King County carves up rural communities into service areas

July 24, 2012

King County could carve unincorporated neighborhoods — including Four Creeks and Klahanie just outside Issaquah — into community service areas, if a plan proposed July 19 is put into action.

The proposal is the latest in a yearslong effort to change the way county government and unincorporated communities interact. King County Executive Dow Constantine characterized the effort as a reform measure to ease access to government for residents in rural and unincorporated areas.

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Survey: Residents claim Issaquah is headed in right direction

July 19, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. July 19, 2012

Most respondents in a recent survey — 74 percent — claim Issaquah is headed in the right direction and 57 percent gave the city a positive rating for spending taxpayer dollars.

The information comes from a telephone survey conducted last month. Though the survey focused mostly on municipal parks and recreation facilities — and a possible park bond measure — other questions addressed City Hall’s performance.

Overall, 68 percent of respondents gave the city a positive job rating and 23 percent gave the city a negative rating. On the question about the direction of Issaquah, 13 percent said the city is headed in the wrong direction and 13 percent said they did not know.

EMC Research conducted the survey for the municipal Parks & Recreation Department from June 14-20.

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Offer input about May Valley fire station at open house

July 17, 2012

Residents can learn about a fire station planned for May Valley at a July 19 open house hosted by Fire District 10.

The district is the Eastside Fire & Rescue partner serving residents in Klahanie, May Valley, Mirrormont, Preston and Tiger Mountain in the Issaquah area, plus Carnation in rural King County.

Plans call for EFR crews from Fire Station 78, at 16135 S.E. 113th Place near Renton, to relocate to a modern facility at a more central location at Southeast May Valley Road and 207th Avenue Southeast after construction is complete.

Construction on the May Valley station could start next year.

The open house is at 7 p.m. at EFR headquarters, 175 Newport Way N.W. Participants can offer input and ask district commissioners questions about the project.

In April, district officials completed the process to issue $5.5 million in construction bonds to build the fire station and complete other projects throughout the district.

The district encompasses about 130 square miles and about 28,000 people.

In February, 64 percent of voters in the district approved a bond measure to generate the construction dollars.

Fish project prompts Interstate 90 lane closures

July 17, 2012

Motorists should expect lane closures on eastbound Interstate 90 near Issaquah as crews remove a narrow culvert — a barrier to fish.

To complete the $2.8 million project, crews must work double shifts in order to wrap up construction before Aug. 31. The deadline is tied to the return of chinook and coho salmon, and steelhead, to the East Fork of Issaquah Creek.

The state Department of Transportation alerted motorists to prepare for closures through 3 p.m. July 20. Crews plan to reopen the lane for afternoon travelers and then close the lane again from July 21-27.

The project location is east of Highlands Drive Northeast and the Sunset Interchange between Issaquah and Preston.

Officials do not expect the closures to cause traffic backups. In the westbound direction, around-the-clock closures started several weeks ago.

Transportation planners envision a wider replacement to better accommodate the 25-foot-wide streambed in the area near the culvert.

The existing culvert impedes salmon and trout headed to historic rearing and spawning grounds.

Offer input about May Valley fire station at open house

July 14, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. July 14, 2012

Residents can learn about a fire station planned for May Valley at a July 19 open house hosted by Fire District 10.

The district is the Eastside Fire & Rescue partner serving residents in Klahanie, May Valley, Mirrormont, Preston and Tiger Mountain in the Issaquah area, plus Carnation in rural King County.

Plans call for EFR crews from Fire Station 78, at 16135 S.E. 113th Place near Renton, to relocate to a modern facility at a more central location at Southeast May Valley Road and 207th Avenue Southeast after construction is complete.

Construction on the May Valley station could start next year.

The open house is 7 p.m. at EFR headquarters, 175 Newport Way N.W. Participants can offer input and ask district commissioners questions about the project.

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Eastside Fire & Rescue experiences booming Fourth due to fireworks incidents

July 6, 2012

NEW — 10:15 a.m. July 6, 2012

Fireworks-related incidents kept Eastside Fire & Rescue crews busy before, on and after Independence Day.

The incidents included a torched barn and a vehicle lost to a fireworks-related blaze. The agency did not report any injuries related to the incidents.

