County hosts Preston meeting about farm flood risk

February 22, 2011

Help is available for farmers interested in building and repairing farm pads — elevated land to store livestock, farm equipment and other essentials during a flood.

King County is hosting a meeting in Preston on Feb. 28 to offer advice and technical help to rural landowners.

The likelihood of flooding is a fact of life for many farmers living and working on the rich bottomlands in King County river valleys. The county has been working for several years to help reduce the impact of flooding by helping farmers build farm pads.

Landowners from flood-prone areas can learn more about farm pads at the meeting from 6-8 p.m. at the Preston Community Center, 8625 310th Ave. S.E. County staffers plan to discuss technical assistance related to design, construction and permitting for farm pads. Landowners who built farm pads also plan to discuss the experience.

Contact Project Manager Claire Dyckman at 206-296-1926 or to learn more.

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PSE natural gas rates could increase April 1

February 22, 2011

Puget Sound Energy, state Utilities and Transportation Commission staff members and others have reached a tentative agreement to allow PSE to increase natural gas rates.

The average residential natural gas customer using 68 therms a month should experience a 2 percent increase, or $1.68, for a revised bill of $84.65. The settlement agreement proposes no change to the $10-per-month basic service charge for residential natural gas customers. PSE had originally asked to increase the fee to $10.62 per month.

The agreement calls for the rates to go into effect April 1, if commissioners approve the proposed pact.

The tentative settlement heads to the three-member regulatory commission. The commission is not bound by the staff recommendation to accept the agreement.

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Trio reunites to wrap up album ‘35 years in the making’

February 22, 2011

The Halyards are (from left) Larry Mason, Chris Funk and Eric Tingstad. By Karen Moskowitz

Eric Tingstad, half of the Grammy-winning duo Tingstad and Rumbel, has been quite busy over the past two years collaborating on six albums with other artists.

But it is his latest project that the Sammamish resident is perhaps most excited about. The Halyards’ “Fortune Smiles” represents for Tingstad an artistic reunion with his high school buddies Chris Funk and Larry Mason. The album’s sound is unmistakably Americana, the fastest growing musical genre in popularity, Tingstad said. It’s a sound that is decidedly a far departure from the last time the three played together in the prog-rock band Pegasus in the 1970s.

“You could say this is the CD we started 35 years ago and just now got around to finishing,” Tingstad said.

Funk and Mason had been performing together for years, when after a stint in New York and a return to the Seattle area, they reconnected with Tingstad. He invited them to lay down a couple of songs at his Beaver Lake home recording studio, Cheshire Records.

“We accepted his invitation without any idea it would turn into a new album,” Funk said from his Capitol Hill home. “But we all just fell back into it. It was such a good feeling to be together again that it did result in something wonderful.”

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County Council proclaims Black History Month

February 22, 2011

King County Council members on Feb. 14 proclaimed February as Black History Month.

Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, the Issaquah representative on the council and the author of a children’s book about Martin Luther King Jr., praised the decision.

“It is an honor to celebrate the many contributions African Americans have made in our nation’s history,” she said in a statement. “As a former teacher, I appreciate the ongoing efforts of our educators to highlight the accomplishments of African Americans who are meaningful role models for today’s youth.”

Dr. Carter G. Woodson originated the idea of a month dedicated to black history. The historian and educator hoped to raise awareness about the contributions of blacks to civilization.

So, he created Negro History Week to be celebrated in February, the birth month of Abraham Lincoln and former slave and black abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

Participants celebrated the initial Negro History Week in 1926. In 1976, as the United States celebrated the bicentennial, Negro History Week became Black History Month, a celebration recognized in the United States and Canada.

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EFR agrees to purchase boat

February 22, 2011

Eastside Fire & Rescue increased its ability to rescue citizens trapped in rivers, lakes or rising floodwaters.

At its Feb. 10 meeting, the agency’s board of directors agreed to buy a used boat from the Duvall Fire District for $10,000.

The district is replacing the 1982 Wooldridge Extra Plus 21-foot jet boat with a newer model. EFR Deputy Chief Jeff Griffin said the district has taken excellent care of the old boat and that the 200 horsepower Yamaha outboard motor has plenty of life left in it. Griffin estimated a brand new version of a similar boat would cost the district $40,000 or more.

“This gives us a capability for water rescues and to deal with issues on our lakes and rivers,” EFR board Chairman Ron Pedee said. “It seems to me to be a great capability for the agency at a remarkably affordable price.”

