Encounter at Issaquah school offers bear safety reminder

October 16, 2012

Mike Pernack spotted a black bear cub in Squak Mountain’s Big Bear Court neighborhood Oct. 4. By Mike Pernack

Issaquah Valley Elementary School administrators briefly put the campus into lockdown Oct. 3 after surprise guests ambled onto school grounds.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife officers, plus Mishka, a Karelian bear dog, responded to the downtown Issaquah school, but arrived after a female bear and trio of cubs dashed across campus.

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Bear on campus puts Issaquah Valley Elementary into lockdown

October 10, 2012

Bears roam on the Issaquah Valley Elementary School campus Wednesday. By Jake Kuper, Issaquah School District

NEW — 4 p.m. Oct. 10, 2012

A bear and three cubs paid a surprise visit Wednesday to Issaquah Valley Elementary School, prompting administrators to put the building into lockdown.

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How to survive summer vacation

June 28, 2012

The summer months have arrived.

School is out, the anticipation of summer weather is almost too much to bear, and now you’re ready to head outdoors and enjoy it.

But wait! Before you head out the door, there are summer hazards to be aware of and ways to make sure you stay safe.

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CleanScapes to offer bear-resistant trash containers to Issaquah customers

June 26, 2012

The next garbage hauler for most Issaquah residents, CleanScapes, rolled out a compressed-natural gas truck and wildlife-resistant containers in recent days, as the company prepares to start service in the city.

The contract between Seattle-based CleanScapes and the city starts July 1, though service in the city does not commence until July 2 because the previous day is a Sunday.

The changeover from Waste Management to CleanScapes affects most Issaquah customers. Allied Waste — a local name for national company Republic Services — hauls garbage in South Cove and Greenwood Point neighborhoods along Lake Sammamish.

In a June 13 ceremony, CleanScapes executives and city leaders celebrated the addition of a hydraulic launch assist, compressed natural-gas powered truck to the company fleet. Officials said CleanScapes is the first company in the Pacific Northwest to use the truck.

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CleanScapes unveils natural gas garbage truck, wildlife-resistant containers for Issaquah

June 15, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. June 15, 2012

The next garbage hauler for most Issaquah residents, CleanScapes, rolled out a compressed-natural gas truck and wildlife-resistant containers in recent days, as the company prepares to start service in the city.

The contract between Seattle-based CleanScapes and the city starts July 1, though service in the city does not commence until July 2 because July 1 is a Sunday.

The changeover from Waste Management to CleanScapes affects most Issaquah customers. Allied Waste — a local name for national company Republic Services — hauls garbage in South Cove and Greenwood Point neighborhoods along Lake Sammamish.

In a June 13 ceremony, CleanScapes executives and city leaders celebrated the addition of a hydraulic launch assist, compressed natural-gas powered truck to the company fleet. Officials said CleanScapes is the first company in the Pacific Northwest to use the truck.

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Spring means more bear encounters in Issaquah

April 17, 2012

 A male black bear surprised residents of the Overdale Park neighborhood — and ate some garbage for a quick snack — the afternoon of April 15. Contributed

The calm afternoon in the Overdale Park neighborhood April 15, a sun-splashed Sunday, changed in a heartbeat after a surprise guest greeted resident Wendy Brown.

The arrival of a black bear in the neighborhood marked the start of spring — and the annual balancing act to ensure safety for bears and humans.

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Organizations offer tips to avoid conflicts between bears, humans

April 17, 2012

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Grizzly Bear Outreach Project offers tips for people to avoid bear conflicts.

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Come wintertime, wildlife descends from snowy peaks to milder climate

February 21, 2012

State wildlife biologist Brian Kertson spent five years studying the local cougar population, including a 130-pound, 2-year-old male tranquilized, captured and tagged in the Cedar River watershed in 2008. Contributed

As the snow moves down the mountains reaching lower elevations, so do most mountain wildlife inhabitants, from small animals to deer and elk.

And just in case you were wondering, bears don’t hibernate.

Those are two basic bits of information passed on by local experts asked to describe what happens to Issaquah wildlife during the winter months. It’s not the temperature, but snow that motivates most animals’ cold weather behavior, said Stephen West, associate director of the School of Environmental and Forestry Sciences at the University of Washington.

For the most part, cougars, deer and other local wildlife can tolerate any cold the Northwest brings their way, West said. It’s mountain snow they can’t deal with — it makes it more difficult for them to get around and much more difficult for them to find food. So as snow appears, many animals head for lower elevations. There are exceptions, including bears.

Bears don’t migrate, but rather stay in their normal territory, said Kenneth Raedeke, an affiliate professor in the UW’s Wildlife Science Program and the president of an environmental consulting firm.

And despite what you may have heard all your life, bears don’t hibernate, Raedeke and West said. Full hibernation means an animal is unconscious and its body temperature drops to match the surrounding temperature, West said. For an animal the size of a bear, waking up from such a state would require more biological energy and heat than they have available to them.

While they don’t fully hibernate, bears do go into a sort of relaxed state for perhaps three or four of the coldest months of the year, Raedeke said, adding a bear’s heart rate can drop as low as eight beats per minute. Even so, bears can and do remain somewhat active, coming out of their hiding spots periodically. And if you happen to stumble into an occupied bear den during the winter, the resident likely will take notice.

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CleanScapes picks up Issaquah garbage contract

October 25, 2011

The next hauler for Issaquah garbage is CleanScapes.

In a unanimous decision Oct. 17, City Council members selected the Seattle-based garbage hauler to serve Issaquah neighborhoods other than Greenwood Point and South Cove. CleanScapes offered additional curbside recycling options, a local storefront, wildlife-resistant containers and other features to land the $3.8-million-per-year Issaquah contract.

Consumers could experience a rate decrease as the city transitions from the current hauler, Waste Management, to CleanScapes in early summer.

The rate could decrease from $13.43 to $12.74 for a residential customer putting a 32-gallon cart out for weekly curbside pickup — although a recent rate increase from the King County Council could dilute the proposed drop.

The contract runs from July 1 through June 2019.

“The public should realize that the staff of the city of Issaquah didn’t just put it out there and say, ‘Tell us what you can offer,’” Councilman Mark Mullet said. “They actually wrote the proposal saying, ‘This is what the city needs to have. These are the minimum, baseline service requirements that we’re going to ask for the citizens of Issaquah.’ Then, the different vendors were able to come back and say, ‘We’ll provide those at this price,’ and they could offer things on top of that.”

Council Utilities, Technology & Environment Committee members met representatives from CleanScapes and the other candidates, Allied Waste and Waste Management, Oct. 11 and sent the contract to the full council for approval.

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City Council selects CleanScapes to haul Issaquah garbage

October 19, 2011

NEW — 11 a.m. Oct. 19, 2011

The next hauler for Issaquah garbage is Seattle-based CleanScapes, City Council members decided Monday.

In a unanimous decision, council members selected the garbage hauler to serve Issaquah neighborhoods other than Greenwood Point and South Cove. CleanScapes offered additional curbside recycling options, a local storefront, wildlife-resistant containers and other features to land the $3.8-million-per-year Issaquah contract.

Consumers could experience a rate decrease as the city transitions from the current hauler, Waste Management, to CleanScapes.

For a residential customer putting a 32-gallon cart out for weekly curbside pickup, rates could decrease from $13.43 to $12.74 — though a recent rate increase from the King County Council could dilute the proposed drop in rates.

The contract runs from July 1 through June 2019.

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