EFR Chief Lee Soptich receives Fire Chief of the Year Award

June 12, 2012

Eastside Fire & Rescue Fire Chief Lee A. Soptich has received the prestigious Chief Dan Packer – Fire Chief of the Year Award.

Soptich, who was nominated by agency members and surrounding department fire chiefs, received the award at the annual Washington Fire Chiefs banquet May 24.

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Republicans gather for grassroots caucuses

March 6, 2012

Mitt Romney emerges as top choice among local participants

Republicans clustered at community halls and elementary schools in Issaquah and nearby communities March 3, as a long presidential nominating contest offered local caucusgoers a chance to shape the national contest.

Issaquah caucusgoers headed to Discovery and Issaquah Valley elementary schools, and Colin Hall at Providence Point, to support the GOP candidates vying to face President Barack Obama in November.

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Local Republicans gather for caucuses amid strong turnout

March 3, 2012

Terry LaBrue, a precinct committee officer and Issaquah political consultant, announces results for the Brookshire precinct Saturday at Discovery Elementary School. By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 3:15 p.m. March 3, 2012

Republicans clustered at community halls and elementary schools in Issaquah and nearby communities Saturday, as a long presidential nominating contest offered local caucusgoers a chance to shape the national contest.

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Governor appoints Issaquah High School alumna, former county executive to WSU board

January 17, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire appointed Issaquah High School graduate Ryan Durkan, a Seattle attorney, and former King County Executive Ron Sims to the Washington State University Board of Regents, Gregoire announced Dec. 14.

The board acts as the university’s governing body. Regents supervise, coordinate, manage and regulate the WSU system.

Durkan, a WSU alumna, is a respected attorney at HCMP Law Offices specializing in real estate, land use and environmental law. (Ryan Durkan’s sister is Jenny Durkan, U.S. attorney for Western Washington.)

“Ryan has proven she’s passionate about the importance of education — serving on the board of trustees for an elementary school, a middle school and a high school,” Gregoire said in a statement. “Her experience improving our education system, combined with her legal background and her commitment to community, make her a natural fit.”

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King County executive highlights accomplishments at term’s halfway point

December 27, 2011

Dow Constantine

County Executive Dow Constantine reached the midpoint in a four-year term as King County’s leader Dec. 21.

In the days before the milestone, Constantine highlighted accomplishments in the job thus far — including efforts to rein in spending through negotiations between the county and labor groups, reducing employee health care costs and adopting a performance-based management program modeled on a system at Toyota.

“The common theme of many of our accomplishments is partnership — finding a way for people to work together who maybe didn’t work so well together before,” he said in a statement released Dec. 19.

Constantine entered office in late November 2009 and outlined a bold plan to remake county government.

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King County executive highlights accomplishments at term’s halfway point

December 20, 2011

NEW — 3:45 p.m. Dec. 20, 2011

County Executive Dow Constantine is due to reach the midpoint in a four-year term as King County’s leader Wednesday.

Dow Constantine

In the days before the milestone, Constantine highlighted accomplishments in the job thus far — including efforts to rein in spending through negotiations between the county and labor groups, reducing employee health care costs and adopting a performance-based management program modeled on a program at Toyota.

“The common theme of many of our accomplishments is partnership — finding a way for people to work together who maybe didn’t work so well together before,” he said in a statement released Monday.

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Governor appoints Issaquah High School graduate, former county executive to WSU board

December 14, 2011

NEW — 2:15 p.m. Dec. 14, 2011

Gov. Chris Gregoire appointed Issaquah High School graduate Ryan Durkan, a Seattle attorney, and former King County Executive Ron Sims to the Washington State University Board of Regents, Gregoire announced Wednesday.

The board acts as the university’s governing body. Regents supervise, coordinate, manage and regulate the WSU system.

Durkan, a WSU alumna, is a respected attorney at HCMP Law Offices specializing in real estate, land use and environmental law. (Ryan Durkan’s sister is Jenny Durkan, U.S. attorney for Western Washington.)

“Ryan has proven she’s passionate about the importance of education — serving on the board of trustees for an elementary school, a middle school and a high school,” Gregoire said in a statement. “Her experience improving our education system, combined with her legal background and her commitment to community, make her a natural fit.”

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Mountains to Sound Greenway comes of age

July 26, 2011

Leaders nurture Interstate 90 greenbelt, acre by acre, year by year

Ken Konigsmark (left), a longtime Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust board member, and founding president Jim Ellis stand near North Bend on Rattlesnake Mountain in 2000 . By Greg Farrar

Like the matter-of-fact name suggests, the Mountains to Sound Greenway starts amid the souvenir shops and seafood restaurants at the Seattle waterfront, unfurls along Interstate 90, encompassing cities and forests, and continues on, across the Cascades.

Issaquah, situated on the route, is not quite at the center, but the city is central in the long effort to create a greenbelt along the major roadway.

The idea for a conservation corridor along the interstate germinated in Issaquah more than 20 years ago. Issaquah Alps Trails Club members spearheaded a 1990 march from Snoqualmie Pass to Puget Sound to attract attention to the proposed greenbelt — a sort of Central Park for Western Washington.

The disparate citizen, conservation, corporate and government interests behind the proposal coalesced to form the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust in 1991. Supporters marched from Ellensburg to Seattle in early July to celebrate the 20-year milestone.

“The original vision was, what can we agree on to preserve what’s important to everyone along this corridor?” retired Issaquah City Administrator Leon Kos said.

The corridor stretches for 100 miles, connects 1.4 million acres — or a landmass about 15 times larger than Seattle — and includes more than 800,000 acres in public ownership.

The conservation is enmeshed in cooperation.

The organization is built to foster dialogue among divergent groups. Seattle civic leader Jim Ellis, founding president of the greenway trust, called on rivals to sit down at the same table to create the conservation corridor. So, representatives on the 58-member board include the Sierra Club and Weyerhaeuser Co.

Kos, a longtime greenway supporter and board member, said the Issaquah Alps Trail Club assumed a fundamental role early on.

“The community group that was really very instrumental was the Issaquah Alps Trails Club,” he said.

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Meet the finalists for law enforcement oversight post

May 30, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. May 30, 2011

The search committee appointed to select candidates to direct King County’s new Office of Law Enforcement Oversight is holding a public hearing so residents can meet the potential candidates as the committee interviews finalists.

The hearing is 6 p.m. Thursday in the County Council Chambers, 10th Floor, King County Courthouse, 516 Third Ave., Seattle. Or, watch the meeting live on King County TV, Channel 22 on Comcast and Broadstripe.

The county established the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight to ensure the integrity of the King County Sheriff’s Office complaint and investigation process, including the resolution of complaints. The independent agency is part of the legislative branch of county government.

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County sets $5 as maximum fee for vehicle recharging stations

May 19, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. May 19, 2011

King County Council members set a $5 fee as the cap for motorists plugging in electric and hybrid vehicles for a charge at county recharging stations.

The ordinance adopted by the council Monday establishes a per-use fee, and directs the county Department of Transportation to set a fee up to $5 per use. The proposed maximum fee is based on maintenance costs, vendor costs and electricity.

“The $5 cap fee approved today should give the economic viability of electric cars a real jolt,” Vice Chairwoman Jane Hague said in a release. “‘Green’ vehicles are the future of transportation and providing commuters with a variety of practical options is definitely a good thing.”

Technological advances make electric vehicles — battery and plug-in hybrids — more economically feasible to own.

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