Crash kills motorists on state Route 18 near Preston

July 12, 2011

A late-night crash near Preston left two people dead July 6.

The crash occurred on state Route 18 at about 11:45 p.m. after the driver of a black Subaru Impreza, a 65-year-old Snoqualmie man, stopped to assist stranded motorists in a pickup along the right road shoulder at milepost 26 just west of the Raging River.

The truck had two occupants; a 47-year-old Enumclaw woman riding in the vehicle had left to flag down help. The man in the Subaru stopped and offered her a ride.

Then, as the Subaru attempted to make a U-turn from westbound state Route 18 onto the eastbound highway, a tractor-trailer slammed into the vehicle.

Washington State Patrol investigators said the driver attempted the U-turn to reach the stranded pickup just south of the Interstate 90 interchange.

“Making that kind of maneuver would be very high-risk in that area. It’s already very clear by the no-passing zone and all of that,” Trooper Julie Startup said the morning after the accident. “Obviously, not a great spot, and this morning, that did not go well.”

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Issaquah School District is 18th lowest in state for per-pupil funding

July 12, 2011

The latest student funding rankings are in, and the Issaquah School District is near the bottom.

Out of 295 school districts in Washington, Issaquah ranked 277th in per-pupil state funding for the 2009-10 school year. Although near the bottom, that’s actually an improvement. The year before, the district ranked 282nd.

In the 2009-10 school year, Issaquah received $8,863 per student. In contrast, the Benge School District in Eastern Washington, which ranks first in per-pupil funding, received $59,573 per student. The district has seven students. The Quillayute Valley School District in Forks, which ranks last, got $7,117 per student. The state average is $9,753 per pupil — a calculation that divides the statewide total revenue by the total state enrollment.

Per-pupil funding comes from a variety of sources, including federal dollars, state funding and local taxes. In the 2009-10 school year, the Issaquah district received $5,800 per pupil from the state, $1,667 per pupil from local taxes and money from other sources, including $585 per pupil from the federal government.

The Issaquah district received slightly more per-pupil money in the 2009-10 school year than the year before because of federal dollars from the economic stimulus package.

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Off the Press

July 12, 2011

Slugs ooze to finish at slimy sprint

Laura Geggel Press reporter

I found the slug underneath a garden pot housing a lemon-scented geranium. The slimy hermaphrodite didn’t stand a chance. I scooped it up in a Tupperware container filled with damp leaves and dirt, and left it outside on my porch where it would stay cool during the night.

The next day, I brought it to Issaquah’s annual Down Home Fourth of July slug race. Jenna Powell, an 11-year-old from Tennessee who was visiting her Sammamish cousin, crowded around the racetrack with the other children, trying to get a better view of the slugs.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” she said. “I’ve seen duck, frog and turtle races, but not a slug race.”

Before the competition, children presented their gastropod mollusks for the traditional beauty pageant — several slugs wore paper crowns and conical princess hats (all were winners, Salmon Days Festival organizer and slug race referee Robin Kelley said).

It was a hot day to race, let alone to be a slug, but all eight of them revved up their slime machines the moment they were placed on the circular racetrack.

The first slug to reach the outer circle of the target sign won, and that honor fell on Slimy, a leopard slug uncovered by Clark Elementary School student Hannah Prouty, who went slug hunting by her playhouse.

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Lake Sammamish-area roads to close for triathlon July 17

July 12, 2011

Expect some road closures and detours along the southern Lake Sammamish shoreline — including access to and from South Cove — during a triathlon July 17. Residents and motorists should plan for closures between 6:30 and 11:15 a.m. during the TriRock Seattle Olympic Triathlon.

Residents on the lakeside of the course should park outside of the course for fastest access during the race. Traffic officers plan to meter traffic at designated locations across the course during gaps in participants. Motorists should also plan to use alternate routes or face additional travel time.

Find a complete list of road closures and route maps at

‘Chicago’ offers smart social satire — and lessons for director

July 12, 2011

“Chicago” the stage musical is not so far off from Chicago the Midwestern metropolis.

Chicago is a synonym for corruption and scandal. “Chicago” revels in corruption and scandal.

Rianna Hidalgo, as Roxie Hart, and Taylor Niemeyer, as Velma Kelly, star in Village Theatre KIDSTAGE’s ‘Chicago.’ By Jean Johnson/Village Theatre

So, Chicago functions as a seamless setting as murderesses Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly pursue a disposable sort of fame afforded to celebrity criminals. Prohibition serves as the backdrop for the smart satire about celebrity and media manipulation.

