Guest column — Slow down, support business growth and connect to economic plan

November 4, 2014

As a part of the proposed 2015 city of Issaquah budget, municipal leaders have proposed major changes to the cost of doing business in Issaquah — some welcome changes and some troublesome — involving the city’s business and occupation (or B&O) tax, a tax on total gross (not net) income.

The first change is a welcome and very much common-sense improvement to the B&O exemption, raising it four-fold to help the smallest local enterprises while also streamlining collection.

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Council approves annual appointments to city boards and commissions

May 27, 2014

Last year’s mayoral candidate Joe Forkner will go back to work for the city, joining 43 others appointed to various Issaquah governing bodies.

The City Council unanimously approved Mayor Fred Butler’s recommendations to appoint or reappoint a host of residents to most of the city’s 17 boards and commissions during its regular meeting April 21.

The annual appointments fill the vacancies expiring April 30. Most regular members serve four-year terms, while alternate members serve two-year terms.

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Issaquah innovators earn business honor

January 29, 2013

Innovation in Issaquah is exemplified by a leading apparel manufacturer, a revolutionary process to transform garbage into fertilizer and a theater renowned for fostering Broadway-bound musicals.

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce and city leaders announced the Innovation in Issaquah honorees — apparel manufacturer SanMar, WISErg, a manufacturer of garbage-to-fertilizer harvesters, and the nonprofit Village Theatre — at a Jan. 24 ceremony and luncheon.

Leaders from the chamber and City Hall recognized the entrepreneurs’ accomplishments through the Innovation in Issaquah contest, a showcase for local businesses offering unique services. Honorees demonstrate innovation in product development, services, systems or strategies.

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City OKs buildings up to 125 feet tall in business district

December 25, 2012

Redevelopment plan calls for more than 7,000 residences

City leaders raised the building height limit to 125 feet in the business district and raised the stakes for redevelopment in the decades ahead.

The roadmap to redevelopment — a document called the Central Issaquah Plan — also creates a framework to add more than 7,000 residences on about 1,000 acres stretched along Interstate 90.

In a series of decisions reached Dec. 17 after years spent re-envisioning the business district, a relieved City Council adopted the Central Issaquah Plan, but delayed action on a key piece until at least April.

“It’s the right plan at the right time,” Councilman Fred Butler said. “It will not happen overnight, but when the time is right, we will be ready.”

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Central Issaquah Plan proposes shift from suburban to urban in business district

December 11, 2012

Issaquah, circa 2040, could sport a skyline.

The central business district is on the cusp of change, as city leaders plan for redevelopment on about 1,000 acres stretched along Interstate 90.

Nowadays, suburban sprawl dominates the landscape — traffic-clogged streets unfurl next to strip malls. Residents live elsewhere and climb into cars to reach the area’s amenities. Underfoot, 75 percent of land in the area is encased under parking lots.

Imagine, instead, buildings up to 125 feet tall, storefronts and residences arranged along tree-lined sidewalks, and perhaps decades in the future, a station on the regional rail network.

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Issaquah Chamber of Commerce hosts technology SMACKDOWN

September 11, 2012

As a part of the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce’s “Business University” program, Technology SMACKDOWN will provide local community members and business owners with quick tips, tools and apps to help with all aspects of business operations.

“Four technology experts will offer up their top technology apps that you must know about,” said Matt Bott, chamber CEO. “These tools are free or low-cost ways to improve your productivity, your marketing and your businesses’ bottom line. Plus, they are just pretty darn cool apps to know about in the marketplace.”

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Who’s News

August 28, 2012

Timber Ridge at Talus receives Excellence in Innovation award

Celebrating receiving Timber Ridge at Talus’s Excellence in Innovation award are (from left) Bik Cheema, Jo Hollis and Scott Doherty. Contributed

Timber Ridge at Talus was recently honored during the King County Healthcare Coalition Forum held at Seattle City Hall for its creative fire and earthquake survival training videos for staff and residents of nursing and retirement communities.

Timber Ridge at Talus received the Excellence In Innovation award for producing a three-part DVD training series and facilitator toolkit with the help of Eastside Fire & Rescue and Fire Station 72 with scripting, filming and producing.

The videos provide general safety guidelines and scenarios: Drop, Cover, and Hold techniques, fire extinguisher demonstrations and defend-in-place strategies. In Timber Ridge’s training delivery, personnel from EFR added realism by using a smoke machine to imitate a fire in a health center room as staff members demonstrated correct procedures during emergency situations.

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Businesses react to Issaquah plastic bag ban

July 31, 2012

Local business leaders raised concerns about shoppers bypassing Issaquah after a retail plastic bag ban for retailers of 7,500 square feet or more goes into effect March 1, 2013.

The measure does not go into effect for smaller businesses until March 1, 2014.

In addition to limiting most plastic bags, the legislation requires retail stores to collect 5 cents for each paper bag provided to customers. The fee is meant to help offset the changeover cost as retailers eliminate plastic bags.

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce leaders urged consumers to continue shopping in Issaquah.

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Issaquah hosts forum to focus on employment

June 12, 2012

Citizens can join state legislators and business leaders soon at a local forum to discuss the dearth of young adult employment in Washington.

The employment rate is only 43 percent for young adults age 16 to 24 in Washington — the ninth-lowest in the United States, according to government labor statistics. Community Forums Network is hosting forums and promoting a survey to collect feedback on how to fix the problem.

The local forum is hosted by the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce, Issaquah History Museums and Community Forums Network.

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Issaquah business, government leaders welcome U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert

June 4, 2012

NEW — 3:30 p.m. June 4, 2012

Issaquah business and government leaders greeted U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert on Monday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the congressman’s Issaquah district office.

In March, the GOP congressman opened the office in a Southeast 56th Street office building uphill from East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast.

The relocation reflects changes in the 8th Congressional District precipitated last year by redistricting. The redrawn district stretches from Auburn in South King County to Wenatchee in Chelan County.

The former district encompassed only communities in King and Pierce counties. Reichert used to operate a district office in Mercer Island, but redistricting shifted Mercer Island into the 9th Congressional District.

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