Topic: King County
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February 21, 2013 at 3:39 PM
King County Executive Dow Constantine wants voters in August to approve a six-year, $360 million levy for park and trail maintenance, and expansion. The levy would replace two others that expire at the end of the year.
If approved, the measure would fund maintenance and operation of the county’s 200 parks, 175 miles of trails and 26,000 acres of open space, according to a news release issued today. It also would help buy or protect another 2,700 acres of open space, fund planning and design work for new trails and repair 14 trail bridges and trestles.
It would cost the owner of a $340,000 home about $64 a year.
The Metropolitan King County Council will decide whether and when to place the measure on the ballot.
January 30, 2013 at 6:49 PM
Public health officials have confirmed a second case of the measles in a King County resident who was exposed to a contagious traveler at Sea-Tac Airport on Jan. 18.
Officials said that before that person was diagnosed, he or she may have passed the disease onto others at the following locations:
QFC, 4570 Klahanie Dr. S., Issaquah
- Jan. 23rd between 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- Jan. 24th between 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- Jan. 25th between 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- Jan. 29th between 12:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Starbucks, 4566 Klahanie Dr SE, Issaquah
- Jan. 26th between 9:00am –11:30 am
Those who may have contracted the virus from this second person with the measles diagnosis could see symptoms – fever, unexplained rash, cough, runny nose, watery eyes — anytime between now and Feb. 19, according to a Public Health - Seattle & King County news release.
Because the virus is extremely contagious, anyone who sees symptoms should notify his healthcare provider immediately and stay at home to avoid exposing others to the disease. If a visit to a healthcare facility is necessary, officials recommended calling ahead to make sure arrangements are made to keep other patients from contracting measles.
The measles virus is highly contagious. It is spread mainly through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes, according to Public Health - Seattle & King County. Because most people in King County have immunity to measles through vaccination, the public-health department said, the risk of the disease spreading more to the general public is low.
People who know they were in the areas indicated above should, however, check to see to see if they have been vaccinated or had measles before.
The first measles case in King County this year was confirmed on Jan. 25 by a traveler who made a stop at Sea-Tac Airport on Jan. 18 between 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. More information on where travelers could have contracted the virus then is available on the Public Health – Seattle & King County website.
January 21, 2013 at 12:53 PM
The burn ban in King and Snohomish counties will be lifted effective 1 p.m. today, says the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
However, a Stage 1 burn ban remains in effect for Pierce County.
“We are lifting the burn bans in King and Snohomish counties because winds are picking up and temperatures are warming,” said Dr. Phil Swartzendruber, agency forecaster in a news release.
“But Pierce County is still under the influence of cold and calm conditions, which could cause pollution to build up in areas where wood-burning is common. We need to keep a Stage 1 burn ban in effect to protect air quality in those communities.”
The following must be observed under a Stage 1 burn ban:
- No burning is allowed in fireplaces or uncertified wood stoves. Residents should rely instead on their home’s other, cleaner source of heat (such as their furnace or electric baseboard heaters).
- No outdoor fires are allowed.
- It is OK to use natural gas, propane, pellet and EPA-certified wood stoves or inserts during a Stage 1 burn ban.
People who violate the burn ban can face a $1,000 penalty, according to the clean air agency news release.
January 11, 2013 at 12:20 PM
King County is launching a campaign to raise awareness about human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.
The campaign will include ads in six languages that will be posted on 200 Metro buses. The ads are intended to reach both potential victims as well as the general public. The ad campaign, which was donated and will be posted for free on county buses, will cost taxpayers next to nothing, Metropolitan King County Executive Dow Constantine said during a news conference this morning.
Constantine said that victims of human trafficking include those who are employed in the sex industry, and can also include domestic workers and employees of restaurants, agriculture and salon employees.
“This is a form of modern day slavery,” said County Councilmember Reagan Dunn.
In addition to the ads, the county has partnered with other organizations to provide some of the social services that exploited people most need, including access to stable and safe housing, immigration lawyers and other assistance.
Human trafficking, as defined under federal law, includes children involved in the commercial sex trade, adults age 18 or over who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts and anyone forced into different forms of labor or services against their will or under threat. Because of its abundance of ports, the proximity to an international border and a dependency on agricultural workers, Washington has always been a focal point for human traffickers, said Dunn.
In 2003, Washington state was the first state in the nation to criminalize human trafficking.
The ads urge victims, as well as people who may know or suspect that someone is being victimized, to call 1-888-373-7888 to report a tip or to seek help.
January 4, 2013 at 10:16 AM
A total of 795 people were arrested in King County during a recent DUI enforcement campaign.
