Water district offers solution for Overdale Park

December 14, 2010

Questions about a future water supply for the Overdale Park neighborhood could be answered soon.

Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District leaders took the initial step Dec. 6 to annex the North Issaquah neighborhood into the regional water system.

Concerns about contaminated drinking water and inadequate fire protection prompted Overdale residents to petition the district for annexation.

The annexation proposal heads to the King County Boundary Review Board and the King County Council. The boards must approve the annexation.

The district serves about 16,300 water customers and 10,100 sewer customers in parts of Issaquah, Sammamish and unincorporated King County. The district surrounds Overdale on all sides. Read more

City Council opens highlands land to Bellevue College development

December 14, 2010

Park Pointe transfer of development rights

Bellevue College could construct a campus in the Issaquah Highlands and dozens of homes could be built nearby in the coming years due to a series of agreements the City Council approved Dec. 6.

The council directed city staffers to facilitate the sale of three parcels on 35 acres owned by highlands developer Port Blakely Communities. Revenue from the sales is then to be used to purchase Park Pointe — 102 forested acres on Tiger Mountain near Issaquah High School.

If the complicated process – called a transfer of development rights — succeeds, the 102 acres and another 43 rural acres near the highlands should be preserved. In addition, the 35 acres under consideration could be developed.

The council selected Bellevue College and local homebuilders to develop the three highlands parcels.

Bellevue College Trustee Vicki Orrico said the process could take more than 20 years for the campus to be completed — if college administrators decide to buy the land in the highlands and construct a campus.

“We’re a community college,” she said. “Just what the name implies, we’re a college of the community, and that’s our intention in coming here. We plan to do a great deal of learning and listening to you about what you want.”

Bellevue College announced interest in a highlands site in August. The college is in the midst of a traffic study to gauge the impact of a potential campus in the neighborhood.

In October, the city started to solicit proposals from potential buyers for the parcels.

The sales should generate enough dollars to purchase Park Pointe. The city also aimed to select buyers based on a willingness to providing a “community benefit” — such as affordable housing or public spaces — as part of developing the parcels.

Read more

Issaquah lawmakers oppose state cuts

December 14, 2010

Glenn Anderson

State legislators barreled through a series of budget cuts during a one-day special session to address a $1.1 billion budget shortfall.

The measures passed Dec. 11 attracted opposition from Issaquah-area legislators for different reasons. State Rep. Glenn Anderson called the cuts insufficient. State Sen. Steve Litzow opposed the deep reductions to education.

The reductions trim funding for K-12 education and higher education, the state Department of Corrections and social service programs, including the Basic Health Plan — a subsidized insurance program for the poor.

The cuts — and additional reductions ordered by Gov. Chris Gregoire — should reduce the $1.1 billion shortfall by about $700 million. Anderson described the cuts as inadequate to address long-term budget deficits. Read more

State cuts $1 million from Issaquah district

December 14, 2010

The state Legislature cut $1 million from the Issaquah School District’s 2010-11 funding during a one-day special session Dec. 11.

District administrators will have to dip into reserves to maintain the staffing ratios and operating budget authorized in August, Superintendent Steve Rasmussen said. Using reserve funds now will impact future projects, including curriculum adoptions and may decrease noncontractual service levels.

“It is absolutely unprecedented and highly challenging to have the Legislature cut our funding mid-school year,” Rasmussen said.

Issaquah’s Chief of Finance and Operations Jacob Kuper said, “It’s like the Issaquah School District has just been handed a million dollars of debt.” Read more

Teens can apply to serve as Senate pages in Olympia

December 14, 2010

Teenagers can apply to serve as pages for state senators at the Capitol in Olympia.

State Sens. Cheryl Pflug and Steve Litzow reminded students ages 14 to 16 in Issaquah and other 5th and 41st legislative district communities to apply for the upcoming legislative session from mid-January through late April. Pflug urged interested students to apply for the page program as soon as possible, because the number of pages is limited.

Senators sponsor students serving as Senate pages. The teenagers spend a week in Olympia as paid employees. Pages deliver messages, hand out documents on the Senate floor and run other errands. Participants also attend Page School during the workday to learn about civics and government.

