Eastside Fire & Rescue directors explore agency’s future structure

July 19, 2011

Veto power among ideas being considered

The Eastside Fire & Rescue board of directors decided July 14 to form a sub-committee that will probe possible changes to its governance structure — including the veto power that individual partners now hold regarding adding additional partners to the agency.

EFR is an amalgamation of King County fire districts 10 and 38 and the cities of Issaquah, Sammamish and North Bend.

The study of EFR’s structure follows the completion of a different study that examined the possibility of a regional fire authority — essentially an independent taxing district that would have moved the fire services bill from cities’ general funds to residents’ property tax bills. EFR members have been pondering the future of fire service in the area once the agreement that underpins the agency expires in 2014.

Mark Mullet, an Issaquah city councilman and one of the city’s two representatives on the board, said the study showed that Issaquah residents would have paid $1.17 per $1,000 of assessed value for fire service under a regional fire authority; they pay the equivalent of 83 cents per $1,000 through the city’s general fund now.

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Road construction starts in Issaquah Highlands

July 19, 2011

Motorists should prepare for street construction in the Issaquah Highlands soon. The eastbound lane of Northeast High Street is closed and traffic is being diverted into a single lane in each direction through July 22. The lane closure allows room for construction.

In addition, motorists should expect to see police officers directing traffic at Northeast Discovery Drive and Highlands Drive Northeast through July 21 as crews conduct signal relocation work. The signal should be restored by 3:30 p.m. on construction days, and police plan to direct traffic while the signal is offline.

Therapies help pachygyria sufferers

July 19, 2011

Pachygyria is a neuronal migration disorder that results in too few gyri, or folds in the brain, according to Seattle Children’s pediatric neurologist Alexander Paciorkowski.

Isolated pachygyria means that only one part of the brain is affected; extensive pachygyria signifies that most of the brain is absent of gyri. The condition is closely related to lissencephaly, a term used to describe the condition of a brain that is completely smooth.

Pachygyria is classified as a rare condition. Neurologists and geneticists consider rare conditions to arise in less than 1 in 2,000 people. Though in most cases it is genetic, sometimes pachygyria can be caused by infection early in a pregnancy.

During fetal development, neurons must migrate from their place of origin deep inside the brain to their proper neural circuits near the brain’s surface. Neuronal migration, which can occur as early as the second month of gestation, is controlled by chemical signals. Neurons that settle outside of their designated locations cause the brain to develop structural abnormalities.

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King County advises keeping pets’ shots up to date

July 19, 2011

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is a saying that applies to the health of your pets as much as it applies to you, according to the Regional Animal Services of King County.

Routine immunizations are important to the life and health of your furry friends.

“Vaccines are one of the wonders of modern medicine,” said Sue Moriyasu, veterinary medical director at Regional Animal Services. “Just as in humans, initial immunizations and boosters are vital to ensuring that your pet lives a long, healthy and happy life.”

The list of vaccine-preventable animal diseases is long, county officials said, but they reported that two illnesses seem to be making their way through the county: panleukopenia, or feline distemper, and parvovirus in dogs. The closely related viruses spread easily, are resistant to most disinfectants and can live on contaminated surfaces for years. Illnesses caused by the viruses often are fatal to kittens or puppies.

Symptoms of both illnesses may include diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite and lethargy.

“Even with aggressive treatment, up to 90 percent of kittens and cats infected with panleukopenia die,” Moriyasu said. “Parvo can be treated more successfully if caught early, but treatment is expensive and not guaranteed. That is why it is to important to get your new kitten or puppy vaccinated immediately and to be sure to go back to your veterinarian for boosters.”

Moriyasu said the viruses never would be eliminated from our environment, making the best treatment easily available and highly effective vaccinations.

“And just because your cat or dog lives inside does not mean they are not vulnerable to vaccine-preventable illnesses,” Moriyasu added. “Being a responsible pet owner includes making sure your pet is protected against disease, and routine immunizations from your vet can help you do that.”

State Department of Ecology nixes litter hotline amid cuts

July 19, 2011

The state Department of Ecology tossed a statewide litter hotline amid budget cuts.

Starting July 15, callers to the “Litter and It Will Hurt” campaign hotline started to hear a recorded message saying the state is no longer accepting reports of littering.

The service accepted litter violation reports from citizens and followed up by sending educational letters to the owners of vehicles suspected of littering.

Officials reduced the agency’s Waste Reduction, Recycling and Litter Control Account — the funding source for the state’s litter prevention and cleanup activities — by $7 million for the 2011-13 budget.

