Year in review: the main Federal Way stories for 2021

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As another year slips into the past, let’s take a look at some of the newsworthy Federal Way events of 2021.

January

• Federal Way Macy’s department store has announced it will close by the end of March. Macy’s Federal Way store was an anchor of The Commons Mall, serving the community for 43 years.

• Some members of South King Fire and Rescue and the Federal Way Police Department have received their first doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Later in the year, the South King Fire Commissioners Council would demand that all firefighters be fully vaccinated in order to treat patients, prompting a backlash from union members and four firefighters leaving the department.

• Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell and Federal Way City Council issued a proclamation on Jan. 18 titled “Black Lives Matter – A Call to Action,” which denounced racist acts of oppression and pledged to develop fair policies and practices to dismantle systemic racism. and prejudice in the City of Federal Way, among other commitments.

• Federal Way Public Schools opened the district’s first school health center at TAF @ Saghalie. This institution provides health care to students who do not have access to services. In-person and telehealth services include primary care, vaccinations, mental health counseling, sports physical exams and more.

February

• On February 5, Federal Way native Kelyn Rowe joined the Seattle Sounders.

• After a nearly a year hiatus in high school sports, the Federal Way Public School District resumed conditioning practices to prepare for a condensed season incorporating most sports into just three months of competition.

• Laird Thornton, beloved music teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School and director of Federal Way Chorale, died on February 15 at the age of 66 at his Renton home. Thornton spent 30 years at TJHS, retiring in 2019. In addition, he devoted 28 years to Grace Lutheran Church as director of choral music and nearly 15 years with the Federal Way Chorale as artistic director.

March

• On March 2, the death toll from COVID-19 at Federal Way surpassed 100 people. As of December 29, the death toll had reached 146 people.

• Students returned to Federal Way classrooms on March 15, almost exactly one year to the day since Governor Jay Inslee ordered schools closed for what was supposed to be a two-week break in the spring of 2020. .

• Local residents took to the streets to support Federal Way’s Asian American community. The Stop Asian Hate rally was attended by around 70 people and follows a statement by Federal Way City Council condemning racism against people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent.

April

• The keys to the city were handed over to all healthcare workers, Federal Way Police Department officers and staff, South King Fire and Rescue firefighters and Federal Way grocers by the Mayor on April 6. .

• On April 20, the former superintendent, Dr. Tammy Campbell, announced her resignation from the district. Campbell has been superintendent since 2015. Dr. Dani Pfeiffer has been appointed the new school district superintendent.

Can

• London Houston, a graduate of Federal Way High School, was part of the US Nationals Junior and U23 women’s freestyle wrestling teams. Houston is a two-time state wrestling champion and won a gold medal at the Pan American Junior Championships in June.

• The South King Tool Library received a King County Green Globe Award for its waste reduction efforts.

June

• Federal Way leaders hoisted the Pride Flag and the Juneteenth Flag in front of City Hall.

• The Poverty Bay Cafe reopened under the direction of the nonprofit Federal Way FUSION. Due to COVID-19 and the staffing overhaul, the cafe closed a few months later with plans to reopen in 2022.

• Dr. Tammy Campbell received the first ever Dream Maker Award by the Federal Way Public School Board of Trustees.

• FWPS Elders participated in outdoor graduation ceremonies at Federal Way Memorial Field.

• Federal Way City Council has approved body-worn cameras for the Federal Way Police Department. About 25 officers already wear body cameras and the goal is for the entire department to be trained and wear body cameras by January 31, 2022.

July

• King County announced the purchase of a Federal Way hotel as part of the county’s Health Through Housing initiative to provide shelter and health services to homeless people.

August

• Federal Way girl Mireille Ignacio has been selected as honorary team captain by the Seattle Seahawks. A boy from Federal Way, Kingston Edwards, was selected for the Seattle Mariners Hometown Nine class.

• On August 28, local leaders inaugurated Korea’s first traditional garden, located near 550 SW Campus Drive between the Panther Lake Trail and the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.

September

• Decatur High School graduate Janson Junk made his Los Angeles Angels pitcher debut on September 5.

• David and Peggy Beamer spoke at a memorial event at Todd Beamer High School in Federal Way in honor of the 20th anniversary of September 11 and the heroism of their son Todd Beamer, who was a passenger in the United Airlines Flight 93.

• King County announced a new warrant requiring people to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for restaurants, bars, events and other places.

October

• Two Federal Way agents received the Washington Medal of Honor from Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Both officers were injured in a fatal shooting involving an officer on December 31, 2019.

• A Federal Way girl received the 2021 Whitney Bellinghausen Community Service Award from South King Fire and Rescue. Arianna Graham and her mother, Andrea, work to promote acceptance of Down syndrome throughout Federal Way and in communities beyond.

November

• Red Robin Gourmet Burgers reopened at Federal Way at a new location, 31920 Gateway Center Blvd. S.

• Lakehaven Water and Sewer District inaugurated construction of a new head office. The $ 53 million project includes a corporate headquarters housing four departments, a vehicle warehouse and more.

• A Federal Way business owner was assigned to lead a QAnon rally in Dallas to see the return of JFK Jr., but JFK Jr. did not attend the event.

December

• A Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) COVID-19 mobile vaccination center opened at Federal Way, the state’s first site. The vaccination center moves to Auburn after January 3.

• A healing ceremony was held for a Federal Way school that received a new name and mascot under House Bill 1356. Evergreen Middle School, located at 26630 40th Ave. South in Kent and previously named “Totem Pole”, is now the home of the Grizzly Bears.

• The Sound Transit board of directors approved the Federal Way South 336th Street site to house the new LRT maintenance facility. A final decision will be made at the end of 2022.

A kindergarten student at Panther Lake Elementary School raises her hand on the first day of in-person learning on March 15. Olivia Sullivan / the Mirror

Decatur graduates move their tassels from right to left on June 12.  Olivia Sullivan / the Mirror

Decatur graduates move their tassels from right to left on June 12. Olivia Sullivan / the Mirror

Those attending the event participated in a round dance while listening to a drum circle led by Federal Way resident Raymond Kingfisher.  Photo courtesy of Federal Way Public Schools

Those attending the event participated in a round dance while listening to a drum circle led by Federal Way resident Raymond Kingfisher. Photo courtesy of Federal Way Public Schools

Lakehaven Water & Sewer District Commissioners inaugurate the new headquarters building with Lakehaven Managing Director John Bowman (far right).  Olivia Sullivan / The Mirror

Lakehaven Water & Sewer District Commissioners inaugurate the new headquarters building with Lakehaven Managing Director John Bowman (far right). Olivia Sullivan / The Mirror



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