December 17, 2013

Christmas fund keeps giving all year long

Not all Christmas wish lists are created equal.

A single mom just wants to be sure we don’t have another cold spell this winter or the electric bill won’t get paid. An elderly man living on Social Security could sure use a new pair of reading glasses. A young couple with new jobs is doing well with loan payments — but now the car needs repairs to get them to their jobs. One of four kids in a family has medical problems that have overwhelmed the family budget and an eviction notice is in the mail.

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December 10, 2013

Events are great; a parade would be better

We have been dismayed that Issaquah has been slow to promote itself during the holidays with a big commercial push the way downtown Bellevue does with its Snowflake Lane. But we are impressed with the number of holiday activities that are sprouting up for family activities and shoppers.

Some of the events are new, others are becoming annual traditions.

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December 3, 2013

Giving Tuesday should be only the beginning

If you missed the opportunity to make a charitable donation on Giving Tuesday on Dec. 3, never fear. The need is still there today and your check will be every bit as welcome.

If there is a community with a bigger heart than Issaquah’s, we’d like to meet it. It may be true that much of Issaquah’s population is well off enough to be able to write donation checks, but that doesn’t mean they have to.

Just last week, 2,419 people turned out for the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank’s fourth annual Turkey Trot. That’s a few miles of running down the road — and runners actually paid for the privilege.

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November 26, 2013

Shop Small, Shop Local comes to Issaquah

We have all heard the hype surrounding Black Friday, when big box retailers roll out their lowest sale prices of the year to kick off the holiday shopping season. And then there is Cyber Monday, the big day for online shopping orders.

But Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize the storefronts right in their own hometowns.

Building on the theme of Small Business Saturday, initiated by American Express in 2010, the catchier phrase Shop Small has become a nationwide movement. The Downtown Issaquah Association adopted the movement to get things rolling here, literally.

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November 19, 2013

City budget tight but new policies in place

The Issaquah City Council has zeroed in on a 2014 sustainable budget, but it took a lot of sweat to get there.

The mayor’s budget, presented last month, called on carry-over funds from this year to offset expenses for next year.

Thankfully, council members and city Finance Director Diane Marcotte are not accepting the notion. Along with close examination of proposed expenses came the task of adopting financial policies that will ensure the city never gets to the edge of a precipice.

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November 12, 2013

One election down, next one right behind

It was a seemingly painless election that climaxed Tuesday, Nov. 5, when the first ballot returns were announced.

There had been no name-calling or innuendos, few election yard signs — and very few candidates and issues. One of the most boring general elections in years captured the attention of only about 40 percent of Issaquah’s 19,250 registered voters. (The election will be certified Nov. 26.)

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November 5, 2013

Weekend wind storm was call to readiness

The big winds blew last weekend and sent residents scurrying. It wasn’t about the leaves and branches. It was about the need to get emergency ready.

Many experienced the dreaded power outage — without the luxury of a generator. Luckily, the daytime temperatures were mild, but the threat of winter’s pending cold was a reminder of the need to set in supplies.

Flashlights and batteries. Propane for the gas grill, fuel for the camp stove. Bottled water in stock, one gallon per person per day (check the expiration date!) Prepared foods like granola bars and dried fruit on hand. A hand-crank can opener. A portable radio, with batteries.

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October 29, 2013

Joe Forkner is best for Issaquah Mayor

Issaquah voters have only one outlet on the Nov. 5 ballot to express their concerns about impending city issues:

Who will best lead the city, as its next mayor, through a throng of issues — traffic, redevelopment, increased population, water supply, increasing taxes, economic vitality and environmental sustainability — while enhancing Issaquah’s connectivity as a community?

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October 22, 2013

Lisa Callan for school board seat

Issaquah School District voters are fortunate to have two excellent choices for school board director seat 4. Both Alison Meryweather and Lisa Callan applied for the vacancy last spring when Chad Magendanz resigned to serve in the state Legislature.

The school board members struggled with the appointment, first split evenly between the two women. Eventually, Meryweather got the appointment.

Meryweather does have more lobbying experience and her confidence and knowledge makes her a leader in that arena. But community comes first.

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EFR’s future needs quick action

October 17, 2013

If the partners of Eastside Fire & rescue don’t act quickly, they may be too late to salvage the partnership that has served them so well for many years.

For the past few years, Sammamish has been warning its partners in Eastside Fire & Rescue that the current funding model was unsustainable. The formula, based solely on assessed value – while ignoring the number of calls for service – has had Sammamish and Fire Districts 10 and 38 subsidizing fire and emergency services for Issaquah and North Bend.

Sammamish was lobbying for a new funding model based half on property value and half on calls, but other partners were not interested. Sammamish then proposed a 75/25 formula. North Bend was willing to go along, but Issaquah and Fire District 10 were still opposed.

Sammamish held firm, investing time and money studying the costs of dropping out of EFR to start its own city fire department. Sammamish is poised to take a vote on the measure soon and move one step closer to withdrawing from the EFR consortium.

Now the partners may begin to discuss the merits of a 75/25 plan at their own agencies. They should do so and make their decision quickly.

Yes, some will end up paying more, but they’ve been getting a good ride on the back of the Sammamish taxpayers for years. Paying a little more to help make the situation more equitable is the right thing to do.

EFR has been a success. Pooling resources has allowed each community to serve their citizens better than they would be able to by going it alone. The partners should end the squabbling and get back to making EFR a better agency.

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