EFR observes National EMS Week

May 18, 2010

Eastside Fire & Rescue will mark National Emergency Medical Services Week through May 19. The annual observance brings together communities and medical personnel to publicize safety and honor first responders.

EFR leaders credit continuing education and specialized training for the quality of services emergency medical technicians provide. The agency includes 31 continuing education instructors to assist EMS Coordinator Elenjo Schaff.

“These individuals perform their skills as firefighters and emergency medical technicians, but have also exceeded their training requirements, and are the key element to our agency’s quality improvement and assurance,” Schaff said in a news release.

The week marks the 37th annual National EMS Week with the theme “Anytime. Anywhere. We’ll Be There.”

“Not only do we want to take this opportunity to recognize our firefighters, but I also would like to thank and acknowledge the EMS instructors of our agency for their influence and assistance as we continue to meet the challenges in keeping up our professional skills,” Schaff continued.

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Habitat restoration starts soon at Squak Valley Park North

May 18, 2010

Crews will start to restore Issaquah Creek habitat at Squak Valley Park North next month.

The lowest construction bid for the project came in almost $100,000 less than engineers had estimated. City officials opened construction bids for the project May 4.

Maple Valley Gardeners submitted the lowest bid — $337,038 to remove a Great Depression-era levee from the park, construct a smaller levee farther from the creek and restore salmon habitat. The completed project should allow the creek to resume a more natural, meandering flow.

On the opposite of the creek from the park sits the Sycamore neighborhood. The park boundaries wedge the Squak Valley Park North against the city limits along the eastern edge.

Crews should complete the project by September. Besides the levee work, workers will add branches and other woody debris to the stream to add habitat for salmon. Crews will also prep the site for native plants to be added in the fall.

Mountains to Sound Greenway volunteers will plant the native vegetation at the park.

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Issaquah donates money to affordable housing

May 18, 2010

City Council members contributed $150,000 on May 3 to build affordable-housing units for low-income King County residents, homeless people and people with disabilities.

The contribution formed part of the annual contribution to A Regional Coalition for Housing. Formed in 1993, the group includes Issaquah, 14 other Eastside cities and King County.

Issaquah will provide $100,000 in long-term loans for the Totem Lake units and a $50,000 grant to the Foundation for the Challenged to build group housing for people with disabilities in northeastern King County. St. Andrew’s Housing Group — a partner of ARCH — proposed the 60 affordable rental units for the Totem Lake area in Kirkland.

“You’ll notice that there are no Issaquah projects in this allocation, but I do know that other jurisdictions have been very, very supportive of a number of projects in Issaquah,” Councilman Fred Butler said.

The council also OK’d a list of ongoing and upcoming ARCH projects, and a measure to streamline the administration of the Housing Trust Fund — a regional account to create and preserve housing for low- and moderate-income residents.

Under the work program approved by council members, the housing organization will work with the city on the YWCA Family Village at Issaquah development and the Habitat for Humanity of East King County construction in the Issaquah Highlands.

Council Services & Operations Committee members discussed the proposal in January, and recommended the legislation to the full council.

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Youth wins national chess tournament

May 18, 2010

Nathan Lee can’t explain exactly what drew him to the chess board his dad brought home when he was in first grade, but he learned the game eagerly and won his first state championship the following year.

On April 13, Nathan competed with 1,000 other players to win the United Chess Federation’s Junior High Nationals, his first national title. The 13-year-old Issaquah Middle School student said his last match was the toughest.

“There was a lot of pressure, but I just tried to ignore it and play like a normal chess game,” he said.

Nathan’s father, Hock Lee, said it wasn’t long after he taught his son the game that Nathan started beating him. Since Nathan’s school didn’t have a chess club, his dad began taking him to a chess club in Seattle, where he still plays.

After a while, though, progress didn’t come as quickly, Nathan said. He realized playing against people at his own skill level didn’t improve his own game, and he learned to take on more challenging opponents to keep growing as a player.

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Sign up now for Spanish immersion summer camp

May 18, 2010

This summer Issaquah-area families have the opportunity to enroll children ages 3-10 in a Spanish immersion summer camp sponsored by Spanish School House, a preschool/kindergarten based in Texas, thanks to the persistence of Diana Gonzalez, an Issaquah Highlands resident.

“Being Mexican, if I don’t do something, my tradition will stop with me,” she said. “I realized I needed to do something to pass my culture on to my kids, since we don’t have it here. Unlike in Texas, where I grew up, we don’t have the richness of Mexican culture here.”

Gonzalez first tried to send her two children, Sofia, 5, and Ava, 3, to Mexico to stay with relatives for two months, but was told Mexico City was too dangerous. She also tried to fly them to stay with Texas relatives, but her husband reminded her that being from the Northwest, their children probably wouldn’t deal well with a Texas summer.