The razzle-dazzle musical is the latest offering from KIDSTAGE, the long-running youth education program at Village Theatre. “Chicago” is managed from opening number to curtain call by student-actors in the program.

Director Jacob Moe-Lange, a Skyline High School graduate and University of California, Berkeley, student, debuts as director on the production.

“‘Chicago’ is not a subtle show. It is a very in-your-face show about a lot of things,” he said. “What I want the audience to walk away with is, I want them to have seen the show and recognize that what happens onstage is not isolated from what happens in their own lives.”

The musical named for the Windy City peddles camp and vamp in equal measures. Theatergoers can catch “Chicago” starting July 15.

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Tiger Mountain trails close for construction, timber sale

July 12, 2011

Tiger Mountain hikers and paragliding enthusiasts should expect trail closures and increased traffic on a forest road amid construction and a summer timber sale.

The timber harvest and road construction required the state Department of Natural Resources to close a 1.6-mile section of Tiger Mountain Trail from the Middle Tiger Trail junction south toward the West Side Road trail junction.

The activity could also require the agency to close a segment of the West Side Road, just west of the Iverson Railroad Grade Trail to allow road bridge construction across Holder Creek. (The creek joins Carey Creek to form Issaquah Creek.)

In addition, short-term closures of the west end of the Iverson Railroad Grade Trail could also be required during road bridge installation.

The closure is expected to continue through October and next summer as well. The timber sale activity in Tiger Mountain State Forest started June 24.

Hikers should use the Middle Tiger Trail and travel the West Side Road to bypass the closed Tiger Mountain Trail segment. Forest mangers reminded hikers to use caution near the timber sale site. The agency is also posting updates for hikers at

State enacts burn ban for Tiger Mountain, other forestlands

July 12, 2011

The state Department of Natural Resources reminds people spending summer days on state lands to adhere to a statewide burn ban in effect until Sept. 30.

The ban applies to all forestlands in Washington, including Tiger Mountain State Forest, except for federal lands. The summertime moratorium is intended to reduce wildfire risk.

“Wildfires are dangerous for people and property, and result in large expenditures of public funding,” state Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark said in a news release. “With careful actions, we can prevent catastrophic wildfires.”

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Police to crack down on speeders starting July 15

July 12, 2011

Prepare to slow down — or else — on local roadways soon as law enforcement officers throughout King County participate in a statewide speeding crackdown.

The countywide Target Zero Task Force is coordinating the extra speed patrols for the July 15 to Aug. 7 effort.

Driving faster than posted speed limits may not seem like a big deal, but more than 40 percent of fatal crashes in Washington involve a speeding driver. The average speeding ticket in Washington is $156, but as speed increases, so does the fine.

“Speeding is a major contributing factor in fatal and serious injury crashes in Washington, and therefore, is a priority of Target Zero,” Lowell Porter, Washington Traffic Safety Commission director, said in a statement. “

The commission is also encouraging motorists to take a quiz at to learn more about traffic safety and speeding dangers.

Find inspiration for a glorious garden on tours

July 12, 2011

Many years ago when I began practicing landscape architecture, a friend convinced me that the only way to design or create a really wonderful garden is to visit a lot of gardens.

I was guilty of staying in my comfort zone, protecting myself from the bombardment of too much information. We toured fantastic, unforgettable places in Seattle and beyond. Some of it blew my mind.

I remember an older man with a red house, inside and out, with plants and animals living in every nook and cranny. Maybe that’s not your style, but it certainly made me see that there are other ways to think about design. Getting out and seeing what others are doing is vital. It really opened my eyes years ago, so now I recommend it highly.

If you would like to tour gardens, including orchards, vegetable, native, large, small, contemplative or artful, now is the time. There are many garden tours available in our area in July and August. I checked out some and picked a few that I thought would be helpful and maybe thought provoking.

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Issaquah businesses, government honored, ranked as top recyclers

July 12, 2011

Reusing office supplies at City Hall, recycling at local schools and businesses’ efforts to cut waste landed Issaquah officials and entrepreneurs on King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list July 1.

The county Solid Waste Division recognized 89 organizations in the annual awards. In Issaquah, the honorees include established “green” organizations and a newcomer, Outsource Marketing.

Each organization boasts exceptional recycling programs and a commitment to reducing waste. Issaquah municipal government and the Issaquah School District made the list. So did Pogacha, Rowley Properties and Timber Ridge at Talus.

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