PSE plans minor increases to gas and electric rates

September 14, 2010

Puget Sound Energy intends to make small increases to electric and natural gas rates Oct. 1 in order to adjust for costs of the utility’s low-income assistance program.

The utility made a request late last month to the state Utilities and Transportation Commission to approve the increases.

The request filed Aug. 31 aims to increase electric rates by an overall average of 0.004 percent — or 4/1000th of 1 percent — and natural gas rates by 0.03 percent — or 3/100th of 1 percent. The commission is expected to review the proposal Sept. 30.

The adjustment reflects the differences between the costs and the revenues collected during the past year to fund the Home Energy Lifeline Program, or HELP, and a small increase in total funding.

If the state approves the increases, a typical monthly electricity bill — based on 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity — is projected to increase by 4 cents per month, bringing the total monthly average electric bill to $99.68.

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Mayor moves closer to hiring city administrator

September 14, 2010

The field in the search for a city administrator has narrowed, though officials plan to remain tight-lipped about the choice until he accepts the offer.

City staffers, residents and community leaders met and scrutinized the five finalists last week, then offered recommendations to Mayor Ava Frisinger. The administrator serves as the No. 2 official in municipal government.

The finalists included Thurston County Manager Donald Krupp, San Juan County Administrator Pete Rose, Yakima Assistant City Manager David Zabell, Lake Forest Park City Administrator David Cline and Robert Harrison, the city manager in Wyoming, Ohio.

“Any one of these folks have the skills, talents and abilities to do the job,” Bellevue headhunter Greg Prothman said.

The city hired Prothman in late spring after longtime City Administrator Leon Kos retired. The recruiter sent letters to between 800 and 900 municipal officials — or, as Prothman said, every city administrator or manager in comparable-sized cities in the 11 Western states. Prothman also advertised the position online.

Prothman and Frisinger culled the stack of 50 applications to the finalists.

The men gathered at Tibbetts Creek Manor on Sept. 7 to meet city residents and officials, and to answer impromptu questions from Prothman. Frisinger released the names of the finalists the previous day, after a summerlong search.

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Longtime food bank director departs

September 14, 2010

Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank leaders launched a search for a director in early September, after the sudden departure of the longtime manager last month.

Executive Director Cherie Meier left the downtown Issaquah food bank at the end of August. Chairman John Williams said he could not discuss the circumstances surrounding the situation.

Meier could not be reached for comment.

The search — spearheaded by Williams and other members of the food bank board of directors — started before demand for food bank services increases amid the hectic holiday season. Williams said the board intends to advertise the post and interview applicants as soon as possible. The board intends to appoint the next director in October before the holidays strain the food pantry.

In the meantime, clients could notice longer lines at the food bank, as paid staffers and volunteers fill the gap left by the departure.

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Issaquah traffic snarled after truck overturns at Highlands Drive exit

September 14, 2010

A truck that overturned with a load of steel beams on the Highlands Drive exit of Interstate 90 lies on its side as incident crews, firefighters and police work the scene. By Washington State Patrol

Traffic was snarled in Issaquah for hours after a flatbed tractor-trailer carrying a load of I-beams overturned on Highlands Drive Northeast at Interstate 90’s Exit 18, scattering I-beams across the overpass.

The accident occurred at 5:07 p.m. Sept. 7 in the middle of the afternoon commute.

Police and fire agencies closed the interstate for 40 minutes at Exit 18, causing traffic heading east to back up for about seven miles, to near Exit 11. Read more

Golf tournament returns to Salmon Days sporting weekend

September 14, 2010

You can search for hidden treasure or your golf ball. The Salmon Days Sporting Weekend has a little something for everyone.

The annual event takes place Sept. 25-26.

Geoteaming and orienteering kick off the weekend Sept. 25. In the interactive and high-tech scavenger hunt, participants use GPS units to navigate to hidden treasures in and around Issaquah. Each found cache earns a team valuable points toward its final score. All equipment is provided along with a lunch catered by Rogue’s Issaquah Brewhouse.

Location of the geoteaming event is at Issaquah Highlands, on 10th Avenue Northeast between Northeast Park Drive and Northeast High Street. There are three sessions. Session one runs from 9:30-11:30 a.m. with teams signing in at 8:30 a.m. Session two runs from noon – 2 p.m. with sign-ins at 11 a.m. Session three runs from 2:30-4:30 p.m. with sign-ins at 1:30 p.m. All ages are welcome.

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Compassion House needs a hand

September 14, 2010

Compassion House’s newest downtown duplex is in need of some compassion itself.

Compassion House, a nonprofit provider of transitional housing for homeless families, has created a list of household items that could help turn the new duplex into a home.

The list includes a 72-inch sofa, two end tables, a 60-inch desk, desk chair and lamp, a 48-inch TV table with shelves, a DVD player, two stuffed chairs, a computer and printer, a coat rack, area rugs, art work, a 48-inch desk and chair, a 36-by-72-inch bookshelf, a 21-by-68-inch dresser and a desk lamp.

The duplex, at 260 S.E. Andrews St., will provide housing for two homeless families. Compassion House volunteers work with the families to help them become self-sufficient.

E-mail Rick McCarty at rick@compassion-house.org to donate or learn more.

Press Editorial

September 14, 2010

No Child Left Behind needs rewriting

Another year has come and gone and test results related to No Child Left Behind have been released. Seven schools in the Issaquah School District are now considered “failing” — Issaquah Valley Elementary, Grand Ridge Elementary, Briarwood Elementary, Beaver Lake Middle, Issaquah Middle, Issaquah High and Liberty High. But before you consider moving your child to a different school, or your family to a new district, consider this.

The distinction is virtually meaningless. Read more

Troopers arrest wrong-way driver near Issaquah

September 14, 2010

Troopers arrested a Federal Way man near Issaquah early Sept. 12 for driving under the influence after other drivers said he drove the wrong way on Interstate 90.

The initial 911 call to the Washington State Patrol occurred at 1:53 a.m. Sept. 12; 11 callers updated dispatchers about the location of the vehicle as the driver headed west in the eastbound lanes.

Troopers stopped the 40-year-old driver near Exit 20, the High Point exit just east of Issaquah. Troopers apprehended the driver without incident and determined him to be under the influence of alcohol.

The driver — identified by troopers as Totta T. Leota — was booked into the King County Jail on DUI charges.

Amnesty period for unlicensed pets ends soon

September 14, 2010

Residents in Issaquah and 26 other cities, plus unincorporated King County, have less than 20 days before the amnesty period on unlicensed pets expires.

The countywide no-tolerance policy for unlicensed pets goes into effect Oct. 2. Outlaw owners face $125 fines for unlicensed spayed or neutered pets, and up to $250 for unaltered animals. Read more

Bear struck and killed by vehicle

September 14, 2010

Issaquah police responded to a report of a dead bear along Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast early Sept. 10.

Police received a report at 6:35 a.m. Sept. 10 about a possible dead bear in a driveway along the west side of 10000 block of Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast. The bear had been hit and killed by a vehicle.

The department contacted the state Department of Fish and Wildlife about the carcass.

The county Road Services Division and the police department did not receive any calls about the carcass as a traffic hazard.

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