So, she contacted the founders of Spanish School House and asked them to start a program here, which she’ll direct.

“If you would have asked us a year ago if we’d be starting a program out of Texas, we would have said absolutely not,” said the school’s co-founder Vicki Williams. “But we had five or six people from this area call us in the same time frame and we decided if we were going to expand, why not here.”

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American Association of University Women honors local female students

May 18, 2010

The American Association of University Women, Issaquah Branch, on April 22 honored nine outstanding high school women scholars who excel in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

Issaquah High School

Kathleen Moore — mathematics

Kathleen Moore

Among the seven science and math courses Moore will complete this year are Advanced Placement physics, chemistry, biology and calculus. Moore has also been recognized for excellence in American literature. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club and Robotics Club. Outside of school, Moore has counseled at the Girl Scout day camp for six years and works at the local food bank. After high school, Moore plans to attend a four-year university and work toward a degree in math, science or engineering.

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Saddle up your bike and get ready to ride with sheriff’s deputies

May 18, 2010

Get ready. Get set. Go — to the King County Sheriff’s Office Bicycle Rodeo.

Deputies will be on hand at Liberty High School May 22 to help you and your child learn the rules of the road and basic bicycle safety.

This is the second year the event has been held, said Deputy Dave Montalvo, the school’s resource officer.

“The county holds three or four of these each year, in Maple Valley, the Muckleshoot, Fairwood, but we had the biggest turnout here at the Liberty community,” Montalvo said, adding that there were about 200 people last year. “We had so much positive feedback that we decided to do it again.”

At the rodeo, families will find bicycle safety lessons that help children learn the rules of the road and a course to practice them on in the high school’s parking lot.

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Relay lights the way for cancer research

May 18, 2010

Stacy Strickland’s father was diagnosed with lung carcinoma in 1992, when she was just 16. Six weeks later, he succumbed to the disease.

“It was a tough thing for anyone to go through,” Strickland said. “Especially for a 16-year-old.”

It would take her 18 years to find an outlet in the community to help support the American Cancer Society.

“Ironically, I found about the Relay for Life from an article in The Issaquah Press,” she said.

She joined the next year. She has since been a team captain, a planning team member and is event co-chair this year.

The concept for the Relay for Life is fairly simple. Form a team, with each member tasked to raise at least $100 for walking around the track for an 18-hour period.

“The 18 hours represents the typical period of cancer treatment where patients frequently have sleepless nights,” Strickland explained. “At the beginning of the event, you feel the adrenaline rush and then by morning you’re exhausted, but still have the feeling of ‘I did it.’”

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Washington gets mixed grades for air quality

May 18, 2010

Washington’s air quality scored mixed grades for ozone and particle pollution in the 11th annual American Lung Association’s State of the Air report.

According to the report, Clallam and Clark counties are among the cleanest counties in the nation for ozone air pollution.

The report also shows that people in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties are breathing dangerous levels of ozone or particle pollution, a public health issue that impacts even healthy individuals, as well as those most at risk, including children, the elderly and people with chronic health conditions, like diabetes, heart and lung disease.

“‘State of the Air 2010’ proves with hard data that cleaning up air pollution produces healthier air,” said Astrid Berg, executive director of the American Lung Association in Washington. “We need to put that message to work, so that policies that can protect Washington residents from pollution can be put into effect.”

The State of the Air report is an annual, national air quality report card that assigns A-F grades to counties across the country, and ranks cities and counties most affected by the three most widespread types of pollution (ozone or smog, particle pollution or soot, and 24-hour particle pollution levels).

The 2010 report uses the most recent quality-assured air pollution data, collected in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The report also details trends for the 25 most polluted cities across the country. Grades for the 1,000 counties with air pollution monitors can be found by typing in a ZIP code here.

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Issaquah medical clinics offer classes

May 18, 2010

Overlake Hospital Medical Center offers the following classes at its Issaquah clinic, 5708 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E., Suite 103. Register here. Call 688-5259 for class information.

  • “Weight Loss Surgery Seminar” — 6-7:30 p.m. May 25
  • “Motion is Life” — 6:30-8 p.m. June 3
  • “Condensed Series: Preparation for Childbirth & Newborn Care” 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. June 4

Swedish Medical Center offers the following classes at its Issaquah clinic, 2005 N.W. Sammamish Road. Register here.

  • “Talk With Your Doc Series: Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite! Sleep Problems in Infants, Children and Adolescents” — 6 p.m. May 19
  • “Spine Problems: Surgical and Nonsurgical Options” — 6 p.m. May 25, City Hall
  • “Talk With Your Doc Series: Pediatric Sports Injuries – What to Do” — 6 p.m. June 9
  • “Growing up Male” — 6:30 p.m. June 15
  • “AARP Driver Safety Program” — 10 a.m. June 19 and 26, $12 for AARP members, $14 for nonmembers
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