Liberty High School relay buddies take final trip to podium

May 29, 2012

Josh Gordon (left), Liberty High School senior, gets the baton handoff from teammate Hiron Redman for the anchor leg of the 4x400 3A state championship relay race May 26 in Tacoma. By Greg Farrar

Hiron Redman could barely believe it.

“Wow,” he thought. “This is it.”

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LEO celebrates completion of Issaquah Highlands family home

May 29, 2012

The house in the Issaquah Highlands still smells of new construction.

The smell of rustic carpentry, fresh paint and that familiar, yet comforting, new-house scent permeates the nostrils upon entry.

A sign next to the kitchen sink reads “Dreams Come True.”

Life Enrichment Options’ third family home for adults with developmental disabilities is officially completed.

The Angela House, named after one of LEO’s founding board members, Angela Dews, will be home to five people with developmental disabilities as well as a full-time caregiver.

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Expect closures during state Route 18 interchange project

May 29, 2012

Motorists can expect a facelift for a stretch of westbound Interstate 90 near Issaquah.

The state Department of Transportation plans to remove the bridge deck on the westbound interstate over state Route 18 soon.

The agency reduced the speed limit between mileposts 28 and 25 from 70 mph to 60 mph from May 29 to June 10 to accommodate the roadwork. Motorists can also expect daytime and overnight lane closures during the project.

The $736,000 project is meant to improve conditions for the 40,000 or so vehicles — including 8,600 tractor-trailers — traversing the section of interstate each day.

Crews plan to replace the old concrete with asphalt, as well as rebuild parts of bridge expansion joints. Plans also call for guardrails to be upgraded and for 250 feet of new guardrail to be installed.

Crews last paved the roadway in 1991 and the surface is deteriorating due to age and heavy use. Maintenance crews must frequently patch ruts and potholes on the aging bridge deck.

Come out for Relay for Life

May 29, 2012

The 2012 Issaquah Relay for Life takes place this weekend at Skyline High School.

The two-day event has a simple concept. Teams are formed. Each team must raise a certain amount for the American Cancer Society. And donors pledge money for every lap walked at a local track. The overnight event allows participants to honor cancer survivors and remember those lost to the disease.

With the idea that cancer never sleeps, team members will take turns walking around the track through the night at the event that starts at noon Saturday and ends with closing ceremonies at 8 a.m. Sunday.

The event features overnight camping on the track’s infield as well as games, competitions and music to keep everyone active.

The Issaquah event, held at Skyline High School the past few years due to construction at Issaquah High School, is 11th overall in the Great West Division, a 12-state region.

The highlight is the luminaria ceremony, where community members place illuminated bags, dedicated to someone touched by cancer, around the track, with relay participants walking one silent lap in their honor.

The goal is to collect $300,000 in donations for the American Cancer Society, according to Gwen Schweitzer, coordinator of this year’s event.

Secrets lie at the heart of the Porters’ 50-year marriage

May 29, 2012

Beverly and Jack Porter in 2011

Keeping secrets is part of what has kept Jack and Beverly Porter together for 50 years.

During the Sammamish couple’s half-century marriage, Jack spent 12 years as a contractor for the CIA. The pair faced the challenge of keeping Jack’s career identity secret from their five children and friends. In those 12 years, no one knew except for Beverly. The couple explained that sharing the secret made them stronger.

“We were in it together,” Beverly said.

The Porters are about to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Looking back, they attribute the longevity of their relationship to their children, their faith and a pair of other important factors.

“There are two ingredients,” Jack said about his martial success, “patience and a sense of humor.”

The couple met in October 1961. Jack, then a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin, was working as a sales representative for the American Can Co. He was transferred to Seattle, where he met Beverly, a North Dakota native who had recently moved to the Lake Hills area of Bellevue with her family.

One year later, on June 2, 1962, the couple was married at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Bellevue.

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First-round state loss leaves room to grow for Liberty’s youth

May 29, 2012

Miranda Bukantz, Liberty High School junior, stretches a single into a double on a throwing error to first during the fourth inning May 25. By Greg Farrar

Two unearned runs in an error-riddled bottom of the first inning proved to be an insurmountable lead as the Liberty High School Patriots’ fast-pitch team lost to Everett in the first round of the 3A state tournament May 25.

