Governor appoints Issaquah High School alumna, former county executive to WSU board

January 17, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire appointed Issaquah High School graduate Ryan Durkan, a Seattle attorney, and former King County Executive Ron Sims to the Washington State University Board of Regents, Gregoire announced Dec. 14.

The board acts as the university’s governing body. Regents supervise, coordinate, manage and regulate the WSU system.

Durkan, a WSU alumna, is a respected attorney at HCMP Law Offices specializing in real estate, land use and environmental law. (Ryan Durkan’s sister is Jenny Durkan, U.S. attorney for Western Washington.)

“Ryan has proven she’s passionate about the importance of education — serving on the board of trustees for an elementary school, a middle school and a high school,” Gregoire said in a statement. “Her experience improving our education system, combined with her legal background and her commitment to community, make her a natural fit.”

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Governor appoints Issaquah High School graduate, former county executive to WSU board

December 14, 2011

NEW — 2:15 p.m. Dec. 14, 2011

Gov. Chris Gregoire appointed Issaquah High School graduate Ryan Durkan, a Seattle attorney, and former King County Executive Ron Sims to the Washington State University Board of Regents, Gregoire announced Wednesday.

The board acts as the university’s governing body. Regents supervise, coordinate, manage and regulate the WSU system.

Durkan, a WSU alumna, is a respected attorney at HCMP Law Offices specializing in real estate, land use and environmental law. (Ryan Durkan’s sister is Jenny Durkan, U.S. attorney for Western Washington.)

“Ryan has proven she’s passionate about the importance of education — serving on the board of trustees for an elementary school, a middle school and a high school,” Gregoire said in a statement. “Her experience improving our education system, combined with her legal background and her commitment to community, make her a natural fit.”

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Noise from landfill gas-to-energy facility prompts complaints

December 21, 2010

Operator completed steps to reduce sound emissions

The stack of tanks at the Bio Energy Washington landfill-to-gas energy facility function as part of a complicated refining process. By Greg Farrar

The droning sound started about the same time a landfill gas-to-energy facility fired up to turn the byproduct of decomposing trash into fuel for power plants.

Rural King County residents, accustomed to the smells and sounds emanating from Cedar Hills Regional Landfill and nearby Cedar Grove Composting, noticed the latest addition not long after the gas facility entered operation last year.

Leaders had hailed the project as a milestone for renewable energy, but for many residents in neighborhoods south of Issaquah, the Bio Energy Washington gas facility turned out to be a headache.

“Before we built this facility, the county told us, ‘Look, sound is going to be a big deal here,’” Chuck Packard, Ingenco president and CEO, said at a meeting in Issaquah to address residents’ concerns.

Bio Energy Washington is part of Ingenco, a company specializing in renewable energy facilities.

The county had only received a couple of complaints about the gas facility until residents raised the issue in September at a routine meeting related to landfill operations.

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Sheriff: Cuts should not slow 911 response

November 23, 2010

Deputies could be trained to investigate property crimes

King County Sheriff Sue Rahr lamented upcoming cuts to police service in unincorporated areas, but said emergency response should not be affected for rural residents.

King County Council members decided Nov. 15 to eliminate 28 deputies from the King County Sheriff’s Office, close police storefronts, and eliminate school resource officers from Liberty High School and other campuses. The storefront in the Four Creeks Unincorporated Area between Issaquah and Renton is due to close under the plan.

“In light of these reductions, my first priority for the sheriff’s office is to maintain emergency response,” Rahr said in prepared remarks delivered Nov. 18 at the King County Courthouse. “If you call 911 in 2011, it will not take longer for a sheriff’s deputy to arrive. If you need to be rescued from a flooding river or have a hiking accident, we will still have a team to respond.”

The budget also reduced resources to investigate property crimes. Under the budget, the number of property crimes investigators is to be reduced from 16 to two. Rahr said the office has a proposal to continue investigations of burglaries and other property crimes.

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County expands Mental Health Court to Issaquah

July 13, 2010

King County plans to expand Mental Health Court — a groundbreaking program launched in the aftermath of a tragedy — to Issaquah by late July.

Launched as a pilot program in February 1999, the court uses a team approach to place defendants in treatment for mental illness. Supporters said the program bridges the gap between mental health treatment and criminal justice systems.

The court accepts mentally ill misdemeanor offenders, and then monitors them during court-ordered treatment. Participants waive a trial and agree to participate in treatment.

