Issaquah Police Department observes National Police Week

May 13, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. May 13, 2010

Officers tied blue ribbons to the antennae of Issaquah Police Department patrol vehicles to observe National Police Week.

Flying the blue ribbons shows support for fallen officers and working law enforcement professionals. Issaquah residents can also pick up a free blue ribbon at the police department, 130 E. Sunset Way.

National Police Week will be observed through Saturday. President John F. Kennedy declared May 15, 1962, as Peace Officers’ Memorial Day. The week of May 15 falls as National Police Week.

The memorial carries special significance in Washington because assailants killed seven law enforcement officers in the line of duty last year.

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Workers will close exit to SR 900 overnight Wednesday

May 12, 2010

NEW — 2:25 p.m. May 12, 2010

State Department of Transportation crews will close the off-ramp from westbound Interstate 90 to state Route 900 from 8 p.m. Wednesday until 5 a.m. Thursday. Signs will direct drivers to the exit at West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast.

Workers will also close up to two lanes in both directions of SR 900 between Newport Way Northwest and Southeast 83rd Street from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. through Friday.

The transportation agency opened almost a mile of widened lanes between Southeast 82nd Street and Newport Way Northwest last month. The stretch carries about 16,000 vehicles per day.

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Baseball season ends for Issaquah, Liberty

May 12, 2010

NEW — 10:40 a.m. May 12, 2010

The high school baseball season ended Tuesday for Issaquah and Liberty high schools as both were eliminated in loser-out tournament games.

It was a disappointing end for both teams, who had high hopes of qualifying for the state tournament.

Issaquah fell to Lake Washington 7-2 in the 4A KingCo Conference tournament at Woodinville.. The Eagles ended the season with a 17-6 record.

Liberty, which led the 3A/2A KingCo Conference for most of the season, lost to Sammamish 4-1 in the first round at Bellevue’s Bannerwood Park.

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Trail running series returns to Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park on Saturday

May 12, 2010

NEW — 10:02 a.m. May 12, 2010

One of the most popular trail-running events in the Pacific Northwest returns to Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park on Saturday.

The eighth-annual Cougar Mountain Trail Running Series kicks off May 15 with a five-mile run — the first of four races on a portion of Cougar Mountain’s scenic trail network.

Runs of seven, 10 and 13 miles are scheduled in the following three months.

Sponsored by the Seattle Running Club, the race series not only introduces hundreds of people to Cougar Mountain’s 36 miles of trails, but it also benefits King County Parks.

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County Council succumbs to red-blue divide in health care debate

May 12, 2010

NEW — 7:11 a.m. May 12, 2010

The nonpartisan King County Council cracked along partisan lines Monday, as members praised national health care reform in a narrow decision.

The symbolic measure supports the implementation of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by Congress in March. The council adopted the legislation in a split decision. Democrats on the nine-member council backed the measure; Republicans dissented.

“It is time to reform our health care system,” Chairman Bob Ferguson, the prime sponsor of the legislation and a Democrat, said in a statement after the May 10 decision. “The health care act isn’t perfect, but it will help provide access to basic health care for the more than 150,000 King County residents who are currently uninsured.”

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Construction begins on I-90 Undercrossing

May 11, 2010

Backhoes clear ground May 7 for the new Interstate 90 Undercrossing in the 400 block of Northwest Gilman Boulevard as a postal carrier next door departs the Issaquah Post Office to deliver mail. By Greg Farrar

Construction started last week on the long-planned Interstate 90 Undercrossing, a road link meant to alleviate traffic congestion along Front Street North, Northwest Gilman Boulevard and other well-traveled Issaquah streets.

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Village Theatre musical earns Tony nominations

May 11, 2010

“Million Dollar Quartet” — a musical about the dawn of rock ‘n’ roll and developed at Village Theatre — has been nominated for three Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

“Million Dollar Quartet” tells the true story of a chance meeting in December 1956 of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. The legendary entertainers jammed together at the Sun Records studio in Memphis.

Eager for the attention the impromptu jam session could attract, Sun Records owner Sam Phillips contacted local journalists to document the occasion. The subsequent newspaper account referred to the assembled performers as a “million dollar quartet.”

