OLYMPIA — President Obama has approved a disaster declaration for public infrastructure damages and emergency response costs in 11 Washington counties suffered during January’s severe winter storm.
“I am very pleased that the President and the Federal Emergency Management Agency recognized the urgency of our request, and is providing much needed financial assistance,” Gregoire said. “We made it clear how our counties were negatively impacted by the January storm. The damage left behind placed a heavy financial burden on many of our cities and counties during an already difficult economic time.”
Surveys by state and federal in mid-February found more than $32.3 million in eligible publicagency damages and costs. The surveys also determined there was insufficient eligible damage to support a federal disaster declaration for homes and businesses in the state.
This federal disaster declaration will help repair public facility damage and defray emergency response costs in 11 counties, including King and Snohomish.
“The declaration will allow FEMA to pay up to 75 percent of the eligible disaster-related costs, such as repair or replacement of property, debris removal and emergency protective measures,” Gregoire said. “This funding ... will speed recovery from January’s severe weather and ease the budget burdens ...”
The King County Road Services Division will begin its roadside weed control program in unincorporated areas of the county beginning April 9, 2012. Certified technicians will perform controlled herbicide spraying along some road shoulders through the summer to reduce safety hazards for pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists.
The spraying will also control noxious weeds that are toxic to some animals and pose environmental risks to native vegetation.
Residents who do not want crews to spray county right-of-way that abuts their property may post “owner will maintain” signs. Those residentsmust sign an agreement with the County to maintain the right-of-way themselves. Maintenance agreements must be completed and returned by April 4 to the Roads Services Division before the “owner will maintain” signs can be issued. The signs are once again being provided to property owners at no charge. The County will notify property owners who asked to maintain right-of-way last year.
Signs and copies of the maintenance agreement are available by calling (206) 296-8100 or toll-free 1-800-KC ROADS. The maintenance agreement is also available at http://kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/Roads/RoadsMaintenance/WeedControl.aspx
Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar, shown above in her flight suit, will be the keynote speaker at the Light A Fire For Learning luncheon. Courtesy photo.
The Northshore Schools Foundation is serious about providing the Northshore School District with financial support for S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and showed it Tuesday when Foundation co-presidents Karissa Webster and Kristin Austin presented NSD board president Julia Lacey with a check for $35,000.
The funds largely came through a generous donation from the Norcliffe Foundation raised during NSF’s annual Calling for Kids campaign in October.
The grant is restricted to the district’s S.T.E.M. program and will be allocated as follows: $15,000 for the restocking of elementary school science kits; $11,000 for PCR machine (known as a Thermal Cycler and used for amplifying DNA) supplies; $2,500 for junior high science lab equipment; $2,000 for junior high science field trips; $1,800 for junior high science textbooks; $1,700 for two hospital beds used in nursing education and $1,000 for special education math curriculum upgrades.
NSF Executive Director Carmin Dalziel said that every student currently enrolled in grades K-7 and hundreds of secondary students will feel the impact of this grant.
“Some students will come into contact with the products funded by the Foundation more than 12 times, depending on their path of study,” she said. “This is the kind of district-wide support we are proud to be a part of.”
Last fall the Foundation introduced S.T.E.M. education as one of five funding priorities. Since then NSF has contributed more than $48,000 towards the S.T.E.M. initiative and nearly $100,000 to the district overall.
“It’s exciting to see what can happen when thousands of community members come together and make an investment in our students,” Dalziel said. “Some people give $25, some give $10,000: it comes together as a collaborative investment and really makes an impact.”
She said long-standing support from local businesses such as Cornerstone General Contractors, Elevation Cellars, Molbak’s, Foundation House of Bothell, Northwest Totem Cellars, The Hollywood School House and corporate sponsors like Microsoft, McKinstry, The Boeing Company, Fred Meyer, Bio-Life Solutions and BECU are also a valued part of the funding equation.
“Even in rough economic times,” Dalziel said, “these companies made it a priority to continue supporting students because they know the impact of having students that are well educated.
“It speaks volumes to their business practice and commitment to ensuring that all students have the opportunity to graduate career and college-ready.”
As a means to support its other funding initiatives, NSF will host its ninth-annual Light A Fire For Learning luncheon on Thursday, April 26 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the Lynnwood Convention Center, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar, retired NASA astronaut and Washington state native.
Since 1985 Dr. Dunbar has served in five space flights, logging more than 1,200 extraterrestrial hours.
She now serves as director of higher education at The Boeing Company, leading education policy and strategy, integration of colleges and universities’ strategic development and alignment with the company’s initiatives.
