Liberty girls cross country team gallops away with district title

October 28, 2011

NEW — 11:45 a.m. Oct. 28, 2011

The Liberty High School girls cross country team showed that history does repeat itself.

The Patriots, with four runners cracking the 20-minute mark, captured the Sea-King District 3A championship for the second straight year Thursday at Lake Sammamish State Park.

Liberty finished with 69 points. Mercer Island, which won the KingCo Conference 3A title the previous week, and Lakeside, of the Metro League, were second with 75 points.

The previous week Liberty finished second at the KingCo championships. It was a repeat of last year when Mercer Island won the KingCo title and Liberty was second only to see the Patriots come back to win the district championship.

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Police: Issaquah High School students convinced party bus driver to buy alcohol

October 27, 2011

UPDATED — 10:55 a.m. Oct. 27, 2011

The city prosecutor plans to charge the driver of a party bus headed to Issaquah High School’s homecoming dance for buying beer and liquor for teenagers aboard the bus.

The party bus driver, a 49-year-old Auburn woman, faces charges in Issaquah Municipal Court of furnishing liquor to minors and reckless endangerment — both gross misdemeanors punishable by up to one year imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.

Issaquah High School administrators suspended nine students for alcohol infractions in connection to the party bus incident. Police and school administrators started investigating the incident after intoxicated students arrived at the Oct. 22 homecoming dance.

Students aboard the bus — rented from a Seattle limousine service — convinced the driver to purchase alcohol for them and collected money for the purchases.

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Skyline, Liberty girls soccer teams keep on winning

October 26, 2011

NEW — 10:30 a.m. Oct. 26, 2011 

The Skyline and Liberty high-school girls soccer teams, who have already locked up their respective KingCo Conference regular-season titles, kept on winning Tuesday.

Skyline, the KingCo 4A champion, closed out its regular season with a 1-0 victory against Redmond. Nicole Cangioglos, assisted by Anna Deweirdt, scored Skyline’s goal just four minutes into the game. The Spartans again played tough defense by registering their eighth shutout of the season. Goalkeeper Sydney Martinez recorded the shutout.

The Spartans finished league play with a 9-0-1 record and had a five-point lead over second place Issaquah, which had a bye. Skyline and Issaquah, who both have secured berths in the Class 4A state tournament, meet again Nov. 1 at Skyline in the KingCo championship game.

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Tent City 4, Eastside homeless camp, returns to Issaquah

October 25, 2011

Issaquah church hosts homeless encampment until late January

Amalie Easter helps move pallets as another Tent City 4 resident carries a plywood sheet during the move from Bellevue to Community Church of Issaquah. By Greg Farrar

Tent City 4 returned Oct. 21, as teams started the long process to transform a church parking lot into a camp for up to 100 homeless adults.

In a scene familiar to church members and Squak Mountain neighbors, Tent City 4 residents assembled pallets and plywood floorboards in a careful arrangement on the rain-slicked asphalt.

The crowd bustled, as camp residents and local church members, clad in raincoats and plastic ponchos, unloaded a truck and prepared spaces for nylon tents.

“We got the Hilton!” a man shouted from the truck gate. “Where do you want it?”

Only the Hilton is not a luxury hotel, but a repurposed military tent — and a sleeping place for male residents during the 90-day stint at Community Church of Issaquah. The encampment is due to depart Issaquah in late January.

The move to Issaquah represented a milestone for Tent City 4 resident Amalie Easter. The encampment relocated to the church hours before the last Issaquah High School regular season football game — and Easter’s son plays for the Eagles. Until Tent City 4 reached Issaquah, attending home games posed a challenge.

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Swedish/Issaquah adds 80 patient beds, services

October 25, 2011

Swedish/Issaquah physicians plan to start delivering babies and performing more complicated surgeries Nov. 1, as the hospital rolls out additional services and opens 80 patient beds on the $365 million campus.

The change adds expectant mothers and intensive care unit patients to the bustling hospital months after physicians started offering routine checkups, outpatient surgical procedures and numerous other services.

The additions also mean emergency responders can transport more patients to the Swedish/Issaquah emergency room — and cut the time ambulances spend on the road to and from other Eastside and Seattle hospitals.

“It rounds out the rest of the services and makes it a fully functioning community hospital,” Kevin Brown, Swedish Medical Center senior vice president and chief administrative officer, said as the opening neared. “We’ve been doing basically everything — except if you needed to stay overnight — until this point.”

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Providence, Swedish announce health care alliance

October 25, 2011

The partnership between Providence Health & Services and Swedish Health Services links important organizations involved in Issaquah health care.

Kevin Brown

Executives at Renton-based Providence and Seattle-based Swedish said the economic slump prompted the decision, as health care centers treat more uninsured patients and government reimbursements shrink.

The organizations plan to combine resources to offer services, such as a common electronic health record for patients, at Providence and Swedish facilities throughout Western Washington.

Despite the organizations’ large footprints in the city — Providence Marianwood, a nursing home, and Swedish/Issaquah, a state-of-the-art hospital — executives said the impact to patients is minimal.

“The closer people are to receiving services, they’re really not going to see any impact,” said Kevin Brown, Swedish senior vice president and chief administrative officer. “Where we will see the benefit is by being part of a larger, regional network where we can coordinate care now in all of Western Washington.”

