Issaquah astronaut spearheaded museum’s space shuttle effort

April 19, 2011

The space shuttle simulator bound for The Museum of Flight boasts the same look and feel as a full-fledged orbiter, down to the switches on the instrument panels.

Bonnie Dunbar, a retired astronaut and Issaquah resident, said the soon-to-be-retired simulator offers a “high-fidelity feel of the vehicle” and a glimpse of day-to-day life in orbit.

NASA did not select The Museum of Flight as a site for a retired space shuttle April 12, despite a yearslong effort to land a coveted orbiter. Dunbar led the push to secure a shuttle for the museum.

The space shuttle orbiter full fuselage trainer, at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, will come to the Museum of Flight after the end of the shuttle program. By NASA

Instead, the Seattle museum is due to receive a full-fuselage space shuttle trainer for the 15,500-square-foot Space Gallery under construction. Dunbar and every other shuttle astronaut used the trainer to prepare for space flight.

“If you went down to the next tier below the actual vehicle, this would it,” she said. “These are the simulators the crew trains in before flight.”

Astronauts use the trainer to prepare for spacewalks and emergency egress from the shuttle. The interior includes equipment, lockers and a galley almost identical to the systems inside actual orbiters.

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Native kokanee fry released in historic ceremony

April 19, 2011

Seventy-five kokanee fry swam in a small camping cooler by Laughing Jacobs Creek, unaware they were surrounded by federal, state, county and city administrators, as well as concerned citizens — all people intent on helping the native salmon survive in the wild.

The Issaquah Salmon Hatchery teamed up with the Lake Sammamish Kokanee Work Group and dignitaries from the city all the way to the federal level for the second annual kokanee fry release at Hans Jensen Park on April 18.

Last year, the group released the kokanee at Ebright Creek in Sammamish, and next year the release will be celebrated at Lewis Creek in Issaquah.

Jessica Leguizamon, 10, watches kokanee salmon fry swim away from her Dixie cup into Laughing Jacobs Creek as her sister Sabrina, 5, waits her turn and their grandfather, Gary Smith, looks on. County environmental scientist Hans Berge makes sure the release is done properly. By Greg Farrar

“This fry release is a critical part of our kokanee recovery and restoration efforts,” David St. John, Department of Natural Resources government relations administrator, said.

He outlined the group’s goals: preventing kokanee extinction and restoring a diverse and native habitat for the salmon.

“In our last run there was probably 100 fish, so we’re at low numbers, extremely low numbers,” St. John said.

A normal run for kokanee usually extends into the hundreds or thousands, he said in a later phone interview.

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Blaze destroys barn near Issaquah

April 19, 2011

Flames destroyed a barn in a community six miles south of downtown Issaquah early April 14, but a pair of chickens roosting inside at the time escaped unharmed.

Firefighters battle a barn blaze in the Four Lakes community near Issaquah early April 14. By Debbie Berto

Firefighters extinguished the flames, although the structure collapsed in the blaze. The incident occurred just before dawn in the 24000 block of Southeast 167th Street in the Four Lakes community, off Cedar Grove Road Southeast.

Neighbors called 911 after seeing 30-foot flames leaping from the wooden structure just after 5 a.m.

Units from Eastside Fire & Rescue and Maple Valley Fire & Life Safety responded to the fire as news helicopters thudded overhead.

No injuries occurred as a result of the fire. The chickens — a hen and a rooster — escaped from a coop inside the burning structure.

“We opened the door, but they didn’t want to run out,” EFR Capt. Michael Geppert said. “We had to carry one out and shoo the other out while he was squawking at us.”

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Eagles fall prey to Wolves’ six-run rally, lose 6-5

April 19, 2011

Heather Benjamin, Issaquah High School catcher, slams the first home run of her career to clear the outfield fence in the fifth-inning that also scored pitcher Brielle Bray on April 15 against Eastlake High School. By Greg Farrar

The Issaquah High School softball team had one bad inning, but often that is all it takes to determine the outcome of a game.

Issaquah was sailing along with a 2-0 lead April 15 when everything that could go wrong did. Visiting Eastlake capitalized on errors by the Eagles to score six runs in the fourth inning, and that was just enough as the Wolves posted a 6-5 4A KingCo Conference victory. Read more

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Issaquah jostles for first in boys 4A soccer logjam

April 19, 2011

Jason Lichtenberger might be the Nostradamus of 4A KingCo Conference boys soccer. Entering the season the Issaquah High School boys coach predicted it would be another close race for the top spot in the standings.

Lichtenberger’s crystal ball is as clear as ever. Entering this week four teams, including Issaquah, were tied for first place. Two other teams were just three points out of first place.

