African choir performs at local church to promote aid for Uganda

September 27, 2011

Watoto Children’s Choir members perform. Contributed

Rescue a child. Raise a leader. Rebuild a nation.

That’s the slogan, and the hope, of Watoto, a Ugandan church and charity organization dedicated to helping that country’s struggling youth.

“You’re changing the country from the inside out” is how Watoto’s Sherry Hanson described the organization’s mission.

Hanson is the U.S. tour coordinator for the Watoto Children’s Choir. Consisting of youths served by Watoto, the choir will perform Oct. 1 at Eastridge Church in Issaquah.

Additionally, in a bit of a coup for the church, the two founders of Watoto will be guest speakers at Eastridge’s Sunday services, at 9 and 11 a.m. Oct. 2, said Eastridge’s Heather Retzlaff.

“It’s kind of cool, we didn’t expect it,” said Retzlaff, an executive assistant at the church.

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Issaquah food bank offers free summer snacks

June 28, 2011

For some, summer means hunger.

The Summer Lunch Program attracts clients and their children June 21 to the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank, which provided grocery bags of healthy children’s snacks  By Greg Farrar

During the school year, the federally funded National School Lunch Program keeps students fed during the breakfast and lunch hours, offering free or reduced-price meals to children in need.

Once school gets out for the summer, those meals disappear.

Thanks to the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank and volunteers from Eastridge Church, families can get free, healthy snacks for their children every Tuesday throughout the summer, until Aug. 16.

“These families have to make choices between buying meals or paying for bills,” Lindsay Ztyree, an AmeriCorps worker with Eastridge Church, said.

Families must live in one of the following ZIP codes to participate: 98027, 98029, 98075 or 98059, and have proof of address and identification.

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Eastridge hosts cars, motorcycles and chili cook-off

June 14, 2011

Eastridge Church invites the community to put a little “vroom” in their weekend at its second annual Eastridge Car & Bike Show.

The show has a long list of activities, including a children’s bicycle decorating contest; chili cook-off and tasting; music; dozens of cars, motorcycles and hydroplanes on display; food for sale; inflatable games; and fun for the whole family.

The event is free, but the Eastridge community plans to raise money through registration and food sales. Proceeds will benefit the church’s Royal Family Kids’ Camp Issaquah, a summer camp for children in foster care. The Royal Family Kids’ Camp is part of a nationwide program, with churches across the country each supporting individual camps.

“This is an opportunity for our community and church family to have fun together while contributing to a program that has a beneficial impact on the lives of kids who have been emotionally scarred,” said Steve Jamison, lead pastor of Eastridge Church. “It’s a family-friendly way to enjoy the Saturday of Father’s Day weekend while supporting a great cause.”

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Overlake hosts local cancer-prevention event

June 14, 2011

One hundred and fifty people attended the Learn and Live Well Cancer Prevention Event presented by Overlake Hospital Medical Center on June 11 at Eastridge Church in Issaquah.

Garrett Knapp, doctor of physical therapy with Overlake Hospital, shares information about body mass index testing. By Jill Green

Participants visited booths and listened to presentations about reducing stress, making exercise easy, and helping prevent cancer and other chronic diseases.

Pam Rock, director of Overlake’s Cancer Center, said the hospital has a real commitment to providing education events to the public.

“Our hope for this event is to increase awareness of choices people can make to reduce their chances of cancer,” she said.

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Issaquah food bank launches Tuesday lunch activities

June 14, 2011

This summer, the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank is launching a Summer Lunch Program aimed at children looking for fun activities and healthy snacks.

Food bank volunteers and staff members will direct activities every Tuesday from June 21 to Aug. 16. Food bank Executive Director Cori Kauk invited the community to a kick-off event with games, face painting and snacks, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 21 at the trail center gateway park across from the food bank, 179 First Ave. S.E.

Each program will have a physical activity, such as jump rope, sidewalk-chalk drawing or sports, for approximately 300 children. Participants will also receive a bag of healthy snacks that will last them most of the week.

Eastridge Church is co-sponsoring the Summer Lunch Program, and the food bank welcomes activity donations of any kind, including Hula Hoops or tennis balls, Kauk said.

Families must live in one of the following ZIP codes to participate: 98027, 98029, 98075 or 98059, and have proof of address and identification.

Learn more by calling the food bank at 392-4123 or go to

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Learn how to ‘Fight Cancer with a Fork’

June 7, 2011

Learn how to help prevent cancer and other chronic diseases at Overlake Hospital Medical Center’s free event, Learn and Live Well, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. June 11 at Eastridge Church, 24205 S.E. Issaquah-Fall City Road.

Keynote speaker Zonya Foco, a registered dietitian and a certified health and fitness instructor, will give the talk, “Fight Cancer with Your Fork.” Foco will offer tips about cancer-fighting foods, and share how to select and prepare them.

