Issaquah Highlands retail options to include RAM Restaurant & Brewery

October 3, 2012

NEW — 6 p.m. Oct. 3, 2012

Tenants for the long-awaited retail complex in the Issaquah Highlands include local restaurants and a beauty supply store, city officials announced Tuesday.

The latest announcement for the $70 million highlands project, called Grand Ridge Plaza, adds RAM Restaurant & Brewery, Big Fish Grill and ULTA Beauty to the list alongside a Regal Cinemas multiplex, and a Safeway and associated gas station.

Lucy Sloman, city land development manager, and Keith Niven, city economic development director, announced the latest additions to the Urban Village Development Commission. The project developer, Regency Centers, and highlands developer Port Blakely Communities plan to unveil more tenants at a community meeting Oct. 10.

In another major development for the highlands, Microsoft plans to sell long-vacant land once envisioned for a campus, Niven said.

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Local representatives join Bellevue College Foundation board

July 31, 2012

Issaquah Councilman Joshua Schaer joined the Bellevue College Foundation board, as the organization elected a president and greeted other local members.

Issaquah representatives Dellanie Fragnoli, assistant vice president for international finance and administration at Costco, and Mark Pellegrino, Rainier Group Investment Advisory LLC president, also joined the board.

So did Sammamish representative Cheryl Gunderson, executive vice president and chief lending officer at Fortune Bank.

The foundation also chose Seattle resident Paul Swegle as board president for a one-year term. The terms for the president and other officers started July 1.

Swegle succeeds Bill Kent, a construction executive at M.A. Mortenson Co., as president.

The president-elect for 2012-13 is Sammamish representative Sarah Langton, founder of and partner at Langton Spieth LLC.

The foundation is directed by a 30-member volunteer board. Established in 1978, the nonprofit foundation manages gifts, grants and awards for Bellevue College. The foundation raised more than $2.4 million for the 38,000-student college in 2010-11.

Lakeside Recovery pitcher Brandon Mahovlich gasses competition

July 17, 2012

Brandon Mahovlich smokes in a pitch for Lakeside Recovery to a batter from Pacific Tech Construction in the fourth inning July 14 during the Brandy Pugh Memorial Tournament at Bannerwood Park. By Greg Farrar

Lakeside Recovery catcher Jim Sinatro squatted down behind the plate July 14 at Bannerwood Field. As pitcher Brandon Mahovlich peered in for the sign, Sinatro extended only his index finger.

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Construction starts on long-awaited Issaquah Highlands retail center

July 3, 2012

Earth-moving equipment works at the intersection of Highlands Drive Northeast and Northeast High Street on June 26 as construction starts on Grand Ridge Plaza. By Autumn Monahan

Finally, after years of plans and promises, developers and officials gathered in the Issaquah Highlands early June 26 to launch construction on a $70 million retail center in the neighborhood — a long-awaited amenity for residents and, in recent years, a symbol for the anemic economy and rebound.

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Steve Ferreira is a man of abilities

June 26, 2012

Steve Ferreira attends the Eelin Charity Fashion Show for Christian Salvation Services in Taipei, Taiwan, in April. Contributed

Advocate, entrepreneur and world   athlete are a few titles that 23-year-old Steve Ferreira holds. Most recently, Issaquah’s Ferreira added international motivational speaker to his résumé.

In April, Steve Ferreira traveled to his birthplace, Taiwan, to speak at numerous schools and events about living with athetoid cerebral palsy.

“I am really passionate about getting disabled rights, so I try my hardest to get the word out that disabled people are like any other people, so why treat us differently?” he said.

The Christian Salvation Service, a nonprofit adoption association in Taipei, invited Ferreira to Taiwan as part of their efforts to promote anti-bullying. CSS is the organization that Ferreira’s parents worked through to adopt him and his twin sister Emily.

Ferreira traveled to Taiwan with Emily and his mother, Mary Ann. While there, he spoke at two high schools, Dong Hwa University and a charity fashion show where proceeds benefited CSS. He said the experience was amazing and he hopes to return.

