Thieves hit Grand Ridge Elementary School

June 23, 2010

UPDATED — 4 p.m. June 23, 2010

Thieves stole more than $3,000 in classroom equipment from Grand Ridge Elementary School overnight Monday.

Issaquah Police said someone nabbed four printers, a computer, a projector, a digital camera and a combination VCR-DVD player from two classrooms in a portable unit prior to 10:10 a.m. Tuesday. The estimated loss from the pilfered equipment totaled $3,319.

Issaquah School District spokeswoman Sara Niegowski said the district had filed insurance claims for the stolen items.

Police said the thieves did not enter the main campus building, at 1739 N.E. Park Drive. The school year ended June 17.

City Council puts concerns aside to approve undercrossing pact

June 23, 2010

NEW — 10 a.m. June 23, 2010

Despite some grumbling from members, the City Council approved a pact Monday to help complete the Interstate 90 Undercrossing.

The city needed to secure right of way along 221st Place Southeast in order to complete paving and install a traffic signal where the road will meet Southeast 62nd Street. The council approved a development agreement with property owners Doug and Linda Ebi for the right of way.

The council initially discussed the agreement June 7, but sent the proposal to the Council Land & Shore Committee and the city River & Streams Board for additional scrutiny after residents and council members raised environmental concerns about the pact.

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Registration deadline for exam retakes has been extended

June 23, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. June 23, 2010

Registration has been extended for students who missed or would like to retake their High School Proficiency Exams.

Tenth-, 11th- and 12th-graders can register online here through midnight Sunday for the summer reading, writing and mathematics exams. Students can opt to take all of the exams or just the ones they need to fill remaining state requirements.

Testing in Issaquah will take place from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Aug. 9-12 at Pacific Cascade Middle School, 24635 S.E. Issaquah-Fall City Road.

Local invention deployed to gulf oil-cleanup effort

June 22, 2010

In 2007, Jerry Brownstein won the International Energy Globe Award for his work with X-TEX. At the ceremony, Brownstein (left) and his wife, Kathy, met actor Martin Sheen. Contributed

Jerry Brownstein was puttering around his vintage clothing shop in Los Angeles about 30 years ago, wondering what would become of all the polyester.

The answer to that question led the Sammamish resident to create a fabric that sops up oil from water — a fabric that’s seen its demand skyrocket over the past few weeks, as its been deployed to the Gulf of Mexico to clean up the BP oil spill. Read more

Quality of drinking water exceeds standards

June 22, 2010

Issaquah tap water exceeds water-quality standards set by state and federal regulators.

Officials announced the findings in the annual water-quality report issued June 16, and mailed the report to residents in early June.

The city purchased and produced 751.1 million gallons of drinking water last year. Issaquah customers used 693.4 million gallons of water during the same period.

City customers use water drawn from the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer. The city has four wells to the underground water source — a pair in the northeastern part of the city and another pair in the northwestern part. The wells vary from 100 feet to 400 feet deep.

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Sammamish rebuffs Skyline field plan

June 22, 2010

Jacob Kuper threatened the Issaquah School District might take its ball and go home if it didn’t get the changes it wants to an agreement governing the use of the fields at Skyline High School.

“We could rescind our interlocal agreement and there would be no community hours — not that we want to do that, but legally it is an option,” said Kuper, chief financial officer for the district.

Kuper was quickly shut down by Sammamish City Manager Ben Yazici, who told him he wasn’t going to discuss the threat and he doubted it actually was a legal option.

Kuper later apologized for being “brusque,” as the council also cooled down during a sometimes-heated June 15 meeting.

The community fields at Skyline are used by about a half-dozen school sports teams in the fall and spring seasons. The district owns the land.

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Issaquah High School ranked among nation’s top high schools

June 22, 2010

Coming in at 1,105, Issaquah High School ranked among the nation’s best high schools in the latest Americas Best High Schools list from Newsweek magazine.

Issaquah was the only Issaquah School District high school to make the exclusive list, which has been around since 1998. Thirty-two other public schools in Washington made the expanded 1,622 best high schools list.

High schools are ranked by how hard school faculties work to challenge students with advanced placement and college-level courses and tests. Only 6 percent of all of the nation’s public high schools make the grade, according to Newsweek’s website.

Of note, all five of Bellevue’s comprehensive high schools were listed among the top 100 for the second year in a row. Interlake ranked 13th; the International School ranked 20th; Newport ranked 45th; Sammamish came in 56th; and Bellevue placed 80th.

Auditors fault King County for lack of oversight; county responds

June 22, 2010

Auditors raised concerns about the way King County government conducts business in a state report released June 14.

Though auditors said the county complied with state laws and regulations — as well as county rules — in most cases, the team identified several areas of concern with the King County Sheriff’s Office, King County Elections and executive agencies.

“Our audit found county officials should continue to improve oversight and safeguards over cash receipts, expenditures and assets,” auditors wrote. “In many instances, monitoring was insufficient to ensure policies are complete, and that staff is trained on and follows them.”

The state team said the county faces less ability to control expenses, a greater risk of loss and a heightened risk for running afoul of laws, regulations and contractual requirements due to a lack of oversight.

The county disputed some of the audit findings, and said steps had been taken to address other issues pointed out by auditors.

“In general, we respect the work of the state auditor, but many of his findings simply do not account for controls we already have in place,” county spokesman Frank Abe said. “Some of his findings also create unneeded costs of bureaucracy without adding any value for taxpayers.”

Auditors said the sheriff’s office lacks adequate controls to monitor and record evidence, including narcotics, and for collected and forfeited property.

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Eco-friendlier detergents start to appear in stores before ban

June 22, 2010

Low-phosphate dishwasher detergents started to appear in stores statewide in early June, as the state readies for a new requirement.

Starting July 1, the state will require all dishwasher detergents to have low-phosphate formulas. The requirement applies only to residential uses, not commercial and industrial dishwasher products.

Phosphorus creates water pollution problems and acts as a fertilizer to algae and plants. The plants and organisms die, and decay uses oxygen, suffocating fish and other aquatic life.

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Few changes to capital facilities plan

June 22, 2010

Each year, Issaquah School District officials must submit their Six-Year Capital Facilities Plan to county officials for review.

The plan includes how much the district will spend in coming years to build and open new school buildings, as well as how much it will charge developers to build housing within its boundaries.

The plan is amended each year to uphold stipulations in the county’s code and the state’s Growth Management Act. The county’s Department of Development and Environmental Services reviews it and makes suggestions about the plans. After the plans are reviewed and the numbers are checked, department officials write an ordinance, which is approved by King County Council members during their budgeting process in November.

This year, there aren’t any significant changes from last year, Jacob Kuper, the chief executive officer of finance and operations, said.

The district, like last year, is not requesting impact fees from developers building multifamily projects, because they don’t have a significant enough amount of school age children to justify them, Kuper said.

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