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Newspaper Archive of
The Issaquah Press
Issaquah, Washington
May 6, 2009     The Issaquah Press
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May 6, 2009
 

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Director debuts with 'Show Boat' , See Page B4 Eagles set sites on playoffs with 2-1 win over Spartans , Sports, Page Cl Local club has been enjoying good reads since 1963 A&E Page B4 mOE LOCALLY OWNED SINCE 1900 75 CENTS WEDNESDAY MaY 6 2009 VoI ': .... : City to cut costs by S 1.6 million BY WREN KAGARXSE enue -- have dropped. City of Issaquah officials will slash spending by $1.6 million as they work to patch a $1.5 million budget gap. Officials will defer buy- ing some equipment and supplies, delay filling vacant positions and enact other measures to save money. City Finance Director Jim Blake said the city can avoid tap- ping into rainy day reserves to cover costs. Blake presented the forecast at the April 28 Committee-of-the- Whole Council meeting. In February, City Council members asked for quarterly updates on city finances. A construction slowdown and sluggish spending has contributed to the shortfall, said Blake. Key sources of dollars for the city -- building permits and sales tax rev- "Most of the revenues are doing very fine, coming up with meeting the budget or exceeding it, Blake said. "The side we have to watch, again, is the permits side. The sales tax primarily is based on the sales tax on the construction side. It's more or less all attributable to the permits coming in." According to budget documents, the city had $4.59 million in reserves March 31. The city should have about $7 million in reserves by the end of the year, according to budget projections. City Administrator Leon Kos said officials hoped to limit the impact of cuts on city services. "Thanks to long-term planning and the high quali of Issaquah's infrastructure, we ve positioned See CITY BUDGET, Page A5 Connie Fletcher won't seek another school board term BY CHANTELLE LUSEBRINK After servingl6 years as a mem- ber of the Issaquah School Board, Connie Fletcher said she will not run for another term. Her seat is open in the Nov. 3 election. Her term ends after certi- fication of the election. Board member Chad Magendanz, appointed in October, said he would seek election to his position. "It has been a great honor to serve the children and families of this district for the past 16 years, but it now time for me to move on to other challenges and opportuni- ties," Fletcher wrote in a let- ter to The Press. "I look forward to being of service to children, families and the education community in other capaci- ties." Connie Fletcher In her time on the board, Fletcher has served two terms as board president and six years as the board's legislative See FLETCHER, Page ,42 Issaquah awarded for sustainability efforts Less than a week after city offi- cials pocketed a King County award for environmental leader- ship, Issaquah received a national honor for its sustainability efforts. City officials announced the award April 27. The city was one of four small communities honored in the 2009 Siemens Sustainable Community Program. The award comes from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center and the Siemens Corp. The Sustainable Community Program, now in its second year, recognizes public-private sustainability initia- tives. Organizers lauded city officials for efforts to preserve open space and taking measures to concen- trate growth in urban villages. They said the city "has a strong history of employing aggressive natural area acquisition and restoration; creative, leading-edge urban design; and innovative resource conservation strategies." Organizers also cited the city's role in the construction of zHome, a planned townhouse development designed to produce as much elec- tricity as it consumes. "American communities are showing ingenuity and leadership in how they plan for their futures,' Stephen Jordan, executive director of the Business Civic Leadership Center, said in a news release. "We congratulate Issaquah for its com- mitment to sustainable growth." The other honorees in the cate- gory are Dalton, Ga., Los Alamos County, N.M., and New Cassel, N.Y. "It was wonderful to hear that our community is being honored, at a national level, for its sustain- ability efforts," Mayor Ava Frisinger said in a news release. "Now, more than ever, it's extreme- ly important that we stay focused on enhancing Issaqu, ah s sustain- ability for the future. Issaquah and 12 other commu- nities were recognized May 4 at the National Conference on Corporate Community Investment in Chicago. On Earth Day, Issaquah received a Green Globe award from King County for efforts to preserve open space. BY RANDEE FOX 0 9009 HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY Soleil, a newborn filly, lays in the hay as her mother Caanie eats at The Blue Heron Ranch in Sammamish on April 6, the day after her birth. The filly was horn on the first sunny and warm dayof the year, so the name she was given is French for sun. Both are American Quarter Horse Association horses owned by Sam- rnamish resident Randee Fox. Art00 'alk rett ns big; er than ever , See Page B1 Commuter t c 18 delays Interstate 90 lane r r BY WARREN KA.GARISE aged commuters to consider alter- natives, such as joining a vanpool or biking to work, A bike and pedestrian lane on the westbound span will remain open during the July shutdown. "Pack your patience," he said. "This is going to be a tough time in July." Vehicles will be limited to two express lanes during the July 5-28 closure. Crews v-ill replace the existing cracked expansion joints with a new pair weighing 65 tons each. East said the May shutdown would cause less noticeable traffic snarls for westbound commuters. "It's like when the Mariners were winning and you were trying. to get into town for the evening, he said. East said congestion would worsen when the state shuts down the westbound span in July. Commuters can expect delays up to 40 minutes long on stretches of 1-90 east of Mercer Island, accord- ing to DOT estimates. East said bridge traffic could back up as far east as Interstate 405. "There's no question that traffic is going