City Council, Issaquah School Board gather for joint meeting

April 17, 2012

City Council and Issaquah School Board members face a substantial docket soon, as the elected groups meet for dinner and a discussion about shared issues.

Officials expect to release discussion topics for the meeting in the days ahead, but the casual get-together between the groups at a Chinese restaurant is meant to build ties and discover common issues among the members.

The council and board plan to meet at 5 p.m. April 24 at Mandarin Garden, 90 E. Sunset Way. The meeting is open to the public; no action is expected to be taken.

The groups last met in May 2011. They discussed a proposed Issaquah School District bond, a planned Bellevue College campus in Issaquah and traffic along Second Avenue Southeast — a corridor bordered by Issaquah High School and other campuses.

Wedding: Elmquist, Ruiz

April 17, 2012

Freddy Ruiz and Katie Elmquist

Katie Elmquist and Freddy Ruiz, both of Issaquah, were married April 7, 2012, at Pickering Barn, in Issaquah. The Rev. Ed Pohlreich officiated.

A reception followed, also in Pickering Barn.

The couple honeymooned at Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

The bride is the daughter of Don and Joan Elmquist, of Issaquah. Her bridal attendants were Liz Elmquist, Brenna McGinnis, Janelle Gallagher, Amy Doerschel and Joslynn Ruiz.

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Bellevue College to host forum about proposed Issaquah campus

April 11, 2012

NEW — 11:50 a.m. April 11, 2012

Bellevue College plans to gather public input as proposals coalesce for a planned satellite campus in the Issaquah Highlands — a long-term goal for city and college leaders.

The college scheduled a forum for 6 p.m. May 1 at the highlands’ Blakely Hall, 2550 N.E. Park Drive, to learn what citizens want for potential course offerings, campus planning, building design and more.

College officials invited residents from Issaquah, Newcastle, North Bend, Sammamish, Snoqualmie and elsewhere to the forum.

“Our goal is to hear from as many people as possible, because there are so many great ideas out there as to how we should develop this campus,” interim college President Laura Saunders said. “It’s important for the end result to reflect the needs and desires of the community this campus will serve.”

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College News

April 3, 2012

Issaquah student receives academic honors at BC

Casey Pinckney, a second-year student from Issaquah attending Bellevue College, has been named a 2012 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Bronze Scholar by Phi Theta Kappa, a national honor society for community college students.

Additionally, she has been named to the All-Washington Academic Team for academic performance and community service.

As a Bronze Scholar, Pinckney will receive a $1,000 scholarship and recognition in the April 23 issue of USA Today. As a member of the All-Washington Academic Team, Pinckney will receive a $750 scholarship and is in the running for selection to the All-USA Academic Team, which will be announced in April.

Pinckney also received an additional $1,000 scholarship for being the fourth-ranked member of the team.

Bellevue College’s Dad and Me classes start April 7

March 20, 2012

The next set of Dad and Me classes is set for 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays from April 7 to June 16 at Bellevue College.

Taught by Issaquah resident Tim Ryan, the class allows fathers to play and learn together with their child or children. Additionally, fathers will be able to attend Parent Education classes with some of their counterparts and deal with a variety of topics relating to raising children.

The class also will feature guest speakers, storytellers and field trips.

The course is aimed at fathers with children from 2 1/2 to 7 years old. Classes are held on the Bellevue College Campus, Building 1, the Early Learning Center, Room 116. Cost is $214 per quarter or $228 with two or more children from the same family.

Register by calling the Bellevue College Parent Education office, 564-2365, or go to Call Tim Ryan at 206-280-3458 or email him at

Impact Studio Pro rolls innovation into video production

March 6, 2012

 Impact Studio Pro staff includes (from left) software developer and CASTUS Vice President Jon Campbell, ISP Director and Editor Nathan Bosseler, Project Manager Elaine Bosseler, Bellevue College Web developer intern Alex Elsayed and 3-D artist Jahn Flaatrud. By Greg Farrar

Inside the video marketing agency Impact Studio Pro, a Mountain Dew-fueled operation creates TV commercials, promotional spots, public service announcements and music videos for more than 100 clients.

The tiny company operates from a converted Issaquah Highlands apartment, a space referred to as the “think tank” by founder Nathan Bosseler. The office overlooks rooftops and the Issaquah Alps. Bosseler uses a space designed for a bedroom as the executive suite.

