Grand Ridge Elementary welcomes winds of change, Puget Sound Energy turbine

October 9, 2012

Students stand near the Grand Ridge Elementary School wind turbine Oct. 2. By Lillian O’Rorke

Grand Ridge Elementary School embraced the winds that frequently blow through the playground when it teamed with Puget Sound Energy on Oct. 2 to dedicate its new wind turbine.

To welcome the new addition, students and staff were joined by members of the community, including Superintendent Steve Rasmussen, for a celebratory assembly, which was made complete by the choral talents of Grand Ridge’s fifth-graders.

The project got its start in 2009 when Steve Crawford, the district’s director of capital projects, began measuring the wind at the school’s Issaquah Highlands location and approached Puget Sound Energy. Two years later, the school got a $10,900 grant from the company’s Renewable Energy Education Program and the small-scale wind turbine was erected May 3.

At 45 feet tall and 12 feet across at the top, it can generate up to 1.8 kilowatts of energy, which is enough energy to power 30 60-watt light bulbs.

The grant also included materials and support — including science lesson training, classroom activity guides and renewable-energy kits — so that in addition to powering part of the school, the turbine will teach students about wind energy and renewable resources.

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Experience 40 years of Issaquah History Museums milestones

October 9, 2012

In 40 years, the Issaquah History Museums has experienced numerous milestones.

  • 1972 — Issaquah Historical Society is founded.
  • 1972 — Issaquah Historical Society leases Gilman Town Hall from city.
  • 1973 — Gilman Town Hall opens as organization’s historical center.
  • 1983 — Society negotiates purchase of Issaquah Train Depot from city.
  • 1985 — Ground is broken on depot restoration project.
  • 1985 — Work on Gilman Town Hall remodel starts.
  • 1989 — Weyerhaeuser Corp. donates caboose to the organization.
  • 1992 — Issaquah Train Depot is added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 2004 — Issaquah Historical Society changes name to Issaquah History Museums.
  • 2005 — Puget Sound Energy donates historic Alexander House to the museums. The organization later donates the building to the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce for offices.
  • 2006 — Museums’ oral history project captures the stories and memories of about 25 narrators.
  • 2012 — Refurbished Issaquah Valley Trolley Project streetcar returns to Issaquah for service.
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Puget Sound Energy seeks natural gas rate decrease

September 26, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. Sept. 26, 2012

Puget Sound Energy customers could pay less for natural gas as winter arrives.

The utility provider for Issaquah and much of Western Washington asked state regulators Tuesday to decrease natural gas rates by 7.7 percent overall starting Nov. 1.

The proposed purchased gas adjustment decrease should lower a typical household’s natural gas bill — based on 68 therms of average monthly usage over a 12-month period — by $5.82, to $76.59. The rate is comparable to what PSE customers paid in 2009.

PSE aims to drop commercial rates by about 8 percent.

The wholesale price for natural gas is down due to abundant domestic supplies.

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Eastside Fire & Rescue responds to downtown gas leak

September 25, 2012

NEW — 12:10 p.m. Sept. 25, 2012

Crews at work on a reconstruction project at a downtown Issaquah gas station struck a gas line Tuesday, prompting a response from Eastside Fire & Rescue and Puget Sound Energy.

The smell of gas filled the air near the construction site at the intersection of Front Street and Sunset Way for several minutes at about noon. Firefighters used traffic cones to cordon off the parking lot at Front Street Market and asked motorists not to start their vehicles near the site.

Crews started a major overhaul at the downtown Shell gas station and Jacksons convenience store Sept. 11.

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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.

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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.

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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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