October 2, 2012
Salmon Days carol completes fall season
In honor of the approaching weekend, it comes to mind that we should remember the words to our favorite Salmon Days carol and share them with anyone new to Issaquah, so here they are!
“Here Come Salmon Days”
Here come Salmon Days,
Here come Salmon Days,
Right down Salmon Days Lane!
September 25, 2012
What do criminals think before they act?
Thoughts of gunman Ronald Ficker have roamed around in my head since he walked through downtown Issaquah, randomly shooting at people before getting into a gunfight with police on Sept. 24, 2011.
The incident ended with him being shot to death. And I haven’t been able to get that out of my head.
While he was driving around our fair city that morning, thinking about God knows what, I was spending time outside with my German shepherd, and then heading out for a cruise in my car on a sunny day. While he was dying on an elementary school campus, I was chatting with a friend while shopping.
I can’t get that out of my head either.
For some time that morning he drove around our city, even running out of gas and having contact with a police officer on Interstate 90, before he ran out of gas yet again downtown.
September 18, 2012
It’s not hard to cook up a lasting marriage
My wife Michelle and I celebrated our 17th anniversary in August. While we’ve more than doubled the national average, we’re still young ‘uns compared to some of the couples The Issaquah Press has featured in recent months.
The paper has been celebrating along with some local couples who’ve hit some mighty milestones in their marriages. Each was kind enough to also share their secrets to staying together all these decades since tying the knot.
Preben and Ruth Hoegh-Christensen celebrated their 70th anniversary Aug. 2. Their secret was to make sure there was give and take in their marriage, and after an argument to always kiss each other goodnight before bed, never going to sleep angry.
September 11, 2012
Delegates defy conventional wisdom
Early on, I dismissed the 2012 Democratic and Republican conventions as prime-time infomercials for both parties, more spectacle than substance.
Scenes from the convention stages in Tampa, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C., seemed about as garish as Times Square. For proof, look no further than the Republicans’ set fashioned from 13 giant LED screens — and billed as “America’s living room.”
Cynicism abounds come campaign season, and I admit to feeling more than a little jaded about the parties’ conventions.
September 4, 2012
Apples, plastic bags and elections, oh my!
It’s been nearly three weeks since we wrote a story about the apples (and plums and nuts, oh my!) on Northwest Gilman Boulevard.
Since, I have seen numerous families and groups of friends climbing the trees, standing on ladders and finding other ways to get the fruit from the trees.
Yesterday I saw three groups of folks gathering fruit. The previous Saturday, there were four groups on the other side of the boulevard.
My favorite sight so far has been a man, woman and two children — the adults jumping into the low-hanging branches with tennis rackets while the children scrambled to catch the fruit before it hit the ground.
August 28, 2012
When news photographs whistled through wires
Our recent story about the book by Barry Sweet, the Seattle Associated Press photographer for more than three decades, brought back a lot of memories. I visited with Barry at the Issaquah Costco and enjoyed reliving old times.
Would you believe that once upon a time, it took 10 minutes to send one black-and-white photograph to newspapers across the country? And 40 minutes to send color?
While studying at the University of Washington, I landed a job in 1977 as one of five wirephoto operators at the Seattle bureau, working right next to Barry Sweet at the same desk and the same darkroom for two years.
A wirephoto — or Laserphoto — transmitter was about the size and weight of a carton of 10 reams of office paper. We typed a caption on sticky paper, put it on the margin of an 8-by-10 print, put it in the slot and pressed start.
The picture would slowly feed at an inch per minute as the laser would scan 120 lines an inch, turn the shades of gray into a constant rapid whistling of high- to low-pitched sound frequencies and send it across telephone lines.
Receivers at the nation’s newspapers would expose glossy thermal paper with synchronized lasers at the same time and spit out their reproductions when the transmission was done.
August 21, 2012
The days of the cookie or bake sale as fundraiser are long past. Even the car wash doesn’t bring in as much as it used to. When the goal is to go way beyond the hundreds and bring in thousands of dollars for a cause, groups have turned to the big events to draw in the bigger spenders, such as community luncheons or the charity golf tournament.
Might I suggest another such option — the amateur poker tournament.
Ever since Chris Moneymaker (never a better name for a topic) won the 2004 World Series of Poker, everyone and their sister has tried their hand at Texas Hold ’Em. As the old timers say, it only takes a minute to learn, but a lifetime to master.
But if mastery is not your goal, then consider a fun time to be had by all. Every event has enough players with the knowhow to guide the newbies into knowing when to hold ’em, when to fold ’em, and when to walk away (hat tip to Kenny Rogers).
And I just happen to know a place right here in Issaquah that has a gambling license, blessed by the state, that allows sanctioned fundraisers for just said purpose — the Lake Sammamish Elks Lodge.
August 14, 2012
Election enthusiasm, fresh from New Jersey
Election Day, as a barrage of ads across all media reminds us, is only weeks — days, really — into the future.
Forget the Aug. 7 primary and the gaggle of also-ran candidates for state auditor, state insurance commissioner and other unglamorous-but-important roles. Until Nov. 6, all attention is focused on the race for governor.
Yes, I realize the presidential contest represents a watershed moment, but Washington is not a battleground state and the most locals can expect to see is more in-state fundraising from President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
Though the presidential race inched tantalizingly close to Issaquah in recent months — Obama in Seattle, Bellevue, Hunts Point and Medina; and Romney in Bellevue and Medina — neither candidate crossed Lake Sammamish.
So, in the meantime, amid the ubiquitous TV ads featuring Jay Inslee’s bulldozer and Rob McKenna’s family, do not overlook the races farther down the ballot.
August 7, 2012
It started with a photo, years ago, a sepia-toned 8-by-10 that someone sent in about their 50th anniversary. I don’t remember the couple’s name anymore, but I remember their faces beaming as they looked into a camera and smiled.
They sent some information with the photo and asked if we could run a small announcement. I instead asked a reporter to write a story.
How do people stay married that long? What’s their secret? Are they happy? And what have their lives together been like?
Those were things I wanted to know.
Since then, I can’t count how many stories we’ve done about couples who have been married 40, 50, 60 and even 70 years. It amazes me, in an age where the reported average is one divorce for every two marriages, that some couples manage to stay together, and do it happily, for longer than many people have even been alive.
July 31, 2012
Signature gatherers need a lesson in manners
I’ll be glad when all the recent initiatives and various other causes are wrapped up for this cycle and we don’t see signature gatherers again for a while.
To be clear, I am not against any specific cause here. And I’m never against people and their passions. In fact, I think many people could become more passionate about causes that need help.
And I’m not necessarily against signature gatherers. I just think some of them need to learn some manners.
I don’t know what it is these days about manners in general, but it seems the practice of good manners is declining.
But back to the signature gatherers. I had one recently who wouldn’t take no for an answer. Sometimes on my days off, I just like to be left alone, especially when ticking through a list of errands so I can get to enjoying my life.
On a recent trip to Target, I was in a hurry to get home and wash and wax my car, so I could get the T-tops out and enjoy some sun. This woman outside the store hollered at me and when I tried to wave her off yelled, “But are you registered to vote? What are you going to do about blah, blah, blah?”