Discover Pass is required for state parks, recreation lands July 1

June 28, 2011

Summer days spent lounging lakeside at Lake Sammamish State Park or hiking in Tiger Mountain State Forest start to cost most users a fee soon.

The cash-strapped state is preparing to debut the Discover Pass on July 1, just as the Fourth of July weekend causes attendance to swell at state parks and recreation lands. The permit is required to park vehicles at state recreation sites and other public lands.

The base price for the annual pass is $30, although consumers should expect to shell out another $5 in fees. The day-use pass — base price: $10 — carries $1.50 in additional fees.

State officials maintain the pass is necessary to avoid closing state parks and other sites to public access, but outdoors enthusiasts said the requirement serves a barrier to parkgoers, and could cause attendance to drop.

The pass is needed for parking access to 7 million acres of state recreation lands under the jurisdiction of the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, state Department of Natural Resources, and state Department of Fish and Wildlife. State recreation lands include state parks, boat launches, heritage sites, wildlife and natural areas, campgrounds, trails and trailheads.

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Cougar Mountain Zoo unveils cougar cubs

June 28, 2011

Months after Cougar Mountain Zoo’s iconic cougar Nashi died, keepers unveiled a trio of month-old cougar cubs June 23.

Cougar Mountain Zoo plans to unveil cougar cubs to the public July 16. Contributed

The cubs — one male and two females born May 20 — should go on display July 16. In the meantime, zoogoers might see the cubs during unscheduled public appearances after July 1.

“The cubs are absolutely adorable! They are extremely playful and curious about everything,” zoo General Curator Robyn Barfoot said in a news release. “I can’t wait to bring them home and introduce them to our zoo visitors.”

Barfoot and Senior Keeper Sasha Puskar picked up the then-2-pound cubs at a Wisconsin zoo.

The cubs replace Nashi, a longtime denizen at the nonprofit zoo. Nashi died in February at age 17. Keepers started the search for cougar cubs soon after.

The zoo lacked a namesake big cat in the months since Nashi’s death.

“We are still recovering from losing Nashi this past February. He was an incredible and iconic cougar,” Barfoot said. “With the addition of these new cubs, our hearts are happy again. The cubs have a lot to live up to, but so far, they are doing a fantastic job. They are healthy, happy cubs and I think our visitors will give them a wonderful welcome.”

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Liberty High School remodel plan is changed

June 28, 2011

Though they already bid their theater a tearful goodbye, Liberty High School’s Patriot Players will have another year to use the stage in spite of the school’s remodel.

Liberty’s remodel is divided into two phases. Phase one is being paid for by the voter-approved 2006 Issaquah School District bond, and will last through summer 2012. Phase two will proceed if at least 60 percent of voters approve a proposed spring 2012 bond.

District administrators have recently changed what projects will happen in each phase.

Even with the delays to remodeling certain areas, such as the commons, Superintendent Steve Rasmussen said the changes show the district’s commitment to remodeling Liberty the right way.

“We want the people to see that, yes we are putting our money where we said we were going to,” he said. “It may not have been in the exact time frame we wanted, but it’s getting there.”

In light of complaints that the south end of the district was getting the short shrift, he added, “Every part of our district is important to us, that’s the message.”

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Press Editorial

June 28, 2011

Redistricting could mean changes in representation

Along with the newly released 2010 census data comes the task of rebalancing the King County Council, and legislative and congressional districts. The population growth in Issaquah in the past decade could mean significant changes to all.

Proposals for the nonpartisan council districts are interesting, but in the long run they hold little significance to the average voter, since today’s representatives are not necessarily the elected officials of tomorrow. Only political junkies will find the three proposed plans for Issaquah to be of interest.

Plan No. 1 splits Issaquah in two, although redistricting criteria suggests that municipal boundaries should be honored when possible. Would the city be better off with two council members representing Issaquah city issues to the full council, or is one more expeditious?

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Fireworks, parade await Issaquah on Independence Day

June 28, 2011

On Independence Day, Issaquah residents can head downtown for the annual parade, churn butter at the Train Depot Museum, participate in a slug race or drive to Sammamish for the annual plateau celebration.

