King County assessor mails property tax bills to residents

February 17, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. Feb. 17, 2012

King County residents started to receive property tax bills in recent days and, although property tax collection in the county up 1.71 percent from last year, property owners should see a drop in bills and a decline in property valuation.

The total value of property in the county continued to decline for the 2012 tax roll, but the drop is slightly less than 2011. Officials said property values declined in almost every area in King County last year.

The median assessed value in rural Southeast King County, for instance, declined from $304,000 for the 2011 tax roll to $259,000 for 2012 — or a decrease in the tax bill of $470.

“Bank foreclosures and other distressed sales continue to be a drag on property values overall in King County,” King County Assessor Lloyd Hara said in a statement. “This is driving property values down through most of King County, and is resulting in property tax reductions for some.”

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Learn about King County’s 911 system at citizen academy

February 17, 2012

NEW — 3 p.m. Feb. 17, 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 daylong class March 31 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.

In addition to the classroom session, academy participants can spend a two-hour session with on-duty communications specialists. The “sit-along” time is meant to offer a practical demonstration of the lessons learned in the academy.

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Issaquah-area representative calls for King County to ‘closely examine’ arena proposal

February 16, 2012

NEW — 4:45 p.m. Feb. 16, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor McGinn unveiled a proposed public-private partnership Thursday to construct a Seattle arena for professional basketball and hockey teams.

Dow Constantine

Reagan Dunn

The proposed arena — a $500 million facility, including $290 million from private investors — could host NBA and NHL teams in South Seattle near Safeco Field. Local elected leaders, including Issaquah-area County Councilman Reagan Dunn, lauded the proposal, but said the package needs additional scrutiny.

“As stewards of public money, we must closely examine any plan that seeks King County’s role in financing such a project,” he said in a statement after Constantine and McGinn announced the proposal. “I look forward to learning more about the proposal.”

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Mystery jackpot winner purchased ticket at Issaquah store

February 16, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. Feb. 16, 2012

Washington’s Lottery officials asked local players to check tickets Thursday, because a jackpot winner purchased a ticket in Issaquah.

The winning numbers: 9-10-24-25-29.

The $730,000 jackpot — the largest in state history for Hit 5 — is to be split between the ticket sold in Issaquah and another sold in Arlington. The winners each take home $365,000. The winners have 180 days to claim the prizes.

Lottery officials did not release the retailers’ names.

In Hit 5, players select five numbers per $1 play. The jackpot starts at $100,000 and rolls over until somebody wins.

Swedish Medical Center earns honor for ‘green’ landscaping practices

February 16, 2012

NEW — 11 a.m. Feb. 16, 2012

Swedish Medical Center landscapers improved the environment — and the organization’s bottom line.

The landscaping staff at Swedish/First Hill worked to qualify as a 5-Star EnviroStars group — a designated awarded to organizations based on a demonstrated commitment to reducing hazardous materials and waste.

Swedish joined more than 700 EnviroStars businesses offering services, such as car repair, dentistry, dry cleaning and printing. EnviroStars is a program of the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County.

Several facilities in the Swedish system had a contract for spraying fungicides and insecticides on shrubs and trees.

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Issaquah business joins delegation to global technology conference

February 16, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 16, 2012

Issaquah business Chetan Sharma Consulting is among 11 small businesses from Washington representing the Evergreen State at the Mobile World Congress — the premier event in the global mobile tech industry.

The event — scheduled to unfold in Barcelona, Spain, from Feb. 27 to March 1 — includes 60,000 mobile technology leaders from more than 100 countries.

Chetan Sharma Consulting is a management consulting and strategic advisory firm formed in 2001. The company’s client include telecommunications giants, such as Comcast, Qualcomm and Sprint Nextel.

The state Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration assembled the Washington delegation. Some Washington companies participating in the event received vouchers to help defray costs through a federal grant and state export promotion program.

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Local students can design artwork for 2012 voters’ pamphlet

February 16, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 16, 2012

Issaquah students can design artwork for the Washington State Voters’ Pamphlet — a guide distributed to more than 3 million people statewide before the November election.

Secretary of State Sam Reed’s office invited students in fourth and fifth grades to enter the contest. In addition to featuring the top artwork in the voters’ guide, Reed plans to conduct a surprise visit to the winner’s school.

The theme for the contest is “If I Could Vote.” The art contest is a chance for Washington’s youngest citizens to be a part of elections and think about what they might value as voters.

Students enter the contest by submitting art with the entry form by April 16. Email JulieAnne Behar at julieanne.behar@sos.wa.gov to ask questions or to learn more about the contest.

Presidents Day means Issaquah closures

February 15, 2012

NEW — 6 p.m. Feb. 15, 2012

Presidents Day means closures and schedule changes Monday.

King County Metro Transit operates on a weekday and no University of Washington schedule for the holiday.

Sound Transit buses operate on a regular weekday schedule for Presidents Day. Sound Transit customers can also sign up to receive Rider Alerts via e-mail or text message for specific services and bus routes.

Metro Transit also offers Transit Alerts to update riders about inclement conditions, road construction and other service changes.

The city, county and state close government offices in observance of the holiday. In addition, the Issaquah Community Center and Julius Boehm Pool close for the day.

State liquor stores also remain open for the holiday.

Issaquah, Skyline girls stay alive, meet for vital KingCo No. 3 berth

February 15, 2012

NEW — 12:30 p.m. Feb. 15, 2012 

The Issaquah and Skyline High School girls basketball teams will meet once again and this time the stakes are even bigger. This time the outcome determines which team’s season continues.

Issaquah and Skyline meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Juanita High School to determine the KingCo Conference No. 3 berth. The winner of the loser-out game plays at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Western Conference No. 3 team for a berth in the Class 4A state regionals.

Both rivals stayed alive in the KingCo 4A Tournament Tuesday with victories at Juanita. Issaquah edged Inglemoor 66-65 while Skyline raced by Newport 50-32.

Issaquah fell behind by six points in the first quarter but fought back to earn a 31-31 halftime tie. The Eagles pulled ahead in the third quarter and held off Inglemoor in the final period to win the game.

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Fire District 10 voters approve $5.5 million bond to relocate fire station

February 15, 2012

NEW — 12:05 p.m. Feb. 15, 2012

Fire District 10 — May Valley, Mirrormont and other communities near Issaquah — received approval to build a fire station and upgrade other facilities as voters approved a $5.5 million bond in a special election Tuesday.

Officials plan to use bond dollars to relocate crews from Fire Station 78 at 16135 S.E. 113th Place near Renton to a modern facility at a more central location at Southeast May Valley Road and 207th Avenue Southeast.

The district asked the electorate to OK the bond to fund a rebuilt Station 78 and improvements to other fire stations throughout the sprawling district. The price tag for the rebuilt station alone is expected to reach $4.5 million.

Homeowners should pay about 9 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value — or about $3 per month for a home assessed at $400,000 — to fund the bond. The district last asked voters to approve a bond in the mid-1990s.

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