To the Editor

February 13, 2014

Seventh & Gilman property

Flooding concerns must be addressed in a meaningful way

The Seventh & Gilman property clearly needs to be redeveloped. However, having been associated with two businesses there, and having been flooded out three times, I am concerned that whatever is approved takes all its problems fully into account.

The city rates the chance of flooding on this property at a one-in-100-year event, but in reality, it has been more like one in seven in recent years. My largest concern with the current proposal is the below-flood-level parking, and the likelihood it will leave the residents’ 400 to 500 vehicles submerged and its large underground footprint push floodwater to new places.

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Be the 12th man or woman while doing some good

February 11, 2014

Congratulations, Seahawks and Seahawks fans. The 43-8 Super Bowl win against Denver makes us proud to be Northwest residents. And kudos to the Seahawks organization for the way it has embraced the 12th man concept — saying we fans are part of the team.

Online sports columnist Art Thiel ( said the number 12 seems to have significance for the Seahawks.

Sherry Grindeland SnoValley Star editor

Sherry Grindeland
SnoValley Star editor

“If you’re into sports numerology, Seattle scored 12 seconds into the first half, and 12 seconds into the second half,” he wrote. “For the long-suffering 12s, the symbolism goes beyond coincidence.”

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Thank you so much, Debbie Berto

February 11, 2014

It would take the next three longest-serving current Issaquah Press employees combined to equal publisher Debbie Berto’s 41 years of effort. And they would have to reach the ages of 85, 81 or 72, respectively, for one to catch her record. Not going to happen. In our 114-year history, not one other person has ever devoted their entire adult life to the cause of community journalism for the citizens of this town. When The Issaquah Press reaches 228 years, her mark will still stand. Thank you, Debbie Berto.


February 11, 2014

Water wars are over and what did we get?

The Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District and the city of Issaquah have settled their differences surrounding a filtration system in the Issaquah Highlands.

The water district feared the system could contaminate the water supply. The city was sure no such thing would happen.

The essence of the deal is that the district will spend up to $1 million to shut down the system, and the city promises it won’t try and take over the water district — a different but related issue — for at least 10 years. The filtration system, which wasn’t being used, will continue not to be used. Water will be diverted to Issaquah Creek, where it’s been going for the past few years.

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To the Editor

February 4, 2014


It’s time to let the people decide this issue

As a homeowner in the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area, I have no animosity toward Sammamish, and recognize it is a developing and growing city. What I do have is a frustration with the approach taken by the opposition spreading mistruths about Issaquah. Sammamish had 8-plus years to approach King County regarding annexation and did nothing.

Among the inaccuracies: 1) Issaquah’s police force is not inadequately manned as it has 34 police officers for a population of 32,000, with six more to come. Our research has shown Sammamish has 24 for a population of 48,000. Issaquah has 1-plus per 1,000 while Sammamish has 1 for every 2,000 citizens. 2) Issaquah rightfully supports shared responsibility for Issaquah-Fall City Road and will work aggressively with the other two boundary entities to make appropriate improvements as should be the case. 3) Bonded indebtedness is a phony sales pitch. Sammamish is a 10-plus-year-old city that has little developed infrastructure, business or city build outs — so yes, no debt, yet — bit it will come as it grows. Issaquah is a 100-plus-year-old city — years of growth and development benefiting every one of their citizens.

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It means what I say it means

February 4, 2014

I was proofreading copy and the word came up again: sustainability.

It must be a regional buzz word, as I have never heard it used as much as I have here, but what does it mean? It is often used with stories about building projects but seems to have other contexts as well. I think it has to do with the fact I am now living in a more environmentally sensitive culture.

I believe it was the Mad Hatter who said to Alice, a word means what I say it means. The dictionary defines a word, but personal experience forms the many possible nuances.

Joe Grove Press reporter

Joe Grove
Press reporter

When I hear “sustainability,” the follow experiences shape its meaning for me: I was in Switzerland while the U.S. was celebrating its bicentennial. One of the locals, curious about the celebration, asked, “What’s the big deal. The barn over the hill is more than 200 years old?”

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February 4, 2014

More than one way to community unity

The community is still riding high on the wave of anticipation and celebration of Seahawks glory. It created a new wave of Northwest unity unlike anything in recent memory. Hold on to that feeling!

