Liberty swimmers battle Mercer Island

December 13, 2011

For many years, when the Liberty High School boys swimming team met perennial power Mercer Island, the latter team yawned and used the meet almost like a warmup.

But that was not the case Dec. 6, when the Patriots grabbed first place in nine of 12 events and almost upset the defending 3A state champions. Mercer Island prevailed, 95-90, but the Islanders got one tough battle from the Patriots in the Julius Boehm Pool.

Mercer Island’s depth was the difference in the meet. While Liberty grabbed the most first places, the Islanders captured the majority of the runnerup places.

Liberty had nine state-qualifying times in the meet. Senior Logan Briggs and freshman Nick Klatt each won two events in state-qualifying times.

Briggs captured the 50-yard freestyle in 22.40 seconds and won the 100 freestyle in 48.32. He also swam as a member of two winning relays that had state-qualifying times. Klatt won the 200 freestyle in 1:49.75 and the 500 freestyle in 4:59.44. He also swam as a member of a winning relay team that had a state-qualifying time.

Luke Duschl, of Liberty, had two first places. He won the 100 individual medley in a state-qualifying time of 2:04.32 and captured the 100 backstroke in 57.98.

Liberty’s Raymond Ha won the 100 breaststroke in a state-qualifying time of 1:01.90. He finished second in the 100 butterfly in 56.58, just missing the state standard of 56.0.

Kevin Hays, of Liberty, was second in the 100 breaststroke in a state-qualifying time of 1:03.08.

Liberty showed Mercer Island it was for real by winning the first event of the meet, the 200 medley relay. Duschl, Ha, Briggs and Hays made up the relay team, which had a state-qualifying time of 1:41.76. It was a fast race as Mercer Island’s A and B teams finished second and third, respectively, with state-qualifying times.

The Patriots closed out the meet by winning the 400 freestyle relay in a state-qualifying time of 3:22.50. Briggs, Connor Biehl, Klatt and Duschl made up the relay team.

The loss evened Liberty’s KingCo Conference 3A/2A record at 1-1.

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2012 city budget clears crucial hurdle

December 13, 2011

City Council members inched closer to approval for a 2012 municipal budget Dec. 5, as the document cleared a crucial hurdle.

In a unanimous decision, council members directed staffers to prepare a 2012 spending plan. The council is due to adopt the plan Dec. 19.

“I think this is a fairly conservative budget,” Council President John Traeger said.

In October, Mayor Ava Frisinger sent to the council a $32 million general fund budget — dollars used to fund police and fire services, community development and planning, parks and recreation, and municipal government.

The process to form a 2012 budget started earlier, at a council goal-setting retreat in May. Officials outlined priorities for the year ahead and helped shape department chiefs’ spending proposals.

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Decluttering offers chance to reuse, recycle

December 13, 2011

Habitat for Humanity Store volunteer Cindy Clark (left) and merchandising supervisor Molly Jacobson work in the Bellevue showroom, moving and assembling previously owned furniture donated to sell. By Greg Farrar

The items relegated to closets, crawlspaces, garages and junk drawers need not be banished to the landfill during a home decluttering effort.

Local recycling and reuse experts said the trick is to find fresh uses for old and unnecessary items, either through donations or repairs. Items in good condition make ideal candidates for donations to thrift stores. King County and local businesses offer recycling services for many household goods and items in not-so-good shape.

King County EcoConsumer Tom Watson said options abound for unloading the items cluttering the nooks and crannies in a home.

“Always consider donation, because reuse is better than recycling,” Watson said. “Someone else can use it — family, friends,” online classified services and thrift stores.

Watson adds another R to the time-tested mantra to reduce, reuse and recycle — repair. Often, furniture and other household items in otherwise good condition can be repaired for less expense and hassle than replacement. Old furniture, for instance, is a candidate for reupholstering.

Arie Mahler, donations manager for Seattle Goodwill, said sending items to a thrift store is a solid choice to reduce clutter — and aid a local nonprofit organization in the process, too.

“We’re pretty forgiving when it comes to donations,” he said.

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Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District officials consider water rate hike

December 13, 2011

Less than a month after the City Council raised water rates for most Issaquah customers, the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District is considering a hike next year to offset losses related to the cool, soggy summer.

District officials blame the weather, in part, for water revenues coming in about 8 percent below budget in 2011. The cloud cover and moderate temperatures meant fewer people watered lawns — resulting in lower water consumption and less money for the district.

The district encompasses North Issaquah neighborhoods, including Providence Point, and Klahanie in unincorporated King County.

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Puget Sound Energy offers LED bulb rebates

December 13, 2011

Puget Sound Energy customers can receive a rebate for energy-efficient LED bulbs.

PSE customers can receive the instant rebate of up to $10 off a variety of Energy Star-qualified LED bulbs. Depending on the type of bulb, the after-rebate price to customers is between $15 and $50. Customers can purchase rebated Energy Star-qualified LED bulbs at participating retailers, including Costco, Lowe’s and The Home Depot.

