Washington State Patrol seeks accident witnesses

October 19, 2011

NEW — 2 p.m. Oct. 19, 2011

The state troopers investigating a deadly accident on Interstate 90 near Snoqualmie Pass seek additional witnesses to the crash.

The crash injured a 47-year-old Issaquah woman and left two Idaho motorists dead.

The accident occurred just before 11 a.m. Monday on the eastbound interstate just east of Snoqualmie Pass. The collision involved three tractor-trailer rigs and two passenger vehicles.

Early reports to the Washington State Patrol’s Major Accident Investigation Team indicate four of the vehicles stopped in the lone eastbound lane.

Investigators said a truck combination had been the lead vehicle followed by a Buick LeSabre, another tractor trailer and, lastly, a Jeep Cherokee.

The state patrol said a third truck and the Jeep collided, sending the sport-utility vehicle ahead into the trailer of the middle truck. The middle truck then struck the rear of the Buick. Then, the Buick struck the rear of the trailer on the first truck. The occupants in the Jeep died at the scene.

The state patrol is seeking witnesses to the events before, leading up to or the collision itself. Call Detective Sgt. Jerry Cooper at 360-805-1192 or Detective Curt Ladines at 360-805-1160.

Medics transported the Issaquah woman, Lilian H. Skelton, to Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue.

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Liberty girls soccer team clinches state berth

October 19, 2011

NEW — 11:15 a.m. Oct. 19, 2011 

The Liberty High School girls soccer team clinched a Class 3A state tournament berth for the second straight year Tuesday when the Patriots defeated visiting Lake Washington 3-0 in a KingCo Conference 3A/2A contest.

Liberty improved its league-leading record to 11-0 and captured the KingCo 3A Conference’s automatic Class 3A state playoff berth. As KingCo No. 1 the Patriots do not have to play in the league tournament for a state tournament berth.

The Patriots will enter the state tournament next month seeded as the District 2 No. 1 entry and will host a first-round game.

The Patriots, who have three games left to play in the regular season, stretched their lead to 11 points over Lake Washington, which entered the game tied with Interlake for second place.

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City Council selects CleanScapes to haul Issaquah garbage

October 19, 2011

NEW — 11 a.m. Oct. 19, 2011

The next hauler for Issaquah garbage is Seattle-based CleanScapes, City Council members decided Monday.

In a unanimous decision, council members selected the garbage hauler to serve Issaquah neighborhoods other than Greenwood Point and South Cove. CleanScapes offered additional curbside recycling options, a local storefront, wildlife-resistant containers and other features to land the $3.8-million-per-year Issaquah contract.

Consumers could experience a rate decrease as the city transitions from the current hauler, Waste Management, to CleanScapes.

For a residential customer putting a 32-gallon cart out for weekly curbside pickup, rates could decrease from $13.43 to $12.74 — though a recent rate increase from the King County Council could dilute the proposed drop in rates.

The contract runs from July 1 through June 2019.

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Students gear up for da Vinci, a robot surgeon

October 18, 2011

Swedish/Issaquah hosts local schools for robotics demonstration

Michael Petkov, Swedish Medical Center robotics charge nurse, sets the arms on a da Vinci Surgical System robot to perform procedures on a dish of plastic pieces and a grape. By Greg Farrar

The surgeon of the future is clad in gray plastic and operates using a quartet of spindly arms.

The brain in the surgeon of the future — a robot named for a legendary inventor — is a flesh-and-blood physician at the controls. The surgeon guides the robot amid procedures and, like a scene lifted from a sci-fi flick, guide tool-tipped arms to cut infinitesimal incisions and perform tasks inside the confines of a human body.

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City could choose CleanScapes for garbage contract, dump Waste Management

October 18, 2011

Officials seek hauler to serve most Issaquah neighborhoods

CleanScapes nudged out larger competitors and emerged as the No. 1 contender to haul Issaquah garbage due, in part, to offering curbside pickup for difficult-to-recycle items, such as batteries and light bulbs.

The city is seeking a garbage hauler to serve most Issaquah neighborhoods. Waste Management is the predominant hauler in the city, but the current contract between Issaquah and the Houston-based company expires in June.

Seattle-based CleanScapes came out as the top candidate after city officials evaluated offers from both companies and another collector, Allied Waste — a local name for national company Republic Services.

City officials said a $3.8-million-per-year CleanScapes contract could mean lower rates for Issaquah customers, plus increased customer service and recycling options. The contract requires City Council approval.

If the CleanScapes contract is approved, a residential customer putting a 32-gallon cart out for weekly curbside pickup could see rates decrease from $13.43 to $12.74 — a 5.1 percent drop.

