Picnic kicks off effort to plan parks

August 31, 2010

Like a scene from a spring L.L.Bean catalog, a doe and a pair of fawns peeked from the trees along the creek bank in the fading light.

The deer moseyed from the brush along Issaquah Creek just as the Aug. 26 meeting to plan the future of Tollë Anderson, Cybil-Madeline and Issaquah Creek parks came to a close. The picnic hosted about 130 residents, city staffers and community leaders to start a monthslong process to plan the 15.5-acre downtown parks.

But as the meeting ended, the remaining attendees forgot ideas for trails, a playground and, maybe, a history museum, and all attention instead focused on the deer.

“They were supposed to be here an hour ago,” landscape architect Guy Michaelsen cracked.

The architect and the team from The Berger Partnership jotted dozens of ideas for activities and facilities onto giant sheets of paper. The early favorite: restrooms.

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King County picks plan to keep landfill open for another decade

August 31, 2010

Cedar Hills Regional Landfill could remain open until the mid-2020s under a proposed plan, even as other factors — such as increased recycling and a feeble economy — stretch the number of years the landfill could operate.

The proposal to increase capacity at the giant landfill has inched ahead, after King County Solid Waste Division leaders spent 16 months addressing concerns about the project as part of a required environmental analysis.

Nearby homeowners raised concerns about odors, noise, storm water runoff, ground water contamination and traffic, plus potential impacts on flora and fauna.

Solid Waste Division leaders released the detailed analysis, or environmental impact statement, of the expansion proposals in late July.

The landfill encompasses 920 acres in unincorporated King County between Issaquah and Maple Valley.

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Zoo offers chance for photos with cheetah

August 31, 2010

Cougar Mountain Zoo has raised all but about $100,000 needed for the Issaquah institution to open a cheetah exhibit, possibly as early as next year.

The zoo has planned a posh Cheetah Masquerade Gala for Sept. 18 to help meet the fundraising goal. Zoo General Curator Robyn Barfoot announced a special treat for attendees at the gala: the chance to have their photo taken next to a cheetah.

Only a lucky handful can get up close to the cheetah — a 4-year-old female named Taini from Wildlife Safari in Winston, Ore. — by bidding for three photo opportunities up for grabs in a silent auction.

Wildlife Safari, a drive-through preserve about 90 minutes south of Eugene, is the only facility in the Pacific Northwest to exhibit cheetahs.

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More chinook reach Issaquah Salmon Hatchery

August 31, 2010

Chinook salmon started to trickle into the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery last week, about a month after the first salmon reached Issaquah Creek.

The latest arrivals appeared at the hatchery a year to the day after the first chinook returned in 2009.

“This is really more on target with our normal first arrival,” Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery Executive Director Gestin Suttle said Aug. 26, the day after the chinook arrived.

The fish had reached the hatchery weir by Aug. 25. Suttle said hatchery workers and FISH volunteers had not yet been able to determine the gender of the four chinook.

The hatchery expects more chinook in the weeks ahead, as the salmon return to Issaquah Creek to spawn. FISH docents start leading hatchery tours in mid-September.

The mid-July arrival of the first chinook — the earliest in recent memory — surprised hatchery workers and FISH volunteers.

The hatchery recorded the arrival of the first chinook — a 25-pound hen, or female — in Issaquah Creek last year on Aug. 25.

New May Creek Bridge opens to vehicles

August 31, 2010

May Creek Bridge near the intersection of Southeast May Valley Road and state Route 900 has reopened to traffic after a summerlong closure.

King County crews built a $1.7 million May Creek Bridge to replace a timber-supported span across the north fork of May Creek. The larger, safer bridge opened Aug. 27 — ahead of the Aug. 31 completion deadline.

Teams from Kirkland-based MidMountain Contractors dismantled the aging bridge and built a modern replacement designed to include wider lanes and shoulders, and bear heavier loads.

The old bridge closed June 21. The timing coincided with summer break in the Issaquah School District. Students returned to school Aug. 31.

