Leaders kick off World’s Fair anniversary celebration

March 15, 2011

King County Council members offered some World’s Fair nostalgia in recognizing Seattle Center as host to the 1962 expo.

The council issued the recognition March 7 to kick off the celebration leading to the World’s Fair’s 50th anniversary in April 2012.

“Seattle Center has a special personal connection for most King County residents, as it serves as the region’s gathering place,” Councilman Larry Phillips said in a release. “One of my fondest connections to the center is watching children play in the fountain that my father originally designed. The center’s 50th anniversary commemoration is an opportunity to reminisce about the rich history of Seattle Center and the World’s Fair, as well as envision the center’s future.”

The gates to the World’s Fair — featuring the theme Century 21 — opened April 21, 1962. By the time the expo closed on Oct. 21, 1962, 10 million fairgoers had passed through the Seattle Center grounds. The fair begat the Space Needle and the Pacific Science Center.

Nowadays, 12 million people trek to Seattle Center each year, generating $1.15 billion in business activity and $387 million in labor income for King County.

The center’s 50th anniversary celebration focuses on imagination, innovation and involvement. Leaders intend to engage the community in exploring, debating and defining a collective vision for the next 50 years.

Growth is topic at next Sustainability Film Series

March 15, 2011

The film “Save Our Land, Save Our Towns” and a discussion about the Central Issaquah Plan anchor the next Sustainability Film Series event.

“Save Our Land, Save Our Towns” follows the quest of journalist Tom Hylton to discover why small towns in the United States have declined and what residents can do to spur revival.

Then, after the film, a panel of experts plans to lead a discussion about the film and the Central Issaquah Plan — a long-term effort to shape redevelopment in the 915-acre commercial district.

The free event is from 6:30-9 p.m. March 30 at the King County Library Service Center, 960 Newport Way N.W. Arrive early for the chance to talk to exhibitors.

The municipal Resource Conservation Office presents the Sustainability Film Series with a grant from the King County Local Hazardous Waste Management Program. Call 837-3400 to learn more.

King County celebrates March as Women’s History Month

March 15, 2011

King County Executive Dow Constantine issued a proclamation for International Women’s Day last week to honor the contributions of women in society — and to celebrate Women’s History Month.

“I encourage all residents to support the goals of International Women’s Day, and to reaffirm our commitment to end gender-based discrimination,” he said in a statement. “Women have come a long way in the struggle for equal rights and opportunities, and it is up to all of us to continue consciously creating positive change for women worldwide.”

The county marked International Women’s Day on March 8.

King County has a strong history of providing leadership and management opportunities to the women in the county workforce.

Women comprise 50 percent of the executive’s leadership team, including Assistant Deputy County Executive Rhonda Berry.

“In the span of my career, I have seen great expansion in the roles that women play,” County Administrative Officer Caroline Whalen said. “It is an honor to be the first woman CAO in King County, and to continue to watch women make progress in the workplace.”

Overall, women comprise 40.85 percent of the county workforce — up from 37.9 percent in March 2009.

City OKs Costco’s 1,500-gallon underground gasoline tank

March 15, 2011

The city Planning Department has approved a permit to add a 1,500-gallon tank at the Costco gas station.

The underground tank — double-walled and fiberglass — is meant to store gasoline additives. The city approved the permit March 2.

The project site is in the southeast corner of the gasoline pump station site at Pickering Place.

Delivery is scheduled to occur by tanker trucks. From the truck, the additives can be transferred into the underground tank through flexible piping. Flammable additives are used to improve fuel efficiency and engine performance.

The facility includes a half-dozen dispensing units and 60,000 gallons of underground storage.

Check the mailbox for a toilet leak kit

March 15, 2011

The average home can waste more than 10,000 gallons of water each year due to running toilets, dripping faucets and other household leaks. The results: wasted water and pricier water bills.

In order to stop the drips, Cascade Water Alliance plans to send toilet leak detection mailers to more than 100,000 residences in Issaquah and King County for Fix A Leak Week from March 14-20.

The mailers include dye strips and simple instructions to check toilets for leaks. Learn more about toilet-leak fixes and other conservation programs at the alliance website, www.cascadewater.org.

Since 2004, the alliance has offered conservation programs to help reduce water use and save money.

Customers can receive rebates for installing WaterSense toilets and clothes washers, as well as rain shut-off devices for irrigation systems.

The alliance also provides irrigation system audits, efficient showerhead and aerator installations at apartment complexes, and upgrades to dishwashers and other fixtures at restaurants.

The regional alliance includes the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, Issaquah and Bellevue, plus other Eastside and South King County cities and water districts. The agency serves about 400,000 residents and 22,000 businesses.

State Democratic chairman plans Issaquah speech

March 15, 2011

The leader of the state Democratic Party is scheduled to speak in Issaquah about a proposal to scrap the Evergreen State’s presidential primary in favor of the caucus system. Washington State Democrats Chairman Dwight Pelz will speak at the March 16 meeting of the 5th District Democrats, the local party organization.

Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, called for eliminating the 2012 presidential primary in order to save the cash-strapped state about $10 million. Voters mandated the primary in a 1989 ballot initiative, but Democrats and Republicans rely more on party caucuses to allocate delegates.

The local Democrats meet at 7:30 p.m. at the King County Library Service Center, 960 Newport Way N.W.

