City, Rowley Properties agree to redevelop almost 90 acres

April 13, 2010

The long-planned effort to redevelop a swath near state Route 900 and Interstate 90 inched ahead last week, when the City Council inked a pact with a longtime Issaquah developer.

The council approved a development agreement with Rowley Properties in a unanimous decision. The legislation approved April 5 calls for the pact to be completed within a year.

The agreement enables the city and the developer to re-envision Hyla Crossing — about 62 acres arranged in a rough triangle and wedged between the interstate and the base of Cougar Mountain — and Rowley Center — about 26 acres bordered by Northwest Maple Street, 12th Avenue Northwest, Northwest Gilman Boulevard and state Route 900.

Planners could spend up to $750,000 to complete the development agreement. The total includes money for community outreach. Rowley Properties will reimburse the city for the time city staff devotes to the project, and for consultant fees.

The development agreement could result in a plan for taller buildings, residences and better mass transit on land now occupied by low-slung offices, automotive services and acres of self-storage units.

Read more

Put some work into a home office makeover

April 13, 2010

When homeowners put a personal touch on each room of the house, designers caution not to forget one of the more important rooms — the home office.

Whether used for a home business, managing personal finances or just having a place to help children with their homework, more and more homeowners are setting aside a space for a desk, computer, cabinet and other office supplies.

Local experts weigh in on what to keep in mind when giving a room in your house a makeover into the ideal home office.

Kathy O’Neill’s home office, converted from part of the garage, features attractive window treatments, a functional shelf of wood file boxes, and her relaxing view of the backyard. By Greg Farrar

Location, location, location

Kathy O’Neill, owner of Kathy Jones Design, said the first key is placement.

“The biggest thing to keep in mind is to keep your home office away from the kitchen and other high traffic areas,” she said, “so mentally, you can leave the daily home life, even if you’re not leaving the building.”

O’Neill heeded her own advice when she designed her own home office — she walled off a section of her three-car garage, built a new exterior window and moved everything into that room.

If the budget is tight, she recommends converting an underutilized space, such as a formal living room or a dining room. She’s also seen guest rooms pull double duty as a home office. Daybeds are used, well, by day and a trundle pulled out for overnight guests.

One of the biggest mistakes many homeowners make, O’Neill said, is sharing a home office space with a bedroom.

“Mentally, you can never truly leave work,” she said. Read more

Church revitalizes its orchard, builds P-Patch

April 13, 2010

Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Factoria — which has numerous members from Issaquah — has an orchard on its property that has lain dormant for more than 10 years.

However, in March, a team from the church joined with the organization City Fruit, which works to help grow fruit in urban areas, to start the process of bringing it back to life. The church also converted part of its back lawn into a P-Patch.

P-Patches are community gardens divided into smaller, private portions. The church’s P-Patch is about 3,000 square feet; individuals can purchase 100 square feet of space for $50 per year and 200 square feet for $75 per year. These fees cover the church’s watering costs.

The church will also offer scholarships for individuals who wish to have space but who cannot afford it.

The orchard has more than 30 trees that grow different kinds of apples, as well as pears and plums, and church officials said they plan to donate the fruit grown on the trees to local food banks. Read more

Here’s some easy tips to enliven your home for spring

April 13, 2010

There is nothing more exciting than that first warm day of spring when everyone feels enlivened and refreshed.

It’s time to bring the renewed energy inside and give your home the boost it needs after a long and tired winter.

Once you’ve set aside time to spruce up your home, make sure you have resourceful products at your disposal, like baking soda. One box has countless uses for effective, safe and economical cleaning and deodorizing all around your home.

“Using natural ingredients found in your kitchen allows you to turn your home into a clean and fresh living area,” says lifestyle expert Jill Cordes. “And be creative. Baking soda works on everything from deodorizing carpets and cleaning patio furniture, to polishing jewelry and putting the shine back into your bathroom floor. And even better yet, it is affordable, at about a dollar a box.”

Try the following tips from Cordes to have your entire home looking and smelling clean this year:

Start in the kitchen

  • Grab the baking soda and sprinkle some onto a clean, damp sponge or cloth to wipe down stainless steel surfaces, like the kitchen sink, without scratching. Rinse thoroughly.
  • If you wrinkle your nose in disgust every time you open the door to your microwave, it’s definitely time to deodorize. Baking soda on a damp sponge not only helps clean dried-on food, but also keeps odors at bay. Leave a box of baking soda in the microwave when it’s not in use for continued freshness. Read more

Homebuyer credit deadline approaching

April 13, 2010

The deadline to apply for the First-Time Homebuyer Credit is quickly approaching.

The Internal Revenue Service reminds potential homebuyers to qualify for the credit, they must have a binding contract to purchase a home by April 30 and must close on that home by June 30.

The First-Time Homebuyer Credit provides up to $8,000 for taxpayers buying a new home, if it is their first home or if they have not owned a home in the three years before the date of purchase.

Legislation in 2009 expanded the credit to include longtime residents who purchase a new main home after Nov. 6, 2009. To qualify for this version of the credit, a maximum of $6,500, eligible taxpayers must show that they owned and lived in their old home for a five-consecutive-year period during the eight-year period ending on the purchase date of the new home. Read more

Open a window to federal remodeling tax credits

April 13, 2010

As warm weather approaches and the tax credit for energy-efficient replacement windows is in full swing, now is the perfect time to consider upgrading your home with new windows to help save on cooling costs in hot summer months, and to also save on heating costs when winter rolls around again.

