Washington traffic deaths reach historic low

August 25, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 25, 2012

The number of deaths on Washington roadways reached a historic low last year — 458.

The figures from last year show the lowest number of recorded traffic fatalities statewide since the 413 recorded in 1954, according to a state Department of Transportation report.

The agency said 97.5 percent of Washingtonians wore seat belts last year.

Officials also referenced the state plan to cut traffic fatalities.

Under a highway safety plan called Target Zero, the state aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Washington during the years ahead. Officials set a goal of zero traffic deaths by 2030.

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Wall falls on workers at Issaquah Highlands construction site

August 24, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. Aug. 24, 2012

Medics transported four construction workers to area hospitals early Friday afternoon after a wall at a residential construction site in the Issaquah Highlands fell and injured the men.

Eastside Fire & Rescue and Bellevue Fire Department crews responded to the 900 block of Third Court Northeast, a highlands neighborhood west of Highlands Drive Northeast at about 1:15 p.m., after a wooden wall measuring about 16 feet by 20 feet collapsed onto the construction workers.

EFR Battalion Chief Glenn Huffman said one man sustained “significant injuries” and had to be transported to Harborview Medical Center. Medics transported the other men to nearby Swedish/Issaquah and Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue.

Huffman did not have additional information about the workers’ conditions.

The state Department of Labor & Industries intends to investigate the accident, per standard procedure.

King County expects layoffs, reduced road maintenance

August 24, 2012

NEW — 11 a.m. Aug. 24, 2012

King County expects to lay off 54 road workers and officials said the lack of attention on roads could mean further deterioration.

Officials also plan to leave 11 vacant jobs unfilled — for a total reduction of 65 jobs in the county Road Services Division — due to a drop in tax revenues. The reduction is expected to go into effect early next year, as the 2013 budget goes into effect.

King County Executive Dow Constantine announced the reductions Thursday. The loss of funding could mean reduced maintenance to correct problems, such as potholes, and a slower response during snow and ice storms.

The county is responsible for about 1,500 miles of roadway, but the reduction in revenue means less maintenance, especially roads in rural areas.

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Issaquah man with young children in vehicle arrested under revised DUI law

August 23, 2012

NEW — 3:25 p.m. Aug. 23, 2012

The state patrol arrested a 32-year-old Issaquah man under the state’s revised driving under the influence law Sunday, 18 days after the beefed-up law took effect.

The arrest marks the initial known use of revised rules for mandatory blood draws on felony DUI arrests in King County. The driver, Wiyual Rut, also faces enhanced penalties for having three children younger than 3 in the vehicle during the traffic stop.

Prosecutors later charged Rut with felony DUI, with notice of three child enhancements. The enhancement adds 12 months to the felony DUI sentence for each child.

Investigators said a Washington State Patrol trooper stopped a black Nissan Pathfinder on eastbound Interstate 90 for lane travel violations just before midnight. The trooper arrested the motorist for DUI. Rut then underwent a special evidence blood draw.

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Issaquah Valley Trolley to return after Iowa restoration

August 22, 2012

Issaquah Valley Trolley Streetcar No. 519 sits in the Gomaco Trolley Co. facility in Ida Grove, Iowa, as crews finish a monthslong restoration. Contributed by Gomaco Trolley Co.

NEW — 5 p.m. Aug. 22, 2012

Issaquah Valley Trolley Project organizers said a 1925 streetcar is due to return to Issaquah on Thursday after a monthslong restoration in Iowa.

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Turnout in primary election fails to meet expectations

August 22, 2012

NEW — 1 p.m. Aug. 22, 2012

King County turnout in the Aug. 7 primary hit 40 percent, local elections officials reported Tuesday, as statewide turnout failed to meet a pre-election forecast.

In King County, voters returned 443,523 ballots and officials tallied 432,049 ballots. The difference is due to signature problems and ballots returned too late to be counted. Officials certified the election results Tuesday.

“We just certified our 12th consecutive election without discrepancies,” Elections Director Sherril Huff said in a statement.

Local elections administrators noted a reduction in the number of challenged signatures of almost 45 percent. Officials attributed the shift to a celebrity-studded outreach campaign to remind voters to carefully follow ballot instructions.

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Roadwork could impact Squak Mountain traffic

August 22, 2012

NEW — 1 p.m. Aug. 22, 2012

Crews started work Wednesday to repave several Squak Mountain roads.

Expect to see crews grinding roads to prepare for paving in the days ahead. Paving is scheduled to occur from Aug. 27-31, weather permitting.

Crews plan to work from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Homeowners can still access their properties during the roadwork.

The affected roads include Mount Quay Drive Northwest from Mount Olympus Drive Northwest to Mount Si Place Northwest, Mount Si Place Northwest, Mount Rainier Place Northwest, Mount Olympus Drive Northwest from 12th Avenue Northwest to Mount Olympus Drive Southwest, Mount Olympus Drive Southwest from Mount Olympus Drive Northwest to Mountain Park Boulevard Southwest, and Mountain Park Boulevard Southwest from Mount Olympus Drive Southwest to Mountainside Drive Southwest.

Let’s Go! for Aug. 23-29

August 22, 2012

Couple celebrates anniversary, 60 years and counting

August 21, 2012

By the time they were married Aug. 30, 1952, Tom and Betty Gentsch had already known each other for nearly 20 years. Contributed

When Kate Middleton wowed the world in her French Chantilly lace and satin gazar Alexander McQueen wedding dress another bride had already walked down the aisle 59 years earlier wearing the same style.

Betty Gentsch keeps a photo of that day, Aug. 30 1952, next to her bed and has had many visitors comment on Betty’s “Kate Middleton dress.”

“Though I suspect the lace in her dress cost a lot more,” Betty said with a smile.

She paid $125 for her dress and, while she was not moving to Kensington Palace, Betty was marrying her prince.

Tom Gentsch and the former Betty Foster grew up around the corner from each other on Long Island. For his 7th birthday, Betty presented Tom with a fishing creel. The angler’s wicker basket has never actually housed Tom’s catch, but he has held on to it for 78 years and counting. That same 5-year-old girl later wrote in her seventh-grade diary that she would one day marry Tom Gentsch.

So three years later, when Tom phoned Betty to ask her to spend New Years Eve 1944 with him at the movies, her answer was yes.

“That’s about as much excitement as you could get in those days,” Betty said.

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Enjoy street eats along Issaquah’s edible landscape

August 21, 2012

A pedestrian walks under ripening fruit on plum trees in front of KeyBank. By Greg Farrar

Don’t go to the store to buy supplies to bake pies or can fruits — go to Northwest Gilman Boulevard.

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