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The Issaquah Press
Issaquah, Washington
December 23, 2009     The Issaquah Press
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December 23, 2009
 

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THE ISSAQUAH PRESS WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 23, 2009 A5 Metro plots he' course for 2010 By Warren Kagarise Issaquah Press reporter For Metro Transit riders, the new year will mean out with the old -- certain paper transfers -- and in with the new -- ORCA smart cards and higher fares. The changes canbe attributed to equal parts new technology and tough economic climate. The adjustments will affect everything from transit fares and passes to how riders transfer between buses and trains across the region. Officials raised some transit fares by 25 cents to counter a wide budget gap. The fare hikes will go into effect Jan. 1 in adult and sen- ior fares, while youth fares will remain unchanged. The increase will also apply to Metro fare passes and ticket books. Transit officials also encourage riders to switch from the PugetPass to the ORCA, the electronic One Regional Card for All fare card used to pay on transit systems in King, Kitsap, Snohomish and Pierce counties. Metro and Sound Transit are among the seven agencies in the ORCA partnership. Combined, the buses, trains and ferries across the system carry about a half-million riders every weekday. ORCA is a plastic smart card out- fitted with a microprocessor. Riders tap the card on a card read- er aboard buses, or at train and light rail stations and ferry termi- nals, to pay the fare. As part of the ORCA switch, tran- sit agencies will stop selling the paper PugetPass or card after Dec. 14. Starting Dec. 15, the monthly PugetPass will instead be issued on the simplified ORCA card. Valid forms of the other passes will be accepted until the passes expire. Unexpired, employer-provided passes will also be accepted by Metro and other agencies. Customers using employer-provid- ed passes of any type will be REDUCED SCHEDUK Before big changes launch in 2010, Metro Transit riders must navigate a reduced weekday schedule on several holidays through the end of 2009. The reductions are planned for holiday stretches, when Metro historically sees 20 percent to 40 percent fewer weekday riders. Metro will operate on a Sunday schedule on several upcoming legal holidays, The transit agency Will also operate on a full week of reduced service at the end of December. The reduced weekday schedule will be in effect: Dec. 24, Christmas Eve Dec. 28-31, the winter holiday period and New Years Eve Jan. 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day Metro will operate on a Sunday schedule on the following holidays: Dec. 25 Christmas Jan. 1 New Year's Day On weekdays with reduced schedules, some commuter and school-oriented routes do not operate, and other routes will have trips canceled, Many routes ONTHEWEB Find fares, learn about the One Regional Card for All system and buy a card at www.orcacard.com. The cards are available for free through Jan. 31. Beginning Feb. 1, the cards will cost $5. switched to ORCA throughout 2010. The systemwide switch to ORCA will mean the end for paper trans- fers. On Jan. 1, paper transfers used between Metro and other transit systems will be nixed. Transfers will instead be made electronically on the ORCA card. However, paper transfers will remain valid for riders traveling between Metro buses. Metro riders will notice other changes as King County and transit officials implement steps to save money amid a severe budget crisis. Besides the fare increase, Metro will cut staff and delay capital proj- ects. The transit agency plans to revamp scheduling for buses and operators. Part of the effort will entail cutting the amount of time buses lay over at the end of each trip. Officials will also use schedul- ing software to determine cases in which a single bus can better han- dle routes. Officials will adjust the cleaning schedules for buses, and the main- tenance schedules for bus shelters and transit centers. The agency will also tap into $40 million from the fund meant to replace aging buses, in order to shield the system from the budget axe. And, in a noticeable effort meant to raise money, the County Council last month authorized Metro to sell bus-wrap advertising throughout the system. Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www. issaquahpress, com. Challenger enters race against Rep. Anderson By Warren Kagarise and Laura Geggel Issaquah Press reporters The race to represent Issaquah in Olympia kicked off last week, months before voters receive bal- lots. Dean Willard, a Sammamish res- ident, former T-Mobile executive and Democrat, entered the 2010 race for the state House seat held by Glenn Anderson. Anderson, a Fall City Republican, was first elected to represent the 5th District in 2000, and re-elected subsequently. Willard said the district has changed since Anderson was elect- ed almost a decade ago. The first- time candidate said he would work to convince voters to send "a more moderate representative" to Olympia. Willard cited population growth in the district, and said new resi- dents helped shift the character from rural to suburban. Voters "are looking for a prag- matic Democrat who is interested in solving problems," he said. Anderson said he looks forward to the contest. He noted the chal- lenges lawmakers face due to the recession and fewer dollars for state programs. "We live in a time where just because there is so much anxiety and economic stress, we are .going to be liv- ing with the consequences of these elec- tions for a long time into the Dean Willard f u t u r e , " Anderson said. "I think it's a good thing to have robust debates about where do we go and how