Police search for man involved in Southeast Newport Way attack

June 5, 2012

NEW — 2:30 p.m. June 5, 2012

Bellevue police asked for assistance Tuesday to find the suspect in a violent attack against a woman near Southeast Newport Way and Lakemont Boulevard Southeast.

Bellevue Police Department suspect sketch

Investigators said the woman used pepper spray to fend off the attacker and later escaped. Bellevue police responded to the area near the Bellevue-Issaquah city line at 11:30 p.m. June 1.

The 23-year-old woman just disembarked from a King County Metro Transit bus at a stop near the intersection. Police said the male suspect, another passenger on the bus, followed her as she exited the vehicle.

The suspect then grabbed the woman from behind and attempted to drag her from the roadway. Police said she resisted, but the suspected punched her in the face several times and then threw her to the ground.

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Developer announces July groundbreaking for Issaquah Highlands hotel

June 5, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. June 5, 2012

Construction is expected to start on a long-planned, much-anticipated hotel in the Issaquah Highlands next month, the developer announced early Tuesday.

InnSight HMG plans to break ground on the hotel, a Residence Inn by Marriott, in mid-July. Plans call for the hotel to include 111 suites and employ more than 40 people.

The hotel site is located across Highlands Drive Northeast from Swedish/Issaquah. City officials expect the hospital to attract guests to the hotel, as people seek a nearby place to stay as family members undergo treatment.

“Although we have already completed some initial site work, we are excited to officially break ground and become part of the Issaquah community,” InnSight Executive Vice President Pat McShane said in a statement. “Issaquah Highland’s focus on sustainability, community and growth make it an ideal setting for our Residence Inn. It will provide visitors an opportunity to feel like they are part of the neighborhood while enjoying all the comforts of home.”

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City Council outlines Issaquah goals for 2013

June 5, 2012

City Council members agreed to study options for the aging Issaquah Skate Park to turn it from a bastion for drug use into a community asset, boost economic development efforts in the city and conduct another study about the future of Klahanie.

Other priorities included a plan to televise council budget deliberations, hire a lobbyist to advocate for Issaquah in Olympia, and develop a comprehensive policy related to bicyclists and pedestrians.

The council, alongside representatives from municipal departments, gathered in a YWCA Family Village at Issaquah conference room June 2 to formulate the list.

In the rare Saturday meeting, council members trimmed a long list into priorities for 2013. Though the council conducted the heavy lifting at the retreat, the process is not yet done.

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Rob McKenna defends health care lawsuit in Issaquah High School stop

June 5, 2012

In a stop at Issaquah High School early June 1, state Attorney General Rob McKenna defended Washington’s participation in a lawsuit against the federal health care law, days before the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling.

Rob McKenna

The top legal officer in the state used the health care lawsuit to illustrate the concept of federalism — powers shared by state and federal governments — to seniors in Jeremy Ritzer’s Advanced Placement Government & Politics class.

The lawsuit stems from a provision in the Affordable Care Act — a requirement for all Americans to enroll in a health insurance plan or pay a penalty.

“Under that mandate, for the first time, Congress is attempting to do something which they’ve never tried before in our country’s history,” McKenna said. “They’re telling Americans that they have to go into the private markets to buy a commercial product — health insurance — with their own money.”

If the Supreme Court upholds the health care law, the individual mandate is scheduled to go into effect in 2014.

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Issaquah Salmon Hatchery hosts Fulbright scholars

June 5, 2012

For Issaquah School District students, learning about the lifecycle of a salmon is just a part of the regular curriculum.

But for nearly 20 Fulbright scholars from all around the world, their May 30 visit to the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery represented a true introduction to the fish at the heart of Pacific Northwest culture.

The scholars were in town as part of the “From Lab to Market” seminars, held in Seattle this year. The visit, designed for Fulbright scholars studying in the science and technology fields, encourages students to explore how to apply their studies to benefit global communities. The trip includes introductions to scientific innovators and experts, as well as exposure to the culture of the host city.

