Mayor sets technology, sustainability for goals

January 26, 2010

After a difficult year, Issaquah will enter the months ahead with a renewed focus on sustainability and technology, Mayor Ava Frisinger said in the State of the City address last week. Read more

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Voters are asked to approve school levies

January 26, 2010

Editor: This story contains corrected information, indicated by a red asterisk.

The Issaquah School District is asking for voters to approve three levy replacement measures to supplement the district’s budget with more than $214 million by 2014. To pass, 9,908 ‘yes’ votes are needed by the Feb. 9 deadline.

The levy package includes a $172.5 million maintenance and operations levy, a $1.7 million transportation levy, and a $38.4 million technology and critical repairs levy.

“Levies are mandatory for our school district to operate,” said Kelly Munn, co-chair of the pro-levy Volunteers for Issaquah Schools organization. “They were created to provide enhancements to schools, extra things. Over the years they’ve become the bread and butter. They pay for teachers and books.

“If we weren’t to have it, it would be devastating to the education system in Issaquah because such a huge amount, around 20 percent of our budget, is made up of the levies,” she said. “That is huge.”

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Kevin Powers named to Swedish national lacrosse team

January 26, 2010

Kevin Powers, a midfielder on the Issaquah High School lacrosse club, battles in a game last spring. By David West

Kevin Powers has always been proud of his Swedish heritage. This summer, the Issaquah High School junior will show his pride as a member of the Swedish national men’s lacrosse team.

Powers qualified for the team because he was born in Sweden and spent the first five years of his life as a resident of the Scandinavian country.

He was selected for the Swedish national team from a tryout in October. Powers, who also plays on the Issaquah High School club team, and Sten Jernudd, a student at Seattle’s Lakeside School, were the youngest players to make the Swedish national team. More than 40 players tried out for the team, ranging mostly in age from their 20s to their 40s.

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Renewing ties with our Nordic neighbors

January 26, 2010

Issaquah visitor Joan Probala returns from  Norway with hopes to revive sister-city bond

Longtime Issaquah resident Joan Probala (right) addresses dignitaries during a November trip to Sunndal, Norway, a sister city to Issaquah. Contributed by Joan ProbAla

Longtime Issaquah resident Joan Probala traveled to Sunndal, Norway, in November to discuss the dormant sister-city relationship between Issaquah and the Norwegian town.

Dignitaries from both cities established the relationship in 1991, although the connection has waned in recent years. In the meantime, Issaquah and Chefchaouen, Morocco, started a sister-city relationship in 2007.

Issaquah City Council members hope to revive and strengthen the relationship between the city and Sunndal. Probala, a member of the city Sister Cities Commission, met with Sunndal leaders, sampled reindeer and talked about how to strengthen the bond between Issaquah and the small, quaint city on a fjord.

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Wanted: Fun, young professionals who want to get involved

January 26, 2010

Jackk Sercu (left), Sunset Elementary School fourth-grader, and principal Wayne Hamasaki show the rapidly disappearing cupcakes that Jack’s mom, Susan Sercu, made for the Sunset Kids for Haiti bake sale. By Greg Farrar

Beginning Feb. 11, the Kiwanis Club of Issaquah will host a satellite club designed to engage young professionals in the community who want to make a difference.

“Young professionals should participate in this group if they feel they would like to volunteer some of their time to help make Issaquah a better place,” said Craig Tasa, a founding member. “By being part of this club, they will also have the opportunity to meet many other young professionals who share the same passion for our community.

“This may also serve as a great networking opportunity for those professionals who are starting their careers and would like to meet other individuals in the community.”

The mission of Kiwanis is to help community members volunteer their time to change the world, one community and one child at a time.

Kiwanis is kicking off the new club to help young professionals access their club on their terms, according to a press release. Read more

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Will the 2010 Oscars take a bold new direction?

January 26, 2010

By Ehrik Aldana

In 2009, moviegoers played witness to floating mountains, alien apartheid, levitating houses, time-warping red matter and at least three incarnations of George Clooney — those of which included a hippie and a talking fox.

Another year of film is over, and the movie awards season is creeping up with Oscar gold just around the corner. Of the 274 films eligible for the 2009 Oscar race, 10 — an adjustment from previous years’ five — will receive nominations for the Best Picture award.

Many professional associations, such as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the American Film Institute, the Writers Guild of America, Producers Guild of America and countless critic groups across America, have chipped in their two cents as to what films they feel should be regarded as 2009’s best.

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Tent City 4, ‘a crossroads of humanity,’ returns here

January 26, 2010

Paul Winterstein points out a spot to unload pallets and plywood sheets from a moving truck as Tent City 4 arrives Jan. 23 in Issaquah. By Greg Farrar

Tent City 4 returned last week, hauled piece-by-piece to Community Church of Issaquah, assembled by volunteers and readied for residents to settle into nylon tents by nightfall.

The homeless encampment returned to the Squak Mountain church where congregants last welcomed Tent City 4 in late 2007. The camp will remain at Community Church until late April.

Donald Brown, a Tent City 4 resident dressed in a plastic poncho and a hat with earflaps to protect against the chill, moved into the encampment last year. He described the camp as “a crossroads of humanity” where people with assorted backgrounds and experiences coexist.

