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Graffiti arrests and investigations

Graffiti arrests and investigations

Police have made arrests in connection to the graffiti being painted across the city, police chief Brian Wilson said.

Some of the arrests were directly linked to teenagers in possession of spray paint and materials that could be used to create graffiti, he said. In accordance with the city’s graffiti ordinance, it is illegal to possess such materials.

Other arrests have resulted in intelligence about groups of people in the city that have been involved in graffiti tagging, Wilson said. He believes that a small number of people are painting much of the graffiti, he said.

Wilson was unable to say exactly how many arrests were made or if they were directly linked to the July 28 graffiti spree along Pacific Highway South because that investigation was still in process, he said. He was able to say that the police department is optimistic in its investigation and the progress made in extinguishing graffiti from Federal Way.

“We’re narrowing in (on the suspects),” Wilson said.

St. Francis Hospital construction

The addition of beds and expansion of nursery services for premature newborns at St. Francis Hospital have been put on hold because Auburn Regional Medical Center is challenging the Certificate of Need that St. Francis was awarded by the Washington State Department of Health.

“We’re disappointed by Auburn’s decision to appeal our project,” Syd Bersante, chief operating officer for St. Francis Hospital, said in a press release. “Federal Way is a growing community and our hospital should be allowed to grow to serve our community.”

St. Francis Hospital is one of the busiest hospitals in the state. It still has the same 110 patient beds that it opened with in 1987. Since then, Federal Way has grown to nearly 85,000 residents.

Han Woo-Ri donations total $25,000

Eleven Wal-Mart stores in the Federal Way market area have teamed together to donate a total of $25,000 to this year’s Han Woo-Ri festival. A check in this amount was awarded to the festival at the Aug. 7 City Council meeting. The Han Woo-Ri festival is an annual event that takes place in Federal Way and focuses on Korean culture. This year’s event will run Sept. 21-23.

In past years, Wal-Mart has been a supporter of the festival. This year Federal Way mayor Michael Park asked the retail chain if it wished to contribute further to the festival, Federal Way resident and Wal-Mart manager Dick Mayer said. Mayer and two other Wal-Mart managers represented the retail chain at the city council meeting.

Steel Lake shootings

Federal Way police have had the opportunity to interview victims and witnesses to the Aug. 1 shooting of a 15-year-old female and 16-year-old male at Steel Lake Park, 2410 S. 312th S., said Commander Steve Neal.

Police believe they have gathered information as to the possible identity of the suspect in the shooting, he said.

Police Chief Brian Wilson said in past years the park has been a congregation point for people who are not city residents. A percentage of those people were involved in activities that Wilson would not identify except to say they included behaviors and incidents unwanted by the police.

The department has made a strong attempt to increase its presence and not tolerate those behaviors in the park this year, he said.

Police efforts at Steel Lake Park are ongoing, Neal said.

“It’s really important for us to keep it as a family park,” Wilson said.

Fire damages restaurant

South King Fire and Rescue responded to a commercial structure fire at 9:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 6, in the 32700 block of Pacific Highway South.

The flames and smoke seem to have begun in an unoccupied restaurant at this location, spokeswoman Kirsti Weaver said. Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames within 20 minutes.

Federal Way resident Chuck Hastings’ wife owned the combination cafe and grocery store, called Manila’s Pride. He wonders if the fire was started by the same teenagers who painted graffiti on walls of businesses along Pacific Highway South on July 28.

“(The cafe) was doing quite well and now it’s going to limp for a while, no matter what happens,” Hastings said.

The fire is now under investigation by South King Fire and Rescue personnel.

Learn more on fire safety

South King Fire and Rescue firefighters encourage the Federal Way and Des Moines communities to learn more about preventing fire and injuries by attending open houses from noon to 3 p.m. Aug. 11 and again Aug. 18 at Station 63, 33414 21st Ave. S.W. in Federal Way, and Station 26, 2238 S. 223rd St. in Des Moines.

Adults and children will have the opportunity to receive fire and injury prevention education as well as tour the stations and fire engines.

Participants may also purchase custom-fit bike helmets for $7 at both stations. Trained fitters will also be available to check and adjust the fit of helmets.

The open houses are a way for the Federal Way and Des Moines communities to get to know their firefighters and for firefighters to learn more about their customers’ concerns, Fire Chief Al Church said.

“During emergencies, we are invited into our citizens’ homes,” Church said. “The open houses are a nice way to invite citizens into ours.”

New police officers join the force

The Federal Way Police Department has completed hiring for the 18 open positions that resulted from Proposition One, said Police Chief Brian Wilson.

The department’s newest officers are Arron LuBrant, a lateral officer from Florida who will start with the department on Aug. 16; and entry level officers Adrienne Purcella, who started July 16; Amanda Garrison, who started July 31; Travis Tilford, who started July 31; Jefferey Mundell, who is currently in the military and scheduled to begin his duties with the police Oct. 2; and Frank Martin, who will start Aug. 13, said administrative Commander Melanie McAllester.

A conditional offer has been extended to Raymond Unsworth, who is scheduled to begin Aug. 16, she said. All the entry level officers live locally and were either brought to the area through the military or grew up in the region, McAllester said.

Thirteen of the 18 officers are currently at the basic academy for police training and are expected to be able to fully participate in the force by the end of this year, Wilson said. The department still has seven various vacant positions that it is attempting to fill, he said.

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