Cascade Water Alliance receives eco honor

May 11, 2010

Environmentalists honored Cascade Water Alliance, Puget Sound Energy and local government agencies last week for efforts to preserve a rail corridor through the Eastside.

Cascade Land Conservancy honored the water alliance as a 2010 Cascade Agenda Leadership Award winner. The group shares the award with Redmond, King County, Sound Transit, the Port of Seattle, Puget Sound Energy, and Sound Transit.

Issaquah City Council President John Traeger serves as a member of the water alliance board of directors.

The award celebrates the role of community leaders in linking great communities, a healthy environment and a strong economy. Cascade Land Conservancy recognized the recipients for their effort to purchase the former BNSF Railway corridor for future public use. The line stretches from Snohomish to Renton.

“This was an easy decision for us,” Cascade Land Conservancy CEO Chuck Clarke said in a news release. “It just made sense for us to join with the other public agencies interested in future use of the corridor. Each of us had a good reason to invest our public funds in the corridor, and in the end, the public wins too by keeping the corridor intact.”

Cascade Land Conservancy — the largest land conservation and stewardship organization in the state — announced the award at a May 6 breakfast.

Besides Issaquah, the nonprofit water alliance includes Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Tukwila, the Sammamish Plateau and Skyway water and sewer districts, and the Covington Water District.

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Public Meetings

May 11, 2010

May 17

  • City Council regular meeting
  • Agenda: Vacation of 229th Avenue Southeast public hearing
  • 7:30 p.m.
  • Council Chambers, City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way

May 18

  • Joint meeting of the City Council and Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District
  • 6:30 p.m.
  • Eagle Room, City Hall
  • 130 E. Sunset Way
  • River & Streams Board
  • 7 p.m.
  • Pickering Room, City Hall Northwest, 1775 12th Ave. N.W.

May 19

  • Council Services & Safety Committee
  • 5 p.m.
  • Eagle Room, City Hall
  • 130 E. Sunset Way
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Keep state roads clean by ‘adopting’ a highway

May 11, 2010

State Department of Transportation officials encourage residents to keep highways litter-free through the Adopt-a-Highway program.

The department seeks businesses, club, organizations, schools, religious groups and families to “adopt” and clean up sections of roadway.

Areas assigned to volunteers usually consist of two miles of roadside. Officials assign the sections on a first-come, first-served basis, and the state Department of Transportation maintains a waiting list for popular areas. About six to eight weeks after volunteers sign the adoption agreement, the department installs a highway sign in the area to recognize the group.

Groups agree to clean up the highway section four times per year. The department supplies litterbags and safety materials for volunteers.

The adoption process differs for businesses. Businesses agree for a contractor to clean the area six times per year. The area can be a roadside, median or highway interchange.

Officials said the program saves taxpayer dollars because volunteers pick up litter instead of a paid work crew.

Learn more about the program here.

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Annexation could change amount city pays to EFR

May 11, 2010

When Sammamish officials decided to let the Aldarra and Montaine neighborhoods join the city, they created a revenue problem for the Fall City Fire Department.

Those neighborhoods are served by the Fall City department. After coming into Sammamish, they would normally be served by Eastside Fire & Rescue.

As a result, Fall City Fire, officially called King County Fire District 27, would lose out on an estimated $125,081 in 2010 property tax revenue when the neighborhoods join Sammamish.

Now, Ben Yazici, Sammamish city manager, is trying to negotiate a temporary fix, which would save the district all but about $6,000 of that money.

Sammamish would pay Fall City Fire to be the first responder to calls from the Aldarra and Montaine neighborhoods through 2012.

In that scenario, Aldarra and Montaine would be the only two neighborhoods in Sammamish that would receive a lower level of service. Fall City uses two-person companies, while EFR uses three-person companies on a fire engine responding to basic emergency medical calls and basic fire investigations.

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Seattle Storm hoopsters dish an assist at Habitat project

May 11, 2010

In an effort to draw attention to the housing challenges facing low-income families, Habitat for Humanity has teamed up with WNBA team Seattle Storm to build a home in Issaquah.

As a part of the WNBA Cares week, officially scheduled for the week of May 9-15, the Storm is helping with East King County’s Habitat for Humanity.

Twelve franchises across the league are participating in the WNBA Cares week, Storm CEO Karen Bryant said.

“Our organization really prides itself on being authentic in our dedication to the community,” she said.

Getting a jump-start on the league-scheduled volunteer program, the Storm made an appearance last week at the Issaquah Highlands as a part of East King County Habitat for Humanity’s third annual Women Build.

