Prepare for Memorial Day travel delays

May 25, 2010

Road crews will take a break for Memorial Day weekend, but drivers across Washington should prepare for added travel time during the traditional summer travel kickoff.

Work at most state Department of Transportation construction projects around the state will move off highways from noon May 28 until the morning of June 1. But drivers should still prepare for shifted lanes, detours and reduced speed limits near worksites.

Check the transportation agency website for the most-traveled — and delay-prone — routes: Interstate 90, Interstate 5 at the Canadian border, I-5 through Lewis County and U.S. Route 2.

Or call the 24-hour traveler information hotline, 511, for information.

Drivers should also expect additional traffic on U.S. 2 through Stevens Pass and I-90 through Snoqualmie Pass on May 28 and 31.

Drivers headed through Snoqualmie Pass can expect higher-than-normal traffic the afternoon of May 28, the morning of May 29 and the afternoon of May 31. Memorial Day marks the busiest day of westbound travel on U.S. 2 each year.

Travel on Puget Sound-area highways will increase May 27, with peak travel times from noon – 9 p.m. May 28 and early May 29. On Memorial Day afternoon, traffic returning to the region will peak just before noon and continue into the late evening.

Travelers using other forms of transportation might not be immune from delays.

Expect longer-than-typical waits at ferry docks and Canadian border crossings most of the holiday weekend. Travel times should be much lighter May 26 and the morning of May 27 and June 1.

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Memorial Day means no school

May 25, 2010

There is no school for Issaquah School District students May 28-31 in observance of Memorial Day weekend.

Check your child’s individual school calendar and schedule for limited school-related events and activities.

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Lest we forget

May 25, 2010

Click here to view The Issaquah Press’ Veterans Section.

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Use new website for Internet speed tests

May 25, 2010

If promised blazing download speeds feel more sluggish than providers promised, the reason might be geographic.

Test Internet download and upload speeds against advertised speeds on a new website launched by the state Department of Information Services.

The department launched a new section of the Washington Broadband Mapping Program on May 21. New features include a statewide interactive map, and a speed test application to allow users to test actual Internet download and upload speeds against the speeds advertised by Internet service providers. Find the map here.

The interactive map includes 13 data layers, including population density, median household income and education level. The layers can be toggled on and off, all the way down to the census block level.

The department prepared the map to show the areas of Washington most in need of increased broadband infrastructure, adoption and training programs.

State dollars and a National Telecommunications and Information Administration grant funded the website and the mapping program.

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Issaquah Police officers will be recognized for anti-DUI effort

May 25, 2010

Issaquah Police officers will be honored June 1 for stepping up patrols to spot intoxicated drivers.

The officers — Andy Rohrbach, Ryan Raulerson, Brian Horn and Tom Griffith — will be recognized alongside other officers, deputies and troopers assigned to the enhanced DUI patrols, known as X-52 patrols.

Rohrbach coordinates the DUI patrol emphasis for the Issaquah Police Department.

The ceremony will be at 10:30 a.m. June 1 at the King County Chinook Building, 401 Fifth Ave., Seattle.

Statewide, law enforcement officers arrest more than 40,000 motorists for driving under the influence each year.

Public Health – Seattle & King County and the King County Traffic Safety Coalition organize X-52 patrols in north King County, and the South King County Target Zero Task Force organizes patrols in the southern part of the county.

King County Target Zero Task Force leaders will honor the Issaquah officers.

Money for the X-52 patrols comes from the state Traffic Safety Commission. Target Zero is a plan to eliminate traffic deaths and traffic-related serious injuries in the state by 2030. Learn more about the plan here.

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Level three sex offender moves into Newcastle neighborhood

May 25, 2010

King County Sheriff’s deputies held a meeting at Newcastle City Hall on May 20 to inform residents in the city and the surrounding school districts about a newly registered Level 3 sex offender.

Joseph Pershing Hemmert, 64, lives in the 7000 block of 122nd Avenue Southeast.

A Level 3 offender is most likely to re-offend.

Hemmert was convicted of molesting an 8-year-old at a roller skating rink in 1965 and was released in 1968. In 1970, he was convicted for luring two minor girls away from a store and molesting them at his home. He was released in 1972. In 1990, he was convicted for molesting two 7-year-old boys and a 6-year-old girl at his home. He was released in 1993.

