Costco-backed I-1183 aims to remove state from liquor business

September 20, 2011

Months after a measure to privatize the state’s Prohibition-era liquor system failed, Issaquah-based Costco ordered another round, and spearheaded a similar measure for the November ballot.

Initiative 1183 aims to remove the state from the business of distributing and selling hard liquor. The measure is less comprehensive than Initiative 1100, a Costco-backed privatization measure rejected last November.

A colorful brand of Puerto Rican rum occupies a shelf at the state liquor store on Northwest Gilman Boulevard. By Greg Farrar

If passed, I-1183 calls for state-run liquor stores to close by June 2012. The measure also aims to require the state to license private enterprises to sell and distribute hard liquor, set license fees based on sales and regulate licensees.

Unlike the unsuccessful initiative from last year, I-1183 limits hard liquor sales to stores of at least 10,000 square feet. (The average Costco encompasses about 140,000 square feet.) I-1100 aimed to allow smaller retailers, such as gas stations and convenience stores, to sell hard liquor.

Still, opponents said safety concerns remain about efforts to privatize the system and sell booze at more locations.

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Student stars in county’s ‘Let’s Do This!’ health campaign

September 20, 2011

Hillary Dominguez, 12, of Sammamish, poses near the ‘Let's Do This!’ campaign billboard on East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. By Greg Farrar

“When she was really little,” Frances Clairmont said of daughter Hillary Dominguez, “she used to point at the TV and say, ‘I’m going to do that.’”

Clairmont said that at first, she and the rest of her family really weren’t sure if Hillary was hoping to be a doctor, a model or whatever other profession was being portrayed on the screen.

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Measure calls for tighter rules on highway tolls

September 20, 2011

Under I-1125, lawmakers could set toll amounts

Tim Eyman said that for him, Initiative 1125 isn’t so much about highway tolling as it is a continuation of the same idea he has been promoting with his various ballot issues for 18 years.

I-1125 would change the way state conducts highway tolling in several ways. Among other provisions, I-1125 would require the Legislature to set toll amounts — rather than the appointed Washington State Transportation Commission — and mandate that tolls end when the state finishes paying off projects funded by tolling.

Voters will decide on the initiative in November.

The basic idea behind I-1125 is that all new taxes or fees must be approved by the Legislature or put on a public ballot, Eyman said. Voters approved just those provisions last year when they passed Initiative 1053 with 64 percent in favor, he added.

I-1053 was Eyman’s primary 2010 initiative effort. The measure requires any state tax increase to receive a two-thirds majority in the Legislature.

He argues that Olympia politicians bypassed I-1053 when they let the Washington State Transportation Commission set the cost of tolls on the state Route 520 bridge.

But I-1125 opponents say there are several big problems with having the Legislature set tolling amounts.

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Born on Sept. 11, 2001

September 20, 2011

History is intertwined for Issaquah girl and 9/11 attacks

Larisa Tutkur, 10, a Sunset Elementary School fourth-grader, holds a book featuring the Brooklyn Bridge — a route many people used to escape Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001 — the same day she was born. By Greg Farrar

Larisa Tutkur and a tragedy share a moment in history — Sept. 11, 2001, was Larisa’s birthday.

The bright and outgoing girl learned about the connection after she turned 6, and her parents explained the catastrophe.

“When I first found out, we did talk about it,” she said. “Then, after a few years, we just looked at it as my birthday and nothing else. We didn’t want to talk about it because it’s a really, really sad day.”

Larisa is among the 13,238 babies born in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, and the only such child in the almost 17,000-student Issaquah School District.

The fourth-grader at Sunset Elementary School turned 10 on a day many people spent reflecting on a tragedy from a decade ago.

Larisa’s parents, Maida and Omer Tutkur, resettled in Washington from war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina months before the 9/11 attacks.

Maida Tutkur, then six months pregnant, landed in the United States on June 28, 2001, not long after her husband settled on the Eastside.

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Issaquah couple celebrates a lifetime together

September 20, 2011

Marv and Lucille mark 68 years of marriage

Lucille and Marv Lemke keep the love bright for each other as they recall highlights of their 68-year marriage. By Greg Farrar

At a fateful wedding in Wisconsin during the early 1940s, Marv Lemke and his parents attended the reception to offer their congratulations to the groom.