Such bulbs use up to 85 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last up to 22 times longer.

Learn more about LED bulbs and find a participating retailer at Or call 1-800-562-1482 toll free on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Customers can complete a survey at after receiving the rebate to enter a drawing for a $100 prepaid gift card.

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Holidays highlight need at Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank

December 13, 2011

Barb Main (left), an Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank volunteer, helps Marta Cotreras and husband Sotero, of Newcastle, fill their grocery needs for the week during food bank hours Dec. 1. By Greg Farrar

The line outside the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank on a cold December morning is long, and the people clutching canvas bags came bundled against the chill.

The pace inside the plain downtown building is swift. Clients, bags in hand, spirit through another line and place orders with the volunteers behind the counter. Hamburger Helper, macaroni and cheese, and other family dinner staples disappear from the shelves behind the counter as volunteers slip the items inside clients’ bags.

Elsewhere, clients choose from fresh fruits and vegetables, and, of course, canned goods beneath a sign reading, “Take what you need but need what you take.”

The people relying on the food bank for assistance comprise a diverse group. Chinese, Russian and Spanish phrases punctuate the air around the line each morning.

Clients also vary in age. The food bank serves more than 3,200 clients from throughout the Issaquah School District. The group includes more than 1,200 children ages 3 to 17, and more than 460 people 65 and older.

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Sports Calendar

December 13, 2011

Adult sports

Issaquah Alps Trails Club

Dec. 16, 10 a.m., Dogs Welcome Hike, 3-4 miles, 500- to 900-foot elevation gain. Call 206-909-1080 … Dec. 18, 9:30 a.m., Preston-Snoqualmie Trail, 5 miles, 500-foot elevation gain. Call 837-1535.

Cascade Bicycle Club

Dec. 17, 10 a.m., Marymoor-Issaquah-Beaver Lake ride, 33 miles from Marymoor Park east parking lot. Call 206-523-2205.


Winter quarter registration has started for swimming sessions at the Issaquah Parks’ Julius Boehm Pool. Programs include swimming lessons, water aerobics, safety classes and party rentals. The first winter session runs from Jan. 4-26. The second session is from Jan. 30 to Feb. 23 and the third session is from Feb. 27 to March 21. Register or learn more by going to or calling 837-3350.

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Skyline High School gives back

December 13, 2011

Hall Monitor By Monica Chon Skyline High School

Skyline High School is often referred to as a wealthy school, filled with spoiled and selfish students. However, during the week of Dec. 4, the students proved that these ignorant stereotypes were untrue by raising money for Make a Wish Foundation and Northwest Harvest during a spirit week.

The purpose of high school spirit weeks is usually to entertain the school and brighten up the students. Skyline’s spirit week had the same intention, in addition to giving back to the community.

Like most spirit weeks, each day of the week had a different theme, such as flannel day, winter wear day, and blanket or Snuggie day. And what is a spirit week without activities? Skyline hosted its annual Unplugged Acoustic Night as well as a Winter Wonder Night, filled with games and yummy food. All of the proceeds went to the Make a Wish Foundation.

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Fooled by a tree

December 13, 2011

Every time my husband and I drive down East Lake Sammamish Parkway, he asks me what the beautiful trees are that line the west side. As we whiz by my usual reply is “some kind of red maple.” I didn’t ever get too excited, because we have so many red maple trees in Issaquah.

Then this fall I noticed they didn’t drop their leaves at the same time as the other red maples. In fact, on Dec. 7, they still had their beautiful, brilliant red leaves. I became very curious. Since it’s impossible to stop or even slow down on East Lake Sammamish Parkway, I thought some day I can walk down here and check out these trees.

Yesterday I was taking the off-ramp from Interstate 405 onto Northeast Eighth Street in Bellevue, and I noticed a beautiful tree, larger and older than the ones on East Lake Sammamish Parkway, but the same variety. It, too, was in full, brilliant foliage with just a few leaves on the pavement. With a fear of being run over or arrested, I jumped out of my car and grabbed a leaf. It was not a maple.

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Rotary Club of Issaquah honors students of the month

December 13, 2011

The Rotary Club of Issaquah  recently honored the following seniors as its students of the month for November:

Macaire Ament

Macaire Ament

School:  Liberty High School

Category of recognition: English

Parents: Tom and Andreé Ament

Academic achievements: National Merit Scholar commended student; honor society/honor roll; 3.976 grade point average

Athletic achievements: second-team all league 2011 goal keeper, Olympic Development Program pool player (2008-10); two-time league champion with Patriots soccer

Activities: youth group (Lifeteen) at Mary, Queen of Peace; Mountains to Sound Greenway; Jazzercise

Scholastic interests: Physettes (girls science/environmental awareness) club president

Hobbies: writing, drawing (Mickey Mouse), varsity soccer (goal keeping), reading

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