Debt dooms Tacoma music festival for 2002

TACOMA — The Tacoma International Music Festival’s inaugural six-day run ended $92,000 in debt, and the festival won’t be held next summer, organizers say.

Whether it resumes in 2003 is to be determined, said Eli Ashley, executive director of the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, which presented the festival.

The August concert series, featuring soprano Kathleen Battle, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, pianist Jon Nakamatsu and others, played to sparse audiences. But those who turned out were glad they did, Ashley said.

"This is a setback, but I wouldn’t call it a defeat," he said. "We had so much good that happened out of the festival that we are heartened. Now we have the ability to evaluate at least something."

Arson sentencing: A 19-year-old Cashmere man was sentenced to five years in prison for starting a fire that destroyed four buildings at a Cashmere lumber company last year. U.S. District Judge Robert Whaley handed down the sentence Thursday to William Jeromy Allenbaugh. Allenbaugh pleaded guilty July 12 to malicious use of fire to destroy property used in interstate commerce. U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents said Allenbaugh was walking home after a party when he stopped at the Cedarbrook Lumber Co. and used a lighter to set two fires on June 12, 2000. Allenbaugh told ATF agents he was angry his parents had not given him a ride home from the party.

Official’s son dies: Rollie A. Schmitten, the son of a federal fisheries official and former state legislator, died in a motorcycle accident, Chelan County Sheriff Mike Brickert said. Schmitten, 26, of Lake Wenatchee, died instantly from a broken neck Thursday after the motorcycle he was riding went off Entiat River Road, Chelan County coroner Dr. Gina Fino said. He was wearing a helmet, she said. Schmitten is the son of Rollie Schmitten, director of the Office of Habitat Conservation for the National Marine Fisheries Service and a former state legislator from Cashmere.

Real estate prices climb: Home sales in the Puget Sound region dropped after the deadly Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and subsequent word that as many as 30,000 workers at Boeing’s commercial-plane division could be laid off. But prices are still climbing, and real estate agents say the latest reduction in interest rates will help business pick up again. The median price in King County rose 6.7 percent to $247,975 in September, compared to $232,250 for the year-earlier period. In Pierce County, the median home price rose than 2 percent, to $157,950 from $152,950. But Glenn Crellin, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at Washington State University, said the median price — the middle price in a list of all home prices — is being pushed up because buyers are choosing pricier homes. "The sales price is going up, but doesn’t mean the price of any individual of home is going upward," he said.

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