2013 Year in Review (Part 1)

Dec 24, 2013
Photo by: Sara Bruestle Megan Caldwell, 8, takes a photo of her sister, Christine Caldwell, 6, on the beach at Mukilteo Lighthouse Park on Jan. 3. The girls spent the day at the park with their parents, enjoying the sunshine in their “favorite spot.”


Kamiak builds well in honor of Sandy Hook victims

The Kamiak High School community, like the rest of the country, was heartbroken for Newtown and its loss. Students and staff are helping in a way that they can, by meeting horror with hope.

Kamiak is helping to build a well in Liberia, West Africa, in honor of the victims of the Newtown massacre. The school raised most of the $2,500 needed to build a well in the week after what was one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.

The names of the 26 victims – 20 first-graders and six educators – who were shot in a rampage on Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., will be engraved on the well in their honor.

Mudslide cause for emergency repairs

The city declared an emergency Monday following a break in a storm line in December just off of 63rd Place W.

A mudslide occurred on Dec. 17 near the intersection of 92nd Street S.W. and 63rd Place W. that pulled a storm line from a catch basin, causing water to spill out and add to the slide.

The same hillside had failed in 2011 due to a major mudslide, disrupting a sewer main line and power lines. Crews had restored the hill and moved power lines – but it didn’t stick.

Survival capsule almost ready for Japan

After two years designing a capsule to help people survive a tsunami, a team of aerospace engineers has a prototype ready to ship to Japan.

Engineers from IDEA International Inc. in Mukilteo have developed a Survival Capsule that could potentially save the lives of millions globally from the devastation of a tsunami or other natural disaster by riding it rather than running from it.

After the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, engineers Julian Sharpe and Scott Hill decided to try designing a device that would protect people from tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and superstorms. Local companies have built their prototype to be tested and manufactured.

Sullivan pleads guilty in DUI case

Snohomish County Councilmember Brian Sullivan pleaded guilty Jan. 15 in his drunken-driving arrest last summer in Mukilteo and accepted a list of penalties.

Sullivan was ordered to pay a $940 fine and to serve a mandatory day in jail in Skagit County, according to court papers.

Sullivan's DUI plea and sentencing were held in Skagit County District Court. The Mukilteo case was moved to Mount Vernon to avoid any conflicts of interest, as Sullivan has been an elected official in Snohomish County for nearly three decades.

Sullivan had pleaded not guilty on July 27 in Everett District Court. Judge Tam Bui accepted the plea, but later recused herself.

Most residents prefer shortest bridge option

Of the possible locations identified for a footbridge from Old Town to the waterfront, public comments show that most prefer if it were next to the existing SR-525 bridge.

The city is studying building a footbridge to improve pedestrian safety and access to the waterfront. It is looking at three crossing alternatives: SR-525, Park Avenue and Loveland Avenue.

Nearly all of the comments as of Monday show a preference for the SR-525 option because it allows for the shortest bridge, is the least expensive, has the best connection to the core of the waterfront, and doesn’t impact views as much as the other locations.


Mukilteo, Edmonds unite in FAA fight

Mukilteo and Edmonds filed an appeal Jan. 31 to the Federal Aviation Administration's decision to allow commercial flights out of Paine Field. The appeal continues a fight that has lasted more than two decades.

The two cities were joined in the appeal by the group Save Our Communities and two Mukilteo residents. It was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.

While noise and pollution concern Mayor Joe Marine, his main opposition to commercial flights out of the Snohomish County Airport is the impact it may have on Boeing operations.

Art exhibit pays tribute to Tuskegee Airmen

After seeing one of local artist Chris Hopkins’ paintings of the Tuskegee Airmen, some African Americans have asked who was the “brother” who painted it. Except Hopkins is white.

“They say I paint the ‘brother’ very well,” Hopkins said, amused by the thought. “That’s their term, not mine.”

Hopkins, known and revered in Mukilteo for his art, will be showing his works celebrating the Tuskegee Airmen in an exhibit that opens Feb. 29 at The Museum of Flight in Seattle.

“Red Tails, Silver Wings” has more than 40 painting and drawings of the history of America’s first African American military pilots, called the Tuskegee Airmen, who overcame segregation and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected fighter squadrons of World War II.

