Rewind of ’09: From The Bachelor to annexation

News in 2009 was dominated by annexation, elections and budget defects. But many other issues made the news during the calendar year from a Kirkland resident’s fore into reality TV, the opening of the Google campus, the death of “Mr. Kirkland” and some big shakeups at City Hall. Here are just a few of the big stories that hit the pages of the Kirkland Reporter.


Kirkland resident Jason Mesnick returns to ABC’s “The Bachelor” as the program’s leading man, which debuted Jan. 5. Mesnick began on the show as a contestant in 2008.

With a projected $19 million defecit to deal with, the Kirkland City Council returns to the city’s on-again, off-again relationship with the annexation of several large neighborhoods to the north at city hall Jan. 6. Both the budget and annexation would dominate the news in 2009. It is also revealed that the snow of December 2008 cost the City of Kirkland approximately $50,000.

Underhill’s Fine Wood Furniture announces that it will also close its Totem Lake, Bellevue and Lynnwood stores on March 31.

“After 62 years, Underhill’s must close its doors,” third-generation business owner Josh Underhill said.

Senior residents started the year in their new homes with the opening of Merrill Gardens at Kirkland. The state-of-the-art community is the newest addition to the Merrill Gardens family of retirement communities. Merrill Gardens at Kirkland offers 115 private luxury apartments, just steps from Lake Washington in downtown Kirkland, at 201 Kirkland Avenue.

The Kirkland Library closes Jan. 25 for the 4,000-square-foot addition. A temporary site opens Feb. 2, at Parkplace Books. The Library would reopen during the fall.

Forty years after the Beatles ambled up the stairs and onto the roof to play their last public performance, local Beatles cover band Creme Tangerine performs atop Pike Place market to celebrate on Jan. 30.


Chuck Morgan “Mr. Kirkland” has send off before moving to Wenatchee to live closer to family. Gathering at Heritage Hall Feb. 1, a parade of neighbors, friends, former newspaper colleagues and politicians of note all stopped by to bid farewell to Morgan, a former owner of the East Side Journal and civic activist.

The 63-year resident, so bound up with the city’s history that some call him “Mr. Kirkland,” moved to the other side of the Cascades to Wenatchee.

“This is what makes Kirkland so close to me,” Morgan told the crowd. “I just want you to know my heartfelt appreciation to you.”

Morgan would pass away later in 2009 (for more information, see page ___).

Rumored for months but never confirmed publicly until February, Google’s ambitious expansion plans in Kirkland are scaled back. The news came from Peter Wilson, Google site manager for its Kirkland offices and keynote speaker at a Bellevue Chamber business lunch at the Bellevue Hilton Feb. 12. The company, which opened its first Seattle area offices in Kirkland in 2004, originally announced the expansion plans in 2007 when the city approved a 195,000-square-foot, three building office development built by SRM Development on Sixth Street South. The campus would eventually open in late summer.

A Kirkland carjacking suspect crashs on I-5 southbound in a high-speed attempt to evade police, which tied up traffic for hours.

A local man in his 50s or 60s was sitting alone in his parked 1996 blue Jaguar XJ6 at the Kingsgate Park and Ride lot at around 12:05 p.m. when he was approached by the suspect. The assailant allegedly wielded a knife and demanded the keys to the vehicle, which the victim handed over without incident.

Kirkland police arrest two robbery suspects Feb. 12 for allegedly robbing several Eastside and Snomomish County Hispanic businesses over the past three months.


Diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer, Kirkland resident Barbara McKay becomes one of the first Washington residents to take advantage of new Death with Dignity law.

Every week for the last six years, Boyle, 56, has become a familiar sight to motorists passing through Kirkland on Interstate 405. He uses his bike to roll down to an overpass above the freeway and waves a large placard that states his opposition to the US military presence – until recently – in Iraq. But a few months ago, Boyle switched the sign for a new one: “U.S. Out of Afghanistan”.

