Your locally owned newspaper, serving North Bend and Snoqualmie, Washington
Wildcats roll through KingCo-WesCo Challenge Page 12 www.snovalleystar.com
January 6, 2011 VOL. 3, NO. 1
Economy, future were top themes for 2010 By Dan Catchpole
Police blotter Page 2
Sent down the rail North Bend men face charges for museum theft. Page 2
Building for the future and the sour economy were the dominant theme in the SnoValley Star’s news coverage last year. News about the economic recession and sluggish recovery took on a different tone from the previous year, when it was breaking news. By 2010, they had become facts of life. Budgets were cut, houses were foreclosed on, busi-
nesses closed and demand rose at food banks, toy drives and other charities. But that didn’t keep Snoqualmie Valley residents from looking to a brighter future. Here is a wrap-up of the past year’s top stories. Economic realities Persistent economic troubles forced another year of major budget cuts at most levels of government. These cuts were
not meant as a way to get by until revenues pick up but are for the long term. The state cut $2.8 billion. King County cut nearly $60 million. North Bend cut more than $700,000. The Snoqualmie Valley School District cut its budget. The city of Snoqualmie did not cut its budget. These cuts followed budget reductions the previous year, and hit programs that were popular and needed. Supporters of these programs at all levels of
government fought for them. Ultimately, some were saved, while others were slashed. The year also witnessed a growing trend for many government services: increasing support on user fees and decreasing support on tax revenues. The bad economy led several businesses, including Isadora’s Café in Snoqualmie, to close their doors. Demand at food banks, toy See TOP STORIES, Page 6
Pursuit of suspected drug dealer continues
A moment in time We revisit the most memorable shots of 2010. Page 8
By Dan Catchpole
Farewell to thee Last call for popular hangout Isadora’s. Page 9
By Clay Eals
Santa’s many helpers Look out Broadway Valley children star in ‘A Christmas Story.’ Page 11
Encompass staff and a former board member gather to pack custom boxes of food and other items for families in need Dec. 16 at the Meadowbrook Interpretive Center. The boxes, containing 12 tons of donations, were distributed to 148 families throughout the Valley on Dec. 18.
For two years, the Snoqualmie Police Department has been pursuing a case against a former Snoqualmie resident who police say is a local drug dealer. The suspect, Bryan Gabriel, claims he is legally providing medical marijuana and is a victim of police harassment. King County prosecutors have twice filed charges against Gabriel, but a key witness — and medicinal marijuana user — has died and the police had to return four ounces of marijuana seized from Gabriel. See MARIJUANA, Page 7
District proposes $56 million bond for new school
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Three years later, failed bond is still the one that got away
By Sebastian Moraga The year differs, the superintendent differs and the solution offered differs.
Last month, the Snoqualmie Valley School District proposed a $56 million bond to build a new middle school on district land on Snoqualmie Ridge. In 2007, the district proposed a $209 million bond to build a new high school…somewhere. “We didn’t have a site,” former school board member Rich Krona said. “We couldn’t purchase land until we had bond
money to buy it with.” The problem, though, is still the same as it was in 2007: schools in the Valley getting crowded. In 2007, citizens said no thanks to the bond. Twice. And once the following year. Three winters later, the bond proposals of 2007 and 2008 still haunt some of their strongest supporters. They dedicated long
hours to the bond only to see it fail, by less than 3 percent each time. “The hardest bond to pass is to build a second high school,” said Kathryn Lerner, a co-chair of the first two bond campaigns and later a school board member. “Because it feels like the community is being ripped apart.” See BOND, Page 3
JANUARY 6, 2011
was a big reason the bond did not pass even on the third try. “By the second time around, the bond didn’t change and we got pretty darn close,” he said. “After that, the economy began to sour and it was all over.” Krona said he hopes the economy picks up someday and the district gets a second high school. “In the meantime, we scramble,” he said.
Bond From Page 1 Why the first bond failed In 2007, opponents to the bond feared just that, a nascent rivalry replacing 60 years of one school. They also feared higher taxes and a diluted athletic talent pool. So, it failed, and to this day, reasons offered abound. Jim Reitz was a member of the group that crafted the third bond proposal in 2008. To Reitz, the bond proposals were too big and the vote percentage bar too high. To Lerner, the culprit was a disconnect between the school district and the community. A late schedule change during the flood-soaked winter of 200708 sparked voters’ ire, and that resulted in extra no votes the first time, in February 2007. “The way the decision was made angered people,” Lerner said. She said that anger persisted when the bond went to the voters a second time in May 2007. The fact that it was identical to the February proposal struck voters as proof that the district did not listen, she said. “We got lumped in the same mindset of, ‘See. They don’t listen to us. We told them no, and they come back with the same thing,’” Lerner said. “No matter what we would do, we were caught up in that swirl of frustration.”
