News from Snohomish County

County's performance auditor quitting to take job in Maryland

EVERETT — Snohomish County Performance Auditor Marty Standel is leaving the county to take a job at the Interagency Internal Audit Authority in Frederick County, Md.

The move leaves Snohomish County without a performance auditor just as it is beginning efforts to prioritize programs for a new budget process.

Snohomish County voters established the performance-auditor position in 1996, and Standel and two other staff members started work in 1998, said county Auditor Bob Terwilliger. Since then, budget cuts have eliminated the other two positions.

The performance auditor works with a seven-member committee of county residents to choose programs and departments to review.

Since the office was established, it has helped save overtime costs in the jail, looked at staffing in the County Executive's Office and produced reports about emergency management, the Clerk's Office and human services.

Terwilliger said he will suspend the regular monthly meetings of the Performance Audit Committee until he hires a new performance auditor, possibly in summer.

Coalition gets federal help to reduce natural-hazard risks

EVERETT — Snohomish County has received a $150,000 federal grant to help develop a plan in partnership with 10 cities for reducing risks posed by natural hazards.

A coalition of cities and agencies started meeting earlier this year and developed a Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan that identified vulnerable parts of the county.

The federal funds, which are administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will be used to fund the coalition's work.

The money is all for pre-disaster work addressing hazards such as floods, earthquakes, landslides and wildfires.

The plan includes Arlington, Darrington, Gold Bar, Index, Marysville, Monroe, Mukilteo, Snohomish, Stanwood, Sultan and parts of the unincorporated county.

A group of nonprofit agencies is sponsoring three free seminars next month for people who want to learn more about landlord-tenant and fair-housing laws:

MAY 17: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Marysville Public Library, 6120 Grove St.

MAY 18: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Everett Public Library, 2702 Hoyt Ave.

MAY 20: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Lynnwood Library, 19200 44th Ave. W.

Everett Station all booked up after approval of lease agreement

EVERETT — The City Council recently approved a lease agreement on the last available space at Everett Station, meaning the facility will be fully occupied for the first time since it opened in 2002.

The new tenant is WorkForce Everett, which offers training, skill development and employment placement for the disabled. WorkForce will pay $114,000 annually to occupy 4,000 square feet on the third floor of the station.

WorkSource Everett, a sister agency, occupies space on the first floor.

Body found in Snohomish River is identified as Snohomish man's

EVERETT — A young man whose body was found in the Snohomish River last week has been identified, but the cause of his death remains unclear, officials said.

The Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office said the body was that of Jessie Orlon Curtis, 18, of Snohomish. His body was found April 13 by the owner of a boat moored in the river in Everett.

Police said Curtis' body apparently had been in the river for some time.

Mill Creek councilman confirmed for seat on Sound Transit board

MILL CREEK — City Councilman Jack Start has been confirmed by the Snohomish County Council for a position on the Board of Directors of Sound Transit.

County Executive Aaron Reardon nominated Start for the board in February. The Sound Transit term runs through Dec. 31, 2007. He joins Reardon and Everett City Councilman Mark Olson, the other Snohomish County officials on the 18-member board, which also includes elected officials from King and Pierce counties.

Everett mayor to award students who have overcome obstacles

EVERETT — Mayor Ray Stephanson will present Youth Achievement Awards during tonight's City Council meeting to five Everett-area students who have overcome obstacles and given back to the community.

The award winners are Gargi Chakraborty, 17, a volunteer coach for the Special Olympics; Grant Haines, 18, a member of her school's leadership group; Linda Huynh, 15, a volunteer with several organizations, including the American Red Cross; Thao Phuong Le, 17, a worker for Volunteers of America and other groups; and Alishia Smith, 18, a principal member of the Central Youth Council.

Chakraborty attends Cascade High School in Everett. The other winners are students at Everett High School.

Arlington gets 5th straight award for promoting employee health

ARLINGTON — The city has received its fifth consecutive WellCity Award from the Association of Washington Cities for its efforts in promoting good health among city employees.

