To The Editor

June 8, 2010

Post office

Postal workers proud of effort to improve look of landscaping

In response to the May 26 letter regarding the Issaquah Post Office, Christa Burgess states that she is worried about the health of the rhododendrons, which “we the taxpayers paid for…”

First, the plastic put down was perforated, so no need to worry about the plants not getting enough moisture. Second, the postal service ended its public service subsidy from the federal government in 1983. The postal service is now entirely funded by money generated from fees that are charged for its products and services. Bottom line is that no tax money is paid to support the United States Postal Service.

Services such as landscaping are contracted by the postal service. Therefore, this work was contracted out to a reputable landscaping company, who hires and maintains its own workforce. While having the local community perform community and volunteer services to maintain the postal service grounds is a wonderful idea, it’s not feasible due to liability issues for the postal service. In fact, postal employees volunteering their own time to help work on the landscaping were denied due to these same issues.

Issaquah postal employees were just as unhappy with the condition of their workplace as the community was with the condition of their post office. Due to employee and community concerns, acting Postmaster Cindy McCracken has taken action to acquire the funds from postal service management. Contractors have finally been hired to do the landscape work.

Issaquah postal employees appreciate the concerns voiced by the community. We are proud of the recent work on the Issaquah Post Office landscaping and hope to see it maintained and improved.

Lisa Englund

Issaquah Read more

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City seeks input on transportation proposal

June 8, 2010

The city and Costco, the largest employer in Issaquah, could form a special taxing zone to improve transportation in North Issaquah.

First, city officials want public input. Give yours at a meeting at 6:30 p.m. June 9 in the Eagle Room at City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way. Call Project Coordinator Pam Fox at 837-3423 for more information.

The city and Costco agreed in March to split the cost of a preliminary study to examine potential improvements. The area under consideration includes properties bordered by East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast, Southeast 56th Street and Northwest Sammamish Road, 17th Avenue Northwest and Interstate 90.

Landowners in the area could someday form a special taxing zone, called a local improvement district. The plan calls for landowners to pay for any upgrades.

Representatives from the city and Transportation Solutions Inc. — the consultant performing the feasibility study — will discuss the proposal and answer question. The first 30 minutes will be reserved for attendees to review display materials and ask questions. The presentation starts at 7 p.m.

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Off The Press

June 8, 2010

Discover the cool benefits of hot yoga

Last fall, in the midst of myriad e-mails sent to me about people rescuing children from burning buildings and underground fight clubs involving senior citizens, I received a news tip from a yoga instructor from Terra Yoga on Front Street, the yoga studio formerly known as Issaquah Hot Yoga.

She wrote that members of the Liberty High School football team were incorporating hot yoga into their workout routine for the second year in a row.

Tim Pfarr Press reporter

Football players doing yoga? To a yoga outsider, it sounded like a fun story to cover, as I typically thought of football players pounding out reps in the weight room rather than striking poses in a yoga studio.

So, I was acquainted with a running back from the team who answered my questions and allowed me to watch as he ran through a few yoga moves in the toasty studio, where the temperature climbed past 100 degrees. He was very graceful in his motions, and he made it all look incredibly easy.

After writing the story, I thought a little bit more about yoga. Increasing my flexibility was something that sounded appealing. In addition, I was tired of just running around the lake by my house and bench-pressing my triumphant 20 pounds at the gym. I needed a new workout.

As spring came around, I decided to give it a try, and I signed up for a four-class introductory series that took place on four successive Saturday mornings. The course taught the basics of power Vinyasa yoga, a style of yoga in which one flows through postures with controlled breaths.

I discovered fairly quickly that I have virtually no flexibility whatsoever, but it was irrelevant; the class was suitable for the pros and even stiff, flabby weaklings like me, who have such little balance they are prone to falling over while just standing upright on two feet. There are more intense and less intense versions of each posture, making it something everyone can enjoy. Read more

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The long and winding road

June 8, 2010

Issaquah resident Kent Peterson leads a procession of well-wishers as he departs June 3 from the Bicycle Center of Issaquah for Banff, Alberta, Canada, the starting line for the 2,745 mile Tour Divide race. By Greg Farrar

Ultra-distance athlete departs Issaquah for 2,745 Tour Divide race

Kent Peterson hasn’t owned a car in more than 20 years. He simply bikes everywhere.

Read more

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Heirlooms in attic could be worth a pretty penny

June 8, 2010

The tough economy has prompted many wannabe treasure hunters to clean out the attic and dig in the jewelry box in search of hidden loot.

Treasure Hunters Roadshow, a traveling treasure hunt, rolled into Issaquah last week and offered locals a chance to discuss antiques and collectibles with experts.

Clint Crook, a roadshow representative, said some of the more unusual pieces to reach the roadshow included a bed believed to once belong to Johnny Cash. Everyday fare included smaller items pulled from closets, dressers and jewelry boxes.

Bob Steiner (left), a buyer with Treasure Hunters Roadshow, looks at the silver coins and jewelry of former Tiger Mountain resident Freda Stranack, 91 (center), who came with daughter Patty Parker to the Hilton Garden Inn in Issaquah. Photos by Greg Farrar

Crook said although collectors curtailed purchases because of the recession, some items remain hot. Early Barbie dolls attract attention. The vintage toys can fetch thousands of dollars from high-end collectors.

Other surefire sellers: old-school guitars and Winchester firearms. Crook said the Treasure Hunters Roadshow team had purchased a vintage guitar for $60,000 before the Issaquah stop. The guns, manufactured in the late 1800s, recall the rough-and-tumble days of the Old West — and demand a pretty penny from gun collectors. Crook said roadshow buyers secured $40,000 for a vintage pistol before the Issaquah stop.