The yard signs pushing people to vote in favor of the bond will likely make a comeback this winter. Some who supported the bond alongside Lerner disagree. “That’s a bunch of … I don’t want to say it in a family newspaper,” said Krona, a school board member during the first failed bond. “Miss Lerner never learned to appreciate the school district. Her view was jaded from day one.” Reitz also disagreed. “There was no one reason,” he said. “It was simply a lot of money. Very expensive. That was the single biggest thing that turned people off.” Successful failures? The first two bond proposals topped at $209 million. The third one, in March 2008, asked for $189 million, Reitz said. It also failed. Lerner said the bonds failed because the district grew complacent and oblivious to the population growth on Snoqualmie Ridge.
“They didn’t get any fresh perspectives,” she said. “They weren’t prepared for what was going to happen at Snoqualmie Ridge. They knew it was happening, but they didn’t put in the time, the energy or the effort to be ready for it.” By the time she arrived on the board, she said, it was too late. “The previous superintendent had enough time to go through the process and get what the community needed,” Lerner said, “Instead of saying, ‘Oh, my God, we’ve got all these kids now.’” While superintendent Rich McCullough was not available for comment, Krona calls those charges “a crock.” To Krona, the bonds didn’t fail, having garnered at least 58 percent of the vote each time. “In any other elections, that would be considered a landslide,” he said. “We were less than 100 votes away.” The economy, Krona said,
It’s not 2007 anymore Reitz remains hopeful this bond will pass. The differences between now and 2007 might help, he said. In 2007, Mount Si was already over capacity. With enrollment rates decreasing in the past three years, the school won’t max its capacity until 2013, and later if the bond passes. Portable classrooms purchased with a fourth bond, a slimmeddown, $27-million list of “musthaves” that passed in 2009, bought the district some time. “We got an extra four years thanks to the portables,” Reitz said. Second, resentment from in North Bend and the eastern edge of Snoqualmie over another school on the Ridge won’t be an issue, he predicted. “Everyone knows that’s where all the kids are,” he said, “and where the property is.” While Reitz keeps hope, Lerner compares her new district — Mercer Island— with her old one. “They pay constant attention to the age of the buildings, and what needs to be done,” she said of Mercer Island. “It will be five
Your money: 2011 School Bond
The Snoqualmie Valley School District is once again asking voters for money to help solve crowding. This part, how we got here and where we go from here, is the first of a four-part series about the bond. to 10 years until they float out a really big bond.” The Valley district has been, she said. “asleep at the wheel” in the past. Furthermore, people in the Valley excuse themselves by comparing Mercer Island’s tax base with their own. “They like to use that argument,” she added, “ but there’s a lot of money in the Valley.” Nevertheless, Lerner lamented hearing the district is dealing with crowded schools again. “It still tugs at my heart that they’re struggling with these issues,” she said. Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or email@example.com. Comment at www.snovalleystar.com.
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Your locally-owned newspaper, serving North Bend and Snoqualmie, Washington
January 13, 2011 VOL. 3, NO. 2
Homes on the way Michigan builder buys Snoqualmie Ridge lots. Page 6
Mount Si upsets ninth-ranked Sammamish 53-46 Page 12
Officials say a new middle school a must for district By Sebastian Moraga
Police blotter Page 6
Does Dickens know? Singer reworks classic tale into ‘7 Deadly Sins’ Page 8
If the $56.2-million school bond passes Feb. 8, a new middle school will be built, although calling it new won’t tell the whole story. It would be a new building, complete with that fresh-paint smell, but much of it would have a familiar look. First, the building would retain the name, colors and mascot of the one it would replace:
Snoqualmie Middle School, home of the Eagles. Second, the new middle school would be on property the school district purchased years ago, under the administration of former Valley schools superintendent Rich McCullough. Third, the building would be very similar in design and construction to what today is newest school in the Valley, Twin Falls Middle School. This measure, current super-
intendent Joel Aune said, saved the district $400,000, which would otherwise have gone to designing a new building from scratch. With the vote three weeks away, members past and present of the Snoqualmie Valley School District insist that what hangs in the balance is not just the whim of a few but the future of many. “People will realize we defi-
Your money: 2011 School Bond
The Snoqualmie Valley School District is once again asking voters for money to help solve crowding. In this part, district leaders explain the desperate need for a new middle school.