EFR has an inflatable raft for water rescues but no jet boat. The boat will likely be stationed near Carnation, which most often sees water rescue calls due to its propensity for flooding.

Griffin said that water rescues in Lake Sammamish are the responsibility of officials at Lake Sammamish State Park at the south end of the lake. Given the difficultly of quickly moving a rescue boat, Griffin said firefighters making a water rescue on Beaver or Pine lakes will usually ask to borrow a nearby resident’s boat.

The board s also approved spending up to another $5,000 on repainting the boat, installing a radio and doing other necessary modifications.

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Liberty uses strong performances to take seventh at 3A state

February 22, 2011

Logan Briggs places second in 200 freestyle, third in 500 freestyle

Logan Briggs, Liberty junior, stands on the podium after winning third in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:37.88 at the state 3A swimming championships. By Tim Pfarr

Liberty High School took seventh place at the state swimming championship meet Feb. 19 at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, thanks to strong performances by Logan Briggs, Luke Duschl, Kevin Hays and Tyler Larson.

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City upgrades TV equipment

February 22, 2011

City leaders agreed in early February to upgrade equipment for the public access Channel 21.

Cable TV Commission members requested $60,000 to purchase broadcast hardware and software, as well as a dedicated media server. The commission said the upgrades should improve the production quality and functionality. In addition, the equipment should provide integrated programming and production through a single system.

Commissioners presented the request to Council Transportation Committee members in July and August. The committee signed off on the proposal and recommended for the full City Council to allocate $60,000 from the cable TV fund — the account for upgrades to the cable system — to cover the purchases. The council approved the expenditure in a unanimous decision Feb. 7.

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Plateau’s ‘best kept secret’ — Sammamish Symphony Orchestra — kicks off new season

February 22, 2011

On Thursday nights, Kathryn Boudreau-Stroud and Victoria Tkatch meet in a large, empty studio.

Somewhat dimly lit, the space slowly fills with more people and the room begins to hum with varying chords and notes.

Although Boudreau-Stroud is a math teacher and Tkatch is a ninth-grade student, the intent of their meeting is not for school purposes. Instead, they are there to play music together with the other musicians who comprise the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra.

The nonprofit, volunteer-based organization, originally known as the Providence Point Players, has been a staple on the plateau since 1994.

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Issaquah Brewhouse honors Year of the Rabbit

February 22, 2011

In honor of the Year of the Rabbit, Rogue has added a Nano brewery to Issaquah Brewhouse.

It joins the Buckman Village Brewery Nano in the Green Dragon and one at the Rogue Public House in Eugene, Ore. The brewers for the Nano are local homebrew clubs and sales of the brews benefit the clubs.

Issaquah Brewhouse is a 15-barrel system artisan brewery that has earned more than 35 national and international awards for quality and taste.

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‘Annie’ composer reflects on life after ‘Tomorrow’

February 22, 2011

Issaquah resident and ‘Annie’ lyricist Martin Charnin discusses long theater career

The list is impressive: gold and platinum records, Emmy Awards, and Drama Desk and Tony awards for a blockbuster musical about a redheaded orphan.

“Annie” elevated Issaquah resident Martin Charnin — already a successful songwriter — into the Broadway stratosphere in 1977. The comic-strip-turned-musical marked another milestone for Charnin, the director and lyricist.

Martin Charnin wrote the lyrics and directed the original Broadway production of the blockbuster musical ‘Annie.’ Contributed

Charnin originated the role of Big Deal, a Jet, in the original “West Side Story” production and later penned the musicals “Two by Two” — a Noah and the ark retelling — the immigrant tale “I Remember Mama” and “The First” — a show about color-barrier-breaking baseball star Jackie Robinson. The lyricist also collaborated alongside Richard Rodgers in the years before the seminal composer died in 1979.

“Annie” — and the chipper anthem “Tomorrow” — continues to define a long theater career.

“You reach a point in your life where it sort of becomes your middle name,” Charnin said. “It becomes Martin ‘Annie’ Charnin and, while I’m not for a moment dumping on that — I think that’s grand — and every author, writer, director, producer should have one of those.”

Charnin settled in Issaquah after a 2004 stop at Village Theatre to direct “Robin Hood: The Legend Continues” — a musical about the aging outlaw and middle-aged Merry Men. The longtime scribe created the lyrics for the show, too.

Charnin agreed to direct the mystery “Sleuth” in the ongoing Village Theatre season. The play runs at the downtown Issaquah theater through Feb. 27.

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