Councilman Mark Mullet enters state Senate race against Cheryl Pflug

January 10, 2012

NEW — 9:55 a.m. Jan. 10, 2012

Issaquah Councilman Mark Mullet is embarking on a campaign for the state Senate against incumbent Cheryl Pflug, Issaquah’s representative in the chamber.

Mullet, a Democrat and the proprietor of Zeeks Pizza and Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop in the Issaquah Highlands, became the latest local candidate to enter a race for state office in recent days.

Pflug, a registered nurse and Maple Valley Republican, intends to run for re-election to the seat.

Mullet focused on education and the economy in a pre-announcement interview. He also said the 5th Legislative District needs closer ties among the state senator and city leaders throughout the sprawling district.

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Press Editorial

January 3, 2012

2012 Issaquah goals are very achievable

Each year our news staff and editorial board put their heads together to create a list of goals for the Issaquah area. Some are repeats from former years, but are still on our wish list.

Environmentally speaking — Local restaurants need to step up and get compliant with the city’s mandate on use of recyclable containers. Most already have, but not all. The city should go a step further and follow Seattle’s lead in banning plastic grocery and retail bags.

Central Issaquah Plan — The plan that will act as a guideline for redevelopment of Issaquah’s business district should be completed this year. Take it one step further and implement it for new development in the highlands, too.

Park Pointe — Now that the land deal is done, the city and volunteers can transform the 100 acres on Tiger Mountain for everyone to enjoy; Issaquah Environmental Council volunteers started the process last week by planting native species.

Economic development — With the re-engineering of how City Hall functions to encourage a more robust economic development of the business community, the time has come for action. Put measurable goals in place immediately with an eye toward filling vacant storefronts.

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Milestones from the year 2011 reflect changes

December 27, 2011

Renewal defined the year, as the community paused after a population boom and economic bust — and positioned Issaquah for the decades ahead.

Milestones from the last 12 months offer contrasts.

Leaders opened showcases for “green” design and concluded a milestone effort to preserve Tiger Mountain forestland. Tragedy left indelible impressions, too, as a gunman menaced downtown pedestrians on a September morning and turned a school campus into a crime scene.

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Cascade Land Conservancy changes name to Forterra

November 8, 2011

Cascade Land Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental group involved in numerous conservation projects in Issaquah and elsewhere, is now Forterra.

The organization announced the name change early Nov. 2. Leaders said the shift reflects the Seattle-based organization’s expanding mission.

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Cascade Land Conservancy changes name to Forterra

November 2, 2011

NEW — 9 a.m. Nov. 2, 2011

Cascade Land Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental group involved in numerous conservation projects in Issaquah and elsewhere, is now Forterra.

The organization announced the name change early Wednesday. Leaders said the shift reflects the Seattle-based organization’s expanding mission.

In 2005, the then-Cascade Land Conservancy established the Cascade Agenda — a long-range planning effort for the region. Issaquah is a Leadership City for Cascade Agenda — meaning long-range planning is meant to envision the local community, environment and economy for the century ahead.

Longtime Forterra President Gene Duvernoy also offered early support for the city-led effort to preserve Park Pointe, a forested site near Issaquah High School, from development into a subdivision.

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John Traeger decides against another City Council term

May 3, 2011

Candidate Paul Winterstein enters race for seat

Paul Winterstein

The race for another City Council seat launched last week, as John Traeger opted not to run for re-election and Human Services Commission Chairman Paul Winterstein announced plans to campaign for the seat.

Traeger, elevated to the council in 2007, decided to step down after a single term. Since early 2010, the Squak Mountain resident has served as council president, the top spot on the board.

“With my term on council such a personally rewarding experience, it was a difficult decision to return to private life,” he said in a statement released April 28.

Traeger, a technology consultant, said he intends to make his career a top priority after his term ends Dec. 31.

“While after my term I will be turning more of my focus to my professional responsibilities, I look forward to continuing to be involved in serving the citizens of our community,” he said.

The council president also endorsed Winterstein in the race for the Position 6 seat.

