King County requires life vests on major rivers

June 28, 2011

Summer is prime time for river recreation in King County, as people seek to beat the heat in boats, canoes, kayaks, inner tubes and more.

Just before summer started, King County Council members adopted legislation June 20 to require personal flotation devices on major King County rivers starting July 1. The life-vest requirement is due to expire Oct. 31.

The measure requires people to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device on portions of the Raging, Snoqualmie, Tolt, Cedar, Green, Skykomish and White rivers in unincorporated areas.

The initial infraction carries only a warning. However, subsequent violations carry $86 fines. Enforcement is the responsibility of the King County Sheriff’s Office.

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King County requires life vests on major rivers

June 20, 2011

NEW — 6 p.m. June 20, 2011

Summer starts Tuesday — and the season is prime time for river recreation, as people seek to beat the heat in boats, canoes, kayaks, inner tubes and more.

King County Council members adopted legislation Monday to require personal flotation devices on major King County rivers throughout the summer. The requirement is due to expire in October.

The measure requires people to wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device on portions of the Raging, Snoqualmie, Tolt, Cedar, Green, Skyhomish and White rivers in unincorporated areas.

The penalty is a warning for first-time violators; subsequent violators face $86 fines.

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Eastside Fire & Rescue backs life vest requirement

June 14, 2011

Eastside Fire & Rescue leaders offered support last week for a King County measure to require boaters and swimmers to wear life vests on major rivers.

The proposal calls for the King County Sheriff’s Office to enforce wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device on portions of the Raging, Snoqualmie, Tolt, Cedar, Green, Skyhomish and White rivers in unincorporated areas. For first-time violators, the penalty is a warning, but subsequent violators could face fines of up to $86.

If the council approves, the proposed ordinance is due to last through the summer recreation season until Oct. 31.

EFR Deputy Chief Jeff Griffin said the bill is designed to address higher-than-normal river levels. The agency’s service area encompasses large unincorporated areas, including Preston and much of the Snoqualmie Valley.

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Leaders aim to tackle elder abuse in King County

June 14, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. June 14, 2011

King County Council members proclaimed Wednesday as Elder Abuse Awareness Day to highlight efforts to safeguard society’s vulnerable adults and the work being done on a county level to assist abuse survivors.

The proclamation encourages residents to commit to building safer lives and a safe community for elderly residents.

The measure also highlights the public and private agencies working together to combat elder abuse, including the King County Prosecutor’s Office and the Domestic Abuse Women’s Network.

Data from the National Center on Elder Abuse shows the most common perpetrator of elder abuse is the victim’s spouse, family member or guardian.

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King County Council decides against sewer rate hike

June 13, 2011

NEW — 3 p.m. June 13, 2011

King County leaders decided against increasing sewer rates for 2012 in a unanimous decision Monday.

The rate remains stable at $36.10 per month for most residential customers. The county provides wastewater treatment to 17 cities, including Issaquah, and 17 local sewer utilities.

Officials use the funds raised through sewer rates for maintaining and operating the regional wastewater system in King County, South Snohomish County and a sliver of Pierce County.

The amount ratepayers see on bills depends local sewer utilities. The sewer rate is charged to Issaquah and 33 other cities, because King County conveys wastewater to the South Treatment Plant in Renton.

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King County could require life vests on rivers

June 4, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. June 4, 2011

King County Executive Dow Constantine, backed by public and health officials and organizations, has called for a summerlong requirement for life vests on major rivers in unincorporated areas.

The tumultuous winter flood season changed river channels and reoriented logs, creating a challenge for boaters and swimmers. The snowpack in some Cascade river basins is about 200 percent of normal. The substantial snowpack could mean higher-than-normal river flows well into the summer recreational season.

“This proposal will help save lives,” Constantine said in a statement. “River flows are unusually swift and cold this year due to a heavy mountain snowpack that is melting into King County rivers. Rivers are inherently dangerous places to play, but this year is bringing additional risks. The wearing of life jackets is as essential for swimmers and boaters as helmets for cyclists and seat belts for drivers.”

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King County Council protects Issaquah Creek salmon habitat

May 31, 2011

Critical salmon habitat in the Issaquah Creek Basin is protected for the next half-century — and possibly longer — due to a King County Council decision.

The council members approved a 50-year lease agreement May 16 for 30 acres along Holder Creek and near Carey Creek — tributaries of Issaquah Creek. The wedge-shaped property is along Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast, about a mile north of the state Route 18 interchange.

The legislation authorized County Executive Dow Constantine to lease the land from the state Department of Natural Resources at no cost.

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County sets $5 as maximum fee for recharging stations

May 31, 2011

The cost to plug in electric and hybrid vehicles at King County facilities is capped at $5, County Council members decided May 16.

The ordinance establishes a per-use fee, and directs the county Department of Transportation to set a fee of up to $5 per use. The proposed maximum fee is based on maintenance costs, vendor costs and electricity.

“The $5 cap fee approved today should give the economic viability of electric cars a real jolt,” council Vice Chairwoman Jane Hague said in a release. “‘Green’ vehicles are the future of transportation, and providing commuters with a variety of practical options is definitely a good thing.”

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County sets $5 as maximum fee for vehicle recharging stations

May 19, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. May 19, 2011

King County Council members set a $5 fee as the cap for motorists plugging in electric and hybrid vehicles for a charge at county recharging stations.

The ordinance adopted by the council Monday establishes a per-use fee, and directs the county Department of Transportation to set a fee up to $5 per use. The proposed maximum fee is based on maintenance costs, vendor costs and electricity.

“The $5 cap fee approved today should give the economic viability of electric cars a real jolt,” Vice Chairwoman Jane Hague said in a release. “‘Green’ vehicles are the future of transportation and providing commuters with a variety of practical options is definitely a good thing.”

Technological advances make electric vehicles — battery and plug-in hybrids — more economically feasible to own.

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King County Council protects Issaquah Creek habitat

May 16, 2011

NEW — 2:15 p.m. May 16, 2011

King County Council members approved a lease agreement Monday to protect sensitive salmon habitat in the Issaquah Creek basin.

The legislation authorizes County Executive Dow Constantine to sign a 50-year lease for state Department of Natural Resources-owned land along Holder Creek.

“This is a great example of working across jurisdiction boundaries to achieve the common goals of supporting salmon recovery and protecting water quality and open space,” Councilman Larry Phillips said in a release. “This is a win-win that ensures pristine salmon habitat will continue to support a healthy watershed in the Issaquah Creek basin.”

The land is considered by the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Plan as home to some of the best remaining habitat in the Lake Washington, Cedar River and Lake Sammamish watershed. The creek basin supports chinook, coho and kokanee salmon, plus steelhead trout.

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