July 26, 2011
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.
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.
June 14, 2011
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
May 3, 2011
In spite of the recession, the Issaquah Schools Foundation has never had such a successful fundraiser.
At the 13th annual Nourish Every Mind Benefit Luncheon, the foundation raised the considerable sum of $593,000 April 28. Last year, the luncheon raised $410,000, and organizers had set a goal of $450,000 for 2011.
Still, more money is needed. The Issaquah School District has plans to buy a new elementary science curriculum, but doesn’t have the funds. The money it had earmarked for the curriculum was spent covering the $1.4 million the state retroactively took from its budget this year.
In light of the state’s cuts, the foundation has jumpstarted a campaign to raise $500,000 to buy the elementary science curriculum by June 30.
Thanks to the successful luncheon at the Issaquah Community Center, the foundation has raised $263,000 of the $500,000 needed.
“As public funding shrinks, we will need to do more,” foundation community representative Leigh Stokes said.