King County, YWCA to hold meeting about Passage Point

June 21, 2011

Safety is on the minds of community members neighboring the future Passage Point facility.

The YWCA will provide housing at Passage Point for men and women recently released from incarceration who wish to reunite with their children. The residents of Passage Point, who would otherwise be homeless, will have access to housing, employment and counseling services. It’s slated to open its doors next month.

A half-dozen community leaders met with representatives from King County and the YWCA, as well as King County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Andrea Alexander at Evergreen Community Church during a May 24 meeting about safety procedures.

Passage Point, in the southern part of the Issaquah School District, has long been a hot topic for the area. Students living at Passage Point will attend Maple Hills Elementary School, Maywood Middle School or Liberty High School.

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Issaquah City Council sets goals for 2012

June 21, 2011

Less than a month after gathering to brainstorm ideas for the coming year, City Council members set ambitious goals for 2012, including possible solutions for cash-strapped Lake Sammamish State Park, a more citizen-friendly budgeting process and a commission to address economic vitality.

The council OK’d the list June 6, and sent Mayor Ava Frisinger priorities for the months ahead. The decision represents the initial step in the process to shape the 2012 municipal budget. The unanimous decision came after council members met for a rare Saturday meeting May 14 to outline goals.

“In my view, these are a balanced set of goals that cover just about every aspect of city government,” Councilman Fred Butler said during the June 6 meeting. “There’s something in there for everyone.”

The list calls for the city to join with the DownTown Issaquah Association and the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce to determine options for a structured parking study. Issues related to downtown parking — a headache during ArtWalk, Fenders on Front Street and other summertime events — emerged as the top priority at the retreat.

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Issaquah hams to practice emergency communication

June 21, 2011

Two Issaquah amateur radio operator groups invite the public to view a mock communication emergency the weekend of June 25 and 26.

Operators from the Issaquah Amateur Radio Club will broadcast from 9 a.m. June 25 to 11 a.m. June 26 at Sunny Hills Elementary School, 3200 Issaquah-Pine Lake Road S.E., Sammamish.

The Issaquah Communication Support Team’s event is from 1 p.m. June 25 to noon June 26 at Hans Jensen Youth Camp, across the street from the Lake Sammamish Boat Ramp.

Members will set up field radio communication stations, get on the air and contact hundreds of other operators in the United States and Canada as part of their participation in the American Radio Relay League’s annual Field Day.

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Waste Management rates rise in Issaquah soon

June 21, 2011

Waste Management customers in Issaquah start paying a few cents more for garbage service July 1.

The adjustment reflects changes to the Consumer Price Index, plus a hike in the state business-and-occupation tax. The increase applies only to Issaquah customers.

The garbage hauler sent notices to Issaquah residences and businesses about the change. For a residential customer using a 35-gallon container — the most popular size in the city — the monthly rate for weekly pickup is due to increase from $13.20 to $13.43. Expect similar hikes for other residential and commercial services. Find a complete listing of the updated rates at the hauler’s website,

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County Council decides against sewer rate hike

June 21, 2011

King County leaders decided against increasing sewer rates for 2012 in a unanimous decision June 13.

The rate remains stable at $36.10 per month for most residential customers. The county provides wastewater treatment to 17 cities, including Issaquah, and 17 local sewer utilities.

Officials use the funds raised through sewer rates for maintaining and operating the regional wastewater system in King County, South Snohomish County and a slice of Pierce County.

The actual amount ratepayers see on bills depends on local sewer utilities. The sewer rate is charged to Issaquah because King County conveys wastewater from city customers to the South Treatment Plant in Renton.

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Entrepreneur builds a career beneath golden arches

June 21, 2011

Businessman evolves from milkshake maestro to burger king

Alan Finkelstein

The menu is different, but the golden arches — global emblem for billions and billions served — remain the same.

In 1971, a 16-year-old Alan Finkelstein started work at a McDonald’s restaurant at Seattle’s University Village, earning less than $2 per hour. The early days included stints minding the milkshake machine — a more complicated task in the pre-electronics era, because orders had to be tracked on paper tickets.

Nowadays, Finkelstein is responsible for a lot more than milkshakes. The longtime Sammamish Plateau resident and entrepreneur owns McDonald’s restaurants in Kent, Maple Valley, Sammamish and the busy-as-a-beehive eatery along Northwest Gilman Boulevard in Issaquah.

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Issaquah teen bowler is one of the best in nation

June 21, 2011

Lieber holds her competition bowling ball in the family garage, outfitted as the family’s full-scale pro shop, where she and other family members work on their bowling balls before matches. Contributed

If you find yourself bowling against 17-year-old Correen Lieber, good luck.

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Issaquah Commons evacuated due to smoke alarm

June 21, 2011

Eastside Fire & Rescue and Issaquah Police Department crews responded to the Issaquah Commons shopping center June 16 after a smoke alarm sounded, prompting evacuations of several stores.

Though the alarm sounded, nobody reported smelling smoke or seeing flames, EFR spokeswoman Josie Williams said. The evacuated stores include some of the busiest at the popular shopping destination, such as Target.

Police responded to the Issaquah Commons for crowd control. The evacuation occurred just before noon.

The investigation into the reason behind the alarm sounding remains under investigation. The fire and police response raised concerns among shoppers and passers-by.

Puget Sound Energy seeks 2012 rate increases

June 21, 2011

Puget Sound Energy filed a proposal June 13 to increase electric and natural gas rates in 2012.

The utility is asking state regulators for rate increases to offset the costs of work to increase electric and gas delivery system reliability, as well as efforts to provide a cleaner energy supply.

The proposal calls for electric rates to increase 8.1 percent and natural gas rates to climb 3 percent for all customer groups. The average homeowner could expect to pay $8.37 more per month for electric service, based on 1,000 kilowatt-hours, and $2.84 more per month for natural gas, based on 68 therms per month.

The state Utilities and Transportation Commission is reviewing the proposal. If approved, the rates could take effect in May 2012.

The rate request is based on energy system improvements made in 2009 and last year, as PSE invested almost $1.1 billion in gas and electric delivery infrastructure and new electric-generation facilities.

Bellevue-based PSE serves more than 1 million electric customers and almost 750,000 natural gas customers in Western Washington, including Issaquah.

High-energy Lindsey Nicholson was Skyline’s game-changer

June 21, 2011

When Skyline High School girls basketball players would come to pre-game warm-ups, they would find the colorful artwork of senior guard Lindsey Nicholson covering the whiteboard.

Skyline High School senior Lindsey Nicholson stood out as a leader on the basketball court and the softball field. She plans to play softball at Boise State University. By Christopher Huber

She often drew pet animals for each player. The silly antics were meant to keep the mood light among the team members before game time, head coach Greg Bruns said, but Nicholson got down to business when necessary.

“She always had the mentality of team before herself, which is hard to find, at least among high school athletes,” longtime teammate and senior Michelle Bretl said. “She was never really about the recognition.”

Nicholson graduated from Skyline on June 10 having participated in all 12 sports seasons of her high school career. She excelled in softball from an early age — and was named the 2011 KingCo 4A softball MVP — but also ran cross country and became a leading force on the basketball court.

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