Rapid Response

December 7, 2010

King County voters overwhelmingly rejected a sales tax to pay for criminal justice services, including police protection. What can the county do to better prioritize and pay for such services in the future?

Taxes should be distributed to critical services first and those services should not be interrupted. Threatening police, fire or education services is simply a strong-arming tactic, aimed at punishing the taxpayer (again), for not passing new taxes or levies. There isn’t a revenue problem; there is a spending problem.

Mark Bowers, Issaquah

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DOT completes median safety project near Issaquah

December 7, 2010

The state Department of Transportation has completed a project to make road medians safer along Interstate 90 and elsewhere.

Crews used federal dollars to replace sections of low-tension cable barrier with high-tension cable barrier along the interstate from West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast to 192nd Avenue Southeast in Bellevue.

The updated barrier should be easier to maintain. The increased tension holds the cable taut even if some posts get knocked down. Federal stimulus money paid for the $9 million statewide project.

Overall, the Department of Transportation installed 42 miles of high-tension cable median barrier and replaced 29 miles of low-tension cable barrier with high-tension cable barrier. The high-tension barrier also is easier to maintain.

The agency maintains a statewide priority list based on median width and potential for crossover collisions to identify locations. The stimulus funding allowed the Department of Transportation to address the high-priority locations.

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Issaquah police probe cyberstalking

December 7, 2010

Issaquah police said a Bellevue woman sent more than 200 lewd e-mails and online messages to friends and relatives of her estranged husband.

Investigators said the messages included crude language and pornographic images. Issaquah police became involved because the estranged husband resides in the city.

Deborah M. Sanders, 47, faces eight counts of felony cyberstalking for the incident. Sanders is due in court Jan. 4 for a case-setting hearing. Read more

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To the Editor

December 7, 2010


Thank you, district transportation department, for keeping our kids safe

BIG kudos to the entire team at the Issaquah School District Transportation Department for its performance during the recent surprisingly intense snowstorm!

Besides braving slick, icy roads and traffic gridlock, drivers also faced the challenge of matching the very young children and special-needs students up with their parents, many of whom were themselves stuck in traffic.

Safely getting other peoples’ children to and from school and activities is a huge responsibility and not an easy job, even during the best of conditions.

Many thanks to the school bus drivers, the dispatchers, the routers, the maintenance department workers, the training department, and top management and staff for a job very well done!

Katy and John Hoehl


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Reach Eastside presents an avant garde ‘Christmas Carol’

December 7, 2010

Tiny Tim (Ike Balmer) falls over while his concerned family in ‘A Christmas Carol’ bend down to help him, with Miranda Cratchit (Grethe Steensgaard) kneeling on the left, Martha Cratchit (Betsy Brocco), Mrs. Cratchit (Tamara Steensgaard), Gillian Cratchit (Kenna Boyer) and Peter Cratchit (Kristoffer Steensgaard) on the right. By Laura Geggel

Actors and dancers have joined forces for Reach Eastside Performing Arts’ production of “A Christmas Carol” in Preston.

Until now, Reach Eastside Performing Arts has acted as a dance studio, except during the summer, when it hosts an art and performance summer camp for underserved children, called Reach for the Sky July.

The studio’s owner, Kathi Marin, decided to invite theater into her doors. Theatre Black Dog accepted the invitation, and “A Christmas Carol” leapt into production, using teenage dance students from the studio, as well as actors from the theater troop.

The crew transformed the dance floor into a black box theater and awarded roles to a slew of Issaquah, Snoqualmie, Fall City and Seattle actors and their children.

“It’s fun,” actor Greg Balmer, of Snoqualmie, said.

His wife, Chrisie Coffing, and 9-year-old son, Ike Balmer, are in the play with him.

“We get to work on our lines together,” Greg Balmer said. “We get to be different people than we are normally.”

The Steensgaard family agreed. The whole Snoqualmie gang, Tamara, Bjarne and their children Kristopher and Grethe, are acting together onstage, and practicing together at home.

“We have to work with our lines, because all of us are playing multiple roles,” Tamara Steensgaard said.

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Klahanie resident inspires anthem for cancer survivors

December 7, 2010

Klahanie resident Melody Christensen sent her story of breast cancer survival to contemporary Christian musician Matthew West and has heard the tale transformed into ‘Survivors’ on the album 'The Story of Your Life.' By Greg Farrar

The letter from Klahanie recounted a familiar story: a bombshell cancer diagnosis, strength-sapping treatment, but also, interlaced among the sentences, hope.

