Puget Sound Clean Air Agency issues burn ban

January 18, 2013

NEW — 3:30 p.m. Jan. 18, 2013

King County is under a Stage 1 burn ban, effective at 4 p.m. Friday and in place until further notice.

The moratorium from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency comes after a previous burn ban ended Wednesday. The agency issues air quality burn bans when air pollution rises — or is forecast to reach — unhealthy levels.

During a Stage 1 burn ban, no burning is allowed in fireplaces or uncertified wood stoves. Residents should rely instead on other, cleaner heat sources, such as a furnace or electric baseboard heaters, for a few days until air quality improves, the public health risk diminishes and the ban is cancelled.

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Fred Butler launches campaign for Issaquah mayor

January 17, 2013

NEW — 6 p.m. Jan. 17, 2013

Fred Butler, a City Council stalwart for 13 years and a voice in important debates about the future of Issaquah, entered the race for mayor Thursday.

Fred Butler

Fred Butler

The contest could hinge on the vision for the decades ahead, as city leaders seek to position Issaquah for redevelopment and attract more jobs to the community.

Butler, 72, served on the council at major junctures in recent history, as members debated the defunct Southeast Bypass road link, how to preserve forested Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain, and late last year, a 30-year redevelopment blueprint called the Central Issaquah Plan.

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State approves plan for Issaquah Creek, Lake Sammamish

January 17, 2013

NEW — 10 a.m. Jan. 17, 2013

The state Department of Ecology approved King County rules for development near shorelines, including Issaquah Creek and Lake Sammamish, county and state officials announced Thursday.

The plan, or shoreline master program, is designed to guide construction and development on almost 2,000 miles of marine, stream and lake shorelines countywide. The rules combine local plans for future development and preservation, plus recent development ordinances and related permitting requirements.

The county Shoreline Master Program includes stretches of Issaquah Creek — from the headwaters on Tiger Mountain to the Issaquah city limits — and the mouth of the creek in Lake Sammamish State Park.

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U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert to oversee welfare spending

January 17, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 17, 2013

The lawmaker serving Issaquah in Congress, U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, is the leader on a subcommittee responsible for overseeing food stamps and other federal welfare programs, officials announced Tuesday.

Reichert referenced experiences from a difficult childhood in assuming the reins for the House Ways & Means Human Resources Subcommittee.

“As chairman, I look forward to leading the effort to improve these programs designed to help Americans who have fallen on difficult times,” he said in a statement. “As the oldest of seven kids growing up in a home of scarce means, I ran away on several occasions. There were times I attended high school out of my car in order to escape difficult family circumstances. Yet, there were those along the way who prevented me from falling through the cracks.”

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King County burn ban ends as air quality improves

January 16, 2013

NEW — 2:15 p.m. Jan. 16, 2013

Improving air quality led the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to lift a burn ban in King County at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

The agency issues air quality burn bans when air pollution rises — or is forecast to reach — unhealthy levels.

Meanwhile, a Stage 1 burn ban remains in effect for Pierce and Snohomish counties.

During a Stage 1 burn ban, no burning is allowed in fireplaces or uncertified wood stoves. Residents should rely instead on other, cleaner heat sources, such as a furnace or electric baseboard heaters, for a few days until air quality improves, the public health risk diminishes and the ban is cancelled.

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Coalition promotes human trafficking awareness

January 16, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 16, 2013

In recognition of Human Trafficking Awareness Day, observed nationally on Jan. 11, King County Council members issued a proclamation Monday to bring regional attention to modern-day slavery.

Representatives from the King County Prosecutor’s Office, Bridge Residential Recovery Program for prostituted youth, Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network, Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking Alliance and the advocacy group Washington Engage joined the council in recognizing the regional partnerships to combat human trafficking.

“In Washington, we can be proud that we were the first state in the union to criminalize human trafficking, and King County successfully prosecuted the state’s first human trafficking case,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Issaquah’s representative and the proclamation sponsor, said in a statement. “Local officials and rescue organizations are working together to send a strong message that forced servitude and prostitution of immigrants and teens will not be tolerated.”

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Council bids farewell to Bob Ferguson, incoming state attorney general

January 16, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 16, 2013

King County Council colleagues bid farewell to outgoing Bob Ferguson on Monday, as the longtime councilman prepares to assume office as state attorney general.

Bob Ferguson

Bob Ferguson

Ferguson is scheduled to take the oath of office Wednesday in Olympia. In November, he defeated a council colleague, Issaquah-area representative Reagan Dunn, to succeed outgoing state Attorney General Rob McKenna.

“It has been an honor to work with Bob Ferguson for the last nine years,” council Chairman Larry Gossett said in a statement. “All of the people of the state of Washington will now benefit from the energy and intelligence we have seen during his time on the council.”

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Issaquah School District superintendent to retire in June

January 15, 2013

Steve Rasmussen, Issaquah School District superintendent, sits in his office Jan. 14. The 62-year-old educator plans to bid farewell to the district when he retires June 30. By Lillian O’Rorke

Steve Rasmussen, Issaquah School District superintendent, sits in his office Jan. 14. The 62-year-old educator plans to bid farewell to the district when he retires June 30. By Lillian O’Rorke

Superintendent Steve Rasmussen intends to retire June 30 after leading the Issaquah School District for six years.

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Legislators’ priorities reflect education, transportation needs

January 15, 2013

Lawmakers confronted a familiar scenario as the Legislature convened Jan. 14 — a budget shortfall, opposing pressures to preserve essential services and rein in government spending, and a court mandate to spend more money on education.

Mark Mullet

Mark Mullet

Chad Magendanz

Chad Magendanz

Observers expect education and transportation to rank as the dominant issues in the 105-day session. The state faces a $900 million budget shortfall for 2013-15 and, in the meantime, faces a court order to increase education funding by 2018.

In addition to the statewide issues on legislators’ docket, a lobbyist hired by city leaders to represent Issaquah is in search of support for local projects, including dollars to upgrade transportation infrastructure and Lake Sammamish State Park.

Issaquah is also focused on securing state dollars for a transportation improvement district in North Issaquah near Costco headquarters and high-traffic retail centers.

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Issaquah High School student arrested for shooter hoax

January 15, 2013

Issaquah police arrested a man Jan. 9 for falsely reporting a shooter on the Issaquah High School campus, prompting a swift police response and lockdowns at Issaquah High and other nearby schools.

Investigators said the 18-year-old Sammamish man, a student at Issaquah High, reported seeing a man with a gun in the school’s upper parking lot at about 10:05 a.m. Jan. 9. Police rushed to the scene to investigate and provide security at Issaquah High and nearby campuses.

Meanwhile, school administrators placed the school and Tiger Mountain Community High, Issaquah Middle and Clark Elementary Schools on lockdown.

The lockdown lasted for about 45 minutes as police investigated the report.

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