Fred Butler launches campaign for Issaquah mayor

January 17, 2013

NEW — 6 p.m. Jan. 17, 2013

Fred Butler, a City Council stalwart for 13 years and a voice in important debates about the future of Issaquah, entered the race for mayor Thursday.

Fred Butler

Fred Butler

The contest could hinge on the vision for the decades ahead, as city leaders seek to position Issaquah for redevelopment and attract more jobs to the community.

Butler, 72, served on the council at major junctures in recent history, as members debated the defunct Southeast Bypass road link, how to preserve forested Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain, and late last year, a 30-year redevelopment blueprint called the Central Issaquah Plan.

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City receives clean audit from state

January 15, 2013

State auditors gave Issaquah officials solid marks in a routine accountability audit released Nov. 27.

Auditors examined municipal finances for 2011 and focused on primarily on billing, payroll, payments, procurement and public meeting minutes.

Per standard procedure, a team from the state Auditor’s Office did not examine every transaction, activity or area. Instead, auditors scrutinized fields representing the highest risk of noncompliance, misappropriation or misuse.

The audit team determined the city has adequate internal controls in place to safeguard public assets. The city also complied with state laws and regulations, as well as internal rules.

Mark Mullet reflects on City Council term

January 8, 2013

Mark Mullet claimed a historic first in January 2010.

Mark Mullet

The entrepreneur and former banking executive ran unopposed for a City Council seat in 2009 and won election as the first Issaquah Highlands resident to serve on the council.

The highlands added thousands of residents as construction escalated in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but the neighborhoods existed for more than a decade before a resident achieved citywide elected office.

In the years Mullet served on the council, members hired City Administrator Bob Harrison, oversaw a major staff reorganization at City Hall, approved a long-term redevelopment plan for the business district, inked development agreements with Lakeside Industries and Rowley Properties, and approved a retail plastic bag ban.

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City Council seeks to fill vacancy left after Mark Mullet’s resignation

December 31, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. Dec. 31, 2012

From the moment Mark Mullet declared victory in a state Senate race last month, other City Council members started planning for the process to fill Mullet’s seat on the dais once the Democrat departs for Olympia.

Mark Mullet

Now, as Mullet prepares to resign Jan. 8 to prepare for the legislative session, council members put out a call for applicants for the soon-to-open seat.

The city is accepting applications until Jan. 16. The council plans to interview applicants Jan. 22 and, after interviews, 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 council is scheduled to vote on the appointment Jan. 29.

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Prepare for Issaquah Community Center, pool closures

December 26, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 26, 2012

Prepare for closures at the Issaquah Community Center and the Julius Boehm Pool for the New Year’s holiday.

The community center is due to close for maintenance from Dec. 31 to Jan. 1. Then, the center reopens for regular hours Jan. 2.

Meanwhile, the pool is scheduled to close at 3:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve and reopen at 6:30 a.m. Jan. 2.

In addition to the community center and pool, officials plan to close City Hall from Dec. 31 to Jan. 1, and then reopen Jan. 2. Issaquah Municipal Court is open New Year’s Eve and then closed New Year’s Day.

Issaquah Community Center, Julius Boehm Pool close for maintenance

December 11, 2012

Prepare for closures at the Issaquah Community Center and the Julius Boehm Pool for maintenance and the holidays.

The community center is due to close for maintenance from Dec. 19-22. Then, the center closes for Christmas from Dec. 24-25 and reopens to the public Dec. 26.

Meanwhile, the pool is scheduled to close from Dec. 24-25 for Christmas and reopen at 6:30 a.m. Dec. 26.

In addition to the community center and pool, officials plan to close City Hall and Issaquah Municipal Court from Dec. 24-25 for Christmas.

Issaquah drop box buzzes as voters return ballots, shatter records

November 13, 2012

Cathy Gulezian, of Maple Valley (left), watches sons Brady, 2, and Dylan, 4, place ballots for her and husband Ken in a ballot drop box attended by King County Elections workers Michele Phelps and Jon Gentry at Issaquah City Hall on Nov. 6. By Greg Farrar

The ballot drop box outside Issaquah City Hall transformed into a nucleus of activity as Election Day stretched into night, and voters raced to deposit ballots before the 8 p.m. deadline.

King County Elections staffers, dressed in aprons the same shade as traffic cones, directed voters to the secure box. The elections office opened the box last month and, as the ballot deadline approached and after post offices closed, more and more ballot-toting voters arrived.

“Unlike during tax season, the post office does not stay open longer hours for voting,” Lynne Miller, a King County Elections spokeswoman, said just before 7 p.m. Nov. 6.

Elections staffers used atomic clocks to determine the precise 8 p.m. deadline at ballot drop box sites countywide.

King County Elections forecast 87 percent turnout countywide — a hike from the 84 percent record set in 2008. (The county relied on a combination of mail ballots and polling sites in the last presidential election.)

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King County voters return ballots, shatter records

November 6, 2012

Cathy Gulezian, of Maple Valley (left), watches sons Brady, 2, and Dylan, 4, place ballots for her and husband Ken in a ballot drop box attended by King County Elections workers Michele Phelps and Jon Gentry at Issaquah City Hall. By Greg Farrar

NEW — 7 p.m. Nov. 6, 2012

The ballot drop box outside Issaquah City Hall transformed into a nucleus of activity as Election Day stretched into night, and voters raced to deposit ballots before the 8 p.m. deadline.

King County Elections staffers, dressed in aprons the same shade as traffic cones, directed voters to the secure box. The elections office opened the box last month and, as the ballot deadline approached and after post offices closed, more and more ballot-toting voters arrived.

“Unlike during tax season, the post office does not stay open longer hours for voting,” said Lynne Miller, a King County Elections spokeswoman.

Staffers plan to use atomic clocks to determine the precise 8 p.m. deadline at ballot drop box sites countywide. If a line forms for a drop box, voters in line at 8 p.m., can still submit ballots.

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Issaquah’s Veterans Day ceremony honors locals’ service

November 6, 2012

Due to its growing popularity, the service that the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3436 hosts honoring local services members will be in a new location this year.

David Waggoner, of the Issaquah VFW, figures the Issaquah Valley Senior Center will be large enough to house the 60 to 70 expected attendees. All residents are invited, regardless of whether they’ve served in the military.

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King County to include 520,000 ballots in initial tally

November 6, 2012

NEW — 5:30 p.m. Nov. 6, 2012

King County Elections officials said the initial tally released at about 8:15 p.m. Tuesday should include at least 520,000 ballots.

In the all-mail election, voters can return ballots to designated drop boxes by 8 p.m. The elections office opened a drop box at Issaquah City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way.

Otherwise, ballots must receive a Nov. 6 postmark.

The initial release from King County Elections is the only update for Tuesday.

The elections office plans to release the next round of results by 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, and then on subsequent weekdays until the election is certified Nov. 27. Voters can resolve ballot signature issues until Nov. 26.

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