Youth advocates take top honors at Community Awards

June 5, 2012

Renee Zimmerman reacts to a standing ovation May 31 after receiving the Citizen of the Year award from Issaquah Chamber of Commerce board chairwoman Dianna Reely, during the 33rd annual Issaquah Community Awards at the Hilton Garden Inn. By Greg Farrar

As Issaquah celebrated its very best at the 33rd annual Chamber of Commerce Community Awards, two residents — celebrated for their lasting contributions to the community — were inducted into Issaquah’s Hall of Fame on May 31.

Barbara de Michele and Master Sgt. Richard “Top” DeMarco received top honors at the May 31 ceremony, which included recognition for Issaquah’s finest in 18 categories, including awards for standout volunteers, businesses leaders, organizations and youth.

Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger said the Hall of Fame awards were based on several criteria, including inspiration, leadership, civic mindedness, fundraising efforts for public good and length of service to the community.

None more so affected by the awardees are Issaquah’s youth.

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Issaquah dog breeder faces cruelty charges in court June 5

May 29, 2012

A dog breeder accused of hoarding 62 small dogs at a Cougar Mountain home is due in court next month to face animal cruelty charges.

Prosecutors said Issaquah resident Margaret Ann Hamilton, 70, hoarded more than 100 dogs at homes in Issaquah and Burien.

Police said Hamilton and her since-deceased husband kept the animals at a home in the 5900 block of 189th Avenue Southeast on Cougar Mountain, about a mile south of Cougar Mountain Zoo.

Hamilton is due in King County Superior Court for arraignment June 5 on two counts of second-degree animal cruelty, a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Prosecutors initially scheduled the hearing for May 17.

Investigators, alongside Burien and Regional Animal Services of King County animal control officers, raided the Issaquah and Burien homes last year after receiving a tip from Pasado’s Safe Haven, a nonprofit animal rescue organization in Seattle.

Police discovered 38 more dogs at a Burien home owned by Hamilton’s brother-in-law.

Veterinarians later euthanized 14 ill animals — 13 dogs from the Burien home and one dog from the Issaquah home.

Celebrate cougar cubs’ birthday, support The Beat at Cougar Mountain Zoo

May 17, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. May 17, 2012

Beloved cougar cubs Keira, Miksa and Tika turn 1 and to celebrate the milestone, Cougar Mountain Zoo is celebrating a day early.

The party doubles as a fundraiser for the zoo, a nonprofit organization, and The Beat, The Issaquah Press’ section by, for and about teenagers. Zoogoers can watch as the curious cubs tear open gifts and dig into special birthday cakes made from meat.

Purchase $10 tickets at the newspaper office, 45 Front St. S., at the zoo gift shop, 19525 S.E. 54th St. Or email info@cougarmountainzoo.org or call 392-6278.

The Beat staff is going to be on hand to meet people and help with face painting, birthday card making and serving cake to party guests. The event also includes raffles of zoo-related prizes.

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Issaquah dog breeder faces cruelty charges for hoarding animals

May 15, 2012

The empty kennels outside a rundown Issaquah house and the sound of dogs barking from inside alerted animal rescue advocates to possible trouble.

Days later, in early October, King County Sheriff’s Office investigators raided the house and discovered 62 Chihuahuas and Japanese Chins confined in filthy carriers.

On May 3, King County prosecutors filed animal-cruelty charges against the homeowner, a dog breeder and a past judge for the American Kennel Club, a prestigious registry of purebred dogs. Prosecutors said Issaquah resident Margaret Ann Hamilton, 70, hoarded more than 100 dogs at homes in Issaquah and Burien.

Detective John K. Pavlovich said Hamilton and her since-deceased husband hoarded the animals at a home in the 5900 block of 189th Avenue Southeast on Cougar Mountain, about a mile south of Cougar Mountain Zoo.

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Issaquah dog breeder faces animal cruelty charges

May 8, 2012

NEW — 12:45 p.m. May 8, 2012

The empty kennels outside a rundown Issaquah house and the sound of dogs barking from inside alerted animal rescue advocates to possible trouble.

