Sammamish nonprofit helps African orphans

May 10, 2011

The orphans in the rural Tanzanian village of Mshangano are a 14-hour bus ride from the nearest airport, and even further from Issaquah and Sammamish.

That distance does not stop the volunteers of the Mwangaza Foundation from helping orphans in need, or from building them a new, 160-bed orphanage.

Under the foundation, leaders like Sammamish resident Linda Hines spent the past four years networking and developing programs to provide a better life for more than 60 orphans in the small village. Through monthly sponsorships, the foundation has provided balanced meals, shelter and education, and is working with leaders of the Songea region to create a sustainable village community.

“We are listening to village leaders,” said Sally Farrell, the organization’s board chairperson. “This year, we guarantee all our kids will be in school.”

While the aim of the organization has not changed, the name has. The Mwangaza Foundation is now Songea’s Kids, named for a region of Tanzania.

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Join mental health walk to help fight stigma

May 10, 2011

As a girl, Susan Osborn loved horses, reading and science. Ever the Renaissance woman, she earned her associate arts degree from Bellevue College, working her way through college to pay for her education.

Susan Osborn, an Issaquah volunteer with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, encouraged people to participate in the NAMIWalk 5k in Kirkland. By Laura Geggel

But something didn’t feel right. In her late 20s, Osborn began to withdraw from life. She saw her doctor, who sent her to a neurologist when he could not find any physical problems with her.

In 1984, the neurologist found she had a chemical imbalance in her brain, and diagnosed her with clinical depression.

“That was a big turning point in my life,” Issaquah resident Osborn said. “I thought, ‘I won’t get married or have children.’”

In spite of her fears, Osborn went on to conquer life with the help of support groups, including the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more commonly known as NAMI.

NAMI Eastside, serving Issaquah, invites the community to NAMIWalk, a free 5K walk in Kirkland. Donations made to NAMI Eastside are tax-deductible, and the walk will raise money for the nonprofit organization’s services helping families and people with mental illness.

The mental illness list is long — eating disorders, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, to name a few — and one of NAMI’s goals is to make mental illness less taboo.

“Mental illnesses are more common than cancer, diabetes or heart disease, and are treatable just like any other disease, but people don’t talk about it,” NAMI Eastside Office Director Barbara Thompson said. “The public needs to understand that mental illnesses are physical brain disorders, and that those affected need community support and not silence.”

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Help youths travel to Chicago conference

May 10, 2011

Skyline High School sophomore Alexa Peraza-Sanchez would like to pack her bags for a conference at Northwestern University in Chicago, but first she needs financial help from the community.

Peraza-Sanchez has earned a spot at the National Student Leadership Conference on Medicine & Heath Care From Aug. 2-11. At the conference, she will learn a variety of skills, including leadership, effective communication, public speaking and conflict resolution. She will also participate in lectures and workshops about medicine and health care led by national and world leaders.

Peraza-Sanchez has raised $500 for the $2,600 trip. Those wishing to help can mail checks made out to National Student Leadership, with her name in the memo line. Send checks to Alexa Peraza-Sanchez, 3849 Klahanie Drive S.E., 6-106, Issaquah, WA 98029.

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Dine out for disaster relief at Tutta Bella

May 10, 2011

Order a pizza at Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria, 715 N.W. Gilman Blvd., and assist disaster-relief efforts in Japan at the same time.

Through May 31, Tutta Bella pledged a dollar-for-dollar donation match of customers’ donations up to $5,000 for earthquake and tsunami relief. The restaurant is hoping to raise more than $10,000 through the effort. Each diner can designate a dollar amount of his or her choice on the check at the end of the meal.

Diners can also donate at the Tutta Bella restaurants in Seattle.

Tutta Bella plans to donate the funds to Mercy Corps, a Portland, Ore.-based relief organization, to bring the emergency supplies and care to residents in devastated areas. The earthquake and tsunami struck March 11 and killed almost 15,000 people.

Tutta Bella has strong ties to Japan through the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the organization responsible for certifying Neapolitan-style pizzerias. Outside of Italy, Japan and United States share the distinction of having 35 or more certified pizzerias, Tutta Bella Director of Operations Joyce Morinaka said.

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Shelter offers cats as organic pest control

May 10, 2011

King County’s animal services agency is offering a back-to-nature solution to rural residents’ rodent problems: cats.

Regional Animal Services of King County is touting barn cats as a poison- and trap-free alternative to other methods to control mice and rats. Qualified residents can adopt barn cats at no charge.