Coming up is another thriller — the 2014 Olympic Games, beginning Feb. 6. The pride of America grows with every gold medal earned and won in Sochi, Russia.

But let’s not miss out on another opportunity to make a difference in the esprit de corps right here at home. All you have to do is vote. It’s easy, it’s patriotic, it’s essential. And it unites us all.

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Plastic bag ban should stay put

January 28, 2014

Issaquah city voters, pick up your ballot and vote no to repealing the ban on plastic bags.
Issaquah residents may be even more environmentally minded than their counterparts in Seattle, where the bag ban is a fact of life. While not everyone is happy to bring their own shopping bags to businesses here, the bag ban offers a little “feel-good” moment when you know you’ve done the right thing — whether you opt for no bag at all or choose a 5-cent paper bag.

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Calorie Cavalry! Into the fray!

January 28, 2014

I spent $14 on a single pair of socks yesterday.

While I do not skimp on dates with pretty girls and the like, I resist spending unnecessary money on myself. I taught myself to cook to save on meals, I only buy generic brands and you better believe I put water in an empty shampoo bottle to get a little more life out of it. So, what would justify such expensive socks?

Shamefully, I am slowly becoming a runner.

You know what I mean, one of THOSE runners. I’m becoming one of those runners who wear nothing but reflective gear, weird fabric sleeves on their arms and legs, obnoxious sunglasses and ostentatious shoes.

I have long loved running and have regularly engaged in it for the past decade. As my metabolism begins to wage war against my waistline, I have used running as a primary defense. Like a calorie cavalry…

However, I still would never have spent $14 on two thin slabs of fabric attached to my feet.

Last year, on the whim of a particularly strong run and a whispered New Year’s resolution, I ran my first marathon. Like an idiot, a crazy idiot, I ran 26 miles without stopping. Training for only eight weeks, I finished the sucker and haven’t shut up about it since.

As time passed and my running schedule grew ever sporadic, I felt an urge to do an insane thing and I decided to try my hand at another foolish feat of fleet-footedness. So, I’m currently in week five of training for the May 4 Vancouver Marathon.

It turned out that I didn’t hunger for another free T-shirt and more professional pictures of my accomplishment that I can’t afford. Rather, I grew nostalgic about how I physically felt during the training. With a set schedule for when I would run and how far, it ensured that I would get more than enough exercise and feel way less guilt about eating pizza.

More than anything, everything feels great. From my mind to my body, getting so exhausted can only mean good things to relax my busy self. It helps everything make more sense and will hopefully aid me in aging gracefully.

However, as I feel more compelled to do this, I want to train more responsibly and optimize each run. I was extremely proud of finishing the first marathon. Unfortunately, I am nothing without challenges. I finished one, but how can I do better? This is my personality and most of what makes me insufferable for long periods of time.

I’ve begun worrying about pace speed, shoe-life and how many calories to eat while I venture out on anything over 12 miles. Instead of just doing the thing, which I focused on last year, I want to do the dumb thing well.

And with that decision to optimize this increasingly important exercise comes very stupid corollaries. Like spending $14 on socks.

Of course, you should assume I can only do this through the gift of bachelorhood and the curse of being without a family. After you turn 30, it seems your Facebook page becomes full of either baby pictures or bragging about running marathons. At least I picked the least expensive choice.


Letters to the Editor Jan. 29

January 28, 2014

Handicapped spaces

Only the handicapped are supposed to park there

It is a shame to see parents park in the restricted handicapped-parking spaces at the community center, to wait for the time to let their kids out for school, to learn stuff.

The parents are teaching the kids that parking signs, requiring a placard, means nothing and does not apply to them! In general, the kids learn from the bad parenting examples and will disregard driving and parking laws as they grow up. Too bad.

Ken Sessler


School levies

Why do Realtors endorse school levies?

Realtors know high-quality schools are important in every neighborhood. Good schools are a priority — and not just for parents. Savvy buyers and sellers know that quality schools are a factor in home values.

Seattle King County Realtors recently heard presentations by Issaquah Schools Superintendent Ron Thiele and school board member Suzanne Weaver. They took time out of their busy day to make the case for students in Issaquah, and to answer questions from brokers.

Realtors understand the importance of supplementing state funding for basic classroom needs, but as homeowners and taxpayers, we are also concerned about the “return on investment.”

Issaquah residents can be proud of the exemplary financial management by district officials who earn consistently high marks on audit reports, and the highest bond rating of any public school district in the state.

