Major renovation for aging Julius Boehm Pool is a priority

May 17, 2011

The long-discussed plan to redo the outdated Julius Boehm Pool inched ahead May 14, as City Council members listed priorities for 2012 — a key step in determining how leaders decide to spend next year.

In addition to confronting increased maintenance costs as the pool ages, a 2009 city-commissioned study declared the facility as inadequate for the community.

“We’ve gone to tactical mode,” Council President John Traeger said. “We’ve got to fix the pool.”

The pool emerged as a major focus early in the session, as council members and department chiefs gathered in a map-lined Public Works Operations Building conference room. Other priorities included downtown parking, economic development and Lake Sammamish State Park.

The price tag to expand and upgrade the downtown Boehm Pool in a major renovation is estimated at $21 million. Other options could cost less.

The popular pool no longer meets demand for high school and club swim teams, recreational swimmers and children’s swimming lessons due to its age and other factors. Still, passing a municipal bond to salvage the facility might be a tough sell.

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State Route 900 ramp closes for construction

May 17, 2011

The westbound Interstate 90 on-ramp — for traffic headed south on state Route 900 — is due to close nightly from 9 p.m. May 18 until 5 a.m. May 20.

During the closure, crews plan to remove formwork from the pedestrian connector under construction at the site.

Plans call for the completed connector to feature a 12-foot-wide pedestrian bridge across the westbound interstate on-ramps, plus a 10-foot-wide pedestrian crossing on the existing state Route 900 overpass.

The city awarded the $4.4 million construction contract to C. A. Carey Corp. last June. The total project price tag is about $6 million. The project relies on grants — including $400,000 from Sound Transit — to offset most of the project cost. The city contributed about $341,000 for the connector.

The project is at least $200,000 over budget and not expected to open until June.

Governor approves $30 user fee for state parks, lands

May 17, 2011

The cost to keep Lake Sammamish State Park and other public recreation lands open amounts to $30 per year for many users, under a measure Gov. Chris Gregoire signed May 12.

Flanked by recreation enthusiasts, Gregoire signed legislation to create a $30 annual pass and a $10 day-use pass for state-managed forests, parks and other natural areas.

The measure, called the Discover Pass, goes into effect July 1 for vehicle access to recreation lands and water-access sites managed by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, state Department of Fish and Wildlife, and state Department of Natural Resources.

In addition to Lake Sammamish State Park, local recreation sites include Squak Mountain State Park and Tiger Mountain State Forest.

“It is essential that we keep our recreation areas open to the public,” Gregoire said in a statement. “I applaud the Legislature for coming together with a solution that allows us to help keep our state recreation lands open and accessible during the worst budget crisis in the state’s history.”

The pass goes on sale in mid-June. Users must display the annual or day-use Discover Pass in vehicles’ front windshields or face a $99 fine.

Lawmakers created the Discover Pass to close gaps in funding for state parks and recreation lands after Gregoire called for reduced support from taxpayer dollars amid a $5.1 billion budget shortfall.

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Skyline High School slashes paper use 60 percent

May 17, 2011

On average, Skyline High School uses roughly 50,000 sheets of paper per week — enough to stack 16 1/2 feet high. That translates into uprooting about six average-sized trees.

But for a week last month, the school tried something different — the school’s printers and copiers were largely silent, as staff members attempted to address large-scale paper use and go “paperless.”

During the week of April 18-22, Skyline used about 20,000 sheets, a 60 percent reduction from a typical school week, said the effort’s organizer, Librarian Elisabeth Bacon.

“It was a challenge, of course,” Library Assistant Kathi Eide said, “But it was cool.”

After the “paperless” week ended, Bacon looked at how much the school had used and said she didn’t think the school was really saving much paper.

Her pessimism was a little off, however. She monitored staff computer IP addresses to measure the use another week and saw paper use jump back up.

“I did not think it was (a success), but staff did,” Bacon said.

She said she got the idea to attempt a “paperless” week at a technology committee meeting. It was pretty simple: Because their goal is to get people to use the technology available at school, why not save paper in the process?

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Cutting paper use could mean $100,000 in savings for county

May 17, 2011

King County intends to save about $100,000 by reducing paper consumption by 20 percent through 2013.

County Council members adopted legislation May 2 to require county agencies to purchase paper made from 100 percent recycled content, rather than the 40 percent recycled-content paper in use under the current system.

