City, state join forces to improve Lake Sammamish State Park

July 3, 2012

Issaquah and the state parks agency have agreed to coordinate efforts to create a better future for cash-strapped Lake Sammamish State Park.

Hugo Valdivieso, a worker for Lake Sammamish State Park, mows the shoulder of Northwest Sammamish Road in front of the park main entrance May 12. By Greg Farrar

The city could someday shoulder some responsibilities to maintain the state park, but the initial agreement between Issaquah and the Washington Parks and Recreation Commission is light on specifics.

The pact approved by the City Council in a unanimous decision June 18 calls for the city and state parks agency to “explore opportunities to improve community use” of park facilities, seek out funding to improve the park and dedicate staffers to develop recommendations for the park.

The agreement, or memorandum of understanding, is in effect through June 2013. The council decision did not allocate any funding to the park project.

“I’m delighted to see this partnership that we’ve had with Lake Sammamish State Park over the years continue in a more formal way,” Councilman Fred Butler said before the decision.

The effort, spearheaded by councilwomen Eileen Barber and Stacy Goodman, stemmed from a 2011 council retreat to set goals for 2012.

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City Council renews animal control contract

July 3, 2012

King County remains the provider of animal control services in Issaquah under a contract approved by the City Council.

The current provider, Regional Animal Services of King County, changed the formula for how cities pay for the agency. Under the old agreement, cities paid equal amounts based on population and the number of calls, but the updated agreement ditches the 50-50 agreement for a method based more on number of calls in a particular city.

The contract amounts to about $60,000 per year for Issaquah. The agreement is in place through December 2015.

“We think they made it a little more fair,” city Parks & Recreation Director Anne McGill said.

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Cloverdayle to perform at first Concerts on the Green

July 3, 2012

Get out your dancing boots when the modern country duo Cloverdayle hits the stage for the second week of the Concerts on the Green series July 10 at the Issaquah Community Center.

Bring a blanket to the community center lawn and enjoy a picnic meal starting at 6 p.m. before the live music kicks off at 7 and goes until 8:30 p.m. Coming early is usually a good idea to stake out your spot, as the concerts usually attract up to 500 revelers.

Cloverdayle, featuring the married duo of Chad and Rachel Hamar, out of Bend, Ore., will perform songs from their just completed first album, “9 Miles Down a 10 Miles Road.” Hear their first single, “Like We Were Kids Again,” at

The concert series, now in its 15th year, is at 301 Rainier Blvd. and presented by Issaquah’s Parks & Recreation Department and the Issaquah Arts Commission, in collaboration with the Kiwanis Club of Issaquah. Kiwanis will also sell refreshments during the show, including hot dogs and hamburgers.

Be sure not to miss the next psychedelic show July 17, featuring Echoe’s, a Pink Floyd tribute band.

As always, the concerts are free, but donations will be accepted.

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How to survive summer vacation

June 28, 2012

The summer months have arrived.

School is out, the anticipation of summer weather is almost too much to bear, and now you’re ready to head outdoors and enjoy it.

But wait! Before you head out the door, there are summer hazards to be aware of and ways to make sure you stay safe.

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Concerts on the Green series features ‘upbeat’ performers

June 26, 2012

Arts Commission production returns for 15th season

A lawn full of dancers and picnickers sat the Issaquah Community Center enjoys a band performance during a Concerts on the Green series. By Greg Farrar

The Penguins will kick-off the new season by playing a Vegas-style show. The concerts run from 7-8:30 p.m. every Tuesday until Aug. 28. The grounds open at 6 p.m. for picnicking and early seating.

David Harris, volunteer producer for the series, said the most popular type of music is anything upbeat.

“It’s a professionally run show,” Harris said. “I try and make it like a mini-major concert” so people who can’t afford a big concert ticket can attend and have the same experience.

A variety of music is planned this year including: country, Latin and salsa, funk, rock, swing, Celtic violin and a Pink Floyd tribute band. All bands scheduled are from the Pacific Northwest.

If you go

Concerts on the Green

All shows are from 7-8:30 p.m. on the Issaquah Community Center lawn, 301 Rainier Blvd. S.

