by Jack Mayne

Tukwila City Councilmember De’Sean Quinn on Tuesday (Feb. 24) announced his candidacy for mayor of Tukwila.

Quinn has been on the Council for six years, now serving his second term that expires in 2017.

“My goal has been to improve the quality of life for Tukwila’s citizens,” Quinn said. “I am proud that my efforts have enhanced public safety measures, ensured that fiscally-responsible decisions were made, and improved the city’s communication with its residents.”

He said he learned he had to “put in the time to understand how city government works, and that leadership and progress is defined by your willingness to take action.”

Quinn said he remains committed to protecting the quality of life, enhancing public safety, preserving open space and parks, and protecting Tukwila’s environment.

He grew up in Seattle attended University of Washington, served as the community relations manager for former County Executive Ron Sims then became the King County Council’s council relations director. He is currently a water quality planner and project manager with the county Department of Natural Resources and Parks where he works with community relations, public involvement strategies and represents the agency on various intergovernmental planning groups.

“My vision for Tukwila is a vibrant, creative and culturally-diverse community that is livable, affordable, safe, environmentally sustainable, and fosters growth and opportunity throughout its distinctive neighborhoods,” Quinn said.


Daylight shows the extreme damage to the two vehicles. Photo courtesy Washington State Patrol.


The embankment the suspect drove down. Photo courtesy Washington State Patrol.

The King County Prosecutor’s Office is reporting that Tukwila man was sentenced on Friday (Oct. 31) to nearly 11 years in prison for a multiple-vehicle collision on SR-509 in December 2013 that killed a 54-year-old woman (read our previous coverage here).

Prosecutors say the defendant, Christopher Wittman, 25, was impaired by a combination of alcohol and marijuana and was distracted by using a cell phone when he crashed his car through a fence and over an embankment onto Highway 509, where his car landed on top of the victims’ vehicle.

Barbara Eakin died from her injuries, while her husband Clay Eakin was injured in the collision.

The driver of a vehicle that collided with the defendant’s disabled car was also injured.

Several other cars were involved in the chain reaction collision and those drivers also received various injuries.

Wittman pled guilty last month to charges of Vehicular Homicide (DUI), Vehicular Assault (DUI) and Reckless Endangerment. The standard sentence range was nine to just over 12 years.

Wittman was sentenced before Judge John Chun at the Maleng Regional Justice Center.

The case was handled by Senior Deputy Prosecutor Amy Feedheim, paralegal Lindsey Thomas, and victim advocate Karen Kunde.

Below are some Tweets sent out about the tragic crash:

Here’s a pic of the crash scene Tweeted out by Noah Bond:

South Sound Piano (SSP), a local piano school serving the South Seattle region, will be hosting an Open House event on Saturday, September 6, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Burien, as a grand opening following the total rebrand of the studio.

The rebrand allowed SSP to elevate their position within the local market and includes a site design that allows students of all ages to better pursue the academic study of piano.

This public event is one of only a handful that SSP directly hosts each year, and is an excellent opportunity for parents to explore musical education options. The studio space will be available to tour, and instructor Heather White will be available to answer guest questions throughout the day. Located next to Arbor Lake Park in Burien, SSP has served the local musical community since 2008, operating on a limited schedule to provide a high degree of attention and personalized instruction for each student. Attend the open house on September 6, register for lessons and SSP will waive registration fees.d4e1534776a1a275cb604ff6b90c3bc0.jpg_srz_p_404_512_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srz

Some testimonials:

“What I like most about studying piano at SSP is my teacher. I look forward to coming for my lessons as I am learning while having fun. And one thing I have learned about myself while studying piano is that practice makes the biggest difference.”

– 2nd grade student

“As a parent, I like the caring approach SSP takes with my child, while maintaining a great level of professionalism and the learning platform that adopts to my child’s learning. SSP was referred to us and we are always happily returning the favor to our friends and family.”

– Satisfied Parents

“SouthSoundPiano has been a perfect fit for my daughter. She enjoys what she’s learning, and her skills have improved dramatically. Ms. White knows how to motivate kids to accomplish more than they believed possible.”

– Lisa, a parent

SSP is owned by Heather White, who has more than 20 year’s experience providing quality piano instruction. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music at the University of Puget Sound and currently studies under Mark Salman. She is also an active chamber musician and accompanist.

South Sound Piano Studio is located at 12059 3rd Ave South in Burien.

by Jack Mayne

The recent Washington State Liquor Control Board lottery for a license to run the single retail store allotted to Tukwila has produced four candidates.

They are, in order of their ranking, Purple Dank, 18200 Andover Park West; Purple Haze, also 18200 Andover Park West; Ganja Haven, 344 Upland Drive; and Boyden Investment Group, 15015 Tukwila International Boulevard.

