July 4, 2009
NEW — 6 a.m. July 4, 2009
In 2008, there were 518 fires in the state caused by fireworks over the Independence Day holiday.
People using fireworks must remember that there are legal consequences to damages caused by the irresponsible use of fireworks.
Consequences range from being charged with malicious mischief to assault or a gross misdemeanor for possession of illegal explosive devices such as fireworks that have been tampered with or altered.
A gross misdemeanor can bring a fine of up to $5,000 and/or one year in prison. Possession of illegal explosive devices, such as M-80s, M-100s and larger, altered fireworks, and public display mortars, is a federal offense.
July 3, 2009
NEW — 11:35 a.m. July 3, 2009
Through annexations and influxes of new residents to Talus and the Issaquah Highlands, Issaquah grew by 139 percent since 2000. Between April 2000 and April 2009, the city swelled to nearly 27,000 residents. The population explosion made the city the fifth fastest growing in Washington.
Issaquah added 15,678 residents due to annexations and growth in the hillside urban villages. State figures show the April 2009 population at 26,890.
Figures released Monday by the state Office of Financial Management showed Issaquah trailing four smaller cities on the list of fastest-growing cities. Snoqualmie — the fastest growing — ballooned by 8,099 residents to 9,730 people.
July 2, 2009
NEW — 12:23 p.m. July 2, 2009
City development commissioners raised questions Wednesday night about a pair of high-profile projects — a medical building along Interstate 90 and Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72.
Before developers can begin work on the proposed medical building, designers must soften the “fortresslike” facade and ensure easy access to the site, city development commissioners said.
July 1, 2009
The Fourth of July is right around the corner and so are the festivities.
From the Heritage Day Parade to Providence Point’s annual barbecue, you can stay busy in Issaquah all day long.
But remember, when it comes to private events, you need a city permit to use or possess fireworks, since they are banned within city limits. Issaquah’s fireworks ban includes things like sparklers, cones, fountains and roman candles. Anyone caught in possession of or caught using fireworks will be cited. The city passed the ban in 1993.
June 30, 2009
Portraits of Issaquah’s mayors can be found in a display case on the stairwell leading to the second floor of City Hall. The photos tell a great deal about the people and times of the fledgling city.
Some of the city’s early mayors were doctors, including Issaquah’s first mayor, Frank Harrell. During the Great Depression, Stella May Alexander was elected the first woman mayor, campaigning on the Taxpayers’ Ticket.
She was elected to a two-year term, defeating the Progressive ticket candidate, M.H. Clark. Ninety-three percent of the city’s registered voters cast ballots and Alexander won 195-136. She lost in a recall election the following year.
In the last half of the 20th century, mayors such as Bill Flintoft and A.J. Culver had to grapple with the emerging growth of the quiet little burg on Lake Sammamish into a thriving bedroom community to Seattle.
Harrell came to the area as the surgeon of the Seattle Coal and Iron Co. He was elected mayor of Gilman without a dissenting vote in 1892. Seven years later, the town was renamed Issaquah, after the original Indian name Is-qu-ah. Read more
June 30, 2009
State transportation officials urged Eastside commuters to consider bikes, buses or telecommutes ahead of the July 5 shutdown of the westbound Interstate 90 floating bridge. DOT officials believe fewer drivers on the road will mean a less congested commute when the bridge shuts down for two weeks.
Travel times between Issaquah and Seattle could balloon beyond 60 minutes during the shutdown. During the morning commute, all westbound traffic will be funneled to the express lanes — reducing the number of available lanes from five to two. The westbound afternoon commute will be cut from three lanes to two.
Engineers predict the worst traffic will be from 6-11 a.m. and 3-7 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. on weekends.
DOT officials encouraged commuters to plan ahead for the closure. With the shutdown only a few days away, transportation officials suggested employees and supervisors talk about working alternate schedules or telecommuting to avoid peak travel times. King County Metro and DOT officials also advised for commuters to consider mass transit and car- and vanpools as options.
