Local leaders react after Supreme Court health care ruling

July 10, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine and other elected officials split along party lines June 28 after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on the federal health care overhaul.

In a complex decision, justices on the high court ruled 5-4 to uphold the individual mandate — a requirement for all Americans to enroll in a health insurance plan or pay a penalty.

The ruling also limited the plan in the Affordable Care Act — dubbed Obamacare by some — to expand Medicaid for the poor.

Constantine, a Democrat, highlighted the potential impact for uninsured King County.

“And for the nearly quarter of a million people in King County who do not have health insurance this is truly a welcome life-and-death decision,” he said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, a Republican and the Issaquah representative in Congress, said legislators must work to refine the health care law.

State Attorney General Rob McKenna, the highest-ranking Republican official in the state, joined the effort to repeal the health care overhaul and defended the challenge during a June 1 stop at Issaquah High School.

Gov. Chris Gregoire, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and other Washington state Democrats lauded the ruling.

Washington elected officials earn honor for conservation efforts

July 10, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. July 10, 2012

Evergreen State elected officials earned a national honor for efforts to conserve Washington wilderness.

Both U.S. senators, Democrats Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and the Issaquah representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, Republican Dave Reichert, received recognition as America’s Great Outdoors Congressional Champions from The Wilderness Society, a national conservation group.

“Washington state is fortunate to have incredibly strong advocates for protecting and reconnecting Americans to the great outdoors,” said Peter Dykstra, Pacific Northwest regional director at The Wilderness Society. “Washingtonians depend on our great wild places for clean air and water, sustainable jobs and recreation opportunities. We salute all those working to ensure that current and future generations are able to enjoy America’s public lands and all they have to offer.”

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Dino Rossi is poised to serve as 5th Legislative District senator — again

July 9, 2012

NEW — 10:05 a.m. July 9, 2012

Dino Rossi is all but certain to head back to Olympia to represent Issaquah and other Eastside communities in the state Senate.

Dino Rossi

Rossi — a GOP candidate for governor in 2004 and 2008, and for U.S. Senate in 2010 — succeeded former state Sen. Cheryl Pflug. The businessman and Sammamish resident last represented the 5th Legislative District in the state Senate from 1996 until resigning in 2003 to run for governor.

King County Council members recommended Rossi for the caretaker position Monday, a little more than a week after Pflug resigned to serve on a state board.

The council is expected to decide on the appointment Monday afternoon. The last action is a formality.

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King County, Washington leaders react after Supreme Court health care ruling

June 28, 2012

NEW — 10:45 a.m. June 28, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine and other elected officials split along party lines Thursday after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on the federal health care overhaul.

In a complex decision, justices on the high court ruled 5-4 to uphold the individual mandate — a requirement for all Americans to enroll in a health insurance plan or pay a penalty. The provision is scheduled to go into effect in 2014.

The ruling limited the plan in the Affordable Care Act — dubbed Obamacare by some — to expand Medicaid for the poor.

Justices ruled the federal government cannot withhold a state’s entire Medicaid allotment if the state does not participate in the planned Medicaid expansion.

“I celebrate the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act,” Constantine said in a statement. “A stable, healthier future has been made possible by this ruling. This is affirmation of our nationwide, bold move toward achieving quality affordable healthcare, and we are moving in the right direction.”

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Washington officials split along party lines in responses to State of the Union address

January 31, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire and Washington lawmakers split along party lines in response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

Dave Reichert

In a forceful speech to a joint session of Congress on Jan. 24, Obama laid out proposals for “green” energy, job creation and tax reform. (The president is due to visit Seattle on Feb. 17.)

“I’m pleased that President Obama, like me and my gubernatorial colleagues, has put a strong emphasis on rebuilding our middle class and preserving jobs that our citizens deserve,” Gregoire said in a statement. “He knows no challenge is more urgent. We must rebuild a nation where every citizen has the opportunity to succeed, where our middle class is secure and where the American dream is still within reach.”

The governor, a Democrat, attended the speech as U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s guest. Pelosi, a California Democrat, is the minority leader in the House of Representatives.

The lawmaker for the 8th Congressional District, Republican Dave Reichert, said the speech contained “divisive rhetoric.” (The district includes Issaquah, plus communities in eastern King and Pierce counties.)