The account’s main revenue source is a tax on industries producing items responsible for contributing to the litter problem.

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5th District Republicans plan picnic to celebrate, plot future course

July 19, 2011

The state’s 5th Legislative District includes, of course, Issaquah and neighboring cities such as Sammamish and stretches east into the mountains past North Bend. And, as many probably know, it’s somewhat of a special place for Republicans.

While there are no major races specific to the 5th District this year, Republicans from the area will gather to celebrate their achievements and plot a course for the future during their annual summer picnic from 3-6 p.m. July 23 at Pine Lake Park in Sammamish.

The park is off 228th Avenue Southeast. The event is free and open to the public.

Representing the Klahanie area, Terry LaBrue is an area chairman for the 5th Legislative District Republicans. He said the district is the only one in what he called the “suburban crescent” around the Puget Sound to have all Republican representation at the state level.

State Sen. Cheryl Pflug and state Reps. Jay Rodne and Glenn Anderson all usually have an “R” near their names, as in “Republican.” LaBrue added that Republicans have held those seats since at least the 1990s.

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Hospital combines diverse services for cancer patients

July 19, 2011

The Swedish Cancer Institute at Swedish/Issaquah is a one-stop shop for all things cancer related.

Patients will find doctors, surgeons, radiation, chemotherapy and magnetic oncology, not to mention naturopathic medicine, stores, social workers, clinical research and a resource library.

The institute is partnering with the American Cancer Society and providing a part-time navigator who can connect patients and families with support groups and other resources. The Be Well and Perfect Fit stores will sell prosthetics, wigs and other items a cancer patient might need.

Though the Swedish Cancer Institute has operated in the Seattle area for almost 80 years, the Swedish/Issaquah location opened July 14 and doctors are now seeing patients.

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High schools’ wheelchair ramp and orchestra pit under review

July 19, 2011

When they were built in 1997, the Skyline High School orchestra pit and a Liberty High School wheelchair ramp leading to the metals lab were in compliance with building codes.

But now neither are in compliance with building codes related to the American Disabilities Act, Issaquah School District Chief of Finance and Operations Jake Kuper said. A 2009-10 facility audit of the district found several areas of concern. The state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction carried out the facility audit and reported the results to the federal Office of Civil Rights.

“We are close to finalizing an agreement with the Issaquah School District so we can move forward on the compliance issues,” OSPI spokesman Chris Barron said. “We expect the agreement to be finalized by the end of July.”

At Skyline, OSPI auditors found that the school’s orchestra pit does not have wheelchair access.

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Issaquah office building sells for $32 million

July 19, 2011

The hillside office center behind The Home Depot sold July 6 for $32 million.

The former owner, Piedmont Office Realty Trust, sold the 156,323-square-foot building to The Lake Washington Land Co., a Washington-based business.

The building at 22833 Southeast Black Nugget Road — officially the Eastpointe Corporate Center — had long been nicknamed for Boeing Co., a tenant. The building site encompasses 5.79 acres.

Eastpointe Corporate Center opened in 2001 and Piedmont acquired the building in 2003. The property management company is based in Johns Creek, Ga.

“The sale of Eastpointe Corporate Center further demonstrates our focus on select markets,” Raymond L. Owens, executive vice president of capital markets for Piedmont, said in a statement. “Although our investment in the Seattle market has proven to be positive, the disposition of this property allows us the opportunity to thoughtfully recycle our capital into our top 10 office markets nationally.”

Cedar Grove Composting ordered to pay fine for odors

July 19, 2011

The state ordered Cedar Grove Composting to pay $119,000 in fines July 14 for odor violations at a facility in rural King County near Issaquah and another in Everett.

The fines resulted from 13 violations from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency in 2009 and 2010. The composter appealed the violations to the state Pollution Control Hearings Board, but the panel denied the appeals.

“It’s about time. We’ve been waiting for someone to hold Cedar Grove accountable for their noxious odors,” Citizens for a Smell Free Snohomish County founder Mike Davis said in a statement. “We’re tired of Cedar Grove denying any responsibility and blaming everybody else while people all around the region can’t even enjoy their own yards because of the huge stench.”

The commercial composter is near the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill between Issaquah and Renton.

In a 66-page ruling, the Pollution Control Hearings Board said “odors emanating from the facilities have interfered with the reasonable enjoyment of life and property of a large number of surrounding residents.”

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