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Top stories of 2000

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Athough the world didn't come to an end Jan. 1 as some people expected, and the Millennium Bug's bark

was worse than its bite, the year 2000 was filled with its share of surprises,

disappointments and controversies.

In the surprise category, artifacts were discovered at a Fall City

park site, David Irons joined the Metropolitan King County Council, the

Valley Record was sold, the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital announced plans to

reopen and Mount Si's wrestling team won the Sea-King district title.

The most surprising news, however, may have been Dayva Cross

voluntarily pleading guilty to murder and kidnapping charges.

• Guilty plea. Dayva Cross will not go on trial for the March 1999

stabbing deaths of his wife and her two daughters. Instead, he told a

King County Superior Court judge he would plead guilty to three counts of

first-degree aggravated murder and one count of first-degree kidnapping

with a deadly weapon because he "wanted to take responsibility" for the crime.

This development in the case was unexpected because Cross's

lawyers had planned to launch an insanity defense. However, Cross maintained

the murders were not premeditated, and he has difficulty recalling exactly

what took place the day he used a butcher knife to murder Anouchka

Baldwin, 37, Amanda Baldwin, 15 and Salome Holly, 18. Cross also

kidnapped Mellissa Baldwin, 14, and threatened to harm her with the knife.

He said another reason for his guilty plea was to save the

surviving daughter from having to testify in court.

By agreeing to the pleas, Cross gave up his rights to have the

charges affirmed or denied by a jury. He also gave up his rights to be convicted

of lesser charges, which could have reduced his time in prison, if

convicted. Instead, a jury will have only two options in deciding Cross's fate: life

in prison or the death penalty. The sentencing phase of the trial is

expected to begin this month.

• Artifacts found. When work crews began constructing a

soccer field near State Route 203 and the Neal Road in early summer, they

inadvertently uncovered evidence of Native American cultures stretching

back 1,000 years — maybe more — in time.

The site is on the county-owned Fall City Community Park where

a soccer field was to be installed for the Snoqualmie Valley Youth Soccer

Association, which needs more playing fields to meet the demand of a

growing number of teams.

But work was halted when a "sod stripper" being used to level the

field unveiled the artifacts. Underneath the topsoil, an archeological snapshot

of Indian habitation along the Snoqualmie River was found. A

four-and-a-half week dig netted animal bones, spear points, numerous

fire hearths, bits of obsidian and indications of fallen structures at the site.

Only a portion of the area was excavated and Andy de los Angeles,

an ethnoarcheologist with the Snoqualmie Tribe, said many

more artifacts likely lie under the soil. The area was registered as a state

archeological site in the 1980s, and de los Angeles said that when the

county contracted out the work to build the soccer field, it failed to follow

the Tribe's recommendation that in lieu of digging, topsoil should be brought

in to level the site.

The tribe is in favor of further excavation, and the county is looking

at funding further work at the site. Plans for the soccer field are still up in

the air.

• New council member. David Irons of Sammamish took office in

the Metropolitan King County Council in January to represent District 12,

which encompasses most of the Valley, Issaquah and Renton. Irons first

beat 10-year incumbent Brian Derdowski in the September 1999 primary

election with 54.44 percent of the votes to Derdowski's 45.56 percent. Then

in November 1999, Irons's sister — Di Irons — also ran for the seat as a

write-in. David Irons beat his sister by 66 percent, winning 27,226 votes to

her 13,428.

His first year on the council has been a busy one, as he introduced

an amendment to keep the Three Forks Natural Area project scaled down

to just under $1 million from the council's original $5 million plan,

and saved the Si View Pool and Community Center and the Preston

Community Center from having to close their doors next year.

• Valley Record sold. On Dec. 1, the Snoqualmie Valley Record,

which had been family-owned for more than 86 years, was sold to Horvitz

Newspapers Inc., owner of the Eastside Journal, South County Journal,

Mercer Island Reporter and the Northshore Citizen in Bothell. Horvitz also

purchased the Kent, Auburn and Renton Reporter papers the same week.

Valley Record Publisher Jim McKiernan stayed on as general

manager. Denis Law, owner and president of Puget Sound Publishing Co. —

the company that owned the Kent, Auburn and Renton papers — became

vice president of Horvitz's weekly newspaper division and is the

Valley Record's publisher, as well as publisher for the other three papers.

McKiernan said minimal changes will be made at the Valley Record,

and those changes will be for the better. The newspaper's layout will

become computer-generated sometime within the first part of the year, and a

photographer and sports editor will be hired.

Peter Horvitz is the president of Horvitz Newspapers Inc. Jim

and Karen McKiernan have owned the Valley Record for five years.

• Hospital reopens. More than two years after it closed, crews

were busy preparing the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital to reopen in February

or March. In November, Jeff Lyle, superintendent of King County

Hospital District 4, announced that the hospital had signed a contract

with Snoqualmie Regional Hospital Inc. to reopen the facility at the end of

Ethan Wade Way in Snoqualmie. Snoqualmie Regional Hospital is

a non-profit organization created by Bainbridge Island-based

Northwest Care Management Inc., which runs several assisted-living

and Alzheimer's communities in the Puget Sound area. The hospital district

had until Dec. 31, 2000, to find a group to run the facility, or its operational

certificate would have expired.

• Sea-King champs. For the first time since 1980, the Mount Si

Wildcats wrestling squad won its district tournament, becoming Sea-King

district champions in February 2000. On the way to their district title, the

`Cats beat out other KingCo 3A teams to claim the league tournament title.

As for disappointments, the bond failure in the lower Valley topped

the list, as it has in years past.

• Failed bonds. A bond to construct an outdoor track and

football/soccer field at Cedarcrest High School in Duvall didn't have

the supermajority it needed to pass following the Nov. 7 general election.

According to the King County Records and Election Division,

Riverview School District's $2.995 million bond measure had garnered 59.9 percent

of the vote, falling .01 percent short of the 60 percent needed to pass.

Similar measures have failed four times since 1994. District

administrators and school board members tried to make this year's proposal as

palatable as possible, scaling the project back to the athletic field and

track, bleachers capable of seating 750, restrooms, a concession stand

and lighting. If approved, the measure would have cost taxpayers 13 cents

per $1,000 of assessed property valuation.

In addition, the district's Performing Arts Center levy did not pass

because it received 57.5 percent approval in the March 10, 2000, vote.

However, its maintenance and operations (M & O) and technology levies passed

with 61 and 63 percent of votes, respectively. Homeowners with a

$200,000 house will pay $2.88, which is $2.52 for the M&O and 36 cents for

technology, per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or $576 in 2001.

City officials and Valley residents debated — often heatedly — about

development issues and sewer systems in 2

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