Mountains to Sound Greenway receives $25,000 to restore park habitat

June 7, 2011

Lake Sammamish State Park received a special delivery June 6 — a $25,000 FedEx and National Fish and Wildlife Stewardship Partnership Grant for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust to continue habitat restoration efforts in the 512-acre park.

The grant supplements a $50,000 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Community Salmon Fund Grant received last year alongside a grant from the King Conservation District.

“Our work with NFWF enables FedEx team members to collaborate and work directly with local nonprofits to improve the air, water and urban spaces that we share in the communities where we live and work,” Mitch Jackson, vice president for environmental affairs and sustainability at FedEx Corp., said in a news release. “A significant portion of our operations, people and facilities are based in metropolitan centers, and we value helping to connect the world in responsible and resourceful ways.”

In addition, FedEx employees plan to volunteer at the state park June 16 as part of the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability and volunteer efforts in local communities through the EarthSmart program. The volunteers work at a distribution center in a commercial area adjacent to the state park.

“The greenway is a place where we can come together for the good of the environment and the community,” Margaret Ullman, volunteer program manager for the greenway trust, said in the news release.

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

King County highlights mental health successes

June 7, 2011

King County used dollars set aside for mental-health programs to serve more than 27,000 people last year — a jump from 19,000 in 2009.

County Council members received the information May 9 in a report about the Mental Illness and Drug Dependency sales tax, a revenue source for mental health and criminal justice programs.

The report also indicated a 23 percent reduction in jail bookings among mental-health clients and a 23 percent reduction in jail days between Oct. 1, 2009, and Sept. 30, 2010. In the same period, psychiatric hospitalizations decreased by 19 percent for clients included in the sample.

“I sponsored the legislation authorizing the MIDD in 2007 because the costs of our jail being a de-facto mental institution were unacceptable and because I knew we could do better,” Councilman Bob Ferguson, the council’s Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee chairman, said in a statement.

In 2005, state legislators authorized counties to implement a one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax to support chemical dependency or mental-health treatment services. King County Council members authorized the tax in a 2007 decision.

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South Cove residents lose power for several hours

June 7, 2011

Residents in the neighborhoods near Timberlake Park, along Lake Sammamish’s southern shore, lost power for several hours June 3 after a cable failure.

Puget Sound Energy estimates 65 customers lost power at about 4 p.m. due to the underground cable failure near Southeast 43rd Place in a neighborhood east of the park. Crews restored power to 15 customers by 5 p.m., tracked down the source of the outage by 7:15 p.m. and restored power to the 50 remaining households by 10:30 p.m.

PSE does not yet have information about the cause of the cable failure.

Crews start construction on highlands’ College Drive

June 7, 2011

Construction started late last month on Northeast College Drive in the Issaquah Highlands.

Plans call for the road to snake for about a half-mile behind Grand Ridge Elementary School and link to the existing street grid at Central Park. The road is meant to serve as access to a Bellevue College campus planned for the highlands.

In addition, the road through The Highlands at Wynhaven apartment complex is due to be improved and turned into 15th Avenue Northeast. College Drive is planned to form a T-shaped intersection at 15th Avenue.

The road project is occurring at the same time as residential construction on nearby land. The project is ultimately meant to provide another east-to-west access point to Falls Drive Northeast.

In order to accommodate the project, a city maintenance yard is to be constructed immediately south of the Central Park Reservoir.

The south access path to the school from Central Park is due to close until fall. Parkgoers should also expect short-term closures along the park access road.

The road should be completed at about the start of the 2011-12 school year.

Press Editorial

June 7, 2011

Life jacket rule could create confusion

The King County Council is considering an ordinance to require anyone who swims, floats or boats on major rivers this summer to wear a life jacket. Violators could be fined $86.

The law would expire Oct. 31. The short-term requirement is in response to the swift, icy snow melt from mountains filling rivers later than usual this year, creating a heightened risk to public safety.

