King County, Washington leaders react after Supreme Court health care ruling

June 28, 2012

NEW — 10:45 a.m. June 28, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine and other elected officials split along party lines Thursday after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on the federal health care overhaul.

In a complex decision, justices on the high court ruled 5-4 to uphold the individual mandate — a requirement for all Americans to enroll in a health insurance plan or pay a penalty. The provision is scheduled to go into effect in 2014.

The ruling limited the plan in the Affordable Care Act — dubbed Obamacare by some — to expand Medicaid for the poor.

Justices ruled the federal government cannot withhold a state’s entire Medicaid allotment if the state does not participate in the planned Medicaid expansion.

“I celebrate the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act,” Constantine said in a statement. “A stable, healthier future has been made possible by this ruling. This is affirmation of our nationwide, bold move toward achieving quality affordable healthcare, and we are moving in the right direction.”

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Battles continue for Iraq war veteran Rory Dunn, mother Cynthia Lefever

November 8, 2011

The challenges resonate almost a decade after crude bombs detonated along a roadside in Iraq.

Cynthia Lefever (left) and her son, Purple Heart recipient Rory Dunn, take Gunner, Duke and Mister on their daily dog walk in 2008 at Ron Regis Park in Renton. File

The struggle for survival started in the frantic moments after a bomb explosion near Fallujah left Army Spc. Rory Dunn, a Liberty High School graduate, sightless and near death. Then came a much longer campaign to navigate a medical system unequipped to handle veterans from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The day Dunn turned 22 in March 2004, roadside bombs tore through a Humvee. Shrapnel pierced the unarmored vehicle and left Dunn’s best friend and another soldier dead. The explosion shattered Dunn’s forehead and left the 6-foot, 3-inch former basketball player blind and deaf for a time.

The “battle after the battle” — as Dunn’s mother, Cynthia Lefever, came to call the long healing process — opened days after the explosion at a military medical center in Landstuhl, Germany.

Lefever, leaned close to the bed and shouted, “Rory Dunn, this is your mother! You will not die! Don’t you dare die!”

Dunn did not die. Instead, after surgeries and rehabilitation, the soldier beat the “imminent death” predictions from doctors.

“I’ve never had anything in my life that if I wanted to achieve it — if it was realistic — that I haven’t been able to make happen,” he said. “I’m not worried.”

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Local World War II veterans receive Congressional Gold Medal

November 2, 2011

NEW — 2:55 p.m. Nov. 2, 2011

Japanese-American World War II veterans from Issaquah and more then 30 others from Washington received the Congressional Gold Medal — highest civilian honor in the nation — at a U.S. Capitol ceremony Wednesday.

The ceremony at the Capitol honored Issaquah recipients Roy H. Inui and Frank T. Matsuda, plus 31 other veterans from the Evergreen State. The occasion brought together hundreds of Japanese-American, or Nisei, veterans from across the United States.

Congress bestows the Congressional Gold Medal for outstanding service to the nation. The ceremony at the Capitol honored members of the U.S. Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Services.

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State redistricting panel could reshape Issaquah’s political map

November 1, 2011

Washington’s political map is due to undergo a monumental change next year.

Issaquah may shift into a reshaped legislative district as a result. Or maybe not.

Democrats on the state panel responsible for redrawing the political map recommended for a redrawn 41st Legislative District to absorb all of Issaquah. Meanwhile, Republicans on the Washington State Redistricting Commission said most of the city should remain in the neighboring 5th Legislative District.

Commissioners released the proposed maps — and narrowed the number of possibilities for legislative districts — Oct. 14.

Under a legislative map adopted a decade ago, Issaquah is split between the 41st and 5th districts at 12th Avenue Northwest. South Cove and other neighborhoods along Lake Sammamish fall inside the 48th Legislative District.

The latest proposals from the redistricting commission remove the 48th District from the Issaquah equation. Instead, Democrats said the city should join Mercer Island, Newcastle and a portion of Bellevue in a suburban 41st District.

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Issaquah professor wins literary award

August 9, 2011

Wes Howard-Brook, an Issaquah resident and professor of theology and religious studies at Seattle University, has been awarded first place in Scripture by the Catholic Press Association for his book “Come Out, My People! God’s Call Out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond.”

