North Highline Unincorporated Area Council hopes to see you Thursday

December 2nd, 2013 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline Unincorporated Area Council hopes to see you Thursday

Your community council for White Center and vicinity, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, hopes to see you on Thursday, 7 pm at NH Fire District HQ (1243 SW 112th). Here’s the agenda:

7:00 pm Call to Order – Flag Salute – Roll Call –
Approval of Agenda – Approval of Minutes

7:05 pm Public Announcements

7:10 pm Public Comment
3minutes for Individuals
5 minutes for Groups

7:15 pm Richard Wells, Sustainable Works
7:35 pm Mark Cross, Director – Evergreen Athletic Dept.
7:45 pm Senator Sharon Nelson
Representative, Joe Fitzgibbon
8:10 pm Deputy BJ Myers (White Center Storefront)
8:30 pm Committee Reports

8:35 pm Old/New Business
• December 10 Board Meeting
• January meeting
• CSA Grant application

All welcome.

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: New member voted in; briefings on juvenile diversion, substance-abuse, arts/culture-support programs…

November 10th, 2013 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: New member voted in; briefings on juvenile diversion, substance-abuse, arts/culture-support programs…

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

For the second time this fall, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council has welcomed a new member.

That’s part of what happened at Thursday night’s meeting. Meet Doreen Bomar:

Bomar explained that she is a financial consultant and mom, among other things and has wanted to get involved in the community since moving here. Why become a NHUAC board member? Her reply: “It would allow me to contribute some energy toward helping the community and maybe getting more people involved and finding more ways to reach out …”

The previous board joiner, Elizabeth Gordon, asked her about the hot topics facing the community – economy, local governance, etc. – and wondered what she’s interested in. She listed public safety and libraries, as well as working with the business community and encouraging more businesses to open here. Her financial-consulting business is currently home-based but she’s looking at area office space and future hires, she said.

She was elected unanimously and immediately moved up to a seat with the rest of the board at the front of the room, next to NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin, who smiled, “Welcome,” before moving on to the rest of the agenda.

KING COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUVENILE DIVERSION: Shirley Noble from the KCSC came to speak about the Juvenile Diversion Program:

“Every week we’re doing this in your community.” It’s a program offered to first-time juvenile offenders – who commit certain types of misdemeanor offenses – if they choose to go through the alternative process, she explained. If they go through this process, they will not have a record, but if they go to court, they will, so “most of the families will choose to go through diversion – we’re dealing with mostly teenagers here, it’s vital for their future that they don’t have a criminal record that counts against them, hinders them from moving up in life.”

Since the brain isn’t developed until mid-20s, some of these offenses are “a mistake,” she contended, saying most of the juveniles will not go on to reoffend. She says there’s a board of volunteers in West Seattle and one in Highline; their function is that, when diversion is chosen, the youth gets their case heard in the community where they live. They might hear two or three cases a week, in the evenings, “because we want parent participation.” A court adviser is always present, too. The volunteers talk to the youth about what they did and about their school and family life, and to the family. “We want to really be able to paint a picture of the youth – what’s going on in (her/his) life.” They look at “how can we help this kid so they don’t come back through this system again.” They sign an agreement to handle “whatever sanction is imposed that evening” by a certain date – she stressed “they are held accountable.”

The recidivism rate is less than 10 percent, she said. The program’s been around since 1959 and yet most people don’t know it exists.

Volunteer Rick came with her and offered some thoughts: “They get the message pretty clearly right up front that this is their best shot,” since the program is “kind of below the radar.” Once you’re in the criminal system, “you’re in it for your entire life.” With diversion, “it’s not about guilt or innocence, it’s about where they go from here.” He said the volunteerism is key to making the program work, as is talking with parents, who might be in denial, or “delusional,” or just don’t know what to do, “so we can ask, how can we help you?” He serves one night a month, “sometimes a little more.” Rather than just griping about problems -“did you see the graffiti, etc.” – he says, “it’s a chance to intervene and help that child get back into the community … sometimes joyous, sometimes painful, but so worth it.” His voice broke a bit about seeing kids with dreams have a lightbulb go on. They need more help – “we have lots of cases, unfortunately.”

Rick spoke of one such case, a teenage girl “who was beginning to show signs of some serious stuff … at one point, I said, ‘who all’s affected,’ and they don’t always get that I’m affected, I’m sitting here tonight because of something you’ve done. I said ‘I care,’ and she looked at me and said, ‘Why would YOU care?'” That bowled him over.

Volunteers have to have background checks, by the way, so if you have a history with a violent offense or an offense against a child, you wouldn’t be able to participate.

The program reduces court congestion, it was noted, so judges have more time to deal with more-serious cases.”Our typical case is shoplifting,” Noble said.

COALITION FOR DRUG-FREE YOUTH: Coordinator Rudy Garza spoke to the council about its work in White Center and Burien trying to reduce alcohol, tobacco, and drug use by youth. It’s a federally founded program administered by the state and county.

Higher percentages of 8th graders in this area, than the rest of the county, smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, use marijuana, and/or abuse prescription drugs. 24 percent of the 8th graders in this area reported considering suicide in the past month, compared to 17 percent statewide. Right now, the agency is going into a strategic-planning process to figure out how to tackle this, and expects to finalize a plan next March, with implementation the following June, depending on what kind of funding they get.

The focus is “positive, healthy adulthood” as a result of the work.

The group so far has worked with Cascade and Evergreen schools, and the coalition will meet at Cascade next week. In Q/A with the board, Garza talked about the importance of reaching out to the area’s ethnic/immigrant communities regarding availing themselves of the resources that exist, something that might not be part of their culture otherwise.

4 CULTURE: Leader Jim Kelly talked to NHUAC about his organization, which funds art programs as a “county entity” but is not a “county department” but rather a “public development authority.” He talked about arts programs helping youth fill their lives – tying in with two of the previous presenters in spirit, if not officially. He ran through ways that the community can help arts programs for youth, such as getting instruments to students who need them. And his agency has a lot of resources available, but the community doesn’t always know about them, so he was hoping to fix that. He says they now have a program with no “annual application deadline,” to remove a barrier to some participation, and they are hopeful that more people in this area will participate in the programs – the ones that do have annual deadlines will soon have 2014 dates. In Q/A, he revealed that for example, because of how they are funded, they can’t pay for programs IN schools, but can pay for afterschool projects, through groups such as Arts Corps. “If you don’t give kids a creative outlet, they’re going to lapse into destructive,” he observed. Find out more about 4 Culture by going here.

AGENDA POSTPONEMENTS: Storefront deputy BJ Myers couldn’t be on hand because of a ridealong; Meagan Eliot was a no-show regarding the strategic plan.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Councilmembers Liz Giba, Pat Price, and president Dobkin rptestified at the recent budget hearing at County Council Chambers downtown; Dobkin said they were the “only actual community members – from ANY community” to testify, but so many others were there from organizations, it ran three hours before they spoke, focusing on supporting passage of funding for the White Center storefront sheriff’s deputy and for more King County Sheriff’s Office resources – “we are very understaffed in this area,” she noted, with about half the staffing per capita in the unincorporated area as the “contract cities” in the county have. She quoted Sheriff John Urquhart as saying there are more fatalities in the unincorporated area – often, KCSO can’t get there fast enough. They submitted petition signatures and a letter in support of the resources, and, Dobkin noted, there’s still time for people to contact the Council to voice their support. You can send budget comments to the County Council by going here.

