City Council bans plastic bags at Issaquah retailers

June 12, 2012

Ordinance goes into effect for most businesses in March 2013

Issaquah joined a string of cities along Puget Sound to outlaw plastic bags at local retailers June 4, after months of sometimes-acrimonious debate about adverse impacts to the marine environment and the regional economy.

In the end, concerns about the environment led the City Council to decide 5-2 to eliminate most retail uses for plastic bags. The legislation — and a 5-cent fee on paper bags — go into effect in March 2013 for most businesses.

The council listened to advocates from environmental groups and the plastics industry in public meetings throughout April and May, and then again before the decision.

The plastic bag ban sponsor, Issaquah Highlands entrepreneur and City Councilman Mark Mullet, presented the legislation as a way to reduce the estimated 10 million plastic bags the city sends to the King County landfill each year.

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Measure materializes to repeal Issaquah plastic bag ban

June 12, 2012

Opponents of legislation to ban plastic bags at Issaquah retailers plan to challenge the ordinance on the November ballot.

Craig Keller, a Seattle resident behind the unsuccessful effort to repeal the Seattle plastic bag ban, started organizing opponents to the Issaquah legislation after the June 4 decision to outlaw plastic bags.

Opponents need to gather 2,548 signatures.

Keller plans to enlist volunteers to collect signatures, including merchants opposed to the ban.

The campaign, called Save Our Choice, is in the process of retooling www.saveourchoice.us from the Seattle measure for the Issaquah measure. In addition to the website, voters can call the campaign at 206-932-2243 to learn more.

Report: Crime declines in Issaquah

June 12, 2012

An Issaquah Police motorcycle officer writes a traffic ticket to a motorist during the afternoon commute May 31 on Front Street South. By Greg Farrar

Crime declined in Issaquah last year, although as the rates of violent crimes and property crimes tumbled, robberies and burglaries increased from the prior year.

The information for Issaquah — from a report on crime statewide — showed a 12.2 percent drop in the overall crime rate for the city last year. The violent crime rate dipped 26.8 percent as the number of reported forcible rapes and aggravated assaults dropped. The property crime declined during 2011 by 11.6 percent, as police responded to fewer arsons, larcenies and motor vehicle thefts.

Still, despite the overall decline, the city experienced a 40 percent increase in robberies, a violent crime, and a 19.8 percent increase in burglary, a property crime. The number of robberies reported to police inched upward between 2010 and last year. Police also responded to more burglaries in 2010 than 2011.

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Crime in Issaquah by the numbers

June 12, 2012

Offenses

Local law enforcement agencies classify offenses as Group A or Group B in reporting incidents to the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System.

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City Council approves $1 million adjustment in municipal budget

June 12, 2012

The latest step in a broad reorganization of City Hall included a $1 million drop in the municipal budget, as the City Council redirected spending after a round of employee layoffs in some departments and hires elsewhere.

The midyear budget reflected a change in strategy at City Hall, as officials retool functions to reflect recommendations in a study conducted last year by a Seattle consultant.

Officials already bundled municipal departments into a Development Services Department — a super-agency meant to streamline planning and building functions — and rolled out a more muscular effort to attract and retain businesses.

The budget adjustment approved by the council May 21 shifted dollars among city accounts to achieve the decrease. The legislation is meant to address the changes in the city spending plan since the council adopted the original 2012 budget in December.

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Press Editorial

June 12, 2012

Plastic bag ordinance doesn’t go far enough

The City Council has passed a ban on plastic bags used for retail and grocery items, but it hasn’t gone far enough.

We are disappointed that the ban will only apply to stores larger than 7,500 square feet, but not for another year. It won’t be until 2014 that the ban goes into effect for all retailers.

Our other disappointment is that the ordinance has no real teeth for enforcement. It has been more than two years since the city outlawed Styrofoam containers for takeout food, yet some restaurants continue to use them. The city seems unable to enforce its own rules today, let alone a plastic bag ban next year.

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Police ask for help to find suspect after violent attack

June 12, 2012

Suspect

Police asked for assistance June 5 to find the suspect in a violent attack against a woman near Southeast Newport Way and Lakemont Boulevard Southeast at the base of Cougar Mountain.

Bellevue 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 had 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 bus did not have a surveillance camera.

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

What to know

Investigators ask people with information about the Southeast Newport Way and Lakemont Boulevard Southeast attack to call 911 if they see the suspect.

The woman then retrieved pepper spray from her pocket and sprayed the suspect. The attacker then fled from the scene.

Police later used a dog to search for the suspect, but could not locate him.

The woman and the Metro bus driver described the suspect as a noticeably pale, white male. They described him as mid-20s; about 5 feet, 7 inches tall; with a thin build, shaved head and thin mustache. Police said he wore a white polo shirt with brown horizontal stripes and baggy blue jeans.

King County Sheriff’s Office seeks information about Klahanie robbery suspect

June 12, 2012

The suspect in recent robberies appears in May 26 surveillance video. By King County Sheriff’s office

King County Sheriff’s Office investigators asked for assistance from the public June 5 to find a man suspected in recent robberies of sub shops.

Police said the man robbed a Subway in Woodinville on May 26 and then a Subway in Klahanie on May 30.

Police described the suspect as a white man, 22 to 24 years old, standing 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighing 190 pounds. He sported a couple days’ growth of facial hair and had short, blond hair.

Investigators said the man entered Subway in the Klahanie Shopping Center, 4510 Klahanie Drive S.E., dressed in a light colored hat, a Run DMC T-shirt and jeans.

In the earlier Woodinville robbery, he wore a white T-shirt with a river design in a blue and red square, and jeans.

Investigators did not release additional information about the incidents.

Police asked for people with information about the robberies to call Detective Mike Mellis in the Major Crimes Division at 206-296-3311.

Developer announces July groundbreaking for long-planned Issaquah Highlands hotel

June 12, 2012

The rendering above shows a long-planned, 111-suite Residence Inn by Marriott hotel scheduled to break ground in the Issaquah Highlands next month and open to guests next year. By InnSight HMG

Construction is expected to start on a long-planned, much-anticipated hotel in the Issaquah Highlands next month, the developer announced June 5.

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 developer expects the hotel to open in spring 2013.

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.

The hospital opened in the neighborhood almost a year ago and started offering inpatient services in November.

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Homes sought for neglected dogs seized from Issaquah home

June 12, 2012

Local shelters need to find homes for Chihuahuas seized from a filthy home in Issaquah last year, officials at the organizations announced June 8, days after the dog owner convicted in the case pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges.

Regional Animal Services of King County and foster families started caring for the dogs in October, after animal control and King County Sheriff’s Office investigators discovered 62 dogs in a raid on a home in the 5900 block of 189th Avenue Southeast on Cougar Mountain, about a mile south of Cougar Mountain Zoo.

Prosecutors said Issaquah resident Margaret Ann Hamilton, 70, hoarded more than 100 dogs at homes in Issaquah and Burien. Police discovered 38 more dogs at a Burien home owned by Hamilton’s brother-in-law.

Veterinarians later euthanized 14 ill animals — 13 dogs from the Burien home and one dog from the Issaquah home.

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