City Council approves controversial Cougar Mountain subdivision

September 11, 2012

City leaders OK’d a Cougar Mountain subdivision after months of negotiations among the city, neighbors and the developer — and despite objections from neighbors about impacts to street parking and concerns about landslide risk.

Stacy Goodman

In a unanimous decision, City Council members approved the subdivision, called Forest Heights — a proposal to add 24 single-family homes to about six acres on a 13.9-acre site. The agreement also set aside land for storm water detention and to preserve open space.

The proposed project site is northeast of Talus, south of Northwest James Bush Road and uphill from state Route 900, across from Tibbetts Creek Manor.

Officials approved the Forest Heights development agreement Aug. 6, after the Council Land & Shore Committee spent months sifting through details related to the plan.

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City Council hires lobbyist to represent Issaquah in Olympia

August 7, 2012

Issaquah needs a lobbyist to advocate in the marble corridors beneath the Capitol dome — and coax state legislators to support local projects, City Council members said in a contentious decision to hire a longtime Olympia lobbyist.

The council agreed in a 5-2 decision July 16 to hire Doug Levy to represent Issaquah in Olympia. Members spent $21,700 to hire the former congressional staffer and onetime journalist through December.

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Residents support bond for parks, pool

July 31, 2012

Conservation to protect wildlife habitat and creekside land is a priority for Issaquah residents, more so than other parks and recreation projects.

The information comes from a survey commissioned by city leaders as the initial step in a process to pass a multimillion-dollar bond measure to fund future parks projects. Data from the survey also addressed a bold proposal to create a special taxing district in the Issaquah School District to fund upgrades to the aging Julius Boehm Pool.

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Off the Press

July 24, 2012

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

There are many measures that can be used to determine a life well lived. How many buildings are named in one’s honor, how much airtime on television is given to broadcasting a memorial service, the total lifetime amount of one’s charitable giving and others.

One measurement in particular is hard to define, because it requires generations of observation not capable in one lifetime. But let me propose a question. How might Issaquah have looked two or three generations from now if Maureen McCarry had not voted against the Southeast Bypass, and had not chaired the planning and growth committee that secured the Park Pointe agreement?

With a little imagination, picture a future 60 years out, with a four-lane bypass and highway to state Route 18, and the big residential development on Tiger Mountain above Issaquah High School.

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Repeal is in limbo for Issaquah plastic bag ban

July 17, 2012

The proposed measure to repeal the Issaquah plastic bag ban faces a questionable future after city officials said the bid did not qualify for the November ballot after supporters failed to gather enough signatures from registered Issaquah voters.

But organizer Craig Keller said the repeal campaign, called Save Our Choice, continues to collect signatures in order to place the repeal measure before Issaquah voters.

Keller and volunteers collected signatures at high-traffic stores and in neighborhoods throughout Issaquah, but city officials said the team did not collect enough. The process to advance the ballot measure is in limbo as volunteers continue to work.

“There’s been such a significant number of citizens that have voiced their displeasure in a campaign that, as far as I know, that’s unprecedented,” Keller said.

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Former Councilwoman Maureen McCarry dies

July 10, 2012

Maureen McCarry, a former City Council president and longtime community leader, died early July 4 after a battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, 18 months after resigning from the council.

Maureen McCarry

McCarry, 62, served on the council amid a period of expansion in Issaquah, as council members addressed long-term issues related to transportation, economic development and the environment — a hallmark for McCarry.

In separate stints on the council in the 1990s and 2000s, she made the environment a priority.

The commitment earned McCarry the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community early last year. The top environmental honor in the city recognized McCarry for tireless efforts to forge agreements outlining construction in the Issaquah Highlands and Talus, preserve forested Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain and strengthen tree-protection rules.

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Former Councilwoman Maureen McCarry dies

July 5, 2012

NEW — 11:45 a.m. July 5, 2012

Maureen McCarry, a former councilwoman and longtime community leader, died early Wednesday after a battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, 18 months after resigning from the City Council.

Maureen McCarry

McCarry served on the council amid a period of expansion in Issaquah, as council members addressed long-term issues related to transportation, economic development and the environment — a hallmark for McCarry.

In separate stints on the council in the 1990s and 2000s, she made the environment a priority.

The commitment earned McCarry the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community early last year. The top environmental honor in the city recognized McCarry for tireless efforts to forge agreements outlining construction in the Issaquah Highlands and Talus, preserve forested Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain and strengthen tree-protection rules.

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City Council bans plastic bags at Issaquah retailers

June 12, 2012

Ordinance goes into effect for most businesses in March 2013

Issaquah joined a string of cities along Puget Sound to outlaw plastic bags at local retailers June 4, after months of sometimes-acrimonious debate about adverse impacts to the marine environment and the regional economy.

In the end, concerns about the environment led the City Council to decide 5-2 to eliminate most retail uses for plastic bags. The legislation — and a 5-cent fee on paper bags — go into effect in March 2013 for most businesses.

The council listened to advocates from environmental groups and the plastics industry in public meetings throughout April and May, and then again before the decision.

The plastic bag ban sponsor, Issaquah Highlands entrepreneur and City Councilman Mark Mullet, presented the legislation as a way to reduce the estimated 10 million plastic bags the city sends to the King County landfill each year.

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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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Issaquah startup transforms trash into treasure at local grocery store

May 15, 2012

City Council President Tola Marts speaks at WISErg’s public unveiling of a food-scrap harvester at PCC Natural Market on May 8. By Autumn Monahan

The castoffs from daily activity in a grocery store — fruit peels from the juice bar, meat trimmings from the deli, discarded vegetable leaves from the produce section — no longer go to the compost heap at the PCC Natural Markets store at Pickering Place.

Instead, employees dump the refuse into a boxy structure tucked near the loading dock. The apparatus, a machine called a harvester, transforms the peels and trimmings into sludge — a building block for organic fertilizer.

Issaquah-based WISErg developed the harvester and built the prototype for the local grocery co-op. The company also uses the sludge to produce fertilizer, a tawny liquid no thicker than water.

Microsoft alumni Larry LeSueur and Jose Lugo founded WISErg in 2009. The startup venture is based across the street from Pickering Place. (The company name is a nod to the erg, a tiny unit of energy.)

“We all know the scraps headed for the Dumpsters are full of nutrients and value,” LeSueur said at a public debut for the harvester May 8. “The last thing we should do is landfill them and create more environmental and community headaches.”

WISErg approached Diana Crane, director of sustainability for Seattle-based PCC, and broached the idea of installing a harvester at a store.

“How exciting it is that the trash produced daily from our juice bar, deli, meat and produce departments that would otherwise be sent to landfills is now being offered in our PCC stores as a high-quality plant food,” Issaquah Store Director Debbi Montgomery said.

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