Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell and Federal Way Public Schools Superintendent Tammy Campbell were two respresentatives to sign a memorandum of understanding in support of opening a higher learning education center in Federal Way in January. Mirror file photo

Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell and Federal Way Public Schools Superintendent Tammy Campbell were two respresentatives to sign a memorandum of understanding in support of opening a higher learning education center in Federal Way in January. Mirror file photo

Federal Way elects new council members, positive strides made in areas in 2017


• City, Federal Way Public Schools, Highline College and University of Washington-Tacoma officials signed a memorandum of understanding to work collaboratively toward bringing higher education classes to Federal Way. The city is asking the state Legislature for $800,000 to help cover start-up costs including rent, furniture and equipment and hiring a site manager and site adviser.

• Bob Celski was appointed to fill a vacancy on the City Council after a one-year hiatus when he decided not to run for another term in 2015. He replaced Kelly Maloney, who stepped down from her seat at the end of 2016. Celski lost a bid to keep the seat to Jesse Johnson in November.

• The city launched a Homeless Mothers and Children Initiative — chaired by Mayor Jim Ferrell, City Councilwoman Susan Honda and Sharry Edwards, a community activist and Group Health nurse — aimed at creating a shelter for homeless children and families in the city.

• Valley Cities Behavioral Health Care expanded its Federal Way operations and moved its administrative offices to the city.


• The Federal Way High School boys basketball team set a 4A state record with 63 consecutive wins, before losing to Kentwood High School.

• City officials committed $1 million toward purchasing and preserving 53-acres of land on the former Weyerhauser campus. Later in the year, the King County Council allotted $1 million for the project.

• Federal Way High School senior Tally Thomas won a state wrestling championship in the girls 170-pound weight class. Thomas Jefferson High School senior Jasmine Pleasants captured the state title in the girls 140-pound weight class.


• Oriental Garden Center closed after 57 years in businesses.

• The city named Ryan Call as its new city attorney. Call had worked for the city since 2008 as the city prosecutor, assistant city attorney and acting city attorney.

• After receiving community pushback on a new city logo, the City Council backtracked and opted not to move forward with the new design, instead opting to add a new tagline, “Centered on Opportunity” to its existing logo.


• A 2016 Thomas Jefferson High School graduate, Mohammed Ramzan, 19, drowned after falling into an Illinois river while practicing with his rowing team at Northwestern University.

• The Federal Way Public Schools board voted to have two student representatives – one each from a middle school and high school – on its board.

• The city’s Violence Prevention Coalition, created in 2016 after several high-profile murders, made 10 recommendations to the City Council, including increasing resources for youth.


• The City Council approved code amendments regarding multi-family housing, following two consecutive six-month moratoriums on multi-family developments. The amendments included restricting parking locations for complexes with more than 100 units, requiring more private open space and making sure multi-family housing developments in the city center core zone have the first floor dedicated to retail.

• Mayor Jim Ferrell joined officials from other South King County cities to discuss a rise in gang violence in the region.

• Gov. Jay Inslee at a ceremony at Federal Way City Hall signed several bills into law that increase protection for victims of human trafficking and rape. Inslee recognized the city and the Federal Way Coalition Against Trafficking for addressing issues related to human trafficking.


• The Todd Beamer High School boys soccer team took home its first-ever state title with a 2-1 win over the Pasco Bulldogs.

• Decatur High School senior Kemuel Santana won a state title in the 4A boys 200-meter dash at the track and field championships, setting a school record in the event, as well as in the 100 and 400.

• Gov. Jay Inslee met with students, parents and teachers at Thomas Jefferson High School to talk about critical issues affecting public education, including the need for more state capital funding to update buildings and address overcrowding.

• The New York Yankees selected Decatur High School graduate Janson Junk in the 22nd round with the 662nd pick June 14 in the 2017 MLB draft.


• The City Council approved the purchase and sale agreement between the city and Ottone-Salinas, Inc., for the construction of a hotel. The price of the city-owned 1.86-acre property, which shares Performing Arts and Event Center and Town Center land, was $27 a square foot, or approximately $2.18 million. Cadius Partners will be responsible for the design and construction of the hotel.

• Steve McNey, Federal Way senior adviser to Mayor Jim Ferrell, resigned from his position after he faced misdemeanor domestic violence charges following an incident with an ex-girlfriend that was reported to police. McNey could have been charged with fourth-degree domestic violence assault and third-degree domestic violence malicious mischief, both misdemeanors, but an Auburn prosecutor assigned to review the case declined to file any criminal charges.

• FUSION Decor Boutique moved to its permanent location at 1108 S. 322nd Place, Federal Way. The business helps support the nonprofit organization’s mission to help the homeless.

• A former employee at Christian Faith Center in Federal Way filed a lawsuit against the megachurch in July, claiming Caleb D. Treat, a former campus pastor, sexually harassed her and other female employees and church members. Leslie Massey claimed in the lawsuit, Treat and the church had discriminated against her “by creating a sexually hostile working environment.” Caleb Treat is the son of senior pastor and church founder Casey Treat. Caleb Treat’s attorneys later denied the allegations in a response filed with the court in October.


• Highline College President Jack Bermingham announced his retirement after serving in the position since 2006. Bermingham was previously on leave to recuperate from open-heart surgery.

• The Puget Sound Doberman Pinscher Club donated CasPeR the Resuscitation Dog to South King Fire & Rescue to train first responders on saving animal lives.

• The public had a chance to tour the new Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center following an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.

• Arthur Murray Dance Studio celebrated its 25th anniversary in Federal Way.

