Leaders offer support to renew levy for veterans services

March 9, 2011

NEW — 5 p.m. March 9, 2011

The effort to renew a King County veterans and human services levy in November cleared a key hurdle Wednesday.

Members of the County Council Regional Policy Committee — comprised of council members, Seattle City Council members and Suburban Cities Association representatives — offered unanimous support to legislation to put the levy renewal to voters.

The legislation heads to the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee for further consideration.

“The veterans and human services levy is dedicated to improving the lives of those who were willing to sacrifice their lives for our safety,” County Councilman Bob Ferguson, the prime sponsor of both the proposed renewal and the original legislation in 2005, said in a statement.

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King County leaders kick off World’s Fair anniversary celebration

March 9, 2011

NEW — 2 p.m. March 9, 2011

King County Council members offered some World’s Fair nostalgia in recognizing Seattle Center as host to the 1962 expo.

The council issued the recognition Monday to kick off the celebration leading to the World’s Fair’s 50th anniversary in April 2012.

“Seattle Center has a special personal connection for most King County residents, as it serves as the region’s gathering place,” Councilman Larry Phillips said in a release. (Phillips’ district includes Seattle Center.)

“One of my fondest connections to the center is watching children play in the fountain that my father originally designed,” he continued. “The center’s 50th anniversary commemoration is an opportunity to reminisce about the rich history of Seattle Center and the World’s Fair, as well as envision the center’s future.”

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2011 Spring Freetime

March 9, 2011

Open publication – Free publishing

King County celebrates March as Women’s History Month

March 9, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. March 9, 2011

King County Executive Dow Constantine issued a proclamation for International Women’s Day to honor the contributions of women in society — and to celebrate Women’s History Month.

“I encourage all residents to support the goals of International Women’s Day, and to reaffirm our commitment to end gender-based discrimination,” he said in a statement. “Women have come a long way in the struggle for equal rights and opportunities, and it is up to all of us to continue consciously creating positive change for women worldwide.”

King County has a strong history of providing leadership and management opportunities to the women in the county workforce.

Women comprise 50 percent of the executive’s leadership team, including Assistant Deputy County Executive Rhonda Berry, County Administrative Officer Caroline Whalen, Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives Carrie Cihak, Director of Customer Service Natasha Jones, and Director of Labor Relations Patti Cole-Tindall.

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Stacy Goodman appointed to City Council seat

March 8, 2011

Stacy Goodman takes the oath of office after the City Council selected her to fill a vacant seat March 7. By Greg Farrar

City Council members appointed attorney Stacy Goodman to the council March 7, ending a monthslong process to fill the seat.

“I believe there is a space up at the dais for you to occupy,” Mayor Ava Frisinger said after she administered the oath of office.

Goodman, a past editor of The Issaquah Press, adds a fresh face — and a long résumé as a civic volunteer and municipal board member — to the seven-member council. The former journalist bested eight other applicants to succeed former Councilwoman Maureen McCarry, and to hold the post until after the November council election.

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Firefighters: Generator caused blaze at Issaquah home

March 8, 2011

Fire caused $350,000 in damage, minor injuries

Firefighters said a generator sparked a blaze inside the garage at a South Cove home late last week.

The fire started at about 5:50 p.m. March 3 inside a garage in the 18200 block of Southeast 43rd Court, a neighborhood along Lake Sammamish’s southern shore. Residents in the neighborhood near Timberlake Park reported explosions and black smoke billowing into the air.

Fire roared through a South Cove house March 3 after the homeowner set up a generator in the garage. Contributed

Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters raced to extinguish the garage fire. The blaze had reached the attached house and threatened another home nearby. Firefighting units from neighboring Bellevue assisted the EFR team.

Investigators said the fire started after a portable generator inside the garage caught fire. The homeowner said he started the generator due to a weather-related power outage in the neighborhood.

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Missing Klahanie girl found dead after search

March 8, 2011

A King County Sheriff’s Office detective found the body of a missing 12-year-old Klahanie girl on March 6. Investigators said the death was noncriminal in nature.

The girl, a seventh-grade student at Pacific Cascade Middle School, went missing March 2. A concerned friend of the girl called the sheriff’s office shortly before 6 p.m. that day, reporting that the girl had sent suicidal text messages and mentioned suicide on Facebook, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

The sheriff’s office had received reports about the girl within the past two months. The family had called the sheriff’s office Jan. 17, saying the teen was missing and that she was a chronic runaway. She returned home the next day, Jan. 18.

After receiving the concerned call March 2, the sheriff’s office checked the area, including Pine Lake Park, but could not find the girl. When the sheriff’s office contacted the girl’s parents, “they did not believe the girl was actually suicidal, although she was not at home,” the release said.

Her parents reported her missing the next day, March 3, when she did not return home.

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Police investigate possible sexual assault

March 8, 2011

Washington State Patrol suspect sketch

Investigators continue to search for a man involved in a possible sexual assault near Issaquah last week.

Washington State Patrol detectives seek information and witnesses after a teenage girl reported a sexual assault Feb. 28. Investigators released a suspect sketch March 4.

Police said a man in a truck picked up the Issaquah girl at about 5:30 p.m. as she walked along state Route 900 at 148th Avenue Southeast in May Valley near Issaquah, assaulted her and proceeded to drive around the area. The girl told police he held her against her will and released her after about 30 minutes.

“She thought it was somebody she knew, and that’s why she got in the car,” Detective Stacy Moate said. “Once she was in, she realized it wasn’t, but at that point it was too late.”

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District loses another $450,000 in state cuts

March 8, 2011

State lawmakers have approved a second supplemental budget that will cut another $450,000 from the Issaquah School District’s operations budget.

The cuts are in addition to other cuts the state Legislature has already made to the district. In December, the state Legislature approved mid-year cuts that took away $1 million from Issaquah schools for 2010-11. When those cuts were not enough to balance the budget, legislators made further reductions Feb. 18.

“In total, we will receive $1.45 million less this school year than the state promised us in August, when we set our operations budget and signed all of our annual contracts,” Jake Kuper, district chief of finance and operations, said in a news release. “A mid-year reduction like this is unprecedented and particularly damaging because we can’t back out of our set obligations, even though the state is backing out of its” obligations.

The district will have to dig deeper into its reserve fund to finance the remaining school year, diverting money that had been set aside for material adoptions. The district will have to rely on its community partners, such as the Issaquah Schools Foundation, to update its curricula, school district spokeswoman Sara Niegowski said.

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Press Editorial

March 8, 2011

Legislators need your input more than ever

State representatives will be more approachable than ever this Saturday, March 12. Constituents from both the 5th and 41st legislative districts might want to save the date for a face-to-face opportunity to share views about reduced services and possible fees now before the Legislature.

Your representatives are prepared to hear from you about increased classroom sizes in public schools, benefit changes for state employees, reduced road maintenance, tolling of the two Lake Washington bridges, user fees/permits for state parks, increases in college tuition, a proposed new tax district to pay for ferries, closure of mental health facilities, loss of state sponsored health insurance for children and myriad other issues heavy on your mind.

Hearing from the voters is what will help drive the tough decisions legislators are contemplating now to address a $4.6 billion deficit in the 2011-13 state budget.

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