Issaquah Highlands retail lineup adds coffee, liquor

February 7, 2013

NEW — 4 p.m. Feb. 7, 2013

The latest announced tenants for the long-planned Issaquah Highlands retail center, Grand Ridge Plaza, offer shoppers a chance to catch a buzz — spirits at BevMo! and coffee at Starbucks.

The recent additions to the $70 million highlands project add recognizable names alongside the Regal Cinemas multiplex, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Marshalls and HomeGoods, and Safeway.

The project developer, Regency Centers, estimated for offerings to open starting in the summer and fall. Expect the movie theater and some restaurants to open initially.

BevMo! — a chain based in Concord, Calif. — intends to expand to Issaquah after opening outposts in Bellevue and elsewhere in the Puget Sound region after the state privatized liquor sales in June 2012.

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Arena Sports purchases Sammamish Club, announces changes

February 6, 2013

NEW — 5:30 p.m. Feb. 6, 2013

Change is coming to the Sammamish Club fitness and tennis facility at the base of Cougar Mountain.

Seattle-based Arena Sports intends to purchase the property. Plans call for the company upgrade the pool and fitness areas, and convert the tennis courts into a soccer field and indoor inflatable playground.

Arena Sports also operates facilities at Seattle’s Magnuson Park, South Seattle and Redmond.

The closing date for the Sammamish Club property is set for March 1.

The property consists of adjoining structures — a 24,000-square-foot indoor tennis facility built in 1978 and a 24,148-square-foot fitness facility built in 1999 — on 4.46 acres visible from Interstate 90 and Newport Way Northwest.

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Mountains to Sound Greenway, REI leader is choice for Cabinet

February 6, 2013

NEW — 2 p.m. Feb. 6, 2013

REI leader Sally Jewell, a leader in the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, is President Barack Obama’s choice for U.S. interior secretary.

Jewell is Kent-based REI’s president and CEO, in addition to serving as a board member for the nonprofit organization underpinning the greenway — a 100-mile greenbelt stretched along Interstate 90 from Seattle to Central Washington.

Obama announced Jewell’s appointment Wednesday at a White House ceremony. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she is poised to succeed outgoing Department of the Interior chief Ken Salazar, a former U.S. senator from Colorado.

“Sally Jewell is a respected leader and passionate advocate for conservation, recreation and outdoor education,” Cynthia Welti, greenway trust executive director, said in a statement. “We are delighted with this news. Sally will serve our country well.”

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Residents sue Cedar Grove Composting over odors

February 5, 2013

In Mirrormont, longtime homeowner Cathe Avila can no longer keep windows open at home, or walk black Labrador retriever Django in the neighborhood.

The problem, she said, is the odor from the Cedar Grove Composting facility in unincorporated King County between Issaquah and Maple Valley, about seven miles southwest of downtown Issaquah.

Avila said the odor is traceable to 2004, once Cedar Grove starting accepting food scraps for composting.

“Then, after that, the smell just started getting worse and worse,” she said.

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Beat blues with brews at Gilman Village

February 5, 2013

There is a solution to chase away the doldrums of a rainy, cool Issaquah winter, and if the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce is correct, it comes pouring from your favorite wine or pilsner glass.

The chamber will host its inaugural Beat the Winter Brews Fest, complete with spirit, beer and wine tastings, food and music, all scattered along the storefronts and boardwalk of Gilman Village on Feb. 26.

“We were looking to do something in the winter, when people are saying there is nothing to do, and we came up with this unique adult-friendly event,” said Robin Kelley, director of festivals for chamber.

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Issaquah workshop to offer energy advice

February 5, 2013

Residents can learn tips to reduce home energy use — and save 50 percent or more on energy bills — at a workshop focused on energy efficiency.

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CleanScapes accepts computers, electronics for recycling

February 5, 2013

 NEW — 4 p.m. Feb. 5, 2013

CleanScapes is accepting unwanted computers and electronics for donation at the company’s Gilman Village store.

Through a partnership between CleanScapes and Seattle-based nonprofit organization InterConnection, residents can drop off old electronics at 317 N.W. Gilman Blvd. Each donation is tax-deductible and benefits InterConnection’s technology access programs.

InterConnection then collects the materials and erases the computer hard drives using U.S. Department of Defense protocol. Reusable computers then get refurbished and recycled to nonprofit organizations for use.

InterConnection refurbishes and reuses more than half of the computers it receives. The organization’s refurbished laptops, tablets and desktops benefitted more than 800 nonprofit organizations nationwide and helped thousands of low-income families and students in the Puget Sound area last year.

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Washington ranks near bottom for taxes per income

February 5, 2013

 NEW — 4 p.m. Feb. 5, 2013

Washington ranked near the bottom in state and local taxes paid per $1,000 of personal income in 2010, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data published by the state Department of Revenue.

Washingtonians paid $96.08 in taxes for every $1,000 in income, the second-lowest rate in 50 years. Officials recorded the lowest rate in 2009 at $93.24 per $1,000 in income.

Even though 2010 taxes climbed higher than in 2009, Washington dropped a notch among the states from its 35th ranking in 2009 to 36th in 2010 because taxes in some other states increased more.

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Wells Fargo is latest Issaquah Highlands tenant

February 2, 2013

NEW — 2 p.m. Feb. 2, 2013

Wells Fargo is the latest announced tenant for the long-planned Issaquah Highlands retail center, Grand Ridge Plaza.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo plans to open a 2,600-square-foot branch at Highlands Drive Northeast and Northeast Federal Drive by September.

Customers can expect to see “green” features in the business, such as energy efficient light fixtures, water-saving plumbing fixtures, and sustainably grown and harvested wood materials.

The company also announced plans to open 15 to 20 outposts throughout the Puget Sound region in the next five years.

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Issaquah starts 30-day countdown to plastic bag ban

January 31, 2013

NEW — 10 a.m. Jan. 31, 2013

The citywide ban on most retail plastic bags starts March 1, and Issaquah leaders reminded residents to prepare in the 30 days before the legislation goes into effect.

The measure also sets a 5-cent fee for most paper carryout bags. Under the ordinance, retailers keep the fee to offset the cost to phase out plastic bags and shoppers can see the expense itemized on receipts.

Though the ordinance requires most plastic bags to disappear from retailers in March, consumers should not expect to see the bags vanish altogether.

The legislation contains exemptions for plastic bags for bakery items, bulk foods, meat, produce, dry cleaning, newspapers, small hardware items and takeout foods.

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