Issaquah City Hall drop box opens for special election

April 21, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. April 21, 2011

King County Elections has rolled out ballot drop boxes before the upcoming special election, including a drop box at Issaquah City Hall.

The box at City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way, opened April 7 and is due to remain open 24 hours a day until 8 p.m. April 26, Election Day.

The election does not include Issaquah or Issaquah School District voters, but residents in the nearby Snoqualmie Valley School District face a ballot measure.

The boxes — set up at locations across King County — allow voters to return ballots in person rather than by mail.

The elections office relied on historical use, population densities, planned future growth, proximity to transit services, access and safety data to determine the locations.

The elections office said voters used the drop boxes during the August primary and November general elections last year, as well as a February special election.

Earth Day offers opportunity to ‘detox’ homes

April 21, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. April 21, 2011

King County’s EcoConsumer program is taking the cleansing trend one step further with the Earth Day Detox.

The six-step regimen is intended to help residents detoxify homes in ways to protect health and the environment.

King County EcoConsumer Tom Watson, alongside nonprofit groups and government agencies, is encouraging residents to review the detox steps through Friday, Earth Day.

“Each day we’ll give you another step to help make your home a safer place, whether it be evaluating the contents of your medicine cabinet or sorting through the chemicals gathering dust in your garage,” Watson said. “The program will also give advice on how to properly dispose of toxic products and suggest greener and safer alternatives.”

Read more

State bans bath salts used as meth substitutes

April 21, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. April 21, 2011

State health officials filed emergency rules to curb the rising use of bath salts used as substitutes for cocaine and methamphetamine.

The state Board of Pharmacy acted after the Washington Poison Center reported a growing number of calls about people who had ingested the bath salts. Half of the calls came from hospital emergency rooms.

The center said the number of calls related to bath salt ingestion has increased threefold — to 39 calls — from last year.

Sold as “bath salts,” products featuring colorful names, such as Ivory Wave, Red Dove and Zoom, contain stimulants called substituted cathinones. The stimulants affect behavior and judgment. Moreover, the bath salts have a high potential for abuse and can be dangerous to human health.

Users typically inhale the bath salts in a manner similar to snorting cocaine. The board has also posted a Q&A about the products.

Read more

Guest Column

April 20, 2011

Innovative, ambitious ‘green’ programs earn their keep in Issaquah

Just a few years ago, many people considered sustainability a fad. The prediction was that cities passionate about recycling and green living would abandon sustainability when hard-pressed to stretch city dollars and services.

That didn’t happen. In fact, communities like Issaquah stand tall on Earth Day because of innovative and ambitious sustainability programs that are actually reducing costs. Here’s how:

Waste reduction for Issaquah businesses: The city of Issaquah and Waste Management are partners in innovative outreach to boost commercial recycling. As a result, Issaquah has sent less and less garbage to the landfill every year since 2005.

The city’s new food packaging ordinance is a prime example of an aggressive effort that’s paying off. It requires restaurants and food service-related businesses to compost and to use “to-go” packaging that is either recyclable or compostable. Since October, 90 local businesses have signed up for food waste collection, diverting 600 tons of food waste from the landfill. That’s roughly 60 Waste Management trucks full of food waste.

Read more

City celebrates Arbor Day at Ruth Kees Grove planting

April 20, 2011

Volunteers gather along Issaquah Creek on April 16 to observe Arbor Day. By Margaret Macleod

NEW — 4 p.m. April 20, 2011

Issaquah leaders gathered on a less-than-springlike day April 16 to observe Arbor Day and plant a grove to honor Ruth Kees and the community’s other top environmentalists.

Like the top environmental honor in the city, the grove is named for the late Kees. The bespectacled environmentalist fought for decades to protect Issaquah Creek, Tiger Mountain and the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer from development-related threats.

Read more

Issaquah marijuana collective fights for license

April 19, 2011

Lydia George holds buds of medical marijuana from two of the several jars at the GreenLink Collective. Physicians can recommend but not prescribe the drug. By Greg Farrar

The reception area at GreenLink Collective, a medical marijuana collective nestled on a leafy street in downtown Issaquah, resembles a doctor’s office.

