Congratulations to the 47 Northshore School District students who have been named Commended Students by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
• Bothell High School—Trevor McAllister-Day, Derek Wenger and Matthew Williamson.
• Inglemoor High School—Julianna Bauman, Alex Bernard, Kevin Bi, Rakchanok Chavanachat, Qiaoman Chen, Tan Chou, Emily Grabowski, Logan Heine, Jennifer Lee, Joshua Lee, Bethany Li, Lilian Liang, Hannah Lin, Qing Liu, Edward Lou, Emma MacDuff, Alison McQueen, Mateusz Merchel, Jessica Negara, Gina Quellette, Issa Rice, Victoria Robinson, Annalise Schweickart, Emily Sokol, Stuart Wang, Coles Weber, Alex Williams, Jacqueline Wong, Sophie Xie and Nikolaus Yochum.
Woodinville High School—Kylin Andreotti, Matthias Argenyi, Valentino Bagnoli, Heather Brevard, Jeanine Campbell, Kathryn Davidson, Mitchell Henderson, Robert Luo, Kelsey Oler, Ridge Peterson, Zackery Powell, William Prostka, Naveena Sathiyamoorthy and Millanda Zhou.
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation recognized the top 50,000 of the 1.5 million students who took the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Approximately one-third of the 50,000 were recognized as semi-finalists and will go on to compete for finalist status and National Merit scholarships. More than two-thirds received letters of commendation. Commended Students do not continue in competition for National Merit scholarships, but they are considered for other scholarships because of their exceptional academic promise.
Timbercrest Junior High School teacher Paula Cautrell’s first period Challenge English class was interrupted Tuesday morning with a surprise delivery of $1,000 in classroom supplies from OfficeMax as part of the seventh annual A Day Made Better event. Nominated by her Timbercrest colleagues, Cautrell was recognized for her passion and commitment to the teaching profession, exemplifying quality teaching on a daily basis.Almost 1,000 teachers across the country were honored as A Day Made Better recipients Oct. 1. The OfficeMax A Day Made Better program, in partnership with its non-profit partner AdoptAClassroom.org, aims to help end the need for teacher-funded classrooms. Since 2007, A Day Made Better and other OfficeMax Goodworks programs have contributed more than $25 million in grants and supplies to support more than 31,000 teachers and their classrooms.
Last week’s City Council meeting, which one citizen who spoke referred to as a "blood sport," included arguments among council members and between the public and the council on two contentious topics: plans for property acquisitions and changing the council’s Rules of Procedure to censure — or censor — fellow council members.
Several citizens who each commented to the council multiple times spoke out against the council’s attempt to impose stricter ethics rules and punishments, and in favor of expanding the city’s Capital Improvement Plan, or CIP, to permit the city to buy land for parks, wildlife migration corridors and buffer areas to protect against natural disasters.
At the Sept. 24 meeting, the council was supposed to decide only whether to continue the ethics discussion in this calendar year or the next, but the council members often strayed into discussing the merits of the ethics rules themselves.
In July, the council discussed procedures to remove the mayor and deputy mayor from their positions and to reprimand council members for inappropriate behavior or cyberbullying.
Citizens came out to tell the council that the discussion was a waste of time, and Councilmember Art Pregler suggested tabling Resolution 436, about removing the mayor and deputy mayor, until January 2014. That motion passed unanimously. Later in the same meeting, the council discussed ethics — namely, ways to reprimand a council member for bullying or saying something untrue.
Now, several things are unclear. Does the second discussion affect the Code of Ethics or the Rules of Procedure? Was it tabled until January or intended to be discussed now? And does it address ways to censure (to formally reprimand or express disapproval) or censor (to examine and delete unacceptable parts of something) council members’ speech?
In July, the council’s motion to consider a censure or censor process was separate from the motion about removing a mayor or deputy mayor, which was tabled until next year, but the council didn’t specify when to discuss the censure or censor process, City Manager Richard Leahy said.
