Education opportunities grow in student gardens

August 23, 2011

Sunny Hills Elementary School first-grader Digant Dash (left) plants flower bulbs in the school’s first-grade garden with fourth-graders Derek Chao and Spencer Bernsten. By Jane Ulrich

Inch by inch, row by row, students are planting lettuce, herbs and broccoli in their school gardens.

This fall, teachers are transforming gardens into outdoor classrooms as students pick up trowels and learn about drip irrigation systems.

Dozens of schools incorporate gardening into their curriculum or have gardening clubs, including Apollo, Cascade Ridge, Challenger, Clark, Creekside, Discovery, Endeavour, Grand Ridge, Issaquah Valley, Maple Hills and Sunny Hills elementary schools; Issaquah and Pine Lake middle schools; and Liberty and Tiger Mountain Community high schools.

“I think the outdoors is just a natural place that kids want to be,” Sunny Hills fourth-grade teacher Jane Ulrich said.

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Donate school supplies — and receive discount — at Cedar Grove Composting

August 21, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 21, 2011

Donate school supplies for children in need at Cedar Grove Composting near Issaquah.

The composting facility, 17825 Cedar Grove Road S.E., is a collection site for back-to-school donations to the Maple Valley Food Bank. Donate through Wednesday to receive a 15 percent discount on bagged or bulk compost, and a 33 percent discount on kitchen collection kits.

Donate binders, notebooks, pencils and more to the food bank in order to receive the discount.

The food pantry encourages people to purchase and donate school supplies, make a monetary donation to support the purchase of wholesale backpacks and supplies, or include a monetary gift alongside supplies.

The food bank distributed 568 supply-filled backpacks at the start of the 2010-11 school year.

Cedar Grove Composting is near the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in unincorporated King County, about eight miles south of downtown Issaquah.

Friends of Youth in downtown Issaquah is also collecting back-to-school supplies for needy children before classes start in the Issaquah School District on Aug. 30.

Cedar Grove Composting ordered to pay fine for odors

July 19, 2011

The state ordered Cedar Grove Composting to pay $119,000 in fines July 14 for odor violations at a facility in rural King County near Issaquah and another in Everett.

The fines resulted from 13 violations from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency in 2009 and 2010. The composter appealed the violations to the state Pollution Control Hearings Board, but the panel denied the appeals.

“It’s about time. We’ve been waiting for someone to hold Cedar Grove accountable for their noxious odors,” Citizens for a Smell Free Snohomish County founder Mike Davis said in a statement. “We’re tired of Cedar Grove denying any responsibility and blaming everybody else while people all around the region can’t even enjoy their own yards because of the huge stench.”

The commercial composter is near the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill between Issaquah and Renton.

In a 66-page ruling, the Pollution Control Hearings Board said “odors emanating from the facilities have interfered with the reasonable enjoyment of life and property of a large number of surrounding residents.”

Issaquah businesses, government honored, ranked as top recyclers

July 12, 2011

Reusing office supplies at City Hall, recycling at local schools and businesses’ efforts to cut waste landed Issaquah officials and entrepreneurs on King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list July 1.

The county Solid Waste Division recognized 89 organizations in the annual awards. In Issaquah, the honorees include established “green” organizations and a newcomer, Outsource Marketing.

Each organization boasts exceptional recycling programs and a commitment to reducing waste. Issaquah municipal government and the Issaquah School District made the list. So did Pogacha, Rowley Properties and Timber Ridge at Talus.

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Issaquah businesses, government honored for recycling

July 5, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. July 5, 2011

Reusing office supplies at City Hall, recycling at local schools and business’ efforts to cut waste landed Issaquah officials and entrepreneurs on King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list July 1.

The county Solid Waste Division recognized 89 organizations in the annual awards. In Issaquah, the honorees include established “green” organizations and a newcomer, Outsource Marketing.

Each organization boasts exceptional recycling programs a commitment to reducing waste. Issaquah municipal government and the Issaquah School District made the list. So did Pogacha, Rowley Properties and Timber Ridge at Talus.

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Options abound for disposing of Christmas trees

January 4, 2011

Issaquah residents eager to toss out a dried-out fir face a handful of options to dispose of natural Christmas trees.

Customers tired of evergreens dropping brown needles can set out trees for yard waste collection on regular collection days. The trees must be cut to 4 feet or less. Haulers do not collect trees decked in flocking or decorations.

For residents interested in recycling, or tree-cycling, the King County Solid Waste Division offers a list of recycling locations. Or, residents can drop off trees at Cedar Grove Composting near Issaquah and other recycling sites. Read more

Options abound for disposing of old Christmas trees

December 28, 2010

NEW — 8 a.m. Dec. 28, 2010

Issaquah residents eager to toss out a dried-out fir face a handful of options to dispose of natural Christmas trees.

Customers tired of evergreens dropping brown needles can set out trees for yard waste collection on regular collection days. The trees must be cut to 4 feet or less. Haulers do not collect trees decked in flocking or decorations.

For residents interested in recycling, or tree-cycling, the King County Solid Waste Division offers a list of recycling locations. Or, residents can drop off trees at Cedar Grove Composting near Issaquah and other recycling sites.

Residents can also wait until Jan. 8 to dispose of old trees.

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Noise from landfill gas-to-energy facility prompts complaints

December 21, 2010

Operator completed steps to reduce sound emissions

The stack of tanks at the Bio Energy Washington landfill-to-gas energy facility function as part of a complicated refining process. By Greg Farrar

The droning sound started about the same time a landfill gas-to-energy facility fired up to turn the byproduct of decomposing trash into fuel for power plants.

Rural King County residents, accustomed to the smells and sounds emanating from Cedar Hills Regional Landfill and nearby Cedar Grove Composting, noticed the latest addition not long after the gas facility entered operation last year.

Leaders had hailed the project as a milestone for renewable energy, but for many residents in neighborhoods south of Issaquah, the Bio Energy Washington gas facility turned out to be a headache.

“Before we built this facility, the county told us, ‘Look, sound is going to be a big deal here,’” Chuck Packard, Ingenco president and CEO, said at a meeting in Issaquah to address residents’ concerns.

Bio Energy Washington is part of Ingenco, a company specializing in renewable energy facilities.

The county had only received a couple of complaints about the gas facility until residents raised the issue in September at a routine meeting related to landfill operations.

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City makes history in effort to turn restaurants ‘green’

September 28, 2010

A plastic fork and spork get picked out of the compost waste pile by Cedar Grove Composting General Manager Nick Harbert. By Greg Farrar

Groundbreaking packaging ordinance takes effect Oct. 1

Inside the neon-illuminated Rollin’ Log Tavern, the full effect of the city-mandated change from foam and plastic to eco-friendly cups, containers and utensils is apparent after a quick glance at the timeworn bar.

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King County picks plan to keep landfill open for another decade

August 31, 2010

Cedar Hills Regional Landfill could remain open until the mid-2020s under a proposed plan, even as other factors — such as increased recycling and a feeble economy — stretch the number of years the landfill could operate.

The proposal to increase capacity at the giant landfill has inched ahead, after King County Solid Waste Division leaders spent 16 months addressing concerns about the project as part of a required environmental analysis.

Nearby homeowners raised concerns about odors, noise, storm water runoff, ground water contamination and traffic, plus potential impacts on flora and fauna.

Solid Waste Division leaders released the detailed analysis, or environmental impact statement, of the expansion proposals in late July.

The landfill encompasses 920 acres in unincorporated King County between Issaquah and Maple Valley.

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