Issaquah representatives tapped for County Council committee posts

January 25, 2011

Kathy Lambert is the point person on the King County Council for policies related to elections, licensing and more, the council announced Jan. 18.

The longtime councilwoman continues as chairwoman of the Government Accountability and Oversight Committee through 2011. Lambert assumed the top spot last year.

The committee considers policies related to numerous — and sometimes disparate — county services. In addition to elections and licensing, the panel handles animal control, telecommunications, purchasing and wastewater treatment issues. Members also oversee the county Assessor’s Office and Boeing Field.

Lambert represents Issaquah and northeastern King County on the council.

Councilman Reagan Dunn, the other Issaquah-area representative, also serves on the committee.

The council appointed Dunn and other members as leaders of regional committees last week.

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City offers energy retrofit classes

January 25, 2011

Step inside a retrofitted house and learn about energy conservation soon.

Residents can learn how to save money by learning steps to make homes more energy efficient at a series of classes sponsored by the city. The free classes are Feb. 5-6.

The city, alongside Puget Sound Energy and Gary Wood, from Applied Performance Technologies, plan to teach the class next month at a retrofitted home.

“This is a very unique class, in that we’re hosting it onsite, at a retrofitted home right here in Issaquah,” city Resource Conservation Office Project Manager Brad Liljequist. “We really wanted residents to see how easy — and affordable — energy-saving home improvements can be.”

The class covers basic building science to teach participants how a home “breathes” and how the heating system works.

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Hopelink cancels Talk Time English classes in Issaquah

January 25, 2011

Hopelink canceled its English Talk Time classes at Issaquah Valley Elementary School last month due to budget cuts.

About nine people used the free class, where they divided into beginning and advanced groups to practice their English speaking skills, Talk Time Coordinator and AmeriCorps member Kelli Graham said.

Hopelink is not the first to cut English language classes because of budget cuts. In March 2009, Renton Technical College ended its English class, which helped 22 people from Brazil, China, Korea, Mexico, Russia and Ukraine at a classroom at the Community Church of Issaquah.

Even with the cuts, English language learners looking for classes can still find them around town.

The Issaquah Valley Senior Center offers English language classes to people who speak Chinese. The center offers the free class for seniors and adults from 10 a.m. – noon every Monday at 75 N.E. Creek Way. No registration is required, Program Coordinator April Nelson said.

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Cascade Water Alliance seals deal for future Issaquah water supply

January 25, 2011

The state Department of Ecology and Cascade Water Alliance sealed a deal last month for a water-rights package to secure a future drinking water source for Issaquah residents.

The rights grant the alliance the authority to use Lake Tapps in Pierce County as a long-term drinking water source. Issaquah is a member of the alliance.

The rights allow the alliance to store water in the Lake Tapps Reservoir, divert water from the White River into the lake to supply water for the water supply project and withdraw water from Lake Tapps for municipal water supply purposes. The project as proposed could take 50 years to develop.

Under the agreement, Cascade has the authority to use up to 48 million gallons of lake water per day for public use.

Department of Ecology officials presented the documents to alliance board members Dec. 15.

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King County could ask voters to renew fund for veterans services

January 25, 2011

King County voters could be asked in November to fund programs to help local veterans and military personnel.

Councilmen Reagan Dunn, Bob Ferguson and Pete Von Reichbauer last week proposed a renewal of the county veterans and human services levy. The legislation is the initial step to maintain funding for veterans services after the current levy expires at the end of the year.

Ferguson is the prime sponsor of the renewal and the initial measure. The electorate adopted the veterans and human services levy by a decisive margin in 2005.

“The veterans and humans services levy honors our veterans and helps thousands of King County residents,” he said in a statement. “During this recession, the critical services provided by the levy are needed more than ever.”

The legislation proposed Jan. 3 calls for the levy to be renewed for another six years at the existing rate of 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The cost amounts to about $20 on a $400,000 home.

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Issaquah elementary schools earn King County eco honor

January 25, 2011

Creekside, Grand Ridge recognized for recycling

Milk carton, paper and bottle recycling? Check.

Composting? Capri Sun recycling? Check and check again.

