Rental service shut down for questionable practices

September 4, 2012

The state Attorney General’s Office said a rental property referral service agreed Aug. 30 to stop accepting fees from apartment seekers and provide refunds to customers.

In King County Superior Court, attorneys from the Consumer Protection Division filed a consent decree, or voluntary agreement, with Chad Hurn, owner of Seattle-based Northwest RentPad LLC — also known as Rentpad NW. The company included listings in Issaquah and other cities in the Greater Seattle area.

In signing the consent decree, Hurn is prohibited from directly or indirectly charging or accepting fees from consumers for any service related to providing rental housing, and must also pay $1,000 in attorney fees to the state.

Steele said Hurn charged consumers $350 for referral services and told them the fee was refundable. But customers said Rentpad NW often refused refund requests.

Issaquah burglary offers lesson in vigilance

August 14, 2012

The call from the Issaquah Police Department interrupted dinner at Pogacha for Fred and Mardi Nystrom, longtime residents in the Sycamore neighborhood south of downtown.

The officer on the line asked if the Nystroms expected any family members to leave their home through a bedroom window.

“I told him, ‘Not our family, man, we wouldn’t fit through that window,’” Fred Nystrom recalled Aug. 13.

They rushed home July 6 to discover their home had been burglarized. The thief shimmied into the home through a small bedroom window left open in the July heat, and stole jewelry, computers and family heirlooms.

“Most of what she stole from me were memories,” Fred Nystrom said.

Police later identified the suspect as Jackie Jean Johnston, 45, a SeaTac resident with a long rap sheet.

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Voters to decide dollars for juvenile justice center

July 17, 2012

King County voters could decide next month to increase the property tax rate in order to prepare the criminal justice system for the decades ahead.

The ballot measure Proposition 1 asks voters to approve a $200 million property tax levy to fund a replacement for the aging Youth Services Center, a juvenile detention facility in Seattle.

“We have a fairly good court system. We have a good prosecution office. We have good sheriff’s deputies. But this facility is the leak in the pipeline,” King County Councilman Reagan Dunn said in a July 13 interview. “For criminal justice to work effectively — especially with the increase in crime we’re seeing right now — all aspects of that pipeline need to be operating effectively.”

If the nine-year levy is passed, homeowners can expect to pay about 7 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or about $20 per year for a home assessed at $350,000 in 2013.

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Issaquah candidates receive boost in Municipal League rankings

July 2, 2012

NEW — 1 p.m. July 2, 2012

Issaquah candidates for the Legislature received top marks from the Municipal League of King County, as the nonpartisan organization ranked candidates a little more than a month before the Aug. 7 primary.

In the 5th Legislative District, state Senate candidate Mark Mullet and state House of Representatives candidate Chad Magendanz impressed Muni League evaluators.

Mullet, a Democrat and Issaquah City Council member, earned a very good rating from the group. The league ranked Mullet’s GOP opponent, Snoqualmie businessman Brad Toft, as good.

Magendanz, a Republican and Issaquah School Board member, received a coveted outstanding rating from the Muni League.

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Man facing heroin homicide charge to appear in court

June 26, 2012

Adam F. Pepka, a man accused of selling a fatal dose of heroin to a 19-year-old Issaquah High School graduate, is due in King County Superior Court for a hearing June 27.

No trial date has been set in the case.

Prosecutors said Pepka sold the heroin Zachary Lyter injected May 3, 2011. Investigators said Lyter later died from a heroin overdose. Lyter’s father discovered the former Issaquah High football player dead at the Bellevue home they shared the next day.

The suspected dealer faces a charge for controlled substances homicide, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine. Under state law, a controlled substances homicide is treated similar to manslaughter.

In order to convict Pepka, prosecutors must prove he sold the fatal dose of heroin to Lyter. Investigators said Pepka continued to sell heroin after learning about Lyter’s death from a 17-year-old girl.

Pepka pleaded not guilty to the charge in August.

Homes sought for neglected dogs seized from Issaquah home

June 12, 2012

Local shelters need to find homes for Chihuahuas seized from a filthy home in Issaquah last year, officials at the organizations announced June 8, days after the dog owner convicted in the case pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges.

