Issaquah High School rocks — literally

May 18, 2010

Explosions in the science lab, watermelon smashing and a lot of crazy cars and dancing were the order of the day as Issaquah High School students made a music video May 13.

“This is awesome and probably the best thing we’ve ever done as a school,” senior Artem Sorkin said. “To see the energy and everyone dressed up, it’s incredible.”

The school’s video production and broadcast class, led by seniors, set up the hourlong video shoot to do three takes for part of the school’s end-of-the-year video.

The video is usually a tribute to seniors mainly, senior Elise Lapasin said, but the students wanted to leave more of a legacy.

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Superintendent, school board review districtwide policies

May 18, 2010

Issaquah School Board members finished up a their annual retreat with Superintendent Steve Rasmussen on May 4.

The meeting at the district administration building was open to the public.

“The retreat provides an extended period of time with the board to discuss the governance process and student learning goals — those really important, broad items that do not easily fit into a regular meeting agenda,” Rasmussen wrote in an e-mail. “It’s an opportunity to have a thoughtful, creative, in-depth conversation.”

“The purpose of the retreat is for the board to monitor our own policies as part of our regular board meetings, monitor the superintendent and the district’s performance as related to our board End Statements that we established,” Board President Suzanne Weaver said. “It is also a chance for the board to review how we interact with each other and how we interact with the superintendent.”

The board End Statements are essentially measurable elements of what students should be learning prior to graduation that helps district officials meet their mission. There are six end statements.

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Superintendent hosts coffee chat

May 18, 2010

Meet with Issaquah School District Superintendent Steve Rasmussen for an evening of coffee and conversation at 6:30 p.m. May 24.

The meeting will be held in the Skyline High School library, 1122 228th Ave. S.E., and is open to the public.

The meeting will focus on anything positive or of concern in Issaquah schools or within the district’s boundaries.

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Bus drivers first to ratify contract with district

May 18, 2010

Three contracts remain

Issaquah School Board members approved a new three-year bus drivers’ contract at their May 12 meeting.

The contract begins July 1, 2010, and expires June 30, 2013.

All contract language remains the same, except that drivers will receive a 20-cent raise per hour above the cost of living adjustment in the first year of the contract, and no raise above the cost of living adjustment in the second and third years.

“It’s wonderful to look forward to moving on to next year,” said Gina Carey, the bus drivers’ union representative.

A significant majority of the drivers’ membership voted to approve the contract, she said.

“This contract is done and I celebrate that,” said Transportation Director Jo Porter. “That work was possible because of the positive way we worked together and a building of this trust we have.

“Anytime you have a settled contract the way we did, there has to be trust on both sides.”

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Investigators smell something foul in portable toilet fires

May 18, 2010

Something stinks in the Issaquah Highlands.

Fires set within about 24 hours of each other destroyed three portable toilets last week. Officials suspect foul play in the Grand Ridge Elementary School and Central Park blazes.

Firefighters responded to the first fire at about 10:30 p.m. May 11. Crews contained the fire to a toilet set up near a portable classroom.

Firefighters responded to another fire in nearby Central Park at about 11 p.m. May 12. Responders discovered a pair of portable toilets ablaze. Read more

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Take steps to stay safe around bears

May 18, 2010

Ecologists reminded Issaquah and Washington residents to take steps to avoid encounters with wildlife during Bear Awareness Week.

The observance continues through May 22, just as black and grizzly bears wake from winter hibernation and set out in search of food.

Rich Beausoleil, bear and cougar specialist for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said people can co-exist with bears. He encouraged residents to eliminate potential sources of food for bears, keep pet food indoors, clean outdoor grills after use and only put out birdseed in winter.

Both bear species call Washington home, but black bears might be a more common sight for Issaquah residents. The species includes about 25,000 animals throughout the Evergreen State. Scientists estimate fewer than 20 grizzly bears remain in the state.

Bears eat wild plants and seeds — most of the time.

