A Banner for the Broncos, Cursing Councilmembers, and a Horse With Herpes

A weekly recap of King County news.

Separated by more than 1,100 miles, Kent, Washington and Humboldt, Saskatchewan are communities closely connected by the love of junior hockey.

So when 16 people—including 10 Humboldt players ranging in age from 16 to 21 years—were killed when a bus chartered by the Humboldt Broncos collided with a semi-trailer truck on a Saskatchewan highway on April 6, it jolted the junior hockey world, Kent included.

Feeling the pain from afar, the fanbase for the Seattle Thunderbirds, who play in Kent, wanted to do something more.

Staci Garrity, a longtime T-Birds fan and dental office receptionist from Federal Way, came up with the idea to capture encouraging words, prayers and signatures from well-wishers on a banner.

“It’s a show of support for the hockey family,” Garrity said. “This was the best thing I could think about that would bring our close community here together.”

On Saturday, Garrity, her father Bob Garrity and T-Bird fans unfurled the “Stay strong Humboldt … Love, Seattle T-Bird fans” banner on a table outside the accesso ShoWare Center where the teams plays for all to sign.

Tony Hettler, a broker for John L. Scott and a youth sports enthusiast, purchased the banner and sponsored the event.

Brandy Fisher, clad in a T-Bird jersey, is an office administrator for Hettler’s agency in Des Moines. She came out to greet fans and serve hot and cold drinks, doughnuts and snacks Saturday. To her and fellow fans, this gesture was important.

“I’m just heartbroken,” she said of the tragic accident. “I don’t even have words.”

Bruce McDonald and his 15-year-old daughter, Chloe, are longtime season ticket holders who came out in the steady rain to write their heartfelt messages on the banner. Chloe, who is blind, accompanies her dad to games, attached to a headphone radio and its play-by-play call.

McDonald, who has been watching hockey in Seattle since 1955, remembers following Chris Joseph as a Thunderbird for two seasons (1985-86 and 1986-87) before the defenseman went on to play 14 years in the NHL for seven different teams.

Joseph’s son, Jaxon, 20, was killed in the Humboldt bus crash.

“In my mind we’re all family,” McDonald said. “The hockey family … it’s a very close-knit group. … We are very hurt by it.” Federal Way Mirror

Inviting professional, registered parliamentarian Ann Macfarlane in to speak to the Auburn City Council about her area of expertise, Robert’s Rules of Order, and how to use them to serve the community better, had been in the planning stages for months.

So it was with some unplanned irony that her presentation of Robert’s, written long ago to oil the wheels of civility in formal meetings, appeared on the docket of the council’s Monday study session, hard on the heels of a recent council controversy, in which Councilmember Largo Wales used an obscenity to refer to fellow council member John Holman. The incident followed an exchange in which Holman called out Wales on one of Robert’s points of order, that is, for speaking more than two times on a single topic.

“It was timely, I would say, in that the issues we addressed were symptomatic of what went wrong,” said Deputy Mayor Bob Baggett, who runs the council meetings.

Turns out, Macfarlane stressed, that initially limiting a single member’s comments to two-per-topic, to give others a chance to speak, is one of the most important of all the rules that Robert’s sets down.

Macfarlane rolled out all she had to say in a lively, two-hour-mix of lecture, role-playing, and anecdotes about meetings gone bad elsewhere—including one where somebody in a city-not-named dropped his pants during a meeting to express an opinion.

An interesting fact of history, Macfarlane noted, is that it was Thomas Jefferson who wrote the first manual on parliamentary procedure in 1776, with the acknowledgment that any association of people, “from the smallest town vestry to the greatest assembly of nations,” will have its quarrels.

“We think of our Founding Fathers and how great they were, but they had their quarrels, they had their fights, they had their difficulties as well, and the whole idea of writing the manual was to try to help everybody come together,” Macfarlane said. Auburn Reporter

A defamation lawsuit against the Bellevue School District brought by former Bellevue High School football coach Patrick Jones has ended after two years.

On March 19, King County Superior Court judge Theresa Doyle dismissed Jones’ claims that BSD allegedly made false statements about Jones and that the district allegedly defamed him and painted him in a false light when it reported in May 2016 that Jones and another coach violated a Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) rule.

That rule, Rule 23.1.1 (Rule 23), states that “coaching stipends and all gifts to a coach exceeding a total of $500 in a season must be approved by the school’s board of directors.”

It is this rule violation that the district pointed to when it put Jones on paid administrative leave in June 2016 and subsequently never renewed his contract. In response to the district-reported rule violation, KingCo (a previous defendant in the lawsuit, along with Sea-King and WIAA before they settled in January 2018) issued sanctions, which included suspending Jones and another coach for four years.

The school district’s investigation into the Rule 23 violation came after WIAA hired outside investigators to look into other claims alleging that BHS football had violated other WIAA rules.

Jones claimed in the lawsuit that the report is false and that he never violated Rule 23.

However, in the ruling, judge Doyle wrote that the school district’s May 2016 reports that Jones had violated the rule were true, “which is a complete defense to defamation.”

Additionally, “the opinions that rules were violated are not statements of fact and therefore are not actionable as defamation,” she wrote.

Jones responded that, “as with a decision made by a referee in an athletic contest, we must respect and adhere to the decision made by the judge. Given the court’s decision regarding immunity, we have no further interest in appealing or fighting this issue and it is time for all sides to move on.” Bellevue Reporter

A Woodinville stable is once again under quarantine after another horse fell ill with a potentially deadly virus.

One case of equine herpes virus 1 (EHV) was reported on April 6 at Gold Creek Equestrian Facility—just a few miles outside of Bothell—where seven horses were euthanized last December due to the same disease. Most horses are infected with EHV as foals, the virus lying dormant until it is activated by stressors. When this happens, it becomes active, or neurotropic, and infects. Horses in this stage become highly contagious and can pass the virus in its active form to other horses.

“Be real careful right now in that neck of the woods, or even the whole state of Washington,” said Dr. Thomas Gilliom, a state field veterinarian.

The Eastside has a large equestrian community revolves around Bridle Trails State Park, located between Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland. Dana Kapela with Overlake Farms in Bellevue said in an email they are taking the relapse at Gold Creek seriously and are working with other farms in the area to ensure it does not spread to additional stables.

Gilliom said the infected horse at Gold Creek could have been exposed to the virus from a new source, but it is likely the horse had a latent form of the virus that became neurotropic.

“It’s just really hard to say,” he said. “We thought we were free and clear of it.”

As of the afternoon of April 9, all horses at the Woodinville facility were being monitored and their temperatures were taken twice daily. No other horses were thought to have the virus but a couple were showing slightly elevated temperatures, Gilliom said.

A horse’s normal body temperature is 100.5 degrees. Gilliom said horse owners should monitor for temperatures rising higher than one degree as well as keeping an eye out for other symptoms such as trouble breathing or walking and eye mucous.

“Everyone that has the ability to take the horse’s temperature twice a day, that’s what I would tell them,” he said. Bothell-Kenmore Reporter