Liberty High School students save gorillas — one cellphone at a time

January 8, 2013

Liberty High School freshman biology students James Workman, Kenna Hanses and Isabel Rivas are collecting used cell phones to help save gorilla habitat. Workman holds a painting by Ivan the gorilla, which the class received for its altruistic efforts. By Lillian O’Rorke

Above the whiteboard in Diane Allen’s biology classroom at Liberty High School hangs an abstract painting.

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Mark Mullet reflects on City Council term

January 8, 2013

Mark Mullet claimed a historic first in January 2010.

Mark Mullet

The entrepreneur and former banking executive ran unopposed for a City Council seat in 2009 and won election as the first Issaquah Highlands resident to serve on the council.

The highlands added thousands of residents as construction escalated in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but the neighborhoods existed for more than a decade before a resident achieved citywide elected office.

In the years Mullet served on the council, members hired City Administrator Bob Harrison, oversaw a major staff reorganization at City Hall, approved a long-term redevelopment plan for the business district, inked development agreements with Lakeside Industries and Rowley Properties, and approved a retail plastic bag ban.

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Fire destroys home, kills pets

January 8, 2013

Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters survey the scene to check for any running utilities or hotspots Jan. 7, the day after a home at 24415 S.E. 156th St. was destroyed in a fire. By Greg Farrar

Fire destroyed a home in unincorporated King County south of Issaquah on Jan. 6, and the blaze claimed the homeowner’s pets.

Eastside Fire & Rescue and Maple Valley Fire & Life Safety crews responded to a structure fire in the 24000 block of Southeast 156th Street, between Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast and Cedar Grove Road Southeast, and about six miles south of downtown Issaquah.

The initial 911 call reached dispatchers at 1:03 p.m. and crews arrived at the scene about 10 minutes later.

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City purchases creekside land to protect salmon habitat

January 8, 2013

City leaders agreed to spend $380,000 last month to purchase 3.9 acres along Issaquah Creek and connect municipal parks.

The parcel, the Stacy-Flewell property at 10029 Issaquah-Hobart Road S.E., is between Squak Valley Park and Squak Valley Park North. The acquisition should protect the habitat along the creek and enable the city to extend creek restoration work at Squak Valley Park North.

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Eastside Fire & Rescue closed station, cut staff in Issaquah

January 8, 2013

Eastside Fire & Rescue closed a fire station in Issaquah on Dec. 19 and reduced staff at another Issaquah fire station Dec. 14 as the agency’s overtime budget ran low.

The agency closed a Sammamish fire station Dec. 16 for the same reason.

Officials closed Station 72, 1575 N.W. Maple St., from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 19 and reduced the staff at Station 71, 190 E. Sunset Way, to two firefighters from the typical three, for six hours Dec. 14. The agency also shut down Station 81, 2030 212th Ave. S.E., from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 16.

The closures and staffing reductions have become something of a holiday tradition at EFR. In recent years, the agency’s overtime budget has become a lightning rod and a target for partners seeking to tighten the belt on personnel costs.

“We’re trying to make the administration and union aware that this is not a fund they can keep coming to,” EFR board member and Sammamish Mayor Tom Odell said.

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Ballard Beavers scorch Skyline Spartans in boys basketball, 49-41

January 8, 2013

Skyline junior Blake O’Brien works his way around Ballard’s defense in the Jan. 4 KingCo 4A game. By Lillian O’Rorke

The Skyline boys basketball team came out ready to start the new year off with a victory Jan. 4 in its first league game following winter break. But Ballard thwarted their plans, running away with a fourth quarter win, 49-41.

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Joshua Schaer is first City Council member from Talus

January 8, 2013

Councilman Joshua Schaer moved to Talus late last month and, in the process, became the first City Council member from the Cougar Mountain urban village.

Joshua Schaer

The change offers Schaer a perspective on city issues from the quiet urban village perched above state Route 900.

Construction escalated in the late 1990s and early 2000s in Talus and the Issaquah Highlands, both hillside urban villages, but the neighborhoods existed for more than a decade before a resident achieved citywide elected office.

In 2010, Mark Mullet became the first resident from the highlands to join the council. (Mullet, a state senator elected in November, recently resigned from the post to serve in Olympia.)

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Issaquah Relay for Life celebration kicks off

January 8, 2013

The 2013 Issaquah Relay for Life is not until June, but it’s never too early to start thinking about ways to raise funds for the event, Gwen Schweitzer, the event’s chairwoman, said.

The relay season officially kicks off in January with a special informational session where attendees have the opportunity to learn more about Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society.

Team members and captains are encouraged to attend the hourlong kickoff event to sign up for the 2013 relay, get fundraising tips and play games.

The past two years, the kickoff celebrations were snowed out, Schweitzer said, so the games at this year’s kickoff will have a decidedly wintery flavor.

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Merry Christmas Issaquah sets donor record, but falls short of goal

January 8, 2013

Though Merry Christmas Issaquah set a record for the number of donors, Issaquah Community Services did not meet the goal set for the 2012 fundraising drive.

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Local woman survives deadly Oregon bus crash

January 8, 2013

Police said a 67-year-old Issaquah woman sustained injuries in a deadly Oregon bus crash Dec. 30.

The crash along Interstate 84 in Eastern Oregon left nine passengers dead and 38 injured, including Issaquah resident Choon-Sook Yang. Oregon State Police officials said she received treatment for unspecified injuries at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla.

Investigators said the charter bus skidded on ice, crashed through a guardrail and tumbled down a steep embankment near Pendleton, on a stretch known as Deadman Pass, at about 10:05 a.m.

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