To The Editor

August 10, 2010

Tiger Mountain Trail

While enjoying the beauty, beware of the native wildlife

A note to all my trail running and mountain biking friends, and Tiger Mountain hikers: Recently, I ran to the top of Poo Poo Point from the Issaquah High School trailhead. On the way back down, I was feeling great and flying down the trail. I hardly ever see anyone on this particular route, so I took advantage of the solitude to sing at the top of my lungs.

On one particularly steep stretch, I was running quite quickly and had my eyes glued to the trail so as not to lose my footing. I heard a rustle in the bushes to my left and looked over just in time to see a mama bear glaring at me from less than 20 feet away, while her two little cubs scurried up a tree just behind her. I thought for a moment she was going to chase after me and even at my suddenly fear-fueled pace, I think she could have ran me down quite easily.

Fortunately, she seemed to be content just to glower at me and I sped safely down into the woods. She was either being protective of her cubs, or maybe she didn’t care for my singing.

What a beautiful sight, what a surge of adrenaline and what a near miss! I have seen a few bears from a distance before while backpacking, and even one in the back yard of my home in Issaquah, but a near encounter of a mama bear with cubs is quite a scary thing to (literally) run into. There have been a number of instances here in Western Washington of mountain bikers and runners coming upon bears with cubs and being attacked or mauled because of it.

That was my first bear encounter in more than 20 years of mountain biking or trail running. I wanted to pass on this word of caution. I’ll look into some bells or some other item to make my presence a little bit more well-known on the trail, especially in spring during cub season.

What a great area we live in!

Willy Gevers



Action needs to be taken to replace apathy toward the environment

After dinner recently, I took my two children to the community center to run around on the lawn. When we arrived, there were three teenage boys sitting against the brick wall behind the stage. When they left, I wandered over to where they were sitting. On the ground was a wrapper from a candy or energy bar, cigarette butts and some other bits of trash.

No more than 20 feet away was a trash bin.

Whenever I, or my wife, walk the trail past the community center and the skate park, there are broken bottles, fast food wrappers and loads of other trash littering the trail and neighboring grounds. This trail is used by tax-paying Issaquah residents, who funded the skate park, to walk their dogs and take their children on bike rides.

While I believe parents are ultimately to blame for the disrespectful behavior of their children, it is the children who should be punished for their actions. According to RCW 70.93.060 it is illegal to dump Read more

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Issaquah History Museums volunteer Stephen Grate dies in hiking accident

August 10, 2010

Stephen Grate teaches a girl at Heritage Day on July 4 how laundry was done more than 100 years ago. Contributed

Early last decade, a hiker had questions about the long-abandoned coalmines carved into the mountains surrounding Issaquah. The query led Stephen Grate to the Issaquah History Museums in 2003.

From the downtown Issaquah museum, he pored through the mining map collection and rummaged through archives to learn how the 19th century mines operated. Grate earned esteem in his final years for his knowledge of Eastside coalmining heritage and for the hikes he often led to derelict mine sites.

Grate, 52, died Aug. 6 in a hiking accident near Leavenworth. The outdoorsman died from head injuries he sustained in a fall from a rock on Asgaard Pass, a steep and challenging route in the Enchantment Lakes Basin.

The coalmining heritage brought Grate to the museums, but he also contributed to other civic and municipal organizations. Colleagues said the Renton resident brought a quiet passion to each role.

The independent computer consultant served on the Issaquah Cable TV Commission, taught a digital photography class at the Issaquah Valley Senior Center and volunteered as a docent at the historic Issaquah Train Depot. Read more

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Construction begins on state Route 900 trail link

August 10, 2010

The trail connector across Interstate 90 at state Route 900 is about to see the first stages of what is planned to be an eight-month project, city Public Works Engineering Director Bob Brock said.

Construction will build a freestanding structure for a nonmotorized trail from 12th Avenue Northwest to the I-90 off-ramp along the west side of state Route 900. The city of Issaquah has awarded a $4.4 million contract with C.A. Carey Corp. that allows for 180 working days, Brock said.

The connector is meant to allow for a safer path between the East Lake Sammamish Trail and the Issaquah Transit Center. The total price tag for the project is about $6 million.

Members of the community have differing opinions on the value, necessity and safety of the project, however.

Steve Williams, president of the Issaquah Alps Trails Club, said he has concerns about the volume of traffic in the area that pedestrians may now be drawn to. There are five lanes of traffic to cross at the I-90 eastbound exit, and drivers often try to make free right turns. That means they are looking left as they are moving right across a pedestrian walkway, he said. Read more

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Fireworks sales light the way for church fundraiser

August 10, 2010

During the Fourth of July, Issaquah Christian Church helped build houses for needy families in Mexico by selling fireworks locally.

They sold fireworks from June 28 to July 4 at the church, 10328 Issaquah-Hobart Road S.E. Profits from the sale of fireworks largely supported the church’s annual mission trip to Mexico, funded house-building materials, other outreach programs and a new facility construction program.

About $50,000 was raised with the sales, the most successful the fireworks booth has been in the past 10 years, according to the Rev. Brad Bromling, pastor of the church. The TNT fireworks company also awarded the church $250 for the best-looking presentation.

The youths and adults selling fireworks in the tent earned the money needed to fund their own trips, according to Lana Bromling, 16, Bromling’s daughter.

The church has several mission trips annually, to locations such as Africa and Haiti, so each member must raise his or her own funds to finance their trip, whether that means working on the church’s Christmas tree lot or at the fireworks stand. Parents, friends and believers in the cause may work on behalf of their children or fellow students. Read more

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Prosecutor hopes for plea deal in assault case for Seahawk Leroy Hill

August 10, 2010

The city prosecutor and attorney for Seattle Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill continue to discuss a possible plea deal to resolve the domestic violence case before a late August trial.

