Editorial — Freedom isn’t free; thank a veteran today

May 20, 2015

Freedom is not free.

The cost is men’s and women’s lives. And blood and guts. And arms and legs. And hearing and sight. And brains and other organs.

Men and women have given their lives and paid in many other ways for this country’s freedom since it began.

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Civil War custodians

April 21, 2015

By Greg Farrar Torin Howard, Troy Leighton and Garrett Pomeroy (from left) dig the soil out around the old and almost unreadable gravestone for Civil War veteran John McLeod, preparing to remove and replace it with a new one April 18 at Hillside Cemetery. They and other Boy Scouts, sponsored by VFW Albert Larson Post No. 3436, replaced three worn veterans’ markers 150 years to the month after the end of the Civil War as part of on ongoing project to restore or replace 19 known gravestones of soldiers who came west after the war and pioneered Issaquah. McLeod’s gravestone dated back to his death on May 8, 1899.

By Greg Farrar
Torin Howard, Troy Leighton and Garrett Pomeroy (from left) dig the soil out around the old and almost unreadable gravestone for Civil War veteran John McLeod, preparing to remove and replace it with a new one April 18 at Hillside Cemetery. They and other Boy Scouts, sponsored by VFW Albert Larson Post No. 3436, replaced three worn veterans’ markers 150 years to the month after the end of the Civil War as part of on ongoing project to restore or replace 19 known gravestones of soldiers who came west after the war and pioneered Issaquah. McLeod’s gravestone dated back to his death on May 8, 1899.

Living Hope Bible Church hosts Asante Children’s Choir

April 6, 2015

NEW — 6 a.m. April 6, 2015

The Asante Children’s Choir, a group from Africa, are making a stop in Issaquah while on its Jericho Tour across the U.S.

The choir will have a free concert at 7:30 p.m. April 10 at the Living Hope Bible Church, 205 Mountain Park Blvd. S.W.

The Asante Children’s Choir is made up of children from East Africa, a region recovering from years of civil war and genocide that have claimed millions of lives, and leaving thousands of children and women as orphans and widows.

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Game on! — History, strategy and socializing combine at hobby convention

February 10, 2015

Forget wizards and dragons and, with one exception, aliens and space armadas.

For Game ON! 2015, Feb. 5-8 at the Issaquah Holiday Inn, the name of the games was mostly history.

By Greg Farrar Geoffrey Phipps (left), game designer, longtime historical gaming hobbyist Tyler Roush and game developer Scot McConnachie, are aided by textbooks on the Battle of Gallipoli and inspired by an Australian recruiting poster, as they refine a draft original of ‘Gallipoli 1915: Churchill’s Greatest Gamble’ during the Game ON! convention.

By Greg Farrar
Geoffrey Phipps (left), game designer, longtime historical gaming hobbyist Tyler Roush and game developer Scot McConnachie, are aided by textbooks on the Battle of Gallipoli and inspired by an Australian recruiting poster, as they refine a draft original of ‘Gallipoli 1915: Churchill’s Greatest Gamble’ during the Game ON! convention.

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Marine Corps, Vietnam shaped Jerry Pearson’s servant nature

May 21, 2014

In a small box that’s usually tucked away in his home library, Issaquah attorney Jerry Pearson has several keepsakes from his three-year stint in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Among the items are a set of dog tags made to commemorate three of his fellow Marines; a brass dragon head he found in a village; and the two Purple Hearts he was awarded for combat-related wounds in Vietnam.

The dragon head, in particular, brings back a flood of memories for Pearson, who was born in Seattle before moving to Issaquah as a small child in 1951. He associates it with Ron Dexter and Lester Bell, two members of the Fifth Marine Division who were shipped to the jungles of Southeast Asia and never came home.

By Neil Pierson Issaquah native Jerry Pearson, surrounded by legal texts at his Pearson Law Firm office, is more than 40 years removed from his duties as a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

By Neil Pierson
Issaquah native Jerry Pearson, surrounded by legal texts at his Pearson Law Firm office, is more than 40 years removed from his duties as a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

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Join ‘Civil War Reader’s Theater’ on April 12

April 8, 2014

Come hear and participate in a dramatic performance of the Washington Territory’s Civil War connections April 12.

The free event starts at 1 p.m. at the Train Depot Museum, 78 First Ave. N.E.

The Issaquah History Museums has partnered with Humanities Washington to invite the community to “Territorial Voices, A Civil War Reader’s Theater,” an engaging conversation with historian Lorraine McConaghy, a member of the 2012-14 Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau.

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Off the Press

February 14, 2012

To our Hall of Famer and MVP, Bob Taylor

Hey Bob,

Greg Farrar Press photographer

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.

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Friend describes Issaquah gunman as kind, laidback guy

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.

Ronald Ficker

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.”

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Connections link Issaquah to Civil War 150 years after conflict started

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.

Issaquah history museums Some of Issaquah’s earliest settlers were Civil War veterans, including local Grand Army of the Republic members (above) and three of the their granddaughters, shown circa 1900. Issaquah History Museums

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.

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Birthday celebration helps others with rare developmental disorder

July 19, 2011

Dalean Pack prepares to blow out the candles on her 23rd birthday cake. By Dale Pack

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.

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