City launches revamped website

December 4, 2012

Issaquah municipal government entered the 21st century Nov. 28, and ditched a difficult-to-navigate city website for a user-friendly portal meant to connect residents to government services.

The city launched the website after a monthslong effort to remake the dowdy image projected by the old website. The updated website is meant to speed users to oft-requested information — Pickering Barn rentals and bill payments, for instance.

The overhaul ranked as a high priority for the City Council, and members authorized up to $125,000 for the website overhaul. The point person on the project, Communications Manager Autumn Monahan, said the project is likely to come in under the $125,000 budget once the final project cost is tallied.

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Statewide earthquake drill shakes up preparedness plan

October 23, 2012

Tina Eggers (left), city clerk, Megan Gregor, city passport and records specialist, and Mary Lorna Meade, city risk management officer, take shelter under desks at Issaquah City Hall at 10:18 a.m. Oct. 18. By Greg Farrar

Staffers flooded from Issaquah City Hall and other municipal buildings at 10:18 a.m. Oct. 18 as employees joined a statewide earthquake drill.

The preparedness exercise involved public employees throughout the city, plus residents throughout the city and state, as planners tested residents’ ability to respond to a temblor.

The city official responsible for disseminating information to the public during emergencies, Communications Coordinator Autumn Monahan, said frequent disaster preparedness exercises educate city employees about the proper procedures to follow in worst-case scenarios.

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Issaquah unveils salmon-centric city logo

August 21, 2012

The triangle is out. The salmon is in.

Issaquah leaders plan to phase out the longtime city logo — a triangle and stylized As meant to evoke the Issaquah Alps — and use a salmon-centric emblem instead.

Issaquah’s updated city logo (above) replaces 11 former logos used to represent the city, and municipal departments and boards.

The shift comes as the city and a contractor complete a monthslong effort to overhaul the dated municipal website and forge a more modern image for city government.

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Repeal is in limbo for Issaquah plastic bag ban

July 17, 2012

The proposed measure to repeal the Issaquah plastic bag ban faces a questionable future after city officials said the bid did not qualify for the November ballot after supporters failed to gather enough signatures from registered Issaquah voters.

But organizer Craig Keller said the repeal campaign, called Save Our Choice, continues to collect signatures in order to place the repeal measure before Issaquah voters.

Keller and volunteers collected signatures at high-traffic stores and in neighborhoods throughout Issaquah, but city officials said the team did not collect enough. The process to advance the ballot measure is in limbo as volunteers continue to work.

“There’s been such a significant number of citizens that have voiced their displeasure in a campaign that, as far as I know, that’s unprecedented,” Keller said.

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Bond package includes artificial turf for middle schools

March 27, 2012

There are a couple of themes that come up over and over as backers and school officials talk about the prospect of placing artificial turf on the fields of each of the five Issaquah School District middle schools.

The upcoming bond package also would provide the middle schools with rubberized outdoor running tracks if voters decide to approve the $219 million capital improvement plan.

District officials hope to install the turf and tracks at a cost of $1.5 million per school, not counting fields that could go in at a transplanted Issaquah Middle School.

The IMS fields would be added after the school is rebuilt; associated costs are not specifically spelled out in the district’s bond package.

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Cleanup from storms could last for weeks in Issaquah

January 31, 2012

Terry Hillier, a Capella Drive Northwest resident, unloads branches from his station wagon Jan. 28 at Tibbetts Valley Park. By Greg Farrar

In the days after snow and ice hobbled Issaquah and the region, crews deployed across the city to collect sand from streets and downed trees from neighborhoods.

The recovery effort lurched into gear before snow and ice melted, but city residents and officials continue a daunting task to clean up from the recent storms and prepare for possible conditions in the months ahead.

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Cleanup continues after snowstorm and ice cause havoc

January 24, 2012

State Route 900 remains barricaded at midafternoon Jan. 20 to motorists wanting to go southbound past Northwest Talus Drive, a day after a downed tree blocked access to the urban village. By Greg Farrar

In the days after a snowstorm pummeled the region, blackout chased whiteout, as residents uneasy about thorny commutes and missed meetings instead confronted sinking temperatures and toppling trees — all sans electricity.

The major snowstorm dropped 3 to 6 inches across the Issaquah area Jan. 18, but the struggle started the next day, as a rare ice storm led to widespread power outages and caused trees to send ice- and snow-laden branches earthward.

The harsh conditions tested road crews, prompted spinouts and fender benders around the region, and led officials to cancel school for almost a week.

“It was like a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 punch,” Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director, said Jan. 23, as cleanup efforts continued. “For awhile there, I wasn’t sure if we were ever going to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

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Issaquah Creek, street flooding emerge as latest concerns as city thaws

January 20, 2012

NEW — 3:30 p.m. Jan. 20, 2012

Concerns about Issaquah Creek and street flooding bubbled to the surface Friday afternoon, as ice and snow melt after debilitating storms and forecasters issued a flood watch for Western Washington.

City crews, officials and residents also cast a wary eye at ice- and snow-laden trees, as meteorologists forecast strong winds to last through the weekend — creating another possibility for overtaxed trees to drop branches on roads and residences.

Officials urged residents to clear snow and debris, such as fallen leaves and downed tree branches, from storm drains near homes in order to reduce the street-flooding risk.

The latest alerts came as many Issaquah residents spent another day without power, as Puget Sound Energy crews raced to restore power to more than 200,000 customers across the region.

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Snow blankets region, but officials report few headaches — so far

January 17, 2012

Snow blanketed Issaquah and the Puget Sound region Jan. 15 and 16, as officials and residents prepared for more challenging conditions in the days ahead.

The potential for more snow — plus flooding as the snow melted — reminded emergency planners to gird for harsh La Niña conditions, albeit later in the season than expected.

“It’s going to be pretty messy in the next couple of days,” said Johnny Burg, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Seattle. “People should just pay attention to the forecast.”

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City plans website overhaul

December 6, 2011

The difficult-to-navigate municipal website — a portal to City Council documents, event schedules and emergency preparedness information — is about to receive a makeover.

The council plans to spend up to $125,000 to overhaul the outdated website early next year. The action follows a council discussion last year to remake the website, www.ci.issaquah.wa.us. Funding for the overhaul comes from the Cable TV Fund — dollars from the franchise agreements between the city and cable providers.

Autumn Monahan, city communications coordinator and the point person on the redesign, collected input from department chiefs, council members, Mayor Ava Frisinger and website managers in other cities to prepare a plan for overhauling the website.

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