“Something like 10,000 people will see this sign in the one-and-a-half hours that I’m here,” he said.

Kirkland city officials confirm the Totem Lake shopping center, long an underperforming dead-weight on the city’s tax-base, is being privately shopped around by owners Coventry/DDR.

“They’re pursuing a number of options,” said City Manager Dave Ramsay. “I had heard, basically on the street, that it was for sale.”

Ramsay announced the property was for sale during a March 3 public meeting, but later amended his comments by explaining the property is not technically on the market. City Economic Development Manager Ellen Miller-Wolfe said Coventry/DDR has put the redevelopment on hold while seeking tenants for leases up to three years, but the mall as a whole continues to shed retailers.

The Kirkland Boys & Girls Club celebrates its 35th anniversary on March 14.

A 41-year-old Kirkland man, Kristopher Beal, who tackled a bank robber during a heist at a downtown Bellevue bank, is honored March 11 for his heroism by the Bellevue Police and the FBI at Bellevue City Hall.

Lake Washington High School and school district officials, builders and both current and future students gather at a fallow field near 75th Street to officially break ground for the construction of a new high school March 18.

The $75 million plan to rebuild the school is part of the school district’s strategy to re-conceptualize teaching and learning methods. After passing a bond for school modernization in 2004, LWSD Superintendent Dr. Chip Kimball said rebuilding the 60-year-old high school was always one of their top priorities. Construction will be complete in Fall 2011.

“We want to make sure our kids are ‘future ready,’” he said. “This facility is going to make that happen.”


The Washington State Department of Ecology and toxics cleanup engineers began cleaning up a former industrial site in Kirkland on March 25, beginning a process that could conclude decades of work to remove contaminants from the soil.

J. Kevin Nalder replaces current Fire Chief Jeff Blake, retiring April 15 after 12 years of service to the city.

Thirty-three Carl Sandburg Elementary and Discovery Community School students in grades K-6 participate in a teleconference via ham radio with the International Space Station.

Sandburg Elementary was one of only three schools around the world that participated in the teleconference. The other participating schools were Miyahara Elementary School in Japan and CAMUS in France.

Costco Wholesale Corp. announces plans to shut down its two Costco Home stores in Kirkland and Tempe, Ariz. by July 3.

The decision was reportedly made as current lease obligations at the properties neared their end and changes in the company’s plans due to the economic downturn. The Home Store would reopen later in 2009 under new ownership.

After 20 years of business at Carillon Point, Yarrow Bay Grill announces it will close. bin on the lake would takeover the location in late summer.

A Washington Department of Ecology spills response crew oversee the work of a contractor refloating a tugboat with 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board that sank on the northeast end of Lake Washington April 18. The contractor was able to recover almost all the fuel.

Kirkland City Council votes 5 to 2 to approve legislation to move forward with annexing the Potential Annexation Area of Finn Hill, North Juanita and Kingsgate neighborhoods following a council public hearing on April 7.

Longtime John Muir Elementary teacher Sally Horton dies of breast cancer. The community remembers the third grade teacher who gave 22 years to the Lake Washington School District.


State Rep. Ross Hunter announces April 28 that he’s running for King County Executive. The former Microsoft manager said his top priorities would be consolidating county services and making them more efficient, describing his plan as King County 2.0. Hunter joins a large field to replace then Executive Ron Sims, who is nominated by President Barack Obama for a position as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Hunter would lose during the August primary, as Dow Constantine wins during the general election in November.

A Kirkland mom is arrested for the alleged assault of a 12-year-old Kirkland American Little League player after a baseball game at Everest Park ball field May 2.

According to the police report, the 41-year-old mother was arrested and booked at the Kirkland Police Department for fourth-degree assault of a child. The woman would have the charges reduced to disorderly conduct in December.


Kirkland Boy Scout Troop 570’s annual trip to Blake Island turns into a rescue situation for the 29 boys and 15 adults.

