Slippery slopes are paved with good intentions

October 22, 2013

One has to sympathize with Allen Anderson for what transpired Oct. 10.

The longtime custodian at Issaquah High School has regularly worn a camouflage-printed jacket and carried an umbrella into work. But this particular day, someone mistook his signature look for that of a mysterious gunman.

David Hayes Press reporter

David Hayes
Press reporter

The high school and other nearby schools went into lockdown. When Anderson realized it was he who had caused the confusion, he told school administrators who advised him to turn himself in to the police surrounding the school.

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Month of October brings appreciation, fatalism

October 15, 2013

I love October. Between the changing weather, the eruption of color and the settling shroud of Halloween, my appreciation of this month has grown exponentially over time.

It is a recent development and a remarkable one. Here: Let me remark on it.

Peter Clark Press reporter

Peter Clark
Press reporter

About 11 years ago, I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder, a pretty severe case. Instead of the short daylight of winter, autumn depressed me the most. We’re not talking being moody and mopey. We’re talking straight up “can’t leave the bed because everything is eternally painful.” I had life-changing problems with school as I was just beginning college and it led to some pretty intense family issues. Everyone has their personal struggles.

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New Facebook account invites entrapment

October 8, 2013

With all the buzz about social media and its influence on our culture, it was time to face up to Facebook, especially since I read that kids are abandoning it because it has become popular with their parents. So, I finally opened a Facebook account.

(Actually, there was an account that bore my name a few years ago, started by some nefarious students, and I had to threaten Facebook with legal action to get it taken down.)

Joe Grove Press reporter

Joe Grove
Press reporter

Since opening the account, I have made contact with former friends whom I had not heard from in 25 or 30 years and have gleaned a lot of news from relatives not normally heard from.

Then one day came a suspicious posting: “What’s her face” would like to be your friend. Along with the request for friendship was a picture of a cute little filly. I assumed she was a friend of one of my friends, trying to expand her universe of friends, so I confirmed the request.

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Off The Press

September 24, 2013

Go places, learn new things on the cheap

 Do you have a King County library card? At the low price of free, it’s one of the best values on the planet.

I’ve been an avid reader since I was a little kid. Oh, the lives and worlds I’ve escaped into. Books can do that.

Kathleen R. Merrill Press managing editor

Kathleen R. Merrill
Press managing editor

I still have my first library card, which I got when I was 5. I also have my library awards from reading contests when I was a child. If they said read 50 books, I read 100. Ahh, nostalgia.

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It’s a small, bark, meow world, after all

September 17, 2013

There is not what we would call an identity crises going on among the two- and four-legged residents of the humble Farrar household, but we could probably hit the nail on the head if our identities were described as highly flexible.

You will understand if I simply say that the cats think they are dogs or sometimes humans, the dogs think they are humans, the husband thinks he is a cat or dog or sometimes a wife, and the wife thinks she is a dog or cat or sometimes a husband.

Greg Farrar Press photographer

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

Smudge, one of our three cats, always wants to eat what the people are eating. She enjoys rice cakes, fudge bars, olives, yogurt, vegetable soup and spaghetti.

Our dogs Bairn and Ilsa live on the furniture and watch TV with us, always “help” us read the paper, never let us out of their sight and don’t bat an eye when Smudge, Smokey and Flash walk around them rubbing their foreheads under the dogs’ chins.

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Off The Press

September 10, 2013

If you’re going to go, go with a smile

I’ve finally got a topic here that I can sink my teeth into — my smile.

Essentially, it sucks.

David Hayes

David Hayes

You think teen girls have it hard, trying to live up to an impossible ideal, comparing their bodies to the svelte models in their pop culture mags? Try comparing your grill to the flawless grins in television commercials.

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Off The Press

September 3, 2013

Old teachers lose all class

Joe Grove Press reporter

Joe Grove
Press reporter

In his speech before a joint session of Congress in 1951, eight days after he was fired by President Harry Truman, General Douglas McArthur closed with the famous lines, “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.” To paraphrase it, old teachers never die, they just lose their class.

As a retired teacher, when I browse stores this time of year and see the school supplies out, along with the newest trends in student clothing, I feel a twinge of nostalgia and a bit of sadness, knowing I am now out of school for good.

What I miss most is my seventh-grade reading classes, reading aloud to the kids and talking to the kids about what they were reading.

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Off The Press

August 27, 2013

Put your clothes on for back to school

It’s almost time for young people to go back to school, which means for weeks we at the newspaper have been receiving emails and phone calls galore about what students and parents need to know.

Kathleen Merrill Press managing editor

Kathleen Merrill
Press managing editor

Last week, I got several emails from schools about dress codes for students. This reminder in one of them from a high school made me howl with laughter:

“At all times, your chest/cleavage, thighs/buttocks and shoulders must be covered, and all underwear must be UNDER another piece of clothing and not visible.”

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Off The Press

August 20, 2013

Chandler and Jamie, this column is for you

I got two emails last week, on two consecutive days, that made me cry.

The first, an announcement and a photo, was one of joy — Chandler Balkman was getting married.

You may remember Chandler. On Aug. 3, 2006, Balkman, then 16, and his father went for a swim in Lake Sammamish.

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Off The Press

August 13, 2013

Frank Blethen, Jeff Bezos and the future of news

Peter Clark Press reporter

Peter Clark
Press reporter

Stars aligned in inviting me to see The Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen speak at the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce lunch only two days after The Washington Post announced its purchase by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

Blethen gave an expert and impassioned speech regarding the family-owned daily The Times, the future of the newspaper industry and the state’s hurdles in improving the educational system. However, the event shined during the question and answer session.

To me, it was relevant on many levels. Along with the local implications including my appreciation of The Seattle Times (full disclosure: The Issaquah Press is owned by the company of the only daily left in the metropolitan area), hearing Blethen speak about the decision of another local powerhouse taking an active interest in my industry left my head spinning with speculation.

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