The minutes from the July 16 meeting mention both the Code of Ethics and the Rules of Procedure regarding the censure or censor process. Deputy Mayor Liz Aspen said the inclusion of the Code of Ethics was an error, and that the discussion would only address changing the Rules of Procedure.
Councilmember Susan Boundy-Sanders said it was "troublingly ironic" that the agenda item for the Sept. 24 meeting and the minutes from the July 16 meeting refer to a censor process.
"I believe they meant ‘censure,’" Leahy explained after the Sept. 24 meeting, but at the meeting, Councilmember Paulette Bauman clarified that her motion was to schedule a time before Nov. 1, 2013 to consider adding language for a censor process to the Rules of Procedure.
That motion passed 3-2, with Aspen, Bauman and Councilmember Les Rubstello voting yes and Boundy-Sanders and Mayor Bernie Talmas voting no, so the council will discuss adding a censor process to the Rules of Procedure sometime in October.
Citizens criticized the council for bringing back the discussion of ethics.
"Look, you already have a Code of Ethics," Steve Yabroff, the vice chair of Woodinville’s planning commission, commented. "... We are sick and tired of the smear campaigns, the political grandstanding and so on."
The council also held a public hearing for Ordinance 573, which would amend the city’s 2013-2018 CIP, which would ultimately amend the Comprehensive Plan. As it was originally written, the CIP refers broadly to a "Property Acquisition." The amendment would specifically identify the rail corridor as possible property acquisition PA3, Leahy explained.
Specifying the rail corridor as a targeted acquisition would allow the city to use capital revenues and grants to buy land for the Sammamish River bridge project, the trestle widening project, the "rails and trails" connection and other future projects, Leahy said.
The estimated cost of the rail corridor acquisition is $2 million, but Leahy emphasized that the CIP is not a budget. The CIP also identifies two other possible property acquisitions: PA1 is for parks, critical areas and buffer zones at an estimated cost of $1.05 million, and PA2 for creekside wetlands at an estimated cost of $50,000.
Although none of the council members objected to including the rail corridor acquisition in the CIP, the first reading of the ordinance failed because of an amendment that broadened its scope.
Boundy-Sanders moved to broaden the scope of PA1 to include landslide areas, stormwater management lands, wildlife corridors and wind buffers.
"We as a city have spent $273,000 on legal expenses and another $2.25 million on consultants’ studies to protect ourselves from the dangers of developments that would literally have put citizens’ lives in danger," Boundy-Sanders said. "... The landslide hazard areas do exist. We had the best consultant in the state confirm that. The citizens do want protection from things like landslide hazards. They’ve showed up in hundreds at numerous hearings to tell us that. And finally, is it a government’s job to protect its citizens? Damn straight it is. So this is — this should be — a no-brainer."
"I’d like to echo Councilmember Susan Boundy-Sanders’ comments," resident Hank Stecker commented. "The scope on this [the original ordinance] is absolutely not broad enough.
"More monies need to be set aside, and the scope needs to be broadened as far as wind buffers, landslide, stormwater management, wildlife corridors."
The amendment passed with Boundy-Sanders, Talmas and Bauman voting yes. Aspen and Rubstello said that although they supported the railroad expansion, they didn’t support the amendment. Pregler and Councilmember Scott Hageman were absent.
"I’m definitely all for the railroad corridor .... I’d love to see it in the CIP, but adding this new stuff at the eleventh hour seems improper," Rubstello said, adding that citizens haven’t had a chance to comment on hazard areas and wildlife corridors.
The council members all voted the same way for the main ordinance as they did for the amendment.
An amendment only needs a majority of the council members present to pass, but an ordinance requires at least four votes to pass, so first reading of Ordinance 573 failed.
The council can still bring the ordinance back and reconsider it, Leahy said.
A woman charged with stealing $6,200 from the Woodinville High School Music Boosters earlier this year was found guilty of attempted felony theft in 2005, according to court documents.
