Around South County

  • Tue Jul 20th, 2010 9:40pm

In Photos: Fun times at Mill Creek Festival …

Officer cleared in shooting

A Mill Creek police officer was legally justified in shooting twice in the direction of a man who reportedly appeared to be reaching for a weapon at the end of a dangerous car chase on New Year’s Day, Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe has determined.

The man, 52, was not hit by the bullets, but he stopped what he was doing after the gunfire, and was eventually arrested, Roe wrote in a decision released July 19.

The incident began late on Jan. 1 when the driver didn’t pull over for Mill Creek police and Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies.

Officers gave chase onto I-405 and I-5, reaching speeds of about 90 mph. A deputy used his patrol car to hit the fleeing vehicle twice and the tires were flattened with spikes before the driver pulled to the shoulder.

But the fleeing driver still did not stop, and used his car to pin a Mill Creek officer as he attempted to climb out his patrol vehicle, Roe wrote.

The man ignored orders to stop and show his hands. The officer opened fire when he saw the driver reaching toward the car’s glove box, the prosecutor said.

Comments sought on Point Wells project

The corporate owner of a century-old petroleum and asphalt facility on Puget Sound is gradually moving along plans to transform it into high-end condos, shops and offices.

The first of two meetings on the possible future of Point Wells is scheduled for July 27, 6:30 – 8 p.m. at the Edmonds Conference Center, 201 Fourth Ave. N. Another will follow September 23, 6:30 – 8 p.m. at the Shoreline Conference Center, 18560 First Ave. NE.

Initially, the owner’s representatives won’t have any designs to unveil; they mainly want to hear what the community has to say.

“This first meeting in particular, we’re going to be doing a lot of listening,” said Barry Bartlett, a spokesman for the project. “We know that this is a long-term transformation of the property. That’s part of what of what we’re going to be conveying to residents, that this process simply is not going to be happening overnight.”

Fire District 7 seeks tax hike

Residents served by Snohomish County Fire District 7 will be asked next month to double the tax they pay for emergency medical services.

Officials will ask voters on the Aug. 17 primary mail-in ballot to approve an increase to 50 cents per $1,000. If voters agree, the new tax would be permanent, rather than lasting for six years as it does now.

District property owners now pay 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value for the service.

The fire district serves about 60,000 people living in mostly rural southeast portions of the county. It also is under contract to provide fire and medical services to Mill Creek.

Currently, the owner of a $360,000 house pays $90 a year. If voters agree to the increase, that owner would pay $180 a year for the EMS tax.

Fire District 7 will hold its last informational meeting about the proposed levy July 29, 6 p.m. at Fire Station 71, 8010 180th St. SE, Snohomish.

County offers utility bill assistance

About 1,000 people living in Snohomish County, who meet income guidelines, can get help paying heating or power bills.

Snohomish County’s emergency assistance and weatherization program has received some one-time-only money from the Snohomish County PUD, allowing the county agency to provide help to more people this year.

Financial help is available for all types of heat, including electric, natural gas, propane, oil or wood.

Since Oct. 1, 8,691 households have received financial help in paying their heating or energy bills, according to Bill Seuscher, who supervises the program. The average payment was $370.

To qualify, a single adult can have a monthly income of no more than $1,805. The monthly income for a family of four cannot exceed $3,675.

The application deadline is Aug. 31. Applications generally must be made in person, in the lower level of the Robert Drewel Administration Building, 3000 Rockefeller Ave., Everett, however arrangements can be made for people who are disabled or who have transportation problems.

Volunteer faces child molestation accusations

Prosecutors on July 13 charged Terry Jensen, 55, with first-degree child molestation in connection with a 2006 incident in Edmonds. The 8-year-old girl told detectives that Jensen fondled her three times during a class at church, according to court papers.

Jensen, a volunteer magician and puppeteer at Westgate Chapel, is also charged with attempted voyeurism after allegations surfaced that he took pictures up the skirts of unsuspecting women and girls at church. Two women also reported that Jensen used a small camera that looked like a pen to take similar pictures of them during business trips.

Following the 2006 incident Jensen was allowed to remain a volunteer with the children’s ministry. He was removed in January after the new allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced. Church officials confronted Jensen and reported the allegations to Edmonds police.

“We were deeply saddened by these allegations and our focus became the healing of our congregation,” leaders of Westgate Chapel said in a prepared statement.

On July 14 church leaders said they plan to provide police with the results of a lie detector test that was given to Jensen following the 2006 complaint. At the time church officials said they confronted Jensen with the girl’s allegations that he became sexually aroused after he picked the child up and hugged her. Jensen offered to take a lie detector test which the church’s attorney arranged. A technician concluded that Jensen was being truthful when he denied any sexual intent or contact with the girl, and he offered a plausible explanation for the misunderstanding, according to the statement.

Jensen allegedly apologized to the girl during a meeting facilitated at the time by the church and attended by the girl, her mother and the church’s leadership team, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Adam Cornell wrote.

— Compiled by Herald staff