Equally impressive are student achievements on various academic assessments. They significantly outperform their in-state and national peers. Teachers deserve praise for their role in these accomplishments.

In addition to endorsing renewal of the Maintenance and Operations Levy, we also endorsed the School Bus Levy and renewal of the Capital Levy for classroom technology and critical repairs. Upgrading buses is essential to meeting safety and efficiency standards.

Just like the fleet of buses, much of technology used throughout the district needs to be updated. These vital tools are not covered by state funding. It’s also time to invest more in repairs and maintenance of several buildings.

As one of our colleagues stated, supporting school levies is not a matter of altruism — it’s economics.

I’ll be voting “yes” three times on the Feb. 11 ballot, and I hope residents districtwide will join me.

Joan Probala, managing broker

Windermere Real EstateEast Inc., Issaquah

Thank you

Merry Christmas Issaquah fund goes above and beyond

On behalf of the volunteers at Issaquah Community Services, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you and sincere gratitude to the numerous donors who have made it possible through the Merry Christmas Issaquah fund, to support those in our community who have fallen on hard times.

Our volunteers have the humbling privilege of administering donated funds to those in need. With the funds raised, we can continue to provide emergency assistance to the families and individuals that live in the Issaquah School District that cannot meet their basic needs from month to month. Having a roof over one’s head, running water, lights and a warm home can now be possible for almost 500 families.

We especially would like to recognize the fantastic team at The Issaquah Press, as it has been a major supporter of this service to our community since 1981. Not only was the goal of $75,000 this year reached but it was surpassed. In total, it has raised almost $1 million since 1981.

Merry Christmas Issaquah is our major fundraising event. Without the help of The Issaquah Press reaching out to the community, our ability to raise funds would be costly and time-consuming. With its help, we are able to focus all our volunteer time on serving the less fortunate.

We would like to thank Debbie Berto for her overwhelming dedication and service to the mission of ICS. We would also like to thank Kathleen Merrill and Christina Corrales-Toy, the editor and reporter who wrote, edited and published the genuine stories shared by some of the families and individuals we helped. Through their words, we were able to reach readers and spread the message for help. We look forward to a continued partnership with The Issaquah Press and are continually grateful for their help.

Lori Birrell

ICS president

Drinking water

Lower Reid Infiltration Gallery problem needs to be solved

I was encouraged to read that our new mayor places the Lower Reid Infiltration Gallery problem high on his list of problems to be solved. I sent Mayor Butler an email offering to sit down and discuss my long-standing concerns with the LRIG. As I write this, I have yet to receive a response to my offer, but I am certain that Mayor Butler is very busy, so I am hopeful.

The public water supply contamination in Charleston, W.V., is a parallel to our situation in Issaquah. The Freedom Industries chemical storage tanks next to the Elk River are functionally similar to the storm drains in Issaquah Highlands, with particular emphasis on the new Safeway gas station built on a slope to make containment of a large spill impossible.

The short distance of sloping ground between the storage tanks and the river’s edge is replaced by the Issaquah Highlands storm water system and the hard-piping to the Reid detention pond.

The Elk River is functionally similar to the pipe running from the detention pond to the injection gallery and our Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer.

Charleston, W.V., wasn’t quick enough to get its intake valves closed so its water system got contaminated and the residents lost all trust in their public utility. In Issaquah, the aquifer would just hold the contamination until some sort of very expensive resolution was found.

“The road to failure is paved with good intentions.” We should make a “U” turn.

Hank Thomas


Klahanie annexation

Why not Sammamish?

Change is sometimes difficult, but can be a catalyst for progress. Yes, there may be some initial expense for changing your city name. I ask you, though, to think visionary and to a better future.

Sammamish has a reputation for taking good care of its parks and amenities and is a very safe and friendly city. Geographically, it just makes sense to be part of Sammamish. Klahanie is even on the Sammamish map due to its proximity and like-minded business community.

The Sammamish Chamber of Commerce has always considered the neighborhood of Klahanie as part of the plateau, serving their business community and delivering welcome bags to new residents since the early 2000s.

Vote no to Issaquah and join the thriving and friendly city of Sammamish. Enjoy road improvements, business promotion and tax savings from having no B&O and utility taxes.

Deb Sogge, executive director

Sammamish Chamber of Commerce

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