difference!

Paid for by Citizens to Elect John James

Issaquah’s Evergreen Ford helped raise $3,340 for Eastlake High School. The Sept. 19 Drive One 4 UR School event, sponsored by Issaquah’s Evergreen Ford and Ford Motor Co., drew 167 people to Eastlake High School, each paying $20 to test drive a Ford vehicle. The event raised $3,340 for the EHS Booster Club. Drive One 4 UR School launched in 2007. In the past two years, Ford Motor Co. has provided more than $1.3 million to high schools that have participated in the program. The company plans to continue the program to help high schools raise money to support their sports and extracurricular activities. Through previous events, Evergreen Ford helped raise more than $7,000 for local students.

January 6, 2010 Locally owned Founded 1992 50 cents

Skyline construction reaches a milestone

Photo by J.B. Wogan

Recovered property sits as evidence at the police station.

Property crime drops from 2008 By J.B. Wogan

Sgt. Robert Baxter, of the Sammamish Police Department, was surprised when he saw the latest data about property crime in Sammamish. In spite of being in the thick of a recession, property crime appears to be down from 2008. The Police Department reviewed all property crime

statistics — burglaries, larcenies, shoplifting and mail theft — for a 50-week period in 2009 and compared it to the same period in 2008. In general, property crime went down from 397 reports in 2008 to 309 reports in 2009, a 22 percent drop. A preliminary report from the FBI released Dec. 21 indicated See CRIME, Page 3

Farmers market hours could change By J.B. Wogan

Karen Fabiano will be keeping a keen eye on whether the hours of the Sammamish Farmers Market change in 2010. Fabiano, a Maple Valley resident, sells recycled bottle cap art in the form of magnets, neck-

laces and picture frames. Last summer, she hurried from her job at SeaTac Airport — which ends at 3 p.m. — to be a vendor at the farmers market by 4 p.m. on Wednesdays. Proposed changes could mean See MARKET, Page 3

Photo by J.B. Wogan

It may not look like much, but Students and teachers are now able to use the front door of Skyline. The $34.5 million renovation is set to be finished in time for the next school year.

Friends and leaders reflect on Jack Barry’s time on council By J.B. Wogan

When Jack Barry made his final remarks at his last council meeting, he cracked a joke about politics as an addiction. A month after losing his reelection campaign, he was getting clean. It wasn’t the sign of a man raging against corruption in the system. It wasn’t really raging at all. But after 10 years on the council, winning bids in 1999, 2001 and 2005, the well had run dry and Barry knew he needed a break. “I’ll be dropping out of everything to catch my breath and relax,” he said. Everything, for Barry, is a lot. In addition to his work on the council, he

Skyline wrestlers place at tournament

STudents win on facebook

sports page 14

community page 10

started the SAMMI awards, the city’s Youth Advisory Board and the Rotary Club of Sammamish. He also sat on boards for the Swedish Issaquah Campus, Friends of Youth, and Eastside Fire & Rescue. Barry lost to challenger Tom Odell by a 17-point margin Nov. 3. “He’s been on the council since day one. He’s been the mayor, deputy mayor twice,” reflected Stan Bump, a planning commissioner and friend of Barry’s. “That 10 years of service is going to be sorely missed.” See BARRY, Page 2

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2 •

January 6, 2010


Barry Continued from Page 1

The universal man Barry didn’t single out any one person as his utmost confidante or ally at the city. “I developed bonds with everybody. I consider myself a people person,” he said. “It’s an extremely warm feeling to walk into City Hall on business,” Barry said, adding that back in the early days, he knew the names of every city employee. “I think the City Council and city staff are — not to be corny — like family.” City Councilwoman Michele Petitti said she remembers being at odds with Barry in 2001 when she joined the council. But over the years, he won her over with his involvement with local community organizations, she said. “He cares about the community. He’s sort of the universal man in terms of his commitment,” said City Councilwoman Nancy Whitten. Whitten recalled someone say they wished Barry could stay on the council as its goodwill ambassador, and she agreed with the sentiment. “He’s just amazing,” she said. “How can you not admire somebody like that?” Laura Peterson, who worked with Barry on the Greater Plateau Tri-Awareness group, was similarly effusive. “I developed a great respect for his ability to get things done for the youth in Sammamish,” said Peterson, a friend and supporter of Barry’s during his last campaign. Peterson said Barry played a role in adding bike lanes

