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Originally published in The Seattle Times, July 5, 1988

By Scott Peterson

Peter Johnston puts up a sign for Maple Valley Medical at Four Corners Square near Black Diamond. The Four Corners area may attract Black Diamond businesses wishing to escape business and occupation taxes.

Black Diamond — After 18 years of doing business in Black Diamond, Ken Shigaya closed his pharmacy last year on Third Street. He said he didn’t have a choice.

“It was a matter of survival,” he said.

Shigaya recently moved four miles away into a building in direct competition with a nearby Safeway pharmacy.

Despite the drawbacks, he is happy he moved to Four Corners, a growing business center north of Black Diamond in unincorporated King County, at the intersection of state highways 169 and 516.

“There is potential for growth here,” Shigaya says of Four Corners. “Business is dying on the vine in Black Diamond.”

Shigaya is not the only one to recognize the economic problems facing Black Diamond. Because other businesses are threatening to leave the town of 1,200, city leaders are thinking about cutting business and occupation taxes, starting their own chamber of commerce and forming a central business district. (more…)

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Originally published in the Maple Valley Reporter, July 1, 2011

By TJ Martinell

Black Diamond baseball field, circa 1915.

The Black Diamond baseball field during a game.

Coal mining towns have always been a point of fascination to me.

There were two things which prompted my interest as a kid. The first was when my family took a trip to Knott’s Berry Farm. The Calico Mine Ride, a train tour into an animatronic coal mine, had a way sparking the imagination of a precocious 3-year-old whose head was already in the clouds.

The second reason was both historical and personal. My ancestor, John Bush, was one of the first white people born in the Issaquah Valley where there was a very active coal mining industry. When I was around 9 years old, my grandfather gave me a special coin commemorating the formation of the Royal Arch Mason Chapter 39 in Issaquah—dated September 22, 1914, with John Bush’s name engraved on the back.

So, when I first went to Black Diamond in search of a story, I was already interested in what the town had to offer in terms of history. While I was writing articles about Franklin and Welsh heritage, however, I became more interested in their prolific sports history.

At the front desk of the museum is a glass exhibit of their sports legacy; old baseball uniforms, basketball trophies, soccer team portraits, and autographed baseballs. It wasn’t hard for me to perceive the kind of significance sports had there. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, June 27, 1913

Official severs relations with Washington to accept important position with government

State coal mining inspector D.C. Botting to accept a more lucrative opening in the government service, has severed his connection as chief of the state coal mining inspection department, effective July 5. After that date he will accompany the government naval expedition to the Matanuska coal fields, where he will have charge as superintendent of the practical mining operations in the field.

Mr. Botting is the second Seattle man to be chosen for an important position in the party, George Watkin Evans, a coal expert of this city having previously been selected to accompany the party. Evans has already made one trip to the fields this summer. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, June 27, 1906

Georgetown controversy likely to be renewed with Columbia & Puget Sound takes advantage of franchise

Roads insist upon overhead crossing to do away with danger of injury through collision with trains

The controversy between the Northern Pacific and the town of Georgetown may be repeated when the Columbia & Puget Sound attempts to double-track its line between Seattle and Black River Junction. The Columbia & Puget Sound must lay a second track across Rainier Avenue and has a franchise, granted by the county commissioners prior to the incorporation of Georgetown, authorizing the work.

As soon as the Pacific Coast Company, which owns the Columbia & Puget Sound, completes estimates of cost, the coal road will begin laying tracks. The system will act under its franchise rights, but there may follow protests from Georgetown. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, June 26, 1985

By Eulalia Tollefson

Map-gazing may not be a popular sport but it can reveal the darndest things, as Chris Ellingson of Black Diamond discovered recently.

While looking at a map of Alberta, Canada, Ellingson chanced upon a town named, coincidently, Black Diamond.

Imbued with a natural curiosity, Ellingson determined to learn something about the Canadian town that bears the name of her city. Because she is a firefighter in the Black Diamond—Washington, that is—Fire Department, and knowing nowhere else to begin, Ellingson called the Black Diamond, Alberta—fire department and exchanged pleasantries with Fire Chief Tom Gillis. (more…)

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Originally published in the Maple Valley Reporter, June 25, 2008

Jamey Kiblinger is the new police chief in Black Diamond, but she’s not a new face to the community.

Kiblinger came to the city as a rookie officer a decade ago. She replaces longtime chief Rick Luther, who after three decades in Black Diamond decided to retire at the end of 2007.