“Some people come in and they stay a day,” he said. “Others stay for a year, two years, three years.” Read more

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Extra studying pays off on the mat

January 26, 2010

Brandon Pearson, Issaquah senior, gets Carl Sangalang, of Newport, close to a pin Jan. 21 during their 140-pound match. Pearson won, 14-4. He also won his weight class Jan. 23 at the Renton Invitational. By Greg Farrar

Issaquah High School wrestling coach Kirk Hyatt wanted to make sure his team hit the books harder than the mats last week. So, Hyatt shortened practices to give his team extra time to study for final exams.

The time off actually benefited the team. Issaquah defeated Newport 44-28 Jan. 21 in a KingCo Conference match, and then placed second in the Jan. 23 Renton Invitational.

While Hyatt didn’t know how his wrestlers did on their final exams, he felt the team definitely made the grade on the mat.

Hyatt said he was especially pleased with the Eagles’ performance at the Renton Invitational. Issaquah went to the event with just 12 wrestlers and 10 of them placed. Jordan Tanner, a 135-pounder, and Brandon Pearson, a 140-pounder, both won their weight classes.

“It was the most fun tournament we’ve had in a long while,” Hyatt said. “The guys we took to the tournament made very few mistakes. It’s always a pleasure to watch guys do well with things you have taught them.”

Hyatt said just a couple of minor errors prevented some other Eagles from reaching the championship round.

“It was just a fun day,” he said. “We finished second against teams that brought full squads. It showed that our kids really wanted to perform well.”

Tanner captured his second title of the season. Earlier this winter, he took first at the Everett Invitational.

“He has been wrestling real well. He has been training hard. He is setting his sights on the KingCo tournament now,” Hyatt said. “At Renton, he beat a real good kid, who had lost just twice this season.”

Pearson, on the junior varsity squad, was a bit of a surprise at Renton. David White, Issaquah’s varsity 140-pounder, lost in the semifinals; otherwise, the Eagles would have had two wrestlers battling for the title.

“Brandon decided he would beat the guy who David lost to,” Hyatt said. “Brandon didn’t make too many mistakes, built up a five-point lead and kept on attacking to win the final.”

Tyler Volk, a 171-pounder, placed second, and six other Issaquah wrestlers had third places. Max Tickman (103), Ty Morton (112), Almen Thorpe (125), Sean Novak (135) and Alex Stevens (189) had third places. Taylor Evans (152) placed fifth.

“Our kids beat some wrestlers from some real tough squads. I was hoping we would finish among the top five going into the tournament. To get second was really great. It was nice leaving the tournament with some hardware,” Hyatt said of the trophy. “Our kids walked out of the tournament feeling pretty well about things.”

Kentridge, which brought a full squad, finished first in the tournament. By finishing second, Issaquah beat out such perennial powers as Auburn Riverside and Kelso.

Against Newport in a match that was held at Beaver Lake Middle School, the Eagles had pins from Tickman, Evans and Volk.

Tickman pinned Matthew Droker-Rapass in 3:45. Evans pinned Thom Mirante in 1:14, and Volk pinned Taylor Jorgesen in 1:20.

Thorpe, Tanner, Pearson and Stevens all won their matches.

“Newport is always one of the better teams with tough kids,” Hyatt said. “Our guys had to do certain things well for the dual meet to turn out the way it did.”

Issaquah also opened the week Jan. 18 with a 76-6 victory against Garfield. Morton had a pin, Evans and Garret Becker (160) scored major decisions, and Stevens had a technical fall.

Issaquah concludes its regular-season dual competition Jan. 28 at Liberty. The Eagles will wrestle the host Patriots and Mount Si.

“That will be a tough test,” Hyatt said. “Liberty has a full squad, but we’re going to give it a battle. Our team hasn’t peaked yet, but we’re starting to roll.”

After this week, Issaquah prepares for the 4A KingCo Tournament, Feb. 5-6 at Juanita High School.

How well Issaquah does at the KingCo tournament, time will tell. However, when it comes to academics, Hyatt’s teams have usually made their mark. He has coached seven state academic champions during his time as Issaquah head coach.

“Grades are important,” Hyatt said. “We’ve had a lot of smart guys on our teams. The nice thing about smart guys is they listen to you.”

Spartans win twice

Skyline won two matches Jan. 21 at Beaver Lake Middle School.

The Spartans defeated Newport 44-27 and Eastlake 48-30. Danny Christianson (152), Ryan Adamson (189) and Anthony DeMatteo (285) had pins for Skyline against Newport. DeMatteo, usually a 215-pounder, wrestled up a weight in the match.

Patriots overwhelm Sammamish

Liberty walloped Sammamish 74-6 Jan. 19 in a KingCo match. Dan Velasquez (119), Wright Noel (145), Jay Chakravarty (160), Brandon Studer (171) and Nick Bezanson (189) had pins for Liberty.

