To The Editor

December 22, 2008

By Contributor

Gilman Village

Demise of historic shopping center has been greatly exaggerated

Any shopping area would be grateful to have customers as emotionally involved and concerned as Sibella Giorello. We really do appreciate that concern and her letter in The Press Dec. 10. But to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of Gilman Village’s (slow) death are greatly exaggerated.

Yes, we do have vacancies. And times are tough for our merchants, just as they are for most independent retailers in Issaquah. But you’ll see vacancies everywhere. It may be more apparent in Gilman Village because of the intimacy of our scale and we have only independent specialty retailers here, but it is no different and no worse than elsewhere.

It’s important to note that we also have several new businesses that have just opened or are opening soon. X Marks The Tot, with a unique line of children’s clothing, and Grimaldi’s, a coffee house in the European tradition, have just opened. The Village Family Clinic & Wellness Center and Belli Cosmetics are opening shortly. A new restaurant with building plans being reviewed by the city is scheduled to open this spring.

It would be great if people shopped close to home this holiday season and throughout the year. Issaquah has a lot of good independent retailers who deserve support. Besides Gilman Village, there’s Front Street and even elsewhere on Gilman Boulevard. I shop at the big guys like everyone else. But it’s the small, independent businesses, not big chains, that define a community and set it apart.

Let me assure you also that we don’t need to be saved by city officials. It would help if those officials got over this notion that the only independent businesses in Issaquah are all on Front Street, or that the city’s entire history is there. The fact is, there’s probably as much, or more, of historic Issaquah standing in Gilman Village as is on Front Street, and as many independent stores and restaurants.

Gilman Village has been a part of Issaquah for more than 35 years. With the loyalty of people like Giorello, we plan on being a part of the community far into the future.

Aaron Barouh

General manager, Gillman Village

Overlake Center

Another medical clinic is appreciated; another drugstore is redundant

I wanted to comment on the recent news regarding the construction of a new and improved Overlake Medical Clinic with associated Bartell’s drugstore as the anchor tenant that will be built on East Lake Sammamish Parkway.

Do we really need another drugstore in town? Don’t we have enough to choose from already? We already have a Rite-Aid, a Target, a Walgreens, a QFC and even a Costco. How many drugstores do we need? Obviously more than the two bed & bath stores we once had or the two Arco gas stations we once had, or the Albertson’s we once had — see where I’m going with this?

I understand we need another medical clinic, though. With the screwed up heath care system we have, you can’t always go to the nearest most convenient doctor. So, for that, we have four clinics to choose from. But do we really need another drugstore? Just don’t touch our five Starbucks.

Geoff Carson


Kirk Lewis

Help keep the legacy of Living Water alive in memory of beloved man

On Sept. 19, 2008, Kirk Lewis, a longtime employee of Issaquah’s Public Works Department, died. He left behind his wife Sheri, his son Croix, and his daughter Taylor. He also left behind a legacy of service, of excellence and of loving life. Kirk was a friend, a fellow paraglider pilot and also a fellow worshipper at the church I pastor. I have a photo of Kirk on my office bookshelf — dripping wet and grinning from ear to ear — as he emerged from the baptismal waters of Beaver Lake.

Every time I look at that photo, I get a lump in my throat. Like many others, I am going to miss Kirk. You don’t live large like he did without leaving quite a wake behind you! And I look forward to being reunited with him some day.

While at my church, Kirk started a fund called Living Water. It was intended to help people in our community who were in danger of having their water turned off for nonpayment. Being a Public Works guy, Kirk had a soft spot in his heart for folks who couldn’t pay their water bill. So, without any fanfare, he started Living Water, taking donations where he could find them, and replenishing it out of his own pocket whenever the funds got low.

Now that Kirk is gone, it seems more important that ever that Living Water continue in his memory — Sheri thought he would like that. So, we’re going to open it up to anyone who would like to donate in Kirk’s memory — just send your check or bring cash to:

Living Water

c/o Mountain Creek Christian Fellowship

165 Front St. N.

Issaquah, WA  98027

Please write “Living Water” on the memo line of your checks. Every penny will be placed in the fund and used only for helping out the poor and marginalized in our community. That is what Kirk would have wanted — and that is what we will do.

If you have any questions about Kirk’s Living Water ministry, feel free to call me at 391-3416.

Thanks for helping us serve.

Mark Miller


Capitol holiday displays

Nation can learn from circus our  governor created by allowing all signs

First, a statue of Jesus. Then, an anti-religious solstice sign. And now, we might have a display honoring the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a sign from Kansas bigot Fred Phelps that Santa will send you to hell, and a display for Festivus, a joke holiday.

It’s a joke all right. Gov. Chris Gregoire and the Department of General Administration have learned a very valuable lesson about the separation of church and state, courtesy of the gutsy Freedom From Religion Foundation. The state had the option of either keeping our government property free of religious displays or allowing every display under the sun and turning our state Capitol building into a circus. Our state government has now learned that it made the wrong choice.

I can only hope that other state and local governments across the country, having witnessed this embarrassment on national TV, will vicariously learn the same lesson.

Moral of the story: If you want to look at a plastic baby Jesus, read about the winter solstice, dance around a Festivus Pole or raise a noodle to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, you can do so in the comfort of your home and/or your local house of worship. Thus, you can celebrate your holiday as you wish, and no one has to look at nonsense in the Capitol. A win-win for all, and for all a goodnight.

Matthew J. Barry


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