Concerns about coho salmon persist as hatchery spawns other species

November 30, 2010

Jed Varney (left) and John Kugen spawn a Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon last month at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. Contributed

Lake Sammamish kokanee conservation program continues

The small coho salmon run has left the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery about 750,000 eggs short.

The inexplicable shortfall means the hatchery must truck in coho eggs from the Wallace Creek Hatchery in Sultan in order to meet the 1.2 million-egg goal for the year.

Biologists remain puzzled about the decline in coho, but poor ocean conditions could be a factor in the drop-off.

Teams at the Issaquah hatchery had trapped 475 coho — and did not allow any fish to pass upstream to spawn — by late November. The number represents a fraction of the fish the hatchery spawns during a normal coho run. Read more

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State offers grants for restore fish and wildlife species

November 30, 2010

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has grants for people and organizations interested in conserving fish and wildlife species.

The agency has about $1 million in the Aquatic Land Enhancement Account to reimburse residents and groups for volunteer projects related to conservation or to help the public enjoy and understand animal species.

The program funds projects related to habitat, research, education and outreach, facility development and artificial production — although the agency intends to consider other projects. Grants cannot be used for salaries, wages or stipends.

Eligible applicants include citizens, nonprofit organizations, American Indian tribes and political subdivisions of the state, such as schools, universities and public utility districts. The funding is unavailable to state and federal agencies.

Find application materials at the agency website, or call 360-902-2700. The submission deadline is Feb. 28.

“This is a highly competitive grant program,” Program Coordinator Josh Nicholas said. “Projects that foster individual and community involvement through the use of volunteers, have a sound budget and are consistent with WDFW goals have the greatest chance of success.”

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King County Council welcomes new member

November 30, 2010

State Sen. Joe McDermott has filled the King County Council seat once held by County Executive Dow Constantine.

County Council members greeted the latest arrival Nov. 24 — a day later than scheduled due to a late fall snowstorm. Clerk of the Council Anne Noris swore in McDermott a day after the county certified the results of the November election.

McDermott represents the 8th District on the nine-member council. The district includes Burien, Vashon Island and West Seattle.

“We must work together to provide meaningful and efficient government services with an eye to the future.” McDermott said in a statement. “We cannot let today’s economic crisis keep us from meeting our commitments in regional planning, environmental stewardship and public safety.”

McDermott succeeds Councilwoman Jan Drago, a former Seattle councilwoman appointed after voters picked Constantine for the top county job last November. McDermott fills Constantine’s unexpired term and faces voters again in 2011.

McDermott has served in the Legislature for a decade. The tenure included seven years in the state House of Representatives before he ascended to the state Senate.

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Report: Issaquah commuters spent less time in traffic last year

November 30, 2010

Issaquah commuters spent less time on the road to Bellevue and Seattle last year.

The typical morning commute between Issaquah and Seattle shrank to 21 minutes — a decline from 25 minutes in 2007. The morning commute from Seattle to Issaquah also dropped, from 20 to 18 minutes. The trip between Issaquah and Bellevue declined to 15 minutes from 17 minutes during the same period.

The state Department of Transportation said the decreases represent a broader trend. Evergreen State drivers spent less time in traffic last year.

The information is outlined in the annual congestion report produced by the Department of Transportation.

Planners attributed the change to the economic downturn and the completion of major congestion-relief highway projects. The result: fewer delays and shorter travel times on high-demand corridors. Read more

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Grease is the word as city aims to cut risks to pipes

November 30, 2010

Fatty byproducts damage city sewer system and reduce capacity

Grease is more than just a word for city engineers.

The byproduct from french fries and other fatty fare can cause the same problems in municipal sewer systems as in human arteries.

The city is scheduled to consider a plan to cut down on the amount of food grease running down restaurant drains and into the municipal sewer system. City Council members could consider a measure as early as Dec. 6 to require offenders and incoming restaurants and other food sellers to install equipment — such as grease interceptors and traps — to prevent the lardy leftovers from reaching the sewer. Read more

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Recycle appliances and electronics for free

November 30, 2010

Do you have a broken refrigerator, an old stereo or a neglected bike clogging the garage?

