Larger trout await anglers on state’s biggest opening day

April 27, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. April 27, 2012

Anglers preparing for opening day of the 2012 lowland lakes season Saturday can expect to reel in trout that are one-third larger, according to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The department is releasing 3 million hatchery-reared trout averaging 11-13 inches — 1 to 3 inches longer than last year.

Those fish will join millions of other trout that were stocked last year and have grown to catchable size in lakes around the state. Many of those lakes have also been stocked with triploid and jumbo trout weighing 1½ to 11 pounds apiece.

“We have made some changes in our trout hatchery rearing programs in response to the feedback we heard from anglers who really enjoy catching larger fish,” department Director Phil Anderson said in a press release. “With these fish, our state’s biggest fishing day of the year just got better.”

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Residents can help Issaquah earn ‘Most Interesting Town’ title

April 27, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. April 27, 2012

The countdown is on, as Reader’s Digest prepares to name America’s Most Interesting Town.

The competition is heating up, and organizers want to hear stories from Washington.

The venerable magazine is asking reading to share personal stories and photos to illustrate what makes their town special. The author of the winning story receive a $1,000 prize, and his or her town gets featured on the cover of Reader’s Digest. The competition runs through May 31.

In addition, each week a new town is named America’s Most Interesting Town by popular vote. The winners get featured on the website and in upcoming issues of Reader’s Digest.

Locals can show their community spirit by voting for their town as many times as they like.

Dump expired, unused medication at Issaquah Police Department

April 26, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. April 26, 2012

Saving unused or expired medication can lead to improper and illegal use.

So, the Issaquah Police Department is offering residents a chance to dump expired and leftover medication.

The police department is hosting a medication take-back event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way.

In addition, Issaquah residents can drop off expired or unused medications anytime from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, at the police department.

People can return unused or expired medications anonymously for disposal — no questions asked.

Prescription painkillers — often stolen and abused — contribute to a statewide overdose epidemic.

Local Habitat for Humanity affiliates announce merger

April 25, 2012

NEW — 2:45 p.m. April 25, 2012

Habitat for Humanity of East King County — builder of residences in the Issaquah Highlands — and Habitat for Humanity of Seattle/South King County plan to merge, officials announced Wednesday.

The groups’ boards voted separately after a report explored the advantages and challenges of combining operations. If the process proceeds as expected, leaders from each group could decide on a formal merger agreement in about 90 days. In the meantime, each affiliate plans to continue normal operations.

“This is a significant step,” said Marty Kooistra, Seattle/South King County affiliate CEO. “The boards concluded that by merging the affiliates Habitat could be more effective in providing affordable homeownership to more families in King County.”

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Police search Issaquah home for man linked to North Bend murders

April 25, 2012

NEW — 10:30 a.m. April 25, 2012

Police searched a home in Issaquah’s Summerhill Village neighborhood Monday for a man linked to a pair of North Bend murders.

Peter A. Keller

King County Sheriff’s Office investigators searched a condominium in the 23000 block of Summer Hill Lane, agency spokeswoman Sgt. Cindi West said.

(The neighborhood is on the Sammamish Plateau near the intersection of Southeast Issaquah-Fall City Road and 238th Avenue Southeast.)

The occupant, a relative of the North Bend family, asked for police to search the home for Peter A. Keller, West added. The occupant had been out of town during the murders, and believed Keller could be hiding inside the Issaquah home.

Police did not locate Keller at the home, and the search continues.

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Governor vetoes state park facility, OKs hatchery dam

April 25, 2012

NEW — 9:45 p.m. April 25, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire eliminated $3.1 million for a proposed concession and event facility at Lake Sammamish State Park, but approved $4 million to replace a problem-plagued Issaquah Salmon Hatchery dam Tuesday.

Cheryl Pflug

The governor struck the state park facility from the supplemental budget before authorizing more than $1 billion in public works spending.

State Sen. Cheryl Pflug, a Maple Valley Republican and the representative for Issaquah, lambasted the decision to eliminate the state park project. Pflug joined other senators to pressure the governor to preserve funding for the facility.

“I challenged it myself, of course, but I also enlisted a team of Senate leaders — the Senate operating-budget and capital-budget leaders and the chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee,” Pflug said. “They quickly called the governor’s office and expressed their desire that the funding be preserved.”

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Catching a legacy as Issaquah Salmon Hatchery turns 75

April 24, 2012

Vicki Hahn (above, left), FISH master docent, uses hatchery sculptures Gillda and Finley to explain how salmon spawn for Lika Clark, 9, her brother Peter Ginter, 13, and their mother Jessica Ginter. By Greg Farrar

The humble buildings along a downtown street and the simple bridge across Issaquah Creek do not call out for attention, but the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery is iconic nonetheless — so iconic, the hatchery and the salmon raised in manmade ponds serve as symbols for Issaquah and the region.

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Gov. Chris Gregoire congratulates Issaquah Salmon Hatchery

April 24, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire congratulated city and environmental leaders as the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery celebrated 75 years.

Gov. Chris Gregoire

“Fish hatcheries across the state play a critical role in preserving our native salmon stocks and protecting both environmental health and recreation,” she said in response to questions from The Issaquah Press. “For the past 75 years, the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery — the only state hatchery in a major metropolitan area — has been providing fish for commercial and recreational fisheries. The Issaquah Salmon Hatchery also plays an active role in the recovery of wild salmon stocks. In recent years, the hatchery has become the site of a significant effort to restore Lake Sammamish kokanee, which have seen a dramatic decline in recent years.

“The Issaquah Salmon Hatchery’s role as an educational center may be its most lasting contribution to the region and the state as a whole. Each year, approximately 350,000 visitors — many of them students — tour the facility and learn about this important resource and salmon’s role in our state’s history. That hands-on learning has informed and inspired generations of Washingtonians, and people from around the world, about the benefits of maintaining healthy salmon populations.

“I congratulate the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery on this milestone and thank the community for supporting it over the years.”

State funds replacement for problem-plagued hatchery dam

April 24, 2012

Local residents (right) on a hike April 22 with FISH docent Grace Reamer visit the 1930s-era Issaquah Creek dam. By Greg Farrar

The “damn dam” — a concrete gauntlet for migrating fish upstream from the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery — is due for replacement next year, after state legislators scraped together funding for the $4 million project.

Plans call for crews to demolish the aging dam and add boulder weirs in Issaquah Creek.

The project, a long-held priority for local and state leaders and environmentalists, could start as soon as next spring. The $4 million appropriation in a lean budget surprised hatchery supporters.

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A plant steals the show in Liberty High School’s ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

April 24, 2012

Pam Edmonds (left) is Audrey and Tucker Goodman is Seymour in Liberty High School’s production of ‘Little Shop of Horrors.’ By Tom Corrigan

This is likely to be the only play put on by any high school where the actors have a good chance of being upstaged by a plant.

A very lively, talking, singing plant, but still a plant.

Liberty High School is presenting the musical spoof “Little Shop of Horrors” at the school starting April 27. There are five more shows through May 5.

For those who don’t know, “Little Shop” is based on the exceptionally cheesy, cult horror movie of the same name. At its center is a plant that feeds on human blood. In the musical, it’s all tongue in cheek, of course.

“It’s definitely been an experience,” said senior Sheady Manning-Bruce, 17, who actually plays the plant, Audrey II.

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