2011 Memorial Day Special Section

May 25, 2011

Remembering Our Veterans

2011 Memorial Day Section

 

Issaquah School District students win National Merit Scholarships

May 25, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. May 25, 2011

Two Skyline High School students — Saumya Copparam and Dipanwita Maulik — have won National Merit Scholarships, the National Merit Scholarship Corp. announced Wednesday.

Both students plan to attend the University of Southern California, where Copparam plans to study biology and medicine and Maulik plans to study bioengineering.

Put in perspective, Copparam and Maulik are at the top of their game. Of the 1.5 million high school juniors who took the 2009 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, only 16,000 were named as semifinalists in the 56th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

To compete for a scholarship, semifinalists submitted an application that included their academic records and an endorsement from a school official.

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Microsoft employees restore Lake Sammamish State Park habitat

May 24, 2011

Microsoft employees (from left) Jenni Powell, of Kirkland, Bob Scola, of Issaquah, and April Ritscher, of Monroe, cut down an invasive English Hawthorne tree during a habitat restoration project May 20 at Lake Sammamish State Park. By Greg Farrar

Microsoft helped the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust reboot Issaquah Creek habitat May 20.

More than 60 employees from the software giant’s campus along East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast in Issaquah gathered at Lake Sammamish State Park.

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Issaquah School District considers $228 million bond

May 24, 2011

Though far from complete, the 2012 Issaquah School District bond has something for all of the district’s 24 schools, making the work-in-process price $228.6 million.

The proposal also includes remodeled or expanded schools for Apollo, Clark, Issaquah Valley and Sunny Hills elementary schools, Issaquah Middle School, and Liberty and Tiger Mountain Community high schools.

The bond proposal suggests the district tear down Tiger Mountain and Clark, and move the students to a remodeled building where Issaquah Middle School is now. The two schools would be close, but not connected, Associate Superintendent Ron Thiele said, with the Tiger move costing about $3.9 million and the Clark move costing about $19.5 million.

In the meantime, the district would build a new, two-story Issaquah Middle School where Clark and Tiger are now; that would cost about $62.5 million.

“This is the biggest project on the bond,” Thiele said.

The proposed bond also shows several trends — switches from carpet to rubber flooring, three new artificial-turf fields and two rain shields for outdoor play areas.

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State encourages hiring preferences for veterans

May 24, 2011

Issaquah attorney, lawmaker team up for groundbreaking legislation

Ted Wicorek (from right), J.W. Johnson, Booker Stallworth, Mike Gregoire, Gov. Chris Gregoire, Jim Robinson, Marjorie James, Rep. Jay Rodne, Sen. Jeff Baxter, David Black Jr. and Tom Hinman at the Wednesday signing ceremony. Contributed

David Black, a respected employment attorney and Issaquah resident, remembers the challenges his father, a Vietnam War veteran, faced after returning to the civilian workforce.

“He had a really hard time getting employment when I was growing up,” he said. “I remember him having three or four part-time jobs trying to piece something together, trying to make things work.”

Black stood alongside Gov. Chris Gregoire, state legislators and advocates late last month as the governor signed a first-in-the-nation measure to encourage private employers in Washington to hire veterans.

The legislation Black crafted and helped to pass enables private employers to voluntarily give preference to hiring veterans, or veterans’ widows and widowers.

Because the measure encourages, rather than requires, private employers to give preference to hiring veterans, the legislation does not run afoul of state or federal antidiscrimination laws. State law also prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants due to military status.

“The way to encourage positive employment regulation that has a social origin or a social benefit as well is to make it permissive and to encourage it,” Black said.

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Volcano Awareness Month is a reminder to prepare for disasters

May 24, 2011

Issaquah faces risk from volcanic ash amid Cascade eruption

Majestic Mount Rainier, peeping through the gap between Tiger and Squak mountains, stands as a constant reminder to prepare for emergencies.

The looming volcano, like Mount Baker to the north and Mount St. Helens to the south, is active and although geologists do not expect Mount Rainier to erupt anytime soon, emergency planners remind residents to prepare. May is Volcano Awareness Month.

