Send veterans photos for memorial section

May 1, 2012

Memorial Day seems a long way off, but it will be here before you know it. This year, The Issaquah Press will print its third annual veterans section — Lest We Forget.

We want your photos and information, veterans. If someone in your family was a veteran, but he or she has passed away, we still want to include him or her. It is important for us to honor and remember all local veterans, living or deceased.

If you have already sent your photo and information to us, you don’t need to do so again. We keep them on file.

Fill out your form at and email your photo to

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Former spokesman John Urquhart enters race for King County sheriff

May 1, 2012

John Urquhart

John Urquhart, a familiar presence briefing journalists at crime scenes as the longtime former spokesman for the King County Sheriff’s Office, is running for the top job at the law enforcement agency.

Urquhart, 64, entered the race for the nonpartisan office April 24. The retired sergeant and Mercer Island resident outlined accountability and leadership as campaign themes.

Before serving as spokesman for the agency, Urquhart’s career included stints as a patrol officer, field training officer, a vice and narcotics detective and, in his most familiar role, as spokesman for sheriffs Dave Reichert and Sue Rahr.

Speculation about the race for sheriff started after Rahr resigned March 31 to accept the top job at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.

The incumbent sheriff, appointee Steve Strachan, is expected to run for a full term. Candidates can enter the race until the May 18 filing deadline.

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Musèo Art Academy fundraiser draws upon healing power of art

May 1, 2012

Muséo Art Academy teacher Beth Wetzel helps students (from left) Eli Massman, 6, Alli Dandeneau, 7, and Audrey Newbrey, 6, create their versions of George Rodrigue’s ‘Blue Dog.’ By Greg Farrar

Marci Knutsen has seen firsthand the importance of art programs in a child’s life, from her own to those who benefit from public programs.

That’s why the co-founder of Musèo Art Academy is pleased to host a benefit auction for Art With Heart on May 4.

After several years of putting her graphic-design degree to use as head of marketing, she left the workforce to raise her children.

“Being a stay at home mom with kids lasted about five minutes,” she said.

Her daughter, then 3 years old, was enrolled in art classes and really liked it. But when the instructor of the classes didn’t want to come to the plateau any more, Knutsen began offering her own classes. They started at The Plateau Club, but demand soon ballooned, so she opened her own business in Klahanie, Musèo Art Academy. She offers enrichment classes in drawing, painting and mixed media.

Enrollment continued to grow every year. She expanded programming over the years, offering on-site visits to schools for children and businesses for corporate team building.

But then the recession hit, creating a tough time for everyone.

“However, parents told me they were willing to sacrifice other things in their lives to keep their kids enrolled in art classes,” Knutsen said.

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Issaquah Rotary Club honors athletes of the year

May 1, 2012

The Rotary Club of Issaquah recently honored the following seniors as its athletes of the year:

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Issaquah students selected for National Merit Scholarships

May 1, 2012

Three Issaquah students have been selected as corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship recipients.

The Boeing Co. supports merit scholarship awards annually for children of employees as a part of its comprehensive aid to education programs.

Karsten A. Ball, Daniel J. Gorrie and Steven Z. Yang join approximately 1,000 high school seniors nationwide who have won corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship awards financed by about 200 corporations, company foundations and other business organizations.

Ball and Gorrie — who attend Skyline and Interlake high schools, respectively — were awarded corporate scholarships from The Boeing Co. Ball plans to study foreign service, while Gorrie plans to study computer science.

Yang, an Issaquah High School student, received a merit scholarship sponsored by the Siemens Corp. He plans to study computer science.

Scholars were selected from students who advanced to the finalist level in the National Merit Scholarship competition and met criteria of their scholarship sponsors. Corporate sponsors provide National Merit Scholarships for finalists who are children of their employees, who are residents of communities the company serves or who plan to pursue college majors or careers the sponsor wishes to encourage.

Most of the awards are renewable for up to four years of college undergraduate study and provide annual stipends that range from $500 to $10,000 per year. Some provide a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000.

Recipients can use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university of their choice.

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Soccer tournament to raise funds for fields in Africa

May 1, 2012

Cliff McCrath is surrounded by soccer players in Ethiopia, Africa, in 2009. Contributed

On a 2009 trip to Africa, longtime local soccer coach Cliff McCrath was inspired to improve the lives of teenagers there. Founder of the nonprofit organization Soccer Saves, McCrath partnered with Save the Children in order to visit there.