  • July 3 — The Penguins
  • July 10 — Cloverdayle
  • July 17 — Echoe’s
  • July 24 — Cambalache
  • July 31 — Seatown Rhythm and Blues
  • Aug. 7 — Black Velvet 4
  • Aug. 14 — 85th Street Big Band
  • Aug. 21 — Geoffrey Castle
  • Aug. 28 — Magic Bus

“I can’t imagine there isn’t something for everyone,” Harris said.

He said the typical concert brings about 500 viewers.

“I put it under the term community building. It’s really a community event,” he said. “It helps bring people together.”

The series, in it’s 15th year, is at 301 Rainier Blvd. S. and presented by Issaquah’s Parks & Recreation and the Issaquah Arts Commission, in collaboration with the Kiwanis Club of Issaquah.

The Kiwanis Club helped find all the sponsors for each concert and also sells hot dogs and hamburgers at the shows. The money made goes directly back into the community, Harris said.

Katie Larsen: 392-6434, ext. 236, or Comment at

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Fireworks proposal fizzles as City Council aims for 2013 display

April 24, 2012

Independence Day revelers eager to see the rockets’ red glare in the Issaquah sky must wait at least another year, after City Council members decided against funding a holiday fireworks display.

Councilman Mark Mullet, owner of Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop and Zeeks Pizza in the Issaquah Highlands, offered to fund a July 3 fireworks display at Tibbetts Valley Park. The proposal fizzled April 16 after other council members raised questions about budget, calendar and space limitations.

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Construction to start on downtown Issaquah parks

April 17, 2012

Timeline remains uncertain due to lack of funding

The downtown parks along Issaquah Creek — 15.5 acres referred to as the crown jewel in the municipal parks system — can soon start a long transformation into undulating paths, picnic areas and more.

In a March 19 decision, City Council members approved the overarching design outline, or master site plan, for the interconnected Tollë Anderson, Cybil-Madeline and Issaquah Creek parks. The action laid the groundwork for construction to start on the site by late summer, though the effort to complete the parks could stretch for years.

City parks planners still need to acquire municipal permits for the initial construction phase. Meanwhile, architects at The Berger Partnership, a Seattle firm, continue to fine-tune the design for the parks.

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Issaquah voters could decide parks funds in November

April 17, 2012

Issaquah voters could decide as early as November on a multimillion dollar package to fund expansions and upgrades to city parks.

The proposed park bond could generate dollars to add amenities to existing parks, create additional parkland and purchase undeveloped land for conservation. The package could infuse funds into the parks system as lean municipal budgets limit the number of projects the city can undertake.

The municipal Parks & Recreation Department is in the initial stage to prepare for such a bond package, although the timeline is not yet firm. The decision to put a bond measure on the ballot is left to the City Council.

The city is considering offers from firms to conduct a public opinion survey to gauge residents’ interest in parks amenities. The survey should reach residents by late spring or early summer.

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King County could outlaw smoking in public park areas

April 17, 2012

King County could join almost 600 local governments across the United States in creating no-smoking zones in county parks.

Legislation before the County Council aims to prohibit tobacco use in parks’ busiest areas, such as athletics fields, picnic shelters, playgrounds and trailheads.

The proposal calls for voluntary compliance, so, just like littering, failing to keep a dog on a leash or using alcohol in a park, enforcement occurs only if a problem is reported. Officials plan to use a federal grant to pay for signs denoting tobacco-free areas.

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Issaquah is a Tree City USA for the 19th year

April 17, 2012

The state Department of Natural Resources recognized Issaquah and 82 other Washington cities April 10 for efforts to protect and expand urban forests.

Issaquah is a 19-year Tree City USA. The honor from the Arbor Day Foundation is bestowed on cities dedicated to urban forestry. Washington celebrated Arbor Day on April 11.

The city is required to observe Arbor Day in order continue as a Tree City USA. Officials must also designate staff to care for trees, appoint a citizen tree board to advocate for community forestry, establish a tree ordinance and spend at least $2 per capita on tree care.

In Issaquah, the municipal Park Board handles tree-related issues.

The city Parks & Recreation Department is holding a community tree planting from 11 a.m. to noon April 21 at the Pickering Trail entrance, near 1730 10th Ave. N.W. Participants should check in from 9-11 a.m. at a community information booth near the trail entrance.

Organizers collected more than 150 trees for participants to plant.

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