Fred Butler launches campaign for Issaquah mayor

January 17, 2013

NEW — 6 p.m. Jan. 17, 2013

Fred Butler, a City Council stalwart for 13 years and a voice in important debates about the future of Issaquah, entered the race for mayor Thursday.

Fred Butler

Fred Butler

The contest could hinge on the vision for the decades ahead, as city leaders seek to position Issaquah for redevelopment and attract more jobs to the community.

Butler, 72, served on the council at major junctures in recent history, as members debated the defunct Southeast Bypass road link, how to preserve forested Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain, and late last year, a 30-year redevelopment blueprint called the Central Issaquah Plan.

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Explore state, national parks at no cost for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 15, 2013

NEW — 10 a.m. Jan. 15, 2013

Washingtonians can observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Lake Sammamish State Park and other state facilities, Tiger Mountain State Forest and other state forestlands, or in national forests and parks.

Officials at the agencies responsible for state and national public lands waived admission fees for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday.

Visitors do not need a Discover Pass to visit state parks, including Lake Sammamish and Squak Mountain near Issaquah.

Mount Rainier National Park waived entrance fees to the 235,625-acre park. Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is waiving fees at more than 74 day-use sites in the forest.

Throughout the year, state and national parks waive entrance fees to promote outdoor recreation.

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How school officials know when to call a snow day

January 1, 2013

All roads come under consideration during winter weather

Issaquah School District buses line up on a snow day. Contributed

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast for a drier-than-normal winter in the Pacific Northwest is good news for local schools, but just in case, Jo Porter and her transportation staff are prepared.

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Poll: Northwesterners divided on belief in Sasquatch

December 26, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 26, 2012

Many Northwesterners believe Sasquatch is more than a myth, according to the latest PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll.

Seattle-based PEMCO Insurance surveyed Northwest residents about the hairy hominid and found 33 percent believe Sasquatch possibly exists, and about 1 in 10 respondents claimed to actually see Sasquatch or know somebody who did.

Oregon residents seemed less convinced, though, than Washington counterparts. Overall, more than half of Portlanders — 55 percent — doubt the creature exists. Still, more than a quarter of respondents polled in Portland — 28 percent — embrace the possibility of Sasquatch,

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Snow causes few disruptions for Issaquah residents

December 25, 2012

Snow crept into forecasts in recent days, but aside from a dusting in higher-elevation neighborhoods and a delay for Issaquah School District students, winter weather did not cause significant disruptions in the area.

In response to slushy conditions on roads and some snowfall overnight, school district administrators delayed the start of school two hours Dec. 18. The day before, as forecasters issued a winter weather advisory for Western Washington, Issaquah and King County road crews prepared for snow.

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Unincorporated King County residents avoid $20 roads fee

December 18, 2012

Residents in unincorporated King County — including Klahanie, Mirrormont and Preston in the Issaquah area and more than 200,000 people countywide — no longer face a $20 vehicle-license fee to fund road maintenance.

King County Council members dropped the proposed fee from the 2013 county budget, and approved the spending plan Nov. 13 in a unanimous decision. Instead, officials plan to lobby the state government for additional road dollars — a challenge as the state faces another budget shortfall next year.

In September, King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed a $20 fee to fund road maintenance and storm response in rural and unincorporated areas.

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Christmas tree sellers unwrap holiday rush

November 27, 2012

Jason Hollaway, of Issaquah, a worker at Trinity Tree Farm on Squak Mountain, pulls a Christmas tree through a netting machine Nov. 24 for a family to transport home for the holidays. By Greg Farrar

The holiday rush is not limited to retailers. Once the calendar inches past Black Friday, another group of merchants girds for a deluge of customers — Christmas tree sellers.

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Crews gird for snow removal before flakes start to fall

November 27, 2012

The mercury dips a little lower as November turns to December, winter starts in mere weeks, and the agencies responsible for ensuring roads remain passable in ice and snow readied removal plans for the months ahead.

Issaquah, King County and the state prepare detailed ice and snow response plans long before the flakes start to fall. The agencies face challenges in Issaquah and the surrounding area due to steep terrain, narrow roads and limited funding.

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Encounter at Issaquah school offers bear safety reminder

October 16, 2012

Mike Pernack spotted a black bear cub in Squak Mountain’s Big Bear Court neighborhood Oct. 4. By Mike Pernack

Issaquah Valley Elementary School administrators briefly put the campus into lockdown Oct. 3 after surprise guests ambled onto school grounds.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife officers, plus Mishka, a Karelian bear dog, responded to the downtown Issaquah school, but arrived after a female bear and trio of cubs dashed across campus.

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Rowley Properties executive Richard Symms retires

September 25, 2012

Richard Symms

Longtime Rowley Properties executive Richard Symms retired Sept. 1 after 44 years as a leader at the Issaquah-based company.

Symms, as president and board member, served as a key component in Rowley Properties’ evolution.

“Rowley Properties was blessed with Richard Symms’ capable, caring and dependable leadership to do whatever needed to be done over the years,” CEO Kari Magill said in a statement.

Symms worked as a teacher in the Issaquah School District before joining Rowley Properties founder George Rowley Sr. to sell houses on Squak Mountain.

Residents can honor Symms by sending a 4-by-6-inch note card with thoughts or a story to Rowley Properties, Attn: RSS, 1595 N.W. Gilman Blvd., Suite 1, Issaquah, WA 98027. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 5.

Organizers plan to compile the memories into a book for Symms.

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