County sets $5 as maximum fee for vehicle recharging stations

May 19, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. May 19, 2011

King County Council members set a $5 fee as the cap for motorists plugging in electric and hybrid vehicles for a charge at county recharging stations.

The ordinance adopted by the council Monday establishes a per-use fee, and directs the county Department of Transportation to set a fee up to $5 per use. The proposed maximum fee is based on maintenance costs, vendor costs and electricity.

“The $5 cap fee approved today should give the economic viability of electric cars a real jolt,” Vice Chairwoman Jane Hague said in a release. “‘Green’ vehicles are the future of transportation and providing commuters with a variety of practical options is definitely a good thing.”

Technological advances make electric vehicles — battery and plug-in hybrids — more economically feasible to own.

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Springtime can cause headaches for humans as wildlife raise young

May 19, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. May 19, 2011

Springtime means more sunshine, balmier days — and wildlife reproduction season.

Homeowners often report nuisance animals in springtime, as the birds and the bees birth and raise young.

The most common nuisance calls to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife offices relate to skunks and raccoons. The animals find crawl spaces, outbuildings, and other nooks and crannies to set up housekeeping for babies. Homeowners fear potentially nasty encounters between the animals and pets or children.

In addition, squirrels, rabbits, moles, marmots, bats, snakes and starlings preparing to raise families create other potential nuisances around human homes.

The top attraction for females of many species in springtime is a warm, dry, easily defended area for a den or nest.

So, homeowners should close up spaces, including basement window wells, areas under porches and decks, garage and shed entries of even the smallest dimensions, roofing gaps, uncapped chimneys and vents, and attic rafters.

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King County shelter waives adoption fees for adult dogs

May 19, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. May 19, 2011

Regional Animal Services of King County is waiving adoption fees for adult dogs through May 31.

The agency’s Kent shelter received numerous arrivals in recent weeks, prompting officials to waive adoption fees.

“Because we don’t euthanize adoptable pets, space can sometimes get tight at the shelter,” agency Manager Ken Nakatsu said in a release. “By temporarily waiving the adoption fee for adult dogs, we’re hoping to get more of them into loving, permanent homes. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone looking for a new member of the family.”

Until May 31, the adoption fee for dogs older than 6 months is waived. Owners can take home a pet for just the cost of the license — a savings of $75 to $250.

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Knock invasive plants dead at Scotch Broom Massacre

May 19, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. May 19, 2011

Issaquah turns into the site of a massacre Sunday.

Issaquah Environmental Council members and volunteers gather at the High Point Trailhead to massacre invasive Scotch broom.

The annual Scotch Broom Massacre runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants should meet off of Interstate 90 Exit 20.

Organizers encourage volunteers to bring loppers or pruners. Organizers provide snacks, gloves and some tools.

RSVP on the Issaquah Environmental Council website and call Barbara Shelton at 466-8470 to learn more.

City Council sells Issaquah Highlands land to homebuilder

May 18, 2011

NEW — 3 p.m. May 18, 2011

City Council members agreed Monday to sell Issaquah Highlands land — a scrap measuring 16,000 square feet — to a homebuilder and set aside dollars from the sale to improve municipal parks.

The city stands to receive $191,496 for the parcel near the planned 15th Avenue Northeast extension and Northeast College Drive construction. The land measures 16,000 square feet, or about the size of a typical Bartell Drugs.

Bellevue-based developer Polygon Northwest is building the Forest Ridge at Issaquah Highlands neighborhood near the site and intends to add the parcel to the community.

The homebuilder could create three lots for single-family detached homes on the site.

“As a new member to the Issaquah Highlands community, we want to do what’s in the best interest of the community, and we feel that this fits that goal,” Ben Rutkowski, development project manager for Polygon Northwest, told council members.

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Liberty High School drama program earns award nominations

May 18, 2011

Liberty High School performers prepare for a scene from 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood.' By Mary Eck

NEW — 8 a.m. May 18, 2011

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” — a stage production based on Charles Dickens’ unfinished murder mystery — garnered Liberty High School performers a half dozen nominations in the annual 5th Avenue Awards Honoring High School Musical Theater.

