More than 15,000 voters supported Issaquah School District bond

May 1, 2012

On April 27, with a final count of 22,595 ballots cast for the Issaquah School District bond, King County Elections certified the April 17 special election.

“To say that we are pleased with the results of the bond election would be an understatement,” Issaquah School Board President Chad Magendanz said. “There’s something very magical happening at the Issaquah School District.”

A total of 15,809 votes were cast in favor of the district’s $219 million bond.

“It’s one of those things where we touched everybody, not just parents with children in school,” Superintendent Steve Rasmussen said. “It’s not the board, the administrative staff, the teaching staff — it’s the entire community that comes together.”

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Press Editorial

May 1, 2012

Interstate 90 off-ramps are less than welcoming

Issaquah has a lot going for it, enough that visitors come here year round, primarily for recreation. It’s appropriate that the city of Issaquah and the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce are targeting tourism with a renewed emphasis to encourage an economic rebound.

But there is one problem that needs to be addressed.

The entrances to the city from Interstate 90 are plain ugly. There is nothing welcoming about them, nothing that hints at the beauty visitors are about to discover if they take time to drive beyond a gas station, a bathroom and fast food.

The Interstate 90 off-ramps need help. Exit 18 to Sunset Way takes you past twin retention ponds and weeds. Exit 17 at Front Street has expansive weed patches. Exit 15 at state Route 900 is no better.

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Issaquah Schools Foundation hosts annual fundraiser May 10

May 1, 2012

The Issaquah Schools Foundation is inviting the community to lunch.

The 14th annual Nourish Every Mind Benefit Luncheon begins at 11 a.m. May 10 with a program that aims to teach how community investment is elevating education for all Issaquah School District students.

Last year, the event raised a record $593,000. The foundation used that money to fund education projects in the district, including robotics clubs and the expansion of the Microsoft TEALS program to every high school. The money was also used to help purchase science curriculum materials for Issaquah classrooms.

This year, the luncheon will take place at the Issaquah Community Center and open with a silent auction of a variety of items for all budgets. The program starts at noon with John Curley leading as the master of ceremonies. Testimonials from students and teachers who have benefitted from the foundation are also planned.

Call 391-8557 to learn more.

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City Council approves Issaquah Highlands land sale

May 1, 2012

City Council members agreed April 16 to sell land to homebuilder Polygon Homes, despite objections from local environmentalists.

The city earned $80,000 in the land sale — dollars earmarked for landscaping in Central Park and elsewhere, wetland programs and Park Pointe conservation.

The property is 14,693 square feet, or about the size of the Issaquah Library, in the Issaquah Highlands’ Forest Ridge subdivision. Polygon intends to use the land for residences.

The property is included in the complicated Park Pointe transfer of development rights. In exchange for preserving a forested Tiger Mountain site near Issaquah High School, officials agreed to open additional highlands land to development. The long process ended in March 2011.

Despite the conditions council members added to the agreement, leaders in the environmental community protested the decision.

David Kappler, Issaquah Alps Trails Club president and a former councilman, and Janet Wall, a longtime local environmentalist, urged the council to reconsider. Kappler raised safety concerns about a trail leading to the property.

The council approved the sale in a 5-1 decision. Councilman Paul Winterstein dissented. Councilman Joshua Schaer did not attend the meeting.

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Republican Steve Litzow garners challenge in legislative race

May 1, 2012

State Sen. Steve Litzow, a freshman Republican from Mercer Island and a local representative in Olympia, attracted a challenger April 17 in the race for a full term.

Democrat Maureen Judge, a Mercer Island resident and former Washington Toxics Coalition executive director, entered the race against Litzow.

“As a mother, I deeply value education funding as a force to protect our state’s future competitiveness and economic health,” Judge said in a statement. “During his 2010 campaign, Steve Litzow promised he would fight for education funding. But this legislative session he demonstrated that he’d rather toe the Republican Party line than fight for our kids, our state and our future.”

In 2010, Litzow defeated appointed incumbent Randy Gordon by 192 votes to represent the 41st Legislative District in the Senate. (The recent redistricting process put most of Issaquah inside the district.)

Litzow and Gordon battled to fill the unexpired term of former Sen. Fred Jarrett, the current King County deputy executive.

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Skyline salutes star athletes at National NCAA Signing Day

May 1, 2012

It was all smiles at Skyline High School on April 18, National NCAA Signing Day, when Maddie Christ, Jackie Wilson and Megan Wiedeman signed their contracts to become college athletes.

“As a school, we wish you the best moving forward,” Skyline’s Athletic Director Ryan Gilbert said.

So far, 16 Skyline students have signed to play college sports.

“It felt good,” Wilson said. “It felt like a new start.”

Wilson signed to row for the University of Washington’s crew team.

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The Beat is seeking teenage writers, photographers

May 1, 2012

The Beat is looking for writers and photographers for the coming school year.

The page — written by teens, for teens and about teens — takes the place of the Schools page the fourth week of the month.

“We’re looking for people to write for the newspaper and our Facebook page, help with fundraising, and take photographs for the newspaper and our websites,” said Kathleen R. Merrill, managing editor of The Press and The Beat.

“We meet once per month to learn about journalism, brainstorm ideas, plan the coming paper and our online coverage, and attend events to raise funds and awareness about our group,” she said. “We also have a lot of fun.”

Participants can be from Issaquah, Liberty, Skyline, Tiger Mountain Community and Eastside Catholic high schools. Freshmen and sophomores are especially encouraged to apply.

If you think you’ve got what it takes, email for an application. Completed applications are due May 7.

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State seeks applicants for international salmon panel

May 1, 2012

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife seeks nominees to a panel responsible for advising state representatives about salmon.

The agency needs citizens for the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission, the international body dedicated to protecting fish and wildlife on the high seas. Commission members include the United States, Canada, Japan, Russia and South Korea.

Members of the state advisory council must be Washington residents, and knowledgeable about salmon, steelhead and other species. Of the Washington representatives, at least one must represent commercial fishing interests and another must be affiliated with environmental concerns.

Heather Bartlett, hatcheries division manager, said the department is seeking qualified candidates to fill five positions on the advisory panel. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton appoints the members.

Candidates should submit a resume, along with a statement of their fishery management philosophy and potential contributions to Ami Hollingsworth, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capital Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091. Applicants can also email materials to or fax them to 360-902-2183. Nominations must be received by May 15.

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Rain-soaked Liberty Patriots fall to Mount Si Wildcats

May 1, 2012

Mother Nature parted storm clouds just long enough for Mount Si and Liberty high schools to face off for the second time this season, ending in a Wildcat 4-2 win and a torrential downpour.

The pregame rain forced the conference matchup to be moved from the soggy Mount Si field to the Patriots’ turf ballfield in Renton. But the home-field advantage didn’t help the Patriots, who lost to Mount Si a second time this year on April 25.

It wasn’t until the second inning that any runs went up on the board.

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Military News

May 1, 2012

Issaquah ROTC cadet  becomes Air Force pilot

Lyle Ratcliffe

Lyle Ratcliffe, of Issaquah, was one of 13 Reserve Officers Training Corps cadets from the Prescott, Ariz., campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to be chosen for pilot slots in the United States Air Force.

Selection criteria include a student’s pilot score, which combines the Air Force officers qualifying test, pilot and flight simulator performance and personal flight hours; ranking by the commanding officer; college grade point average; physical fitness; and a field training component.

Embry-Riddle prepares more Air Force pilots than any other source after the U.S. Air Force Academy. The Prescott campus produces more pilots than any other school or academy in the Southwest. The university currently has 419 Air Force ROTC cadets at its two residential campuses.

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