do we do it. We all benefit from that. And if Mr. Willard has something to Glenn Anderson c o n t r i b u t e, then all the better." Anderson filed paperwork in June with the state Public Disclosure Commission in order to raise money for a 2010 re-election bid. The incumbent had raised about $19,000 by late December, records show. Anderson plans to step up cam- paign activities after the legislative session wraps in the spring. "You're supposed to be the voice of what people are trying to get accomplished, as opposed to toot- ing your own horn about what your self-important perception is," Anderson said. "People don't like that too much." Willard, a former vice president at Bellevue-based T-Mobile, works as an information technology and security consultant. The local state Democratic committeeman volun- teered for Joe Mallahan, the T- Mobile executive who lost a bid last month to become Seattle mayor. He also volunteered for Democrats in past 5th District races. Willard said as a Democrat he could be a more effective represen- tative than Anderson. Democrats control both houses in the Legislature. Gov. Chris Gregoire is also a Democrat. Anderson was re-elected last year. He garnered about 52 per- cent of the vote over challenger David Spring. Anderson is the ranking member on the House Higher Education Committee. He also serves on the Capital Budget and Education Appropriations committees. Besides Issaquah, Sammamish and Fall City, the 5th District includes Snoqualmie, North Bend, Maple Valley and parts of unincor- porated King County. City Council reappoints Municipal Court judge Judge N. Scott Stewart will serve another four years as the sole Issaquah Municipal Court judge, the City Council decided Dec. 7. Stewart was first appointed to the Issaquah bench in 2007, when then-Judge Peter Jarvis retired. With the four-year municipal judge term set to expire Dec. 31, the council reappointed Stewart through 2013. The court presides over misde- meanors -- such as DUI cases -- as well as parking and traffic infractions that occur in Issaquah. In the years since the court opened in 2005, criminal filings increased by 117 percent and the caseload ballooned by 209 percent, city doc- uments state. Stewart and court employees will face another full docket in 2010. The council set a goal for the court to open a probation department to track high-risk offenders and cut recidivism -- reversion to criminal N. Scott Stewart behavior -- among defen- dants next year. City Council members also want court officials to draft procedures related to red light and speed cam- eras. In March, crews installed the first Issaquah speed camera in the busy Second Avenue school zone. The city will spend about $80,000 on salary and benefits for Stewart, money already included in the recommended 2010 court budget. Mayor Ava Frisinger rec- ommended $330,994 for the court, and the council is expected to adopt the spending plan Dec. 21. Stewart was admitted to the Washington State Bar Association in 1988. He served as the Tukwila court commissioner from 1995- 1998. Stewart also served as a pro tern judge in the Des Moines, Renton, Kirkland and Mercer Island municipal courts, as well as King County District Court. He is a partner in the Kent law firm Stewart, Beall, MacNichols & Harmell. Stewart also teaches courses about family law and civil practice as an adjunct professor for the Central Washington University Westside Campus. PUBLIC MEETINGS Dec. 25 City offices are closed In observance of Christmas. Dec. 28 Park Board 7 p.m. Issaquah Trails House 110 Bush St. Sammamish business will donate profits to food bank Adam Gentry and Charley Lindsley were having a tough time finding work in this economy. So, in August, they started a new busi- ness, Easy Oil. One of the pair will come to you, change your car's oil and top off other fluids on site, be it at your home or work. The pair have been interested in helping the community and donate a portion of their profits to the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank, Gentry said. But this month, they want to step up their efforts. "We really wanted to get involved," Gentry said. So, through Jan. 10, they will be donating all of their profits to the food bank. "We wanted to take it to a differ- ent level," Gentry said. Learn more about Easy 0il at www. easyoil, org. HOW TO THANK A VET BY GREG FARRAR Elaine Black (left), dental hygienist, does a cleaning for Nathan Murphy, of Bothell, a U.S. Army specialist, as his wife Christine and son Adam, 15 months, watch at the sec- ond annual Thanksgiving to Veterans Day by Dr. Theresa Cheng and Dr. Sul Ki Hong at their Issaquah periodontics practice. Development Commission halts planned highlands residence Answers demanded about commercial development By Warren Kagarise Issaquah Press reporter Officials halted plans to build a proposed Issaquah Highlands resi- dential complex last week, after city development commissioners complained about the pace of retail development in the highlands. The decision forces a show- down between the Urban Village Development Commission and highlands developer Port Blakely Communities. A proposal to add 240 units -- including apartments, town- houses and stacked flats -- on 9.5 acres in the highlands prompted questions about the balance between residential and commercial property in the hill- side community. Though Urban Village Development Commission members praised the design, the commission halt- ed the project to deliver a mes- sage to Port Blakely. The commission, formed to oversee major projects in the high- lands and Talus, heard from sev- eral citizen activists and highlands residents before the Dec. 15 deci- sion. Commissioners did not deny a site development permit for the project. Instead, the commission indefinitely delayed a decision on