County seeks to streamline contracts

June 22, 2010

Companies seeking to do business with King County should face fewer forms and a more transparent process under a streamlined procurement and contracting process approved by the County Council last week.

The ordinances resulted from legislation passed last year to require the county executive to review how the county procures goods and services.

The measure passed June 14 should allow companies to file procurement contracts online, reduce the number of forms for contractors, as well as the amount of paper used, and add a statement of intent meant to keep the process open, fair and competitive.

“This is a direct response to concerns we heard from our business partners and potential vendors, that King County’s contracting requirements can be quite burdensome, especially for smaller businesses,” County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, chairwoman of the Government Accountability & Oversight Committee and the Issaquah representative, said in a news release. “Removing some duplicative requirements from the contracting process will open up our procurement to additional vendors and promote more competitive pricing, as well as economic development opportunities.”

City approves Berntsen Park restoration work

June 22, 2010

Issaquah Creek will be restored at Berntsen Park under a city permit issued June 3.

Crews will remove 160 feet of riprap, or rock rubble, excavate areas outside the creek channel to improve flood storage and habitat, add branches and other woody debris to the creek, and plant native vegetation in the creekside buffer.

The main stem of Issaquah Creek runs through Berntsen Park, in downtown Issaquah. The park, at 810 Fourth Ave. N.W., includes two acres at a site between Northwest Juniper and Northwest Holly streets.

Puget Sound Blood Center launches Give Twice

June 22, 2010

Puget Sound Blood Center is kicking off its initiative to maintain an adequate blood supply throughout the summer, when donations traditionally drop off and trauma cases increase by 20 percent.

Called Give Twice, the campaign, now in its third year, asks donors to give blood between June 13 and Aug. 7 and again 56 days later — the soonest allowable — between Aug. 8 and Oct. 2.

The closest facility to Issaquah is the Bellevue Center, at 1021 112th Ave. N.E.

Read more

Council prioritizes city projects

June 22, 2010

The city plans to start construction on the Issaquah Creek-area parks, install a fire-suppression system for the 911 center at the Issaquah Police Department and replace permit-tracking software for the municipal Building Department in the year ahead.

City Council members approved the Capital Improvement Plan — a sweeping program to update facilities, equipment and roads during the next six years. City staffers update the document each year, and then council members prioritize projects for funding and completion. The council approved the plan in a unanimous vote June 7.

Other top priorities include developing a disaster-recovery plan for information technology and pursuing a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant for flood mitigation.

Salmon Days named top recycler

June 22, 2010

The eco-friendly Salmon Days Festival received the Recycler of the Year Award for event recycling late last month from the Washington State Recycling Association.

Representatives from the recycling industry, including collectors and processors, government agencies, businesses and nonprofit organizations, chose the honoree. Qwest Field received the award last year.

Salmon Days returns for a 41st season Oct. 2-3

Issaquah students lead charge; pass state requirements to graduate

June 22, 2010

Issaquah School District’s graduating senior class members are ahead of their peers statewide.

State Superintendent Randy Dorn announced preliminary graduation rates and High School Proficiency Exam scores at a June 16 press conference in Olympia.

It is the third year students have been required to pass state exams and requirements for graduation.

To graduate, students must pass the state’s exams in reading and writing, which replaced the Washington Assessment of Student Learning exams. Students are also required to pass the HSPE mathematics test or take the exam and additional math courses or another exam to fulfill the requirement. Students must also complete a high school and beyond plan, a culminating high school project and meet their district’s credit requirements.

Read more

Off The Press

June 22, 2010

Working with student journalists is rewarding

Kathleen R. Merrill Press managing editor

There are many rewards in being a journalist that money cannot buy or replace. Pride in a job well done, the people you meet, the things you learn and even the awards. Another, and probably the most important one, is making a difference in the lives of people you meet or who read what you write.

When Tiffany Xu came to me last summer and asked about doing a teen section in this newspaper, I have to admit I was skeptical. Could we find teens who would keep up with their school schedules and social lives, and take this commitment seriously?

People ask me all the time about how they can write for the newspaper. With space being at a premium, we have to be cautious about how we spend it. We keep in mind what readers want first. We ask them all the time and they tell us on a regular basis, too.

