Help teen diplomat get to China

April 9, 2013

Issaquah High School freshman Sam Hansen, 15, is one of 20 to 25 students nationwide selected to attend the JSA Diplomat Program in Beijing, China, this summer.

However, he has very little time to raise the $5,500 for tuition, room and board to take advantage of the opportunity. His family is unable to contribute the entire cost of the program, so he is seeking any other financial support he can get, either in the form of donations or work opportunities.

Sam Hansen

Sam Hansen

Each summer, young leaders from across the United States travel to Beijing, China, for a monthlong program to learn about modern China and the art of diplomacy. The program aims to provide America’s future leaders with the skills to represent their country effectively on global issues.

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Mountains to Sound Greenway, REI leader is choice for Cabinet

February 6, 2013

NEW — 2 p.m. Feb. 6, 2013

REI leader Sally Jewell, a leader in the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, is President Barack Obama’s choice for U.S. interior secretary.

Jewell is Kent-based REI’s president and CEO, in addition to serving as a board member for the nonprofit organization underpinning the greenway — a 100-mile greenbelt stretched along Interstate 90 from Seattle to Central Washington.

Obama announced Jewell’s appointment Wednesday at a White House ceremony. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she is poised to succeed outgoing Department of the Interior chief Ken Salazar, a former U.S. senator from Colorado.

“Sally Jewell is a respected leader and passionate advocate for conservation, recreation and outdoor education,” Cynthia Welti, greenway trust executive director, said in a statement. “We are delighted with this news. Sally will serve our country well.”

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Tiger Mountain trail development is recommended for state grant

November 20, 2012

The state Recreation Conservation Office recommended Tiger Mountain trail development — and more than 100 projects statewide — as priority projects for grants, proponents announced last month.

Funding for the Tiger Mountain trails and other projects hinges on dollars for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, a program established to conserve land and waterways.

If the $320,000 grant for Tiger Mountain is funded, the state Department of Natural Resources can develop two trails or about five miles overall in east Tiger Mountain State Forest. The project requires a $137,200 match from the Department of Natural Resources.

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Tiger Mountain trail development is recommended for state grant

November 1, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Nov. 1, 2012

The state Recreation Conservation Office recommended Tiger Mountain trail development — and more than 100 projects statewide — as priority projects for grants.

Funding for the Tiger Mountain trails and other projects hinges on dollars for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, a program established to conserve land and waterways.

If the $320,000 grant for Tiger Mountain is funded, the state Department of Natural Resources can develop two trails or about five miles overall in east Tiger Mountain State Forest. The project requires a $137,200 match from the Department of Natural Resources.

Leaders at the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, a nonprofit group set up to support the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, praised the project list.

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Tiger Mountain is test for commissioner of public lands candidates

October 30, 2012

Tiger Mountain is a destination for hikers, mountain bikers and loggers, and the official responsible for acting as a referee to balance the competing interests is the state commissioner of public lands.

Clint Didier

Peter Goldmark

Republican Clint Didier is challenging the incumbent, Democrat Peter Goldmark, to serve as the top natural resources official in Washington.

The commissioner of public lands leads the state Department of Natural Resources, and oversees about 3 million acres of forests, agricultural land and other properties, as well as about 2.6 million acres of shorelines, tidelands, lakes and rivers.

The position carries outsized influence in the Issaquah area. The agency is often a factor in local policymaking, due to the connections among the Department of Natural Resources, Issaquah City Hall and outdoor recreation groups.

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Nominate Issaquah environmentalists for honors

October 9, 2012

NEW — 11:50 a.m. Oct. 9, 2012

City leaders put out a call last month for Sustainable Community Award nominees.

The honor is divided into categories for the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community and the Sustainable Community Award.

The honor named for Kees is the highest environmental award in Issaquah, and the Sustainable Community Award recognizes significant achievements and positive results of individuals.

Past Kees honorees include late City Council President Maureen McCarry, late Mountains to Sound Greenway pioneer Ted Thomsen and Issaquah Alps Trails Club President David Kappler, a former councilman.

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Washington Conservation Corps seeks members

August 21, 2012

The teams maintaining the trails on state and King County lands near Issaquah often include members of the Washington Conservation Corps — a fresh-out-of-college bunch eager to earn experience in the environmental field.

Like the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps, the 21st-century equivalent enlists young adults to tackle habitat and infrastructure projects.

The state Department of Ecology needs applicants to fill 300 service positions in 16 counties throughout the state.

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Future parks funding is mission for King County task force

July 3, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed 20 business and community leaders June 26 to devise future funding plans for King County Parks before the levies supporting the parks system expire next year.

In 2007, voters overwhelmingly approved a pair of six-year levies to support county-run parks and trails. The measures expire Dec. 31, 2013.

Constantine asked the King County Parks Levy Task Force to recommend a funding plan for 2014 and beyond. The group is expected to submit a plan by late September.

Members include representatives from the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Washington Trails Association and other outdoor groups.

“Parks, trails and open space are part of what make King County a great place to live,” Constantine said in a statement. “I have asked the task force to map a course that keeps our parks open and continues to build the system for future generations.”

The county park system includes the 3,115-acre Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, Grand Ridge Park and Duthie Hill Park in the Issaquah area.

Countywide, the system includes 200 parks, 175 miles of trails and 26,000 acres of open space.

What is the Mountains to Sound Greenway?

June 28, 2012

Like the matter-of-fact name suggests, the Mountains to Sound Greenway starts amid fried fish counters and souvenir shops along the Seattle waterfront, unfurls along Interstate 90, encompassing cities and forests, and continues on, across the Cascades.

The greenbelt represents decades of effort to protect the natural landscape along the interstate, even as Issaquah and other Eastside cities experienced a population explosion in recent years.

Issaquah Alps Trails Club members spearheaded a 1990 march from Snoqualmie Pass to Puget Sound to attract attention to the proposed greenbelt — a sort of Central Park for Western Washington.

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King County task force to examine future funding for parks

June 27, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. June 27, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed 20 business and community leaders Tuesday to devise future funding plans for King County Parks before the levies supporting the parks system expire next year.

In 2007, voters overwhelmingly approved a pair of six-year levies to support county-run parks and trails. The measures expire Dec. 31, 2013.

Constantine asked the King County Parks Levy Task Force to recommend a funding plan for 2014 and beyond. The group is expected to submit a plan by late September.

“Parks, trails and open space are part of what make King County a great place to live,” Constantine said in a statement. “I have asked the task force to map a course that keeps our parks open and continues to build the system for future generations.”

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