Issaquah School Board member Brian Deagle sees ‘more work to do’ ahead

October 18, 2011

“I still think we have more work to do,” said Issaquah School Board member Brian Deagle regarding why he decided to seek re-election to the board seat he has held since late 2006.

Brian Deagle

On the November ballot, Deagle faces a challenge for his District 3 board seat from fellow Sammamish resident Patrick Sansing.

District 3 covers the north end of the school district including parts of Klahanie and parts of the portion of Sammamish included in the Issaquah School District. Although candidates run for a specific geographic seat, voters district wide cast ballots for all Issaquah school board members. Members are elected to four-year terms.

Deagle said his main goal is to give Issaquah school graduates assurances that they are prepared to enter the world, ready for whatever comes after high school.

“We have fallen short of that in a number of ways because of we are limited by our resources,” Deagle said.

He added finances dictate teacher availability, which in turn dictates and limits what classes the schools can offer.

In order to offer additional educational opportunities, Deagle proposed such measures as online learning which can “put more hours into the day” and isn’t as teacher intensive.

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Newcomer Patrick Sansing challenges for Issaquah School Board seat

October 18, 2011

Opposing Issaquah School Board member Brian Deagle on the November ballot, Sammamish resident Patrick Sansing insists local schools are not in bad shape.

Patrick Sansing

“I think we have good schools,” Sansing said. “But I think they are not good enough. I really think we can do better.”

District 3 covers the north end of the school district including parts of Klahanie and parts of the portion of Sammamish included in the Issaquah School District. Although board candidates run for a specific geographic seat, voters from across the district cast ballots for all Issaquah school board members. Members are elected to four-year terms.

Board members may request pay of $50 per meeting, but the current board has chosen not to accept that money, according to Sara Niegowski, district executive director of communications.

In terms of improving the schools, Sansing several times referred to officials needing to identify “the next big thing, the next big idea in education.” In many areas, Sansing believes a lack of ideas has led to a certain stagnation in the district.

For example, on 10th-grade, standardized-writing tests, Sansing said Issaquah district scores have remained high and very steady over the years.

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Russian melodies launch Sammamish Symphony Orchestra season

October 18, 2011

 R. Joseph Scott conducts the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra during rehearsal Oct. 13 at the Eastlake High School band room. By Christopher Huber

To some classical music connoisseurs, Rimsky-Korskoff’s “Capriccio Espagnole” will provide 15 minutes of harmonic bliss when the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra performs it this month.

“It’s 15 minutes of pure joy,” said Joseph Scott, the symphony’s longtime conductor and music director.

The orchestral piece features constant interplay between Concertmaster Dennis Helppie, of Sammamish, on violin, and the harpist and brass section. But it won’t be the only piece to look forward to at the symphony’s 2011 opening concert in Sammamish.

On Oct. 23, the symphony is rolling out the red carpet to celebrate its 20th year on the plateau. The group, which draws performers from 25 cities in King County, will perform “Russian Fireworks” at 2 p.m. at the Eastlake Performing Arts Center. The program will include a Rachmaninoff piano concerto, “Capriccio Espagnole, Op. 34” and Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture, Op. 49.”

“An organization needs to celebrate milestones,” Scott said. “It’s good to show off the orchestra and what we’re good at. It’s still not as much a household name as we would like it to be.”

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Friend grows ‘Stache for Cash for childhood buddy

October 18, 2011

David French (left) sits next to best friend Dan Stromberg, who was diagnosed with late stage Hodgkin’s lymphoma shortly after the birth of his daughter, Evangeline, who is sitting in the lap of mom, Natalie. By Tom Corrigan

Extreme highs and extreme lows.

Issaquah native Dan Stromberg has been through both. So, no doubt, has his wife of two years, Natalie Stromberg. And, quite probably, his best friend, David French.

For the couple especially, one big high arrived in February of this year when Natalie gave birth to the couple’s first child, Evangeline.

“She’s been a comfort to the both of us,” Natalie said.

Sadly, the Strombergs’ low point arrived about a month after Evangeline. At 29, Dan was diagnosed with late stage Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“He’s my best friend, we’re basically like brothers,” said French, who added he felt he had to do something to help his buddy.

The answer came when he was surfing the Internet and noticed November is, depending on which website you visit, Mustache Month or Don’t Shave Your Mustache Month.

In any case, French got the idea to grow a mustache — his first — throughout this month and next and use it as a fundraising gimmick. ’Stache for Cash was born.

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Hospital’s ‘friendly competition’ helps people in need

October 18, 2011

Colorful blankets are being sewn by Polly Weisbrod, a nurse at Swedish/Issaquah. Photo By Marissa Loew

Scraps of colorful fabric cover Polly Weisbrod’s apartment, where she sews fleece quilts to donate to the homeless.

“The amount of fabric is slowly dwindling down as I’m putting quilts together,” she said.

Weisbrod works as a nurse in the neuroscience department at Swedish/Issaquah. The quilts are part of a hospitalwide competition.

