King County carves unincorporated communities into service areas

July 20, 2012

NEW — 9 a.m. July 20, 2012

King County could carve unincorporated neighborhoods — including Four Creeks and Klahanie just outside Issaquah — into community service areas, if a plan proposed Thursday is put into action.

The proposal is the latest in a yearslong effort to change the way county government and unincorporated communities interact. King County Executive Dow Constantine characterized the effort as a reform measure to ease access to government for residents in rural and unincorporated areas.

“These new community service areas will provide a vehicle and a point of contact for residents to talk to county staff about the things they care about, like public health and public safety,” he said in a statement.

In a companion proposal, Constantine also introduced legislation to change the relationship among the county and the unincorporated area councils, a group of citizen-led boards responsible for relations between unincorporated area residents and the county government based in Seattle.

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Tom Douglas, Rick Steves join forces to remind voters to return ballots

July 19, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. July 19, 2012

Local elections administrators enlisted renowned chef Tom Douglas, travel guru Rick Steves, Seattle Storm players and other local celebrities to remind voters to follow ballot instructions.

The elections departments in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties, plus the Office of the Secretary of State, collaborated on the voter education project. The effort is meant to inform voters about the voting process. The celebrities involved in the campaign donated their time for the effort.

The campaign includes radio, TV and online advertisements to remind voters to sign return ballot envelopes, return ballots back on time and follow other important instructions. The deadline to return primary election ballots is Aug. 7.

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Wanted: Issaquah-area residents bound for London Olympics

July 19, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. July 19, 2012

London is prepared to welcome athletes, spectators and others from around the globe July 27, as the 2012 Summer Olympics open in the British capital.

Now, as the opening ceremony approaches, The Issaquah Press is seeking local ties to the Olympics for upcoming coverage, especially Issaquah School District residents headed to London for the games.

Email your contact information to editor@isspress.com, or contact the newspaper on Twitter at www.twitter.com/issaquahpress, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/issaquahpress.

The event is expected to host about 10,500 athletes competing in 302 events in 26 sports. Overall, 205 nations plan to send athletes to London. The games conclude Aug. 12.

Survey: Residents claim Issaquah is headed in right direction

July 19, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. July 19, 2012

Most respondents in a recent survey — 74 percent — claim Issaquah is headed in the right direction and 57 percent gave the city a positive rating for spending taxpayer dollars.

The information comes from a telephone survey conducted last month. Though the survey focused mostly on municipal parks and recreation facilities — and a possible park bond measure — other questions addressed City Hall’s performance.

Overall, 68 percent of respondents gave the city a positive job rating and 23 percent gave the city a negative rating. On the question about the direction of Issaquah, 13 percent said the city is headed in the wrong direction and 13 percent said they did not know.

EMC Research conducted the survey for the municipal Parks & Recreation Department from June 14-20.

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City seeks input on Tiger Mountain’s Park Pointe trails

July 19, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. July 19, 2012

City leaders put out a call Wednesday for citizen input about trails on a Tiger Mountain tract called Park Pointe, a section of forest long considered for development but set aside for conservation and recreation last year.

Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department staffers created a draft trail plan for Park Pointe — a site encompassing about 100 acres near Issaquah High School.

The city acquired the land in a complex transfer of development rights, and the agreement included stipulations about land use. Though low-impact recreational use is OK, for instance, public access cannot conflict with conservation.

The public can offer comments on the draft trail plan July 23 as the advisory board discusses Park Pointe. The board meets at 7 p.m. in the Eagle Room at Issaquah City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way.

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Issaquah chaplain walks from Spokane to Seattle

July 18, 2012

NEW — 10:30 a.m. July 18, 2012

The chaplain at the Providence Marianwood assisted-care facility, Klahanie resident Johann Neethling, embarked Wednesday on a 300-mile trek from Spokane to Seattle — on foot.

Motivated by a desire to maintain and improve fitness after surviving a heart attack, Neethling is also using the walk as a fundraiser to benefit the residents and staff at Providence Marianwood.

Neethling, 65, started the journey at Providence St. Joseph Care Center in Spokane early Wednesday and plans to arrive at Providence Marianwood in Issaquah on the afternoon of July 25.

The route across the Evergreen State traverses verdant farmland and rugged scablands, fruit orchards and the Cascades.

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Police ask for tips after pipe bomb is discovered in portable toilet

July 17, 2012

NEW — 6:50 p.m. July 17, 2012

Police safely detonated a pipe bomb discovered inside a portable toilet in the Issaquah Highlands on Monday, not long after a construction crew discovered the Honey Bucket had been damaged by explosives.

The incident occurred at 15th Avenue Northeast and Northeast College Drive. Bellevue Police Department bomb squad personnel responded to the scene after workers discovered the unexploded pipe bomb inside the damaged Honey Bucket. The case remains open and under investigation by the Issaquah Police Department.

Police said another portable toilet in nearby Central Park sustained damaged from explosives July 4.

Investigators asked for tips and assistance from citizens in reporting suspicious activities near construction areas in the highlands.

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Repeal is in limbo for Issaquah plastic bag ban

July 17, 2012

The proposed measure to repeal the Issaquah plastic bag ban faces a questionable future after city officials said the bid did not qualify for the November ballot after supporters failed to gather enough signatures from registered Issaquah voters.

But organizer Craig Keller said the repeal campaign, called Save Our Choice, continues to collect signatures in order to place the repeal measure before Issaquah voters.

Keller and volunteers collected signatures at high-traffic stores and in neighborhoods throughout Issaquah, but city officials said the team did not collect enough. The process to advance the ballot measure is in limbo as volunteers continue to work.

“There’s been such a significant number of citizens that have voiced their displeasure in a campaign that, as far as I know, that’s unprecedented,” Keller said.

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Gravity — and team spirit — power Rotary racers’ soapbox derby cars

July 17, 2012

Cian O’Farrell, 11, and driver John Morse, 10, ride the gravity car by sponsor Fred Meyer to a checkered flag waved by the Rotary Club of Issaquah’s Fred Nystrom. By Greg Farrar

A day filled with happiness for children was the goal of the 15th annual Issaquah Rotary Challenge Day Race on July 14.

Viewers lined Second Avenue Southeast to watch — standing or sitting on the bleachers halfway down the block.

The event pairs up children with disabilities and volunteer children drivers to race soapbox derby cars. Gravity pulls the cars down the hill. The vehicles reach speeds of 17 mph.

About 50 children with disabilities got to race three times with rotating drivers and cars. Liberty High School cheerleaders greeted the racers at the finish line before cars were towed back to the starting line.

“It’s a great event for kids to experience a fast, free ride down Second Avenue,” Rotary Club member Russell Joe said. “For some of the riders, it’s the first time they’ve been in a car that’s running on its own without mom or dad.”

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Voters to decide dollars for juvenile justice center

July 17, 2012

King County voters could decide next month to increase the property tax rate in order to prepare the criminal justice system for the decades ahead.

The ballot measure Proposition 1 asks voters to approve a $200 million property tax levy to fund a replacement for the aging Youth Services Center, a juvenile detention facility in Seattle.

“We have a fairly good court system. We have a good prosecution office. We have good sheriff’s deputies. But this facility is the leak in the pipeline,” King County Councilman Reagan Dunn said in a July 13 interview. “For criminal justice to work effectively — especially with the increase in crime we’re seeing right now — all aspects of that pipeline need to be operating effectively.”

If the nine-year levy is passed, homeowners can expect to pay about 7 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or about $20 per year for a home assessed at $350,000 in 2013.

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