Food scraps return as compost to fuel community garden

November 29, 2011

King County EcoConsumer Tom Watson (left) adds compost to a garden plot Nov. 16. Contributed

Turning trash to treasure — or, at least, rich compost — could lengthen the landfill’s lifespan.

King County Solid Waste Division officials said the average King County family tosses 45 pounds of food scraps each month. The agency estimates food recycling could divert the amount of garbage headed to the county-run Cedar Hills Regional Landfill by more than 20 percent.

So, the Solid Waste Division enlisted 10 families in the Sycamore neighborhood near downtown Issaquah to collect food scraps throughout August — and demonstrate the ease of food-scrap recycling. Overall, neighbors amassed more than 400 pounds from refuse otherwise headed for the landfill — chicken bones, pineapple tops, paper towels soaked in bacon grease and much more.

The garbage pile festering beneath the hot August sun in Donna Misner’s driveway re-emerged Nov. 16 as rich compost.

King County EcoConsumer Tom Watson joined the residents in late August to bid the garbage heap farewell on a journey to Cedar Grove Composting.

Then, 85 days and a decomposition cycle later, Misner and other Sycamore neighbors gathered on a rain-soaked morning to see the result.

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Firefighters rescue man after car splashes into pond

November 29, 2011

Firefighters pulled a man from a half-submerged car in a downtown Issaquah retention pond Nov. 23.

The elderly man had been driving erratically before the car headed off East Sunset Way and into the pond beneath the Interstate 90 Sunset Interchange at about 10:20 a.m. Eastside Fire & Rescue crews freed the man from the waterlogged car.

Medics transported the man to Group Health Bellevue Medical Center. EFR spokeswoman Josie Williams said the man did not sustain serious injuries and remained conscious during the rescue operation.

EFR Chief of Maintenance Kelly Refvem had been driving behind the man as the car slipped into the waist-deep water. Refvem called in the incident and aid vehicles responded moments later.

“He was only in water that was waist-deep, but I’m sure it was pretty cold,” Williams said.

City Council candidates, unopposed in election, outline goals for future

November 29, 2011

Though most City Council seats appeared on the November ballot, voters faced a choice in a lone race — the contest between incumbent Joshua Schaer and challenger TJ Filley. (Schaer claimed a second term in a landslide.)

The other seats up for election did not attract challengers, so incumbents Fred Butler and Stacy Goodman, plus newcomer Paul Winterstein, coasted through campaign season. The next council is due to settle into office in early January.

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Skyline Spartans defense does in Woodinville Falcons, 26-21

November 29, 2011

Max Browne, Skyline High School junior quarterback, breaks the tackle of Woodinville senior linebacker Jacob Hollister on a keeper for nine yards to the Falcon 8-yard line as the Skyline sideline looks on during the first quarter. By Greg Farrar

Even when the Woodinville Falcons were poised for a last-minute comeback, the Skyline High School football team seemed confidant that on the field things would go its way. Read more

Bellevue resident Anne Moore readies to join school board

November 29, 2011

Anne Moore

Long before the first ballot was mailed back to King County, Issaquah School District residents were guaranteed of seeing at least one new face on their school board of directors next year.

Bellevue resident Anne Moore ran unopposed for the District One seat being vacated by current board president Jan Colbrese.

“I will always be deeply invested in the Issaquah School District,” Colbrese said.

But after what will be 12 years on the board, Colbrese said that following discussions with her husband, she decided it was time to move on. She further noted that all of her children have now graduated from district schools.

Colbrese announced her decision not to run in June, prior to the election filing deadline. Issaquah School District 1 covers an area of the district to the west of Issaquah and south to Coalfield and north to Lake Sammamish.

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City arborist offers advice to protect trees for winter

November 29, 2011

Issaquah city arborist and horticulturalist Alan Haywood said trees can suffer significant damage in winds of about 40 mph.

And Haywood said winds of that strength are not all that unusual in Issaquah. So, what do you do about the potential problem?

“Well, you can’t do anything to stop the wind,” Haywood said.

But there are steps you can take to protect both your trees and your home and other property from damage. Kevin Zobrist is a forestry educator for WSU and was one of the instructors for a recent outreach course on protecting trees. He said unhealthy or potentially hazardous trees will exhibit several warning signs, including yellowing or thinning foliage. Zobrist said the most common tree problem locally is root rot, a type of fungal infection.

According to Zobrist, the Douglas firs common in the Northwest are particularly susceptible to root rot. Some signs include a rounded, as opposed to a pointed, treetop.

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Grant awards support local projects

November 29, 2011

The Issaquah Community Network recently awarded eight grants totaling $7,000 and, according to the network, those grants are aimed at supporting local school activities and efforts to promote healthy youth and strong families.

Awards were made at the regular meeting of the Issaquah Community Network board Nov. 7.

“We were pleased to receive grant applications from a mix of previous grantees and new applicants,” said Judy Brewer, board chairwoman.

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King County Council joins effort to land 737 aircraft assembly site

November 29, 2011

Dow Constantine

In a push to promote King County as the top place to assemble next-generation Boeing 737 jets, County Council members agreed Oct. 24 to fund studies to support local and statewide efforts to land the program.

In a complementary effort to ensure the planes get built in Washington, Gov. Chris Gregoire announced a $9.8 million plan Nov. 16 to retain the project.

The global aerospace company is researching possible locations to assemble the next-generation 737 — a re-engineered aircraft called the 737 MAX. The existing 737 model is assembled in Renton.

In order to land the manufacturing facility for the aircraft, dubbed the 737 MAX, Gregoire proposed spending $7.6 million to expand engineering programs at the University of Washington and Washington State University; $1.5 million to create a Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation at the UW and WSU; $450,000 to support aerospace curriculum at 12 high schools; and $250,000 to bolster science, technology, engineering and math programs at 10 high schools.

“There is no question that Washington state is the best place in the world to build the Boeing 737-MAX jetliner,” Gregoire said in a statement.

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Streamlined process for wetlands proposed

November 29, 2011

In the near future, builders in rural and unincorporated King County could purchase credits to offset construction-related damage to wetlands.

Under a plan proposed by County Executive Dow Constantine, builders could pay a fee, rather than completing projects in a process called mitigation to compensate for damaged or destroyed wetlands.

The law requires builders to avoid and minimize impacts to wetlands and other sensitive areas as much as possible. Mitigation is required if damage is unavoidable.

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Months before election, school district bond campaign gears up

November 29, 2011

Voters will have until April 17 to decide the fate of a $219 million capital bond issue supporting the Issaquah School District.

Still, those running the bond campaign are starting to put the groundwork for it in place.

In the meantime, the Issaquah School Board approved the ballot language for the measure at its regular meeting Nov. 9.

The question asks voters to approve the sale of bonds to support various capital improvement projects in the district. The projects listed in the actual ballot include the rebuilding of Clark Elementary and Issaquah Middle schools. The language also addresses the relocation and expansion of Tiger Mountain Community High School.

Those projects are the largest, and possibly most controversial, included in the bond package. In the original bond program proposed by Superintendent Steve Rasmussen, the total cost of the interrelated projects was given as $86 million.

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