County offers deluge of information to stay safe during floods

October 13, 2010

NEW — 1 p.m. Oct. 13, 2010

Before seasonal rain starts to soak the region, leaders joined together to remind King County residents of the potential for floods, and to mark Flood Awareness Month.

The county established a system 40 years ago to alert floodplain residents to danger.

“It is a credit to our leaders a half a century ago to understand the need, particularly in light of the increased demand to develop land for neighborhoods and business areas, for the county’s first flood warning system,” County Executive Dow Constantine said in a news release.

Leaders reminded residents in flood-prone areas to take steps to prepare for nasty winter weather and to sign up for automated flood alerts.

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Free parenting classes start soon at Beaver Lake Middle School

October 13, 2010

NEW — 10 a.m. Oct. 13, 2010

Much of parenting is on the job learning, but parents can get a break with a free parenting class offered by Friends of Youth.

The five-week class, Guiding Good Choices, is based on best practices research. Classes will be from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, and one Thursday, including Oct. 20 and 27 and Nov. 3, 10 and 18 at Beaver Lake Middle School, 25025 S.E. 32nd St.

“It’s about creating family bonds and strengthening family bonds,” Friends of Youth Drug and Alcohol Prevention Specialist Sara Hildebrand said.

Each week, parents will learn practical skills that will help strengthen their relationships with their children, focusing on ages 9 to 15.

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Hungry black bears roam through Issaquah area

October 12, 2010

Several Issaquah-area residents, including Colleen Perry, spotted the same bears as they foraged in backyards throughout the area. By Colleen Perry

The scene is as charming as something from a dog-eared issue of Ranger Rick: a mother black bear and a pair of cubs sauntering through a wooded setting.

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City prepares for earthquake aftermath

October 12, 2010

A dry-erase board at the city Emergency Operations Center lists mock local road closures as city employees handle emergency scenarios during the two-day regional earthquake drill. By Greg Farrar

The disaster — a magnitude 6.7 earthquake — struck the region less than 48 hours earlier, during rush hour at 7:54 a.m. on a Tuesday.

The temblor triggered landslides on steep slopes, damaged Interstate 90 through Issaquah, snapped mains and compromised the drinking water supply, and toppled cargo cranes at the Port of Seattle — a critical link to deliver food and fuel to Issaquah and the region.

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Minor earthquake reminds residents of seismic risks

October 12, 2010

The ground beneath the Mirrormont neighborhood rattled late Sept. 3, but residents attributed the slight rumbling to everyday occurrences — not to the magnitude 2.6 earthquake shaking the community south of Issaquah.

“At first, I thought it was a large animal rattling my garage door,” Mirrormont resident Monique Blackwell said.

Jennifer Orr, another Mirrormont resident, said she thought a large tree had toppled nearby.

“It felt as though a large truck had hit something outside,” Ray Skoff recalled.

The temblor lasted only a handful of seconds, but long enough to cause speculation before residents realized the source: earthquake.

“It felt like wood and concrete had no solidity for a minute,” Karen Skoff said.

The earthquake followed tiny temblors in the Issaquah area — a magnitude 1.6 quake July 3 and a magnitude 1.1 quake June 9.

Tim Walsh, chief hazards geologist for the state Department of Natural Resources, said the micro-earthquakes do not mean a big roller is imminent.

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Leaders urge emergency preparedness

October 12, 2010

Issaquah Highlands residents gathered at Blakely Hall over pizza and soda late last month to prepare for a cataclysm.

The meeting, part of the statewide Map Your Neighborhood effort, brought together residents of a highlands neighborhood to prepare for the aftermath of a strong earthquake.

“What we found out with Katrina and the Kobe earthquake in Japan is that neighbors depend on neighbors,” Stuart Linscott, a highlands resident and Issaquah Citizen Corps Council board member, told the group.

Linscott and other corps members offer free education and training to organize Issaquah residents — neighborhood by neighborhood — for disasters.

Because only a handful of Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters might be on duty in Issaquah at the time of a calamity, city and state officials encourage residents to take steps to prepare.

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Issaquah police arrest man after officer assault

October 12, 2010

Issaquah police arrested a man the morning of Oct. 11 after a brief struggle near the 700 block of state Route 900.

The officers — a sergeant and a motorcycle officer — stopped the suspect, a 27-year-old man, and approached him along the driver’s side of his vehicle. The suspect refused to exit the vehicle, and a brief struggle ensued.

Police said he then turned the vehicle on and started to drive away, dragging the sergeant for about 100 feet.

Moments later, the vehicle became stuck in a field, and the sergeant and motorcycle officer arrested the suspect.

Police arrested the man on a Utah warrant, plus the second-degree assault from the officer incident, and booked the man into the King County Jail.

Medics transported the sergeant to Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue, where he was treated and later released. The motorcycle officer and suspect were not injured.

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Judicial candidates face tough caseload

October 12, 2010

Crammed onto the ballot alongside the marquee race for U.S. Senate and high-profile initiatives is another important decision.

The electorate in Issaquah and broad stretch of northeastern King County faces a choice next month to pick a pair of King County District judges.

The race for the Position 6 seat features appointed Judge Michael Finkle and Issaquah attorney John L. O’Brien. Redmond City Prosecutor Larry Mitchell is running against Newcastle attorney Donna Tucker for the Position 7 seat.

The contests mark the first elections for both nonpartisan positions. King County Council members — backed by the state — increased the number of District Court judges last year to address a burgeoning caseload.

District Court handles misdemeanor criminal cases, drunken driving offenses and traffic infractions, requests for domestic violence protection orders, small claims and some civil cases.

The court is on track for a record year of more than 253,000 filings by the end of December.

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Mountains to Sound Greenway seeks volunteers to plant trees

October 12, 2010

Mountains to Sound Greenway needs volunteers to plant trees as part of a massive habitat restoration project along Issaquah Creek.

The planting is scheduled from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Oct. 16. Pick a shift, or enroll in another greenway volunteer event, here. In addition to get more volunteers for planting, the event will feature food, music and vendors.

The planting at Squak Valley Park North serves as the kickoff to a campaign to plant more than 25,000 trees and shrubs in natural areas throughout the greenway.

The greenbelt stretches along Interstate 90 from the Seattle waterfront to Central Washington.

The restoration project aims to restore salmon habitat and allow Issaquah Creek to adopt a more meandering course through the park.

Crews breached a Depression-era levee at several points, and added tree trunks and other woody debris to the creek, to create off-channel pools for salmon and other fish.

The price tag for the project totaled $1.4 million. The city contributed about $350,000 and cobbled together grants and money from other sources to fund the remainder.

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Ballot drop box comes to City Hall

October 12, 2010

King County Elections has rolled out 11 ballot drop boxes before the November election, including a drop box at Issaquah City Hall.

The box at City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way, is due to open Oct. 14 and remain open 24 hours a day until 8 p.m. Nov. 2, Election Day.

The elections office plans to mail ballots to voters the week of Oct. 13.

The boxes provide voters with the option of returning ballots in person rather than by mail. Find a complete list of drop boxes in the voter pamphlet or here.

The elections office relied on historical use, population densities, planned future growth, proximity to transit services, access and safety data to determine the locations.

“Voters have told us that drop boxes are an essential part of elections,” Elections Director Sherril Huff said in a news release. “While it’s important to watch the costs of government, voting is a basic right and we want to make sure it remains accessible and convenient.”

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