Photo by J.B. Wogan

Jack Barry speaking to the audience during his final meeting as a member of the City Council while holding his granddaughter, Lauren, 3. Councilman Don Gerend looks on. and increasing police enforcement near local schools. “He’s also a dad and a grandpa and that makes him especially tuned in to this city,” she said. Brief and efficient Barry was often taciturn at meetings and when he spoke, it was in an explanatory manner. He rarely engaged council members or staff in debate during the public meetings. “If you have any questions

about the material, you should call staff on Monday morning. Tuesday night is not the appropriate time to bring up the agenda,” Barry said. “He doesn’t like to belabor issues,” Lee Fellinge, a former City Councilman said. “I think that effort has helped the meetings be more efficient than they would be otherwise.” While Barry leaned back in his chair, waiting for other council members to finish discussions, he

gave off the appearance of being As he entered the fall, Barry disengaged, according to Bump. made a concerted effort to keep “Sometimes it seems like he’s his council seat. He sent out flynot listening, but he is,” Bump ers, planted campaign signs, set observed. “I think he listens and up a Web site, all things his oppoabsorbs and then, based on what nent had been doing for months. he’s heard, then that’s where he’s Even before a single vote hadgoing to go.” n’t been cast, it appeared as if Some were less convinced. Barry were rallying from a “I had the sense that he had deficit. In July, after receiving lost touch with the citizens and glowing ratings in the past from … he was not coming prepared the Municipal League of King for the meetings,” said Ramiro County, Barry earned an “adeValderrama, an ardent critic of quate.” In October, Barry didn’t construction receive an “I shall forever cherish it endorsement along East Lake as a meaningful period from either The Sammamish Seattle Times in my life.” Parkway, or the something that Sammamish Review. Barry, along – Jack Barry, And yet, his with a majoriFormer Councilman – ty of the counloss may have cil, supported. had nothing to do with any of What went wrong those factors. As Whitten pointed “I think that Jack is a humble out, Barry’s loss was consistent man by nature. He does not toot with other races where voters his horn,” Peterson said. “There opted for fresh faces not involved was a lot that Jack did that in previous policy decisions at nobody ever knew about. He just the city. never said anything to anybody.” Planning Commission Since the first election where Chairman Tom Vance and former Sammamish had incumbents, Chairwoman Erica Tiliacos both only one other has lost. In 2001, lost by more than 8 points. Only Michele Petitti unseated Phil Don Gerend, who seemed to stir Dyer by 15.68 points. In that con- goodwill during his time as text, Odell beating Barry by 17 mayor in 2009, avoided the points is the biggest upset in sweeping movement of change. council election history. “Am I disappointed? Am I Until August, Barry had hardly hurt? Sure,” Barry said. “I’m not campaigned. He didn’t have a going to sit around and dwell on Web site. He didn’t have election what happened. I’m going to look signs posted around the city. He back at the good times … I shall was raising a fraction of the conforever cherish it as a meaningful tributions that his opponent and period in my life.” other candidates were. As a 10year councilman, he had develReporter J.B. Wogan can be oped a voting record that drew reached at 392-6434, ext. 247, or some local criticism, especially To comabout East Lake Sammamish ment on this story, visit Parkway.

