Former teacher charged with molestation

RENTON — King County prosecutors yesterday charged a Bellevue man who recently resigned as a Renton schoolteacher with first-degree child molestation.

The incident was unrelated to Richard Buckley's work at Hazen High School, they said.

Prosecutors contend Buckley, 34, molested a 10-year-old girl on Dec. 30 while visiting the girl's mother in Issaquah.

Buckley resigned from his position as a language-arts teacher on Jan. 15 for "personal health reasons," according to Renton School District spokesman Randy Matheson. The district was informed of the investigation shortly thereafter, he added.

No students have come forward with allegations against Buckley, who was in his first year of teaching in Renton, Matheson said.

Buckley previously taught in the Issaquah School District, investigators said.

City Council to hold retreat to discuss priorities

MERCER ISLAND — The City Council will hold its annual retreat this weekend to discuss upcoming priorities, including the Community Center at Mercer View. The meeting is open to the public and will begin today with opening remarks from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the clubhouse of the Golf Course at Newcastle.

On Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to noon, the retreat will continue at the community center. Leaders will discuss the results of a recent voter survey about the aging community center and will develop an action plan and timeline for the project.

Other topics include Luther Burbank Park, transportation and traffic issues, financial forecasts, affordable housing, downtown development and schools. To get an agenda, visit

2 Council members to quit leaving 4 of 5 seats open

NORTH BEND — City Council members Jack and Elaine Webber, a married couple active in the community for several years, will resign in the next couple of months, leaving four of five council seats open this fall. The Webbers say they're moving to a condominium on Snoqualmie Ridge to downsize from their home in North Bend, where they've lived since 1993. Jack Webber may retire from his teaching job this year.

Elaine Webber has served on the council since 1999, and Jack Webber took office last year.

Commission to unveil draft plan for downtown

KENMORE — The Planning Commission will present its draft plan for downtown to the City Council at a public meeting Monday at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 6700 N.E. 181st St.

The long-term plan was derived from a broad outline set forth in the city's 2001 comprehensive plan. It lays out the criteria for selecting a location for a new City Hall, community center and library, which could serve as a centerpiece of the new downtown.

The plan also recommends zoning and design changes that will encourage pedestrian-friendly, high-density, multi-use development in the area around 67th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 181st Street, where City Hall now sits.

Before adopting any plan, the City Council will hold a public hearing at a date to be determined.

Information is from the Eastside bureau of The Seattle Times.