King County carves up rural communities into service areas

July 24, 2012

King County could carve unincorporated neighborhoods — including Four Creeks and Klahanie just outside Issaquah — into community service areas, if a plan proposed July 19 is put into action.

The proposal is the latest in a yearslong effort to change the way county government and unincorporated communities interact. King County Executive Dow Constantine characterized the effort as a reform measure to ease access to government for residents in rural and unincorporated areas.

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Issaquah couple embarks on transcontinental motorcycle journey

July 24, 2012

Tad Haas and Gaila Gutierrez stop in June at Taylor Park Reservoir, about 120 miles southwest of Denver, during their trip across North and Central America. Contributed

When is the last time you tried something different for the first time? Our last few weeks have been full of “first times,” but quitting our jobs and leaving behind the world as we know it to travel North and Central America for the next year has been the biggie.

We left Issaquah on April 15 on fully loaded motorcycles and took off into the wild blue. Taking a career break to travel, freeing ourselves from the stress and predictability of daily routine, and experiencing life in a different way has been unfolding much as we expected. Ten national parks, 7,300 miles, loads of new friendships, astoundingly diverse geography and magnificent (sprinkled with some not so magnificent) motorcycle riding is nothing to shake a stick at and there, in a nutshell, you have a glimpse of the first eight states of our adventure.

A question frequently asked has been, “Is the journey all you expected?” It’s hard to give a definitive answer just nine weeks into it.

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King County unincorporated area councils vary by geography, population

July 24, 2012

The county and the unincorporated area councils formalized a relationship after then-County Executive Gary Locke enacted the Citizen Participation Initiative in December 1994.

Then, about one-third of the county population — 500,000 people — resided in unincorporated areas. The number has since declined to fewer than 300,000 due to annexations and incorporations.

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Firefighters practice wilderness, building rescues at Swedish/Issaquah

July 24, 2012

Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters strap a rescue dummy into a gurney during rope rescue drills July 16 at Swedish/Issaquah. By Katie Larsen

Eastside Fire & Rescue held a rope rescue drill July 16 at Swedish/Issaquah.

About 30 firefighters came together to practice a rescue of a dummy from a staircase on one roof, across to another building and down to the ground on the other side.

The lead instructor, Lt. Mark Vetter, said the exercise is one of the numerous annual drills the department has but the first held at the Swedish hospital campus. Vetter coordinates all the rope trainings and techniques. He recently went to Las Vegas for a five-day training exercise to help his team.

“It’s an opportunity to get everyone to practice our rescue techniques,” he said.

The drill was set up to be more of a rope challenge course for the team to use its training and figure out how to proceed and communicate with each other. It is a simulation of a pick-off, or rescuing a person from a building or mountain.

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‘The Music Man’ comes to town

July 24, 2012

Josh Feinsilber (clockwise from bottom right), Emily Johnson, Dan Ostrander, Regan Morris and Taylor Stutz star in ‘The Music Man.’ By Jean Johnson/Village Theatre

“The Music Man” rolls onto the Village Theatre stage soon as young performers conjure Americana, circa 1912, and upend small-town life after a con man comes to town.

“The Music Man” follows slick, silver-tongued Harold Hill, a con man posing as a bandleader to sell band instruments and uniforms to the unknowing population of River City, Iowa, and then skip town with the money.

The hitch in Hill’s scheme is Marian Paroo, River City’s prim-and-proper librarian and piano teacher. Paroo starts to uncover the deceit just as she falls for the con man.

KIDSTAGE performers present “The Music Man” as a SummerStock production from July 28 to Aug. 5 at the Frances J. Gaudette Theatre, or Mainstage.

Under the guidance of professionals, cast members between ages 8 and 18 perform. The orchestra includes advanced student musicians, too.

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Skyline High School graduate, Olympic cyclist Tela Crane, races for gold

July 24, 2012

Tela Crane, a 2004 Skyline High School graduate now riding for the USA Cycling Team, sets the national record for the 200-meter event during time trials in Colorado Springs, Colo. By Sandra Wright Sutherland

Under the scorching June 22 Colorado sun, Tela Crane zoomed around the velodrome, reaching 45 mph on her bike. After finishing the flying 200-meter sprint, Crane had a smile on her face.

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Providence Marianwood chaplain walks across state for fundraiser

July 24, 2012

The chaplain at the Providence Marianwood assisted-care facility, Klahanie resident Johann Neethling, embarked July 18 on a 300-mile trek from Spokane to Seattle — on foot.

Motivated by a desire to maintain and improve fitness after surviving a heart attack, Neethling is also using the walk as a fundraiser to benefit the residents and staffers at Providence Marianwood.

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From make-believe to biomedical research, student is a step closer to achieving dream

July 24, 2012

Tom Haffner stands outside the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center campus where he spends most of his summer days working on two separate research projects. By Lillian Tucker

Growing up on Tiger Mountain, Tom Haffner used to like to make-believe that he was a doctor.

Years later, the 21-year-old is working on projects at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center that could improve prostate cancer patient care and research.

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Iconic clown J.P. Patches, Salmon Days Festival star, dies

July 24, 2012

By Greg FarrarAlec Sharon, then 5, with mom Jill and dad Tod, don clown noses to pose with J.P. Patches for a family photo Nov. 7, 2008, during a celebration at Front Street Market. Tod lived in Mirrormont and watched the legendary Northwest clown on TV when he was his son’s age. By Greg Farrar

Before the Salmon Days Festival turned into a Pacific Northwest icon, organizers turned to a bona fide Pacific Northwest icon in 1970 to lead a parade at the celebration.

The clown J.P. Patches, a mainstay of after-school TV for generations of Seattle-area children, and sidekick Gertrude marched in the initial Salmon Days parade before a 15,000-member crowd.

Chris Wedes, a.k.a. Julius Pierpont Patches, died July 22 after a long battle against multiple myeloma, a blood cancer.

Dressed in a tattered hat and patchwork coat, J.P. Patches resided in a landfill, cavorted alongside the mop-headed Gertrude — played by ex-Marine Bob Newman in lipstick and a Raggedy Ann wig — and introduced TV audiences to a colorful cast of characters as a host on KIRO.

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Summer school program preps young minds for kindergarten

July 24, 2012

Allison Rupert, Issaquah Valley Elementary School teacher, reads to a summer kindergarten prep class July 18. By Lillian Tucker

Several miniature hands shot up into the air as Allison Rupert read aloud, “On the first day of school I wondered, ‘What will I do today?’”

While most of the classrooms at Issaquah Valley Elementary School are quiet, Rupert and fellow teacher Jane Brammer are instructing a four-week pilot kindergarten readiness program through Aug. 3.

“A lot of them have never been to school. But the first day they were on board,” Rupert said. “Seeing the progress in just two weeks, they are going to be so ready in September. They will have confidence and it won’t be a scary place.”

Paid for by an $18,000 Academic Enrichment Grant from the Issaquah Schools Foundation, the Pre-K Summer School is a free program for children entering kindergarten who have not been to preschool, have English as a second language or have attended preschool but need extra attention.

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