The tax credit for energy-efficient replacement windows and doors, originally introduced in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is set to expire at the end of 2010, which makes this year the best time for homeowners to replace their windows and upgrade the look and feel of their home.

Here are some tips and guidelines to help homeowners make the most of the energy-efficient replacement window tax credit:

How do I qualify for the tax credit?

The federal government established strict standards for windows to qualify for the tax credit. Replacement windows must have a glass package with a U-Factor rating — the rate at which heat is prevented from escaping — of 0.30 or lower. Qualifying windows must also possess a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient rating of 0.30 or lower. The lower the window’s Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, the less solar heat it transmits.

A common indicator of a window’s energy efficiency is the Energy Star label, which as of this year includes more stringent guidelines. Homeowners who purchase windows with the Energy Star label should still check with their contractor to ensure the windows they purchase meet the tax credit guidelines because the tax credit qualifications may vary from Energy Star guidelines in certain locations. Read more

Trade in old appliances for more energy-efficient models

April 13, 2010

Many homeowners may not realize their appliances are a big energy drain — and a drain on their wallet. Cash for Appliances Washington, now available throughout the Evergreen State, offers consumers extra cash back to help them make the switch to a new energy-efficient refrigerator or clothes washer.

Refrigerators manufactured before 1993 cost about $80 to run on average each year, compared to current Energy Star-qualified models that cost as little as $30 annually. Clothes washers that are more than 10 years old add an extra $135 per year in utility costs compared to a new Energy Star-qualified model. In addition to obtaining extra cash back after purchase, participants will save money month after month on their utility bills.

Cash for Appliances Washington rebates are only available until funds run out. The program offers $100 cash back on new, qualified Energy Star clothes washers and $75 on new Energy Star refrigerators when the old unit is recycled. These cash-back incentives are in addition to the incentives offered through Washington utilities for purchasing new and recycling old appliances.

“Washington has an objective to improve statewide per capita energy efficiency by 10 percent by 2012, towards a goal of 20 percent by 2020,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a news release. “We stimulate the appliance marketplace by offering consumers a good reason to purchase a new appliance. We reduce water and energy consumption which helps preserve the environment of our state, and consumers reduce their long-term energy bills.” Read more

Good songs, good times at Mostly Americana

April 13, 2010

Yearning for a little apple pie, big band and crooning quartets?

The Fourth of July may be far off but you can have it all by attending Issaquah High School’s fifth annual Mostly Americana chorale concert to honors veterans at 7 p.m. April 17 at the Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus.

With more than 350 performers from local schools and Breath of Aire, a regional Northwest community choir, singing patriotic songs, swing, show tunes, gospel, barbershop, spiritual and rock songs, the event promises to be an evening of fun.

In addition to allowing students to practice with professionals, proceeds from the event go to help the schools pay for travel expenses for the many shows their chorale groups are invited to across the country.

But it isn’t just the songs and fundraising that stirs up emotions; it’s whom the songs are for, said Barbara Irish, the school’s chorale director. Read more

Monologue offers ‘View from the Tent’

April 13, 2010

Before Tent City 4 departs from Issaquah, supporters of the homeless camp will pull back the flap and offer a perspective from inside the tent.

“View from the Tent” — a dramatic monologue based on letters from a homeless man — will anchor a benefit April 17 for the homeless encampment. Tent City 4 residents will answer questions from the audience after the performance.

Author M. Barrett Miller compiled letters from a homeless man, identified as Atreus, into a self-published book, “View from the Tent: Thoughts from a Homeless Man.” Dan Niven, a Seattle actor and musician, chanced upon the book as he browsed the shop at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle last year.

Miller co-founded a Seattle nonprofit organization, Let Kids Be Kids, dedicated to helping children participate in efforts to aid the homeless and people afflicted with HIV/AIDS. The experience led Miller to homeless camps throughout Seattle.

Once, Atreus handed Miller a letter. The notes continued on subsequent visits. The writer documented the people he met, and their stories, too.

“Overall, the stories are very hopeful. They’re very courageous,” Miller said.

The idea for a performance based on the experiences of a homeless man in Seattle germinated at a Starbucks. The coffee giant serves as the setting for a key scene in the book, as Atreus writes in a letter later used in the tome. Read more

Providence Marianwood celebrates Mother Joseph Day with living history

April 13, 2010

Actress Joan Pinkerton Tucker, of Moses Lake, will portray Mother Joseph of the Sisters of Providence April 16 at Providence Marianwood in celebration of Providence Marianwood.

The Rev. Johann Neethling, Providence Marianwood director of pastoral care, said Tucker’s living-history performance is highly anticipated for the annual celebration.

“We’re very excited she’s coming back,” Neethling said, adding Tucker last appeared at the facility in 1988, before Providence Marianwood had taken over operations. “We have some residents from other Providence ministries who have seen her and have been very impressed.”

Tucker, who dresses as Mother Joseph did when she worked in the Washington Territory, will present her free, living history monologue “Beggar/Builder: The History of Mother Joseph from 2-2:45 p.m., in the activity room, 3725 Providence Point Drive S.E. Read more

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