Dr. Dunbar has previously served as executive director of Wings Over Washington, president and CEO of the Museum of Flight in Seattle, and has received the Washington State Medal of Merit.
She, too, started somewhere.
For more information on the event visit www.NorthshoreSchoolsFoundation.org or call (425) 408-7680.
It has been proposed that the Urban Growth Boundary be relocated along the east side of the Sammamish Valley, which would be a preliminary and required step toward consideration of annexation of specific parcels of land into the city of Woodinville.
The issue is before the King County Council and a ruling is expected in the near future.
Panelists Lucy DeYoung and Mike Tanksley will discuss the pros and cons surrounding this issue at the Greater Woodinville Chamber of Commerce business luncheon on Thursday, March 15, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Willows Lodge. Tanksley is president of the Hollywood Hill Association; DeYoung is a landowner in Woodinville and the city’s first mayor.
Both are informed on this issue and will present their views so you can form your own opinion.
The discussion will be moderated by Julie Boselly, owner of the Woodinville Weekly. Chamber members and prospective members are welcome.
Photo courtesy Aequalis Photography/WSDOT The KGM construction and staging area on Kenmore’s LakePointe property site.
Representatives from contractor Kiewit/General/Manson (KGM) and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) held an open house Tuesday at Kenmore City Hall to discuss the construction of bridge components being built in Kenmore for the new State Route 520 floating bridge and to field questions from the public.
Several dozen citizens attended. KGM is leasing a portion of the LakePointe property (at 6525 N.E. 175th St.) as a construction yard and barge landing to manufacture precast deck panels — what will ultimately be the driving surface of the new bridge —as well as gravity and fluke anchors to hold it in place at the bottom of Lake Washington.
The 44-acre site is owned by Gary Sergeant of Pioneer Towing; KGM is utilizing approximately 14 acres.
KGM Planning Manager Dave Stegeman said the company will produce 776 concrete panels measuring 57 feet x 15 feet each that will comprise the 5600 feet span.
Eight gravity anchors weighing over 300 tons each — 587 tons when fully loaded with rock, he said — and 46 fluke anchors will be delivered to the new bridge site by barge.
The gravity anchors will be constructed on the barge itself, docked adjacent to the on-site wharf.
KGM has already begun production of 77 pontoons at an industrial site in Aberdeen. Some of the pontoons will be as long as 360 feet, as wide as 75 feet and as tall as 35 feet. Upon completion they will be towed by barge from Grays Harbor to the Pacific Ocean to the Strait of Juan De Fuca to Puget Sound through the Ballard Locks to its final destination in Lake Washington, WSDOT Project Director John White said.
“It’s a massive undertaking and watching them being towed two at a time through the Locks will be something to see.”
Other bridge components are being constructed at the Port of Tacoma, he said.
The new bridge will be 20 feet high above the water, 10 feet higher than the existing bridge, Stegeman said, and is scheduled to be up and running by 2015.
KGM will then disassemble and remove the old bridge.
Kenmore Mayor David Baker said the project will create about 50 family-wage union jobs and generate additional sales-tax revenue for the city. “It also means a major cleanup for that site which will ultimately make the property more attractive to developers.”
KGM has leased the LakePointe property for three years.
Sergeant has been trying to sell the parcel “for a long time,” Baker said. LakePointe development has been permitted by the city but has been delayed because of a sluggish economy. The property, which Baker said sits at the “crown of the lake,” has long been considered a lynchpin to future Kenmore development, with mixed residential and retail use projected.
The site, which sits atop landfill, has been an industrial yard since the mid 1970s, used for similar manufacturing, storage and concrete work projects. Much of the property in recent years had been overrun with stockpiled materials — soil, dredged material along with industrial and natural debris. In order to be permitted, KGM relocated the stockpiled material, regraded and updated drainage and erosion controls, replaced the gravel surface across the entire site and repaired the existing wharf.
Shoreline vegetation has been protected and the entire site will now drain to new sediment traps and not run off into the lake and river, satisfying the requirements of both the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
New gas, water, power and communication lines have also been installed on the Kenmore site. The new six-lane floating bridge, a $4.65 billion project not yet fully funded, will replace the current bridge constructed in 1963 and showing its age: The bridge’s pontoons have become vulnerable to windstorms and its support columns are vulnerable to earthquakes.
Moreover, the existing bridge has only two lanes in each direction, no shoulders and no high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.
The new bridge, to be constructed on the north side of the old one, will include two additional general purpose lanes and one transit/HOV lane in each direction, wider shoulders to allow vehicles to pull over in case of breakdown, and a 14-foot wide bicycle and pedestrian path.
Bridge components will begin to be assembled and floated into place later this year.