Democrats respond to state Republican caucuses

March 6, 2012

Local Democrats do not gather for caucuses until April 15, but the state party organization did not remain on the sidelines as Republicans chose Mitt Romney in a statewide straw poll March 3.

Washington State Democrats Chairman Dwight Pelz lambasted the GOP frontrunner and former Massachusetts governor hours after the caucuses ended.

“Washingtonians are looking for a leader who will focus on revitalizing the economy and creating jobs, but Mitt Romney and the rest of the GOP slate are too busy pandering to the extreme right wing of their party to focus on the issues that matter to Washington’s middle class families,” Pelz said in a statement.

Though President Barack Obama does not face a challenge for the nomination, Democrats plan to use the caucuses to elect delegates and alternates to legislative district caucuses and county conventions.

Mitt Romney receives stamp of approval from elected officials, too

March 6, 2012

Mitt Romney earned key endorsements from Republican elected leaders on the Eastside, including Kathy Lambert, the Issaquah representative on the King County Council, local state Sen. Steve Litzow and local state Rep. Jay Rodne before the caucuses.

U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, the Issaquah representative in Congress, endorsed Romney days before the caucuses.

Local former state Sen. Dino Rossi, a past candidate for governor and U.S. senator, is another Romney supporter.

Off the Press

March 6, 2012

Time flies when making a lifetime of memories 

Bob Taylor Press sports editor

Mr. Hune was a very insightful teacher. In my ninth-grade yearbook he wrote “to a future newspaper reporter.”

How did he know?

I do not believe Mr. Hune, who taught the newspaper class at my junior high school, realized I would later venture into an enjoyable career that would last 40 years.

Forty years — sometimes it does not seem I just started yesterday. In 1972, when my career started, “The Godfather” was playing at most cinemas. Regular gasoline cost just 36 cents a gallon and postage stamps were only 10 cents. Three Dog Night and Moody Blues were some of the hit bands.

And on a sunny June afternoon in 1972 I graduated from Western Washington University. I had no time for the congratulations from two aunts who came to the graduation ceremony, because I had to go to work. I had recently been hired by the Bellingham Metropolitan, a new, enterprising, weekly newspaper that expected to challenge the established Bellingham Herald for the reading audience. My assignment was to write a story about the graduation. With diploma in hand, I raced to the office to write my first professional story on a Royal typewriter.

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Salmon in the Classroom program spawns gift to Clark Elementary School

March 6, 2012

The long-running Salmon in the Classroom program at Clark Elementary School remained afloat due to a donation from a former student.

Issaquah native Jerry Pearson, a Snoqualmie attorney and former Clark Elementary student, said childhood memories of salmon in Lewis Creek and concerns about budget cuts to public schools inspired the donation.

“It’s important for kids to know that the salmon are an important part of the culture in the Northwest,” he said. “They need to know that salmon are so much more than just the logo on posters for Salmon Days.”

Pearson recalled fishing for trout and perch in Lewis Creek as a boy growing up near the south end of Lake Sammamish.

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Issaquah man is semifinalist in Space Needle competition to blast off on celestial adventure

March 6, 2012

Saurabh Saxena, of Issaquah, has made it from 50,000 entrants into a group of 20 semifinalists trying to earn a trip into space in a contest held for the 50th anniversary of the Space Needle and Seattle’s Century 21 Exposition. By Greg Farrar

The next space race is not between rival governments. Instead, the competition to blast off is among regular Joes and Janes.

Issaquah resident Saurabh Saxena, 40, is among 20 semifinalists in the Space Needle Space Race 2012 — a contest to launch a civilian on a suborbital flight.

Saxena and other semifinalists created videos for the public to watch and then vote on top candidates. The longtime amateur astronomer said the contest offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“No matter what the result is, whether I get selected or not, being enthusiastic and doing what your heart says is something I’ve learned,” he said. “Everything you do, you have to put your best in.”

Even though organizers already tallied more than 17,000 votes, fewer than 15 votes separated some semifinalists March 5. In the meantime, acquaintances and friends mobilized to support Saxena as the March 18 deadline approaches.

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State predicts smaller chinook, coho salmon returns

March 6, 2012

State salmon fishery officials expect a smaller coho return to Puget Sound streams in the months ahead.

Overall, the forecast calls for 732,363 coho to return to local streams — or 249,000 fewer coho than the 2011 forecast.

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Hazardous conditions impacted response to January storms

March 6, 2012

The battle against the elements created dangerous conditions for city crews during a snowstorm and a rare ice storm in January, officials said in a recent update on response to the storms.

City crews scrambled to keep pace as the storms battered Issaquah and the region. Sometimes, limbs crashed onto city streets mere moments after a snowplow scraped snow and ice from the surface.

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Retiring Sports Editor Bob Taylor shares milestones from a long career on the sidelines

March 6, 2012

Kasen Williams, then-Skyline High School senior, makes his winning triple-jump leap of 45 feet, 5 1/2 inches, during the KingCo track and field championships May 13, 2011, at Juanita High School. File

I kind of know how Bill Gates must have felt when he made his first million. When I joined The Issaquah Press news staff May 22, 2000, I struck it rich, too!

Five days after being hired at The Press I covered my first Issaquah School District state championship team. Actually, it was inevitable that an Issaquah team would win when Issaquah and Skyline met for the 3A state baseball title in Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium. Issaquah won 5-3.

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Norman Edward Vogt

March 6, 2012

Norman Vogt

A memorial service for Norman Edward Vogt, of Junction City, Ore., will be held March 16 at the Oakville Presbyterian Church, 29970 Church Drive, in Shedd, Ore. He died Feb. 22, 2012, of cancer at the age of 69.

Norman was born Feb. 16, 1943, in Eugene to parents Edward and Frances (Brown) Vogt. He graduated from Junction City High School in 1961 and he was very instrumental in helping put together the 50th high school reunion in 2011.

Norman married Joanne (Yoder) Vogt at the Thurston Christian Church on June 12, 1965. And that same year, he graduated from Oregon State University from the School of Forestry.

They lived in Chehalis, Marysville and then settled in Issaquah while he worked for the Weyerhaeuser Co. He retired Jan. 24, 2003, after 38 years with the company.

After retiring, Norman and his wife built their retirement home in Junction City on the farm where he grew up. He was also very active in the Forests Today and Forever Program, and served on their boards of directors. He loved teaching children about the outdoors and the forests in particular. He also enjoyed hiking, camping and kayaking with his grandson Draven.

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Lend a fin to kokanee at local fundraiser

March 6, 2012

Coho Café Catering and Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery plan to help a salmon species in decline.

The organizations planned Kokanee S.O.S. — for “save our salmon” — a fundraiser at the Issaquah restaurant to raise dollars for Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon preservation. The species is dwindling, but the federal government declined last year to list the fish as endangered.

The fundraiser is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 23. Purchase tickets at Coho Café, 6130 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E., Suite A, or by calling 391-4040.

Proceeds from the fundraiser benefit a long-term effort to restore the salmon species. The effort brings together U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, and FISH to collect and spawn kokanee.

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