If Purple Dank, for any reason, fails the board’s selection criteria – including the store site not be located near schools, day care facilities and other sensitive areas or have a criminal history, the next candidate will be vetted for the license and so on until a store is selected.

The liquor board is charged under voter approved Initiative 502 with regulating the retail sales of marijuana in small amounts to the general public. The board has allotted 61 stores to King County with one each in Tukwila, Des Moines, SeaTac, and Burien. Seattle will have 21 stores and there are 11 stores for unincorporated areas, including smaller cities.

When will licenses be issued in cities and areas with approved applicants?

“Hard to say,” said a Liquor Board representative on Thursday (May 8). “Each application is unique and we have thousands to process.”

After the state grants a license, the Tukwila city government must approve the applicant. The hang-up in many cities in King County, are laws forbidding the approval of any enterprise that violates state or federal laws. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, although the present Obama administration has said it will not move to enforce the law in Washington state and Colorado, the two states where marijuana has been legalized for personal consumption

“One condition of the (state) license is that in order to operate an applicant must be in compliance with all of the local authority rules and regulations,” said Liquor Board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter. “Essentially, that means that if they meet our criteria they get a license, but to operate they need to meet the city’s criteria. That makes the issue of zoning, bans, moratoria a conversation between the applicant and the city, not the WSLCB.”

Effectively, any individual Washington city can decide not to have pot sales.

The Liquor Control Board has said it hopes to begin issuing licenses in early July.

Story by Ralph Nichols
Photos by Scott Schaefer

Highline cities have weathered the recession and now their economic futures look bright, mayors of four area cities told members of the Southwest King County Chamber of Commerce on Friday, April 11.

Mayors and Jim Haggerton, Tukwila, Mia Gregerson, SeaTac, Dave Kaplan, Des Moines, and Lucy Krakowiak, Burien all said at the annual luncheon that city revenues are increasing as new economic development boosts their local economies.

Major strides were taken in removing criminal activity from Tukwila International Blvd. – improving its character and setting the stage for economic development, something he is “especially proud” of, Haggerton said.

Last August some 400 law enforcement agents converged on an area along the boulevard zoned as an urban renewal area, where they made numerous arrests and seized illegal guns and drugs. The city subsequently legally seized the properties where the illegal activities were taking place.

Now, as part of a city priority “to fulfill our vision,” Tukwila is buying the seized properties, Haggerton said. They will then be demolished, “and we already have several good businesses that want to move” into those locations.

This area neighbors Tukwila Village at Tukwila International Blvd. and S. 144th St., a long-planned six-acre mixed use project for which ground is now expected to be broken this summer, he added. The development is a two-phase housing-condominium project that will be built concurrently.

Going up in the expanded Southcenter Mall area will be three new hotels, Haggerton said, including a 19-story story where Circuit City was located before the company went out of business.

And a nearby pedestrian bridge for both foot traffic and bicycles will be built over the Green River.

Haggerton is pleased with progress made by city staff in implementing the strategic plan of a 2012 task force that focused on ways to provide local services more efficiently and improve communications with the public.

Despite a growing city population, Tukwila has the same number of full-time employees today as 10 years ago, Haggerton noted. This has been accomplished by finding efficiencies to handle the added work load, including “cross-departmental teams to address many issues.”

With many long-term city employees approaching retirement, Tukwila has begun a “succession plan” to replace them – something he encouraged the other mayors to consider.

Haggerton also recounted his recent sobering experience when he visited the Oso mudslide area and told local officials there that communities well south of them are supporting them in any way possible.


SeaTac Mayor Mia Gregerson

The beginning of Sound Transit’s light rail line extension southward from the SeaTac/Airport station and the start of work on the Angle Lake light rail station at International Blvd. and S. 200th St. made this past year “eventful,” said Gregerson.

As did the passage last November of Proposition 1, which mandates a $15 minimum wage for certain employees in SeaTac and requires city government to regulate the initiative’s wage and benefit requirements.

“The increase in revenues and permit fees has been phenomenal,” Gregerson continued. “All this economic development revolves around new infrastructure,” which is largely financed by the Legislature’s 2013 transportation funding package.

“Permits are also the result of our booming economy as we come out of the recession … 2013 was very successful with revenues almost recovered to pre-recession levels.”

Gregerson said the Angle Lake light rail station, in addition to a large parking area, will feature a number of amenities including pedestrian- and bike-friendly facilities that link with the Des Moines Creek Trail, a variety of shops, and a public plaza.

Another significant transportation project that she noted, one that will “unlock five million square feet of land for economic development,” is a new 24th Ave./26th Ave. connector – being developed in cooperation with Sound Transit and the Port – to provide vehicle access from the south to Sea-Tac Airport.