Bob Taylor: 392-6434, ext. 236, or Comment at

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Community calendar

January 26, 2010


Ceilidh dancing returns Come participate in Scottish Ceilidh dancing from 7-9 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Eagles Club, 175 N. Front St. Fee is $5. Call 313-0331. File

The Issaquah Chamber of Commerce presents “Social Media Marketing: It Has Already Changed – What You Must Do Now and How!” from noon – 2 p.m. Jan. 27 at Sip, 1080 N.E. Park Drive. Preregistration is $30; $40 at the door. RSVP by calling 392-7024 or e-mailing

The AAA Issaquah Office hosts a free cruising presentation at 6 p.m. Jan. 28 at 405 N.W. Gilman Blvd., Suite 102, about Holland America cruises with itineraries to Alaska, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, Europe and many other destinations. Free to all attendees; no membership required. Call 557-0222.

The annual International Children’s Art Show is from 1-4 p.m. Jan. 28-29 at Cougar Mountain Academy, 5410 194th Ave. S.E. The free show features artwork from students in the private school’s pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade programs; the artists will be on hand to explain their works, all based on this year’s theme “vertebrate animals in nature.” Light refreshments will be provided. Call 641-2800.

The Issaquah Alps Trails Club hosts a winter, mid-week hike at 10 a.m. Jan. 29. Dogs are welcome. Meet at the Trails Center, 110 S.E. Bush St. Learn more at or call the individual hike coordinator. Read more

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Volunteering made easier with kidServe

January 26, 2010

When University of Washington Project Management students were told they’d have to successfully manage a real project — for their grade — they were ready for the challenge.

Instead of simply finding something to do, a group of five classmates, including an Issaquah mother, decided to form a nonprofit organization, called kidServe Seattle, to better the community.

“I was having a conversation with some friends at a dinner party last spring and a lot of us were thinking that we wish we could find volunteer opportunities without having to call every single organization,” said Bellevue resident Rachael Podolsky. “It would be great if there was a Web site where everything was in one place.”

When Podolsky started classes she brought up her idea again; this time, she quickly found others to help.

“I searched for five hours one night,” said classmate and coordinator Shannon Farrell. “I even tried using different search techniques. I just couldn’t believe there wasn’t anything out there.”

Quickly, the classmates began putting the pieces together to form the nonprofit, a Web site that helps parents with children ages 5-12 find community service projects and volunteer opportunities they can do together in the Puget Sound area.

By visiting kidServe Seattle, families and children can learn about volunteer experiences that are age appropriate and of interest to the child. KidServe Seattle will offer volunteer experiences in five categories: animals, arts, civic, environmental, and health and wellness.

“I was interested in kidServe Seattle because I have two sons in elementary school at Grand Ridge Elementary,” in Issaquah, said classmate and coordinator Tiffanie Wilhite. “I wasn’t able to find opportunities for us to volunteer together.

“As parents, it’s important to teach our children all aspects of life, whether that’s riding a bike, tying their shoes or volunteering,” she added. “And volunteering is a lot like riding a bike — if they learn to do it when they are young, they’ll know how to do it as adults.”

The project’s five coordinators – Podolsky, Wilhite, Farrell, Jay Hinds and Cyndie Tarr – helped create the organization’s structure, Web platform, partnerships and marketing tools to share with the local community. They have applied for nonprofit status and are waiting for the government to approve it.

Though they only began in October, they’re ready to have their first big parent-and-child volunteer activity in Issaquah Jan. 30.

KidServe Seattle coordinators are hoping the Issaquah community will take up their challenge to raise necessity items and food for the Ronald McDonald House pantry.

Coordinators are asking parents to take their children grocery shopping to pick out the items they think will help the Ronald McDonald house, and then drop the items off at Caffe Ladro in the Issaquah Highlands from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

“If people like what we’re doing, we’d like them to help us,” Farrell said.

If parents and children like the activity and the mission of kidServe Seattle, coordinators would appreciate a donation of $15 to help them finish launching their services, which will also help them make the grade.

By March, coordinators hope to have the five, or more, volunteer opportunities for families on the Web site. Month by month, they hope to generate more opportunities targeted at several age-appropriate levels for children and their families.

At first, coordinators will help facilitate volunteer activities by attending themselves, but later, families should be able to contact the organizations to book volunteer times or just show up.

It could be as simple as helping sort cans for the local food bank, as messy as a park cleanup or as difficult as helping out at a local zoo, Farrell said.

At the heart of each volunteer opportunity though, there is a chance to live the organization’s mission, “to promote volunteerism for children and their families through social, civic and environmental charitable experiences in the local community,” and in turn, make the community a better place.

Though their coursework with the university ends in May, Farrell said, several of the team’s members, including Podolsky and Wilhite, are committed to remaining on the project to ensure it keeps running.

Because so many of the coordinators want to see the project grow, they are asking for area organizations with meaningful volunteer opportunities to send them information to book on their calendar.

If you go
Necessity and food drive
benefiting the Ronald McDonald House pantry
11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Jan. 30
Caffe Ladro, 10th Ave. N.E.
On the Web

If you goNecessity and food drive benefiting the Ronald McDonald House pantry411 a.m. – 3 p.m. Jan. 304Caffe Ladro, 10th Ave. N.E.
On the

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