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January 20, 2010 Locally owned Founded 1992 50 cents

Survivors band together

Locals leap to help Haiti

Sammamish woman leads group to help families of fallen officers

By Ari Cetron, Christopher Huber and J.B. Wogan

By J.B. Wogan Photo by J.B. Wogan

The past few months have been busy for Gayle Frink-Shulz, far too busy. Frink-Shulz, who lives near Beaver Lake Park, is the program director for the Behind the Badge Foundation, a nonprofit that comes to the rescue when officers die or suffer catastrophic injury. Most of the organization’s work centers on helping surviving family members of an officer. The state usually sees about

After the death of her husband, a police officer, Gayle Frink-Shulz started an organization to help others who face the same situation. two deaths a year, Frink-Shulz said. There were seven in 2009. “We’ve never experienced anything like this,” she said. The club you never want to join Rhea Marshall, a resident of Okanogan, remembers the first time she met Frink-Shulz. It was about 12 years ago. Marshall’s

husband Mike, a deputy with the Omak Police Department, was shot while responding to a domestic violence call. He died at Harborview Medical Center on March 28. A few days later, Marshall returned home to find Frink-Shulz waiting for her. At the time, Behind the Badge didn’t exist and Frink-Shulz was there on behalf of a national

organization with a similar purpose called Concerns of Police Survivors. “When the world steps out and you’re left floundering, they’re there,” Marshall said. “They’re an incredible group of people.” The two women formed an

The day after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake flattened parts of Haiti, Kevyn O’Neill was looking for a way to help. The 2008 graduate of Eastlake High School interns at Mercy Corps – which her father, Dan O’Neill founded – so she knew of one way to start quickly. She used a Mercy Corps function to set up a Web page. In three days, her page had generated $1,400. “I didn’t think it was going to raise that so quickly,” she said. Dan O’Neill, who on Friday was rushing from meeting to meeting, said his organization has been among those trying to coordinate a response. The news reports of devastation, he said, match what his group is hearing

See BADGE, Page 2

See HAITI, Page 3

Court decision could cost city hundreds of thousands By J.B. Wogan

Who knew a fire hydrant could cost so much money? A state Supreme Court decision in October 2008 threatens to incur $300,000 of added annual expenses for the city of Sammamish. Now government officials are scrambling to find a way to avoid assuming a loss in covering the capital costs, operations and maintenance of fire hydrants. “We definitely hope to resolve it this year,” said Mike Sauerwein, administrative services director at the city. “Our goal is to do it in as amiable manner as we can.” The Lane vs. Seattle decision said that fire protection was the responsibility of general-purpose government and water utility ratepayers shouldn’t cover that cost.

The takeaway was that Seattle taxpayers should cover the cost of fire hydrants, not utility ratepayers. The case had implications for the rest of the state, resulting in new, unexpected costs for cities like Sammamish and Issaquah. Sometime within the next few months, the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District is scheduled to send Sammamish a bill for about $300,000 for the city’s 1,465 fire hydrants. The cost would appear in Sammamish’s 2010 budget. Compared to standard water piping, fire hydrants require larger pipes and water storage facilities, according to Ron Little, general manag-

er at the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District. In some cases, fire code sometimes requires that water flow at a rate of 3,000 gallons per minute, he said. “You have to have a pretty big pipe to get that to the firefighters,” he said. He said the other major factor in fire hydrant costs is the maintenance — no one at the water and sewer district wants to be responsible for a fire hydrant not working properly while firefighters are responding on-scene. Little said the fire marshals at Eastside Fire & Rescue determine how many fire hydrants are needed, how close together they should be and

A remarkable peanut butter sandwich

science fairs get technical

community page 12

schools page 14

at what rate the water should flow through them. Little said the state Supreme Court decision left experts in the water utility world befuddled. “The utility people think it’s not a very logical conclusion,” he said. “This should be revenue neutral.” Sauerwein said the city is drafting a franchise agreement that would somehow assume the new cost of fire hydrants without assuming a loss. “I don’t think those details have really been worked out yet,” he said. Reporter J.B. Wogan can be reached at 392-6434, ext. 247, or To comment on this story, visit

