Editorial — Consider volunteering in the classroom

August 26, 2015

On Tuesday, Sammamish parents will whisk their children off to school, symbolically bringing an end to the long summer nights.

A late Labor Day means school starts for both Issaquah and Lake Washington school districts on Sept. 1.

After dropping the kids off at school, you might feel the urge to kick back, relax and enjoy some “me” time. You deserve it after a long summer keeping the young ones entertained.

Read more

Letters to the Editor — Aug. 27, 2015

August 25, 2015

All council members need to help trailside residents

As a Sammamish resident living along the East Lake Sammamish Trail, I have followed the actions of the Sammamish City Council very closely.

In very obvious retrospect, it is apparent now that only Ramiro Valderrama and Nancy Whitten didn’t drink the goodwill Kool-Aid King County was serving. The façade of interest in and concern for resident inputs covering tree removal, privacy intrusion and storm water runoff built by Kathy Huckabay and Tom Vance crumbled under the Permit Appeal filed by King County in July. It was always just a farce.

Read more

Editorial — Legislature must act on funding education

August 19, 2015

NEW — 4:40 p.m. Aug. 19, 2015

Washington state’s school-financing system has been inadequate, broken and inequitable for three decades. On Aug. 12, after multiple warnings, the state Supreme Court issued a new order in the landmark McCleary case putting a price tag on the failure to fix it: $100,000 a day in fines.

The penalty follows the court holding the state — the governor and the Legislature — in contempt 11 months ago. Despite a regular session and three overtime sessions, lawmakers still could not satisfy the court.

No more delays. Gov. Jay Inslee should show the type of bold leadership on the systemic solutions that he did not show during the six months of legislative sessions. He should work with legislative leaders to hatch a plan and then reconvene the full Legislature as soon as possible. Lawmakers must also set aside partisanship and ideology to find a sustainable new education-funding model.

The Legislature made admirable progress toward fuller funding of education in the recent marathon session. But the Supreme Court wants more detailed plans of how the state will pay for the space required for reduced K-3 class sizes and all-day kindergarten. The new order also rightly emphasized the state’s constitutional obligation to pay for teachers’ salaries. The broken school-financing model foists nearly one-third of compensation onto school levies, leaving have and have-not districts in rich and poor corners of the state. Read more

On Further Review — Sunny remembrances of old school

August 19, 2015

NEW — 4:38 p.m. Aug. 19, 2015

Have you driven by Sunny Hills Elementary School on the Sammamish Plateau lately?

It is, quite simply, a vast, desert-looking wasteland dotted with large construction vehicles and even larger mounds of dirt.

Construction is well underway on a much-needed facelift for the Issaquah School District building.

I drive by it every day on my way to the office, and each time I pass it, without fail, I can feel a small, but noticeable, pull on my heartstrings.

You see, I’m a Sunny Hills Mustang, and so is my brother, Thomas. I started at the school as a third grader after our family moved from California. For my brother, Sunny Hills was the only elementary school he ever knew. Read more

To the Editor — Aug. 20, 2015

August 19, 2015

NEW — 4:36 p.m. Aug. 19, 2015

Pro-life or pro-birth?

As extremists in Olympia attempt to push legislation that eliminates funding for Planned Parenthood, we need to consider the following.

First, if pro-life is about saving unborn children, then why do pro-lifers oppose birth control? Recently announced results in Colorado clearly demonstrate that access to contraceptives dramatically reduces teen pregnancies. Birth rates fell by 40 percent and abortions fell by 42 percent between 2009 and 2013. So what is the real agenda?

Second, why do pro-life conservatives insist that the government provides no or limited funding for essential programs once a baby is born? We know that programs such as early childhood education, child care for working parents and good nutrition are essential ingredients in raising children, yet many pro-life conservatives don’t want to pay taxes for these programs for poor families.

Sister Joan Chittister, a Catholic nun, summed up this blatant hypocrisy. Read more

Editorial — Consider your water consumption

August 12, 2015

NEW — 12:12 p.m. Aug. 12, 2015

It’s official. California isn’t the only one with a problem.

Cascade Water Alliance — of which Issaquah and Sammamish are members — joined Seattle Public Utilities, Tacoma Water and the city of Everett in declaring a regional water advisory at the end of July.

This year’s low snowpack, coupled with high temperatures and increased customer demand, have heightened the potential for lower water supply availability, according to a Cascade Water Alliance news release.

What does that mean for you? It means the time has come to take a good, hard look at your water consumption. Read more

To the Editor — Aug. 13, 2015

August 12, 2015

NEW — 12:10 p.m. Aug. 12, 2015

Go back to more earth-friendly landscaping

In the past week, I’ve been disturbed three times by the sound of gas-powered leaf blowers in my Sammamish neighborhood. The first two were from landscaping companies hired by my neighbors, and the third was apparently hired by the city or the homeowners association to clean the streets.

These blowers contribute to both avoidable noise and air pollution. The landscapers blow the debris off walks and driveways, and some of it into the streets. The neighborhood maintenance workers blow it back off the street into the yards and driveways.

What is not understood is how much of the airborne dust migrates onto our cars, into our homes and into our lungs. The gas motors do not have pollution controls, and the hydrocarbon emissions are worse than a full-sized car. Read more

Cartoon — Aug. 13, 2015

August 12, 2015

NEW — 12:05 p.m. Aug. 12, 2015

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Editorial — New law protects dogs in hot cars

August 5, 2015

NEW — 3:26 p.m. Aug. 5, 2015

People who love animals are celebrating a new state law that protects pets left in hot cars. The law went into effect July 24.

It is now a class 2 civil infraction to leave an unattended animal in a motor vehicle or enclosed space where it might be harmed by heat or cold, or lack of water or fresh air.

The fine is $125, and a person could also be convicted of animal cruelty.

The law gives police and animal control officers the authority to free an animal “under any means reasonable” to protect the health and safety of an animal they believe is suffering or is likely to suffer harm, and it clears them of liability for damage to property resulting from any actions they take. Read more

To the Editor — Aug. 6, 2015

August 5, 2015

NEW — 3:23 p.m. Aug. 5, 2015

Growth needs to be more thoughtful

Congratulations to Wally Pereyra and Ilene Stahl, of the Friends of Pine Lake, for appealing the ruling that gave the Buchan Co. the ability to build on restricted land and build a bridge over Ebright Creek. Preserving the environment is a noble cause, and as you drive or walk around Sammamish you can plainly see that the builders have no idea what they are doing to our city and our quality of life.

Thirty homes here, 120 homes there, 20 someplace else. It just goes on and on, with no end in sight. The traffic is horrible already, the schools are bulging at the seams, and yet we just keep adding to the population on the plateau.

As a 37-year resident of Sammamish (formerly Issaquah before incorporation), I am thoroughly disgusted and hopeful that somehow this unbridled pattern of growth will end soon before we are all choked out and all the trees and open spaces are gone. Read more

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