• Federal Way comic book business owner Darren Adams auctioned three rare comic books with a portion of proceeds going to charity. He sold a copy of “All Star Comics #8” on eBay for $936,223; “Sensation Comics #1” for $399,100; and “Wonder woman #1” for $226,877. The donated proceeds went to organizations that fight human trafficking.


• The Federal Way City Council approved demolishing the William J. Meers Homestead structures, 36818 Eighth Ave. S., in the West Hylebos Basin to allow the city to use the property for a proposed nature trail system.

• A rise in the number of applications and pre-applications for self-storage facilities in Federal Way prompted the City Council to impose a one-year moratorium on the expansion or creation of those types of businesses.

• According to the September 2017 Federal Way Rent Report released by Apartment List, Inc., rent prices increased 7.3 percent in the city since August of 2016 and 2 percent from the previous month alone.

• Chick-fil-A, part of a nationwide restaurant chain, opened in Federal Way, bringing 90-100 jobs to the city and prompting people to pitch tents in the parking lot in anticipation of opening day.

• The Federal Way City Council voted to pass a resolution supporting the $450 million school facilities bond for which Federal Way Public School was seeking voter approval.

• Former Federal Way Public Schools educator and School Board member Liz Drake resigned from her District 3 position to care for family.

• Federal Way man and singer and band member Steve Fournier helped the Loverboy concert in Everett go on by filling in and singing a few songs for lead singer Mike Reno, who bowed out because of illness.


• The Thomas Jefferson Raiders boys tennis team regained its supremacy in the North Puget Sound League Olympic Division by defeating the Auburn Riverside Ravens 3-2 to claim the league title.

• Decatur High School graduate Josh Ruiz-Velasco, an indoor skydiving instructor at iFly in Tukwila, competed at the FAI Indoor Skydiving World Championships in Montreal, Canada, representing Poland with his partner, Adrzej Soltyk.

• The Federal Way School Board appointed Dr. Mildred Ollee to fill the vacant District No. 3 position after former member Liz Drake resigned in September. Ollee will serve the remainder of Drake’s term, which expires in 2019.

• Decatur High School girls swimmer Kimberly Walling qualified for every event in the district tournament after having an outstanding freshman season. Walling competed in two individual events, the 100-yard butterfly and the 200 individual medley, as well as the relays.


• The state’s second health care enrollment center opened in Federal Way to serve residents in South King County. The center, at 1640 S. 318th Place, Suite B, is staffed with navigators certified to help people find insurance plans for which they are eligible. Federal Way was selected because data shows there are more uninsured adults in the south end than elsewhere in the county.

• Decatur High School graduate Michael-Ann McAboy and Federal Way High School graduate Travis Bjork both competed in the New York City Marathon, Nov. 5.

• Federal Way incumbent Mayor Jim Ferrell defeated challenger Councilwoman Susan Honda to retain his seat in the 2017 general election. In the City Council races, Hoang Tran defeated Diana Noble-Gulliford to fill the City Council seat to be vacated by Deputy Mayor Jeanne Burbidge, incumbent Martin Moore defeated Roger Flygare and Federal Way political newcomer Jesse Johnson defeated appointed incumbent Bob Celski.

• Representatives from USA Diving visited the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center as a potential site for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics diving trials for the U.S. Olympic Team. The trials have previously taken place at the aquatic center in 2000 and 2012.

• Todd Beamer High School senior AJ Chopra finished third in the 4A state cross country meet Nov. 4 at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco. He completed the 5-kilometer course in 15 minutes, 15.8 seconds, setting a Todd Beamer all-time and personal record.

• Decatur freshman swimmer Lilly Tucker placed seventh in the 100-yard breaststroke at the 4A state swim tournament Nov. 11 at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center with a time of 1 minute, 8.11 seconds.

• Jeffery Forbes, 2009 Federal Way High School graduate and basketball standout, took over as the Decatur High School boys basketball team coach, replacing David Choi. Forbes helped the FWHS Eagles win the state championship in 2009 and went on to play for the Eastern Washington University Eagles, where he set a few school records that still stand.

• The Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned anti-Muslim harassment at the Islamic Center of Federal Way and has partnered with the mosque and Cedar Law to take legal action after a series of disputes. According to a CAIR-WA release, protesters blocked traffic, came on mosque property, leaned into cars and invaded personal space of worshipers while threatening them with deportation and shouting anti-Muslim slurs at them as they entered the building.

• The Federal Way School Board signed off on asking voters to approve a continuation of a levy that provides essential staffing, educational programs and day-to-day operations beyond what the state provides for basic education in a Feb. 13, 2018, special election.


• The “Queen of Katwe” Phiona Mutesi, an international chess champion and subject of a book and Disney movie of the same name, spoke to a youth group at Federal Way’s Family Life Community Church and helped Federal Way Public Schools Superintendent Tammy Campbell teach the students and young adults the basics of chess at an informal “Chess with the Superintendent” event.

• Federal Way Municipal Court Judge David Larson and court staff at a introduced plans to start a community court to address mental health and substance abuse issues as an alternative way to handle some misdemeanor cases while getting people the help they need.

• Longtime Federal Way City Council member Jeanne Burbidge wrapped up her last duties for the council after she decided to retire from local government service earlier this year. Burbidge served on the council for two decades and will be presented with the key to the city in 2018.

• A new 16-bed mental health evaluation and treatment center, 33480 13th Place S., opened in Federal Way. It will serve adults who are involuntarily committed for mental health treatment.

• Federal Way natives J.R. Celski and Aaron Tran, members of the U.S. Olympic speedskating team, earned a trip to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February of 2018 after competing at the speedskating trials in Utah.

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