Cameras to start catching speeders as students return

August 23, 2011

Motorists caught exceeding 20 mph limit face $124 fine

Issaquah police plan to reactivate speed-enforcement cameras near Issaquah High School and other campuses next week, as students return to schools along Second Avenue Southeast and elsewhere in the Issaquah School District.

Police deactivated the cameras during the summer hiatus. Now, as classes resume Aug. 30, police plan to activate the cameras from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on school days, just as in past years. Cameras aimed in both directions along the street capture license plate information on vehicles exceeding the 20 mph school zone speed limit.

Motorists exceeding the speed limit face a $124 fine. The infraction is a noncriminal offense similar to a parking ticket and does not become part of the violator’s driving record.

The fine and information about the violation arrive in the mail several days after the incident.

People can pay the fine outright, request a hearing in Issaquah Municipal Court or submit a declaration of nonresponsibility. The last option is sometimes used if a person other than the vehicle’s owner drove the vehicle during the violation.

The cameras photograph and record only vehicles exceeding the school zone speed limit.

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Voters overwhelmingly renew Veterans and Human Services Levy

August 23, 2011

The popular Veterans and Human Services Levy garnered overwhelming support from King County voters Aug. 16, as the electorate renewed the measure through 2017.

The levy is expected to generate about $100 million for programs to aid veterans and needy residents. The funding is split 50-50 between veterans programs and human services efforts.

“The citizens of King County have demonstrated their respect for our veterans and compassion for our neighbors most in need by voting to renew the Veterans and Human Services Levy,” County Executive Dow Constantine, a levy supporter, said in a statement late Aug. 16.

“I thank the voters for approving the levy and showing, once again, that King County is an extraordinary community in which to live.”

The measure, Proposition 1, garnered more than 60 percent of the vote in the initial results King County Elections released last week. The elections office is due to certify the results Aug. 31.

The measure garnered broad support from human services organizations and advocates for veterans. The county Voters’ Guide, in fact, did not include any statements opposing Proposition 1. Even the County Council put the measure on the ballot in a unanimous decision.

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Cougar cub is recovering after surgery to correct birth defect

August 23, 2011

Veterinary nurses Tina Branham (left) and Katie Mazuti with Tasha in the center, move about the operating room prior to the cougar’s surgery. Contributed

After undergoing surgery at a clinic in Kirkland, Issaquah’s Tasha, a 3-month-old baby cougar, is back home at the Cougar Mountain Zoo and, according to zoo General Curator Robyn Barfoot, is doing very well.

Tasha underwent surgery Aug. 17 to repair a congenital defect that was preventing her from eating solid foods.

“She’s running around and purring,” Barfoot said just two days after the surgery. “Actually, she’s purring an awful lot … She doesn’t seem fazed by any of this at all.”

Veterinarian Michael Mison led Tasha’s surgery at Seattle Veterinary Specialists.

“There were no complications during surgery,” Mison said. “I’m happy to report that Tasha is recovering nicely. We expect her to have a long and healthy life.”

SVS veterinarians diagnosed Tasha with what’s termed a vascular ring anomaly or defect on Aug. 10. Barfoot said keepers had noticed Tasha wasn’t keeping down much food, but at first attributed her vomiting to rough play. Normally, Tasha lives with two other cougar cubs. When Tasha’s problem persisted, Barfoot said zoo officials took her for tests at SVS where vets diagnosed the vascular defect.

According to information released by the clinic, vascular ring anomalies form before an animal is born when embryonic blood vessels develop abnormally.

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Help Sounders FC restore Lake Sammamish State Park

August 23, 2011

Join Seattle Sounders FC players and Seattle Bank employees as they volunteer with the Mountains to Sound Greenway to clear invasive weeds from 1-4 p.m. Aug. 29 at Lake Sammamish State Park.

Washington State Parks and the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust are partnering together on the multiyear restoration of Lake Sammamish State Park. The park provides important habitat for several species of salmon, birds — including bald eagles, great blue herons and red-tailed hawks — amphibians, insects and other wildlife.

But recently the area has become extremely degraded by invasive weeds, including blackberry. In the past five years, volunteers have removed invasive species and re-established native plant communities throughout the park.

For this United We Serve event, Mountains to Sound will focus on clearing blackberry and other invasive species from around newly planted trees and shrubs to give these native plants a better chance at survival.

After a brief orientation and safety briefing, volunteers will dive into work along Issaquah Creek removing invasive weeds. The greenway trust will provide all of the tools, technical training and oversight for the projects — no experience is required.

Register for the event at Search for “United We Serve” under the “Outreach” tab.

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Coca-Cola offers $175,000 to refresh parks

August 23, 2011

Lake Sammamish or Squak Mountain state parks could receive up to $100,000 for upgrades — if either comes out on top in a nationwide contest from Coca-Cola.

The soda giant is offering $175,000 in grants to parks across the United States. In order to receive a prize, parks must receive the most votes from online fans. Supporters can cast unlimited votes until the voting period ends Sept. 6.

Participants can also earn extra points for chosen parks by using Facebook tools and uploading photos as part of the contest.