See BOND, Page 6
‘Ridiculous’ theft leaves school staff, students perplexed
Growing awareness Valley entrepreneur touts power of calenula flowers. Page 8
By Sebastian Moraga
Wildcat Idol Students perform their best in talent competition. Page 10
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By Dan Catchpole
Hilary Shemanski makes a drink for a customer at Koko Beans in Snoqualmie. Despite the tough times other food service businesses have endured in Snoqualmie, Shemanski is confident she can succeed.
Small businesses feeling squeezed By Dan Catchpole Lunchtime at Isadora’s Café in Snoqualmie was busier than usual the week after Christmas. Regulars pulled up chairs on the restaurant’s well-worn wood floors to get a last meal before Isadora’s closed with the new year. For the owners, Jody and Michael Sands, the decision to
close the doors after two years was a long time coming. “It was heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking,” Jody Sands said. She had learned a lot about the restaurant business while waiting tables at the café in the mid-‘90s. Owning Isadora’s had been a dream come true for the Snoqualmie native. Like several other indepen-
dent owners of food service businesses in the Valley, Sands endured the economic recession in 2008 and 2009, but couldn’t overcome the lagging recovery in 2010. Squeezed by anemic revenue, rising costs and no available credit, these merchants either closed or sold their businesses. See SQUEEZED, Page 3
Snoqualmie police have arrested an 18-year-old male and a 19-year-old male in connection with the Jan. 6 break-in at Mount Si High School. A press release from the city of Snoqualmie stated that police recognized one of the two teenagers in a surveillance tape from the break-in. Officers then obtained a search warrant for the suspect’s Snoqualmie home and gave the suspect a call. The suspect then agreed to turn himself in to police. At the suspect’s home police located an Xbox that officers said had been stolen from the school. The day of the theft, Mount Si High School principal Randy Taylor said the Xbox and a TV set had been reported missing the day before. The second man arrested is from Auburn, the release said. The two men will be booked into the King County Jail and See THEFT, Page 2
Police & Fire Snoqualmie blotter Suspended license Around 8:30 p.m., Dec. 31, a police officer traveling south on the 7000 block of Railroad Avenue Southeast, saw a red Kia in front of the patrol car, drifting past the fog line for about two blocks. The driver, once stopped, was unable to provide proof of insurance and a status check revealed his driving status was suspended due to four unpaid parking tickets. He was told he would receive a citation in the mail and received a ticket for lacking proof of insurance.
Lost and found Around 2:13 p.m. Jan. 1, two people left their wallets at the police department, on the 34000 block of Southeast Douglas Street. The wallets, which belonged to high school students, were taken to the school a couple of days later.
At 5:46 p.m. Jan. 3, a man contacted police asking if he could build a fire in the woods near the golf course. The golf course let the transient man sleep in a shed for the night.
❑ At 10:57 a.m. Dec. 31, Snoqualmie EMTs responded to Community Park for a 55-yearold male who injured his back while sledding. Patient was evaluated, and transported to the hospital by private ambulance. ❑ At 4:25 p.m. Dec. 31, Snoqualmie EMTs responded to Silent Creek Avenue Southeast for a 3-year-old female who had gotten her leg trapped in her bicycle. ❑ At 7:20 p.m. Dec. 31, Snoqualmie EMTs responded to Railroad Avenue Southeast for a 27-year-old female with abdominal pain. Patient was evaluated and transported to the hospital by private ambulance. ❑ At 11:20 p.m. Dec. 31, Snoqualmie EMTs responded to Snoqualmie Casino for a 35year-old female with a medical problem. Patient was evaluated and left with her boyfriend. ❑ At 8:09 p.m. Jan. 1, Snoqualmie EMTs responded to Snoqualmie Ridge for a medical call. The patient was treated and then transported to the hospital by private ambulance.
DUI At 11:00 p.m. Jan. 4, police saw a Honda van travel westbound on Southeast Ridge Street near the intersection of Douglas Avenue Southeast. The driver rolled right through the stop sign, on a night with wet roads and spots of snow and ice. Police clocked the driver, 36year-old Tonya M. Guinn, at 44 mph in a 25-mph zone. When police stopped her, the officer immediately notice the odor of intoxicants from within her Honda as well as her watery, red eyes. After failing field sobriety tests and declining a breath test, she was arrested for driving under the influence. She was booked into the Issaquah City Jail.
Michigan-based homebuilder buys lots on Snoqualmie Ridge By Dan Catchpole A Michigan-based homebuilding company has purchased 500 lots in the Snoqualmie Ridge II Development, a joint venture of Quadrant Homes and Murray Franklyn Family of Companies. The buyer, Pulte Group, of Bloomfield, Mich., built some houses in the first phase of development on Snoqualmie Ridge. The purchase gives Pulte Group an opportunity to enter the Seattle market, according to John Ochsner, president of the company’s Pacific Northwest division.