The district stretches from Issaquah to Snoqualmie Pass, and from Sammamish to Maple Valley.

Pelz, a former King County councilman and state senator, is also expected to be available to discuss other issues involving the Democratic Party in Washington. The local group plans to host speakers at other monthly meetings.

Volunteers needed to mark city storm drains

March 15, 2011

More than 8,000 storm drains flow directly into area creeks and Lake Sammamish. Then, local waterways drain into Puget Sound.

The city Resource Conservation Office has received grant funding to purchase markers for every storm drain in Issaquah.

Volunteers are needed to install the “Puget Sound Starts Here” markers April 16 and May 14. E-mail Laura Matter lauramatter@seattletilth.org to learn more.

Officials estimate about 75 percent of all pollution in Puget Sound comes from storm water runoff. The runoff comes from the water passing over roads, sidewalks, driveways and yards — picking up oil, grease, metals, soaps and yard chemicals along the way. Residents can change a few things around their homes to help prevent pollution from reaching Puget Sound. Learn more at www.pugetsoundstartshere.org.

Celebrate Purim with costumes and hamentashen

March 15, 2011

At the mention of Haman’s name, children and adults spin noisemakers, called graggers, and boo.

Purim “is the most fun, the loudest and the most exciting of all the Jewish holidays,” said Seth Basker, of Issaquah.

Chabad Executive Director Rabbi Berry Farkash celebrated a Hawaiian-themed Purim with the community last year. Contributed

The Chabad of the Central Cascades invites the community to celebrate the ninth annual Purim party, held this year with a Persian theme. Every year, Chabad celebrates Purim using the backdrop of a different country. In the past, Chabad has celebrated Purim in Israel, Asia, Hawaii and Mexico — all from the confines of Blakely Hall.

“Every year, we do a twist to get the community involved,” Chabad Executive Director Rabbi Berry Farkash said.

In honor of the Persian theme, Chabad will host several Persian activities, including carpet-weaving demonstrations, henna artists and live music from the band Musica Pharsia. People can snack on a buffet of Persian food, such as Persian steamed white rice, a Persian meat stew called chelo with okra khoresh and Persian pitas with hummus.

Farkash will begin the Purim party by reading from the Megillah, the scroll that tells the narrative of Esther.

The story recounts how Esther marries King Ahasuerus. The king’s prime minister, Haman, decides to kill all Jews when Esther’s cousin and foster parent, Mordechai, refuses to bow down to him.

Not knowing that his wife is Jewish, the king agrees with Haman’s plan. Esther heroically tells her husband that if he allows the Jews to be killed, he will have to kill her, too, because she is Jewish.

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Off the Press

March 15, 2011

Council offers reality TV moment in tiebreaker

The protracted process to turn a resident from Jane or John Q. Public into a City Council member did not, despite high hopes, resemble a reality TV showdown.

Warren Kagarise Press reporter

If behind-the-scenes catfights did indeed occur amid the bonhomie and pitch-perfect presentations, none spilled out. Harrumph.

So, the group on hand March 1 for the pitches to the council — and applicants outnumbered attendees — observed no backbiting or sabotage, no bad-mouthing or name-calling. Instead, the process felt a little like the Miss America Pageant.

Mary Lou Pauly, a Development Commission member since Issaquah claimed less than 9,000 people, earned the congeniality sash for describing the applicant list as “well-spoken, outspoken and opinionated” — some of the most-desired qualities in a public official and, coincidentally, certain reality TV show contestants.

The dressed-to-impress applicants, in chipper proposals to the half-dozen council members, ticked through mileslong résumés and laudable ideas for the city.

Joe Forkner, to scrounge a metaphor from Aesop, turned out to be the tortoise — ceaselessly dependable and steady, if not flashy.

In the conversational category: Nathan Perea, a council candidate in 2009 and, to extend the metaphor to another candidate, the hare in the application process.

Yeah, I realize the hare has a longstanding reputation as a pain in the cottontail, but I apply the description to Perea because the erstwhile — and perhaps future? — candidate offers boundless enthusiasm for Issaquah.

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‘God thing’ draws couple to help South African town

March 15, 2011

The community of Citrusdal in South Africa has no electricity, no sewer or drainage, and only three toilets and three taps of running water for about 2,000 people. Yet there is no other place Melissa Van Der Wath would rather be.

Children at the Paardekop Primary School, where Hebron Community Projects will be running programs this year in sports, drama and dance. Contributed

“It’s such a heart-breaking and moving experience all in one,” the former Issaquah resident said of her new home. “It changes you.”

What hasn’t changed, however, is Van Der Wath’s lifelong desire to serve the needy.

“I had done some previous volunteer work over in Thailand and down in Guatemala with my family, and I knew that I wanted to get into missionary work sometime down the line,” she said.

What Van Der Wath didn’t anticipate, though, was the immense pull she and her husband would feel to participate in the Hebron Community Project, an organization started by a family friend in an effort to aid positive change in South African society.

“I don’t even know what the actual draw was except that it was a God thing — I just felt compelled to be a part of it,” she said.

Van Der Wath and her husband felt so motivated that they were willing to leave their plush L.A. lifestyle behind, where they enjoyed dual incomes and constant travel, and relocate to Cape Town. Van Der Wath now commutes two hours north to Citrusdal to volunteer her time, typically more than 30 hours per week.

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