Issaquah High School graduates embark on trip of a lifetime

October 2, 2012

The transition between college graduation and the rest of one’s life can be an uncertain time as students enter the job market and walk down the path to true adulthood.

So, three recent Western Washington University graduates with strong Issaquah roots decided that now was as good a time as any to head off on the trip of a lifetime, before a career gets in the way.

Matt Benson, Justin Kay and Andrew Baer have been friends since elementary school and the three have remained close through their time at Pine Lake Middle School, Issaquah High School and finally, Western Washington University.

The 2008 Issaquah grads will travel to Europe on a monthlong excursion, visiting England, France, Germany, Spain, and possibly the Netherlands and Italy.

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Daniel Bergstrom

October 2, 2012

Aug. 25, 1952 – Sept. 22, 2012

Daniel Bergstrom, 60, a machinist’s helper and Navy veteran, of Cle Elum, died Sept. 22, 2012, at home.

Dan was born in Seattle on Aug. 25, 1952.

He grew up in Preston and attended schools in the Issaquah School District, graduating from Issaquah High School in 1971.

Dan worked at Cle Elum Farm and Home.

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‘I Do!’ Casino Night goes all in with wedding prep

October 2, 2012

Normal bridal shows are large, impersonal events where brides-to-be shuffle around a large convention center and attempt to gain valuable information for their big day, said Vicky Markussen, owner of Victoria Graceson Floral Design.

“It’s sort of like a cattle feed — they put you in the chute, you walk around all of the booths, and then they shove you through and shove you out,” she said.

So, Markussen and Gina Mary Bahhage, owner of Gina Mary Hair Design, worked to create an event where brides and grooms could come together in an intimate atmosphere to get all of their questions answered.

The result is “I Do!” Casino Night, a fun-filled evening with cocktails, food, gambling and a handful of vendors available to answer wedding questions.

“We want it to be a fun, casual, enjoyable but intimate experience for the bride, because wedding shows are so crazy,” Markussen said. “I mean you have thousands of people and you don’t get a chance to have a nice conversation with a vendor.”

The event takes place Oct. 11 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Issaquah. Markussen asked that attendees RSVP beforehand at, but there is no registration deadline.

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Department of Natural Resources imposes burn ban for state forests

October 2, 2012

The state Department of Natural Resources has extended a summertime burn ban for Tiger Mountain State Forest and other state lands through Oct. 7.

The burn ban applies to all forestlands in Washington, except for federal lands.

“The conditions for new fires still exist, even as we head into October,” state Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark said in a statement. “Our firefighting resources are stretched to the limit, and our firefighters are exhausted. We cannot take the risk of new, human-caused fires with the tinder dry conditions out there.”

The state moratorium is in addition to a burn ban imposed by Eastside Fire & Rescue through Oct. 20 and by the King County fire marshal until further notice.

Issaquah company is finalist for small business honor

October 2, 2012

Issaquah-based Trans-NET Inc., a shipping company focused on Far East ports in Russia, is a finalist for a countywide small business honor, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced Sept. 5.

The company is nominated in the Exporting Small Business of the Year category alongside Seattle-based Enprecis and Kent-based Pacific Metallurgical.

Trans-NET Inc. is the only Issaquah business nominated. In the inaugural awards last year, Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in won Minority Small Business of the Year. Trans-NET Inc. received a nomination in the Exporting Small Business of the Year category last year, too.

Organizers named 21 finalists in seven categories for the King County Executive’s Small Business Awards. The competition received 130 nominations.

Organizers plan to announce the winners Oct. 10 at a ceremony at Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue.

Virginia Ruth Blodgett

October 2, 2012

Virginia Blodgett

Virginia Ruth Blodgett, who passed away Sept. 2, 2012, in San Marcos, Calif., made her home in Issaquah from 1979 until 2011.

Virginia, who was born in Kansas City, Mo., on July 11, 1920, was the daughter of William Bell Richards and Ella May Smith. Her father worked as a steward of a country club and later as a country club chef.

Virginia grew up in Missouri, moving several times within the state when her father changed jobs. In 1934, her family moved to Marceline, Mo., where her father ran the Sante Fe Lunch Room at the train station.

In 1936, after both of her parents had died, she went to live with her aunt and uncle in Mexico, Mo., where she graduated from high school in 1937.

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Discovery fourth-graders learn to be kind to others, themselves

October 2, 2012

Shri Gaur shares what he wrote about his eyes as Allison Lehr’s fourth-grade class at Discovery Elementary School listens quietly. By Lillian O’Rorke

School has only been in session a few weeks, and already the walls of Allison Lehr’s fourth-grade classroom at Discovery Elementary School are decorated with examples of a happy and helpful classroom community.

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DeWitt Stearns Randall

October 2, 2012

DeWitt Randall

Surrounded by his loving family, DeWitt Stearns (Randy) Randall, D.M.D., passed away Sept. 24, 2012, after fighting leukemia and lymphoma for 22 years.

Randy was born in Utica, N.Y., on Feb. 17, 1940, to Mark and Olga Randall. He was raised in Hamilton, N.Y., and graduated from Hamilton High School in 1957. He did his undergraduate studies at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and then graduated from the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Dentistry in 1966.

After college he enlisted in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of captain. He was posted at Fort Lewis, Wash., and upon discharge, decided he wanted to remain in the Northwest and opened a dental practice in Issaquah in 1969.

He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Maureen; and five children, Melissa Palmquist (Jim), Ryan Randall (Tracye), Hillary Minter (Brad), Stephen Bunting ( Diana) and Monica Lucarelli (Pete); 10 wonderful grandchildren; and brother R. Kirk Randall, of Newburyport, Maine.

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Costco faces gender bias lawsuit from employees

October 2, 2012

Issaquah-based Costco faces a gender bias lawsuit from workers, after a federal judge ruled the lawsuit can proceed.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco certified a class, or group, of plaintiffs Sept. 25. The group includes about 700 women challenging the company’s system for promotions to management posts. Costco has denied the plaintiffs’ claims.

In 2004, employees sued Costco after plaintiffs claimed the largest warehouse chain in the United States limited promotions to female employees by failing to post job openings.

Courts put the case on hold as a gender-discrimination case against Wal-Mart headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2011, justices threw out the case, Dukes v. Wal-Mart.

Chen’s 86-page order granted plaintiffs’ attorneys the right to proceed in the case Ellis v. Costco. No court date has yet been set in the case.

City seeks tourism grant applicants

October 2, 2012

The committee responsible for doling out lodging tax dollars for tourism projects and programs is accepting grant applications.

The municipal Lodging Tax Advisory Committee plans to distribute about $85,000 in 2013. Past recipients include the Issaquah Visitor’s Center, Issaquah History Museums and the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce Festivals Office.

The 1 percent lodging tax is collected by three hotels and motels. Under state law, revenue can only be used to pay all or any part of tourism promotion, acquisition of tourism-related facilities or the operation of tourism-related facilities.

Find the application on the city’s website, The deadline for applications is 4 p.m. Oct. 22.

Contact city Economic Development Manager Andrea Lehner at 837-3424 or

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