City human resources director to retire May 6

May 3, 2011

Ruben Nieto

Ruben Nieto, the city’s human resources director and a longtime municipal employee, plans to retire May 6 after more than 10 years.

“It has been extremely fulfilling to recruit and support Issaquah’s extraordinary team of employees during the last decade,” he said in a release.

The city announced the retirement April 27.

Nieto oversees the recruitment, selection and retention of municipal employees, plus labor and employee relations, as human resources director. The city Human Resources Department also supports all City Hall staff, and ensures Issaquah’s personnel policies and procedures comply with employment laws.

Before joining the city, Nieto worked as a manager for the King County Office of Human Resources and the county parks department.

On April 18, City Council members appointed Nieto, a city resident, to the city Park Board. He also served as a previous member of the board.

Beyond City Hall, Nieto serves in the Kiwanis Club of Issaquah and on the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank board.

Off the Press

May 3, 2011

Prior planning required for proper wandering

Here at The Press, we feature the occasional arts and entertainment centerpiece “Weekend Wanderer,” with the purpose of detailing nearby scenic destinations easily enjoyable in three days or less.

David Hayes Press reporter

My wife and I packed the car, loaded up the two pugs and embarked on our own weekend wandering, thanks to a deal she spotted on Groupon. Word of advice: Next time your spouse utilizes Groupon, double check the ramifications before disembarking from the comfy confines of Issaquah. I thought we were going on a short jaunt across the Canadian border. Just as the Skipper and Gilligan duped a group of landlubbers to take a three-hour tour, my wife epically miscalculated the extent of our journey.

In my mind, weekend wandering should take no longer than three hours to get to the destination. Our trek to Tofino, British Columbia, was completed in just under 10 hours.

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YWCA Family Village complex is made smoke free

May 3, 2011

The long-planned YWCA Family Village at Issaquah under construction in the Issaquah Highlands is among a handful of housing providers planning to offer smoke-free residences.

Overall, nine housing providers agreed to develop no-smoking policies. The clean air transition should affect people living in more than 9,000 units across the county. The highlands complex includes 146 units and residents could start moving in by July. The leasing office for the complex opened at Blakely Hall last month.

King County leaders announced the smoke-free residences April 28.

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Find a niche at Issaquah Hobby & Volunteer Expo

May 3, 2011

Looking for a quilting club? How about a hiking group or a nonprofit that helps veterans?

Hobby hunters and volunteer enthusiasts need look no further than the 12th annual Hobby & Volunteer Expo, held at the same time as the Issaquah Farmers Market May 7 at Pickering Barn.

“It has just been a fantastic tradition, an annual event, in which community programs and hobby groups can get together and, one, network with each other, and two, put the word out that they exist and they are looking for members,” Issaquah Recreation Coordinator Cathy Jones said.

The expo targets a number of people: youths looking for volunteer opportunities; Issaquah newcomers looking for groups to join; empty nesters or recent retirees searching for new outlets; and just about anybody in need of a new venture.

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To the Editor

May 3, 2011

New hospital

Tell us what medical services it has, not the latest retail amenities

Gee, how about talking about what facilities for medical care will be located at the new hospital? Who cares about a Starbucks or retail amenities — will they do operative procedures like heart surgery, stent catheterizations, tumor removal? How about some real, useful news instead of fluff?

Richard Beaudry

South Issaquah

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City Council confirms, lauds municipal board appointees

May 3, 2011

Onetime City Council finalist Paul Winterstein is going to continue serving the city on the Human Services Commission, the liaison between social service groups and municipal government.

The council appointed Winterstein and 35 other people as members and alternates to city boards and commissions April 18. Terms on the 11 affected boards start May 1. The city does not pay members.

“I am continually amazed at the number of people — and their qualifications — that stepped forward to fill our boards and commissions,” Councilman Fred Butler said before the unanimous decision to appoint the members. “It seems to me in going through the applications and the qualifications of folks, we’ve got an especially strong group of people filling some critical holes on our boards and commissions again this year.”