Running the Police Department isn’t new to Kiblinger, either, as she handled the day-to-day duties as commander for the past two years due to Luther wearing multiple hats and the other two most senior officers in the 10-person department retiring within a year of each other. (more…)

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Family recalls his career and life on the farm

Originally published in the MVHS Bugle, June 2005

Story by Barbara Nilson
Photos by Sherrie Acker and Nilson

Warren Iverson greets Johnny Lazor’s children: Barbara Donckers, David Lazor, and Raymond Lazor at the dedication of the “Johnny Lazor Hobart Ball Field.” — Photo by Barbara Nilson

The Hobart ball field now bears the name “Johnny Lazor Hobart Ball Field.” A crowd of nearly 100 arrived on Saturday, May 14, to hear Warren Iverson recognize the people who were responsible for the restoration and renaming of the field.

A new flag pole was donated by Terry Seaman, a huge sign graces the back stop, and a plaque honoring Lazor’s baseball career has been placed on a stone at the entrance to the field.

On Sunday more than 150 people were on hand at the Hobart Community Church to hear the three Lazor children, David, Raymond, and Barbara, recall their Dad and life on the farm on SE 208th Street. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, June 16, 1911

With price of $50 to murder fellowman, Italian’s hand flutters and he temporizes with intended victim

Above are shown the Vella brothers and below is a picture of Cosenza, whom the brothers hired Arena to kill.

Two agree to split purse to be paid

Four men now in jail while sheriff’s deputies have narrow escape from engaging in death duel

Fifty dollars is the price of a human life, disposed with Camorra-like methods, in the county of King, according to the remarkable disclosures of Joe Cosenza, a coal miner whose life was spared by the weakening of the hired assassin.

In the arrest of the alleged plotters, in a mining hamlet shack at Franklin, Deputy Sheriff Scott Malone and City Detective Joe Bianchi had the closest calls of their lives early this morning, for Thomas Vella, Italian, and the two officers stood with revolvers leveled at one another for a minute, each trying to force the other to back down. The Italian’s nerve finally failed. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, June 15, 1911

Quarterly apportionment made to various districts of King County

M.E. Durham, deputy county superintendent, yesterday completed the last quarterly apportionment to the various school districts of the county. The total amount distributed was $580,572.55, of which $314,662.19 was from the state fund and $265,909.86 from the county fund. The apportionment was 7.6 cents per day’s attendance and $75 per teacher employed.

Those districts receiving more than $1,200 were: Seattle, $46,394; Renton, $9,160; Kent, $8,327; Auburn, $7,935; Foster, $4,740; Enumclaw, $4,175; Black Diamond, $4,035; Bothell, $3,918; Oak Lake, $3,805; Issaquah, $3,124; Ravensdale, $2,084; Richmond, $1,989; Kennydale, $1,833; Bellevue, $1,779; Kirkland, $1,700; Newcastle, $1,676; Redmond, $1,601; North Bend, $1,518; Des Moines, $1,520; Fall City, $1,337; Pacific, $1,218.

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Originally published in The Seattle Sunday Times, June 11, 1916

Lake trip ideal for motorists

Magnificent scenery found on tour to White Sulphur Spring—road passes along Cedar River Gorge

Abundant sport waits fishermen’s coming

Beauty spots on scenic drive. Two river canyons, each leading back into the Cascades, are followed on the tour presented by The Times today, terminating at Lake Wilderness, twenty-nine miles distant from the city. The colored illustration shows The Times pathfinder car, the Hupmobile, as it arrived at the lake shore. Below, in the accompanying photograph, is a view of the Green River canyon, shortly after the car had crossed the hill from Black Diamond.

Less than thirty miles from Seattle, at the end of a pathway which leads through ever-changing scenery, along the magnificent Cedar River gorge and up into the mining section of King County, lies Lake Wilderness, towards which The Times pathfinder car, a Hupmobile, blazed the trail for the second of the 1916 series of tours and the twenty-sixth in the grand total thus far logged by this newspaper.

The car, kindly furnished by Mr. Louis P. Schaeffer of the William T. Patten Motor Company, and driven by D.P. Dean, left The Times Building at Second Avenue and Union Street shortly after 9 o’clock and was at Lake Wilderness in ample time to permit an hour’s fishing in the lake before noon as an appetizer.

During the afternoon, the return was made by way of Black Diamond and Auburn, a slightly longer route but well worth the extra effort. In addition to providing variety to the trip, the alternate highway descended into a country of splendid roads and fascinating scenery, joining the Pacific Highway thence into Seattle. (more…)

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