Scouts go scuba diving

March 16, 2010

Nick Co, 15, and the dive master take a moment to double check insulated gloves, hood and wet suit between dives. By Judy Co

Cold waters greeted Boy Scouts from Troop No. 609.

Submerging up to 60 feet underwater, 20 of the 39 troop members completed their final dive off Alki Beach for their Professional Association of Diver Instructors certification for scuba diving and their Boy Scout merit badge.

“I’ve been scuba diving before in Maui and it was one of the most fun experiences of my life,” said Scout Sean Fite, 14, who goes to Eastside Catholic High School. “This opportunity came up and I thought I should take it to get my full certification.”

“It was cold,” said Scout Will Dodeward, 15, who goes to Mount Si High School. “I know 46 degrees doesn’t sound cold, but it’s cold.”

These boys seem to be the first ones in the nation to complete the required courses and training for the new Boy Scout merit badge added this year by the national offices, said parent volunteer Judy Co. The troop is the first to place an order for the merit badge, but there is no national database to confirm it for sure, she added.

Troop 609 is one of the largest troops in the area, with members ranging in age from 11-18 and attending schools in Issaquah, North Bend, Sammamish and Renton.

Beneath the water’s surface — once the shock of the cold water wore off — the boys saw a world full of marine diversity. Read more

New design envisioned for downtown park

March 16, 2010

Issaquah landscape architect Dar Webb re-envisioned Pedestrian Park. Downtown boosters hope the proposal launches a discussion about the future of the park. Contributed

Advocates for downtown Issaquah want to transform the space between Jak’s Grill and Mandarin Garden from a blah concrete expanse into a vibrant park for pedestrians, musicians and festival vendors.

Michael Johnson, events director for the DownTown Issaquah Association, asked Dar Webb, a landscape architect and a downtown tenant, to re-envision the space known as Pedestrian Park. Webb presented a park lined with trees, planters and public art.

“That place would be unbelievably packed if we opened it up like this,” Johnson said.

The proposal received a warm reception from the city Arts Commission when Johnson and Webb presented renderings and discussed the idea March 8. However, any proposal to remake the park must go through the public process for all city projects.

The proposal presented last week merely shows how Pedestrian Park could be improved. Any eventual upgrades to the park will look different from the renderings Webb prepared.

Johnson said he hopes the proposal will encourage business owners, city officials and residents to re-envision the space. Read more

Salmon Days named top festival in Washington

March 16, 2010

For the second consecutive year, the Salmon Days Festival reeled in — pardon the puns — a boatload of awards, including the top festival honor in the state, event organizers announced last week. Read more

Eastridge invites community to debut of new campus

March 16, 2010

The new Eastridge Christian Assembly building’s soaring interior is big enough to house 45-foot tall fireplaces. By Greg Farrar

When the congregation of Eastridge Christian Assembly outgrew its current facility, its leaders decided to go big for their next church.

A ribbon cutting for the new building is March 20 and the community will get its first look at the upgrades designed for its growing needs.

“The new building is almost four times bigger than the current size,” said senior pastor Steve Jamison. “The area for children alone is the size of the current building.”

To welcome the congregation, organizers are rolling out the red carpet. In addition to city and state dignitaries invited to the ribbon cutting ceremony, Eastridge Christian Assembly has invited guest speakers Matthew Barnett, best-selling author of “The Church That Never Sleeps,” and Pastor John K. Jenkins Sr., senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Landover, Md. To cap the festivities off is a performance by Grammy nominated artist Matthew West.

Established in 1964, Eastridge Christian Assembly had been on Issaquah-Pine Lake Road since the 1990s. When the sanctuary’s seating capacity of 400 inside a 17,500 square-foot building could not fully service a congregation of 1,300, it was time to move.

Jamison said the process began in the early 2000s, and a large parcel of land was purchased in 2002. Actually a couple blocks apart, the visual sightline of the two facilities makes it appear the two driveways lead right to one another. Read more

Arts calendar

March 16, 2010

MARCH

17th

The Cutters, 8-11 p.m. Pogacha, 120 N.W. Gilman Blvd., 392-5550 Read more

Issaquah drops season opener

March 16, 2010

Alex Shane (7), Issaquah freshman forward, fights Newport team co-captain Brian Whitney for possession during the first period of their non-league soccer tournament match March 13 at Sammamish High School. The Knights won, 2-0. By Greg Farrar

The Issaquah High School boys soccer team discovered March 13 that it will have to work a little harder to duplicate last year’s success.

Issaquah was one of the best stories in the state last spring, with the team going from rags to riches. The Eagles improved by 10 wins over the previous season and reached the state tournament for the first time.

