Tour eco-friendly zHome construction site Thursday

February 3, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 3, 2011

Step behind the fencing at the zHome construction site in the Issaquah Highlands on Thursday.

The tour focuses on the ongoing effort to build 10 eco-friendly townhouses designed to produce as much electricity as the units consume. The tour is free and runs from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

The construction site is near the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride, 1755 Highlands Drive N.E.

Plans call for the townhouses to harness solar power and use recycled building materials. Officials expect zHome to be completed in the spring.

Dignitaries broke ground on the project in September 2008, but the recession delayed construction until April 2010.

The city spearheaded the development of zHome. Howland Development Issaquah — a joint venture of Shoreline developer Howland Homes and Ichijo USA, a subsidiary of Japanese homebuilder Ichijo Co. — handles the construction. Ichijo USA financed the project.

Troopers cite speed as possible factor in Issaquah teen’s accident

February 2, 2011

Issaquah resident Tyler Lucas had been driving the Dodge Neon during a fatal crash in Bellevue on Tuesday. By Washington State Patrol

UPDATED — 6:25 p.m. Feb. 2, 2011

Issaquah teenager Tyler Lucas died Tuesday morning after his Dodge Neon struck two other vehicles on Interstate 405 in Bellevue.

Friends and lacrosse teammates plan to memorialize Lucas with a candlelight vigil at 8:30 p.m. in the courtyard at Issaquah High School, 700 Second Ave. S.E.

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Puget Sound Energy offers grants to schools, nonprofits

February 2, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. Feb. 2, 2011

Eco-friendly solar panels and wind power turbines are expensive, but organizations applying for Puget Sound Energy renewable-energy grants can receive a financial helping hand.

Public schools and nonprofit institutions with a renewable-energy education focus are eligible to apply for a PSE grant, which can range from $5,000 to $20,000.

PSE’s Renewable Energy Education Program and Green Power Program have provided more than $394,100 in grants to 23 educational solar-power projects in Western Washington during the past seven years. Both programs raise public awareness about renewable-energy technologies.

In 2010, Echo Glen Children’s Center, an Issaquah School District school campus in Snoqualmie, received about $6,000 for a solar energy program.

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Women take the lead on YWCA housing project

February 1, 2011

Elizabeth Rinehart (left), Maria Llobet (middle) and Poppi Handy (right) pose in front of the YWCA Family Village at Issaquah construction site. Contributed

Female builders leave a legacy in male-dominated industry

The YWCA’s Family Village construction site in the Issaquah Highlands is a sight to behold. From engineers to workers, managers to architects, a group of mostly women is spearheading the project that will bring low-income housing and community resources to Issaquah.

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Former Councilwoman Maureen McCarry reflects on years of service

February 1, 2011

Maureen McCarry once used a clear voice to advocate for Issaquah residents.

But amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, muted the voice and prompted the former city councilwoman to resign in late December.

Maureen McCarry celebrates early City Council returns at an election night party at the Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in in 2005. By Greg Farrar

The decision did not come easily to McCarry, a former Harborview Medical Center executive and Squak Mountain resident. Less than a year into a four-year term, she had planned to continue as a voice for environmental preservation, economic development and human services issues.

Instead, McCarry received the ALS diagnosis in October, and the rapid progression of the neurodegenerative disease has left McCarry unable to drive and speak.

After a Dec. 20 meeting, council members offered a poignant and tear-slicked send-off to McCarry.

“I regretted, of course, having to leave so early in my term and so would have loved to have served through exciting upcoming projects,” she wrote last week in response to e-mailed questions. “Without my voice, it was hard to ‘voice’ my great appreciation to the citizens of Issaquah and the council for their support during this time — and for the kindness and appreciation, and humanity, that were demonstrated to me as I left the council.”

Though McCarry is no longer a public official — and in spite of her illness — she said she plans to remain involved in municipal issues.

“I have worked hard for the betterment of our community. I will remain an active citizen and adviser when called upon,” she wrote. “At this time, I feel fulfillment as I see this council move forward and extol the competence of those who have stepped forward to take my place to continue to grow and improve Issaquah.”

Some residents also reached out to McCarry for input as they consider applying for her former position. The council is expected to appoint a successor to the Position 5 seat in March.

McCarry urged the next council member to delve deep into issues brought to the council for decisions.