Councilmember’s home burglarized

16 reported burglaries in February

Mukilteo City Councilmember Richard Emery’s home was burglarized on Valentine’s Day.

Emery’s home, on the 1400 block of Goat Trail Loop Road, was one of three burglaries reported on Feb. 14 in Mukilteo. Valentine’s Day doesn’t stand alone in February: A total of 16 burglaries have been reported in the city this month so far.

“It’s very disconcerting,” Emery said. “The worst part is that the house doesn’t feel safe. The space has been violated. It’s annoying.”

Two suspects were arrested for burglary within a week, said Cheol Kang, spokesperson for the Mukilteo Police Department.

Paper bag use up since plastic ban

Retailers: But shoppers aren’t changing habits – yet

Now that Mukilteo’s ban on plastic bags has gone into effect, the use of paper bags at QFC has doubled.

The law was implemented Jan. 1, prohibiting retailers within the city from providing disposable plastic bags to customers.

Mukilteo City Council passed the citywide ban in 2011 to help reduce pollution related to plastic bag production and disposal. The law also encourages some habit changes: the use of reusable bags and the reduced use of paper bags.

Nearly two months since implementation, customers are using fewer plastic bags. In a way, it’s a win for the city, because that was the goal – but it’s mostly because the bags aren’t available anymore.


Council selects footbridge location

A footbridge to improve pedestrian safety and access to the waterfront should be next to the existing SR-525 bridge, the city recommends.

Mukilteo City Council selected the SR-525 alternative on Monday as the preferred alternative by a 6-1 vote for a pedestrian overpass from Old Town to the waterfront.

The city studied three possible locations: SR-525, Park Avenue and Loveland Avenue. Of the three crossing alternatives identified, comments showed most residents preferred the SR-525 option.

“As a free standing bridge, it is the lowest and shortest bridge span so thus we think it is going to be our least costly option,” said Heather McCartney, the city’s community development director.

“It has minimal view impact, and improves direct access from business to waterfront. We see that as very positive for our community.”

City may join county housing committee

Mukilteo is leading efforts to form an interjurisdictional committee to help meet affordable housing needs within Snohomish County.

Eleven cities, Snohomish County and the Housing Authority of Snohomish County are considering forming the Interjurisdictional Housing Committee of Snohomish County, which would lead a cooperative effort to develop more low-income housing near jobs, transit and services throughout the county.

The cities of Everett, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Marysville, Lake Stevens, Mountlake Terrace, Woodway, Snohomish, Mill Creek and Granite Falls are also looking into forming the committee with the county and Housing Authority.

Jennifer Gregerson to run for mayor

Mukilteo City Councilmember Jennifer Gregerson announced Sunday that she is running for mayor.

Gregerson seeks to unseat Joe Marine, who has served as mayor for the last seven years. The election for the next four-year term will be held in November.

“I’m committed to Mukilteo and I’m ready to lead,” Gregerson said. “I’m not a career politician – I’m running because I care about Mukilteo and its future.

“Together, we can make Mukilteo great.”

Gregerson, 34, has served as a councilmember since 2004, including two years as council president. She is a lifetime resident of Mukilteo.

Snow time like spring time

Mukilteo residents woke up to a winter wonderland Friday, notwithstanding the calendar, which showed it was the third day of Spring.

Between 2-3 inches of snow fell on the area, forcing a two-hour delay for the start of school and minor headaches for motorists heading for work.

Numerous spinouts were reported throughout south Snohomish County, according to a Washington State Patrol spokesman; however, there were no reports of serious injuries.

As quickly as the snow arrived, it nearly as quickly melted away. By mid-morning, most roadways were wet but clear.


Police recover stolen property

2 suspects arrested in connection to burglaries

Mukilteo police recovered a large stash of stolen goods from an Everett apartment on Friday associated with recent burglaries in the city.

Snohomish County deputies discovered a stolen Cadillac Deville connected to a recent home burglary in Mukilteo that led them to the apartment of two men suspected in a string of burglaries throughout King and Snohomish counties.

Mukilteo detectives, with help from Snohomish County deputies and detectives from the Snohomish County Auto Theft Task Force, served a search warrant on the apartment near the 9900 block of 12th Ave. W. in Everett.

