Issaquah Police Department searches for violent home invasion suspects

May 22, 2012

Issaquah police asked for assistance from the public May 18 to find the suspects from a home invasion robbery after men stormed a residence and stomped on a woman inside.

Police said a white man and a black man forced themselves into a woman’s apartment at about noon May 16.

Issaquah Detective Ryan Raulerson said the woman did not know her attackers. He said police did not know whether the crime was random or if the woman had been targeted.

The woman inside the apartment said the white man stomped on her face and kicked her several times. The suspects asked her, “Where is it?” repeatedly as they ransacked the residence.

Police believe the suspects searched the residence for narcotic medications. The suspects then fled the apartment on foot, carrying some of the woman’s prescription medication.

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VFW hosts Memorial Day commemoration in Issaquah

May 22, 2012

Issaquah residents will have the opportunity to remember and celebrate local veterans who have given their lives in the line of military service at 10 a.m. May 28 at Issaquah’s Hillside Cemetery in an annual observance of Memorial Day.

The Issaquah High School Junior Naval ROTC will facilitate a 21-gun salute and provide the color guard for the event. It will be the final public performance of the group after more than 40 years of service, event organizer Dave Waggoner said. ROTC will no longer be offered at the school after this school year.

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Local high school students rev up Relay for Life fundraisers

May 22, 2012

Relay — ‘a   way to live’

Iman Baghai Issaquah High School

The death of a loved one to cancer is why most people partake in the annual Relay for Life fundraising event. But Michael Cecil, a junior at Issaquah High School, has a unique and inspiring story with regards to how and why he is a “relayer.” Cecil’s mother has been diagnosed with five rare kinds of cancer throughout his life and has survived each diagnosis.

His mother’s diagnosis inspired Michael to get into Relay as a way for him and his siblings to “do something about (their) mom’s cancer.” He didn’t view it as a way of giving back, but rather as a way of “fighting back” the terrible disease that has haunted his family.

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King County officials urge river safety as temperatures rise

May 22, 2012

More sunshine and balmier temperatures in the forecast mean more people heading to area rivers.

King County officials urge recreational river users to use caution due to the effects of significantly greater-than-average mountain snowpack on waterways.

Even though air temperatures continue to rise, rivers, lakes and Puget Sound all remain cold, and recreationists should use caution around open water.

Officials recommended kayakers, boaters, rafters and other river users check conditions and scout rivers thoroughly for hazards before getting in the water.

“Rivers are dynamic systems, and they are always changing,” King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks Director Christie True said in a statement. “Warm weather and cold water can be a dangerous combination, and we urge all river users to exercise a high degree of caution and awareness when recreating on any of King County’s beautiful rivers.”

King County leaders adopted a measure last spring to require personal flotation devices for users along the Raging, Snoqualmie, Tolt, Cedar, Green, Skykomish and White rivers in unincorporated areas. The measure expired in October.

“If you’re looking to swim, there are much safer places to be than in the rivers, such as our local pools and lifeguarded beaches,” Dr. David Fleming, director and health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, said in a statement. “If you choose to enjoy the rivers for other recreational activities, we want you to return home safely. Please use caution and wear a PFD on the water.”

Supreme Court hears challenge to Costco-backed liquor privatization

May 22, 2012

Opponents of liquor privatization urged state Supreme Court justices May 17 to overturn Initiative 1183, less than a month before the switch from a state-run liquor system to private entrepreneurs.

If the high court overturns the Costco-backed measure, state-run liquor stores could remain open and retailers could not sell spirits. The changeover is scheduled to occur June 1, and a ruling is expected before then.

Opponents said I-1183 violates the single subject rule for statewide ballot initiatives.

In addition to the liquor privatization language, I-1183 included a section directing $10 million to public safety, in addition to the liquor-privatization language.

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Issaquah man established fuel stations in the South Pacific during World War II

May 22, 2012

When William Bentz enlisted in the U.S. Army in July 1943 to serve in history’s most widespread world war, modern technological communication did not yet exist.

William Bentz, a 92-year-old World War II veteran, holds a collection of materials he obtained while visiting the rededication of the National WWII Memorial in May 2004 in Washington, D.C. By Christina Lords

That meant no cellphones, no Skype, no email.

What he and his wife Onadee did have, however, was V-Mail. Short for Victory Mail, the hybrid mail system used by Americans in World War II to securely correspond with soldiers stationed abroad.

“I wrote what they call V letters,” he said. “During the war times, instead of having your 8.5 by 10 legal paper, they reduced them down … those days you couldn’t run to the computer to get it across and I was certainly too far away to yell.”

William Bentz reported for active duty at Fort Lewis before taking on firefighting training at a WWII U.S. Army camp called Camp Claiborne in Louisiana.