The action started Monday in downtown Issaquah at Front Street South and Newport Way Southwest, as firefighters responded to a smoke bomb at 9:40 p.m.

Just after midnight on the holiday, Wednesday, firefighters started the Fourth of July by responding to a garbage can fire started by a sparkler bomb at Southeast Belvedere Way and 266th Way Southeast in Sammamish.

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Lorangers celebrate 60th anniversary

July 3, 2012

Claire Loranger has been married for 60 years to the same man. She hesitates for nary a second to reveal her secret.

“I call it extreme patience,” she said.

It never hurts to say that, but it helps even more when it comes from an expert.

Claire and Ed Loranger (above) were married 60 years ago in 1952. Contributed

Ed Loranger, a product of Bellevue, met the Massachusetts-born, Montana-raised Claire while she was in town babysitting for an ailing aunt. Ed was the aunt’s mechanic. To keep a bored Claire from returning home, her aunt and uncle set her up on a date with Ed.

Fresh from a tour in Korea, soldier Ed was for an old-fashioned girl. A lifelong Catholic and the sister of a nun, Claire was looking for someone who had seen the world.

The year was 1951; she was 21 and he was 27. A year later, they were married in her hometown of Anaconda.

Sixty years later, they have three children, three grandchildren and a pile of hobbies. Well, she does the hobbies: bowling, traveling, choir, skiing and curling, or as Ed called it “watching paint dry.”

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Help Preston-based TalkingRain mark 25 years

July 3, 2012

Preston-based beverage company TalkingRain is celebrating 25 years in business by sending raindrop mascots to destinations and posting online videos to chronicle the adventures.

The company is marking other milestones alongside the anniversary. Sales recently jumped 300 percent. The brand Sparkling ICE earned the title of 2011 Food and Beverage Rising Star by SymphonyIRI, a market research company. TalkingRain products also scored successes in Canada, Japan, Korea and Mexico.

The celebration includes the mascots, Drip and Drop. The costumed characters pop up across the region and document the experiences in videos later posted online. TalkingRain is seeking ideas about where Drip and Drop should go to capture the character of Seattle and the Northwest.

Submit ideas for where Drip should go next on Facebook,  www.facebook.com/talkingrain, and Twitter, @driptalkingrain. For the person submitting a winning idea later made into a Drip video, a case of TalkingRain is the prize. The winner is also entered to win a Seattle barbecue set complete with umbrella.

TalkingRain employs about 150 people at offices six miles east of downtown Issaquah.

Preston-based TalkingRain celebrates 25 years

June 29, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. June 29, 2012

Preston-based beverage company TalkingRain is celebrating 25 years in business by sending raindrop mascots to destinations and posting online videos to chronicle the adventures.

TalkingRain is marking other milestones alongside the anniversary. Sales recently jumped 300 percent. The brand Sparkling ICE earned the title of 2011 Food and Beverage Rising Star by SymphonyIRI, a market research company. TalkingRain products also scored successes in Canada, Japan, Korea and Mexico.

“We are proud to celebrate this landmark achievement as it represents our resilience in a highly-competitive industry,” company President Kevin Klock said in a statement. “It shows us that you don’t have to be big to be great and that our simple commitment to delivering products that people enjoy works.”

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Nationwide child porn sting led agents to former bus driver

June 19, 2012

Federal agents learned about a former Issaquah School District bus driver trading child pornography online in a nationwide sting, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced June 8, about a month after federal agents arrested the driver on school district grounds.

The agency’s Homeland Security Investigations directorate arrested the former bus driver and former Eastside Catholic High School teacher Andrew Bernard Rekdahl, 29, and 189 other suspects in the effort, dubbed Operation Orion. The sting targeted the possession, receipt, transportation, distribution, advertisement or production of explicit images or videos.

Rekdahl, 29, faces child pornography charges after federal prosecutors said the Carnation resident shared images and videos of boys online from his home computer. Homeland Security Investigations agents arrested Rekdahl at a school district facility May 10 after a monthslong sting operation.

Operation Orion occurred last month, although the agency started recording evidence of Rekdahl sharing child pornography in January. Read more

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