Earth Day offers opportunity to ‘detox’ homes

April 21, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. April 21, 2011

King County’s EcoConsumer program is taking the cleansing trend one step further with the Earth Day Detox.

The six-step regimen is intended to help residents detoxify homes in ways to protect health and the environment.

King County EcoConsumer Tom Watson, alongside nonprofit groups and government agencies, is encouraging residents to review the detox steps through Friday, Earth Day.

“Each day we’ll give you another step to help make your home a safer place, whether it be evaluating the contents of your medicine cabinet or sorting through the chemicals gathering dust in your garage,” Watson said. “The program will also give advice on how to properly dispose of toxic products and suggest greener and safer alternatives.”

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Guest Column

April 20, 2011

Innovative, ambitious ‘green’ programs earn their keep in Issaquah

Just a few years ago, many people considered sustainability a fad. The prediction was that cities passionate about recycling and green living would abandon sustainability when hard-pressed to stretch city dollars and services.

That didn’t happen. In fact, communities like Issaquah stand tall on Earth Day because of innovative and ambitious sustainability programs that are actually reducing costs. Here’s how:

Waste reduction for Issaquah businesses: The city of Issaquah and Waste Management are partners in innovative outreach to boost commercial recycling. As a result, Issaquah has sent less and less garbage to the landfill every year since 2005.

The city’s new food packaging ordinance is a prime example of an aggressive effort that’s paying off. It requires restaurants and food service-related businesses to compost and to use “to-go” packaging that is either recyclable or compostable. Since October, 90 local businesses have signed up for food waste collection, diverting 600 tons of food waste from the landfill. That’s roughly 60 Waste Management trucks full of food waste.

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Issaquah community’s ‘green’ achievers observe Earth Day

April 19, 2011

Earth Day is observed April 22, but some Issaquah-area residents celebrate the eco-conscious holiday year-round.

As people elsewhere take initial steps to “green” vehicles, volunteer for earth-friendly activities, reduce carbon footprints and make homes and gardens more earth-friendly, the Issaquah community includes avid recyclers, car-free families and “green” homeowners.

Issaquah resident Kent Peterson, who traded his car for a bike more than 20 years ago, leads a procession of well-wishers as he departs last year for Banff, Alberta, the starting line for the 2,745 mile Tour Divide race. By Greg Farrar

Recycling to superstar status

Wayne Elson started recycling cans and bottles more than 30 years ago — long before recycling became as simple as a trip to the curb.

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Native kokanee fry released in historic ceremony

April 19, 2011

Seventy-five kokanee fry swam in a small camping cooler by Laughing Jacobs Creek, unaware they were surrounded by federal, state, county and city administrators, as well as concerned citizens — all people intent on helping the native salmon survive in the wild.

The Issaquah Salmon Hatchery teamed up with the Lake Sammamish Kokanee Work Group and dignitaries from the city all the way to the federal level for the second annual kokanee fry release at Hans Jensen Park on April 18.

Last year, the group released the kokanee at Ebright Creek in Sammamish, and next year the release will be celebrated at Lewis Creek in Issaquah.

Jessica Leguizamon, 10, watches kokanee salmon fry swim away from her Dixie cup into Laughing Jacobs Creek as her sister Sabrina, 5, waits her turn and their grandfather, Gary Smith, looks on. County environmental scientist Hans Berge makes sure the release is done properly. By Greg Farrar

“This fry release is a critical part of our kokanee recovery and restoration efforts,” David St. John, Department of Natural Resources government relations administrator, said.

He outlined the group’s goals: preventing kokanee extinction and restoring a diverse and native habitat for the salmon.

“In our last run there was probably 100 fish, so we’re at low numbers, extremely low numbers,” St. John said.

A normal run for kokanee usually extends into the hundreds or thousands, he said in a later phone interview.

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Press Editorial

April 19, 2011

Make a difference on Earth Day

A few decades ago, being called “green” was often meant to be derogatory. Today we hold high respect for those who live their life “green” — contributing to a healthier world.

Earth Day — celebrated April 22 around the globe — is a reminder that supporting a healthy environment depends on individuals. One person can seem pretty insignificant when it comes to things like species extinction and climate change, but individuals hold real power when it comes to the environment.