The company is the result of a merger last year between Pulte Homes and Centex. Pulte Group had “been looking for the right location and time to expand its brands locally,” Ochsner said. Involving other builders has always been a part of the business plan for the Ridge, said Dave Dorothy, vice-president for Quadrant. Between 15 and 20 other builders have been involved in the some part of the Ridge’s development, Dorothy said. Quadrant and Murray Franklyn will continue to build homes, and will lead develop-
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ment of commercial and retail parcels in the second phase of development. That phase is slated for 1,850 houses, 36 acres of commercial and retail space in four areas, a 16-acre park and several smaller parks, and two schools, according to Dorothy. The 16-acre park is slated to go in where the existing dog park is at Eagle Pointe. “The current plan for that park does not include the dog park,” Dorothy said. The school sites include a 40-acre area the school district had earmarked for a new middle school. Dan Catchpole: 392-6434, ext. 246, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.snovalleystar.com.
JANUARY 13, 2011
Bond From Page 1 nitely need three middle schools,” said Jim Reitz, member of Valley Voters for Education. The alternative, Reitz and others said, is far from palatable. “I hear the idea of going back to two middle schools and my heart sinks,” Snoqualmie Middle School counselor Heather Kern said last December. In the last two years prior to the opening of Twin Falls Middle School, both Chief Kanim Middle School and Snoqualmie Middle School had become crowded, Aune said. Karen Deichman teaches at Twin Falls Middle School but prior to the construction of the North Bend facility, she taught at Snoqualmie Middle School, back when it was one of two middle schools in the Valley. “We had a commons area that was where the children gathered before and after school and it was obviously crowded,” she said. “We also had crowded hallways, students had to share lockers and when the lockers were stacked, we had four kids to the same space.“ Since classrooms were scarce, teachers sometimes had to carry their supplies around in a cart, she added, hampering the teachers’ ability to create a positive learning environment. Language arts teachers had to carry around dictionaries, thesauri and novels. Teachers’ planning time sometimes happened with another professional teaching a class in the same classroom. The real problem, Aune said, happened outside of a classroom. “When there’s excess of capacity, the common areas don’t function properly,” Aune said. “And it becomes more of a challenge to sustain the relationship between a middle-schooler and an adult.” A loss at the ballot box means the district goes back to having two middle schools. Snoqualmie Middle School will become an annex for Mount Si High School ninth-graders regardless of the vote.
By 2013, there will be about 1,400 Valley students of middle school age, Aune said. “We’re talking two middle schools of 700 students each,” he said. “We’re right back where we were, and that doesn’t even begin to talk about 2014, 2015 or 2016.” Aune said it’s easy to tell when a school is crowded. Just wait for a midday bell to ring and go stand in its library, in its lunchroom, in its restrooms. Classroom space can be solved with portables, not so a place for students to eat or wash their hands. Deichman wonders how having two schools will affect the quality of education. Identifying students with special needs would become more difficult in a crowded school, she said. If the bond passes and a new school opens in 2013, the work will not stop, Deichman said. Starting a new building takes hard work, she said. “Physically opening a new building is wonderful,” she said. “But it doesn’t go without a lot of planning and work for staff and teachers.” The bond needs 60 percent plus one vote to pass. Aune has called the 60-percent plateau “a challenge, even on a good day.” The changes in the population of the Valley have made reaching that mark trickier than it used to be, said Rudy Edwards, a former school board member. “We had a small, tight-knit community, now we have people from all over the world,” he said, “with different education levels. Some you can satisfy, some you can’t.” In the first part of this series, former board members criticized the McCullough administration for playing catch-up with the crowding of schools. McCullough refutes the charge. “It’s Public Administration 101,” he said from his office at Seattle University, where he teaches educational administration. “You don’t build facilities until the need exists.” It’s not playing catch-up if a school will open three years from now on land purchased more than five years ago, noted McCullough, who retired from the district in 2005. “The idea that we played catch-up is contradicted by good public policy,” he said. Difficulties aside, supporters like Edwards even refuse to consider the bond not passing next month. “The bond will pass,” he said. Other supporters consider the possibility but hate it. “If the bond were not to pass,” said Cliff Brown, of Valley Voters For Education, “I’ve lost most of my hair thinking about that.” Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or email@example.com. Comment at www.snovalleystar.com.
