External factors can’t bar success

March 27, 2012

Lee Xie Skyline High School

As a girl living on the plateau, I have often heard that our affluent surroundings are why students in this area excel in their studies. While I am infinitely grateful for my fortunate circumstances, I also believe that with the right attitude, external factors cannot bar a person from achieving success.

This philosophy is largely a result of my own personal experiences, as I grew up in Queens, by no means an affluent neighborhood situated in New York City. I have no recollection of growing up with the resources that the Issaquah School District provides me with today; my teachers wrote on blackboards in chalk and our school library was a tiny room near the entrance of the school. What I do remember, and what I find most important still today, is the sense of work ethic and a love for learning that my mother instilled in me from a very young age.

I didn’t have a computer at home, so I went to the library with her every weekend. While she worked, I spent hours reading, taking advantage of the fact that this knowledge was free and available to all whom wished to receive it.

When my family’s circumstances became better, we moved to Issaquah, where I started second grade in a much different environment. But although I was provided with better resources, my academic success still stemmed from one thing: the can-do attitude I developed during my time in New York.

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King County Council endorses greenway heritage plan

March 27, 2012

King County Council members endorsed a plan March 19 to designate the greenbelt along Interstate 90 from Seattle to Ellensburg as a National Heritage Area.

In a unanimous decision, council members called on Congress to recognize the Mountains to Sound Greenway — a ribbon of conservation lands, recreation areas and suburban cities interspersed among farms and forests — in a federal program for “nationally important” landscapes.

Councilman Reagan Dunn, prime sponsor of the motion, lauded the council for supporting the effort.

“The Mountains to Sound Greenway is truly one of the jewels of the Pacific Northwest,” he said in a statement.

The designation from Congress is meant to highlight a unique feature or local history. The greenway could become the only National Heritage Area in Washington.

Though the National Park Service handles oversight for heritage areas, the lands differ from national parks. The designation does not add lands, land-use restrictions or more regulatory authority inside the National Heritage Area.

“The Mountains to Sound Greenway has been a bold vision which has been masterfully executed,” council Vice Chairwoman Jane Hague said. “This area absolutely needs to be a national heritage site.”

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State seeks outstanding employees for service honor

March 27, 2012

Evergreen State leaders need help from residents to honor outstanding state employees.

The state Public Service Recognition Week Celebration Committee is asking residents and state workers to nominate public employees for the Extra Mile Award.

The honor is awarded to individuals or groups of public employees each year for surpassing expectations and providing exemplary public service. In order to receive the honor, recipients must demonstrate at least one of the following attributes: executing innovative solutions, improving efficiency, exhibiting visionary thinking, overcoming great odds or disadvantages, or demonstrating personal valor or bravery.

“Washington has many state employees who go beyond the call of duty in performing their jobs,” said Secretary of State Sam Reed, chairman of the Public Service Recognition Week Celebration Committee. “This is an excellent opportunity to honor exceptional state employees for the service they provide”

The application is available at the Office of the Secretary of State’s website, www.sos.wa.gov/psrw. Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. March 30.

Mail nomination forms to The Productivity Board, P.O. Box 40250, Olympia, WA 98504-0250. Forms can also be faxed to 360-704-7830 or emailed to psrw@sos.wa.gov. Call 360-704-5203 to learn more.

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Officials to celebrate opening of rebuilt Issaquah High School

March 27, 2012

A celebration marking the opening of the rebuilt Issaquah High School was supposed to take place this past fall.

But school officials felt it important that the public celebration happen after completion of the new Performing Arts Center, after landscaping was finished and the final touches were put on the building. With that in mind, even though students are nearing the end of their first year in the new building, a public celebration of the opening of the school is slated for 6 p.m. April 3 at the school, 700 Second Ave. S.E.

“For more than a century, this school has been at the heart of Issaquah’s history and culture,” Sara Niegowski, Issaquah School District director of communications, said in a press release. “Thanks to the support of every resident through the 2006 bond, Issaquah High is ready to continue that strong tradition in a new, state-of-the-art building.”

Besides the Performing Arts Center, other highlights of the new school mentioned by Niegowski include cutting-edge science labs and modern classrooms complete with up-to-date technology.

The celebration will include a slideshow of the construction, tours of the building, and student music and art.

The evening is free and open to the public.

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King County Council adopts climate change plan

March 27, 2012

King County Council members offered unanimous support March 5 for a short-term plan to address climate change.

The legislation lists steps already under way in King County government to address climate change — from setting countywide-level emissions-reduction targets and promoting compact communities and transit use to planning for climate change-related emergencies, such as flooding and droughts. In addition, the measure modifies goals and targets set in a 2006 plan for greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

“King County has long been on the forefront of the nation in addressing the climate crisis,” Councilman Larry Phillips, the Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee chairman, said in a statement. “This legislation ensures those efforts continue while we develop a new strategic climate action plan to advance our work.”

The council also adopted strategic climate action legislation Feb. 27. King County Executive Dow Constantine is developing a plan based on the bill.

“Action now will benefit future generations, and future plans will need to evolve with new information and insights, allowing us to tackle climate change directly and aggressively,” he said.

