Lawmakers to discuss dollars for schools at forum

January 15, 2013

The public can hear from top education and budget leaders in the Legislature about the funding challenges facing public schools Jan. 22 at a League of Education Voters forum.

Steve Litzow

Steve Litzow

Ross Hunter

Ross Hunter

The organization, a statewide education advocacy group, invited a Democrat, state Rep. Ross Hunter, and a Republican, state Sen. Steve Litzow, to discuss competing visions for education funding in Washington.

Residents can listen to the Eastside lawmakers — Litzow is a Mercer Island resident; Hunter hails from Medina — at the King County Library System Administration Building.

The incoming Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee chairman, Litzow, represents Issaquah and other communities in the 41st Legislative District, a suburban swath between lakes Washington and Sammamish.

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Substitute bus driver, a former teacher, arrested for child porn

May 15, 2012

Andrew Rekdahl

Issaquah School District and Eastside Catholic High School officials sought to reassure parents and students May 11 after federal agents arrested a substitute bus driver for the Issaquah district and former Eastside Catholic teacher for possession of child pornography.

Andrew Bernard Rekdahl, 29, faces child pornography charges after federal prosecutors said the Carnation resident shared explicit images and videos of boys online from his home computer.

Department of Homeland Security agents arrested Rekdahl at a school district facility May 10 after a monthslong sting operation.

Federal prosecutors charged him with one count each of possession and distribution of child pornography. If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison.

Rekdahl served as a substitute bus driver for more than a dozen routes throughout the school district between Nov. 14 and May 10 and as a science teacher at Eastside Catholic in Sammamish from 2005 to June 2010.

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King County Library System’s Internet policy is unchanged after court ruling

May 8, 2012

The use of software to filter Internet content for library patrons received support in a recent federal court ruling.

Officials at the King County Library System filter Internet content at public computers, although library patrons can have the filter deactivated. The library system uses a tiered system of filters to determine patrons’ access to Internet content.

In April, Eastern Washington Federal District Court Judge Edward F. Shea ruled the Wenatchee-based North Central Regional Library did not violate the First Amendment by installing Internet filtering software on computers for all library patrons.

Under a policy adopted in August 2003, the Issaquah-based library system provides access to the Internet on all public computers and uses Internet filtering software.

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Meet Issaquah’s board, commission appointees

May 1, 2012

City leaders appointed a group of civic-minded citizens to boards and commissions April 16.

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Grand Ridge Elementary’s Lightning Readers win county library contest

April 17, 2012

The Grand Ridge Elementary School Lightning Readers celebrate winning the King County Library System’s Global Reading Challenge on March 23. By Tom Corriga

They started in October, eight students setting out to read 10 books.

They spent plenty of their own time between the covers of those books, but toward the end of the challenge they gave up their recess and lunch times to stay in the classroom in order to read and answer questions about what they’d read.

“And all that paid off,” declared Grand Ridge Elementary School student Gargi Panatula.

The Issaquah School District has entered the King County Library System’s Global Reading Challenge for 11 years. Teams competitively answer questions about assigned books. Issaquah squads have made the finals previously. But the district has never won the championship. That changed March 23 when Grand Ridge’s Lightning Readers went the distance and beat out three other finalist teams to win the Grand Challenge.

“And I think we got smarter,” team member Emma Huryn said.

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Municipal League of King County honors local leaders, libraries

April 10, 2012

Efforts to help people find jobs, learn English and grow small businesses earned the Issaquah-based King County Library System a top honor from the Municipal League of King County.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization recognized the library system as Organization of the Year, and also honored King County Executive Dow Constantine and local state Sen. Steve Litzow in the 53rd Annual Civic Awards.

Each year, the Municipal League and the Municipal League Foundation present the honors to highlight people and organizations for significant contributions to the community. Organizers held a ceremony April 5 to honor the recipients.

Constantine received the James R. Ellis Regional Leadership Award for years of public service, efforts to bring a culture of performance to county government, completion of major projects and improved relationships among the county and other jurisdictions.

The award honors individuals and organizations for contributing significant leadership in tackling regional public policy issues.

Litzow, a freshman Republican from Mercer Island, and state Sen. Ed Murray, a veteran Seattle Democrat, shared the Warren G. Magnuson Award for bipartisan leadership to pass same-sex marriage legislation. (Litzow represents Issaquah neighborhoods in the 41st Legislative District.)

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Municipal League honors King County Library System, elected officials

April 3, 2012

NEW — 8 p.m. April 3, 2012

Efforts to help people find jobs, learn English and grow small businesses earned the Issaquah-based King County Library System a top honor from the Municipal League of King County.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization recognized the library system as Organization of the Year, and also honored King County Executive Dow Constantine and local state Sen. Steve Litzow, in the 53rd Annual Civic Awards.

Each year, the Municipal League and the Municipal League Foundation present the honors to highlight people and organizations for significant contributions to the community. Organizers plan a Thursday ceremony to honor the recipients.

Constantine earned the James R. Ellis Regional Leadership Award for years of public service, efforts to bring a culture of performance to county government, completion of major projects and improved relationships among the county and other jurisdictions.

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Let ‘The Hunger Games’ begin

March 20, 2012

 Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen in the film adaptation of the bestselling novel ‘The Hunger Games.’a By Murray Close/Lionsgate

Library hosts events to celebrate bestselling book series’ film debut

Imagine “The Hunger Games” is a mishmash of “Survivor” and “The X Factor” set in a “Lord of the Flies”-style arena.

The film based on the mega-popular novel debuts on the big screen March 23 and to celebrate, the bustling Issaquah Library is hosting a party and a discussion March 28. Organizers said participants can join activities inspired by the book — although nothing as dangerous as the titular games — and nab prizes inspired by the book and the film.

Other activities planned for the library party include flora and fauna identification stations — key skills for characters in the book and film.

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Backers promise big campaign for $219 million school bond

February 21, 2012

Issaquah City Council President Tola Marts addresses about 100 people gathered for the kickoff of the campaign promoting passage of an April 17 school bond. By Tom Corrigan

The coming push for passage of a proposed $219 million school bond issue that will appear on an April 17 ballot, may be the biggest campaign ever mounted in the name of the Issaquah School District, campaign co-chairwoman Lesley Austin said.

Austin is probably in a worthy position to make such a statement. A former Issaquah School Board member, she has worked on numerous bond and levy issues for the local schools. But Austin and others said the coming bond campaign is going to be different for a couple of reasons.

“It’s because it’s a bond and it’s a complex bond,” Austin said.

Speaking to a crowd of about 100 residents and officials — virtually all supporters of the bond — the campaign committee, Volunteers for Issaquah Schools, held a campaign kickoff Feb. 2 at the King County Library Resource Center on Newport Way Northwest.

With about $45,000 already in hand, the group hopes to raise $90,000 to help promote the bond issue, which would fund replacement of four schools, along with maintenance and refurbishing projects at other buildings in the district.

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City seeks applicants for municipal boards, commissions

February 7, 2012

City leaders need civic-minded citizens to offer advice on key issues as municipal board and commission members, even as officials remain undecided about just how many such groups Issaquah needs.

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