There’s no need to recount why 2020 has been the worst. But in reviewing the Woodinville Weekly articles that spanned the past 12 months, there have been so many stories of communities, governments, adults, teenagers and children performing inspiring acts of kindness and service. They are a great reminder that there is hope even when things seemed as if they couldn’t get worse, and then they definitely got much worse. While 2020’s problems won’t disappear at the stroke of midnight, there are at least glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel.
As soon as the pandemic hit Washington state hard in March, the tales of people coming together to sew masks, create face shields, donate food and uplift spirits flooded in.
However, somewhat unsurprisingly, nearly all of this year’s most-read stories online had nothing to do with the novel coronavirus; it should be noted that the Weekly switched website platforms in August, and the statistics likely don’t include page views before that.
The Nov. 24 article about Mayor Elaine Cook leaving her position and moving out of the city quickly became the most-read story of the year, followed by the October article about the man who pointed his gun at protesters during political demonstrations in Woodinville. Coming in third was Woodinville-raised actress Brooke Butler’s starring role in the feature “Lantern’s Lane,” which filmed amid the pandemic.
Here’s a look back at the historic year:
• Woodinville City Councilmembers Al Taylor, Les Rubstello, Gary Harris and Mayor Elaine Cook were sworn into office after being reelected. Two of the races were narrow decisions, with Taylor defeating his challenger by 23 votes and Harris prevailing with 37.
• Woodinville Repertory Theatre began searching for a permanent home.
• City Manager Brandon Buchanan and Mayor Elaine Cook reported that crime in the city had decreased 50%, finances were healthy and that Woodinville may finally be getting a dog park at the annual State of the City Address on Jan. 16. They also shared that development in the city was continuing at a “record level.”
• Public Space Commissioner Paul Hagen resigned from his volunteer position. He said his record on the commission had been distorted and diminished by some of the city council members during the November election.
• Young model car collector Anthony Schmidt began to gain renown for his realistic photos of his small cars. So much so that the 12 year old was surprised with a real 1957 Ford Custom 300 from local business owner Greg Wilkinson. The big donation happened at a parade and car show on Feb. 16, organized by Rich McKee.
• Mike Millman resigns from the Woodinville Planning Commission, citing an “unfriendly atmosphere.” In response, Mayor Elaine Cook said “the good and positive feelings about what we are all working on together for this little city are bigger and have more teeth than the negative feelings some may have.”
• The state’s only Black-owned brewery, Métier Brewing Company, celebrated Black History Month with the release of its new Trail Blazer Pale Ale, which paid tribute to African American world champion cyclist Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor.
• Woodinville’s gymnastics team finished second at the state championships.
• Woodinville Deputy Toly Nazariya and his wife Tanya sought help from the community to renovate the home of an 83-year-old veteran who had a stroke.
• Law enforcement found a deceased woman in a car that had exploded on March 5 on the 15300 block of Woodinville-Redmond Road.
• City Manager Brandon Buchanan signed an emergency proclamation on March 5 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. City Hall and park restrooms were closed.
• The Woodinville Girls Basketball team came up just shy of a perfect season after losing 50-55 at the state championship game March 7.
• Bothell resident Kenneth Warren Rhule was arrested on March 10 for a money laundering operation involving bitcoin.
• A historic Duvall church was destroyed in a fire on March. 16. The building was constructed in 1913.
• On March 17, a month after his resignation, Mike Millman was reappointed to the Woodinville Planning Commission. He did not provide comment after his resignation or after his return the commission.
• The wine community came together to create the Woodinville Wine Industry Food Pantry in support of tasting room staff, restaurant workers and musicians impacted by the pandemic.
• Bothell distillery Wildwood Spirits shifted its production to make hand sanitizer to help alleviate a growing shortage.
• The Herbfarm Restaurant in Woodinville began serving hot, three-course meals to area hospitals in honor of the “healthcare heroes.”
• Gathering Fabric Quilt Shop and a group of Woodinville women teamed up to make face masks for ancillary healthcare workers due to a shortage of the supplies.
• Northshore School District decided to close schools and transition to distanced virtual learning after numerous potential exposures to the novel coronavirus at several of its schools.
• Novelty Hill-Januik wineries began donating freshly prepared meals to Hopelink, a Redmond-based social services agency.
• Northshore Schools Foundation supporters managed to raise more than $39,000 in just over two weeks to provide meals for school district families in need.
• City Council voted on April 7 to earmark $100,000 for local food banks who were struggling under the strain of skyrocketing need amid the pandemic.
• Gratitude Masks of Woodinville partnered with Seattle-based Stop the Bug to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline workers across the nation.
• Gov. Jay Inslee and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal announced the continuation of school closures until the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
• Firefighters, paramedics and EMTs traveled to 15 King County medical centers in a show of support for healthcare workers.
• On April 14, Woodinville City Council created three COVID-19 response task forces focused on human services, community outreach and economic recovery.
• Local residents Chuck Bass and his 14-year-old son Wesley made face shields for frontline workers.
