Under the dome

February 12, 2013

Mark Mullet, freshman senator, balances family, service

By Greg Farrar Mark Mullet, 5th Legislative District state Senator, walks from his office under the Capitol dome to the nearby John A. Cherberg Building for a committee meeting, while still in a phone meeting with King County Deputy Executive Fred Jarrett, during a packed Jan. 31 schedule of appointments in Olympia.

By Greg Farrar
Mark Mullet, 5th Legislative District state Senator, walks from his office under the Capitol dome to the nearby John A. Cherberg Building for a committee meeting, while still in a phone meeting with King County Deputy Executive Fred Jarrett, during a packed Jan. 31 schedule of appointments in Olympia.

The state Capitol is a grand structure, but beyond the rotunda soaring 175 feet overhead and the Tiffany chandelier as large as a car, opulence fades as the state Senate gallery transitions into a corridor lined with senators’ offices.

Room 415A is state Sen. Mark Mullet’s office, a no-frills space for the Issaquah Democrat tucked into the 85-year-old building.

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State officials address high gasoline prices

June 5, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire ordered the state Department of Commerce to look into high gasoline prices in Washington and study possible actions to lower prices as the summer driving season kicks into gear.

The governor directed the agency to monitor Washington and West Coast supplies and prices for gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products, and regularly report to the governor’s office. The department is also required to provide assistance to other state agencies in work related to high gasoline and diesel prices, including reporting any market concerns to the state Attorney General’s Office.

Washington has the fourth-highest gas prices in the nation, behind Hawaii, Alaska and California, according to data compiled by AAA. The average price for regular gas in Washington is $4.24 per gallon, compared to the $3.66 national average.

Officials said the West Coast is facing the lowest supplies of fuel since 1992.

Gregoire also sent letters to every refinery in Washington, asking authorities to “take all prudent measures to increase production and supplies sufficiently to reduce the costs for consumers on the West Coast.”

Issaquah business joins delegation to global technology conference

February 21, 2012

Issaquah business Chetan Sharma Consulting is among 11 small businesses from Washington representing the Evergreen State at the Mobile World Congress — the premier event in the global mobile tech industry.

The event — scheduled to unfold in Barcelona, Spain, from Feb. 27 to March 1 — includes 60,000 mobile technology leaders from more than 100 countries.

Chetan Sharma Consulting is a management consulting and strategic advisory firm formed in 2001. The company’s clients include telecommunications giants, such as Comcast, Qualcomm and Sprint Nextel.

The state Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration assembled the Washington delegation.

Though trade shows such as Mobile World Congress provide companies valuable opportunities to reach additional customers, costs often put such shows out of reach for many small businesses.

More companies in Washington received the opportunity to participate opportunity via a Small Business Administration State Trade and Export Promotion, or STEP, grant. The state Department of Commerce uses the funds to provide export vouchers of up to $5,000 with a 25 percent match to qualifying companies.

Issaquah business joins delegation to global technology conference

February 16, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 16, 2012

Issaquah business Chetan Sharma Consulting is among 11 small businesses from Washington representing the Evergreen State at the Mobile World Congress — the premier event in the global mobile tech industry.

The event — scheduled to unfold in Barcelona, Spain, from Feb. 27 to March 1 — includes 60,000 mobile technology leaders from more than 100 countries.

Chetan Sharma Consulting is a management consulting and strategic advisory firm formed in 2001. The company’s client include telecommunications giants, such as Comcast, Qualcomm and Sprint Nextel.

The state Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration assembled the Washington delegation. Some Washington companies participating in the event received vouchers to help defray costs through a federal grant and state export promotion program.

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State leaders promote Earned Income Tax Credit

February 7, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire and other state officials urged Washingtonians to apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit on federal income tax returns.

The program goes unused by about 20 percent of qualified workers entitled to receive a check for up to $5,751. In Washington last year, 426,124 taxpayers applied for the credit, bringing about $847 million into the state economy.

Gregoire proclaimed Jan. 27 as Earned Income Tax Credit Day to raise awareness.

“Every year, there is money available to working families and individuals that does not get claimed,” she said. “File your 2011 tax return and take advantage of this tax credit, which puts money in your pocket and into our local economy.”

The state Department of Commerce and the state Department of Social and Health Services joined the federal Internal Revenue Service, plus other local and national organizations, to remind people to apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Find eligibility requirements and learn more at the Department of Commerce website, www.commerce.wa.gov.

