City Council will decide whether to give up right of way

May 25, 2010

City Council members will soon consider relinquishing the opportunity to develop unpaved right of way just above East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast.

The council will listen to public comments before deciding whether to vacate right of way for 229th Avenue Southeast on June 7.

King County required the developer behind The Home Depot at East Lake Center and near the Boeing complex to dedicate right of way for 229th Avenue Southeast. Planners meant for the road to someday extend from south of Issaquah-Fall City Road to connect with Southeast Black Nugget Road. In order to accommodate eventual link, the county called for a 60-foot earthen embankment alongside the right of way.

Issaquah annexed the area a decade ago.

“We inherited it when we annexed,” city Engineer Bonita McPherren said.

City planners said a roadway could not be built on the right of way without first building a high, reinforced retaining wall. The hurdle makes a road connection along the right of way impractical. Hence, the city has no need to retain the property.

Under state law, the council must hold a public hearing before the vacation can proceed. The council held the initial hearing May 17.

The council agreed to continue the hearing June 7 to allow for comment from city residents and landowners. No one addressed the council during the May 17 hearing.

McPherren said the city contacted nearby property owners at the start of the process, but officials only heard from a single neighbor. Council members asked McPherren to contact nearby landowners again before the June hearing.

Besides the business district along East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast, the annexation brought the Overdale Park neighborhood into the city.

New season means new choices for new mowers

May 11, 2010

Go gas or electric, front-wheel or rear-wheel drive

Now that winter has finally relinquished its grasp on local weather, allowing a transition to spring, many homeowners have probably noticed the grass in the yard has grown out of control since last fall.

This leaves them to answer the question — is their mower up to the task or is it time for a new one?

Homeowners in the market for a new mower have myriad choices when it comes to lawn maintenance. Randy Byrd, floor associate at The Home Depot, lends his years of expertise to help steer potential buyers toward the right mower for the right yard.

The first question Byrd asks is the size of the yard, to help determine whether the homeowner needs a riding lawn mower or a push model.

“It matters if the yard is hilly or flat and if it’s just a 20-square foot patch in the suburbs,” Byrd said.

The general standard, unless you’re looking for extra exercise, is steer toward a push mower if it would take less than an hour. For those with large lawns, riding mowers come in the standard 42-inch deck (the width of the area blades cut) all the way up to 52 inches.

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New, relocated businesses boost Issaquah economy

May 4, 2010

The local economy has improved since last year, but increased retail offerings and high-profile construction projects could help the city rebound in the months ahead.

Economic Development Manager Dan Trimble said the city had progressed beyond the economic doldrums of last year. Joe’s — the longtime sporting goods retailer — closed as the city grappled with dual real estate and building construction slowdowns brought on by the recession.

“In 2010, we started to see the economic recovery start to take hold,” Trimble told City Council members April 27. “We’ve had some new retail moving in, both big and small. Construction activity has been returning.”

Swedish Medical Center started construction on a campus in the Issaquah Highlands late last year, and Best Buy and Sports Authority will open Issaquah stores in the months ahead. Sports Authority will occupy the old Joe’s space, and Best Buy will fill vacant space in the bustling East Lake Center shopping complex anchored by Fred Meyer and The Home Depot.

Sports Authority should generate $85,000 to $100,000 annually in sales tax revenue for the city; Best Buy should pull in $100,000 to $200,000, city Finance Director Jim Blake said in a May 1 conference call with council members.

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Newport Way upgrades, trail links on city transportation plan

April 27, 2010

The long-term plan to upgrade Issaquah roads reaches the City Council next week.

Officials plan a public hearing on the Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP. The hearing presents residents and landowners with a chance to offer input on the sweeping document. The plan outlines transportation projects though 2016.

Some of the projects slated for completion will be familiar to longtime residents. They include the Interstate 90 Undercrossing and a pedestrian connector to link trails across the interstate and along state Route 900.

The plan also calls for about $213,000 to overhaul Newport Way Northwest from West Sunset Way to Maple Street Northwest. Officials hope to upgrade paths for bicyclists and pedestrians, and to add roundabouts to ease traffic congestion in the corridor.

