Underground cable issue leads to Issaquah power outage

August 7, 2012

Puget Sound Energy blamed a problematic underground distribution cable for a power outage Aug. 3.

The outage affected about 800 customers in the Issaquah area in the early evening. The outage affected customers downtown and in southeast Issaquah along state Route 900, including the Talus urban village on Cougar Mountain.

Residents reported the power going out and coming back on before the prolonged outage. Crews eventually located the problem with the underground distribution cable and restored power after a brief interruption.

The outage prompted cancellation of “The Music Man” at Village Theatre’s First Stage Theatre. Patrons impacted by the outage can get a refund.

Gravity — and team spirit — power Rotary racers’ soapbox derby cars

July 17, 2012

Cian O’Farrell, 11, and driver John Morse, 10, ride the gravity car by sponsor Fred Meyer to a checkered flag waved by the Rotary Club of Issaquah’s Fred Nystrom. By Greg Farrar

A day filled with happiness for children was the goal of the 15th annual Issaquah Rotary Challenge Day Race on July 14.

Viewers lined Second Avenue Southeast to watch — standing or sitting on the bleachers halfway down the block.

The event pairs up children with disabilities and volunteer children drivers to race soapbox derby cars. Gravity pulls the cars down the hill. The vehicles reach speeds of 17 mph.

About 50 children with disabilities got to race three times with rotating drivers and cars. Liberty High School cheerleaders greeted the racers at the finish line before cars were towed back to the starting line.

“It’s a great event for kids to experience a fast, free ride down Second Avenue,” Rotary Club member Russell Joe said. “For some of the riders, it’s the first time they’ve been in a car that’s running on its own without mom or dad.”

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Rotary Club soapbox derby race celebrates 15th anniversary

July 10, 2012

Drivers, co-drivers, parents, Rotary Club of Issaquah members, Issaquah High School wrestlers, Liberty High School cheerleaders and student volunteers pose for a group photo at the 2011 Challenge Day gravity car races. By Greg Farrar

The 15th annual Issaquah Rotary Challenge Day Race, an event that pairs children with disabilities with a young driver of a sleek soapbox derby car, is set for July 14.

The event allows participants to experience the fun of a derby race down Second Avenue past the community center in downtown Issaquah.

For the race, the pair of youngsters climb into the seat of a sleek soapbox derby car. With the slam of the starting gate, the car’s wheels begin to turn. As gravity kicks in, the two-seater makes its way along the street.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with racing from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other activities include adaptive cycling for children and adults with disabilities and lunch hosted by the Rotary Club of Issaquah for event participants and volunteers.

The event was inspired by the vision of longtime Issaquah resident and retired Puget Sound Energy executive Leo Finnegan, the father of an adult son with a disability.

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Puget Sound Energy project means lane closures

July 3, 2012

Motorists should prepare for lane closures near Lake Sammamish throughout the summer as Puget Sound Energy relocates power poles and lines.

Crews started work July 2. Plans call for relocation of power poles and underground and overhead power lines on West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast between the Interstate 90 roundabout near Sunset Elementary and Southeast 34th Street in Bellevue.

The work makes way for a transportation project along West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. Crews should start working on the transportation upgrade in the fall.

The effort is meant to enhance safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists by providing a 10-foot-wide multiuse trail along the west side of West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast and a 4-foot-wide shoulder on the east side. Crews plan to restore the existing pavement.

The proposed construction plan breaks the roadway into five segments, each about a mile long.

Contact Kelly Purnell at 462-3488 or kelly.purnell@pse.com to learn more about the pole relocation work.

Puget Sound Energy project means lane closures

June 28, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 28, 2012

Motorists should prepare for lane closures near Lake Sammamish throughout the summer as Puget Sound Energy relocates power poles and lines.

Crews plan to start work July 2. Plans call for relocation of power poles and underground and overhead power lines on West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast between the Interstate 90 roundabout near Sunset Elementary and Southeast 34th Street in Bellevue.

The work makes way for a transportation project along West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. Crews should start working on the transportation upgrade in the fall.

The effort is meant to enhance safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists by providing a 10-foot-wide multiuse trail along the west side of West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast and a 4-foot-wide shoulder on the east side. Crews plan to restore the existing pavement.

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Puget Sound Energy hikes electricity, natural gas rates

May 15, 2012

Issaquah residents started paying more for electricity and natural gas May 14.

In a recent decision, state utility regulators allowed Puget Sound Energy to increase rates 3.2 percent for electricity and 1.3 percent for natural gas customers.

The average residential electric customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours-per-month should pay about $3.30 more, for a bill total of $102.56. The typical natural gas customer using 68 therms per month should pay $1.08 more, for a bill total of $86.09.

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Issaquah Farmers Market returns for 22nd season April 21

April 17, 2012

The Issaquah Farmers Market at Pickering Farm attracts large crowds of visitors and patrons on a warm August Saturday in 2011. By Greg Farrar

The historic Pickering Farm emerges from a seasonal slumber soon as the popular Issaquah Farmers Market returns.

The market debuts for the season April 21. The return is a sign springtime is inching closer to summertime.

The farmers market runs every Saturday, rain or shine, from April to October. The market features seasonal produce, crafts, food vendors, and demonstrations or entertainment each week.

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Puget Sound Energy offers solar energy guidance

April 17, 2012

Puget Sound Energy is providing contractor referrals to residential electric customers interested in installing home solar-electric photovoltaic systems.

Bellevue-based PSE added 14 solar installers to the Contractor Alliance Network — a group of independent contractors prescreened by the utility to perform energy-related home improvement.

Customers interested in installing a solar-power system and in need of a contractor can receive estimates from contractors when they request a referral at www.pse.com or by calling 1-800-562-1482 toll free.

In addition to installing customers’ home solar-power system, contractors can help customers prepare interconnection and production payment documents necessary to participate in PSE’s net metering program.

Overall, more than 1,000 PSE electric customers have had solar-power systems installed and connected to the grid — up from a little more than 500 such systems in early 2010. The total generating capacity from customer-owned solar-power systems is more than 5 megawatts, compared to 2 megawatts in early 2010.

Customers can receive a 30 percent federal tax credit and other financial incentives for installing a solar-power system.

The state provides another incentive, administered by PSE through Renewable Energy Advantage Program. The state incentive pays customers for every kilowatt of power produced by solar-power systems.

Swedish/Issaquah earns Building of the Year honor

April 3, 2012

Swedish/Issaquah earned the Building of the Year title in a recent poll of Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce readers.

Swedish Medical Center announced the honor March 26.

The $365 million hospital opened in July 2011. The initial phase encompassed clinics and offices spread across 200,000 square feet in a medical office building. The entire facility encompasses 528,000 square feet.

In November, Swedish/Issaquah opened patient beds and started offering inpatient services. The facility is licensed for up to 175 beds.

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Help for heating is available to low-income consumers

March 20, 2012

The state utility regulator reminds residents about heating help available through the agency and the federal government.

The federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and utility company low-income assistance programs provide funding to qualifying households for assistance to pay for heating.

Residents can apply for heating assistance directly through energy companies. The utility in the Issaquah area, Puget Sound Energy, offers low-income assistance at http://pse.com/accountsandservices/YourBill/Pages/Low-Income-Assistance.aspx.

Call the state Utility and Transportation Commission’s Consumer Protection Help Line at 1-888-333-9882 toll free, or go to www.utc.wa.gov/consumers/energy/Pages/default.aspx, to locate assistance agencies, or to get help to resolve a billing dispute, disconnect notice or service complaint.

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