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ABOUT THEN AND NOW Renton Then and Now is part history and part ‘where are they now.’ What’s fun about this ‘history’ is that there’s a good chance you may have been in town for the original story. We hope you enjoy this year’s section. Dean A. Radford, editor

Contact and submissions: Dean A. Radford or 425.255.3484, ext. 5050

September 24, 2010



History passes through his shop BY DEAN A. RADFORD

Charles G. Divelbiss is an antique collector, like his father Charles L. It’s important to use those middle initials, because each man in his distinct way has had a profound effect on Renton and added to the city’s cultural lore. The two Charles played Monopoly when Charles G. was a kid. It became a given that if they ever started a business, they would call it St. Charles Place, one of the Monopoly properties. “Plus I’ve always wanted to be a saint,” said Charles G. Sainthood may still await Charles, but more than three decades ago he and his father started St. Charles Place Antiques and Restoration on Wells Avenue. Charles G. has gone on to a long career in the antiques business. His father was one of Renton’s most prominent doctors and is retired, dividing his time between Whidbey Island and Arizona. The senior Divelbiss had collected for years, which provided the initial antiques for the shop. Charles has collected for nearly 40 years. “I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff,” he said. There’s no junk, just antiques, some going back 200 and even 300 years. There are pricey pieces, including a 14-piece dining room set (circa 1900) going for $32,000. It’s the most expensive item in Divelbiss’ extensive collection, housed either in the shop’s three floors or in three warehouses. There’s a Louis XVI inlaid queensize bed for $2,650. Hanging from it is a hula skirt and coconut bra for just $35. There’s an answer to the question whether Renton ever had a strip club or at least a somewhat bawdy past. It’s tucked away in a locked cabinet covered in glass. Charles spends a couple minutes going through a huge ring filled with keys to find the right one to open it. Yes, Renton had a go-go club, probably in the 1960s, based on the hairdos of the not-particularlyscantily-dressed women. It was the Town House Restaurant and Go Go Club at 209 Williams Ave. For sale at $35 (at least until a few days ago) was a brochure and menu, with black and white photos of the

Charles G. Divelbiss has donated this Town House Restaurant and Go Go Club brochure to the Renton History Museum for its auction. DEAN A. RADFORD, Renton Reporter

Charles G. Divelbiss is at top right in this photo of his store employees taken in the 1970s. DEAN A. RADFORD, Renton Reporter

Charles G. Divelbiss’ antiques collection is in his St. Charles Place Antiques and Restoration on Wells Avenue and in three warehouses. DEAN A. RADFORD, Renton Reporter women on one side and information about the Town House on the back. It WAS for sale because Divelbiss has donated it to the Renton History Museum for its auction Oct. 6. Bits of Renton’s history hang on one wall – photographs Divelbiss acquired from Barei’s tavern, now the home of Stix -n- Stones Restaurant and Lounge. But Divelbiss’ collection goes far beyond Renton, both in place and time. He gets numerous calls daily

from people who have something they think is of value. It’s hard to make decisions about that value over the phone. He’ll regularly go to estate sales. He found a mid-17th century Charles Andre Boulle chest of drawers in Magnolia. It wasn’t in good shape. “The only thing good about it was its age,” he said. Still, it came to the attention of a man in Europe, who flew in on the Concord supersonic jet about 15

years ago to take a look. “I knew what it was,” said Divelbiss. And so did the buyer, who bought the piece for $75,000, Divelbiss’ largest sale ever. The buyer spent tens of thousands of dollars in an extensive restoration and eventually sold the chest for $750,000. Divelbiss won’t divulge how much he paid for the chest of drawers. Divelbiss himself has become a master restorer, although he won’t restore porcelain. He doesn’t have a kiln, necessary to refire the repaired piece. The item’s age doesn’t matter. “If it’s old, I can probably fix it,” he said. “If it really looks ugly, I can make it look pretty.” Son Justin has brought St. Charles Place into the Internet age, with a stylish website, About 30 percent of the online sales come from overseas, he said. Divelbiss has acquired a large collection of books that help guide him in his purchases and restoration. A yearly inventory of his collection takes days. “It’s a nightmare,” he said. Does he cater to a particular taste? Not really. “I have a little bit of everything,” he said.