The measure calls for agencies to reduce printer and copy paper use by a further 20 percent through 2013. The legislation also encourages employees to use double-sided printing and copying, and share more documents electronically.

County Executive Dow Constantine developed the legislation after hearing frequent paper-savings suggestions from county employees.

“This legislation builds on our shared goals of saving public dollars and reducing the environmental impact of county operations,” he said in a release.

Estimates from the nonprofit Environmental Paper Network indicate the measure should save almost 7,400 trees from harvest and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 375 tons. In addition, paper manufacturers should be able to avoid producing 3.4 million gallons of wastewater and 100 tons of solid waste.

Based on the county’s current paper purchases, a 20 percent reduction in paper use translates to up to $100,000 per year.

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Public Meetings

May 17, 2011

Public meetings

May 23

Issaquah Mountain Biking Task Force

5 p.m.

Issaquah Trails House

110 Bush St.

 

Park Board

7 p.m.

Issaquah Trails House

110 Bush St.

 

May 24

Human Services Commission

6:30 p.m.

Coho Room, City Hall

130 E. Sunset Way

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Press Editorial

May 17, 2011

Paperless project is lesson for lawmakers

Schools use a lot of paper. It’s always been a given, but does it have to be?

Skyline High School spent a week last month trying to cut down on its paper use. The school librarian, Elisabeth Bacon, is to be congratulated for even thinking of the idea. She is a great example of a public servant questioning the status quo. Her plan taught the students and faculty a lesson, and likely saved taxpayers a couple bucks along the way.

The school saw a 60 percent reduction in paper use. To be sure, the results weren’t perfect. Some assignments were printed at home instead of at school. While that may have helped the district save some money, it didn’t do much for trees.

But the idea is worth exploring. Certainly no one could expect a school to be truly paperless, but students, teachers and staff can be more conscious of their choices. Never short the students what is needed, but there are other ways to approach lessons than running off dozens of copies.

The drive also helped highlight a quirk in state law that shows a need for a bit more local control.

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To the Editor

May 17, 2011

Bridge to nowhere

We can’t afford to spend ‘free’ federal money on wasteful projects

The pedestrian bridge being built across Interstate 90 at state Route 900 is a perfect example of big government gone wild.

The federal government dangles funds in front of state and local governments, saying, in effect, “You spend a bunch of money you don’t have and we’ll give you a bunch of money we don’t have so you can build a bridge no one needs.”

That’s the sort of Keynesian nonsense that has gotten us into the bottomless pit of debt we find ourselves in at local, state and federal levels.

We need leadership with the courage to say, “No!” to the feds, manage our budgets and spend money where real need exists.

Mike Harrington

Issaquah

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Off the Press

May 17, 2011

High school science prepares students

I had an excellent biology teacher in high school who taught me all things science.

Laura Geggel Press reporter

In her class, I learned about genetics and we even participated in the human genome project, mapping a gene that affected how quickly the body could rid itself of tobacco.

I took science in college, but I’ll always credit my high school teacher for arming me with the fundamentals of biology.

I recently put some of my science prowess to the test. Every month, the Pacific Science Center, in conjunction with KCTS 9 and Science on Tap, organizes three Science Cafés. Each Science Café has researchers present their work while people eat dinner and ask questions following the lecture.

After work May 10, I drove to Kirkland to hear a lecture called “The Modern Legacy of Ancient Viruses,” given by Dr. Harmit Malik, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

His talk blew me away, and thanks to my high school science education, I understood the fundamentals of his research.

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Arts Calendar

May 17, 2011

MAY

18th

Village Theatre presents “Jesus Christ Superstar” through July 3, $19 to $60, Francis J. Gaudette Theatre, 303 Front St. N., www.villagetheatre.org or 392-2202

Wings N Things, first and third Wednesday, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Field of Champions Sports Bar & Grill

“Bye, Bye, Birdie,” presented by Skyline High School’s Acting Up! student organization, runs through May 21 at 7:30 p.m. nightly in the Lyceum Theatre, 1122 228th Ave. S.E., Sammamish. Tickets are $10 at the door.

20th

Fridays in the Living Room with Bake & Friends, 7:45-10 p.m., Bake’s Place, $20

Ostgard & Allen, 7:30-11:30 p.m., Vino Bella

21st

Butch Harrison and Good Company, 7:30-11:30 p.m., Vino Bella

Ventura Highway Revisited, 8-11 p.m., Pogacha, 392-5550

The Halyards, 7:45-10 p.m., Bake’s Place, $20

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