City Council reschedules Route 200 discussion

March 1, 2011

The plan to extend Route 200 from downtown Issaquah and the business district to the Issaquah Highlands and Talus is due to reach the City Council soon.

The free bus route had been scheduled to extend to the highlands and Talus in September. The city and Metro Transit had planned to start collecting fares on Route 200 in the months ahead.

Port Blakely Communities, the highlands developer and a partner in the effort to expand transit service, requested last month for the extension to be delayed until at least 2013.

Council Transportation Committee members agreed last month to push the implementation date to February 2013.

The council had been scheduled to discuss the proposal March 7. Members plan to consider the measure March 21 instead.

Municipal and Port Blakely staffers continue to work on the proposal.

Metro Transit and Issaquah officials could also establish a route, 928, to offer additional service on Squak Mountain.

In order to fund the additional service, the proposal calls for Metro Transit to charge fares on Route 200 buses. In the meantime — due to the delayed extension — rides along the route remain free.

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Offering water aid in Ethiopia, one drop at a time

March 1, 2011

Giuliana Sercu uses a piece of cloth to carry water several miles to a village. Many Ethiopian women and children living in villages spend most of their time carrying water instead of going to school or working. By Susan Sercu

Instead of going to school, many Ethiopian girls carry water for miles — water used for washing, bathing, cooking and drinking.

Giuliana Sercu, a 12-year-old girl from Issaquah visiting Ethiopia with her mother and cousin, partly filled a 10-gallon jug and carried it on her back, wrapped around her body with a piece of cloth during her Feb. 4-13 trip to Ethiopia.

“It was really heavy,” Giuliana said. “Mine wasn’t even a third of the way full and it was totally heavy for me.”

The muddy water wasn’t even clean, but it was the closest water source to the village. By working with Water 1st International and Water Action, Giuliana and her family journeyed to Ethiopia with two missions in mind: learn about the culture and bring clean water to people in need.

“I think that clean drinking water is a right for everyone and I think it’s awful that some people don’t have it and I want to change that,” Giuliana said.

Giuliana learned about Water 1st last year, when the nonprofit organization visited her sixth-grade class at Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart.

At school, she learned 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water worldwide and 2.5 billion people lack even a simple toilet. About 5 million people — most of them children under 5 — die from water related illnesses, such as diarrhea.

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King County seeks citizens for Rural Forest Commission

March 1, 2011

King County seeks applicants for the Rural Forest Commission, the citizen board responsible for advising the county executive and County Council about forestland and forestry issues.

Created in 1997, the commission advises leaders about policies and programs, identifies strategies to conserve forestlands and promotes forestry in rural areas.

The all-volunteer commission meets a half-dozen times per year, and sometimes more for subcommittees. The county Department of Natural Resources and Parks needs to fill four open seats.

Commission applicants should have a working knowledge of forestry in the county and the ability to work among many viewpoints to find solutions to complex problems.

Groups represented on the Rural Forest Commission include environmentalists, American Indian tribes, industrial forestland owners, small forestland owners and professional foresters.

Call the county Forestry Program at 206-296-8042, e-mail staff liaison Linda Vane at or visit the program website, environment/waterandland/ forestry/ruralforestcommission, to request application materials.

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Off the Press

March 1, 2011

Issaquah attractions are worthy of bucket list

I’ve worked here at The Issaquah Press for over a decade now, covering different aspects of one of the state’s fastest growing towns.

David Hayes Press Reporter

I’ve patrolled the schools beat, sat in on City Council meetings when the city reporter was out of town, and roamed the sidelines at sporting events when Bob Taylor, our sports editor, couldn’t be everywhere at once.

Seeing so many sides of Issaquah, it has really grown on me over the years. How could it not, with so much to do and see, and with such interesting people waiting to tell their tale?

And that’s the problem. As I move further into my second decade covering Issaquah, I’ve realized there is still so much I haven’t done.

As “bucket lists” — where you make up a list of things to do before you die — have become all the rage, consider this my list of righting all the missed opportunities I’ve incurred since living and working in Issaquah.

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Help salvage native plants in the Issaquah Highlands

March 1, 2011

Gardeners can salvage native plants soon from Issaquah Highlands parcels eyed for construction.

King County seeks volunteers for the native plant salvage program to dig out native trees and shrubs March 5. Then, volunteers pot the vegetation for future use at a county native plant holding facility near Sammamish.

The salvage event is from 9 a.m. to noon at the highlands salvage site. The potting project is from 1-4:30 p.m. Volunteers can take home salvaged plants for free.

The county requires a parent or guardian to accompany volunteers younger than 16. Volunteers should dress for the weather and be prepared to get dirty. The county provides gloves, tools and light refreshments.