The group helps find a missing 60-year-old woman with the early stages of Alzheimers, who had been missing for two hours on the 475-acre island in Puget Sound.

Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mulally leaves his company’s global headquarters in Michigan to deliver a new Ford to Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer on Redmond’s Microsoft campus in June. The vehicle came right off the lot at Ford of Kirkland.

Lake Washington High School, International Community School and Juanita High School graduate a combined 672 seniors.

Kirkland Mayor James Lauinger announces he will not run for re-election and City Manager Dave Ramsay announces he will step down at the end of the year. The filing deadline for Kirkland City Council races result in a big shakeup in the field of candidates. The shakeups in the council races would result in two primary races August 18. No incumbent runs unopposed.

Police pull a body from Lake Washington on June 5 at Juanita Beach. Officials believe it is a man that went missing the night before.

That man is believed to be in his 50s. He and another man headed to the east side of Lake Washington. Sometime during the trip the boat ran out of gas and drifted north of the 520 bridge.

A bank robber who held up the Chase Bank in the Kingsgate neighborhood June 12 hit the same bank four times since January. The man was eventually apprehended thanks to video surveillance.


The Kirkland City Council approves in a 5-2 vote to grandfather in the Caribbean Casino in the Kingsgate neighborhood during the July 7 meeting. The council would then vote 5-2 to adopt the city’s recommendations for zoning in the PAA at its July 21 meeting. The moves were some of the most controversial of the year-long annexation issues.

Kirkland resident Howard Trott helps to build the worlds largest solar power plant in central Washington’s Teanaway Valley.

A man holding a suspicious package robs the Sterling Bank and threatens employees with a bomb July 28.


Tent City 4 residents return to Holy Spirit Lutheran Church on Aug. 1. The encampment stayed at the site until Oct. 31.

The Department of Licensing office in Kirkland announces it will close permanently at the end of September and merge with the Bellevue office.

The Kirkland Criterium bike ride races through the streets of Kirkland Aug. 9.

A Mill Creek man builds wooden bench that is dedicated to slain Kirkland teen Chris Chandler at a special ceremony. Chandler, 18, was shot and killed outside a Mill Creek Halloween party on Oct. 28, 2007. Witnesses said Chandler had tried to stop a fight that had broken out at the party, when a shot was fired and killed him.

An intense fire destroys a historic home on Goat Hill Aug. 5 that was sparked by electrical problems with a dryer outlet.

A minivan with two moms and four kids is rear-ended by a white Dodge pickup truck driven by Geoffrey T. Goddard, 25, of Kirkland going an estimated 100 miles per hour. The man then tried to flee the hospital without his clothes before being apprehended in the parking lot by police.

A 27-year-old man was shot with a hand gun Aug. 11 in the Juanita neighborhood and taken to Harborview Medical Center.

Javid Kahn’s, a student at Lake Washington Technical College, family waits for nearly a week at Juanita Bay Park for King County investigators to find the 21-year-old’s body after he drown in Lake Washington.

A roadside memorial takes shape at 11700 block of 98th Ave. N.E. as Hector’s bartender Kenny Hammrich dies in a one-car accident on Aug. 27 at 11:51 p.m. Kirkland Police said the 24-year-old ran off the road and struck a light pole on an island in the middle of the road. Hammrich spent four days in the ICU of Harbor View Medical Center.

Interim King County Executive Kurt Triplett announces that five parks in the proposed annexation area are among 39 in King County set to be closed thanks to budget cuts.


Kirkland City Council candidate Martin Morgan is found to have a criminal record, to owe the city $25,000 and a long history of code violations.

The Sept. 1 council meeting finished with a vote of 4-3 to investigate Council member Bob Sternoff for inappropriate use of city emails. The vote came on the heels of a blog post by Scott St. Clair of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation that accused the councilman of inappropriate use of the city’s email system.

The new 195,000 square foot Google campus in Kirkland finally opens its doors on Aug. 7 after delays.

A Kirkland police officer loses control of his patrol car and slams into a gate at Waverly Park.