BUS CUTS: Dobkin said that NHUAC is working with the county on a community forum about the possible bus cuts announced earlier in the day (here’s the Metro website with details).

NEW LIBRARY: Price reminded everyone that (as published here on WCN) the next meeting for the new White Center Library project is at 6:30 November 19th at Mount View Elementary. Strong turnout is important, she said, to make sure King County Library System knows that people are interested and “watching.” Gordon recalled a NHUAC-meeting visit from KCLS head Bill Ptacek, who she noted seemed to have set ideas about the project and was even surprised at community questions/concerns, particularly regarding possible transient loitering in the facility, which is expecting heavy use by students from the nearby school.

LIBRARY BAZAAR: Price mentioned that this is coming up weekend after next. Here’s the flyer:

White Center Library Guild Holiday Bazaar flyer


Community advocate Gill Loring stressed that proceeds benefit youth programs.

UNIFORM FUNDRAISING: The Wolverines girls basketball team at Evergreen needs new uniforms – a community member say they’re working on fundraisers; they start practicing later this month. (More details if we get them!)

FUNDRAISING DINNER: White Center Kiwanis says their baked-potato-dinner fundraiser supporting the New Start High School Key Club is coming up – 6:30-8:30 pm Wednesday, December 4, at New Start, 614 SW 120th. $10 gets you a baked-potato bar, salad, rols, dessert, beverages, and entertainment by the student members of the club.

GRANT APPLICATION: NHUAC is talking about applying for the county’s semi-new grants available to groups in the unincorporated areas; next deadline is January 10th.

Keep track of NHUAC events and issues via its website at northhighlineuac.org.

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: What you’ll see/hear at Thursday’s meeting

November 4th, 2013 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: What you’ll see/hear at Thursday’s meeting

Update on the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting this Thursday:

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council (NHUAC) meeting:

When: Thursday, November 7 – 7pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station (1243 112th Street, SW)

Please plan on joining us for our next monthly meeting – NHUAC meetings are a great way to connect and network with other community members – and stay up to date on information about our community – We look forward to seeing you there!

Join us and learn how you can provide input for the King County Strategic Plan with our guest Meagan Eliot from the King County Office of Performance, Strategy and Budget.

We are also pleased to have Shirley Noble, Program Manager – King County Superior Court – who will discuss her work and volunteer opportunities with Partnership for Youth Justice.

Rudy Garza – Coalition Coordinator for the Coalition for Drug Free Youth – will discuss issues related to drug use and prevention among youth in the greater North Highline area.

Jim Kelly, Executive Director of 4Culture, will share information about their programs and available grant opportunities.

Our White Center Storefront Deputy BJ Myers will be on hand to provide information and answer questions regarding community safety.

We are also pleased to announce that we will be interviewing Doreen Bomar to fill an open seat on the council.

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Board candidate to be interviewed by North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

October 17th, 2013 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on Board candidate to be interviewed by North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

Announced by NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin:

At the November 7 North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, the board will be interviewing Doreen Bomar to fill an open board position. The interview will be followed by our regular monthly meeting. All are welcome! Stay tuned for more information about the meeting – Thursday, November 7, 7 pm, North Highline Fire Station, 1243 112th Street SW.

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Crime updates and sex offender info @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s public-safety forum

October 7th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Crime, North Highline UAC, safety 3 Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Another information-packed public-safety forum was presented by the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council last Thursday night at the NH Fire District HQ:

AREA CRIME UPDATE: Deputies BJ Myers and Mary Syson led the briefing. She works 2-10 pm and is usually one of two deputies in the area on swing shift, she said – “Write to your King County Councilmembers, we need more officers!” How many officers would be optimal? At least three at any given time, she said. There are always two on, though, any shift, around the clock. When she comes on shift, there are usually calls holding.

(Staffing concerns arose again when a transit deputy spoke saying that at times only six officers from that department are staffing the entire area served by Metro.)

Deputy Myers spoke of recent arrests involving burglary suspects on both sides of the city/county line – many charges filed, many more – detectives are bringing in victims to identify property and get it back to them. “It’s been great, we don’t always get to see the property returned to the people,” he said.

He then went on to show the September crime map. Nothing too much out of the ordinary, he said; crimes are coming down from a July peak, “pretty typical this time of the year as the weather gets cold, kids go back to school, fewer people out and about.”

Motor-vehicle thefts had something of a spike in July and August.

Theft trend that might surprise you: If you have an outdoor outlet in a publicly accessible place – you might consider finding a way to not have it accessible, because more and more such outlets are being used – to charge phones among other things – amounting to power theft that suddenly turns up on the victims’ bills.

“Have you seen a change (in crime, etc.) since Nickelsville moved out (of Highland Park)?” Deputy Myers was asked. His answer: “No.”

On the prevention front, advice from Deputy Syson: Home security is vital. Outdoor lighting, in particular – “criminals don’t like to be lit up.” Also, she echoed “follow your intuition – call us. Get a plate. Vehicle license plates are great – we can maybe figure out where they live. If you guys don’t call us, we don’t know there’s an issue going on in your neighborhood.”

SEX OFFENDERS: Detective Michael Luchau from the King County Sheriff’s Office Registered Sex Offender Unit – a subset of the Special Assault Unit – gave the featured presentation, which he said was basically what he presents to neighborhoods after Level 3 offenders move in – or used to; because of low attendance, they don’t always have meetings – they might just circulate the notice.

14 people are in the unit, including 9 detectives, and he’s one of them. He also went back to the offender-registration law’s roots – the 1988 Diane Ballasiotes case and the case of Helen Harlow‘s son, leading to the Community Protection Act. The national requirement dates back to 1996, following the kidnapping and killing of Megan Kanka in New Jersey two years earlier.

He also went through background of how long offenders are required to be registered – anywhere from 10 years to lifetime (the latter is mandatory for a Class A felony, which includes first- or second-degree rape and/or first-degree child molesting). Level one offenders are not required to register – unless they are “noncompliant” and that level usually means “no violent history, usually know their victims.” They are rated with various “tools” including police reports, court files, criminal history, pre-sentencing psychological reports.

What happens while they are in jail/prison can affect their classification too – Det. Luchau gave an example of someone “continuing to act out their deviancy.”

Notification about a homeless offender generally “depends on the risk level.”

*Almost 4000 sex offenders in King County right now, he said, and almost half are level 1 – the lowest risk level, while 323 are classified level 3, the highest.

There are 333 in this precinct, which also includes Burien, Vashon, and Skyway. 53 of them are in North Highline, 32 level 1, ten level 3.

20,315 sex offenders are in the state in all, and of them, the detective said, about 708 are in violation of the registration laws, and nobody knows where they are. But if they have registered and are following the rules, there are no other rules/guidelines they have to follow, at least one attendee was surprised to hear. But Det. Luchau stressed – you don’t need to be afraid of (most of) them, just be aware.

