Stay safe on hiking trails on Memorial Day and all summer long

May 29, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. May 29, 2010

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of hiking season. Despite a rainy forecast, hikers will load up their backpacks and head to the Issaquah Alps, and to moss-covered forests and snow-capped peaks elsewhere in the Evergreen State.

Washington Trails Association — a hiking-trails advocacy and maintenance group — launched a map search feature May 26. The addition to the organization’s popular hiking guide enables hikers of all levels and abilities to find suitable hikes. Find the feature here.

“Imagine your family wants to find a short hike to a lake within an hour’s drive of Seattle,” Susan Elderkin, website editor for Washington Trails Association, said in a news release. “WTA’s Search-by-Map drills down to those results within seconds, and provides you with detailed information on each trail.”

The guide also includes hiker-submitted reports about weather and trail conditions.

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Heather Gillette elected Washington State PTA Region 2 director

May 28, 2010

NEW — 5:02 p.m. May 28, 2010

Heather Gillette, of Sammamish, was recently elected as Washington State PTA Region 2 director for a two-year term, beginning June 1.

Region 2 includes all PTAs and PTSAs in the Bellevue, Issaquah, Lake Washington, Mercer Island, Riverview and Snoqualmie Valley school districts.

As region director, Gillette will head up a service delivery team that will be responsible for organizing training and support activities for all PTAs and PTSAs in the region.  She will also serve on the association’s governing board of directors.

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Landowners can apply for state money to restore fish passages

May 28, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. May 28, 2010

The state Department of Natural Resources will accept applications until June 30 for funds to help landowners protect fish habitat.

The effort, the Family Forest Fish Passage Program, grants money for landowners to replace culverts blocking fish in streams crossing the land. The state considered small-forest landowners to be those who harvest less than 2 million board feet per year, on average, from their land.

The program has helped more than 165 landowners correct 198 barriers to fish in streams since 2003. Moreover, the removals reconnected about 450 miles of fish habitat.

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Authorities release men accused of beating suspected rapist

May 27, 2010

UPDATED — 11:05 a.m. May 28, 2010

King County authorities released two men suspected in the revenge beating of a suspected rapist from jail Thursday, as the Issaquah Police Department continues to investigate the May 23 incident.

Police said the men beat the suspect — a 31-year-old Kirkland man — with a brick and a rubber mallet after acquaintances said he raped a Bellevue woman at a residence in the 400 block of Northeast Birch Street.

“There has been no decision yet on whether or not charges will be filed,” Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for King County Prosecutor’s Office, said Thursday. “There’s an ongoing investigation.”

Meanwhile, the suspected rapist remained in serious condition — and in a coma for at least part of this week — at the Harborview Medical Center intensive-care unit. Police had been unable to interview the man due to the extent of his injures.

Charges against the rape suspect also remained pending until he recovered enough to be interviewed by investigators.

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Prevent wildfires during Memorial Day weekend

May 27, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. May 27, 2010

State Department of Natural Resources officials urged people to be careful with fire during Memorial Day weekend. Despite recent wet and windy weather, wildfire season has started.

The agency has already recorded almost 60 small wildfires across the state, most of them in Eastern Washington.

During holiday weekends, public lands tend to be a favorite destination for people looking for outdoor recreation opportunities.

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Sammamish resident Dino Rossi ends speculation, enters U.S. Senate race

May 26, 2010

NEW — 7:25 a.m. May 26, 2010

Dino Rossi — the former Issaquah representative in the state Senate and the Republican nominee for governor in 2004 and 2008 — has entered the race to unseat U.S. Sen. Patty Murray.

In a short video posted on his campaign website early Wednesday morning, the Sammamish resident joined a crowded field seeking the GOP nomination — and ended months of speculation about whether he might enter the race.

The eventual nominee will face Murray, a three-term Democrat, in November. Before Rossi can take on Murray, however, he must contend with Republican challengers. Other candidates pledged to remain in the race, despite the advantage Rossi enjoys in support and statewide name recognition.

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Work will begin next month on Fire Station 72

May 25, 2010

Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 will be built on the undeveloped northeast corner of the Issaquah Transit Center property near state Route 900. TCA Architecture Planning

Construction should start by late June on eco-friendly Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72, the replacement for a threadbare fire station near state Route 900.

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Cable prices could rise soon

May 25, 2010

The price for Comcast service could rise for some Issaquah cable customers in the months ahead, though the amount will remain undetermined until the city and the cable provider finalize a pact.

Officials should complete the agreement within several months, and end the long process to update the agreement between the city and the predominate cable provider in Issaquah.

Joe Forkner, a city Cable TV Commission member and a former Issaquah councilman, said Comcast had agreed not to immediately raise prices.

“They have agreed that they are not just going to jack up the rates arbitrarily, but they’ll work them up slowly,” he said.

Members of the City Council Utilities, Technology & Environment Committee discussed the legislation May 11. The committee delayed possible action on the agreement until July.

The full council could approve the agreement at any time, but will likely not act without a recommendation from the committee.

Until the council OKs the latest agreement, Comcast must abide by the terms set in the former pact.

Comcast spokesman Walter Neary said he could not discuss details of the proposed agreement, because the negotiations continue to unfold, but he said he hoped the city and Comcast could a reach a beneficial agreement.

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Two arrested for attack of rape suspect

May 25, 2010

Issaquah Police arrested two men for assault early May 23, saying the men attacked a suspected rapist in revenge.

Officers responded to a rape report at a residence in the 400 block of Northeast Birch Street at about 2 a.m. Police discovered a 31-year-old Kirkland man, unconscious and bleeding from the face and head, at the residence. Officers said the man had been reported as the suspect in the rape.

Medics transported him to Harborview Medical Center for treatment. Charges against the man remain pending until he recovers from his injuries and can be interviewed by investigators.

Police said the rape suspect and the victim knew each other, and had spent time with the same group of people in the hours before the incident, first at the house and then at a local bar.

The victim left the bar because she felt ill, police said, and returned to the house. Some time later, the rape suspect also left the bar and returned to the house.

Investigators said a friend of the victim received a call from her later. The victim told the friend about the incident. The assault suspects — a 31-year-old Renton man and a 30-year-old Issaquah man — heard about the suspected rape and also headed to the Northeast Birch Street residence. Police said the Renton man is the husband of the rape victim.

The men discovered the rape suspect asleep on a couch at the residence. When he awoke, police said, the men assaulted him with a mallet and a brick.

Police arrested the men and booked them into the King County Jail for first-degree assault.

The Issaquah Press named best in the Northwest

May 25, 2010

The Issaquah Press has been named the No. 1 nondaily newspaper in the Northwest.

The regional Society of Professional Journalists chapter announced the general excellence award May 23. The Press competed against publications in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

The competition in the general excellence category included a sister publication, Sammamish Review. The paper earned third place in the category. Puget Sound Business Journal came in second.

“Our entire staff at both our newspapers are over-the-moon excited about this recognition!” Publisher Debbie Berto said. “It takes a commitment to excellent journalism and to our communities to continue to publish award-winning newspapers in a tough economy, but editors Kathleen Merrill and Ari Cetron and their reporters have been diligent about not letting down our readers.”

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