Superintendent recommends six-period schedule for Liberty High School

November 28, 2012

NEW — 9:15 p.m. Nov. 28, 2012

Superintendent Steve Rasmussen recommended Wednesday for Liberty High School to switch to a six-period schedule.

For nearly two decades, the school has used an eight-period block schedule where students take four 90-minute classes each day. However, in order to establish a common, districtwide high school schedule, and to give Liberty students more time to study core subjects, the Issaquah School District is considering changing Liberty’s timetable.

Rasmussen made his recommendation to the Issaquah School Board during a work study session. The main reason, he said, is because the existing block schedule gives Liberty students 127 hours per class each year, where Issaquah High School has 161 hours and Skyline High School has 165.

“What I am saying is: I don’t want lower standards for a group of our students. I don’t want them to be short-changed,” Rasmussen said.

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Crews gird for snow removal before flakes start to fall

November 27, 2012

The mercury dips a little lower as November turns to December, winter starts in mere weeks, and the agencies responsible for ensuring roads remain passable in ice and snow readied removal plans for the months ahead.

Issaquah, King County and the state prepare detailed ice and snow response plans long before the flakes start to fall. The agencies face challenges in Issaquah and the surrounding area due to steep terrain, narrow roads and limited funding.

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Holidays alter King County Metro Transit schedules

November 20, 2012

King County Metro Transit bus riders should prepare for reduced service in upcoming weeks.

The transit agency operates on a reduced weekday schedule on several holidays through January — including a full week of reduced service at the end of December. Thanksgiving and the day after the holiday include reduced bus service.

The planned reductions arrive during a slow period, as Metro Transit experiences a reduction in weekday riders — estimated to reach 15 percent or more systemwide.

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King County Metro Transit buses carry safety reminder for drivers

November 20, 2012

King County Metro Transit joined the state Department of Transportation, King County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol and other organizations Nov. 1 to remind motorists to move over or slow down in emergency zones.

Through the public safety campaign, buses bear posters to remind drivers to “Move Over or Slow Down,” because state law requires motorists to yield or move — or else. Under state law, motorists face a $248 fine for exceeding the speed limit in the 200 feet before and after a stopped emergency vehicle with its lights or siren engaged.

“The importance of drivers being attentive while approaching and traveling through emergency zones cannot be overstated,” Capt. Chris Gundermann, Washington State Patrol district commander, said in a statement.

King County Metro Transit holiday schedule starts on Veterans Day

November 9, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Nov. 9, 2012

King County Metro Transit bus riders should prepare for reduced service in upcoming weeks, starting Nov. 12, as the nation observes Veterans Day.

The transit agency operates on a reduced weekday schedule on several holidays through January — including a full week of reduced service at the end of December.

The planned reductions arrive during a slow period, as Metro Transit experiences a reduction in weekday riders — estimated to reach 15 percent or more systemwide.

The mass transit agency uses a Sunday schedule for several of the upcoming holidays. The reduced weekday schedule features more bus service than on weekends, but less service than on regular weekdays. Officials estimate the limited schedule saves Metro Transit about $1 million per year.

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King County Metro Transit offers tickets to homeless riders

October 23, 2012

King County Metro Transit is poised to offer more than 41,000 additional subsidized bus tickets to community service groups.

Officials said the human services bus ticket program offers critical support for homeless people by providing a means to get to jobs, medical appointments, shelters and other services.

Funding for the program came in a mass transit package approved last year by the King County Council. The package imposed a $20 vehicle-tab fee to forestall a 17-percent reduction to mass transit countywide.

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Next King County sheriff faces tough decisions to reform agency

October 16, 2012

The contest to lead the King County Sheriff’s Office could hinge on a series of audits into how the agency operates.

The sheriff oversees a budget of about $150 million and about 1,000 employees, and leads the largest local police organization in the state after the Seattle Police Department.

John Urquhart

Steve Strachan

The contentious race pits Sheriff Steve Strachan, a former Kent police chief, against John Urquhart, a former sheriff’s office sergeant and spokesman.

King County Council members appointed Strachan as sheriff in April, not long after former Sheriff Sue Rahr resigned to lead the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, or state police academy.

Though the election is to fill the Rahr’s unexpired term through 2013, the next sheriff faces a landmark effort to reform the agency in response to audits critical of policies put into place under Strachan’s predecessors.

Strachan, a SeaTac resident, served as a police chief and state legislator in Minnesota before accepting the Kent post in 2006. In the Minnesota Legislature, he helped pass legislation to reduce the blood-alcohol limit to 0.08 percent. Rahr tapped Strachan as the chief deputy, or No. 2 spot, at the sheriff’s office in early 2011.

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King County Metro Transit addresses crowding on Issaquah-bound route

October 16, 2012

King County Metro Transit is attempting to ease afternoon crowding on buses from downtown Seattle to the Issaquah Highlands by eliminating a Bellevue stop.

Starting Oct. 15, the transit agency cut a stop at the Eastgate Freeway Station to reduce crowding on the Issaquah-bound Route 218 buses. Metro Transit provides 15 trips on the route during the weekday afternoon commute.

Riders heading to the Eastgate Park & Ride in Bellevue can instead use alternate service on Second Avenue in downtown Seattle.

Metro Transit plans for weekday morning Route 218 buses to Seattle to continue to serve the westbound Eastgate Freeway Station.

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King County Metro Transit addresses crowding on Issaquah-bound route

October 8, 2012

NEW — 6 p.m. Oct. 8, 2012

King County Metro Transit is attempting to ease afternoon crowding on buses from downtown Seattle to the Issaquah Highlands by eliminating a Bellevue stop, starting Oct. 15.

The transit agency is cutting a stop at the Eastgate Freeway Station to reduce crowding on the Issaquah-bound Route 218 buses. Metro Transit provides 15 trips on the route during the weekday afternoon commute.

Riders heading to the Eastgate Park & Ride in Bellevue can instead use alternate service on Second Avenue in downtown Seattle.

Metro Transit plans for weekday morning Route 218 buses to Seattle to continue to serve the westbound Eastgate Freeway Station.

Meanwhile, afternoon riders headed to the Highlands from Eastgate can ride Metro Transit Route 211 or Sound Transit Express routes 554 and 556.

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King County Metro Transit offers discounted tickets to homeless people

September 24, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 24, 2012

King County Metro Transit is poised to offer more than 41,000 additional subsidized bus tickets to community service groups.

Officials said the human services bus ticket program offers critical support for homeless people by providing a means to get to jobs, medical appointments, shelters and other services.

Funding for the program came in a mass transit package approved last year by the King County Council. The funding for subsidized tickets augments the $1.8 million Metro Transit already contributes each year for discounted tickets.

The package approved by the council imposed a $20 vehicle-tab fee to forestall a 17-percent reduction to mass transit countywide.

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