Report: Statewide traffic deaths reach historic low

March 31, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. March 31, 2011

The number of deaths on Washington roadways reached a historic low last year: 448, a decline from the 492 deaths in 2009.

Washington Traffic Safety Commission officials said 2010 marked the safest year ever on Washington roads. The number of deaths could increase slightly as the commission continues to receive reports.

Under a highway safety plan called Target Zero, the state aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Washington during the next 19 years. Officials set a goal of zero traffic deaths by 2030.

“The lives saved are a true testament to the effectiveness of Washington’s comprehensive and integrated approach to traffic safety: the Target Zero plan,” commission Director Lowell Porter said in a statement Wednesday.

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Lake Sammamish levels raise concerns among shoreline residents

March 30, 2011

NEW — 3 p.m. March 30, 2011

Leaders said King County is removing invasive aquatic plants and enacting other steps along Lake Sammamish in order to address high water levels along the shoreline.

County Executive Dow Constantine said the county plans a series of steps to reduce the seasonal flooding along the lake.

“We are taking immediate action to provide relief for lakeside residents who have to deal with high lake levels — particularly during the wettest months of the year,” he said in a statement released Wednesday.

The outlet from Lake Sammamish into the Sammamish River at county-run Marymoor Park is marked by a shallow, fixed-concrete spillway and a section of channel downstream from the weir. The area, called the transition zone, marks the shift from lake to river.

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Red Cross reminds people in flood-prone areas to prepare

March 30, 2011

NEW — 3 p.m. March 30, 2011

The strong storm system rolling across Western Washington prompted the local American Red Cross chapter to prepare for potential flooding.

“The forecast for the next few days include a flood watch for local rivers with heavy rainfall so people should be aware of the possibility of urban flooding,” Susan Pelaez, director of preparedness and community engagement for the organization, said in a release. “Drivers should use caution when out on the road.”

Meteorologists issued a flood watch for East King County and much of Western Washington through Friday.

Under a flood watch, favorable conditions for flooding exist, but flooding is not imminent or occurring. National Weather Service meteorologists said resident should monitor forecasts and prepare to act quickly if a flood warning is issued.

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Celebrate the ’80s — and pedal to blend smoothies — Friday

March 30, 2011

NEW — 3 p.m. March 30, 2011

Hop on a bike and use pedal power to blend a smoothie Friday.

Though the stunt sounds like a prank fit for April Fools’ Day, the promotion is part of a 25th anniversary celebration for Lifeway Kefir, a creamy, milk-based beverage.

“The Lifeway 25th Anniversary Tour” lands in Issaquah at PCC Natural Markets, 1810 12th Ave. N.W., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The tour also stops at other PCC locations in the area.

The tour stretches 11 weeks in a nonstop party from coast to coast. The party celebrates everything fun and funky about the ’80s.

Participants can pedal customized human-powered blender bikes and blend tasty Lifeway Kefir smoothies, and sample limited-edition Birthday Cake Kefir and other flavors. Other activities include taking a blast-from-the past 1980s-styled photos using green screen technology, participating in digital games and enjoying Foursquare check-in prizes.

Lifeway Foods is also donating $25,000 to Healthy Kids Challenge, a nonprofit organization set up to help school, health, business and community leaders take action for children to eat, move and enjoy a healthy balance.

Skyline High School downs Garfield in soccer battle

March 30, 2011

NEW — 1 p.m. March 30, 2011

The Skyline High School boys soccer team won an early showdown with host Garfield on Tuesday when the Spartans posted a 4-2 victory in Memorial Stadium.

Last year the two teams tied for first place in the 4A KingCo Conference and later met in league tournament championship game, which was won by Garfield.

Kyle Olmstead and Travis Strawn each had a goal and an assist for Skyline, which handed Garfield its first loss of the season.

Braxton Griffin and Jason Twaddle scored Skyline’s other goals.

With the victory, Skyline went to 2-0-1 in league play and moved into first place in the league standings. The Spartans are 5-0-2 overall. Garfield went to 1-1-0 in league and 5-1-0 for the season.

