Some late-season cyanobacteria in Lake Washington is toxic to people, can be fatal to dogs

January 16, 2015

NEW — 12:09 p.m. Jan. 16, 2015

Generally mild weather this fall has extended the algae-growing season on lakes across King County. Toxic cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) are currently blooming along some shorelines on Lake Washington.

The King County Environmental Laboratory found concentrations above the state recreational guideline that are potentially dangerous for human health, according to a news release from Public Health — Seattle & King County.

“Scums” or accumulation of toxic algae were found at Arrowhead Point in Kenmore, Mercer Island, Magnuson Park and Gene Coulon Park in Renton, but they may be found in other areas because the blooms float and are moved easily by the wind.

Advice for people and dogs:

People and dogs should not swim, wade or play in the lake if blue-green algae or scum are present. Dog owners should not allow their dogs to have any contact with the water if there is an algae bloom or scum nearby. If a dog has contact with an algae bloom, do not let it lick its fur; rinse the dog with clean water and then rinse your hands and any exposed skin.

Warning signs: Read more

Off The Press — A list of thankful things cures a crazy world

December 9, 2014

Since this week’s column is in that sweet spot halfway between Thanksgiving and Christmas, here is something your friendly photographer has never written before — a quick list of the things in life that I am thankful for.

Greg Farrar Press photographer

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

Sure, it could be a list of problems and gripes, but maybe in this cattywampus world we need to exercise our thankful muscles a bit!

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Employees swim across Lake Washington for charity

September 24, 2013

Employees of Issaquah-based Gevers Wealth Management recently completed the Puget Sound Blood Center Swim for Life, a swim across Lake Washington.

The team included owner Willy Gevers, and employees Jake Walin and Caleb Walin.

“It was a long swim, and I was really looking forward to a big breakfast by the end,” Jake said.

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Issaquah Salmon Hatchery spawns chinook, coho

November 6, 2012

FISH docent Grace Reamer holds a handful of chinook salmon eggs for students at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery on Oct. 30. By Greg Farrar

Issaquah Salmon Hatchery workers and volunteers sloshed around in 40-degree water Oct. 30, as the annual effort to spawn coho salmon started again.

Teams from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery plan to collect 1.2 million coho eggs. The process to spawn coho started about a month after hatchery workers and volunteers started spawning chinook. In the resulting effort, teams collected 2.2 million eggs.

FISH Executive Director Jane Kuechle and John Kugen, hatchery foreman, said the partnership between the nonprofit organization and the state agency is essential for the survival of Issaquah Creek salmon — and the hatchery.

The hatchery, a fixture in downtown Issaquah for 75 years, spawns and raises coho and chinook.

State fisheries experts expected a more robust chinook salmon return but a smaller coho salmon return to Puget Sound streams in 2012.

“It comes and goes,” Kugen said. “The best one that we had that I can remember was 2001, when we had 18,000 coho and then a couple years ago we had 13,000. Coho come back in bigger numbers because they’re released as bigger smolts. They’re about 7 or 8 inches long, so there’s less predation on them than chinook.”

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Gubernatorial hopefuls support hatcheries, parks

October 23, 2012

Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna clashed in a recent series of debates, but the candidates vying to serve as Washington’s next governor share similar positions on local issues, such as support for the state parks system.

Jay Inslee

Rob McKenna

The race at the state level is focused on the candidates’ policies on education and transportation — hot topics on the docket as Inslee and McKenna met in recent weeks.

The Issaquah Press asked the candidates about funding for state parks, salmon restoration and growth management — key concerns in Issaquah and the surrounding area.

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Issaquah High School swimmer crosses Lake Washington for charity

September 4, 2012

Gabrielle Gevers, of Issaquah, recently completed the PSBC Swim for Life, a swim across Lake Washington.

The annual event attracts adventure athletes who are daring and fit enough to brave a 2 ½-mile paddle through the icy, dark waters of Lake Washington, and who are also raising money to help in the fight against leukemia and other life threatening diseases that require blood donations. The Swim for Life is a fundraiser for the Puget Sound Blood Center.

“It was the longest distance I have ever swum,” Gevers said. “I am a sprinter, so 2 ½ miles is really something for me. My dad and I swam it together, and my mom and brother Gentry kayaked with us as my support team.

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Rough waters continue for Miss Red Dot

August 7, 2012

Miss Red Dot racing in Heat 2B of the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup in the Tri-Cities. By David Cormier

Issaquah driver is out of Seafair after crash

It was just your typical 190 mph morning stroll along the waters of the Columbia River when Miss Red Dot driver Kip Brown took the ride of his life.

“We had a steering failure,” he said. “At that point, it went into a pretty violent hook and I was just along for the ride.”

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City Council renews animal control contract

July 3, 2012

King County remains the provider of animal control services in Issaquah under a contract approved by the City Council.

The current provider, Regional Animal Services of King County, changed the formula for how cities pay for the agency. Under the old agreement, cities paid equal amounts based on population and the number of calls, but the updated agreement ditches the 50-50 agreement for a method based more on number of calls in a particular city.

The contract amounts to about $60,000 per year for Issaquah. The agreement is in place through December 2015.

“We think they made it a little more fair,” city Parks & Recreation Director Anne McGill said.

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King County Flood Control District preserves dollars for salmon projects

June 19, 2012

Issaquah salmon-restoration projects could garner grant dollars after all, even though a lawsuit threatened to cut off funds for conservation projects countywide.

King County Flood Control District leaders decided to fund salmon-recovery projects after the King Conservation District stopped doling out grants amid a legal challenge.

Flood Control District officials approved $3 million May 14 for projects to improve water quality, protect and restore habitat, and support salmon recovery efforts. King County Council members sit as the executive board for the Flood Control District.

The decision is meant to plug a gap left after the King Conservation District halted a separate process to issue salmon-recovery grants. Read more

King County reminds boaters to avoid lake buoys

May 8, 2012

King County officials reminded boaters to avoid environmental monitoring buoys in lakes Sammamish and Washington after a Lake Washington buoy sustained damage.

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