Your locally-owned newspaper, serving North Bend and Snoqualmie, Washington
January 20, 2011 VOL. 3, NO. 3
Mount Si coach is building play makers Page 12
North Bend resident killed near Carnation By Dan Catchpole
Weather worries Rainfall causes problems on roadways, river byways. Page 2
Police blotter Page 7
North Bend blues Singer follows his heart in his music career. Page 8
Wheel of a good time
Bill “Bud” Rhynalds loved his job and helping people. He was doing both on state Route 203 south of Carnation at about 9 p.m. Sunday when a falling tree killed the Washington State Department of Transportation worker. Rhynalds, a member of the department’s road maintenance crew based in Preston, had been Bill Rhynalds called out to help close roads due to flooding in the Snoqualmie Valley. The 12year veteran of the department had gone to set up traffic cones to keep drivers away from downed power lines when a cottonwood fell and hit him in his truck. “I am so proud of him, because all he ever wanted to do was help other people,” his sister Candi Smith said. “That’s what he was out doing last night.” A resident of North Bend, the 65-year-old Rhynalds was born June 11, 1945, to Billy and Melba Rhynalds at the Snoqualmie Falls hospital. He and his eight siblings grew up in Snoqualmie. After graduating from Mount Si High School, Rhynalds joined the Washington National Guard. Later, he worked for Weyerhaeuser before joining WSDOT in 1998. Outgoing and affable, Rhynalds loved to talk with friends and strangers alike, relatives said. “He’d always make you feel good,” Smith said. “We all know someone like that — you meet and instantly you just want to be friends.” Rhynalds met some of his closest friends for
By Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times
Billy ‘Bud’ Rhynalds (right), a Washington State Department of Transportation worker, clears a fallen tree that blocked traffic on Northeast North Bend Way near Interstate 90 See DEATH, Page 6 after a storm Oct. 26, 1999.
First-grader raises $500 to buy goats for a charity. Page 10
Future of ninth-graders does not hinge on bond vote Your money: By Sebastian Moraga
Hittin’ the books Study Zone gives students extra tutoring help. Page 10
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It’s not a matter of if, but of when. Regardless of the Feb. 8 outcome of the vote on the school bond, Snoqualmie Middle School will become an annex for ninth-graders. More freshmen than the district would like struggle with the transition to high school, Snoqualmie Valley Schools Superintendent Joel Aune said. A freshmen-only building would allow more thorough peer-to-peer monitoring and strengthen the connection between teacher and student, while preserving the variety of
program options of a regular high school. At the same time, Aune said, educators will also pay special attention to science, technology, engineering and math, known for its STEM acronym. “It will be an integrated approach to the teaching of STEM,” Aune said. “It will be relevant to the real world and to their future education.” The solution will not just help struggling children. “Kids who are doing really well at the middle-school level, we think will do even better See BOND, Page 6
2011 School Bond
The Snoqualmie Valley School District is once again asking voters for money to help solve crowding. In this part, district leaders explain housing ninth graders will be addressed.
Snoqualmie City Council eyes raising tax rates By Dan Catchpole Snoqualmie City Council is considering raising utility tax fees and rates to pay for a backlog of infrastructure maintenance work and help pay off debt owed from the construction of City Hall. The city owes $3 million from City Hall, which cost $7.34 million and was finished in 2009. The note, held by Cashmere Valley Bank, is due in June. The See TAX RATES, Page 5
Death From Page 1 coffee every day at 4:30 a.m. at the truck stop in North Bend. The staff at the diner where they met took the news of his death hard, said his wife Betty, who went by to tell them Monday morning. Rhynalds lived for his family. He and Betty have two children and several grandchildren. “The joy was his family, his children, his grandchildren. He liked gathering everyone around him, making sure everyone was happy,” Smith said. Each Christmas Eve, Rhynalds would invite dozens of friends and family members to his home, carrying on a tradition started by his father decades before.
Bond From Page 1 with this solution,” Aune said in December. Not a new idea. On the Eastside, at least one district has tried setting freshmen apart from their older classmates. The Issaquah School District had a freshmen-only building until 2009 at what now is Pacific Cascade Middle School. Dana Bailey, principal of that middle school, was not available for comment. Jim Reitz, of Valley Voters for Education, said the Issaquah
He was a loving father, said his daughter Aimee Sherrill. “You could tell him anything,” she said. “He’d understand.” Every year, he would take his grandchildren to local fairs from Enumclaw to Puyallup. Rhynalds also enjoyed fishing, hunting and going to garage sales. Rhynalds was dedicated to his job, Betty Rhynalds said. He kept delaying his retirement because “he liked being involved,” she said. He was always ready to do whatever was needed. He’d often take the phone into their bedroom so he wouldn’t miss a call from work in the middle of the night. Whenever he was called, he “would always say, ‘Wherever I’m needed, just let me know,’” his wife said.