The hospital, which opened to the public in July, is motivating its staff to improve the hospital system to benefit patients and help local communities through a friendly competition, called the Ambulatory Challenge. Begun in August, judges score the teams on several categories, including community service.

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Ski and Sport Swap promises bigger, better event

October 18, 2011

Parents and their athletic children will have an opportunity to save a bunch of money on typically expensive sports equipment soon.

The Kiwanis Club of Sammamish will hold its annual Ski and Sport Swap on Oct. 29 at Pine Lake Covenant Church. Club members highlighted that the event continues to grow and in 2011 will include ample selection of ski and other sports gear.

While the event started as a way of trading mostly ski equipment, it has grown to include sports equipment of all sorts, from skis and snowboards to soccer and baseball equipment.

“I can’t think of a better way to take advantage of recycling or making your recreational sport more affordable,” event organizer Nicky Beedle said. “Why spend top dollar for equipment that will likely be obsolete by the end of next season?”

Community members are encouraged to donate their gently used gear for the swap. You can also swap your gear for credit to put toward other gear you purchase at the Ski and Sport Swap. But of course, donated items fetch 100 percent profit, the proceeds of which go toward the Kiwanis Children and Youth leadership mentoring projects, Beedle said.

The Ski and Sport Swap runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 29. Bring items to donate between 5:30 and 8 p.m. Oct. 28 and between 8 and 9 the morning of the sale. Pine Lake Covenant Church is at 1715 228th Ave. S.E., Sammamish.

Issaquah Community Network plans Youth Job Skills Fair

October 18, 2011

Using a $15,000 grant from the state Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Issaquah Community Network is planning its first Youth Job Skills Fair on Nov. 12.

The event is aimed mostly at first-time job seekers ages 16 to 24, said network Executive Director Barbara de Michele. Participants do not need to be enrolled in Issaquah public schools.

Several break-out sessions are planned, with topics ranging from how to conduct a job search to how to write a worthy résumé and how to keep your job once you’ve landed it.

Additionally, de Michele said, participants will be asked to make some choices from a list of career possibilities. They will then have the chance to meet with professionals working in fields that interest them.

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South Cove couple make tired kitchen a keeper

October 18, 2011

Mark and Leslie Gilbert, with son Trey, 4, now enjoy more family time in their ‘great room,’ created by opening up their kitchen space into the little-used living room. By Greg Farrar

With a growing family, Mark and Leslie Gilbert had a tough decision facing them and their two boys (ages 7 and 4) — abandon the home they love for a larger one or upgrade their current house?

“For me, it came down to the question, ‘Do we upgrade within the neighborhood to something with more square feet?” Mark said. “Or do we upgrade our home and reuse the square feet in a different way?”

Leslie looked at the problem from a different angle — what could they do if they stayed?

“We had a lot of floor space that was unused,” she said, adding she thought they could do something better with the flow through the kitchen to the unused formal dining and living room.

After weighing all of their options, they chose to stay in their home and upgrade the kitchen.

The renovation entailed knocking out an L-shaped wall and creating a “great room.” It would feature a central island in the opened-up kitchen that would face a more defined living and dining space, rather than separate rooms.

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Eastlake defense grabs interceptions, beats Issaquah, 44-17

October 18, 2011

Reed Peterson (right), Issaquah junior wide receiver, spins away from Eastlake senior defensive back Colton Teglovic into the end zone for a late second-quarter touchdown on a 23-yard pass play. By Greg Farrar

Plagued by interception trouble and a tough Eastlake Wolves’ defense and special teams, the Issaquah High School Eagles fell, 44-17, in KingCo 4A Conference play Oct. 14.

Eastlake, The Seattle Times’ No. 1 ranked 4A school in the state, handed the Eagles their second loss of the season.

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Halloween pumpkin’s beauty is in the eye of the beholder

October 18, 2011

Picking perfect jack-o’-lantern comes down to preference

Glenn Dutro hoists a pumpkin on his shoulder in the u-pick pumpkin patch at the Trinity Tree Farm in Issaquah. Photo By Greg Farrar

About 50,000 pounds of pumpkins dot the landscape as far as the eye can see.

There are oblong gourds with ample, flat surface areas for carving.

Others are rotund, boasting a sturdy stem and a thick, perfect shell.

Glenn Dutro, who has offered families a chance to pick their own pumpkins for the past three years at the u-pick pumpkin patch at the Trinity Tree Farm near Issaquah, wants something else out of his Halloween pumpkin entirely.

“The perfect pumpkin is all just a matter of personal preference,” he said. “Most people want a big, bright, beautiful thing. I want one with scars on it. I want it messed up and nasty.”

Ken Allison, a produce manager for PCC Natural Markets, said the perfect pumpkin is all in the eye of the beholder.

“It’s all in a person’s aesthetic judgment,” he said. “Typically, what I look for to carve or to sell is the stem to be attached still. That way you know it’s not knocked or kicked around. You want the pumpkin to feel firm so it won’t rot and collapse right away.”

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