The court assigns a team — including a judge, prosecutor, public defender, treatment court liaison and probation officers — to monitor defendants throughout the process. Participants can be jailed for straying from the program.

District Court and elected officials announced the expansion July 9 at the Issaquah Courthouse.

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County expands Mental Health Court to Issaquah

July 9, 2010

NEW — 12:30 p.m. July 9, 2010

King County plans to expand Mental Health Court — a groundbreaking program launched in the aftermath of a tragedy — to Issaquah by late July.

Launched as a pilot program in February 1999, the court uses a team approach to place defendants in treatment for mental illness. Supporters said the program bridges the gap between the mental health treatment and criminal justice systems.

The court accepts mentally ill misdemeanor offenders, and then monitors them during court-ordered treatment. Participants waive a trial and agree to participate in treatment.

The court assigns a team — including a judge, prosecutor, public defender, treatment court liaison and probation officers — to monitor defendants throughout the process. Participants can be jailed for straying from the program.

District Court and elected officials announced the expansion Friday at the Issaquah Courthouse.

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Auditors fault King County for lack of oversight; county responds

June 22, 2010

Auditors raised concerns about the way King County government conducts business in a state report released June 14.

Though auditors said the county complied with state laws and regulations — as well as county rules — in most cases, the team identified several areas of concern with the King County Sheriff’s Office, King County Elections and executive agencies.

“Our audit found county officials should continue to improve oversight and safeguards over cash receipts, expenditures and assets,” auditors wrote. “In many instances, monitoring was insufficient to ensure policies are complete, and that staff is trained on and follows them.”

The state team said the county faces less ability to control expenses, a greater risk of loss and a heightened risk for running afoul of laws, regulations and contractual requirements due to a lack of oversight.

The county disputed some of the audit findings, and said steps had been taken to address other issues pointed out by auditors.

“In general, we respect the work of the state auditor, but many of his findings simply do not account for controls we already have in place,” county spokesman Frank Abe said. “Some of his findings also create unneeded costs of bureaucracy without adding any value for taxpayers.”

Auditors said the sheriff’s office lacks adequate controls to monitor and record evidence, including narcotics, and for collected and forfeited property.

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State auditors fault King County for lack of oversight; county addresses issues

June 21, 2010

UPDATED — 11:55 a.m. June 21, 2010

Auditors raised concerns about the way King County government conducts business in a state report released June 14.

Though auditors said the county complied with state laws and regulations — as well as county rules — in most cases, the team identified several areas of concern with the King County Sheriff’s Office, King County Elections and executive agencies.

“Our audit found county officials should continue to improve oversight and safeguards over cash receipts, expenditures and assets,” auditors wrote. “In many instances, monitoring was insufficient to ensure policies are complete, and that staff is trained on and follows them.”

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Wanted: Locals headed to the Winter Olympics

February 2, 2010

Issaquah councilman reappointed to transit board

King County Executive Dow Constantine reappointed Issaquah Councilman Fred Butler to the Sound Transit board of directors.

The regional board establishes policy and guides a system with almost 14 million riders per year on buses, commuter rail and light rail in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.

“Councilmember Butler has been one of the most dedicated Sound Transit board members with whom I have had the pleasure to serve,” Constantine said in a statement. “He has ably chaired the Finance Committee for several years and was recently chosen as a vice chair of the Sound Transit Board for the coming year.”

Butler, elected to the City Council in 1999 and re-elected since, joined the Sound Transit board in 2003, after a recommendation from then-Executive Ron Sims. The former executive reappointed Butler to subsequent terms.

Butler serves alongside 16 other elected officials from King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. Constantine also serves on the board. State Department of Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond is the 18th board member.

The new board is scheduled to meet Jan. 14.

Constantine appointed three other local politicians to the board: Bellevue Councilwoman Claudia Balducci, new Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and new King County Councilwoman Jan Drago.

Besides Butler, the executive also reappointed King County Councilwoman Julia Patterson and King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer.

“I believe that these appointees will continue the strong leadership needed as we plan and build more light rail in the coming years,” Constantine said.

After voters elected Constantine as executive in November, the executive-elect appointed Butler to his 30-person transition team. Butler had served alongside Constantine on the Sound Transit board in the past.

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City, schools elections attracted only 50 percent of voters

December 1, 2009

With few contested races on the ballot, about half of Issaquah city and school district voters cast ballots in the Nov. 3 election, final King County Elections results released last week show. Read more

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