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Issaquah businesses target tourists for attractions, events

October 25, 2011

Issaquah leaders often describe local qualities as treasures — a quaint downtown, mountain panoramas, historic buildings and more.

Local businesspeople describe such attractions as “tourism assets” all set for out-of-town guests to enjoy and, in the process, spend dollars in hotels and restaurants.

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce officials gathered representatives from local “tourism assets” Oct. 18 to discuss successes and opportunities to lure more tourists to the area.

Leaders from artEAST, Cougar Mountain Zoo, Village Theatre, and other Issaquah attractions and events, said attendance is strong, but sometimes people overlook local offerings.

“Tastin’ N Racin’ — unfortunately — is Issaquah’s best-kept secret,” event organizer Craig Cooke said. “Nationally, it’s not. There are events in 13 other states that have all called and patterned their event on what goes on on land and what goes on in water.”

Tastin’ N Racin’ attracts 20,000 people — and sometimes up to 50,000 — to Lake Sammamish State Park each June for hydroplane races and onshore offerings.

Other long-established attractions face a similar challenge in luring potential tourists.

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Cruise passengers urged to explore beyond Seattle

October 25, 2011

From the Space Needle to Pike Place Market, Seattle has plenty to offer its guests, but the Washington Tourism Alliance and the Port of Seattle are encouraging cruise ship tourists to explore beyond the predictable city limits. They are hoping tourists will venture into the suburban and rural areas outside of Seattle, including Issaquah.

“It’s really about what can you offer as an attractive package as an add-on to the cruise purchase,” said Dan Trimble, then-economic development manager for the city of Issaquah. “We’re pretty fortunate here to have several things that can be easily compartmentalized to those packages.”

Bill Bryant

From the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery and Cougar Mountain Zoo, to outdoor opportunities and shopping districts, Issaquah has plenty to offer its tourists, Trimble said.

This is part of a plan carried out by the newly established Washington Tourism Alliance, which is working along with the Port of Seattle and other tourism agencies to let people know about the tourist opportunities that exist outside of Seattle.

“The cruise ship (industry) brings about $400 million to King County and the region, and that’s because the passengers are staying one to two nights in the area. But most of them are spending that time in downtown Seattle,” Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant said.

He said he hopes the cruise ship tourists extend their stay and explore the surrounding areas, “whether that is wineries in Woodinville or going out to Snoqualmie Falls.”

The state Legislature recently cut funding for the state tourism office.

In its place, various stakeholders including the port, some of the hotel associations and some of the restaurant associations have established the WTA to serve as a vehicle for communities to reach out to tourists, Bryant said.

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CleanScapes picks up Issaquah garbage contract

October 25, 2011

The next hauler for Issaquah garbage is CleanScapes.

In a unanimous decision Oct. 17, City Council members selected the Seattle-based garbage hauler to serve Issaquah neighborhoods other than Greenwood Point and South Cove. CleanScapes offered additional curbside recycling options, a local storefront, wildlife-resistant containers and other features to land the $3.8-million-per-year Issaquah contract.

Consumers could experience a rate decrease as the city transitions from the current hauler, Waste Management, to CleanScapes in early summer.

The rate could decrease from $13.43 to $12.74 for a residential customer putting a 32-gallon cart out for weekly curbside pickup — although a recent rate increase from the King County Council could dilute the proposed drop.

The contract runs from July 1 through June 2019.

“The public should realize that the staff of the city of Issaquah didn’t just put it out there and say, ‘Tell us what you can offer,’” Councilman Mark Mullet said. “They actually wrote the proposal saying, ‘This is what the city needs to have. These are the minimum, baseline service requirements that we’re going to ask for the citizens of Issaquah.’ Then, the different vendors were able to come back and say, ‘We’ll provide those at this price,’ and they could offer things on top of that.”

Council Utilities, Technology & Environment Committee members met representatives from CleanScapes and the other candidates, Allied Waste and Waste Management, Oct. 11 and sent the contract to the full council for approval.

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Zombie dancers shuffle, step to ‘Thriller’ for record attempt

October 25, 2011

Chandler Osman, 12, an Issaquah Middle School student, strikes a ‘Thriller’ pose Oct. 22 during rehearsal for Green Halloween Festival performances. By Greg Farrar

The undead shuffle across TV and cinema screens. Zombies chomp across bestseller lists. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created a droll guide to surviving a zombie apocalypse.

The zombie zeitgeist is ceaseless. Just like a horde of the undead on a mindless search for brains.

The pop culture phenomenon reaches Issaquah on Oct. 29 as revelers dressed as the undead shuffle downtown and in the Issaquah Highlands just before Halloween.

The most able-bodied zombies plan to inch to the Green Halloween Festival and the Issaquah Library to duplicate the complicated choreography from the 1983 Michael Jackson epic, “Thriller” — a 14-minute MTV masterpiece from “An American Werewolf in London” director John Landis.

Zombies plan to re-create “Thriller” at 2 p.m. for festivalgoers and at 4 p.m. at the downtown library. Then, zombies around the globe plan to gather for Thrill the World, a simultaneous attempt to dance to “Thriller” and set a world record. In Issaquah, 6 p.m. is the designated hour for the Thrill the World attempt.

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