to be bad," East said. He discussed the project and its impact on Issaquah commuters at a Committee-of-the-Whole Council meeting April 28. Councilman Fred Butler asked ff King County Metro or Sound Transit buses would be an alterna- tive for commuters. East said the Transportation officials advised commuters to pack their patience during a busy construction season that includes two shutdowns on the Interstate 90 floating bridge. Express lanes on the bridge closed May 4 -- and the shutdown brought headaches for Eastside Commuters. Commute times from Issaquah to Seattle ballooned dur- ing the first day of the shutdown. On a typical day, the commute takes about 30 minutes. At 7:40 a.m., driving time stretched to 39 minutes. Drivers headed west from Issaquah at 8:13 a.m. endured a 51-minute trip to Seattle. The commute time grew to 57 minutes for commuters making the drive at 8:30 a.m., according to the state Department of Transportation. The lanes will be closed until May 23 while crews install a pair of new joints weighing 40 tons each. Existing joints began to crack and deteriorate soon after the bridge opened in 1989. Although workers have conducted patchwork repairs for years, state Department of Transportation officials said the joints must be replaced before they weaken and break. The project will be funded with $8.3 million in fed- eral bridge funds, which are sup- ported by gas tax revenue. Another shutdown is set for July, when the state shuts down the westbound 1-90 bridge to replace another set of aging joints. Russ East, assistant regional administrator for the DOT, encour- See TRAFFIC DELAYS, Page A5 City, schools prepared for swine flu news conference. Local officials said they were prepared for possible cases regardless. "In case of a pandemic, City Hall is reviewing our plans to ensure that our critical operations can stay running," said Autumn Monahan, city public information officer. City officials participated in a pandemic flu preparation exercise in September 2006. The event, conducted by the Seattle-King County public health agency and the University of Washington, helped officials plan for a ftu emergency. Monahan said city officials are monitoring the situation. As part of the outreach effort, she includ- ed a link to swine flu information on the city's Web site. "We're urging people to stay aware for any potential updates," she said. Issaquah School District Superintendent Steve Rasmussen sent an e-mail to families April 30 detailing efforts to prevent swine flu infections. "We are in regular contact with health officials; school nurses have been advising staff and stu- See SWINE FLU, Page A3 BY CHANTEL]hE LUSEBRINK AND WARREN KAGARISE After several probable cases of swine flu were identified in King County, city and Issaquah School District officials said they were prepared ff an outbreak occurs here. Officials took steps to reas- sure the public as the number of cases rose and officials elsewhere closed schools as a precautionary measure. No swine flu cases had been reported on the Eastside or in Issaquah by press time. Laboratory samples from the King County cases have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing. Public Health - Seattle & King County spokeswoman Megan Coppersmith said none of the reported cases during the initial outbreak were serious. "These s ynptoms appear to be pretty mild, she said. Dr. Jeff Duchin, chief of commu- nicable disease for the public health agency, said closing schools as new cases emerge is not a practical way to confront the HIN1 flu strain, commonly known as swine flu. "It's not a practical way to respond when the level of severity is low," he said during a May 4 Harvey Manning honored posthumously BY WARREN KAGARISE Manning was a tireless advocate for protecting forests and open space. His relatives and trails club members were set to accept the award from city officials. Manning died at 81 in November 2006. In addition to his conservation efforts, Manning was a prolific writer. He wrote several books and guides about hiking trails throughout Washington and the Northwest. Manning is noted for creating the "100 Hikes" series of guidebooks to trails in the Cascades, Olympics and other nat- ural areas. The standard textbook for climbing- "Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills" -- also bears his imprint. Manning helped edit the first edition of the book. But Manning :is perhaps best known for his erts tO preserve Cougar Mountain and 'establish Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park -- 3,115 acres of forests, streams and wetlands. Known as the "Wilderness Warrior," Manning also helped preserve North Cascades National Park. Doug Simpson, a trails club vice president, said the slopes of Cougar Mountain would be criss- See MANNING, Page A3 Harvey Manning Harvey Manning-- the late con- servationist who coined the. term "Issaquah Alps" to describe the peaks surrounding the city -- was honored May 4 with a top city environmental award. Manning also helped to establish the Issaquah Alps Trails Club and lob- bied officials to preserve Cougar Mountain. City officials honored his work with the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community, which honors those who take steps to protect natural resources. Officials and trails club members said IN:,IDE THE PRESS YOU SHOIILD KNOW GAS GAUGE RAIN GAIN A&E ........ B4 Classifieds... C4-5 Community ... B1 Obituaries .... B3 8 Opinion ...... A4 Police & Fire .. C5 Schools ...... C6 Sports ..... C1-3 The monthly Mayor's Breakfast scheduled for May 9 has been cancelled. The no-host event will,next be held June 13. Mayor Ava Frisinger invites citizens to join her on the second Saturday of each month between 9-10 a.m. at Fins Bistro, 301 Front St. N., to chat about items of interest. Frisinger is also available weekdays in her office. Call 837-3020 or e-mail mayor@ci.issaquah.wa.us to schedule an appointment. Last Week's Rainfall: i]?i (through Monday) .26 inches i 24.96 inches Total last year: !if '/ (through May 4) "- xa 25.86 inches IESI" Itl. IqlIIZS * 1, $2.19 -Arco 1403 N.W. Sammamish $2.19 - Costco HIGHEST LOCAL PIlE * , $2.39 - Shell 15 East Sunset Way To report gas prices in your area, go to www.sealtleasprices.core. : i .....