Renton Historical Society benefit to honor Renton High The Renton Historical Society’s Annual Benefit Dinner and Silent Auction is Wednesday, Oct. 6. This year’s theme is

“Homecoming,” in honor of the 100th anniversary of Renton High School. John Keister is the emcee. Reservations are $40 per

person or $300 for a table of eight. For reservations contact the museum at 425-255-2330, or by email at


September 24, 2010


JAY COVINGTON: City of renton CAO

Money is at the root of his upheavals By DEAN A. RADFORD

Aug. 1, 1990, was Jay Covington’s first day as Mayor Earl Clymer’s new executive assistant. Covington, left, spent much of that first day with Clymer, center, in meetings with new co-workers, including Fire Chief Lee Wheeler. Valley Daily News/Renton Reporter archives In the same Valley Daily News article Covington said “I try my best to be consistent and to be honest.” Covington’s had his rough patches with city employees. In 1992 he was burned in effigy during a strike of all city employees, other than police and fire. The city operated on a skeleton staff for

about two weeks in November. “Nobody wins in a strike,” he said in a recent interview. “That was a pretty stressful time.” It’s probably the economy that has provided Covington and the elected leaders he has served the biggest challenges of his 20 years. It seems a recession of varying depths comes in roughly 10-year

cycles. But the current recession is different, he said. “It’s significant,” he said, and the economy is “bouncing along the bottom.” Consumers bought their way out of the 1990 recession; that’s not happening in 2010. Undoubtedly, what has helped Renton withstand economic

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Twenty years ago, Mayor Earl Clymer hired Jay Covington for two main reasons. He’s a people person and he knows something about budgets. That budget experience came in handy in 1990. The City of Renton was facing $2.2 million in budget cuts. It’s handy today, too, as Renton has had to cut millions of dollars from its budget and eliminate 36 jobs. Twenty years ago, Covington’s title was administrative assistant. Now it’s chief administrative officer. He beat out about 160 other candidates for the job. Twenty years ago, Renton had 39,340 people and was the fourthlargest city in King County and bigger than Kent. Today, it’s 83,650, which makes Renton the county’s fifth-largest city but smaller than Kent (but not by much). Somewhere along the line, he cut off his mustache. What hasn’t changed much are some of the attributes the 34-yearold Covington brought with him from Vancouver, where he was the assistant city manager. This is how a Vancouver co-worker described him in a Valley Daily News article in August 1990. “He is really a people person. He’s open, cooperative and firm but he’s respected because he listens and works to solutions.”

downturns is economic development, which began in earnest under Clymer. Early on, Covington toured the city with Clymer. Any building taller than two stories was filled with Boeing employees, Covington said. It was time to diversify the city’s economic base. But some truths remain. “We are absolutely dependent on how Boeing decides to manage its business,” Covington said. The city’s budget woes in 1990 occurred in part because Boeing scaled back a proposed plant. It didn’t help that PACCAR decided not to build a Kenworth truck factory in Renton. In 2002, Renton hired Sue Carlson to head up its economic development efforts. Today, the city is less dependent on Boeing, but it’s still the city’s largest employer. Covington basically has two jobs, running the overall day-today operations of the city. He calls his department administrators some of the best around. But he also must turn the policy ideas of the mayor and the City Council into reality. It’s where his people skills come into play. Covington has worked under four mayors and 15 council members. Besides Clymer, the mayors are Jesse Tanner, Kathy Keolker and Denis Law. He had to develop a relationship with each one.



