February 14, 2012
To our Hall of Famer and MVP, Bob Taylor
You are an awesome sports editor, and your decision to bow out on March 9 to pursue your book-writing projects is going to make my transition from black-and-white film to color-digital photography seem like a piece of cake.
Thank you so much for the 12 years of wisdom and experience you have brought to your sports section. We hardly deserved to have you, considering your 19 “and-a-half” previous years covering Eastside sports for the old Journal-American. Any daily newspaper around Puget Sound would have been a better one with you on its staff.
It always amazed me when covering an event with you to see how grown dads and even coaches would approach you to reminisce about the times you covered their own high school athletic careers. You’re like the living encyclopedia of Eastside sports, and whenever it was relevant, any story you wrote could link to the past of a school’s athletic program.
We’ve had more time on the road together than I’ve spent with any other reporter in this business. No trip to Bellingham, Tacoma or Yakima ever seemed too long as we gabbed away the miles. I learned about your growing up in the southwest corner of the state, your awesome love for your wife Pauline and son David, and how you’ve worked with quite a few interesting characters, some sober and some inebriated, over the years.
October 4, 2011
Conversation offered clue to mental turmoil
The reason Ronald W. Ficker engaged in a fatal gun battle against Issaquah police at Clark Elementary School continues to elude detectives, but the gunman’s self-described best friend said the only clue to the incident came less than 48 hours before the Sept. 24 shootout.
Mark Risdon, Ficker’s longtime friend, last spoke to the gunman just after 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22 — the night before police said Ficker rented a silver Kia Forte at a Seattle rental car counter.
The vehicle surfaced in Issaquah the next morning after police said the sedan stalled along Interstate 90 and again near a downtown intersection. Police fatally shot Ficker on the Clark Elementary campus at about 11:40 a.m. Sept. 24.
“The content of our conversation gave me a lot of concern,” Risdon said. “He just wasn’t making sense. He was talking, he was saying something about going into outer space.”
Risdon suggested watching a movie the next night, but in the end, decided not to call Ficker after the odd interaction. In the conversation, Ficker did not mention plans to rent a car or travel.
“I was kind of afraid to call him, because the conversation that we had Thursday was, well, alarming,” Risdon said. “I wish I had called him.”
Risdon said he attempted — but failed — to reach Ficker’s physician to discuss the episode. Risdon said Ficker had not said anything similar before the Sept. 22 conversation.
“When I talked to him Thursday, I was asking him questions in kind of a roundabout way — if he had been to his doctor recently, if he was having a bad reaction to any kind of a new medication or something,” he continued. “It just seemed like he was having, maybe, a medication reaction or something.”
August 30, 2011
George Tibbetts and William Goode were just teenagers. If they lived today, the future Issaquah residents might have been concerned with such important details as saving to purchase a car. Tibbetts might even have been anxious about getting prepared for a prom or studying for the SATs.
But 150 years ago, the nation was quite different than it is today. It was a nation divided.
With the election of Abraham Lincoln as president, 11 Southern states led by South Carolina seceded from the nation. Lincoln had pledged to halt the spread of slavery, a stand that was unpopular in the South. The Southern states formed their own country — the Confederate States of America.
Everyone in the North and in the South knew it was just a matter of time before there would be war. On April 12, 1861, Confederate troops under Gen. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard fired cannons on Fort Sumter and the war began.
Three days later, President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to serve the Union for 90 days. However, it soon became obvious that further troops would be needed and the president called for the enlistment of 100,000 troops to serve for three years.
Among those who answered the president’s call to arms were Tibbetts, 16, and Goode, 19.
Tibbetts, who was born in Maine but was sent to live with an aunt in New Hampshire when he was 4, was assigned to Company F, Fourth New Hampshire Infantry. He enlisted as a private and rose to be a sergeant by the time he was discharged.
July 19, 2011
Dalean Pack smiled as friends and family wished her a happy 23rd birthday at the Lake Sammamish Elks Lodge No. 1843 on June 16. But the party was more than just a birthday celebration.
Dalean, who was diagnosed with pachygyria soon after birth, is the Washington Elks Therapy Program for Children poster girl. The party was also a fundraiser for the program.
Dalean, of Preston, was originally diagnosed with lissencephaly, a gene-linked brain malformation that results in the absence of folds, called gyri, in the cerebral cortex.
“Doctors said she wouldn’t make it past her first year,” Dalean’s father Dale Pack said.
