Oh, 98232.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fear and Loathing in Skagit County.

I was browsing videos in the action section at ye olde Burlington Hollywood Video just a few rows away from my husband when the chatter and inanities coming from the crowd of high school(?) age kids in sports sweats and glitter was broken loudly with the word "rape." A disheveled blonde woman was out of breath, telling the two clerks about the man who'd just attacked her across the street. They gave her the phone to dial police and I stayed back peeking over the action racks. She gave detailed description of the fella, down to the shirt he'd been wearing. Her shoes were missing. The kids, perhaps from discomfort, began to laugh and left. A few people sort of gathered but kept their distance. A couple young men went out to see if our rapey attacker was still around. They came back with a description of a pick-up truck, passenger side headlamp out driving away.

I continued to hide and my husband joined me. We held back until the police came and relieved the movie rental clerks of responsibility. No one had comforted her. It was mildly disheartening how instantly back to business everything went as soon as she walked out the door. But we hadn't done anything about it either.

Bow man arrested for attempted robbery and rape
Tahlia Ganser | Skagit Valley Herald
March 09, 2010 - 07:00 AM

BURLINGTON — An employee of an adult novelty sex shop fought off an attacker who tried to rape her Friday night by biting him on the arm and stabbing him with scissors, according to an arrest affidavit filed in Skagit County District Court.

The 38-year-old female victim was working at Lovers in the 1000 block of Burlington Boulevard when she was attacked just after 10 p.m. Friday.

She was preparing to lock up the store when a lingering customer grabbed her by the neck, dragged her into a back room and tried to rape her, the affidavit says.

After biting the man and stabbing him with scissors, she escaped to a nearby business and called 911, police said.

Burlington police searched the area, but couldn’t find the assailant.

About 40 minutes later, a 28-year-old Bow man turned himself in at the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office in downtown Mount Vernon.

The man told police he had tried to rob the store and rape a woman who was working there, the affidavit says. He also had a bite mark on his right inside bicep.

He was booked into the Skagit County Jail for investigation of robbery and rape.

Neither the victim nor suspect’s injuries required immediate medical attention, police said.

Yesterday, again renting movies at the Hollywood, I spoke to my friend Clinton (who is a worker there) about the incident.

"It sounded like it was a surreal event," he said, when I described how the event didn't really seem to be taken seriously. People didn't know how to act/react.

He said, from my description, "Oh, I think that's the girl that comes in here and buys a lot of Mountain Dew." Hollywood Video Soda Shop.

He told me then a little bit about his grandfather. He had been a cornerstone in the community. Even the entire shuffleboard league took a bye for Gus's funeral. He was a player on one of the teams, and I told Clinton I'd likely met him in a match before his accident. "Oh yeah," Clinton said. "He was probably drinkin' beer and being a big flirt."

I thought that definitely sounded familiar.

Former Burlington mayor laid to rest
Marta Murvosh | Skagit Valley Herald
March 07, 2010 - 06:49 AM

The funeral procession Saturday for former Burlington Mayor Roger “Gus” Tjeerdsma rolls east on Fairhaven Avenue, pulled by Tjeerdsma’s mules. Tjeerdsma was a volunteer firefighter for 33 years.

BURLINGTON — Speaking Saturday at the memorial service for former mayor and longtime friend Roger “Gus” Tjeerdsma, builder Dan Mitzel said he hoped and prayed for Tjeerdsma to recover from the injuries he sustained in a construction accident.

“God had other plans for Gus. He needed him to show those who had gone on before what leadership and friendship was all about,” said Mitzel, who said he was haunted by the fact the fatal accident occurred on his job site.

Tjeerdsma, 68, died Feb. 20 in Seattle, where he was being treated for injuries sustained in the Feb. 4 construction accident in Mount Vernon.

Mitzel, who met Tjeerdsma in 1977, was among the speakers at the former mayor’s memorial service in the Burlington-Edison High School gym. At least 700 people attended.

A glossy, wooden casket holding Tjeerdsma’s body was draped with flowers at the north end of the gym.

A firefighter’s helmet labeled “assistant fire chief” rested on the casket’s lid, a reminder of Tjeerdsma’s 33 years as a volunteer firefighter. Two bagpipe players from Snohomish County Firefighters Pipes and Drums played “Amazing Grace,” a tradition at firefighter funerals.

“Gus wanted this city to continue to be served neighbor to neighbor by a volunteer fire department,” said Burlington Fire Chief Glen Staheli.

Many spoke of Tjeerdsma’s willingness to roll up his sleeves and lend a hand to a friend or a community project.

Longtime friend Chuck Dynes told a story about how Tjeerdsma tried to help him when he got into trouble involving the “reckless discharge of a firearm and the police.”

Worried that Dynes might be expelled from a school program, Tjeerdsma lied to the police, saying he fired the gun.

“He was, as the Bible says, willing to lay down himself for his friend,” Dynes said.

Friends spoke of Tjeerdsma’s work ethic and his charm. He loved a good beer, cooking, travel and the outdoors. He especially loved riding mules.

Ray Jensen first introduced the former mayor to mules. When Tjeerdsma bought his mule Pete, Jensen commented that the steed was too big to match the former mayor’s other mules in the harness.

“It don’t matter,” Tjeerdsma told Jensen. “I’m in love with that mule.”

Jensen cried as he told those at the service that he found a mule called Maggie to match Pete’s size. On Saturday, the mule pair was hitched to the wagon waiting to carry Tjeerdsma’s casket.

“Gus will be pulled to the cemetery by Pete and Maggie,” Jensen said.

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