Sammamish students know their business

February 13, 2011

New: Feb. 13, 2:46 p.m.

For some Sammamish high school DECA students, dressing up in business attire and competing to give the best sales pitch is pretty darn exciting. But others, like Eastlake junior Akaash Nanda, got to experience the rush of learning theirs was the best.

As hundreds of students looked on, clad in suit-and-tie dress, Nanda, recently earned first place in Area 3 for his Business Services role-play presentation.

“It was both overwhelming and unreal,” he said. Read more

Puget Sound Energy natural gas rates could increase April 1

February 12, 2011

New: Feb. 12, 1:18 p.m.

Puget Sound Energy, state Utilities and Transportation Commission staff members and others have reached a tentative agreement to allow PSE to increase natural gas rates.

The average residential natural gas customer using 68 therms a month should experience a 2 percent increase, or $1.68, for a revised bill of $84.65. The settlement agreement proposes no change to the $10-per-month basic service charge for residential natural gas customers. PSE had originally asked to increase the fee to $10.62 per month. Read more

State explains 520 tolling plan to City Council

February 11, 2011

WSDOT to sell 520 tolling stickers at City Hall Feb. 16

New: Feb. 11, 10:17 a.m.

Sammamish commuters who rely the 520 bridge to get to Seattle will have a choice in the coming months: pay up to $3.50 a trip or find another way around Lake Washington.

And those who rely on Interstate 90 may spend more time in their cars as drivers try to avoid the tolls.

Assuming the state legislature approves the plan, the Washington State Department of Transportation will start tolling the 520 bridge in April in order to begin raising money for the eventual expansion of the 48-year-old bridge, WSDOT Tolls Director Craig Stone told the Sammamish City Council at their Feb. 8 meeting. Read more

Sammamish on the verge of being certified wildlife-friendly

February 10, 2011

New: Feb. 10, 10:42 a.m.

Local advocates are in the home stretch of their attempt to get Sammamish certified as a wildlife-friendly community.

As of Feb. 4, the city only needed 11 more homeowners to certify their properties as “backyard wildlife habitats” through the National Wildlife Federation in order for the city to reach 150 properties and qualify as a “community wildlife habitat.” Sammamish would be the 12th community in the state to obtain the certification.

To become certified, a homeowner simply has to fill out an online questionnaire on the natural qualities of their properties and pay $20. Residents can also purchase a sign declaring the property as NWF-certified.

Single-family homes count as one point in the process, while businesses, churches and schools each count as three.

To see if your property qualifies, visit: https://secure.nwf.org/backyardwildlifehabitat/certify/page1.cfm

For more information, contact Dawn Sanders at dsanders@ci.sammamish.wa.us or 295-0556.

Sammamish City Council discusses community center at annual retreat

February 9, 2011

New: Feb. 9, 2:16 p.m.

City Council members have thrown around the term “community aquatic center” extensively in recent years and earmarked $6.3 million in the next two years as a down payment for the facility – by far the largest outlay of capital dollars in the 2011 budget.

At their Feb. 4 retreat at Suncadia Resort, the council discussed what exactly could be included in such a building, how they might pay for it and whether they were duplicating services already offered by private businesses. Read more

Chinese cultural celebration, Feb. 5, 2011

February 9, 2011

Lake Washington Schools levy looks likely to pass

February 9, 2011

New: Feb. 9 10:01 a.m.

After the first round of ballots were released Feb. 8, the $65.4 million levy proposed by the Lake Washington School District looks likely to pass. Early ballots have the levy ahead by a 59 percent – 41 percent margin. As a levy, the measure needs to achieve 50 percent plus one vote.

The levy would fund expansions to Eastlake and Redmond high schools, as well as a construction of a new science and technology magnet school just north of the plateau, near Alcott Elementary. It is projected to increase property tax rates by 31 cents per $1,000 of assessed value starting in 2012 and last for six years.

King County Elections will continue to count mail-in ballots until Feb. 23 and will release updated results each business day until then. As of Feb. 8, King County Elections had received 31,239 ballots meaning a 31.5 percent voter turnout.

City employees get fit, save tax dollars

February 8, 2011

City employees playing hopscotch at lunch may end up saving taxpayer money.

What started out in 2009 as an informal group of employees that would gather for lunchtime walks morphed in 2010 into the CREW (Committed to Reinforcing Employee Wellness) committee, which organizes various health-related events designed to keep employees active and healthy.

If the committee meets a handful of standards set forth by the Association of Washington Cities through their WellCity award in 2011, the city will get a 2 percent discount on the amount it pays for employee health insurance – a savings of as much as $14,000. Read more

Sammamish not in on fire authority discussion

February 8, 2011

With Eastside Fire and Rescue’s expiration date of 2014 looming, representatives from around the area are meeting monthly to discuss the possibility of a new taxing authority to fund fire service.

If such an entity is created, homeowners could see their tax bills go up.

So far, Sammamish says they’re not interested. Read more

Washington Legislature should focus on priorities

February 8, 2011

Foolishness seems as prevalent as ever in the state legislature, in spite of the urgency of dealing with a $5 billion shortfall – or whatever the newest high mark of the hour is.

We could start with our own 5th District Representative, Glenn Anderson, who filed a bill giving the legislature the right to dissolve up to eight counties across the state, if they are deemed to be overly dependent on state funds. The bill is expected to go nowhere, yet Anderson is getting his day of fame for having put forth the idea. But the bill is at least an educational opportunity about the state budget and is worthy of thought. Read more

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