Iran-born local competes for Miss Washington USA

October 14, 2014

Elena Tavakoli, 26, Miss Issaquah Plateau USA 2014, is competing for 2015 Miss Washington USA, the state pageant qualifier to Miss USA.

Elena Tavakoli

Elena Tavakoli

This is Tavakoli’s first pageant. She said she hopes to inspire others to get outside their comfort zone.

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Eastside Writes sponsors Salmon Days tweets

October 14, 2014

Made popular by Twitter, six-word memoirs summarize their writers’ lives in just six words.

Eastside Writes, an Issaquah-based literary arts organization, gave the trend a Salmon Days twist by inviting visitors to write six-word salmon memoirs.

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Picking up the pieces — Ruth Lopez helps Philippines rebuild after destructive typhoon

September 30, 2014

When Typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippines in early November 2013, it left in its path thousands of people dead or missing; countless homes, businesses and infrastructure destroyed; and a nation on its knees.

Contributed Arlyn Villas, with her sixth-grade class at St. Therese Educational Foundation of Tacloban Inc., has lived in a tent on her property with her brother and two nephews since Typhoon Haiyan. Window frames salvaged from her destroyed home are used to hold decorations at the back of the class.

Contributed
Arlyn Villas, with her sixth-grade class at St. Therese Educational Foundation of Tacloban Inc., has lived in a tent on her property with her brother and two nephews since Typhoon Haiyan. Window frames salvaged from her destroyed home are used to hold decorations at the back of the class.

Considered one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, and the deadliest on Philippine record, 6,300 were confirmed dead with some reports up to 10,000, 16 million people were affected and 4.1 million were displaced.

Nearly a year later, major cities across the country are only just starting to rebuild with the help of aid workers and charitable organizations.

Issaquah resident Ruth Lopez, 49, whose parents were born in the Philippines, recently returned from a two-week stay in Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines.

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Issaquah Women’s Club hosts scholarship fundraiser

September 23, 2014

When Issaquah resident Lorena Kott moved to the city two years ago, she sought an outlet that would both help her meet people and give back to her new community.

She found it in the Issaquah Women’s Club, a social and philanthropic organization that has been bringing Issaquah women together since 1983.

“I loved the duality of the social aspect and the helping aspect,” Kott, the club’s marketing chairwoman, said. “You can have fun, help others and make friends. What more could you want from a club?”

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Help local woman raise funds for cancer research

September 16, 2014

This weekend, for the 12th time in 14 years, Issaquah resident Judi Schrager will participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, where hundreds of women and men walk 60 miles over three days to raise money for breast cancer research.

Judi Schrager has put together a quilt from clothing she has worn in past Susan G. Komen 3-Day events.

Judi Schrager has put together a quilt from clothing she has worn in past Susan G. Komen 3-Day events.

Her goal is to raise $1,200; she chose the figure because this is her 12th event. She is now just over halfway there.

At the end of each day, and each 20-mile segment, walkers come “home” to a mobile city. And that’s where Schrager, 72, comes in.

In 2000, she walked. Since then, she has worked on the food services crew. She has been committed to the cause since she saw a sign on a bus in 2000, and realized after she started counting that she knew nine people who had breast cancer, some who had survived and some who had not.

“And I thought, ‘Wow. Nine people,’” she said. “You know the survival rate wasn’t near what it is now.

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Life lessons: Mom vs. the Marines

September 9, 2014

Vietnam veteran credits his mother for actions that helped him earn a Bronze Star

By Greg Farrar Ron Preston poses with Asha, his 8-month-old black Labrador shelter rescue dog, on a woodpile of felled trees at his Preston home.

By Greg Farrar
Ron Preston poses with Asha, his 8-month-old black Labrador shelter rescue dog, on a woodpile of felled trees at his Preston home.

The same determination Ron Musgrave learned as a U.S. Marine that led to a Bronze Star for his actions in Vietnam are evident in the business he has nurtured for more than 45 years.

