Cool off on a river float, but remember safety tips

June 28, 2012

Rumor has it there’s a season in the year where the sun outmuscles the clouds and shines for more than once a week.

Were that rumor to come true, some rain-drenched, sun-starved Washingtonians will no doubt choose to spend their days tubing in one of the state’s rivers and lakes.

Don Martin, an experienced rescuer, river guide and owner of whitewater rafting company River Recreation, said rivers and lakes offer different advantages.

“The allure of rivers is that you’re traveling to a different section of river,” as you float, he said. A lake offers a calmer alternative, with not so much moving water. Washington state is full of lakes like that, he added.

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From Issaquah Creek to Puget Sound

June 28, 2012

A Puget Sound Starts Here badge on a storm drain in downtown Issaquah. By Greg Farrar

Puget Sound starts in Issaquah — among other places — and problems in local streams can impact the sound’s overall health.

Glance at any storm drain in downtown Issaquah, and the connection between runoff from city streets and Puget Sound comes into focus.

“Puget Sound Starts Here” read placards about the same size as a deck of cards.

The shortest distance between Issaquah and Puget Sound is about 15 miles, separated by open spaces set aside for conservation and acres sealed beneath concrete. The actual division between suburb and sound is shorter.

Curbside storm drains throughout Issaquah drain to Issaquah and Tibbetts creeks, and then into Lake Sammamish. The lake is connected through a broad, interconnected watershed to Puget Sound.

“It’s all of us that live in the watershed,” said Michael Grayum, director of public affairs for the Puget Sound Partnership, a state agency formed to spearhead cleanup. “The work of the Puget Sound Partnership goes from the snowcaps to the whitecaps, and everything is connected to Puget Sound in between.”

Many sources of pollutants in Puget Sound exist far from the shoreline.

The most common way toxic chemicals reach Puget Sound is through polluted surface runoff from residential, commercial and industrial lands. Untreated runoff sluices into freshwater lakes, streams and then drains into Puget Sound.

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Lights! Camera! Issaquah!

June 28, 2012

“Twin Peaks” put North Bend on the map, but the TV cult classic filmed some scenes in the Issaquah area, too.

Tiger Mountain is not as recognizable to outsiders as Mount Si — thanks, David Lynch — but Hollywood called on Issaquah and the surrounding area in recent decades for productions in need of suburban streets and forested backdrops.

“Twin Peaks” aside, most productions filmed in the Issaquah area faded into pop culture ephemera.

Remember “Hot Pursuit” — a short-lived ’80s thriller about a couple on the lam? Or “An Upstanding Citizen” — a 1998 Lifetime movie melodrama, in true Lifetime movie melodrama form, about a tragic car accident and the aftermath?

Both productions included scenes shot in the Issaquah area.

The crew for “The Secret Life of John Chapman” filmed in the Issaquah area and included local extras. Ralph Waite — the father on the homespun TV series “The Waltons” — starred in the 1976 film about a college president on sabbatical as a laborer.

Perhaps the most notable film to feature Issaquah scenes is “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle.” The 1992 flick about a psychotic nanny turned into a moderate hit at the box office.

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The Herbfarm: From farm to table to Issaquah

June 28, 2012

The most-lauded restaurant in the Pacific Northwest, a bastion in farm-to-table dining and a place possessed of more stars than the Milky Way, once added national prestige to dining in Issaquah — a city recognized for chocolates, root beer and little else.

The Herbfarm served slow-roasted salmon in zucchini blossoms, tarragon ice-topped melon soup and other creations from a space near Boehms Candies from May 1999 until April 2001. The restaurant then departed for more upscale digs at a bucolic Woodinville inn.

Tragedy led The Herbfarm to Issaquah. Fire destroyed the original Fall City restaurant in January 1997.

Owners intended to rebuild in Fall City and, in the meantime, selected the since- closed Hedges Cellars tasting room along Northeast Gilman Boulevard as the interim location for the restaurant.

The location presented challenges and, for diners during the Issaquah era, altered the experience. The garden tour, a precursor to meals in Fall City and Woodinville, went on hiatus while The Herbfarm operated in Issaquah, cofounder Carrie Van Dyck recalled.

The floorplan shielded the kitchen from the dining room, a departure from the open kitchen in Fall City.

Still, the restaurant reeled in diners — and accolades. The New York Times recommended The Herbfarm in a 2000 travelogue and national magazines clamored to feature the Pacific Northwest menu.

The menu is ever-evolving to reflect changes in seasons and themes.

“We never serve the same thing,” Van Dyck said. “You could come to the same theme year after year and have a different experience each time.”

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Made in Issaquah

June 28, 2012

Go ahead, sample some local products.

