Artist Michele Rushworth paints Gov. Chris Gregoire’s official portrait

February 5, 2013

Michele Rushworth (right) holds then-Gov. Chris Gregoire’s shoulder as a workman hangs the governor’s official portrait Jan. 11 at the state Capitol. By Weldon Wilson/Washington State Patrol

Michele Rushworth (right) holds then-Gov. Chris Gregoire’s shoulder as a workman hangs the governor’s official portrait Jan. 11 at the state Capitol. By Weldon Wilson/Washington State Patrol

The scene as a workman climbed atop a desk to hang the official portrait of Gov. Chris Gregoire in the Capitol seemed surreal to the outgoing executive.

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Ex-legislator Glenn Anderson applies for Port of Seattle seat

February 5, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 5, 2013

Former state Rep. Glenn Anderson is among 29 applicants for a vacancy on the Port of Seattle Commission — a group of officials responsible for overseeing the Port of Seattle and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Glenn Anderson

Glenn Anderson

The ex-legislator and Issaquah Republican is invited to address the commission, or submit a statement, Tuesday. The commission is interviewing applicants for a seat left open after former Commissioner Gael Tarleton resigned Jan. 31 to serve in the state House of Representatives.

The commission is allowed 90 days to appoint Tarleton’s successor under state law.

“We are pleased with both the number and quality of the commission applicants,” commission President Tom Albro said in a statement released Monday. “We are looking forward to hearing from each of these candidates tomorrow afternoon.”

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Legislators’ priorities reflect education, transportation needs

January 15, 2013

Lawmakers confronted a familiar scenario as the Legislature convened Jan. 14 — a budget shortfall, opposing pressures to preserve essential services and rein in government spending, and a court mandate to spend more money on education.

Mark Mullet

Mark Mullet

Chad Magendanz

Chad Magendanz

Observers expect education and transportation to rank as the dominant issues in the 105-day session. The state faces a $900 million budget shortfall for 2013-15 and, in the meantime, faces a court order to increase education funding by 2018.

In addition to the statewide issues on legislators’ docket, a lobbyist hired by city leaders to represent Issaquah is in search of support for local projects, including dollars to upgrade transportation infrastructure and Lake Sammamish State Park.

Issaquah is also focused on securing state dollars for a transportation improvement district in North Issaquah near Costco headquarters and high-traffic retail centers.

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Gov. Chris Gregoire unveils official portrait by local artist

January 15, 2013

NEW — 8 a.m. Jan. 15, 2013

Outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire unveiled her official portrait — a 44-inch by 30-inch piece by a local artist — Jan. 11, days before she hands the reigns to Gov.-elect Jay Inslee.

Joined by family and friends at the state Capitol in Olympia, Gregoire unveiled the portrait by Michele Rushworth, a Sammamish artist known for creating portraits of leaders in government, academia, business and sports.

“To have my portrait displayed among our state’s past governors is a tremendous honor,” Gregoire said in a statement. “If only my Mom could have been here to see this today. Here I am, the daughter of a short order cook from Auburn, and the first in my family to go to college. And now my portrait will be hanging in the office of the governor of Washington, alongside those who came before. I am truly humbled.”

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King County issues more than 1,000 marriage licenses

January 1, 2013

King County marked a milestone just after noon Dec. 17 by issuing the 1,000th and 1,001st marriage licenses since the state legalized same-sex marriage Dec. 6.

Officials expect demand to remain high for at least the next several months, even after handing out a record 489 marriage licenses the day the law went into effect. The daily volume of marriage license applications at the King County Recorder’s Office is double compared to a normal December.

“December is typically our slowest month for marriage licenses, but due to the new marriage equality law, that’s not been the case this month,” Recording Manager Jon Scherer said in a statement.

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Leaders call for 8-cent gas tax hike to fund ailing roads

January 1, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 1, 2013

King County leaders asked state legislators for a gas tax increase and for the ability for counties to collect a vehicle tab fee for road maintenance.

In a letter to lawmakers last month, Eastside elected leaders joined King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn asked legislators to raise the gas tax by 8 cents to fund ailing roads.

The proposal offered from Constantine, McGinn and the Sound Cities Association calls for 65 percent of gas tax revenue to go to the state and 35 percent to go to local transportation projects.

(Issaquah a member city in the Sound Cities Association, a regional advocacy group once called the Suburban Cities Association.)

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Issaquah milestones from 2012 reflect challenges, changes

December 25, 2012

Backhoes from Santana Trucking & Excavating dig June 26 at the southeast corner of the intersection of Northeast High Street and Highlands Drive Northeast, as construction starts on the Issaquah Highlands retail center. By Greg Farrar

Challenges — whether economic, political or social — defined the year.

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Governor asks for moment of silence to remember Connecticut victims

December 20, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Dec. 20, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire asked Washingtonians to observe a moment of silence at 9:30 a.m. Friday to remember the people killed in the massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy issued a proclamation declaring Friday as a day of mourning throughout Connecticut. In solidarity with the people of Connecticut, and recognizing the deaths of 20 children and six educators as a national tragedy, Gregoire responded to the request and asked residents to spend a moment in quiet reflection.

“We are all heartbroken by this senseless violence,” Gregoire said in a statement. “Mike and I often think of those parents who will never again hug their first-graders. The courageous acts of the staff at Sandy Hook were truly selfless and heroic. The people of Newtown will long be in our prayers.”

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Electoral College casts Washington’s 12 votes for president, vice president

December 17, 2012

NEW — 10 p.m. Dec. 17, 2012

Washington’s Electoral College cast the state’s 12 votes for president and vice president Monday for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Each state is afforded the same number of electors equal to the number of senators and representatives a state has in Congress. Washington possesses 12 electoral votes, one from each congressional district and two at-large electors. Democrats chose the electors from the state’s 10 congressional districts at caucuses in May, and chose the at-large electors at the state Democratic Party convention in June.

Obama and Biden received 56.16 percent of votes in Washington. Republican Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan pulled in 41.29 percent statewide.

The dozen Electoral College members voted in the State Reception Room at the Legislative Building in Olympia.

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King County issues more than 1,000 marriage licenses in December

December 17, 2012

NEW — 10 p.m. Dec. 17, 2012

King County marked a milestone just after noon Monday by issuing the 1,000th and 1,001st marriage licenses since the state legalized same-sex marriage Dec. 6.

Officials expect demand to remain high for at least the next several months, even after handing out a record 489 marriage licenses the day the law went into effect. The daily volume of marriage license applications at the King County Recorder’s Office is double compared to a normal December.

“December is typically our slowest month for marriage licenses, but due to the new marriage equality law, that’s not been the case this month,” Recording Manager Jon Scherer said in a statement. “Our volume of business this December has been more like a typical July, when we can issue as many as 2,000 marriage licenses.”

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