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Washington officials split along party lines in responses to State of the Union address

January 25, 2012

NEW — 2:30 p.m. Jan. 25, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire and Washington lawmakers split along party lines in response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

In a forceful speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, Obama laid out proposals for “green” energy, job creation and tax reform. (The president is due to visit Seattle on Feb. 17.)

“I’m pleased that President Obama, like me and my gubernatorial colleagues, has put a strong emphasis on rebuilding our middle class and preserving jobs that our citizens deserve,” Gregoire said in a statement. “He knows no challenge is more urgent. We must rebuild a nation where every citizen has the opportunity to succeed, where our middle class is secure and where the American dream is still within reach.”

The governor, a Democrat, attended the speech as U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s guest. Pelosi, a California Democrat, is the minority leader in the House of Representatives.

The lawmaker for the 8th Congressional District, Republican Dave Reichert, said the speech contained “divisive rhetoric.” (The district includes Issaquah, plus communities in eastern King and Pierce counties.)

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Battles continue for Iraq war veteran Rory Dunn, mother Cynthia Lefever

November 8, 2011

The challenges resonate almost a decade after crude bombs detonated along a roadside in Iraq.

Cynthia Lefever (left) and her son, Purple Heart recipient Rory Dunn, take Gunner, Duke and Mister on their daily dog walk in 2008 at Ron Regis Park in Renton. File

The struggle for survival started in the frantic moments after a bomb explosion near Fallujah left Army Spc. Rory Dunn, a Liberty High School graduate, sightless and near death. Then came a much longer campaign to navigate a medical system unequipped to handle veterans from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The day Dunn turned 22 in March 2004, roadside bombs tore through a Humvee. Shrapnel pierced the unarmored vehicle and left Dunn’s best friend and another soldier dead. The explosion shattered Dunn’s forehead and left the 6-foot, 3-inch former basketball player blind and deaf for a time.

The “battle after the battle” — as Dunn’s mother, Cynthia Lefever, came to call the long healing process — opened days after the explosion at a military medical center in Landstuhl, Germany.

Lefever, leaned close to the bed and shouted, “Rory Dunn, this is your mother! You will not die! Don’t you dare die!”

Dunn did not die. Instead, after surgeries and rehabilitation, the soldier beat the “imminent death” predictions from doctors.

“I’ve never had anything in my life that if I wanted to achieve it — if it was realistic — that I haven’t been able to make happen,” he said. “I’m not worried.”

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Local leaders, citizens prepare for 9/11 commemoration

September 10, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 10, 2011

Issaquah residents prepared to mark 10 years since the 9/11 attacks Saturday, as local leaders utilized the anniversary to remind citizens to prepare for disasters and remain vigilant against threats.

The city, Eastside Fire & Rescue and community organizations plan to host a ceremony to commemorate the anniversary at 1 p.m. Sunday. The remembrance is scheduled to occur on the lawn at the Issaquah Community Center, 301 Rainier Blvd. S.

Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger is scheduled to speak at the event. The keynote speaker is Bill Lokey, a firefighter sent to New York City after 9/11 as part a special emergency services task force.

The anniversary also offered a chance for local leaders to cast a spotlight on emergency preparedness efforts.

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Who’s News

July 19, 2011

Women’s Club installs new officers

The Issaquah Women’s Club recently held its installation of new officers for 2011-2012 at the Embassy Suites.

Cco-presidents eve’ Martinez-Petrut and Linda Baker; Sandy Cobel, first vice president; Yvette Dickerson and Katy Trader, co-secretary; Beth Sanford and Sharon Miller, second vice presidents; Katherine Booher, treasurer; Judy Smith, fundraising chairwoman.

The club meets at 9:30 a.m. the first Thursday of each month, from September through June, at Tibbetts Creek Manor.

Learn more at www.issaquahwomensclub.org.

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City lowers flags to commemorate Arizona shooting victims

January 10, 2011

NEW — 6 p.m. Jan. 10, 2011

The city has lowered flags to half-staff at municipal buildings through Friday to honor the people killed in Tucson, Ariz., shootout Saturday.

The shootout left six people dead and 14 others injured, including Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat re-elected to a third term in November. Giffords remain in critical condition at a Tucson hospital.

The incident prompted condemnation from local and Washington state elected officials.

“We don’t know yet whether the politically-charged use of gun imagery targeting the congresswoman contributed to this despicable shooting, but the congresswoman herself warned that such language and actions can have consequences,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “We as a community must condemn those who exploit the language of violence, and demand a more civil discourse in the public and political arena.”

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