The plan also includes the partnership between the city and the largest employer in Issaquah to upgrade road access near the Costco corporate headquarters and flagship store. The city and Costco agreed in March to split the $63,736 cost to study possible improvements.

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Retail giants plan Issaquah stores

February 16, 2010

Sports Authority, Best Buy coming soon

Sports Authority will open a store in the Northwest Gilman Boulevard space last occupied by Joe’s — the defunct sporting goods chain — by late spring.

Meanwhile, Best Buy plans to open a store in the former Pacific Fabrics space along East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast.

Best Buy — headquartered in Richfield, Minn. — plans to open the Issaquah store in the fall or early next year, company spokeswoman Jill Nezworski said. City Senior Planner Jerry Lind said city officials continue to work alongside Best Buy to resolve signage issues before the electronics retailer opens a store there.

Sports Authority — based in Englewood, Colo. — operates several stores in the Puget Sound region, with the Crossroads Mall store in Bellevue as the closest outpost to Issaquah.

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Sports Authority gears up for spring opening; Best Buy plans to open by next winter

February 10, 2010

UPDATED — 12:08 p.m. Feb. 10, 2010

Sports Authority will open a store in the Northwest Gilman Boulevard space last occupied by Joe’s — the defunct sporting goods chain — by late spring.

Meanwhile, Best Buy has expressed interest in the former Pacific Fabrics space along East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. City Senior Planner Jerry Lind said city officials continue to work alongside Best Buy to resolve signage issues before the electronics retailer opens a store there.

Best Buy — headquartered in Richfield, Minn. — plans to open the Issaquah store in the fall or early next year, spokeswoman Jill Nezworski said Wednesday.

Sports Authority operates several stores in the Puget Sound region, with the Crossroads Mall store in Bellevue as the closest outpost to Issaquah. The chain is based in Englewood, Colo.

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How to turn your vision into a kitchen renovation dream

February 9, 2010

To turn your kitchen into a dream space, have a vision to lay the road map for designers to get you there. File

When Joanne Clowse was ready for a home renovation project, she first thought she had it under control.

“My dad was an electrician and a mechanic from the U.K.,” she said. “So I was used to being around the business.”

But she quickly discovered the business is quite different in the U.S. than the United Kingdom, and she admitted she was in over her head when she wanted to install all new features, from tub to cabinets, in her master bathroom, even with her extensive immersion in the industry.

So, she turned to Issaquah kitchen designer Carole Porter, whose business Kitchen Arts has been helping homeowners in kitchen and bath redesigns since 2000. Read more

An eye for directing

February 2, 2010

Local filmmaker looks to ride low-budget horror movie trend to success with ‘Eyes in the Dark’

Reading the script and discussing a scene for ‘Eyes in the Dark’ are (from left) actress Melinda Ausserer, assistant director Robyn Scaringi, actor Jason Robison, director Bjorn Anderson, actor Wayne Bastrup and actor John Symonds. Contributed

On his 26th birthday, Issaquah resident Bjorn Anderson walked into work at the Home Depot and gave his two weeks’ notice. He wanted to pursue his dream of making movies. He started his first script the same day.

“I figured I was young enough that if I was ever going to do it, it would have to be now,” Anderson said.

He never had any formalized film training, but said he watched movies with a critical eye for years.

“I could pay money for film school or pay money for actual film and learn as I go,” Anderson said.

He chose the latter. Read more

Off The Press

August 18, 2009

Kathleen Merrill Press Editor

Kathleen Merrill Press Editor

Ahh, the joys of hiring. Sure, jobs are hard to come by, but if you’ve seen some of the résumés I get here when a position is open, you might not be surprised why some people are out of work.
I have laughed hard and sometimes just shaken my head when reading a cover letter or résumé I’ve received. I often share these stories with my co-workers. After all, who doesn’t like a good laugh?

So, in the spirit of passing that on to you, dear reader, I am writing about a few of my favorite applicants, in a manner of speaking, from the past few years. Names have been left out to protect the guilty. However, the bad grammar and spellings actually belong to those who applied. Read more

City praised for its lines of communication during floods

January 19, 2009

Mayor Ava Frisinger gave the city high marks for communicating with the community during the flood. The city’s use of its Web site, reader boards, radio and cable access television station provided in many cases up-to-the minute information about Issaquah Creek, she said.

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