Issaquah police crack down on liquor sales to minors

January 17, 2012

Issaquah police and the Washington State Liquor Control Board joined forces late last month to crack down on businesses serving alcohol to minors.

Officers cited six people for furnishing liquor to minors during the Dec. 21 operation. The crackdown encompassed businesses throughout Issaquah.

Such enforcement is part of the routine compliance checks conducted by the liquor board and law enforcement agencies.

“Enforcement of all of the liquor laws — not just these — are important,” Police Chief Paul Ayers said. “They’re there for the purpose of making sure that a person can go into a bar and have a drink if they want, but that they’re not driving after being overserved or that they’re not underage and having alcohol. It’s just important that we enforce all of those laws.”

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Inquest ordered in Issaquah police shooting

January 3, 2012

Jury is assigned to fact-finding mission in death of gunman

The search for more information about a lethal September shootout on the Clark Elementary School campus is due to deepen soon, as a court inquest into the officer-involved incident opens.

Ronald W. Ficker, 51, died in a firefight against Issaquah police officers on the school campus. The gun battle ended a meandering midday journey across downtown Issaquah after the rifle-toting Ficker brandished guns at passers-by.

In a decision expected since the Sept. 24 shootout, King County Executive Dow Constantine on Dec. 27 ordered the inquest — a standard procedure in officer-involved shootings. The order directs King County District Court Presiding Judge Barbara Linde to assign a judge to set a date and conduct the inquest.

Linde did not set a date before county offices closed for the New Year’s holiday.

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King County executive orders inquest into Issaquah police shooting

December 27, 2011

NEW — 11:10 a.m. Dec. 27, 2011

King County Executive Dow Constantine on Tuesday ordered a prosecutor-led inquest into the lethal shootout at Clark Elementary School — a standard procedure in officer-involved shootings.

Ronald Ficker

The action came a little more than three months after Ronald W. Ficker, 51, trekked across downtown Issaquah, brandishing rifles at passers-by. The bizarre episode ended on the elementary school campus as police officers and Ficker exchanged gunfire.

In the days before the Sept. 24 incident, Ficker told others, “Something big is going to happen.” Then, the day before the shootout, he rented a Kia sedan at a Seattle rental car counter, drove more than 450 miles and, just after 11 a.m. Sept. 24, abandoned the car at a downtown Issaquah intersection and set off to Clark Elementary.

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Issaquah Police Department targets holiday shopping grinches

November 29, 2011

The holiday shopping season means bargains galore for shoppers — and tempting targets for thieves.

Issaquah police officers headed out in patrol cruisers and on foot Nov. 25, Black Friday, and will continue throughout the holiday season, to search for prowlers and remind shoppers not to leave valuables out in the open.

“During the holidays, parking lots can be very enticing to prowlers looking for quick and easy targets,” Police Chief Paul Ayers said. “We’re hoping these extra patrols will remind our shoppers to protect their property.”

Officers also distributed a display card at local business’ checkouts to remind shoppers to lock vehicles and not leave valuables in plain sight.

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Issaquah Police Department targets holiday shopping grinches

November 22, 2011

NEW — 9:40 a.m. Nov. 22, 2011

Black Friday means bargains galore for shoppers — and tempting targets for thieves.

Issaquah police officers plan to head out in patrol cruisers and on foot Friday and throughout the holiday season to search for prowlers and remind shoppers not to leave valuables out in the open.

“During the holidays, parking lots can be very enticing to prowlers looking for quick and easy targets,” Police Chief Paul Ayers said. “We’re hoping these extra patrols will remind our shoppers to protect their property.”

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City to host medical marijuana hearing Oct. 13

October 11, 2011

Citizens can offer input about a proposed ordinance to address medical marijuana collective gardens.

The municipal Planning Policy Commission is hosting a public hearing on the proposed ordinance Oct. 13. The commission meets at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way.

Commissioners heard from medical marijuana advocates, city planners, Police Chief Paul Ayers and others at a Sept. 8 meeting about the proposal.

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Investigation, absences challenge Issaquah police

September 27, 2011

The investigation into the officer-involved shooting death of a Maple Valley man and a manpower shortage created dual challenges for the Issaquah Police Department in the days after the Sept. 24 shootout.

The police department placed the four officers involved in the shooting on paid administrative leave after the incident on the Clark Elementary School campus, per standard procedure. The officers involved in the shooting could return to work a little more than a week after the incident, although the date depends on when the investigation is completed.

Because the police department is involved in the death, the King County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation into the Sept. 24 incident and the fatal shooting.

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Gunman dies in shootout near Issaquah High School

September 24, 2011

Guardian One, the King County Sheriff's Office helicopter, takes off from the Issaquah Community Center lawn during the search for a gunman. By Christina Lords

UPDATED — 8:45 a.m. Sept. 26, 2011

Issaquah police shot and killed a gunman Saturday after police said the man opened fire near downtown Issaquah schools as children and spectators gathered for sporting events.

The man parked a car on Front Street South at Newport Way Southwest and then headed on foot, carrying two rifles — including a bolt-action hunting rifle — to the area near Clark Elementary and Issaquah High schools at about 11:15 a.m. on a muggy fall day.

Police said the man menacingly pointed firearms at passers-by as he headed about a half-mile to Clark Elementary School.

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City reschedules hearing on medical marijuana

September 20, 2011

Citizens can offer input on a proposed ordinance to address medical marijuana collective gardens next month.

The municipal Planning Policy Commission rescheduled a Sept. 22 public hearing on the proposed ordinance to Oct. 13. The commission meets at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way.

Commissioners heard from medical marijuana advocates, city planners, Police Chief Paul Ayers and others at a Sept. 8 meeting about the proposal.

Under direction from the City Council, the municipal Planning Department is developing a measure to determine what or if business, safety and zoning restrictions should apply to such gardens.

Issaquah is in the midst of a six-month moratorium on the collective gardens. The council enacted the ban in June and, per standard procedure, held a public hearing on the issue in July.

The council agreed to uphold the ban, but after hearing from medical marijuana users and advocates, directed planners to formulate a solution as soon as possible.

City upholds moratorium on medical marijuana gardens

July 26, 2011

Leaders intend to ‘give the city time’ to establish rules

In the emotion-laced discussion about medical marijuana rules in Issaquah, stage IV melanoma survivor Kathy Sparks added a patient’s perspective to the debate.

Before the City Council decided July 18 to uphold a moratorium on medical marijuana collective gardens, Sparks, a Tiger Mountain resident, asked members to consider patients unable to attend the hearing.

“There are lots of patients in stretchers and wheelchairs who can’t be here tonight to say these things,” she said.

Councilmen Mark Mullet (left), Tola Marts and Joshua Schaer listen as medical marijuana advocates address the City Council on July 18 about Issaquah's moratorium on collective gardens. By Greg Farrar

The council opted in a 6-1 decision — after poignant pleas from medical marijuana users and strikingly personal stories from council members — to maintain a moratorium enacted last month. Councilman Mark Mullet voted against the moratorium.

Under state law, a city can impose a moratorium on medical marijuana collective gardens as leaders consider possible land-use or zoning changes. The moratorium is in effect for up to six months, although council members urged city staffers to formulate possible solutions as soon as possible.

Recent changes in state law prompted the decision. So, too, did the opening late last year of a medical marijuana collective in a downtown Issaquah neighborhood.

Though medical marijuana dispensaries remain illegal under state law, hazy rules surround patient collectives.

Washington law allows up to 10 qualifying patients to join together and form a collective garden of up to 45 plants, so long as the marijuana is not visible from public spaces.

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