Undercrossing construction alters access to post office

August 31, 2010

The entry to the Issaquah Post Office from the future Interstate 90 Undercrossing has closed for five weeks as crews build the north-south connector.

The post office can instead be accessed from a new driveway connected to Northwest Gilman Boulevard.

During the closure, crews plan to widen the road and add utilities. Work on lighting and traffic signals should continue as well. Poles for traffic signals could be installed in early September.

On the opposite side of the interstate, Southeast 62nd Street from East Lake Sammamish Parkway to the 600 block of 221st Place Southeast remains closed as crews construct a bridge. Plans call for utilities to be installed next week.

The completed roadway will run from the traffic signal at the post office along Northwest Gilman Boulevard, form a T-shaped intersection at Southeast 62nd Street, continue along 221st Place Southeast and then end at Southeast 56th Street. Crews should complete the connector by early fall.

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Class to educate landowners about protecting forests

August 31, 2010

Landowners can learn how to protect forests from fires, diseases and insects at a forestry stewardship class offered by the Washington State University Extension and the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks.

The course aims to teach participants how to develop a personal forest stewardship plan — how to provide habitat, enjoyment and income for years to come. Maintaining a healthy forest helps protect watersheds, wildlife habitat and aesthetics.

Moreover, a stewardship plan could also qualify certain owners for property tax reductions.

Many forested properties face high risks for fire, disease, insects and problems related to crowding, invasive plants and other factors.

The course runs from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Sept. 21 through Nov. 16 at the Preston Community Center, 8625 310th Ave. S.E. The cost to register is $175 per family. Find registration information here, or call WSU Extension Forester Kevin Zobrist at 357-6017.

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Parents face choice after Issaquah Valley Elementary School falls short

August 31, 2010

Issaquah Valley Elementary School fell just shy of meeting standards set by the No Child Left Behind Act and is being sanctioned for not meeting standards in low-income reading.

This is Issaquah Valley’s second year in a row of not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress standards in low-income reading.

At a presentation Aug. 30, Issaquah Valley Principal Diane Holt said students had made progress in many areas, including third- and fourth-grade reading, but missed making standard for low-income reading by less than a 2 percent index.

Third-, fourth- and fifth-graders are judged together, and while low-income third- and fourth-graders met standard on the reading test, low-income fifth-graders did not.

Read more

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City is redoing bike lanes on Newport Way Northwest

August 31, 2010

The effort to redo bicycle lanes and a pedestrian path along Newport Way Northwest from state Route 900 to the city line has started.

City engineers do not expect the project to cause significant traffic delays.

The project calls for bike lanes to be added in both directions, plus a separated pedestrian path along the north side of the roadway along Newport Way from state Route 900 to Lakemont Boulevard Southeast, the city line.

Crews started to remove rumble strips last week. City Public Works Engineering Director Bob Brock said the city had yet to receive a final schedule from the contractor, but he said he expects the majority of the work to be completed within a couple of weeks.

In March, the City Council decided to spend $120,000 for the project. The decision prompted debate because crews had added a trail and a gravel shoulder to the same section of road late last year.

But before the project had been completed, the city started to receive complaints about drivers using the widened shoulder as another lane — despite a double white line, a rumble strip and “No driving on shoulder” signs.

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Help Habitat for Humanity during annual buildathon

August 31, 2010

Help Habitat for Humanity build houses in the Issaquah Highlands and elsewhere in King County during a buildathon planned for mid-September.

Habitat for Humanity of East King County and Habitat for Humanity of Seattle/South King County teamed up for the second annual event. The buildathon runs from Sept. 17-26. Learn more at www.habitatbuildathon.org.

The event is set up like a walkathon. Volunteers sign up to work on Habitat construction sites throughout King County and ask friends and neighbors to sponsor each shift with a financial donation.

Participants can volunteer at any Habitat building site, including the highlands, Federal Way, Pacific and Seattle, or at the Habitat offices in Redmond and Tukwila.

The campaign aims to help the Habitat affiliates raise money to build more homes for families earning 60 percent or less of the median income for King County — or less than $50,580 a year for a family of four.

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New county parks chief emphasizes outreach

August 31, 2010

Christie True

The county Department of Natural Resources and Parks director handles a bulging portfolio: park and trail maintenance, habitat restoration, water quality monitoring, flood prevention, and the unglamorous tasks associated with treating wastewater and handling garbage.

Christie True said she looks forward to the challenge. King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed the veteran wastewater employee to the top job in July. True settled into the role July 12.

“Christie is well known for her work ethic, her leadership skills and her record of getting big jobs done,” Constantine said in a statement. Read more

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Alan White will rock Newcastle Days with his band, White

August 31, 2010

White will close out Newcastle Days with an hour-and-a-half performance Sept. 11 in Lake Boren Park. Members are (from left) guitarist and bassist Steve Boyce, keyboardist Jonathan Sindleman, singer Robyn Dawn, drummer Alan White and guitarist Karl Haug. By Jerry and Lois Photography

What would you think if you found out the guy down the street used to play music with John Lennon?

Start wondering. Drummer Alan White, who spent the past 38 years with the band Yes, has jammed with Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Hendrix.

His local band, White, will close this year’s Newcastle Days festival with an hour-and-half set at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 11. Read more

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Stimulus dollars fund upgrades at public housing complex

August 31, 2010

The county public housing agency has put stimulus dollars to work to make units at a downtown Issaquah apartment complex accessible to the disabled.

King County Housing Authority leaders plan to modify three units at Eastridge House in Issaquah and 56 other public housing units countywide. The agency announced the $3.85 million project Aug. 11.

The money comes as part of $4 billion in stimulus money steered to housing authorities nationwide to preserve and enhance public housing.

Crews plan to modify bathrooms, kitchens and living areas to enable people with mobility impairments or other physical disabilities to live independently. The plan also calls for appliances, interior doors and flooring to be replaced. Read more

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County Council praises elections watchdog group

August 31, 2010

King County Council members offered praise last week for the citizen committee responsible for restoring confidence in the county elections office after the disputed 2004 race for governor.

The ceremonial support for the Citizens’ Elections Oversight Committee came as King County Elections continues to tally ballots from the Aug. 17 primary.

The contest between former state Sen. Dino Rossi, a Republican, and then-Attorney General Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, dragged on through recounts and a court challenge. In the end, Gregoire edged out Rossi by 133 votes. Read more

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German students follow English textbook here

August 31, 2010

German youth (from left) Celina Mueller, Isabelle Joswig and Annabell Schoeberl pose at their host home overlooking Lake Sammamish on July 26. Their English book features Issaquah and the surrounding area. By Christopher Huber

This summer, three German teens are getting a more vivid lesson in English and American culture than their eighth-grade textbook, which features Issaquah, could give them.

For three weeks, Isabelle Joswig, 15, Annabell Schoeberl, 13, and Celina Mueller, 14, all from Bad Salzig, Germany, are living with Sammamish residents Susan Gregory and David Stevens, thanks to a connection they found in their English textbook.

Published in Germany in 1998, the level-four book teaches students the difference between British and American English, Celina said. It teaches theme-based grammar and vocabulary lessons in a cultural context. Read more

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