In other action, Issaquah suffered its first loss of the season when the Eagles lost to host Inglemoor 3-1.

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Little League opening day / March 26, 2011

March 30, 2011

County honors Issaquah district schools as Earth Heroes

March 30, 2011

NEW — 12:15 p.m. March 30, 2011

King County is honoring Grand Ridge Elementary School — plus teachers, a student, and a staff member from across the Issaquah School District — as Earth Heroes at School.

The annual honor highlights schools and people for contributions to environmental protection and student environmental education. The county Department of Natural Resources and Parks’ Solid Waste Division announced the 2011 honorees Wednesday.

“Winners of the Earth Heroes at School awards are a diverse group who share the common goal of making our world a better place,” County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “It is an honor to recognize their achievements in environmental education, waste reduction, energy conservation and other positive efforts.”

Grand Ridge Elementary recorded a 35-percent recycling rate last year.

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Salmon in the Classroom reaches crossroads

March 29, 2011

Clark Elementary School students (from left) Callie Mejia, 10, Hannah Halstead, 10, Jackson Rubin, 10, and Caelan Varner, 11, take turns feeding the coho salmon fry growing in the science room aquarium. By Greg Farrar

Questions remain about start-up costs, permits

For a Clark Elementary School class, raising coho salmon from eggs no larger than a BB pellet to miniscule fish is part lesson, part ritual.

Students traipse down the hallway from class to the aquarium in a science room in the morning, again at lunchtime and before the last bell rings in the afternoon. Using a small spatula, students scoop salmon food — a coarse substance similar to dirt in color and texture — into the aquarium.

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City preserves Tiger Mountain forest in historic milestone

March 29, 2011

Park Pointe protection occurs after years long effort to stop proposed construction

By Dona Mokin

The long-running saga to preserve Park Pointe — a slice of Tiger Mountain forest near Issaquah High School — ended late March 24, after more than a decade of public and behind-the-scenes negotiations to halt construction of hundreds of houses once proposed for the land.

The tradeoff: Under the agreement, city leaders steered construction from Park Pointe to the Issaquah Highlands instead, and, as a result, preserved more than 140 acres in the process.

“I think that this will transform the community in a very, very positive way,” Mayor Ava Frisinger said, minutes after the deal closed. “It has the three elements of sustainability. It has the environment — the environmental protection and preservation. It has a huge social element. It has economic vitality benefits as well.”

The historic conservation effort is part of a complicated transfer of development rights.

City planners and officials shepherded the agreement through the arduous process after Frisinger outlined the landmark opportunity to preserve Park Pointe in late 2008.

In the years since, representatives from the city, highlands developer Port Blakely Communities and other partners pursued the project until the recession scuttled the developer behind the proposed Park Pointe development.

Since a Seattle bank foreclosed on the land from the defunct developer last March, the preservation effort lurched into gear. Issaquah and King County officials adopted a series of agreements late last year to advance the process.

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Congressman, school board discuss education law

March 29, 2011

U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert listens to school board members discuss the No Child Left Behind law March 25. By Laura Geggel

U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert and school board members from six different districts, including the Issaquah School District, met March 25 to discuss the problems swirling around the No Child Left Behind federal law.

In Washington, no school district larger than 6,100 students is meeting standards required by No Child Left Behind, Issaquah School Board member Chad Magendanz said.

“This is an issue that I’ve heard over and over and we just can’t seem to make any progress on it,” said Reichert, a federal representative for the 8th Congressional District, an area including Bellevue, Issaquah, Sammamish and other Eastside and South King County cities through rural Pierce County.

During the meeting, Reichert, R-Auburn, and the school board members agreed that No Child Left Behind needs reform.

No Child Left Behind uses data from standardized test scores in reading and math. In Washington, the tests are called the Measurement of Student Progress, for grades three through eight, and the High School Proficiency Exam, for sophomores.

If a school fails to meet standard in one of the 37 subgroups, it is listed as failing. Schools receiving federal Title I funds for low-income students that do not meet AYP must notify their parents and could face sanctions. For instance, depending on how many years a school has missed AYP, it must give students the option of moving to another school within the district and paying for their transportation.

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