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Tent City 4 needs help for Oct. 21 move to Issaquah church

October 18, 2011

The parking lot at Community Church of Issaquah is due to transform into a campsite for up 100 adults Oct. 21 as Tent City 4 returns.

The camp is scheduled to remain on the site for 90 days through the holiday season. Tent City 4 last settled at the Issaquah church in August 2007 and January 2010.

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Issaquah Starbucks is only suburban store to offer beer, wine

October 18, 2011

Libations from Oregon and Washington breweries and vineyards command attention from the counter at Starbucks, as unmistakable as the coffee mugs and roasted beans elsewhere in the store.

Rick Hartwigsen (left), from Dallas, and Lauren Forsythe, of Kirkland, drink wine at Starbucks in the Meadows Shopping Center on Northwest Gilman Boulevard. By Greg Farrar

The redesigned and renovated Starbucks at the Meadows complex along Northwest Gilman Boulevard represents the latest step in a bold experiment to expand menu offerings — and the bottom line — by offering beer and wine alongside cappuccinos and lattes.

The store is among a handful in the United States — and the only Starbucks outside of Seattle and Portland, Ore. — to offer beer and wine. If the experiment in a suburban market is successful, the concept could expand to other cities.

The store started offering alcohol in afternoons and evenings late last month, after a monthslong project to remake the space.

The changes start at the menu and continue throughout the store. The salvaged floor from a high school gymnasium is repurposed as a tabletop. The most prominent art piece is salmon-inspired, and neutral tones dominate.

Other touches nod to changes in customer behavior. The store includes more electrical outlets than before to accommodate customers’ laptop computers and other gadgets.

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Safeway proposes Issaquah Highlands store

October 18, 2011

City Council allows gas station for grocer, a key factor in decision 

Safeway planners proposed a modern Issaquah Highlands store in a recent permit application to the city. Contributed

The plan to open a grocery store in the Issaquah Highlands — a still-unmet target from early goals for the community — reached a milestone in early October, as Safeway submitted a proposal for a store in the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, City Council members adjusted longstanding development rules to allow a gas station in the highlands — a critical factor in Safeway’s proposal to build the store.

In a unanimous decision, council members adjusted the agreement between the city and highlands developer Port Blakely Communities to allow a gas station in the neighborhood. The council also added rules to the development agreement to require a gas station to be built alongside a grocery store.

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Proposed 2012 King County budget touts savings

October 18, 2011

Residents call for human services support at local budget hearing

As the King County Council begins to listen to hours of public testimony at a series of budget hearings, one overall theme became clear at its Oct. 13 session — support human services now, before it’s too late.

Kathy Lambert

Derek Franklin, a Sammamish resident and representative of the Alliance of Eastside Agencies, said the county must begin to formulate a dedicated and stable long-term funding source for human services, such as those aimed at protecting residents from homelessness, domestic violence and inadequate legal counsel.

“Although sometimes obscured by the high socioeconomic status of the Eastside, human service needs here are quite high,” he said during a public hearing at Pacific Cascade Middle School near Issaquah. “We urge the budget committee to establish a long-term fix for the human services safety net. It’s been significantly dismantled over the years by budget cuts, and people … are beginning to fall through the cracks.”

King County Executive Dow Constantine’s 2012 budget proposal earned praise from County Council members for eschewing cuts to services in the general fund — elections, law enforcement and other basic government functions. The overall budget proposal is $5.3 billion, including $648 million in the general fund.

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Issaquah City Council, school board candidates gather at forum

October 18, 2011

Candidates for local and regional offices offered prescriptions for counteracting the ailing economy and educating a 21st-century workforce at a forum Oct. 13.

Candidates for positions on the Issaquah School Board laugh at a joke during a candidate forum Oct. 13 at the King County Library Service Center. By Greg Farrar

Organized by The Issaquah Press and moderated by Publisher Debbie Berto, the forum attracted candidates for City Council, Issaquah School Board and Port of Seattle Commission.

The candidates, gathered at the King County Library System headquarters in Issaquah, answered questions in 40-minute sections organized by office.

The forum occurred days before King County Elections mails ballots, and as many voters start to pay attention to the off-year election. Election Day is Nov. 8.

Though the majority of council seats is up for election, only a single seat is contested. In the lone contested race, challenger TJ Filley faces incumbent Councilman Joshua Schaer for the Position 4 seat.

Incumbent Councilman Fred Butler, appointed Councilwoman Stacy Goodman and candidate Paul Winterstein did not attract opponents for the other positions.

In a far-reaching discussion about municipal issues — transportation headaches, economic development, ongoing efforts to regulate a medical marijuana operations and more — Filley and Schaer stuck to usual themes from the campaign.

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