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The Issaquah Press
Issaquah, Washington
July 29, 2009     The Issaquah Press
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July 29, 2009
 

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THE ISSAQUAH PRESS WEDNESDAY JuLY 29, 2009 A3 Council l00:icks in cil:y money t,, upgrade sport0000 fields BY WARREN KAGARISE Since Issaquah Youth Lacrosse was founded in early 2004, teams have played on fields in Bellevue and Sammamish -- but not in the organization's namesake city. By next spring, however, founders Matthew Balkman and Scott Wiley could be scheduling ames on new all-weather, lighted elds in the Issaquah Highlands. City Council members approved a finance package to improve a second sports field at Pad 3 in the highlands' Central Park July 20. Balkman and Wiley askedcoun- cil members to vote for the meas- ure. "We are part of the fastest- growing youth sport in America, and Issaquah has become a dom- inant force in that," Balkman said. "We need fields." Lighted, all-weather fields for lacrosse and soccer leagues could materialize by spring 2010. Crews will replace soggy, grass fields with artificial turf and install sports lighting. City Council members accepted a $100,000 donation from the Issaquah Soccer Club and a $500,000 state grant to help pay for the $1.9 million project. The council also agreed to kick in about $166,000 of city money to improve the field. In addition, the project received a $50,000 King County youth sports grant. City dollars for the fields come from a parks bond overwhelming- ly passed by Issaquah voters in November 2006. City Council members voted in October to spend about $1.6 mil- lion of park bond money'to design and develop a single lighted, all- weather playing field at the high- lands park. City staffers then successfully sought state grants to pay to over- haul a second Central Park sports field. On July 20, officials awarded a construction contract to A1 Landscaping & Construction, of Snohomish, to complete the field improvements. City Parks & Recreation Director Anne McGfli said work could begin as early as next week. After the measure passed with a 7-0 vote, applause erupted in the meeting chamber packed with youth sports organizers, parents and city parks officials. Before the vote, Issaquah Soccer Club Vice President Ed Evans encouraged the council to kick in city dollars to pick up the amount not covered by the soccer club donation and grants. "We know that there is a short- fall, but we don't think it's too much of a shortfall," he said. "We deeply, deeply want you to move fo ward with the second turf field on Pad 3 in Central Park." After the meeting, Evans pre- sented Mayor Ava Frisinger with a $100,000 check. Balkman told council members Issaquah Youth Lacrosse would donate and main- tain lacrosse goals and nets for the overhauled Central Park fields. Talus resident Danielle Githens, a mother of two young boys, said she looked forward to the arrival of new sports fields. "Our community has been talk- ing about building turf fields for so long now," she said. "We're so close when you look at the dollars, the fact that construction costs have actually gone down recently, the grants that have dome in, the pledge from the soccer communi- ty. We're just so close and it would really be a shame to walk away." Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392- 6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com. Lovers' employees robbq00[l at gunpoint Two employees at Lovers, 5614-C E. Lake Sammamish Parkway, were robbed at gun- point by a man who demanded cash from their register at 2:32 p.m. July 24. The employees gave him an undisclosed amount of cash from their till, according to Issaquah Police Cmdr. Stan Conrad. The man was in the store earli- er and then came back to rob it, witnesses said. He is described as a heavy-set white male, between 20 and 25, who is between 5-feet, 10-inches and 6 feet tall. He has bushy eye- brows, a cleft chin and two to three days of facial hair growth, police said. He was wearing a dark knit cap, gray sweatshirt and blue jeans. "The boldness of it," Conrad said of the robbery, is unusual. "Normally, someone wouldn't pick sucl a busy place." All of the businesses in the strip mall near Lovers were open at that time and there were people milling about, so police are hop- ing someone might have seen something, Conrad said. During a search of the area, which also involved Normandy Park Police Department's K9 unit, police found a sweatshirt and cap believed to have been worn by the suspect across the street in a parking lot. Police also found a pellet gun near the same area. All of the items are being processed as evidence, Conrad said. "Possibly, someone had seen him when he fled, or when he had to take off his sweatshirt," Conrad said. A third store employee was working at the time, but was in the back of the store. Police are asking for anyone with any information to call the depart- ment's main line at 837-3200 and ask for the detective unit. Bring comments about Costco parking structure meeting City development commission- ers will listen to residents' com- ments Aug. 5 as officials consider a five-level parking structure near Costco corporate headquar- ters. The hearing will be held 7 p.m. Aug. 5 in