Issaquah innovators honored at chamber luncheon

February 18, 2014

Nonprofit lending, flip-flops and composting are leading the way in innovation, according to the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce.

Local businesses received recognition Feb. 13 in the fourth annual Innovation in Issaquah Awards. From 19 nominees, collected through area suggestions, the chamber chose three winners who best represented business innovation in Issaquah.

By Greg Farrar Matt ‘Griff’ Griffin (left), CEO of Combat Flip Flops; Karen Dawson, community relations director for Cedar Grove Composting; and Chris Walcott, president of Semble, hold their Innovation in Issaquah award plaques Feb. 13 at the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

By Greg Farrar
Matt ‘Griff’ Griffin (left), CEO of Combat Flip Flops; Karen Dawson, community relations director for Cedar Grove Composting; and Chris Walcott, president of Semble, hold their Innovation in Issaquah award plaques Feb. 13 at the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

In a large luncheon at the Issaquah Holiday Inn, where more than 100 people gathered to celebrate the nominees, Cedar Grove Composting, Semble and Combat Flip Flops received the top awards.

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Eastside Baby Corner hosts holiday open house Dec. 19

December 16, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 16, 2013

Eastside Baby Corner is hosting drop-in tours from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 19 at its Issaquah Hub, 1510 N.W. Maple St.

Community members are encouraged to stop by for hot cider, cookies and a behind-the-scenes look at EBC’s warehouse and distribution center.

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Eastside Baby Corner announces Diaper Need Awareness Week

September 10, 2013

Sept. 8-14 is National Diaper Need Awareness week, and Eastside Baby Corner needs diaper donations.

The average child needs about 50 diaper changes per week, but many low-income families don’t have the means to keep a reliable supply, according to EBC. Diapers can’t be purchased with food stamps or WIC vouchers, making it even more difficult for struggling families to clothe their children. Many childcare programs also require that young children have a supply of diapers, which can exclude children from participating.

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Eastside Baby Corner provides free diapers

May 28, 2013

Since diapers are not covered by any government aid programs, many families in King County are forced to choose between buying diapers and buying food or paying bills, according to a press release from Side by Side Northwest.

When it costs $100 a month on average to diaper a baby, struggling parents with children in daycare often can’t afford to go to work or school, which adds additional stress to low-income families.

Eastside Baby Corner, a diaper bank, has teamed up with Westside Baby to address the issue of diaper need by providing 2 million diapers to children in need in King County over the next two years through Side by Side Northwest. The two-year pilot program was created by the two agencies working together to increase support for all children living in King County, as well as to increase the impact both organizations make in the community.

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Who’s News

January 8, 2013

Skyline twins to dance at inaugural ball

Skyline High School sophomore twins Karishma and Aishwarya Mandyam will be performing the Bharatanatyam dance, an ancient classical dance art form of South India, in the rotunda during the Governor’s Inaugural Ball at 7 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Capitol campus.

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City Council restores dollars for nonprofit organizations

December 11, 2012

By the numbers

Data from the most recent year available, 2011, illustrates how Issaquah ranks against other King County cities in per capita funding for human services.

Issaquah

  • Human services budget: $222,000
  • Funding formula: 1 percent of general fund
  • Per capita human services funding: $8.22

Bellevue

  • Human services budget: $2,792,312
  • Funding formula: inflation plus population growth
  • Per capita human services funding: $23.01

Bothell

  • Human services budget: $234,500
  • Funding formula: per capita
  • Per capita human services funding: $7

Kenmore

  • Human services budget: $289,000
  • Funding formula: 3 percent of estimated revenues
  • Per capita human services funding: $13.85

Kirkland

  • Human services budget: $571,880
  • Funding formula: per capita
  • Per capita human services funding: $11.52

Redmond

  • Human services budget: $664,235
  • Funding formula: per capita plus $74,500 per year in domestic violence funds
  • Per capita human services funding: $11.35

Sammamish

  • Human services budget: $176,000
  • Funding formula: no formula
  • Per capita human services funding: $4.29

Shoreline

  • Human services budget: $340,307
  • Funding formula: no formula
  • Per capita human services funding: $6.23

Woodinville

  • Human services budget: $66,501
  • Funding formula: no formula
  • Per capita human services funding: $5.86

Source: City of Issaquah

Representatives from a spectrum of organizations — nonprofit human services groups offering affordable housing, safe havens for domestic violence victims, assistance to struggling students and more — successfully lobbied City Council members Dec. 3 to stave off a $48,750 drop in funding for such programs.

