Issaquah, Sammamish councils support school district bond

February 28, 2012

Issaquah and Sammamish leaders agreed last week to support the $219 million bond the Issaquah School District plans to put before voters April 17.

The measure is meant to generate dollars to rebuild Clark and Sunny Hills elementary schools and Issaquah Middle School, modernize Liberty High School and relocate Tiger Mountain Community High School.

Issaquah City Council members held a public hearing about the bond Feb. 21 and then agreed to back the measure in a 5-0 decision. (Councilman Mark Mullet and Councilwoman Eileen Barber did not attend the meeting.)

Sammamish City Council members endorsed the measure Feb. 7.

“When companies are looking at relocating, they often look at the availability of excellent education,” Sammamish Mayor Tom Odell said. “We have that here, and it’s incumbent on us to keep it that way if we want to protect what we have here.”

Issaquah School District officials also plan to use bond funds to improve districtwide heating and ventilation, space and security; and improve athletic fields and stadiums. (Clark Elementary School, Issaquah Middle School and Tiger Mountain Community High School sit inside Issaquah city limits.)

King County forgoes crackdown on medical marijuana

July 26, 2011

Dow Constantine

King County is adopting a more laissez-faire approach to medical-marijuana operations as Issaquah, Sammamish and other cities tighten rules for patient-run collective gardens and other operations.

Issaquah City Council members upheld a six-month moratorium on medical marijuana collective gardens July 18 — the same day the council in neighboring Sammamish enacted a similar moratorium. Federal Way, Kent, North Bend and other cities also clamped down on medical-marijuana operations.

King County Executive Dow Constantine, however, does not intend to propose legislation to address the issue in rural and unincorporated areas.

“At this time, the executive does not plan to propose any new regulations governing dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county,” said Frank Abe, a spokesman for the executive.

The decision means medical-marijuana operations in unincorporated areas, such as The Kind Alternative Medical Collective, a nonprofit collective in Preston, can continue operations unaffected.

In the meantime, county officials plan to reach out to residents in unincorporated areas to address concerns.

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Eastside Fire & Rescue directors explore agency’s future structure

July 19, 2011

Veto power among ideas being considered

The Eastside Fire & Rescue board of directors decided July 14 to form a sub-committee that will probe possible changes to its governance structure — including the veto power that individual partners now hold regarding adding additional partners to the agency.

EFR is an amalgamation of King County fire districts 10 and 38 and the cities of Issaquah, Sammamish and North Bend.

The study of EFR’s structure follows the completion of a different study that examined the possibility of a regional fire authority — essentially an independent taxing district that would have moved the fire services bill from cities’ general funds to residents’ property tax bills. EFR members have been pondering the future of fire service in the area once the agreement that underpins the agency expires in 2014.

Mark Mullet, an Issaquah city councilman and one of the city’s two representatives on the board, said the study showed that Issaquah residents would have paid $1.17 per $1,000 of assessed value for fire service under a regional fire authority; they pay the equivalent of 83 cents per $1,000 through the city’s general fund now.

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Creekside, Grand Ridge students create city of the future

June 14, 2011

Students work on their Polyhedraville futuristic city project. Fourth-graders from the SAGE programs at Creekside and Grand Ridge elementary schools spent the school year creating the city. By Ron Ciraulo

The day after Ron Ciraulo’s fourth-graders presented their futuristic city project to city leaders, Kameron Gurol, Sammamish’s director of community development, personally commended the teacher for the students’ high-quality work.

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Sammamish exempts schools from storm water fees

June 7, 2011

In return, students must learn about storm water issues

Sammamish will continue to exempt local school districts from storm-water fees in exchange for those districts’ continued promise to teach their students about storm water issues.

The Sammamish City Council recently re-examined the situation following news that two Issaquah School District schools — Skyline High and Cascade Ridge Elementary — had inadvertently been charged the fees in 2009 and 2010 and were refusing to pay.

City staff members blamed an accounting snafu by King County, which collects storm water fees and sends that money back to the city for use in building and maintaining ditches, culverts and other infrastructure that collects and distributes water off the plateau following storms.

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City Council, school board meet to discuss shared safety issues

May 31, 2011

School-zone construction, illegal skate-park activities are top concerns

With communication in mind, the Issaquah City Council and Issaquah School Board met May 26 to talk about issues that concern them both, including road construction near schools, illegal activities at the Issaquah skate park and whether the school board could televise its public meetings.

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Press Editorial

May 31, 2011

City, school cooperation serves everyone

Last week, the Issaquah City Council and Issaquah School Board members took time to meet with each other and chat. The pairing has become an annual event.

The Issaquah School Board also met last week with the Sammamish City Council to discuss issues that matter to their constituents. This kind of interaction is valuable and irreplaceable.

Of course, at the staff level, these interactions happen all of the time, as they should. Most issues and communications are ably handled by the administrators who run the city and schools day to day. There is, however, nothing quite like letting the policy makers sit around a table and get to know each other and share their concerns.

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Issaquah, Sammamish councils will meet with school board

May 17, 2011

Join City Council and Issaquah School Board members as the groups gather for a joint meeting May 26.

The groups plan to meet at 6 p.m. at the Issaquah School District Administration Building, 565 N.W. Holly St.

The meeting is a casual meet-and-greet, and allows members to discuss matters of mutual interest. No action is to be taken at the joint meeting.

Sammamish City Council members meet the school board in the same location at 5:30 p.m. May 25. The meeting precedes a 7 p.m. school board meeting.

The school board and city councils usually meet annually.

Some issues could re-emerge as the Issaquah City Council and school board meet. Sharing facilities and transportation upgrades related to school construction along Second Avenue Southeast often crop up in joint discussions.

Issaquah and school district leaders met in October 2008. The planned Issaquah High School reconstruction dominated the discussion. The state-of-the-art high school campus is now nearing completion.

Sammamish proposal could hit Issaquah School District

May 15, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. May 15, 2011

An apparent accounting glitch by King County led to two Issaquah School District schools being charged $115,000 worth of storm water fees from which they were supposed to be exempt.

On Monday, Sammamish City Council members will consider waiving the back charges, which were levied by the county on behalf of the city against Skyline High School and Cascade Ridge Elementary in 2009 and last year.

At a May 10 study session, the council appeared supportive of waiving the old fees. However, they were split on whether or not the city should continue to waive stormwater fees for schools, which contain large amounts of the impervious surface, such as paved areas, that create storm water headaches.

“It appears that a majority of communities in this part of the county are collecting fees (from public schools),” Deputy Mayor Tom Odell, who mentioned that he was not opposed to collecting the outstanding fees, said at the session. “We have identified the need for additional (storm water system development). Schools have a lot of impervious surfaces.”

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Lake Sammamish level concerns homeowners

May 3, 2011

County announces plan to unclog lake-to-river transition

King County environmental managers plan to tackle the high water level in Lake Sammamish, after aquatic weeds and sediment clogged the outlet from the lake to the Sammamish River.

The problem — although centered at county-run Marymoor Park along the lake’s northern shore — reflects a common complaint among lakeside residents in Issaquah and Sammamish about the water level.

“It’s really important that we remove these things. Particularly at the north end up around Marymoor Park is a real problem, and it’s spread to the rest of the lake,” Save Lake Sammamish founder Joanna Buehler said. “For real control, you need everybody around the lake to work on it.”

The effort calls for yanking invasive plants, increased mowing near the transition zone from lake to river and enacting other steps along the lake in order to address levels along the shoreline.

County Executive Dow Constantine said the series of steps is necessary to reduce seasonal flooding along the lake.

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