Police gain capability to retrieve license photos during stops

August 27, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Aug. 27, 2011

Police used to rely on text descriptions to identify criminals, but now, due to upgraded computer capabilities, officers can retrieve driver’s license photos on in-car computers.

Through a $300,000 grant from the State, Regional and Federal Enterprise Retrieval System project and the Washington Auto Theft Prevention Authority, officers can quickly confirm a person’s identity by using a copy of a state Department of Licensing photo.

The program is expected to reach most law enforcement agencies in the state soon.

“This is about catching bad guys who are trying to deceive us by using fake names,” Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste said in a statement. “We are now able to quickly determine the real identity of these people.”

Read more

Truck fire snarls Interstate 90 traffic through Issaquah

August 26, 2011

Washington State Patrol troopers respond to a tractor-trailer fire along Interstate 90 in Issaquah late Friday afternoon. By Tom Corrigan

UPDATED — 5:30 p.m. Aug. 26, 2011

Traffic slowed to a crawl along eastbound Interstate 90 late Friday afternoon as a tractor-trailer burned along the roadway.

State troopers reopened all lanes by 5:30 p.m., but motorists should still expect significant delays.

The truck driver managed to stop the vehicle on the road shoulder just west of the Front Street North exit before escaping from the rig at about 4 p.m.

Read more

Puget Sound Energy sends stinky bills as gas leak reminder

August 26, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 26, 2011

The utility bills reaching more than 1.5 million Puget Sound Energy customers through September stink.

Inside each envelope is a scratch-and-sniff pamphlet to help customers recognize the rotten-egg odor used to help identify and report natural gas leaks.

Scratch, and the pamphlet releases a sulfurous aroma, similar to eggs gone bad. PSE and other natural gas utilities add the scent, or odorant, mercaptan to colorless and odorless natural gas.

“We distribute this pamphlet to our customers and others in the region to make sure both natural gas users and the general public are familiar with the odor so they can recognize it and safely report if they suspect a natural gas leak around their homes or elsewhere,” Martha Monfried, PSE director of corporate communications, said in a statement.

Read more

Discover Pass sales generate almost $3 million for parks, lands

August 25, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 25, 2011

The state generated $2.9 million for state parks and other public recreation lands during the initial six weeks of Discover Pass sales, state agency chiefs announced Wednesday.

Officials started requiring the $30 annual pass or $10 day-use pass to park vehicles at recreation lands statewide July 1. The state started selling the passes in June.

Don Hoch, Washington State Parks director, said the revenue is crucial to state parks, because the agency must rely on user fees and donations to cover costs. In recent years, the Legislature slashed funding for agencies managing outdoor recreation lands and facilities.

“Public support has been essential as we begin this new program aimed at preserving public access to recreation lands,” he said in a statement. “It’s heartening that Washington citizens are willing to help keep their recreation lands open and operating. And we are optimistic that sales will continue to grow to help fund our state recreation lands.”

Read more

See the Seattle Storm, help YWCA celebrate milestone

August 25, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 25, 2011

See the Seattle Storm face the Tulsa Shock — and support YWCA of Seattle-King-Snohomish.

The reigning champion Storm plays the Shock at 7 p.m. Thursday at Seattle’s KeyArena.

The celebration comes as the nonprofit organization surpasses the halfway mark in the $26.5 million Women Empowered Community Campaign, a fundraising effort to provide services for women and families.

Funds from the campaign helped build YWCA Family Village at Issaquah, a 146-unit complex in the Issaquah Highlands. Residents started settling in during late spring.

So, the YWCA is inviting people to the Storm game for a chance to celebrate. Tickets cost $6 and the YWCA is providing snacks. Order the discounted tickets at the YWCA website.

Game attendees can also go down on the court and be a part of the fan tunnel cheering the players.

Residents donate 400 pounds of scraps for trash-to-treasure composting effort

August 24, 2011

King County EcoConsumer Tom Watson mucks around in a pile of more than 400 pounds food scraps from Issaquah residents Wednesday. By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 12:50 p.m. Aug. 24, 2011

The half-gnawed corncobs, shorn pineapple tops, slippery banana peels and grease-stained pizza boxes simmered in the midday sun — a concoction assembled from the kitchen castoffs of 10 Issaquah families.

The festering pile in Donna Misner’s driveway included more than 400 pounds collected from residents in the Sycamore neighborhood near downtown Issaquah. King County joined the residents to increase food-scrap recycling for a month for a month to accomplish dual goals: demonstrate how easy such recycling can be and turn the garbage into rich compost for a community garden.

Read more

Find local, regional DUI patrol locations online

August 24, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 24, 2011

State traffic officials revealed the locations of planned driving under the influence patrols on a website for motorists.

Before hitting the road, steer to waTikiLeaks.com to find police patrols in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. The interactive map includes dates, times and locations for planned DUI patrols, such as the emphasis on Issaquah roads during Labor Day weekend.

Though sharing information to help motorists potentially avoid tickets and arrests might seem counterintuitive, officials said the website is another method to promote safe and sober driving on a community level.

The website also features a mobile version, so users can view the information on smart phones, and sharing options to post information to Twitter or Facebook.

Read more

Issaquah, Tibbetts water quality is good, but concerns remain

August 23, 2011

Michael Friel, 10, brushes dirt off a curb, as his dad Mike (left), Molly Caskey and her son Ian, 10, glue the back of a Puget Sound Starts Here tile to glue next to a storm drain in the Issaquah Highlands. By Greg Farrar

The creeks crisscrossing Issaquah remain in good condition, despite increased construction nearby, a population boom in the surrounding watershed and, alongside both developments, more potential for pollution.

Read more

Planners propose 11 projects to restore chinook, kokanee habitat

August 23, 2011

On the East Fork of Issaquah Creek at Third Avenue Northeast and Northeast Creek Way, plans call for the rockery bank wall to be removed and a log weir to be created. By Greg Farrar

Creeks leading to Lake Sammamish could serve as staging areas in the years ahead for a bold plan to restore salmon habitat.

The regional Lake Sammamish Kokanee Work Group has proposed 11 projects in Issaquah and Sammamish to restore habitat for chinook salmon — a species protected under the Endangered Species Act — and dwindling Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon.

The once-abundant kokanee has declined in recent decades, perhaps due to construction near creeks, increased predators, disease or changes in water quality. Scientists estimated the total 2010 run at 58 fish, including the 40 kokanee spawned at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery in a last-ditch effort to save the species.

The proposed projects range from colossal — such as rerouting Laughing Jacobs Creek through Lake Sammamish State Park — to small — adding plants in the Lewis Creek delta, for instance.

Read more

Salmon Days lawsuit could hinge on public safety

August 23, 2011

The legal challenge to city rules for leafleting at the Salmon Days Festival is focusing attention on unfettered freedom of expression in public places.

The lawsuit presents hurdles to the plaintiff, a Snoqualmie man, and the city, constitutional scholars said. The case is rooted in past court decisions about limits on freedom of expression and the steps governments can enact to limit such acts.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Paul Ascherl said Issaquah police officers threatened to arrest him for handing out Christian literature in places outside the pair of downtown “expression areas” on festival grounds last year. Ascherl relocated to the “expression areas” after police and a festival official intervened.

“The suit presents some cognizable First Amendment arguments,” said David Hudson, a First Amendment scholar at the First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tenn.

Salmon Days featured “expression areas” near downtown festival entrances last year. The areas hosted local political parties and candidates for office.

Read more

Next Page »