These traffic jams are getting common in 4A KingCo soccer. When last season’s league play ended, three teams tied for first place and two were just one point behind the leaders.

“I knew it was going to be tight this season,” Lichtenberger said. “I knew Skyline was going to be real strong, and that Newport, Eastlake and Garfield would be real good. So it’s not surprising that it’s close at the top.”

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Issaquah baseball team continues hot streak

April 19, 2011

The Issaquah High School baseball team continued its hot play of late as the Eagles captured two of three games last week.

Issaquah opened the week April 11 with an 8-3 victory against visiting Ballard.

Brandon Mahovlich’s pitching and hitting led Issaquah. Mahovlich tossed a complete game and had eight strikeouts to earn his second victory. He also had three hits, one a home run. Matt Gonn, Blake Miller, Jack Gellatly and Ben Rosellini each drove in runs for Issaquah.

The Eagles’ four-game winning streak came to an end April 13 when they were blanked by Bothell, 1-0. Issaquah’s Andrew Kemmerer had a solid game for the Eagles, holding the Crown Division leaders to just four hits.

However, one of those hits was a solo home run by Bothell pitcher Brian McAfee in the bottom of the second inning. McAfee was superb on the mound, tossing a one-hitter and striking out 10. Mahovlich ended McAfee’s no-hitter with a double in the top of the seventh inning.

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Sports Calendar

April 19, 2011

Adult sports

Issaquah Alps Trail Club

April 21, 10 a.m., Echo Mountain, 4-5 miles, 500 gain. Call 432-7387.

Cascade Bicycle Club

April 21, 6:45 p.m., Eastside Tour, 20-30 miles from Marymoor Park east parking lot. Call 394-1347.


The Issaquah Sportsmen’s Club holds hunter education classes from May to September. Call 206-940-5862 during the day or 557-9668 in the evening.


Sammamish Rowing Association holds introductory courses in rowing for ages 13 or older. Register at

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Press Editorial

April 19, 2011

Make a difference on Earth Day

A few decades ago, being called “green” was often meant to be derogatory. Today we hold high respect for those who live their life “green” — contributing to a healthier world.

Earth Day — celebrated April 22 around the globe — is a reminder that supporting a healthy environment depends on individuals. One person can seem pretty insignificant when it comes to things like species extinction and climate change, but individuals hold real power when it comes to the environment.

While many trees will be planted for Earth Day, that’s not really what it’s all about. It’s about individuals taking action to change their lifestyles, from unplugging unused appliances to fixing leaking faucets to bringing reusable bags when you shop.

In the coming decades, we face great environmental challenges — and great opportunities to improve the environment. It is time to turn American ingenuity onto the environment. People around us are already finding innovative solutions.

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Eastlake uses home course advantage to beat Issaquah’s golfers

April 19, 2011

The conditions couldn’t have been much worse at Sahalee Country Club April 14. Not only did the chilly, low-40’s temperature cause tense muscles and stiff grips, but the driving rain even caused a player to lose her club during a swing.

Lauren Merdinyan, Issaquah High School junior, tees off on the fourth hole at Sahalee Country Club April 14 on the way to a nine-hole score of 51 against Eastlake. By Christopher Huber

Despite the lingering effects of a cold, wet and dark winter and early spring, the Issaquah and Eastlake high school girls golf teams completed the course without delay.

Eastlake, likely finding some comfort in its home-course advantage, came out on top, beating the Eagles, 277-302, in a 4A KingCo Conference match. Eastlake improved to 6-1 on the season. The young Issaquah team went to 3-2 overall.

Eastlake junior standout Megan Wotherspoon again led the way as the medalist, shooting a 46 on the par-36 course. She said the rain doesn’t bother her much because she is able to stay focused anyway.

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Off the Press

April 19, 2011

You really should prepare for disaster

I’m sitting at my kitchen table, far from Japan and its earthquakes, tsunamis and radiation that have claimed the lives of thousands of people, and far away from the American South and its tornadoes that have killed more than 40 people in just a few days.

Kathleen R. Merrill Press Editor

But such things don’t happen here in the Pacific Northwest, right? Well, yes — until they happen to you. Those people never thought they would see the things they’re seeing now, or live through the things they just experienced.

More than a decade ago, a tornado ripped through the part of Tennessee where I lived and ran a newspaper. The winds ripped the roof straight off my house, turned it over and dropped it pretty as you please in my backyard.

If that wasn’t scary and damaging enough, torrential rain poured into my then roofless house, ruining prized possessions. Still, I occasionally find something with black mold on it — mold that started back then. It’s not as bad as in the first years after the tornado, when I would have to throw out numerous items every Christmas when I unpacked my decorations. Or I would open a box of something during a move to find more molded things that hadn’t gotten dried or cleaned properly.

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