August 28, 2012
The next stop for the Issaquah Valley Trolley is downtown Issaquah.
On Aug. 23, a vintage streetcar completed a 1,659-mile trip from Ida Grove, Iowa, to Issaquah aboard a specialized flatbed trailer. The arrival marked a milestone in the $744,700 effort to refurbish the vehicle, restore downtown railroad track and prepare the streetscape for streetcar traffic.
Organizers plan to start offering rides to the public starting Oct. 14, a day after a celebration for the Issaquah History Museums’ 40th anniversary. The planned route stretches about a half-mile from the Issaquah Train Depot to the East Fork of Issaquah Creek at Darigold.
“It looked every bit as good as we expected it to — and probably better,” Issaquah Valley Trolley Project Chairwoman Jean Cerar said. “If you gave it just a cursory glance, actually, it kind of looked like the car that left, only brighter.”
Crews repainted the streetcar in the same cream-and-red color scheme, but beneath the surface, workers installed modern systems and revamped the battered interior. The result “has that new trolley smell to it,” Cerar said.
August 28, 2012
The city is on the hunt for a contractor to start construction at the downtown parks along Issaquah Creek — a 15.5-acre expanse often referred to as the crown jewel in the municipal parks system.
The information for potential bidders outlines the site preparation and grading, picnic shelter construction, and sewer and water utility work planned for Phase 1. The contractor must also place a pre-manufactured restroom facility at the site, and add lighting, walkways, stone seating and walls, and plantings to the parks.
Officials allocated about $1 million for the initial phase. The amount is not enough to complete the ambitious plan for the site, but is enough to start the process.
August 14, 2012
Quietly, after a decadeslong coal and timber boom fueled expansion, passenger rail service to Issaquah ceased 90 years ago.
July 3, 2012
The paper or plastic battle isn’t over yet
Ahh, plastic bags. I don’t know of a time in my seven years here when there has been so much controversy. And most of it after a decision.
(There was that brouhaha in December 2009 over McNugget, the rooster that lives on Front Street across from Darigold, which brought so many comments I thought they would never end! I just checked our website and the main story brought 134 comments there alone.)
As for the bags, the comments and letters are still coming in. The most astonishing thing to me is the people who say they’re going to drive to other cities to shop. Seriously? Take the gas guzzling SUV to another city to get plastic bags and avoid the 5-cent paper bag fee? That just sounds ludicrous. How many bags of groceries do people get per trip?
June 28, 2012
Go ahead, sample some local products.
In 1956, Julius Boehm opened Boehms Candies in Issaquah, 17 years after the former Olympian fled Nazi-occupied Austria.
The iconic chocolatier offered a taste of Issaquah to chocoholics attracted to the city to see candy makers in action.
Nowadays, the chalet-inspired chocolate factory turns out caramels, cordials, truffles and candy bars in a distinctive gold wrapper.
April 24, 2012
- Issaquah is founded as Gilman. The city is named for railroad baron Daniel Hunt Gilman.
- The postmaster called for mail sent to Gilman to be addressed to Olney, Wash., to avoid confusion between Gilman and Gilmer, another city in the state.
- Townsfolk start calling the frontier town Issaquah, or “the sound of water birds” in the language of the American Indians native to the region.
- State lawmakers approve official name change from Gilman to Issaquah.
- Wilbur W. Sylvester founds the Bank of Issaquah in a clapboard building.
April 17, 2012
Timeline remains uncertain due to lack of funding
The downtown parks along Issaquah Creek — 15.5 acres referred to as the crown jewel in the municipal parks system — can soon start a long transformation into undulating paths, picnic areas and more.
In a March 19 decision, City Council members approved the overarching design outline, or master site plan, for the interconnected Tollë Anderson, Cybil-Madeline and Issaquah Creek parks. The action laid the groundwork for construction to start on the site by late summer, though the effort to complete the parks could stretch for years.
City parks planners still need to acquire municipal permits for the initial construction phase. Meanwhile, architects at The Berger Partnership, a Seattle firm, continue to fine-tune the design for the parks.
December 6, 2011
The engineering manager responsible for a fish-killing ammonia spill from the downtown Darigold dairy has been sentenced to probation and community service for the October 2009 incident.
On Dec. 1, U.S. District Court Judge Mary Alice Theiler sentenced Darigold employee Gerald N. Marsland to two years probation and 70 hours of community service for the Issaquah Creek spill. Theiler also imposed a $2,000 fine on Marsland.
Darigold is required to pay a $10,000 fine and pay $60,000 to protect and restore natural resources in the Issaquah Creek watershed as a part of a plea agreement announced in June.
Prosecutors also said Marsland directed repairs and failed to prevent the spill. Prosecutors charged Marsland for violating the federal Clean Water Act.
Marsland’s attorney asked for his client to be sentenced to one year of probation and 50 hours of community service.
August 2, 2011
What to remember on a new assignment
I was asked by my newest editor to sort of introduce myself to the Issaquah public through this column. The following probably isn’t what she had in mind, but here goes. We will start with a quick list of things to remember should you ever find yourself taking over a new beat for a local newspaper:
When you call the mayor of the town you’ll be working in and ask for comment, keep that person’s name someplace handy, like in your head. That way, when they call you back, you won’t sit there dumbstruck about who in the world is on the other end of the phone.
Make note of the company phone number. If for some reason you ever were curious about this topic, I can tell you the number for the Darigold dairy production facility is just a few digits different from the main number for The Issaquah Press.
If you are moving into a territory you are unfamiliar with, invest in a GPS. Enough said.
In case you haven’t somehow guessed, I am the newest reporter for The Issaquah Press. I last worked for a paper in Bothell, but spent most of my career in my native Cleveland covering big-city politics and big-city schools. Here, I’ll be doing features and covering smaller city schools, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
July 2, 2011
Inside each pink-and-gold tin, Almond Roca includes a fundamental ingredient: butter from Darigold in downtown Issaquah.
The longtime Tacoma confectioner Brown & Haley obtains butter — about 90 percent — for treats from Pacific Northwest dairies. From the local butter, about 90 percent originates at Darigold in Issaquah.
Brown & Haley CEO Pierson Clair said the arrangement includes benefits such as local job creation, reduced environmental impact and taste, a crucial factor in the confectionary industry.
“The flavor of the Issaquah butter is really, really good,” Clair said. “Almond Roca is all about quality. Darigold Issaquah butter is all about quality, and therefore, it’s just a perfect supplier for us.”
The beloved confection remains unchanged since 1923, when Harry Brown and J.C. Haley dreamed up Almond Roca. Company lore claims a librarian selected “roca” — Spanish for “rock” — for the name as a nod to the crunchy center.