September 24, 2010

Renton has the spirit, ‘We’re in this together’ [ COVINGTON from page 8] Covington, perhaps better than anyone else in the city, has a true insider’s knowledge about these four mayors: Clymer: “At the end of the day, Earl loved Renton,” Covington said. Clymer was a retired school teacher with no government experience. “We wanted to do the very best to help him,” he said. Tanner: Tanner had his “hard edges,” Covington said. But Tanner was “very smart,” he said, and “did a lot of good for the city.” It was under Tanner’s regime that the revitalization of downtown Renton moved forward. Keolker: Keolker “had given so much to the community,” including serving 20 years on the City Council. But, as mayor, she “found herself at odds with the City Council. We just never got that smoothness going,” Covington said. Law: Law is a “great communicator,” Covington said. “The smoothness is back.” While the political landscape has settled down, Renton’s “real” landscape is in a state of flux. Fairwood likely will annex this fall; West Hill may join Renton in two years. Renton would become a city of about 130,000 people. How Renton is governed will change. For sure, employees and their leaders will have to become

Jay Covington’s office is right next to the mayor’s office on the seventh floor of City Hall. It has a commanding view of downtown Renton and Lake Washington. DEAN A. RADFORD, Renton Reporter


Renton: A tale of two cities



POPULATION: 39,340, 10th in state, fourth in King County SIZE: 16.5 square miles CITY BUDGET: $84.5 million CITY EMPLOYEES: 499 BIGGEST EMPLOYER: The Boeing Co. (60 percent of all jobs in Renton)

POPULATION: 83,650, 11th in state, fifth in King County SIZE: 23.5 square miles CITY BUDGET: $212.4 million CITY EMPLOYEES: 711 BIGGEST EMPLOYER: The Boeing Co. (30 percent of all jobs in Renton)

even more efficient, he said. Covington, now 55, wonders what happens to city managers when they age up. But, like his first Renton boss,

Earl Clymer, he loves Renton. “Renton is unique in the ability to want to work together,” he said. “There’s this great feeling, ‘We are in this thing together’.”

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Renton Transmission Celebrates 25th Anniversary Renton Transmission has been serving the community with quality auto repair since 1985. They have been at the same location, 4233 NE Sunset Blvd. (across form DMV) for the entire 25 years. Renton Transmission is a family owned and operated auto repair business specializing in transmission, differential & clutch repair for automobiles, light trucks & SUV’s. They repair front wheel drives, rear wheel drives & four wheel drives including domestic and most foreign models.

they sell someone a rebuilt transmission when a simple sensor or solenoid could have solved their problem.

The following is an interview with Pete Jancola Manager/Owner of Renton Transmission.

Don’t: Don’t call around asking how much. Any reputable shop will tell you they can’t estimate a repair on your car without seeing it. Anyone who can give you a price for transmission repair over the phone is likely going to be selling you more than you need. (The exception to this would be a price for routine servicing or a clutch replacement) If cost is a big concern I would recommend finding a trustworthy locally owned shop rather than a big national franchise that has franchise fees and large overhead that gets passed on to consumers.

Questions & Answers Q - How would I know I need to take my car to a transmission shop? A - That is a very good question. There are several ways to determine that. One would be if your engine starts & runs but the car won’t move, or if it only moves forward or only backwards. Another would be if your engine is revving higher that normal when driving down the road. Sometimes a transmission will jerk hard when it changes gears if there’s a problem. Another sign would be if you are getting an oil change & they tell you your transmission fluid is low or burnt.

Q - What advice would you give someone in need of transmission repair? A - Here are a few Do’s & Don'ts. Do: Ask around; try to get referrals from someone that may have had repairs they were happy with.

On April 12, 1989, Carolyn Parnell, at right, led a protest outside the Renton School District’s headquarters on Main Avenue, calling for the re-opening of Dimmitt Middle School. Valley Daily News/Renton Reporter archives

West Hill still in her heart, so are the kids

Do: Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel comfortable with what the shop is telling you after they have checked out your car thoroughly, get another opinion.


Q - Twenty five years is a long time. What positive changes have you seen in the auto industry? A - That’ easy, they are making cars better than ever. They last longer, with proper maintenance, than we have ever seen. We are working on more an more cars with 200,000 miles on them. That is something that was unheard of 25 years ago. Q - What negative changes have you seen? A - That’s easy too! Cars are much more expensive to repair. This is mostly due to two factors. First, the way vehicles are designed now they are much more labor intensive to repair. Secondly they are much more complex & with on board computer systems running everything, proper diagnosis and electronic components can greatly affect the final price of a repair. The other thing I see that concerns me are all the general auto repair shops that claim to do transmissions. These shops are great at doing tune-ups, brakes and miscellaneous repairs but lack the equipment & training to properly diagnose a problem in today’s sophisticated transmissions, so what frequently happens is

Don’t: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be sure you understand what needs to be done and feel comfortable that you’re dealing with someone who knows what they are doing.