“It’s a volunteer event for women from the community to come out and build with Habitat, to learn a new skill and to work alongside the future homeowner,” said Jodi Marmion, special events/communication officer for East King County Habitat for Humanity.

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Math education goes old school with abacus lessons

May 11, 2010

Hena Matthias, a sixth-grader at Rachel Carson Elementary School, was reluctant to sign up for a special math tutor outside of school in February. She was pretty good at math in general, but wanted to boost her confidence for schoolwork.

Since she started attending an abacus-based math class for an hour a week in Sammamish, Hena said she has noticed a change in her basic abilities.

“When you’re asked to do little problems in your head, you can do it much faster,” she said.

Abacus West is a new math tutoring program based in Sammamish that addresses a rising trend in using the ancient abacus more prevalently in mathematics education. Abacus West, aimed at teaching children ages 5-12, is the first program of its kind in Washington, said founder Vinaya Kulkarni, a Sammamish resident. There is one in Vancouver, British Columbia, the IKOMA Soroban School.

“Parents see a new confidence in their kids they’ve never seen before,” Kulkarni said.

The abacus certainly is not going to edge out the calculator in math class. But the idea is that using an abacus improves students’ concentration and focus and enables them to perform mental math at a higher level. After learning how to use an abacus, they can then visualize it while figuring out problems in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

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Walk, run, spring into summer with a women’s night on the town

May 11, 2010

As the days get longer, it’s time to shape up, so on May 12 you’ll want to sprint to the Women Spring into Summer! event sponsored by Evergreen Ford of Issaquah.

“It’s going to be a really fun event with lots of great things to do,” organizer Lynn Rehn said.

“We’re really excited about any event that promotes local businesses,” Issaquah Chamber of Commerce CEO Matthew Bott said. “This event is really helping consumers rediscover some of the great businesses that we have here in Issaquah.”

Massages, nights out on the town with dinner, pedicures, drinks and cocktails — 60 Issaquah businesses are pulling out the stops to entertain the women who come to the event, Rehn said.

The free event runs from 6-8 p.m. at Evergreen Ford, 1500 18th Ave. N.W.

Each of the night’s sponsors has created gift packages worth $50 or more and there are so many prizes, Rehn said, she’ll give one, or several, away every five minutes during the two-hour event.

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Kiwanis invites community to take Aktion

May 11, 2010

The Kiwanis Club of Issaquah has organized a community meeting to talk about Aktion Clubs, service leadership programs of local Kiwanis Clubs.

Aktion Clubs provide adults living with disabilities the opportunity to develop leadership and initiative, serve their community, be integrated into society, and demonstrate the dignity and value of citizens living with disabilities.

The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. May 17 at the Clark Elementary School Library, 500 Second Ave. S.E. The club seeks input from advocates, family members, educators, service providers and friends of people with disabilities as it plans for the launch of the new club.

Aktion Club members are Kiwanians and benefit by actively participating in community life — contributing to the community, improving self-esteem, achieving personal goals, and developing abilities, leadership skills and social awareness.

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time. The Kiwanis Club of Issaquah serves the community by donating more than $75,000 each year to needy organizations, and through thousands of hours of community service performed by the club’s volunteer members.

Learn more about Aktion Clubs or the community meeting by calling 766-2774.

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It’s an undefeated season for Liberty boys, Skyline girls

May 11, 2010

Above, Mekenna Hogan, of Issaquah, receives the baton from Lauren Bruner (left) as Shealee O’Donnell of Skyline gets hers from teammate Kassia Fortier for the final leg of the 400-meter relay May 6. The Spartans won this race. By Greg Farrar

The sun was shining brightly and the temperature was in the 50s. It was a perfect day for a KingCo Conference high-school track and field meet.

The Liberty boys and Skyline girls teams were thinking perfection, too. Both were aiming for unbeaten regular-season meet records. Both attained their goal May 6 by finishing first in the annual Issaquah District meet at Liberty.

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Liberty takes third in KingCo

May 11, 2010

The Liberty High School baseball team took third place in the 3A KingCo Conference regular-season standings after dropping games to Mercer Island May 6 and 7, respectively.

The first game, the final game of the regular season, was scheduled for May 5, but it was rained out and rescheduled to May 6. On May 6, Liberty took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning, but Mercer Island struck back in the bottom of the fourth inning with five runs.

When Mercer Island added another run in the bottom of the sixth, it looked bleak for Liberty. However, the Patriots rallied in the top of the seventh with four runs to tie the game 6-6.

Liberty held Mercer Island scoreless in the bottom of the seventh inning, sending the game into extra innings. Finally, in the bottom of the eighth inning, Mercer Island scored to win the game.

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