2016 Year in Review: Part 2 (July-December)

Jan 04, 2017



Citizen of Year serves around the clock

As the daughter of two former Citizens of the Year, volunteerism is in Deb Bordsen’s blood.

Bordsen has been named Mukilteo’s 2016 Citizen of the Year. The Kiwanis-sponsored award is given to a Mukilteo citizen to recognize the outstanding contributions he or she has made to the city. Couples also may be recognized.

“I was very, very surprised and shocked,” Bordsen said. “It touched my heart and made me feel very humble to be included in a group of some wonderful people who have received this honor.”


Cat leaves purr-fect legacy in Old Town

No one knows if Ziggy got his full complement of nine lives, but those who live and work in Old Town would agree the popular puss made the most of his last one.

In fact, it wasn’t until her cat died that Dru Wolfe realized just how popular Ziggy was around town.

The tabby, known for visiting many of Mukilteo’s downtown businesses, died after he was hit by a car. He was 14.

“He was loving, but on his terms,” Wolfe said. “You didn’t try to pick him up and carry him if he didn’t want it.”

When he wasn’t at Dru’s Place, the nail salon Wolfe owns and operates on 3rd Street, Ziggy was off to visit the local businesses for ear scratches, pets and treats.


Vehicle found underwater may be missing man’s

A car that detectives believe belongs to a missing man was found last week underwater near the Mukilteo ferry dock.

Jose Sanchez Diaz, of Lynnwood, disappeared nearly a year ago. Cellphone data shows that he was last at the Mukilteo waterfront.

The red 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse matches the description of Diaz’s vehicle. Confirmation is awaiting recovery of the vehicle.

Commercial divers found the car under about 50 feet of water and about 100 feet from the ferry’s loading dock on July 12, said Shari Ireton, spokeswoman for the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office.


Scooter club takes the slow ride home

Eight men recently rode their scooters 3,700 miles slowly across America from Fernandina Beach, Fla., to Mukilteo to help children in distress.

A Seattle scooter club set out to ride the Scooter Cannonball Run, from July 5-15 from Florida to Washington, but called their coast-to-coast charity trek the Highway to Heal.

“It was just something I had to do,” said Jason Barnes, president of the club. “It sounded crazy, and I’ve always wanted to take a cross country trip. Even if I was alone, I was going to do it.”


Council looks into forming taxing district

Mukilteo may form a taxing district to help pay for street maintenance as soon as next year.

An advisory committee has recommended that the city more than double what it spends to maintain streets to at least $900,000.

While real estate excise tax revenue would cover half the cost, the committee found that other taxes and fees earmarked for transportation also would be needed.

As recommended, the Mukilteo City Council is looking into forming a transportation benefit district to collect upwards of $450,000 a year in vehicle license fees. The council met on July 11 and again on July 25 to talk transportation.




Pokémon mania takes over Mukilteo

If you play Pokémon Go, here’s a tip: Mukilteo Lighthouse Park is a pocket monster jackpot.

The park is a perfect spawning ground for Pokémon because it is at the beach next to the water, is home of the historic lighthouse and has lots of large grassy fields. The little monsters love all of those things.

Since the popular geocaching game was released, however, it has spawned more than just Pokémon: Mukilteo police have received many 911 calls about players of the game.

Most of the calls are from residents who see players – who are anywhere from 10 to 50 years old – gathered in parking lots, sitting in their vehicles and wandering through backyards.


Mukilteo mourns loss of 3 Kamiak grads

Mukilteo is mourning after three Kamiak High School grads were shot to death at a house party early Saturday.

Anna Bui, Jake Long and Jordan Ebner, all 19, died when a gunman open fired at a gathering of 15-20 friends from Kamiak, most of them recent graduates, at a Mukilteo home just after mid-night.

Since their deaths, the Mukilteo community has banded together to honor them in many ways.

A memorial is set up in a Kamiak parking lot with photos of the three who were killed and surrounded by candles, flowers, balloons and notes to the teenagers. The shrine continues to grow.


