City ordinance cuts number of false alarm calls

April 20, 2010

Percentage of false alarms remains high

Issaquah Police officers race to dozens of alarm calls each month — only to discover homeowners or new employees who inadvertently tripped their alarms and triggered almost all of the alerts.

Police and city officials took action last year with a city ordinance to reduce the number of false alarms. The number of false alarm calls dropped by 63 percent between January 2008 — 18 months before officials approved the ordinance — and January 2010.

Officers received 71 false alarm calls in January 2009, compared to 36 in January 2010. The police department said the measure saved 20 hours in officer time during January.

The number for February dropped from 40 to 28, and the calls fell from 84 to 47 in March during the same timeframe. The city released the data April 14.

Police consider a false alarm to occur if officers respond to a call triggered by a security alarm and — after officers investigate the scene — find no evidence of a criminal offense or attempted criminal activity. Read more

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Pet owners, beware of distemper outbreak

April 20, 2010

King County and state wildlife officials encouraged residents to avoid feeding wildlife, keep domestic pets away from wild animals and ensure pets have updated vaccinations, in response to a canine distemper outbreak last week.

King County Animal Care and Control responded to a report of a raccoon believed to have distemper in Gilman Village just after noon April 9. Officers took the animal into custody and had the animal euthanized by a local veterinarian. King County spokeswoman Christine Lange said officers did not take the animal to a shelter due to the highly contagious nature of canine distemper.

Officials also received reports of sick raccoons in Bellevue, Redmond and Renton. Officers also picked up three raccoon carcasses on the Eastside in recent days.

The county then submitted samples from a raccoon collected in Bellevue to Washington State University for disease testing. Results from the university lab confirmed the animal had canine distemper, Lange said.

Humans cannot contract canine distemper, but the disease spreads among dogs and ferrets, as well as wild animals, such as raccoons, coyotes, skunks and weasels.

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Police arrest three suspects for Talus burglary

April 20, 2010

A fast-food run landed three Issaquah residents in trouble with the law April 5.

Issaquah Police arrested the suspects — a pair of 16-year-old boys and a male, 18-year-old exchange student — after officers said they burglarized a Talus home March 31.

Police said the men entered the occupied residence in the 700 block of Bear Ridge Drive Northwest between 8 and 9 p.m. The homeowners realized the incident had occurred after a victim discovered a purse missing from the kitchen. They determined someone had entered the home through an unlocked door.

A credit card from the purse was used at a fast-food restaurant not long after the purse disappeared. Police used surveillance video from the restaurant to identify the suspects.

Officers arrested the suspects April 5, and then booked them at the Issaquah City Jail and released them.

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Tea Party activists and opponents rally in downtown Issaquah

April 20, 2010

Tea Party activists came to downtown Issaquah on a cloudy afternoon last week to brew discontent with the policies of Congress and the Obama administration.

Issaquah and Eastside residents gathered for about 90 minutes for the Tea Party rally and a smaller counter-rally organized by the 5th District Democrats. The dueling events attracted about 120 people — about 100 for the Tea Party rally and about 20 Democrats.

Participants held aloft colorful signs at the corner of Front Street and Sunset Way to cacophony of honks as drivers passed the intersection. Others carried U.S. and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags — a yellow banner with a coiled snake and a symbol of anti-government protest.

Issaquah resident Tim Ooyman said he attended the Tea Party rally to protest federal spending and the way President Obama and lawmakers handled the healthcare-reform bill.

“The silent majority needs to stop being silent,” he said.

Ooyman and other activists picked April 15 — the federal deadline for filing income-tax returns — for the rally. Local activists also held events in Bellevue and Seattle. Washington State Patrol officials estimated the Tea Party crowd at the state Capitol in Olympia at 3,000 people. Read more

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Sen. Cheryl Pflug ranks high for missed votes, annual tally shows

April 20, 2010

State Sen. Cheryl Pflug ranked No. 4 for the number of missed votes during the just-concluded legislative session, a tally released last week shows.

Pflug, a Maple Valley Republican, represents Issaquah and the 5th District in Olympia. The senator missed 78 votes. Senators held 538 votes during the 60-day regular session and a nearly monthlong special session.

Pflug said she missed some “routine” votes due to nighttime law-school classes.

Cheryl Pflug

“It wasn’t anything important,” she said last week. “I am there (in Olympia) all the time.” — a nonpartisan organization set up to provide plain-English explanations of bills and legislators’ votes — compiled the tally.

State Rep. Glenn Anderson, a Fall City Republican, missed 18 votes during the session. State Rep. Jay Rodne missed the least votes of all 5th District lawmakers. Rodne, a North Bend Republican, missed a mere five votes.

Besides Issaquah, the district also includes Sammamish, Snoqualmie and parts of unincorporated King County.

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City seeks Hall of Fame nominees

April 20, 2010

Nominate outstanding citizens for the Issaquah Hall of Fame, the annual honor bestowed by city leaders on someone who has made a lasting contribution to the community.

