Proposed fire authority receives cool reception from cities

March 15, 2011

Issaquah, Sammamish leaders also raise concerns about pools at joint meeting

The potential regional fire authority for Eastside communities received a lukewarm reception from Issaquah and Sammamish leaders March 10, as city councils from both cities discussed planning for emergency services and other issues at a joint meeting.

Officials from Issaquah and rural fire districts formed a planning group in late 2009 to consider a regional fire authority in the Eastside Fire & Rescue service area. The authority could tax residents to fund emergency services, unlike EFR. Contributions from member cities and fire districts fund EFR.

“It’s really hard to see a scenario where you can provide fire service to the citizens of Issaquah with an RFA,” Issaquah Councilman Mark Mullet said as leaders from both cities met at Tibbetts Creek Manor.

Participation in the planning process does not commit Issaquah or the fire districts to joining a regional fire authority.

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Issaquah, Sammamish councils face planning issues at meeting

March 8, 2011

Issaquah and Sammamish leaders meet March 10 at Tibbetts Creek Manor. The agenda includes dinner — and a packed docket of regional issues.

Members from the Issaquah and Sammamish city councils, plus Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger, plan to discuss long-term planning efforts in both cities — the push to create a Town Center in Sammamish and the decadeslong goal to reshape the Issaquah business district — and other issues.

The annual meeting offers a chance for leaders to confer about issues face to face. The confab helps to cut out the chatter from municipal staffers and residents.

“One way to do that is to once a year to get together and talk about what is important to each city,” Issaquah Councilman Mark Mullet said.

In recent years, talks focused on shared transportation concerns, Eastside Fire & Rescue operations and, in the meeting last year, nascent discussions about a regional fire authority and changes to King County animal control.

Officials from both cities also said the meeting could result in ideas for long-term planning efforts in Issaquah and Sammamish.

Sprawling Sammamish is in the midst of a yearslong effort to create a Town Center. Issaquah embarked on a plan last year to guide redevelopment in the 915-acre business district.

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Washington Trust for Historic Preservation seeks endangered historic sites

February 13, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. Feb. 13, 2011

Threatened historic sites could receive a boost from the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

The trust is seeking nominations for the 2011 Most Endangered Historic Properties List. Nominations must be submitted by March 21.

The trust encourages communities to take action to preserve the historic fabric of neighborhoods, main streets and rural landscapes.

Inclusion on the list can be a crucial step in advocacy campaigns designed to attract attention to historic resources.

Properties selected for inclusion on the list receive advocacy and technical assistance from the trust. By joining local organizations and concerned citizens, the most endangered list program has resulted in many high-profile success stories since 1992.

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Issaquah tragedies, triumphs define a tumultuous year

December 28, 2010

Traffic lines up on state Route 900 at Northwest Talus Drive in February. State Department of Transportation crews completed the long-running project in 2010. By Greg Farrar

The economy lurched from the recession, population growth all but stalled and Issaquah — after cutbacks and setbacks in 2009 — defied the odds to reach major milestones throughout 2010.

Momentum returned in 2010 after a year spent in a holding pattern. Set against the backdrop of a fragile recovery, leaders cut the ribbon on businesses and roads, laid the foundation for preservation and construction, and marked tragedies and successes. Read more

Sammamish grants dollars to Issaquah nonprofits

November 2, 2010

Sammamish City Council members cited the impact of the economic downturn and increased the amount the city grants to local nonprofits Oct. 26.

The money allotted by the council — $192,000 — includes grants to some Issaquah-based organizations. The allocation is a sharp increase from 2010. The city doled out $147,000 for 2010.

“I’d like to see some increase in funding for one time only because of these especially hard times,” Deputy Mayor Nancy Whitten said. “A lot of people who would normally give have given less because they can’t afford it or not given at all.”

The recipients include Athletes For Kids, AtWork!, Eastside Baby Corner, the Eastside Domestic Violence Program, Faith In Action, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, Issaquah Church and Community Services, the Issaquah Schools Foundation, Life Enrichment Options and the Providence Marianwood Foundation.

