November 24, 2015
NEW — 3:42 p.m. Nov. 24, 2015
If Lee Soptich had been a fire chief when I was a child, and he had made as big an impression on me then as he and his Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters do today, I would’ve said I wanted to be a firefighter when I grow up.
He loves the people who work for him, he loves his profession, he loves the communities he serves, he loves his family and he loves his Creator, all with a combination of humility and humor that’s rare, if not unique, these days. His retirement on Nov. 30 matters.
One of my favorite pictures in our files tells the whole story: It’s of Soptich in 2008, looking straight at me with twinkling eyes bugged out and an expression that combines fear and laughter, and his hair is in a Mohawk as he is getting shaved bald. Read more
November 17, 2015
NEW — 4:20 p.m. Nov. 17, 2015
I was invited to watch a local youth championship football game Saturday night. These are some of the random thoughts I had while shivering in the 40-degree, misting rain while my second cousin-in-law’s team was getting blown out.
Despite the cold weather locally, my numbed brain was actually giving weight to the global-warming myth by the evidence of 80-degree weather east of the Rockies last week. True believers would actually have you and me believe that global warming is currently the single biggest threat to mankind.
Then the true biggest threat, Islamic extremist terrorists, reared their ugly heads in Paris on Friday and reminded us where our leaders’ priorities truly need to be. These barbarians are killing innocents today but global-warming fanatics want us to worry about what will happen 20 years from now if we don’t build more windmills? Read more
November 10, 2015
NEW — 3:22 p.m. Nov. 10, 2015
Let me be the first and possibly only person to say it, with all sincerity: Thank you, thank you very much for not voting.
Even though all you had to do was mark a ballot and put it in the mail, the vast majority of you couldn’t be bothered. And that’s just fine because most of you had no idea who or what you would have been voting for in the first place.
The population in Issaquah was listed as about 33,000 in 2013. There are 19, 906 registered voters. Of those, a whopping 2,928 had returned their ballots as of Nov. 2, according to King County Elections. Read more
November 3, 2015
NEW — 4:20 p.m. Nov. 3, 2015
Did you hear the one about the wild-haired Jewish guy who went on a rant about wealthy people who spent their lives taking advantage of the poor to satisfy their greed?
With Election Day out of the way this week, and one year to go before the vote for president, I thought I’d talk a bit about democratic socialist Bernie Sanders.
Oh, I’m sorry, you thought this was about Jesus? Well, him too.
This is going to print before the local election results are announced but you’ll read it afterwards. Most of the people on the ballot this week in Issaquah and Sammamish, and many around the state, ran for nonpartisan positions on city councils and school boards. There’s only one I know of that, while on the ballot as nonpartisan, describes themselves as a Socialist, Seattle Council member Kshama Sawant. I could be going out on a long, thin limb, but I believe she will have won re-election. Read more
October 26, 2015
NEW — 8:53 p.m. Oct. 26, 2015
By the time you read this, the season could be over for Seattle Sounders FC, or they could be moving on to the Western Conference semifinals in the Major League Soccer playoffs.
If you follow me on Twitter (@sammamish_neil), you probably know I’m a huge fan of the Sounders. If you’ve seen me walking the sidelines at high-school games in my Chelsea FC jacket, you know who my favorite European team is and that I’m a close follower of the beautiful game.
The Sounders finished their regular season Oct. 25 with a decisive 3-1 victory over Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field, the three points clinching the club’s seventh playoff berth in as many MLS seasons. They were set to face the Los Angeles Galaxy – a longtime nemesis who’ve ended Seattle’s playoff runs three times – in a win-or-go-home match Oct. 28. Read more
October 20, 2015
NEW — 2:27 p.m. Oct. 20, 2015
I hate cancer.
I had a perfectly good, 40-year streak going of not having anyone close to me be afflicted by the disease. Then something happened and the odds caught up.
Between 2008 and 2012, there were 454 new cases of cancer per 100,000 men and women in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute. And the cancer mortality rate is 171 per 100,000 men and women.
One was our long-time sports editor, Bob Taylor. Diagnosed in 2006, he fought a valiant battle, one he liked to call a marathon, and through the power of prayer and love from his family and community, thought he had it beat. But cancer was not to be denied. It came back with a vengeance, claiming Bob in 2013 from complications due to the cancer. Read more
October 14, 2015
NEW — 2:01 p.m. Oct. 14, 2015
After 10 1/2 years as editor/managing editor of The Issaquah Press, and managing editor of our other newspapers — Sammamish Review, SnoValley Star and Newcastle News — I have given my resignation. My last day is Oct. 16. After that, I will move away and start a new, different life away from newspapers after decades in the business.
It’s hard to write a goodbye column, because what should you say, or not say? It’s like an Oscar speech, it could go on and on and not really say anything important, and you’re going to forget someone, no matter how hard you wrack your brain for the people you want to thank.
So, I want to thank each and every person who has helped me during my decade-plus here. You know who you are. And for each of you, I wish you much luck and love and joy and peace. Read more
October 7, 2015
NEW — 5:09 p.m. Oct. 7, 2015
I have to try and write this without being too corny or mushy. I just don’t do sentiment very well.
But understand, I really have no choice but to try. Today, the very day this is being published, is my 10th wedding anniversary, so what else would I write about?
While we were both still living in Cleveland, I met my wife Michelle online, through free listings on AOL. She gave me her phone number and we talked online and on the phone quite a few times. There are a few lines or quotes that became sort of milestones in our relationship. Here’s one: Read more
September 30, 2015
NEW — 4:46 p.m. Sept. 30, 2015
He is 4 years old, in red, white and black striped shirt, pale blue jeans and metallic blue tennis shoes, spinning, jumping, crouching, leaping and singing a song in exuberance at a Costco store.
Haochen Xu will be dancing in my iPhone forever.
How did that come to be there? On Monday, June 30, we learned in the newsroom that the boy hit in the Oakcrest Drive crosswalk on Newport Way had died of his injuries, and on a very busy production day the only person with time to return to the neighborhood for following up on the Xu family’s tragedy was me. Read more
September 22, 2015
Wow, that was quick. The summer is over and the first day of autumn was officially Wednesday, Sept. 23.
Looking back, for whatever reason, I got so little done this sunny season, especially when it comes to attending Issaquah events. I didn’t make it to a single Tuesday night Concert on the Green. My wife usually succeeds in dragging me to the Farmers Market at least one Saturday a year. Didn’t happen this time. So I’ll blame her for that one.