The high school’s company, called the Patriot Players, earned nods for Outstanding Choreography, Outstanding Costume Design, Outstanding Program Design and Outstanding Performance by a Chorus. Tucker Goodman and Paige Fabre also received acting nominations in the statewide competition.

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Bears awaken from hibernation

May 17, 2011

Wildlife experts advise caution as local sightings increase

Bears take refuge in a Sammamish Plateau tree during a May sighting. By Bent Wiencke

State Department of Fish and Wildlife agents responded to a bear in a home last week, after a surprised Issaquah woman discovered the animal pawing around inside a locked garage.

The incident underscored the need for education about black bears as the close encounters between humans and bears start for the year.

State wildlife officials and organizations remind residents in Issaquah and other communities near bear habitat to take precautions as soon as possible to limit the potential for dangerous encounters.

Bear Awareness Week is observed in Washington through May 21.

The incident relating to the bear in the garage is the latest sighting in recent weeks as bears started to emerge from hibernation early last month.

Issaquah School District administrators spotted bears near several campuses in April and May, including Cascade Ridge, Clark and Newcastle elementary schools. Police received a call about a bear at the downtown Issaquah Salmon Hatchery in late April.

Residents have reported frequent sightings in neighborhoods throughout the city. In the latest example, Issaquah police officers received a call at 11:43 a.m. May 10 about a bear inside a garage in a tree-lined neighborhood near the Sammamish Family YMCA, not far from Providence Point.

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Prosecutors consider charges in bear shooting

May 17, 2011

The investigation into a November bear shooting is complete and the King County Prosecutor’s Office is reviewing the case and should decide whether to file charges soon, spokesman Dan Donohoe said.

State wildlife agents tranquilized and captured the bear Nov. 11 after a homeowner reported a trapped black bear in a creek near Highlands Drive Northeast and Southeast Black Nugget Road. PAWS veterinarians later euthanized the bear cub, because a bullet left the animal paralyzed.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife investigators identified the person believed to be responsible for shooting the black bear by late November, but did not release additional details. Investigators said community members in the neighborhood offered tips during the search for a suspect.

The state classifies unlawful hunting of big game as a felony. Upon conviction, the state revokes all hunting licenses or tags, and suspends the violator’s hunting privileges for 10 years. The penalty also includes a $2,000 fine.

The state classifies the black bear as a game animal, but killing a bear in self-defense, or to defend someone else, should be reasonable and justified. The bear must pose a serious threat.

Girl, 12, pleads not guilty in cyberbullying case

May 17, 2011

On the same day Issaquah Middle School students received a lesson in online security, a 12-year-old Issaquah girl pleaded not guilty to cyberstalking and first-degree computer trespassing charges.

Prosecutors said she and a friend posted lewd messages and photographs on a classmate’s Facebook page. The incident generated national attention and raised questions about bullying in the social media age.

The other girl charged in the case is 11. Because of her age, she is scheduled for a hearing May 24 to determine whether she understands the impact of the case. State law presumes children ages 8 to 11 lack the capacity to commit a crime.

The case-setting hearing for the 12-year-old girl is June 1.

Investigators said the girls accessed a classmate’s Facebook page, scrawled the phrase “I’m a slut” across a photo of the fellow sixth-grader and used the site’s instant messaging service to proposition boys for sexual acts.

The girl targeted in the case, Leslie Cote, is 12. The defendants and Leslie attend Issaquah Middle School together. Leslie sat in the courtroom during the arraignment May 10.

Under state law, the defendants face up to 30 days in juvenile detention, but community service is a more likely sentence.

The Issaquah Press usually does not name defendants age 12 or younger.

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Issaquah City Council sets goals for 2012

May 17, 2011

Leaders pick downtown parking, economic development as 2012 focus

Solving parking headaches in downtown Issaquah is a top priority for city leaders next year.

The ongoing problem emerged as the No. 1 goal May 14 as City Council members set goals for 2012.

The city intends to examine possible solutions, because parking is often difficult in the historic downtown corridor during ArtWalk and other summertime events.

The council opted to revisit the longtime headache for downtown merchants and consumers. The city conducted other downtown parking studies in the past.

Other priorities included a continued focus on economic development, offering additional city information online, and discussing possible arrangements for the aging Julius Boehm Pool and cash-strapped Lake Sammamish State Park.

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