Community Transit scraps Mukilteo park & ride

All plans for a $3.8 million park-and-ride at Bernie Webber Drive have been scrapped.

The Mukilteo City Council on Aug. 8 voted 4-2 to let the project die because Community Transit refused to grant the city concessions to improve safety for commuters.

The deal breaker for Community Transit was the council’s request that the transit system apply for grants to add a turnaround to the lot in the future.

With the council’s vote, Mukilteo has withdrawn its offer to pay $50,000 to help pay for the park-and-ride.

Since the city isn’t helping pay for it, Community Transit is giving back a $3 million grant awarded for the project.


Time ran out for NOAA property swap

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration station on the Tank Farm is on borrowed time.

Fisheries scientists stationed in Mukilteo are at the forefront of ecosystem recovery and marine pollution research in the Puget Sound – yet they work in a former military barracks that was built during World War II.

“It’s just reached the end of its life,” said Stewart Toshach, NOAA liaison for the city. “It was never designed as a laboratory, to begin with. We’ve been making due with that space because of the proximity to the water.”

After 44 years, the administration plans to replace the aging research station on First Street.


Man gets 15 years for role in teen’s murder

A man who kicked a dying Mariner High School sophomore has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Anthony Boro, 16, was shot to death last year at an apartment complex near Lynnwood.

Jesse Ray Landrum pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder and faced up to 18 years in prison.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis on Aug. 1 sentenced Landrum to 15 years behind bars, following the prosecutor’s recommendation.




Mukilteo 6th grader wins Mayor for a Day

Mohuwa Wahid is Mukilteo’s first wannabe mayor to follow in her sister’s footsteps.

Mohuwa, a sixth grader at Endeavour Elementary, is the winner of Beacon Publishing’s seventh annual Mayor for a Day essay contest. Her sister, Lara, now 14, won the contest two years ago.

She will ride with Mayor Jennifer Gregerson in Saturday’s annual Lighthouse Festival Parade, be honored on the main stage at Lighthouse Park Saturday afternoon, and enjoy a catered dinner at a VIP tent while watching the fireworks with her family.

“It feels great,” Mohuwa said of the honor. “It just gives you more self-confidence to know that you’re a good writer.”


Teachers approve 3-year contract

Two days after teachers approved a tentative three-year contract with the Mukilteo School District, special education staff dressed in red to protest the agreement.

Staff read a statement at a district-wide meeting of special education teachers on Sept. 2 saying that more needs to be done to reduce class sizes and workloads.

“The district is disrespecting students and families by putting these children in overcrowded, un-safe and disruptive learning environments,” the statement reads. “[Our] staff members are de-moralized.”

The tentative agreement passed with a 74 percent vote in a union meeting on Aug. 31.


Facebook group makes game of sharing art

A new Facebook group is spreading kindness through Mukilteo with free art.

Mukilteo Random Acts of Art makes a game out of sharing art. The group invites Mukilteo artists and artisans of all skill levels to make art and leave it behind for others in the city to find.

The scavenger hunt game is designed to not only promote happiness and creativity, but also to get Mukilteans to go out and explore their hometown – no Pokémon Go app required.

“My friends were asking me, ‘What’s in it for you?’ or ‘Are you getting any money out of this?,’” said Ami Brackett, who founded the Mukilteo group. “What ever happened to good ole community fun?


5 taxing options identified for streets

The Mukilteo City Council is looking into five funding options to help pay for street maintenance.

The Wise Investments Transportation Taskforce has recommended that the city more than double to at least $900,000 what it spends to maintain streets.

All five options would form a transportation benefit district to collect upwards of $450,000 a year, mainly through vehicle license fees and sales taxes.

Many councilmembers agreed the city needs to find a mix of resources that spreads the costs to residents, businesses and visitors, so as not to rely wholly on Mukilteo taxpayers.


Mukilteo boy brings awareness to veterans’ issues

There’s no moss growing on Tyee Eliason. A typical 10-year-old, he is in constant motion. He’s usually running, carrying an American flag on a staff.

