Steer clear of state lands for Christmas tree cutting

December 2, 2010

NEW — 8 a.m. Dec. 2, 2010

Forget about cutting a fresh Christmas tree in Tiger Mountain State Forest or on other state lands.

The state Department of Natural Resources does not sell Christmas trees or pine boughs from state trust lands.

The agency manages forests on state trust lands and allows timber to be harvested to help public schools, universities and other state institutions. So, harvesting certain products is handled through permits and leases.

Though the state Department of Natural Resources does not allow Christmas tree cutting, people can cut trees at private farms and on U.S. Forest Service land.

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Sound Transit seeks residents for citizen oversight group

December 2, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 2, 2010

Sound Transit needs Issaquah residents to help the agency plan, build and operate the regional transit system.

The agency needs a volunteer to serve on the 15-member Citizen Oversight Panel. Several other positions open next year as current members’ terms expire.

The panel monitors Sound Transit and ensures the agency meets commitments to build and operate a regional bus, light rail and commuter rail system.

King County residents and people across the region approved funding for the system in 1996 and again in 2008.

Citizen Oversight Panel members represent broad interests, professional expertise and experience. The group meets semimonthly during regular business hours. Members dig into agency details, ask tough questions and report findings to the Sound Transit board.

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Steve Litzow elected to represent Issaquah in state Senate

December 1, 2010

NEW — 3:45 p.m. Dec. 1, 2010

Republican Steve Litzow appears to be the next state senator to represent Issaquah after defeating incumbent Randy Gordon.

King County Elections completed a mandatory machine recount for the contest Wednesday afternoon. The unofficial results present a solid lead for Litzow, a Mercer Island councilman.

Democrat Gordon trailed Litzow by more than 1,000 votes in the days after the Nov. 2 election. The gap between the candidates slimmed to 194 votes — or 0.32 percent — as the county tallied ballots.

The margin closed to 192 votes after the recount. The recount added two ballots to Gordon’s total.

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Holiday fundraiser benefits Uganda relief effort

December 1, 2010

NEW — 2 p.m. Dec. 1, 2010

Issaquah Christian Church plans a Christmas fundraiser to support a mission to Uganda next year.

The fundraiser runs from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the church, 10328 Issaquah-Hobart Road S.E. Offerings include candles, candy, Tupperware and, of course, holiday trees at the iconic Christmas tree lot.

Fundraiser purchases support a relief mission to Uganda, a war-torn nation in East Africa. The trip is to include construction, dental and medical relief efforts to serve Ugandan orphanages, missionaries and prisons.

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Councilman urges King County to find better plan to fund public safety

December 1, 2010

NEW — 1 p.m. Dec. 1, 2010

Reagan Dunn urged other King County Council members Wednesday to create a “priority commission” to determine how the cash-strapped county can fund the criminal justice system.

The county councilman offered the proposal less than a month after voters rejected a sales tax hike meant to limit cuts to the King County Sheriff’s Office and county courts.

The council later cut more than 20 deputies from the sheriff’s office in a lean 2011 budget. Dunn argued against the criminal cuts and refused to approve the spending plan.

Liberty High School is scheduled to lose a school resource officer as a result of the cuts, and a police storefront near Issaquah is due to close.

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Issaquah Eagles basketball opens with victory

December 1, 2010

NEW — 10 a.m. Dec. 1, 2010

The Issaquah High School boys basketball team, under new coach Jason Griffith, opened its season Tuesday with a 60-27 nonleague victory against visiting Bellevue Christian.

Issaquah jumped to an 18-7 first quarter lead and cruised to a 13-point halftime advantage.

Veteran players Nik Landdeck and Nick Price paced Issaquah. Landdeck scored a game-high 18 points and Price, who earned 4A All-KingCo third team honors last season, had 17 points.

Jake Vandenbrink topped Bellevue Christian with 10 points.

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Health officials urge HIV prevention and care on World AIDS Day

December 1, 2010

NEW — 10 a.m. Dec. 1, 2010

King County Executive Dow Constantine recognized Wednesday as World AIDS Day, and thanked the community working to improve the lives of people living with HIV in King County and around the globe.

“Tremendous progress has been made in the treatment and prevention of HIV and AIDS, and I am particularly proud of the excellent work done by Public Health – Seattle & King County and our local partners,” Constantine said in a statement.

HIV has claimed more than 4,400 people in King County. Officials estimate 7,600 people with HIV live in the county, including 10 to 15 percent of infected people unaware of their HIV status. The public health agency estimated about 300 people become infected each year.

Public Health – Seattle & King County works to ensure easy access to HIV testing exists for residents.

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County adopts shoreline rules as Issaquah considers plan

December 1, 2010

NEW — 8 a.m. Dec. 1, 2010

King County leaders emphasized conservation along Issaquah Creek and Lake Sammamish in the shoreline rules adopted Tuesday.

The latest county Shoreline Master Program includes stretches of Issaquah Creek — from the headwaters on Tiger Mountain to the Issaquah city limits — and then the mouth of the creek in Lake Sammamish State Park.

King County has more than 1,500 miles of rivers, 50 miles of marine shoreline and 100 lakes covered under shoreline rules.

“The Shoreline Master Program protects our remaining natural shorelines in order to preserve the most cherished elements of our natural environment — Puget Sound, our waterways and iconic species, like chinook salmon and orca whales,” County Councilman Larry Phillips, Environment and Transportation Committee chairman, said in a statement.

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Issaquah nonprofit raises more than $100,000 for group home

December 1, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 1, 2010

Issaquah nonprofit organization Life Enrichment Options has raised more than $100,000 in 100 days to build a house for adults with developmental disabilities.

Founder Rose Finnegan said the group raised $115,000 to construct a group home in the Issaquah Highlands at 25th Avenue Northeast and Northeast Logan Street. The organization plans to break ground in March.

The final price tag for the house could reach $500,000 — and LEO seeks additional donations to complete the project. Learn more about the organization and donate here.

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Downtown Issaquah welcomes Santa at tree lighting

November 30, 2010

Santa Claus poses with Snoqualmie resident Ellen Ke and her daughter, Carol Gong, as husband and father Jeffrey Gong snaps a photo, during the 2009 Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Pedestrian Park. By Greg Farrar

Carolers and artists add holiday magic to Christmas kickoff

Though nighttime darkness falls at about 4:30 p.m. this time of year, Issaquah’s annual Christmas tree lighting is poised to light up the night with colorful ornaments, caroling, hot cider and cookies.

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