Issaquah City Prosecutor Lynn Moberly intends to seek intensive domestic violence treatment for Hill. Police said he attacked his girlfriend at his Talus home April 10, after she confronted him about seeing other women.

Hill, 27, has pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor assault charge. The case had been set to go to trial in late July, but defense attorney Jon Fox requested the trial be postponed for a month.

“I’m hopeful we can resolve it without a trial,” Moberly said late last week. Read more

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Park shootings suspect remains in jail

August 10, 2010

The man charged in connection with the fatal shootings at Lake Sammamish State Park last month remains jailed after pleading not guilty to a weapons-possession charge last week.

David Keowongphet — the cousin of a man shot dead during the July 17 gun battle — faces a first-degree unlawful firearm possession charge. King County prosecutors said he also has gang ties.

Keowongphet pleaded not guilty to the charge during a court appearance Aug. 4. He is due back in court Aug. 18 for a case-setting hearing. In the meantime, he remains in the King County Jail on $500,000 bail.

Keowongphet told a King County Sheriff’s Office detective he had been at the Issaquah park July 17, but left before the shootings occurred.

But his slain cousin’s widow said she saw Keowongphet firing a gun into the air during a brawl between rival groups picnicking at the lakefront park.

Kent resident Yang Keovongphet, 33, and Seattle resident Justin Cunningham, 30, died during the shootout. Gunfire injured three other people.

Undercover officers arrested Keowongphet at his Renton residence the next night. Investigators uncovered guns and ammunition at the home. Keowongphet cannot legally possess weapons due to prior felony convictions.

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Local twins get TIPS on paid internships

August 10, 2010

Braden Timm volunteered during the early summer months for projects sponsored by the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. Contributed

Volunteering is nothing new for Issaquah twins Garrett and Braden Timm.

Both are active members in Liberty High School’s DECA program and this past year started the Campus Club, which helps beautify the school. Along with countless hours of volunteering, both are in Advanced Placement classes and play sports.

Their senior year will be a busy one, with college applications, volunteering and recruiting underclassmen to join Campus Club, which has about 30 members; most will be seniors in the fall.

The two traveled to Louisville, Ky., in April to compete in the DECA International Career Development Conference, where they both placed in the top 30 for their categories. Read more

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Elections office opens ballot drop boxes, voting centers

August 10, 2010

Not everyone has to vote by mail in the Aug. 17 primary election.

King County Elections offers three drop boxes for voters to cast ballots in person. The drop boxes in Seattle and Tukwila provide a secure option to return a mail ballot, without paying the cost of postage.

Find the drop boxes at the King County Administration Building, 500 Fourth Ave., Seattle, and the elections office, 9010 E. Marginal Way S., Tukwila. Ballots must be returned to the boxes by 8 p.m. Aug. 17 or postmarked by the same day.

Elections staffers regularly collect ballots from the boxes and transport them to the elections office.

Voters with disabilities can also cast a private and independent ballot at accessible voting centers in Bellevue, Seattle and Tukwila.

Equipment at the sites provides audio and visual technology to allow voters with limited vision and physical disabilities to vote on their own.

The center at the elections office is open from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. weekdays through Aug. 16. The center at Bellevue City Hall, 450 110th Ave. N.E., is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Aug. 16. In Seattle, the center at Union Station, 401 S. Jackson St., is also open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Aug. 16. On Election Day, the three centers operate from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.

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Business News

August 10, 2010

Ben & Jerry’s opening soon

Mark Mullet, owner of Zeeks Pizza, now plans to bring a taste of Vermont to the Issaquah Highlands. The city councilman will open a Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop next month.

The local branch of the eco-conscious company famous for punny flavors — Cherry Garcia, anyone? — and social activism will open near Caffe Ladro, inside a former home sales center about mid-September. Plans call for about 40 seats spread across 1,300 square feet.

“I think Ben & Jerry’s and Issaquah are a natural fit,” he said.

Before Mullet can start serving scoops of Chubby Hubby and Chunky Monkey, he had to attend Scoop University, the training facility for franchisees in Vermont. There, the former bank executive learned to mix milkshakes and shape waffle cones.

The biggest challenge for Mullet: cursive writing. He said another employee should handle the frosting messages atop ice cream cakes. Read more

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The new brew: Rogue snaps up talent for Issaquah Brewhouse

August 10, 2010

Master brewer Steve Luke hoists a pint of Shakespeare Stout, one of the beers brewed onsite at Rogue’s Issaquah Brewhouse. By Greg Farrar

For some, it’s all about the wine, for others the sweetest part of life is coffee, but when it comes to quenching a thirst for Steve Luke, 26, it’s all about the beer.

“Beer is fun, it’s social and you get to make a product not only you enjoy, but other people enjoy, as well,” he said at a Meet the Brewer event Aug. 4.

“What I like most about it, though, wow, that’s tough. I like drinking it,” he said, with a laugh.

Setting foot inside Rogue’s Issaquah Brewhouse June 15, just days after passing his international brewers’ exam, Luke has hit the ground running and is planning to take the brews served there to new heights as the new master brewer.

Can you say, Modest Frog and Pumpkin Frog? Just two new beers, Luke said, he is crafting that will be available in mid-August and mid-September, respectively.

Modest Frog, a light American pub ale, pays a bit of homage to the rock band Modest Mouse that started here, Luke said. The pumpkin ale, he said, is a Belgian-style Dubbel brewed with 200 pounds of local pumpkins and will be spiced with vanilla bean, nutmeg and cinnamon sticks.

But don’t worry, White Frog fanatics. You’ll still see your favorites on tap, he said. He’s not shaking it up that much.

Read more

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