Being aware is vital – children are sexually assaulted in much higher numbers than you might expect, such as, one of every three girls has been assaulted by age 16. He also talked briefly about trusting instincts – don’t hesitate to report a suspicious person, maybe someone who seems to be at the park watching kids; be clear about your concerns so that police can at least check on them. Also – be sure you know a lot about anyone who would be caring for your child without supervision, and know a lot about the situation at a house your child is going to visit. “If you don’t feel comfortable with the situation, don’t send them (there)!” said the detective.

Are there halfway houses? asked NHUAC council member Liz Giba, noting that notifications seemed to include the same addresses for multiple offenders. “There are some group homes,” acknowledged the detective. And, he said, there are some group homes that try to pretend they’re not – sometimes by claiming to be “clean and sober” houses.

To find out more about sex offenders in your area, kingcounty.gov/sheriff has the listings of level 2 and level 3 everywhere in the county – look for the link on the left sidebar. The lookup tool also enables you to sign up for e-mail alerts if a “published offender registers in your area.” It’ll give you more information on the offender’s background.

For the entire state, you can go to ml.waspc.org – all registered sex offenders in the state, level two and three.

There’s also the National Sex Offender Public Website.

Don’t ever assume you know how a sex offender looks – they come in all sizes, shapes, etc., he said.

“Why aren’t these people locked up for good?” Some are locked up tfn.

But he also warned that people should use the knowledge responsibly – the notification act could be canceled if it leads to many incidences of harassment, vigilantism, etc. – and authorities do not want to lose it as a tool.

So what happens when an offender gets out of prison/jail? Nobody’s holding that offender’s hand, as Luchau put it. And, as an audience question pointed out, failure to register may just be a misdemeanor. But in other cases, it could be a Class B felony, sending the offender back to prison for longer than their original sentence.

What if you look someone up – is there any chance they might still be on the map even if they are no longer in that neighborhood? Maybe, said the detective, so you’ll want to try alternate lookups to check on that person’s status, as many public records as you can find.

WHAT’S NEXT: According to NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin, the next public-safety forum probably won’t be until March, but they will continue monthly NHUAC meetings on first Thursdays.

Two community announcements:

WHITE CENTER KIWANIS: They’re selling See’s Candy bars for $2/bar, with more than $1 funding their service projects.

COALITION FOR DRUG FREE YOUTH: NHUAC councilmember Elizabeth Gordon says the coalition is circulating a survey on alcohol/drug use, and provided copies; they’re accepting filled-out surveys at her family business, Uncle Mike’s Superlicious Barbecue. The survey will be linked on the NHUAC website.

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Next NHUAC public-safety forum one week from tonight: Learn about registered sex offenders

September 26th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Crime, North Highline UAC, safety, White Center news Comments Off on Next NHUAC public-safety forum one week from tonight: Learn about registered sex offenders

One week from tonight – the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council hopes to see you at its next public-safety forum:

Save the Date

Thursday, Oct 3
7pm
North Highline Fire Station
1243 112th Street, SW
(entrance in the back)

The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council is pleased to be hosting a Public Safety Forum

Want to know more about the King County Sex Offender Registry and Community Notification Program? Then plan on joining us for an informative presentation and discussion with Detective Michael Luchau of the King County Sheriff’s Department Sex Offender Unit.

Share your concerns regarding community safety with White Center Storefront Deputy, BJ Myers and Deputy William Kennamer of Metro Transit Police.

All are welcome!

OUR COMMUNITY MATTERS
BE INVOLVED
BE INFORMED
BE HEARD

SEE YOU THERE!!

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: New member; health-care changes; crime trends; more

September 6th, 2013 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: New member; health-care changes; crime trends; more

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Community councils are back in session for fall, and last night, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council resumed its meeting schedule at NH Fire District HQ in White Center.

NEW MEMBER: The council has a new member! Since it is no longer county-sanctioned, its past process of community at-large elections no longer applies. For the first time since that change, a proposed new member appeared: Dr. Elizabeth Gordon from Uncle Mike’s Superlicious BBQ in White Center asked to join, and was approved by unanimous vote. She talked about her business’s concerns with the community’s well-being and said she perceived that NHUAC was a place to voice concerns and get things done. She believes it’s “important to be part of the council that carries …concerns” to county government, since North Highline has no direct government representation. Gordon took a seat with the council at the start of the meeting, participating immediately after she was voted in. Before the meeting ended, president Barbara Dobkin reiterated that they’re interested in adding other community members to the council – if you’re interested, contact her at bdobkin@northhighlineuac.org.

HEALTH-INSURANCE CHANGES: Erika Nuerenberg from the Seattle-King County Public Health Department came to talk about the coming changes in health insurance – that department is leading enrollment efforts in the area. There aren’t specific rates for the unincorporated area but they estimate somewhere between 20 and 30 percent are uninsured – area rates for cities range from 15 percent in Seattle to 30 percent in Seatac. They are hoping to get the uninsured percentage down to four percent countywide, but are worried about people who will choose not to enroll even though the costs will be low, such as people under 30. There are two ways to become insured under the new system that starts open enrollment next month: One is Medicaid, which will be expanding eligibility. The other is through the “exchange” system, which will include subsidies for people whose income is up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level (currently around $11,000/person).

Right now, they’re working on education; next, “targeted enrollment,” which will focus on people with barriers such as culture or income that might keep them from getting enrolled. You can read all about the upcoming changes by going to this special county webpage.

COMMUNITY HEALTH INFO: Zachary Howard from the Puget Sound Regional Council talked about another aspect of health – trying to support healthier lifestyles through information that will be provided in an online toolkit meant to be especially useful for planners. A $120,000 grant is being used for this; it’s part of a bigger Community Transformation Grant program. The “grant intervention area” includes North Highline as well as South Park, Georgetown, Beacon Hill, and Southeast Seattle inside Seattle city limits, plus Auburn, Burien, Des Moines, Kent, Renton, Seatac, and Tukwila. New member Gordon suggested that the toolkit include information specifically helpful to community volunteers, as well as elements that will ensure the information is presented in a lively manner, and reflects the community.

CRIME TRENDS: “Crime continues to be high as we often see in the summer,” began Deputy BJ Myers. Burglaries and car prowls have been running high all summer long, he noted. “We have more than usual going on in the Top Hat area, particularly,” so if you live there, you will want to make extra sure there’s nothing in your car, and you might also want to be sure that there are no overgrown bushes or ladders that would provide access to your house. “We think we know some of the suspects,” he added, and they are checking them out, “and we’re also trying some other more proactive methods to catch these burglars in the act or before they commit these crimes.” He believes numbers will start dropping soon since summer’s over, among other factors. Taking questions from the council and attendees, Deputy Myers was presented an item that he explained was a security cap from a liquor bottle.”There’s been a high dollar value of liquor theft since it’s been in the grocery stores,” he noted. When you find one, contact the store – which will usually be mentioned on the device – and law enforcement. There was also a discussion of evidence of drug use and camping at some local parks. Deputy Myers said KCSO detectives are looking closely at increased heroin use in the area.