He has been known to target children between the ages of 5 and 12 and frequents areas where children congregate.

Hemmert is 5 feet, 8 inches and weighs about 250 pounds. He has green eyes and gray hair.

The Issaquah School District sent out an e-mail notice to families in the area, because Hemmert lives just outside the district boundaries.

Immediate questions should be addressed to the King County Sheriff’s Office Offender Community Awareness Program at 206-205-7948.

For more information, or to use the sex offender search tool online, go to the sheriff’s office website.

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King County will release data for apps

May 25, 2010

In the near future, King County residents could track crime statistics, find the nearest county park and check bus schedules on their smart phones — due to a measure adopted by the King County Council last week.

The council adopted legislation May 17 requiring the county to publish data sets online. The measure sets up the possibility for people and businesses to disseminate county data to the public through the Web and smart phone apps.

The legislation requires the county to produce by Aug. 1 a list of the data sets being considered for online publication. The county should post the data online by Nov. 1. King County plans to hold a public data workshop as well. Officials will announce the date next month.

Councilman Reagan Dunn — who represents unincorporated King County south of Issaquah, Bellevue and Newcastle — sponsored the ordinance.

“Political leaders like to talk about what a smart region we live in and how we are going to harness their knowledge to improve government,” he said in a news release. “This legislation will allow developers and the media to use King County data in new and innovative ways. In the process, our citizens get access to more information and our government becomes more transparent.”

King County Executive Dow Constantine praised the measure.

“This effort will help King County expand the work we’re doing on regional open government initiatives,” he said in the release. “By collaborating with local developers to find new uses and platforms for county data, we hope to help create applications that provide richer information and better service for all county residents.”

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The Drawing Board Art Instruction honored

May 25, 2010

The Drawing Board Art Instruction recently received a 2009 All-Star Award from Constant Contact Inc., a leading provider of e-mail marketing, event marketing and online survey tools for small organizations.

The Drawing Board Art Instruction, 26850 S.E. 152nd St. in Issaquah, was selected for meeting Constant Contact’s best-practice standards for the use of Email Marketing throughout 2009.

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Washington ranks as friendliest state for bicyclists

May 25, 2010

For the third consecutive year, the League of American Bicyclists ranked Washington as the No. 1 Bicycle Friendly State.

The ranking honors a strong commitment to bicycling through policies and programs. State officials announced the award on Bike to Work Day, May 21.

“For Washington to have a 21st century transportation system, we need to give people transportation choices,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a news release. “Bicycling is an important part of this and it’s an honor to be recognized for the third year in a row for our commitment and efforts to make Washington bicycle friendly.”

The league rates states based on their support of bicycling through legislation, policies and programs, education, places to ride and planning. Washington scored consistently high in all ranking evaluation categories.

“Being recognized as a leader for three years in a row reflects the strong partnerships that have been forged over the years, as well as the smart investments that have been made at the local, regional and state level,” state Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond said in the release. “In Washington, bicycling plays an important role in our overall transportation system, giving people choices for

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Issaquah schools pass state audit for eighth straight year

May 25, 2010

For the eighth year in a row, Issaquah School District officials received recognition from the Washington State Auditor’s Office for completely adhering to state and federal regulations.

“I am extremely proud of Issaquah School District employees,” Superintendent Steve Rasmussen wrote in an e-mail. “Eight straight years of clean audits is proof of what I experience every day — my colleagues understand that while our paramount duty is to educate students, we must act as good, accountable public stewards in all of our business. When you have good people doing the right things, an audit is a welcome event.”

The Auditor’s Office released its findings May 17. The audit looked at district financial records from Sept. 1, 2008, to Aug. 31, 2009.

The audits are a routine inspection conducted by the Auditor’s Office every year for every public entity.

“The state audit provides an independent review of the district’s finances and operations,” Chief Executive of Finance and Operations Jacob Kuper wrote in an e-mail. “The audit provides a level of accountability that is essential for local and state government.”

The audit measures general accountability and looks at the district’s protection and safeguarding of public resources.

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