Deana Maureen Palmer, 42, previously known as Deana Drake, was charged with first-degree felony theft because she allegedly stole more than $5,000 between February and April 2013 in her role as the Music Boosters’ treasurer.
Corinne Lawson, the 2012-2013 president of the Music Boosters, said the club’s board discovered the theft after Banner Bank reported suspicious activity.
Lawson explained that during the 2012-2013 school year, several board members resigned or were busy with personal issues, and one month, nobody verified the bank statement.
"That was the month that she started doing some unauthorized withdrawals," Lawson said.
When the other members of the booster club discovered some money was missing, Lawson explained, "We held an emergency meeting and we went through every transaction with a fine-toothed comb."
Surveillance photos and withdrawal slips from Banner Bank showed Palmer making unauthorized cash withdrawals that totaled $4,700 in February through April, according to court documents. There were also two checks, equaling $1,500, issued from the Music Boosters’ account to Palmer’s private company, Eastside Women’s Show.
Lawson estimates the total amount Palmer stole was closer to $7,500, including some cash deposits, but there is no documentation to prove the amount of the cash deposits. The money was supposed to pay for trips, uniforms, festivals and instrument repairs, Lawson said.
According to court documents, Palmer allegedly used card readers to make fraudulent transactions from parents during a winter fundraiser. The charges of more than $500 were tracked to "Eastside Women’s Show," but all the known victims received refunds from their banks, the court documents state.
Palmer was invited to the emergency meeting after the theft was discovered, but she didn’t attend. The other board members unanimously voted her off the board and asked her to resign via email, court documents state. Lawson said the booster club hasn’t heard from Palmer since then.
Although the Music Boosters’ rules require two board members to sign any check, the other member who co-signed the fraudulent checks to Palmer’s company said the checks were blank at the time, court documents explain. The other member said Palmer gave her the impression the blank checks were for teachers to use on a trip in case of an emergency.
"There was a little bit of sleight-of-hand," Lawson said, adding that "we lay no blame on that other person."
Thanks to insurance and donations from the public, the Music Boosters were able to get most of the money they needed, Lawson said. But the experience has prompted them to make some changes.
Now, not only do two people have to sign each check, but a different person must make the deposit. And all board members now must go through a State Patrol background check that screens for felonies.
The club was unaware that Palmer had previously been convicted of theft, Lawson said.
In 2005, Palmer pled guilty to attempted felony theft for faking a sale of phones and service plans, for which she received a commission of $10,705.25, when she worked as an account executive for Nextel Communications in Redmond, according to court documents. She served 30 days of house arrest.
"I have been in touch with other victims of hers — this is not the first or the last," Lawson said.
Elizabeth McDanold says she’s worked with Palmer in two of Palmer’s companies.
McDanold worked as an accountant for Palmer’s company GTX Marketing in the beginning and helped Palmer create the Eastside Women’s Show. McDanold says she lost money to Palmer in several ways — wages that Palmer didn’t pay McDanold and other employees, money that McDanold loaned to Palmer, and McDanold’s money that she invested in the companies.
McDanold said Palmer kept promising to pay her, but in the meantime, McDanold discovered suspicious things on Palmer’s bank statements. When Palmer finally got the money, she spent it on herself rather than pay her employees, McDanold said.
"She eats out all the time. She uses it for her kids’ softball events. Just random junk," McDanold said, adding that Palmer spends up to $15,000 in a month.
McDanold and some of Palmer’s other employees are still in the process of filing claims with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries to get their wages, although "L&I is kind of giving us the runaround," McDanold said.
Since the law views each occurrence of fraud as its own case and most of Palmer’s alleged thefts are under the limits for strict penalties, McDanold said it’s been hard to penalize her for the total amount of money she’s reportedly stolen.
"Everyone’s frustrated because we’ve been seeing this pattern for 14 years now. She finds new victims, new lies," McDanold said. "They [the Music Boosters] really wanted to see a punishment come her way, because she deserves one."
Palmer did not return calls and emails to her companies, GTX Marketing and Eastside Women’s Show.