City Council outlines Issaquah goals for 2013

June 5, 2012

City Council members agreed to study options for the aging Issaquah Skate Park to turn it from a bastion for drug use into a community asset, boost economic development efforts in the city and conduct another study about the future of Klahanie.

Other priorities included a plan to televise council budget deliberations, hire a lobbyist to advocate for Issaquah in Olympia, and develop a comprehensive policy related to bicyclists and pedestrians.

The council, alongside representatives from municipal departments, gathered in a YWCA Family Village at Issaquah conference room June 2 to formulate the list.

In the rare Saturday meeting, council members trimmed a long list into priorities for 2013. Though the council conducted the heavy lifting at the retreat, the process is not yet done.

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Who’s News

June 5, 2012

Issaquah Women’s Club  awards scholarships

The Issaquah Women’s Club has awarded $1,000 Follow Your Dream scholarships to Audrey Johnson and Ngozi Monu.

The Issaquah Women’s Club awards the scholarships to graduating senior high school girls from the Issaquah School District who wish to pursue their college education or vocational training as they follow their dreams for the future.

Johnson, from Tiger Mountain Community High School, has been accepted to and will attend the Northwest College of Art and Design. She will pursue her interest in graphic design and photography.

Monu, from Issaquah High School, has been accepted to and will attend the University of Washington. She will pursue her interest in human resource management.

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Preliminary timeline is in place for school, fields construction

May 15, 2012

Issaquah School District officials are wasting no time when it comes to putting their recently approved $219 million bond into action.

The school board reviewed a preliminary schedule of projects and timeline for school construction and other district upgrades at its May 9 meeting. Some projects could begin as soon as July and other smaller projects extend through the end of 2019.

“Somebody has to be first and somebody has to be last,” said Jacob Kuper, chief operations officer for the district.

Phase 2 construction of Liberty High School and Phase 2 at Maywood Middle School are first in line with finishes projected by the end of 2013. At the caboose of the tentative timeline of the larger projects is the reconstruction of Sunny Hills Elementary School, which wouldn’t finish until December 2018.

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Off the Press

May 8, 2012

Friends care enough to say don’t drink and drive

Greg Farrar Press photographer

You young people who are now high school seniors were newborn babies when I started working here at The Press, so there’s obviously the implication that I’ve taken pictures of a lot of you throughout your 12 years of classroom activities here in the Issaquah School District.

You might remember those times, and in fact your parents might have saved the clippings! You’ve been one of the great pleasures of my job.

In just about a month, you’ll be graduating from Skyline, Issaquah, Liberty and Tiger Mountain Community high schools. I expect to see you at Safeco Field or the Tiger Mountain campus for your commencement. Congratulations to all of you!

The important thing is that you all live long and happy lives afterward, so if you’ll read along for a minute, I’d like to talk about that Liberty High School DUI demonstration that ran in the paper last week.

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Growth is focus as City Council, Issaquah School Board meet

May 1, 2012

City and Issaquah School District leaders pledged coordination and cooperation as the city outlines a bold plan to add thousands of residences in the decades ahead.

Chad Magendanz

Discussion about the Central Issaquah Plan — a proposal to transform more than 900 acres near Interstate 90 and state Route 900 — and possible changes to the school district, such as redrawing boundaries for schools to accommodate population shifts, dominated the annual joint meeting April 24.

City Council and Issaquah School Board members, plus Mayor Ava Frisinger and Superintendent Steve Rasmussen and other officials, gathered at Mandarin Garden a week after school district voters approved a $219 million bond to fuel a school construction boom. The planned projects include major changes for schools in downtown Issaquah.

The groups, seated beneath red lanterns and arranged around lazy Susans, sipped tea and nibbled on fried rice and roast pork as discussion unfolded about long-term development plans. (The city hosted the meal and spent $311.24 on food and beverages.)

“Both organizations have gone from fast-growing organizations to more stable, mature organizations with different sets of issues,” Council President Tola Marts said. “So, now the challenge is how do we manage the remaining growth that we have?”

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The Beat is seeking teenage writers, photographers

May 1, 2012

The Beat is looking for writers and photographers for the coming school year.

The page — written by teens, for teens and about teens — takes the place of the Schools page the fourth week of the month.

“We’re looking for people to write for the newspaper and our Facebook page, help with fundraising, and take photographs for the newspaper and our websites,” said Kathleen R. Merrill, managing editor of The Press and The Beat.

“We meet once per month to learn about journalism, brainstorm ideas, plan the coming paper and our online coverage, and attend events to raise funds and awareness about our group,” she said. “We also have a lot of fun.”

Participants can be from Issaquah, Liberty, Skyline, Tiger Mountain Community and Eastside Catholic high schools. Freshmen and sophomores are especially encouraged to apply.

If you think you’ve got what it takes, email for an application. Completed applications are due May 7.

Voters easily approve $219 million school bond

April 24, 2012

Issaquah School District voters overwhelmingly approved a $219 million bond to fund construction and renovation projects on campuses across the district.

In the April 17 special election, 70 percent of voters — encompassing more than 15,000 yes votes of out more than 22,000 ballots cast — approved the measure. (The measure needed to receive a 60 percent yes vote from a minimum turnout of 12,229 voters.)

Despite the passage of the bond, local homeowners will pay less in property taxes to the schools than they do now because a previous bond issue is set to expire this year.

The retirement of the earlier bond will drop the local tax rate from $4.85 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $4.05. Passage of the new bond would put the rate at $4.42.

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Issaquah School District voters pass $219 million bond issue

April 17, 2012

UPDATED — 9:55 p.m. April 17, 2011

The results are preliminary, far from final. But the question seems pretty much decided.

According to unofficial results from King County, local residents are voting heavily in favor of allowing the Issaquah School District to sell $219 million in bonds to fund capital improvement projects throughout the district.

Numbers issued by King County at  just after 8 p.m. Tuesday show the bond issue is passing easily with 13,476 votes in favor compared to 6,006 votes against, or 69.1 percent to 30.8 percent.

The Issaquah school issue needs to win the approval of a supermajority of 60 percent of those who vote in order to pass. A minimum of 12,229 voters also had to cast their ballots.

Prior to the election, bond backers said based on the number of registered voters expected to cast ballots, the bond issue would  need about 14,000 “yes” votes in order to win approval.

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Tiger Mountain Community High School students don’t mind a little needling

April 17, 2012

Clara Sifuentes (left), 17, and knitting club president Conrad Kelly, 17, use their lunchtime to take on projects for Tiger Mountain Community High School’s first Associated Student Body-endorsed club. By Tom Corrigan

They only meet once a week during lunch.

Nevertheless, the 10 or so members of Tiger Mountain Community High School’s first and so far only Associated Student Body-endorsed club have made an impact all around the area and as far as South Africa.

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Issaquah School District bond issue is now in the hands of voters

April 10, 2012

As of April 9, an estimated 43,000 voters had returned ballots that will help decide six issues on the ballot of the April 17 special election, said Kim Van Ekstrom, chief communications officer for the King County elections department.

The questions include a $219 million capital improvement bond issue put forth by the Issaquah School District. The 43,000 ballots represent all ballots returned in elections throughout the county, not just from the Issaquah School District. The county has not counted ballots for individual election questions, Van Ekstrom said.

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