73 year old Romulo ‘Ome’ Almeda kept an illegal immigrant woman secluded in his Magnolia home for four years. He paid her a measly $400 a month for acting as the nanny, landscaper, maid and cook. She was shuffled between his properties in Magnolia and in California, not given a choice as to when she would go or whether she wanted to. She was not allowed to go anywhere including attend church for fear that someone would see her and report her as an illegal immigrant.
The woman left the Philippines where she earned $6 an hour as a manicurist to find better opportunities in the U.S. Out of the $400 she was receiving each month for working 12 to 16 hours a day, she would send all but $50 to $100 to her family in the Philippines. After years of seclusion she was eventually able to tell her family of her situation. Her sister then contacted another Filipino family in Seattle who then got in touch with a local pastor who was able to help remove the woman from the house in April 2009.
Almeda was arrested and believed at the time that he did nothing wrong and that he was simply helping the woman by offering her extra money and a place to stay. He later admitted wrong-doing and realized that what he did was unlawful. He paid the woman $90,500 for what he shorted her in wages. He was charged and reached a plea agreement with prosecutors. He has not been jailed and has been scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday.
Magnolia residents have been hearing grunting and squealing noises as well as stampeding. What do they find when they look out their door? Pigs. Several pigs are roaming wild around the Magnolia neighborhood. They were most likely once somebody’s pets and were released. Judy Woods of Pigs Peace Sanctuary in Stanwood is expecting she will receive a call. The pig sanctuary is already full with 190 pigs and has a waiting list. It spends $200,000 a year caring for unwanted pigs.
Around 7:30pm in the evening of July 25th, a woman who lives on W Emerson Street near Discovery Park called police to report a hostile and suspicious solicitor that had come to her door. After hearing a friendly knock at her door, she peeked out the speak easy where she saw a well groomed, 6′ tall African American man. She opened the speakeasy and told him that she did not accept solicitors at her home. The man became agitated and upset that she did not give him a chance to tell her who he was and the reason for his visit. She then asked him the reason. He became angry and told her that he’ll just get what he came for and proceeded to curse racial slurs at her while taking photographs of the side of her house. The woman’s sister followed the man as he left and headed into Discovery park, cursing racial slurs at her as well.
The Seattle Police Department wants to remind people to be cautious of solicitors. Licensed door-to-door sellers must always display their registered license on their shirt. The license will display the sellers name and picture. The license is only good for the registered product they are selling. Be sure to acknowledge the solicitor so that they know someone is home and to avoid a burglary. It is always safer to address the solicitor from a side window or behind a locked screen door. If a solicitor asks to come into your home for any reason such as to use your phone or bathroom or for a glass of water, remember that you do not know the person and you are not obligated to let them in. If a sales person is allowed in the home, do not give into pressure to buy anything. If you ever feel uncomfortable end the conversation and ask the sales person to leave. Do not hesitate to call 911 if needed.