Harness Carolyn Parnell’s energy and you could probably build a pyramid. However, she would settle for a place on West Hill where kids can gather, maybe write and read their poetry and stand up on stage and perform a musical. Parnell’s heart is with the kids of West

Don’t: Don’t take your car to a tire store for transmission repair! Take it there for tires!

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Q - A lot of transmission shops have come and gone in Renton during the past 25 years, what has made your shop successful? A - Quality and integrity. We make all repairs as if our own family member will be driving the car. We also stand behind our work 100% or more. On the rare occasions that someone has a problem we do our best to make it right. Sometimes that means honoring a warranty that may be expired or simply taking into account that something should have not failed. I also only employ people I can trust to work on my own car. I see work that comes from other shops and I need to know that everything that leaves our shop is done correctly! Q - What areas do you serve? A - We provide service for vehicles from all over the Puget Sound region, though most our work comes from Renton, Kent, Newcastle, Covington, and Maple Valley. We also provide free towing with a transmission rebuild.


For more information you can reach Renton Transmission 425-235-0101.


Q - Do you do any other kinds of repairs? A - Yes, besides transmissions, we repair differentials, clutches, transfer cases, wheel bearings, axels, engine mounts & brakes just to name a few. I usually tell my customers that if you are satisfied with the work we’ve done, call us first for any auto related repair & if we can’t help we’ll refer you to a local reputable shop that can.

Hill, where she lived for about two decades with her husband Steve and where all five of their children went to school. They were living in Bryn Mawr when she was elected in 2002 to the Valley Medical Center Board of Commissioners. It’s the same year they moved to the Fairwood area. But it was on West Hill where Parnell made her mark as a school volunteer and advocate for West Hill students and their right to go to a neighborhood school. In April 1989 she stood with other parents and students in a protest outside the Renton School District headquarters, then on Main Avenue downtown. She held a sign that read: “Our Kids Won’t Be Bused Without a Fuss From Us!” The “fuss” was over the closure of Dimmitt Middle School in 1987 because of

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September 24, 2010

‘Sometimes, it only takes one person,’ Carolyn Parnell [ PARNELL from page 10]

Carolyn Parnell wants to find a place where young people could gather on West Hill to express themselves through the arts. The location of this closed market in Skyway is a good example. DEAN A. RADFORD, Renton Reporter close a massive county budget deficit. It’s now home to the successful Renton/Skyway Boys and Girls Club. She started Halloween Happenings in the basement of her home, for kids ages 4, 5 and 6 to have a fun and safe Halloween. The next logical question: Why not do it for the whole community. It was for kids

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up to age 18 and their families. The candy flowed. “Every child had a gift,” she said. “Everyone went away happy.” The event lasted for four years; the last year it drew about 350 people. In a move that seems to foreshadow her idea for a cultural center of sorts for kids, she set to work on organizing a mural to which local kids would contribute. She put out flyers and 29 kids responded.

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declining enrollment. It was to close for only five years, but that became 10 years. The closure meant that middle schoolers would get bused to schools off West Hill. “Why go to another school when there’s one right here?” she asks. The protest had nothing to do with a racial issue, said Parnell, who is African American. Minorities comprise a significant proportion of the student body in West Hill schools. She made the point purposefully. “I have a problem when people talk about races,” she said, instead of framing the discussion as everyone is a human being. Parnell became active in the West Hill schools in 1978, so active, in fact, that people thought she was a school employee. She was on the list to call about anything that needed to get done. And, she was in leadership positions (including chairwoman) on the West Hill Community Council, founded in 1990. She was given pretty much everything to do with kids. She and others tried but failed to get the county to build a community center in the 1990s. She was tired of kids having to go to Rainier Beach to find something to do. Years later, the community center was built, but in 2002 it was leased to the Boys and Girls Clubs of King County to help

