April 1, 2014
As King County residents vote whether to fund Metro Transit on April 22, city leaders are considering what to do with Route 200.
Issaquah pays a yearly subsidy to the county in order to keep the bus free of charge. But the city-centric route has been offered for the chopping block for years as Metro has faced increased expenditures. In response, the city has begun to survey residents who would most likely use the bus to try and get a clearer sense of its community impact.
City Economic Development Manager Andrea Lehner said the information would prove valuable for the city as well as the county.
March 25, 2014
Issaquah will raise its development permitting fees April 1 for the first time since 2006.
Passed by the City Council at its Dec. 16 meeting, the increase comes after reviewing the current economic state of the city and comparing costs to develop in Issaquah with neighboring cities.
“The fees were changed to ensure Issaquah fully recovers its costs to review permits, offer our customers more flat rates, less itemized fees [and] be more consistent with fees charged in neighboring cities,” according to the city’s website.
One of the reasons for the gap since the last change in fees was the 2008 recession and the fear that higher fees might hamper new development.
March 25, 2014
NEW — 4:30 p.m. March 25, 2014
After considering the options and residents’ opinions from two public meetings, the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for the Issaquah Skate Park recommended the construction of a new skate park in Tibbetts Valley Park during the regular Park Board meeting March 24.
The Park Board agreed and passed its recommendation to Mayor Fred Butler.
“This recommended site at Tibbetts Valley Park is an open grassy area, near the Park & Ride parking lot,” Parks & Recreation Department Director Anne McGill wrote in an email. “It has nothing on the site at this point, except grass, and it would not displace any other park amenity.”
March 21, 2014
NEW — 3:55 p.m. March 21, 2014
Mayor Fred Butler announced his appointment of Cmdr. Scott Behrbaum as the new chief of Issaquah police March 21.
With more than 18 years of service to the Issaquah Police Department, Behrbaum has served as a patrol commander for the past six.
He has also worked as a patrol sergeant, crime prevention officer, narcotics officer and as the agency’s first school resource officer at Issaquah High School.
If the City Council confirms the appointment, Behrbaum replaces Chief Paul Ayers, who will retire April 15.
March 18, 2014
After 39 years in law enforcement — seven in Issaquah — Chief Paul Ayers is ready to take it easy.
Though it started out as a ride-along after serving his tours of duty in Vietnam, police work became a decorated career for Ayers almost four decades ago. He will serve his last day April 15.
“Literally, my first day riding along was a huge eye-opener for me,” Ayers said. “What people know about law enforcement is what they read in the paper and what they see on TV. When you’re at street level and see those things happen, it really makes you realize this job is a lot more.”
March 18, 2014
After two public meetings, the Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department has narrowed the number of possible sites for a new skate park.
“It’s down to four that we’re considering now,” Parks & Recreation Manager Brian Berntsen said.
The locations are Veterans’ Memorial Field, Gibson Park, Central Park and Tibbetts Valley Park, near the Issaquah Transit Center.
March 11, 2014
Open letter to the Issaquah City Council:
The vote is over and the residents of Klahanie and surrounding neighborhoods have said no to annexation to Issaquah. My neighbors and I voted no, not because we wanted to stay unincorporated, but because we would like to pursue Sammamish as an option. In order for that to happen, and to have the opportunity to belong to a city, I am asking for your help.
When Mayor Fred Butler and Councilman Joe Forkner were campaigning last fall, both said that they would support removing Klahanie from Issaquah’s Potential Annexation Area if the citizens rejected Issaquah annexation.
Please remember your words last fall, Mr. Butler, and please support our area in finding a home with your neighbor to the north. Time is of the essence! I would further request you not delay this process with considerations of dividing up the Klahanie PAA, which would only lead to difficulties for both cities when it comes to providing services and road improvements.
March 7, 2014
NEW — 6 p.m. March 7, 2014
February 25, 2014
Issaquah Mayor Fred Butler vowed to maintain momentum in his first State of the City speech.
Given during the Feb. 18 regular City Council meeting, the speech laid out what Butler hopes to achieve in the first year of his inaugural term.
“A community is made up of many elements,” he said. “We are blessed with an outstanding school district, an active and professional chamber of commerce, students who are involved, first-class medical facilities and a City Council dedication to regional involvement.”
February 25, 2014
Death penalty overdue for reconsideration
More than five years ago, this newspaper called for the state Legislature to revisit the value of Washington’s death penalty. Last month, Gov. Jay Inslee opened the door to begin the overdue conversation by implementing a death-penalty moratorium while he is the state’s elected CEO.
At first glance, it may seem unimportant. Washington state has had only five executions in the past 50 years.
But consider that there are nine men currently on death row in Washington prisons. Consider that taxpayers pay for the prosecution, for the public defenders and for the court system. Those cases are under appeal and the appeals will go forward. Inslee’s mandate does not do away with capital punishment, it just removes the killings from happening on his watch.