Issaquah man is ready to celebrate rare Feb. 29 birthday

February 28, 2012

Christopher Hetzel has a special appreciation for the February page of a calendar on every fourth year, when the number 29 comes up in the last square. By Greg Farrar

Christopher Hetzel, a middle-aged man, is poised to turn 10.

The architectural historian and Issaquah resident is actually closer to 40, but due to a quirk in the Gregorian calendar, Hetzel’s birthday, Feb. 29, only comes around as often as a presidential election.

In other years, Hetzel celebrated the leap day birthday on Feb. 28. Come Feb. 29, however, the quadrennial occasion requires a blowout celebration.

“When you’re young, it always sets you apart as being special, which is of course a positive thing,” he said.

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USA Today spotlights Issaquah Alps trails

February 28, 2012

Issaquah Alps peaks and trails garnered national attention Feb. 21 after USA Today featured the Eastside mountains in a travel piece.

The feature outlines trails and points of interest on Cougar, Squak and Tiger mountains — including the long-defunct Nike Ajax missile installation on Cougar Mountain and the paraglider launch site on Tiger Mountain.

“Hiking through Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, on to Squak Mountain State Park Natural Area and into Tiger Mountain State Forest adds mileage but provides a scenic route,” the guide notes.

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Issaquah representatives tapped for King County Council committee posts

February 28, 2012

The local representatives on the King County Council act as leaders on regional justice and transit issues, after the board reshuffled members’ assignments for 2012.

Kathy Lambert

Reagan Dunn

Following the annual reorganization, the Issaquah representative, Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, serves as chairwoman for the Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee. Members recommend policies related to criminal justice and emergency management, plus human services and housing programs. Issaquah-area Councilman Reagan Dunn also serves on the committee.

The council announced the changes to committee assignments Jan. 30. In addition to committee assignments, all nine council members serve on the Committee-of-the-Whole.

“King County has achieved a lot over the last several years, but it’s critical that the council maintain its focus on maximizing taxpayer dollars and improving service delivery,” council Vice Chairwoman Jane Hague said.

Lambert serves on the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee — the group responsible for outlining policies related to the 2013 county spending plan.

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Issaquah, Sammamish councils support school district bond

February 28, 2012

Issaquah and Sammamish leaders agreed last week to support the $219 million bond the Issaquah School District plans to put before voters April 17.

The measure is meant to generate dollars to rebuild Clark and Sunny Hills elementary schools and Issaquah Middle School, modernize Liberty High School and relocate Tiger Mountain Community High School.

Issaquah City Council members held a public hearing about the bond Feb. 21 and then agreed to back the measure in a 5-0 decision. (Councilman Mark Mullet and Councilwoman Eileen Barber did not attend the meeting.)

Sammamish City Council members endorsed the measure Feb. 7.

“When companies are looking at relocating, they often look at the availability of excellent education,” Sammamish Mayor Tom Odell said. “We have that here, and it’s incumbent on us to keep it that way if we want to protect what we have here.”

Issaquah School District officials also plan to use bond funds to improve districtwide heating and ventilation, space and security; and improve athletic fields and stadiums. (Clark Elementary School, Issaquah Middle School and Tiger Mountain Community High School sit inside Issaquah city limits.)

Issaquah Rotary Club’s Grape Escape grows in popularity

February 28, 2012

A vintner discusses his product with visitors to one of the previous Issaquah Rotary Grape Escape fundraisers. Contributed

Six years ago, the Rotary Club of Issaquah offered its first Grape Escape event. For four years, the event took place at one of the smaller venues in the local Hilton Garden Inn, said Rotarian and event chairman Scott McKorkle.

The event was conceived as a wine tasting. But the first events, while popular, featured only a handful of local wineries, maybe five or six, according to Lesley Austin, a Rotarian who has long been involved with the Grape Escape event.

How things change. Both McKorkle and Austin said the Rotary has put a major push behind Grape Escape, greatly expanding the offerings and tying it in with the Taste Our Town campaign featuring local restaurants, many of which will be represented at Grape Escape.

Proceeds from the evening will go to support the Rotary Club’s several charitable undertakings, most notably scholarships offered to students at Issaquah, Liberty and Tiger Mountain Community high schools.

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Mount Rainier ends Issaquah boys basketball team’s season, 82-72

February 28, 2012

Brian Watson, Issaquah High School sophomore guard, puts up a shot for three points during the fourth quarter, as the Issaquah student section looks on decked out in costumes. By Greg Farrar

The Issaquah High School boys basketball team had been here before.

With a trip to the Tacoma Dome and the state championship tournament on the line, the Eagles were only able to put up eight points in the first quarter against an explosive Mount Rainier team during their KingCo 4A quarterfinal match Feb 24.

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City Council approves dollars for affordable housing

February 28, 2012

Officials used $55,249 in city funds to build affordable housing in other King County cities, including a planned Kirkland shelter for homeless youths and a Bellevue shelter for homeless women.

City Council members approved the expenditure to A Regional Coalition for Housing — a joint group including King County and 15 Eastside cities — in a unanimous decision Feb. 6. Issaquah officials used leftover funds from Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 construction to fund affordable housing projects.

“This was one of those last-minute budget decisions that came out of our budget discussion at the end of last year,” Councilman Mark Mullet said. “We decided ARCH was important.”

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Community Emergency Response Team training is available in Issaquah

February 28, 2012

Registration is open for Community Emergency Response Team training in Issaquah.

CERT training is designed to prepare residents to help family members and neighbors during a catastrophic disaster. The training is important because professional emergency services personnel cannot help everybody immediately, so citizens can use CERT training to protect and save lives.

CERT courses include disaster first aid training, disaster preparedness, basic firefighting, light search and rescue, and damage assessment skills. Participants can also learn how to turn off utilities and about the psychology of disaster response.

The training program is $35. Learn more, and register for the CERT course, at the Issaquah Citizen Corps Council website, www.issaquahcitizencorps.com/cert/cert-class. CERT training courses typically fill up quickly.

Press Editorial

February 28, 2012

Caucus meetings are worth the time

Republican caucuses will be held March 3 across the state, including here in Issaquah. It does matter.

There will be no presidential primary in Washington this year. Legislators decided to save the $10 million expense. Now it’s up to you to take action, but it will take more than an armchair vote and a stamp. Democrats will caucus April 15.

Four years ago, fewer than 100,000 people participated in state caucuses, but 1.4 million voters cast ballots in the primary. With only the caucus in play, the turnout is expected to double.

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Lindzi Cox, Liberty High School graduate, is still in the hunt for ‘The Bachelor’

February 28, 2012

“The Bachelor” Ben Flajnik visited John and Margy Cox, parents of Lindzi Cox, at their home in Morriston, Fla., months ago, possibly right around Lindzi’s 27th birthday in late October. But the episode aired Feb. 20.

Previews of that episode showed Lindzi, of Issaquah, and Ben picnicking beneath a shady tree beside a horse pasture and driving a competition wagon with Ben on the back seat.

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