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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Butler, Gifford

February 15, 2011

Daniel Gifford and Gail Butler

Gail Butler and Daniel Gifford, both of Ann Arbor, Mich., announce their engagement to be married Aug. 14, 2011, at Tibbetts Creek Manor in Issaquah.

The future bride, the daughter of Thomas and Joan Butler, of Issaquah, is a 2005 graduate of Issaquah High School.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in cellular and molecular biology from Western Washington University in 2010 and is a graduate student in the doctorate program in molecular biology at the University of Michigan.

The groom to be, the son of David and Susan Gifford, of Puyallup, is a 2006 graduate of Rogers High School.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physics in 2010 from Western Washington University. He is a graduate student in the doctorate program in astrophysics at the University of Michigan.

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Architect offers bold plan for creekside parks

November 30, 2010

The proposed design for a downtown parks site includes a horseshoe-shaped bridge across Issaquah Creek and meandering trails. The Berger Partnership

Initial proposal emphasizes ecology and history at downtown site

Ideas abound for the downtown parks along Issaquah Creek: boulders for climbing, meandering paths, community gardens, historic farmhouses repurposed as meeting spaces and — the centerpiece — a horseshoe-shaped pedestrian bridge across the creek at the main stem and the East Fork.

The ambitious plan aims to transform the oft-overlooked, 15.5-acre site near Darigold into a destination. Seattle landscape architect Guy Michaelsen said the intent is to create a park site “unique to Issaquah and a reflection of Issaquah.”

The site — often referred to as the “crown jewel” in the municipal parks system — encompasses Tollë Anderson, Cybil-Madeline and Issaquah Creek parks. The effort is the largest parks project since the city built Squak Valley Park South in 2008 and the most ambitious plan since the city laid the groundwork for Tibbetts Valley Park more than 20 years ago.

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Women’s Club tea combines good times, charity work

November 2, 2010

Steamy tea, little sandwiches and sugary treats await those snacking at the third annual Harmony and High Tea hosted by the Issaquah Women’s Club.

After a group of friends founded the club in 1983, “just a couple of women who wanted to get together and have fun and do some good for the community,” the club has intertwined itself with Issaquah, forming friendships and donating funds to local groups, community outreach chair Mary Mallet said.

Tea aficionados chatter during the annual Harmony and High Tea auction organized by the Issaquah Women’s Club. By Debby Bader

At the tea, women of all ages can catch up with their family and neighbors. Joann McHolland plans to bring her 12-year-old granddaughter, who has already saved $100 to spend at the auction.

McHolland joined the club in 2002, after a vehicle accident made it difficult for her to pursue her other extracurricular activity: golf.

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Garden club auction benefits Issaquah organizations

November 2, 2010

The Issaquah Garden Club has a lecture, luncheon and auction in store for its November meeting. Ann Baron, Issaquah garden consultant will present “Fall Propagation and Preparing the Garden for Winter” before the club’s free luncheon and annual auction at 11:15 a.m.

Auction items include a Village Theatre package for six, an overflowing chocolate gift basket and a Leavenworth getaway for four. Proceeds from the auction benefit the garden club, which in turn supports nonprofit organizations in town, including the Issaquah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank, Issaquah Valley Elementary School youth project and Issaquah History Museums.

The program starts at 10 a.m. Nov. 10 at Tibbetts Creek Manor, 750 17th Ave. N.W. R.S.V.P. to Dianne Tanner by e-mailing butterdmt@comcast.net or go here to learn more.

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Garden club auction benefits Issaquah

October 26, 2010

The Issaquah Garden Club has a lecture, luncheon and auction in store for its November meeting. Ann Baron, Issaquah garden consultant will present “Fall Propagation and Preparing the Garden for Winter” before the club’s free luncheon and annual auction at 11:15 a.m.

Auction items include a Village Theatre package for six, an overflowing chocolate gift basket and a Leavenworth getaway for four. Proceeds from the auction benefit the garden club, which in turn supports nonprofit organizations in town, including the Issaquah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank, Issaquah Valley Elementary School youth project and Issaquah History Museums.