SW ROXBURY SAFETY: Chris Stripinis visited from the Westwood-Roxbury-Arbor Heights Community Council and talked about their request to the Seattle Department of Transportation for a study. They’re still awaiting a response from SDOT and expect it sometime this month. Their original announcement of the request can be seen on the WWRHAH website. Council members and attendees asked about the 16th/Delridge/Roxbury intersection in particular, and noted the crash two years ago in which a woman was hit by a bus.

NORTH SHOREWOOD PARK GRAND OPENING: The new play equipment will have an official ribboncutting on September 17th. NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin joked that it’s so busy now, she can’t play on the equipment any more!

FIELDHOUSE’S 75TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY: As reported earlier this month on WCN, a big event is coming up on September 14th to mark the 75th anniversary of the Fieldhouse at Steve Cox Memorial Park.

HICKLIN LAKE: Dick Thurnau from Friends of Hicklin Lake was asked for an update now that the first “floating islands” have been installed. He says another grant is being sought, and the deadline is September 15th, but otherwise, it’ll take a while before they know for sure what the newly installed floating islands are doing to help the water-quality help.

NEXT MEETING – PUBLIC-SAFETY FORUM: That’s the next NHUAC-presented community meeting, set for Thursday, October 3rd, 7 pm, at the North Highline FD HQ. Sex offenders will be one topic, because residents have voiced concerns about how many offenders are living in this community, and how they are monitored. KCSO’s new Major for the area as well as a local Metro Transit deputy are expected, as well as Community Service Officer Peter Truong.

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Reminder: North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meets Thursday

September 3rd, 2013 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on Reminder: North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meets Thursday

More details on a big event this Thursday:

Please join the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council on Thursday, Sept 5, 7 pm (North Highline Fire Station, 1243 112th SW), for two very important presentations.

As previously noted, we will be hosting representatives from Public Health who will provide information about eligibility for Medicaid and the Health Benefit Exchange. This is a great opportunity to get information about the new health-care laws that go into effect January 1, 2014, with enrollment starting October 1, 2013.

We are also pleased to be hosting Zachary Howard, Assistant Planner for the Puget Sound Health, Equity, and Sustainability Toolkit Program. Mr. Howard will present information regarding housing affordability, economic opportunity, land use and environmental justice as it relates to the Puget Sound Region and specifically to the unincorporated North Highline community (White Center, Boulevard Park, Top Hat, Glendale, Beverly Park). There will be plenty of opportunity for discussion.

Chris Stripinis, Infrastructure Committee Chair for the Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights Community Council, will discuss the joint community proposal the council has been working on related to traffic-calming issues on Roxbury.

As always, BJ Myers, White Center Storefront Deputy, will be on hand to answer questions regarding community safety issues.

There will be plenty of opportunity for discussion. All are welcome.

And here’s the full agenda:

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council agenda, September 2013

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You’re invited: North Highline Unincorporated Area Council hears about health care on September 5th

August 22nd, 2013 Tracy Posted in Health, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on You’re invited: North Highline Unincorporated Area Council hears about health care on September 5th

Announced today by the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council – a big topic at the next NHUAC meeting, in two weeks:

The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council is pleased to be hosting representatives from Public Health at the Thursday, September 5 meeting. Information will be presented regarding the outreach and enrollment campaign, “Coverage is Here King County”. This is a county wide effort to enroll 180,000 newly eligible King County residents in Medicaid and the Health Benefit Exchange (WashingtonHealthPlanFinder) once enrollment starts on October 1, 2013. Coverage begins January 1, 2013.

All are welcome to this important presentation.

When: Thursday, Sept 5, 7 pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station (1243 112th Street, SW)

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Metro, libraries on agenda for next North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

May 31st, 2013 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on Metro, libraries on agenda for next North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

Next Thursday, two big topics are on the agenda for the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council‘s meeting. From NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin:

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council – Monthly meeting
Thursday, June 6, 7 pm – North Highline Fire Station, 1243 SW 112th

Please join us on Thursday, June 6 when we will be hosting Bill Ptacek, Director of the King County Library System (KCLS), who will provide updates and answer questions regarding the status of the White Center and Boulevard Park Libraries.

In 2004 the voters of North Highline, along with all voters in King County served by the King County Library System, passed a Capital Bond Levy to rebuild, expand, and improve aging libraries. We have been paying on this bond levy since its passage and work has been completed on most of the libraries throughout the county, but the promises made to the voters of North Highline and North Burien, which included a new 10,000 square foot White Center Library at its current location, and capital improvements to the Boulevard Park Library, have yet to be fulfilled. There are many questions surrounding the most recent decisions by the KCLS Board regarding moving and building a new White Center Library on 107th. We also have not heard any plans for the promised improvements to the Boulevard Park Library. This is a good time to find out how and when our precious tax dollars will be used and invested in OUR community.

We are also pleased to have DeAnna Martin, King County Dept of Transportation, Community Relations Planner who will provide information about proposed drastic cuts to Metro Service, many of which will impact North Highline.

“Without additional revenue, Metro will have to reduce up to 17 percent of bus service. A reduction of this magnitude would be felt by all riders, employers, and drivers in the region. An estimated seven out of 10 riders would lose some or all service and might have to go farther to get to the bus, take a longer trip, or transfer more. Riders throughout the system might have to crowd onto packed buses or wait at the curb while full buses pass by. A reduction of this size would add 23,000 trips every day to our freeways and arterials – or the equivalent of one lane of traffic on the I-90 Bridge during an average weekday.”

Please join us for this important community discussion – See you there! NHUAC will not be holding July and August meetings – Meetings will resume September 5.

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Online petition launched to keep White Center storefront deputy

May 13th, 2013 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline UAC, White Center news 9 Comments »

Want to help convince county leaders to keep the White Center Storefront Deputy position in the King County Sheriff’s Office budget? At the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council‘s recent public-safety forum (WCN coverage here), Sheriff John Urquhart warned that, while he supports continuing to fund the position, budget pressure could mean trouble – so he urged citizens to voice their support to leaders including County Executive Dow Constantine and County Councilmember Joe McDermott. And they in fact are the leaders to whom NHUAC’s petition on change.org is directed. You can sign it here.

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Video: King County Sheriff, North Highline fire chief @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s public-safety forum

May 3rd, 2013 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline UAC, Video, White Center news Comments Off on Video: King County Sheriff, North Highline fire chief @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s public-safety forum

That’s our video of last night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council public-safety forum, featuring King County Sheriff John Urquhart and North Highline’s Fire Chief Mike Marrs. One of the hottest topics: Whether the KCSO White Center Storefront Deputy position will continue to be funded. Sheriff Urquhart said he was committed to keeping it – but budget pressure could trump his intentions, so everyone who wants it to be kept should contact their representatives, particularly King County Executive Dow Constantine and County Councilmember Joe McDermott. (Their e-mail addresses: dow.constantine@kingcounty.gov and joe.mcdermott@kingcounty.gov … we’ll keep you updated on the county-budget process and potential touchstones along the way for this issue.)

