FISH needs volunteers to prep hatchery before celebration

April 10, 2012

Before the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery celebrates 75 years, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery needs help preparing the hatchery grounds for a public celebration.

The nonprofit group is hosting a work party April 14 to spruce up the hatchery. The event starts at 9 a.m. and runs for the rest of the day. Participants can volunteer for the entire stretch or for a few hours.

Organizers asked for volunteers to report to the Steve Bell Theater at the hatchery, 125 W. Sunset Way.

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King County offers landfill tours for Earth Day celebration

April 9, 2012

NEW — 5 p.m. April 9, 2012

See the destination for most King County garbage up close.

The county is opening the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill between Issaquah and Maple Valley for free tours April 21.

Cedar Hills, the last operating landfill in the county, encompasses 920 acres and accepts about 800,000 tons of garbage each year from across King County, excluding Seattle and Milton.

The tour is designed for adults. Call 206-296-4490 to organize tours for school-aged children and school groups.

The tours start at 9 and 11 a.m. and last about one hour. The tour requires reservations. Reserve a spot by April 16 by calling 206-296-4490, TTY Relay: 711.

Parking is provided at the landfill, 16645 228th Ave S.E., and participants board a Metro Transit bus for the guided tour. The bus is wheelchair accessible.

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Issaquah environmentalists receive Green Globe Awards

May 10, 2011

Every two years, King County awards its best environmentalists with the Green Globe Awards at the Earth Day Expo.

Of the 16 awards given to individuals, schools districts, cities and businesses that won the 2011 Green Globe Awards, three award-winners are from Issaquah — two people behind the Issaquah Zero Energy Village and Dr. Jessica Saepoff, a dentist with Natural Dental Health Associates in Issaquah.

County Executive Dow Constantine praised the finalists for their work toward helping “green” their communities.

“Award winners are leaders, innovators and are truly dedicated to making King County and the greater Puget Sound region such a tremendous place to live, work and play,” Constantine said in a news release. “I want to thank all of our winners for proving that commitment and dedication makes a positive difference in the community.”

Linda Hall, with the YWCA, and Brad Liljequist, with zHome Issaquah Zero Energy, both received the award for Community Leadership in Green Building.

Their projects, the YWCA Family Village at Issaquah and zHome, required years of planning, forethought and persistence on behalf of the YWCA and Issaquah to incorporate housing for Eastside working families.

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Issaquah’s innovative zHome community to open Sept. 14

May 3, 2011

NEW — 10:30 p.m. May 3, 2011

The opening date is Sept. 14 for zHome, a groundbreaking cluster of carbon-neutral townhouses under construction in the Issaquah Highlands, the project manager announced Tuesday morning.

Construction is scheduled to conclude earlier, but the additional weeks should allow crews enough time to prepare the units for public open houses. The grand opening is scheduled on the same day as the Built Green Conference, a yearly gathering for building industry professionals interested in eco-conscious practices.

Plans call for tours to run from the conference at Pickering Barn to zHome in the highlands. Brad Liljequist, zHome project manager, announced the grand opening date.

The project is designed to produce as much electricity as residents consume — hence the zero-net energy name — and is meant to be a leader in energy and water conservation.

Construction crews also used a high percentage of salvaged, reclaimed and local materials to build zHome.

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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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