The search recovered numerous stolen goods – anything of value – including televisions, firearms, ammunition, jewelry, power tools, video game systems, cellphones, cameras and other electronics.

Steve Schmalz to run for mayor

Mukilteo City Councilmember Steve Schmalz announced Friday that he is running for mayor.

He and Councilmember Jennifer Gregerson each seek to unseat Joe Marine, who has served as mayor for the last seven years and will be up for re-election. Gregerson announced her candidacy last month.

“When I was not a councilmember, I would go to meetings and see things just weren’t quite right with the city,” Schmalz said. “When I got elected to council, it just solidified my thoughts and my beliefs that we need changes at City Hall.”

Schmalz, 48, was elected to council in 2011 and is serving his first term.  He has been a resident of Mukilteo for almost 10 years.

Waterfront transfer expected in the fall

After more than 20 years of waiting, the U.S. Air Force is expected to transfer the Mukilteo Tank Farm by the end of the summer to the Port of Everett and NOAA for redevelopment.

Port officials estimate that the decades-long process of transferring the Air Force’s 20-acre property will be completed by September.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is awaiting transfer of 1.1 acres of the property so that it can design and construct a new facility there. The land is leased to NOAA for the Mukilteo Field Station.

The city, Port of Everett and state also anticipate the transfer of the other 18.8 acres so that the construction of a ferry terminal, a transit station, a waterfront promenade and other redevelopment projects can start.

Snowshoers share avalanche story

Chris Sohn was snowshoeing on Red Mountain on April 13 when an avalanche hit.

All of a sudden, he was surrounded by snow.

Sohn, 44, of Mukilteo, was up at about 4,800 feet when he was caught in the avalanche near the Snoqualmie Pass ski resort with a group of a dozen snowshoers. The avalanche struck at 12:30 p.m.

“I heard one of my friends yell, ‘Avalanche!’ and then I was upside down, sliding from the top of the mountain,” Sohn said. “It was so fast, I didn’t see the snow coming at us.”

He slid 15-20 feet in the snow, hit a tree and then slid some more until he was stopped by a second tree and found himself stuck in loose snow around the trunk on a steep slope.

Snow buried his face and half of his body, and Sohn realized he was still upside down.


Sewage spill floods homes

At least four Mukilteo homes were flooded with raw sewage on April 24 after crews unclogged a nearby sewer main line.

Mukilteo Water and Wastewater District crews unplugged the pipe around 8:30 a.m. near 8th and 9th streets in the Sky-Hi-La neighborhood, which then caused backed-up sewage to spew and flood nearby homes.

Eight minutes later, the water district was notified that a home on the 1000 block of 8th Street was flooding – and fast. An estimated 1,000 gallons of sewage had spread to the yards and basements of at least three more homes by about noon.

“This is the worst sewage backup that we’ve ever had,” said Dan Hammer, general manager of the Mukilteo Water and Wastewater District. “It’s very regrettable."

Council debates how to pay for gulch

The City Council has yet to decide whether it will put another measure on the ballot asking voters to OK taxes to acquire land in Japanese Gulch.

The delay at least means there won’t be a proposition on the August ballot – the deadline for that is May 10.

The council is looking into putting a measure on the November ballot, asking either for an advisory vote or an OK to fund land acquisition by issuing bonds for up to $2.5 million.

Councilmembers could also decide to instead circumvent voters by taking out councilmanic bonds, which are paid for by taxpayers.

The council agreed Monday to hold off on a decision until the city knows exactly how much the land would cost – and how much would need to be covered by bonds.

Gov. Inslee unveils strategy to build 777X

Looking to protect and grow the state’s aerospace industry for decades to come, Gov. Jay Inslee aims to persuade the Boeing Co. to design and manufacture the 777X in Washington.

The governor announced an aerospace industry strategy on May 9 in Mukilteo at the Future of Flight Aviation Center.

Inslee’s plan to secure the 777X, Boeing’s anticipated new airplane, would mean growth for 1,250 aerospace-related companies across the state that are Boeing suppliers, he said.

