Issaquah Police arrest man for threatening to kill an officer

March 5, 2013

Issaquah police arrested a 44-year-old Issaquah man Wednesday for threatening to shoot and kill a police officer.

The arrest stemmed from an incident Feb. 24, when Issaquah police stopped the man for a minor traffic violation. The man became enraged and yelled at the officer, claiming he had a 9 mm handgun with him.

The officer handcuffed the man as a precaution, and discovered a loaded 9 mm handgun in his waistband. The man had a concealed pistol license, so his handgun was returned before he was released with a warning.

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School construction cost increases $72,000

March 5, 2013

The cost of construction at Maywood Middle School has gone up $72,000.

The Issaquah School Board approved a change order for $72,001.80 on Feb. 13 during its regular board meeting. The total includes nearly $6,000 in state taxes.

Overtime work, at $39,461, accounts for more than half of the additional costs. Other increases include about $8,500 for fire alarm troubleshooting; $5,200 for backsplashes around electrical outlets that were not shown on the original architectural plans; and $2,167 to replace one hose bib in the courtyard.

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EFR dispatch problems could slow response times

March 5, 2013

Eastside Fire & Rescue has informed its dispatching service that it intends to look for another agency to handle its calls at the end of 2013 unless it sees significant progress on a long-delayed software upgrade.

EFR provides emergency fire and medical services of Issaquah, North Bend, Sammamish and fire districts 10 and 38.

Chief Lee Soptich said he informed Bellevue-based NORCOM, which coordinates emergency response for 14 fire districts and five police departments, of his intentions, following repeated delays in the implementation of a new computer system that’s been years in the making.

“I’m not convinced that there’s brighter things on the horizon,” he said. “It seems like every time we ask a question (about the new system), we hear, ‘We’re pretty close, we just need some more time.’”

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New student assessments tested at elementary school

March 5, 2013

Issaquah Valley Elementary School has volunteered to be one of 162 schools in Washington participating in the pilot test of the new Smarter Balanced assessments.

The pilot test, expected to involve more than 1 million students across the country in grades three through 11, is being conducted in several states through late May.

Aligned to the new national evidence-based, rigorous Common Core State Standards in English language arts/literacy and mathematics, the assessment system is designed to measure student progress toward college and career readiness.

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To the Editor

March 5, 2013

Interstate 90

Tolling may not be allowed

My understanding of interstate highways is that tolling is generally not allowed. Why is this? It’s because the system was built to further the efficient and speedy movement of people and goods for the entire U.S. Tolling does not further this goal.

There have been exceptions, mostly toll roads built prior to the advent of the interstate highway system, subsequently incorporated into the system. But mostly, like Interstate 90, these roads were built primarily with federal dollars. The state is not allowed to make money on roads they did not pay for.

Again, my understanding of the federal Department of Transportation process is that their staff can make recommendations, but tolling of interstates requires congressional approval. So, this will necessarily involve your congressional representatives.

I’ll throw in another idea: Since tolls restrict movement, this may also be an anti-trust issue, courtesy of the state of Washington.

If the precedent of tolling I-90 across Lake Washington proceeds, you can bet I-5, I-405 and I-90 further east won’t be far behind. In fact, that idea has already been floated. This is not just a Mercer Island issue.

George Dial


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Off The Press

March 5, 2013

It’s a milestone poker party for River Bil

Milestones. There are many ways to observe and celebrate them. At the Elks Lodge, among the poker crowd, we host a tournament.

The milestone in question is a celebration of longtime member Bill Weimer’s 80th birthday. Or, as we affectionately call him, River Bill. More about that in a minute.

Weimer remains the only old-timer who still plays at the Elks what is called the easiest card game to learn, yet the hardest to master, Texas Hold Em. It was from another old-timer, Dallas Cross, who recently moved to Idaho, that Weimer received his moniker, River Bill.

David Hayes Press reporter

David Hayes
Press reporter

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March 5, 2013

Proposed car taxes aren’t the way

There is a need for more funding for the county’s road network. Potholes need to be filled, lanes need to be restriped, new facilities need to be constructed, and transit — meaning bus routes and rail lines — need to be expanded and maintained.

A bill working its way through the Legislature is not the answer. House Bill 1959 would allow the county to impose a tax of up to 1.5 percent of the value of a vehicle. It could be imposed either by a vote of the County Council or through a countywide vote. The majority of the money, 60 percent, would go to capital improvements for transit. The remaining 40 percent would be distributed to the county and the cities for roads.

If the tax is adopted, the owner of a new car would have to pay the 1.5 percent tax based on 85 percent of the car’s suggested sales price. For a $40,000 car, that means $510 per year. The number would drop as the car depreciates.

There are so many problems with this it’s hard to know where to start.

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County seeks proposals for youth sports facilities

March 5, 2013

Local youth sports organizations can apply for King County grants to build or upgrade recreation facilities.

The county Youth Sports Facilities Grants Program provides matching grant funds from $5,000 to $75,000. Past grant recipients include playgrounds and athletic fields, including the Issaquah Little League’s Dodd Fields near Issaquah Valley Elementary School.

Other local grant recipients in the Issaquah area include city-run Central Park in the Issaquah Highlands and county-run Duthie Hill Park in Sammamish.

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Bartell Drugs collects teddy bears for children

March 5, 2013

Bartell Drugs is seeking donations of new or gently used teddy bears that will be used to help comfort children in stressful or traumatic situations.

The donation drive is part of the store’s “Teddy Bear Patrol” campaign, in association with Warm 106.9 FM, which runs through March 30.

The campaign puts teddy bears in the hands of community police departments, hospitals and emergency response teams so they may give bears to children involved in challenging situations.

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County expands options for mattress recycling

March 5, 2013

King County recently added more options for residents to recycle old mattresses.

The county’s Take it Back Network is meant to reduce the number of mattresses headed for the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill near Issaquah. King County received about 90,000 mattresses, weighing more than 3,000 tons, for disposal at transfer stations and the landfill last year.

Mattresses contain several recyclable materials including polyurethane foam, steel, cotton and wood.

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