The ordinance is a bit over the top for citizens who don’t like government telling adults how to be safe. The idea, proposed last week, has been quick to garner comments from those opposed to “nanny” laws, and those who believe the county is seeking a new revenue source.

If anything, this short-term law will likely cost taxpayers. Signage at entry points along the Snoqualmie, Tolt, Cedar, Green, White, Raging and Skykomish rivers would be installed immediately to educate the public, and those without life jackets would get a warning for a first violation. This all takes time and money in advance of any fine collections being made — but so does search and recovery of drowned bodies.

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Young Lakeside team has enough veterans to be competitive

June 7, 2011

Matt Lunde, Lakeside Recovery pitcher, throws to a Bellevue Legion batter during the fifth inning of their June 2 baseball game at Newport High School. Lunde had nine strikeouts over six innings during a 7-0 shutout. By Greg Farrar

The Lakeside Recovery Senior American Legion baseball team is a bit younger than some teams in past summers. Read more

Issaquah rehab center leaps from one star to five

June 7, 2011

When Lisa Stubenrauch took over at the Issaquah Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in 2008, it only had a one-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Lisa Stubenrauch, Issaquah Nursing & Rehabilitation administrator, helped bring the center from one star to five in three years. By Laura Geggel

Three years later, it has five stars; the top rating a center can receive.

In Washington, only 36 out of 229 nursing and rehabilitation facilities received a five-star rating.

The journey to the high rating was not easy. The center has passed through many owners and many names since it opened in 1964 at 805 Front St. S.

It passed through several hands. It changed its name from Issaquah Care Center to The Gardens at Issaquah after losing an $8 million lawsuit in 2005. A woman who lived there had to have an arm and a leg amputated, and all of her teeth removed because of negligent care.

In 2007, North American Healthcare began managing the center, and shortly after, Stubenrauch took the steering wheel.

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Sammamish exempts schools from storm water fees

June 7, 2011

In return, students must learn about storm water issues

Sammamish will continue to exempt local school districts from storm-water fees in exchange for those districts’ continued promise to teach their students about storm water issues.

The Sammamish City Council recently re-examined the situation following news that two Issaquah School District schools — Skyline High and Cascade Ridge Elementary — had inadvertently been charged the fees in 2009 and 2010 and were refusing to pay.

City staff members blamed an accounting snafu by King County, which collects storm water fees and sends that money back to the city for use in building and maintaining ditches, culverts and other infrastructure that collects and distributes water off the plateau following storms.

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Maple Hills Elementary School principal goes to PCMS

June 7, 2011

Maple Hills Elementary School Principal Monique Beane has nurtured her school’s community since 2007, but this fall she has decided to move up to the middle school level.

In an email to parents June 6, Beane announced her move to Pacific Cascade Middle School, where she will work as assistant principal.

The current assistant principal, Condee Wood, has accepted a position with Washington Middle School in the Olympia School District.

When Issaquah School District Superintendent Steve Rasmussen learned of Wood’s move, he asked Beane if she would consider taking the Pacific Cascade position, she wrote in the email. Just as she taught her students at Maple Hills, Beane said she decided to take on a new challenge.

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Braxton Griffin leaves legacy as one of Skyline’s top performers

June 7, 2011

With eight seconds left in the first half of the opening round of the Class 4A state soccer tournament, Braxton Griffin, a Skyline High School forward, flicked an inbound pass off his head to teammate Travis Strawn.

Braxton Griffin, Skyline senior forward, maneuvers the ball against Eastlake junior defender Michael Gallagher May 28 during the state 4A soccer championship. By Greg Farrar

In a split second, Strawn tapped the ball into the back of the net for the go-ahead goal. Griffin put Skyline up 2-0 with a goal of his own in the second half to beat Central Kitsap on its way to the state championship game against Eastlake.

“It was one of the craziest goals I’ve seen, because of the work and focus needed,” Skyline coach Don Braman said. “It was just really intense.”

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