City combines planning, building functions to speed up permitting

April 3, 2012

Step is latest in big City Hall reshuffle

The reorganization of City Hall entered a more intense phase March 27, as officials announced a plan to bundle municipal departments into a Development Services Department — a super-agency meant to streamline planning and building functions.

The change is accompanied by a more muscular effort to attract and retain businesses. Leaders said the Development Services Department is meant to smooth the process to apply for a permit to construct a project or open a business in Issaquah.

The centerpiece is a plan to offer applicants the option to pay additional fees to expedite the evaluation a project receives. The setup is akin to Disney’s Fastpass. Only, rather than theme park guests standing in line for shorter stretches, permit applicants choose a speedier permitting process.

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Effort to boost local economy focuses on competitiveness

April 3, 2012

Issaquah faces ‘much more aggressive’ cities in hunt for businesses

In another step to attract businesses to Issaquah and encourage existing entrepreneurs to remain in the city, leaders promised a more robust economic development effort March 27 in a series of other changes to City Hall.

In recent months, officials unveiled a plan to streamline the permitting process for businesses, create a municipal Economic Vitality Commission and add employees dedicated to economic development.

The effort is meant to turn Issaquah into a more desirable place to do business than other Eastside cities. The competition among cities for businesses is fierce, especially since the recession caused construction to lag.

“Communities are much more aggressive and much more competitive for the amount of economic development that exists out there,” City Administrator Bob Harrison said in a presentation to the City Council.

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Youth must rise from limited talent pool in Skyline’s softball program

April 3, 2012

Shannon Heneghan, Issaquah High School senior, is safe stealing home on a wild pitch as Skyline High School sophomore catcher Erika Wolfe returns with the ball to attempt the tag during the fourth inning. Issaquah won the rain-shortened game, 3-2. By Greg Farrar

“Strike three!” yelled the umpire on a questionable pitch that was closer to the dirt than the strike zone.

Groans could be heard from the Issaquah High School dugout after the questionable call. The intensity of the Issaquah-Skyline rivalry could be felt with every pitch as both teams struggled to score runs early in the game March 28.

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Issaquah man is kickin’ it with new friends — Seattle Sounders FC players

April 3, 2012

Brian Gordon (right), of Issaquah, holds a new pair of autographed goalkeeper gloves after a scrimmage with (from left) Sounders FC forward Roger Levesque, keeper Michael Gspurning and forward David Estrada March 20 at the Starfire Sports center in Tukwila. By Greg Farrar

Brian Gordon raved about the men in rave green.

The Issaquah resident spent part of an afternoon kicking a soccer ball with a bunch of new friends — the 2012 Seattle Sounders FC.

Gordon earned the honor by winning the Man of the Match promotion of the Washington’s Lottery, which allowed one person and his family to suit up and practice with the Major League Soccer’s Seattle franchise.

On March 20, the dream of many a fan became true for Gordon, who traveled to the Sounders’ practice facility in Tukwila and got to share a soccer pitch with people like David Estrada, Michael Gspurning and Roger Levesque, all Sounder players.

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Nominate outstanding citizens for Kiwanis Club awards

April 3, 2012

Kiwanis Club of Issaquah members are seeking exceptional people to honor in the annual Community Awards.

The service club sponsors the Volunteer of the Year Award, Environmental Award and Spiritual Values Award.

Nominate candidates for the award by emailing a one- or two-page nomination letter — indicating the person under nomination and for which award — to or via mail to Kiwanis Club of Issaquah, P.O. Box 1111, Issaquah, WA 98027. The nomination deadline is April 15.

The volunteer award honors a frequent volunteer in the Issaquah area for contributing a large number of hours over a significant period of time and achieving outstanding results to better the community.

In the environmental category, a winner is recognized for responsible stewardship of the natural environment to create benefits for the environment and the community.

The values honor spotlights the winner for significantly enhancing the human and spiritual values in the Issaquah area.

The organization plans to announce the awards at the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce’s Community Awards Luncheon in May.

Issaquah man’s rescuer is named Red Cross hero

April 3, 2012

Dixie Trombly and Don Trombly (from left) are thankful for Greg Gorske and Todd Short, who saved Don’s life. Short received the Medical Rescue Award from the American Red Cross on March 27. By Sarah Gerdes

During the annual Red Cross Heroes awards March 27, Todd Short humbly accepted the Medical Rescue Award, for saving the life of Issaquah resident Don Trombly.

As Short graciously accepted the award from Craig Hendrickson, CEO of Overlake Hospital Medical Center, Trombly nodded.

“He’s our guardian angel,” Dixie Trombly, Don’s wife of 50 years, said of Short, her eyes welling up with tears.

Just a regular day

Don and Dixie Trombly have lived in Issaquah for 60 years, visiting Redmond once a week to stop by the Great Harvest Bread Co., relax and let their dog roam free in a park. While they were in their car, Dixie noticed her husband suddenly exhaled.

“He gave one huff of air, then one more, and I thought that was it,” Dixie Trombly said. “He’s just died in my car.”

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Issaquah School Board resets academic standards

April 3, 2012

Last year, for the first time, the Issaquah School Board essentially handed the Issaquah School District its very own report card.

As designed by the board, the district scorecard tracks some 20 indicators of student academic performance. It also sets goals officials hope students will meet.

Categories include student scores on standardized tests, how many students are taking certain math classes or how many seem to be on track to do well in college. The school board recently spent several hours at more than one meeting going over the scorecard and setting new academic targets for the schools.

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Kokanee fundraiser nets almost $10,000 for preservation

April 3, 2012

Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon supporters raised almost $10,000 last month to protect the disappearing fish species.

Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery and Coho Café organized a March 16 fundraiser to net dollars for a kokanee restoration program.

The sold-out event raised funds from ticket sales for a reception at the Watershed Science Center on the hatchery grounds and a silent wine auction benefit.

Matt Baerwalde, a Snoqualmie Nation representative, presented a $5,000 check to FISH Executive Director Jane Kuechle for the kokanee spawning program.

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Supporters have yet to face opposition to $219 million school bond

April 3, 2012

By now, most of the campaign work is done, said Lesley Austin, one of the two co-chairwomen of Volunteers for Issaquah Schools, the community organization promoting the Issaquah School District’s capital improvement levy on the April 17 ballot.

The VIS group organized so-called honk and waves at 13 locations throughout the district the morning and afternoon of April 2, Austin said. VIS slated a second such event for April 16, the day before ballots in the election are due back to King County.

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Join hike, barbecue to celebrate Grand Ridge Park milestone

April 3, 2012

The effort to link the High Point Trail to Duthie Hill Park on the Sammamish Plateau consumed almost a decade and more than 40,000 hours from Washington Trails Association volunteers.

The public is invited to join King County Parks and the Washington Trails Association on April 5 to celebrate the yearslong push to complete the trail connection. Citizens can join a hike through Grand Ridge Park and a barbecue at Duthie Hill Park.

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