July 9, 2013
Softball, reporter come full circle in summer game
There are always certain places from our youth that remain entrenched in our memories, no matter what.
For me, one such place is Kirkland’s Everest Park, where in 2000, as a member of the North Issaquah Little League softball 9/10 all-star team, I enjoyed one of the best summers of my life.
Exactly 13 years after our team took second place in the District 9 tournament, I returned to the fields to cover the Issaquah/Sammamish softball all-star team July 5. As you can imagine, I was hit with an overbearing wave of nostalgia.
July 2, 2013
How I remember Doc
When I decided to re-enter college after a three-year hiatus, one of my first political science classes at Indiana University Southeast was taught by Dr. Tom Kotulak. He would go on to define my educational experience, my personal drive toward accomplishment and set a standard of knowledgeable debate that I strive to realize on a daily basis.
He died June 11 from complications of pneumonia and it hit me harder than I expected.
I agree that the idea of a professor turned mentor is a romanticized idea that generally makes for better hyperbole than truth, but it is no exaggeration to say that I would not be where I am in life without that man. And I really like where I am in life.
June 25, 2013
And The Beat will go on, with your help
The Beat team and I had to make some hard decisions a few weeks ago when we had an end-of-the-school-year meeting. Do we go forward? How do we rebuild the team? How do we get the funding to continue our teen journalism project?
The Beat is our monthly (during the school year) page by teens, about teens, for teens. The team — students from Issaquah, Liberty, Skyline and Eastside Catholic high schools — meets once a month to plan what to write about, and the students learn about journalism and newspapers long before they get to college. Some even then decide to study journalism, which always makes me proud.
June 11, 2013
At least I don’t talk with my mouth full
A funny thing happened the last time I played poker.
Another player was slowly verbalizing her options in a particularly big pot when she said, “I never talk to myself. I only do this at the poker table.”
That provided me with a personal epiphany. I did the same thing. Which made me wonder, just what else do I do at the poker table I don’t do anywhere else in life?
Sometimes, I break the niceties of sportsmanship and harshly criticize another player for something they did (usually to my detriment).
June 4, 2013
When teaching high school English, I sometimes worried if we were entering a post-literate age, as there are so many students who don’t like to read or write. Are we going to again see a time when professional scribes carry the burdens and blessings of literacy?
News stories abound containing complaints about barely literate high school and college graduates. Human resource people look at résumés and shake their heads.
Literacy should start at home with parents who read and talk to their children about books. When that doesn’t happen, it leaves children at a disadvantage. To help make this happen, most communities provide astounding resources through free lending libraries.
May 28, 2013
I’m glad to help make government transparent
I went to a discussion dinner recently that focused on civil behavior and the responsibility of government. I am excited. One of the topics that arose centered on the transparency of government and it made me romanticize all over again the profession of journalism and what I feel it gives to the world.
The other diners had varying opinions regarding this, but most contended that government should be more open for the citizens it serves.
Leaving aside state and federal governments, I will say that local governments that I have covered, included my short time here in Issaquah, have been exceedingly transparent. In this city’s new website, they appear to painstakingly put in most every piece of paper that is offered to the mayor, the council or different departments. Likewise, they offered limited public comments on many issues and hold public hearings on the most important, such as on the Klahanie potential annexation area.
May 21, 2013
Keep the stories alive, never forget veterans
I had tears in my eyes when I read this year’s feature stories for Lest We Forget — our annual special section remembering and honoring our local veterans.
Here’s one reason:
“There were lots of heroes who fought for this country during World War II. Each of them has a story, but they are in the twilight of their years and the stories are falling silent with each passing.”
May 14, 2013
Hearts go out to a dad, daughter and family
It is a privilege to know Barry LeMond, a husband and father whose name most of you have probably never heard before.
He’s a compassionate man who I first met while he was helping a local family through a devastating tragedy. Now, he and his family are going through the same tragedy, and they can use your thoughts and prayers in the death of his daughter Kristy, a 24-year-old Issaquah High School graduate.
In January 2002, when Skyline High School student Josh Williams was killed in a snowboarding accident at Snoqualmie Pass, the LeMond family reached out to support their friends the Williams family, Phil and Debra and their two daughters.
May 7, 2013
Tribute to Katie comes in the color purple
Wearing the color purple will never mean the same to me again.
When I throw on a purple sweater or a lavender scarf, I will know from this day forward that this color is special.
Purple is the color of royalty. It is the color of courage. It is the color of a fighter. Purple is Katie Tinnea’s color.
April 30, 2013
A money pit is just one renovation too many
One of the signs of an economic recovery is an upward swing in valuations in the housing market.
For example, the home my wife and I bought less than three years ago has experienced some serious swings in valuation. King County just last year determined the home we bought at $319,000 had devalued down to $289,000. Luckily, we weren’t under water, yet.
But, just last week, my wife checked again after a house in our neighborhood sold at $379,000 (granted it was a two-story versus our one). Seems the county now sees the same house at $328,000.
That got me wondering. That value is only based on the abode on a given plot of land within a determined area. Upgrades are not considered.