Give government the gift of good grief

December 10, 2013

Budget season ended last month. You missed it. You missed many graphs, many charts, many numbers, many questions and many answers. You also missed the opportunity to take part.

You know that saying, “If you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain?” That should apply to civic action and education in general, especially regarding local government. If you don’t recognize the many ways the city tries to cultivate civic interaction, then you lose out on a chance to both learn how your tax dollars are spent and complain about how the council decides to spend them.

Peter Clark

Peter Clark

From social media alerts, two public hearings and five open work sessions, only one citizen stood up to speak. That’s pretty poor representation for Issaquah’s 31,000 residents.

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Holiday giving — be a ‘job creator’

December 3, 2013

Extraordinary acts of generosity never cease to amaze me during the holidays in Issaquah, and it’s a privilege to see some of them up close on assignment with a camera.

Among the first of many that will be going on throughout the month, it is a pleasure to report on the first two I’ve been sent to cover. There are more events to come, and it’s never too late to step up to the plate and help those in need.

Greg Farrar Press photographer

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

At Issaquah High School on Nov. 26, it was stunning to see a portion of the floor in the commons covered in a blanket of canned and boxed food. Tying in the food drive with the release of the popular “Hunger Games” movie sequel, students Amanda Levenson and Juliana Da Cruz thought a friendly competition would get interest from a lot of their classmates.

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Google doesn’t know all about Thanksgiving

November 26, 2013

When I heard department stores were opening up on Thanksgiving Day this year, I wanted to write a profound column about the true meaning of Thanksgiving. But to do so, I needed to double-check the actual facts about the original dinner party.

So I Googled “The True History of Thanksgiving” and was surprised by how much the “facts” differed.

David Hayes Press reporter

David Hayes Press reporter

The first hit links to a rather acerbic article that hotly posits that the first day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed by Massachusetts Colony Gov. John Winthrop. Apparently, he actually called for a celebration upon the safe return of a hunting party after they successfully massacred 700 Pequot Indians. Not the history lesson I grew up with, and since the author didn’t list his sources, I cannot verify the veracity of his claims.

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Here’s what not to say when someone dies

November 19, 2013

My mom died three weeks ago.

We were very close, and I feel like a part of my soul has died as well.

Kathleen R. Merrill Press managing editor

Kathleen R. Merrill
Press managing editor

We went to college together, we held hands when we went places, we talked on the phone more than once a week, and we sent each other packages and letters on a regular basis. My mom was my lighthouse, my sounding board, my biggest champion and my greatest friend.

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A fourth-quarter philosophy is adopted

November 12, 2013

I first encountered Dylan Thomas’ poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” while working on an MFA in creative writing at the University of Alaska Anchorage. It became my fourth-quarter (end-of-life) philosophy:

“Do not go gentle into that good night/Old age should burn and rave at close of day/Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.”

Joe Grove Press reporter

Joe Grove
Press reporter

The Bible allots us “three score years and 10.” Even by my poor math abilities, that amounts to 70 years. So, at 71, I am in my bonus years. When I now hear if I follow a particular diet, take a particular pill or break a particular habit, I will live longer, I keep doing what I please, as an extended life now just means a few additional months in an assisted living facility, watching TV reruns and wishing someone would change my Depends.

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The crucible of civics is found in voting

November 5, 2013

While most surely welcome an end to another election season, I must put in a positive word about civics.

Of course elections invariably lead to combative, negative emotions that pit one camp against another, but I prefer to view the hallowed democratic activity as offering a chance to further a personal and community-driven dialogue.

Peter Clark

Peter Clark

A local perspective makes this sentiment all the more relative. Here in Issaquah, we had the chance to see two longtime community leaders stand up for their personal vision of what the city’s future should look like and offer their services to lead it there. An ardent and thoughtful voter must weigh those options against a future they want to pursue.

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Mayor candidates are already both winners

October 29, 2013

In the editorial above this space, I’m sure you will find our newspaper’s official endorsement for the next mayor of Issaquah. One of the two candidates will take office in January as the first new mayor in 16 years. With your indulgence, here follows my own personal endorsement.

For the odd-numbered months during their term of office I prefer Fred Butler, and for the even-numbered months Joe Forkner.

Greg Farrar Press photographer

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

The fact is, not only are they both among the best and most caring people in town that I know, but they have run without a doubt the most gentlemanly, civil, respectful and considerate campaign in the history of politics ever.

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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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