The council agreed to allocate $280,750 in the $42 million general fund budget for human services grants, but only after a council committee pushed to increase the amount and local nonprofit organizations pleaded for the council not to eliminate $48,750 in funding.

Grants go to organizations such as Eastside Baby Corner, Friends of Youth and the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank to offer services to residents from Issaquah and the Issaquah School District.

In a 4-3 decision, council members agreed to increase the amount budgeted for human services by $48,750 from the $233,250 the council recommended in earlier budget deliberations. The additional dollars for human services grants comes from the municipal rainy day fund.

Councilwoman Eileen Barber initiated the process to restore the human services funding.

Then, before the split decision, representatives from local human services organizations — including Catholic Community Services, Issaquah Community Services and LifeWire — beseeched the council to restore funds for grants.

“At a time when I see the needs rising among our students, and I see the return on investment for cities in investing in students while they’re still in school, I think it’s a critical time for you to consider being able to support organizations, such as the schools foundation, in retaining our current funding,” Issaquah Schools Foundation Executive Director Robin Callahan said.

Several referenced the Great Recession and the fragile economy recovery in pleas to the council.

“I believe that our nonprofits are still recovering from the recession,” Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank Executive Director Cori Kauk said. “Many of our local nonprofits haven’t rebounded yet and they still need your support. Now is really not a good time for cuts.”

Council President Tola Marts said the city did not intend to undercut human services organizations through the budget reduction.

“In a time when the state and the county are reducing funds — and I realize that puts even more strain on local budgets — I think the intent of the council when we did the budget was that we thought that was a strong position to take,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that it’s been perceived as a Grinchian position.”

The council acts on recommendations from the municipal Human Services Commission. Overall, commissioners received 60 grant applications totaling $366,283 in requests for 2013.

Commission Chairwoman Maggie Baker, disappointed about the proposed reduction in funding, pored over data from the U.S. Census Bureau to better quantify the need in the community.

“I realized that with $47,000 less, we weren’t going to be able to do the right thing for our 1,365 Issaquah neighbors 65 and over who live with at least one disability that keeps them from completing an activity of daily living, such as eating, dressing or bathing,” she said.

Head to downtown Issaquah for holiday cheer

November 27, 2012

Downtown merchants invite the public to head to Front Street North for some holiday cheer Dec. 5, as the Downtown Issaquah Association hosts a holiday open house.

The event runs from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the historic Hailstone Feed Store, 232 Front St. N., and other locations downtown.

Participants can listen to children sing Christmas carols and a performance from Violet Oroboros. Sip hot chocolate, coffee and tea, and then meet Santa Claus and a reindeer. Santa is available for free family photographs, too.

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Who’s News

November 27, 2012

Eastside Baby Corner receives $20,000 grant

Eastside Baby Corner received a $20,000 grant from the Windermere Foundation. The grant will allow Eastside Baby Corner to pursue its core mission of providing crucial food and supplies to children in need in Eastside communities.

Now in its 22nd year, the nonprofit organization helps children by distributing almost everything they need, for newborns to age 12, through a network of family-assistance agencies. Learn more about Eastside Baby Corner at www.babycorner.org.

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Issaquah High School senior explores energy industry at USC camp

November 20, 2012

When Issaquah High School senior Alex Hansen was tasked with a project to find a solution to combat the waste associated with plastic bottles, he thought outside of the box.

Hansen and a small group of other students from across the country suggested employing a sort of hypothetical bacteria that would have the ability to eat plastic and turn it into a substance that is more environmentally friendly.

“I personally researched a lot about these weird bacteria, I forget their name, but apparently they are being looked into as having the possibility to eat plastic and turn it into a material that is more decomposable,” he said. “It’s not really plausible yet, but it was fun.”

It was all part of Hansen’s summer visit to the University of Southern California for the weeklong USC/Chevron Frontiers of Energy Resources Camp.

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Eastside Baby Corner searches for next leader

September 25, 2012

Eastside Baby Corner is on the hunt for a leader after founder and volunteer Executive Director Karen Ridlon announced plans to step back from the role.

The nonprofit organization is working with Issaquah-based recruiting firm Prothman Co. to find Ridlon’s successor. The firm spearheaded searches for Issaquah’s city administrator and the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank’s executive director.

Eastside Baby Corner collects community donations, and purchases and distributes children’s and maternity items to families in need.

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