City Council, Issaquah School Board incumbents post big leads

November 8, 2011

Joshua Schaer (right), calls his mother Nancy Schaer, of Redmond, to tell her about his lead in the Issaquah City Council race, as former Councilman David Kappler chats with other election night partygoers at the Issaquah Brewhouse. By Greg Farrar

NEW — 8:20 p.m. Nov. 8, 2011

Joshua Schaer, the only City Council member to face a challenger in a quiet campaign season, posted a sizable — and almost certainly insurmountable — lead against opponent TJ Filley as election results started to dribble out Tuesday night.

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Costco-backed I-1183 leads, liquor sales start in June

November 8, 2011

NEW — 9 p.m. Nov. 8, 2011

Costco-backed Initiative 1183, a ballot measure to loosen state liquor rules, passed Tuesday night, and liquor sales should start at the Issaquah-based warehouse giant and other retailers in June.

In statewide results released just after 8 p.m., I-1183 captured about 60 percent of the vote in the initial ballot count.

I-1183 calls for state-run liquor stores to close and for the state to get out of the liquor business. The measure also aims to require the state to license private enterprises to sell and distribute hard liquor, set license fees based on sales and regulate licensees.

Still, opponents said safety concerns remain about efforts to privatize the system and sell booze at more locations.

Costco, the largest employer in Issaquah, spent a record $22 million to promote the initiative.

King County Executive Dow Constantine declares victory on tolling measure

November 8, 2011

NEW — 9:30 p.m. Nov. 8, 2011

King County Executive Dow Constantine declared victory against Initiative 1125, Tim Eyman’s tolling initiative, as the measure led by a narrow margin statewide Tuesday night.

“I-1125 was a stealth effort to stop light rail on I-90 and delay replacement of the 520 bridge,” Constantine said in a statement. “I am grateful that so many voters saw through it and rejected it, and by an overwhelming margin in King County. Our voters, once again, said no to Tim Eyman.”

I-1125 called for the Legislature to approve tolls rather than the appointed state Transportation Commission. The initiative also aimed to prohibit different toll rates for peak commute times and to require toll revenues to be put toward projects on the road being tolled.

“King County voters are giving the green light to East Link, 520, I-405 and transportation improvements across our region,” Constantine said. “It took a broad coalition to defeat this measure, and I’m proud that King County, once again, is leading the way.”

King County voters rejected the measure, but I-1125 picked up support elsewhere in Washington.

Issaquah School Board victories ensure ‘a very good team’

November 8, 2011

NEW — 9:15 p.m. Nov. 8, 2011

Early results in voting for open spots on the Issaquah School Board showed no surprises, no upsets.

Both incumbents up for reelection were winning handily and by about the same margin over their challengers Tuesday night.

In the District 3 race, incumbent Brian Deagle was outpacing challenger Patrick Sansing by a margin of 7,503 votes to 4,027 — or 64.8 percent to 34.8 percent.

The District 5 race showed incumbent Suzanne Weaver out in front of Brian Neville by a count of 7,541 to 4,188 votes — or 64.1 percent to 35.6 percent.

“I’m glad to see the results the way they are,” Deagle said, adding he always gets a little nervous waiting for results.

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Veteran Roy Inui receives Congressional Gold Medal, highest civilian honor in nation

November 8, 2011

Roy Inui (left) and his wife of 63 years, Bette, hold his Congressional Gold Medal in their Timber Ridge at Talus home. By Greg Farrar

Decades after the government sent Japanese-American citizens to internment camps, Japanese-American World War II veterans received the Congressional Gold Medal — the highest civilian honor in the United States.

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Battles continue for Iraq war veteran Rory Dunn, mother Cynthia Lefever

November 8, 2011

The challenges resonate almost a decade after crude bombs detonated along a roadside in Iraq.

Cynthia Lefever (left) and her son, Purple Heart recipient Rory Dunn, take Gunner, Duke and Mister on their daily dog walk in 2008 at Ron Regis Park in Renton. File

The struggle for survival started in the frantic moments after a bomb explosion near Fallujah left Army Spc. Rory Dunn, a Liberty High School graduate, sightless and near death. Then came a much longer campaign to navigate a medical system unequipped to handle veterans from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The day Dunn turned 22 in March 2004, roadside bombs tore through a Humvee. Shrapnel pierced the unarmored vehicle and left Dunn’s best friend and another soldier dead. The explosion shattered Dunn’s forehead and left the 6-foot, 3-inch former basketball player blind and deaf for a time.