Enhancing SeaTac’s designation as a Tourism Promotion Area – as a significant regional hub with the international airport, light rail, and Interstate 5 – is the addition of lodging facilities with a major expansion at Cedarbrook Lodge and plans to build the Hyatt Place, a new hotel.

She added that last year’s merger of the SeaTac and Kent fire departments was a “seamless transition” that continues to go well.


Des Moines Mayor Dave Kaplan

“It’s been a very eventful year,” Kaplan declared. “Our best days are ahead.”

Delayed time and again by the recession, the Des Moines Creek Business Park immediately south of Sea-Tac Airport “is now ready for development,” Kaplan said. Ground will be broken for both the Phase I and “a lot of” the Phase II projects this year due to “strong tenant interest.”

He expressed appreciation to the Port of Seattle, which owns the business park property, for its cooperation with the city in the development plans.

As Des Moines readies for this construction, the city’s Gateway Project to improve highway access from Pacific Highway S. to the business park just off S. 216th St. is nearing completion and will be finished yet this year.

Kaplan said another major construction project, the five-star Artemis Hotel along Pacific Highway S., is on schedule with foundation work now done – and is expected to open in time for the U.S. Open golf tournament at the new Chambers Bay course near Tacoma in June 2015.

Highline Place Project, a transit-oriented development at Highline Community College adjacent to the planned Sound Transit light rail route, is in the planning stages.

For the first time, he continued, the City Council has selected a contractor to build “a five-acre prime waterfront development” at the Des Moines Marina. The five-story multi-use building will cater to senior living.

Marina expansion “ties in with renovated, historic Beach Park, Kaplan said, where the dining hall – a popular attraction – will be upgraded with an $850 million grant from the Washington State Historical Society.

Significantly, added Kaplan, local crime went down in 2013 and the police department in cooperation with other agencies is targeting human trafficking.


Burien Mayor Lucy Krakowiak

“Our budget improves as the economy improves,” including a marked increase in sales tax revenues, Krakowiak said.

Ninety percent of the condominiums in the long-vacant Town Square condo-retail complex downtown have now been sold – and two new residential complexes, one for senior housing, are planned for development on vacant parcels in Town Square, Krakowiak continued.

“We have a great town center that’s starting to come together,” she observed.

Grant-funded construction of a major water retention facility immediately north of Sea-Tac Airport’s third runway, the acquisition of adjacent properties, and planning for an off ramp from SR 518 to Des Moines Memorial Drive all are readying Burien’s Northeast Redevelopment Area (NERA) for economic development there.

And the $10 million Phase II Seahurst Park Rehabilitation Project, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to restore the north beach to its natural state will be completed later this summer.

In addition, Krakowiak added, Burien has grown to the point where it can now bring its public works equipment and facilities in-house. Previously this was contracted with King County.

Of special significance, she also noted, Burien – with its strong arts community – is partnering with the Highline School District for an Arts in Education program.


Tukwila Mayor Jim Haggerton


Local Resident, Ernst and Young award winner and Venture Capitalist of the Year award winner Mary Fisher has brought ColoreScience to Normandy Park, and will be holding a Grand Opening on Sunday, March 30.

Fisher, a longtime Normandy Park resident, who also serves as CEO of Colorescience, has brought the Luxury Mineral Makeup Line to The Normandy Park Town Center.

Mary has more than 25 years in Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology, and headed the acquisition of Colorescience while she was the acting CEO of SkinMedica Skincare. With Fisher at the helm, it was noted to be the fasted growing medical skincare line for six years running, during the economic hard times when doctors hit hard by the economy were successful because she came along side of them ,to show them how to succeed. As the leader of the physician dispensed Skincare, it was acquired by Allergan in 2012. Fisher Continued on with Colorescience. Colorescience compliments great skin care products because it continues the efficacious ingredients through the makeup line, while protecting it from the Sun. It is especially effective for pre and post procedure while offering much needed calming, concealing and protection, so you can go about life as usual.

Colorescience performance cosmetics are a marriage of colore and science featuring good for you ingredients such as peptides, antioxidants, vitamins, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in efficacious amounts. They were created to help you achieve a flawless, even complexion without using any bad for you ingredients. The pure minerals deliver protection from the damaging effects of the sun and environment with SPF 20, 30 and 50 in a unique to Colorescience self dispensing mineral brush that allows users to simply brush over their face every couple of hours as sunscreen should be applied. This has earned the Sunforgettable Sunscreen multiple Seals awarded by the Skin Cancer Foundation, more than any other brand.


WHAT: Colorescience will be celebrating its red carpet grand opening Sunday March 30, 2014 with makeup application appointments, Luxury gift Raffles and an appearance and performance by the Seattle Seagals.

