Executive offers bold plan in State of the County address

March 1, 2011

King County Executive Dow Constantine reflected on milestones from 15 months in office and outlined a bold agenda for the months ahead in the State of County address Feb. 28.

The top elected official in the county offered a plan to shore up aging infrastructure and the social safety net amid drastic budget cuts. The address to County Council representatives and community members also emphasized regional partnerships.

Dow Constantine

“The choices we make will have a lasting and profound impact. As our parents and grandparents did, we too owe it to those who come after us to be responsible, thoughtful and smart,” Constantine said. “If we do our jobs right — building on the commitment to partnership and collaboration that have created the many successes of the past year — we can translate our internal reforms to external results.”

The executive delivered the speech at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, in part to highlight efforts to shore up the aging Howard Hanson Dam. The dam, upstream from Kent along the Green River, required local, county and federal agencies to join together to secure funds for long-term repairs.

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Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters tackle hot jobs

February 15, 2011

Capt. Steve Westlake with Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 71 walks toward an incident in downtown Issaquah, where a granddaughter checking in on an elderly woman in her home had found her deceased and called 911. By Greg Farrar

From adrenaline-charged emergencies to routine calls, firefighters share gritty details

Do you know if your co-workers snore? What about their eating preferences, or whether they prefer washing dishes to cooking?

“There are very few jobs where you know people’s sleep habits,” Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighter Pete Wilson said.

Firefighters are a tight bunch, and they know just about as much about each other as they do the areas they serve. They are viewed through a glamorous lens, with their heroics of saving people from fires and helping car accident victims — not to mention the steamy firefighter calendars published annually.

But the daily routines of firefighters are not always quite as dramatic. Aside from giving grade-school students tours of their stations, firefighters perform daily inspections on fire engines and study to renew their medical and rescue certificates.

Firefighters are held in the high esteem of many. Some people might have a beef with the police, but their firefighter brothers and sisters are usually excluded from public retaliation.

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Strong winds topple trees, force road closures

December 18, 2010

UPDATED — 9:25 a.m. Dec. 18, 2010

Strong winds downed trees and prompted road closures near Issaquah early Saturday morning.

Puget Sound Energy said the storm also knocked out power for more than 300 Issaquah customers.

The state Department of Transportation closed state Route 18 from Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast to Interstate 90 at about 1 a.m. Saturday. The section reopened just before 8 a.m.

Crews also closed a section of the eastbound interstate due to toppled trees on the roadway.

The high wind warning remains in effect until noon Saturday. National Weather Service forecasters in Seattle said residents should expect east winds of 30 to 40 mph and gusts up to 65 mph.

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Forecasters: Issaquah Creek has crested but risk continues

December 12, 2010

Heavy rainfall caused Issaquah Creek to rise and spill onto roads and into neighborhoods Sunday. By Shawn Clark

NEW — 5:30 p.m. Dec. 12, 2010

Forecasters said rain-gorged Issaquah Creek has appeared to have crested by late Sunday afternoon.

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Issaquah Creek swells as residents face floodwaters in neighborhoods and on roads

December 12, 2010

Issaquah Creek swells near a building along Northwest Gilman Boulevard as rain continues to fall Sunday. By Heather Blume

NEW — 2:30 p.m. Dec. 12, 2010

Forecasters expect heavy rainfall to continue through Sunday night.

The deluge has turned Issaquah Creek into a roiling broth the color of chocolate milk and led to flooding on roads and in Issaquah neighborhoods.

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Issaquah on ice: Snowstorm snarls traffic, prompts school closures

November 30, 2010

Ryder Marin, 9, of Issaquah, starts to spill after becoming airborne on the Issaquah Community Center hillside Nov. 23. ‘All the snow comes straight up in my face and I can’t see very well,’ he said. By Tim Pfarr

The nightmare occurred long before Christmas — and before Thanksgiving.

Issaquah and the Puget Sound region slid to a halt during a fall snowstorm Nov. 22. The storm snarled commutes for Issaquah residents and prompted road crews to toil through Thanksgiving to clear streets. The poor conditions interrupted the regional transit system and left riders huddled in bus shelters. The fallout sent shoppers scrambling to stores for emergency supplies and Thanksgiving staples.

The mercury dipped into the teens and 20s — record cold temperatures — in the days after the storm and turned roads icy.

“People were very understanding of the situation,” Issaquah Police Patrol Cmdr. Scott Behrbaum said. “I think a lot of people were just trying to get home Monday night.”

Some motorists abandoned vehicles and turned road shoulders along Highlands Drive Northeast, Newport Way Northwest and Southeast Black Nugget Road into impromptu parking lots. Police impounded more than 30 vehicles in travel lanes as conditions deteriorated Nov. 22.

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Report: Issaquah commuters spent less time in traffic last year

November 30, 2010

Issaquah commuters spent less time on the road to Bellevue and Seattle last year.

The typical morning commute between Issaquah and Seattle shrank to 21 minutes — a decline from 25 minutes in 2007. The morning commute from Seattle to Issaquah also dropped, from 20 to 18 minutes. The trip between Issaquah and Bellevue declined to 15 minutes from 17 minutes during the same period.

The state Department of Transportation said the decreases represent a broader trend. Evergreen State drivers spent less time in traffic last year.

The information is outlined in the annual congestion report produced by the Department of Transportation.

Planners attributed the change to the economic downturn and the completion of major congestion-relief highway projects. The result: fewer delays and shorter travel times on high-demand corridors. Read more

Report: Issaquah commuters spent less time in traffic last year

November 29, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 29, 2010

Issaquah commuters spent less time on the road to Bellevue and Seattle last year.

The typical morning commute between Issaquah and Seattle shrank to 21 minutes — a decline from 25 minutes in 2007. The morning commute from Seattle to Issaquah also dropped, from 20 to 18 minutes. The trip between Issaquah and Bellevue dropped to 15 minutes from 17 minutes during the same period.

The state Department of Transportation said the decreases represent a broader trend. Evergreen State drivers spent less time in traffic last year.

The information is outlined in the annual congestion report produced by the Department of Transportation. Read the complete report here.

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Issaquah Schools to release some students early Monday

November 22, 2010

NEW — 12:40 p.m. Nov. 22, 2010

With snow quickly accumulating and temperatures below freezing, Issaquah School District middle and high school students will be dismissed one hour early Monday.

District administrators made the call so bus drivers can safely deliver students home before embarking on their elementary school bus routes.

Families living on the following snow routes should receive auto-dial calls: Tiger Mountain, Mirrormont, High Valley, Licorice Fern, China Creek (Newcastle area),  132nd off of Issaquah Hobart Road,  55th Loop off Cougar Mountain, Roller Coaster, Southeast 60th Street on Cougar Mountain, Squak Mountain (downtown Issaquah) and Forest Drive off of Cougar Mountain.

The decision came not long after National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle issued a winter storm advisory Monday for much of Western Washington through Monday night.

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County seeks input on planned safety projects

October 26, 2010

King County plans to roll out safety projects on local roads next summer.

Planners hope to improve safety on several high-collision roads in rural areas, including Southeast May Valley Road and Southeast Preston-Fall City Road near Issaquah.

Though work is not scheduled to start until summer 2011, the county Road Services Division seeks feedback as engineers design the safety improvements. Read more

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