Practice fireworks safety

King County fire officials remind Independence Day revelers to use caution if they plan to discharge fireworks to celebrate the holiday.

Use only approved, legal and common fireworks from reliable state- and King County Fire Marshal-licensed retailers.

Remember: If a firework has a stick or fins, and if it goes up or if it blows up, it is illegal in Washington.

Celebrants should always have a responsible adult light all fireworks, and avoid aerial fireworks. Use eye protection, too.

Have a garden hose or a fire extinguisher handy during fireworks-related activities.

Use fireworks under outdoor conditions only, away from buildings, wood-shingled houses, trees and dry fields.

Light one item at a time, move away quickly and keep a safe distance away. Dispose of used fireworks by first soaking them in water.

If a firework does not light or discharge, adults should wait at least five minutes before approaching the device.

Fireworks regulations

In Issaquah, discharging fireworks is banned on Independence Day and the rest of the year. Usually, Issaquah Police Department officers issue a verbal warning for fireworks and confiscate them for a first offense. If police catch revelers putting off fireworks again, a citation is issued.

Residents in unincorporated King County communities, such as Klahanie and Mirrormont, face looser rules, but some restrictions apply:

Fireworks can be discharged only from 9 a.m. to midnight. July 4.

Fireworks sales remain legal only between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. through July 4, and no sales can occur after Independence Day.

People must be at least 16 and present a form of photo identification in order to purchase fireworks.

The annual Down Home Fourth of July begins with the Kids, Pets N’ Pride Parade at 11 a.m. at Rainier Boulevard North, at the intersection of Northwest Dogwood Street and Front Street North.

The parade is free, but participants must fill out a form before they begin marching. Paradegoers can find the form online, or in The Issaquah Press. Registrants also can sign up the day of the event at 10 a.m. July 4 at 425 Rainier Blvd. N.

After the parade, families can plays games at Veterans’ Memorial Field and learn about Issaquah’s history from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Issaquah Train Depot Museum’s Heritage Day celebration, 50 Rainier Boulevard N.

On Veterans’ Memorial Field, children can enter potato sack, slug and three-legged races, go for pony rides and have their faces painted.

At the depot, children can get free passports and collect stamps as they visit different stations to do old-time activities, including splitting a cedar shingle, using homemade soap to scrub clothes, dressing in historic garb and whipping cream into butter. Other activities include operating an historic pump car and trying out an historic stump puller.

“I’m always a big fan of the butter, because nothing tastes quite so good as butter that you made yourself,” Museums Director Erica Maniez said.

The depot still needs volunteers. Call 392-3500 or email to learn more.

Once the sky darkens, Issaquah residents can flock to Sammamish for the annual fireworks show and carnival-style gathering from 7-10 p.m. at the Sammamish Commons, near City Hall at 801 228th Ave S.E., Sammamish.

The 10 p.m. fireworks show should last between 20 and 25 minutes.

“Hopefully this year there’ll be sun,” said Joanna Puthoff, Sammamish’s facility coordinator. “As rainy as it was last year, we actually had a good amount of people show up. The plaza still ended up packed.”

The children’s play area will feature pay-to-play bouncy toys, carnival-style games and activities put on by Skyhawks Sports Camps. The celebration is located on the far end of the lower commons, but is accessible via 222nd Place Southeast.

In addition to the main fireworks event, dozens of vendors will offer food and goodies, like ice cream, elephant ears, burgers, hot dogs, kettle corn, Thai food, barbecue and smoothies. The stage on the plaza will feature music from The Pop Offs from 6-8 p.m. and Dance Factory from 8-10:15 p.m.

Parking is free at Eastside Catholic School, Eastlake High School, Discovery Elementary School, Sammamish Highlands Shopping Center, Pine Lake Park and the Sammamish Park & Ride. Parking closer to Sammamish Commons is $5 at Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Skyline High School and Sammamish Hills Lutheran Church.

“Come out and be with the people you live around,” Puthoff said. “Out of all the different shows I’ve seen in my life … it’s a great show.”

Laura Geggel: 392-6434, ext. 241, or Chris Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or Comment at

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Issaquah School District to request bond in February

June 28, 2011

The Issaquah School Board has agreed to put a bond before voters Feb. 14.