Madelyn Fernstrom (left) and Jarrod Morgan, students in Sanjana Pathak’s fourth-grade class at Grand Ridge Elementary School, dump a classroom tub of mixed paper into a barrel for recycling. By Leslie Lederman

King County Green Schools Program honored Issaquah’s Creekside and Grand Ridge elementary schools in January for their resource conservation, recycling included.

Creekside and Grand Ridge were two of eight schools honored countywide.

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Off the Press

January 25, 2011

My weather knowledge was a little foggy

Every morning, when I get off Interstate 90 to drive into Issaquah, I look up at Tiger, Squak and Cougar mountains to get a glimpse of their surreal greenery. Mostly, I just see a bunch of fog.

Laura Geggel Press reporter

That dense, whitish-gray stuff isn’t on my A list. It reminds me of Harry Potter’s dementors. It’s gloomy and makes me feel claustrophobic. Fog hides the sun — which, I guess means I don’t have to wear sunscreen, but it shields all of the vitamin D I could potentially be making from those ultraviolet rays.

And don’t even get me started on literary metaphors. Charles Dickens used it to set a dismal scene in “Bleak House.” In Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” fog causes Huck and Jim to miss a turn, making them head south into slave country, away from the freedom of the North.

Still, it turns out my understanding of fog was, well, foggy.

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Lee Soptich sworn in as fire chiefs association president

January 25, 2011

Eastside Fire & Rescue Fire Chief Lee Soptich was sworn in as president of the King County Fire Chiefs Association on Jan. 19, for a second term.

Washington Court of Appeals Judge Anne Ellington conducted the swearing-in ceremony in Renton.

As president of the association, Soptich and association executive board members work with county and city officials on programs and projects of joint interest.

The association is active at the local and state level in promoting safety initiatives, public education, and emergency management and preparedness, in addition to supporting legislation on various matters.

“It’s been a real honor to be a part of the team that is leading the industry in serving the community, and influencing where we can for safer conditions internally for our employees and externally with our customers,” Soptich said.

He will serve in his position as president through 2011.

To the Editor

January 25, 2011

Tucson, Ariz., shooting

Assigning blame to Tea Party critics is irresponsible, inflammatory rhetoric

Re: Tea Party organizer takes exception to being called an accomplice to murder:

Delvin, the government has not destroyed half of your life savings; the mortgage industry and banks did that. And unless you pulled all of your retirement investments out of the market, most of it is back. Yes, your income is taxed, just as it has been and will continue to be; nothing new there. As for the health care legislation, whether or not it is good or bad for you (or me) is far from clear. Hard to tell from all of the misinformation.

The terrible shootings in Tucson are apparently the work of a severely mentally sick individual. There is no evidence to Jan. 26 that the unhealthy level of political discourse so common in America today influenced the actions of the shooter. It is wrong to accuse you of being an accomplice to murder because of your apparent support of inflammatory rhetoric; that conclusion is clearly yours.

On the other hand, the irresponsible and unsubstantiated allegations of extremists add nothing to an intelligent conversation about the real outcomes of legislation like healthcare. What is required is a fact-based discussion, minimizing partisan opinions, about how best to deal with the real problems we face as a nation.

“Who is it that politicized this terrible tragedy?” you ask. Pogo had the answer: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Your comments don’t help.

Paul Beckman

Ravensdale

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Nominate outstanding historic preservation projects for honor

January 25, 2011

The people responsible for preserving the past could receive some recognition in the near future.

The state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation seeks notable people, organizations and projects for the 21st Annual Awards for Outstanding Achievements in Historic Preservation.

The agency recognizes recipients during a ceremony in May — National Historic Preservation Month.

Participants can nominate people, organizations and projects in one of the following categories: historic preservation planning, historic property rehabilitation projects, career achievement, public education, stewardship, special achievement and media.

Nominations must be postmarked or submitted to the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation by 5 p.m. March 4.

Find the nomination form at the agency website. Or call Russell Holter at 360-586-3533 or e-mail russell.holter@dahp.wa.gov to learn more.

The awards ceremony — sponsored by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation — is May 3. The event takes place at the Capitol.

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