Tent City 4 homeless camp, ‘a crossroads of humanity,’ returns to Issaquah

January 23, 2010

Peter Martin, a resident of Tent City 4 since New Year’s Eve, and a member of the mobile homeless city’s five-member executive committee, carries a bundle of tarp fence framing lumber as pallets and plywood are assembled on moving day, Jan. 23 at Community Church of Issaquah. — Photo by Greg Farrar

NEW — 1:25 p.m. Jan. 23, 2010

Tent City 4 returned Saturday, hauled piece-by-piece to Community Church of Issaquah, assembled by volunteers and readied for residents to settle into nylon tents by nightfall.

The homeless encampment returned to the Squak Mountain church where congregants last welcomed Tent City 4 in late 2007. The camp will remain at Community Church until late April.

Donald Brown, a Tent City 4 resident dressed in a plastic poncho and a hat with earflaps to protect against the chill, moved into the encampment last year. He described the camp as “a crossroads of humanity” where people with assorted backgrounds and experiences coexist.

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Talks began in December regarding finding a new Newcastle city manager

January 22, 2010

UPDATED — 5:12 p.m. Jan. 22, 2010

Talks regarding firing Newcastle City Manager John Starbard and appointing former Community Development Director Rob Wyman as interim city manager began privately in December.

While Newcastle councilmen-elect John Dulcich, Bill Erxleben and Rich Crispo said they had been in favor of making changes to the city’s management, Erxleben specifically sought out Wyman in December as a candidate for interim city manager.

Erxleben discussed the matter with Dulcich and Crispo, and such talks were legal because the councilmen-elect had not been sworn into office.

Individuals who have been elected to serve on the City Council, but have not yet been sworn into office are not legally held to restrictions as to whom they can speak with about city business, as determined by the State of Washington Court of Appeals case Wood v. Battle Ground School District.

At an additional City Council meeting Jan. 12, the council voted 6-1 to terminate Starbard’s contract without cause, effective immediately. In another 6-1 vote that night, the council appointed Wyman to take over as interim city manager.

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Three students, not 70, are suspended from Liberty High School over suspected marijuana

January 22, 2010

NEW — 2:17 Jan. 22, 2010

Three Liberty High School students were expelled for possession of what police and district officials say they suspect is marijuana on Jan. 13, 20 and 21.

School employees found a 15-year-old student in possession of a small amount of marijuana on campus Jan. 13.

School officials proceeded to ask questions about other students who might have marijuana on campus as well, said Sara Niegowski, district communications director.

In the course of their investigation, two other students were found to be in possession of the drug, she said.

An 18-year-old and a 17-year-old were found with small amounts of the substance on school property Jan. 20 and 21, respectively.

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Issaquah School District opted not to include levy information in voters’ guide

January 22, 2010

NEW — 12:40 p.m. Jan. 22, 2010

The voters’ pamphlet mailed by King County Elections baffled Issaquah School District voters when the guide arrived in mailboxes earlier in the week. The mailer contained no information about the three district levies on the Feb. 9 ballot.

The lack of information, however, was not a mistake. District officials opted not to include information in the guide to save money.

But the pamphlets confused voters because the elections office included information about other school districts’ ballot measures. Klahanie voters, for instance, received pamphlets with information about the Vashon Island School District levy.

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City works to protect salmon habitat in Sycamore neighborhood

January 22, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 22, 2010

The city will prevent development along a sliver of Issaquah Creek in the Sycamore neighborhood as part of a plan to restore salmon habitat.

City Council members discussed the deal in a closed-door executive session Monday, and then, during a public vote, authorized Mayor Ava Frisinger to buy a conservation easement along the creek.

Money from a state grant will be used to pay for the $32,000 easement on a narrow, 0.21-acre strip. The terms of the agreement will allow the city some limited, passive recreation use for the land, such as walking trails.

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Lack of school levy information in voters’ guide surprises Issaquah voters

January 21, 2010

NEW — 7:40 p.m. Jan. 21, 2010

The voters’ pamphlet mailed by King County Elections baffled Issaquah School District voters when the guide arrived in mailboxes earlier in the week: The guide contained no information about the three district levies on the Feb. 9 ballot.

The district stretches from Sammamish to Newcastle, and includes Klahanie, Preston and other parts of unincorporated King County.

Four Lakes voters, for instance, received a pamphlet with information about the Enumclaw and Tahoma school districts’ levies, but nothing about the local levy. Four Lakes is part of the Issaquah district.

Meanwhile, voters in Klahanie received pamphlets with information about the county library levy and the Vashon Island School District levy. The seven-page guide mailed to residents in the ZIP code contains no information about the Issaquah district levies.

Guides mailed to Issaquah district voters also included information about the King County System Library levy lid lift — another measure on the February ballot.

A King County Elections spokeswoman could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

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New technology task force includes tech veterans

January 21, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 21, 2010

The day after Mayor Ava Frisinger announced the formation of the Issaquah Technology Task Force in the State of the City address, the mayor unveiled the group’s members and mission.

Frisinger delivered the annual address Monday. The mayor said the task force plans to improve quality of life and business competitiveness by discussing a community-wide fiber network.

The panel — 11 technology professionals and government officials — will examine communications and technology infrastructure, what existing technologies and services offered in the near future will be available, and what Issaquah will need in the future.

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UPDATE — Sports Wednesday

January 20, 2010

NEW — 2:23 p.m. Jan. 20, 2010

Patriots win first league game

Chandler Jenkins scored a season-high 26 points Jan. 19 as he led the Liberty High School boys basketball team to 62-59 3A/2A KingCo Conference victory against host Interlake.

The victory was the first of the season for Liberty in league play.

The Patriots fell behind by seven points in the first quarter, but fought back in the second period to lead 31-22 at halftime.

In 4A KingCo action, Crest Division-leading Skyline topped Ballard 55-46 and Issaquah lost to Inglemoor 55-45.

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Mayor outlines goals in State of the City address

January 20, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 20, 2010

After a difficult year, Issaquah will enter the months ahead with a renewed focus on sustainability and technology, Mayor Ava Frisinger said in the State of the City address Monday night.

The mayor said Issaquah officials remain focused on providing core municipal services with few problems — a task made more complicated after multiple layoffs, spending cuts and a hiring freeze last year. Frisinger thanked residents for continued support.

The recession forced Frisinger and the city administration to make unpalatable decisions as sales tax revenue and building permit fees shrunk.

“The impacts of our current economy are far-reaching, affecting everything from our citizens’ personal finances to our budget here at City Hall,” Frisinger said.

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Tent City 4 moving back to Issaquah

January 19, 2010

Tent City 4 will return Jan. 23, when a process choreographed by volunteers will transform the Community Church of Issaquah property into temporary shelter for up 100 homeless people.

Volunteers and residents will lay down pallets and plywood, haul a portable shower and toilets to the campsite, and pitch tents for makeshift residences. The encampment will remain at the church until late April, when Tent City 4 will relocate to another Eastside church. After the encampment takes shape, more volunteers will descend on the site to serve meals and deliver donations.

Before residents arrive at the Issaquah site, however, organizers need donations and volunteers to ensure the encampment can serve the homeless men and women who will seek refuge within the fenced grounds.

“Tent City 4 offers a level of safety that, if you’re out on the street alone, you’re not going to have,” coordinator Paul Winterstein said.

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