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Kiwanis Club of Issaquah seeks funding proposals

May 18, 2010

The Kiwanis Club of Issaquah’s annual community auction at the Hilton Garden Inn on April 24 raised $71,000, $12,000 better than club members expected. As a result, the club is seeking proposals from qualified charities as it seeks to disburse these funds into the community.

Established nonprofit organizations seeking grants of between $500 and $2,000 are encouraged to visit the Kiwanis website for an application.

Each year, Kiwanis Club of Issaquah grants more than $75,000 to dozens of community organizations, and in the form of scholarships to qualified students. In addition to the community auction, the club’s other major fundraiser is its annual salmon bake during Salmon Days each October.

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Pedal for freebies on Bike to Work Day

May 18, 2010

City leaders will team up with local businesses and Cascade Bicycle Club to celebrate Bike to Work Day on May 21.

The day kicks off with a Bike to Work Day booth at state Route 900 and Northwest Sammamish Road. Bicyclists can pedal in from 6-10 a.m. for free snacks, giveaways and mechanical help from Pacific Bicycle Co., a Sammamish bike shop.

From 3-6 p.m., outdoors retailer REI will host a Cycle Commuter Appreciation Picnic at Pickering Barn, 1730 10th Ave N.W. The free picnic will offer free food from PCC Natural Markets and Chipotle, as well as giveaways from REI and the chance to meet other cyclists. REI hosted a barbecue at Pickering Barn last year to mark the end of Bike to Work Month.

Cascade Bicycle Club also uses Bike to Work Day to tally the number of cyclists on area roads. The organization hopes for official bicycle counts from cites in the Puget Sound region, but relies on the annual tally until official counts become widespread. Learn more about the annual event here.

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Local U.S. Senate candidate ends campaign

May 18, 2010

Preston Republican Chris Widener dropped out of the race for U.S. Senate on April 23.

The author and motivational speaker urged Republicans to unite behind candidates in the crowded field for the GOP nomination. The nominee will face the incumbent Democrat, Patty Murray, in November.

“I am very confident that one or two of the candidates not only have the right ideas, but also the resources necessary to defeat Sen. Murray in November,” Widener wrote in a message posted on Facebook. “It is time to focus more of our precious financial resources on fewer candidates, so they can begin to reach out to more voters.”

Widener also thanked campaign supporters and early backers, including state Reps. Glenn Anderson and Jay Rodne, and King County Council members Kathy Lambert and Reagan Dunn.

Widener said he expects to be involved in the contest against Murray, despite his decision to exit the race.

“Moving forward, while I will no longer be a candidate, I will continue doing everything I can as an individual to finish what I started: defeating Patty Murray in November,” he wrote. “I will continue to work as hard as I have in the past to see Republicans elected to office.”

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City OKs lease for highlands cell tower

May 18, 2010

Plans to build a 65-foot cell tower on city land in the Issaquah Highlands advanced last week, after a City Council committee OK’d a lease agreement with AT&T.

Plans call for the structure to be built near the existing 45-foot T-Mobile tower near the Park Drive Northeast entrance to Central Park and a reservoir.

Legislation for the AT&T tower reached the City Council in 2008. Officials asked AT&T to add the ability to co-locate — or lease space to — other carriers on the tower. The measure returned to the council last year with stronger co-location language.

Council Utilities, Technology & Environment Committee members unanimously approved the agreement May 11. The measure does not require a vote by the full council.

AT&T must secure land-use and building permits before construction can proceed. City planners had almost completed the land-use item by last week.

The pact should generate at least $12,000 per year for the city. The rate escalates each year by either 4 percent or the local Consumer Price Index, whichever is greater.

AT&T could recoup some of the money. The communications giant plans to include space for multiple carriers on the tower.

“They’re spending more money to make the pole taller to accommodate the separation between three separate antennas,” city Public Works Engineering Deputy Director Sheldon Lynne said.

City Attorney Wayne Tanaka OK’d the lease agreement before the legislation reached committee members.

“Now that I have an iPhone, I have a vested interest,” Councilman Mark Mullet joked.

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