Prepare for national Emergency Alert System test

November 8, 2011

City leaders reminded Issaquah residents to prepare for a national Emergency Alert System test.

The test, scheduled for 11 a.m. Nov. 9, is a chance for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to try out the Emergency Alert System, a national alert and warning system for the president to address the American public during emergencies.

The test is meant to help federal agencies and local participants, such as Issaquah and King County, determine the reliability of the system and how well such messages notify the public during disasters, such as earthquakes.

During the test, a message indicating, “This is a test” is broadcast on radio and television. The test could last up to three and a half minutes, and could include a typed message on the TV screen.

The practice run includes local radio and television stations, cable television, and satellite radio and television services.

Officials said the test is similar to Emergency Alert System tests conducted in the area on a regular basis.

Issaquah emergency planners used the test to remind people to establish emergency preparedness plans and kits. Learn more at King County’s 3 Days 3 Ways program website,, and the federal preparedness website,

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The Ventures surf into Snoqualmie Casino

November 8, 2011

Don Wilson, a founding member of The Ventures, enjoys showing off the gold records and memorabilia he has collected in his Sammamish home over a 50-plus year career in music. By Tom Corrigan

There aren’t too many bands that can say they outsold The Beatles two to one.

There aren’t too many bands — if any besides one — that can say they have put out roughly 270 albums.

There aren’t too many bands that can say they have been performing steadily for 50-plus years.

Based in Sammamish just outside of Issaquah, Don Wilson’s Ventures can say all that and plenty more.

“We are the biggest selling instrumental band in music history, not just in rock ‘n’ roll, but in the history of recorded music,” said Wilson, who helped found The Ventures with the late Bob Bogle in 1958.

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in 2008, the band credited with the invention of the surf guitar plays at Snoqualmie Casino on Nov. 11.

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Find up-to-date election information, results online

November 8, 2011

The latest information and results from the Nov. 8 election is available from The Issaquah Press at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at

King County Elections plans to release updated results at 4:30 p.m. weekdays until every ballot is counted. Local voters cast ballots in City Council, Issaquah School Board and Port of Seattle Commission races, and for statewide ballot initiatives.

The results remain unofficial until the county Canvassing Board meets Nov. 29 to certify the election. The certified results should then be posted to the elections website,

In the meantime, King County Elections is offering voters a behind-the-scenes look at ballot processing activities.

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No mustache? No problem — boy shaves head instead for ‘Movember’ fundraiser

November 8, 2011

Stylist Melissa Hill, of Issaquah’s Salon Couture, shaves the head of Sam Moran, 12, to mark Movember, a movement to raise funds and promote men’s health. By Tom Corrigan

At one point during a pretty quick haircut, his hands hidden beneath the barber’s cape that protected him from falling follicles, Sam Moran, 12, said he wished his hands were free so he could feel the fuzz that represented what was left of his hair.

He’ll have plenty of time to do that over the coming weeks. Both mom Caroline Moran and stylist Melissa Hill seemed to think it might take a while for Sam’s locks to grow back, certainly longer than the month that Sam cut his hair to honor.

In some quarters, the month of November has become known as “Movember.” Essentially, the idea is for men to grow moustaches to raise awareness and dollars in order to help fight men’s heath problems, particularly prostate cancer. Realizing he is too young to grow a moustache himself, Sam nevertheless wanted to get involved.

According to dad Brian Moran, he and his son came to a deal via text message. Brian would grow a moustache if Sam shaved his head. And that was how Sam ended up in a stylist’s chair at Issaquah’s Salon Couture.

“I think it’s great that it is important to him,” Brian said.

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Issaquah’s world champion coach attracts elite fencers

November 8, 2011

Wang Yung brought home gold for the Americans at the 2011 World Veteran Fencing Championship held in Croatia. Contributed

Fencers from around the country travel to the Washington Fencing Academy in Issaquah just to train with Wang Yung.

That’s because Yung is one of the best saber coaches in the country. He’s trained national and world champions, all while still competing in the sport himself.

Yung recently brought home the gold medal after competing in the World Veteran Fencing Championship in the 60-69 age division.

Entered in the men’s saber category, Yung was very pleased with the win. His competition has included past world champions.

“The opponent I beat for the gold is an extremely, extremely competent fencer,” Yung said. “He was on the British Olympic team. So, beating him was very satisfying.”

Yung is an expert with the saber, one of three weapons commonly used in fencing. Saber fencing is unique in that points can be scored by hitting the opponent with the side of the blade, as well as the point of the blade. Fencing with a saber requires great body control and quick movements.

