Issaquah state Senate race appears headed for recount

November 17, 2010

NEW — 6 p.m. Nov. 17, 2010

The last undecided race to represent Issaquah in Olympia appears to be headed for a recount.

State Sen. Randy Gordon trailed challenger Steve Litzow by more than 1,000 votes in the days after the Nov. 2 election. In the 15 days since the campaign ended, the gap between the Democrat Gordon and Republican Litzow has slimmed to 142 votes.

Under state law, a machine recount is required if the difference between the candidates is less than 2,000 votes and also less than one-half of 1 percent of the total number of votes cast for both candidates.

King County Elections has tallied 62,252 ballots in the race so far. The margin for a machine recount in the race is about 300 votes.

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Voters must resolve ballot signature issues before Nov. 23

November 17, 2010

NEW — 11:45 a.m. Nov. 17, 2010

King County Elections continues to count ballots until the Nov. 2 election is certified next week.

Voters with signature issues on returned ballots can resolve the issues through Nov. 22. The county Canvassing Board is scheduled to certify the election results Nov. 23.

If a voter has a question about signature issues, he or she can contact the elections office at 206-296-8683. Voters can track mail ballots and determine if a ballot has been counted here.

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Issaquah Cub White football team wins title

November 17, 2010

Garrett White (96) runs the ball to score one of three touchdowns. Contributed

NEW — 9:30 a.m. Nov. 17, 2010

The undefeated Issaquah Cub White football team dominated the previously unbeaten Wolverine Cub Blue 26-7 Nov. 13 on their way to the Greater Eastside Junior Football Association title at Pop Kenney Stadium.

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Skyline mixes laughs with soccer on way to No. 1 national ranking

November 17, 2010

NEW — 9:25 a.m. Nov. 17, 2010

The smell of pizza mixes with the laughter spilling out of Don Braman’s classroom. It seems fit for a party, not a practice.

But that laughter, the ability to live in the moment, continues to drive the Skyline High School girls soccer team.

“I’ve rarely seen a team enjoy laughing together so much, but a team that’s also ready to bring the ultimate level of focus to the game and the practice when it needs to be done,” said Braman, the Spartans’ coach. “They’re certainly a goofy group, but they’re a group that has continued to get better every day.”

The two-time defending Class 4A champions play Tahoma of Maple Valley in the state semifinals at 6 p.m. Friday at Harry Lang Stadium in Lakewood. Until then, though, the team ranked No. 1 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America will keep laughing.

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Habitat for Humanity of East King County seeks input on store

November 17, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 17, 2010

Habitat for Humanity of East King County has launched a survey to gauge interest in a Habitat Store for the Eastside.

The store could serve as another source of dollars for the nonprofit organization. Habitat has enlisted the help of the University of Washington Leadership MBA program to assess community interest in a store.

The organizations created a brief survey to help determine the level of interest.

Habitat representatives and families joined city officials in June 2009 to break ground for a local development in the Issaquah Highlands at 2500 N.E. Magnolia St. The completed duplexes should house up to 10 families.

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Investigators identify suspect in Issaquah bear shooting

November 16, 2010

NEW — 6:30 p.m. Nov. 16, 2010

State Department of Fish and Wildlife investigators identified the person believed to be responsible for shooting a black bear in Issaquah last week.

Veterinarians later euthanized the bear cub, because a bullet wound had left the animal paralyzed.

State wildlife agents did not release the suspect’s name or arrest the person Tuesday. The information gathered during the investigation will be sent to the King County Prosecutor’s Office to determine if charges should be filed.

State wildlife agents tranquilized and captured the bear Nov. 11 after the homeowner reported a trapped bear in a creek on the property. The animal was then transported to PAWS in Lynnwood.

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State wildlife agents investigate bear shooting

November 16, 2010

PAWS Wildlife Rehabilitation Manager Dondi Byrne, state wildlife officer Nicholas Jorg and PAWS Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. John Huckabee (from left) work to stabilize a bear injured in Issaquah. Contributed

Gunshot wound prompted veterinarians to euthanize paralyzed animal

The black bear trapped in a damp ditch near Issaquah Highlands puzzled state wildlife agents.