annex had dealt with harder problems than those facing Snoqualmie. Aune agreed, adding that the creation of Issaquah’s annex had to do more with enrollment management than with academic issues. Besides, Issaquah’s ninthgrade annex fed students into two high schools and it was far from the schools, as opposed to Snoqualmie’s annex, which will be a block away from the district’s one senior high school. “Our situation is more desirable,” he said. At first, the new annex will look like a middle school, but by the end of the year it should have the look of a high school. How this “desirable” situation will turn out for the freshmen of
JANUARY 20, 2011
His supervisor called Sunday evening, asking him to help close roads. As he did every time before, he didn’t hesitate to go help. Rhynalds is the 59th WSDOT worker to die on the job. The last fatality was Myron “Neal” Richards, of Sequim, who died Nov. 19, 2009. Rhynalds is survived by his wife Betty; daughter Aimee Sherrill; son Darin; brothers Mickey, Greg and Randy; sisters Paula Corner, Vicki Prien, Dixie Hoffart, Candi Smith and Sheila Simpson; and several grandchildren, nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. Information regarding arrangements is available from Flintoft’s Funeral Home and Crematory online at www.flintofts.com or by calling 392-6444. Dan Catchpole: 392-6434, ext. 246, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.snovalleystar.com.
2013 is still unknown. The district has predicted that by 2013, crowding at Mount Si High School will have reached a critical stage. With approximately 350 to 400 freshmen moving to the annex, expanding the high school should not be a concern at least until 2024, Aune said. In turn, Mount Si High will become more student-friendly with 1,100 students instead of 1,500. The new annex, tentatively dubbed the Freshman Learning Center, will be away from the high school but still be part of it. “It will not be a separate entity. It will be a branch of the high school,” Aune said. Nevertheless, there won’t be a physical connection between the two buildings. Wetlands
Contributed (Courtesy of Betty Rhynalds)
Billy ‘Bud’ Rhynalds, 66 (pictured with his wife, Betty), was killed Jan. 16 when he was struck by a falling tree while closing a road near Carnation.
between the two schools prohibit building a trail. An acephalous building? “We will have a lead administrator on campus who will answer to the high school principal, who will maybe receive higher pay than an assistant principal,” Aune added. Aune said running the ninthgrade building will cost between $400,000 and a half-million dollars, a plus, he said, when considering the cost of other options for solving crowding at Mount Si High. “Tearing down Mount Si and rebuilding is as expensive as building a new high school and much more disruptive. This annex is the best use of our facility,” Reitz said. “It’s the sim-
plest and most affordable way to expand Mount Si.” The building that will house the annex won’t need much work, as the 2009 bond had $3.5 million in improvements for Snoqualmie Middle School. “Three million dollars don’t go very far,” Aune told the Si View Metropolitan Park board, “but it will be sufficient.” The issue of cost takes a back seat, Cliff Brown, of Valley Voters for Education, said, to offering the best high-school experience possible. “This is too unique of an opportunity not to do things differently for kids,” he said. Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or email@example.com. Comment at www.snovalleystar.com.
Your locally-owned newspaper, serving North Bend and Snoqualmie, Washington
January 27, 2011 VOL. 3, NO. 4
Depleted Mount Si finishes eighth Page 16
‘Snoqualmie Dave’ retiring from police force By Kelly Humphreys
Is graduating harder? Required high school credits may jump to 24. Page 3
Guest column Vote yes on bond for new North Bend fire station. Page 6
Police blotter Page 7
On Jan. 31, Officer Dave Johnson will turn in his badge after 23 years of service with the Snoqualmie Police Department. “I figured 20 years was enough,” he explained. Johnson’s roots go deep in the local area. After graduating from Mount Si High School in 1971, he held a host of jobs, including logger, journeymen lineman and oil-rig driver. In the latter position, he returned to Snoqualmie and met with his old schoolmate, past Assistant Police Chief Ed Crosson. During his visit, he accompanied Crosson on a burglary call. Following the incident, Crosson asked if he might want to become a cop. “Sure, why not?” Johnson responded. Thirteen months later, Johnson attended the reserve academy. After six years as a reserve officer, he became a fulltime officer on Jan. 1, 1988. See RETIREMENT, Page 9
By Snoqualmie Police Department
Officer Dave Johnson, directing a traffic scene at 380th Avenue Southeast and Southeast Cedar Street, retires at the end of January after 23 years on the job.
