Obama mentions Issaquah pizzeria at White House ceremony

October 5, 2010

President Obama offered another shout-out to Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria during a White House ceremony Sept. 27, a little more than a month after he highlighted the Issaquah restaurant in a Seattle speech.

Flanked by lawmakers and seated before a camera-toting audience of small business owners, Obama signed a small business assistance package. In remarks during the ceremony, the president referred to “Tutta Bella pizzeria in Seattle” as founder Joe Fugere sat in the East Room audience.

“I still haven’t tasted the pizza, but he promises I’m going to get some at some point,” Obama said.

The measure — the Small Business Jobs Act — includes business-oriented tax cuts, and accelerates payouts on loan programs.

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PSE seeks to raise electric, natural gas rates

October 5, 2010

Puget Sound Energy has requested rate adjustments for natural gas and electric service.

The utility filed separate requests with the state Utilities and Transportation Commission to reduce credits for customer bills and a rate increase to help operate and maintain the natural gas system.

The credit adjustments should result in a slight rate increase — less than $2 per month on the average residential natural gas bill and less than $1 per month on the average residential electric bill. If the state approves the changes, the increases takes effect Nov. 1. PSE does not stand to make a profit on the adjustments.

The rate request aims to increase natural gas rates by 2.3 percent, effective Feb. 1. If the state approves the increase after a review, the change should increase a typical natural gas bill — based on 68 therms of average monthly usage during a year — by $2.08.

The credit adjustments include a Purchased Gas Adjustment increase, and a 1 percent increase in residential electric rates. The other involves a decrease in the federal power benefits passed through to PSE customers as a monthly bill credit under the Residential Exchange Program through the Bonneville Power Administration.

Clark Elementary postpones party

October 5, 2010

Clark Elementary School alumni were so excited about celebrating their school’s 60th anniversary, they mistakenly planned to have it a year early.

After The Issaquah Press announced the party Aug. 25, Clark alumni learned the elementary school opened in 1951, prompting them to postpone the 60th birthday party to fall 2011.

All Clark Elementary staff and student alumni are invited to contribute to the memories by e-mailing info@clarkpta.org until then.

School district receives $1.3 million for construction projects

October 5, 2010

Issaquah School District’s construction dollars will now go $1.3 million further.

In late August, district administrators applied to receive a piece of $100 million the state Legislature set aside for school construction projects.

Of the money, $50 million was designated for K-12 public school districts and the remaining $50 million was slated for K-12 public schools and public higher education.

Issaquah was one of 27 school districts to receive a combined total of $27.8 million in the state’s second round of grants. Much of the money will pay for improved heating, ventilation and air condition systems; better water conservation; replacement of inefficient lighting; and building improvements.

The district underwent an investment-grade energy audit before applying for the funds. The grant also required the district to have between $2 to $3 to spend for every dollar it was awarded, district Chief of Finance and Operations Jake Kuper said.

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Issaquah receives $100,000 grant to study potential land swap

October 5, 2010

Issaquah has received $100,000 to study how to protect land in the Issaquah Creek watershed and, at the same time, add density in the urban core.

The city plans to use the grant to conduct environmental and market analyses to create a transfer-of-development-rights receiving site in part of a 915-acre commercial core along Interstate 90.

Under such a transfer, a landowner sells development rights from properties in low-density areas to parties interested in building denser development in another area.

The state Department of Commerce and the Puget Sound Regional Council announced Sept. 15 more than $1 million in grants to 10 cities for transfer of development rights projects.

The dollars come from a federal Environmental Protection Agency program to support regional planning in the Puget Sound watershed.

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County budget forum comes to Issaquah Library

October 5, 2010

King County has launched a round of forums dedicated to the county budget crisis.

The program, part of the Countywide Community Forums, comes to the Issaquah Library, 10 W. Sunset Way, at 2 p.m. Oct. 9.

During the effort, citizens will be asked to share their views on the topic “Citizen Priorities for Government in Challenging Economic Times.”

The county faces a $60 million budget shortfall — and deep spending cuts — for the year ahead. During the Issaquah event, participants will also watch a video with interviews of county and community leaders explaining the county budget. Then, participants can offers opinions in person and submit a survey to the King County Council. The survey focuses on identifying the highest priorities for spending, collecting revenue and achieving efficiencies. The survey results will be released in late October.

Issaquah, Sammamish fire stations to host open houses

October 5, 2010

Issaquah fire stations 71 and 73, and Sammamish fire stations 81, 82 and 83 will host open houses from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Oct. 9.

The event is part of Eastside Fire & Rescue’s support of Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 3-9.

Residents are encouraged to drop by to meet firefighters, tour the stations, sit in a fire truck and pick up information about fire, flood and emergency preparedness.

The following EFR stations will host open houses:

  • Station 71: 190 E. Sunset Way, Issaquah
  • Station 73: 1280 N.E. Park Drive, Issaquah Highlands
  • Station 81: 2030 212th Ave. S.E., Sammamish
  • Station 82: 1852 228th Ave. S.E., Sammamish
  • Station 83: 3425 Issaquah-Pine Lake Road, Sammamish

County, trails association to dedicate trail bridge

October 5, 2010

Trees felled during a fierce windstorm in December 2006 found another use as material for a bridge across a coho salmon-bearing stream in Grand Ridge Park north of the Issaquah Highlands.

Now, hikers, runners, mountain bikers and other trail users no longer need to risk life, limb or shoe to cross Canyon Creek.

The organizations plan to dedicate the bridge at noon Oct. 7. Enjoy trail snacks and prizes at the ceremony. Find a map of the park here.

King County Parks and the Washington Trails Association partnered to build a 40-foot bridge across the creek. Before the bridge spanned the creek, trail users had to scramble down a steep slope, slog through the creek and then climb back up the other side. Now, trail users can stay dry and help preserve and protect fish and wildlife. The bridge helps complete the seven-mile trail from the High Point area to Duthie Hill Park.

The trails association received a King Conservation District grant through the Snoqualmie Watershed Forum to help fund the bridge construction.

Cascade Water Alliance secures drinking water supply

October 5, 2010

The state Department of Ecology has OK’d a water-rights package for a future drinking water source for Issaquah residents.

The approval grants Cascade Water Alliance the authority to use a portion of the water in Lake Tapps for drinking water and, at the same time, guarantees water levels to maintain summer recreation at the popular Pierce County lake.

Department of Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant announced the agreement Sept. 16.

Formed in 1999 and headquartered in Bellevue, the alliance supplies water to more than 370,000 county residents and 22,000 businesses — or nearly 50 percent of retail water sales in King County outside of Seattle. The regional group includes the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, Issaquah, Bellevue and other Eastside and South King County cities and water districts.

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Washington ranks high for seat belt use

October 5, 2010

Washington drivers and passengers buckle up more often than almost anyone else in the United States.

The information comes from a survey released Sept. 21 by the state Traffic Safety Commission. The seat-belt use rate among Washington residents has climbed to 97.6 percent — among the highest in the nation.

The rate inched upward 1.2 percent from last year.

Washington State Patrol troopers cite about 47,000 people each year for failing to buckle up on Washington roadways.

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