Tyee stopped running last week, just long enough to rip off 22 pushups with a group of Mukilteo firefighters. It was part of an ongoing, national effort to bring attention to the tragedy of suicides among the nation’s veterans, now averaging 22 every day.




Hiker, in solitude, discovers the best in people

While hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, Rich Steward wasn’t Rich Steward. His name was “Proton.”

Steward, 59, of Mukilteo, hiked all 2,650 miles of the trail in four months and 11 days.

The long-distance trail runs from Mexico to Canada along the crest of the mountains in Califor-nia, Oregon and Washington.

Steward is one of more than 4,200 backpackers – who each receive trail names along the way – to thru-hike the PCT from end-to-end in a single trip.

“Another hiker early on thought I was really positive,” he said. “He told me, ‘You should be called “Proton” because you’re always positive.’”


Man convicted of teen’s murder

A man has been found guilty of killing a Mariner High School sophomore.

Anthony Boro, 16, was shot to death last year at an apartment complex near Lynnwood.

A jury convicted Charles Courtney of first-degree murder on Sept. 26 after a 16-day trial. He faces up to a lifetime behind bars.

Jurors also found him guilty of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell in the second degree.


Creepy clown craze is here

While some believe the real bozos are running for high office, some creepy clowns have been spotted in Mukilteo within the last week.

The first clown sighting was reported in South Carolina in August, but the eerie phenomenon has spread across the world in recent weeks.

Most of the sightings have been deemed harmless pranks – creepy characters have been spotted standing next to the road or walking in a park in the dark – but some of the more sinister ones have involved men approaching schoolchildren while dressed as clowns.

Mukilteo police have received three 911 calls about creepy clown sightings so far, some of them involving local schools or students. After investigation, all of the cases have been determined to pose no actual threat.


Man gets 3 years for abusing son

A Mukilteo man has been sentenced to three years in prison for abusing his newborn son.

Andre Ash, 35, was convicted of second-degree child abuse for assaulting his 5-week-old son. Ash shook his son and broke many of the baby’s bones.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Anita Farris on Oct. 13 sentenced him to three years behind bars and ordered that he have no contact with his son for the next 10 years.

Ash opted to have a judge instead of a jury decide his fate after a motion was denied to get his confession thrown out.


Mayor fires Public Works director

After three years as Mukilteo’s Public Works director, Rob McGaughey has been let go.

McGaughey replaced Larry Waters, who retired in 2013 after serving as head of the Public Works Department for seven years. McGaughey was fired Oct. 12.

“Rob is leaving his position with the city, and we wish him well,” Mayor Jennifer Gregerson said. “He is not the right fit for Mukilteo right now.”

While Gregerson didn’t hire him – that was former Mayor Joe Marine – she appreciates McGaughey for the more than three years he worked for the city on capital, engineering and stormwater projects.

McGaughey’s termination isn’t expected to make as many headlines as when he was hired.

Many councilmembers had second thoughts about hiring McGaughey after they learned he had been named in federal sexual discrimination lawsuits, including Gregerson, who, in 2013, was running for mayor.




Kamiak student aces AP computer science exam

A Kamiak High School junior has earned a perfect score on the AP computer science exam.

Joey Schafer, son of Scott and Katie Schafer, is one of only 10 students in the world to earn every point possible on the recent advanced placement test.

While 20.8 percent of the more than 57,900 students who took the test this year received a top score of 5, only two-hundredths of 1 percent aced the exam.

“I was very surprised when I got that score,” Schafer said. “I didn’t even know that you could earn 100 percent on the test, so that was very exciting.”


12 city staffers to get pay raises

A dozen non-union city employees will receive a total of $30,000 in raises next year.

The higher salaries were included in the 2017 budget the Mukilteo City Council approved on Nov. 7 with a 5-1 vote.

While the mayor’s preliminary budget included a 1 percent increase in property taxes, the budget the council passed does not.

“Our staff does a fantastic job of running the city, and they deserve a pay raise, but we need to do it by not raising taxes,” Councilmember Scott Wheeler said. “Enough is enough. We need to be good stewards to our taxpayers.”


