AT&T proposes adding equipment on cell tower

December 6, 2011

King County is considering proposals from AT&T to modify antennae and equipment for the existing cell tower near the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill.

The county also approved AT&T’s plan to add antennae and equipment to the existing cell tower at 10200 Renton-Issaquah Road S.E., about a mile northeast from the Southeast May Valley Road intersection.

AT&T applied to the King County Department of Development and Environmental Services to replace three antennae, six remote radio heads and a surge protector for the cabinet on the landfill tower.

The agency is in the process of determining potential environmental impacts of the landfill project. Residents can send comments about the environmental impacts to DDES — Building and Fire Services Division, 900 Oakesdale Ave. S.W., Renton, WA 98057-5212. The public comment period ends Dec. 19.

Residents can also review the applications and any environmental studies at the Renton office.

Planners OK’d the request from AT&T to add two antennae, six remote radio heads, three lines of cable and a surge protector to the tower at 10200 Renton-Issaquah Road S.E.

Issaquah schools could lose $2.2 million under governor’s proposed budget plan

December 6, 2011

“We will be looking at a trimmed-down operation,” said Jake Kuper, the Issaquah School District’s chief of finance and operations.

He said district officials largely had managed to keep financial cuts from directly impacting classrooms. But Kuper also said he doesn’t know if that will be possible if Olympia slashes local funding even further.

Kuper was talking about how funding cuts proposed by Gov. Chris Gregoire might affect the Issaquah schools. In making the cuts, Gregoire said she needed to close a looming $2 billion budget shortfall. To mitigate any spending reductions, Gregoire already has asked legislators to place a three-year, half-cent sales tax increase before voters in March. State lawmakers are in the midst of a special session to deal with budget questions.

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King County election turnout beat estimates

December 6, 2011

King County officials certified the Nov. 8 election late last month, and closed the book on the contests for City Council and Issaquah School Board seats.

The tally also reflected a higher-than-expected turnout in the off-year election.

In local contests, the certified results differed little from the initial figures released on Election Day. Incumbents scored landslide victories against lesser-known challengers.

Turnout in City Council and school board races reached 52 percent. King County Elections predicted 52 percent turnout countywide in the days before the election.

In the contested council race, incumbent Joshua Schaer defeated newcomer TJ Filley by 1,871 votes — 4,448 to 2,577. In addition, 28 people cast write-in votes in the race.

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Issaquah mayor encourages Bellevue leaders on successful light rail pact

December 6, 2011

The decision to run a light rail line through downtown Bellevue came after some public urging from Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger and other Eastside leaders.

Bellevue City Council members, after a contentious, monthslong debate, approved a pact Nov. 14 between the city and Sound Transit to build the long-envisioned East Link light rail route.

Frisinger and other mayors said inaction on the agreement or a failure to reach a deal could have jeopardized light rail expansion to Issaquah and other cities.

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Covenant Presbyterian Church’s organ is among four of a kind

December 6, 2011

Hiding behind the church’s altar, these pipes, and quite a few more like them, are crammed into a small space reachable only by ladder. By Tom Corrigan

With Jim Whitman behind the three keyboards and numerous foot pedals, the instrument seems easily loud and strong enough to rattle the windows of Issaquah’s Covenant Presbyterian Church.

A few minutes later, Whitman is playing the church’s new organ — actually four organs combined — while being accompanied on the horn by Assistant Pastor Luke Morton.

Morton plays with no microphone, but the church’s huge organ not only doesn’t overpower his horn, the two instruments seem to greatly compliment each other. One of at least two regular organists at the church, Whitman notes Covenant also has a flutist who plays alongside the organ that was six years or so in the making.

A semiretired neuropsychologist, Carl Dodrill is the president and founder of the Mercer Island-based, nonprofit Pipe Organ Foundation. Over the past several years, Dodrill estimated the foundation and church volunteers spent 6,000 hours installing Covenant’s new instrument. In celebration of its completion, the church held an inaugural public concert last month.

Formally founded in 2000, the Pipe Organ Foundation has helped install six organs at spots in Washington and Oregon. Dodrill can talk fluently about what seems to be an impressively complex instrument, especially in terms of its installation. According to Dodrill, each of the organ’s keyboards and the foot pedals actually control what is technically a separate instrument.