Though the westbound mainline will be closed for around-the-clock construction until July 20, cyclists and pedestrians will be able to use the bridge. Crews constructed two temporary bridges at each end of the floating bridge. Cyclists will have to dismount and walk across the temporary bridges.
“If we had to close the bike lane, that would only put more people on the roads,” DOT spokesman Jeff Switzer said.
Switzer urged commuters to check a DOT project Web site for frequent updates.
DOT officials initially said the shutdown would last three weeks, but the agency paid about $500,000 to the project contractor as an incentive to finish the $8.5 million project in two weeks. The contractor, General Construction Co., of Poulsbo, completed work on the bridge in May ahead of schedule.
Switzer said lessons learned during the May shutdown allowed DOT officials and the contractor to negotiate a compressed schedule for the July closure.
In May, during the first phase of construction, commute times from Issaquah to Seattle doubled from the usual 30 minutes during peak times.
About 71,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day. Officials warned drivers that congestion would be severe during the shutdown. Expect bad weather and accidents to swell commute times as well.
During the shutdown, crews will install a pair of new expansion joints weighing 65 tons each. Joints — some of the largest in the world — allow the bridge to bend with traffic, weather and the water level in Lake Washington.
When the westbound span is closed to vehicles, four 12-person demolition crews will work 10-hour shifts to remove the existing, cracked joints and install new joints. Crews are already cutting into the concrete roadway to prepare for the project. The westbound span will be reduced to a single lane nightly from 11:30 p.m. until 5 a.m. through July 2.
Other construction preparations will cause daytime lane closures. Crews will close the express lanes from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. through July 2. The northern express lane will also be closed from 3-10 p.m. through July 2 near East Mercer Way.
During the full-fledged shutdown, two temporary bridges will allow cyclists and pedestrians to bypass the construction zones at the eastern and western ends of the roadway.
Cascade Bicycle Club launched the Bridging with Bikes initiative to educate commuters about getting across the bridge by bike. John Mauro, director of commute programs for the organization, said the shutdown presents a chance to get more commuters out of gridlock.
“Cascade’s Bridging with Bikes program is about making the physical connection for people during the construction to avoid major gridlock,” Mauro said. “But it’s also about making a longer-term and healthy lifestyle connection to the bicycle. Programs like Bridging with Bikes help us all stay fit and save money while building a stronger sense of community and having a lasting impact on the region.
“And it starts with a simple decision,” he added. “Begin the morning with a smile on a bike — and beat traffic on the bridge.”
Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.
June 30, 2009
Whenever her Issaquah Highlands neighbors reported a black bear sighting or bear activity last year, Cathy Macchio marked a highlands map with a paw print. She recorded 15 bear sightings last year.
Macchio works to make sure humans and bears stay safe — no small feat in a sprawling neighborhood with nearly 7,000 residents. Bears, after all, are attracted to everything from garbage to backyard bird feeders.
“We’re creating these big buffet tables in our own backyards,” she said.
June 30, 2009
If you could give someone sight, how far would you go to do it?
Joining with the Himalayan Cataract Project, Dr. Janet Barrall, an ophthalmologist for Virginia Mason in Issaquah, traveled nearly 7,000 miles to give the gift of sight to 158 people in need.
“It’s profoundly deep and completely life-changing to give sight,” she said. “It is so necessary to their way of life.”
Today, there are 37 million blind people throughout the world, according to the World Health Organization. Many suffer from cataracts. Read more
June 30, 2009
Hundreds of bike enthusiasts ride under an Issaquah overpass June 28 during Children’s Ride 14, a fundraising ride for Seattle Children’s Hospital. The long line of bikes was escorted by Washington State Patrol troopers from Safeco Field to Emerald Downs for an afternoon of horse racing and barbecuing. By Michael Johnson/New Era Photography
June 30, 2009
Geraldine Boyce, of Issaquah, died June 23, 2009, in Renton. She was 83. Read more