Contact Cindy Young at 206-296-8065 or to sign up or learn more.

The county uses salvaged plants to enhance habitat restoration projects by reducing erosion; shading streams, wetlands and estuaries; and improving fish and wildlife habitat.

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EFR advises homeowners to buy fire insurance

March 1, 2011

In 2010, Eastside Fire & Rescue responded to 110 structure fires that resulted in an estimated $1.7 million in property loss.

To avoid future property loss, EFR advises that homeowners and renters not only buy fire insurance but also take inventory of personal items so insurance providers will have records of the lost items of value. Without a list, it is difficult to receive full replacement value.

Once photos are taken, keep two copies — one that is not stored in the home — for safekeeping.

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CERT disaster-response training starts soon

March 1, 2011

Issaquah residents can prepare for disasters at Community Emergency Response Team training in March.

CERT training is designed to prepare you to help residents during and after a catastrophe.

In the aftermath of a major earthquake or another disaster, emergency responders cannot help everyone immediately, so citizens rely on CERT-trained citizens to protect and save neighbors.

The program typically includes eight weeks of classes from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Cost is $35. The session starts March 23. Participants can register at the Issaquah Citizen Corps Council website,

CERT courses include disaster first aid training, disaster preparedness, basic firefighting, light search and rescue and damage assessment, plus lessons in how to turn off utilities and psychology behind a disaster. CERT members also educate residents about Map Your Neighborhood, a program to coordinate disaster recovery on a block-by-block basis.

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Aspiring Issaquah actor aims for L.A.

March 1, 2011

Achombom “Jude” Tunyi caught the acting bug in kindergarten, and now at age 15 he is raising funds for the largest audition of his life: the International Performing Arts Conference, a chance to meet agents from around the world.

Achombom 'Jude' Tunyi

Always an outgoing child, he took part in a tutoring commercial in sixth grade, and played a sea captain for the Issaquah Middle School play “Treasure Island” in seventh grade. He channeled his acting skills into leadership roles, volunteering as an eighth-grade Associated Student Body representative, an activity he still participates in, especially during the Issaquah High School morning announcements.

Learning the skills of acting “just got me involved,” he said. “I got to speak and say my mind to people.”

Jude has a lot to share. A native of Cameroon, he moved to Issaquah with his family in 2002.

At school, Jude excelled in public speaking, and gave a graduation speech in eighth grade before he and his classmates moved on to high school.

“It was really my passion,” he said. “I just wanted to get more confidence in public speaking.”

Now a sophomore, Jude still participates in ASB, but he has also returned to acting. For the past six months, he has taken classes at the Barbizon School of Modeling & Acting. He did so well, his acting teacher encouraged him to audition for the International Performing Arts Conference, held from June 23-26 in Los Angeles.

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Artists to set frenetic pace at 24-hour art marathon

March 1, 2011

It’s a festival of ferocity and delight, described by one organizer as “madness and mayhem.”

The nonprofit arts outfit artEAST, created and driven by local artists, is demonstrating its gusto by holding a 24-hour workshop-presentation marathon of art starting March 3. The event is “a frenzy of art,” artEAST founding member Deby Harvey said.

The event reflects the organization’s mission of fostering and encouraging an artistic spirit in the community.

June Sekiguchi, who has contributed pieces such as ‘Pattern Play’ from her Ajrak Series to artEAST, will participate in 24 Hours of Art on March 3. Contributed

Harvey said the 14 participating artists will be expected to produce four pieces within 24 hours, beginning at 9 a.m. March 3. The finished pieces will then be sold at an auction — the biggest fundraiser of the year for the group — March 5. Proceeds will help edify artEAST’s place in the Issaquah art community.

Meanwhile, visitors are invited to interact with and observe the artists as they work. The event is free to the public.

“This is a great opportunity to learn about the mediums if they’re interested, to see how art comes to life,” Harvey said.

The event at the artEAST Art Center will also feature food, drinks and live music.

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Rotary Club’s Grape Escape benefits scholarships

March 1, 2011

The Rotary Club of Issaquah’s annual Grape Escape auction and wine tasting will feature five wineries and breweries, along with a silent auction of art, wine-related items and entertainment packages from 6-9 p.m. March 5 at Blakely Hall, 2550 N.E. Park Drive.

Tickets cost $25 online at and $30 at the door. Participants are eligible to purchase wine and beer with no sales tax, and with prices at or below retail value.

All purchases benefit scholarships for Issaquah, Liberty and Tiger Mountain Community high schools.

The wineries and breweries include William Church, Airfield Estates, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Kestrel and Snoqualmie Brewery.

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