Days later, in early October, King County Sheriff’s Office investigators raided the house and discovered 62 Chihuahuas and Japanese Chins inside filthy carriers.

On May 3, King County prosecutors filed animal-cruelty charges against the homeowner, a dog breeder and a past judge for the American Kennel Club, a prestigious registry of purebred dogs. Prosecutors said Issaquah resident Margaret Ann Hamilton, 70, hoarded more than 100 dogs at homes in Issaquah and Burien.

Detective John K. Pavlovich said Hamilton and her since-deceased husband hoarded the animals at a home is in the 5900 block of 189th Avenue Southeast on Cougar Mountain, about a mile south of Cougar Mountain Zoo.

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Cougars’ birthday benefits Cougar Mountain Zoo, The Beat

May 1, 2012

Cougar Mountain Zoo’s cougar cubs Miksa, Keira and Tika grew from tiny tufts of fur in May 2011 into regal big cats and a centerpiece at the zoo. Contributed

Beloved cougar cubs Keira, Miksa and Tika turn 1 on May 20 and to celebrate the milestone, Cougar Mountain Zoo is — please, pardon the pun — planning a wild party.

The party doubles as a fundraiser for the zoo, a nonprofit organization, and The Beat, The Issaquah Press’ section by, for and about teenagers. Zoogoers can watch as the curious cubs tear open gifts and dig into special birthday cakes made from meat.

“Cougar cubs love to destroy things, so we are creating special birthday boxes for them to do just that!” zoo General Curator Robyn Barfoot said.

In the months since the cubs arrived at the zoo, Keira, Miksa and Tika grew from tiny tufts of spotted fur into regal big cats.

In addition to supporting the popular cougar exhibit at the zoo, a percentage of all ticket sales benefits The Beat, to help pay for the section’s pages in The Press.

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Issaquah man is ready to celebrate rare Feb. 29 birthday

February 28, 2012

Christopher Hetzel has a special appreciation for the February page of a calendar on every fourth year, when the number 29 comes up in the last square. By Greg Farrar

Christopher Hetzel, a middle-aged man, is poised to turn 10.

The architectural historian and Issaquah resident is actually closer to 40, but due to a quirk in the Gregorian calendar, Hetzel’s birthday, Feb. 29, only comes around as often as a presidential election.

In other years, Hetzel celebrated the leap day birthday on Feb. 28. Come Feb. 29, however, the quadrennial occasion requires a blowout celebration.

“When you’re young, it always sets you apart as being special, which is of course a positive thing,” he said.

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Snowstorm does not disrupt life for Cougar Mountain Zoo denizens

January 24, 2012

Snowstorm, ice and aftermath / Jan. 16-20, 2012

Biff the alpaca stands in the snow as a snowstorm hit Cougar Mountain Zoo on Jan. 18. By Robyn Barfoot/Cougar Mountain Zoo

The macaws retreated inside to toastier temperatures. The tigers tolerated the cold. The reindeer, unsurprisingly, reveled in the snow.

Though most Issaquah residents experienced a snow day Jan. 18, a major snowstorm did not disrupt the routine for the denizens of Cougar Mountain Zoo.

“The animals don’t care that it’s snowing outside and we don’t want to get out of bed,” General Curator Robyn Barfoot said. “They need us and that is our driving force.”

The rare Bengal tigers Almos, Bagheera, Taj and Vitez lounge in heated enclosures if the mercury falls. Some species — such as colorful macaws and other birds from tropical climates — spend cold days inside and off display. Other animals carouse in the cold temperatures and deep snow.

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Snow blankets Cougar Mountain Zoo / Jan. 18, 2012

January 18, 2012

Snowstorm does not disrupt life for Cougar Mountain Zoo denizens

January 18, 2012

A cougar cub at Issaquah's Cougar Mountain Zoo turns skyward as a snowstorm blankets the region Wednesday. By Robyn Barfoot

NEW — 8 p.m. Jan. 18, 2012

The macaws retreat inside to toastier temperatures. The tigers tolerate the cold. The reindeer, unsurprisingly, revel in the snow.

Though most Issaquah residents experienced a snow day Wednesday, a major snowstorm did not disrupt the routine for the denizens of Cougar Mountain Zoo.

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