The top 10 stories for 2012 were an interesting mix of election results, crime and sports crowns with a few dashes of controversy thrown in for spice.
10 The Enumclaw High wrestling team won its second straight state 3A title and fourth in five years at the Feb. 18 Mat Classic tournament scoring 126 points for its 2012 crown. Junior Lucas Somera became the Hornets’ third two-time state champion after pinning Deondre Sparks of Pasco for the 138-pound crown.
9 The Enumclaw High gymnastic team won the Class 3A/2A state championship Feb. 18.
8 White River High’s Marcus Dickson claimed two crowns in the 800 and 1,600 meters at the state track and field championship May 26.
7 The July 11 edition carried the story about Aaron Travis Beaird, an Enumclaw financial services and life insurance salesman who was charged by federal prosecutors with “devising a scheme to defraud and obtain money by means of false pretenses, representations and promises.”
The charging document stated, “To date, investigative inquires indicate that Beaird defrauded at least five clients of approximately $2 million dollars.”
Beaird faked his suicide and traveled to Scotland, landing overseas on June 26. He returned to the U.S. July 2 and was arrested at SeaTac airport upon his arrival.
6 The Enumclaw Civil Service Commission on July 10 upheld the termination of Lt. Eric Sortland from the Enumclaw Police Department.
The commission heard two days of testimony before upholding Sortland’s termination for insubordination toward Police Chief Jim Zoll.
5 The Oct. 3 edition reported Enumclaw’s Samuel Shane Alvidrez, 51, pleaded guilty to attempted rape of a child in the third degree. Alvidrez, who operated a martial arts studio on Cole Street at the time of his May 2011 arrest, had originally been charged with two counts of child rape. A spokesman for the King County Prosecutor’s Office said an agreement on a lesser charge was reached, in part, to spare his young victim from having to testify.
4 Former Buckley City Councilman Randy Reed offered a guilty plea to charges of first-degree rape of a child and indecent liberties Sept. 13.
Reed, 55, offered the guilty plea one day after resigning from his post on the Buckley City Council.
3 In an April special election, Enumclaw voters decided to allow the King County Library System to annex the Enumclaw Library. KCLS took over operation of the Enumclaw Library June 1.
2 Enumclaw City Councilman Kevin Mahelona died Nov. 16.
The 54-year-old Mahelona suffered from acute interstitial pneumonia.
The longtime councilman was first elected in November 2001; he was re-elected twice and began serving his most recent four-year term in January 2010.
Mayor Liz Reynolds said, “He always did what was good for the whole and set aside his personal feelings. I am really going to miss him.”
1 The March 28 edition broke the story of Malcolm John Fraser, the assistant pastor of Enumclaw’s Sound Doctrine Church, who was charged March 22 with first-degree rape of a child.
Fraser entered a not guilty plea and his trial is set for Jan. 11.
King County Superior Court Judge Patrick Oishi ruled Aug. 27 in favor of YarrowBay and the city of Black Diamond concerning the Land Use Petition Act appeal filed by Toward Responsible Development. TRD filed the appeal against YarrowBay’s two master planned developments, The Villages and Lawson Hills.
Aug. 14 the Buckely City Council voted to close the city jail and dispatch center. The jail operation ceased Dec. 1.
Buckley resident Lonnie Leroy Tate was charged with four felonies for allegedly setting a neighbor’s van and garage on fire, assaulting the neighbor and hindering the efforts of county deputies Aug. 25.
The great winter event of January 2012 will be remembered for its beautiful blanket of white, the subsequent sheets of ice and, finally, the shattering sound of tree limbs crashing throughout the Plateau.
All that combined to toss Enumclaw, Buckley and nearby neighborhoods into a state of near-paralysis. Power outages were the talk of every town, schools were cancelled four consecutive days and things turned ugly enough to prompt the opening of “warming centers” to meet the needs of the most vulnerable.
A local couple delivering a copy of The Courier-Herald Jan. 10 experienced a harrowing ordeal when they were yelled at, shot at and chased from the countryside to the steps of the Enumclaw Police Department.
The couple – who have a motor route – were delivering newspapers shortly after 5 p.m. Following their normal schedule, they were in the vicinity of 424th Street Southeast and 228th Avenue Southeast when they were suddenly confronted. A pickup blocked their path and a man stepped out, walked to the couple’s Toyota and started hollering.
According to a King County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman, the wife then made the wise decision to flee, easing their vehicle past the pickup and heading out of harm’s way. That’s when they heard a shot and felt a bullet strike their automobile.