The pieces carted to the Treasure Hunters Roadshow offered hints about how to spot potential valuables amid antiques.

Hundreds of people from Issaquah, the Eastside and the region unpacked antique lamps, hand-painted vases and porcelain figurines from bubble wrap in a hotel conference room last week. Organizers estimated the five-day event could draw as many as 1,200 people.

Silverware — the real stuff — and pre-1965 coins — comprised mostly of silver — also landed on buyers’ tables at the Treasure Hunters Roadshow. The most common item unloaded by attendees: gold jewelry. The price of gold has risen as investors sought a more stable investment in a roiling market.

The event bore similarities to the roving “Antiques Roadshow” broadcast on PBS. Though the “Antiques Roadshow” and Treasure Hunters Roadshow teams both appraise pieces, employees for the latter buy pieces outright.

“If you want to guarantee that I’m going to hand over a check, bring in your precious metals,” Crook said June 3, the third day of the Issaquah stop.

On the Web

Find the next Treasure Hunters Roadshow stop. Determine the value of heirlooms and oddities with a tips-of-the-trade guide and experts’ library on the website for PBS series “Antiques Roadshow” here.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

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Press Editorial

June 8, 2010

Congratulations grads, enjoy the moment

It’s a big week ahead as Issaquah School District high schools hand out diplomas to their graduating seniors. There will be tears of happiness mixed with apprehensions of an unknown future.

Students will ponder their quest for a job in a very difficult economy, or whether they will be successful in college or what career path they want to pursue. All of those concerns are part of reaching adulthood and are not that much different from the fears of other graduates through past decades.

This week, set the fears aside and take in the glory of a job well done, a 13-year education completed and worth celebrating. You make your community and families proud!

No Party Patrol means more vigilance needed

The King County Sheriff’s Department has traditionally put extra officers on duty during June weekends as students celebrate the end of the school year. Last year, the Party Patrol was a scaled-back program, and this year it will be nonexistent due to county budget cuts.

That could be bad news for the underage partygoers, provided parents step up and fill the gap, along with Issaquah Police. With hundreds of pairs of parental eyes and ears on alert, our teenagers could be safer than ever.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that Issaquah teens have not been part of the underage drinking problem in the past. They have. King County officers almost annually busted big party groups here where alcohol was being consumed during the Party Patrol’s heyday.

In recent years, police have been tougher on parents who host parties for minors with alcohol being served. The law does not allow minors to consume alcohol just because they are under adult supervision on private property.

Parents, teachers, neighbors should not hesitate to call police to report suspected minor consumption. It may be the call that saves a life.

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Public Meetings

June 8, 2010

June 14

Council Land & Shore Committee

6 p.m.

Baxter Room, City Hall Northwest

1775 12th Ave. N.W.

Arts Commission

6:30 p.m.

Coho Room, City Hall

130 E. Sunset Way

June 15

River & Streams Board

7 p.m.

Pickering Room, City Hall Northwest

1775 12th Ave. N.W.

June 16

Council Services & Safety Committee

5 p.m.

Eagle Room, City Hall

130 E. Sunset Way

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Time for sprucing up

June 8, 2010

June always makes yards look overgrown and messy. The dark days and all the spring rain make plants reach for the sky.

We don’t like to work in the yard when it rains, so we end up with yards that really need hair cuts. Look at it as an opportunity. Even if you don’t have a good landscape design, it can be simple to make it look so much better.

Trees, shrubs and groundcovers have different basic forms. The trick is to enhance each plant with pruning to fit its own character, and keep each of the three — shrubs, groundcover and trees — visually separated from one another.

Columnar shrubs: Clip off floppy side branches and top them if too tall.

Mounding shrubs: Trim to nearly flat, or rounded with even tops, not ragged. Allow them to grow together if they are close enough. One mass often looks nicer than individual lumps, but it may be difficult to reach across the next time you prune. Read more

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Bike fair hones safe riding skills

June 8, 2010

The Optimist Club of Issaquah hosts its fifth annual Bike Safety Fair this weekend.

Issaquah Valley Elementary School is hosting one day of the two-day event June 12. Newport Heights Elementary School hosts the event on June 13.

It’s open to students in kindergarten through fifth grades.

Students can bring their bicycles for free tuneups by Sports Authority, get identification cards and get properly fitted for helmets. Because helmets are a priority to the Bellevue and Issaquah police departments, officers will help fit children with helmets and teach them the rules of the road, said Miho Reed, a club member and organizer for the event. Read more

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Trivia Night to raise funds for food bank

June 8, 2010

The Issaquah Rotary Club will host a Trivia Night from 6-8 p.m. June 14 at the Gaslamp Bar & Grill, with all proceeds going to the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank.

“It’s an inexpensive way to have fun and help your food bank,” Rotary member Maryanne Johanson said.

The night promises something for everyone with a wide range of trivia categories, and is geared for anyone “21 to 101” Johanson said, laughing. The emcee for the evening will be Issaquah resident Fred Nystrom.

“Anyone who knows Fred knows that the evening will be entertaining,” a press release about the event said.

In honor of the event, the Gaslamp will extend its happy hour ($1 off wells, $2 off pitchers) until 8 p.m. The dinner special will be spaghetti and meatballs, but there is also a wide array of what employee Diane Brace calls “pub comfort food.”

“It’s just a fun, comfy place to come,” she said. Read more

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