Latest political proposal splits Issaquah into suburban, rural districts

December 16, 2011

NEW — 4:15 p.m. Dec. 16, 2011

The latest proposal to redraw Washington’s political map shifts more Issaquah neighborhoods into a suburban legislative district.

In a plan unveiled Friday, Washington State Redistricting Commission members Tim Ceis and Slade Gorton proposed a 41st Legislative District stretched from Mercer Island to Sammamish. The proposal encompasses North Issaquah, Newcastle and most Bellevue neighborhoods.

The proposed map puts the remaining Issaquah neighborhoods in the 5th Legislative District — a more rural area stretched from Issaquah to Snoqualmie Pass.

Under a legislative map adopted a decade ago, Issaquah is split between the 41st and 5th districts at 12th Avenue Northwest.

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Liberty girls basketball team rallies by Mercer Island

December 16, 2011

NEW — 3 p.m. Dec. 16, 2011

The Liberty High School girls basketball team staged a tremendous fourth-quarter rally Thursday as the Patriots overcome visiting Mercer Island 45-41 in a KingCo Conference 3A/2A contest.

Liberty trailed 35-20 with five minutes left in the game but outscored Mercer Island 25-6 down the stretch to win the game.

Aspen Winegar had 14 points to lead Liberty. Sierra Carlson added nine points and Delane Agnew eight points as Liberty improved its league-leading record to 4-0. The Patriots are 6-0 on the season.

Mercer Island’s Krista Brackman led all players with 15 points.

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Eastside Fire & Rescue responds to Tiger Mountain house fire

December 16, 2011

NEW — 12:55 p.m. Dec. 16, 2011

Firefighters responded to a house fire on Tiger Mountain just south of Issaquah early Friday afternoon.

Eastside Fire & Rescue dispatched fire trucks and water tankers to the scene after a FedEx driver noticed  black smoke coming from the second floor of the structure at Southeast 133rd Way and 249th Avenue Southeast.

Crews arrived at the scene, about four miles from downtown Issaquah, at about 12:40 p.m.

Initial reports indicate the house is unoccupied. Firefighters searched the home.

Firefighters requested the tankers due to the lack of hydrants in the rural neighborhood. Crews also asked for the King County Sheriff’s Office to provide traffic control near the scene.

DownTown Issaquah Association hires executive director

December 16, 2011

NEW — 10:15 a.m. Dec. 16, 2011

Days after the DownTown Issaquah Association’s executive director abruptly resigned, the merchants group selected a board member and Issaquah resident as a replacement.

Karen Donovan is the nonprofit organization’s next leader, DownTown Issaquah Association leaders announced Friday morning. Donovan leads Space Media, a full-service advertising agency specializing in music and events. The agency’s clients include The Puyallup Fair, plus several local government agencies in the Northwest.

“For the past year, I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the DIA board and the downtown community,” she said in a statement. “My board experience and professional experience will transition nicely with the executive director position.”

In addition to professional and DownTown Issaquah Association commitments, Donovan is involved in local arts and education organizations, including Arts Corps and the Issaquah Schools Foundation.

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King County warns residents about property tax email scam

December 15, 2011

NEW — 3:30 p.m. Dec. 15, 2011

King County officials warned residents about a possible email scam Thursday, after the county received calls from people about a bogus online property tax payment.

The callers reported receiving false confirmation of online property tax payments made through the King County e-commerce system. The county did not send the emails, and the county’s e-commerce system has not been compromised.

“It appears that someone copied our standard payment confirmation email and altered the header in the email so that it appears to be from King County,” county Chief Information Officer Bill Kehoe said in a statement. “These messages did not come from King County, and the recipients have not made any payments with us.”

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Leaders urge donors to avoid holiday charity scams

December 15, 2011

NEW — 3 p.m. Dec. 15, 2011

Secretary of State Sam Reed and state Attorney General Rob McKenna urged consumers to beware holiday charity scams Wednesday, and unveiled a report to help people donate wisely.

