September 6, 2012
NEW — 10 a.m. Sept. 6, 2012
Costco cofounder and former CEO Jim Sinegal offered a forceful defense of President Barack Obama’s economic policies Wednesday in a speech at the Democratic National Convention.
Sinegal said Obama is more likely to create a hospitable climate for job creation than Republican rival Mitt Romney. The former leader of Issaquah-based Costco also countered GOP criticism of Obama’s “you didn’t build that” line.
“We built our company in a place where anyone can make it with hard work, a little luck and a little help from their neighbors and their country,” Sinegal said to delegates and attendees at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. “I’m here tonight because Costco’s story is the American story.”
August 28, 2012
University of Washington student activists rallied at Costco’s Issaquah headquarters Aug. 24 to protest the chain’s affiliation with Palermo’s Pizza.
The members of UW United Students Against Sweatshops, a labor rights group, demanded to meet Costco CEO Craig Jelinek to request the company end a contract with Milwaukee-based Palermo’s Pizza. The pizza maker is under criticism for labor practices at a Wisconsin plant.
Costco is a major purchaser of Palermo’s Pizza products.
“Costco, a company with an admirable record toward its own employees, has an opportunity to take a stand,” Leo Baunach, UW United Students Against Sweatshops member, said in a statement. “Costco should end their business relationship with Palermo’s and do right by the workers who are fighting for fair treatment in their workplace.”
August 14, 2012
Barry Sweet, a Pulitzer Prize nominee and The Associated Press’ longtime Seattle-based photographer, captured photos as astronauts returned from the moon, as Robert F. Kennedy campaigned for president, after Mount St. Helens erupted and at thousands of other events across the Pacific Northwest.
In 1985, however, Sweet received a more unfamiliar assignment — instructions to photograph a pop singer on the rise.
“None of us had any clue who Madonna was or what she was or what she was going to become,” he recalled in a recent interview. “Basically, I got a phone call saying, ‘There’s a woman who’s a singer. She’s going to be at the Paramount singing and she’s pretty good — and it’s really interesting because she’s going to be on stage and wear her underwear outside of her clothes.’”
August 14, 2012
Readers can learn some tips to create inexpensive and delicious meals as Food Network star Melissa d’Arabian comes to Issaquah for a book-signing event Aug. 22.
The winner of “The Next Food Network Star” and “Ten Dollar Dinners” is due to appear at Costco, 1801 10th Ave. N.W., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to sign a cookbook based on “Ten Dollar Dinners.”
The Food Network catapulted Kirkland resident d’Arabian to stardom in 2009, during the fifth season of “The Next Food Network Star.” “Ten Dollar Dinners” debuted not long after the competition ended.
August 7, 2012
Issaquah needs a lobbyist to advocate in the marble corridors beneath the Capitol dome — and coax state legislators to support local projects, City Council members said in a contentious decision to hire a longtime Olympia lobbyist.
The council agreed in a 5-2 decision July 16 to hire Doug Levy to represent Issaquah in Olympia. Members spent $21,700 to hire the former congressional staffer and onetime journalist through December.
July 31, 2012
Local residents can meet officers from the Issaquah Police Department, obtain valuable safety information and munch on free hot dogs at the city’s National Night Out event Aug. 7.
The nationwide event heightens neighborhood crime awareness, generates support for local anticrime efforts, and strengthens neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships. Some 15,000 communities and 36 million people around the country are expected to participate in their local neighborhoods.
July 31, 2012
Issaquah Councilman Joshua Schaer joined the Bellevue College Foundation board, as the organization elected a president and greeted other local members.
Issaquah representatives Dellanie Fragnoli, assistant vice president for international finance and administration at Costco, and Mark Pellegrino, Rainier Group Investment Advisory LLC president, also joined the board.
So did Sammamish representative Cheryl Gunderson, executive vice president and chief lending officer at Fortune Bank.
The foundation also chose Seattle resident Paul Swegle as board president for a one-year term. The terms for the president and other officers started July 1.
Swegle succeeds Bill Kent, a construction executive at M.A. Mortenson Co., as president.
The president-elect for 2012-13 is Sammamish representative Sarah Langton, founder of and partner at Langton Spieth LLC.
The foundation is directed by a 30-member volunteer board. Established in 1978, the nonprofit foundation manages gifts, grants and awards for Bellevue College. The foundation raised more than $2.4 million for the 38,000-student college in 2010-11.
July 31, 2012
Costco cofounder and former CEO Jim Sinegal endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election July 23 and defended the president’s economic policies, less than 24 hours before Sinegal hosted Obama at a campaign fundraiser.
Sinegal and cofounder Jeffrey Brotman launched Costco in 1983. Sinegal stepped down as CEO in January and handed the reins to Craig Jelinek.
Costco relocated corporate headquarters to Issaquah in the mid-1990s. The company is the largest employer in the city, encompassing about 2,700 employees.
Sinegal’s support for Obama comes as presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney lambasted the president’s small business policies.
“You might be seeing some ads or hearing some folks say that President Obama doesn’t support small business owners,” Sinegal wrote in a blog post on the Obama campaign website and in a mass email to supporters. “But he understands that small businesses grow and prosper because of individual initiative — because entrepreneurs like you and me do the hard work it takes, and that we can’t do it alone.”
Obama attended a $35,800-per-person campaign fundraiser and, later, a $5,000-per-plate dinner at Sinegal’s Hunts Point home.
July 31, 2012
Issaquah-based Costco asked pork suppliers to phase out small pens for pregnant sows July 18 — a change hailed by animal welfare groups.
The small pens, called gestation stalls, have long rankled the Humane Society of the United States, Mercy for Animals and other animal welfare organizations. Critics call the gestation stalls inhumane because the sows cannot turn around or, in some cases, turn over in the tight space.
In a letter addressed to Costco pork suppliers, Doug Schutt, executive vice president of merchandising, called for the change.
“Here at Costco we are encouraging you to make this transition: We want all of the hogs throughout our pork supply chain to be housed in groups with access to safety zones and expect that this transition should be accomplished no later than 2022,” the letter states.
Costco is the No. 2 retailer in the United States and the largest employer in Issaquah.
Chicago-based Mercy for Animals later posted the letter online, on the same day Kmart announced a plan to eliminate gestation crates from pork suppliers, too. Mercy for Animals Executive Director Nathan Runkle hailed the actions.
July 24, 2012
At just 22 years old, Egyptian fencer Mannad Zeid is just days away from competing on a stage reserved for only the world’s elite athletes.
On July 29, Zeid will grab his saber, put on his mask and prepare for one of the most intense moments of his fencing career when he participates in the men’s individual saber competition at the 2012 London Olympics.
Zeid is from Alexandria, Egypt, and has been fencing nearly all of his life. The road to London took a stop in Issaquah last week when he came to train with Wang Yung, an expert saber coach at the Washington Fencing Academy.
“I came here to train with him for a week because he has a lot of experience,” Zeid said. “He has already improved me within three days.”