While many trees will be planted for Earth Day, that’s not really what it’s all about. It’s about individuals taking action to change their lifestyles, from unplugging unused appliances to fixing leaking faucets to bringing reusable bags when you shop.

In the coming decades, we face great environmental challenges — and great opportunities to improve the environment. It is time to turn American ingenuity onto the environment. People around us are already finding innovative solutions.

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King County Council celebrates Earth Day

April 19, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. April 19, 2011

King County Council members offered support for local, national and international efforts to protect the environment, and proclaimed Friday as Earth Day in King County.

Earth Day started 41 years ago to raise awareness about the environment and then expanded into a global event celebrated in 175 countries.

“In East King County, we are recognizing the goals of Earth Day this week with a celebration of the native Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, the Issaquah representative, said in a statement Monday after the council issued the proclamation.

Leaders from several agencies and cities gathered Monday to release kokanee fry into Lake Sammamish.

“With the collaboration of many government agencies and private organizations, kokanee recovery efforts include releases of tiny kokanee fry from the hatchery supplementation program into creeks around the lake this week,” Lambert continued. “The fish will be able to thrive as a result of our healthy environment.”

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Join county executive for chat to launch Earth Week

April 15, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. April 15, 2011

Dow Constantine

Join King County Executive Dow Constantine online to kick off Earth Week.

The executive and a panel of experts plan a live online chat to discuss possible local impacts of climate change and steps businesses, governments and people can take to address the issue.

Join Constantine and the panel for the chat at 11 a.m. Monday.The county maintains a website to highlight climate change efforts. Participants can also sign up for the chat on Facebook.

Tweet questions in advance using the hashtag #askdow, or email questions to

Scientists said climate change in the region could mean warmer and drier summers, and more flooding in the valleys and less snow in the mountains during fall and winter.

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Mountains to Sound Greenway celebrates Earth Day

April 13, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. April 13, 2011

Earth Day is more than April 22 for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. Instead, the organization plans a 10-day event for annual eco observance.

The organization is seeking volunteers for restoration projects in Issaquah, Mercer Island and North Bend. Projects in Issaquah include invasive-plant removal along Issaquah Creek.

(Earth Day is observed April 22.)

Earth Week is also a lead-in to the greenway’s 20th anniversary. Established in 1990 after hikers marched from Snoqualmie Pass to Seattle, the greenbelt stretches along Interstate 90 from the Emerald City to Central Washington.

The organization plans to re-create the march as part of the anniversary celebration. Participants plan to hike and ride bike for the nine-day trek or sign on for a single day. The organization plans to offer free community events in the evenings along the route.

In addition, Mountains to Sound Greenway Summer is scheduled to include anniversary-themed heritage events along in locations throughout the greenway. Celebrants can also mark the anniversary through a photo contest.

Learn easy eco tips at Earth Day celebration

March 26, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. March 26, 2011

King County is emphasizing easy ways to go “green” during the annual Earth Day Expo scheduled for April 22.

Join King County Executive Dow Constantine, EcoConsumer Tom Watson, environmental mascot Bert the Salmon and area school children to celebrate the spirit of everyday “green” living at Westlake Plaza in downtown Seattle.

Find tools, resources and discounts to make easy environmental choices. The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Visitors to the county’s booth — “It’s Easy Being Green – Let King County Show You How” — can learn simple ways to recycle, “green” up vehicles, volunteer for earth-friendly activities, reduce carbon footprints and make homes and gardens more earth-friendly.

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Newcastle Elementary PTSA hosts unique student fundraisers

May 18, 2010

Rory Brown, a Newcastle Elementary School fourth-grader (front), prepares to send a ball down the lane at the PTSA social at Lucky Strike in Bellevue April 25. Meanwhile, from left, Newcastle fourth-graders Adam Morrison, Mason Vold and Shaan Luthra, and second-graders Drew Blik and Ryker Vold strike a pose for the camera. By Tim Pfarr

The Newcastle Elementary School PTSA hosted two unique, back-to-back fundraisers the weekend of April 24 and 25 — a recycling drive at Lake Boren Park and a social at the Lucky Strike bowling alley at Lincoln Square in Bellevue. Read more

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