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Leftovers transformed into art for show at University House

November 8, 2011

Seattle artist Kelly Lyles is one of 22 local artists who took part in ‘Unfinished Business,’ an art exhibit set for Issaquah’s University House. Contributed

June Sekiguchi, a founding member of public art center artEAST, said every artist has unfinished pieces or unused bits of this or that sitting around their studios.

Mulling over that fact led her to the unusual idea for “Unfinished Business,” an original art display done in conjunction with artEAST and to be displayed at Issaquah’s University House retirement community beginning Nov. 12.

Essentially, artists were handed raw materials or uncompleted projects donated by other artists. Each artist was then asked to complete a finished piece with the provided materials.

The unused items covered a wide range of territory. One was a 5-foot-tall welded steel frame for a sculpture. Another contribution consisted of bits of broken glass.

“Some people got some very raw materials,” Sekiguchi said.

Seattle artist Kelly Lyles, a painter, ended up donating a bag of cocktail sticks with tops that resembled donkeys, apparently at the request of Sekiguchi. Lyles was excited to see what someone made of the items.

For her part, Lyles turned a partly finished canvas with a blue background into a whimsical painting of a hamster resting atop a can of Spam. The title: “Spamster,” of course.

Other Lyles works have names such as “Lays Potato Chipmunks.” A few of her other creations will be on display during “Unfinished Business” as Sekiguchi invited each artist to submit the specially made projects along with some of their other works.

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Issaquah pilot hits the skies with first-time fliers

November 8, 2011

Al Swierzy, of Issaquah, stands alongside one of the rented planes, he has used to take youngsters on more than 100 free-of-charge flights. Contributed

Of course he enjoys showing youngsters the thrill of flying, said Issaquah pilot Al Swierzy, 49.

“I got into it as a challenge,” Swierzy added in regard to becoming a pilot. “But the more I flew, the more I enjoyed it.”

In regard to the just over 100 young aviators Swierzy has taken up for free rides in a four-seat plane, he admitted he did that partly to avoid what he called the “$100 hamburger.”

Pilots need to keep their skills up, Swierzy said, especially those who don’t fly for a living, but recreationally, as he does.

Often, Swierzy said, recreational pilots will take off from one small airport, land at another, have lunch and head back. Taking into account the price of fuel, possible airport fees and so on, the phrase “$100 hamburger” was born to help illustrate such short flights.

Instead of expensive lunches, Swierzy enjoys traveling to organized aviation events, such as those put on by the Experimental Aircraft Association. In turn, the EAA organizes the Young Eagles program, whereby pilots such as Swierzy take youngsters for what is often their first plane ride. The flights may last only a short time, but Swierzy said the whole point is to foster in those youngsters an appreciation of aviation and often the science that goes along with it.

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Kiwanis Club of Issaquah hosts coat, shoe drive

November 8, 2011

The Kiwanis Club of Issaquah is holding a coat and shoe drive throughout November.

The drive runs through Nov. 30 and donations benefit the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.

Coats and shoes — in adult’s and children’s sizes — should be clean, and new or gently used.

Donation sites include The Issaquah Press, 45 Front St. S.; the Issaquah Gilman branch of KeyBank, 405 N.W. Gilman Blvd., Suite A; and AtWork! Issaquah Operations, 690 N.W. Juniper St.

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Teenagers can apply to serve as Senate pages in Olympia

November 8, 2011

Teenagers can apply to serve as pages for state senators at the Capitol in Olympia.

State Sen. Cheryl Pflug reminded students ages 14 to 16 in Issaquah and other 5th Legislative District communities to apply for the legislative session from Jan. 9 to April.

Pflug urged interested students to apply for the page program as soon as possible, because the number of pages is limited.

Senators sponsor students serving as Senate pages. The teenagers spend a week in Olympia as paid employees. Pages deliver messages, hand out documents on the Senate floor and run other errands. Participants also attend Page School during the workday to learn about civics and government.

“Many of the people who go on to serve in public office get their first taste of policy work as a page,” Pflug said. “Plus, it’s lots of fun making friends with other teens from all over the state.”

Learn more about the page program or apply to be a page sponsored by Pflug at Students may download the application at the website.

Send the completed form to Pflug’s office: 415 Legislative Building, P.O. Box 40405, Olympia, WA 98504-0405.

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Reading Buddy celebrates second generation with second-graders

November 8, 2011

Betty Gering, 76, has been reading to second-graders in the Briarwood Elementary School library for 15 years. By Tom Corrigan

Briarwood Elementary School volunteer looks back on 15 years

“My mother had been a second-grade teacher,” said Betty Gering, who at 76 years of age is entering her 15th year of serving as a Reading Buddy to youngsters at Briarwood Elementary School.

Gering said she continues to act as a sort of in-school tutor to second-graders at Briarwood partly to honor the memory of her mother. But there are other reasons as well.

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