Merry Christmas Issaquah fund helps ordinary people through tough times

December 2, 2008

There are charities willing to help people in need, but just who are those people? Often, it’s the very people who are trying to help themselves.

Merry Christmas Issaquah Fund

Merry Christmas Issaquah Fund

• A woman got an infection in her hand and was not able to work for six weeks. The power company was about to shut off the electricity when she called for help. With small children at home, heat was a necessity. 

• An unemployed man got a job offer, but needed help with bus tickets to get to the job, just until he got paid. Read more

To The Editor

December 2, 2008

Thank you

Community helped make Harmony & High Tea a successful fundraiser

On behalf of the Issaquah Women’s Club, thank you to all who helped make our Nov. 8 Harmony & High Tea benefit at Pickering Barn such a huge success — the merchants and businesses who sponsored tables, purchased ads, donated auction items and/or contributed cash or necessities to our effort; the members of the Issaquah High School DECA club, who helped in countless ways; Read more

Press Editorial

December 2, 2008

Merchants support you, now support them

There are too many empty storefronts popping up around Issaquah, but you have the power to help keep others from becoming vacant. All you have to do is shop right here in your hometown.

Read more

Doris Jean Steussy

December 2, 2008

Doris Jean SteussyDoris Jean Steussy


Doris Jean Steussy, née Kennedy, passed away Nov. 19, 2008. Read more

Paul A. Weed

December 2, 2008

Paul A. Weed, of Issaquah, died Friday, Nov. 21, 2008, after a long illness. He was 74.

Read more

Volunteer Call

December 2, 2008

Does your nonprofit agency or civic club need volunteers? Call 392-6434, ext. 237, or e-mail

Seattle Tilth: Three-six hours per month, usually weekdays, who have a flexible schedule and a car or truck to help with shopping and outreach volunteers three hours per weekend a month — 206-633-5045, ext. 2

Issaquah Special Populations Social Club: Assist with dances, movies, field trips and special events. For every three hours of volunteer service, a 30-day pass will be issued for use of the community center facilities and Julius Boehm Pool — Read more

Community Calendar

December 1, 2008


Overlake Alumnae Panhellenic’s annual Scholarship Luncheon is Dec. 3 at Overlake Golf & Country Club, 8000 N.E. 16th, Medina. Bridge begins at 10 a.m.; the luncheon is at 12:30 p.m. Cost of the event is $35 and includes a donation to the Scholarship Fund. Seating is limited. Learn more at

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new 19,500-square-foot Sammamish Library is at 3 p.m. Dec. 4 at 825 228th Ave. S.E., adjacent to the Sammamish Commons. The new library should be completed in 2010. Call 369-3276. Read more

Holiday Events

December 1, 2008

Cougar Mountain Zoo’s Reindeer Festival is from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. through Dec. 23 and Dec. 26-30. Visit Santa in his house, sit in the Grand Traveling Sleigh, write Santa a letter and deliver it to his personal mail box, hear an elf read favorite Christmas stories and watch Santa’s reindeer in action. Call 392-6278 or go to

Mills Music of Issaquah presents a holiday concert, featuring instructor Tony Grasso and instructors and students, from 5-7 p.m. Dec. 4 at 170 Front St. N. Call 392-1000. Read more

70 and still going strong

December 1, 2008

Squak Mountain resident walks round trip to community center for workout

Margaret Van De Sompele and her husband, René, usually walk the track together for their three-times-a-week workout at the Issaquah Community Center. Photo by David Hayes

Margaret Van De Sompele and her husband, René, usually walk the track together for their three-times-a-week workout at the Issaquah Community Center. Photo by David Hayes

For her 70th birthday, Margaret Van De Sompele decided to do something a little different. 

The longtime Issaquah resident already amazes her friend and neighbor, Kathy Walsh, with her exercise routine. For the past eight years, three times a week, she has walked to and from her home on Squak Mountain to the community center to work out for 30 minutes, about a three and a half-mile round trip.

“She is in such good shape for somebody her age,” said the 51-year-old Walsh. “I hope I’m in that good of shape when I’m 70.”

On Nov. 26, Van De Sompele eschewed the weight machines and took to the center’s second-floor track, completing one lap for each of her years. According to the center’s staff, 11 times around equals one mile. 

“I figure it was about six and a quarter miles, maybe like doing a 10K,” Van De Sompele said. “I used to do a lot of 10Ks. But that’s been some years.”

Society didn’t have many competitive sports for girls when she attended high school, so Van De Sompele got most of her exercise walking.

“I walked to and from school my whole life. It was just a natural thing to do,” she said.

Van De Sompele has led a healthy lifestyle ever since she and her husband, René, moved to Issaquah in 1963. They’ve enjoyed many of the outdoor activities for which the Pacific Northwest is renowned, especially hiking, backpacking and camping. 

In fact, in 2001, the couple hiked the Northern Loop Trail at Mount Rainier, a tidy distance of 33 miles. However, Van De Sompele was slowed in 2003 by corrective back surgery for scoliosis. Since, she’s lived with two metal rods running the length of her spine, “from the T2 to the L5,” she said.

“Exercise really helps with my back,” she added.

Where they used to make frequent trips to hike the mountain’s trails, they only made it once this year.

So, the next best thing is her thrice-weekly treks down Squak Mountain and back.

“I just like being outside better,” she said. “I just do the weights in the middle for variety.”

She usually heads to the gym at 6 a.m., when there’s mostly older members working out. 

“Most of them do fantastic things,” she said, deflecting her own accomplishments.

On her birthday trek, René kept pace for a while, clicking off the laps, before falling out at 50.

“She is the more fit between us,” the 73-year-old admitted. “I can’t keep up with her.”

When Van De Sompele is not working out, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her 6 1/2-year-old granddaughter. But her week revolves around her walks.

“I encourage everyone to get out and walk,” she said, proving that following her own advice keeps her looking younger than her age. “Doing things helps keep a person moving.”

Reach Reporter David Hayes at 392-6434, ext. 237, or Comment on this story at

Santa greets all at Preston firefighter open house

December 1, 2008

Santa, his reindeer and a magical sleigh are all part of Eastside Fire & Rescue’s Station 74 annual free holiday open house.

Raelynn Fleisher tells Santa (Earle Soderman) what she wants for Christmas. By Ryan Fleisher

Raelynn Fleisher tells Santa (Earle Soderman) what she wants for Christmas. By Ryan Fleisher

The event Sunday, Dec. 7, in Preston, has been an annual happening since the 1950s. 

Michelle Overholt, who’s been the event planner for more than a decade, said the open house is a great way for the community to come and get to know their local fire department officials.

“The community can come and meet us all under nice circumstances at this event,” she said. 

Along with meeting fire department employees, adults and children alike can check out the fire engines and fire equipment, as well as enjoy cookies and juice. Children will also receive candy bags as gifts. Read more

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