The storefront deputy himself, Deputy BJ Myers, briefed attendees on current area crime trends – biggest news was an arrest of three alleged serial burglars.

White Center’s continuing-to-grow marijuana industry also was brought up, particularly the reported plan for the former Club Evo site to go into that line of business. It was noted that the injunction covering the site remains in force, so no one can open any kind of nightlife business there.

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Just two nights till North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s next Public Safety Forum

April 30th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Crime, fire, King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline Fire District, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on Just two nights till North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s next Public Safety Forum

Questions about crime prevention and crimefighting, fire prevention and firefighting? Here’s your reminder that you’ll want to be at the North Highline Fire District HQ this Thursday night (May 2) for the next North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Public Safety Forum. From the original announcement:

We are pleased to be hosting King County Sheriff John Urquhart and North Highline Fire Chief Mike Marrs.

Sheriff Urquhart will be here to take our questions, and listen to community concerns about public safety and the sheriff’s department staffing levels for the North Highline area.

Once again our White Center Storefront Deputy position is in jeopardy, as the special funding allocated in 2011 expires at the end of 2013. Will the 2014 budget include funding for this essential position?

The North Highline Fire District, which is funded solely by property tax money from North Highline, is facing critical financial challenges. Chief Marrs will discuss the history of our North Highline Fire District, operational status, and future challenges and options.

Storefront Deputy BJ Myers is scheduled to be there too. The forum’s set to start at 7 pm Thursday, 1243 SW 112th – everybody welcome.

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Sheriff, fire chief to headline next North Highline Unincorporated Area Council public-safety forum

April 22nd, 2013 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline UAC, White Center news 4 Comments »

From North Highline Unincorporated Area Council president Barbara Dobkin, word of the slate for NHUAC’s next public-safety forum:

Mark your calendars.

The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council invites you to a Public Safety Forum:
Thursday, May 2, 7 pm at the North Highline Fire Station (1243 112th Street SW).

We are pleased to be hosting King County Sheriff John Urquhart and North Highline Fire Chief Mike Marrs.

Sheriff Urquhart will be here to take our questions, and listen to community concerns about public safety and the sheriff’s department staffing levels for the North Highline area.

Once again our White Center Storefront Deputy position is in jeopardy, as the special funding allocated in 2011 expires at the end of 2013. Will the 2014 budget include funding for this essential position?

The North Highline Fire District, which is funded solely by property tax money from North Highline, is facing critical financial challenges. Chief Marrs will discuss the history of our North Highline Fire District, operational status, and future challenges and options.

Also on hand will be our White Center Storefront Deputy, BJ Myers.

Please plan on attending and being part of this very informative and important conversation about life in North Highline.

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: Evergreen Aquatic Center’s pitch; illuminating the light problem; more

April 5th, 2013 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news 1 Comment »


(2009 White Center Now/West Seattle Blog photo from rally to save Evergreen Pool)
By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Evergreen Community Aquatic Center, born three years ago after the county shut down three years ago, is behind on its gas bill and facing cutoff in a matter of weeks, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council was told Thursday night by two ECAC representatives – who stressed they weren’t trying to sound “alarmist,” though council and audience members advised them to start making noise.

NHUAC took on several other topics during its two-hour meeting, but this was the most dramatic; as noted during discussion, the council had taken a leading role in marshaling support to save the pool last time around.

ECAC board member Brian Hastings and center manager Joel Schweiger did not immediately hint at the pool’s dire straits, first recapping the aquatic center’s history since the county closed it in 2009, more than half a year before the community effort’s success led to its reopening almost exactly three years ago. The pool is popular and busy, they said, offering programs that serve Highline Public Schools, the Whitewater Aquatics swim club that led the fight to save it, public swims, and”pretty much all-day activities.” More than 3,300 children have taken lessons there in the three years since the reopening, they said.

Hastings said they’re falling behind on utility bills, and they want to keep serving the public – with more than 3,300 kids getting lessons in the past three years – but they’ve lost $15,000 a year since reopening, which he says is “remarkable” given that the pool was costing the county $172,000 a year before it closed. “And we’re getting squeezed substantially by (Puget Sound Energy), which will only carry a delinquent bill for so long.”

It would be even worse if they hadn’t replaced the old boiler with a system that has cut the bill by about a third, Schweiger noted, and they’re working to use its surplus heat to heat the locker rooms, and to eventually put a solar-power system “on the sunny side of the building,” which would mean they wouldn’t need to run the boilers at all. A glitch in that: The roof needs some work, tracing to a county upgrade that never happened, and a school district project that’s not likely to happen.

They say they’ve worked too hard to let this die – “we’re close, we’re really close,” said Hastings – but not close enough without help. And this is a pivotal time because their three-year lease is expiring, and they have to decide whether to renew.

Answering questions from NHUAC members and the audience, one was: Could increased attendance help? Only to a degree, said Schweiger. There are many hours of the day when the pool is jampacked. During the middle-of-day hours outside of summer, they are saving money by not staffing the pool during what would be a low-attendance time. “So you’re looking for a sustainable funding mechanism?” asked attendee Elizabeth Gordon. “Yes,” they replied. “I’m not looking for handouts,” clarified Hastings, just more of a contribution from the community, because they are doing so much – as attendee Rachael Levine noted, teaching kids to swim means lives saved, among other attributes. Levine recalled the NHUAC campaign to save the pool, and suggested pressure on King County leadership to help. “You have done a great job maintaining that facility and keeping it open,” she told the guests, also mentioning specific programs such as the women-only swims. “It’s worth putting all kinds of pressure to keep it open,” and get the repairs done, she declared.

It’s not just a White Center-used facility – private teams from miles around come to use it, including from Seattle and Tukwila. And community involvement also means “getting members from the community who would like to sit on the board,” said Schweiger, noting that Whitewater Aquatics parents have made up most of the board so far.

So what do they need? asked attendee Gill Loring, trying to get to the heart of the problem. About $25,000 a year, said the guests. “We’ve proven over 36 months that this can work,” but now they are learning how to reach out to get what they need to keep it working. They also need somebody to do public relations and outreach.

But most urgently, they revealed when we asked from the audience – they need $17,000 by mid-May or Puget Sound Energy will cut off service. You should be able to donate soon through the Evergreen CAC website.

CRIME? QUIET! Storefront Deputy BJ Myers reported that violent crimes are down from the preceding month and about the same as a year earlier, and property crimes are down, which brings them to previous levels. Mail theft isn’t much of a problem as it had been, but Myers still says locking mailboxes can be helpful. Campers are turning up “in the space between Greenbridge and downtown,” he said, and Greenbridge’s storefront deputy is working on that – with clearing out planned soon, since that “did seem to work for several months” previously. He mentioned the KCSO Storefront’s participation in the Rat City Art City art walk last month, and said they’ll do it again this month.

