City Council confirms, lauds municipal board appointees

May 3, 2011

Onetime City Council finalist Paul Winterstein is going to continue serving the city on the Human Services Commission, the liaison between social service groups and municipal government.

The council appointed Winterstein and 35 other people as members and alternates to city boards and commissions April 18. Terms on the 11 affected boards start May 1. The city does not pay members.

“I am continually amazed at the number of people — and their qualifications — that stepped forward to fill our boards and commissions,” Councilman Fred Butler said before the unanimous decision to appoint the members. “It seems to me in going through the applications and the qualifications of folks, we’ve got an especially strong group of people filling some critical holes on our boards and commissions again this year.”

The city put out a call for board and commission applicants in January. Then, Mayor Ava Frisinger and board officers narrowed the applicant pool, and recommended appointees to the council for approval.

The city is continuing the interview process for alternates to serve on the Sister Cities and Urban Village Development commissions.

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City Council interviews applicants Tuesday

February 28, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 28, 2011

The nine applicants for a City Council vacancy face the council Tuesday night, as the process to select a successor to former Councilwoman Maureen McCarry nears a coda.

Candidates face the council in public interviews scheduled for a special council meeting at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 135 E. Sunset Way. Then, after the 10-minute interviews, council members could recess into a closed-door executive session to discuss candidates’ qualifications.

Under state law, the council can discuss candidates’ qualifications in a closed-door session, but interviews and the decision must occur in public meetings.

Many candidates bring experience in municipal government or a keen understanding of council business to the interview process.

The vote to appoint a member to the council is scheduled for March 7, though the appointee might not join the council until later in the month. The salary for council members is $700 per month.

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City upgrades TV equipment

February 22, 2011

City leaders agreed in early February to upgrade equipment for the public access Channel 21.

Cable TV Commission members requested $60,000 to purchase broadcast hardware and software, as well as a dedicated media server. The commission said the upgrades should improve the production quality and functionality. In addition, the equipment should provide integrated programming and production through a single system.

Commissioners presented the request to Council Transportation Committee members in July and August. The committee signed off on the proposal and recommended for the full City Council to allocate $60,000 from the cable TV fund — the account for upgrades to the cable system — to cover the purchases. The council approved the expenditure in a unanimous decision Feb. 7.

City Council candidates offer varied skills for post

February 15, 2011

Interviews start March 1 for nine council contenders

Candidates offer assorted skills for the open City Council seat created after Maureen McCarry resigned in late December.

The candidates bring backgrounds in community, military and municipal service to the interview process.

The midterm opening for the Position 5 seat attracted nine candidates.

Candidates face the council in public interviews scheduled for March 1. Then, after the 10-minute interviews, council members could recess into a closed-door executive session to discuss candidates’ qualifications.

Under state law, the council can discuss candidates’ qualifications in a closed-door session, but interviews and the decision must occur in public meetings.

The vote to appoint a member to the council is scheduled for March 7, though the appointee might not join the council until later in the month. The salary for council members is $700 per month.

McCarry created the vacancy late last year after she resigned to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

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City seeks civic-minded citizens for volunteer posts

January 11, 2011

City leaders seek civic-minded citizens to serve on municipal boards and shape environmental and land-use decisions, guide the future of municipal parks, and foster relationships between Issaquah and the international community.

The city has openings on 11 boards and commissions. Not all applicants must be Issaquah residents. Read more

City seeks civic-minded citizens for volunteer posts

January 6, 2011

NEW — 4 p.m. Jan. 6, 2011

City leaders seek civic-minded citizens to serve on municipal boards and shape environmental and land-use decisions, guide the future of municipal parks, and foster relationships between Issaquah and the international community.

The city has openings on 11 boards and commissions. Not all applicants must be Issaquah residents.

Candidates can pick up the application at the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way, during regular business hours.

Applicants must submit signed and completed applications and city forms by noon Jan. 31.

In the weeks ahead, city staffers contact applicants and schedule interviews for February.