The report, compiled by the Charities Division in Reed’s office, spotlights recent financial information for commercial fundraisers soliciting or collecting donations on behalf of charity clients. The causes vary and include police, firefighter and veteran organizations, medical research, animals, civil liberties, environmental issues and more.

Throughout 2011, charities using commercial fundraisers in Washington received 56 percent of total donations raised by the fundraisers — lower than the 77 percent in last year’s report. But the percentage individual fundraisers retained varied.

Some fundraisers kept less than 10 percent and sent the remaining amount to charity. Others raised less money for a charity than what the charity paid for the fundraising service.

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Senator: Put state government’s ‘sacred cows on a diet’

December 15, 2011

NEW — 11 a.m. Dec. 15, 2011

State Sen. Cheryl Pflug — a lawmaker representing Issaquah in Olympia — said the Legislature’s just-concluded 17-day special session laid the foundation for more efforts to rein in spending as legislators return to the Capitol next month to tackle a budget shortfall.

Cheryl Pflug

Legislators adjourned from the special session Wednesday afternoon after adopting a $480 million package to trim spending.

Lawmakers needed to reduce spending by $2 billion in order to close a $1.4 billion budget gap. Gov. Chris Gregoire asked lawmakers to cut $2 billion and called the Legislature into a special session. The hole opened in state budget due to lower-than-predicted revenues.

The governor called for a shorter school year, reductions to social-services programs and other measures to cut costs. Gregoire also asked lawmakers to send temporary sales tax increase to voters to offset reductions.

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Puget Sound Energy warns customers about email scam

December 14, 2011

NEW — 6 p.m. Dec. 14, 2011 

Puget Sound Energy warned customers to beware a fraudulent email meant to mimic a bill-payment notification. The bogus email does not affect PSE customer accounts.

The email resembles the notice PSE sends to online-billing customers when a utility bill is ready to be viewed and paid. The message contains PSE’s logo and some legitimate links to the utility’s website.

The phony email has reached some PSE customers, plus people in other states. The email is part of a nationwide phishing scam.

In email billing notifications, PSE always addresses customers by their full name rather than using “Dear Customer” — a clue of the fraudulent email. Another indication of the false email is the boldfaced message, “Refer to the attached file.”

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Governor appoints Issaquah High School graduate, former county executive to WSU board

December 14, 2011

NEW — 2:15 p.m. Dec. 14, 2011

Gov. Chris Gregoire appointed Issaquah High School graduate Ryan Durkan, a Seattle attorney, and former King County Executive Ron Sims to the Washington State University Board of Regents, Gregoire announced Wednesday.

The board acts as the university’s governing body. Regents supervise, coordinate, manage and regulate the WSU system.

Durkan, a WSU alumna, is a respected attorney at HCMP Law Offices specializing in real estate, land use and environmental law. (Ryan Durkan’s sister is Jenny Durkan, U.S. attorney for Western Washington.)

“Ryan has proven she’s passionate about the importance of education — serving on the board of trustees for an elementary school, a middle school and a high school,” Gregoire said in a statement. “Her experience improving our education system, combined with her legal background and her commitment to community, make her a natural fit.”

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Washington recycling rate increases to highest level yet

December 14, 2011

NEW — 11 a.m. Dec. 14, 2011

Washington’s recycling rate increased to the highest level ever on record last year, reaching 49 percent.

The information comes from a report released Wednesday from the state Department of Ecology. Officials said Washington residents recycled more and tossed less in the trash.

The total amount of municipal waste recycled by state residents increased by more than 540,000 tons last year — up 14 percent from 2009. The total amount of waste disposed from households and businesses decreased through the recession.

The trend continued in 2010 as disposal dropped by about 65,000 tons, or 1 percent.

“Reducing and recycling waste have economic, environmental and public health benefits for our state’s residents,” Laurie Davies, Waste 2 Resources Program manager for the Department of Ecology, said in a statement. “It protects our water, reduces our exposure to toxic chemicals which lowers health risks, and can build a clean, ‘green’ economy for Washington’s future.”

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