“We are committed for the next several decades to remain the No. 1 aerospace center in the world,” Inslee said. “By pedigree, by history and by our vision we can do that. I’m confident of it.”

Sign of (another) time uncovered at Diamond Knot

As staff asked for Neptune’s blessing at the grand re-opening of the Diamond Knot restaurant back in April, they didn’t realize that the Roman god of the sea was already there.

A sign was uncovered on May 15 during last-touch renovations of the exterior of the building at 621 Front St. that depicts Neptune wielding his trident and wearing a crown.

Crews were removing decades-old siding from the building around 9 a.m. in order to lay new bricks when they found a sign for a take-out restaurant called Neptune’s Galley.

The sign, which can be seen from the Mukilteo Speedway on the east, promotes Neptune’s as the “Home of the Galley Burger” and touts the restaurant’s “Very Fast Service.”

Crash victim was dedicated wife, mother

Friends and family of Rachael Kamin remember her as nurturing, strong, dedicated, kind and caring.

On May 12, while driving home from work through Everett, Kamin was struck by a man who was trying to outrun police in a stolen pickup truck. Kamin, of Mukilteo, suffered severe head injuries and could not be saved.

A devoted wife and mother of two teenage boys, Kamin, 40, would go to their sporting events and help them with their homework. Her husband, Todd Kamin, said sons, Kobe, 14, and Dillon, 13, were her life.

A registered nurse, Kamin was on her way home from work at the south campus of Providence Regional Medical Center Everett when her car was struck by a stolen 350 Ford pickup truck involved in a high-speed chase from Bothell into downtown Everett.

She died on May 14 at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.


Library Friends mark 50 years of support

The Friends of the Mukilteo Library celebrated their 50th anniversary on June 8 – at the library they have supported since July 9, 1963.

Founded with just eight members, the Friends were instrumental to the opening of the first library on 2nd Street in Old Town and also the return of a library to Mukilteo in 1998.

Over 50 years, the Friends have supported all three of Mukilteo’s libraries by funding programs, donating books and other needed items, and taking part in community events.

“Fifty years is a long time,” said Managing Librarian Jane Crawford. “I think it’s a testament to their hard work that they’ve lasted this long. It’s amazing. They provide for the extras that make the library really shine, that make the library homier.”

Ferry move is 2 steps closer

The Mukilteo ferry landing is two steps closer to relocating to the Mukilteo Tank Farm.

After decades of delays, Washington State Ferries has finished an environmental study of the 20-acre property along the northern Mukilteo-Everett waterfront.

Also, the U.S. Air Force is finalizing the transfer of the Tank Farm to the Port of Everett, according to port officials.

These steps mean the state could start construction of a $140 million ferry terminal one-third of a mile east of its current location as soon as next year.

“This is pretty exciting for me, since this project needs to be done,” said Nicole McIntosh, WSF design engineering manager for the project. “The terminal is old and needs to be replaced.”

Packs for Kids program expands to 3rd school

At Horizon Elementary, teachers notice each Monday when certain students are sluggish, inattentive or otherwise not performing at their usual level.

Those students have just spent a weekend going hungry.

For various reasons – poverty, absent parents, dysfunctional families or other causes – there’s no food in those students’ homes.

On school days, the students are fed breakfasts and lunches through the free and reduced fee meal programs. On weekends, they simply don’t eat.

In an effort to help, Horizon launched the Packs for Kids program this month.

In the program, backpacks are filled with nonperishable food items – such as canned tuna or chicken, macaroni & cheese, a box of cereal or fruit cups – that are simple to prepare or need no preparation.

Sex discrimination suits in director’s past

The City Council remains divided over the hiring of the city’s new Public Works director after learning he had been named in federal sexual discrimination lawsuits.

Two former employees filed suits against Rob McGaughey, 50, when he was public works director and county engineer at Okanogan County. Others were also named in the lawsuits.

Among the claims, McGaughey was accused of using a bullwhip to intimidate women employees, firing a woman after she stopped a project for safety reasons, and knowingly allowing a female worker to drink coffee from a cup into which another man had urinated.

The suits were settled out of court for $224,000 each in 2006, after which McGaughey left Okanogan County.

Next week: Part 2, of the Year in Review.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.