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2 •

January 20, 2010

Badge Continued from Page 1

immediate bond and have been close friends ever since. “One thing Gayle told me on that first day — my life would forever be divided into before Mike died and after Mike died,” Marshall recalled. It sounded strange at first, but the advice has held true, she said. Of course, Frink-Shulz had the unfortunate benefit of firsthand experience with this sort of grief. Her husband Steve Frink, a trooper with Washington State Patrol, died in a car chase off of Interstate 90 in 1993. “When Steve died, I really felt like I was going crazy … You don’t know what to do when people die young,” Frink-Shulz said. In the months that followed Steve’s death, she found herself behind the wheel of her car, not knowing where she was going. “It’s like, I don’t know if I can make it though another month, much less another day.” Both Marshall and Frink-Shulz said there is an innate connection between the survivors of officers. “It’s a club you never want to join,” Frink-Shulz said. “It makes such a difference to get to know these people because you can compare stories and realize you’re not alone,” Marshall said. What they do When an officer dies in the

line of duty, Behind the Badge she said. activates a death-response team Frink-Shulz became a board to assist surviving police and member with Concerns of Police offer help to newly bereaved Survivors, and then the execufamilies. tive director at the Washington Among its menu of services, State Law Enforcement Behind the Badge provides assisMemorial Foundation. She is tance in organizing memorial currently one of two full-time services and in filing legal staff members at Behind the Badge. papers related to wills. Through Nate Elledge, chief of police legislative efforts, it also has in Sammamish, said assistance helped secure medical benefits organizations like Behind the for officers’ surviving families. Badge are essential not only for While the organization won’t the families, but also for the coprovide professional counseling, workers of deceased police offiit does have a cers. list of therapists Elledge Get involved who specialize posted a For more information on in helping vicmessage on Behind the Badge Foundation, tims of trauma. the go to www.behindthebadgefounMembers Sammamish like Frink-Shulz Police also try to make Department sure the bereaved have longWeb site thanking residents for term family and social support. cards, e-mails, phone calls, cookBehind the Badge formed in ies and flowers sent to his police 2009 as an amalgam of two state department after officers from nonprofits called Washington the Seattle, Lakewood, Lewis State Law Enforcement County and Pierce County police Memorial Foundation and the departments died in the last few 10-99 Foundation. Behind the months. Badge is supported by a host of “It’s on everybody’s minds,” volunteers from the law enforcehe said. ment and business communities. Elledge said he remembered Prior to her husband’s death, learning in the police academy Frink-Shulz had no professional that officers die on regular basis. experience working with law “I don’t think people realize enforcement. that it happens every three or She had a background in four days in this country,” he said. finance, keeping books for local He noted, however, that manufacturing firms. seven officers deaths in one year “My experience was baptism in Washington was unusual. by fire. All of sudden, I was thrown into this world. You don’t Moving on Marshall and Frink-Shulz are go into college to learn grief,”


planning a girls-only outing sometime this year. They try to meet up in non-funeral situations, this winter being an exception. Both women are comfortable talking about their husbands’ deaths now. “We all want to move on with our lives … but we also want to remember. It’s essential that we remember our officers for our kids and our grandkids,” Marshall said. Frink-Shulz said she meets with other survivors for coffee sometimes. They learn to laugh and love again. “We don’t want to be stuck in tears for the rest of our life,” Frink-Shulz said. Frink-Shulz remarried to Randy Schulz in 1995, the field director for Prison Fellowship Ministry. While she provides outreach to officers and their loved ones, he tries to help prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families. Marshall said the work FrinkShulz and Behind the Badge do is essential for helping survivors move on. “They’ve proven that the sooner you get plugged into a support network, the sooner you begin to heal and the sooner you begin to feel like you’re not out there by yourself.” Reporter J.B. Wogan can be reached at 392-6434, ext. 247, or To comment on this story, visit