Musgrave was barely old enough to buy a drink in the States when his outfit was sent to Hill 689 in June 1967. The young Marine had been trained to fire a 3.5-inch bazooka as part of a weapons platoon.

The bazooka he carried was an updated version of the 2.5 bazooka used against German Panzers tanks during World War II. Musgrave was often ordered to use the anti-tank rocket launcher to flush enemy snipers out of the spider holes they had dug into the ground of the moist tropical jungle.

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Ride of a lifetime — Teen completes Seattle to Portland bike ride event for charity

August 26, 2014

Amol Garg is an unusually motivated 14-year-old, and his inner fire fueled another noteworthy accomplishment this summer.

Contributed  Amol Garg, 14, trained for about four months for the STP, despite never having ridden a bike for more than 15 miles.

Contributed
Amol Garg, 14, trained for about four months for the STP, despite never having ridden a bike for more than 15 miles.

Garg, who will be a Skyline High School freshman in September, has been actively involved around Sammamish for years. He volunteers with a youth-centered charity that uses arts and crafts projects as inspiration, has achieved the rank of Life Scout with Troop 677, and founded a Toastmasters-type club to help fellow children improve their public-speaking and leadership skills.

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Sky riders — Tandem flights help everyone take wing

August 19, 2014

Seattle Paragliding teamed up with Project Airtime recently to give wings to those for whom flight seemed impossible.

“The overall goal of Project Airtime is to take everyone flying, no exclusions,” Project Airtime founder Chris Santacroce said.

By Rachel Osgood A tandem paragliding wing flies above Tiger Mountain, with the Issaquah Highlands’ Grand Ridge Plaza in the background, July 25 after being launched from Poo Poo Point during a three-day event organized by Project Airtime and Seattle Paragliding. The event gave people with disabilities the opportunity for free flight with pilots.

By Rachel Osgood
A tandem paragliding wing flies above Tiger Mountain, with the Issaquah Highlands’ Grand Ridge Plaza in the background, July 25 after being launched from Poo Poo Point during a three-day event organized by Project Airtime and Seattle Paragliding. The event gave people with disabilities the opportunity for free flight with pilots.

 

Marc Chirico, the owner of Seattle Paragliding, worked with Santacroce to give people with special needs the opportunity to fly tandem as co-pilots. Santacroce came from Salt Lake City to provide Seattle Paragliding with the necessary equipment to launch paraplegics and quadriplegics off Tiger Mountain from July 25-27.

“My favorite part about working with Project Airtime is the inspiration and perspective check that comes out of all Santacroce does,” Chirico said. “It is clearly a good spirited project.” Read more

Skyline alumnus heading to China

August 5, 2014

Daniel Peng

Daniel Peng

At just 24 years old, Daniel Peng is an extensive world traveler, and he’s headed back to foreign lands for the better part of the next year.

Peng grew up in Sammamish and Issaquah, and graduated from Skyline High School in 2008. He’s crisscrossed the globe as a collegiate student and young professional, and he recently earned a prestigious honor that will allow him to spend nine months in China.

In May, Peng learned he was the recipient of a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant. He’s one of about 1,800 recipients nationwide who will have the chance to travel abroad for a unique hands-on learning opportunity in their chosen field.

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Student learns through high-tech apprenticeship

August 5, 2014

Hari Rajan, an incoming senior at Skyline High School, works with equipment in a sports science laboratory at the University of Southern California. Contributed

Hari Rajan, an incoming senior at Skyline High School, works with equipment in a sports science laboratory at the University of Southern California. Contributed

When Hari Rajan graduates from Skyline High School next June, there may not be much celebration. That’s because he’s planning to have an even larger academic challenge in front of him.

Rajan is a star student at Skyline whose major interest is biology. His passion for the inner workings of life is leading him toward a career as a doctor, and he’s planning to apply to some prestigious medical schools — Northwestern, Duke, Johns Hopkins and Pennsylvania — in the coming year.

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