Local EFR responders reflect on the Oso slide

April 8, 2014

Two of our awesome Eastside Fire & Rescue workers each have just spent more than a week helping others responders from Snohomish County at the disastrous Oso mudslide.

Capt. Steve Westlake, Station 72, worked as the command staff chief of operations. Josie Williams, public information officer and education officer, managed the Joint Information Center. These are some of their reflections. — Greg Farrar

Greg Farrar Press photographer

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

“Spending nine full days working 16-hour shifts makes you appreciate the term teamwork, the only way you are able to accomplish goals, work through situations and problems, and support each other each day.

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Here’s to getting to know you — at long last

April 1, 2014

I’ve been working for this newspaper for 10 months, so it seems high time I got around to introducing myself.

To be perfectly honest, I’ve never been a big fan of reporters who write about themselves, even in opinion pieces. My job is to tell your stories, not my own. But hey, most people are a little curious about the guy hanging around the school board meetings and the high-school football games, so I’m happy to oblige.

Neil Pierson Press reporter

Neil Pierson
Press reporter

I grew up in Spokane and matriculated to the fine institution of Washington State University to get my journalism degree. Basically, it’s the only school I ever wanted to attend because half my family did as well. My dad, aunt and uncle all earned pharmacy degrees in Pullman. For three years, I lived in the same dormitory my grandfather did in the 1940s.

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What would it take to get you out to the Elks?

March 25, 2014

The picture is not rosy.

Despite all the good Elks lodges do for their communities across the nation, membership continues to decline.

As a result, the fewer the members the less money is raised for local college scholarships or the elimination of programs that support Wounded Warrior snowmobiling outings.

David Hayes Press reporter

David Hayes
Press reporter

The situation is not yet dire at Issaquah’s Lake Sammamish Lodge No. 1843, but something needs to be done to turn the downward trend around before it’s too late.

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When is free speech no longer free?

March 18, 2014

I was a sixth-grader in middle school when I was knocked down and beaten up by a group of Hispanic girls who kept shouting at me about being a white girl.

I remember how shocked I was as I walked home crying, nursing a black eye and worrying about my torn-beyond-repair dress. How could those girls be that way? I didn’t even know them, so I hadn’t done anything to them to warrant such an attack.

Kathleen R. Merrill Press managing editor

Kathleen R. Merrill
Press managing editor

For weeks afterward, I walked home from school many different ways, and got my brother or some friends to walk with me whenever they could.

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Time to upgrade your ‘farkle’

March 11, 2014

As spring arrives, this old man’s heart turns once again to motorcycles and getting ready for yet another riding season, which means deciding what “farkle” (a combination of function and sparkle) to upgrade, add or delete.

As I was upgrading my hand guards and the power outlet, to better accommodate my GPS and cellphone charger, a neighbor stopped by.

Joe Grove Press proofreader

Joe Grove
Press proofreader

“How do you know what kind of motorcycle to buy?” he asked.

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Buyer beware after winning a Super Bowl!

March 4, 2014

Memorabilia is a wonderful thing, and there’s nothing wrong with having some nice keepsakes to remind us of the places, people and events in our lives that hold a lot of meaning. My wife says I hang onto too much, but that’s another story.

There’s also nothing wrong with spending good money on a great object of value that reminds me of something historic or unique. If I see something nice and wait until later, it may well be gone by the time I’m ready to order. I always regret those missed opportunities for a long time.

Greg Farrar Press photographer

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

But do I really want to spend $300 on the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl Express? Not only that, but do I want to be FOOLED into spending that much money on a plastic model train set with four cars and a 3-by-5-foot oval track?

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Call me a citizen, not a customer

February 25, 2014

In Mayor Fred Butler’s Feb. 18 State of the City address, he said the first initiative of the coming year lies in providing “outstanding customer service.” It was the most recent example of hearing city officials in Issaquah and elsewhere refer to citizens as customers and I keep trying to unravel why it bothers me.

I should say up front that I have a silly little degree in political science, and obsessing over the details of government language comes with the territory. Still, my knee-jerk reaction would say, “You are a government, not Verizon or Domino’s pizza.”

Peter Clark Press reporter

Peter Clark
Press reporter

Clearly, governments who refer to citizens as customers do so in order to clarify the relationship between the public and the establishment. By saying they hold themselves accountable for the taxes they receive and pledge to provide good services in exchange, it frames the relationship in an economically driven way. Additionally, it makes the give and take seem more friendly and personal.

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List of distinguished retirees grows longer

February 18, 2014

Debbie Berto joined a growing, distinguished list within the past year when she announced her retirement. After 40 years at The Issaquah Press, she was ready to move on to the next challenge in her life.

She wasn’t the only one to call it quits on service in the public eye.

David Hayes Press reporter

David Hayes
Press reporter

Locally, Ava Frisinger ended her run in January as Issaquah’s longest-serving mayor after 17 years. When Frisinger announced in 2009 she would not run for another term, her reasoning was simple.

“I didn’t want to become stale,” she said. “It’s important to let others in and run things with a fresh set of eyes.”

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Be the 12th man or woman while doing some good

February 11, 2014

Congratulations, Seahawks and Seahawks fans. The 43-8 Super Bowl win against Denver makes us proud to be Northwest residents. And kudos to the Seahawks organization for the way it has embraced the 12th man concept — saying we fans are part of the team.

Online sports columnist Art Thiel (www.sportspressnw.com) said the number 12 seems to have significance for the Seahawks.

Sherry Grindeland SnoValley Star editor

Sherry Grindeland
SnoValley Star editor

“If you’re into sports numerology, Seattle scored 12 seconds into the first half, and 12 seconds into the second half,” he wrote. “For the long-suffering 12s, the symbolism goes beyond coincidence.”

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It means what I say it means

February 4, 2014

I was proofreading copy and the word came up again: sustainability.

It must be a regional buzz word, as I have never heard it used as much as I have here, but what does it mean? It is often used with stories about building projects but seems to have other contexts as well. I think it has to do with the fact I am now living in a more environmentally sensitive culture.

I believe it was the Mad Hatter who said to Alice, a word means what I say it means. The dictionary defines a word, but personal experience forms the many possible nuances.

Joe Grove Press reporter

Joe Grove
Press reporter

When I hear “sustainability,” the follow experiences shape its meaning for me: I was in Switzerland while the U.S. was celebrating its bicentennial. One of the locals, curious about the celebration, asked, “What’s the big deal. The barn over the hill is more than 200 years old?”

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