Issaquah legislator introduces measure to eliminate some Washington counties

January 26, 2011

NEW — 4 p.m. Jan. 26, 2011

Under a proposal offered by state Rep. Glenn Anderson, state leaders could dissolve some Washington counties for taking in more in state dollars than the counties contribute through sales tax revenue.

The measure is unlikely to emerge from the House of Representatives, or even a committee. But the proposal has started a discussion about the harsh budget reality legislators face.

Democrats from populous Western Washington counties — Seattle Rep. Reuven Carlyle and Snohomish Rep. Hans Dunshee — joined Anderson to introduce the proposed constitutional amendment.

“Washington is facing an extraordinary budget crisis just like California,” he said in a statement released Wednesday. “We must take direct action to restore fiscal sanity.”

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Homebuilder announces plan to add 70 townhouses in highlands

January 26, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Jan. 26, 2011

Homebuilder Pulte Homes has purchased land to build 70 townhouses in the Issaquah Highlands, the company announced Tuesday.

The planned neighborhood, called Sunset Walk, is located adjacent to Sunset Park and near planned retail offerings. The project is Pulte Homes’ first foray in Issaquah.

The homebuilder purchased the land from highlands master developer Port Blakely Communities in late December.

“We have been looking for the right location and time to expand locally, and this is an excellent opportunity for us to do so,” Pulte Homes Division President for the Pacific Northwest John Ochsner said in a release.

Plans call for Sunset Walk to feature five two- and three-story townhouse floor plans ranging from 1,460 to 2,054 square feet.

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Issaquah food bank hires new executive director

January 25, 2011

Board selects former Bellingham parks employee for role

Cori Kauk, the new executive director at the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank, takes a moment for a smile on her first day of work Jan. 18 at the downtown facility. By Greg Farrar

Cori Kauk arrived to handshakes, hugs and flowers to start in the top job at the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank last week.

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City, National Weather Service collaborate

January 25, 2011

Forecasters aim to reduce confusion about flood data

Information from the city and the National Weather Service offered a study in contrasts as rain-gorged Issaquah Creek spilled onto city streets in early December.

A shed houses a U.S. Geological Survey flood gauge beside Issaquah Creek at 252nd Avenue Southeast and Southeast 165th Street. By Greg Farrar

Issaquah Creek data from a gauge upstream in Hobart indicated a creek running high, but not enough to cause more than localized flooding. Information from a downstream gauge and a notice from National Weather Service meteorologists, on the other hand, cautioned residents to prepare for widespread flooding in the city.

The arrangement caused some confusion among floodplain residents.

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Mayor highlights 2010 accomplishments

January 25, 2011

Mayor Ava Frisinger plans to highlight city services and volunteer efforts to protect open space in the 2011 State of the City address Feb. 7.

The annual milestone also offers Frisinger and other leaders a chance to reflect on milestones from the past year.

People volunteered more than 5,600 hours for open space projects throughout 2010 — a figure Frisinger plans to highlight in the upcoming address.

The presentation, like others in years past, is scheduled to include video highlights of city programs from the year.

Frisinger touted sustainability and technology goals in the 2010 address, plus long-term plans for the business district and downtown parks along Issaquah Creek. The mayor tracked the key projects throughout the year.

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District dips into funds to keep resource officer

January 25, 2011

Rural storefronts remain open, but deputies assigned elsewhere

Issaquah School District leaders dipped into a budget reserve to keep the resource officer at Liberty High School, after cuts to the King County Sheriff’s Office eliminated the program.

King County Council members eliminated the resource officers assigned to Liberty and other schools in unincorporated areas in order to patch a $60 million budget hole late last year. The district kicked in $40,000 from a budget reserve in order to keep Deputy Dave Montalvo at the school through the end of the school year.

The austere county budget for 2011 also called for the police storefront in a rural area near Issaquah to close, but the facility remains open.

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Suspicious powder identified

January 25, 2011

Cornstarch in mail leads to emergency response at office

The suspicious powder responsible for a lockdown at a North Issaquah office building Jan. 13 turned out to be cornstarch.

Issaquah police and emergency crews mobilized to the building in the 1600 block of Northwest Sammamish Road at about 2 p.m. after receiving reports of a package containing a powdery substance. Responders said a handful of workers reported headaches and sore throats.

The incident occurred at the Costco-owned and operated Lake Place Office Center, about a mile from Costco and Costco headquarters.

Eastside Fire & Rescue sent a hazardous materials team to retrieve and remove the package. Officials also locked down the building and cordoned off the area for several hours.

The investigation expanded to include the police department, the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the agency responsible for mail-related crimes.

State panel tackles congressional, legislative districts

January 25, 2011

The process to reset the state’s legislative and congressional district started Jan. 18, after the members of the Washington State Redistricting Commission took office.

The bipartisan commission includes four voting members: Democrats Tim Ceis, a former Seattle deputy mayor; and Dean Foster, a former chief clerk for the state House of Representatives; and Republicans Slade Gorton, a former U.S. senator, and Tom Huff, a former state budget chairman.

The commission must select a fifth member to serve as a nonvoting chairperson.

Washington is in line to add a 10th congressional seat in 2012. Most political observers expect the district to be created on the Eastside or in the South Puget Sound region.

The change reflects the population figures released as part of the 2010 Census. The state population has swelled by 14.1 percent, since the 2000 Census, to 6,724,540 people.

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King County Council appoints citizens to redraw districts

January 25, 2011

King County Council members appointed a team of community leaders last week to update the map for representation in county government.

The council appointed four members Jan. 18 to the King County Districting Committee, the citizen committee responsible for redrawing council districts based on 2010 Census data. The county is carved into nine districts, each represented by a single council member.

“Redistricting is a challenging, time-consuming process that is vital to ensuring our residents are fairly represented,” Councilman Reagan Dunn said in a statement. “We are grateful that these four highly-qualified community members are willing to provide their service to King County.”

Dunn represents District 9 on the nine-member council. The district encompasses the rural area near Issaquah, plus Newcastle, Maple Valley and areas inside Bellevue and Renton.

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Press Editorial

January 25, 2011

Legislature could make info less accessible

Once again, the state Legislature is messing with the public’s easy access to local government’s basic functions. Senate Bill 5360 and House Bill 1478 will give cities and counties in Washington state the option to place required government notices on their websites instead of publishing in a newspaper of record.

Yes, the move would save money for cities, but at a far greater cost to the public. Instead of having the notices of new ordinances, zoning changes, public hearings, tax rates, road closures and much more come along with your newspaper, you will need to go to each local agency’s website. In Issaquah, that might mean websites for the city, the county, fire districts, water and sewer district, Port of Seattle and the school district.

The Issaquah Press publishes the legal notices for many of those agencies now. And we publish them online at www.issaquahpress.com and at a statewide website for aggregated public notices. We do charge for publishing in the newspaper, but not for the online publications. Once published, we provide notarized affidavits as proof of publication.

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