Election includes ‘lots of great races’ for voters to decide

August 4, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 4, 2012

The top elections official in Washington, Secretary of State Sam Reed, urged strong turnout in the upcoming primary election.

Ballots must be postmarked or slipped into a designated ballot drop box by Tuesday.

The summer primary — bumped up to accommodate military and overseas voters — allows local voters a chance to decide a property tax measure and cull the field in federal, judicial, legislative and statewide contests.

The electorate selects the top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, in the all-mail primary election. The top vote recipients then advance to an all-mail general election Nov. 6.

In the Issaquah area, voters must select the top candidates for state House of Representatives and U.S. House of Representatives seats, in addition to selecting hopefuls for judicial and statewide posts.

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Hot weather means increased ozone risk

August 4, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 4, 2012

Hot weather expected throughout Washington is expected to increase levels of ozone, the major ingredient of smog.

Forecasts call for high temperatures in the 80s and 90s throughout the state for the next few days. The conditions combine with vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors and other air pollutants to produce higher levels of ozone.

Ozone at ground level can be harmful. The substance is the main ingredient of smog and can cause health problems.

The state Department of Ecology offers a video to provide more information about how ozone forms. Winds often carry ozone-forming pollutants away from urban sources to rural areas.

Unhealthy ozone levels can affect everyone, especially pose risks for people with lung and heart disease, children, older adults and active people. People should limit activities and time spent outdoors as ozone levels rise.

Monitor local air quality by using the Washington Air Quality Advisory website.

Department of Health, Eastside Fire & Rescue offer water safety tips

August 3, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. Aug. 3, 2012

The mercury is expected to rise in the days ahead, and health and safety officials urge people to enjoy the sunshine safely.

Eastside Fire & Rescue and the state Department of Health offer water safety tips for summer.

Sparkling water in pools, lakes, and rivers beckons on warm summer days. Often, though, water is cold, deep, moving fast, and can weaken and drown even the strongest swimmer.

“Life jackets save lives, and not just of children,” Dr. Maxine Hayes, state health officer, said in a statement. “In just two weeks in mid-July, three people drowned in northeast Washington near Spokane. That includes some young adults, and none were wearing a life jacket. Three young people have also lost their lives in Lake Tapps in Pierce County this year, and these tragedies happen all over the state. It’s sad, because drowning is often preventable, either with life jackets or adults supervising children.”

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Issaquah police arrest woman for residential burglary

August 2, 2012

NEW — 5:15 p.m. Aug. 2, 2012

Issaquah police arrested a SeaTac woman Wednesday in connection with a July burglary.

Police said the arrest came after a positive identification by residents and a weekslong investigation. The burglary occurred in early July in the Sycamore neighborhood south of downtown Issaquah.

Detectives served a search warrant on the 45-year-old woman’s vehicle Wednesday, and discovered stolen items from burglaries in Issaquah and surrounding communities.

Police later booked the woman into the King County Jail on burglary, possession of stolen property and trafficking in stolen property charges. The case remains open and under investigation by the Issaquah Police Department.

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Fundraising by foot, from Spokane to Issaquah

July 31, 2012

Arlene Carter, Providence Marianwood Foundation executive director (left) photographs Johann Neethling and his daughter Maria Henderson as they break the finish-line tape and are showered with confetti thrown by staffing coordinator Amy Lewis (right), after their cross-state fundraising walk. By Greg Farrar

Dozens of staff members and residents of Providence Marianwood cheered for Chaplain Johann Neethling as he crossed the finish line July 25 after a more than 300-mile walk from Spokane.

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Meet Truitt, healing hound at Swedish/Issaquah

July 31, 2012

Truitt gives Jerry Snider, of Kirkland, a friendly lick on the face while making rounds among chemotherapy patients with Laurie Carlisle at Swedish/Issaquah. by Greg Farrar

When Laurie Carlisle and her Shetland sheepdog Truitt walk into Swedish/Issaquah they possess the magnetism of celebrities. Every eye in the lobby gravitates toward the 4-year-old sheltie. Visitors stop to pet Truitt and passers-by can’t help but smile at the lovable canine.

Truitt attentively sniffs the hands of visitors and flashes his signature goofy smile as his tongue flops out of his mouth. He is a very energetic dog that participates in agility competitions, but at the hospital, the sheltie puts his game face on.

Every Tuesday, Carlisle and Truitt visit patients in the Swedish/Issaquah Oncology Department, bringing smiles and a moment of relief to patients, and staff and family members in the department. Carlisle said Truitt understands the setting and adjusts his behavior accordingly.

“He knows why he’s here,” she said. “He’s just very calming for the patients.”

It is heavy stuff, visiting with patients receiving cancer treatment, but a visit from Truitt can make a world of a difference.

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Opponent’s plastic bag ban repeal fails to qualify for ballot

July 31, 2012

The effort to repeal the Issaquah ban on most retail plastic bags did not qualify for the ballot, although the organizer behind the effort said the fight could continue.

The development came days after the city attorney declared the issue closed, after repeal organizers failed to gather enough signatures from Issaquah voters to force a repeal measure.

City officials had asked repeal organizer Craig Keller to provide at least 2,458 signatures for the measure to be sent to King County Elections for validation. Organizers submitted 2,178 signatures — including 124 names determined ineligible and crossed out before organizers submitted the petition sheets — to the city July 5.

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Businesses react to Issaquah plastic bag ban

July 31, 2012

Local business leaders raised concerns about shoppers bypassing Issaquah after a retail plastic bag ban for retailers of 7,500 square feet or more goes into effect March 1, 2013.

The measure does not go into effect for smaller businesses until March 1, 2014.

In addition to limiting most plastic bags, the legislation requires retail stores to collect 5 cents for each paper bag provided to customers. The fee is meant to help offset the changeover cost as retailers eliminate plastic bags.

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce leaders urged consumers to continue shopping in Issaquah.

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Residents support bond for parks, pool

July 31, 2012

Conservation to protect wildlife habitat and creekside land is a priority for Issaquah residents, more so than other parks and recreation projects.

The information comes from a survey commissioned by city leaders as the initial step in a process to pass a multimillion-dollar bond measure to fund future parks projects. Data from the survey also addressed a bold proposal to create a special taxing district in the Issaquah School District to fund upgrades to the aging Julius Boehm Pool.

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Survey: Issaquah is headed in right direction

July 31, 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 $10 million 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.

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