• Woodinville resident Brendan Hupf Jr., 8, began gathering food donations and utilizing social media to spearhead a huge effort in support of local food banks.
• Maltby comedian and filmmaker Deborah Tahara launched a new docu-series “Funny and Fearless,” which features Seattle-area comedians.
• Woodinville Car Club cruised through neighborhoods in an effort to lift spirits and celebrate individuals.
• City Council voted on April 28 to create a new human services grant program for nonprofits serving basic needs of those affected by the pandemic and its economic fallout.
• A huge effort to bring would-be wasted produce from Eastern Washington to those in need in Western Washington began. Tens of thousands of pounds of potatoes and more than 6,000 pounds of onions were hauled, feeding more than 2,000 with just the first shipment. This group later formed the organization EastWest Food Rescue.
• After 26 years of operating, the Woodinville Farmers Market organizers decided not to hold the seasonal market in 2020 because of the pandemic.
• The Northshore Senior Center went from serving about 30 people a week to feeding more than 700 people per week in just a few months. After the senior center closed, the organization opened a pop-up food pantry in its Bothell parking lot.
• On May 11, King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin issued a statement encouraging people to wear face coverings in public. The measure went into effect on May 18 but included no legal penalties for failure to comply.
• The nonprofit Stop the Bug provided three-course dinners and PPE on May 22 to hundreds of area first responders.
• City Council and Woodinville Chamber of Commerce partner to create a “microsite” with resources and up-to-date information for local businesses.
• Woodinville resident Chris Griffin created a community podcast “I heart Woodinville” focused on individuals doing good in the neighborhood.
• On May 26, the state Growth Management Hearings Board unanimously overturned King County’s Adult Beverage Ordinance, which had been challenged by Friends of Sammamish Valley.
• Around 500 gathered for a peaceful march on June 6 in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The local demonstration was one of thousands happening across the nation in the wake of a Minneapolis police officer killing George Floyd by holding his knee on the unarmed Black man’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
• City Councilmember Al Taylor’s posts on social media asking about people’s feelings regarding the city hoisting the Pride Flag without a vote prompted several public comments from those worried he sought to remove the symbol of LGBTQ pride. The flag remained up for the month.
• The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction released guidelines for districts to potentially re-open schools in the fall.
• During a late-night vote on June 16, Woodinville City Council members voted 5-2 to remove planning commission member Nicholas Duchastel. Councilmember Rachel Best-Campbell told the commission the next day that he was dismissed because of harassment of minority business owners, personal attacks on progressive women leadership, and odd interactions with children. She did not provide specifics. Commissioner Stephanie Young immediately resigned after the announcement, citing shock over the “blatant slander and obvious animus toward another human in a public forum.”
• The city started a new program to distribute PPE to businesses trying to re-open.
• A local 10-year-old boy, inspired by his past experiences dealing with a congenital heart defect, organized a large toy drive for Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma.
• Two Republican businessmen, Gary Morgan and Jeb Brewer, filed as candidates to run against incumbent state Rep. Shelley Kloba.
• The King County Council voted on June 23 to place a six-month moratorium on establishment or expansion of new adult beverage businesses. The county appealed the Growth Management Hearing Board’s decision to invalidate its Adult Beverage Ordinance.
• The city began replacing the artificial turf at Woodinville Fields.
• Woodinville girls basketball coach Scott Bullock and Inglemoor boys basketball coach Greg Lowell were selected as ambassadors of the sport by Pacific Northwest Basketball Officials Association.
• A Bothell Police Officer Jonathan Shoop was killed and another injured during a traffic stop on State Route 522 July 13. An investigation found that the bullet that killed Shoop was fired from his partner’s weapon during a shootout with Henry Eugene Washington.
• Northshore School District expanded its meal program to include 23 pickup locations.
• Camp Unity moved back into Woodinville city limits and adapted its operations to the pandemic.
• A cyclist was killed in a collision with a car at the intersection of Northeast 171st Street and 143rd Place Northeast on July 27.
• Construction began on a cutting -edge arched bridge on State Route 203 in an effort to improve salmon habitat.
• Tech executive Mukund Mohan of Clyde Hill was charged with fraudulently seeking more than $5.5 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans and laundering the proceeds.
• Bothell resident Alan Edward Dean was arrested on July 28 for the 1993 murder of 15-year-old Melissa Lee.
• A Bothell Police Officer fatally shot a man who had reportedly approached him with a knife on July 29.The officer was placed on administrative leave during the investigation.
• Northshore School District Superintendent Michelle Reid announced that school would resume virtually in the fall.
• Two men robbed the Woodinville McDonald’s off of 140th Avenue Northeast on Aug. 3. No one was injured.
• Sammamish Valley Alliance sold bags of produce it purchased from local farmers at a pop-up stand.
• Four men were arrested in downtown Woodinville on Aug. 6 after an online undercover prostitution sting operation conducted by Woodinville police and King County Sheriff’s Office detectives.