LIGHTS FOR DOWNTOWN WHITE CENTER: Herban Legends owner Chris Cody is organizing a Local Improvement District to “brighten up the downtown core of White Center” with added lights. He’s also asking that supporters call their legislators about the DSHS building, to get exterior lights added and/or “get businesses into the empty spaces that are right now (a place for people) to hang out and get loaded.” He also is hoping to walk through Roxbury to 102th and 17th to 14th with a King County Sheriff’s Deputy. And pressure on the building’s owner might be welcome too, he noted. It’s been quiet in White Center lately in general, he noted.

Later in the meeting, NHUAC members decided to write a letter to the building ownership to urge lighting.

EX-EL CHALAN CLEANUP: This was mentioned – per our previous story – because of the recent paintover and weed-pulling; here’s our photo from March 26th:

Though it was noted wryly that the property still isn’t attractive, it was agreed the cleanup represented a massive improvement.

METRO CUTS: President Barbara Dobkin brought up the potential cuts mentioned by Metro GM Kevin Desmond earlier this week (here’s coverage from our partner site WSB) and said that NHUAC will have a guest from Metro at its June meeting.

NHUAC ON NICKELSVILLE: Dobkin wondered if any of the people hanging around downtown White Center during the day were coming up from the encampment; Deputy Myers said he “didn’t know that (he has) seen that.” In addition to our partner site WSB‘s coverage, a new story from The Seattle Times (WSB partner) was cited. Deputy Myers said he visited Nickelsville recently and didn’t recognize anyone – indicating it isn’t home to any of the loitering regulars he has seen. Before meeting’s end, NHUAC decided to write a letter in support of Highland Park Action Committee‘s efforts to get the City of Seattle to agree to sell the site to Food Lifeline, among other efforts.

WHITE CENTER SPRING CLEAN: Marquise Roberson-Bester from White Center Community Development Association explained the new plan for Spring Clean – not just one big day, but one day a month, as previously reported here. The first one is coming up fast – April 13th.

COMMUNITY SERVICE AREA MEETING: King County’s new outreach system via “Community Service Areas” is launching a series of open houses. Since North Highline and West Hill are one CSA, the one for the area is happening April 17th in Skyway, with this area’s County Councilmember Joe McDermott in attendance. President Dobkin urged her fellow councilmembers to attend, and anyone else interested.

NORTH HIGHLINE FIRE DISTRICT COMMISSIONERS: Next meeting is 7 pm April 15th, said NHUAC member Pat Price.

PUBLIC SAFETY FORUM: NHUAC’s next one is May 2nd, with guests including Sheriff John Urquhart and Fire Chief Mike Marrs.

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meets tonight

April 4th, 2013 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meets tonight

7 pm, North Highline Fire District HQ, you’re invited to tonight’s meeting of the NH Unincorporated Area Council – here’s our previously published agenda preview.

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council to meet Thursday

March 29th, 2013 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline Unincorporated Area Council to meet Thursday

From North Highline Unincorporated Area Council president Barbara Dobkin, word of the next NHUAC meeting this Thursday (April 4th) and its agenda:

Please join us on April 4 when we will have Bryan Hastings from the Evergreen Community Aquatics Center, who will provide updates as well as some of the challenges facing the operations of the pool. Community input on this valuable community resource is welcome. Our White Center Storefront Deputy, BJ Myers will also be on hand to give updates on crime trends. All are welcome. The meeting is at 7 PM in the North Highline Fire Department meeting room, 1243 SW 116th St.

Agenda:

7:00 pm Call to Order – Flag Salute – Roll Call –
Approval of Agenda – Approval of Minutes
7:05 pm Public Announcements
7:10 pm Public Comment
3minutes for Individuals
5 minutes for Groups

7:15 pm Deputy B.J. Myers – White Center Storefront

7:20 pm Bryan Hastings – Evergreen Community Aquatic Center

7:40 pm Treasurer’s Report

7:50 pm Committee Reports
1. Governance
2. Arts and Parks
3. Public Safety
4. Housing and Human Services
5. Public Outreach
6. Transportation

8:00 pm Unfinished Business/Old Business
• Bylaws

8:10 pm New Business
• May 2 Public Safety Forum
• King County Grant Application
• Jubilee Days

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From cannabis to crimefighting: North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s public-safety forum

February 8th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline UAC, safety, White Center news 2 Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

From fighting graffiti vandalism to forming block watches to learning where legal marijuana stands, about 40 people got a more-than-full serving of public-safety information last night at the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council‘s quarterly forum.

Here’s how it went:

LIQUOR (AND MARIJUANA) CONTROL BOARD UPDATES

Tim Thompson from the Washington Liquor Control Board started off by warning he didn’t have much information about marijuana, referring to the I-502 rule-drafting process now under way (including public forums, with an updated schedule). You can get all the latest in this section of the WALCB website.

No specific current liquor cases were discussed. (If you need to contact Thompson to report a problem, 206-439-3739 or TAT@liq.wa.gov.)

Asked how privatization is going, he mentioned there are about 1,000 retailers now and still growing, at least over the next two years – “after that, we’re not sure where that’s going to go,” regarding the current restriction to spaces 10,000 square feet or more (unless it was a grandfathered ex-liquor store).

He mentioned that the trend of liquor thefts was on the wane; if you find any bottle locking mechanism disposed of – it can be tracked by matching it to the store from which it came, so contact the LCB (or other law enforcement).

MORE ABOUT MARIJUANA

What’s it like on the front lines, as a sanctioned recreational-marijuana industry forms, while the medical-marijuana industry forges forward?

Chris Cody of Herban Legends in downtown White Center said, “Up till now, it’s been very Wild West-y … I’ve done my best to be as conscientious as possible,” and he’s even been part of a coalition working on “cannabis standards and ethics,” which he says they are trying to convert into legislation in Olympia for a “more formalized system.”

He foresees that the medical-marijuana industry might go away completely as part of all this – and says that will be a shame because “if you think liquor is taxed now – ” he envisions even higher marijuana taxes.

“A lot of the places that are open now, (probably) won’t be open in a year.”

One attendee asked about testing standards at shops, saying she needs it for insomnia – she quit smoking marijuana 40 years ago “because it put me to sleep” and now that’s exactly the effect she’s looking for. She suggested that recreational users might appreciate analysis of the different strains’ contents and strength, too.

Asked where his supplies come from, Cody discussed the “collective gardens” with which they deal, and how he checks on what they use while growing.

In a wide-ranging Q/A, he was asked if major pharmaceutical companies are likely to jump into the marijuana business. He didn’t think so, unless it was reclassified at the federal level (where, despite legalization in our state and elsewhere, it remains illegal).

Overall, Cody believes, “This is going to be a boon for Washington – whether you like it or not – it’s going to bring people here from all over the world.”

Invariably, before the discussion ended, somebody asked if Cody had samples. Giggling ensued. NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin moved the agenda along.

GRAFFITI VANDALISM / “BROKEN WINDOWS THEORY”

Burien police Sgt. Henry McLauchlan, a 35-year veteran with the King County Sheriff’s Office, first marveled that he never expected to find himself following up a discussion about legal marijuana shops. He had praise for Cody trying to rationally and responsibly work through the issues.

Then – to the “broken windows theory” – the domino effect if one bit of vandalism or disrepair is left unattended to.