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Off the Press

December 6, 2011

The latest invention: the iColumnist

Greg Farrar Press photographer

Never fear! Although the passing of Steve Jobs has left many of us Applemaniacs saddened and adrift, there still are people with many good ideas for products which, in the tradition of this great inventor, Americans don’t know they have to have until they get in long lines to buy them.

One of those idea people is me. Although these products are not available this Christmas, by next year they’ll be at Issaquah’s Best Buy, Fred Meyer and Target stores in time for the Black Friday mobs.

Of course, since there is no improving on the perfection of either Jobs’ inventions or his marketing skills, my first idea is to make sure to slap a lower-case “I” in front of everything I want to sell.

One product idea came to mind just this morning, it will be called the “iScraper” and it will instantly remove all of the snow and ice from your car each morning in the Issaquah Highlands. The GPS in your car will send its coordinates to a satellite in orbit, which in turn will send a microwave burst down to heat your car. Think of it as your own personal microwave oven in space! Just to be clear, I will not be responsible for anyone going all Dixie Chicks and putting Earl in the trunk first.

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Issaquah Schools Foundation campaign sees big increase in donations

December 6, 2011

Lexie McGinnis, of Liberty High School, gives a big smile as she takes part in one of the Issaquah Schools Foundation phoning marathons. Contributed

After a four-month marathon that included mailings, school displays, “Click for Kids Days” and three marathon calling sessions, the Issaquah Schools Foundation’s All in for Kids campaign came to a close Nov. 19.

The grand total raised to benefit various programs at the Issaquah School District was $325,000.

According to information released by the foundation, the final dollar figure represents a 37 percent increase over 2010 campaign receipts.

“We are thrilled by the outpouring of support,” said campaign Co-Chair Camille Vaska. “Our message of ‘all in’ really resonated with the community and we received donations of all amounts, from $5 to $5,000.”

Vaska added that was the campaign committee’s goal, to encourage as many as possible to donate whatever amount they could afford.

“It’s not how much you give that matters,” said Karen Stevens, another co-chair of the fundraising campaign. “What’s important is that you, as a parent, resident or business owner, play a role in ensuring the current health of our schools and the future success of our children.”

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Students rock Issaquah School District poetry slam

December 6, 2011

Six students won awards at a recent poetry slam at the Skyline High School Lyceum Theatre.

The Nov. 12 event was open to any high school student in the Issaquah School District to participate in or attend. Twenty students entered their work in the slam, which was open to any form of poetry or spoken word ranging from rap to sonnets.

Two judges — Elizabeth Metcalf, an English teacher from Issaquah High School, and Elizabeth Lund, an English/International Baccalaureate teacher at Skyline — provided feedback and decided on the winners.

There were more than 60 attendees.

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Jazz club Bake’s Place is moving to Bellevue

December 6, 2011

The Bakers’ “living room” is moving.

Bake’s Place is closing its doors after eight and a half years in Providence Point following a final performance Feb. 14. Owner Craig Baker and his wife, Laura, decided to move to a bigger facility in Bellevue.

The right fit for the new location was with Columbia West Properties, owner of the Columbia West Building. The new location will be at 108th Avenue Northeast and Northeast Second Street in downtown Bellevue, across from Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar.

The new Bake’s Place and Premier Live Music Venue will boast a 4,500-square-foot facility, doubling the Issaquah capacity. Baker plans to expand a mezzanine, to accommodate more seats, and add an outdoor patio.

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Issaquah man injured in North Bend rollover accident

December 6, 2011

Police said local men suffered injuries in a recent Snoqualmie Valley rollover crash.

Police said the vehicle involved in the crash was headed westbound on Mount Si Road near North Bend at 6:22 p.m. Nov. 18. Then, the 18-year-old driver lost control coming out of a leftward curve, sending the vehicle onto the road shoulder.

The vehicle then rolled onto its roof and slid back onto the roadway, ejecting an 18-year-old backseat passenger and Issaquah resident in the process.

Police later identified the driver as a Sammamish resident. Police said a 14-year-old North Bend girl had been riding in the front passenger seat during the crash.

Sgt. Cindi West, King County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, said investigators found no evidence of drugs or alcohol. West did not know whether the occupants had been wearing seatbelts.

West did not have additional information about the vehicle occupants’ or conditions. The case remains under investigation.

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