Regional Animal Services of King County and foster families started caring for the dogs in October, after animal control and King County Sheriff’s Office investigators discovered 62 dogs in a raid on a home in the 5900 block of 189th Avenue Southeast on Cougar Mountain, about a mile south of Cougar Mountain Zoo.

Prosecutors said Issaquah resident Margaret Ann Hamilton, 70, hoarded more than 100 dogs at homes in Issaquah and Burien. Police discovered 38 more dogs at a Burien home owned by Hamilton’s brother-in-law.

Veterinarians later euthanized 14 ill animals — 13 dogs from the Burien home and one dog from the Issaquah home.

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Issaquah dog breeder faces cruelty charges in court June 5

May 29, 2012

A dog breeder accused of hoarding 62 small dogs at a Cougar Mountain home is due in court next month to face animal cruelty charges.

Prosecutors said Issaquah resident Margaret Ann Hamilton, 70, hoarded more than 100 dogs at homes in Issaquah and Burien.

Police said Hamilton and her since-deceased husband kept the animals at a home in the 5900 block of 189th Avenue Southeast on Cougar Mountain, about a mile south of Cougar Mountain Zoo.

Hamilton is due in King County Superior Court for arraignment June 5 on two counts of second-degree animal cruelty, a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Prosecutors initially scheduled the hearing for May 17.

Investigators, alongside Burien and Regional Animal Services of King County animal control officers, raided the Issaquah and Burien homes last year after receiving a tip from Pasado’s Safe Haven, a nonprofit animal rescue organization in Seattle.

Police discovered 38 more dogs at a Burien home owned by Hamilton’s brother-in-law.

Veterinarians later euthanized 14 ill animals — 13 dogs from the Burien home and one dog from the Issaquah home.

Issaquah dog breeder faces cruelty charges for hoarding animals

May 15, 2012

The empty kennels outside a rundown Issaquah house and the sound of dogs barking from inside alerted animal rescue advocates to possible trouble.

Days later, in early October, King County Sheriff’s Office investigators raided the house and discovered 62 Chihuahuas and Japanese Chins confined in filthy carriers.

On May 3, King County prosecutors filed animal-cruelty charges against the homeowner, a dog breeder and a past judge for the American Kennel Club, a prestigious registry of purebred dogs. Prosecutors said Issaquah resident Margaret Ann Hamilton, 70, hoarded more than 100 dogs at homes in Issaquah and Burien.

Detective John K. Pavlovich said Hamilton and her since-deceased husband hoarded the animals at a home in the 5900 block of 189th Avenue Southeast on Cougar Mountain, about a mile south of Cougar Mountain Zoo.

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Proposed $200 million property tax levy clears hurdle

April 5, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. April 5, 2012

The proposed $200 million property tax levy to raise funds for a juvenile detention center cleared a King County Council committee Tuesday — a key step to sending the measure to voters.

Budget and Fiscal Management Committee gave a “do-pass” recommendation to a measure to fund a replacement for the aging Youth Services Center, a juvenile detention facility in Seattle. The legislation heads to the full council for final consideration. The council must act by the end of April to place a measure on the Aug. 7 primary ballot.

Led by Councilman Bob Ferguson, council members proposed the nine-year levy. If the levy is placed on the ballot and passed, homeowners should pay about 7 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or about $20 per year for a home assessed at $350,000.

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King County to host forum on proposed property tax levy

April 3, 2012

Residents can learn more about a proposed $200 million property tax levy at a King County Council forum April 5.

In March, county leaders proposed the levy to fund a replacement for the aging Youth Services Center, a juvenile detention facility in Seattle.

The forum runs from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Wyckoff Auditorium at Seattle University, 900 Broadway.

Residents can hear from the council members supporting the initiative and other speakers.

Led by Councilman Bob Ferguson, council members proposed to put a measure on the August ballot for a nine-year levy. If the levy is placed on the ballot and passed, homeowners should pay about 7 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or about $20 per year for a home assessed at $350,000.

Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, the Issaquah representative on the board, joined Ferguson and councilmen Larry Gossett and Joe McDermott to introduce the legislation.

County Executive Dow Constantine and King County Superior Court judges also support the proposed levy.

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