She had no money. But that’s not a problem. “I am a beggar,” she said. Help came from Ackerley Communications, McLendon Hardware and Parker Paint. Say kids, she explained, and “the donations come out.” The mural was at the Skyway Market for about three years. It was never marred by graffiti, because it was created by West Hill kids, who were proud of their work, she said. But elsewhere graffiti was a problem on West Hill. And so were gangs. The community met with sheriff ’s deputies. There was another complaint, still heard. “All the publicity we had was negative,” she said. “I felt badly.” There’s one idea that’s been kicking around in her head for eight or nine years. Maybe its time has come. It has to do with kids, naturally. She wants to develop a center for West Hill teens where they can gather and talk, who they can engage in the performing arts and where they can learn that there are people who care about them. One possible location is where El Dorado grocery store stands empty just off Renton Avenue. She’ll need money for the project. She’s thinking of ways to engage the West Hill community on the project. She’ll need someone to run it. “I am thinking of ways to encourage the kids to be the best they came be,” she said. She’s not about to give up hope. “Sometimes, it only takes one person,” she said.


September 24, 2010



McKnight inspiration etched into granite BY DEAN A. RADFORD

R.D. Robinson remembers this moment well, even though he was just 11 years old or so. It was a cloudy day outside his McKnight art classroom where he was sculpting a bust. He liked what he saw. “Get used to it. You will be doing this for a long time,” he thought to himself. But he argued back: “I don’t ever want to do this.” So much for arguing. “Here I am,” he said. The physical “here” is Douglas, Alaska, where Robinson, now 58, has a studio where he creates some world-renown sculptures in mostly granite. You’ve walked over one of his creations at the entrance to Uptown Glassworks in downtown Renton. When you work in granite, he said, “you want it to mean something.” He also works in clay and other media. Robinson has lived in Alaska for more than three decades. But he still has good friends here in Renton. He checks in regularly with Charles G. Divelbiss, who years ago was his roommate, and Scott Kaseberg, a sounding board for what amounts to a life’s work,

Sculptor R.D. Robinson, left, who created the granite entryway to Uptown Glassworks, talks with shop owner Paul Sullivan. DEAN A. RADFORD, Renton Reporter “The Analogy Project.” He graduated in 1970 from Hazen High School, a member of the school’s first graduating class. Like other class reunions, he returned to Renton for the 40th reunion this summer. “All the reunions have been fascinating,” he said. Most everyone, it seems, goes from being in good shape to being in bad shape. But Robinson remains in pretty good shape, probably the result of lugging around all that granite. He also was a state-caliber

gymnast at Hazen and a swimmer. His father worked on the national interballistic missile system, which meant the family moved. But they always kept a house in Renton. On the way to Hazen, he attended Honey Dew Elementary School and McKnight Junior High School. “I have fond childhood memories of the Highlands,” said Robinson, who remembers the area then as mostly undeveloped. He played in Devil’s Elbow and Hidden Valley. “It’s still there, hid-

den,” he said of the valley. It was at McKnight that his interest in the arts was really sparked, including the politics of art. After high school, Robinson didn’t turn to art immediately as a career. He worked at Valley Medical Center (when it was known as Valley General Hospital) and at Riverton Hospital as an emergency room scrub technician, something, he said, he really wanted to do. He then went to work for the advertising agency, Cole and Weber. It was through that job that he was introduced to Alaska. Today, Robinson’s studio is under The Island Pub in Douglas, which is near Juneau. He is particularly known for alasbaster sculptures for the 15 stations at the Shrine of St. Therese, the patron saint of Alaska. The John Wayne sculpture at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is his. He once hauled about six tons of granite in an experimental hydroplane pulled behind an RV from Newcastle to Juneau, via ferry. He calls himself a “cultural technician.” That job title is probably best applied to the “Analogy Project,” a yet-unbuilt, 88-foot-tall sculpture of a sundial that will tell

R.D. Robinson works on his sculpture of John Wayne at his Alaska studio. It was installed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. NORMAN BRANDT the passage of Western history, starting in 146 B.C. Designed as an educational tool, it will contain eight million pieces of data. He’s worked on the concept and illustrations for about three decades. Now, he awaits funding that will allow him to build the sundial. His first choice for the installation? Speakers’ Corner at Hyde Park in London. He’s hopeful. The “Analogy Project,” he said, makes us look at the historical perspective of the arts. “We live in history.”