The animal — moaning in pain and hypothermic from the frigid rainwater in the ditch — did not appear to be injured as state Department of Fish and Wildlife agents scrambled to diagnose the tranquilized bear. The animal later had to be euthanized due to a bullet wound.

The wildlife team had responded Nov. 11 to a call from a homeowner concerned about a bear cub trapped in a logjam in a backyard near Highlands Drive Northeast and Southeast Black Nugget Road.

“It didn’t appear to have any injuries,” Capt. Bill Heibner said. “It appeared to be a very healthy bear with a very thick black coat, ready for hibernation and very fat.”

Even after wildlife agents transported the sedated animal to a Lynnwood wildlife facility, clues remained elusive.

“We had a dickens of a time finding anything wrong with him,” Heibner said. “There just didn’t appear to be anything.”

So, the team transferred the otherwise-healthy animal to a pen to see if the animal recovered overnight.

“We put him in the pen and figured that in 12 hours he would work through the anesthetic and the immobilization drugs,” Heibner said. “As we put him in there, we developed the film on that second set of X-rays and discovered a bullet had lodged in his spine.”

The bear — a male about a year old and weighing 135 pounds — had to be euthanized the next morning.

The gunshot caused permanent nerve damage and left the rear half of the bear paralyzed. The mystery lingered after veterinarians had to put the animal down.

“Once that bullet was discovered, of course, that added two new chapters to this whole thing as far as I’m concerned,” Heibner said.

The discovery prompted a criminal investigation.

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Budget cuts nix police storefront, resource officer

November 16, 2010

The austere county budget for the upcoming year closes a police storefront near Issaquah and reassigns a popular resource officer from Liberty High School.

The spending plan also eliminates 28 deputy positions from the King County Sheriff’s Office, reduces police service in rural areas and curtails investigations into burglaries and other property crimes. The budget includes, all told, about 300 staff reductions.

King County Council members approved the lean budget Nov. 15, after a monthslong debate about how to fund police and other criminal justice services. Read more

State Route 900 trail connector hits bump

November 16, 2010

Unstable soil causes crews to dig deeper

Construction crews continue work on a trail connector at Interstate 90 and state Route 900. Crews had to dig a little deeper last month to find stable soil for concrete-and-steel piers. By Greg Farrar

The trail connector under construction at Interstate 90 and state Route 900 hit a bump in the road last month, as crews had to dig deeper to reach a sturdier soil layer to support a series of concrete-and-steel piers.

City engineers said the extra digging is not expected to delay the project. The connector — arranged along almost one-third of a mile from the state Route 900 boardwalk on the south side of the interstate to the Sammamish Trail on the north — should be completed in April.

Crews needed to find a solid surface to support the piers and had to dig 20 feet to 30 feet deeper than initially estimated to find a bearing layer. The snag prompted the Issaquah contractor C. A. Carey Corp. to bring in additional equipment to complete the digging.

“It’s still kind of a concern, but they’re continuing to work and we’re working through the issues between us and WSDOT and the contractor,” city Public Works Engineering Director Bob Brock said.

Plans call for the completed connector to feature a 12-foot-wide pedestrian bridge across the westbound interstate on-ramps, plus a 10-foot-wide pedestrian crossing on the existing state Route 900 overpass.

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Make a splash on World Toilet Day

November 16, 2010

World Toilet Day is Nov. 20. Really.

WaterAid, a nonprofit organization, plans to encourage children to flush bad habits and promote conservation at a World Toilet Day event at the King County Library System Service Center in Issaquah.

The free celebration runs from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The event at the service center, 960 Newport Way N.W., has dual messages. World Toilet Day seeks to remind residents of the 2.6 billion people worldwide without access to adequate toilets. WaterAid works to help poor communities plan, build and manage safe water supplies and low-cost toilets. The program also aims to offer hygiene tips to children through activities, entertainment and games. Read more

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