Red Cross offers tips to stay safe in, on and around water

July 29, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. July 29, 2010

To make summertime safe, the American Red Cross chapters in Western Washington encourage people to follow some simple water-related safety tips.

Many people head to beaches, pools or lakes as the mercury rises. Red Cross experts urge boaters and swimmers to be prepared in, on and around the water.

For first aid and CPR classes in King County, call the Red Cross at 206-726-3534, or head to the organization’s website.

The nonprofit organization offers some essential tips to stay safe while beating the heat:

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Report: Washingtonians pay less taxes than residents in 29 other states

July 28, 2010

NEW — 1 p.m. July 28, 2010

Washingtonians shell out a smaller percentage of their income in state and local taxes than residents in 29 other states, a report issued Tuesday by the state Department of Revenue shows.

Evergreen State residents paid $105.49 in state and local taxes per $1,000 of personal income during the 2008 fiscal year, compared to the $111.99 national average. The state ranked 26th in 2007.

Washingtonians paid, on average, $4,354 in taxes during 2008 — just less than the $4,371national average.

Washington ranked 16th in taxes per capita in 2008 and 15th in 2007.

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Take steps to avoid unfortunate encounters with creepy crawlers

July 28, 2010

NEW — 8 a.m. July 28, 2010

Summer means barbecues, outdoor activities — and more encounters with biting and stinging bugs.

Keeping calm around buzzing bugs can help reduce the risk of winding up on the business-end of a bloodthirsty mosquito or irritated wasp.

The state Department of Health has a handy list detailing biting and stinging bugs found in the Evergreen State.

Bees play a crucial role in pollinating flowering plants, including many foods. Honeybees and bumblebees seldom sting as they leave the hive or nest to look for nectar or pollen — unless they get stepped on or deliberately provoked.

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Plan for lane closure during Renton Highlands curb work

July 28, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. July 28, 2010

Expect a weeklong lane closure in the Renton Highlands as King County Road Services Division crews install sidewalk ramps.

In order to install the ramps at the intersection of Southeast 128th Street and 156th Avenue Southeast, crews must close the westbound curb lane on Southeast 128th Street from 7 a.m. Wednesday through 4 p.m. Aug. 4.

Crews start installation the handicap-accessible ramps during the same week as the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Pedestrian hit in crosswalk while walking dog

July 27, 2010

Police said a woman sustained life-threatening injuries July 25 after a car hit her as she walked her dog in the Issaquah Highlands.

Police said a car struck the woman, a 59-year-old highlands resident, at about 7 p.m.

The accident occurred as she turned to cross busy Northeast Park Drive near a condominium complex. But the crosswalk at 15th Avenue Northeast could not shield a woman and her dog from the oncoming Mazda.

The collision killed the dog. Rescuers used a cloth to cover the animal.

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Investigation continues in park shootings

July 27, 2010

The investigation into the deadly July 17 shootings at Lake Sammamish State Park continued last week, as the King County Sheriff’s Office sent evidence to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab.

The crime lab analysis includes examining ballistic evidence to determine who shot the men killed in the incident. The shootings left a 30-year-old Seattle man, Justin Cunningham, and a 33-year-old Kent man, Yang Keovongphet, dead.

Gunshots injured another three people — a 20 year-old North Bend man, a 22-year-old Seattle man and a 16-year-old Renton boy. None of the men suffered life-threatening injuries.

Cunningham and Keovongphet died from multiple gunshot wounds.

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I-90 Undercrossing expected to be completed by early fall

July 27, 2010

Workers with their earth-moving equipment continue to labor July 26 on the roadway bed for the Interstate 90 Undercrossing, which will be named Fourth Avenue Northwest. By Greg Farrar

City Council members paved the way last week for completion of the Interstate 90 Undercrossing, a north-south link meant to cut traffic on existing Issaquah roads.

The council adjusted the construction contract between the city and the main undercrossing builder to finish the section along Southeast 62nd Street and 221st Place Southeast.

The council agreed to spend $530,935 in order for Kirkland-based MidMountain Contractors to complete the last phase. The change brings the undercrossing cost to about $3 million.

Before the July 19 decision, Councilman Joshua Schaer commended city staffers for expediting completion of the undercrossing puzzle.

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Newcomer, old foe challenge Rep. Glenn Anderson

July 27, 2010

Issaquah and other 5th Legislative District voters must narrow the field of state House of Representatives candidates from three to two in the Aug. 17 primary election. The top vote-getters advance to the November general election.

The race comes as a rematch of sorts for the incumbent, Glenn Anderson, and his 2008 opponent, David Spring. But newcomer Dean Willard hopes to clinch the GOP-held seat for the Democrats.

Glenn Anderson

Glenn Anderson

To understand just how much Democrats yearn to topple Anderson, rewind to the campaign kickoff for Willard.

In a clip immortalized on YouTube, state Rep. Geoff Simpson said “there is no one in the Legislature who is more despised by Democrats” than Anderson.

But Anderson, a Fall City Republican first elected to a 5th District seat a decade ago, shrugged off the partisan jab.

“I wish I had that kind of power,” he cracked.

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State seeks comments on Issaquah Creek land

July 27, 2010

Bring comments about a state Department of Natural Resources plan for 30 acres near Issaquah to a July 28 public hearing.

Comments are wanted about a proposed deal to open up 30 acres of state land along Issaquah Creek between Issaquah city limits and state Route 18 for King County to use as fish and wildlife habitat, recreation or open space.

Speak up about the proposal at 6:30 p.m. July 28 at the North Bend Railroad Depot, 205 McClellan St.

Or send comments to or via mail to DNR, Asset & Property Management Division, Attn: Trust Land Transfer, Inter-Trust Exchanges No. 86-085762 (Issaquah Creek), M.S. Box 47014, Olympia, WA 98504-7014. Comments must be received by 4 p.m. Aug. 4.

County leaders to rein in labor costs

July 27, 2010

King County leaders have taken a step to reduce labor costs — or 60 percent of the cash-strapped county’s budget.

The proposed reforms could require county employees to pay more for health and dental benefits, limit inflation-related raises, cut overtime and call for employee layoffs to be based on merit instead of seniority.

County Council members — acting as the Labor Policy Committee — adopted the set of labor reforms in a unanimous decision July 14. The changes could impact as many as 11,000 county employees.

The package could prompt a face-off between county leaders and public employee unions, as the county struggles to contain a $60 million budget deficit next year.

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