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Candidates jockey for open seat ahead of Feb. 4 deadline

February 1, 2011

The race to replace Maureen McCarry started long before Election Day, and although the candidates only need to earn City Council members’ votes, the race to fill the seat in November is a key part of the decision.

The process has generated more activity in recent days, as potential candidates started to meet council members on a one-on-one basis and interested residents completed applications for the post. The application deadline is Feb. 4, and candidate interviews start March 1.

The appointee to the vacant seat serves until the next council election in November. The victor in the council race serves until Dec. 31, 2013.

The council could appoint a caretaker to the seat until the term expires in December. Members could also appoint someone who is interested in campaigning for election to the seat through 2013.

Though the application deadline is still days away, the vacancy has attracted a handful of applicants and potential candidates.

Issaquah Highlands resident Stacy Goodman, a Carson & Noel PLLC associate attorney and past editor of The Issaquah Press, said she plans to apply.

“I think it’s a terrific opportunity to get involved,” she said. “It’s an exciting time with a lot of projects and decisions that are in the beginning stages.”

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King County aims to transfer land to city

February 1, 2011

King County intends to unload a small parcel to Issaquah soon through a routine land transfer.

County Council members intend to shift the land to Issaquah more than a decade after the city annexed the surrounding area.

The wedge-shaped parcel consists of 1.07 acres along the 23600 block of Southeast Black Nugget Road between Southeast Issaquah-Fall City Road and Highlands Drive Northeast. The property includes a storm water pond.

The council has scheduled a Feb. 7 public hearing on the deal as part of the procedure for land transfers.

Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger described the hearing as routine, and said she expects the transfer to be completed.

The storm water pond on the land provides important drainage for sections of Southeast Issaquah-Fall City Road and Southeast Black Nugget Road inside Issaquah city limits. Issaquah has agreed to take on the parcel and to maintain the storm water pond.

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AmeriCorps team arrives to restore Alps trails

February 1, 2011

Mountains to Sound Greenway trails and habitat received a boost from AmeriCorps in recent weeks, as a team arrived to help on Tiger and Squak mountains and elsewhere in the greenbelt

AmeriCorps has sent 22 crewmembers to assist in trail work in the Issaquah Alps, Mount Si and Rattlesnake Mountain. The group is also participating in ecological restoration in Redmond and the Snoqualmie Valley.

The crew is working alongside Washington Conservation Corps crews to help local land managers restore natural areas, maintain parks and trails, and improve access to recreation.

The greenway is arranged along Interstate 90 from the Seattle waterfront to Central Washington. The greenbelt links natural areas, trails, farms and forests, communities, wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities.

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Builder plans to add 70 townhouses in the highlands

February 1, 2011

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

The planned neighborhood, Sunset Walk, is on 5.86 acres adjacent to Sunset Park and near planned retail offerings. The project is Pulte Homes’ first foray into Issaquah.

The homebuilder purchased the land from highlands master developer Port Blakely Communities in late December. Urban Village Development Commission and City Council members approved the project late last year.

“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 press release.

City Major Development Review Team Program Manager Keith Niven said construction should start in the spring.

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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Newcastle woman sentenced for Preston crash

February 1, 2011

The driver responsible for a devastating crash near Preston in December 2009 has been sentenced to six months in a work-release facility on a vehicular assault charge stemming from the incident.

Meanwhile, the other driver in the Interstate 90 crash continues a long recovery from life-threatening injuries.

Police said the intoxicated driver, 54-year-old Newcastle resident Janet Bumgardner, had a cocktail of drugs — oxycodone, morphine, a prescription sleeping aid and over-the-counter allergy medication — in her system at the time of the crash. Washington State Patrol investigators also discovered red wine in a travel mug inside her silver Acura.

Washington State Patrol The remains of a Honda Civic rest alongside Interstate 90 after a December 2009 crash. The driver suffered life-threatening injuries.

King County Superior Court Judge Richard Eadie handed down the sentence Jan. 7. Bumgardner, who pleaded guilty to vehicular assault in late November, has a long history of drunken driving convictions, plus convictions for disorderly conduct, malicious mischief and telephone harassment, court documents state.

The state Department of Corrections said she is scheduled to serve the sentence at a Helen B. Ratcliff Work Release house in Seattle. Bumgardner must also pay $2,612 in court costs and fees. The sentence prohibits her from contacting the other driver for 10 years and requires her to be under community custody for a year after the work-release term ends.

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