State auditors find no finance problems with library system

April 20, 2010

State auditors found no problems with the way the King County Library System conducts business. Reports released last month show no problems with how the Issaquah-based system handled public dollars and other assets.

The state conducted accountability, financial and performance audits of the library district. The accountability audit focused on the areas of payroll, personnel and travel.

Auditors described the mechanisms in place to protect public assets as adequate. The system also followed internal procedures in place to safeguard public resources.

The state team examined 2008 documents for the most recent reports. The state audits the district every year; auditors uncovered no problems in the past eight audits. Auditors released the reports March 12.

King County Council members appoint a board to oversee the third-largest library system in the nation. The system included 1,200 employees and a $94 million budget during the audit period.

The system serves more than 1.2 million customers at 44 libraries. More than 20 million items circulated through the libraries.

The state also released a separate audit of the Issaquah Library Capital Facilities Area, a special taxing district. The district contracts with the King County Library System to operate the Issaquah Library and oversee the building.

Auditors found no problems with the way Issaquah Library Capital Facilities Area officials handled district finances. The audit uncovered no instances of noncompliance or issues required to be reported under government auditing standards. Auditors examined financial records for the period from January 2006 to December 2008.

County offers free earthquake retrofit permits

April 20, 2010

Some unincorporated King County residents may qualify for free home earthquake retrofit permits if their home has a wood-frame construction, lightweight roof and a reinforced concrete foundation. Other criteria call for the home to be situated on a relatively level lot and two stories or less in height. Find the complete criteria for a free permit at

Contact Paula Adams at 206-296-6682 to learn more about earthquake retrofit permits.

Free permits can usually be issued over the counter if residents submit a complete application. Homes that do not meet criteria can also receive a permit, but the process takes more time and the applicant must pay permit-review fees.

“I hope more people will take advantage of this important program,” department Director John Starbard said in a news release. “Our region dealt with the impacts of the Nisqually earthquake in 2001 and, although that event was not of the same magnitude as more recent international earthquake disasters, modern building codes minimized the physical and economic damage of the 2001 quake for the benefit of the entire region.”

Cascade Ridge principal resigns

April 20, 2010

Colleen Shields, principal at Cascade Ridge Elementary School, announced her resignation April 5 after two years at the school.

“It is with extremely mixed emotions that I am announcing my decision to accept a new leadership position in the State of California beginning July 1,” she wrote in a letter to the community. “This new position allows me to be closer to members of my family and to support my husband’s current employment situation.”

Shields was hired in 2008. She came to the school with 11 years as an elementary school principal and 12 years of experience as an elementary school teacher.

“Cascade Ridge has thrived under Colleen’s leadership. She and her staff expect every student to achieve remarkable things — and they do,” Superintendent Steve Rasmussen said. “She has a heart for students and elementary education. We will certainly miss her.”

District officials will use the survey results to help hire a new principal for the school with help from a committee, which will include faculty members and parents.

Issaquah Valley Grange honors David Waggoner as its man of the year

April 20, 2010

David Waggoner seems to be the community’s go-to guy when a volunteer is needed. Take last year, for example.

Waggoner of course accepted the offer when U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert asked him to serve on the board of volunteers of the Honor Flights Project. The project flies World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to view the national memorial for the war.

“I was honored to give my time and effort to get as many of them back to D.C. as we could,” said Waggoner, 66, himself a veteran of the Vietnam War.

Because of his selfless efforts helping those in the community, the Issaquah Valley Grange is honoring him with its Man of the Year award for 2010 next week.

For a man who seemingly was never short on time to volunteer for one group or another, Waggoner was surprisingly short of words when it came to being honored for his efforts.

“I am humbled by the man of the year,” he said. “I have never been one before. I have no other words to say.”

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Growing legacy: Issaquah reigns as Tree City USA

April 20, 2010

The mayor and city brass gathered to celebrate Arbor Day last April beneath dull gray skies — a bare, drab scene unlike the leafy canopy shading Issaquah streets in summertime.

City leaders and residents gather every spring to plant the official Arbor Day tree: a Burr oak near Gibson Hall last year, a crabapple at Grand Ridge Elementary School the year before. The annual ceremony serves as more than a photo opportunity.

Officials will mark Arbor Day indoors next week, with a presentation by city Open Space Steward Matt Mechler to the municipal Park Board.

Issaquah, designated as a Tree City USA for the past 16 years, is required to observe and proclaim Arbor Day to maintain the designation. Officials mark the day with a tree planting, and select a ceremonial tree for each occasion.