When Tiffany said she didn’t think we were reaching that many teens, I felt a bit defensive. I want everyone to read this newspaper, and recognize the hard work that goes into it and the great staff we have who work hard every day to bring you all the news and great stories they can find. I’d like to think that everyone does.

But with the Internet being what it is, fewer people read newspapers. (At least, that’s what I keep hearing.) More than ever before? I don’t know about that. But I do know that I want to reach as many people with our print product as possible.

Tiffany wanted to have a whole section. I explained that the economy likely wouldn’t support that right now, and that trying to get enough teens to commit to that amount of copy and photos over the course of a school year was unrealistic. We settled on a page and began planning. She got teens to apply for reporting and photography positions, we started fundraising and we were off. Read more

College News

June 22, 2010

Radio club hams it up at annual field day

Interested in watching local radio amateurs construct a radio station and ham it up over the air?

If so, head down to Sunny Hills Elementary School this weekend to see the Issaquah Amateur Radio Club participate in the annual amateur radio contest Field Day.

In the activity sponsored by the National Amateur Radio League, Field Day participants are clubs, groups and organizations all over the U.S. and Canada that construct fully functioning, self-sufficient radio stations in locations that do not normally have radio stations set up, said John MacDuff, member of the Issaquah club and current newsletter editor.

“We operate all the radios off of batteries, so it’s very low intensity,” MacDuff said.

Once a station is constructed, the goal of the event is to contact and exchange information with as many other participating stations across the nation in a continuous 24 hours as possible.

“We traditionally end up with around 300 contacts on different frequencies, everywhere from Florida to California to everywhere in between,” MacDuff said. “But with short-wave radio, when the atmospheric conditions change, sometimes you have trouble communicating even just across the block.” Read more

Retiring instructor loses his sight, but not his passion for teaching

June 22, 2010

Issaquah High School graduates Amy Saad (left) and Christina Joo visit David Mickelsen’s classroom to give him a basket full of his favorite snack — chocolate. The girls said they bought every type of chocolate Hershey’s makes and told him not to eat it in one sitting. By Chantelle Lusebrink

In 43 years of teaching, more than 6,400 students have walked through David Mickelsen’s classroom door at Issaquah High School.

What he hopes they’ve come away with are lessons not only in U.S. History and European studies, but a lesson in confidence, he said before retiring June 17.

Confidence and heart

From the front of the classroom, Mickelsen, 67, has given some of the most animated lectures in Issaquah’s history.

Casting himself in character roles adopted from the history books, like a medieval peasant and a 1920s-era husband against women’s suffrage, he kept students entertained and made history unforgettable and fun, said Mary Lou Priestley-Fine, an assistant in his classroom.

“I had him for all three years at Issaquah, whether as a student or a teacher’s aide and it was an honor to have him,” said Amy Saad, a 2010 graduate. “He definitely changed my life for the better.”

But as the years passed and students came and went, the stage on which he performed has grown darker.

Mickelsen was diagnosed in 1971 with optic nerve atrophy, a degenerative disease that deteriorates the optic nerve and has left him legally blind.

Though he can still distinguish bright colors, patterns and large objects, Mickelsen walks with the help of a cane and gives textbook lessons from memory.

A teaching career begins

Mickelsen graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1961.

Though his father was a teacher at Queen Anne High School, “I didn’t really enjoy school, but my mom said I was going to college,” he said. “I didn’t really know I was going to be a teacher until I student taught.”

During a student teaching assignment in Seattle, Mickelsen said he worked extensively with one young boy who had special needs and it gave him a soft spot for children who don’t learn like others.

“Just the idea that he had a hard time understanding got me curious,” he said. “I told myself there must be more than one way to teach this boy.” Read more

A week to remember

June 22, 2010

Preston pitcher Bobbie Schultz gets call from Los Angeles Dodgers, is drafted a week later

Bobbie Schultz, a 2010 Eastside Catholic High School graduate, wears the Los Angeles Dodgers’ jersey, the team that drafted the pitcher in the 49th round. By Greg Farrar

The beginning of June 2010 is something Bobbie Schultz is sure to remember for the rest of his life. On June 2, he got a phone call from a baseball scouting coordinator. Just one week later, he was a member of a Major League Baseball club.

Read more

« Previous PageNext Page »