The “battle after the battle” — as Dunn’s mother, Cynthia Lefever, came to call the long healing process — opened days after the explosion at a military medical center in Landstuhl, Germany.

Lefever, leaned close to the bed and shouted, “Rory Dunn, this is your mother! You will not die! Don’t you dare die!”

Dunn did not die. Instead, after surgeries and rehabilitation, the soldier beat the “imminent death” predictions from doctors.

“I’ve never had anything in my life that if I wanted to achieve it — if it was realistic — that I haven’t been able to make happen,” he said. “I’m not worried.”

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Veterans Day ceremony honors service

November 8, 2011

Dave Waggoner is tireless in his efforts to ensure both today’s military members are honored and yesterday’s heroes are not forgotten.

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Crash ‘miracle’ protects local motorist amid fatal collision

November 8, 2011

Traffic stopped on eastbound Interstate 90 late last month as emergency responders raced to a deadly accident — and a miracle.

Longtime Issaquah resident Lily Skelton, sister Priscilla Schenkel, a Renton resident, and friends Kate Cochran and Lisa Malmin, survived the fatal crash Oct. 17, as motorists in another mangled vehicle died at the scene.

“It was a miracle,” Skelton said days after escaping from a crumpled car lodged between tractor-trailers.

Tractor-trailers smashed the Buick LeSabre carrying Issaquah resident Lily Skelton, her sister and friends Oct. 17 near Hyak. Contributed

Cochran and Malmin traveled to Washington from Arizona for Schenkel’s birthday. Leavenworth made for a perfect trip to glimpse autumn foliage and mountain splendor after days spent sightseeing in Issaquah and Seattle.

In the backseat, Cochran and Malmin snapped photos as Skelton’s Buick LeSabre crossed Snoqualmie Pass. Near Hyak, Skelton deactivated the cruise control and slowed amid the construction zone.

“It was a beautiful day and everybody was driving calmly,” Skelton said.

Signs about the Snoqualmie Pass East construction project lined the roadside. Soon, traffic stopped and Skelton, a cautious driver, left about a car length between the Buick and a tractor-trailer up ahead. Behind the car, another tractor-trailer sat idle.

“We’re coming down Hyak and they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so beautiful!’ — the lake, the mountains, the colors — and then, kaboom,” Skelton said.

Washington State Patrol investigators said a tractor-trailer and a Jeep Cherokee collided behind the Buick. The impact pushed the rig behind the Buick into the car. The sedan surged ahead into the other tractor-trailer.

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Longtime city public works director retires

November 8, 2011

Bob Brock is not a household name in Issaquah, but projects the former Public Works Engineering director oversaw reshaped the landscape — bridges across Issaquah Creek designed to ease flooding and road projects meant to alleviate traffic congestion.

Brock, 64, retired as the top engineering official in the city Nov. 4 after a lifetime spent in public works roles in California, Wyoming and, for the past dozen years, in Issaquah.

“I’m more of a behind-the-scenes kind of guy. It’s never been my forte to be up there in a suit and tie and everything and being in the foreground,” he said in pre-retirement interview. “I personally like to let my very capable staff get the exposure, No. 1, and the experience to share. It’s them that makes me successful.”

Since joining the city staff in May 1999, Brock supervised road and other infrastructure projects as the city added 19,000 residents through annexations and a home-building boom. Controversy also defined the area, as activists, leaders and residents debated the Southeast Bypass, a proposed road along Tiger Mountain designed to reduce downtown traffic headaches.

Brock led 30 or so Public Works Engineering Department employees from a corner office in City Hall Northwest. The space overlooks a recent city project, a pedestrian connector across Interstate 90 at state Route 900.

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FBI arrests Issaquah bank heist suspect

November 8, 2011

FBI agents arrested the suspect in the Oct. 28 robbery of a local KeyBank branch, a former Snoqualmie resident connected to other thefts in the area.

Investigators arrested Christopher Isaac Titian, 19, Nov. 2 at a motel in Everett, less than a week after the Issaquah robbery.

Investigators located the suspect after a Snoqualmie police officer, Nigel Draveling, recognized the man from surveillance images captured at the bank. Police publicized the images in the hours after the incident.

Issaquah police responded to a robbery at KeyBank, 405 N.W. Gilman Blvd., just after 2 p.m. Oct. 28.

Investigators said a man approached a bank employee, handed the employee a demand note and said, “Just read it and do what it says. Don’t push the alarm.”

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