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King County Council raises deep-vein thrombosis awareness

March 27, 2012

King County Council members — led by Councilman Reagan Dunn — sought to raise awareness of a life-threatening condition March 19, and proclaimed March as Deep-Vein Thrombosis Awareness Month.

Dunn, a local representative on the council, sponsored the proclamation to honor his late mother, former U.S. Rep. Jennifer Dunn. The elder Dunn died in September 2007 from a pulmonary embolism caused by deep-vein thrombosis.

“In honor of my mother, I have worked across the country to raise awareness of this serious, yet preventable, condition,” Reagan Dunn said.

Jennifer Dunn, a former state GOP chairwoman, represented Issaquah and the 8th Congressional District in Washington, D.C., from January 1993 to January 2005.

Deep-vein thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein, most often in the lower leg. The clot can then break off and, if not treated immediately, move into the lungs and block circulation, creating a pulmonary embolism — a life-threatening condition. Pulmonary embolisms caused by deep-vein thrombosis claim up to 300,000 lives in the United States each year.

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Can all work hard and succeed?

March 27, 2012

Olivia Spokoiny Skyline High School

“Work hard and you will succeed” is the age-old saying that young children are taught to live by as soon as they start school. But is it really true?

It is and it isn’t. Society’s idea of success is rigid. We are taught to go to school, take hard courses, challenge ourselves, get a job and persevere through life’s inevitable obstacles. After high school, we are expected to go to a four-year college and establish a career path right away. We are told that you can be whatever you want to be as long as you push yourself to the limit.

For some, the pressure becomes a burden that is hard to bear. The truth is, not everybody starts at the same place, and not everybody has to put in the same amount of effort to achieve his or her goals. We are not taught that how much you have and where you come from matters. Whether we like it or not, the system is not entirely equal.

In this day and age, higher education isn’t cheap. The price of college is high and climbing. Without college, it becomes incredibly difficult to get a job and live a comfortable lifestyle. When people lack resources, they view success as something that is almost impossible to attain. It is a vicious cycle, and that is the reason that the system remains unequal.

Society does not tell us that success is not the same for everyone, and that it cannot be so easily defined.

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Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust earns honor for state park projects

March 27, 2012

The long-term effort to restore natural areas in Lake Sammamish State Park earned the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust recognition from the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.

The nonprofit organization formed to oversee the Mountains to Sound Greenway earned the Significant Volunteer Achievement honor in the Volunteer Recognition Awards announced March 26.

Through a longtime Adopt-a-Park agreement, the greenway trust developed a nursery to plant, water, weed and pot native plants for use along the greenbelt from Seattle to Ellensburg.

Greenway members potted trees and shrubs — 23,000 plants in all. The group involved local students and corporate groups in restoration and maintenance along Issaquah Creek and planted trees at the state park.

The greenway trust also improved the 12-mile Squak Mountain trail system. Members installed more than 65 trail signs, raised 800 feet of turnpike trail above wet areas, performed stabilization work on equestrian trails and installed 150 drain dips to keep water off trails.

Statewide, volunteers at state parks last year performed 271,260 hours of work — equal to 130 full-time employees.

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School lets a learning opportunity go to waste

March 27, 2012

Brightwater plant gleams, but smell gets attention of Clark Elementary science students

Clark Elementary School students react to the smells in one of the large treatment rooms during a tour of the Brightwater wastewater treatment plant in Woodinville March 22. By Tom Corrigan

Tour guide and instructor Lansia Gipson probably wisely wanted her young audience to get the giggles and sputters out of their systems.

After visiting their classroom, Gipson led about 20 or so Clark Elementary School fourth- and fifth-graders on a March 22 tour of the Brightwater sewage treatment plant in Woodinville. She wasn’t shy regarding what the plant removes from waste water gathered from northern King and southern Snohomish counties.

“We’re going to say the word ‘poop’ a lot today,” Gipson told the students prior to the tour, inviting them to look at their neighbors and say “poop.”

After some giggling, the students settled down surprisingly quickly.

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Issaquah designer Lizzie Parker is NBC ‘Fashion Star’

March 27, 2012

Lizzie Parker works in her Gilman Village clothing store as her English bulldog, Angus, sits on the wood floor next to a space heater. By Lillian Tucker

Lizzie Parker’s clothing shop is tucked away in Issaquah’s Gilman Village surrounded by wooden sidewalks and flowers sprouting out of weathered barrels. Inside, Angus, an English bulldog, lies on the wood floor looking up at the racks of clothes his owner designed and made herself.

Used to make herself, that is. Demand is far too great for the designer to handle on her own now that Parker’s line of modern knitwear gained national attention since NBC’s reality show “Fashion Star” premiered March 13.

Thus, Parker’s waxed jersey leggings, dresses, tops and asymmetrical jackets are all being put together in Los Angeles — a long commute for this Sammamish mother of two.

To get her designs for the show, Parker draws a pattern of what she envisions, and from that she sews and perfects a first sample. The sample is sent to Los Angeles, where Parker regularly travels to consult with everyone from the person who treats the jersey item — made from Parker’s fabric of choice — to the person who sews on the tag.

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