Board members are still reviewing the contents and cost of the bond, but agreed to decide on both by late September, giving community supporters four months to campaign.

A bond is a property tax that pays for school construction and repairs. Money from bonds cannot be used for teacher salaries or for classroom supplies.

The last bond put before voters — a $241.87 million bond in February 2006 — passed with about 68 percent of the vote. All bonds need at least 60 percent approval to pass.

Some of the larger projects on the 2006 bond included the rebuilding of Issaquah High and Briarwood Elementary schools; the expansion of Skyline High School; the addition of Creekside Elementary School; and remodels at Maywood Middle and Liberty High schools.

District administrators had originally planned to ask voters for a bond in 2010, but decided to wait until 2012 because of the recession.

The proposed 2012 bond has projects for all of the district’s 24 schools, but the list has yet to be finalized.

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State liquor stores to offer expanded hours

June 28, 2011

The state plans to roll out standardized hours at liquor stores July 1.

Under the existing system, hours for the state-run store in Issaquah and 165 other locations vary. Starting in July, the schedule for all state stores is to be from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. at the Issaquah store and 57 others that are open on Sunday.

“Having standard, reliable hours will be a significant improvement in convenience for our customers,” Sharon Foster, Washington State Liquor Control Board chairwoman, said in a statement. “It took an investment by the governor and Legislature to make it possible. We are excited and thankful to have this opportunity and look forward to providing this service to our customers and returning additional revenue as well.”

The liquor board received funding in the 2011-13 state budget to standardize state store hours. The change is projected to generate almost $800,000 in additional revenue through 2013.

“The later hours are not expected to compromise our top priority — public safety,” Pat Kohler, liquor board administrative director, said in a statement. “Washington state liquor stores have among the nation’s highest no-sales-to-minors compliance rate at 95 percent. Additionally, state store employee wages are not based on sales, so they do not have an incentive to sell to teens or apparently intoxicated people.”

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Off the Press

June 28, 2011

Issaquah, unlikely Cold War hotspot, thaws history

Berlin or Prague call to mind Cold War intrigue — dead drops in darkened alleyways, encrypted cables sent between continents, double-crossing double agents.

Warren Kagarise Press Reporter

But, Issaquah? The city conjures up, if not Cold War intrigue, then at least intriguing episodes from the bygone era.

Issaquah hosted anti-aircraft missiles designed to counter the nuclear threat from the Soviet Union. Townsfolk served as test subjects — scientist-speak for guinea pigs — in a Cold War psychological operations study. The oddest episode, perhaps, surrounds a decision to import a hulking Vladimir Lenin statue from behind the crumpled Iron Curtain to Issaquah.

For a piece in the summertime Issaquah Living magazine, I set out to recount the statue’s long and meandering journey from the Poprad, Slovakia, scrap heap to suburban Issaquah and, at last, to a Seattle street corner. (Readers can find the magazine tucked amid the sales circulars in the B section.)

The plot is as tangled as a John le Carré espionage novel. Late Issaquah resident Lewis Carpenter chanced upon the discarded statue in a Poprad storage yard.

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King County requires life vests on major rivers

June 28, 2011

Summer is prime time for river recreation in King County, as people seek to beat the heat in boats, canoes, kayaks, inner tubes and more.

Just before summer started, King County Council members adopted legislation June 20 to require personal flotation devices on major King County rivers starting July 1. The life-vest requirement is due to expire Oct. 31.

The measure requires people to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device on portions of the Raging, Snoqualmie, Tolt, Cedar, Green, Skykomish and White rivers in unincorporated areas.

The initial infraction carries only a warning. However, subsequent violations carry $86 fines. Enforcement is the responsibility of the King County Sheriff’s Office.

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Donation bin relocates from Walgreens to McDonald’s

June 28, 2011

The purple donation bin for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound has been relocated from Walgreens to McDonald’s, 5526 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E.

Like other bins throughout the region, the nonprofit organization accepts men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, shoes, hats, linens, small draperies, purses, reusable household items and small appliances at the Issaquah location. Because the site is attended, donors can receive a tax-deductible receipt immediately.

Revenue from donated clothing helps support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound’s mentoring programs. A single bin lasts for 10 years and generates $8,666 in goods on average each year.

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