Issaquah man dies crossing highway in Central Washington

September 8, 2012

NEW — 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8, 2012

Police said a 42-year-old Issaquah man died after a tractor-trailer struck him as he walked across a Central Washington highway Friday.

Washington State Patrol investigators said William A. Hegstrom was crossing state Route 223 at Bailey Avenue in tiny Granger at about 9:05 p.m., when he failed to yield to oncoming traffic, and a southbound Kenwood tractor-trailer struck and killed him.

(Granger is about 30 miles southeast of Yakima in rural Yakima County.)

The tractor-trailer driver, 46-year-old Donald J. McShane, of Zillah, was not injured in the accident.

The state patrol said no charges will be filed in the incident. Investigators said drugs and alcohol were not involved.

Washington receives $22 million for salmon recovery projects

September 8, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 8, 2012

State salmon recovery managers received $22 million to support restoration projects statewide.

The total includes $15 million for the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board to award as competitive grants for projects statewide. Officials announced the $22 million federal grant Sept. 6.

In addition, $3.3 million from the federal grant goes to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission for hatchery and harvest reform projects. Projects to monitor the effectiveness of state efforts receive $2.9 million.

“A healthy Washington state economy is reliant on healthy salmon populations,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a statement. “Salmon support jobs and small businesses — especially our mom-and-pop tackle shops, restaurants, fishing guides and hotels.”

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King County Council members call for sheriff’s office reforms

September 8, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 8, 2012

King County Council members Bob Ferguson and Julia Patterson introduced legislation Sept. 3 to address a recent King County Sheriff’s Office performance audit.

The audit examined the sheriff’s office’s Internal Investigations Unit and the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight. The legislation calls for the sheriff to demonstrate and document actions being taken to address significant shortcomings in internal investigation operations.

“This legislation is all about transparency and accountability,” Ferguson — Government Accountability, Oversight and Financial Performance Committee chairman — said in a statement. “Establishing a plan with deadlines and deliverables makes it clear that we expect to see progress and reforms in how citizen complaints and misconduct cases are handled.”

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Splash!Mob launches Salmon Days Festival fun

September 7, 2012

NEW — 6 p.m. Sept. 7, 2012

Salmon Days Festival fun started almost a month early Friday, as organizers launched a community game in the run-up to the annual event.

Splash!Mob: The Ultimate Salmon Quest is a scavenger hunt-style game held throughout Issaquah, festival and Issaquah Chamber of Commerce leaders announced.

Participants search for specially decorated “spawning salmon” at businesses and landmarks. The game ends Oct. 7, during the festival.

The game card is available at the Issaquah Visitors Information Centers, 155 N.W. Gilman Blvd., in The Issaquah Press and 24 businesses and locations throughout Issaquah. Or, find the Splash!Mob card at the Salmon Days website.

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Community mourns Frank LaSalata, judge at Issaquah Courthouse

September 7, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. Sept. 7, 2012

King County District Court Judge Frank LaSalata, a judge at the Issaquah Courthouse, died Sept. 1 after a battle against cancer.

Frank LaSalata

The legal community — other judges, attorneys and courthouse employees — remembered LaSalata as a fair-minded and hardworking jurist.

LaSalata, 60, served as a King County District Court judge in the Northeast Division since 2006. Before then, he served for eight years as a pro tempore, or substitute, judge in King and San Juan counties.

In 2009, district and municipal court judges throughout the state elected LaSalata to serve on the board of governors for the Washington State District and Municipal Court Judges’ Association.

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Heightened fire danger continues into September

September 7, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. Sept. 7, 2012

Eastside Fire & Rescue officials said continued hot, dry conditions create the potential for dangerous wildfires into September.

The lack of precipitation increases the risk of brush and urban wildfires. In a recent brush fire near North Bend, firefighters worried about the potential for the fire to spread into nearby brush and forest.

EFR notes a yearly increase in brush fires caused by careless smokers, unattended burns, illegal fireworks discharges, and children playing with lighters or matches.

Fire officials ask for residents to take precautions amid the dry conditions. Create a defensible space around homes. Report suspicious activity to authorities. Talk to children about fire dangers.

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Learn about King County’s 911 system at citizen academy

September 7, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. Sept. 7, 2012

King County residents can learn how the 911 emergency dispatch center operates as the King County Sheriff’s Office hosts a 911 Citizen’s Academy next month.

The academy is meant to educate citizens about the role 911 communications specialists fill in the public safety system. The program is also designed to prepare people for dialing 911.

Plans for the Sept. 29 class include information about the history of 911, call taking and police dispatching, training, King County geography, agency partnerships, citizen training and what national certification means for residents.

The academy is open to anyone at least 18 years old and without a felony conviction. Applicants must live or work in King County.

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Deputies seize more than 400 marijuana plants in raid near Issaquah

September 6, 2012

NEW — 9:35 p.m. Sept. 6, 2012

King County Sheriff’s Office deputies seized more than 400 marijuana plants and about 60 pounds of processed marijuana Thursday during a raid at a house south of Issaquah.

Investigators arrived in the 12700 block of 195th Place Southeast, about a half mile southwest of Southeast May Valley Road, at 10:30 a.m. to serve a search warrant.

Inside, detectives discovered a collective grow operation for medical marijuana. Detectives did not arrest anybody in the raid, and later forwarded the case to the King County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

Though investigators noted more than 500 plants inside the house, detectives seized about 400, due to compliance issues. Police said the occupants possessed expired paperwork for a medical marijuana operation.

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Costco cofounder at Democratic convention: ‘Costco’s story is the American story’

September 6, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Sept. 6, 2012

Costco cofounder and former CEO Jim Sinegal offered a forceful defense of President Barack Obama’s economic policies Wednesday in a speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Jim Sinegal

Sinegal said Obama is more likely to create a hospitable climate for job creation than Republican rival Mitt Romney. The former leader of Issaquah-based Costco also countered GOP criticism of Obama’s “you didn’t build that” line.

“We built our company in a place where anyone can make it with hard work, a little luck and a little help from their neighbors and their country,” Sinegal said to delegates and attendees at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. “I’m here tonight because Costco’s story is the American story.”

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King County Metro Transit riders should prepare for changes

September 6, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 6, 2012

King County Metro Transit riders should prepare for major changes in the weeks ahead, as the agency launches a pay-on-entry system and updates several routes.

Transit planners advised thousands of riders to expect changes on bus routes starting Sept. 29, as the agency changes bus stops on dozens of routes, shifts buses to different streets and alters schedules.

The changes affect the routes 217 and 218. Both routes run through Issaquah.

On Route 217, planners also intend to eliminate one morning eastbound trip and one afternoon westbound trip.

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