State insurance commissioner offers advice for understanding storm claims

January 31, 2012

The top insurance regulator in Washington offered some insurance-claim tips to residents cleaning up from recent snow and ice storms.

“We encourage people to start with their agent or insurer. But our staff can often help with denied claims, delayed payments and confusing policy language,” state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said in a statement.

Consumers call the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-562-6900 toll free or file a complaint at www.insurance.wa.gov.

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Homeowners should check contractors before hiring for storm cleanup

January 31, 2012

The state Department of Labor & Industries reminded residents to check contractors’ credentials, as residents seek help to clean up from recent winter weather.

Whether the job requires residents to hire a tree-removal service to clean up a downed tree or a general contractor to repair damage to a roof and gutter, the agency said a little homework upfront can protect consumers against fraud, shoddy work or, simply, bad contractors.

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Issaquah School District does not seek waiver for snow days

January 31, 2012

During the recent snowstorm, schools throughout the area were closed for the better part of a week and Gov. Chris Gregoire declared a state of emergency.

Because of that declared emergency, school districts have the option of going to the state and asking for a waiver that allows them not to make up the days missed due to weather.

In the case of the Issaquah School District, no waiver will be sought, according to Sara Niegowski, district director of communications. That may change if further classroom days are lost to weather conditions.

“We strongly believe in at least 180 school days for students,” Niegowski said in a press release.

The district will seek a waiver for high school seniors who, with the snow days, would fall one day short of the required days needed for graduation.

Students in the Snoqualmie Valley Public Schools missed four days, according to Carolyn Malcolm, district public information coordinator. She said no decision yet has been made as to whether or not the district will seek snow-related waivers from the state.

For the current school year, the district’s last day of instruction was to have been June 11, which happens to be a Monday. The school year logically could be extended to Friday, June 15, Malcolm said.

According to Malcolm, waiving days is not as easy as it sounds. Districts still need to make up instruction hours even if school days are waived, she said.

Learning delayed by snow days

January 31, 2012

Hall Monitor Michael Payant Liberty High School

As a senior at Liberty High School this year, I often feel I have experienced about everything there is to experience in high school.

I have seen nearly every school sports team play, seen multiple school drama productions, participated in numerous band concerts, attended numerous school dances, taken many of the most difficult classes Liberty has to offer and seen many things I could never have imagined.

Yet a couple weeks ago, as semester finals were set to begin, it started snowing. After having Monday off for Martin Luther King Jr. day, the snow gave us Tuesday off, and then Wednesday, and then Thursday and then Friday. A whole week off, during finals no less.

Suddenly, teenagers around Issaquah turned back the clock. As snow built up, student stress everywhere melted away, and we were all little kids again.

Cramming for social studies became “Snowman-building 101.” Cramming for physics became a real-life application of physics — sledding down snow-covered hills.

Though many of my senior peers are counting down the days until they get to fly away and start their post-high school lives, the snowstorm a few weeks ago brought us all back.

In a world of ever-mounting pressure, college applications, job interviews and a fast-approaching future, the early January snowstorm gave us all one last chance to turn back the clock and be kids again at least one more time before we have to grow up.

King County offers wood-debris recycling to storm-ravaged residents

January 29, 2012

NEW — 6 p.m. Jan. 29, 2012

Debris continues to linger outside King County homes, long after the snow and ice melted.

The recent snowstorm and ice storm left tree branches and limbs, plus other debris, on roads and lawns in Issaquah and elsewhere. King County Executive Dow Constantine cleared the way for disposal events in the days after the storms.

“We have made it easy for residents to dispose of debris so they can quickly put the storms of last week behind them and move on with life,” he said in a statement released Jan. 26.

Residents can recycle wood debris for free from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 4-5 at the Shoreline, Enumclaw and Cedar Falls solid waste facilities, and at Russell Road Park.

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State reminds homeowners to check contractors’ credentials in storms’ aftermath

January 29, 2012

NEW — 6 p.m. Jan. 29, 2012

The state Department of Labor & Industries reminded residents to check contractors’ credentials, as residents seek help to clean up from recent winter weather.

Whether the job requires residents to hire a tree-removal service to clean up a downed tree or a general contractor to repair damage to a roof and gutter, the agency said a little homework upfront can protect consumers against fraud, shoddy work or, simply, bad contractors.

Read more

State insurance commissioner offers tips for storm-related claims

January 29, 2012

The top insurance regulator in Washington offered some insurance-claim tips to residents cleaning up from recent snow and ice storms.

“We encourage people to start with their agent or insurer. But our staff can often help with denied claims, delayed payments and confusing policy language,” state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said in a statement.

Consumers call the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-562-6900 or file a complaint at www.insurance.wa.gov.

Read more

Issaquah residents can drop off storm debris at Tibbetts Valley Park

January 26, 2012

NEW — 12:35 p.m. Jan. 26, 2012

Issaquah residents and business owners can drop off tree branches and other woody debris from recent storms at Tibbetts Valley Park on Saturday and Sunday, officials announced Thursday.

The drop-off site is scheduled to open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the park, 965 12th Ave. N.W. Only storm-related woody debris is accepted. Though representatives plan to monitor drop-offs, customers must unload material themselves.

Waste Management customers — plus Allied Waste customers subscribed to yard waste service — can also set out compost and yard debris for curbside pickup.

Use the typical 96-gallon cart, another 96-gallon cart, or another three 32-gallon containers, compostable bags or bundles.

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Fallen trees prompt latest Preston road closure

January 25, 2012

NEW — 7:30 a.m. Jan. 25, 2012

Downed trees prompted a road closure in rural Preston, King County transportation officials announced Wednesday morning.

The road closure at 308th Avenue Southeast, at mile south of Southeast 64th Street, is about two miles north from the Preston Athletic Fields & Park.

King County Road Services Division officials did not offer estimates for reopening in the 6:30 a.m. update.

The closure occurred after strong winds caused another round of power outages across the region, less than a week after residents in the Issaquah area and throughout Western Washington faced icy conditions and lengthy power outages following a snowstorm and rare ice storm.

County transportation officials urged motorists to monitor the road closure list throughout the day for updates about the Preston closure and other issues.

Cleanup continues after snowstorm and ice cause havoc

January 24, 2012

State Route 900 remains barricaded at midafternoon Jan. 20 to motorists wanting to go southbound past Northwest Talus Drive, a day after a downed tree blocked access to the urban village. By Greg Farrar

In the days after a snowstorm pummeled the region, blackout chased whiteout, as residents uneasy about thorny commutes and missed meetings instead confronted sinking temperatures and toppling trees — all sans electricity.

The major snowstorm dropped 3 to 6 inches across the Issaquah area Jan. 18, but the struggle started the next day, as a rare ice storm led to widespread power outages and caused trees to send ice- and snow-laden branches earthward.

The harsh conditions tested road crews, prompted spinouts and fender benders around the region, and led officials to cancel school for almost a week.

“It was like a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 punch,” Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director, said Jan. 23, as cleanup efforts continued. “For awhile there, I wasn’t sure if we were ever going to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

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