A mix of criteria must be met to receive the award, said Sherri Phelps, the city's wellness coordinator. The city must show that the program has the support of elected officials, management and employees, and must provide health information and a work environment that promotes healthful lifestyles.

Such programs have paid off in the form of a per-employee savings of about $300 annually in medical-claims costs for cities that have wellness programs, according to the Association of Washington Cities.

Man could face new trial after jury deadlocks on murder charge

TULALIP RESERVATION — A man acquitted last week of manslaughter in connection with a fatal fight on the reservation could face a second trial because the jury could not reach a verdict on a charge of second-degree murder.

Eight Snohomish County Superior Court jurors also favored acquitting Randall Eugene Henry, 39, of murder in the death of Albert John Hood Jr., 40, but the four other jurors would not go along in more than a day of deliberations, lawyers were told Thursday.

Deputy Prosecutor John Juhl said a decision would be made later on whether to seek a second murder trial.

Investigators said the two men had been at odds over a woman for years before Henry encountered Hood sitting on a log drinking a beer July 11 and hit and kicked him. Hood died four days later of head injuries and internal bleeding.

The manslaughter charge was based on prosecutors' assertion that Hood's death was caused by Henry's recklessness and the murder charge on their assertion that the death resulted from an assault.

Reardon to host public meeting on county's budget priorities

LAKE STEVENS — Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon will host his second "Community Conversation" at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Lake Stevens High School, 2908 113th Ave. N.E.

The meeting will give residents a chance to tell Reardon how they would prioritize county spending. Under its worst-case scenario, the county faces a $16.6 million budget gap in 2005.

The presentation will include the Snohomish County-based Strategic Listening Institute, which will tabulate and display residents' views in response to questions posed by Reardon.

$11,500 grant to help rebuild 2 baseball fields in Brier Park

BRIER — Two baseball fields in Brier Park will be rebuilt with help from an $11,500 grant from the state Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation.

The grant, announced this month in Olympia, will partly fund new bleachers, fenced dugouts and new infields. Construction is expected to begin next month. Dee Williamson, a member of the Brier Parks and Recreation Board, said the fields, adjacent to City Hall at 2901 228th St. S.W., are badly rutted and lack access for the disabled.

The city is contributing $15,000 to the project, and the Mountlake Terrace Youth Athletic Association is donating labor valued at $8,000. The fields could be ready by fall. Updates on the project will be posted on Brier's Web site at

Ex-Edmonds Councilman Earling takes post as fellow for think tank

EDMONDS — Former City Councilman Dave Earling has brought his experience in local government and regional transportation issues to a new position as senior fellow for the Cascadia Center for Transportation and Regional Development, a part of the Discovery Institute, a Seattle think tank.

Earling's focus will be on regional transportation, but he said his broader mission is to help restore credibility to government under a two-year governance project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Earling, who began the new post April 1, is meeting with community leaders, elected officials, and representatives from business, labor and environmental groups to get their perspective on government. His project, he said, will deal "not only with big ideas but with pragmatic solutions."

Earling served 12 years on the Edmonds City Council before stepping down to run unsuccessfully for Snohomish County executive last year. He also served as the chairman of the Transportation Policy Board for the Puget Sound Regional Council and on the boards of directors for Community Transit and Sound Transit.

Lynnwood seeks vintage items for display in new Heritage Park

LYNNWOOD — The city is seeking donations of vintage items for display in the new Heritage Park, scheduled to open in the coming weeks.

The park, on nearly 3 acres just off Interstate 5 at Alderwood Mall Parkway and Poplar Way, features the 1919 Wickers Building and a restored car from the Interurban trolley line, which ran between Everett and Seattle from 1907 to 1939.

Old tools, grocery items, pictures, newspapers, chairs and a large table are among the things the parks department would like to acquire. To make a donation, contact parks planner Laurie Cowan at 425-744-6478.

Compiled from reports by the Seattle Times Snohomish County bureau and The Associated Press.