However, in their season-opener, the Eagles made two huge defensive blunders that led to a 2-0 loss to Newport in a nonleague game at Sammamish High School.

“Newport is a very good team, but I thought we came out sluggish. We didn’t execute our game plan, and we didn’t do a good job of defense on two corner kicks by Newport,” Issaquah coach Jason Lichtenberger said.

Both Newport goals came off corner kicks.

“We discovered we have a lot of work to do,” Lichtenberger said. “But I believe we have a talented team, and it’s a team that has set some big goals for this season.”

In other action, Skyline defeated Redmond 6-2 while Liberty lost to Roosevelt 2-1. Read more

Washington state gets a ‘B’ on national dental exam

March 16, 2010

Thinkstock The Pew Center on the States graded Washington state’s pediatric oral health with a ‘B.’

A national study has given the state of Washington a “B” grade for its pediatric oral dental care.

The Pew Center on the States recently released its report, “The Cost of Delay: State Dental Policies Fail One in Five Children.” It graded all 50 states in eight categories on whether and how well they are employing what the Pew Center deems as “cost-effective policy solutions to ensure dental health and access to care for children.”

The Pew Center graded each state on the following criteria:

-Share of high-risk schools with sealant programs

-Hygienists can place sealants without dentist’s prior exam

-Share of residents on fluoridated community water supplies

-Share of Medicaid-enrolled children getting dental care

-Share of dentists’ median retail fees reimbursed by Medicaid

-Pays medical providers for early preventive dental health care

-Authorizes new primary care dental providers

-Tracks data on children’s dental heath.

Washington met or exceeded six of the eight, qualifying it for a B grade, tying it with eight other states, including Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Main, New Hampshire, Ohio and Texas. Read more

Off the Press

March 16, 2010

Warren Kagarise Press reporter

Help make the sausage: Get involved in government

Cynics — or, perhaps, realists — equate the political process with sausage making. Although in Issaquah, the sausage would be the lean, chicken variety — organic, of course, and maybe a touch dry.

Like governments everywhere, Issaquah functions with endless deal making, proposals and counterproposals, revamps and rewrites as officials make policy. I suspect the long gestation process keeps citizens from following issues from bill to ordinance.

Officials seldom solve issues in episodic fashion, through no fault of their own. Municipal government plods, in part to solicit input from residents.

But the deliberate pace can turn, well, boring. So, residents steer clear of the Council Chambers during most months — a shame, too, because the City Council makes decisions every other week with impacts across Issaquah. Read more

Rescued eagle takes flight at Pine Lake

March 16, 2010

A bald eagle takes flight over Pine Lake March 9 after it was released. By Christopher Huber

A rescued bald eagle is flying free again after being released from the Ek family’s Pine Lake waterfront home March 9.

The male eagle spent nearly a week recovering from a range of injuries at an aviary in Arlington, according to its rescuers — Tim Brown, of Snoqualmie, Dennis Brown, of Sammamish, and various Pine Lake residents.

“Now he’s checked out and now he’s going back home to his mate,” said Tim Brown, a raptor specialist who calmed and handled the bird after the eagle injured itself March 2.

Pine Lake neighbors and other community members gathered on the Eks’ lawn to watch the eagle’s quick but much-anticipated exit.

“It was exciting to see the eagle — looks like he’s back to full strength,” Sammamish Mayor Don Gerend said. “It’s very encouraging to see the natural species thriving on our lake up here.”

At about 4:30 p.m. March 2, the eagle became entangled in a rope tied between the Eks’ dock and shoreline. It had captured a duck in the middle of the lake, but could not carry the weight, said Dennis Brown, an across-the-lake neighbor. He noticed the bird struggling in the shallow water after swimming to shore with its wings. That’s when he hopped in his canoe and came to help.

“I had never seen anything like this happen,” he said. Read more

Former Newcastle city manager will oversee county permitting agency

March 16, 2010

John Starbard

John Starbard — the former Newcastle city manager fired by the City Council in January — will spearhead the effort to reform the way King County handles building and land-use permits.

County Executive Dow Constantine appointed Starbard as director of the Department of Development and Environmental Services six weeks after the Newcastle council abruptly terminated his contract without cause. The executive praised Starbard for efforts to upgrade Coal Creek Parkway and remake downtown Newcastle into a pedestrian-friendly destination.

But officials cited issues with the relationship between Starbard and other organizations and residents. Before the council fired Starbard during a Jan. 12 meeting, Newcastle Deputy Mayor Steve Buri said the relationships had “been damaged beyond repair.” Read more

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