the City Council cham- bers, City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way. The proie.ct would include 1,601 parking stalls. Costco executives plan a five-level parking structure, with the first level partially below ground and a top level with rooftop parking stalls. The structure would not exceed the height of a three-story build- ing. Landscaping would be added around the structure. The building would be con- structed on Northwest Lake Drive, south of Pickering Barn and north of the Costco Trade Building. City planners notified property owners within 300 feet of the site. Send written comments to Senior Planner Mark Pywell, Issaquah Planning Department, P.O. Box 1307, Issaquah, WA 98027-1307 or e-mail him at markp@ci.issaquah.wa.us. Fugitive game: 0ffi( ers are on FROM PAGE A1 ties and real danger. Cmdr. Stan Conrad, support services commander for the Issaquah Police Department, said authorities wanted participants to realize problems associated with the game. "Shadowy figures running around in the dark can raise a lot of suspicions and concern," he said. Fugitive is typically played at night. A group of participants pretend to be "fugitives" who must travel between two points without being captured, tagged or located by another group of "hunters." As the groups play, "fugitives" will often cut across streets and yards, or climb over fences to evade their opponents. Authorities said "hunters" move on foot or in vehicles in an effort to catch their quarry. "Our police officers are on high alert for any signs of this game taking place in Issaquah, Patrol Cmdr. Scott Behrbaum said in a news release. "We're also asking local parents to talk to their teens about the hazards of this bgame, which can be unsafe for oth bystanders and partici- pants." Officers have also received sev- eral calls related to game partici- pants. Concerned callers have alerted police to suspicious peo- ple dressed in dark clothing near closed businesses and running through yards. Other calls were related to reckless vehicle com- plaints. Conrad said officers paid spe- cial attention to Fugitive partici- pants using cars to play the game because drivers can become dis- tracted as they hunt for "fugi- tives." Officers warned about 40 juve- niles playing Fugitive in the 800 block of Second Avenue Northwest about trespassing and malicious mischief at 10:43 p.m. July 14. Juveniles told officers the game would be finished by 11 p.m. "It's difficult to condone it when trespassing is involved," Conrad said. Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392- 6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress, com. !M!T S IcIOIO T IAININ E IDlE ' E illlll IFIA C E iRiA u S iEiRAT ITI XII iAiN G L iLiONE iKiN E E IDA !E T IA P [R A IAS iN T iGE F6 || [OR i ILO iLh IAM PIER l iNlO CiTiS NiOiS _00iIII E IA M EiEP DiES |lib S IO M AILL VIE L EID" Your news comments welcome! PRE ISsAQUAII Graduation at Safeco costs d " p tty ny lstrl,:1, a re pen Ticket sales generate most revenue to pay for it BY CHANTELLE LUSEBRINK Ask any parent and they,ll tell you graduations can be expensive. But fota school district with 1;104 students, that can really add up.= This year, Issaquah School District officials spent $40,005 to use Safeco Field as the venue for graduation ceremonies June 9. Students from district high schools Issaquah, Liberty and Skyline graduated there. Much of the money spent comes from graduation ticket sales, about $29,724; the remaining $10,281 comes from the district's general fund, according to Jacob Kuper, district chief of finance and opera- tions. Each student is given four free tickets. Additional tickets for this year's ceremonies cost $8, a $2 increase from last year, according to Sara Niegowski, district commu- nications director. We "want to make sure that fam- flies can reasonably attend gradua- tion," she wrote in an e-mail. "We also don't limit the number of tick- ets sold, so it is hard to get an exact estimate as to how many tickets would have to be sold at what price to break even. "We might raise prices again this year," she added. "In hard eco- nomic times, we do have to look at all opportunities. Included in that price is the cost of transportation of students and diploma covers. Tiger Mountain Community High School students graduate at their school; the district's special- needs transition program gradu- ate at the district's administration offices. In 2008, the district spent about $48,000 for the three high school graduation ceremonies at Safeco, according to Kuper. The stadium cost $35,000 to rent but $30,000 of that was covered by graduation ticket revenue. Another $13,400 was spent from the general fund, Kuper said. Similarly, Renton School District used to graduate at Meydenbauer Convention Center in Bellevue, which cost nearly $21;000 in 2008, said Randy Matheson, Renton School District's communications director. That cost didn't include police to help monitor traffic congestion, he added. "It was decided by the princi- pals, who actually made the deci' sion at the start of the school year, to move to ShoWare on cost alone," said Randy Matheson. "Not just for the rental of Meydenbauer, but for police and parking congestion flow, it was starting to add up quite a bit." Students of Renton's three high schools, Hazen, Lindbergh and