41st Legislative District candidates tout successes to appeal to moderate voters

October 16, 2012

Maureen Judge

Steve Litzow

Redistricting shifted more Issaquah neighborhoods into the 41st Legislative District, alongside Mercer Island, Newcastle and parts of Bellevue and Sammamish.

The contest to represent the affluent, suburban district in the state Senate is between Mercer Island residents Maureen Judge, a Democrat, and Steve Litzow, a Republican freshman senator.

In 2010, Litzow defeated appointed incumbent Randy Gordon by 192 votes to represent the district in the Senate. The candidates battled to fill the unexpired term of former Sen. Fred Jarrett, a Republican-turned-Democrat and the current King County deputy executive.

“Fred Jarrett, who was an early endorser of mine and is very beloved and well-known in the 41st, has said to me, ‘Maureen, always remember that this is not a blue district, it’s not a red district. It’s a purple district,’” Judge said.

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Acrimonious 5th Legislative District contest could reshape state Senate

October 16, 2012

Mark Mullet

Brad Toft

The candidate no longer in the race looms over the contest for the 5th Legislative District’s state Senate seat.

Cheryl Pflug, a Republican former senator and erstwhile candidate, is a constant presence in the race — in television spots supporting the Democrat in the contest and in diatribes from Republicans.

The acrimonious race to succeed Pflug pits the Democrat, Issaquah City Councilman Mark Mullet, against Republican Brad Toft, a manager for a national financial services firm and a Snoqualmie resident.

In a race focused on the economy and education, distractions abound — including Toft’s past legal troubles and accusations of dirty campaign tactics from both sides.

Toft entered the race late last year, before Mullet announced plans to run and Pflug filed for re-election.

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Next King County sheriff faces tough decisions to reform agency

October 16, 2012

The contest to lead the King County Sheriff’s Office could hinge on a series of audits into how the agency operates.

The sheriff oversees a budget of about $150 million and about 1,000 employees, and leads the largest local police organization in the state after the Seattle Police Department.

John Urquhart

Steve Strachan

The contentious race pits Sheriff Steve Strachan, a former Kent police chief, against John Urquhart, a former sheriff’s office sergeant and spokesman.

King County Council members appointed Strachan as sheriff in April, not long after former Sheriff Sue Rahr resigned to lead the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, or state police academy.

Though the election is to fill the Rahr’s unexpired term through 2013, the next sheriff faces a landmark effort to reform the agency in response to audits critical of policies put into place under Strachan’s predecessors.

Strachan, a SeaTac resident, served as a police chief and state legislator in Minnesota before accepting the Kent post in 2006. In the Minnesota Legislature, he helped pass legislation to reduce the blood-alcohol limit to 0.08 percent. Rahr tapped Strachan as the chief deputy, or No. 2 spot, at the sheriff’s office in early 2011.

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King County voters to decide dollars for crime-fighting tool in Proposition 1

October 16, 2012

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

The proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot, Proposition 1, aims 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.

Local leaders and law enforcement officials throughout the county, including the Issaquah City Council and Issaquah Police Chief Paul Ayers, endorsed the levy renewal.

Issaquah officers used information from AFIS 2,100 times last year to determine if a jail inmate was evading a warrant, concealing a criminal record or using a false identity.

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

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Nightmare at Beaver Lake returns to offer Halloween scares

October 16, 2012

Samantha Gavin, Nightmare at Beaver Lake makeup artist, practices creating fake wounds Oct. 14. By Lillian O’Rorke

Zombie motorcyclists, like a flock of bats out of hell, should roar from the dark to claim a Sammamish Plateau park as passers-by watch in terror.

The scene sounds lifted from a zombie flick, but Nightmare at Beaver Lake organizers planned a zombie motorcycle ride to open the annual Halloween haunt.

The motorcyclists, led by former child star Danny Bonaduce, a radio host for KZOK-FM — a Nightmare at Beaver Lake sponsor — plan to open 11 nights of frights in the park. The event returns Oct. 19 and continues through Halloween.

Nightmare attendees should prepare for characters lifted from tales by Edgar Allan Poe and H.G. Wells, plus a ransacked cityscape reminiscent of “The Walking Dead” before a finale inside a haunted house.

Event organizers expect more than 10,000 people to venture into the dark forest and more than 20 scenes arranged along a trail and inside park buildings. Nightmare hosted more than 12,000 attendees last year, and organizers hope for 14,000 people to head into the haunt in the coming nights.

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Voters can meet congressional, legislative candidates at forum

October 16, 2012

Hear from the candidates for offices in Olympia and Washington, D.C., Oct. 18 at a candidate forum cosponsored by The Issaquah Press, the American Association of University Women and the League of Women Voters.

The lineup includes candidates for the state House of Representatives and state Senate, plus Democrat Karen Porterfield, a candidate to represent Issaquah in Congress.

The forum is meant to offer voters a chance to learn about local candidates as the clock ticks down to Election Day. King County Elections is due to mail ballots to voters by Oct. 19.

Voters can join the event at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Issaquah City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way. Or, Issaquah residents can also watch the candidate forum live on the local government access channel, ICTV Channel 21.

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Last voter registration deadline before Election Day approaches

October 16, 2012

The deadline to register to vote in person is Oct. 29, a little more than a week before Election Day.

Residents can register at King County Elections, 919 S.W. Grady Way, Renton, between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. The office also operates a Voter Registration Annex, 500 Fourth Ave., Room 311, Seattle. Residents can register at the annex on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2-4:30 p.m.

More information about registration — by mail or online — is available at the King County Elections registration website, www.kingcounty.gov/elections/registration.

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Issaquah Middle School student to study at Bolshoi Ballet Academy

October 16, 2012

Chloe Heninger, 13, (front) performs in Emerald Ballet Theatre’s performance of ‘Les Sylphides’ in June. Courtesy of Heninger Fotographik http://heningerfoto.com

Viktoria Titova knew from the start.

Titova, the artistic director of the Emerald Ballet Theatre in Bellevue, knew she had someone special in Chloe Heninger, a 6-year-old from Preston.

The year was 2005, and Titova had been Chloe’s teacher for less than a year. In the middle of a lesson, the CD player quit.

Chloe wouldn’t.

The music would not start.

Chloe could not wait to.

“I was struggling with the music,” Titova remembers. “She was 6 years old. The dancers are usually like, ‘OK, let me know when you are ready.’”

Not Chloe. She did not move from her pose. She did not even blink, Titova said, until the music was ready.

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Issaquah Eagles prove superiority in pool against Liberty Patriots

October 16, 2012

Seniors on the Issaquah High School swim team celebrate the end of their regular season Oct. 11. By Greg Farrar

It was senior night for the Issaquah High School girls swim team and seniors Kayla Flaten and Stacy Maier continued their strong seasons as the two led the Eagles to a 117-68 win against Liberty on Oct. 11.

The team held a reception for the seniors after the meet and each Issaquah senior received a bouquet of flowers.

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State audit prompts changes to city finances

October 16, 2012

State auditors chided Issaquah officials for inadequate financial oversight, but also praised the city for correcting problems, in a routine financial audit released Sept. 26.

Auditors examined municipal finances for 2011 and discovered officials lacked adequate internal controls in place to ensure accurate accounting and timely financial reporting.

The problem arose from staff turnover in key financial positions and, as a result, the city did not have sufficient controls in place and could not prepare financial statements on time.

City officials acknowledged the finding, and hired staffers for the positions affected by turnover, and changed policies to increase accountability and transparency.

The team from the state Auditor’s Office said the changes adequately addressed the concerns uncovered in the audit.

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