Construction starts on long-awaited Issaquah Highlands retail center

July 3, 2012

Earth-moving equipment works at the intersection of Highlands Drive Northeast and Northeast High Street on June 26 as construction starts on Grand Ridge Plaza. By Autumn Monahan

Finally, after years of plans and promises, developers and officials gathered in the Issaquah Highlands early June 26 to launch construction on a $70 million retail center in the neighborhood — a long-awaited amenity for residents and, in recent years, a symbol for the anemic economy and rebound.

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Engagement: Wood, Di Re

June 26, 2012

Katherine Wood and Daniel Di Re

Katherine D. Wood, of Issaquah, and Daniel E. Di Re, of Kirkland, recently announced their engagement to be married July 26, 2013, at Tibbetts Creek Manor, in Issaquah.

The bride-to-be is the daughter of Richard and Susan Wood, of Issaquah. She is a 2006 graduate of Issaquah High School. In 2010, Katherine earned a degree in psychology from Central Washington University. She is a case manager at the YWCA of Seattle.

The future groom is the son of Guy and Gail Di Re, of Kirkland. He is a 2005 graduate of Juanita High School. In 2009, Daniel earned a degree in accounting from Central Washington University. He works as an assistant supervisor at Chieftan Construction.

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‘GiveBIG’ to local nonprofit organizations May 2

April 24, 2012

The Seattle Foundation is staging a day of charitable giving in King County — and people can donate to numerous Issaquah-based organizations and groups serving local residents.

The foundation’s GiveBIG fundraising is a daylong event May 2.

GiveBIG invites people to make donations to almost 1,000 nonprofit organizations, including the Issaquah Schools Foundation, Village Theatre, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, Habitat for Humanity of East King County, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, YWCA of Seattle-King-Snohomish and the Together Center.

Each donation made to the more than 1,300 nonprofit organizations profiled on The Seattle Foundation’s website between midnight and midnight receives a pro-rated portion of the matching funds, or “stretch,” pool. The amount of the “stretch” depends on the size of the stretch pool and how much is raised in total donations on GiveBIG day

Find a complete list of participating organizations and donation information at The Seattle Foundation’s website,

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Milestones from the year 2011 reflect changes

December 27, 2011

Renewal defined the year, as the community paused after a population boom and economic bust — and positioned Issaquah for the decades ahead.

Milestones from the last 12 months offer contrasts.

Leaders opened showcases for “green” design and concluded a milestone effort to preserve Tiger Mountain forestland. Tragedy left indelible impressions, too, as a gunman menaced downtown pedestrians on a September morning and turned a school campus into a crime scene.

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Issaquah Highlands pedestrian bridge is meant to smooth access

December 13, 2011

The pedestrian bridge across Highlands Drive Northeast is lifted into place the early morning of Dec. 8 after arriving on site the day before in pieces on flatbed trucks from Florida. Contributed

The route is easier for pedestrians to cross a major thoroughfare after crews completed a pedestrian bridge across Highlands Drive Northeast on a moonlit morning last week.

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King County Council adopts ‘stable and balanced’ 2012 budget

November 15, 2011

In a unanimous decision Nov. 9, King County Council members adopted a $5.2 billion budget for 2012 focused on basic human needs, such as food and shelter, and maintenance for aging roads in rural and unincorporated areas.

The total includes a $650 million general fund budget — dollars for elections, law enforcement and other basic government functions. Leaders did not tap reserves for the 2012 spending plan.

“This stable and balanced budget is a product of a decadelong effort to respond to shrinking revenues by cutting costs while maintaining our high bond ratings through sound fiscal management,” Councilman Larry Phillips said.

The budget outlines a plan for some streets in rural and unincorporated areas near Issaquah to receive reduced maintenance and a lower priority for snow removal.

In turn, King County plans to shift attention to heavily traveled roads, such as Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast.

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YWCA Family Village at Issaquah opens for tours

October 25, 2011

The community outreach for YWCA Family Village at Issaquah started long before backhoes sliced into soil at the Issaquah Highlands site.

The outreach effort continues Oct. 29, as YWCA of Seattle-King-Snohomish hosts a public open house on the $53 million campus. The event and the annual Green Halloween Festival coincide.

The open house is meant to introduce guests to Family Village residents, spotlight “green” design details, and highlight a daycare center, meeting space, playground and other features open to the surrounding community. Guests can participate in a scavenger hunt on the Family Village campus.

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Family Village causes no concerns among Issaquah school officials

September 20, 2011

Occupants were expected to move in en masse in late June and managers expected most residents to occupy the new $53 million YWCA Family Village at Issaquah in the Issaquah Highlands by late August.

Designed to be affordable housing, Family Village is expected to attract its fair share of, well, families, including school-age children. Still, Issaquah School District officials say they are ready for what they expect to be a modest influx of new students.

Family Village consists of 146 units of affordable housing, said Cathy MacCaul, director of community affairs for the local YWCA.

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King County certifies August primary election results

September 6, 2011

Turnout in the Aug. 16 primary election reached 32 percent, less than officials estimated in the days before the ballot deadline.

King County Elections released the information after officials certified the results Aug. 31.

Overall, voters returned 349,566 ballots of the 1,103,522 packets the elections office mailed in late July.

The electorate resoundingly approved a measure to renew the Veterans and Human Services Levy until 2017 — 69 percent to 31 percent. Organizations operating in Issaquah and the surrounding area, such as Friends of Youth and YWCA of Seattle-King-Snohomish, receive support from the levy.

The elections office tabulated 338,255 ballots and did not record any discrepancies.

Voters cast 192 ballots on Accessible Voting Units and returned 32,146 ballots to drop boxes stationed throughout the county, including at Issaquah City Hall.

Officials challenged signatures on 11,285 ballots and resolved challenges on 5,457 ballots.

No Issaquah City Council or school board races appeared on the August ballot.

The general election is Nov. 8, and the elections office plans to mail ballots to voters in October.

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King County Elections certifies August primary results

August 31, 2011

NEW — 3 p.m. Aug. 31, 2011

King County Elections certified the results of the Aug. 16 primary election Wednesday morning.

Overall, voters returned 349,566 ballots of the 1,103,522 elections officials mailed in late July. Turnout reached 32 percent — less than officials estimated in the days before the ballot deadline.

The electorate resoundingly approved — 69 percent to 31 percent — renewing the Veterans and Human Services Levy until 2017.

Organizations operating in Issaquah and the surrounding area, such as Friends of Youth and YWCA of Seattle-King-Snohomish, receive support from the levy.

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