Residents should email or call Regional Animal Services of King County at 206-296-7387 to learn more.

The outdoor felines usually just need shelter, such as a barn, a cozy place to sleep, fresh water and food. Most barn cats tend to be feral or semitame, so people looking for a pet should look elsewhere.

Regional Animal Services of King County places barn cats in small colonies, usually in groups of four.

The cats arrive spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped for identification and tested for feline diseases. Volunteers offer services to deliver and help owners place the cats. Then, the felines set out to hunt mice and rats.

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Issaquah High School ROTC is on chopping block

May 10, 2011

The Navy Junior ROTC at Issaquah High School performs at a March school assembly. Unless the program raises its enrollment to more than 100 students, it could be canceled. By Don Borin/Stop Action Photography,

Low enrollment cited as reason for possible elimination

After 39 years of camaraderie, learning and accomplishment, the Issaquah High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps is facing the chopping block.

Unless the program can bring enrollment up to 100 students by Oct. 1, the U.S. Navy has announced it will close the unit by fall 2012. This year, Issaquah High has 70 students enrolled in its Navy Junior ROTC.

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Military News

May 10, 2011

Kyle Stubbs

Kyle Stubbs to graduate from Coast Guard Academy

Kyle Stubbs will graduate May 18 from the United States Coast Guard Academy, in New London, Conn., with a Bachelor of Science degree in Naval architecture and marine engineering and receive his commissioning as ensign in the United States Coast Guard.

The class of 2011 will have President Barack Obama as its commencement speaker.

Stubbs, a lifelong resident of Newcastle, graduated from Liberty High School in 2007. At that time, he received his appointment to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

He is the son of Frank and Cathy Stubbs, of Newcastle; and the grandson of Geraldine Stubbs, of Newcastle, and Robert Woodey, of Sammamish.

Upon graduation, Stubbs will return to the Seattle area, where he will serve in the engineering department aboard the USCGC Mellon, a 378-foot Coast Guard cutter based in Seattle.

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Who’s News

May 10, 2011

Three seniors receive $1,000 scholarships

The Alpha Rho Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa has selected three Issaquah School District seniors to receive a $1,000 scholarship.

The recipients for the Alpha Rho scholarship for 2011 are Caitlyn Chaffin, of Issaquah High School; Madison Birdsall, of Liberty High School; and Arianna Romo, of Liberty High School.

Alpha Delta Kappa is an international organization of women educators dedicated to educational excellence, altruism and world understanding.  Members of the Alpha Rho Chapter are retired and/or practicing teachers in the Issaquah School District.

The chapter has been offering between one and three $1000 scholarships since 1976.

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City plans to remove tainted soil from park

May 10, 2011

The city has agreed to spend up to $26,000 to clean up contaminated soil at Squak Valley Park North — open space along Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast about a mile south of downtown Issaquah.

Planners estimate about 56 tons of soil need to be removed due to contamination from a leaky heating oil tank, although the actual amount remains uncertain until additional testing confirms the extent of the tainted soil.

City Council members approved the expenditure May 2.

The city purchased the land and a farmhouse at the former Erickson farm 24 years ago for use as open space and to restore the natural habitat.

Crews breached a Great Depression-era levee at the site last summer, and then Mountains to Sound Greenway volunteers planted more than 2,000 trees and shrubs at the site in October. The city relied on grants to cover about 75 percent of the $1.4 million cost.

Crews discovered a leak in a heating oil tank during the farmhouse demolition. The demolition team removed the tank, and the city hired a consultant to assess the soil contamination.

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Garbage haulers tout ‘green’ credentials

May 10, 2011

James Connors (left) and Rey Bravo, yard waste and recycle truck drivers, respectively, for Allied Waste, each drive the new compressed natural gas-fueled trucks on their South Cove routes. By Greg Farrar

City seeks eco-conscious company for trash contract

The city is on the hunt for a company to collect garbage and recyclables from Issaquah curbs, and the hauler displaying the “greenest” credentials could receive a boost in the selection process.

Come fall, leaders plan to select a company to handle the smelly task in the years ahead. In the meantime, Allied Waste and Waste Management — the haulers operating in Issaquah — continue to emphasize eco-conscious programs.

Allied Waste rolled out compressed-natural-gas-powered trucks on routes through the Greenwood Point and South Cove neighborhoods in recent months.

In February, the hunter green Waste Management fleet received a clean-air certification after a rigorous audit.

“Sustainability is always on the agenda,” city Resource Conservation Manager David Fujimoto said. “It’s important to the city and to the waste-management contracts.”

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