Off the Press

January 12, 2009

By Kathleen R. Merrill

Some pretty amazing people live in the ‘Quah

Kathleen Merrill Press Editor

Each year in our last issue of the year, we write about our top 10 news stories of the prior 52 weeks. We also go back and make a top-10 list of sports stories, and we run some great photos that were never published before.

As I flipped through the pages of every Press we printed in 2008, I became more aware of the number of awesome people we have living and working in this community. Maybe it’s in the water. Then again, maybe something about Issaquah just draws great people to the city.

Here’s a sampling of the amazing people who were on our pages last year:

Dennis Comfort has summitted Mount Kilimanjaro, not once, but twice, while Tom Varga climbed Mount Rainier.

Karen Angell and Susan Sidman Nieswander are two of the world’s best ballroom dancers.

Astronaut Bonnie Dunbar lives here.

Authors Laurie Palmer, Lois Brandt, Philip Marks, Mardi and Fred Nystrom, and Chuck Shelton wrote books last year.

Lou and Madeleine Guzzo have been married 65 years, and are still in love with each other.

Grammy-award winning musicians Eric Tingstad and Nancy Rumbel are also Issaquah residents.

Julia and Kevin Nam, sister and brother, won national titles on the ice in speed skating.

Rocky, a boxer owned by musician Dan Connolly, is a finalist to become a Milk-Bone spokesdog.

Comedian David Crowe lives here.

Issaquah High School won a pom championship, Skyline High School won a state cheer championship and Liberty High School has an award-winning rifle team.

America’s most amazing mutt, Dazzle, a border collie owned by homeschooler Katherine Martucci, knows more than 100 tricks!

Bob Blackburn, former voice of the former Seattle SuperSonics, lives here, too.

Home plate maestro Ken DeJong is not only a conductor but an umpire.

Signe Stroming, 11, won a statewide art contest.

Jim Henderson, a Skyline and Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus teacher, was invited to London to study Shakespeare.

Tommy Zhu-Sordahl, 8, wrestled a 356-pound sumo wrestler in Los Angeles. (Unfortunately, he did not win. But he did gain some impressive height while being swung around.)

Ruaraidh Stenson paraglided off Poo Poo Point 15 times in one day. (I’m still trying to figure out why he would want to.)

Christina Frost, with her horse Sonny, won a slew of ribbons at a world horse show.

Amy Timacheff was an official photographer at the Olympic Games in Beijing.

BaconSalt (yum!) co-creator Dave Lefkow lives here.

So does the man with the golden guns, Issaquah police officer Nathan Lane, who set a record 507-pound bench press at the Western States Police and Fire Games. (Since he could lift any one of us, I’d recommend just saying, “Yes, sir,” if he pulls you over.)

We’ve got some serious brainpower in Daryl Hansen, a Skyline student who got a perfect score on the ACT, and Rhodes Scholar Kyle Haddad-Fonda.

Iditarod race communications coordinator Bernadette Anne makes Issaquah her home.

So do jazz musicians Josh Rawlings, a Skyline grad, and Brandon Willis, a Liberty student.

One of the oldest residents in the country, and the first female mayor of West Yellowstone, Mont., Billie Smith turned 103 recently at Aegis of Issaquah.

Alyssa Wright and Alita Campbell, Issaquah Middle School students who act and sing, were recently invited to perform in Los Angeles.

Add in a number of talented artists and musicians, and all of those people who helped gather food and funds for people in need (including a $10,000 and $15,000 donation to the Merry Christmas Issaquah fund!) and you’ve got quite a melting pot of great people.

This isn’t by any means a full list, people. This is just one year of stories! If you know of a great person, make sure you call or e-mail me. We’re always looking to give credit where it’s due.

And happy new year!

Reach Editor Kathleen R. Merrill at 392-6434, ext. 277 or Comment on this story at

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One Response to “Off the Press”

  1. john chen on February 27th, 2009 10:57 pm

    go alita campbell

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