On the Web

Coca-Cola ‘America’s Favorite Park’ contest

Cast votes for “America’s Favorite Park” — and earn extra points for chosen parks — at the Coca-Cola Live Positively website, americasparks/vote.

In addition to the $100,000 prize, the top recipient claims the title “America’s Favorite Park” for the coming months. Coca-Cola is also offering a $50,000 grant to the park in the No. 2 spot and $25,000 to the No. 3 park.

The grants can be used to restore, rebuild or enhance recreation areas in parks to encourage people to play and be active. The effort is part of Coca-Cola’s Live Positively community initiative.

Both state parks in the Issaquah area cut services in recent years amid state budget shortfalls. Officials considered shutting down Squak Mountain State Park through 2013 as a cost-cutting measure, but decided in the end to keep the park open to the public.

In the contest so far, Lake Sammamish and Squak Mountain received a handful of votes and lag far behind the top contenders.

Coca-Cola launched the contest last year. The soda giant joined the National Park Foundation, America’s State Parks, and the National Recreation and Park Association for the ongoing campaign.

People across the United States cast more than 5.7 million votes during the 2010 campaign. Bear Head Lake State Park in Ely, Minn., received the initial $100,000 prize after garnering more than 1.6 million votes in the contest.

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Issaquah nurse inspires patients, military service members

August 23, 2011

Joelle Machia

Joelle Machia has two passions: cancer research and supporting the U.S. armed forces.

Standing 6 feet, 1 inch, Machia (pronounced may-she) is charismatic, caring and in charge, especially when she talks about preventing cancer or sending packages overseas to her adopted Marines or soldiers.

The longtime Issaquah resident knew as a teenager that nursing was her calling.

Her parents emigrated from France and raised their brood of four — Machia the oldest — in New Jersey, speaking French all the while. Machia didn’t speak English until age 6, but her bilingualism soon blossomed.

By age 14, she began volunteering as a candy striper at a local hospital.

“I loved it,” she said, “I knew right away I wanted to be a nurse.”

After high school, she moved south of Philadelphia to earn her degree in nursing and behavioral sciences.

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King County considers creating treatment court for veterans

August 23, 2011

King County leaders could create a treatment court to offer military veterans treatment and support services for mental illnesses — a concern as service members return from Afghanistan and Iraq suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.

Under a proposal developed by County Executive Dow Constantine, County Councilman Bob Ferguson and King County District Court, a Veterans Treatment Court could debut as a yearlong pilot project to offer special court services to former service members.

The proposal calls for using resources from the existing Mental Health Court to create the pilot project. If a Veterans Treatment Court pilot is carved from Mental Health Court, the cost to the county could be nothing.

The county courthouse in Issaquah, as a site for Mental Health Court, could also host Veterans Treatment Court. If the County Council approves the proposal, a Veterans Treatment Court pilot could start as soon as January.

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Press Editorial

August 23, 2011

Compromise legislation worked; more needed

Last week, government worked, and it was an amazing thing to behold.

King County Council members worked together to create bipartisan, compromise legislation to impose a $20 car tab fee to keep Metro bus service at its current level of service.

This is the way our elected leaders are supposed to work.

We in this state and region have become accustomed to holding a referendum on just about everything, sending every little tax to the voters. Fear of voters blaming state legislators and County Council members keeps them from making the tough decisions.

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Minor 2.8 earthquake rattles Tiger Mountain neighborhood

August 23, 2011

The ground beneath Tiger Mountain rumbled early Aug. 18, as a minor earthquake rattled the Mirrormont neighborhood.

Seismologists recorded a magnitude-2.8 earthquake just before 1 a.m. about a mile beneath the surface.

Such small earthquakes occur often. Washington experiences more than 1,000 tremors each year, although most temblors do not cause damage or even receive much notice from residents.

“Whenever there’s an earthquake it slightly raises the odds that we’ll see more earthquakes,” said John Vidale, Pacific Northwest Seismic Network director and a University of Washington seismologist. “We’re not exactly sure if that’s because earthquakes are a sign of things going on or if that’s because the earthquakes trigger other earthquakes.”

The initial report from the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, based at the UW, pegged the Mirrormont temblor as magnitude 2.3 and deeper in the earth. The magnitude is a measure of earthquake size calculated from ground motion.

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Education opportunities grow in student gardens

August 23, 2011

Sunny Hills Elementary School first-grader Digant Dash (left) plants flower bulbs in the school’s first-grade garden with fourth-graders Derek Chao and Spencer Bernsten. By Jane Ulrich

Inch by inch, row by row, students are planting lettuce, herbs and broccoli in their school gardens.

This fall, teachers are transforming gardens into outdoor classrooms as students pick up trowels and learn about drip irrigation systems.

Dozens of schools incorporate gardening into their curriculum or have gardening clubs, including Apollo, Cascade Ridge, Challenger, Clark, Creekside, Discovery, Endeavour, Grand Ridge, Issaquah Valley, Maple Hills and Sunny Hills elementary schools; Issaquah and Pine Lake middle schools; and Liberty and Tiger Mountain Community high schools.

“I think the outdoors is just a natural place that kids want to be,” Sunny Hills fourth-grade teacher Jane Ulrich said.

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