Dance this way Women get their shimmy on at belly-dancing class. Page 12
Audit: City’s failure to monitor contractor Bond and the resulted in excessive developer charges voters: three “We conclude the city did ON THE WEB viewpoints not adequately oversee its By Dan Catchpole
Playing with physics North Bend man helps students toy with science. Page 14 Prsrt Std U.S. Postage PAID Kent, WA Permit No. 71 POSTAL CUSTOMER
Snoqualmie city government failed to thoroughly monitor contractors’ work during development of Snoqualmie Ridge I, which resulted in the city passing along excessive charges to developers, according to a Washington State Auditor’s Office report published in November. The report addresses four assertions of mismanagement by the city that came from an anonymous complaint to the auditor’s office. Auditors upheld two of the claims, dismissed one and passed the final one to a state board that handles professional conduct issues for engineers. City officials said policy issues raised by the report have been addressed. But they dispute the report’s most dramatic claim: that the city could have hired six fulltime engineers for the amount it paid its engineering contractor, Perteet, from 2003 to 2009.
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Read the report online.
During those years, Snoqualmie paid nearly $5,360,000 to Perteet for reviewing and monitoring work by developers on the Ridge. Based on the average annual salaries of city engineers in 13 comparable King County cities, Snoqualmie could have hired six full-time engineers for that amount of money, according to the report. City officials told auditors they never considered hiring even one engineer to oversee Perteet’s work, save money and avoid any conflict of interest by the contractor. In a response to the report, the city disputed the report’s finding that it could have hired six engineers for the same amount of money. The report did not consider overhead charges that Snoqualmie would have had to
engineering contractor’s work or billing practices. It had no policies regarding the monitoring of the contractor, and the contract did not clearly set the scope of work or provide a maximum limit on the contract cost.”
By Sebastian Moraga
pay for six engineers, according to Pat Anderson, the city’s attorney. “If the developer does not pay a fair share of the overhead for the city employee working on the developer’s project, then the taxpayer pays,” he said. “Which is more fair?” Even if the city had hired
With the vote a week away, Snoqualmie Valley residents are keeping a close eye on the election, and opinions are as varied as the schools’ mascots. Some criticized the district, and others hedged their bets a little bit, while others professed their support for the bond. “I feel fine about it,” said Linda Young, of North Bend. Young was equally open to the idea of freshmen moving to their own separate campus, if perhaps a little less enthusiastically. “My preference would be one high school for all kids,” she said. “But we couldn’t fund that.” The ninth-graders’ campus
See AUDIT, Page 8
See BOND, Page 7
— Washington State Auditor’s Office Report published in November
JANUARY 27, 2011
Police Snoqualmie blotter No driving just yet About 8:15 p.m. Jan. 14, police saw an Isuzu Rodeo with no working taillights in the 9300 block of Stone Quarry Road. A check showed the driver’s license was suspended for an unpaid ticket. The driver said she had been making payments on the ticket, but police told her she couldn’t drive until the matter was settled. She left her car off the roadway and called a friend to come get her.
Vehicle break-in At 5:20 p.m. Jan. 16, a man called police to report several items missing from his vehicle. Although he had already left the area, he said he had parked his vehicle in the parking lot in the 6400 block of Railroad Avenue Southeast and when he returned he found a shattered window and an unlocked door. Missing were an iPod, a purse, a laptop computer and several items that had been sitting on his back seat. The items are valued at $2,500.
Tabs or no tabs? At 11:50 p.m. Jan. 14, police saw a vehicle with expired tabs on Ballarat Street North. A check of the driver’s status yielded a suspended license for unpaid parking tickets. The driver was arrested. He said he knew about the tickets but was waiting for payday. Police asked him about the expired tabs and he said that the screws holding the plate were rusty and he had put the new plate in the back window. Condensation had been hiding the new plate. Police told him he had two weeks to finish paying the tickets and clear his license status or he would be issued a criminal citation and an infraction for expired tabs, since they were not on the bumper, as the law requires.
Car break-in At 3:57 p.m. Jan. 15, police received a call from a woman who said her vehicle had been broken into in the 1200 block of East North Bend Way. The woman said someone had taken her purse and that she believed she may have left her doors unlocked, as there was no damage to the vehicle.
A place to crash
At 3:40 p.m. Jan. 19, a man told police that a real estate agent had told him a window to his Snoqualmie house had been broken. The man lives in Issaquah but owns a house in the Valley and he asked police if they could come with him and check it out. Once at the house, the officer requested a second officer at the scene for a building search. Inside, they found a white male, who was ordered to the ground at gunpoint. The man, a 44-year-old transient from Seattle said he had arrived from Preston, was looking for a place to sleep and had broken the window with a rock he found outside. The man was booked into the Issaquah City Jail on charges of malicious mischief.