Bentz opted to be what was called service personnel instead of in the infantry because he had a wife and infant at home.

It took 25 days via naval ship to get to his first long-term destination during the war — New Guinea.

“A lot of people don’t think about it, but there were 2,500 to 3,000 troops up there, but they zigzagged going across the Pacific because of submarines,” he said regarding a maneuver that was supposed to make ships harder targets to hit. “Coming home was a different story, of course.”

After spending seven months in New Guinea, he served in the 781st Engineer Petroleum Distribution Company on Leyte Island in the Philippines.

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World War II veteran recalls ‘Forgotten Battle’

May 22, 2012

Historians refer to the Aleutian Islands campaign as the Forgotten Battle.

Norman Peery served on the destroyer USS Jarvis for a year and a half in the harsh Aleutian Island chain off Alaska during World War II, and continues to serve his fellow veterans at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3436 events in Issaquah. By Greg Farrar

The battle occurred amid roiling seas and pea-soup fog in the chain of islands stretched between North America and Asia at almost the same time as the Battle of Guadalcanal started thousands of miles to the south.

Guadalcanal is engrained in history, but the Aleutian Islands campaign is almost relegated to a footnote.

Not for local veteran Norman Peery.

For Peery, 86, World War II meant rough seas in the Aleutian Islands and, in postwar military service, smooth sailing to occupied Japan.

The retired Boeing electrician participated in the Aleutian Islands campaign, a bitter struggle over the islands between the United States and Japan.

The islands stretch for more than 1,200 miles from the Alaskan Peninsula and form a dividing line between the Bering Strait and the North Pacific Ocean.

Peery entered the U.S. Navy on Dec. 16, 1943, and served 18 months in the remote island chain aboard the USS Jarvis, a destroyer. (The ship was built at a Seattle shipyard in 1943-44.)

“There was a lot of rough water, believe me,” Peery said in a recent interview. “If you’ve ever been up in that water, you know.”

The destroyer plied the water off Adak and Attu. The islands hosted fierce fighting in the campaign.

“The water up there was so rough that you had to stand in the kitchen and put an arm around a post at dinner and hang on to that post and eat with the other hand,” he said. “That was kind of hard.”

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Campaign season starts as candidates file for election

May 22, 2012

The ballot voters receive in the mailbox by late July is all but certain to contain some familiar names, as elected officials campaign for higher offices and other candidates try another run for elected office.

The period for candidates to enter races up for election on the August and November ballots ended May 18 in a buzz of activity.

Local voters face choices in countywide, legislative, statewide and federal offices.

Voters pick the top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, Aug. 7 in the all-mail primary election. The top vote recipients then advance to an all-mail general election Nov. 6.

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Former Issaquah School District bus driver set to appear in court for child porn

May 22, 2012

The former Issaquah School District substitute bus driver and former Eastside Catholic High School teacher involved in a child pornography case is due in court soon.

Andrew Bernard Rekdahl, 29, faces child pornography charges after federal prosecutors said the Carnation resident shared explicit images and videos of boys online from his home computer.

The preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for 10 a.m. May 24 at the Seattle federal courthouse before Magistrate Judge James P. Donohue.

Department of Homeland Security agents arrested Rekdahl at a school district facility May 10 after a monthslong sting operation.

Rekdahl faces one count each of possession and distribution of child pornography. If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison.

In January, an agent noticed a user named Hboyandy sharing explicit videos through a file-sharing website. Then, using a publicly available software program, the agent identified the IP address of Rekdahl’s computer. The investigation continued until the May 10 arrest.

Federal agents said no evidence exists to indicate any inappropriate or illegal activities occurred as Rekdahl worked for the district.

District administrators asked parents concerned about the incident to email DriverConcerns@issaquah.wednet.edu.

City Council could decide on controversial plastic bag ban

May 22, 2012

City Council members could decide on a controversial plastic bag ban June 4, after a monthslong process to collect public input.

The legislation last reached the council for a possible decision April 2, but after listening to comments from environmental organizations and plastics manufacturers — but only a handful of remarks from city residents — members delayed action.

In a push to collect more input on the proposal to outlaw plastic bags at Issaquah businesses, the council scheduled another opportunity April 30 for the public to comment on the proposed ban. Members heard input similar to the comments at the April 2 meeting.

In addition to limiting most plastic bags, the legislation requires retail stores to collect 5 cents for each paper bag provided to customers. The fee is meant to help retailers offset the cost of the change.

Supporters said a plastic bag ban could reduce landfill waste and marine pollution. Opponents said the legislation could lead to lost plastics manufacturing jobs in the region.

The local proposal is similar to ordinances in Seattle, Bellingham, Edmonds and Mukilteo.

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