Issaquah woman reclaims life after Interstate 90 crash

February 22, 2011

Rachel McNaul (above), almost fully recovered from being almost killed by another driver in a 2009 accident, is once again able to get behind the wheel and shape her own life. By Greg Farrar

On Dec. 15, 2009, Rachel McNaul left her home in North Bend headed to Bellevue Honda. Near the Preston exit on Interstate 90, what should have been a 30-minute drive turned into a journey that McNaul is still on. A car driving in the wrong direction slammed head-on into her car.

The accident nearly killed the aspiring physical education teacher. McNaul, 24 at the time, suffered 19 broken bones and a traumatic brain injury. The other driver was seriously injured.

One year and 10 surgeries later, McNaul, who now lives in Issaquah, is nearly fully recovered. She still suffers from lingering effects from the accident and is still in physical therapy. But she is determined not to let the accident shape her life.

“Bad choices were made that day on her part,” McNaul said, referring to the other driver, Janet Bumgardner. But “her decisions are not going to get me down.”

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Career blossoms for longtime floral designer

February 22, 2011

Wendy Taggart designs all of the floral arrangements at the Michael’s arts and crafts store in Issaquah. She earned two corporate awards for her work at Michael’s. By Laura Geggel

As a girl in Kent, Wendy Taggart often had a trowel in one hand and a plant in the other, a leafy shrub waiting to enter its earthy home in the ground.

Since then, her materials have changed, but not her passion for beautifying her corner of the world. Instead of limiting herself to real flowers, Taggart also uses artificial flowers made of silk, balloons of every color, candles and cloth galore for decorative events, including parties, weddings and auctions.

Many may recognize the Sammamish resident from the flower stand at Issaquah’s Michael’s craft store. Every artificial flower that enters the store passes through Taggart’s hands. She arranges some in custom-made floral arrangements, weaves others into wreaths, spruces up artificial ivy plants with moss and ties bows around spring bouquets.

Her creative work at Michael’s has earned her two corporate awards: 2010 outstanding performance in custom floral and creating holiday ambience, and top performer in custom floral sales for October 2010.

She has reason to celebrate in 2011, too; Taggart leads in sales in her entire district of 27 Michael’s stores since the new financial year began in February.

“Wendy is a true blessing to have at the store,” Issaquah Store Manager Chris Donahue said. “It’s the overall attitude she brings to the store. Wendy can cheer up our day if we’re feeling down.”

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Rojecki, Ormbrek

February 22, 2011

Brian Ormbrek and Kate Rojecki

Kate Rojecki and Brian Ormbrek, both of Seattle, were married Aug. 28, 2010, at Maplewood Greens in Renton. Susie Sather officiated.

The bride, the daughter of Jim and Lisa Rojecki, of Issaquah, is a 2002 graduate of Liberty High School. Her bridal attendants were Kelly Rojecki McKee, Kiersten Fellrath and Piper Sather.

Kate earned a Bachelor of Science degree in tourism management in 2007 from Central Washington University. She is an e-mail marketing specialist for Holland America Line.

The groom, the son of Ken and Page Ormbrek, of Yakima, and Joan and Andy Hento, of Bremerton, is a 1996 graduate of Eisenhower High School. His groomsmen were Kurt Puterbaugh, Lewis Walbrek and Matt McKee.

Brian earned a Bachelor of Science degree in botany in 2001 at the University of Washington. He is a revenue analyst at Holland America Line.

The couple honeymooned at Maui and the Big Island, Hawaii.

Two local wrestlers grab regional titles

February 15, 2011

David White, of Issaquah High School, and Hamilton Noel, of Liberty High School, each won individual titles Feb. 12 in their respective regional wrestling tournaments.

White captured the 145-pound class at the Region II Tournament at Skyline. He defeated Austin Henderson, of Bethel, 7-2 in the final. White was the only 4A KingCo Conference wrestler to win a regional title.

He opened the tournament with a 10-0 victory against Bothell’s Dustin Rhode and defeated Inglemoor’s Brian Trabun 13-2 in the semifinals.

