Balloon flight takes senior as close as he can get to space

January 10, 2012

Josh Chinn holds on to the weather balloon he eventually sent about 100,000 feet into the air. Helping him ready the balloon are friends Shawn Terasaki, kneeling, David Park and Alyssa Wilson. Contributed

On Dec. 29, Issaquah High School senior Josh Chinn, 17, took himself and about 250 of his closest friends and relatives into space, or at least the edge of space, some 100,000 feet up.

For his flight, Chinn used a helium-filled weather balloon attached to a small, square carbon fiber frame. Heavily taped to the frame was a collage of pictures of himself and friends and relatives who have made a difference in his life. Their “flight” into space was, of course, by proxy, through the collage that was placed inside a pouch. Along with the pictures, Chinn put in a patch of the letter “I” such as might be found on an Issaquah High jacket.

Chinn said that for the most part, he just wanted to do something to mark and honor his time at Issaquah High as well as his friends and relatives.

“I just wanted to do something absurd,” he said.

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County invites public to Martin Luther King Jr. celebration

January 10, 2012

King County leaders and employees plan to pause for the 25th year to honor slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

The public is invited to join county employees at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle for the noon Jan. 12 celebration. (The federal holiday to honor King is observed Jan. 16.)

Speakers at the celebration will include County Executive Dow Constantine, County Council Chairman Larry Gossett and former King County Councilman Bruce Laing, a leader in the effort to rename the county for King.

The celebration includes musical performances by Abráce, a Seattle-based group meant to foster intercultural understanding through music, and the reunited MLK Employee Singers. The group of county employees has performed at previous celebrations.

The event’s theme is “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” and county employees reflected on the statement. Participants plan to share some of the reflections at the event.

The event also features the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Essay Award ceremony, a contest sponsored by the King County Civil Rights Commission.

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New Year’s holiday weekend leads to DUI arrests

January 10, 2012

State troopers arrested 253 people suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the New Year’s holiday weekend.

“It is always the hope that the new year starts with people driving safe and sober,” Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste said in a statement. “But, I am proud that our troopers are out ensuring impaired drivers are taken off the roads.”

The number of people arrested statewide for DUI by troopers during the holiday weekend decreased from the 286 people arrested for DUI during the same period in 2010. The total from the 2011 holiday weekend includes 32 people involved in DUI collisions.

The holiday weekend started at 5 p.m. Dec. 31 and ended at midnight Jan. 2.

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Conservationists laud Issaquah land-preservation deal

January 10, 2012

Forterra, the former Cascade Land Conservancy, lauded local efforts to preserve open space in a 2011 roundup of land conservation efforts throughout the region.

Overall, Forterra contributed to efforts to preserve almost 5,000 acres of forests, farmlands and natural areas last year. The nonprofit organization recognized Issaquah for a successful transfer of development rights program.

The long-running effort to preserve Park Pointe — a slice of Tiger Mountain forest near Issaquah High School — ended in March 2011, after more than a decade of public and behind-the-scenes negotiations to halt construction of hundreds of houses once proposed for the land.

Under the agreement, officials instead steered development from the Park Pointe site to land in the Issaquah Highlands.

Issaquah is a Cascade Agenda Leadership City — a long-range planning effort from Forterra meant to reduce unchecked growth and encourage denser development in the region. The program includes 18 cities throughout the Puget Sound region.

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Police & Fire

January 10, 2012

Into the woods

A resident in the 20500 block of Southeast 19th Street said a vandal or vandals cut down about 12 large trees on her property in the past several months and then left the fallen trees on the ground at the site, rather than cutting them up for firewood.

Tool time

Tools were stolen from a vehicle parked in the 19700 block of Southeast 23rd Street before Dec. 22.

Christmas caper

Mail was stolen in the 4100 block of 229th Avenue Southeast on Dec. 22. The resident reported the incident to police after a Christmas card she was expecting failed to arrive.

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City Council prepares for more budget changes

January 10, 2012

City Council members adopted a 2012 municipal budget late last month, but the spending plan still needs some refinements to reflect changes in the year ahead.

The council is expected to adjust the budget further in order to implement a staff reorganization recommended by Seattle consultant Moss Adams.

The reorganization process started in December, as leaders announced up to 20 layoffs and city employees received information about a voluntary separation program.

The timing for budget changes is not yet firm.

In October, Mayor Ava Frisinger sent to the council a $32 million general fund budget — dollars used to fund police and fire services, community development and planning, parks and recreation, and municipal government.

Then, per standard procedure, council members adjusted the budget to add projects and shift spending to other priorities. Overall, council members’ changes amount to $4.1 million.

The total city budget — including dollars for capital expenses and from other accounts — is $85.7 million.

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Who’s News

January 10, 2012

Local truck driver is recognized for safety milestone

Cheryl M. Wilson, of Issaquah, has been recognized by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association for eight years of safe, accident-free driving of a commercial tractor-trailer.

Wilson has been driving professionally for eight years and currently hauls general freight.

The OOIDA Safe Driving Award Program is sponsored by Shell Rotella and is designed to recognize and reward OOIDA members for their safe, accident-free years while operating a commercial vehicle. Safe driving awards are available to all eligible OOIDA members who qualify based upon the number of years for which the member has operated a commercial vehicle without being involved in a preventable accident.

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Theodore Vernon Colbert Sr.

January 10, 2012

Theodore “Ted” Vernon Colbert Sr., 89, a longtime resident of Issaquah, passed away Jan. 6, 2012, at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue.

Visitation is from 3-6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, and the funeral service is at 11 a.m. Jan. 14, both at Flintoft’s Funeral Home, 540 E. Sunset Way, Issaquah.

Interment with military honors will be at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent.

View the full obituary and sign the guest book online at


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College News

January 10, 2012

Local students make OSU honor roll

The following students were named to the Scholastic Honor Roll fall term at Oregon State University. To qualify, students must carry at least 12 graded hours of coursework and earn a 3.5 or higher grade point average.

Issaquah: Sarah Jacobi and Devin O’Donnell

North Bend: Shanna Holland

Preston: Carter Michell

Renton: Sarah Baker, Lauren Sewell and Alexander Van

Sammamish: Kristin Nikaitani (4.0 average), Chris Dallas, Kyla Krueger and Ian Smith

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Sammamish couple returns to Bellevue FASTSIGNS Center

January 10, 2012

At the end of November, Scott and Rochelle Juetten, of Sammamish, once again became the owners of the FASTSIGNS signs and graphics center in Bellevue.

The Juettens opened the Bellevue FASTSIGNS, at 13279 N.E. 20th St., in December 1990 and later opened another location in Seattle. Over the next 17 years, the couple built both centers into two of the most successful FASTSIGNS centers in the country.

“In 2007, Scott and I decided to sell both locations so that we could pursue other business opportunities and also spend more time with our two children,” Rochelle said. “Recently, the Bellevue location became available and we jumped at the opportunity.”

FASTSIGNS provides a full range of sign and graphics solutions to area businesses, organizations and events, including banners, site and architectural signs, window and floor graphics, safety and identification signage, trade show displays, vehicle graphics, mobile websites and much more.

The Juettens plan to expand the center’s business by adding to its product offering and capabilities.

“With the changes that have occurred in the sign and graphics industry in the past four years, there are a lot of opportunities for us to offer new and exciting products to our customers,” Rochelle said. “As it was in the past, our main priority is still ensuring that we solve our customers’ marketing challenges in ways that will get their businesses noticed.”

Call 746-4151 or go to

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