Statewide whooping cough epidemic slows, but lingers

November 17, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 17, 2012

The number of whooping cough cases reported in Washington is easing — with some areas returning to levels more typical before the epidemic — but state health officials said whooping cough is still active.

The epidemic included more than 4,500 reported whooping cough, or pertussis, cases — the highest number of cases in more than 70 years.

“We’re watching whooping cough activity closely,” state Secretary of Health Mary Selecky said in a statement. “We’re encouraged to see the pace of new cases in our state slowing, but we are not completely out of the woods. Whooping cough is still active and babies are still at risk.”

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Issaquah fire station, hospital earn honors for energy efficiency

November 16, 2012

NEW — 3:15 p.m. Nov. 16, 2012

Issaquah is a hub for energy efficiency, after a fire station and a hospital in the city earned top honors in the same national competition for engineering and technology.

Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 and Swedish/Issaquah garnered first-place ASHRAE Technology Awards — a top recognition for innovative building design.

EFR Station 72 opened last year as the most energy-efficient fire station on the planet. Swedish/Issaquah opened in July 2011, after planners spent years developing a “practical ‘green’” facility to dramatically reduce energy consumption.

ASHRAE — or the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers — plans to bestow the awards on honorees in January at a conference in Dallas.

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Report: Investigators probed 22 Issaquah deaths in 2011

November 15, 2012

NEW — 1 p.m. Nov. 15, 2012

Investigators from the King County Medical Examiner’s Office probed 22 deaths in Issaquah last year, including the suspect’s death in a fatal shootout at Clark Elementary School.

The information comes from the agency’s annual report on suspicious, sudden, unexpected and violent deaths in King County. In 2011, King County experienced the fewest homicides and traffic deaths in more than a decade, even as drug-induced deaths increased.

The medical examiner’s office assumed jurisdiction last year in more than 2,000 deaths — 926 natural deaths, 594 accidental deaths, 265 suicides, 135 traffic accident deaths, 54 homicides and 62 deaths due to undetermined causes.

The tally in Issaquah included 11 accidental deaths, seven suicides, two traffic accident deaths, one homicide and one death due to undetermined causes.

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Communities receive grants for National Night Out, mapping projects

November 15, 2012

NEW — 11:45 a.m. Nov. 15, 2012

Issaquah-area residents received more than $3,700 in King County grants to host a National Night Out event and map rural areas between Issaquah and Renton, leaders announced Wednesday.

Officials awarded $60,000 in grants for disaster preparedness, neighborhood cleanup, tourism promotion and other activities in unincorporated communities countywide.

Overall, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced 24 Community Engagement Grants. Officials said the grants offer residents in unincorporated areas a chance to participate more in community activities.

The county awarded $1,254.50 to residents in the Four Creeks/Tiger Mountain area to produce a National Night Out program.

Four Creeks/Tiger Mountain residents also received a $2,500 grant to create maps and conduct spatial analysis for community planning.

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King County executive to sign same-sex marriage licenses at 12:01 a.m. Dec. 6

November 15, 2012

NEW — 11:45 a.m. Nov. 15, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine plans to open the King County Recorder’s Office at 12:01 a.m. Dec. 6 to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The time comes immediately upon certification of Nov. 6 election results. Constantine intends to sign King County’s first marriage license for a same-sex couple at 12:01 a.m.

“I don’t want couples to wait a minute longer than legally necessary to get the rights that voters have recognized,” he said in a statement.

The move makes King County the first jurisdiction in the United States to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on voter approval. Voters in Washington, Maryland, and Maine approved same-sex initiatives on Election Day, but the laws in Maryland and Maine do not take effect until January.

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Trader Joe’s opens Issaquah Commons store

November 15, 2012

NEW — 11 a.m. Nov. 15, 2012

Trader Joe’s opened Wednesday at the Issaquah Commons in a location large enough for the California-based grocer to offer spirits under the state’s revised liquor laws.

The grocer relocated from a smaller space at Pickering Place, and renovated 11,000 square feet at the Issaquah Commons for the just-opened store.

Trader Joe’s carries domestic and imported foods and beverages, including artisan breads, coffees ground from Arabica bean, frozen entrées, fresh crop nuts, and vitamins and supplements, in addition to basics, such as eggs and milk.

The store meets the threshold — 10,000 square feet — to sell liquor, in addition to beer and wine, under state law.

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Washington State Patrol highlights drowsy driving dangers

November 15, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 15, 2012

State troopers urged motorists to wake up to the dangers of drowsy driving during Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.

In addition to drunken driving and distracted driving, drowsy driving can cause devastating effects on Washington roadways.

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week is observed through Nov. 18.

In 2010, drowsy driving caused 16 deaths and 60 seriously injured motorists in Washington. Estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate drowsy driving results in 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries nationwide each year.

“Falling asleep at the wheel is as preventable as collisions that are caused by speeding and drinking and driving,” state patrol Chief John Batiste said in a statement. “People need to take the necessary precautions to prevent sleepiness as a needless cause of deaths and injuries.”

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Eastridge Church to distribute Thanksgiving provisions, including 1,000 turkeys

November 14, 2012

NEW — 1 p.m. Nov. 14, 2012

In a decade-old Thanksgiving tradition, Eastridge Church plans to deliver 1,000 turkeys and bags of groceries to families in need Saturday.

The church distributes dinner packages on a first-come, first-served basis, and no demonstration of need is required for assistance. The giveaway continues as long as supplies last.

“The Thanksgiving season is a time to we all naturally reflect on our lives and the good things that we’re experiencing, but it can also be a difficult time for families with limited resources,” Lead Pastor Steve Jamison said in a statement.

The event starts at 9 a.m. at the church’s Sammamish Plateau campus, 24205 S.E. Issaquah-Fall City Road.

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Mark Mullet elected to represent Issaquah in state Senate

November 13, 2012

Mark Mullet embraces wife Sabath at Zeeks Pizza on election night Nov. 6 moments after initial results give him a lead in the race against Brad Toft for the 5th Legislative District’s state Senate seat. By Greg Farrar

The unexpectedly ugly race to represent Issaquah in the state Senate reached a coda in the days after the Nov. 6 election, but not before more public friction between the candidates.

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Steve Litzow, Marcie Maxwell prevail in 41st Legislative District

November 13, 2012

Incumbents triumphed in the race to represent Issaquah and other 41st Legislative District communities.

Steve Litzow

Marcie Maxwell

Steve Litzow, a freshman Republican state senator from Mercer Island, outpaced Mercer Island Democrat Maureen Judge. Renton Democrat Marcie Maxwell, a state representative elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2010, cruised to commanding victory against Issaquah Republican Tim Eaves, a novice candidate.

Issaquah’s Cougar Mountain neighborhoods and North Issaquah fall inside the district, a suburban swath stretched from Mercer Island to Sammamish.

Litzow said the outcome reflected the district’s moderate character. Redistricting last year removed part of Renton and added part of Sammamish to the district.

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