Experts from Overlake and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance will also offer presentations about how to reduce stress and how to make exercise easy. Participants can go to an “ask the doc” booth, and get free food samples and giveaways.

Register at Registration is not required, but people who sign up will be entered in a drawing.

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Egg-cellent Easter festivities abound

April 19, 2011

Children gather for a local Easter egg hunt. File

Hop to Easter egg hunts throughout the Issaquah area before the holiday dawns April 24.

The holiday is celebrated against a backdrop of baskets, bunnies and goodies at numerous churches and community organization.

Splash into the Underwater Egg Hunt & Carnival at Julius Boehm Pool, as the family tradition is brought indoors and into the shallow end of the pool. The underwater egg features prizes and carnival games, in addition to the submerged eggs. Organizers recommend participants bring plastic Easter baskets.

Meet the Easter Bunny at the 20th annual Gilman Village Easter EGGStravaganza. Children can also stop at participating shops and businesses for Easter treats.

The annual EGGStravaganza at Gilman Village is not the only eggs-travaganza in town.

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Many faiths, one community

February 15, 2011

Issaquah is a melting pot of major religions from across the globe

Twelve families celebrate Hanukkah at the Donna and Stuart Rosove home in Lakemont, as they light menorahs, share food and conduct other traditions of the Jewish holiday. By Greg Farrar

The loud rock music echoes from the concert-worthy stage as worshipers lift their hands and sing in the main auditorium. Greeters smile wide and shake hands as families filter in through the main entrance. While the adults find their seats for the service, their children shoot down colorful slides into the KidZone, a place of fun and adventure that takes up the whole downstairs.

This is a typical Sunday morning at Eastridge Church.

Like Eastridge, dozens of churches and places of worship contribute their own cultural and religious style and flavor to make up the fabric of faiths in Issaquah.

In addition to the evangelical Christian faith Eastridge attendees practice, Issaquah residents attend Christian churches of a variety of denominations, including St. Joseph Catholic Church and School. Many others keep their Jewish faith alive at the Chabad of the Central Cascades near the Issaquah Highlands.

Issaquah is also home to growing Hindu, Muslim and Baha’i contingents, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints plays a major role in numerous community service events and activities.

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Singer Matthew West brings tour to Eastridge

February 15, 2011

Christian musician Matthew West brings his ‘Story of Your Life’ tour to Eastridge Christian Assembly on Feb. 20. Contributed

Last March, Eastridge Christian Assembly celebrated its grand opening with a performance by Matthew West, one of the top artists in Christian music today.

This year, on the Northwest end of the “Story of Your Life” tour, West and guest performer Josh Wilson will perform Feb. 20 at the church again — but this concert will strike a more memorable note.

West had invited his fans to send in their personal stories last year. The response was overwhelming with more than 10,000 letters, e-mails and online messages received as inspiration for his new album.

One of the letters he received was from Melody Christensen, a Klahanie resident and Eastridge church member, who sent in her story after seeing West perform.

“Melody’s story is just one of those that represented hundreds of letters that I received,” West said. “Out of 10,000 letters, many were about people’s battles with cancer, so I felt like I needed to write a victory song about the topic.”

Christensen’s letter inspired West to write the song “Survivor,” a tribute to the courage and strength she has displayed throughout her battle with cancer.

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Who’s News

December 28, 2010

Elks Poker League

Elks donate to Compassion House

On Dec. 18, Elks Poker League Directors David Hayes (left) and Jeff Wood (right) help and Dave Wallbom, chairman of the Elks board of directors, present checks of $1,147, from tournament donations, and $1,000, from members’ Friday night poker donations, to Rick McCarty, president of Compassion House, and Bonnie Karmouch, of Compassion House.

Sarah Hanna named scholar athlete of the month

Sarah Hanna

Sarah Hanna, a senior at Issaquah High School, has been selected by the Issaquah Booster Club and Red Robin Restaurant as the Red Robin Scholar Athlete of the month for November.

Hanna was a four-year starter on the IHS volleyball team. In 2010, she earned a First Team All KingCo award, and helped lead the girl’s volleyball team through the state tournament three out of the past four years, placing second at state in 2010.

In addition to excelling in athletics, Hanna has a 3.9 grade point average. She is a member of the Honor Society and tutors students at IHS. Her exceptional SAT scores earned her a position as a National Merit Scholar finalist.

Kiwanis Club coat drive

Kiwanis collects hundreds of coats for food bank

The Kiwanis Club’s community coat and shoe drive collected several hundred coats and about 150 pairs of shoes for the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank.

Community members dropped off their donations at The Issaquah Press, US Bank, Foot Zone, KeyBank (Issaquah and Snoqualmie Ridge branches), Eastside Audiology, Hilton Garden Inn, Eastridge Church and Starbucks during the month of November.

Kiwanis Club volunteers then collected the donations for delivery to the clothing bank, where the items will be distributed to needy individuals and families.

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