The decision to incorporate soothing colors and a bubbling aquarium in the lobby is no coincidence.

Read more

Interstate 90 pedestrian bridge is late, over budget

April 19, 2011

Opening is delayed until at least June

The spindly pedestrian crossover bridging the westbound on-ramp at Interstate 90 and state Route 900 is at least $200,000 over budget and not expected to open until June, months after the expected completion date.

Blame unstable soil at the site and soggy conditions for delaying the connector from April until early summer. The additional construction could increase the $6 million project budget. City Public Works Engineering Director Bob Brock said planners could ask the City Council to authorize additional dollars for the project, depending on the remaining construction.

“We would like to get it done sooner, but we recognize that this has been a very wet winter, and it just keeps going,” he said.

The long-planned connector at the bustling intersection experienced a construction slowdown last fall after crews needed to dig deeper to find a solid layer to support the piers beneath the bridge. The rain-soaked winter and spring also caused construction to proceed at a slower pace.

Plans call for the completed connector to include a separate 12-foot-wide pedestrian bridge across the westbound interstate on-ramps. Crews also modified the existing state Route 900 overpass to install a 10-foot-wide pedestrian crossing.

The city relied on federal dollars and a $400,000 grant from Sound Transit to offset most of the project cost. The city contributed about $341,000 for the connector and is responsible for cost overruns.

Construction on the project started last July.

Read more

State Senate recommends leaner budget for trails

April 19, 2011

The state Senate proposed a less-generous budget last week for Issaquah-area outdoor recreation projects than the state House of Representatives.

Senators released a budget proposal April 12, a week after legislators from the other chamber recommended $2.18 million to upgrade trails and recreation areas.

Senators proposed reductions of more than $600,000 for local projects, trimming a Cougar Mountain trail project to $127,000 from the $500,000 recommended by the House and reducing Duthie Hill Park trailhead development to $55,000 from the $317,000 recommended by the House.

Lawmakers from both chambers agreed on Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program funding for the other Issaquah-area projects.

Senators also recommended $247,870 to build bridges on Tiger Mountain State Forest trails, plus $500,000 to pave East Lake Sammamish Trail from Redmond to Issaquah.

Both proposals include dollars for Covington and Snoqualmie Valley projects.

Read more

Issaquah community’s ‘green’ achievers observe Earth Day

April 19, 2011

Earth Day is observed April 22, but some Issaquah-area residents celebrate the eco-conscious holiday year-round.

As people elsewhere take initial steps to “green” vehicles, volunteer for earth-friendly activities, reduce carbon footprints and make homes and gardens more earth-friendly, the Issaquah community includes avid recyclers, car-free families and “green” homeowners.

Issaquah resident Kent Peterson, who traded his car for a bike more than 20 years ago, leads a procession of well-wishers as he departs last year for Banff, Alberta, the starting line for the 2,745 mile Tour Divide race. By Greg Farrar

Recycling to superstar status

Wayne Elson started recycling cans and bottles more than 30 years ago — long before recycling became as simple as a trip to the curb.

Read more

Salmon Days unveils ‘wild’ festival theme

April 19, 2011

The venerable Salmon Days Festival turns 42 in October, but the long-running festival is anything but tame in middle age.

Organizers picked the theme “Wild Things!” for the upcoming festival to celebrate the return of kings, reds, silvers and chums — the kind of salmon lingo preferred by organizers of the fish-centric festival.

2011 Salmon Days Festival theme

Like she has for the past 17 festivals, Issaquah designer Robin Dale Spicer created the logo.

Robin Kelley, festivals director at the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce and the chief Salmon Days organizer, described the “Wild Things!” theme as “exciting and fun, with whimsical characters that embrace all aspects of the community we serve.”

Organizers planned to announce the theme at a chamber function April 19.

Read more

« Previous PageNext Page »