Sammamish retail sales take relatively small hit Dour news across the state about third-quarter retail sales in 2009 was markedly less so in Sammamish. A report released Jan. 14 by the state Department of Revenue said Sammamish was down 2.96 percent in overall taxable retail sales from the third quarter of 2008. The third quarter included sales from July through September. “That’s not too shabby,” noted Mike Gowrylow, a spokesman for the Department of Revenue. “Sammamish is staying pretty steady and in this economy, that’s saying something.” In the retail trade sector, which includes retail stores in malls and shopping centers, Sammamish was up one-tenth of a percent. Gowrylow said the difference between overall taxable retail sales and those in the retail trade sector is that retail trade doesn’t account for the construction industry, plus sales made by manufacturers, wholesalers, bars and restaurants. Taxable retail sales in building construction went up 17 percent, from $21.5 million to $25.3 million. But they were down 20.8 percent in the real estate, rental and leasing industry, from $1.85 million to $1.47 million. Some other Eastside cities were less lucky than Sammamish. Redmond, Issaquah and Bellevue all saw decreases of more than 7 percent in overall taxable retail sales. In the retail trade sector, those cities all saw decreases of at least 5 percent. In King County, taxable retail sales dropped 13.4 percent. The state as a whole saw a decline of 11.6 percent in overall taxable retail sales, the third largest drop on record.

call or email for quotes & questions phone 425-392-7887 email:


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r Y o uNeighborhood Sporting Good Store Team Sales, Equipment & Apparel Wilson/Demarini • Easton • Mizuno • Louisville • Baden


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February 3, 2010 Locally owned Founded 1992 50 cents

Council to form committees, close some meetings By J.B. Wogan

The Sammamish City Council is forming committees in 2010 to study and recommend policy decisions. Council members will sit on the committees, a major difference from citizen advisory boards like the Planning, Parks and Arts commissions, which are appointed by the council. In the past, the council has reviewed the recommendations of its commissions, but often

modified or rejected major portions of commission proposals. The implications of committee work isn’t clear yet. Councilman Tom Odell said the council wouldn’t rubberstamp recommendations from its committees. He was also quick to point out that this wasn’t a harbinger of more committees in the future. “There’s not a lot of appetite for creating organizational hierarchy,” he said. Deputy Mayor Nancy Whitten said the benefit will be more pro-

ductive discussions earlier in the lifespan of an issue. The council formed (and later dissolved) committees once before. In that case, the committees often made reports at the end of council meetings. Odell said the intent was for the committees to hold closed meetings. They may be permitted to hold closed meetings, but they must be careful to watch what they discuss in order to stay with-

in the law, said Tim Ford, open government ombudsman for the Washington Attorney General’s Office. Under the law, if the committee acts on behalf of the council, the meetings must be open. The way to define ‘acting on behalf’ is not always crystal clear. Some things, such as accepting public comments or acting to kill a measure before it reaches the council would definitely trigger open meetings. “I would argue that ‘acting on

behalf of’ could be construed very broadly,” Ford said. It would be difficult to hold council members accountable for crossing that line, he noted. Council members do not need to record closed meetings or to keep minutes. Of the new committees being formed, one would focus on the city budget and ways to curb spending. The other would look at public See COUNCIL, Page 3

Frank Blau and his roller derby girls By J.B. Wogan

Why are Frank Blau’s roller derby photos so good? Megan Twibell thought for a minute. Some photographers only capture the action and others only get the fringe stories. Frank does both. “He gets a bit of the bibliographic and the guts of it,” she said. Ask anyone in the know about Blau and his Rat City Rollergirls photos, and they’ll mention his portrait shots, the in-between moments, the way he captures a grimace or smile.

Photo by J.B. Wogan

Sammamish purchased the Kellman mansion in 2006.

“He’s been crazy about this for a long time.” – Caitlin Blau, Daughter – Photo by J.B. Wogan

Frank Blau surveys the roller derby rink before taking another photo. In January, Blau, of Sammamish, joined the inaugural advisory board for Seattle’s Rat City Rollergirls, an honor that stems from five years of working as a volunteer photographer for the league. Twibell, who goes by the derby name Sara Problem, said Blau brings a traditional business eye to an unconventional business. With his long involvement in

roller derby, he still has an intimate knowledge of the sport and its culture. After all, it’s not just any sport that takes women in roller skates and fishnet and pits them against one another in a physical, elbowing, hip-bruising sort of race. Rat City Rollergirls is Seattle’s allwomen roller derby league, played on a flat roller skating track. Players go by aliases that are either sci-fi themed, inside jokes or plays on words. The game

consists of two teams of five women in helmets and pads; players score points as they pass their opponents, and opponents do everything in their power to prevent them from passing. The rink at Key Arena had a handful of photographers, all friendly with one another, especially Blau. One came charging from behind and gave him a