The production also received nods for Best Book of a Musical — for the spoken storyline of the production — and Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for Levi Kreis, the actor who portrays Lewis. Kreis originated the role in Issaquah.

The nominations from the American Theatre Wing on May 4 marked another milestone for the musical.

“Million Dollar Quartet” opened on Broadway last month to solid reviews and enthusiastic audiences.

Village Theatre Executive Producer Robb Hunt attended the opening. He said the creative team amped up the glitz for Broadway, but “Million Dollar Quartet” in the Big Apple remains “very much the same show people saw in Issaquah and Everett.”

Besides Kreis, the Broadway production includes performers from the Issaquah run: Lance Guest as Cash, Rob Lyons as Perkins and bassist Corey Kaiser.

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City works to preserve Tiger Mountain land

May 11, 2010

The long process to preserve the Park Pointe property inched forward last week, as the City Council agreed to initiate the complicated steps to preserve the Tiger Mountain land and, in exchange, allow more residences in the Issaquah Highlands.

Mayor Ava Frisinger proposed the transfer of development rights in September 2008. The recent bankruptcy of the developer behind Park Pointe and subsequent foreclosure on the property by a Seattle bank presented city leaders with the latest opportunity to complete the exchange.

If city officials and landowners can pull off the proposed transfer of development rights, about 140 forested acres will be preserved — 102 acres at the Park Pointe site near Issaquah High School and another 43 acres adjacent to the highlands.

Before the land can be set aside for conservation, however, officials must sign off on separate bills to initiate the transfer of development rights and amend the agreement with highlands developer Port Blakely Communities to address the undeveloped land near the hillside community. The amendment seeks to allow Port Blakely to build 500 additional residential units in a proposed highlands town center.

City Council members referred the dual measures to the Council Major Planning & Growth Committee. Members will discuss the legislation May 24.

“So, what we’ve done is try to develop a scenario that might work in a few different ways that could ultimately lead us to preserving 140-plus acres of open space that the community would see as being a benefit,” Keith Niven, program manager for the city Major Development Review Team, told council members May 3.

Port Blakely owns 78 acres near Central Park in the highlands. Under the existing zoning, the company could develop the unincorporated King County land as five-acre residential properties or for institutional uses, like a church or a school. Instead, Port Blakely offered some of the land for preservation, or as part of the transfer of development rights.

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DOT fined for failing to protect salmon habitat

May 11, 2010

The state Department of Ecology fined the state Department of Transportation $11,000 last week after environmental officials said the transportation agency failed to take steps to protect Tibbetts Creek salmon habitat.

Officials at both agencies said no habitat damage occurred as a result of the infraction. Crews did not maintain fencing along state Route 900 to keep dirt and silt from entering Tibbetts Creek and tributary streams — habitat for several salmon species and steelhead trout. Silt can damage fish gills, settle into streambed gravel and damage sensitive habitat.

The fabric silt fence set up along the construction site traps mud, but allows water to pass through. Rules require the bottom of the fence to be anchored in the soil, but a Department of Ecology inspector found loose edges three times between last September and February along the mile-long construction project.

Jamie Holter, a DOT spokeswoman, said the fencing becomes loose due to rain and wind. Crews fixed each incident documented by the Department of Ecology within hours, Holter said.

Transportation officials could appeal the penalty to the state Pollution Control Hearings Board or the Department of Ecology.

The widening project has not recorded any other Department of Ecology infractions since work started on the last stretch in August 2008.

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Trail safety encouraged after attack on hiker

May 11, 2010

Linda Vanderwall hikes challenging Poo Poo Point Trail on Tiger Mountain several times each week and sometimes she makes the steep trek alone.

Vanderwall became more cautious after the April 24 attack on a Seattle woman working on Tiger Mountain Trail, but she refused to alter her routine. Instead, she started toting a mobile phone during hikes after the attack.

“I’m not going to be forced to curtail my exercise because of some guy,” she said last week.

Instead, she hopes to bring together other hikers — especially women — to hike Tiger Mountain without worry.

The woman in the attack said a man dressed in running gear and armed with a stun gun shocked her with the device and pushed her to the ground at about 10:40 a.m. on a Saturday morning — a time when the trail draws weekend hikers and runners.

The woman — part of a state work crew — fought her attacker, escaped and reported the incident. Police continue to search for the suspect.

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