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City invites Broadstripe customers to hearing

November 2, 2010

Officials plan to update the agreement between the city and cable provider Broadstripe in the months ahead, and city leaders plan to gather input next week from Broadstripe customers.

“We want to hear from the citizens — the people that are being served by Broadstripe — and hear what their concerns are regarding customer service, quality of signal, those types of things,” city TV Coordinator Tim Smith said.

Many customers claim Broadstripe services do not compare to Comcast in response to outages, video-on-demand services and other offerings, Smith added.

Council Utilities, Technology & Environment Committee members planned a Nov. 9 hearing to listen to Broadstripe customers’ concerns. The cable provider serves mostly multifamily residences in the Issaquah Highlands, Providence Pointe and the Kelkari condominiums near downtown Issaquah.

The committee serves as the liaison between the full City Council and the city Cable TV Commission. The commission advises the council on telecommunications issues.

The negotiations could be complicated because Dallas-based Broadstripe is in the midst of a reorganization after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early 2009.

The proposal is the latest cable agreement to reach city leaders.

The council members OK’d a revised Comcast agreement in September. Comcast is the predominant cable provider in Issaquah.

The pact prompted grumbling from council members, because the agreement allowed the cable provider to raise prices and removed many of the provisions the city had in place to maintain some of the best cable prices in the state.

Get involved

Council Utilities, Technology & Environment Committee

  • Agenda: Broadstripe public hearing
  • 5:30 p.m. Nov. 9
  • Baxter Room
  • City Hall Northwest
  • 1775 12th Avenue N.W.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

City Council OKs Comcast price hike

September 28, 2010

The updated agreement between the city and Comcast allows the cable provider to raise prices and removes many of the provisions the city had in place to maintain some of the best cable prices in the state for decades.

Comcast announced plans in early September to raise prices for Issaquah customers Oct. 1. The decision prompted grumbling from the City Council, but, in the end, members said the city had little choice but to sign off on the agreement.

The agreement reached the council Sept. 20, after almost three years of negotiations between Comcast and the city Cable TV Commission, the adviser to the council on telecommunications issues.

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Comcast to hike prices in Issaquah

September 7, 2010

Comcast plans to raise cable prices for Issaquah customers and set uniform prices for the entire city.

The cable giant intends to raise the price for most Issaquah customers from $12.08 for the limited cable starter package to $13.22. The digital starter package increases from $37.52 to $39.99.

Customers in South Cove and nearby neighborhoods stand to receive a break in cable prices: The limited cable starter package is due to dip from $14.40 to $13.22. For South Cove customers, the price for the digital starter package decreases from $57.45 to $39.99.

The change is due to go into effect Oct. 1. Comcast is the predominate cable provider for Issaquah residents.

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Issaquah History Museums volunteer Stephen Grate dies in hiking accident

August 10, 2010

Stephen Grate teaches a girl at Heritage Day on July 4 how laundry was done more than 100 years ago. Contributed

Early last decade, a hiker had questions about the long-abandoned coalmines carved into the mountains surrounding Issaquah. The query led Stephen Grate to the Issaquah History Museums in 2003.

From the downtown Issaquah museum, he pored through the mining map collection and rummaged through archives to learn how the 19th century mines operated. Grate earned esteem in his final years for his knowledge of Eastside coalmining heritage and for the hikes he often led to derelict mine sites.

Grate, 52, died Aug. 6 in a hiking accident near Leavenworth. The outdoorsman died from head injuries he sustained in a fall from a rock on Asgaard Pass, a steep and challenging route in the Enchantment Lakes Basin.

The coalmining heritage brought Grate to the museums, but he also contributed to other civic and municipal organizations. Colleagues said the Renton resident brought a quiet passion to each role.

The independent computer consultant served on the Issaquah Cable TV Commission, taught a digital photography class at the Issaquah Valley Senior Center and volunteered as a docent at the historic Issaquah Train Depot. Read more

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