Statewide, a total of 3,446 people were arrested during the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign that ran from Nov. 21 through Jan. 1.
King County law enforcement agencies that participated in the campaign included police departments in Auburn, Bellevue, Black Diamond, Burien, Clyde Hill, Covington, Des Moines, Duvall, Enumclaw, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kent, Kirkland, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Newcastle, North Bend, Pacific, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, Seatac, Seattle, Snoqualmie, Tukwila and Woodinville, as well as Port of Seattle police and the Washington State Patrol. The extra patrols were funded by a grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.
December 27, 2012 at 11:23 AM
The Associated Press
The Washington Health Department says a Pierce County boy and two older adults in King County are the first influenza deaths in the state this season.
The department said Thursday that flu activity is picking up across the state and it’s urging everyone from six-months old on up to have an annual flu shot.
The boy who was younger than 12 was the first death, earlier in December. A man in his 80s and a woman in her 70s in King County died in the past two weeks.
The Health Department’s Julie Graham says an average of two children and 25 adults die of the flu each year in the state. The worst flu season recently was 2009-2010 when 5 children and 95 adults died
December 18, 2012 at 5:50 PM
Six years after a public defender sued King County to enroll in its retirement system, a tentative settlement awarding public defenders pension benefits backdated to 1978 has been reached.
The approximately $31 million proposed settlement would go toward county retirement contributions and would also make public defenders working at four non-profit groups county employees with full benefits by July 1, according to a King County news release.
Kevin Dolan, a public defender for the Associated Council for the Accused, sued the county in 2006 on behalf of employees of those four groups seeking the same retirement benefits as county employees.
In response to Dolan’s lawsuit, the state Supreme Court ordered King County to allow the contracted public-defense employees to enroll in the county’s Public Employees Retirement System as of April 2012.
The agreement still needs to be approved by the Metropolitan King County Council and Pierce County Supreme Court Judge John R. Hickman to be finalized, but the county is already working on how to reorganize its network of public defenders according to a release.
December 18, 2012 at 9:47 AM
King County officials a newborn has died of whooping cough.
It’s the first death from whooping cough in Washington this year.
The infant died Thursday. Health officials did not identify the family, nor any details about where the family lived.
This year there have been 757 confirmed cases of pertussis reported among King County residents, the highest number the county has seen in over a decade, according to Public Health Seattle & King County.
Infants are at the highest risk for serious illness, hospitalization or death from whooping cough. County officials say that vaccinating the mother, ideally between week 27 and 36 of her pregnancy, provides temporary immunity until the baby, at 2 months of age, is old enough to be immunized.
Health officials say that family members and other close contacts should be up-to-date with their pertussis vaccines as well.
December 12, 2012 at 8:00 AM
UPDATE AT 2:48 P.M.: The deputy who shot Berg has been identified as Mark Orendorff, 54, who has been with the Sheriff’s Office for more than 32 years. He has been placed on paid leave, pending the investigation into the shooting, which is routine.
A man fatally shot by a King County sheriff’s deputy in Fall City Monday has been identified by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office as Eric Todd Berg, 42.
No permanent address is listed for Berg, who died of several gunshot wounds, according to the medical examiner.
Sgt. Cindi West, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said a deputy went to a mobile home park about 6:30 a.m. Monday after a resident complained of a man screaming outside.
West said Berg was shot after he took the deputy’s Taser and charged him. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he died.
West said the man was not a resident of the mobile home park, but may have been the friend of a resident. The incident remains under investigation
December 5, 2012 at 8:25 PM
UPDATE: 12:30 a.m. | Among the first 10 couples for whom King County Executive Dow Constantine signed licenses were Stuart Wilber and John Breitweiser of Seattle’s Madison Valley.
The day after their 36th anniversary, just happens to be the first day they legally marry. They’ll wed this Sunday at a neighbor’s house in a celebration they rushed to put together over the past month.
Wilber said planning “has had its moments” but it was worth it, and they’re excited.
After Constantine signed the 10th license, he took a moment to speak about same-sex marriage advocates who had died before today.
“The fact that we are here today is a tribute to them,” he said.
But the mood quickly lifted as he led the couples out with “now let’s have a party!”
UPDATE: 12:03 a.m. | After decades of waiting to be legally married — married, not domestically partnered — Jane Abbott Lighty and Pete-e Petersen of West Seattle saw their marriage license signed by King County Executive Dow Constantine at 12:02 a.m.
The signing was preceded by a loud countdown to midnight and cheers.
UPDATE: 12:02 a.m. | Historic moment: King County has begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
UPDATE: 11:44 p.m. | One of the most prominent members of Washington state’s gay community called Wednesday night an “amazing piece of history.”
