Issaquah legislators receive assignments to influential committees

December 29, 2010

NEW — 4 p.m. Dec. 29, 2010

Issaquah legislators continue to pick up key committees assignments, lending area residents a stronger stake in education and fiscal matters.

Legislators return to Olympia on Jan. 5 for the regular session — and to confront a $4.6 billion budget gap.

Issaquah is spread across the 5th, 4lst and 48th legislative districts. The local delegation includes a half-dozen representatives and three senators.

State Sen. Steve Litzow, a Republican freshman from Mercer Island, has been named the ranking member on the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee. GOP senators also selected Litzow for the Transportation and the Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance committees.

“Education is my No. 1 priority as a legislator,” he said in a statement. “During my campaign, I promised to put our schools first. I am honored that my colleagues have chosen me for this leadership role. I look forward to working with 41st District parents and teachers, and with stakeholders across the state on issues that affect our schools and our children.”

Litzow represents Cougar Mountain neighborhoods in Issaquah and other 41st Legislative District communities.

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Issaquah boys basketball team tops Kennedy Catholic

December 29, 2010

NEW — 11 a.m. Dec. 29, 2010

Nick Price scored a game-high 28 points Tuesday as he led the Issaquah High School boys basketball team to a 57-42 victory against host Kennedy Catholic in the Les Schwab Christmas Classic at Kennedy Catholic.

Steve Rael added 10 points and Derek Quan had 9 points for the Eagles, who are 4-4 on the season.

Kennedy Catholic led 14-12 after the first quarter but Issaquah lit up the Lancers in the second period for 25 points en route to a 37-23 halftime lead.

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Snow falls in Issaquah but does not impact travel

December 29, 2010

NEW — 10 a.m. Dec. 29, 2010

Snow dusted rooftops and dappled lawns in the Issaquah area Wednesday morning, but snow showers did not impact the morning commute.

The winter weather advisory for the East Puget Sound lowlands remains in effect until 3 p.m. Wednesday. National Weather Service forecasters in Seattle said accumulations up to 3 inches could occur at higher elevations.

City crews continue to monitor conditions and plan to clear the priority routes if needed.

Meteorologists said the Issaquah area should experience rain before 4 p.m. Then, rain interspersed with snow showers is possible as the snow level falls to 400 feet. The total daytime accumulation is not expected to be more than a half-inch. The chance of precipitation is 60 percent.

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Snow dusts Issaquah area as forecasters predict rain-snow mix

December 29, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 29, 2010

Some residents in the Issaquah area awoke to a dusting of snow Wednesday morning, but roads remained clear and buses continued to run on time.

National Weather Service forecasters in Seattle said the Issaquah area should experience rain before 4 p.m. Then, rain interspersed with snow showers is possible as the snow level falls to 400 feet. The total daytime accumulation is not expected to be more than a half-inch. The chance of precipitation is 60 percent.

Forecasters said the temperature should rise to near 40 degrees by 11 a.m. and then dip below freezing for the remainder of the day.

The potential for snow accumulation of less than a half-inch exists for late Wednesday night.

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Issaquah tragedies, triumphs define a tumultuous year

December 28, 2010

Traffic lines up on state Route 900 at Northwest Talus Drive in February. State Department of Transportation crews completed the long-running project in 2010. By Greg Farrar

The economy lurched from the recession, population growth all but stalled and Issaquah — after cutbacks and setbacks in 2009 — defied the odds to reach major milestones throughout 2010.

Momentum returned in 2010 after a year spent in a holding pattern. Set against the backdrop of a fragile recovery, leaders cut the ribbon on businesses and roads, laid the foundation for preservation and construction, and marked tragedies and successes. Read more

Issaquah School District buses to add $40,000 worth of GPS units

December 28, 2010

The Issaquah School District paid for 161 GPS units for its bus fleet, using $40,000 from its capital levy passed by voters in February. By Laura Geggel

Starting in January, Issaquah School District transportation shop mechanics will install 161 GPS units in the district’s bus fleet, a venture costing $40,000 to install and $40,000 annually in upkeep.

The GPS units are financed by the February 2010 capital projects levy that voters passed with 65 percent of the vote. Over the four-year lifetime of the $38.5 million levy, the GPS units and system will cost a total of $200,000.

The GPS units will help transportation shop mechanics coordinate with bus drivers whose buses are having mechanical problems and with parents who have questions about a bus’ location, district Director of Transportation Jo Porter said. Read more

Park Pointe preservation reaches ‘historic’ milestone

December 28, 2010

Leaders build framework to save Tiger Mountain land, build Bellevue College campus

In a series of decisions a councilman described as a “historic moment,” City Council members assembled the framework Dec. 20 to preserve more than 100 Tiger Mountain acres and attract a Bellevue College campus to Issaquah.

The council OK’d agreements related to the long-running effort to preserve 102 forested acres on Tiger Mountain and, through a complicated transfer of development rights, open land in the Issaquah Highlands to Bellevue College and homebuilders for construction. Read more

Issaquah’s congressional district could be redrawn

December 28, 2010

The congressional district containing Issaquah could be redrawn in order to accommodate rapid population growth during the past decade.

The sprawling 8th Congressional District has added 137,750 residents since the 2000 Census. State figures indicate the district increased in population more than the state’s eight other congressional districts. The district is home to about 800,000 people. The state considers the ideal population for a district to be 672,000.

Republican Congressman Dave Reichert has represented the suburban district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2005.

The state added the 8th District after the 1980 Census. No Democrat has represented the district in Congress, even as district voters backed Democrats for state and federal offices.

The district stretches from Bellevue, Issaquah, Sammamish and other Eastside and South King County cities through rural Pierce County.

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State eyes tougher high school graduation credits

December 28, 2010

Proposed graduation requirements

Before earning a high school diploma, it’s no secret that students have to pass a number of required courses — 19 mandated by the state and a few others required by their school.

After a three-year study of high school credits, the Washington State Board of Education has recommended that the number of mandatory credits increase from 19 to 24. Such an endeavor would cost the state an estimated $188 million between 2011 and 2016, and would need financial approval from the state Legislature.

Most of the money would pay for teacher and counselor salaries. The state pays for five high school periods now, and it would have to fund six if the bill passed. About $28 million would pay for facility costs, since some schools would need extra science and art classrooms so their students could meet the new recommended requirements.

With a gaping state budget deficit estimated at $4.6 billion, some educators aren’t holding their breath while waiting for the bill to pass.

Regardless of funding, Washington is woefully behind in the number of credits it requires of its high school students. The board reviewed how Washington ranks compared to other states and found 16 states require more than the state’s three credits of math; 36 required more than two credits of science; 39 required more than two and a half credits of social studies; and 45 required more than three credits of English.

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Crews fight small blaze at Tiger Mountain Community High School

December 28, 2010

Eastside Fire & Rescue crews responded to a small fire at Tiger Mountain Community High School on Christmas Eve.

The fire started on the outside porch of a portable classroom on the Southeast Evans Street campus. Sara Niegowski, Issaquah School District spokeswoman, said the fire appeared to start in a tool bench used for storage.

Firefighters responded to the campus before 5 a.m. Dec. 24. Read more

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