County honors Issaquah district schools as Earth Heroes

March 30, 2011

NEW — 12:15 p.m. March 30, 2011

King County is honoring Grand Ridge Elementary School — plus teachers, a student, and a staff member from across the Issaquah School District — as Earth Heroes at School.

The annual honor highlights schools and people for contributions to environmental protection and student environmental education. The county Department of Natural Resources and Parks’ Solid Waste Division announced the 2011 honorees Wednesday.

“Winners of the Earth Heroes at School awards are a diverse group who share the common goal of making our world a better place,” County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “It is an honor to recognize their achievements in environmental education, waste reduction, energy conservation and other positive efforts.”

Grand Ridge Elementary recorded a 35-percent recycling rate last year.

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Childrens’ dancing brings fairy tale ‘Cinderella’ to life

February 1, 2011

If you recognize the love story that casts two evil stepsisters, a fairy godmother and an irresistible prince, then you will be familiar with the story of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s next production.

Chloe Chow (center) and two other young ballet dancers rehearse choreography Jan. 26 for a scene from Pacific Northwest Ballet’s upcoming ‘Cinderella’ production. By Alysha Alibhai

The timeless fairy tale “Cinderella” debuts at McCaw Hall Feb. 4 in time for Valentine’s Day. The excitement is brewing as three Issaquah children prepare for their parts in the highly anticipated show.

The stars

Anna Park, Chloe Chow and Vincent Bennett sat patiently in a studio among their fellow cast members in The Phelps Center waiting for rehearsal to begin Jan. 26, 10 days before opening night. Poised and elegant are not typical words used to describe children of their age, but these young dancers are as focused as they are talented.

“This production is much different than other ‘Cinderellas,’” Kent Stowell said to the rehearsal audience.

He choreographed the production based on the classic French fairy tale and is one of the founding artistic directors of the ballet company.

“It’s a classic story and it’s really fun,” said Anna, a ballerina from Challenger Elementary School. Anna has been dancing since age 5, and said she is “very excited” to be a part of this show.

Vincent, who also attends Challenger, is the youngest of the three Issaquah ballet stars and is in the third grade. He first became fascinated with the art form after watching “The Nutcracker” and has been dancing since he was 3, said his mom Aleksandra Bennett.

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Health Classes

January 18, 2011

Lecture to educate parents about burns and scalds

Harborview Medical Center’s burn center outreach team will teach caregivers how to treat common burns and scalds at a free lecture from 9:15-10:30 a.m. Jan. 27 at Cascade Ridge Elementary School, 2020 Trossachs Blvd. S.E., Sammamish.

Harborview nurses will identify the most common causes for burns and scalds, and discuss injury prevention in the kitchen and home, as well as teach participants how to treat burns. The speakers will identify injuries that require hospital treatment. Read more

Issaquah schools face end of Salmon in the Classroom

January 4, 2011

State program is a casualty of deep budget cuts

The salmon — or, more specifically, delicate salmon eggs no larger than a pencil eraser — return to a Clark Elementary School classroom each year.

But fourth- and fifth-grade teacher Liza Rickey could face a change in the curriculum soon as the state Salmon in the Classroom program ends.

In the program, students raise salmon, learn about water quality and salmon habitat, and discover the relationship between Issaquah Creek and Puget Sound.

State legislators eliminated dollars for the program in a round of budget cuts during a Dec. 11 special session. The program is a casualty of cuts as state leaders face a $4 billion budget hole. Read more

Who’s News

October 19, 2010

Church group honored in D.C.

Good Samaritan Episcopal Church of Sammamish traveled to Washington, D.C., where eight of their acolytes, their vicar, the Rev. Dr. Suzi Robertson and other sponsors attended the 31st National Acolyte Festival.

Good Samaritan was recognized by the bishop of Washington, D.C., as having traveled the farthest distance to attend the annual festival. While in D.C., church members also toured monuments and government buildings.

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Girl Scouts host open houses

September 7, 2010

Local Girl Scout troops are hosting informational meetings or open houses. Learn more by calling 641-1126. Middle and high school troops are welcoming new girls as well. All events are from 7-8 p.m.

Information meetings (all take place in school multipurpose rooms)

-Newcastle Elementary — Sept. 23

-Clark and Issaquah Valley elementary — Sept. 27, Clark multipurpose room

-Apollo Elementary — Sept. 28

-Cougar Ridge and Sunset elementary — Sept. 29, Cougar Ridge multipurpose room

-Briarwood and Maple Hills elementary — Sept. 30, Briarwood multipurpose room Read more

Ideas sprout at ‘green’ schools

August 17, 2010

For many students heading back to school this year, green is the new black.