The city put out a call for board and commission applicants in January. Then, Mayor Ava Frisinger and board officers narrowed the applicant pool, and recommended appointees to the council for approval.

The city is continuing the interview process for alternates to serve on the Sister Cities and Urban Village Development commissions.

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Community lunch spurs appetites, friendships

May 3, 2011

The buffet lunch boasted clam-and-salmon chowder, fresh fruit smoothies and a taco bar, but it wasn’t a ritzy restaurant — it was a delicious community gathering, served for free at the Issaquah Community Hall every Thursday.

Ray Anderson (right), a Henderson House resident, receives a bowl of mixed vegetables and a taco from volunteers Marsha Whitfield (left) and Jean Olsen. By Greg Farrar

The free lunch was the brainchild of Marilyn Ottinger. She regularly volunteered at the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank and noticed how sometimes the lines moved slowly, with people waiting outside before they could collect food, clothes and other household comforts.

In 2009, she and her friends began serving lunch out of the back of their cars, setting up tables near the queue.

“We started to get to know the folks,” Ottinger said, which made her want to reach out even more.

Their portable lunch stop hit a snag in summer 2009, when temperatures topped 100 degrees. Ottinger worked with Issaquah City Councilman Fred Butler to get a permanent indoor — and cooler — space. He helped them land the Issaquah Community Hall, the meeting room in the East Sunset Way fire station.

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Japanese-themed Crayon Kids get environmental ‘kamishibai’

May 3, 2011

The children laughed and chased each other, they sang nursery rhymes and listened to story time and — here’s the kicker — it was all in Japanese.

Noriko Wong, of the Issaquah Highlands, uses her kamishibai theater during story time at a Crayon Kids playtime meeting. By Laura Geggel

Twice a month, the Japanese family group, Crayon Kids, meets at Issaquah’s United Methodist Church to teach children about Japanese culture and language through playtime.

The group began in 2003 when three Eastside Japanese mothers decided to create a bimonthly playgroup for their children focusing on the language and culture of their homeland.

After attending several meetings, Issaquah Highlands mother Noriko Wong, decided to add an act of her own. With the help of her friends and her 8-year-old daughter Leika Wong, Noriko started an environmental activity using kamishibai.

Kamishibai (kah-mee-she-bye) is a portable theater used for storytelling. Noriko has illustrated cards that fit into the mini theater, telling a story as she goes through the pictures.

She calls her act Chikyu Kamishibai Kids. Chikyu means earth, and kamishibai translates into paper theater — so in English her group is “Earth Paper Theater Kids.”

During each of the dozen shows she has presented since November, Noriko talks about the environment, and how children can protect it. Her show is so popular that she has taken it to other groups, including several private Japanese schools.

“Talking about preservation of the environment and also animal welfare with small children is very important,” she said. “I believe that those kids who are aware of those issues will make our earth a pollution-free and abuse-free environment in the future.”

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Skyline High School to hold garage sale

May 3, 2011

Skyline High School invites the community to its spring garage sale from 8 a.m. to noon May 7 in the Skyline Commons, 1122 228th Ave. S.E., Sammamish.

Proceeds benefit the scholarship fund — money used to help students pay for costs associated with school.

Birds of a feather flock to Issaquah

May 3, 2011

When the sun makes its debut in the Pacific Northwest every spring, dozens of songbirds migrate to Issaquah to live amongst its ponds and pine trees.

Thanks to the region’s mild winters, most birds do not migrate, but those that do have quite a trip, with some flying as far south as Mexico.

Eastside Audubon member Diane Weinstein, of Klahanie, has kept up with birds ever since raising a chicken at age 6. She annually keeps a running tab of the migratory birds she sees returning. Here is a sampling of her feathered sightings, with information from BirdWeb, a website run by the Seattle Audubon Society. Read more

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