Major clients include the Issaquah Schools Foundation, Gene Juarez Academy, Hyundai of Kirkland, and municipal governments in Sammamish and SeaTac.

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce leaders spotlighted Impact Studio Pro as a business innovator in the Innovation in Issaquah contest late last month.

The chamber also honored Marketing Masters and Lakeside Center for Autism as innovators. The carbon-neutral community zHome also received a nod as the most innovative public-private partnership.

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City, Issaquah Chamber of Commerce honor innovators

February 28, 2012

The most innovative businesses in Issaquah manufacture fasteners for airliners, use technology to treat autism, and rely on a tiny-but-talented staff to create slick productions.

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce announced the Innovation in Issaquah honorees — Marketing Masters, Lakeside Center for Autism and Impact Studio Pro — at a Feb. 22 ceremony and luncheon.

The carbon-neutral community zHome also received a nod as the most innovative public-private partnership. The city spearheaded the 10-unit townhouse development from concept to completion.

Leaders from the chamber and City Hall recognized the entrepreneurs’ accomplishments through the Innovation in Issaquah contest, a showcase for local businesses offering unique services. Honorees demonstrate innovation in product development, services, systems or strategies.

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Liberty girls basketball team drops KingCo title game

February 14, 2012

Delane Agnew, Liberty High School junior forward, lies sprawled on the floor but still tries to deny a rebound to Bellevue sophomore forward Holly Warendorf during the third quarter for the 3A KingCo Championship Feb. 9 at Bellevue College. By Greg Farrar

Liberty High School girls basketball coach Randy Leifer admits his team had an abysmal first half as they battled in the KingCo Conference 3A championship game Feb. 9 at Bellevue College.

It certainly didn’t help that the Bellevue Wolverines came out strong at both ends of the court, solidifying a 54-36 win over the Patriots.

“They were putting a lot of pressure on us, on our defense,” he said. “We didn’t take very good care of the basketball, and we settled for quick offensive shots.”

The Wolverines came into the tournament in the No. 4 slot and managed to overtake the Patriots with an 11-5 first-quarter lead. Bellevue boasted a 22-7 lead at halftime.

“They were able to get to the hoop a lot more than we did, and when they did, they shot the ball really well,” Leifer said.

The Wolverines’ defense held Liberty’s top scorers, Aspen Winegar and Sierra Carlson, to a combined 11 points. No Patriot scored in double figures — a situation the Patriots haven’t faced since the last time they took on Bellevue. Liberty dropped that game, 47-27, on Jan. 28.

Liberty only had four offensive rebounds for the night.

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Mayor focuses on economy in State of the City address

February 7, 2012

Mayor Ava Frisinger highlighted a more muscular economic development effort and a reshuffled City Hall structure in the State of the City address — the speech to set Issaquah leaders’ agenda for the months ahead.

The address, delivered Feb. 6, days after the city announced employee layoffs, echoed a top priority from the City Council — a concerted effort to attract businesses to Issaquah and convince established businesses to remain in the city. The effort to remake City Hall functions also dominated the speech.

Ava Frisinger

“A major focus for 2012 will be enhancing our economic vitality, which is a community’s capacity to be economically competitive, resilient and attractive to both private and public enterprise,” Frisinger said.

Under a reorganization plan prepared by Seattle consultant Moss Adams and delivered late last year, the city focused on efficiency and effectiveness. The consultant discovered different cultures, expectations and management styles across municipal departments. Moss Adams pointed out the differences in coordination, scheduling and tracking across departments.

“In the end, our goal is to enhance customer service, find efficiencies and prepare our city for the years and decades ahead,” Frisinger said.

Though the reorganization emerged as a strong theme, Frisinger also used the address to spotlight ongoing projects.

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City announces employee layoffs amid reorganization

February 7, 2012

Officials announced cuts to the city workforce — including six layoffs — Feb. 1, as City Hall launches a broad reorganization.

Overall, leaders reduced staff through layoffs, a severance program and vacancies. The total includes five positions eliminated through voluntary separations and two vacant positions.

Because limited funding is available for capital projects, officials did not need as many employees for engineering and inspection functions. In November, officials announced plans to start employee layoffs in February.

The city also plans to add three positions for a beefed-up economic development effort. The plan is for Keith Niven, the longtime Major Development Review Team manager, to serve as economic development director and hire economic development managers.

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