Press Editorial

August 21, 2012

Children win when community unites

There is nothing like a good challenge, especially in the name of a good cause. Issaquah’s two leading service clubs — Rotary and Kiwanis — challenged each other to see who would donate the most for the purchase of computer flash drives for students in need.

The club challenge was just a small part of a wonderful outpouring of support to fill 1,000 backpacks for kids registered with the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.

Numerous groups got together to coordinate the drive. The PTSA Council and Issaquah Education Association kicked things off by gathering donations of gift cards that could be used to purchase school supplies.

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BullsEye Dog Rescue celebrates Pit Bulls on Parade

August 21, 2012

BullsEye Dog Rescue, a pit bull rescue and education group, hosts the fourth annual Pit Bulls on Parade on Aug. 25 at Riverdog Canine Coaching.

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Public Health – Seattle & King County urges back-to-school immunizations

August 21, 2012

King County reminds parents to include updating immunizations on their children’s back-to-school list.

“Immunizations are a very safe and effective way to keep children healthy and in school,” said David Fleming, director and health officer for public health for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Whether you’re a parent enrolling your child in school or a student entering college, make sure all immunizations are up-to-date.”

In a statement released Aug. 20, public health officials said the state’s current whooping cough epidemic is a stark reminder of the importance of immunization. There have been 560 confirmed cases of whooping cough in King County so far this year, compared to 98 cases in all of 2011. School-aged children have been hit particularly hard. Children ages 10-13 have the highest rates of whooping cough in King County.

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Welcome back from Superintendent Steve Rasmussen

August 21, 2012

Steve Rasmussen

New school year begins amid cycle of change and improvement

Every student enters a new school year ready for learning, surprises, challenges and successes — and, even after 24 years as a superintendent, it’s exactly the same for me! Our schools open Sept. 4, and — just like the state of education in general — we in the Issaquah School District are in a constant cycle of change and improvement. For instance, this school year we will adopt new curriculum including K-5 reading/literacy, middle school Humanities Plus, and high school world language, precalculus and calculus.

But the materials are just the foundation: Our educators will put in hours of professional development to prepare. Another significant change is our work piloting the new teacher/principal evaluation system for the state; we want to be on the forefront of continuing to support all of our professionals to do their very best work!

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Washington Conservation Corps seeks members

August 21, 2012

The teams maintaining the trails on state and King County lands near Issaquah often include members of the Washington Conservation Corps — a fresh-out-of-college bunch eager to earn experience in the environmental field.

Like the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps, the 21st-century equivalent enlists young adults to tackle habitat and infrastructure projects.

The state Department of Ecology needs applicants to fill 300 service positions in 16 counties throughout the state.

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Summer heat increases smog risk, impacts air quality

August 21, 2012

Summer in Western Washington means a respite from the rain, but the season also brings wildfires and increased ozone levels.

The result is diminished air quality and increased health risks for people battling heart and lung diseases.

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Brothers complete Eagle project at Squak Valley Park

August 21, 2012

Kyle (left) and Josh Jancola stand at the trail at Squak Valley Park that they constructed, along with park benches, to fulfill their Eagle Scout requirement. By Christina
Corrales-Toy

On a hot, sunny Thursday in July, Skyline High School brothers Kyle and Josh Jancola spent their day hauling wheelbarrows full of gravel across the trails of Squak Valley Park.

Just ask them, they have the blisters to prove it.

It was all for a good cause though as the 16-year-old brothers completed their Eagle service project and helped improve the Issaquah park.

Kyle built 150 feet of new trail for the park, while Josh assembled and installed three park benches. The brothers hope that the improvements will be positive additions.

“I hope that people eventually would be able to come outside here and enjoy the fresh air,” Kyle said.

The brothers did not complete the project alone, though. Several friends, family members and fellow Scouts gathered to help the morning of July 19.

The heat was an annoyance, the brothers said, but they worked to keep a positive atmosphere with snacks and beverages for the volunteers.

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Challenge nets $4.8 million for Medicaid

August 21, 2012

State Attorney General Rob McKenna said Washington is due to receive $4.8 million for Medicaid through a national settlement against drug wholesaler McKesson Corp.

Officials said the company violated the Federal False Claims Act and state false claims acts by reporting inflated pricing information for a large number of prescription drugs, overcharging the state Medicaid program.

The case revolved around the average wholesale price benchmark used by most states to set pharmacy reimbursement rates for drugs dispensed to Medicaid beneficiaries.

State officials said McKesson Corp. reported inflated average wholesale price data to First Data Bank, a publisher of drug prices, thereby inflating many average wholesale prices used by the state to set reimbursement rates.

Through a national settlement, Washington recovered $10.3 million, including the $4.8 million for the state Medicaid program.

State property tax revenue tops $9 billion

August 21, 2012

Statewide property tax revenue increased 1.6 percent, or $143 million, to $9.3 billion in 2012, state Department of Revenue officials reported late last month.

The agency attributed $37 million of increased revenue from 2011 to construction.

The average assessed value for a single-family residence statewide dropped from $243,998 to $229,908 — and the average tax fell $10 to $2,708. King County is home to the highest average assessed value ($350,975) and average tax ($3,992) in the state.

Garfield County reported the lowest in both categories — $66,141 for average assessed value and $682 for average tax.

State officials said about 40 percent of property taxes result from voter-approved local levies and bonds and levy lid lifts for local taxing jurisdictions.

State seeks input on transportation needs

August 21, 2012

Citizens can comment on the state transportation system through a public engagement program launched by the Washington State Transportation Commission.

The commission created the Voice of Washington State effort to offer a forum for residents to share opinions, post ideas and interact.

Learn more about the program and share thoughts at www.voiceofwashingtonstate.org. The program is open to any Washington resident. Registration is limited to one email address per person.

The goal is to gather public input on state transportation policy and funding, and to inform the statewide discussion and decision-making process on highways, mass transit, freight and high-speed rail, ferries, barges and aviation.

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