Kellman house will continue to sit unused Town clock stalled for a time By J.B. Wogan

The City Council decided to delay any action on the Kellman mansion or a proposed town clock during their Jan. 21-23 retreat. The city purchased the Kellman property, which is located directly west of the new Sammamish Public Library, for $3.25 million in 2006. The land

See DERBY, Page 3

catholic hosts special olympics tournament

Skyline swimmers fall to liberty

community page 10

sports page 18

See KELLMAN, Page 2

Calendar...........16 Classifieds........22 Community.......10 Editorial.............4 Police...............8 Schools............14 Sports..............18


February 3, 2010 •


moments where the girls are isolated or still, a crisp face springing from a creamy, blurred backContinued from Page 1 ground. He likes shooting the girls as they bend in ready posismall hug. Another sheepishly tion at the starting line. “You usually get them smiling asked for extra batteries. “The other photographers wor- at you,” he said. ship Frank because he’s the best,” Frank Blau doesn’t get paid for said Katie Merrell, the chairwom- shooting the roller derby bouts, but it seems that the hundreds of an of the Rollergirls’ advisory board. Merrell’s derby alias is photos he snaps each bout, crouching from a corner of the Dixie Dragstrip. rink, is a labor of love. Frank’s son, 19-year-old Justin Blau, an aspiring photographer For the first event of the season, Jan. 31, Frank brought himself, said Frank specializes in realism. Justin and his daughter Caitlin Justin Blau said his father ben- Blau, 22, both fans of roller derby. efits from his affability, meeting “He’s been crazy about this for and befrienda long time,” ing his photo Caitlin Blau “The other photograsubjects so said. Before she phers worship Frank they give him got hooked on just the right roller derby, because he’s the best.” pose. her father – Katie Merrell, As a player, would come Roller girl – Twibell was home and talk one of his about how favorite subincredible the jects, something she attributes to bouts were and how she just had her deliberate attempts to get to see it. Frank Blau’s attention. She and Frank said he would take other players say they rifle shooting roller derby over wedthrough his online galleries to see dings any day. Then again, the who he photographed from the weddings actually pay, and that’s most recent game. Twibell, who what subsidizes his camera wanted to see more of herself in equipment. the galleries, decided to make an Flour Grosskopf, A.K.A. Dirty adjustment a few years back. Little Secret, a former player and “You’ve got to be a little more current assistant coach for the crude,” she said, adding that she Throttle Rockets, said Frank Blau used to grab her chest or slap her is more than just a photographer butt to give Frank just the right for the league. gesture that he would have to Grosskopf said he comes to take the photo. team nights at the roller derby Frank said he looks for drinking hole, the Fun House,


Council Continued from Page 1

Photo by Frank Blau

Juliet Bravo laces her skates at a bout in 2008. and attends the league’s fundraising events. “It’s not even just about the sport. It’s the whole community,” Justin Blau explained. Former player and longtime friend Jessica Obrist agreed. “It’s like he’s surpassed fan-

dom and now he’s just part of the crew,” she said. Reporter J.B. Wogan can be reached at 392-6434, ext. 247, or To comment on this story, visit

safety issues, specifically related to police and fire protection. Odell said the public safety committee was essentially already formed before the retreat, with three councilmen working closely on Eastside Fire & Rescue issues. That committee includes Odell, Councilman John Curley and Mayor Don Gerend. Odell said the council felt that police and fire was a topic that deserved special scrutiny because it constitutes such a large portion of the city’s operating budget. Whitten added that Odell, Curley and Gerend would already have been meeting with staff about EFR issues and reporting back to the council. Now they would be discussing police protection as well. The other committee would focus on finance issues and would include Whitten, Odell and Councilman Mark Cross. The council also appointed Councilman John James as a special liaison for city issues related to the U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee Country Club. Editor Ari Cetron contributed to this story. Reporter J.B. Wogan can be reached at 392-6434, ext. 247, or To comment on this story, visit

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Ron Little will leave the water and sewer district.

