Three defendants in a beating death on Oct. 1 in Bellevue's Crossroads area pleaded not guilty yesterday in King County Superior Court.

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Three defendants in a beating death on Oct. 1 in Bellevue’s Crossroads area pleaded not guilty yesterday in King County Superior Court.

The not-guilty pleas were entered by Kevin Alfonzo Pineda, Jose Delacruz-Perez and Jesus Rodriguez-Castillo.

They are accused of involvement in the death of Anasticio Diaz-Alvarez, who was struck with sticks in a fight near Crossroads Mall.

Pineda is 16 but is being charged as an adult. Pineda is charged with second-degree murder, Rodriguez-Castillo, 31, with second-degree assault and Delacruz-Perez, 19, with intimidating a witness.

All three are being held in lieu of bail amounts ranging from $100,000 to $250,000.

In addition, two juveniles, 14 and 15, are accused of second-degree murder in the case. A hearing is expected to be held next month to determine whether they will be tried as adults.

The fight that resulted in the death started with a dispute at a birthday party and led to a later confrontation near a grocery, where Diaz-Alvarez was beaten with tree stakes taken from a landscaping project.

Mercer Island

Biology teacher

finalist for honor

Susan Barnard of Shelton is Washington’s 2006 Teacher of the Year, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson announced yesterday.

One of the nine regional finalists from around the state was MaryMargaret Welch, a biology teacher at Mercer Island High School.

Barnard, who teaches at Shelton’s CHOICE Alternative Schools, was chosen for her ability to break through the tough exteriors of her students by rewarding their accomplishments and giving them positive reinforcement, Bergeson said.

Welch was the driving force behind Mercer Island’s BRIDGES Program, which adds a sense of community to the school by bringing students together to talk about issues that affect them. Welch is known throughout the district for her skills as a science teacher and recently received the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award for the state from the National Association of Biology Teachers.

The Teacher of the Year program is part of a nationwide initiative to recognize and celebrate exceptional educators. Established in Washington in 1963, the program honors one outstanding classroom teacher each year.

Barnard will travel and speak at events across the state throughout 2006. She also will represent the state in the national competition.


Resident launches

write-in campaign

Bill Moritz, a longtime Bothell resident, announced that he is running as a write-in candidate for Bothell City Council Position 1.

Moritz said he has been involved in such activities as promoting bicycling and other civic measures for more than 15 years.

Moritz is opposing Joshua Freed, also a longtime Bothell resident, who was the only candidate to file for Position 1 by the July deadline.


Council opposes

repeal of gas tax

The Bellevue City Council approved a resolution this week opposing Initiative 912, which would repeal the state’s latest gas-tax increase.

Council members have said the 9.5-cent-per-gallon tax increase, approved by the Legislature last spring, will fund several projects that would benefit Bellevue residents, such as improvements to Interstates 405 and 90 and the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge.


Free class to cover

disaster preparation

A disaster-preparedness class will be offered by the Bellevue Fire Department from 7 to 8:30 p.m. today.

The free class will be at the Sanctuary of Praises Church, 15800 S.E. Newport Way.

The class is the second in a series of such sessions, with interest in them heightened after Hurricane Katrina.

The class is called “Getting yourself and your family ready for the next disaster.” It will be taught by JoAnn Jordan, the department’s interim emergency-preparedness manager.

Topics will include hazards and risks faced in the Pacific Northwest, safety during an earthquake, how to prepare for disasters and an overview of the neighborhood-preparedness program.

Information about the class is available at 425-452-7923.


Parks department earns accreditation

The Bellevue Parks and Community Services Department yesterday became the fourth city department to receive national accreditation.

The department was accredited at the National Recreation and Park Association’s annual convention in San Antonio. The department met more than 100 standards to receive the honor, according to city officials.

The Bellevue department is only the second parks department in the state — Renton is the other — to be accredited by the national group.

The city’s police and fire departments and emergency-dispatch center also are nationally accredited.


BCC group hosting quake-aid dinner

The Muslim Student Association at Bellevue Community College is hosting a fund-raiser tomorrow to benefit victims of the earthquake in Pakistan and India earlier this month.

The association hopes to raise $5,000. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. in the college cafeteria, 3000 Landerholm Circle S.E. Dinner will be free, though a $10 donation is suggested.

Seattle Times Eastside bureau