“It’s one of the things where we actually have to remind people that a volcano is one of our hazards,” said Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director. “Everybody looks at Mount Rainier down in the valley there on a nice day and goes, ‘Ah, beautiful mountain’ — until it goes off.”

Issaquah sits outside the area under threat from Mount Rainier lahars, a debris-strewn mudflow streaming from a volcano, but volcanic ash, or tephra, could impact transportation and air quality in East King County. In the area surrounding the mountain, lahars pose a greater hazard than lava and poisonous gases.

Though lava flows might not extend more than a few miles beyond Mount Rainier National Park boundaries, lahars could reach as far north as South King County.

Heath and other emergency planners identify volcanic eruptions as a potential threat to Issaquah.

Carolyn Driedger, hydrologist and outreach coordinator at the U.S. Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Wash., said numerous volcanoes in the Cascade Range remain active.

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The Issaquah Press is best in Northwest

May 24, 2011

The Issaquah Press is the best nondaily newspaper in the Pacific Northwest — again.

The regional Society of Professional Journalists chapter announced the paper’s general excellence award at a Safeco Field ceremony May 21. The newspaper competed against similar publications in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

The 111-year-old publication earned the top award for general excellence last year, too.

“To win this award two years in a row is a real high for The Press,” Publisher Debbie Berto said. “Is it possible for a publisher to be more proud? Our newspaper team, from reporters to advertising reps, is all very dedicated, and they deserve to be recognized as the very best that they are. The community should be proud to have their hometown newspaper be No. 1.”

The annual contest honored more than 200 journalists for accomplishments in print, online, radio and television media. Judges from outside of the region evaluated more than 2,500 entries.

Staffers at The Press, and sister publications Sammamish Review and SnoValley Star, also claimed individual awards in numerous other categories, including a sweep in the Environment and Science Reporting category.

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Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District rates to increase

May 24, 2011

Rates for water and sewer service rise for some Issaquah residents June 1, as the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District confronts a cool economy and increased costs.

The increase amounts to about 13 percent overall — or a $6.74 monthly hike for the average ratepayer.

The district encompasses North Issaquah neighborhoods, including Providence Point, and Klahanie in unincorporated King County. The district is in the process of annexing Issaquah’s Overdale Park neighborhood.

The district’s commissioners approved the rate increase in a 4-1 decision May 23, increasing water rates by 12.7 percent and sewer rates by 13.5 percent — the largest increase the district has made in at least five years.

District General Manager Jay Krauss and Finance Manager Angel Barton cited the down economy, sluggish construction market and increases in the costs of doing business for the 51-employee agency. High gas and electricity prices, as well as employee wages and benefits, also contribute to the rate hike.

Overall, the district serves more than 16,000 customers in Issaquah, Sammamish and unincorporated King County. Beyond the district, Issaquah provides water and sewer service to most city residents, although Bellevue handles the Greenwood Point area along Lake Sammamish.

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Issaquah VFW post plans Memorial Day service

May 24, 2011

The Issaquah Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 3436 hosts a Memorial Day service at Hillside Cemetery, just below the Veterans Section, at 10 a.m. May 30.

The Issaquah High School Junior Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps unit will provide the color guard and honor guard for a 21-gun salute.

The VFW-sponsored Boy Scout Troop No. 709 and Cub Scout Pack No. 639 will help set up at 9 a.m. May 28 and take down decorations from the cemetery after the ceremony. There will be someone at the cemetery between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday to hand out forms for people to specify the symbols — such as crosses and flags — they want on veterans’ graves.

In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held at the Issaquah Valley Senior Center, 75 N.E. Creek Way.

City Council sells highlands land to Bellevue homebuilder

May 24, 2011

City Council members agreed May 16 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.

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.

The council agreed in a unanimous decision to sell the land, but members raised questions about how to use dollars from the sale, as well as road access to possible homes on the site.

Keith Niven, city Major Development Review Team program manager, said the city created the site after carving up a larger parcel.

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