Boehms Candies

Boehms Candies

In 1956, Julius Boehm opened Boehms Candies in Issaquah, 17 years after the former Olympian fled Nazi-occupied Austria.

The iconic chocolatier offered a taste of Issaquah to chocoholics attracted to the city to see candy makers in action.

Nowadays, the chalet-inspired chocolate factory turns out caramels, cordials, truffles and candy bars in a distinctive gold wrapper.

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2012 Winter Issaquah Living

February 21, 2012

Open publication – Free publishingMore community
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Tomorrow turns 50: Century 21 Exposition, space-age celebration, reshaped region a half-century ago

February 21, 2012

In early Century 21 Exposition concept art, circa 1961, the monorail hangs from a rail rather than gliding along a track. MOHAI, Walter Straley Century 21 Exposition Photograph Collection

Opportunities seemed endless as Seattle prophesized a sleek future at the 1962 Century 21 Exposition.

In the years before the fair opened a half-century ago, local leaders imagined the fairgrounds along Lake Sammamish. Envision, as entrepreneurs dared to do in the late ’50s, Lake Sammamish State Park as a site for the still-embryonic exposition.

The fairgrounds showcase Cougar Mountain as a backdrop for the Space Needle. Or, rather than the bubbling International Fountain, placid Lake Sammamish defines the landscape. The monorail, all Swedish design and German engineering, connects suburban cities, not Seattle neighborhoods.

Organizers considered, if only for a moment, a fair situated amid farmland and forests, perhaps a Festival of the West set in Issaquah, a former frontier settlement.

“What if it had been in Issaquah?” asked Lorraine McConaghy, public historian for the Seattle-based Museum of History & Industry, or MOHAI. “What if 10 million people had come to Issaquah between May and October of 1962?”

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce leaders proposed the then-300-acre state park as a possible fair site in July 1958, as boosters from the Puget Sound region urged organizers to consider locations outside Seattle.

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Tomorrow turns 50: In 1962, Issaquah residents crossed Lake Washington for fair’s futuristic fun

February 21, 2012

Diners enjoy drinks — and a now-forbidden smoke — in the Eye of the Needle revolving restaurant atop the Space Needle. MOHAI, Milkie Studio Collection

The distance from Issaquah to the future measured a mere 17 miles.

In 1962, as the Century 21 Exposition greeted fairgoers from the United States and beyond, residents from Issaquah — then home to about 3,000 people — crossed Lake Washington from April 21 to Oct. 21 for the Space Age fair.

Nowadays, 50 years after the spectacle at Seattle Center closed, memories remain as clear as the Bubbleator dome. The fair introduced countless palates to strawberry-topped Belgian waffles and tempted millions of guests to brave the maze inside the IBM Pavilion.

“Everybody went to the fair,” said Lorraine McConaghy, public historian for the Seattle-based Museum of History & Industry, or MOHAI. “It was not just an urban phenomenon. It was a regional phenomenon.”

The iconic Space Needle — then painted in Technicolor hues — and the Bubbleator left lasting impressions on locals. The bubble-shaped elevator carried fairgoers to exhibits inside the Washington State Coliseum.

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Tomorrow turns 50: Issaquah greeted travelers en route to the fair

February 21, 2012

Issaquah, a way station on the route to the 21st century, opened the city to travelers as the Century 21 Exposition greeted almost 10 million fairgoers.

In 1962, the fair also came to Issaquah in a sense, after Issaquah Chamber of Commerce leaders established a fair information booth along U.S. Route 10, a pulsing artery stretched from the Midwest to the Northwest.

Inside the A-frame structure, 168 volunteers offered fair facts and Evergreen State greetings for 12 hours each day from May 12 to Sept. 30. In August, as the fair readied for its 5 millionth guest, Issaquah residents greeted the 5,000th traveler to stop at the booth.

The booth hosted representatives from all 50 states and 28 foreign nations. Organizers could arrange accommodations for fairgoers from Issaquah via a direct telephone line to the lodging center at the exposition.

“People became aware of Issaquah” through the information center, longtime Issaquah resident Dick Campbell said. “We were something other than a farming-logging-mining community.”

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Experience life in Issaquah 100 years ago — outhouses, saloons and all

February 21, 2012

Forget the buttoned-up suburb, circa 2012, to envision Issaquah from a century ago.

Issaquah in 1912 included more saloons than churches. The coalmines and logging camps attracted a tough-as-nails crowd. The era required a little more steel in the backbone.

Townsfolk eked out a hardscrabble life, but still managed to loosen up at the Stockholm Hotel & Saloon or Clark’s Place. In homes, simple conveniences — indoor plumbing, for instance — ranked as unheard-of luxuries.

Imagine a typical day from 1912.

The chill February air is a bracing alarm, almost as difficult to ignore as the crowing rooster outside.

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