Lucille Lueder and her family attended the event to do the same for the bride.

Little did they know that attending that wedding would soon lead to their own.

After decades of traveling across the United States and around the world, being active in the Lutheran church and starting a family, the Issaquah couple will celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary Sept. 22.

But the relationship almost never got off the ground.

After Marv introduced himself at the wedding in Wisconsin, where the Lemkes were raised, he asked if he could drive Lucille home.

She declined.

But as a driver for a Ford tractor distributor, Marv was resourceful and asked around to find out where Lucille lived.

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Press Editorial

September 20, 2011

Redistricting matters to Issaquah area

Washington is in the midst of a once-a-decade chance to re-evaluate the lines on a map that create our congressional and legislative districts. Unfortunately, redistricting has become a politically partisan activity.

Please, powers-that-be, draw the lines based on logical groups of people, not on how best to achieve a legislative majority.

Logic does not divide small cities. Logic does not have a district that encompasses large portions of both sides of the Cascades. Logic does not base district boundaries on today’s representation without acknowledging that elected officials and political leanings will change dramatically over the next decade.

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Liberty Patriots pounce on Sammamish Totems, 54-7

September 20, 2011

Josh Gordon, Liberty senior wide receiver, hauls in a first-quarter pass for 44 yards and a first-and-goal from the Sammamish six-yard line. Junior running back Casey Smith scored for a 21-0 lead on the drive. By Greg Farrar

The Liberty High School Patriots rallied from a sluggish 0-2 start to the season in a big way Sept. 16, winning their first home football game of the season, 54-7, against the visiting Sammamish Totems.

It was also Liberty’s first KingCo Conference 3A/2A game of the season.

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Local nursing home receives help on Day of Caring

September 20, 2011

Providence Marianwood, a nonprofit nursing home in Issaquah, received a helping hand from volunteer gardeners and painters Sept. 16 as the United Way of King County celebrated the Day of Caring in a series of service projects.

Employees from Aerojet, Mutual of Enumclaw and PeaceHealth set aside normal workplace duties to participate in the Day of Caring at Providence Marianwood. Elsewhere in King County, United Way-affiliated volunteers assisted in projects at nonprofit organizations, parks and schools.

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Macaroni Kid newsletter creates award for teachers

September 20, 2011

For Diana Reul-Shapiro, it was time.

Her newsletter, Macaroni Kid, has become a part of the Issaquah and Snoqualmie communities, she said.

After two and a half years of news about children and teachers, it’s time for her and her newsletter’s co-editor and publisher Dana Verhoff to give something back: the Teacher of the Month award.

“Dana is a former teacher,” Reul-Shapiro said. “And this is a great way to show our support for teachers.”

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Swedish may cut 300 jobs, could reassign employees to Issaquah

September 20, 2011

Swedish Medical Center is cutting 300 positions, although the nonprofit hospital’s chief executive said some people facing a pink slip could instead be reassigned to the system’s Issaquah hospital.

Swedish faces a $19 million budget gap due to a rise in uninsured patients, plus government cuts in Medicare and Medicaid funding.

“High unemployment in the region means we are seeing more and more Medicaid and charity-care patients, and are writing off more cases as ‘bad debt’ due to people being unable to pay their medical bills,” Dr. Rod Hochman, Swedish president and CEO, said in a statement Sept. 19.

Under the workforce reduction plan, Swedish executives intend to examine about 300 positions, or about 3 percent of the system’s workforce. The positions under scrutiny include union and nonunion jobs — as well as vacant positions — across the organization.

Executives said they intend to work to redeploy as many affected employees as possible to other parts of the system in need of increased staffing, such as Swedish/Issaquah.

“Our expectation is that the number of people who actually leave the organization will be much lower than 300,” Hochman said. “But we won’t know the exact number until we go through the methodical process of redeployment.”

Swedish/Issaquah opened outpatient services at the $365 million Issaquah Highlands campus in July. The portion containing the inpatient beds is scheduled to open in November.

Swedish financed the Issaquah project by tapping into reserves and selling 30-year bonds. The facility benefited from a $100 million fundraising campaign meant to fund capital projects throughout the Swedish system.

Operating revenue next year should be about $100 million, but Swedish/Issaquah is not expected to start generating enough revenue to cover operating costs until 2013 or 2014.

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