Agreement reached for use of Skyline fields

July 27, 2010

Issaquah School Board members voted unanimously to approve a newly negotiated agreement with the city of Sammamish for use of Skyline High School’s turf athletic fields.

The agreement extends district use of the fields for athletic purposes by a half-hour during the school year, or until 5:30 p.m. during fall and spring athletic seasons and until 5 p.m. during the winter athletic season.

The prior agreement, signed in 2004, allowed the fields to be used for district purposes until 5 and 4:30 p.m., respectively. After, city officials scheduled other use of the fields until 9 p.m.

City officials can schedule the fields for community use at 5:45 p.m., in fall and spring, and at 5:15 p.m., in winter. Scheduled use of the field will still end at 9 p.m.

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The redheads are coming, the redheads are coming

July 13, 2010

The few, the proud, the redheaded got symbolic support from Sammamish Mayor Don Gerend at a City Council meeting July 6.

Gerend and the rest of the council proclaimed July 17 Redhead Day in Sammamish.

That’s the day local photographer Anne Lindsay is attempting to set a world record for the largest gathering of natural redheads at 2 p.m. at Skyline High School Stadium, 1122 228th Ave. S.E.

It’s estimated that only 2 percent to 4 percent of Americans are naturally redheaded.

Learn more at www.redheadsandmoreredheads.com.

Sammamish rebuffs Skyline field plan

June 22, 2010

Jacob Kuper threatened the Issaquah School District might take its ball and go home if it didn’t get the changes it wants to an agreement governing the use of the fields at Skyline High School.

“We could rescind our interlocal agreement and there would be no community hours — not that we want to do that, but legally it is an option,” said Kuper, chief financial officer for the district.

Kuper was quickly shut down by Sammamish City Manager Ben Yazici, who told him he wasn’t going to discuss the threat and he doubted it actually was a legal option.

Kuper later apologized for being “brusque,” as the council also cooled down during a sometimes-heated June 15 meeting.

The community fields at Skyline are used by about a half-dozen school sports teams in the fall and spring seasons. The district owns the land.

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City signs interlocal animal control agreement

June 22, 2010

Issaquah intends to participate in the updated plan for animal care, control and licensing, though most city residents might not notice any changes.

City Council members agreed last week to join the regional plan for King County Animal Care and Control services. The agency handles responses to complaints about vicious animals, animal-cruelty investigations and pickups of stray animals.

The updated agreement calls for similar services, but puts more emphasis on pet licensing to help fund the agency.

The council approved the contract in a unanimous decision June 7. King County officials and representatives from Issaquah and 26 other cities worked for months to develop the updated plan.

County Executive Dow Constantine sent a package of proposed reforms to the King County Council to remake the troubled animal-control agency. Constantine proposed code changes to restructure license fees and smooth the way for partnerships between the county government and private organizations to care for stray animals and license pets.

Constantine also requested $3.2 million — backed by $2.5 million from licensing fees and other revenue — to implement the model.

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Press Editorial

June 22, 2010

Sometimes, the Issaquah School District needs to put its integrity ahead of student interest. Last week, its integrity slipped when district officials tried to change a long-standing contract with the city of Sammamish.

The city upgraded the fields at Skyline High School with lights and turf in exchange for community use between 6 and 9 p.m. The city has assured nearby neighbors that the field lights would be off by 9 p.m.

Circumstances are changing for the school as it adds a freshman class, and more playing time on the fields is needed for freshman teams. It was suggested the city move its community play time an hour later and just keep the field lights burning until 10 p.m.

The school district’s not-so-veiled threat to Sammamish – give us more time or we won’t let you use the fields at all – was both wrong and a poor bluff. We are troubled by the district’s lack of concern for the community at large and the adjacent property owners, who would have to put up with lights and noise until 10 p.m.

As Sammamish Councilwoman Nancy Whitten pointed out, the school district was asking for all of the sacrifices to be on the city’s end of the deal. This is no way to maintain a relationship with the city, or with the neighbors.

Both sides are fighting for the good of overlapping constituencies of taxpayers.

The city of Sammamish took the high road – agreeing to give Skyline an extra half-hour of field time while trying to work out a more permanent solution. School officials should take a lesson.

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