Melody Christensen, breast cancer survivor and Klahanie stay-at-home mother of four, offered the candid account as inspiration to contemporary Christian musician Matthew West.

Christensen liked the authenticity West imbued in songs about faith amid personal struggle, but as she prepared to send the message on a spring day, she had no expectations.

“I felt like it was time for me to share — even if it didn’t go anywhere — what I’d been through,” she said.

Christensen received a surprising phone call months later. West had used the letter as a springboard for a song about cancer on a soon-to-be-released album.

The album — the aptly titled “The Story of Your Life” — mines intimate and often-heartrending stories from Christensen and other fans.

“Through the years, I’ve been so inspired by the people who would send me an e-mail or share with me at a concert how a song has found its way into their story and inspired them in one way or another,” West said in a phone interview from Nashville, Tenn. “I just started thinking, ‘What if I turned the microphone around?’”

The concept compelled the performer — and songwriter for country stars Rascal Flatts and Billy Ray Cyrus — to act more like a storyteller.

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Spartans run out of comebacks

December 7, 2010

Coach Mat Taylor, with the team around him, hugs senior wide receiver Michael Ford on the sideline after the game. Ford was in a wheelchair after breaking his leg during the semifinal against Curtis. By Greg Farrar

Ferris ends Skyline’s reign as state champ 24-16

As the clock ticked toward zero, Skyline High School’s Kasen Williams was like a statue. He lined up in his safety position, Ferris quarterback Ben Goodwin took a knee and the Saxon fans erupted in celebration.

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Santa to appear at University House breakfast for EFR

December 7, 2010

University House Issaquah is hosting a pancake breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus that will benefit Eastside Fire & Rescue.

The breakfast, from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Dec. 11 at 22975 S.E. Black Nugget Road, will have an array of breakfast meats, pancakes, waffles, eggs, coffee and juice. The suggested donation is $5.

Santa and his wife will come for a bite and sit for photos. A photo costs $2.

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Girl tops $17,000 for arthritis fundraiser

December 7, 2010

Meaghan Victory

Issaquah’s 14-year-old Meaghan Victory can be spotted swimming, playing lacrosse and dribbling basketballs, but sometimes she has to pull herself out of the game.

Meaghan, who doctors diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at age 10, is as active as any high school freshman can be, but sometimes her arthritis hurts her so much, she has to sit on the sidelines.

“For some of the strokes in swimming, I would have to miss practice because my wrist wasn’t strong enough to pull me through the water,” she said.

But Meaghan is fighting back. This is the third year she is participating in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk, an annual fundraiser benefiting the Arthritis Foundation. Money raised by the event pays for support programs and educational tools and advocacy for parents and children living with arthritis, including KAT-FISH Camp, a free family camp for families whose children have arthritis.

“With more than 46 million arthritis sufferers in the U.S. today, the Arthritis Foundation is passionate about increasing local and regional awareness about their programs, services and solutions for those living with arthritis — a disease that currently has no cure,” foundation spokeswoman Camille Carette said.

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King County Metro Transit fares will rise in January

December 7, 2010

The fare for a King County Metro Transit bus ride rises in January.

The standard fare for adult Metro riders is scheduled for a 25-cent fare increase. Fares for other Metro products, such as passes and ticket books, also increase.

Fares also change for Access customers. The fare increases by 25 cents. The cost for a monthly pass remains at $45. Youth fares remain unchanged.

The fare changes do not impact the 75-cent fares for seniors and other people qualified for reduced fares. The cost for a monthly pass is scheduled to increase.

Starting in January, seniors and other-reduced fare customers must purchase $27 monthly ORCA PugetPasses. The pass is good for travel on transit systems in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

Metro Transit plans to stop selling Metro-only annual and monthly-reduced fare passes in 2011, but existing Metro-only annual reduced fare passes remain valid until expiration.

The fare hike is part of a plan to ease the impact of a budget shortfall. Metro Transit has also made other cuts and reduced staff.

Customers can purchase ORCA — or One Regional Card for All — cards and other fare products at Metro sales offices, or by mail, phone or online. Call 888-988-6722 toll free.

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