 

State tourism guide spotlights Issaquah

March 8, 2011

Issaquah is highlighted as a destination for hiking and other attractions in the latest state travel planner.

Washington State Tourism and the state Department of Commerce released a 152-page, full-color print travel planner Feb. 23. The digital guide is available at the Washington State Tourism website, www.experiencewa.com.

Users can browse the free guide or order a print copy online. Or call 1-800-544-1800 toll free.

The guide spotlights time-honored Issaquah attractions and traditions.

“A cute downtown, chocolate factory, zoological park and the famous Salmon Days Festival, held the last weekend in September, are just a few reasons to give Issaquah a try,” the guide states.

Salmon Days, for the record, is usually held the first weekend of October. The state corrected the online guide last week.

“Our goal is to provide visitors with the resources they need to plan a perfect getaway in Washington, so our new travel planner is chock full of helpful articles, maps and inspiring photos from all across our beautiful state,” Washington State Tourism Executive Director Marsha Massey said.

Officials did not use state funds to produce the guide and instead relied on advertising to cover production and printing costs for 350,000 copies.

Issaquah Medical Building project receives boost from state

January 25, 2011

The planned Issaquah Medical Building is in line to receive $13.2 million in bonds, Gov. Chris Gregoire and the state Department of Commerce announced Jan. 18.

Plans call for a medical office building spread across 55,000 square feet.

The building is designed to meet Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Gold standards. The site for the building is along the just-completed Interstate 90 Undercrossing.

Overall, Gregoire and Department of Commerce leaders announced almost $100 million in bonds to fund economic development, energy conservation and infrastructure projects in King, Cowlitz, Skagit and Whatcom counties.

“These investments are critical to our economic recovery,” Gregoire said in a statement. “They help local communities jump start important projects to improve their infrastructure, while putting people to work — primarily in construction, a sector that has been hit especially hard by the national recession.”

Officials said the projects should create or retain more than 700 jobs.

“Commerce’s mission is to grow and improve jobs in Washington,” Department of Commerce Director Rogers Weed said in the statement. “The 700-plus jobs supported by these projects are desperately needed, and represent another step forward in our state’s economic recovery.”

Issaquah-based SeaCon is building the medical office. The company also completed a piece of the undercrossing to facilitate access to the Issaquah Medical Building.

Issaquah Medical Building project receives boost from state

January 18, 2011

NEW — 1 p.m. Jan. 18, 2011

The planned Issaquah Medical Building is in line to receive $13.2 million in bonds, Gov. Chris Gregoire and the state Department of Commerce announced Tuesday.

Plans call for a medical office building spread across 55,000 square feet. The building is designed to meet LEED Gold standards. The site for the building is along the just-completed Interstate 90 Undercrossing.

Overall, Gregoire and Department of Commerce leaders announced almost $100 million in bonds to fund economic development, energy conservation and infrastructure projects in King, Cowlitz, Skagit and Whatcom counties.

“These investments are critical to our economic recovery,” Gregoire said in a statement. “They help local communities jump start important projects to improve their infrastructure, while putting people to work — primarily in construction, a sector that has been hit especially hard by the national recession.”

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Issaquah accepts grant to study land swap

November 23, 2010

Issaquah city leaders accepted a state grant last week to study how to preserve rural land and instead add density inside city limits.

The city received $100,000 to study a potential transfer of development rights between the Issaquah Creek watershed and the business district. Under such a transfer, a landowner sells development rights from properties in low-density areas to parties interested in building denser development in another area.

City Council members accepted the grant in a unanimous decision Nov. 15. The grant does not require any local matching dollars.

The city plans to use the funds to conduct environmental and market analyses to create a transfer-of-development-rights receiving site in part of a 915-acre commercial core along Interstate 90. The area is the focus of a detailed planning process to redevelop strip malls and parking lots into a pedestrian-friendly blend of businesses and residences.

The state Department of Commerce and the Puget Sound Regional Council — the planning authority for King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties — announced Sept. 15 more than $1 million in grants to 10 cities for transfer of development rights projects.

Cash for Appliances rebate dollars run out

November 16, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 16, 2010

The money for eco-friendly appliances has run out.

Cash for Appliances Washington reached the final stage Monday, as organizers said all rebate funds had been committed and await processing.

The popular state Department of Commerce program helped more than 40,000 Washington consumers transition from outdated appliances to Energy Star models.

Consumers can still apply for rebates, but any applications received now will be placed on a waiting list. In the event any applications under evaluation do not qualify, the waiting list will be processed in the order received. The process should continue for the next seven weeks until the money has been exhausted.

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