Linda Thielke, Road Services Division spokeswoman, said the county received few comments from drivers during the shutdown and construction — aside from the usual questions about why the bridge had to remain closed for several weeks.

King County Road Services Division planners picked a full shutdown because the option allowed for the fastest construction of the replacement.

The old bridge constricted traffic at the nearby intersection of state Route 900 and Southeast May Valley Road.

Planners started outreach for the project years ago. The county hosted open houses and, before the June shutdown, sent 8,000 mailers with construction information to nearby residents.

Local ‘Judge Judy’ rebuked in Time magazine piece

August 31, 2010

Judge Judith Eiler — the tough-talking King County District Court judge — has been reproached in a blistering piece in Time magazine.

Adam Cohen — a lawyer, former Time scribe and past editorial board member at The New York Times — took Eiler to task for her brusque behavior on the bench in a piece posted to the magazine’s website Aug. 18. Read the piece here.

The state Supreme Court rebuked Eiler in early August. Justices ordered Eiler to be suspended from the bench for five days without pay.

Eiler used to preside at the Issaquah Courthouse, but has since been reassigned to a district courthouse in Seattle. The court handles traffic infractions, small claims and some civil matters.

Cohen applauded the Supreme Court decision, but pushed for justices to do more. He also made inevitable comparisons between Eiler and a certain former New York City Family Court judge.

“It is hard to believe TV’s Judge Judy was not a strong influence on Seattle’s Judge Judy,” he continued. “TV’s Judge Judy yells at litigants and belittles them, and her specialty is finding innovative new ways of calling people stupid.”

Press Editorial

August 31, 2010

Ambulance fees worth considering

Yes, the economy has not turned around, but sometimes government cannot simply slice and dice its way to a balanced budget. All ideas are on the table for increasing revenue — including an Eastside Fire & Rescue fee for ambulance rides.

The city of Sammamish has asked EFR to present a budget with no increase in spending from last year. While unrealistic, it’s an interesting exercise, and has produced some interesting ideas. Charging for ambulance rides is one worth examining. Read more

Criminals target Overdale Park mailboxes

August 31, 2010

Vandals damaged several mailboxes in the Overdale Park neighborhood overnight last week. Police said the culprits forced the locks open and scattered mail on the ground.

The incident occurred before 6:53 a.m. Aug. 25 — the time a homeowner alerted police to the vandalism. The officer discovered the lower doors of the secured boxes hanging open. Residents reported mail scattered on the ground throughout the neighborhood. Police encouraged residents to contact the Issaquah Police Department individually if vandals targeted their mailbox.

Police did not know the estimated cost of the damage.

Find information about replacement locks on the Overdale Park Homeowners Association website, www.overdalepark.com.

To The Editor

August 31, 2010

Guns

No ban is effective without enforcement

The lead story Aug. 18 reported that people are allowed to carry guns into state parks if they have a permit, but that it is illegal to fire them. How ironic is that?

They should not be allowed in, period. But the bottom line is that without enforcement, no gun or booze ban can be effective. Enforcement requires manpower and severe penalties for violation.

Ray Extract

Issaquah Read more

Off The Press

August 31, 2010

Against the assault on freedom No. 1

Greg Farrar Press photographer

Why should this writer feel it important to share thoughts about the proposed mosque and community center project 3,000 miles away from Issaquah, in New York City near the site of the World Trade Center terrorist attack? Isn’t that a little bit outside our scope?

I don’t think so, and to name a few reasons, here’s why:

• An Eastlake High School girls’ basketball player wearing a headscarf in 2007.

• Chabad of the Central Cascades, located in the Issaquah Highlands.

• The Vedic Cultural Center on 228th Avenue Southeast in Sammamish.

• Issaquah’s sister city relationship with Chefchaouen, Morocco.

• The local Christian churches of many denominations, including Serbian Orthodox.

• A local Baha’i faith group having meetings in members’ homes.

• The Sammamish Muslims Association proposal for an Islamic Center of Sammamish and Issaquah near Pine Lake. Read more

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