Supreme Court upholds state redistricting plan

May 8, 2012

The state Supreme Court has authorized use of the redrawn political boundaries for upcoming elections, even as a citizen challenge to the Washington State Redistricting Commission’s maps continues to proceed.

The bipartisan commission responsible for reshaping the districts spent 2011 redrawing legislative and congressional districts. State legislators then made minor modifications and the plan entered into effect Feb. 7.

Vancouver resident John Milem filed a challenge against the redistricting plan Feb. 8. The longtime redistricting observer contended the reshaped maps granted too much power to Western Washington counties.

Commissioners divided Issaquah between the 5th and 41st legislative districts to determine representation in Olympia, and kept the city in a reshaped 8th Congressional District for federal representation.

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Departing lawmaker Glenn Anderson thanks constituents

May 8, 2012

State Rep. Glenn Anderson thanked constituents for sharing ideas and participating in state government, as the longtime lawmaker prepares to depart the House of Representatives.

The message to constituents in Issaquah and the 5th Legislative District came after the Fall City Republican completed a final session as lawmaker for the district. Anderson is a candidate for lieutenant governor.

State election rules require Anderson to stop sending email updates to constituents May 12 and, after June 30, he can no longer initiate constituent communications through emails and letters.

“We tackled a lot of little things and a few big things, and all were very much worth the time working with you,” he said in a legislative update emailed to constituents May 3.

Anderson is in a crowded field to fill the No. 2 job in state government. Incumbent Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, a Democrat, also faces challenges from former GOP state Sen. Bill Finkbeiner and independent candidate Mark Greene, a Newcastle resident.

In January, Chad Magendanz, a Republican and the Issaquah School Board president, entered the race to succeed Anderson in the House. The filing deadline for candidates is May 18.

King County reminds boaters to avoid lake buoys

May 8, 2012

King County officials reminded boaters to avoid environmental monitoring buoys in lakes Sammamish and Washington after a Lake Washington buoy sustained damage.

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Ride safely and in style in a licensed limo

May 8, 2012

Springtime is prime time for limousine rentals, but before hiring a limousine or town car for a ride to the prom or a wedding, the state Department of Licensing reminds people to check to see if the company is licensed and legitimate.

Limousine operators in Washington must be licensed, carry sufficient liability insurance and undergo annual safety inspections by the Washington State Patrol. Chauffeurs must be at least 21, hold a valid driver’s license, complete a training course and pass a state patrol background check.

Check limousine companies’ licenses at the Department of Licensing website, www.dol.wa.gov/business/limousine.

“There are many quality limousine companies to choose from in Washington state, but you don’t want to be taken for a ride by an unlicensed limousine company,” Department of Licensing Director Alan Haight said in a statement. “Always check references and make sure the company is licensed before you hire them.”

Councilman Reagan Dunn condemns violent May Day protesters

May 8, 2012

Reagan Dunn, a local representative on the King County Council, condemned violent May Day protests as downtown Seattle merchants started to clean up after the May 1 incident.

“These threats to public safety and the attacks on our fellow citizens and on private property must not be tolerated,” he said in a statement released after protesters marched through Seattle and smashed windows at American Apparel, Wells Fargo and other businesses.

The protests also caused transit disruptions for King County Metro Transit commuters.

Dunn, a Republican, is running for state attorney general against a council colleague, Democrat Bob Ferguson. The law-and-order message from Dunn came as the 2012 campaign season enters a more intense phase.

Dunn represents rural areas south of Issaquah and Newcastle on the council.

Issaquah-based Costco earns high spot on Fortune 500

May 8, 2012

Issaquah-based Costco is No. 24 on the Fortune 500, the annual list of top companies in the United States compiled and published by the magazine.

The largest warehouse club chain on the planet sold about $89 billion in merchandise last year — including electronics, gasoline, rotisserie chickens and the bestselling product, toilet paper.

“Even as the economy slowly recovers, many shoppers are sticking to the thrifty habits they acquired over the past few years,” the magazine noted. “This spells good news for Costco.”

Fortune released the list May 7. Oil giant Exxon Mobil claimed the No. 1 spot. Costco rival Wal-Mart Stores came in at No. 2.

Costco, as the largest employer in Issaquah, employs about 2,700 people in corporate offices and at the flagship warehouse in Pickering Place.

The company headquarters relocated from Kirkland to Issaquah in 1996 — hence the Kirkland Signature name on store-brand products.

Issaquah School District passes state audit

May 8, 2012

The state auditor gave the Issaquah School District two gold stars for the 10th year in a row.

Each year, state law calls for each school district to go through two audits — an accountability report and a financial audit report. The audit took place between Sept. 1, 2010, and Aug. 31, 2011, and, just like the previous nine, found no blemishes on Issaquah’s record.

The accountability report examines how well the district complies with its own policies and state and federal laws, such as the Open Public Meetings Act, bidding compliance and enrollment reporting. Its results were released March 30 and concluded that the district’s “internal controls were adequate to safeguard public assets.”

The financial audit report, which measures the district’s financial statements and processes using government auditing standards, was also issued March 30. In it, there were no findings of noncompliance or other serious problems.

To mark the 10-year milestone for the district, state Auditor Brian Sonntag wrote the school board a congratulatory letter.

“This accomplishment reflects the dedication of the district board and the district staff to strong oversight of operations, good internal controls and accurate financial reporting,” Sonntag wrote.

Both reports are available online at www.sao.wa.gov or at www.issaquah.wednet.edu.

Nominate ‘green’ businesses, organizations for county honor

May 8, 2012

King County Solid Waste Division officials need nominees for the annual Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list.

The award spotlights businesses for strong recycling, reuse and waste-prevention efforts. The list, formed in 2007, recognizes the accomplishments of small and large businesses for conserving natural resources, as well as reducing the amount of recyclable materials headed to landfills.

The contest is open to businesses and organizations operating in King County outside Seattle. The deadline for entries is June 29. Apply at http://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/garbage-recycling/best-workplaces.asp

The criteria include waste reduction and recycling practices, such as using reusable or compostable dishware in kitchens, collecting batteries for recycling or setting all printers to default to double-sided printing.

Contact Program Manager Karen May at 206-296-4353 or karen.may@kingcounty.gov to learn more.

In 2011, Issaquah municipal government and the Issaquah School District, plus Issaquah businesses Pogacha, Outsource Marketing, Rowley Properties and Timber Ridge at Talus earned awards through the program.

Buses offer free rides for bicyclists during National Bike Month

May 8, 2012

May is National Bike Month, and to mark the occasion, bicyclists loading a bike onto local buses can ride for free.

Bicyclists using King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit ride free from May 14-18.

The offer applies to any Metro Transit bus or ST Express bus operated by Metro Transit, including routes 554, 555 and 556 from Issaquah.

Each bus has three spaces on a bike rack available on a first-come, first-served basis.

If the bus’ bike rack is full, cyclists should be prepared to wait for the next bus or consider leaving the bike parked in a bike rack at a transit facility.

Many Metro Transit and Sound Transit facilities also offer bike lockers.

1940 Census data offers snapshot of Issaquah after Great Depression

May 8, 2012

1940 Census ledger from Issaquah

For historians around the world, including members of the Issaquah History Museums, April 2 was a big day.

Executive Director Erica Maniez had her own personal countdown going for that particular Monday, because after finally fulfilling the mandatory 72-year waiting period, records from the 1940 U.S. Census were released by the U.S. National Archives.

“It was interesting to see some of the old familiar families, and how the next generations down were living in their own households,” she said. “I’ve noticed quite a few people that I’ve known since I worked here who have since passed away, but I did know some people here that are still living.”

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