City Council committee supports countywide drug take-back program

November 28, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Nov. 28, 2012

City Council members signaled support Monday for a burgeoning effort to create a King County prescription drug take-back program.

Council Safety & Services Committee members unanimously recommended for the council to approve a resolution supporting the program to committee for further discussion.

In a unanimous decision Nov. 19, council members sent the proposed resolution to committee. The council is expected to consider the resolution again next month.

The council sent the legislation to committee less than a week after Mayor Ava Frisinger, a King County Board of Health member, joined a local forum to discuss the proposed county drug take-back program.

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Issaquah fire station, hospital earn honors for energy efficiency

November 16, 2012

NEW — 3:15 p.m. Nov. 16, 2012

Issaquah is a hub for energy efficiency, after a fire station and a hospital in the city earned top honors in the same national competition for engineering and technology.

Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 and Swedish/Issaquah garnered first-place ASHRAE Technology Awards — a top recognition for innovative building design.

EFR Station 72 opened last year as the most energy-efficient fire station on the planet. Swedish/Issaquah opened in July 2011, after planners spent years developing a “practical ‘green'” facility to dramatically reduce energy consumption.

ASHRAE — or the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers — plans to bestow the awards on honorees in January at a conference in Dallas.

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City Council sinks property tax increase, prepares budget

November 13, 2012

City Council members decided Nov. 5 against a property tax increase for next year, and edged the 2013 municipal budget closer to adoption.

In a unanimous decision, council members rejected a proposal to increase the property tax rate by 1 percent next year. The council is expected to finalize the decision on property tax revenue for next year at a Nov. 19 meeting.

In October, Mayor Ava Frisinger proposed to raise the property tax rate by the maximum amount allowed under state law, or 1 percent, next year. Officials said the measure could raise $69,707 for the city next year and then compound over time. The city estimated the cost to the average homeowner at $4.75 per year.

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Discuss drug take-back program at Issaquah forum

November 6, 2012

Residents can offer opinions about a proposal to create a King County prescription drug take-back program at a community forum.

Issaquah Drug Free Community Coalition members organized the event to discuss a countywide network of drop-off centers for leftover medications. The proposal is under consideration by the King County Board of Health.

The forum starts at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Eagle Room at Issaquah City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way.

Panelists include Margaret Shield, a leader in the statewide Take Back Your Meds Coalition and Board of Health members David Baker, mayor of Kenmore, and Ava Frisinger, mayor of Issaquah.

Some pharmacies and law enforcement agencies, including the Issaquah Police Department, offer drug take-back programs, but advocates said the available programs do not meet the need.

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Who’s News

November 6, 2012

Issaquah Nursing and Rehabilitation honored

Issaquah Nursing and Rehabilitation received the 2012 Bronze Commitment to Quality award for its dedication to improving quality care.

The award is one of three distinctions possible through the National Quality Award program, presented by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. The program honors facilities across the nation that demonstrated their commitment to the quality improvement journey.

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Acrimonious 5th Legislative District contest could reshape state Senate

October 16, 2012

Mark Mullet

Brad Toft

The candidate no longer in the race looms over the contest for the 5th Legislative District’s state Senate seat.

Cheryl Pflug, a Republican former senator and erstwhile candidate, is a constant presence in the race — in television spots supporting the Democrat in the contest and in diatribes from Republicans.

The acrimonious race to succeed Pflug pits the Democrat, Issaquah City Councilman Mark Mullet, against Republican Brad Toft, a manager for a national financial services firm and a Snoqualmie resident.

In a race focused on the economy and education, distractions abound — including Toft’s past legal troubles and accusations of dirty campaign tactics from both sides.

Toft entered the race late last year, before Mullet announced plans to run and Pflug filed for re-election.

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Next King County sheriff faces tough decisions to reform agency

October 16, 2012

The contest to lead the King County Sheriff’s Office could hinge on a series of audits into how the agency operates.

The sheriff oversees a budget of about $150 million and about 1,000 employees, and leads the largest local police organization in the state after the Seattle Police Department.

John Urquhart

Steve Strachan

The contentious race pits Sheriff Steve Strachan, a former Kent police chief, against John Urquhart, a former sheriff’s office sergeant and spokesman.

King County Council members appointed Strachan as sheriff in April, not long after former Sheriff Sue Rahr resigned to lead the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, or state police academy.

Though the election is to fill the Rahr’s unexpired term through 2013, the next sheriff faces a landmark effort to reform the agency in response to audits critical of policies put into place under Strachan’s predecessors.

Strachan, a SeaTac resident, served as a police chief and state legislator in Minnesota before accepting the Kent post in 2006. In the Minnesota Legislature, he helped pass legislation to reduce the blood-alcohol limit to 0.08 percent. Rahr tapped Strachan as the chief deputy, or No. 2 spot, at the sheriff’s office in early 2011.

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Issaquah mayor eyes property tax hike

October 9, 2012

Issaquah homeowners can expect to pay about $5 more in property taxes next year, if City Council members adopt a 1 percent rate hike to fund long-term projects.

The property tax increase, proposed Oct. 1 by Mayor Ava Frisinger, is not expected to generate much next year. If enacted, city officials expect to raise only $69,707 — a drop in a proposed $35 million general fund budget.

The decision to raise the property tax rate by the maximum amount allowed under state law, 1 percent, is projected to cost the average homeowner $4.75 per year.

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Salmon Days Festival returns to downtown Issaquah

October 2, 2012

A chinook tries to surmount the weir Sept. 28 at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. By Greg Farrar

The ode to salmon migration, Issaquah’s iconic Salmon Days Festival, returns to downtown Issaquah on Oct. 6-7.

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Mayor to deliver 2013 city budget Oct. 1

September 25, 2012

Mayor Ava Frisinger plans to unveil the 2013 municipal budget Oct. 1 and outline priorities for the year ahead.

The annual announcement launches at least a month of deliberations between City Council members and city staffers to craft a complete budget. The council is required to adopt the budget before Dec. 31.

Frisinger is due to deliver a budget address at the Oct. 1 council meeting. Leaders meet at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way.

In December 2011, council members approved a $36 million general fund budget — dollars used to fund police and fire services, community development and planning, parks and recreation, and municipal government.

The total city budget — including dollars for capital expenses and from other accounts — reached $85.7 million.

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