After birth complications, Ferreira was diagnosed with athetoid cerebral palsy. According to, this variation of cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the areas of the brain that process the “signals that enable smooth, coordinated movements as well as maintaining body posture.”

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Issaquah School District baseball players drafted

June 12, 2012

Three Issaquah School District baseball players were drafted in last week’s Major League Baseball Amateur player draft.

Skyline High School grad and current Bellevue College pitcher Adrian Sampson was chosen by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the 166th overall pick in the fifth round. His Bellevue College teammate and Liberty High School grad Ian Parmley was chosen by the Toronto Blue Jays two rounds later in the seventh round with the 235th overall pick.

Skyline senior catcher Jim Sinatro was chosen in the 35th round by the Houston Astros with the 1,059th overall pick.

Issaquah painter Hiroko Seki is a force of nature

May 29, 2012

Hiroko Seki created a Nihonga painting of koi. By Hiroko Seki

Nature is the inspiration for the artwork of Issaquah resident Hiroko Seki. It is evident in her painting of a weeping willow in Lake Sammamish State Park, as well as in her sketches of Northwest birds.

“When I paint, I communicate with nature,” said Seki, explaining that she communicates with the subject she has chosen to create on canvas. In turn she “communicates to someone through my art.”

In this respect, Seki is a medium translating the natural world to her viewing audience.

One type of painting style that Seki uses is Nihonga, a traditional Japanese method thousands of years old. Nihonga uses natural ingredients — minerals, oyster shells and even semi-precious stones — that are crushed and distilled into a powder. The powder is then applied with traditionally rendered Japanese glue that has to be heated to the right temperature to adhere the powdered pigments to canvas, which produces vibrant colors.

Seki said that the Nihonga method does not fade like other paintings because “Stone never fades. Artificial fades.”

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Issaquah Highlands road link opens to vehicle traffic

May 15, 2012

By Dona Mokin

Issaquah Highlands residents, long limited to a single east-west route uphill through the hillside neighborhood, celebrated the opening of another road link May 10.

The city opened a pair of connected roads — Northeast College Drive and Northeast Falls Drive — to connect motorists to the area from Grand Ridge Elementary School to a proposed retail complex downhill from the campus.

The roads supplement the existing east-west corridor, Northeast Park Drive. The project is also meant to address congestion caused by morning and afternoon drop-offs and pick-ups at Grand Ridge Elementary.

The link starts at Central Park, runs behind the school and terminates at 10th Avenue Northeast. The link — completed by developers — is meant to offer additional access to the school, residences and a planned Bellevue College campus. (Hence the name Northeast College Drive.)

Developers shouldered most of the roughly $1.75 million project cost.

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Bellevue College to hold Issaquah open house for parents, toddlers

May 6, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. May 6, 2012

Bellevue College’s Parent Education Program is hosting a public open house for a class aimed at toddlers and parents.

Attendees can meet faculty, get more information about classes, and learn how to enroll. The class is scheduled for Monday from 11:30 a.m. to noon at the Community Church of Issaquah, 205 Mountain Park Blvd. S.W.

“In all of our classes, we offer active learning experiences for young children and their parents, plus training in techniques parents can use to improve their relationship with their children. It’s fun because parents and children play and learn together, which also makes our classes unique,” said Lisa Allen, program director.

In the Parent Education Program, children and parents attend the same class. Each class focuses on one of several distinct age levels, ranging from infants through age 7, with curriculum designed specifically for each stage of development.

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City adds Economic Vitality Commission, but could shrink other boards

May 1, 2012

City leaders appointed a group of civic-minded citizens to boards and commissions April 16, although the number of positions could shrink in the months ahead.

In a unanimous decision, City Council members appointed applicants to openings on 12 boards and commissions. The groups advise the council on issues related to the arts, cable TV, development, parks and, in more specialized realms, city cemetery operations and sister-city relationships.

The decision included the inaugural appointees to the municipal Economic Vitality Commission, a key piece in a renewed focus on attracting and retaining businesses.

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