the permit application. Commissioner Nina Milligan acknowledged the odd situation the residential developer, Bellevue-based Devco, faced as a result of the delay. "I like the proposal the develop- er has brought, and it's unfortu- nate that they're in the middle of a little bit of a feud here," she said. The proposed residences will return to the commission Jan. 5, when commissioners can approve or deny the application. If the commission cannot reach a deci- sion, the matter goes to city Hearing Examiner Ted Hunter. City Major Development Review Team Manager Keith Niven said the hearing examiner would read the staff report on the Devco pro- posal and watch the commission meetings related to the project. Then, Hunter will make a decision. Although the highlands include several restaurants, shops and offices, residents said the reality differed from the vision offered by Port Blakely more than a decade ago. Matt Barry moved to the high- lands when the community was new. He described the wait for additional commercial offerings as frustrating. "You had a vision when you moved in of an urban village and we received promises -- maybe a judge wouldn't find Port Blakely having made any strong promises in writing -- but I think we all know that we were given some promises," he said. Barry referenced the previous Urban Village Development Commission meeting, where Chairman Geoffrey Walker said he was "ticked off' by the proposal to add residences to the highlands before additional commercial space. "It's very frustrating and I do not think Port Blakely has horns com- ing out of its head. I do not think it's the personification of evil," Barry said. "I'm sure they want to get this done and move on, and I'm sure they don't want to see any more headlines with the chair saying how he's ticked off. Hang said that, enough is enough. Ten years we've been waiting." Before commissioners decided to postpone the residential proj- ect, Port Blakely representative Irma Dor6 said she would relay residents' comments from the meeting. "The message has been clearly conveyed back to Port Blakely," she said. Walker also prodded city officials to complete the urban village con- cept for the highlands, envisioned as a neighborhood with homes, offices and shops built together. He credited Port Blakely for some accomplishments, but faulted the developer for the commercial com- ponent in the highlands. "Everyone was hoodwinked, in this case -- real estate agents, people who wanted to build com- mercial and retail properties," Walker said. County Council donates used vans to nonprofits King County Council members donated 27 retired Metro Vanpool vehicles to provide transportation assistance to local governments, community programs, senior citi- zens and young adults. The retired vans have been part of Metro Transit's vanpool fleet for at least six years and have reached the end of their service life. When the vans reach this age, they are considered surplus and sold. The council approved the dona- tion in a unanimous Dec. 14 vote. County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, who represents Issaquah, praised the action. "These retired vans are going to nonprofit organizations that represent the compassion and diversity we have in King County," Lambert said in a news release. Since 1995, the County Council has donated retired Vanpool vehi- cles to local nonprofits. The groups are then responsible for licensing, insuring and maintain- ing the vans. Rooster FROM PAGE A4 stood: "I feel sad by the fact that there are people out there who can listen to one side of a story and completely write us off as bad, neglectful, money-hungry citizens, when we have been do- ing right by the community and also our dear friend McNugget." The "experts" weighed in: "I have chickens myself and have learned a great deal about taking care of them over the past seven years .... People need to under- stand that chickens are stupid and that they (like every stray an- imal) will stay where the food is." The participants kept the nar- rative rolling: "Give me a break. I didn't say one thing to the re- porter that was a lie. Why don't you tell me what that was?" There was the incredulous: "Really? This is what is of utmost importance to you and the com- munity? Really? Are there no other important social issues that need addressing? Really? How very, very sad." And there was off the wall: "This rooster should be moved to a much warmer place...such as the fryer at KFC." Our editor cut off the comments at 134 for the original story and 13 for the follow up when they became an argument back and forth between a small group of people. And those were just the ones approved for family reading. It's just amazing the hornet's nest I riled up. After releasing all the evils from the jar, Pandora did find hope at the bottom. Here's to hoping we uncover more hot topics on the minds of our readers in 2010. David Hayes: 392-6434, ext. 237, dhayes@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com. FROM PAGE A1 found her, but police say she resisted arrest. The dog then bit her. Afterward, police booked the passenger into the Issaquah Jail for resisting arrest and outstand- ing warrants. She was taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment of the dog bite. The driver, arrested for attempting to elude a police vehi- cle and on outstanding felony warrants, was booked into the King County Jail. Baxter said resisting arrest was considered a misdemeanor, which could result in a maximum sen- tence of 90 days in county jail or a $1,000 fine. The felony warrant implies more significant conse- quences. State law allows for felonies to result in lifelong incar- ceration or a $50,000 fine. J.B. Wogan.. 392-6434, ext. 247, or jbwogan@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress, com.