WHEN: Sunday, March 30, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

WHERE: 19987 1st Avenue South, Suite 105, Normandy Park Wa 98048

INFO: Please call 206-592-6045 for an appointment; also visit their website here:

On Wednesday, Feb. 26, Seattle Southside Visitor Services (SSVS), the official tourism organization for the cities of Tukwila, SeaTac and Des Moines, opened a new Visitor Center in Westfield Southcenter, which will be able to assist and influence more travelers in the Seattle Southside region.

Complimentary Visitor Center services include restaurant recommendations; hotel reservation assistance and referrals; directions; brochures; maps and sightseeing guides; transportation guidance; advice on museums and entertainment – and details on how to get tickets; tour bookings; tips, suggestions and advice on area attractions and ticket information; and expert knowledge on local events, sports, festivals and activities.


Left to right: Carol Kolson, Southwest King County Chamber of Commerce President & CEO; Kate Kruller, City of Tukwila Councilmember; De’Sean Quinn, City of Tukwila Council President; Katherine Kertzman, Seattle Southside Visitor Services Executive Director; Kathy Hougardy, City of Tukwila Councilmember; and Andrew Ciarrocchi, Westfield Southcenter General Manager, cut the ribbon at the unveiling of the new SSVS Visitor Center at Westfield Southcenter.


Left to right: Tasha Wood, ACME Bowling, Billiards & Events Director of Events and Promotions; Bridgette Candee Bell, ACME Bowling, Billiards & Events Assistant General Manager; Will Ostag, iFLY Seattle Flight Instructor; Kimberly Matej, City of Tukwila Government Relations and Communications Manager; Kathy Hougardy, City of Tukwila Councilmember; De’Sean Quinn, City of Tukwila Council President; Kate Kruller, City of Tukwila Councilmember; Museum of Flight Astronaut; Katherine Kertzman, Seattle Southside Visitor Services Executive Director; David Cline, City of Tukwila City Administrator; Derek Speck, City of Tukwila Economic Development Administrator; and Brandon Miles, City of Tukwila Senior Planner, at the unveiling of the new SSVS Visitor Center at Westfield Southcenter.


Left to right: Kate Kruller, City of Tukwila Councilmember; Kristina Thorne, SSVS Visitor Center Manager; Noelle Cueto, SSVS Visitor Center Concierge; Ashley Comar, SSVS Marketing & Communications Manager; Nick Tolley, SSVS Visitor Center Concierge; Emily Howat, SSVS Visitor Center Concierge; Katherine Kertzman, SSVS Executive Director gather at the new Visitor Center at Westfield Southcenter.

Photo Credit: ELITECollective

Seattle Soutside also reports that 2013 travel impact numbers are increasingly positive, with tourist spending hitting a record $659.2 million in 2013:

The annual study compiled by research firm Dean Runyan Associates shows the best year on record for visitor spending, local and state tax receipts and tourism employment. Travel spending increased 5 percent from 2012 to 2013, marking the third consecutive year of strong growth in the Seattle Southside travel industry.

“It’s extremely encouraging to see solid growth in the travel industry in Seattle Southside, despite the Washington State Tourism Office closing in 2011,” said Katherine Kertzman, executive director of Seattle Southside Visitor Services. “We’re now at pre-recessionary levels and expect to see continued growth thanks to the incredible partnerships that have been established in the Southside.”

With 5,320 people employed by the tourism industry in Seattle Southside and $31.3 million generated in local tax receipts, this report shows how the travel industry is a key contributor to the economic well-being of the Seattle Southside region. As the fourth-largest industry in Washington State, tourism supports small businesses, strengthens local economies, creates jobs and brings in additional tax revenues.

The full Dean Runyan Travel Impacts report is available here (PDF file).

Highlights from the report include:

  • Travel spending in Seattle Southside increased by 5 percent from 2012 to 2013 (preliminary).
  • Earnings, employment and travel-generated tax receipts have also continued to increase.
  • The overall trend in visitor volume corresponds to the trends in travel spending.
  • Lodging sales have recovered to pre-recessionary levels.
  • Almost three-quarters of all visitor nights in Seattle Southside are attributable to hotel/motel stays. This percentage is much greater than for King County and Washington state.
  • Visitor air arrivals (domestic only) to SeaTac airport have also increased for the fourth year in a row.
  • Day travel represents less than five percent of all visitor spending in the Seattle Southside.

For additional information about the Seattle Southside Visitor Services, please call 877-885-9452 or visit

About Seattle Southside Visitor Services
Seattle Southside Visitor Services (SSVS) is the leading tourism and marketing organization in South King County. The program offered jointly by the cities of Tukwila, SeaTac, and Des Moines, is responsible for competitively marketing the area as an ideal travel destination for tourists who wish to explore Western Washington. For more information, please visit