Popular after-school program aims for deep !MPACT

December 11, 2012

Drew Fritz (left) and Will Dunlap play foosball during the !MPACT after-school program at Maywood Middle School. By Christina Corrales-Toy

Most days of the week, it takes a bit of coaxing to get Maywood Middle School sixth-grader Alya Phillips out of bed.

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Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church ministry is journey for pastor

December 11, 2012

Pastor Debbie Boyce (middle) is ordained by Bishop William Chris Boerger of the Northwest Washington Synod and installed as a new pastor at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church. Beverly Piro (left), assisting minister for the ordination, looks on. By Mike Nordal

For many years, Debbie Boyce felt her spiritual life was giving her a nudge. After raising five children, she embarked upon a new journey — going back to school, starting out as an undergrad.

Fast-forward nine years. Boyce, 53, graduated from seminary school last summer and became the new pastor of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Issaquah.

A Montana native, Boyce lives in Kent. She said church members have made her transition from student to pastor an easy one. Not only is she the first pastor to be ordained at the church, but she is the first female to hold the role — and both traits are embraced by church members.

“I’ve felt really welcomed, just a wide-open welcome door,” she said. “Lots of warm hospitality, lots of eager energy to welcome me.

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Hallelujah! Sing & Play Along Messiah! returns

December 11, 2012

Christmas revelers can create a joyful noise and benefit Issaquah Community Services as St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church hosts Sing & Play Along Messiah! — a concert to aid people in need throughout the community.

Proceeds from the event go to Issaquah Community Services’ Merry Christmas Issaquah fund.

“The real intent behind ‘Messiah’ was and still is to benefit the needs of the local community,” said Jason Anderson, associate for liturgical arts and youth formation at the downtown Issaquah church.

George Frideric Handel composed “Messiah” in 1741 to illustrate scenes from the life of Jesus Christ. “Messiah” ranks among the best-known musical works from the Baroque period, and the piece is especially popular around Christmas

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Rotary Club of Issaquah seeks host families for youth exchange program

December 11, 2012

Amanda Strombom, Doug Strombom, Perrine Moser and Emma Strombom (from left) pose for a picture at Seattle’s Volunteer Park. The Stromboms hosted Perrine, from Switzerland, through the Rotary Club of Issaquah’s Youth Exchange program last year. Contributed

To travel around the world and experience different cultures, it takes hours upon hours of travel time, thousands of dollars and months of planning.

While nothing may be able to replace the actual experience of visiting a foreign country, there is a more local alternative that allows residents to experience different cultures from the comfort of their own Issaquah home.

The Rotary Club of Issaquah’s Youth Exchange gives local families a chance to host students from around the world, bringing diverse cultures into community homes and schools.

Doug and Amanda Strombom, as well as their teenage daughter Emma, hosted a student from Switzerland in their Issaquah home last year.

The three-month visit was a beneficial one for his family, Doug Strombom said. He particularly enjoyed discussing and understanding the differences between Swiss and American cultures.

“I think it makes our life more interesting to have a visitor here, and especially one who has something to say and has been someplace different,” he said. “I think cultures are fascinating. They are infinitely deep. You just have to explore and take some conversation to understand someone else’s culture.”

Through the program, the foreign exchange student is placed with three different local families throughout the year in an attempt to provide separate scenes of the American culture.

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Maywood Middle School whooping cough case reported

December 11, 2012

Maywood Middle School reported a case of pertussis, or whooping cough, Dec. 10.

Whooping cough is a bacterial illness that may begin with symptoms similar to the common cold (runny nose or scratchy throat) or simply a dry cough. The cough usually becomes worse over one to two weeks. Fever is minimal or absent. Most recover without any complications, but for infants, whooping cough can be life-threatening.

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December 11, 2012

Our state park needs passionate ‘friends’

Lake Sammamish State Park needs a group of passionate people to come together as Friends of Our State Park. Both leaders and roll-up-your-sleeves volunteers are wanted.

The state park has had a plan in place for five years. That plan would add an esplanade between the picnic and beach areas for walkers to access a new bathhouse, a boathouse for kayaks and rowing shells, a lakefront café, improved group sites, environmental educational components throughout, an RV and tent park, a lodge to host youth or adult groups for overnights or meetings, and much cleaner beach and grassy areas.

A citizen group met for three years to come up with the plan, and design work was completed for the esplanade and bathhouse. It was to have been done by 2013, in time for the 100th anniversary of Washington State Parks.

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Rush for same-sex weddings sets marriage license record

December 11, 2012

Dow Constantine

In a milestone just after midnight Dec. 6, King County started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a month after Washington voters legalized same-sex marriage.

The county issued a record 623 marriage licenses between midnight Dec. 6 and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 8. The initial day set a record at 489.

King County Executive Dow Constantine issued the initial marriage license at 12:01 a.m. in a ceremony at the King County Recorder’s Office.

“Tonight you are making history,” he said to the initial group of 11 couples. “Not only our legislators, but the people of this state have said every person is entitled to equal treatment. This advances our law in the state of Washington, and brings us one step closer to that first ‘self-evident’ truth announced by our nation’s founders: that all are created equal.”

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Issaquah girls basketball team bolts out to 5-0 start

December 11, 2012

Jozie Crisafulli, Issaquah junior forward, is double-fouled taking a shot during the first quarter by Garfield’s Aireonna Davis (right) and Cierra Levias. By Greg Farrar

The Issaquah High School girls basketball squad has compiled a 5-0 overall record in its first five contests and is the frontrunner in the Crown Division of the KingCo 4A.

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Issaquah School Board is set to vote on Liberty High School schedule

December 11, 2012

Students, staff and parents of Liberty High School could know soon whether their daily schedule will change. The Issaquah School Board is expected to vote on the issue at its 7 p.m. Dec. 12 regular meeting.

Since 1995, the school has used an eight-period block schedule where students take four 90-minute classes each day. However, in order to establish a common, districtwide high school schedule, and to give Liberty students more time to study core subjects, district officials are considering changing Liberty’s timetable.

During the Nov. 28 school board meeting, Superintendent Steve Rasmussen recommended switching the school to a six-period schedule, which is what Issaquah and Skyline high schools both use.

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Echo Glen Children’s Center students vie for grant

December 11, 2012

A correctional center might seem like a strange place to feel unleashed.

But that occurs at Echo Glen Children’s Center, a Snoqualmie-based correctional facility and school run by the Issaquah School District.

A program there called Writers Unleashed allows its students to write essays and share with residents and school staff members their dreams and regrets.

The program started in January. Although students can write about whatever they want, the writeups are most often deeply personal.

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