At 3:59 a.m. Jan. 17, police saw a vehicle approaching the 42600 block of Southeast North Bend Way, and then drive around the back and toward the front of an auto parts store. Police then drove around in the opposite direction and saw the vehicle turn around and get back on North Bend Way. The officer had never seen any vehicle near that store that late at night. The driver and a passenger said they were behind the store because they were looking for a place for their dog to go to the bathroom. The passenger lived in Bellevue and the driver in Sammamish, but they said they were in North Bend dropping off a friend at QFC. Police requested backup and ran a check on both men. Nothing turned up. However, when police questioned the men, one of them changed his story about dropping off the friend. After backup arrived, police searched the outside of the building for forced entry signs. None were found.
North Bend blotter Eggs, but no bacon At 3:04 p.m. Jan. 17, police received a call that a home in the 45800 block of Southeast 137th Street had been egged. About six eggs had hit the house, damaging the paint. The homeowner is willing to assist in prosecution of the vandals.
The Star publishes names of those arrested for DUI and those charged with felony crimes. Information comes directly from local police reports. Information regarding fire calls was unavailable.
Your news comments welcome!
Bond From Page 1 may not make everyone happy, but it seems like the right choice to battle school crowding, Young added. A differing viewpoint came from the other end of the Valley, in Fall City, where John Hunt, the father of a freshman at Mount Si High, wrote in an e-mail that the rest of the district was being asked to subsidize a Snoqualmie Ridge development. “The current school infrastructure is just fine if the Ridge wasn’t adding to the population.” Hunt questioned why the developers of the Ridge were not required to include building a school into the development costs in the first place. Regardless of the result of the vote, Hunt wrote, voters need to purchase some land for future use while the real estate market is depressed. Hunt said the district has lost credibility with voters, particularly after two failed bond proposals in 2007 and 2008. Restoring that credibility will require new leadership and “a giant mea culpa,” Hunt wrote. Though he will probably vote for the bond, Hunt added, “I do not think it has a real chance of passing.”
Fed to offer loans for disaster relief Windswept small businesses now may apply for a dose of relief. The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering nonfarm small businesses in 32 Washington counties and 10 Oregon counties low-interest disaster loans. “These loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by the combined effects of excessive rain, frosts, freezes, unseasonably cold whether and high winds, beginning April 1, 2010,” Alfred E. Judd, director of the administration’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West, said in a press release. Small, nonfarm businesses, small agricultural co-ops and most private nonprofits of any size may qualify for loans of up
If you vote Bond proposition ❑ Ballots were mailed to voters Jan. 21. ❑ Election date: Feb. 8 ❑ Election is mail-in only.
2011 School Bond
Shelly Woodruff, a resident of Snoqualmie Ridge and parent of a student at Snoqualmie Middle School, said she would vote for the bond. Woodruff said she liked the idea of a ninth-graders’ campus. Ninth-graders need to adapt to many things and having their own building gives them an easier transition to high school, she said. The district has done a good job prioritizing for the bond, she added. “They’ve had to do a continuing narrowing of scope every year just to get the thing passed,” she said. To Woodruff, a misconception exists between what happens on the Ridge and the rest of the Valley: Some people think that if the school is built on the Ridge it’s because the Ridge is better, Woodruff said. “We need to figure out how to make Snoqualmie Valley a better place, not just the Ridge,” she said. A “persnickety” attitude misses the point, she added. The school board should
Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.snovalleystar.com.
to $2 million, the release read. The eligibility for the loans is based on the financial impact of the disaster and not on actual property damage, according to the press release.
Call 800-659-2955 toll free, go to www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance or e-mail email@example.com to learn more. Deadline to apply is Sept. 12.
The Snoqualmie Valley School District is once again asking voters for money to help solve crowding. In this part, voters share their opinions.
make sure people know whether measures will benefit everyone. This time around, the bond money is crucial, said Woodruff, who added she supports the building of a new high school in the future, as well as more advanced classes in middle schools and smaller classroom sizes in elementary schools. “Bond or no bond, the only way you’re going to address some of this stuff is more money,” she said.
Dr. Kirby Nelson, treatment coordinator Harmony Behrndt, patient Morgan Lowell and her teacher Mrs. Von Trapp. Mrs. Von Trapp is one of the winners of the “Best Teacher Contest,” thanks to an essay written by Morgan Lowell. Her class received a pizza party as a prize for having the best teacher.
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