City Arborist Alan Haywood oversees the urban forest and ensures that Issaquah keeps the Tree City USA distinction — no small feat in a city where tree canopy covers 51 percent of the municipality.

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Katie Lawrence and Forrest Beckwith II

April 20, 2010

Katie Lawrence and Forrest Beckwith II, both of Bothell, announce their engagement to be married Nov. 6. 2010, at St. James Cathedral in Seattle.

Katie Lawrence and Forrest Beckwith II

The bride-to-be, the daughter of Doug and Ramona Lawrence, of Issaquah, is a 2000 graduate of Skyline High School. She earned a degree in 2004 in journalism and communication from the University of Oregon. She is a sales supervisor at Guidant Financial Group, in Bellevue.

The future groom, the son of Forrest and Donna Beckwith, of Sammamish, is also a 2000 graduate of Skyline. In 2004, he earned a degree in molecular biology from the University of Washington. He works in sales and merchandising at Costco.

Teachers receive schools foundation grants

April 20, 2010

Issaquah School District educators have received grants to help students achieve big ideas next year.

Issaquah Schools Foundation officials released more than $73,000 in Academic Enrichment Grants to more than 30 educators March 18.

The funding helps bolster programs in classes throughout the district, amid a year when district officials aren’t sure whether state cutbacks will affect their budget.

“School district resources are in short supply for even the basics like new curriculum, much less the extras that help learning really come alive for students,” foundation Executive Director Robin Callahan wrote in an e-mail. “In addition to supporting teachers looking for those enriched learning opportunities for their students, these grants seed innovative programs that often become districtwide initiatives.”

There are two types of grants foundation officials give out, the Kateri Brow Big Idea/Biggest Need Grant and the Classroom Enrichment Grant. Both enable teachers to fulfill educational goals in classrooms throughout the district.

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Volunteer, hobby expo returns bigger than ever

April 20, 2010

Whether you’re brand new to the community or have lived here your whole life, possibilities abound for getting involved with your neighbors and other like-minded individuals or groups. The trick is finding them.

Luckily, the Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department gathers more than 30 organizations at one convenient location each year — the Hobby & Volunteer Expo.

“It’s for all ages,” organizer Cathy Jones said. “It’s especially great for parents to find different groups for their children.”

Now in its 11th year, this year’s show is geared more toward hobby and volunteer opportunities for adults and high school students, Jones said.

“There are some great opportunities for retirees and empty nesters,” she added.

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Jennifer Muscat and Baraka Poulin

April 20, 2010

Jennifer Muscat, of Issaquah, and Baraka Poulin, of Sammamish, were married March 27, 2010, at Sammamish Hills Lutheran Church. Pastor Will Sappington officiated. A reception followed at Tibbetts Creek Manor in Issaquah.

The bride, the daughter of Lorie and Joe Muscat, of Issaquah, is a 2005 graduate of Skyline High School. Her bridesmaids were Angela Muscat, Abbey Poulin, Stephanie Erickson and Shannon Crilly.

Jennifer Muscat and Baraka Poulin

Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering in 2009 from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

The groom, the son of Debbie and Bruce Poulin, of Sammamish, is a 2004 graduate of Skyline High School. His groomsmen were Ben Brownlee, Axel Thibodeau, Leonard McKinnon and Brian Oppenheim.

Baraka earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering in 2008 from Gonzaga University.

The couple honeymooned in Maui, Hawaii.

Baby pictures wanted

April 20, 2010

Were you or your baby born at Swedish Medical Center? If so, dust off your photo albums and scan and send in your best baby shots.

In honor of its 100th year of nonprofit service, Swedish wants to recognize some of its patients through a search for photos of babies born at any birthing center now part of Swedish Health Services, including Swedish Hospital.

Entries for the cutest Swedish baby photo contest will be accepted online through June 1. Go here to complete the registration form, and then follow the links and instructions to upload up to six photos of you or your baby into one of the categories of craziest hair, biggest sports fan, trick-or-treat, my first birthday, most adorable and I love my pet.

Grand-prize winners will receive a two-night stay for four people to Great Wolf Lodge and a $300 gift card to spend at the lodge during their stay (approximate retail value of prize is $1,000). Second-place prize winners will receive a $500 Nordstrom gift card and third place winners will receive a $250 gift card.

Winners will be notified on or about June 21.

Read the full rules here.

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