Every spring, the mayor and City Council president select the honoree. Mayor Ava Frisinger and Council President John Traeger will evaluate nominees on several criteria, such as civic-mindedness, leadership and service.

Frisinger and Traeger will also evaluate the role a person plays in drawing positive attention to Issaquah and fundraising for the public good. Length of service will be a factor in the decision as well.

Send the name of the nominee and a brief summary of his or her contributions to the community to: The Office of the Mayor, P.O. Box 1307, Issaquah, WA 98027-1307. Or submit the nomination via e-mail to

The nominations must be received by May 3. Call 837-3020 or e-mail to learn more. Evaluators will maintain confidentiality throughout the selection process.

The recipient or recipients will be announced at the 31st Annual Community Awards Luncheon on May 18.

Past honorees include Harriet Fish — the historian who led the drive to name a ferry after Issaquah — environmentalist Ruth Kees and, last year, Issaquah Highlands mastermind Judd Kirk and Issaquah Valley Trolley backer Barb Justice.

In a separate honor, the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce named Frisinger as Citizen of the Year at the 2009 luncheon.

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Rescuers locate injured mountain biker

April 20, 2010

King County Search and Rescue workers located a mountain biker early April 19 who had gone missing near Lake Tradition.

Issaquah Police searched the area for the 41-year-old man late April 18, and then asked the rescue group for assistance. Searchers located the man at about 1:15 a.m., just off a steep trail west of Lake Tradition.

The mountain biker had sustained head injuries due to a fall from his bike. Eastside Fire & Rescue crews transported him to Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue. His condition could not be determined by press time.

The police became involved after hikers noticed the mountain biker’s cell phone on a trail near Lake Tradition on the High Point Trailhead, and notified a friend of the man who then contacted police.

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Local former astronaut hopes to land space shuttle for museum

April 20, 2010

Issaquah resident and former astronaut Bonnie Dunbar will step down as CEO of The Museum of Flight in July to focus on acquiring a decommissioned space shuttle for the Seattle museum.

NASA will retire the three orbiters by next year. Museums across the nation hope to net the shuttles Atlantis and Endeavour. The space agency has promised the shuttle Discovery to the Smithsonian Institution.

Gov. Chris Gregoire and state legislators offered support — and $3 million — to help land a shuttle for Washington. The Museum of Flight plans to add exhibition space, called the Space Gallery, to house a shuttle.

“Thanks to the governor and Legislature, the state’s capital budget included $3 million for a Space Gallery to house the space shuttle and other space exploration artifacts,” Dunbar said in a news release. “It brings us to three-quarters of our goal which we expect to reach soon. In the meantime, we are hard at work on a design for the gallery.”

Dunbar will step down as CEO on July 1. Michael Hallman, a museum trustee and a former Boeing and Microsoft executive, has already started handling day-to-day operations for the museum. Read more

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Find state park info on Twitter

April 20, 2010

The next time a tourist wants to find information about bird watching in a state park, he or she might turn to Twitter for the latest information from the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.

Officials announced the launch of a second commission Twitter account last week. The latest account, @WaStatePks_NEWS, features state park announcements and event notifications.

The commission took to the microblogging site several months ago to update followers about winter recreation and Sno-Park notifications. The news account will be most active during the spring and summer recreation season. Followers will receive updates about upcoming concerts and festivals and park events, as well as boating program announcements, volunteer updates and commission meeting notices.

The winter recreation season begins in December. Follow the winter recreation account @WaStatePks_WNTR for announcements throughout the 2010-11 winter season.

Tweets from the news account will occur less often during the winter. Parks tweeters said the arrangement should provide parkgoers with desired seasonal information at the peak time of interest.

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Tent City 4 needs volunteers

April 20, 2010

Help Tent City 4 pull up stakes in Issaquah and relocate to a Kirkland church April 24.

The homeless encampment needs volunteers to help disassemble the camp and load tents and other materials onto trucks. Work starts at 8 a.m. Tent City 4 should depart Community Church of Issaquah, 205 Mountain Park Blvd., for Kirkland by 1 p.m.

Organizers ask for volunteers to wear work gloves and bring a hammer to help disassemble the wooden platforms on which the tents sit. Volunteers will also be needed to transport Tent City 4 residents to the Kirkland church where the encampment will move: Lake Washington United Methodist Church, 7525 132nd Ave. N.E.

Volunteers can arrive at the site on the morning of April 24 or plan ahead by contacting camp organizer Paul Winterstein at Contact Winterstein to learn more.

The encampment relocates across the Eastside from church to church. Tent City remains at a site for about 90 days. Residents settled in the Community Church parking lot in late January.

Tent City 4 shelters up to 100 adults at a fenced site with 24-hour security; about 80 residents reside at the camp on a typical day. Organizers do not allow children to live at the encampment. Residents undergo warrant and sex offender checks before they are allowed to enter the camp; strict rules ban offenders, drugs and alcohol.

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