Reuton, graduated from ShoWare Center in Kent. The facility opened in January and was built to house the Seattle Thunderbirds. That stadium has variable seat- ing configurations and can seat between 2,30D and 7,900 people, according to its Web site. The cost to the Renton schools was roughly half the price of Meydeubauer or $12,000. That price included parking fees; police were not needed. The distance from Renton to Bellevue and Renton to Kent is about the same, Matheson said. "It is a very inexpensive facility and is accommodating," he added. "It is also a nice enough facility that it feels worthy enough for a graduation ceremony. Renton's high school principals had discussed having the cere- monies at Renton Stadium, but the cost associated with rentals for a stage, awnings and public announcement systems would have been more than renting ShoWare, he said. Black River High School stu- dents, the district's alternative school, graduated at Renton Technical College. Students of the Sartori Education Center, a pro- gram for students who are serf- motivated, graduated at the IKEA Renton Performing Arts Center. The cost for those was negligible, because of district officials' close working relationship with Renton Technical College and because the performing arts center is a place where they only needed to pay for someone to work the lighting, Matheson said. Kuper said a variety of factors are considered when deciding what venue to use for Issaquah graduations, but mostly the deci' sion is made based on availability of space so that family, friends and the community can attend. Safeco Field is a venue that has plenty of room, which is why dis- trict officials continue to rent it, Niegowski said. It also has technol- ogy available to make graduation an enjoyable experience for all audience members, and stadium operators can close the roof if it begins to rain, she said. Kuper said it is possible, given the tough economic climate schools are operating in today, that district officials might consider a new venue to save money, espe- cially since their agreement with the stadium is a one-time use each year. "We'll continually assess the cost and benefit of having graduation at Safeco," he said. "And we'll contin- ually weigh the community demand for a graduation venue versus its cost." District officials continually re- evaluate their needs for graduation ceremonies and make the best decision about the venue as they are able, given affordability, avail- ability and needs like stages, podi- ums and technological capability, Niegowski said. And while there is not a formal process to gather community input, high school administrators and district officials are always open to suggestions, she said. Reach Reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@iss- press.com. Comment on this story at www. issaquahpr ess. com. False alarm calls could be met with fines BY WARREN KAGARISE Issaquah police officers responded to 1,035 burglary, rob- bery or duress alarms last year, according to police figures. But 99.2 percent of the alerts were false. Now city and police officials are cracking down on false alarms, and violators could pay fines for wasting officers' time. City Council members approved a false alarm ordinance July 20 -- setting fees to register alarms and penalties for users whose alarms accidentally alert police. Alarm users will be required to pay $24 to register their systems. Violators could face fines up to $200, depending on the type of alert and the infraction. Officials described businesses as the main false-alarm offenders due to employee turnover and a lack of education about alarm sys- tems. "The police response to these alarms cost our city thousands of dollars each year and, of course, takes time from our officers responding to them that does not Experience sinus relief with a breakthrough technology - the Balloon Sinuplasty TM system by Acclarent. Minimally Invasive Safe and Effective Clinically Proven l Call us today for more information 425-391-3933 IsSaqUah www.lisamulliganmd.com I S H www.balloonsinuplasty.com $11ilif [IIIID " allow them to respond to other activities in the city," Councilwoman Eileen Barber said. Police Chief Paul Ayers noted how several Washington cities have enacted false alarm ordi- nances, including Kirkland and Redmond on the Eastside. Ordinances in those cities have led to a dramatic drop in the number of false alarm calls received by police. Officials will enter a contract with a Colorado Springs, Colo., company, ATB Services, to manage the ordinance. ATB works with alarm providers to include the per- mit fee in customers' bills. "If we could get it down to an alarm a day, we would be very pleased," Ayers said. Councilman Fred Butler asked the police chief if the ordinance would raise money for the city amid a budget shortfall. "I hope to make no money for the city when this is done," Ayers said. "Our goal with this ordinance is to have a reduction -- like our neighboring cities have -- a 60 to 70 percent reduction in false alarms." Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392- 6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com. To learn more about the power of mental skills training and cognitive-based reading enhancement, call us today! 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