Tent City 4 prepares for Issaquah return

October 11, 2011

Tent City 4, a camp for up to 100 homeless people, is poised to return to a local church Oct. 21, after the city issued a permit for the encampment Oct. 4.

The encampment is due to remain in the Community Church of Issaquah parking lot from until Jan. 21. Tent City 4 remains in a place for 90 days, and then residents pack up and relocate to another church.

Organizers need donations and volunteers to help relocate the encampment from a Bellevue synagogue. Learn more about Tent City 4 needs at http://tentcity4.info.

Under camp rules, residents must be adults. Most residents leave the encampment during the day to work. The community elects a camp executive committee to run day-to-day operations. The campsite features 24-hour security.

Organizers conduct warrant and convicted sex offender checks on people requesting to stay at Tent City 4. The camp bans offenders from the premises. Other rules prohibit alcohol, drugs and guns inside the encampment.

In June, Community Church of Issaquah congregants agreed to allow Tent City 4 to settle on the church’s parking lot. The encampment also stayed at the church in August 2007 and January 2010.

Health agency urges parents to take whooping cough prevention measures

October 11, 2011

State health officials said whooping cough, or pertussis, is a serious concern as infants contract the disease at a much higher rate than other people.

The rate of whooping cough in babies is almost 10 times greater than the combined rate of all people of all ages statewide. The state Department of Health said 58 infants younger than 1 received whooping cough diagnoses in 2011. The total includes 22 infants hospitalized for whooping cough and two babies that died from the disease.

“Whooping cough is a serious illness, especially for babies who are too young to be vaccinated,” Dr. Maxine Hayes, state health officer and pediatrician, said in a statement. “Older kids and adults can help protect babies by getting the pertussis vaccine. By being vaccinated, close contacts of infants create a protective ‘cocoon’ for newborns and infants who can’t yet be vaccinated or have not completed their initial vaccine series.”

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Officials enact statewide ban on dangerous ‘bath salts’

October 11, 2011

In a decision announced Oct. 3, state health officials banned the dangerous chemicals in so-called bath salts — dangerous substances used as substitutes for cocaine and methamphetamine.

The state Board of Pharmacy banned the sale, possession and use of products called Spice, K-2, bath salts, plant food, Ivory Wave and White Lightening. The chemicals in the products mimic the effects of cocaine, Ecstasy, LSD and methamphetamine.

Users typically inhale the bath salts in a manner similar to snorting cocaine.

In April, the Board of Pharmacy adopted a temporary emergency ban on bath salts and later adopted a permanent ban. The rule is due to go into effect by Nov. 3.

The state ban gives clear authority to law enforcement agencies to prosecute people for the manufacture, distribution, sale and possession of bath salts.

Based on complaints and reports to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency from poison centers, hospital emergency rooms and law enforcement agencies, the DEA also announced a yearlong, nationwide ban.

Joshua Schaer is not afraid to disagree

October 11, 2011

On a City Council often united in 7-0 decisions, Joshua Schaer is the occasional outlier.

The councilman opposed a hike in cable rates, a redo along Newport Way Northwest and proposed changes to the same street near Issaquah Valley Elementary School. The opposition earned Schaer a grudging respect from council members — and a reputation for outspokenness.

“I’m not trying to be contrarian, and I’m not trying to be difficult, but you can’t have 7-0 votes on every issue,” he said.

Joshua Schaer

Now, as a candidate for a second term on the council, Schaer highlights the no votes just as much as accomplishments.

The councilman, 33, spearheaded a food-packaging ordinance to require restaurateurs and other food sellers to use compostable and recycle takeout containers and utensils.

The legislation is a signature issue as Schaer heads from door to door to greet potential supporters. Newcomer TJ Filley is the other candidate in the race for the Position 4 seat.

“I can’t take credit for the original idea, because it started in a lot of cities. Portland has been doing it for 20 years. Cities in California have been doing it for many years. Seattle was really the model that I looked at,” Schaer said. “If it can work in Seattle with the size of that city, then certainly it can work in Issaquah, where we are leaders in environmental preservation and sustainability. To be the first city on the Eastside to do this, I think, is a tremendous accomplishment.”

The measure caused some heartburn among business leaders, and the rollout continues to face difficulties almost a year after the ordinance took effect. Still, Schaer said the ordinance is a milestone for a city focused on sustainability.

