Follow safety tips to avoid Christmas tree catastrophes

December 11, 2012

The holiday season is a time for celebration, but fire hazards from Christmas trees and other decorations can dampen the festive spirit.

Experts at the State Fire Marshal’s Office remind residents to properly care for and decorate Christmas trees, and to practice fire safety in order to prevent yuletide emergencies.

If a household holiday display includes a natural tree, keep the tree adequately watered. Improper care and decoration of live or artificial Christmas trees can lead to catastrophic fires.

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Holiday donors can avoid charity scams

December 11, 2012

Secretary of State Sam Reed and state Attorney General Rob McKenna urged consumers to beware of holiday charity scams, and unveiled a report to help residents donate wisely.

Throughout 2012, charities using commercial fundraisers in Washington received 46 percent of total donations raised by the fundraisers — lower than the 56 percent in the 2011 report and a major drop from the 77 percent in the 2010 report. Read the most recent report on the Office of the Secretary of State’s website at

The report is updated on a weekly basis. Consumers can also run reports in real time and receive current registration information on commercial fundraisers.

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Skyline swimmers fall to Redmond, Eastlake in season opener

December 11, 2012

Skyline junior Matt Haynie wins the 500-yard freestyle race Dec. 4 at Redmond Pool with a time of 5 minutes, 35.54 seconds. By Greg Farrar

With more than a dozen of its 63 competitors missing, the Skyline High School boys swim team took to the pool Dec. 4 for its season opener dual meet, eventually losing 96-87 to Redmond and 101-84.5 to Eastlake.

“The boys still did really, really well. We are really pleased with them,” Skyline coach Susan Simpkins said. Athletes must have at least 10 practices before they can compete. “I think when we get all our kids qualified to swim, after the 10-practice thing, we will have a well-rounded team.”

This year, she added, the team’s leadership in terms of experience comes from a strong group of juniors: Paul Jett, Matt Haynie and Nick D’Alo.

Those three, along with several others, helped the Skyline Spartans grab several victories.

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Skyline High School wrestlers win Sammamish Plateau faceoff

December 11, 2012

In a match Dec. 6 where there were just as many pins as decision wins and even more forfeits, the Skyline High School Spartans beat the Eastlake Wolves, 40-30.

“We brought some intensity. Eastlake stepped up,” Skyline coach Gus Kiss said. “Our kids still had to step up and we did.”

The Spartans gave up 24 points in forfeits at 170, 180 and the top two heavyweights, but received one forfeit at 106.

Skyline racked up three pins, all within the first period of the match. In the 113 weight class, Nathan Swanson won in 1 minute, 32 seconds. At 120, Kody Nguyen pinned his opponent in 31 seconds.

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Off the Press

December 11, 2012

Elusive Christmas wish ignites holiday meltdown

Warren Kagarise
Press reporter

Christmastime means basic cable is awash in the holiday staples I remember from childhood — animated Whos in “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” a stop-motion Santa Claus in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and, above all else, BB-gun-seeking Ralphie Parker in “A Christmas Story.”

In 1990, at age 6, I followed Ralphie’s lead and trimmed my Christmas list down to a single wish.

That November, I dutifully wrote Santa Claus a letter outlining my desire for a Patch Up Pet, nowadays a long-forgotten toy. I knew if I wanted to score such a hot item, I needed to bypass my parents and appeal directly to the big man.

Santa wrote back. In hindsight, that should have been a big indicator of trouble.

Despite much searching by the elves, he wrote, there were no Patch Up Pets to be had, not at the North Pole, and especially not in Lorain, Ohio, where my parents and I then lived.

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Newcastle Elementary School crowns geography bee champ

December 11, 2012

Palms were sweating and nerves were rattled when a group of 10 fourth- and fifth-graders gathered to compete in Newcastle Elementary School’s 2012 geography bee Nov. 30.

The 10 competitors stood in front of more than 50 of their classmates and answered questions taken directly from the National Geographic Society.

Ultimately, it was fifth-grader Nathan Jackson who won the competition after correctly identifying Australia as the country where Fremantle Prison is located.

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Issaquah Community Center, Julius Boehm Pool close for maintenance

December 11, 2012

Prepare for closures at the Issaquah Community Center and the Julius Boehm Pool for maintenance and the holidays.

The community center is due to close for maintenance from Dec. 19-22. Then, the center closes for Christmas from Dec. 24-25 and reopens to the public Dec. 26.

Meanwhile, the pool is scheduled to close from Dec. 24-25 for Christmas and reopen at 6:30 a.m. Dec. 26.

In addition to the community center and pool, officials plan to close City Hall and Issaquah Municipal Court from Dec. 24-25 for Christmas.

To the Editor

December 11, 2012

Liberty schedule change

Change will equal lost opportunities

I am a Liberty parent. I wish to relay my own story of my daughter’s experience with eight periods.

As a sophomore, she is taking core classes of English, biology, algebra 2 and European studies, and also Japanese, physical education and two additional classes — choir and child development. She wants to be a teacher.

She needs a world language to get into college, so her only true “electives” are choir and child development. In a six-period day, she wouldn’t be able to take either one.

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Issaquah School District students, athletes get $176,000 boost

December 11, 2012

The Issaquah School District approved more than 176,000 worth of donations during its Nov. 28 meeting.

The Issaquah Schools Foundation donated $88,597.55 to support various programs in the district.

From that, $12,500 is for the Middle School After School Homework program while another $7,500 is for similar high school programs. As well, $35,600 is for Science Tech; $25,000 goes to Humanities Plus; $3,500 is earmarked for Financial Literacy and Targeted Academic Interventions gets $3,797.55.

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State regulators fine Puget Sound Energy $250,000

December 11, 2012

State regulators fined Puget Sound Energy $250,000 for violating a 2010 order to require the Bellevue-based utility to review and correct customer accounts, officials announced Nov. 9.

The state Utilities and Transportation Commission approved a settlement on a complaint based on violations stemming from the 2010 order. Officials said PSE violated the order 515 times.

The utility is not allowed to pass the penalty costs to customers through rate changes.

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