• Northshore Board of Fire Commissioners voted on Aug. 6 in favor of pursing consolidation with Woodinville Fire & Rescue. The merge will appear on ballots in Spring 2021.
• 21 Acres Market reported experiencing historic food sales, with numbers nearly doubling 2019’s sales since the outbreak began in March.
• An Aug. 13 poll of Puget Sound Amazon employees showed many would like to live in the Bothell/Woodinville area.
• Local Democratic incumbents fared well in primary election results.
• Woodinville Fire & Rescue firefighters were deployed to help contain the 200-acre Badger Lake fire outside of Cheney, Wash. The summer marked historically destructive burning across the Western states.
• Woodinville High School Theatre prepares to do virtual performances in an adjustment to the pandemic.
• WSDOT crews completed the arched bridge on State Route 203.
• The Northshore Schools Foundation saw requests for free school supplies skyrocket over past years.
• Teatro ZinZanni closed its Woodinville location.
• Woodinville Fire & Rescue firefighters were deployed to more fires across the state, including the Pearl Hill fire near Bridgeport and Evans Creek blaze near Yakima.
• Three Redmond Police officers were placed on paid administrative leave after fatally shooting a 39-year-old woman on Sept. 20.
• Awards were handed out for the 17th annual Woodinville Skateboard Challenge, which was held virtually this year. Thirty-six people submitted videos for the competition.
• Northshore School District broke ground Sept. 21 on the site of its new concert hall at Inglemoor High School in Bothell.
• Woodinville-raised actress Brooke Butler discussed filming her newest feature “Lantern’s Lane” during the pandemic.
• Woodinville Repertory Theatre hosted its first virtual performance with a stream of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on Oct. 17.
• The first annual Sammamish Valley Giant pumpkin weigh-in named farmer Andrew Ely’s 382-pound gourd the winner on Oct. 22. Ely received a six-pack of beer as a prize, but organizers said they hope to get money involved in next year’s competition.
• A man pointed his gun at young protesters during opposing political demonstrations in Woodinville on Oct. 24.
• City Manager Brandon Buchanan presented his draft budget, which didn’t include tax increases or a dip into reserves despite a projected loss in revenue due to the pandemic.
• City Councilmember Al Taylor came under some heat for suggesting on social media that a local woman was a paid agitator funded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros. As did state representative candidate Amber Krabach, who suggested the same woman was an Antifa leader.
• County officials estimated that 244,000 affordable housing units will be needed by 2040 to address population growth and a growing number of cost-burdened households in the area. At an Oct. 27 meeting to discuss the issue, officials reported more than half of Woodinville renters are cost burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing.
• Democratic incumbents maintained strong leads in local races during the General Election. More than 1 million ballots were cast in King County, far exceeding turnout in the 2016 election.
• Woodinville City Council voted to reprimand Councilmember Susan Boundy-Sanders during a late-added agenda item at its Nov. 3 meeting. The council said she had misrepresented council’s intentions and the nature of the city’s proposed Wood Trails project. Boundy-Sanders called the accusations against her “vile and false and defamatory.”
• Two Woodinville police officers were injured and the shooter killed during a shootout on Nov. 9 at Beaumont Apartments in Woodinville. Both officers recovered.
• Chef Zouhair Mardini discussed changes he has made since coming to Route 522 Taproom, bringing a greater focus on food.
• 21 Acres remodeled a classic 1954 GMC chassis into an all-electric refrigerator box truck to deliver produce from local farms to Seattle-area food service providers and reduce emissions.
• Redmond residents Antonio Dowling and Logan Esterling founded a company that uses machine learning to create reeds for wind instruments.
• Woodinville resident Traci Portugal discussed her efforts to change state fertility fraud laws after discovering the fraud that occurred in her own conception.
• The city’s updated Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces plan, presented to city council on Nov. 17, emphasized the overwhelming community desire for a dog park and splash area.
• Certified election results showed a record-breaking 86.76% King County voter turnout in the 2020 general election. District 45 representatives Larry Springer and Roger Goodman retained their seats. District 1 Sen. Derek Stanford and Representatives Davina Duerr and Shelley Kloba also maintained their positions.
• The city and local organizations partnered to distribute free farm-fresh produce to families in the area.
• WHS alumnus Thorin Compy was announced as one of the first cadets to enter the United States Space Force.
• Redmond High School Student Trisha Beher created a nonprofit comprising young artists from around the world who want to provide art to seniors.
• WHS basketball standout Mia Hughes committed to play at Montana State.
• Woodinville police officers and firefighters adapted the annual Shop with a Cop event to the pandemic by shifting to a drive-thru event on Dec. 12.
• A Dec. 15 fire destroyed a Woodinville home. The residents were able to escape safely.
• Mayor Elaine Cook told city staff on Dec. 16 that she would be ending her term early and leaving the country. Her last day was scheduled for Dec. 28. She did not answer requests for comment as to why she was leaving.
• The Woodinville Car Club hosted its annual Christmas Light Cruise through downtown on Dec. 20.