Ron Little to leave utility district By J.B. Wogan

When Ron Little retires, 29 years of history goes with him. Little has been an employee of the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District since July of 1981. He precedes the district’s current name, the formation of Sammamish as a city and the installation of the BellevueIssaquah water pipeline, the main source of the plateau’s water supply. He wasn’t always headed for a life of water and sewer utilities. When Little first graduated from

the University of Illinois with an engineering degree, he migrated to Los Angeles, hoping to work on race cars. “I wanted to be a race car designer, but ended up being more of a race car mechanic,” he said. Little, a Sammamish resident since 1986, has three children. His youngest, Tian, 17, attends Eastlake High School. He and his wife Barbara have been married since 1977. Today his passion for race car See LITTLE, Page 3

Photo by Christopher Huber

Priscilla and Larry Larsen show of some of the get well cards Larry has gotten.

Larry Larsen comes back Sammamish man revives after death By Christopher Huber

After dying four times in 10 days, Larry Larsen simply got up and walked out of the hospital. He’s not sure how he man-

aged it, but Larsen, a Sammamish resident, believes there were larger forces at work. His journey to a second chance in life began with a massive, out-of-the-blue heart attack Jan. 13. The experience brought doctors, paramedics and even veterinarians to his aid. Some of them attribute his survival to having exercised throughout his life. Others, including his wife Priscilla Larsen, say it was a bit,

or a lot, of divine intervention. “It’s the Lazarus story,” Priscilla Larsen said. “God allowed him to die, and then allowed all these people … to participate in his miracle.” Larsen had just returned home from a walk with a friend when he started having chest pains. Priscilla insisted on driving a See LARSEN, Page 8

Police chase ends in crash, but search continues By J.B. Wogan

It must have been a surprising scene for residents on the 3100 block of 235th Place Southeast in the Audubon Park neighborhood. It was 1:45 a.m. Jan. 30 and four cars were piled up on a Sammamish driveway. A police car was lodged into the driver’s

side door of a car that was wedged underneath a parked truck. The truck, jostled by the collision, had hit a car further up in the driveway. About an hour later, a helicopter and K9 unit from the King County Sheriff’s Office swooped in to help Sammamish, Issaquah and county police apprehend two of three suspects who police say burglar-

Eastlake tops issaquah sports page 16

ized a Sammamish home and tried to elude police. The suspects had fled on foot after crashing their car. Police caught two of the suspects, a 19year-old man from Renton and a 23-yearold man from Tukwila. They are both in custody at the King County Jail. The other suspect is still at large, but

Results online Wondering about the latest results for the school district levy and bond and the library levy measure? Visit

police have some promising leads. “We believe we have him identified. We just have to go through the proper police work to have him identified,” said Sgt. Robert Baxter of the Sammamish Police Department. Detective Bill Albright, of the

Calendar...........20 Classifieds........22 Community.......12 Editorial.............4 Police...............10 Schools............14 Sports..............16

See CHASE, Page 2


February 10, 2010 •


Aldarra and Montaine bring back annexation By J.B. Wogan

The Aldarra Estates and Montaine neighborhoods are one step closer to becoming part of Sammamish. Residents turned in signatures from 173 of the 272 property owners Feb. 1. These property owners represent more than 60 percent of the total property values in the two neighborhoods. The petition would increase the city in size by 93.3 acres and in population by 832 people. The new signatures revive a year-old petition that appeared in limbo. Petitioners from both neighborhoods expressed interest in

Little Continued from Page 1

racing comes out in watching Formula 1 racing with Tian. The work with race cars wasn’t paying well and wasn’t as glamorous as Little had hoped. So, after nine years, Little decided to make a career change and move up to Washington, where he had family living in the area. Little took a job on Vashon Island with a small company that did maintenance and construction of septic systems and small public water systems. Little joined the district as an engineer and ascended to the position of general manager in six years. He has served as the district’s executive ever since. The district’s commissioners met Feb. 1 to evaluate Little and

annexing into Sammamish as early as 2007. The neighborhoods filed separate petitions to join Sammamish in February 2008. At the time, the Community Development Department in Sammamish didn’t have a set process Graphic by Dona Mokin

