Prevent wildfires on Memorial Day and all summer

May 28, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. May 28, 2011

The state Department of Natural Resources urges outdoors enthusiasts to help prevention wildfires during Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer.

Though the weather remains on the cool side, the extended holiday weekend should attract a higher-than-average number of visitors to public forests.

Help prevent wildfires by clearing debris around campfire pits and using a shovel and water to completely extinguish campfires. The state urges people to be cautious and only build campfires in approved pits in acceptable areas.

Firefighters have responded to 51 wildfires so far in 2011.

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Memorial Day weekend serves a water safety reminder

May 28, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. May 28, 2011

Rivers make for inherently dangerous places to play — especially in the springtime as water flows high, swift and cold.

King County public safety officials and emergency responders stand on extra alert for spring and summer, because unusually heavy amounts of mountain snow is melting into local rivers. In addition, a tumultuous winter flood season changed river channels and reoriented logs.

The conditions create a recipe for river recreation tragedy.

“King County rivers are running fast and cold and are always extremely dangerous this time of year,” King County Sheriff Sue Rahr said in a statement. “But 2011 could bring even higher risks. We want to get the word out ahead of the Memorial Day weekend and before the next hot weather forecast that people should stay out of the rivers at this time.”

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Prepare for Memorial Day schedule changes

May 27, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. May 27, 2011

Memorial Day means closures and schedule changes in Issaquah and elsewhere.

Issaquah City Hall, King County and state offices close. So do federal offices, including post offices.

King County Metro Transit operates on a Sunday schedule May 30 for Memorial Day.

For Metro Transit service, if a bus route does not usually operate on Sunday, then no service is offered on Memorial Day.

In addition, all Metro offices close on the holiday, including the customer information phone lines. Use the online Trip Planner for travel assistance.

Sound Transit also operates on a Sunday schedule for Memorial Day.

Most state-run liquor stores remain open for the holiday.

The state stores open at regular time — either 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. — and close at 7 p.m. Contract liquor stores may also open.

Issaquah School District puts laid off teachers on recall list

May 26, 2011

NEW — 4:05 p.m. May 26, 2011

Parents in the Issaquah School District can breathe a collective sigh of relief. Class sizes in the district will not increase next year.

The news stems from the proposed state biennial budget the state Legislature approved late Tuesday night.

After reviewing the budget for the past four months, the state House of Representatives and Senate approved a compromise budget that would lower the salaries of teachers and administrators, but would save the jobs of many district teachers.

Gov. Chris Gregoire has yet to sign the bill.

While school district administrators were waiting for the state Legislature to approve the 2011-13 budget, they had to renew teachers’ contracts by May 15. Unsure of the final budget, administrators came up with a worse-scenario plan that included layoffs for 36 teachers. The plan also axed the positions of 15 teachers who were leaving through normal attrition, bringing the total number of teacher reductions to 51.

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Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery selects leader

May 26, 2011

NEW — 3:30 p.m. May 26, 2011

Jane Kuechle

Jane Kuechle spent many hours as a girl on family road trips to out-of-the-way Oregon places.

“Wherever we went, we would stop whenever we saw a salmon hatchery,” she recalled.

Kuechle, a longtime leader in local nonprofit organizations, is about to spend more time at a salmon hatchery. The expert in fundraising and nonprofit management is the next executive director of Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, the nonprofit group responsible for education and tours at the downtown hatchery.

Mayor Ava Frisinger, FISH board president, said members selected Kuechle from more than 30 applicants.

“The board went through a very long and rigorous process of selecting people,” Frisinger said after announcing the appointment Thursday.

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2011 Summer Freetime

May 26, 2011

Issaquah High School boys lacrosse ousted in semifinals

May 26, 2011

NEW — 11:50 a.m. May 26, 2011

The Issaquah High School boys lacrosse team saw its season come to an end Wednesday when the Eagles lost to host Bainbridge 13-9 in the semifinals of the Washington State League’s Division I tournament.

Issaquah, which was knocked out in the semifinals for the second straight year, finished with a 14-6 record.

The Eagles’ offense had trouble clicking early and despite a strong attack in the final quarter could never overcome Bainbridge.

The host Spartans led 2-0 after the first quarter. Issaquah got on the scoreboard at 9:02 of the second period on an unassisted goal by senior Jake Fritz. However, Bainbridge quickly counter when Alex Rabin went coast-to-coast and hit Jacob Knostman on a pass. Knostman scored to give Bainbridge a two-goal lead again. The Spartans led 5-1 at halftime.

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Legislators preserve dollars for Issaquah outdoor recreation projects

May 26, 2011

NEW — 10:30 a.m. May 26, 2011

Plans to acquire land for a Cougar Mountain trail and upgrade trail bridges in Tiger Mountain State Forest received a last-minute boost from state lawmakers before a special legislative session ended Wednesday night.

Before sending the $32 billion budget to Gov. Chris Gregoire, legislators allocated $42 million to the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program for more than 50 projects statewide. In addition to the Issaquah Alps projects, lawmakers directed funds to Duthie Hill Park and the East Lake Sammamish Trail.

The proposed budget recommends $500,000 for King County to acquire land for Precipice Trail near Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park and $247,870 to upgrade Tiger Mountain trail bridges. In addition, the proposal recommends $500,000 for the county’s East Lake Sammamish Trail project and $317,477 for county-run Duthie Hill Park.

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Washington ranks as state friendliest to bicyclists

May 26, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. May 26, 2011

Washington is the Most Bicycle Friendly State again.

The ranking from the League of American Bicyclists honors a strong commitment to bicycling through policies and programs. The honor marks the fourth consecutive year the Evergreen State has clinched the No. 1 spot.

“Public support is strong for making biking safer and more convenient for children, commuters and recreational users,” state Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond said in a statement. “WSDOT works closely with regional and local agencies to increase the number of walkers and bikers, while also improving safety to reduce the number of bicycle- and pedestrian- related collisions.”

The league rates states based on bike-friendly legislation, policies and programs, education, places to ride and planning. Washington scored consistently high in all ranking evaluation categories.

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Help the Municipal League rate local candidates

May 26, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. May 26, 2011

Help the Municipal League evaluate candidates as campaign season readies for fall frenzy.

The league is a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to accountable, effective and open government. The organization needs volunteers to serve on candidate evaluation committees.

The groups include people of diverse ages, backgrounds and political philosophies to evaluate people running for local offices in King County.

Municipal League ratings attempt to answer a fundamental question for voters: How well could the candidate do the job?

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