Washington State Patrol seeks public comment for accreditation

October 20, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Oct. 20, 2012

The public can offer comments about the Washington State Patrol as a team of assessors examines the agency’s policy and procedures, management, operations and support services.

The team from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies is due to arrive Nov. 5.

The public and agency personnel can offer comments to the assessors. Call 1-888-795-4483 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Nov. 5. Each telephone comment is limited to 10 minutes and must address the agency’s ability to comply with Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies standards. Information about the standards is available by contacting state patrol headquarters at 360-596-4141.

Residents can direct written comments are requested to: Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), 13575 Heathcote Blvd., Suite 320, Gainesville, VA 20155-6660.

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Local celebrities join voter education campaign

October 19, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Oct. 19, 2012

King County Elections turned to a lineup of boldface names — Olympic swimmer Nathan Adrian, mystery writer J.A. Jance and sports announcer Kevin Calabro — to share important tips for voters as the Election Day ballot deadline approaches.

Adrian, Jance and Calabro joined a regional voter education campaign featuring radio, TV and online ads to educate residents about the voting process.

Local elections officials started the voter education campaign before the August primary. The initial round of spots featured renowned chef Tom Douglas, travel guru Rick Steves and Seattle Storm players. The celebrities involved in the campaign agreed to donate time for the effort.

“Everyone can be a voting champion,” Adrian said in a statement. “Don’t wait til the last second. Go for the gold by following the directions and getting your ballot back early.”

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Voter turnout is forecast at 81 percent, less than 2008 record

October 18, 2012

NEW — 3 p.m. Oct. 18, 2012

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed on Thursday predicted 81 percent voter turnout, a robust response to the races for president and governor, but less than the record set in 2008.

Washington is home to 3,880,859 registered voters. State elections officials said 149,202 people registered or reactivated a registration since the August primary.

The historic average turnout in a presidential and gubernatorial year since 1952 is 79.2 percent. Reed does not expect the turnout — or ballot return, in the case of all-mail voting — to match or exceed the record level 84.6 percent in 2008.

In King County, officials started mailing 1.16 million ballots to voters Wednesday. The deadline to postmark or return ballots is Nov. 6.

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State, King County burn bans expire after long dry spell

October 18, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Oct. 18, 2012

State and King County fire officials ended burn bans in recent days, as the wildfire risk declined after a long dry spell.

The state Department of Natural Resources ended a burn ban on agency-protected lands at midnight Monday. The next day, the King County fire marshal lifted a burn ban for unincorporated King County.

Eastside Fire & Rescue is keeping a burn ban in place through Oct. 20 for Issaquah and communities served by the agency.

The state ban on outdoor burning applied to all Department of Natural Resources-protected public, private and tribal lands, including Tiger Mountain State Forest near Issaquah.

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Top elections official predicts strong voter participation

October 17, 2012

NEW — 11:45 a.m. Oct. 17, 2012

The top elections official in Washington, Secretary of State Sam Reed, predicted strong voter participation in the Nov. 6 election, as counties started mailing ballots to voters Wednesday.

Statewide, county-level elections administrators sent more than 3.85 million ballots to registered voters. King County Elections is due to mail 1.16 million ballots.

Reed said intense interest in the contests for president and governor — plus ballot measures and other statewide races — should lead to strong voter participation.

“The presidential/gubernatorial election year always has the best turnout, and this year really has something for everyone,” he said in a statement. “We have a presidential race that is essentially tied at the national level and an open governor’s race that is very close and hotly contested.”

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King County Elections mails 1.16 million ballots to voters

October 17, 2012

NEW — 9:30 a.m. Oct. 17, 2012

King County Elections plans to mail more than 1.16 million ballots to voters Wednesday as all-mail voting starts in federal, state and local contests.

The election marks the first presidential contest since King County started conducting all-mail elections and since Washington transitioned to a vote-by-mail state.

“Voters should watch for their ballots in the mail and contact us if they haven’t received it by Monday, Oct. 22,” Elections Director Sherril Huff said in a statement. “We anticipate a high turnout, and we encourage all voters to get their ballots voted and returned no later than the Election Day deadline — the earlier, the better.”

King County voters should also start receiving voters’ pamphlets in the mail in the coming days. Voters receive a local pamphlet from the county and a state pamphlet from the Office of the Secretary of State.

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Encounter at Issaquah school offers bear safety reminder

October 16, 2012

Mike Pernack spotted a black bear cub in Squak Mountain’s Big Bear Court neighborhood Oct. 4. By Mike Pernack

Issaquah Valley Elementary School administrators briefly put the campus into lockdown Oct. 3 after surprise guests ambled onto school grounds.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife officers, plus Mishka, a Karelian bear dog, responded to the downtown Issaquah school, but arrived after a female bear and trio of cubs dashed across campus.

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Dick’s Sporting Goods, Marshalls to open in Issaquah Highlands

October 16, 2012

Retail offerings in the Issaquah Highlands should include a mix of local and national companies, developers behind the neighborhood’s $70 million Grand Ridge Plaza retail complex announced Oct. 10.

The latest announcement adds Dick’s Sporting Goods, Marshalls and HomeGoods to the retail center alongside a 12-screen Regal Cinemas multiplex, and a Safeway and associated gas station. City officials announced plans for RAM Restaurant & Brewery, Big Fish Grill and ULTA Beauty a week earlier.

The highlands lineup includes homegrown businesses Zumiez, a specialty sports equipment and clothing company based in Lynnwood, and another location for Seattle-based Chinoise Sushi Bar & Asian Grill.

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Liberty High School community speaks out against schedule change

October 16, 2012

It’s a little after 9 o’clock on a Thursday morning at Liberty High School and Marcus Milyko is working on his short video “Hidden Places,” which airs on the monthly broadcast show that is written, filmed and edited by the TV and Video Production class.

“I want to do video in my life,” he said. “I love all parts of it.”

But film wasn’t always Marcus’s passion. He hadn’t thought too much about it until Liberty’s film production course caught his eye last year when he was searching for a class. It’s this sort of chance to find a passion that Marcus, and many others in the Liberty community, are concerned will be lost if the district goes through with a proposal to change the high school’s schedule.

“Because of the eight-period schedule, I found this and without it I never would have,” Marcus said to members of the Issaquah School Board during its Oct. 10 meeting.

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Local legislative candidates answer questions

October 16, 2012

Click on the image to read candidate responses from state House of Representatives and state Senate candidates in the 5th and 41st legislative districts.

5th Legislative District — state House of Representatives

Chad Magendanz

How can the state fulfill its “paramount duty” to fund education, despite budget limitations?

• Budget writers must follow the Supreme Court ruling to fund education as our “first and highest priority before any other state programs or operations.”

What specific steps can state government take to entice businesses to expand or relocate to Washington?

Reduce burdensome regulations by aligning with federal standards, reform workers compensation and unemployment insurance programs to lower costs, and simplify the B&O tax structure.

What specific steps can state government take to increase revenue, despite the existing limitations?

A revenue-neutral swap of state property tax for local school levies would bring $1 billion of education funding into a more regular and dependable tax structure.

What specific steps can state government take to shore up Washington’s higher education system?

Return to a 50-50 deal with university students and restore funding levels to their historical average, rather than just 8 percent of the general fund.

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