Wes Howard-Brook

Before you toss Howard-Brook’s book out of your realm of thought, along with every other religious book you’ve ever come across, know that it caters more to the critical reader than you might assume.

The previous sentence may seem like a blasphemous overgeneralization — you may give every book a fighting chance. You may even seek books in the religious genre. If so, “Come Out, My People!” will be a happy addition to your summer reading list.

By the same token, it won’t alienate atheists and agnostics. It may even appeal to them.

Howard-Brook asks his readers to redefine the word “religion” in light of its Latin root, “religio,” meaning “to bind again.” To him, religion is “the attitudes, beliefs and/or practices that bind individuals together as a ‘people.’” In that sense of the word, Christianity is indeed a religion, but so is a common interest in baseball.

By defining religion as such, he separates the word from its coercive and violent associations.

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Who’s News

July 19, 2011

Women’s Club installs new officers

The Issaquah Women’s Club recently held its installation of new officers for 2011-2012 at the Embassy Suites.

Cco-presidents eve’ Martinez-Petrut and Linda Baker; Sandy Cobel, first vice president; Yvette Dickerson and Katy Trader, co-secretary; Beth Sanford and Sharon Miller, second vice presidents; Katherine Booher, treasurer; Judy Smith, fundraising chairwoman.

The club meets at 9:30 a.m. the first Thursday of each month, from September through June, at Tibbetts Creek Manor.

Learn more at

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King County Districting Committee proposes changes for Issaquah

July 5, 2011

The electoral map could look different for Issaquah voters in November 2012.

In January, King County Council members appointed a team of community leaders to update the map for representation in county government. The team delivered a series of proposals late last month to reflect population changes recorded in the 2010 Census.

“It’s very interesting to see the demographics and to see the changes in our county,” said Terrence Carroll, committee chairman and a retired King County judge.

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U.S. attorney, Issaquah native, receives top honor

April 2, 2011

NEW — 2 p.m. April 2, 2011

Seattle University School of Law leaders honored Issaquah native Jenny Durkan, the top federal prosecutor in the region, on Thursday for a strong commitment to women’s issues and acting as a role model for others.

Durkan, the U.S. attorney for Western Washington, received the 2011 Woman of the Year Award from the Seattle University School of Law and the Women’s Law Caucus.

Dean Mark Niles praised Durkan for a lifelong dedication to justice.

“I’ve been told the surest way to get Jenny to do something is to tell her how it will help someone else,” he said in remarks posted on the law school website.

In May 2009, President Barack Obama selected Durkan to serve as U.S. attorney for the district — encompassing 19 counties, about 25,000 square miles and almost 5 million people. In a unanimous decision, senators confirmed the appointment months later.

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County Council appoints citizens to redraw districts

January 19, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 19, 2011

King County Council members appointed a team of community leaders Tuesday to update the map for representation in county government.

The council appointed four members to the King County Districting Committee, the citizen committee responsible for redrawing council districts based on 2010 Census data.

“Redistricting is a challenging, time-consuming process that is vital to ensuring our residents are fairly represented,” Councilman Reagan Dunn said in a statement. “We are grateful that these four highly-qualified community members are willing to provide their service to King County.”

Dunn represents District 9 on the nine-member council. The district encompasses the rural area near Issaquah, plus Newcastle, Maple Valley and areas inside Bellevue and Renton.

Issaquah proper is inside District 3. Councilwoman Kathy Lambert represents District 3. The northeastern King County district is the largest in the county.

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City lowers flags to commemorate Arizona shooting victims

January 10, 2011

NEW — 6 p.m. Jan. 10, 2011

The city has lowered flags to half-staff at municipal buildings through Friday to honor the people killed in Tucson, Ariz., shootout Saturday.

The shootout left six people dead and 14 others injured, including Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat re-elected to a third term in November. Giffords remain in critical condition at a Tucson hospital.

The incident prompted condemnation from local and Washington state elected officials.

“We don’t know yet whether the politically-charged use of gun imagery targeting the congresswoman contributed to this despicable shooting, but the congresswoman herself warned that such language and actions can have consequences,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “We as a community must condemn those who exploit the language of violence, and demand a more civil discourse in the public and political arena.”

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