Issaquah teammate Max Tickman placed third in the 112-pound class after defeating Brett Dykman, of Beamer, 10-4. Almen Thorpe, of Issaquah, took fifth in the 135-pound class with a 7-0 victory against Redmond’s Brandon Long. Sean Novak, of Issaquah, placed fifth in the 140-pound class after pinning Eastlake’s Nykolai Peterson in 2:26.

Issaquah finished ninth in the tournament with 56 points. Graham-Kapowsin took first place with 194 points.

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College News

February 15, 2011

Local student graduates from CWU

Brittney Wittekind, a 2006 graduate of Issaquah High School, graduated from Central Washington University in December 2010 with Bachelor of Arts degrees, magna cum laude, in both elementary education and special education.

Local student makes Morehead State dean’s list

Holland Stromgren, of Sammamish, was recently named to the dean’s list for the fall 2010 semester at Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky. To qualify, students must carry a semester grade point average of 3.5 or better and take a minimum of 12 letter-graded hours.

Liberty High School girls basketball team stuns Juanita

February 9, 2011

NEW — 10:30 a.m. Feb. 9, 2011

The Liberty High School girls basketball team got one of its biggest victories of the season Tuesday when the Patriots topped Juanita 53-44 in the semifinals of the 3A KingCo Conference tournament at Bellevue College.

Juanita, the regular-season champion, had defeated Liberty twice during the season. However, the Patriots took control in tournament contest by shooting to a 19-12 first-quarter lead. Liberty held a commanding 32-21 lead at halftime.

Danni Sjolander and Aspen Winegar each scored 15 points to lead the Patriots.

Liberty plays Mount Si at 8:15 p.m. Feb. 10 in the tournament title game. Mount Si defeated Mercer Island 61-49 in the other semifinal.

The top four KingCo teams and the top eight from the Metro League advance to the Sea-King District Tournament, which begins Saturday.

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Rotary Club honors December students of the month

December 21, 2010

The Rotary Club of Issaquah recently honored the following seniors as its students of the month for December.

Arianna Romo

Arianna Romo

School: Liberty High School

Category of recognition: Foreign language

Parents: Charles and Tricia Romo

Sponsoring teacher: Michael Hausenfluck

Scholastic achievements: Four scholar athlete awards; Honor Society; 3.96 grade point average; early acceptance to Central Washington University

Scholastic interests: LINK Crew, Honor Society, president of Future Educators of America

Athletics: Captain volleyball team, two varsity letters, junior varsity most valuable player, junior varsity most inspirational

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Health Roundup

November 16, 2010

State bans Four Loko and other caffeinated alcoholic drinks

The state has banned “blackout in a can” caffeinated alcohol drinks.

Washington State Liquor Control Board members OK’d the emergency ban Nov. 10, after nine underage Central Washington University students had to be hospitalized after consuming the alcoholic energy drink Four Loko.

The statewide ban takes effect Nov. 17 and remains in effect for 120 days as the state formulates a permanent ban. Read more

State bans Four Loko and other alcoholic energy drinks

November 10, 2010

NEW — 12:55 p.m. Nov. 10, 2010

The state has banned “blackout in a can” caffeinated alcohol drinks.

Washington State Liquor Control Board members OK’d the emergency ban Wednesday, after nine underage Central Washington University students had to be hospitalized after consuming the alcoholic energy drink Four Loko.

The statewide ban takes effect Nov. 17 and remains in effect for 120 days as the state formulates a permanent ban.

State Attorney General Rob McKenna commended the Liquor Control Board for the decision.

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Issaquah grads still hitting the gridiron

August 31, 2010

A year ago, Jake Heaps was quarterbacking the Skyline High School Spartans to a third straight state football championship. This year, he’ll be on the field for Brigham Young University.

In fact, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall announced last week that Heaps will see action against the University of Washington Huskies when the teams meet Sept. 4 in Provo, Utah. Read more

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