Mariner area to get a library

Sno-Isle Libraries will soon open a new library near Mariner High School.

A “demonstration library” is scheduled to open next year in a 3,600-square-foot retail space at 520 128th St. SW near the Albertsons store.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory. “If not for the recession, this library would have opened years ago. Now, we’re moving as quickly as possible to give this community the library service it deserves.”

Woolf-Ivory said the library is scheduled to open no later than March of next year.


Local engineers sell 1st shelter to survive tsunami

When most are selling their homes out of fear, Jeanne Johnson just bought a house in Long Beach’s tsunami hazard zone.

The Pacific County beach faces two types of such hazards: tsunamis from distant earthquakes on the Pacific Rim – like the 2011 magnitude 9.0 quake near Japan – and tsunamis caused by an earthquake along Washington’s coast.

But Johnson isn’t scared.

That’s because Johnson is first in the world to buy a pod designed by a Mukilteo team of aero-space engineers to help people survive a tsunami.

Survival Capsule LLC in Mukilteo has developed a sphere-shaped shelter to save people from the devastation of tsunamis or other natural disasters by allowing them to ride a tsunami rather than #run# from it.


Study: 500 more parking spots needed

A study has found that Mukilteo needs 500 more parking spaces on the waterfront.

There isn’t enough parking to meet demands at Lighthouse Park, as well as at the nearby train station, ferry terminal and businesses all year round.

Although the demand is for 500 more spaces, that number doesn’t necessarily mean a parking garage with that many stalls is in the city’s future.

“Some of those stalls would be used at different times, so there’s a way to share some of those spaces,” said Patricia Love, the city’s community development director.




Mariner student faces discipline following vague threat

A Mariner High School student could face severe penalties after posting a threat on the social media site Instagram at around 1 a.m. Monday.

Mariner principal Nate DuChesne said the student came forward at the end of sixth period Mon-day and admitted to creating the Instagram account and posting the threat.

DuChesne said officials believed the student’s intent was not to do harm to the high school, but rather to get back at another student.

Posted by “Anonymous” along with a photo of the high school, the vague threat stated: “You don’t know me. I’ve been place (sic) among you all for a purpose. One purpose only, to seek justice to this school. We’ve all been looked at as people who we’re not, but to comply with order. You don’t know me, however, I will be there when you least expect me.”


South Everett-Mukilteo Rotary Club spreads holiday cheer

Last Saturday morning at Fred Meyer on Evergreen Way and Casino Road, more than 60 members of the South Everett-Mukilteo Rotary Club helped many deserving children and their families have a much merrier Christmas this year.

For over 25 years, the South Everett-Mukilteo Rotary Club has been taking on kids from low-income families and helping them shop for Christmas presents for their families, friends, teachers, and also finding a few things for themselves.

This year, with help from the South Everett Fred Meyer and students from Kamiak and Cascade high schools, the club raised over $4,000 to make this happen.


Ivanov pleads guilty, faces life in prison

Bringing an end to what could have been a painful trial about arguably the biggest tragedy in Mukilteo history, Allen Ivanov on Monday pleaded guilty to murdering three former classmates on July 30.

Ivanov, 20, pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder, according to the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office.

After buying an AR-15-style rifle and reading the instructions on how to use it while sitting in his car outside a party in Harbour Pointe, Ivanov began shooting his former Kamiak High School classmates, including his former girlfriend, Anna Bui.


Staff turnover contributes to critical Auditor’s report

The good news is the state Auditor’s Office gave the city of Mukilteo a clean audit on the city’s 2015 financial statements. The bad news is the city filed those statements late. Again.

In fact, it was the fourth year in a row that the City has missed the filing deadline as prescribed by state law. According to the Auditor’s Office, final 2015 financial statements weren’t ready for audit until nearly two months after the statutory deadline.

Part of the problem, City officials agree, is staff turnover. In 2015, the City experienced turnover in key accounting positions, including the finance director, accounting manager and staff accountant.

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