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A special team just a kick away from title When Lindbergh and Mount Rainier faced off for the 3A boys soccer state title in 1991, there were few secrets. The teams were close geographically, they were both in the Seamount League and they had played each multiple times during the regular season. “It was a full-on grudge match,” said Mark Medlock, a junior for the Eagles’ team that season. “We had a lot of friends on that team and we’d played with those guys on youth and club teams.” The teams battled through regulation play scoreless and in the end it was the Rams who won 1-0 (5-3 on penalty kicks). But those around that special Lindbergh team won’t ever forget the underdogs getting to within a kick of the state title. Ian Reschke, also a junior for

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Lindbergh’s Mark Medlock boots the ball upfield from Mount Rainier’s J.D. Haley in an April 1991 league match. Mount Rainier won, and in a close state title match also beat the Eagles. Valley Daily News/Renton Reporter archives



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lake Terrace 2-1 (4-1 penalty kicks) and Peninsula 3-2 to make the title game against Mount Rainier. Reschke dislocated his shoulder in the Peninsula game and was questionable to play in the championship. He did, and he got the Eagles as close to a win as they would get all night. “I hit the crossbar from pointblank range which would have won it in regulation,” he said. “As it turns out, my first penalty kick was saved in the (penalty kick) shootout. That was a rough moment.” The stars aligned for the Eagles in 1991 as the team had at least 11 seniors and skilled underclassmen. Lindbergh wasn’t a soccer powerhouse and had gone 2-14 two years ealier, in Reschke and Medlock’s freshman season. The Eagles improved in 1990

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that Lindbergh team, remembers getting beat by Mount Rainier 3-0 in the regular season and feeling like they didn’t have Mark Medlock a shot against the Rams. But what Mount Rainier had in talent, Lindbergh had almost as much in hard work. “They had a much more skilled team than we did,” Medlock said. “We would kind of sit in a shell and counterattack when we could.” Lindbergh bounced back in the league title game and beat Mount Rainier 2-1. “That gave us confidence going into the state playoffs,” Reschke said. Once at state, Lindbergh knocked off Sehome 5-0, Mount-



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and had a shot to advance to the playoffs in Medlock and Reschke’s sophomore year. “We were in the playoff hunt with three games left,” Medlock said. “All we had to do was get one tie and we lost all three. We just kind of fell apart, cracked under the pressure.” Medlock said the tailspin helped “It was a full-on motivate the 1991 team, despite grudge match. We playing in a league with a more had a lot of friends seasoned Mount Rainier team. on that team and “Lindbergh had been a horrendous soccer team for a long time,” we’d played with those guys on youth Medlock said. “Meanwhile Mount Rainier had been good for a while.” and club teams.” Mark Medlock For one season the odds were on Mount Rainier evened. And for one night, the Eagles almost took home the state title. Reschke is now the head boys soccer coach at Wilsonville High School in Oregon. Medlock lives in Kirkland and is an account manager. Both were a part of something truly unique as the Eagles had never been to state before 1991 and have only been twice in the 20 seasons since, going 0-2.


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RENTON ONLINE | Looking for Renton news every day? Go to



FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 24/10 Susan Bressler | Good news for the Renton Clothes Bank; Communities in Schools of Renton to hold annual banquet. [4]

Colorful finale | The Renton Farmers Market comes to an end this Tuesday, still filled with fresh REPORTER NEWSLINE 425.255.3484 flowers, produce. [3]


Boeing 737 hiring plans a good sign for economy BY DEAN A. RADFORD

Three Next-Generation 737s sit near the end of the production process at the Boeing plant at Renton Municipal Airport. DEAN A. RADFORD, Renton Reporter

Boeing will increase its workforce at its 737 plant in Renton next year in order to continue ramping up the production of its most popular airplane, said a company spokeswoman. Boeing’s plans, as well as the addition of six businesses at The Landing announced this week, bode

well for the Renton economy. “I think the news from Boeing and the recent tenant announcement at The Landing are great signs that things are looking up for the Renton economy,” said Alex Pietsch, administrator of the city’s Department of Community and Economic Development. However, he said, it’s too early to “make any as[ more BOEING page 5 ]