Bring it to a free recycling event, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Briarwood Market Place parking lot, Southeast 128th Street and 164th Avenue Southeast, Renton.

Proceeds from the recycled raw materials benefit local charities, homeless shelters and food banks. The recycling program is provided by Issaquah-based 1 Green Planet and organized by the Liberty High School PTSA.

Find a list of recyclable products at the 1 Green Planet website.

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Find reindeer games aplenty at Cougar Mountain Zoo

November 30, 2010

Santa Claus feeds apple slices to Olive the reindeer last year at the barn attached to Santa’s House during the annual Issaquah Reindeer Festival. By Greg Farrar

Issaquah Reindeer Festival raises money for exhibits

Not many people can name all nine of Santa’s reindeer, but Cougar Mountain Zoo General Curator Robyn Barfoot can name 10.

That’s right. There’s Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen — not to mention Rudolph — and, Olive, as in “All of the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names; they never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games.”

“Zookeepers have a very strange sense of humor,” Barfoot said.

There weren’t always 10 reindeer at Issaquah’s Cougar Mountain Zoo. The first group of reindeer, six in all, came directly from Siberia 23 years ago. Though at the zoo — and in Issaquah, no less — the reindeer not only help Santa every Christmas season but also bring in much-needed dollars for the zoo, which has a slow season during the cold, rainy months. Read more

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Kasen Williams, Chandler Jenkins lead cadre of all-league selections

November 30, 2010

r Chandler Jenkins (right), Liberty HIgh School senior, beats a Kennedy defender to the end zone for a touchdown last month. By Greg Farra

In terms of physique, Kasen Williams, of Skyline High School, and Chandler Jenkins, of Liberty High School, are contrasts. Williams is a muscular 6-foot-2, 210 pounds. Jenkins is a compact 5-10, 175-pounds.

Yet, the two seniors had something in common this fall — both were dominating forces in their respective KingCo conferences. Williams, a wide receiver, and Jenkins, a running back, were selected by KingCo coaches as the offensive players of the year.

Williams, a future University of Washington Husky, again earned all-4A KingCo Crest Division honors for the league champion Spartans. He caught 14 touchdown passes during the regular season to lead 4A KingCo. He was also second in receptions with 55 and in yardage with 950. In addition, Williams ranked fourth in the league in all-purpose yardage with 1,278 yards. Read more

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Metro Transit updates fleet on Issaquah routes

November 30, 2010

King County Metro Transit has added longer vans to Issaquah routes.

The latest additions to the Metro Transit fleet measure 27 feet, about 24 inches longer than the old models. The models also ride lower than the old buses to provide easier access for mobility-impaired customers.

Metro Transit added about 24 vans to routes in October. The vans came as a scheduled replacement for buses entered into service in 2002. By February, 35 of the longer Metro Transit vans should be in service. The buses cost $234,000 apiece. Indiana-based StarTrans Bus manufactured the vans.

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Learn about eco-friendly zHome project at tour

November 30, 2010

Track the construction of zHome during a public tour Dec. 2.

The free walk-through focuses on panel installation, fiberglass windows, construction recycling and rainwater plumbing. The tour runs from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Look for the construction site near the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride, 1755 Highlands Drive N.E.

Plans call for zHome to include 10 eco-friendly townhouses designed to produce as much electricity as the units consume. The homes will harness solar power and use recycled building materials. Officials expect zHome to be completed by the spring.

Dignitaries broke ground on the project in September 2008, but the recession delayed construction until April 2010.

The city spearheaded the development of zHome. Howland Development Issaquah — a joint venture of Shoreline developer Howland Homes and Ichijo USA, a subsidiary of Japanese homebuilder Ichijo Co. — handles the construction. Ichijo USA financed the project.

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