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Issaquah joins regional earthquake-response exercise

June 5, 2012

Issaquah officials plan to participate in a regional earthquake simulation to the test the city’s response to major temblors.

The exercise, called the 2012 Evergreen Quake Exercise Series, on June 5-6 is designed to examine city, county, state, tribal and federal response plans and operations in the days immediately after major earthquakes hit the Puget Sound region.

In addition to Issaquah, six counties, more than 20 cities, several American Indian tribes, numerous private sector partners, and state and federal agencies plan to participate.

Issaquah officials last participated in a simulated earthquake exercise, called Sound Shake, in October 2010. Officials simulated the response to a magnitude 6.7 earthquake. The ersatz earthquake struck the region less than 48 hours earlier, during rush hour at 7:54 a.m. on a Tuesday.

The detailed scenario — conducted almost a decade after the magnitude 6.8 Nisqually earthquake rattled Western Washington — was crafted to include projected damage, mock TV news reports and a flurry of phone calls from other agencies, residents and journalists.

Issaquah fights back against cancer at Relay for Life

June 5, 2012

Relay for Life draws 900 participants, $244,000 in donations

Relay for Life event chairwoman Gwen Schweitzer paused among the chaos that encircled her long enough to bend down and give her grandmother a kiss on the forehead.Around them, nearly 900 participants packed the track and field of Skyline High School’s football turf for this year’s Relay for Life on June 2.

After being diagnosed with brain cancer several years ago, Schweitzer’s grandmother made the trip this year across the state from Colfax to celebrate the day with her — a moment not lost amid the loud music, festive colors and vendor booths.

“She’s here,” Schweitzer said, tears brimming in her eyes. “She made the drive here. They gave her less than a year to live. She was in a hospice, and she rebounded. It was nothing short of amazing.”

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Trader Joe’s to occupy former Issaquah Commons party store

June 5, 2012

The longtime party store in the Issaquah Commons along Northwest Gilman Boulevard moved the celebration elsewhere last week to make way for Trader Joe’s.

Party @ Display & Costume settled in a space next to Best Buy in the same shopping center as Fred Meyer and The Home Depot along East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. The relocated party store opened to customers May 31.

The 60-year-old company also operates stores in Everett and Seattle.

Party @ Display & Costume left a space at the Issaquah Commons near Lane Bryant and Ross Dress for Less to make room for a relocated Trader Joe’s.

The specialty grocer’s existing location in Pickering Place does not meet the 10,000-square-foot threshold for retailers to sell liquor, but the former party store space in the Issaquah Commons offers enough space.

Trader Joe’s is expected to relocate within the next several months.

Voters could decide $118.9 million county levy for fingerprint services

June 5, 2012

King County voters could decide on a $118.9 million property tax levy to continue funding criminal fingerprint identification services for local law enforcement agencies.

The proposal is to keep the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or AFIS, in operation through 2018. The system provides criminal fingerprint identification services to law enforcement agencies throughout the county, including the Issaquah Police Department.

The proposed renewal levy rate is 5.92 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or about $20.72 per year for a $350,000 home.

Voters approved the initial AFIS levy in 1986, and overwhelmingly renewed the levy since then, most recently in 2006. The current levy expires in December.

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FootZone closes local store, but hints at possible relocation

June 5, 2012

FootZone, a destination for runners and walkers, closed June 1 after 13 years in Issaquah.

The store operated in the Issaquah Commons shopping center near Safeway and REI.

In a post on the store’s website, the staff announced plans to eventually relocate to another space in Issaquah, once the right location becomes available. In the meantime, former shoppers at the Issaquah store can head to FootZone locations in Bellevue and Redmond.

The other stores plan to honor family plans and frequent buyer cards from the Issaquah location.

“After over 13 years, it is with a heavy heart that we have closed the Issaquah FootZone,” the staff wrote in the website post. “We want to thank all of you for supporting us over the years. It has been an honor to build relationships and get to know all of you over the years.”

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