The ever-changing face of Renton High, ready to celebrate its 100th birthday

Denis Law gets first challenger, Cheryl Danza BY DEAN A. RADFORD


When Royal Domingo attended Renton High, he was only one of a handful of Asians at the school. Today only about 14 percent of Renton High is white, and about 32 percent is Asian. Here, he’s joining other Renton High grads at a twice-yearly get-together. CELESTE GRACEY, Renton Reporter Renton High School now, it’s predominately minority students.” Today, about 32 percent of Renton High students are of Asian descent, while whites make up about 14 Royal Domingo, ‘52 percent. Not only was the school

mostly white in 1952, it was also mostly middle class. “Renton was a blue-collar town,” alumnus Jack Courter said. Boeing retooled its factory for the Korean War, bringing out families from the Midwest for work. [ more CENTENNIAL page 16 ]

A special section INSIDE devoted to updating Renton’s recent history

[ more MAYOR page 3 ]

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When Royal Domingo graduated from Renton High School in 1952, he was the school’s only Filipino, but that didn’t seem to matter much. What did matter was that you made your way onto a sports team, otherwise you were a zero. Twice a year Domingo’s class has been holding reRENTON HIGH union luncheons to share HOMECOMING how things have changed PAGE 16 since they graduated from high school and to keep track of who’s still around. The class not only represents a culture shift over the past 60 years but also a demographic one. “When I went to Renton High School, those of Asian backgrounds you could count on one hand,” he said. “If you look at

Cheryl Danza, whose C.D. Danza Salon and Spa downtown marked its 10th anniversary in August, has announced she intends to run for mayor of Renton. Also this week, first-term Mayor Denis Law indicated that at this point it’s his intention to run for re-election next year. Danza will have to wait until she becomes a citizen CHERYL DANZA of Renton before she formally files her candidacy with the state Public Disclosure Commission. Danza, 41, has lived in Fairwood with her husband Ken Adams and their son Lucas for four years. Fairwood voters will decide in the November general election whether to annex to Renton.


September 24, 2010


Highline ‘stole’ quarterback with job offer to father [ CENTENNIAL from page 1] Today, 60 percent of Renton High students are living below the poverty line. How did Domingo fair as a minority? Just fine, he said. He played football after all. He was also a member of the Torch Society and participated in a number of clubs. While the class had its social circles in high school, it doesn’t matter to them anymore. They’re all as good as friends now. The reunion lunches are low-key. A group of about 45 meets at Jack’s Pub and Grill in the Highlands. Covered in high school memorabilia and generations of prep sports newspaper clippings, the restaurant is a good fit. Jack Schroeder Alumni shared news about whose grandchildren they’ve met and exchanged notes on who has died. Maxine Wagner got the idea to start the lunch reunions four years ago, when her husband flew out to Indiana for something similar. “Everyone wanted to know what happened to so and so,” she explained.

Serious school pride Loretta Starkovich first started going to Renton High football games when she was in the third grade. Sixty years later, she still

Jack Schroeder, center, talks with former classmates, including Jack Courter, at left, at a 1952 class reunion luncheon recently were they told stories and visited with friends. CELESTE GRACEY, Renton Reporter. tries to make every game. “When I went to school, sports was a big deal,” she said. “Everybody went to the football games, the whole town.” The schools were fewer and more spread out, but rooter buses and cars full of students still drove as far as Everett for a game, she said. Both teams always had cheerleaders, and Renton’s five cheerleaders were elected. Courter received the honor his junior year. The team had three men and two women, but his senior year he decided the

job was a little too feminine for him. Just as football games were a big deal, so were school rivalries, and Renton’s big rivalry was Highline, Courter said. Renton’s middle school had a talented quarterback, but before the teen got to Renton High, Highline “stole” him with a job offer to his father. The janitorial position was contingent on the entire family moving to Burien and the quarterback playing football at Highline, Courter said. “As a result, there was bad blood.”