“Senate pages get a weeklong, hands-on crash course in how government works,” Pflug said. “In addition to lots of new friends, they get a one-of-a-kind civics lesson that is not only a great education — it can be a life-changing experience. Many of the people who now work in state government got their first taste of the Legislature as a page.”

Ellen DeGeneres features local company in holiday giveaway

December 14, 2010

The holiday season is a little bit merrier for the team at Springfree Trampoline.

Comedienne Ellen DeGeneres featured the Issaquah-based company Dec. 10 on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” during a lavish holiday giveaway.

“This will have you jumping for joy — literally,” DeGeneres said as she announced the gift to a screaming studio audience.

Guests also received a gift card to download the entire Beatles catalog on iTunes, a Nintendo Wii and more. But the trampoline caught the host’s attention. The trampoline, as the name implies, includes no springs or hard objects at the jumping surface.

“I am so excited,” DeGeneres continued. “That is the coolest thing. That is such good exercise and it is so much fun. I haven’t done that since I was a kid.”

Steven Bennett is promoted to regional leader

December 14, 2010

Steven Bennett, of the financial services firm Edward Jones, recently received a promotion to the position of regional leader for the Greater Issaquah/South King County region. Bennett will now be responsible for the firm’s branch offices in this region while continuing to help the people of his community with their investment needs from his own Edward Jones office in Issaquah.

Edward Jones provides financial services for individual investors in the United States and, through its affiliate, in Canada. Every aspect of the firm’s business, from the types of investment options offered to the location of branch offices, is designed to cater to individual investors in the communities in which they live and work.

Edward Jones, which ranked No. 2 on Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2010, is headquartered in St. Louis.

Issaquah residents defied trends in November election

December 14, 2010

The ballot measure to create a state income tax failed just about everywhere outside of left-leaning Seattle and Vashon Island — except for a precinct nestled along Lake Sammamish.

Initiative 1098 received ironclad support — 80 percent — in the precinct. The catch: King County records indicate the precinct has 11 registered voters; 10 participated in the Nov. 2 election.

The information about the Lake Sammamish precinct comes from a detailed analysis of the precinct results in the recent election. (Issaquah is carved into 30 precincts.)

The neighborhood-level data — released a month after the election — illustrates how the Issaquah electorate bucked state trends on some issues and rejected incumbents even as the candidates cruised to re-election.

The dueling liquor initiatives on the ballot, 1100 and 1105, received uneven support from Issaquah voters.

Initiative 1100, a liquor privatization measure backed by Issaquah-based Costco — the largest employer in the city — received broad backing in the city even as the measure came up short statewide.

Initiative 1105 failed in every Issaquah precinct and only managed to garner 35 percent of the vote statewide.

Read more

Off the Press

December 14, 2010

Good idea: live and let (local wildlife) live

Kathleen R. Merrill Press managing editor

Well, it’s been a month since some idiot shot a bear cub in the Issaquah Highlands and left him for dead. Charges haven’t yet been filed, but I am waiting for when they are.

And surely they will be. Because I would hate to think it’s legal to shoot a young bear cub and leave it moaning in pain, trapped in frigid water overnight because the bullet lodged itself in the bear’s spine, leaving it paralyzed. (The bear had to be put to sleep the next day because of his condition.)

And as if that weren’t bad enough, this moron shot a bear and left it wounded in a residential neighborhood. What if Mr. Bear wasn’t paralyzed, but just wounded and angry and then went on a rampage, hurting or killing someone? Then would charges be filed more quickly?

What if the shooter had missed the bear and hit someone’s child or grandparent or family pet?

I had a number of e-mails and phone calls from residents who were angry about the shooting. Several people said they had been enjoying bear sightings all summer — with many of them being a mother and two cubs.

“I hope this wasn’t one of my bears,” one woman told me. “I watched this one cub off and on for weeks. Sure, it was a pain to keep my garbage in the garage until garbage day, but I loved watching that bear climbing up tree trunks and hiking through the neighborhood.

Read more

To the Editor

December 14, 2010

Rules of the road

Drivers need to learn to stop in both icy and normal conditions

How many have watched a driver lock up his or her wheels and skid to or through a stop light/sign, when there is snow or ice on the roadway? These stopping skids can be greatly reduced by “kicking” the transmission into neutral, as they approach a stop. That takes the engine driving effect out of the braking process and allows all of the braking to be applied to the braking wheels. Read more

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