The program starts at 10 a.m. Nov. 10 at Tibbetts Creek Manor, 750 17th Ave. N.W. R.S.V.P. to Dianne Tanner by e-mailing butterdmt@comcast.net or go to www.issaquahgardenclub.org to learn more.

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Bring ideas to parks planning session Oct. 21

October 12, 2010

Bring ideas for the latest additions to the city parks system to Tibbetts Creek Manor.

A meeting to plan the future of Tollë Anderson, Cybil-Madeline and Issaquah Creek parks is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 21 at the manor, 750 17th Ave. N.W. Residents can also complete a questionnaire about the parks at the city website.

The city plans to spend up to $1.6 million to complete the plan and build the initial phase of the 15.5-acre parks complex. Issaquah voters approved money to develop the parks in a 2006 bond.

Conservation rules and requirements attached to land donations limit how the creekside parks can be developed.

City Parks & Recreation Department employees kicked off the planning process during a public picnic at the site in late August.

In late May, parks officials picked Seattle landscape architecture firm The Berger Partnership to craft the overarching design, or master site plan, for the parks complex. The firm also designed Cal Anderson Park and Warren G. Magnuson Park in Seattle.

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Mayor hires Ohio official as Issaquah city administrator

September 21, 2010

Robert Harrison

The next Issaquah city administrator is a plainspoken Midwesterner and longtime city manager of a Cincinnati suburb.

Robert “Bob” Harrison — the city manager in Wyoming, Ohio, for the past 12 years — has accepted the No. 2 position at Issaquah City Hall and is due to start Oct. 11.

Harrison, 42, emerged as the leading candidate last week during closed-door interviews with community leaders and city department chiefs. Mayor Ava Frisinger announced the appointment Sept. 16.

The mayor offered Harrison the job Sept. 8, the same day as the interviews. Frisinger hailed the hiring as the “perfect match” for the community.

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Mayor hires Ohio official as Issaquah city administrator

September 16, 2010

NEW — 9:55 a.m. Sept. 16, 2010

Robert Harrison

The next Issaquah city administrator is a plainspoken Midwesterner and the longtime city manager of a Cincinnati suburb.

Robert “Bob” Harrison — the city manager in Wyoming, Ohio, for the last 12 years — has accepted the No. 2 position at Issaquah City Hall.

Harrison, 42, emerged as a leading candidate last week during closed-door interviews with community leaders and city department chiefs. Mayor Ava Frisinger announced the appointment Thursday morning, and the appointment heads to the City Council for confirmation Monday.

Harrison is due to start in Issaquah on Oct. 11.

“I am thrilled to appoint Bob as our next administrator,” Frisinger said in a statement. “His dedication to environmental excellence, fiscal stewardship and community involvement — demonstrated by his impressive career in city administration — are a great match for our community.”

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Mayor moves closer to hiring city administrator

September 14, 2010

The field in the search for a city administrator has narrowed, though officials plan to remain tight-lipped about the choice until he accepts the offer.

City staffers, residents and community leaders met and scrutinized the five finalists last week, then offered recommendations to Mayor Ava Frisinger. The administrator serves as the No. 2 official in municipal government.

The finalists included Thurston County Manager Donald Krupp, San Juan County Administrator Pete Rose, Yakima Assistant City Manager David Zabell, Lake Forest Park City Administrator David Cline and Robert Harrison, the city manager in Wyoming, Ohio.

“Any one of these folks have the skills, talents and abilities to do the job,” Bellevue headhunter Greg Prothman said.

The city hired Prothman in late spring after longtime City Administrator Leon Kos retired. The recruiter sent letters to between 800 and 900 municipal officials — or, as Prothman said, every city administrator or manager in comparable-sized cities in the 11 Western states. Prothman also advertised the position online.

Prothman and Frisinger culled the stack of 50 applications to the finalists.

The men gathered at Tibbetts Creek Manor on Sept. 7 to meet city residents and officials, and to answer impromptu questions from Prothman. Frisinger released the names of the finalists the previous day, after a summerlong search.

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