Jack Courter was elected a cheerleader his junior year, but decided the next year it was too feminine for him. That year three of the five cheerleaders were men. With him is cheerleader Virginia Janisch. RENTON HIGH SCHOOL 1951 YEARBOOK

There were also quite a few bloody lips. A popular fighting spot for school rivalries was behind the XXX Root Beer on Rainier Avenue South and South Third Street. Students walked behind the power lines to duke it out with fists, he said. “Rivalries between schools were serious,” Courter said. “Renton was a tough place.”

Celeste Gracey can be reached at 425255-3484, ext. 5052.

“You don’t have to spend a lot of money,” Campau says. “A lot of people come in and just spend five dollars.” Saturday is the busiest day, because of the store’s “bid board,” and E-Bay™ forerunner where you can place coins for sale of bid on someone else’s coin. “The bid board has been running continuously since 1964,” he says. “The buzzer (announcing the end of bidding) goes off at 3 p.m., plus or minus 3 minutes. We’ve had as many as 72 people in here at the buzzer.” Stop in and see for yourself. Check up-to-minute silver and gold prices. Bullion is hot right now! Hold an ancient Roman coin or an early American copper; see a Civil War note. Experience Renton history and world history at Renton Coin Shop.

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Renton Coin Shop has been a part of the Renton community for decades. The late Tom McNeelan created the shop in 1964, on Third Street (now the site of the Liberty Café). He later moved it to its current site in the old Town Hall building at 225 Wells Avenue South. These days, owner Steve Campau carries on McNeelan’s reputation for fair deals — and good company. There’s a host of regulars that come to the shop to chat, get a cup of coffee, and see what’s “new”. Some come looking for treasure, some for novelties and some for pieces of history. Others come in to sell pieces of their own collections. The offerings run the gamut from a rare one-cent coin produced in 1793 to coins that go for less than $1.


Renton Coin Shop: Part of Renton’s History


September 24, 2010



RHS students carry on Homecoming tradition BY CELESTE GRACEY

Renton High School senior class president Vanessa Tran helps straighten the senior class centennial banner from a ladder in the Renton High School student commons Tuesday. It was spirit week for Renton High, as they anticipated Homecoming Friday. CELESTE GRACEY, Renton Reporter

It was a hectic Tuesday at Renton High School as classes plastered the student commons walls with banners, cartoons and cutouts to celebrate spirit week. This year the school will graduate its 100th class, and students and alumni have taken the celebration to heart as they plan the Homecoming events. “We all take a lot of pride in being the centennial class,” said senior class president Vanessa Tran, after flattening out a centennial banner written in colorful graffiti art.


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The Seed of Abraham

230 SW 43rd St., Renton, WA 98057

For over 100 years, St. Anthony Parish has been a part of Renton life. Although the building and grounds have changed, the caring and generous spirit of the people has stayed the same. Where there is a need, the people of St. Anthony Parish are there:

(East Valley Business Park)

ARISE Shelter for Homeless Men Crop Walk St. Vincent DePaul Outreach Sack Lunches for the hungry and working poor Thanksgiving Food Baskets Christmas Gift Baskets Youth Mission Trips Friday Night Prayer Group Thursday Adoration

St. Anthony’s spirit of service is anchored in a strong prayer life. Please join us on any Sunday for worship!

Pentecostal Church

Mass times:

The Beauty of Holiness! Celebrating 43 years of ministry!


Welcoming the Renton Community for Over 50 Years 10 am Church classes, 11 am Worship Service

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Saturday Evening Vigil: 5:30 pm

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Pastor Lois M. Sharpe



We Proclaim Jesus Christ and Promote Communities of Joy, Hope, Love and Peace.

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The competition is Renton’s long-time rival, Highline. The events are public; a $5 donation is suggested for non-students who attend the barbecue.

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Friday at 5:30 p.m. the students will parade from Renton High School to the Renton Memorial Stadium, where they can attend a tailgate barbecue and football game at 7 p.m.

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Cedar Ridge Church

A non-denominational church serving the community and all 11411 SE 164th St, Renton 98055 Christians in Renton, Office: (253) 859-5251 Building: (425) 226-5864 Kent, Auburn, Mailing Address: P.O. Box 5355 • Kent, WA 98064 Washington and the World.




September 24, 2010 [18]