While examples of tagging were being shown, someone called out a certain prolific vandal’s name. “Gonna get that j*****s one of these days,” Sgt. McLauchlan laughed. He also mentioned that Facebook is a tagging-fighting tool – since the vandals “love to brag,” and the investigators know how to find what they post.

But the front-line defense is up to property/business owners:

“The only response you can have is to get it painted out as fast as possible,” he exhorted attendees. He also explained that taggers are showing off, but gang-graffiti vandals are marking their territory.

Veering off the track for a moment, he discussed the concept of responsibility – saying that gun control doesn’t seem to him a matter of how many guns you have, as long as you’re responsible and nobody else can “get their hands on them.”

Burien, for example, has an ordinance requiring people to clean up graffiti.

Some of the vandalized unincorporated-area properties photographed by NHUAC president Dobkin included the former Bernie and Boys, the former El Chalan/Wendy’s/Ezell on 16th, the old NAPA building, and some other sites in areas including Top Hat. “It just doesn’t bode well for a community,” Dobkin lamented. “And then people start (illegally dumping on the site) …” NHUAC councilmembers and volunteers have periodic paintouts, and also engage state Department of Corrections-provided crews are engaged by KCSO when possible.

What about property owners who are sent repeated letters about violations/concerns? County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who was on hand for the entire meeting, said it was complicated, once people wind up being summoned to court.

He was challenged by a community member who expressed frustration that “we’ve been putting up with this for years” (regarding the business properties) – at which point McDermott said he’s drafting a letter himself to contact the property owners (ostensibly the El Chalan site owners, listed as NB Partners LLC, which traces in county records to Mark and Tom Nickels).

Sgt. McLauchlan then recounted how he and his teams worked on shutting down muisance multi-family properties, and “It’s a nightmare.” He suggested, though, that publishing the names of the nuisance property owners might have some effect. How to go about that?

One attendee then said it was a shame that Burien annexation hadn’t passed, since that municipality has tougher laws than the county itself. Later, Sgt. McLauchlan went on to detail the difficulty of catching graffiti vandals in action. Is there another way for them to express their creativity? one person asked. One woman said she hopes to start a “White Center as an art zone.” campaign.

If you have graffiti problems – contact NHUAC for advice on how to handle it! (Lots of info on their site at northhighlineuac.org.)

DEPUTY MYERS’ UPDATES

White Center Storefront-based Deputy BJ Myers took the spotlight next. He says there’s been a high level of auto thefts for many months and one detective is now taking the lead on most of the investigations. He’s been analyzing patterns, seeing themes, and working on ways to catch the auto thieves before they steal the cars. Myers said “small groups of thieves stealing many cars” is what they believe they are seeing the most.

By the way – one way to reduce auto thefts, he suggested, is: Don’t leave your car idling while it’s warming up; one investigator “is getting tired of reading those reports!” Myers said.

Mail theft also has been high in the past month – but “we’ve also caught and identified some mail thieves,” as has Seattle Police‘s Southwest Precinct, said Deputy Myers, “so hopefully those numbers will start moving down.” In areas where are non-locking mailboxes, they’ll find “piles of mail at the end of the street,” he said.

He also shared detectives’ requests to document serial numbers on expensive items – electronics, tools, etc. Could be as easy as taking a photo of your items. And be sure to keep that photo – or the info, otherwise documented – someplace you can find it no matter what happens! And he talked about suspects who can be one-person crime waves, like someone who stole a car, then went and stole a lawn mower, and had committed about five thefts before he was caught.

“How did you catch the mail thieves?” Deputy Myers was asked. Answer: Somebody called in a tip, seeing someone looking in a mailbox that wasn’t theirs. He said that’s almost always the way it goes.

He mentioned the recent serial robberies; the robber is pretty well covered up, so it’s tough, but they’re working on it, Deputy Myers said, noting that nobody has been hurt – yet – and the heists have tended to happen late in the evening. The detectives in the Major Crime Unit are working on it. “I think we’re going to catch this guy,” he said.

BLOCK WATCHES

Burien Police Community Service Officer Nicki Maraulja brought longtime volunteers Patty and Pam to talk to the group about how Block Watches work; they are members of the Burien Citizens’ Patrol: “It starts small but has a big impact.”

They mentioned North Highline’s late Barb Peters as an example of somebody “so involved” in their local community, full of personal responsibility.

The size of a “block” for a Block Watch is not necessarily rigorously defined, the volunteers said. They talked about time-proven tacics of dealing with possible suspicious folks in the neighborhood – go up to them, talk to them, ask them how they’re doing. She also advocated setting up websites or groups for neighborhoods.

But first – be sure you have a block watch! Asked how many people in the room have one, close to half of the 40 or so raised their hands. The unincorporated area has about 25; Burien has more than 120.

One person suggested they might set a goal of doubling the number of block watches this year.

Informational booths at community events “are a great way to reach out to your neighbors,” too, the volunteers had.

If some neighbors don’t want to participate – don’t let that stop you, they urged. “Just do it.”

Officer Maraulja said, “It’s fun,” and the volunteers mentioned Night Out, getting together wth your neighbors, etc.

E-mailing her is the best way to organize a Block Watch.

“The more people you have watching out for each other, the better – don’t wait till something happens.”

FINAL WORDS

Sgt. McLauchlan said the four most important words on the topic of public safety are:

AWARENESS – it’s simple, if you’re not awareness of your surroundings, you can’t help your neighbors, you can’t help yourself.

AVOIDANCE – Be the eyes and ears (though don’t get TOO involved, and don’t confront a criminal – “that’s why you have 911.”

KNOWLEDGE – that’s a Block Watch, a Crime Prevention meeting, “a lot o things’ – including personal responsibility. (and call 911 when you see something suspicious)

PREPARATION – work together – put together Block Watches – make this work for you – if you do, “it’s going to make this a lot nicer place to be.

Thursday, May 2nd, is the next forum, location TBA, with a guest lineup topped, says NHUAC president Dobkin, by Sheriff John Urquhart.

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From the WCN Event Calendar: No North Highline UAC meeting this month

December 26th, 2012 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on From the WCN Event Calendar: No North Highline UAC meeting this month

The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council usually meets on the first Thursday of the month, but not this month. From president Barbara Dobkin:

The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council will not be holding a meeting in January. Please stay tuned for information regarding the February 7, 2013 meeting. See you all then.

NHUAC is online at northhighlineuac.org.

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1st North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting since annexation vote

December 8th, 2012 Tracy Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on 1st North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting since annexation vote

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Some differences Thursday night as the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council met for the first time since voters rejected annexation to Burien.

For one – Burien’s city manager Mike Martin wasn’t on the agenda; pre-vote, he had been a fixture for many months.

Someone who had been a previous fixture at meetings for some months did appear, unannounced, to start the meeting:

THOMAS BATES FROM THE U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE: Bates was a figure at NHUAC meetings during the aftermath of “Operation Center of Attention – and he showed up tonight to reiterate the feds’ commitment to safety a year later, saying “We want everyone to know they can call me, call our office,” though the committee was happy to see him. He noted that guilty pleas continue to emerge (including one reported here last week). So far, he says 21 defendants have pleaded guilty or being convicted, and another trial is set for next week.

