Education opportunities grow in student gardens

August 23, 2011

Sunny Hills Elementary School first-grader Digant Dash (left) plants flower bulbs in the school’s first-grade garden with fourth-graders Derek Chao and Spencer Bernsten. By Jane Ulrich

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.

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King County Parks seeks fan to serve as judge for camping contest

August 10, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 10, 2011

King County Parks needs a fan to help judge a quirky camping contest.

County parks managers selected a team of boldface names to choose the winning design in the “Little Footprint, Big Forest” competition — a contest to create a camping shelter from a 20-foot-long shipping container — but they need one more judge.

In order to enter the drawing to be a judge, people must like King County Parks on Facebook and leave a post on the wall naming their favorite camping cuisine. The entry deadline is 4:30 p.m. Aug. 22.

The deadline to submit a design for the “Little Footprint, Big Forest” competition is also Aug. 22. The selected designer receives $4,500 and a chance to see his or her work become part of King County Parks’ award-winning system of parks and open space.

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County plans major upgrade at destination for Issaquah trash

August 9, 2011

Before garbage from Issaquah reaches the landfill, but after trash departs from the curb, haulers transport the refuse to a transfer station.

The midpoint destination for local garbage is planned to receive a major makeover in the years ahead. In the meantime, the King County Solid Waste Division is reaching out to customers and residents to explain how the project could impact garbage collection.

Residents can attend a meeting at a Bellevue church Aug. 17 to learn more about the $77 million project. The meeting comes as the Solid Waste Division is preparing to submit permit applications to Bellevue.

Trash from Issaquah is hauled to the Factoria Transfer Station before crews prep the garbage for shipment to the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill. The transfer station is outdated and does not meet the same standards as a modern facility designed to handle recycling.

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Issaquah businesses, government honored, ranked as top recyclers

July 12, 2011

Reusing office supplies at City Hall, recycling at local schools and businesses’ efforts to cut waste landed Issaquah officials and entrepreneurs on King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list July 1.

The county Solid Waste Division recognized 89 organizations in the annual awards. In Issaquah, the honorees include established “green” organizations and a newcomer, Outsource Marketing.

Each organization boasts exceptional recycling programs and a commitment to reducing waste. Issaquah municipal government and the Issaquah School District made the list. So did Pogacha, Rowley Properties and Timber Ridge at Talus.

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King County eyes garbage rate increase

July 5, 2011

Issaquah and King County residents could pay more — less than $1 per month in most cases — for garbage collection soon.

The proposed one-year rate increase is meant to raise funds to modernize the aging solid waste system. The proposal calls for county Solid Waste Division disposal rates to rise from $95 to $108 per ton, or about 76 cents per month for the average residential customer putting out a single can for collection for all customers outside of Seattle and Milton.

Under the proposal, the fee applies to companies picking up and hauling trash to county transfer stations. The additional cost to the companies is likely to be passed on to customers.

“Our solid waste facilities were largely built in the 1960s, and they were never designed to handle the nearly 1 million tons of garbage we now process,” Solid Waste Division Director Kevin Kiernan said in a statement. “This one-year rate proposal keeps fees as low as reasonable, while covering the cost of providing the service and the capital improvements that our customers need and expect.”

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County honors landfill for pollution prevention

July 5, 2011

King County environmental officials honored the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill for spotless wastewater discharge records last year.

The landfill and five companies earned Commitment-to-Compliance Awards for meeting discharge permit standards every month for five consecutive years and recording no violations of any kind. The county announced the awards April 27.

Since 1969, the Industrial Waste Program has required many companies to pretreat wastewater before discharging the material into the sewer. Besides regulatory enforcement, the program serves as a resource for businesses by supporting permit compliance efforts and educating entrepreneurs about pollution prevention, waste reduction and water conservation.

In addition, the Industrial Waste Program presented a Gold Award to 45 companies for meeting wastewater discharge regulations every month last year, and 18 companies earned a Silver Award for having no King County monitoring discharge violations last year.

The landfill — on 920 acres in unincorporated King County between Issaquah and Maple Valley — also received kudos from the Industrial Waste Program on May 5. The county Solid Waste Division operates the landfill.

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Issaquah businesses, government honored for recycling

July 5, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. July 5, 2011

Reusing office supplies at City Hall, recycling at local schools and business’ efforts to cut waste landed Issaquah officials and entrepreneurs on King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list July 1.

The county Solid Waste Division recognized 89 organizations in the annual awards. In Issaquah, the honorees include established “green” organizations and a newcomer, Outsource Marketing.

Each organization boasts exceptional recycling programs a commitment to reducing waste. Issaquah municipal government and the Issaquah School District made the list. So did Pogacha, Rowley Properties and Timber Ridge at Talus.

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County proposes yearlong trash rate hike to modernize system

June 8, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. June 8, 2011

King County residents could pay more for garbage collection under a proposal to increase the disposal rate for one year in order to raise funds to modernize the county’s aging solid waste system.

The proposal calls for county Solid Waste Division disposal rates to rise from $95 to $108 per ton, or about 76 cents per month for the average residential customer putting out a single can for collection for all customers outside of Seattle and Milton. The proposed hike is the second rate increase in the last 12 years for the Solid Waste Division.

“Our solid waste facilities were largely built in the 1960s, and they were never designed to handle the nearly 1 million tons of garbage we now process,” Solid Waste Division director Kevin Kiernan said in a statement. “This one-year rate proposal keeps fees as low as reasonable, while covering the cost of providing the service and the capital improvements that our customers need and expect.”

Under the proposal, companies, such as Allied Waste and Waste Management, picking up garbage at the curb and hauling trash to county transfer stations would pay the fee. The additional cost is likely to be passed on to customers.

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Guest Column

May 24, 2011

Spring Cleaning Week helps residents clear out the clutter

Winning the war against clutter can be tremendously satisfying. That may be why a whole industry has developed around fighting clutter.

You can see it on Oprah, and you can ooh and ah at the worst cases on shows like “Hoarders.” You can even pay an organization coach to get your clutter under control — if you’re willing to pay up to $50 an hour.

But you can also just take a few easy steps on your own. Because cutting clutter means reducing waste, the King County “Recycle More. It’s Easy to Do.” program designated May 9-13 as Spring Cleaning Week. You can find lots of resources at www.kingcounty.gov/recyclemore, but here are a few to get you going.

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Issaquah community’s ‘green’ achievers observe Earth Day

April 19, 2011

Earth Day is observed April 22, but some Issaquah-area residents celebrate the eco-conscious holiday year-round.

As people elsewhere take initial steps to “green” vehicles, volunteer for earth-friendly activities, reduce carbon footprints and make homes and gardens more earth-friendly, the Issaquah community includes avid recyclers, car-free families and “green” homeowners.

Issaquah resident Kent Peterson, who traded his car for a bike more than 20 years ago, leads a procession of well-wishers as he departs last year for Banff, Alberta, the starting line for the 2,745 mile Tour Divide race. By Greg Farrar

Recycling to superstar status

Wayne Elson started recycling cans and bottles more than 30 years ago — long before recycling became as simple as a trip to the curb.

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