Everett starting pitcher Lexi Levin took control after that, surrendering only one run in the top of the fourth on steal of home.

Although the quick exit from the state tournament was not what Liberty had in mind, head coach Brian Hartman said he knows that the return of Liberty to the state tournament is a return to normalcy.

“It’s a big deal,” Hartman said. “The program’s kind of back where it belongs. I think we’re about ready to start another streak here. We had a 12-year run here. It’s fun seeing everyone here. It means you’re back playing with the elite. You’re one of the top programs in the state and that’s where we expect to be.” Read more

Issaquah foursome earns its (tiger) stripes at state

May 29, 2012

Issaquah High School relay members (from left) Gabrielle Gevers, Amanda Chalfant, Madison Callan, Mack Wieburg, Julianna Da Cruz and Grace Englund brought a tiger to the state 4A track and field championships. He chased them to second-place finishes in both the 4x200 and 4x400 relays. By Greg Farrar

The tiger had chased the Issaquah High School girls relay team all year.

And now here he was at the state meet, primly standing on the hand of one of the runners. He did not look menacing, but he was.

Earlier this year, the girls on the relay team had joked that they should run like a tiger was chasing them. So for state, they brought a tiger.

The feline helped five Eagle girls finish second in the 4×200 and 4×400 relays, with times of 1 minute, 42.6 seconds, and 3 minutes 53.99 seconds, respectively.

“We beat our own record,” senior Madison Callan said after the 4×400 race. “That was our biggest goal.”

Callan, Amanda Chalfant, Mack Wieburg, Gabrielle Gevers and Juliana Da Cruz, the latter a 4×200 runner, celebrated their state run posing for pictures holding each other and the tiger.

“We have a lot of love in our team,” Callan said, adding they created a bluesy tune for the team, just for fun.

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Issaquah dog breeder faces cruelty charges in court June 5

May 29, 2012

A dog breeder accused of hoarding 62 small dogs at a Cougar Mountain home is due in court next month to face animal cruelty charges.

Prosecutors said Issaquah resident Margaret Ann Hamilton, 70, hoarded more than 100 dogs at homes in Issaquah and Burien.

Police said Hamilton and her since-deceased husband kept the animals at a home in the 5900 block of 189th Avenue Southeast on Cougar Mountain, about a mile south of Cougar Mountain Zoo.

Hamilton is due in King County Superior Court for arraignment June 5 on two counts of second-degree animal cruelty, a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Prosecutors initially scheduled the hearing for May 17.

Investigators, alongside Burien and Regional Animal Services of King County animal control officers, raided the Issaquah and Burien homes last year after receiving a tip from Pasado’s Safe Haven, a nonprofit animal rescue organization in Seattle.

Police discovered 38 more dogs at a Burien home owned by Hamilton’s brother-in-law.

Veterinarians later euthanized 14 ill animals — 13 dogs from the Burien home and one dog from the Issaquah home.

Issaquah plastic bag ban comes up for vote June 4

May 29, 2012

City Council members could decide on a controversial plastic bag ban June 4, after a monthslong process to collect public input.

Citizens can comment on the proposed development agreement at a meeting and public hearing at 7:30 p.m. The council meets in the Council Chambers at City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way.

The legislation last reached the council for a possible decision April 2, but after listening to comments from environmental organizations and plastics manufacturers — but only a handful of remarks from city residents — members delayed action.

In a push to collect more input on the proposal to outlaw plastic bags at Issaquah businesses, the council scheduled another opportunity April 30 for the public to comment on the proposed ban. Members heard input similar to the comments at the April 2 meeting.

In addition to limiting most plastic bags, the legislation requires retail stores to collect 5 cents for each paper bag provided to customers. The fee is meant to help retailers offset the cost of the change.

The local proposal is similar to ordinances in Seattle, Bellingham, Edmonds and Mukilteo.

Wedding: Sanelli, Graham

May 29, 2012

Nolan Graham and Sicily Sanelli

Sicily Sanelli and Nolan Graham were married Nov. 11, 2011, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, in Seattle.

Sanelli is a 2004 graduate of Issaquah High School. She is employed at Northwest Trustee services.

Graham graduated from Cle Elum/Roslyn High School in 1998. He is employed at Sysco Foods.

The couple resides in Issaquah.

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