May 24, 2011
Here’s to those who help us remember
Sometimes we all need a little reminder. Thank goodness we have people like Dave Waggoner in the Issaquah community.
Waggoner, a quartermaster in the Issaquah Veterans of Foreign Wars post, once left a small U.S. flag at the office so I would always remember Memorial Day. The flag still flies above my desk.
Each year, Waggoner, members of the VFW post and local Boy Scouts plant flags and/or crosses on the graves of former veterans at Hillside Cemetery for Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Waggoner makes sure these former vets are remembered.
Waggoner expressed a concern in an April Issaquah Press story that people are forgetting U.S. veterans. With Memorial Day coming up, none of us should forget veterans, especially those in our family.
I do a roll call every Memorial Day, setting aside some time to remember the veterans in my family.
February 15, 2011
The tree-lined suburb of today evolved from a frontier town of sinister secrets
Welcome to Issaquah!
On your left, you’ll see the Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-In!
On your right, you’ll find the Village Theatre!
Oh look, over there is the beloved Issaquah Salmon Hatchery!
A typical tour of town might go something like that, detailing the proud past of a historic city.
What about the strange, seedy and sinister history of this former frontier town? What about the ominous undertones? Not many tours take you down the alleys of the city or expose what had been its underbelly.
But this one does, and it will tell you about some of the most notable incidents that occurred here in the decades after white settlers arrived in the 1850s. Murders. Bombings. Fires. Explosions. Abductions. Plus, plenty of other mayhem.
Get in your DeLorean and prepare to tickle your morbid curiosity, because we’re headed straight to the past and into the dark side of Issaquah.
January 18, 2011
The women could not stop talking about Mary Sutter — the 20-year-old midwife who left home to train as a surgeon during the Civil War.
Mary Sutter’s creator, Issaquah author Robin Oliveira, sat demurely on a chair near the kitchen counter, listening to the book club gab about her book between answering questions about her research and characters.
The Issaquah book club had spent the past six weeks reading, “My Name is Mary Sutter,” a fictional account of a woman aspiring to learn about medicine and surgery in the 1860s. Book club member Debbie Bichsel invited author Oliveira to join the discussion of her book at the group’s Jan. 11 meeting. Read more
November 30, 2010
Carolers and artists add holiday magic to Christmas kickoff
Though nighttime darkness falls at about 4:30 p.m. this time of year, Issaquah’s annual Christmas tree lighting is poised to light up the night with colorful ornaments, caroling, hot cider and cookies.
January 5, 2010
Liberty High School actors star in ‘Broken Hallelujah’ and ‘Sorry, Wrong Number’
The Liberty High School Patriot Players will present a special double-feature production of “Broken Hallelujah” and “Sorry, Wrong Number,” beginning Jan. 8.
It is a new undertaking for many of the school’s drama students.
“It will show audiences what we can do here,” said junior Garrett Bagdon, who plays Hosgood, a Union soldier. “In the past few years, we’ve been doing a lot of comedies. This is our first play that’s been a true drama in some time.”
“I think it will really show the quality of our actors,” said junior Brandon Crader, who plays Stewart, a Union soldier.
“Broken Hallelujah,” commissioned by the A.C.T Young Conservatory of San Francisco in partnership with Theatre Royal Bath, was first staged in 2005. It is a contemporary play written by Sharman Macdonald.
In the battle-worn city of Petersberg, Va., the long days of the Civil War stretch on while people die from hunger, tensions are high and the deafening silence overwhelms young souls in a battle to defend a way of life.
“It’s a really beautiful, meaningful and relevant script that hasn’t been overdone,” Director Katherine Klekas said. “As a teacher and a mother, I don’t think [young people] realize that we’re involved in two wars. I know it’s something my kids could end up in.
“People tend to want what is easy and they want someone to blame. They want villains and heroes. But in war, especially the Civil War, it’s not that easy,” she added. “This show is complex, real and brutal. It show’s the reality of the situation, rather than what is portrayed in video games or produced movies.”
Sophomore Fiona Kine, who plays Maureen, a Southern teen, said the play has given her a look into the emotional and psychological side of war, and common themes of growing from a child into an adult.
“No one in the play is over the age of 19,” said sophomore Sierra Hunt, who plays Loren, a Southern teen. “During the play, we all have to come to terms with who we are and what our part is in the cause.”
October 7, 2008
The people in costume at the Issaquah Library Saturday won’t be celebrating Halloween early. Representatives of the Washington Civil War Association, a Marysville-based organization, will wear replica Confederate and Union uniforms, and display guns and swords during a presentation at the library.