The neighborhoods straddle Duthie Hill Road, just southeast of Sammamish city limits. rated him outstanding in every category. “He’s going to be hard to replace,” said Mary Shustov, president of the district’s commission. Shustov remembers a time seven years ago — before she joined the commission — when she called Little as a customer. “He was helpful in explaining things and getting things done. He treats people so fairly. He has a nice way of taking a complicated issue and making it understandable,” she said. “He brings such an enthusiasm to whatever he’s explaining. It makes people value the subject.” Shustov described Little as trusting and detail oriented. She said he has developed a familial atmosphere at the district, keeping the employee turnover rate low. “He’s been a very effective

for reviewing annexation petitions. The department’s director, Kamuron Gurol, told both neighborhoods to come back later. Since then, the city established an annexation process and the City Council approved two annexations, increasing the city in size by 117.7 acres and in population by 390 residents. In April 2009, residents from the

Aldarra Estates and Montaine neighborhoods returned with a joint annexation petition; the petition included enough signatures to exceed the required 10 percent threshold. The council voted 6-0 in favor of advancing the neighborhoods to the second stage of the annexation process. City officials noted that they had concerns about how the annexation would impact fire protection costs. They also reminded petitioners that joining Sammamish would not impact school district boundaries — some residents in the Aldarra Estates and Montaine neighborhoods have expressed interest in switching from the

Snoqualmie Valley School District to the Issaquah School District. The neighborhoods are located by the intersection of Southeast Duthie Hill Road and Trossachs Boulevard Southeast. The council is likely to review the petition in March or April, according to Emily Arteche, a city planner. If the council approves the measure, it would go to a county review board and then back to the council for final approval.

manager for the district,” Commissioner Bob Brady said. “He is very sensitive to what the board asks of him. We hear from employees, too … They only have high praise for him.” Brady has known Little for more than 20 years, though he only became a commissioner in 2007. When Little started, the King County Water District 82 — as it was called back then — had about 2,700 customers. Today the district has about 17,000. “His management had to change to one of managing a whole big staff. That required a lot of change on his part,” Brady recalled. Little counts several major events during his tenure at the district. Both Sammamish and Issaquah considered taking over their portions of the district, but opted against it.

The district also changed its method for monitoring and giving access to its water supply so the demand didn’t outstrip the supply. It also joined the Cascade Water Alliance, giving the plateau access to a new supply of water from the Cascades through the Bellevue-Issaquah water pipeline. The pipeline provided Sammamish with an increased water supply commensurate with the population boom. Little will serve as general manager through December, when the commission has made its selection for his successor. In the district’s 60-year span, he is its third general manager. As retirement approaches, Little said he has a few personal projects in mind. A few years ago, he bought a 1938 Ford Woodie Station Wagon he found sitting in a wheat field

in east Wenatchee. “I sort of envisioned that I would just restore it,” he said. “I’m a do-it myself type of guy.” After hiring professionals to do the bodywork, and a friend to repair its mechanics, Little’s ready to apply his woodworking skills to the back of the car. Besides that, he has a cabin on Camano Island that he would like to remodel. He also sits on a water association board on the island. He said he is one of seven members on the board and he gets to play a different role from general manager. “Up there, I get to play policy maker,” he said.

Reporter J.B. Wogan can be reached at 392-6434, ext. 247, or To comment on this story, visit

Reporter J.B. Wogan can be reached at 392-6434, ext. 247, or To comment on this story, visit

feature writer  

The neighborhood on the eastern edge of the city would add about 64 new residents. October 28, 2009 he supported the annexation, too. “It’s...

feature writer  

The neighborhood on the eastern edge of the city would add about 64 new residents. October 28, 2009 he supported the annexation, too. “It’s...