Students use video games to learn problem-solving skills

September 4, 2012

Video games at school sounds like the dream of many teenagers, but for many in the Issaquah School District designing and having them in the classroom became a reality last year.

Through a partnership between the district and Microsoft, students taking “Introduction to Computer Science” last spring at Skyline, Issaquah and Liberty high schools got to design, program and ultimately play video games, all in the name of learning. And starting this year, the course will also be offered at Tiger Mountain Community High School.

For Kevin Houghton, math and engineering teacher at Issaquah High, this was the first time video games made an appearance on his syllabi.

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Big Lots, Spirit Halloween take root in Issaquah

September 4, 2012

The closeout retailer Big Lots is coming to Pickering Place, as months of closings, openings and shuffling continues among tenants at the retail center.

Columbus, Ohio-based Big Lots is due to open the space last occupied by Leathers Gallery, a local furniture store. Leathers moved to a space across the parking lot recently, and Big Lots is renovating the former furniture store.

Big Lots executives could not be reached for details about the store opening.

Before Leathers moved into the then-vacant space, Linens-N-Things operated in the 37,500-square-foot storefront.

Elsewhere, Spirit Halloween opened in the former Albertsons along East Lake Sammamish Parkway. The seasonal tenant offers Halloween makeup, costumes and other holiday items.

Albertsons closed in April 2008, and the space has remained vacant since then.

Cycle the WAVE rides to Issaquah High School

September 4, 2012

When Samantha Garrard heard the statistic that one in three teenage girls will experience domestic violence, she was floored and moved into action.

“That’s a really staggering statistic,” she said.

Garrard, an Issaquah High School senior, had friends who struggled with domestic violence. It’s one of the things that prompted her to get involved with Cycle the WAVE, an all-women’s bike ride benefiting domestic violence survivors.

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Issaquah High School teacher researches at Fred Hutchinson

September 4, 2012

Tricia Vannoy counts bacterial colonies on an agar plate. Contributed

Most of the year Tricia Vannoy teaches at Issaquah High School, but this summer she got to be the student.

For two and a half weeks, she got to peer at chromosomes through a high-powered microscope and rediscover how to ask the questions that lay at the heart of science.

Vannoy was one of about 20 science teachers selected to spend part of their summer vacation working alongside scientists in laboratories at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Now in its 22nd year, the Science Education Partnership program invites educators to dive into real scientific research, learning concepts and techniques while trying out various lab kits to decide which ones to use in next year’s curriculum.

“Our goal is for teachers to bring back what they learn over the summer to help jumpstart their students’ knowledge of bioscience and research and perhaps kindle their interest in jobs or careers in science,” Nancy Hutchison, director of the program, said in a statement.

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Issaquah High School swimmer crosses Lake Washington for charity

September 4, 2012

Gabrielle Gevers, of Issaquah, recently completed the PSBC Swim for Life, a swim across Lake Washington.

The annual event attracts adventure athletes who are daring and fit enough to brave a 2 ½-mile paddle through the icy, dark waters of Lake Washington, and who are also raising money to help in the fight against leukemia and other life threatening diseases that require blood donations. The Swim for Life is a fundraiser for the Puget Sound Blood Center.

“It was the longest distance I have ever swum,” Gevers said. “I am a sprinter, so 2 ½ miles is really something for me. My dad and I swam it together, and my mom and brother Gentry kayaked with us as my support team.

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Huckleberry Finn comes to life on stage in Village Theatre’s ‘Big River’

September 4, 2012

Randy Scholz (left, as Huck) and Rodney Hicks (Jim) star in ‘Big River.’ By Mike Hippie/Village Theatre

The re-imagining of “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” — “Big River” — sets the seminal novel to music and transports the landmark trip down the Mississippi River to the Village Theatre stage.

“Big River” debuted on Broadway in 1985, ran for more than 1,000 performances and earned Tony Awards aplenty. The show opens the 2012-13 Village Theatre season Sept. 12.

“We’re always looking for something to kick off the season that is exciting, to get people out of the beautiful September Seattle weather and get them into the theater,” Resident Music Director Tim Symons said. “‘Big River’ is a piece that’s so beautiful and all the music is in it is so gorgeous.”

The cast pairs a veteran, Rodney Hicks, and a newcomer, Randy Scholz, in the lead roles.

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Japanese fencers join international trend to train in Issaquah

September 4, 2012

A delegation of young fencers and their three coaches came from Japan to Issaquah to train with saber coach Wang Yung (center, standing) at the Washington Fencing Academy the week of Aug. 27. By Christina Corrales-Toy

Issaquah has become quite the destination for elite fencers looking to improve their game.

Fencers from all over the world travel to the Washington Fencing Academy, just to train with saber coach Wang Yung.

Yung has coached national and world champions. In July, the coach hosted Mannad Zeid, an Egyptian fencer who spent time training at the Washington Fencing Academy before he traveled to London for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The parade of international competitors hoping to learn from Yung continued the week of Aug. 27, as eight junior fencers from Japan traveled to Issaquah to train with the coach for a week.

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City Council delves into Central Issaquah Plan growth blueprint

September 4, 2012

City Council members advanced the historic proposal to transform more than 900 acres near Interstate 90 and state Route 900 in the decades ahead.

In a special meeting billed as a retreat on the long-term growth blueprint Aug. 27, council members discussed issues related to Central Issaquah and determined how the council can tackle the plan’s components.

The council intends to act on the measure before the year ends.

The long-term Central Issaquah Plan is meant to guide redevelopment from shopping centers and low-rise office buildings to a taller neighborhood meant for businesses and residences.

Central Issaquah encompasses 915 acres — including retail destinations, such as Pickering Place, and the Meadows and Issaquah Commons shopping centers. The area does not include historic downtown Issaquah.

Eastside Baby Corner seeks 2,000 pairs of children’s pants

September 4, 2012

Eastside Baby Corner’s third annual Pants Party collection event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 8 at its wareouse, 1510 N.W. Maple St.

Last year, the organization, which distributes almost everything needy children need from birth to age 12, collected 1,000 pairs of pants. This year, the goal is 2,000.

The community is encouraged to donate new or gently used pants for children, sizes 5 to14.

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Rowley Properties welcomes new employees

September 4, 2012

Ryan Scarnhorst and Marta McKie recently joined the Rowley Properties team.

Scharnhorst joined in April as a property accountant (residential and commercial). He is a certified public accountant and notary public, and holds a master of professional accountancy and a Bachelor of Arts in business from the University of Washington.

Scarnhorst’s most recent position was as controller for Fourpoints Outdoor, a multimillion-dollar advertising company.

Scarnhorst lives in Issaquah with his family and he’s also the treasurer for the South Cove Homeowner Association.

McKie joined in July as a residential property manager. She will be responsible for the Wildwood Apartment Homes, Kelkari and North Bend rentals, RV/storage and overall customer service. McKie’s most recent position was as the community manager for the Klahanie Homeowners Association.

McKie has 13 years of experience in operational and functional management for property and apartment communities.

She lives near Issaquah with her miniature greyhound, Rocket.

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