A Lynwood woman who failed to help an elderly woman at a Kirkland adult home eat, change her diapers or bring her to the emergency room for infected ulcers, is charged with first-degree criminal mistreatment.

Paul Bakovich is arrested for the second time in less than a month on Aug. 28 for a scam using houses that he does not own and a craigslist add to lure unsuspecting would-be renters into giving him money.

The Kirkland Transit Center on Third Street closes as construction for a new transit center would begin in mid-October.

Carillon Point’s retail, businesses and only waterfront hotel on Lake Washington, The Woodmark, celebrate 20th anniversary.


Police are called to a home in the North Rose Hill neighborhood Oct. 7 after a neighbor complained about a Halloween display. Part of the display was of a zombie hanging from a tree by a noose in the front yard of the home. Police said that they came out to make sure it was not a hate crime. The display was set up by the family’s 19-year-old daughter Emily Anderson.

A woman is attacked with a hammer by her ex-boy friend as she slept in her bed. The incident touches off a man hunt for Milord Gelin, who was arrested for the attack in Oregon a few days later at a bus stop.

The Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board finds that the City of Kirkland’s adoption of the ordinances and rezoning for the Parkplace development are in violation of the Growth Management Act and the Washington State Environmental Policy Act. The city is in the process of appealing the decision.

About 10 surrounding neighbors claim that the construction of the new Juanita PSE substation has damaged their homes. The neighbors also claim that the city is negligent for allowing the substation to be built.

Chuck “Mr. Kirkland” Morgan dies on Oct. 30 at the age of 98. Morgan was known throughout the community for his legacy of activism that earned him the name “Mr. Kirkland.” A large memorial would be held in November at the Kirkland Performance Center.


Nov. 4 general election yields many changes for Kirkland as Council member Tom Hodgson loses to Doreen Marchione, Amy Walen defeats Karen Tennyson for Mayor James Lauinger’s seat, Penny Sweet defeats Brad Larssen for long-time Council member Mary Alyce Burleigh’s seat and Deputy Mayor Joan McBride is the only incumbent to win, defeating Morgan. A 1 percent utility tax increase loses in a landslide and annexation is too close to call as of election night. The issue of the annexation vote would go on for three more weeks, eventually going down to defeat by just seven votes.

The renovated Kirkland Library hosts a preview party to show off the new 4,000 square foot addition and remodeled interior. The remodel includes an automated check-in system and quiet room. The library opened to the public in December.

The Lake Washington School District Board of Directors unanimously approves resolutions for three funding measures to place on the Feb. 9 ballot at its Nov. 23 meeting.

A woman is attacked in a Kirkland parking garage on Nov. 13 by her ex boyfriend’s new girlfriend. The woman is stabbed nearly a dozen times during the attack but manages to dial 911 to get help. The attacker is later identified as Patricia Lynn Crowl, a Seattle woman who was formerly convicted of murder.


The son and daughter-in-law of former Kirkland Mayor Bill Woods are killed when the car they were in was struck by a drunk driver on Highway 9 in Marysville Nov. 29.

A roof collapses on three firefighters from the Northshore Fire District Dec. 9, as they fight a fire at a home in the 13000 block of Holmes Point Drive N.E. The firefighters would be sent to the hospital and released with no major injuries, but the home sustained an estimated $600,000 in damage.

Kirkland resident Camilla Cyr is crowned Miss Teen Washington USA 2010.

Kirkland’s International Community School is ranked 29th best in the nation by U.S. News and World Report in its annual top 100 list. It is one of just four schools in Washington state given a “Gold” rating.

Steve Brown, chief executive officer at Evergreen Hospital Medical Center since 2002, announces his resignation to become the president/CEO of the Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College, Pa.

The year ends as it began but with the conclusion of an issue nearly 20 years in the making as the Kirkland City Council votes 4-3 to accept annexation of the Finn Hill, Kingsgate and North Juanita neighborhoods.