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TJ Filley aims to shift City Council’s priorities

October 11, 2011

The connector across Interstate 90 at state Route 900 — a $6.2 million bridge to carry bicyclists and pedestrians across the highway — looms large on the landscape and in newcomer TJ Filley’s campaign for a City Council seat.

The city relied on federal and Sound Transit dollars, plus about $350,000 in municipal funds, to complete the project. The connector opened to traffic July 1 after construction delays and cost overruns.

TJ Filley

“When I first saw the bicycle and pedestrian overpass over on 90 being built, I originally thought, ‘Gee, they’re going to do something to make it so that traffic isn’t quite so bad around here,’” Filley said. “Then, after a couple months of them working on it, it started to become apparent what it was.”

Intrigued, Filley, 48, started to research the project to determine the reasons behind the City Council decision to start construction.

“I started looking into the project more and more,” he said. “The more I looked into it, the less sense it made to me.”

The project is not so much the problem as the process, Filley said. If elected, he said he intends to change how the council prioritizes transportation projects.

“It’s not that I’m against having bicycle trails or pedestrian overpasses, but it’s more that I didn’t understand how a project like that was given preference over other projects when Issaquah has some notoriously bad traffic problems,” he said.

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Local candidates meet for election forum Oct. 13

October 11, 2011

Hear from the candidates for City Council, Issaquah School Board and Port of Seattle at a candidate forum sponsored by The Issaquah Press.

The forum is meant to offer voters a chance to learn about local candidates as the clock ticks down to Election Day.

The forum starts at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at the King County Library Service Center, 960 Newport Way N.W.

The forum is not a debate. Candidates offer opening statements to the audience and then answer a series of questions from reporters as Publisher Debbie Berto moderates the discussion.

Organizers also plan to collect questions from audience members for possible inclusion in the forum.

Starting Oct. 15, the forum is scheduled to air on Issaquah Channel 21 at 4 and 10 p.m. each day until Election Day, Nov. 8.

Apollo Elementary pulls some strings to host big Red Ribbon Week

October 11, 2011

Local and federal agencies help spread healthy lifestyle,  anti-drug message 

Representatives of the King County Sheriff’s Office greet students outside Apollo Elementary School. By Tom Corrigan

Ultimately, the topic at hand was serious.

But even the adults in the crowd outside Apollo Elementary School on Oct. 5 seemed to be enjoying themselves.

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Support Groups

October 11, 2011

Eastside Alcoholics Anonymous hosts the following meetings. Go to www.eastsideintergroup.org or call 454-9192:

Issaquah Smoke Free: 8:30 a.m. Sundays, Issaquah Community Hall, 180 E. Sunset Way

One Step At a Time: 10 a.m. Sundays and 7 p.m. Thursdays, 206-686-2927

Core Relations (men only): 6 p.m. Sundays, Issaquah Community Hall, 180 E. Sunset Way

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Students should not let college ruin senior year

October 11, 2011

Hall Monitor By Logan Briggs Liberty High School

The time is here for this year’s seniors to start stressing out about what colleges to apply to and whether or not they will be accepted. It happens every year, so why should this year be any different?

As I have been going on recruiting trips to various universities during the past month, there is one phrase that every student I have come across tries to impart upon me, no matter the school they attend…

“Deciding to come to [insert name of university here] was the best decision I have ever made. I love this school and am extremely happy here. You should come here.”

As a swimmer, I hear this from many of the universities’ swim team members. However, I also hear plenty of nonswimmers say the same thing.

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Suzanne Weaver focuses on students as board member

October 11, 2011

During her four years on the job, Issaquah School Board member and Sammamish resident Suzanne Weaver said that the board has done a worthy job of keeping its focus on student achievement and success.

Suzanne Weaver

“It’s work that I enjoy and I want to continue doing it,” Weaver said of serving on the board.

Holding the District 5 seat, Weaver is being challenged in the November election by Issaquah resident Brian Neville.

District 5 includes the northwest corner of Issaquah around Lake Sammamish as well as parts of the city of Sammamish. Although board candidates run for a specific geographic seat, voters from across the district cast ballots for all Issaquah School Board members. Members are elected to four-year terms.

Board members may request pay of $50 per meeting, but the current board has chosen not to accept that money, according to Sara Niegowski, district executive director of communications.

Even as she praised the district for keeping students center stage in a time of massive financial distractions, Weaver said leaders need to deal with those financial hurdles.

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