January 24, 2012
In the initial test for a landmark medical marijuana ordinance enacted last month, a patient-run collective at the center of discussions about changes to city rules applied for licenses to operate.
The application from the nonprofit medical marijuana operation, GreenLink Collective, came after planners, officials and residents crafted a medical marijuana ordinance designed to balance public safety concerns and patients’ access to the drug.
GreenLink organizers applied to occupy units E, F and G in a commercial building at 160 N.W. Gilman Blvd. The organization does not intend to grow marijuana in the space. GreenLink founders Jake and Lydia George applied for the license on behalf of the organization Dec. 19, the day the ordinance took effect.
January 17, 2012
“We were really trying to get people to look at the waste stream differently,” said Mary Joe de Beck, resource conservation coordinator for the city of Issaquah.
In November, for national America Recycles Day, the city used a small King County grant to bring the idea of reduce, reuse and recycle to the front lines of five schools in the Issaquah School District.
Those five schools house some 2,650 students and spent several weeks gearing up for America Recycles Day on Nov. 15.
January 3, 2012
In the 1960s, Ginny Luedeman sang as a member of Morning Glory — a rock band sharing a bill alongside Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead and The Rolling Stones.
“I got into drugs and was trying to find some ideas that would help me,” she said.
The compass she sought turned out to be the Church of Christ, Scientist — a church founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879. Luedeman, now a spiritual healer and public speaker, plans to share insight about weathering tough times at a series of upcoming Issaquah talks.
The opening discussion is scheduled for the church hosting the Tent City 4 homeless encampment. Camp residents plan to attend the event at Community Church of Issaquah.
December 6, 2011
Diane Holt named a distinguished principal of the year
“If somebody does something spectacular for your children, you’re never going to be more grateful,” said Trisha Neill, a PTSA officer and parent of a young student at Issaquah Valley Elementary School.
Neill is one of apparently a lot of parents ready and willing to sing the praises of Issaquah Valley Principal Diane Holt.
October 11, 2011
On a City Council often united in 7-0 decisions, Joshua Schaer is the occasional outlier.
The councilman opposed a hike in cable rates, a redo along Newport Way Northwest and proposed changes to the same street near Issaquah Valley Elementary School. The opposition earned Schaer a grudging respect from council members — and a reputation for outspokenness.
“I’m not trying to be contrarian, and I’m not trying to be difficult, but you can’t have 7-0 votes on every issue,” he said.
Now, as a candidate for a second term on the council, Schaer highlights the no votes just as much as accomplishments.
The councilman, 33, spearheaded a food-packaging ordinance to require restaurateurs and other food sellers to use compostable and recycle takeout containers and utensils.
The legislation is a signature issue as Schaer heads from door to door to greet potential supporters. Newcomer TJ Filley is the other candidate in the race for the Position 4 seat.
“I can’t take credit for the original idea, because it started in a lot of cities. Portland has been doing it for 20 years. Cities in California have been doing it for many years. Seattle was really the model that I looked at,” Schaer said. “If it can work in Seattle with the size of that city, then certainly it can work in Issaquah, where we are leaders in environmental preservation and sustainability. To be the first city on the Eastside to do this, I think, is a tremendous accomplishment.”
The measure caused some heartburn among business leaders, and the rollout continues to face difficulties almost a year after the ordinance took effect. Still, Schaer said the ordinance is a milestone for a city focused on sustainability.
October 11, 2011
Complex school bond will challenge voters
The Issaquah School Board has postponed the vote for a school bond from February until April, at the request of the campaign committee. It was the right decision. It will take every minute from now until April to convince voters that this $219 million bond should be approved — or not.
Heading the list of controversies will be the $82 million to rebuild Clark Elementary and Issaquah Middle schools so the two student populations can then switch places. At the same time, Tiger Mountain Community High School, home to about 100 students, will also be relocated — another $3.9 million.
October 4, 2011
Construction could start on a long-planned park along Issaquah Creek, North Issaquah landowners and the city could partner to tackle transportation problems, and police could step up traffic enforcement if the City Council approves the 2012 municipal budget Mayor Ava Frisinger unveiled Oct. 3.
Frisinger offered a $32 million general fund budget — dollars used to fund police and fire services, community development and planning, parks and recreation, and municipal government.
The proposal is not as austere as the budgets Frisinger proposed in recent years. The council adopted a $30.4 million general fund budget in 2011. The increase stems in part from increased debt payments on council-issued bonds for city construction projects.
The proposal does not call for a property tax or rate increases. The council last raised the property tax rate in 2007. Under state law, council members could increase the rate 1 percent per year.
Frisinger’s announcement launched at least a month of deliberations between council members and city staffers to craft a complete budget. The council is required to adopt the budget before Dec. 31.
September 27, 2011
Thanks to the great weather during last year’s celebration, the Kiwanis Club of Issaquah sold 2,500 pounds of salmon in the course of the city’s annual Salmon Days Festival event.
The community service club even ran out at about 3 p.m. the second day of the festival, according to incoming Kiwanis President Glenn Hall, who is running the group’s booth at this year’s Salmon Days.
Hall said all that fish translates to volunteers having served up about 2,200 dinners at the 2010 Kiwanis booth. Complete with coleslaw and a drink, over the years, the dinners have helped the Kiwanis raise an average of about $17,000 annually.
Hall said he believes the local Kiwanis have offered dinners every year since the inception of Salmon Days. Kiwanis organizers hope the weather this year again will be of the sunny, dry variety and they have upped their usual Salmon Day fish order to 2,500 pounds.
In past years, the Kiwanis ordered 2,000 pounds of fish and then bought more on Saturday depending on sales. The fish is grilled over alder.
September 27, 2011
As Issaquah School District students headed back to class Aug. 30, state education officials were releasing the first results of a newly required math test.
The state also put out final numbers on which schools were able, or not able, to meet annual improvement goals set out by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Last spring, Washington students in algebra and geometry classes took a state test immediately at the end of their course work. The system is known as “end of course,” or “EOC” testing. It replaced the standardized math test students formerly took near the end of the school year.
August 23, 2011
Inch by inch, row by row, students are planting lettuce, herbs and broccoli in their school gardens.
This fall, teachers are transforming gardens into outdoor classrooms as students pick up trowels and learn about drip irrigation systems.
Dozens of schools incorporate gardening into their curriculum or have gardening clubs, including Apollo, Cascade Ridge, Challenger, Clark, Creekside, Discovery, Endeavour, Grand Ridge, Issaquah Valley, Maple Hills and Sunny Hills elementary schools; Issaquah and Pine Lake middle schools; and Liberty and Tiger Mountain Community high schools.
“I think the outdoors is just a natural place that kids want to be,” Sunny Hills fourth-grade teacher Jane Ulrich said.