Off the Press

December 11, 2012

Elusive Christmas wish ignites holiday meltdown

Warren Kagarise
Press reporter

Christmastime means basic cable is awash in the holiday staples I remember from childhood — animated Whos in “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” a stop-motion Santa Claus in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and, above all else, BB-gun-seeking Ralphie Parker in “A Christmas Story.”

In 1990, at age 6, I followed Ralphie’s lead and trimmed my Christmas list down to a single wish.

That November, I dutifully wrote Santa Claus a letter outlining my desire for a Patch Up Pet, nowadays a long-forgotten toy. I knew if I wanted to score such a hot item, I needed to bypass my parents and appeal directly to the big man.

Santa wrote back. In hindsight, that should have been a big indicator of trouble.

Despite much searching by the elves, he wrote, there were no Patch Up Pets to be had, not at the North Pole, and especially not in Lorain, Ohio, where my parents and I then lived.

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Issaquah Community Center, Julius Boehm Pool close for maintenance

December 11, 2012

Prepare for closures at the Issaquah Community Center and the Julius Boehm Pool for maintenance and the holidays.

The community center is due to close for maintenance from Dec. 19-22. Then, the center closes for Christmas from Dec. 24-25 and reopens to the public Dec. 26.

Meanwhile, the pool is scheduled to close from Dec. 24-25 for Christmas and reopen at 6:30 a.m. Dec. 26.

In addition to the community center and pool, officials plan to close City Hall and Issaquah Municipal Court from Dec. 24-25 for Christmas.

Eastside Fire & Rescue’s Reindeer Engine to collect food, toys

December 11, 2012

NEW — 5 p.m. Dec. 11, 2012

Eastside Fire & Rescue’s Reindeer Engine is scheduled to deliver holiday cheer — and collect food and toys for families in need — as Christmas approaches.

The fire engine — decked out in blinking lights, reindeer and a sleigh, and a holiday banner — heads to Endeavour Elementary School on Wednesday and then, on Sunday, to Four Lakes, Mirrormont, and other communities in May Valley and on Tiger Mountain.

Residents can donate food and toys Sunday as volunteers from Fire Station 76 on Tiger Mountain drive the Reindeer Engine travels through the communities near Issaquah from 5:30-7 p.m.

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Reindeer fly to Cougar Mountain Zoo for annual festival

December 4, 2012

Rogue, who was 5 months old during the 2011 Reindeer Festival at Cougar Mountain Zoo, checks out visitors through a barn window at Santa’s house. By Greg Farrar

If you saw a deer-shaped figure roaming the night sky in November, don’t be alarmed, said Cougar Mountain Zoo General Curator Robyn Barfoot, it was just Santa’s reindeer getting some flying practice in before their big day.

But now Santa’s reindeer are done practicing and ready to meet with local residents at the Cougar Mountain Zoo’s 24th annual Reindeer Festival.

While the zoo is technically closed during the month of December, the zoo eagerly plays host to the festival that attracts more than 10,000 visitors every year, Barfoot said.

“It provides a really great opportunity for people to do something with their families during the day and kind of get everyone in the feel of the holidays,” she said.

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Sammamish Symphony joins choir to create sounds of season

December 4, 2012

One of Sammamish’s holiday traditions, the Holiday Pops concert by the Sammamish Symphony, will have a new twist this year.

John Patrick Lowrie, known for work at the Village Theatre and voice-acting in a host of popular video games, will read “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” to the accompaniment of the symphony.

“We try to make it interesting,” said R. Joseph Scott, conductor of the symphony.

The show will feature a host of popular holiday songs, Scott said, including Christmas and Hanukkah songs.

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Wanted: Issaquah-area holiday light displays

December 4, 2012

Holiday lights started to twinkle from homes and businesses in the Issaquah area just before Thanksgiving.

Before Christmas arrives, The Issaquah Press seeks spectacular — or just plain cute — light displays from throughout the Issaquah School District to feature in upcoming issues.

Email your contact information and, if possible, a photo of your illuminated light display to editor@isspress.com, or contact the newspaper on Twitter at www.twitter.com/issaquahpress, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/issaquahpress.

Northwest Boychoir features local singers in holiday shows

December 4, 2012

The Northwest Boychoir is back with its 34th annual presentation of “A Festival of Lessons & Carols” concert series. Included in the nine regional performances are two Issaquah voices: from Northwest Boychoir, Benjamin Richardson, 14, and from Vocalpoint! Seattle, Nick Borkowski, 16.

The singers are part of the two musical groups that are combining for the 90-member holiday chorus.

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Follow fire safety tips to avoid Christmas tree disasters

December 4, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Dec. 4, 2012

The holiday season is a time for celebration, but fire hazards from Christmas trees and other decorations can dampen the festive spirit.

State fire officials remind residents to properly care for and decorate Christmas trees, and to practice fire safety in order to prevent yuletide emergencies.

If a household holiday display includes a natural tree, keep the tree adequately watered. Improper care and decoration of live or artificial Christmas trees can lead to catastrophic fires.

“It takes only seconds for a tree to ignite and the entire room to become engulfed in flames,” state Fire Marshal Charles Duffy said in a statement.

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Report offers tips for donors to avoid holiday charity scams

December 3, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Dec. 3, 2012

Secretary of State Sam Reed and state Attorney General Rob McKenna urged consumers to beware holiday charity scams Wednesday, and unveiled a report to help residents donate wisely.

Throughout 2012, charities using commercial fundraisers in Washington received 46 percent of total donations raised by the fundraisers — lower than the 56 percent in the 2011 report and a major drop from the  77 percent in the 2010 report.

But the percentage individual fundraisers retained varied. Some fundraisers kept less than 10 percent and sent the remaining funds to charity. Other fundraisers’ fees and expenses exceeded the amount raised.

The report, compiled by the Charities Program in Reed’s office and released Nov. 29, spotlights recent financial information for commercial fundraisers soliciting or collecting donations on behalf of charity clients.

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Christmas tree sellers unwrap holiday rush

November 27, 2012

Jason Hollaway, of Issaquah, a worker at Trinity Tree Farm on Squak Mountain, pulls a Christmas tree through a netting machine Nov. 24 for a family to transport home for the holidays. By Greg Farrar

The holiday rush is not limited to retailers. Once the calendar inches past Black Friday, another group of merchants girds for a deluge of customers — Christmas tree sellers.

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