Bates invited questions, and was asked about the federal position on the marijuana-law change in our state; he pointed out the statement that was released saying the federal government “continues to evaluate” while reiterating that possession and distribution remains illegal under federal law, which cannot be changed by states. Overall, he said, if problems are noticed, talking to local law enforcement is still the best course of action if you have concerns about something.

CAPT. PATRICK BUTSCHLI, KING COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE: His appearance marked the first since the election of new Sheriff John Urquhart. He started by answering some questions he said he had received via e-mail – including one about the “14 deputies” staffing addition that was mentioned during the campaign. That involved filling vacant positions, not adding “additional deputies,” he clarified, much as he said they would like to. Most of the time, he said, the department carries about 20 vacancies – and they can’t start the process of filling a vacancy until the day the person who held the job departs. “It takes a year to (get) a deputy,” he said, including recruiting, training, and other parts of the process. Accelerating that process is what the campaign discussion was about, he clarified. As for how it’ll affect this area, they don’t know yet, he said, and they are waiting to find out from the new Sheriff about his plans for the agency – “no changes to the way you are staffed in this community … still two deputies 24/7 minimum,”he said, and during the day, usually more. He said he expected Deputy B.J. Myers to stay in the White Center storefront. Capt. Butschli also noted that Sheriff Urquhart spent a lot of time working in this area and feels warmly toward it – as well as understanding “the crime and disorder problems in this area” – so he expects the new sheriff will be a supporter of the area.

(In later questioning, the captain reiterated that it’s important to call for help if something happens – “PLEASE call,” he said. “You’ll be politely told if it’s not” (a police matter).

Regarding Club Evo, the club owner is still under injunction to prevent it from being put back into operation – and had to be “reminded of that,” as he put it, when a rave almost happened two weeks ago (as covered exclusively by WCN, here and here). “I think we’re still going to have a fight on our hands with Club Evo,” he warned – “the owners and operators are still paying taxes … and are going to try anything they can to legally get some income out of it.” The injunction has to do with sprinklers and no business permits, “and we’re going to continue to enforce that as we can … barring any legal maneuvering .. I think it’s going to be an ongoing tug of war.”

Regarding marijuana, he foresaw “some enforcement options if people are wandering the streets, lighting up.” He hoped that there will eventually be some clear law-enforcement guidelines. He reiterated what Bates had suggested – “I urge you all to continue to report that stuff. … You want to be the community that calls all the time. … If (sheriffs show up frequently) the people will move on to other areas.” .. “Our position has been to enforce what we know is still illegal, and to continue to agitate for clear guidelines on how to enforce the rest of it.”

(Speaking later, Deputy Myers said they weren’t made aware until the day before Thanksgiving [which is when we heard about it too, and published our first story] and it took a couple days over the holiday to get hold of anyone who could do something. Finally a copy of the injunction that prevented such events in the building was produced, and they spoke to the event organizers to make sure they knew about it – just an hour and a half or so before the event was scheduled to happen.)

Asked about crime trends, Capt. Butschli said the burglary problem continues to be “bad.” He said there’s a mini-trend of home invasions (though he didn’t mention it specifically, it appeared to include the Top Hat case). Deputy BJ Myers said there’s been some success this past month “catching burglars in the act.”

Casing typically involves knocking on doors and, if someone answers, making up an excuse to make it sound like they were legitimate. The captain said they definitely want to hear from citizens to whom that happens.

NHUAC member Jessica Stoneback asked what had brought out a significant KCSO presence near the Evergreen campus two nights earlier. The KCSO reps weren’t certain – surveillance, possibly.

METRO TRANSIT POLICE DEPUTY: Deputy Myers says there’s now a Transit Police deputy assigned primarily to the West Precinct – which includes Burien, White Center, etc. – and that he is spending a lot of time in White Center, especially 15th/Roxbury. “His presence out here is being felt a lot by us … it’s made a big difference,” said Myers.

COMPLAINT WITHDRAWN: President Dobkin noted that a complaint filed against NHUAC with the Public Disclosure Commission by a Burien resident accusing it of acting as a political action committee has been withdrawn, “and that’s good news for us.”

COUNCIL ANNOUNCEMENTS: NHUAC member Liz Giba says the North Highline Fire District Board of Commissioners, on which she also sits, will meet again on December 17 and talk about budget issues … Giba also clarified that NHUAC has long worked to have the new White Center Library built on the site where it is now … Speaking of libraries, the White Center Library Guild Holiday Bazaar is today, 11 am-3 pm with a magician performing at 2 pm … President Dobkin noted that the county is going to start having open houses for the new Community Service Areas, though none is planned in White Center – Renton is the closest …

DEALING WITH FINANCES: Since the county no longer funds unincorporated-area councils, NHUAC is funding what it does out of its own pocket. The county did invite grant applications related to the new “Community Service Areas” and NHUAC did get some grant money to continue its Public Safety Forums, but needs to decide how to financially handle regular meetings. “I think (the council) is more important than ever, since we are going to stay unincorporated, and stay unincorporated for a long time,” Dobkin observed, adding that NHUAC will maintain county connections such as those with County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who she says has assured them that he’ll continue to be responsive to concerns, issues, and inquiries.

OTHER NOTES ABOUT NHUAC’S FUTURE: Barbara Dobkin quipped that she didn’t particularly want to be “president for life” – but the council has to figure out how it will work going forward. It has a couple open seats, and another one as of now – she said Patrick Mosley is leaving the community and will no longer serve. They used to have community elections for NHUAC seats, but that costs money they no longer get – so they want to figure out how to open participation to other interested community members. They also want to keep their nonprofit certification, website and post-office box going – that means a near-term expense of close to $200 to cover the next six months or so. They intend to let their liability insurance lapse, though, since the county grant they applied for, to seek funding for continuing meetings, would have covered that, but was denied.

Council member Douglas Harrell wondered if quarterly meetings might be appropriate. “Given that we are a non-entity at this point, we can do whatever he want,” he observed, after wondering aloud whether Seattle might move to annex the area since the state sales-tax credit was only in effect for a couple years. Council member Giba didn’t think it likely. Dobkin also pointed out that the council actually is an entity – incorporated with the state.

Back to the money issue – Harrell (owner of Roxbury Lanes) thought they might consider a fundraiser at some point down the line. “I know a guy who owns a bowling alley,” he said, drawing laughter.

LIBRARY FUTURE: It was recapped that the King County Library System plan to build a new White Center Library has fallen into some turmoil – over where it would be sited. The committee’s position continues to be that it should be rebuilt “where it is.” NHUAC is hoping to have “a seat at the table” when the site is considered.

SIDE NOTE OF THE NIGHT: If you keep your registration info in your car, will that lead to burglary, with someone breaking into your car, seeing your address and heading there? Deputy Myers said that has not been a particular problem – but if you’re worried, register your car to a PO Box rather than your home address, as the law continues to require that you carry registration so you can produce it if pulled over.

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