Sculptor Richard Beyer, creator of downtown Issaquah art, dies

April 13, 2012

Zander Aguirre, then 4, sits down next to the sculpture depicting late City Clerk Linda Ruehle in 2009. File

NEW — 8 a.m. April 13, 2012

Richard Beyer, creator of downtown Issaquah’s most recognizable sculpture, died Monday — almost 11 years after a unveiling a life-size piece depicting late City Clerk Linda Ruehle across from City Hall.

Beyer, also known for creating the whimsical “Waiting for the Interurban” sculpture in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, died at age 86 in New York City. The sculptor suffered a stroke March 27 and never regained consciousness.

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King County reports strong participation in April 17 election

April 13, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. April 13, 2012

King County Elections officials said more than 54,000 voters returned ballots for the April 17 special election by Thursday — more than the average at the same point  for special elections.

The elections office mailed 236,000 ballots to voters in the districts participating in special elections. Officials expect a 34 percent return rate, or about 80,000 ballots for the half-dozen government entities participating in the special election.

In the Issaquah School District, the electorate faces a choice on a $219 million school construction bond in the election. (The school district stretches from Preston to Newcastle, and from Sammamish to Renton.)

In order to pass, the measure needs to receive a 60 percent yes vote from a minimum turnout of 12,229 voters.

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City Council schedules hearing to gather input on proposed plastic bag ban

April 13, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. April 13, 2012

In a push to collect more input on a proposal to outlaw plastic bags at Issaquah business, City Council scheduled another opportunity for the public to comment on the proposed ban.

Supporters said a plastic bag ban could reduce landfill waste and marine pollution. Opponents said the legislation could lead to lost plastics manufacturing jobs in the region.

Citizens can comment on the proposed plastic bag ban at a special meeting and public hearing April 30. The council is not expected to reach a decision on the legislation at the meeting.

The council meets at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way.

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King County could create no-smoking areas in parks

April 12, 2012

NEW — 6 p.m. April 12, 2012

King County could join almost 600 local governments across the United States to create no-smoking zones in county parks.

The legislation before the County Council aims to prohibit tobacco use in parks’ busiest areas, such as athletics fields, picnic shelters, playgrounds and trailheads.

The proposal calls for voluntary compliance, so, as for littering, failing to keep a dog on a leash or using alcohol in a park, enforcement occurs only if a problem is reported. Officials plan to use a federal grant to pay for signs denoting tobacco-free areas.

“When people come to a public park, they expect to breathe fresh air — not someone else’s cigarettes,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement issued Thursday.

The county could join New York City, Los Angeles County, and other local governments large and small, to limit tobacco use in public parks.

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Lucky You is lucky destination for inaugural Issaquah cash mob

April 12, 2012

NEW — 6 p.m. April 12, 2012

Lucky You indeed.

Lucky You, a Gilman Village boutique, is the destination for the inaugural Issaquah cash mob, organizers announced Thursday.

In a cash mob, a group of people descends on a business to buy, buy, buy. The destination is revealed through social media services. Then, the mob pops up at the business to browse and shop.

The action is due to unfold at Lucky You, 317 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. 35, at 11 a.m. April 16.

The organizers — Young Issaquah Professionals, or YIPPIES, 20- and 30-something business leaders in the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce — modeled the cash mob on similar events in other locales.

Organizers said most participants spend about $20 apiece, but any amount is acceptable.

Proposed veterans internship program goes to King County Council

April 12, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. April 12, 2012

King County Council members could create a county internship program for veterans, after a council committee endorsed the proposal Tuesday.

Government Accountability, Oversight and Financial Performance Committee members issued a “do-pass” recommendation and sent the proposal to the full council for consideration. The council is due to discuss and act on the issue April 23.

In March, Councilwoman Kathy Lambert and Councilman Reagan Dunn — Issaquah-area representatives on the council — joined Councilman Bob Ferguson to craft the legislation. The measure calls on county government to explore a possible veteran internship program and present the results to the council by Aug. 23.

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King County task force says new schools should go in urban, not rural, areas

April 11, 2012

NEW — 5:15 p.m. April 11, 2012

A 30-member task force unanimously agreed to recommend that new school sitings in King County be done in urban areas and rural towns, not in areas designated as rural.

King County officials announced the decision Wednesday afternoon.

“These are thoughtful recommendations that will help deliver educational excellence for our children without sacrificing the environment of our rural areas,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine in a press release.

According to the county, the School Siting Task Force evaluated an inventory of 18 rural properties owned by eight school districts in King County. The county lists one such property owned by the Issaquah School District along Southeast May Valley Road. County information does not provide an exact address.

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State opens Tiger Mountain State Forest mountain bike trails

April 11, 2012

NEW — 1:50 p.m. April 11, 2012

The state Department of Natural Resources plans to open Tiger Mountain State Forest mountain bike trails for the season Saturday.

The opening includes the Iverson Railroad Grade, Northwest Timber and Preston Railroad Grade trails. The routes offer popular mountain biking opportunities for riders from Issaquah and the Central Puget Sound area.

Though the trails open for the season Saturday, road closures could affect recreation opportunities on Tiger Mountain.

On weekdays in April, crews plan to install culverts. The installation could prompt closures on the Main Tiger Mountain #4000 forest road and cause delays for outdoors enthusiasts using the road. Come mid-summer, crews plan to install a vehicle bridge on the West Side #1000 forest road. Officials said the project should require the closure of Iverson Railroad Trail for a few days.

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Bellevue College to host forum about proposed Issaquah campus

April 11, 2012

NEW — 11:50 a.m. April 11, 2012

Bellevue College plans to gather public input as proposals coalesce for a planned satellite campus in the Issaquah Highlands — a long-term goal for city and college leaders.

The college scheduled a forum for 6 p.m. May 1 at the highlands’ Blakely Hall, 2550 N.E. Park Drive, to learn what citizens want for potential course offerings, campus planning, building design and more.

College officials invited residents from Issaquah, Newcastle, North Bend, Sammamish, Snoqualmie and elsewhere to the forum.

“Our goal is to hear from as many people as possible, because there are so many great ideas out there as to how we should develop this campus,” interim college President Laura Saunders said. “It’s important for the end result to reflect the needs and desires of the community this campus will serve.”

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City approves permit for medical marijuana operation

April 10, 2012

The long process to establish a medical marijuana collective garden — and city rules for such operations — reached a milestone March 23, as planners approved a permit for GreenLink Collective to open along Northwest Gilman Boulevard.

The facility in a commercial building at 160 N.W. Gilman Blvd. is proposed as a place to process and deliver medical marijuana to qualified patients, offer classes and information, and sell supplies for people to produce and consume marijuana under a framework established by state law. GreenLink does not intend to grow marijuana in the space.

State law allows up to 10 qualifying patients to join together and form a collective garden of up to 45 plants, so long as the marijuana is not visible from public spaces.

Under the city code established last year, GreenLink must operate entirely inside the enclosed structure and cannot deliver marijuana in areas visible to the public.

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