Fast-forward to today. The Bellevue-based Soccer Saves is hosting a 3 v 3 soccer tournament June 3 at the Preston Park Athletic fields. All funds generated will go directly to build a soccer field and a community- center clubhouse for disadvantaged youths near Cape Town, South Africa.

The top four teams in each age bracket will advance to the 3 v 3 Challenge National Tournament, to be held in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World in Florida from Aug. 3-5.

The Soccer Saves 3 v 3 tournament is the only qualifying tournament in the Pacific Northwest for the 3 v 3 Challenge National Tournament.

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Liberty High School science teacher wins $10,000 prize

May 1, 2012

Celebrating are (from left) Alex Soldano, legislative aide to Rep. Marcie Maxwell; Liberty High School Principal Mike DeLetis; science teacher and winner of the Amgen award Mark Buchli; Carol Pawlak, of Amgen Corporate Communications and Philanthropy; Superintendent Steve Rasmussen; and Debbie Nye, district science specialist. By Jeffry Luke Photography

In a surprise presentation April 6, Mark Buchli, Liberty High School science teacher, was awarded the Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence and a $10,000 prize.

In front of a cheering all-school assembly, Carol Pawlak, of Amgen, announced Buchli as the winner and delivered a check for $10,000 to Buchli and the school.

Pawlak let students guess why she was there, giving clues about the winning teacher saying, “This teacher has been described as dynamic, innovated, gifted, inspiring – even cosmic. This teacher’s classroom is a space where learning is held in the highest regard.”

After the final clue explaining the teacher knows hands-on science and field trips are the fastest way to a student’s mind, especially field trips to an amusement park, the students shouted out Buchli’s name.

For 23 years, Buchli has been living his dream of teaching science including Advanced Placement biology, honors physics, general chemistry and general physics, and has been at Liberty High School since 2008.

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Land near Lake Sammamish goes up for auction

May 1, 2012

The undeveloped land near Lake Sammamish approved for the Mallard Bay development is up for auction.

Several years ago, developers proposed the Mallard Bay complex for a site at Southeast 43rd Street and East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. The site encompasses 13 acres across East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast from the Lake Sammamish State Park boat launch area.

Realty Marketing/Northwest is accepting sealed bids on the property until May 16. There is no minimum bid for the site. Find information about the auction at Realty Marketing/Northwest’s website,

The undeveloped site is approved for construction of up to 255 units. Under the existing permit, the eventual developer is required to include some housing for senior citizens.

In July 2006, City Council members OK’d development on the site. The commercial site development permit is still in place, and the buyer can extend the permit. Earlier plans called for construction to start in mid-2007.

The site includes conceptual plans attached to any sale. The plans outline 167 units spread throughout four buildings on the property.

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Spartans track team sweeps meet against Garfield

May 1, 2012

Skyline sophomore Bryan Lee threw the discus 132 feet, 2 inches, April 26, winning the event and setting a new personal record. By Lillian Tucker

With a boys score of 68 and a girls score of 98, Skyline High School’s track and field team put its best face forward April 26 when it swept its home meet against Garfield.

The clouds rolled in over the Sammamish field but never opened up to pour over the event. When the sun peeked out from behind its curtain it was not enough to warm the athletes, who peeled off their sweats only long enough to compete in their particular events.

At the long jump station, Lindsay Coutts, a Skyline junior, quickly shed her warmer layers before taking off down the runway and launching, her arms and legs stretched back before she came down in the sandpit. During her jumps, Coutts kept commenting that she found herself having to slow down before springing from the takeoff board.

“Sometimes my mark is off. I just have to make sure my run-up is solid and I don’t scratch,” she said.

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Washington health insurer issues refunds after overcharges

May 1, 2012

KPS Health Plans issued refunds to consumers after the top insurance regulator in the state said a billing error caused customers to be overcharged.

Officials said about 235 customers received bills at incorrect rates and, of the affected customers, 61 had the incorrect amount deducted from their bank accounts. Others received erroneous billing statements.

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler requested the company issue refunds and notify customers about the problem. Officials at Bremerton-based KPS Health Plans plan to issue refunds and letters of apology immediately.

The company also agreed to pay for any insufficient funds charges incurred by customers as a result of overcharges.

Starting in mid-April, Kreidler’s office started to receive complaints from consumers about the overbilling.

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