“Through his work as chair of the city’s Human Services Commission, advocacy for transportation options, and continuous outreach to and volunteering with local aid groups, Paul has been a tireless contributor to our community,” Traeger said. “I am grateful to my supporters and especially my wife Annette for helping me with a successful term.”

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In council election shakeup, John Traeger is out, Paul Winterstein is in

April 29, 2011

NEW — 7:45 a.m. April 29, 2011

The race for another City Council seat launched Thursday night, as John Traeger opted not to run for re-election and Human Services Commission Chairman Paul Winterstein announced plans to campaign for the seat.

Paul Winterstein

Traeger, elevated to the council in 2007, decided to step down after a single term. Since early 2010, the Squak Mountain resident has served as council president, the top spot on the board.

“With my term on council such a personally rewarding experience, it was a difficult decision to return to private life,” he said in a statement released Thursday night.

The council president also endorsed Winterstein in the race for the Position 6 seat.

“Through his work as chair of the city’s Human Services Commission, advocacy for transportation options, and continuous outreach to and volunteering with local aid groups, Paul has been a tireless contributor to our community,” Traeger said.

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College Drive construction starts soon in highlands

April 26, 2011

Construction should start in early May on a road to access the Bellevue College satellite campus planned for the Issaquah Highlands.

Crews plan to start staging equipment and clearing land for Northeast College Drive soon. City permits for the project need to be issued before roadwork can start.

Plans call for the road to snake for about a half-mile behind Grand Ridge Elementary School and link to the existing street grid at Central Park. In addition, the road through The Highlands at Wynhaven apartment complex is due to be improved and turned into 15th Avenue Northeast. College Drive is planned to form a T-shaped intersection at 15th Avenue.

The road should be completed at about the same time as the start of the 2011-12 school year.

Though the project is not far from the Grand Ridge Elementary campus, the road is not designed to alleviate congestion during busy mornings and afternoons at the school.

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Fred Butler announces re-election campaign

April 5, 2011

Longtime Councilman Fred Butler, a respected authority on regional transit issues, announced plans March 29 to run for a fourth term.

Fred Butler

The incumbent candidate, a Squak Mountain resident and a retired U.S. Army colonel, joined the City Council more than a decade ago, and served on the board as Issaquah experienced a population boom.

“I want to continue to serve the citizens of Issaquah and the region with my enthusiasm, energy and experience to make Issaquah a better place,” he said in a statement. “I am committed to working collaboratively to solve problems. I pledge to work hard, listen and help when I can.”

Butler, a Sound Transit board member, served last year on a regional effort to guide King County Metro Transit service in the decades ahead. In addition, County Executive-elect Dow Constantine tapped Butler to serve on the transition team as Constantine shifted from the County Council to the top county office in 2009.

On the Issaquah council, Butler serves as deputy council president, the No. 2 position on the board.

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City preserves Tiger Mountain forest in historic milestone

March 29, 2011

Park Pointe protection occurs after years long effort to stop proposed construction

By Dona Mokin

The long-running saga to preserve Park Pointe — a slice of Tiger Mountain forest near Issaquah High School — ended late March 24, after more than a decade of public and behind-the-scenes negotiations to halt construction of hundreds of houses once proposed for the land.

The tradeoff: Under the agreement, city leaders steered construction from Park Pointe to the Issaquah Highlands instead, and, as a result, preserved more than 140 acres in the process.

“I think that this will transform the community in a very, very positive way,” Mayor Ava Frisinger said, minutes after the deal closed. “It has the three elements of sustainability. It has the environment — the environmental protection and preservation. It has a huge social element. It has economic vitality benefits as well.”

The historic conservation effort is part of a complicated transfer of development rights.

City planners and officials shepherded the agreement through the arduous process after Frisinger outlined the landmark opportunity to preserve Park Pointe in late 2008.

In the years since, representatives from the city, highlands developer Port Blakely Communities and other partners pursued the project until the recession scuttled the developer behind the proposed Park Pointe development.

Since a Seattle bank foreclosed on the land from the defunct developer last March, the preservation effort lurched into gear. Issaquah and King County officials adopted a series of agreements late last year to advance the process.

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