The B-Town Blog’s Top 10 Stories For Burien 2008

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Everyone and their brother’s mother do “Year In Review” stories, and since this is the first year we’ve ever reviewed on The B-Town Blog, we figured we oughta give it a shot as well, so here goes our Top 10 Stories (with active links so you can read & review for yourself) for the Burien area, as voted on by our incredibly large staff:

1. DECEMBER SNOWSTORMS BLAST BURIEN: After much debate and deliberation, we decided this was definitely the #1 Top Story since the snow affected so many people, from school closures to street closures, from work stoppage to delayed garbage/recycling pickups and much more – this was one of those 10-15 year weather events that affected everyone in some way.

On a self-indulgent side note, it also ended up boosting our traffic 4x times, resulting in our highest one-day audience ever on Dec. 21st: 1,642 Unique Visitors and 2,608 Pageviews.

2. FATAL JUNE 29 ARSON APARTMENT FIRE: A horrific fire burned down the Tara and Jenny Marie Apartments on a nice summer’s night, killing three people (Edgar Omar Cisneros Velazquez, 8, his father Ramon Cisneros Sanchez and Lindy Kunimoto, 49).  The arsonist is still at large, the crime still unsolved, the landlords are being sued, and the entire Burien community is permanently scarred.

The community of Burien quickly rallied however, and we’re proud to have co-sponsored (along with Discover Burien) the Fire Victims Fundraiser Auction that raised $10,500 at Mick Kelly’s Irish Pub on July 16th.

3. BURIEN & SEATTLE AGREE ON NORTH HIGHLINE ANNEXATION: The Cities of Burien and Seattle came to a preliminary agrement on who gets what as far as dividing up the pie that is North Highline/White Center (if you’d like to read the entire document, click here for a PDF file). Burien will pursue annexation only in Area X (approx. SW/S 116th and south) while Seattle will pursue annexation in Area Y (north of approx. SW/S 116th) until Dec. 31, 2011.

Big news for both cities, as they seek tax credit relief, as well as residents in X and Y ‘hoods, as they get to vote on it.

4. OPENING OF THE 3rd RUNWAY AND ANGRY RESIDENTS’ REACTIONS: To much fanfare, the Port of Seattle proudly opened its $1+ billion third runway on Nov. 20th. Within days, numerous residents in the new flight path were livid over the increased noise, claiming being lied to or misled by the Port before its opening, not to mention lost sleep and mental anguish. This is an ongoing story that is only just starting, and will get bigger, as dozens of residents are teaming up with a team of lawyers and are pursuing legal actions.

We’re happy to be right in the middle of it all, and we look forward to bringing you exclusive interviews, stories and videos in 2009 and beyond.

5. “MR BURIEN” DICK DAHLGARD PASSES AWAY: The passing of Burien business icon (the still-vacant “Dick’s Camera” building sits eerily quiet on First Ave South with his bright orange signage on it), native son, longtime resident and an active, generous Rotary member who didn’t miss a meeting in 46 years shocked the entire community.

Highly deserving of the nickname “Mr. Burien,” Dahlgard, 73, passed away in his sleep on Nov. 5th.

1pm 12/31/08 UPDATE: Dick took the photo below on Sept. 5th, at the 55-year reunion of Highline High School’s Class of ’53; he then went to Bartell’s in Burien, had the photo printed, then returned to the party before it ended and gave them out to all the attendees. Later, he shared this photo with us at the BTB but regretfully, we never got around to posting it. We post it now as our tribute to “Mr. Burien,” who is missed by many.

Photo of Highline High School's Class of '53 Reunion by Dick Dahlgard.

6. AREA FOOD BANKS SUFFER DURING RECESSION: Both the Highline Area Food Bank and White Center Food Bank have suffered during 2008’s recession, sending shockwaves through the lower-income residents of the area. We’ve done what we can by holding our own fundraisers (including a “Blog Party” in August and a Turkeys N’Diapers event in November), promoting others and trying to continually spread the word; but unfortunately, even the wealthiest residents are hurting too.

Here’s a hearty and heartfelt toast to a resurgent 2009 where no one in our community ever goes hungry again.

7. BURIEN TOWING’S MARK AND BRIAN STORER KILLED IN PLANE CRASH: Burien Towing’s Mark Storer, 51 and his son Brian, 24, were killed July 24th when their floatplane crashed 10 miles west of Shelton. According to witnesses, the plane struggled to reach altitude after taking off from Nahwatzel Lake before vanishing behind some trees, crashing then exploding. Mark Storer founded and operated both Burien and Airport Towing, and leaves behind his wife, Lynette, and a surviving son and daughter. His son Brian was married with two small children.

Brother and son Jared Storer turned his blog into a heartfelt tribute to his Dad and Brother – check out his entries for July here.

8. AN ENGLISHMAN’S PERSPECTIVE ON OBAMA’S VICTORY: “Bob” is an Englishman who lives in Burien who wrote a very interesting piece on his experience the night of Nov. 4th when America’s first African-American President was elected. “Bob” drove from B-Town to downtown Seattle, where he took part in a spontaneous street celebration at First and Pike streets.

Looking forward, “Bob” plans on attending the historic inauguration, and we hope to have more stories from him then.

9. CHERNOBYL CHILDREN FIND SAFE HAVEN IN B-TOWN: Contributing Writer and Burien resident Cynthia Reid wrote a compelling story about area families who host children from Chernobyl every summer. These kids become “adopted” by their US host families, who treat them as their own, form bonds with them and help them heal far away from the still-dangerous radiation in Belarus.

In September, the story developed into controversy over a California family that allowed their “adopted child” to essentially defect to the US, temporarily ending the program (read the story here).

10.“THE DAY MY PARENTS BECAME COOL” FILMS IN BURIEN: Local resident and lawyer-turned-filmmaker Steve Edmiston Wrote and Directed a 16-minute comedy film about the day grown-ups mysteriously tried to be “cool,” with crazy hair, low-riding pants, thongs, piercings, tattoos and attitude, and how their kids subsequently reacted. Featuring locations like Burien’s own Highline High School, as well as cameo appearances by Highline Schools Superintendent John Welch (see animated photo below), the film was sneak-previewed in Seattle on Dec. 7th to an incredibly receptive crowd of friends, crew members, actors, actresses and dignitaries (luckily, including us – read our review here).

The B-Town Blog will keep you updated about this local project, which is sure to make the rounds of numerous short film festivals throughout 2009, as well as having a big “Premiere Party” in the area soon.

Okay, so that wraps up our first-ever “Year In Review” posting.

We hope you enjoyed 2008 as much as we did – it was a year full of new challenges, new ideas, new ventures, a new, non-home office, many gains, countless setbacks…yet when we look back at it all, we wouldn’t have traded 2008 for anything.

As far as this website is concerned, 2008 was a *huge* year that saw our traffic grow from a measly 266 Unique Visitors in Dec. 2007 to nearly 14,000 in Dec. 2008, a stunning increase of over 5,000%!

That’s right – in our first year of publication, our audience has grown over five thousand percent!

And have we mentioned yet how great the New Year is to purchase an Ad on The B-Town Blog?

However, we have a feeling that 2009 is going to be a better year all around, and we vow to do everything we can to make The B-Town Blog your best and most-frequently updated online source for local news, events, listings, feature stories, videos, photos and more. We’ve got some big plans coming soon, so check back often, and/or subscribe to our RSS Feed or free Weekly Event Newsletter for the latest.

On that note, we’re actively looking for freelance Writers to help us take this website to the next level – email us for details!

Thanks for reading, and HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

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