Witnesses at police inquest describe chaotic scenes from school shootout

May 29, 2012

Just after 11 a.m. Sept. 24, as Ronald W. Ficker meandered from a downtown Issaquah intersection to Clark Elementary School, Leslie Olerich stared down the barrel of Ficker’s rifle.

“He looked right at us, looked down the barrel and he smiled,” Olerich said May 21 at a court hearing about the incident.

Issaquah police fatally shot Ficker, 51, after the rural Maple Valley man abandoned a rental car at a downtown intersection and, carrying rifles and ammunition, set off in the direction of school campuses and, along the way, brandished firearms to passers-by.

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How the inquest unfolded to examine Issaquah police officers’ actions

May 29, 2012

The decision from a King County-appointed inquest jury May 23 ended the long investigation set in motion after Ronald W. Ficker abandoned a Kia sedan on a busy downtown Issaquah street.

The inquest process is a fact-finding hearing conducted to determine the circumstances in any officer-involved shooting in the county.

Inquest jurors answer a series of questions, called interrogatories, to determine the facts in the case. Jurors answered 22 interrogatories related to the officers’ actions and Ficker’s death.

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Jurors answered 22 interrogatories in Issaquah police inquest

May 29, 2012

Jurors answered a series of 22 questions, or interrogatories, in the inquest into the September death of Ronald W. Ficker.

Jurors could answer yes, no or unknown. The six-member jury ruled unanimously on all 22 questions.

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State Sen. Cheryl Pflug departs suddenly to accept board post

May 29, 2012

Snoqualmie businessman Brad Toft, Councilman Mark Mullet seek seat

Gov. Chris Gregoire appointed Republican state Sen. Cheryl Pflug, a representative for Issaquah and surrounding communities, to a state growth board May 18, the same day Pflug withdrew from the race for another legislative term.
The surprise announcement stunned the political establishment in Olympia and reverberated in the Senate race Pflug departed.

Cheryl Pflug

The last-minute withdrawal left Issaquah Councilman Mark Mullet, a Democrat, and Snoqualmie businessman Brad Toft, a Republican, in the running to represent Issaquah and the reshaped 5th Legislative District in Olympia.

Gregoire appointed Pflug to a six-year term on the Washington Growth Management Hearings Board, the panel responsible for mediating disputes about planning and development issues in municipalities throughout the state. Members earn $92,500 per year.

Members cannot serve simultaneously on the board and in the Legislature. Pflug intends to resign from the Senate on July 1, the same day the state board appointment starts and about six months before the Senate term expires.

Under state law, the King County Council is responsible for appointing a successor to the Senate seat after Pflug resigns. The law calls for GOP officials to submit three candidates to the council for the open seat. Then, the council must make a selection within 60 days of Pflug’s resignation.

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CleanScapes prepares to start Issaquah garbage service

May 29, 2012

Customers can expect to see green-and-orange CleanScapes garbage trucks along Issaquah streets after July 1 and, in the meantime, postcards from the company in mailboxes.

The next hauler for Issaquah garbage launched a community outreach campaign in recent days, as the city prepares to change from Waste Management to CleanScapes. The effort is meant to inform residents about options for curbside recycling and cart sizes and, for about 1,000 customers, a collection day change.

The changeover affects most Issaquah customers. Allied Waste — a local name for national company Republic Services — hauls garbage in South Cove and Greenwood Point neighborhoods along Lake Sammamish.

In October, City Council members selected Seattle-based CleanScapes to haul Issaquah garbage from July 2012 until June 2019.

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Issaquah liquor store closes before changeover

May 29, 2012

The state-run liquor store in Issaquah closed May 29, as the Washington State Liquor Control Board prepares to shift stores from public to private ownership.

Under a state law approved by voters last year, liquor sales by private entrepreneurs can start June 1.

The board auctioned the rights to entrepreneurs to sell liquor at the state-run store in Town & Country Square along Northwest Gilman Boulevard last month. State records show the right to the Issaquah store sold to Seattle merchant Leon Capelouto for $251,000.

“There is a lot of work involved in transferring these stores to private ownership,” Chris Liu, director of retail services for the liquor authority, said in a statement.

The availability of liquor in Issaquah is poised to expand beyond a single storefront.

Bartell Drugs, Fred Meyer, Front Street Market, Rite Aid, Safeway, Target, QFC, Walgreens and Costco received licenses to sell liquor.

QFC received licenses for the Northwest Gilman Boulevard and Klahanie stores.

Sammamish Plateau home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is a piece of history

May 29, 2012

 The Brandes House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, in Sammamish, is built to blend with its natural surroundings in a symbiotic relationship, as are most of the famous architect’s buildings. By Greg Farrar

NOTE: This story has been corrected since its original version. The house’s exteriors may not be altered.

Sometimes, one manages to hide history in plain sight.

Across the street from a row of plain, pale Sammamish condos sits a small, one-story house at the end of a narrow dirt path.

The house is not new, but not old, part California redwood, part Washington cinderblocks, and entirely blessed with the imprint of American genius.

Frank Lloyd Wright, the father of American architecture, designed the house in 1952.

To Jane Powers, handling the 1,900-square-foot house is an honor.

“It’s not like selling a house,” said Powers, a Realtor of high-end homes. “It’s like selling a piece of art, with the added benefit you can live in it.”

The house costs $1.45 million, about $123,000 cheaper than it was the last time it sold, about two years ago.

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State Department of Ecology scrutinizes proposed shoreline rules

May 29, 2012

The state Department of Ecology requested input from citizens as officials evaluate the city-developed plans for land along Issaquah Creek and Lake Sammamish.

The updated Shoreline Master Program is designed to guide construction and development for 12 miles along the creek and the lake. The agency is accepting public comments on the proposed rules until June 29.

The proposed rules combine local plans for future development and preservation, plus recent development ordinances and related permitting requirements. The plan is meant to minimize environmental damage to shoreline areas, reserve appropriate areas for water-oriented uses and protect public access to the shoreline.

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Proposed Cougar Mountain subdivision comes under review

May 29, 2012

Talus residents questioned plans to build 24 homes on a steep Cougar Mountain hillside downhill from the neighborhood, as the City Council considers a pact to allow the project to proceed.

A Kirkland developer applied to build the homes on a half-dozen acres near the Talus urban village, south of Northwest James Bush Road and uphill from state Route 900. The location raised concerns among some Talus residents about possible impacts to street parking and increased landslide risk.

The council scheduled a public hearing for June 4 to collect input on the proposed subdivision, Forest Heights, as members consider a development agreement to allow the project to continue.

The council is not expected to reach a decision after the public hearing. The proposed development agreement could reach the council for action in early July.

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Frank Lloyd Wright, father of American architecture, experienced achievements, sorrows

May 29, 2012

Born in 1867, Frank Lloyd Wright had a life of great achievement, sorrow and scandals.

Frank Lloyd Wright

According to Martin Filler, author of “Makers of Modern Architecture,” Frank Lincoln Wright changed his middle name to his mother’s maiden name after his parents divorced.

Wright left his first wife and mother of six of his seven children for the wife of a neighbor. They built a house together in Wisconsin, which a servant later burned down, murdering the woman and six other people.

Wright then remarried. His new wife was addicted to morphine, Filler wrote, and the marriage lasted six months. The woman stalked Wright for years.

Wright’s last wife, Olgivanna Ivanova Lazevich, was described by Filler as “possessive, grandiose, scheming, paranoid and vindictive.” She was also devoted to Wright. Filler credits Lazevich, who married Wright in 1928 and changed her name to Olgivanna Lloyd Wright, with her husband’s comeback in the mid-1930s.

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