“This is one of those rare moments where we’re actually watching history happen,” said State Senate Majority Leader Ed Murray, D-Seattle.
Murray, who earlier in the day announced he is forming an exploratory committee to run for Seattle mayor, said he is not getting a marriage license tonight but wanted to support those who are.
UPDATE: 11:35 p.m. | Iridescent bubbles floating above the waiting crowd came from a machine Rachel and Sandy Smith-Mosel of Federal Way brought.
Those in line next to them got Krispy Kreme doughnuts as they shouted “Put a ring on it!”
The couple married in Canada in 2004, in California in 2008 and will marry in Washington soon though they haven’t set a date.
Both of them, their five children and Rachel’s parents were featured in an R-74 ad earlier this year.
UPDATE: 11:17 p.m. | Garriel Keeble beamed as she entered the gates outside the King County Administration Building Wednesday night.
“This has been a long time coming,” she told the county staffer working the gate.
Keeble, a 62-year-old Seattle resident, said she met her soon-to-officially-be wife 44 years ago. They agreed to marry four years later, in 1972.
The happiness of finally getting marriage license is “hard to take, because it’s taken so long,” Keeble said.
The couple was well back in the line, clearly facing at least an hour of waiting to get a license.
But as for that wait, Keeble said she doesn’t mind.
UPDATE: 10:45 p.m. | Nearly 200 same-sex couples grabbed numbered tickets as the gates opened outside the King County Administration Building at 10 p.m.
The couples, many with chairs, settled into a snaking queue on the north plaza of the building.
The line outside had stretched around the block, filled with some 400 people — including friends and family.
The county will let the first of the couples into the building at midnight. But for those closer to the back of the line, officials say, it could take four hours or more to get a marriage license.
UPDATE: 10:38 p.m. | More than 350 people waited in line before the gates opened.
The first couple in line, Amanda Dollente and Kelly Middleton, cried as they were welcomed into a queue where the county was handing out numbered tickets. King County Executive Dow Constantine signed their ticket.
UPDATE: 10:35 p.m. | King County Executive Dow Constantine hailed the night as historic in a brief speech to reporters before the release.
“I am so glad this night has finally arrive,” he said. “This has been a long struggle.”
He added that, “The people of Washington state have spoken and it’s time to embrace all of our fellow Washingtonians, regardless of sexual orientation.”
Also in attendance, milling about the crowd, were Sheriff John Urquhart and State Senate Majority Leader (and new Seattle mayoral candidate) Ed Murray.
UPDATE: 9:54 p.m. | The line of waiting couples outside King County’s administration building has grown in size and spirit.
Some 200 people have gathered sharing love stories and passing around Champagne, candy and flowers.
At one point, a group began singing “Going to the Chapel of Love.”
Passing cars are honking in support of the couples. One yelled “Anybody need a maid of honor!?”
EARLIER POST | More than a dozen couples lined up outside the King County Administration Building early Wednesday evening, hours before the county planned to issue some of the state’s first-ever licenses for same-sex marriages.
County Executive Dow Constantine will sign licenses for the first couples starting at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, the minute Washington officially joins six other states and the District of Columbia in recognizing same-sex marriages (Maine and Maryland will do the same in the next few weeks).
A number of counties across the state are opening early and staying late to accommodate an anticipated rush of same-sex couples eager to marry.
In King County, hundreds of couples are expected to receive licenses before the county Recorder’s Office, at 500 4th Avenue in downtown Seattle, closes at 6:30 p.m.
County officials said they would start handing out numbered tickets to waiting couples at 10 p.m. Wednesday.
Kelly Middleton and Amanda Dollente weren’t going to chance coming that late.
They arrived at the county administration building, bundled in sweatshirts and hoods, at 4 p.m. Wednesday — an early arrival spurred, in part, by being late to Black Friday a couple weeks ago.
This day obviously means much more, the Auburn couple said.
“We’ve been so anxious about this,” said Middleton, a 24-year-old quality inspector. “This day couldn’t have come soon enough for us.”
The couple, who have been in a domestic partnership since March and have two young adopted daughters, plan to marry Dec. 12.
For all couples, state law mandates a three-day waiting period once a marriage license is issued, meaning the first same-sex weddings won’t take place until Sunday.
Voters approved gay marriage 53.7 percent to 46.3 percent in last month’s election, according to the Secretary of State. The measure, called Referendum 74, did particularly well in King County, where it earned support from 67 percent of voters.
The referendum came about after the Legislature narrowly approved gay marriage in February.
Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia, also recognize same-sex marriages. Maine and Maryland each approved them last month and will start issuing licenses soon.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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