From the clothes and appliances they buy to the way they conserve energy and recycle waste, green students are infusing their lives with an environmental perspective.

But even students with the greenest of intentions need guidance, and many got it from King County’s Green Schools program. Out of Issaquah’s 25 schools, 10 have participated in the program: Cascade Ridge, Challenger, Clark, Discovery, Endeavour and Newcastle elementary schools, Beaver Lake, Maywood and Pine Lake middle schools and Liberty High School.

Jack Sansing (left) and Katie and Noah Springborn directed their classmates to use the correct bins after lunch as members of Cascade Ridge Elementary's 2009 Green Team. By Christopher Huber

King County Green School began as a pilot program in 2002 and opened to K-12 public and private schools in 2003, Project Manager Dale Alekel said.

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Leap of faith

June 29, 2010

Mountain bikers knew if they built a course, others would come

Dan Veitch, of Klahanie, gets a little closer to heaven as he takes a jump at one of the new BMX trails built at Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park. By Greg Farrar

Klahanie resident Dan Veitch has a new place to practice his faith. You’ll just have to excuse the fact his altar tends to get a little muddy; for the congregation Veitch belongs to receives its sermon atop a BMX bike. And his chapel is the new mountain bike trails built at Duthie Hill Park.

“It’s like our church,” Veitch said. “On Sundays, you’ll see a bunch of guys getting their religion.”

So, it was only appropriate one of the flock of true believers headed the construction. Project manager Mike Westra, a self-described former tech nerd, said the Duthie Hill trail was built by bikers for bikers, through the help of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance.

The park debuted to a grand dedication ceremony May 22, featuring jumping demonstrations and more than 20 vendors offering gear, much of it best suited for the BMX course.

Westra said over the years, no one had built trails designed specifically for mountain biking.

“We’ve actually been kicked off a lot of hiking trails, from Cascade to Tiger mountains,” he admitted.

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Pack 679 Cub Scouts’ project restocks hospital bookshelves

June 15, 2010

Being a big sister or big brother is great, but it can be hard when a new sibling requires care at the University of Washington Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Cub Scouts, with their den mother Jenny Schaffer (left) give several of their nearly 300 books to Brett Ristine, of Olympia (right), on May 26, to give his 4-year-old son Brody, whose new sister Delaney was born prematurely to mother Apryl Delaney. By Greg Farrar

“They need to wear masks, hats and gloves while they are here in the rooms,” said Carri Gest, a nurse in the unit. “When their mom is spending quality time with the new baby, often for more than two hours, it can be hard for the siblings. Especially when they’re young and have short attention spans.”

To help ease the long, quiet hours spent visiting, the neonatal unit has a bookshelf of reading material for every age. But in the past year, the collection had really dwindled.

So, when her son’s Cub Scout Pack, Den 2 of Pack No. 679, needed to do a community service project, Gest suggested the boys help other children by collecting books for the unit.

During their book drive, the boys, first-graders from Cascade Ridge Elementary and St. Joseph’s Catholic schools, managed to collect nearly 300 books to restock the bookshelves. They donated them to families at the unit May 26.

“We collected the books for children, because they didn’t have any books,” said Tiger Cub Zach Schaffer. “So, now they can read.” Read more

Heather Gillette elected Washington State PTA Region 2 director

June 1, 2010

Heather Gillette, of Sammamish, was recently elected as Washington State PTA Region 2 director for a two-year term, beginning June 1.

Heather Gillette

Region 2 includes all PTAs and PTSAs in the Bellevue, Issaquah, Lake Washington, Mercer Island, Riverview and Snoqualmie Valley school districts.

As region director, Gillette will head up a service delivery team that will be responsible for organizing training and support activities for all PTAs and PTSAs in the region. She will also serve on the association’s governing board of directors.

“One of my goals for next year is to increase the visibility of the services available through the Region 2 team to all local units,” Gillette said. “When local units understand the benefits of using the resources and region training available to them, it helps increase their confidence. This will also help build strong leaders and a strong and diverse organization, which can then more effectively and efficiently serve the needs of the students.”

Gillette has been actively involved in a number of PTAs, including serving as secretary of Carl Sandburg Elementary PTSA; executive vice president, president and vice president of communications of Cascade Ridge Elementary PTSA; co-president and secretary of Beaver Lake Middle PTSA; and co-president and vice president of membership of Skyline High PTSA.

At the council level, she served as president, co-president, and vice president of Issaquah PTSA Council. At the Washington state PTA level, she served on the Region 2 service delivery team, participated in a number of state level committees and presented classes at Region 2 conferences.

In addition to her volunteer service in PTA, Gillette has served the Issaquah School District in a number of volunteer capacities. She also has served as a soccer team manager and coach.

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