Issaquah students graduate from Eastside Catholic High School

July 3, 2012

The following students from Issaquah graduated June 10 from Eastside Catholic High School.

Students from Issaquah graduated June 10 from Eastside Catholic High School. Contributed

Back row: Sebastian Van Coevorden, Christian Dold, Josh Jacobs, Alex George, Chase Deiglmeier, Jimmy Winslow, Sam Breed, Chase Buhner, Evan Gordon, Matt Callans

Front row: Ellie Hitchings, Emily Derus, Maddie Moritz, Jillian Nichols, Marlena Norwood, Kate Benecke, Katie Sutherland, Shannon Graves, Grace Hayden, Alina Hitchings

Not pictured: Richard Davidson and Garrett deCillia

Celebrate Independence Day in Issaquah with parade

June 26, 2012

Fireworks are banned in Issaquah and surrounding areas, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of ways to celebrate Independence Day.

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Nationwide child porn sting led agents to former bus driver

June 19, 2012

Federal agents learned about a former Issaquah School District bus driver trading child pornography online in a nationwide sting, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced June 8, about a month after federal agents arrested the driver on school district grounds.

The agency’s Homeland Security Investigations directorate arrested the former bus driver and former Eastside Catholic High School teacher Andrew Bernard Rekdahl, 29, and 189 other suspects in the effort, dubbed Operation Orion. The sting targeted the possession, receipt, transportation, distribution, advertisement or production of explicit images or videos.

Rekdahl, 29, faces child pornography charges after federal prosecutors said the Carnation resident shared images and videos of boys online from his home computer. Homeland Security Investigations agents arrested Rekdahl at a school district facility May 10 after a monthslong sting operation.

Operation Orion occurred last month, although the agency started recording evidence of Rekdahl sharing child pornography in January. Read more

College News

June 12, 2012

Jillian Nichols receives P.E.O. STAR scholarship

Jillian Nichols, a senior at Eastside Catholic High School, received a $2,500 P.E.O. STAR Scholarship for the 2012-13 academic year.

Nichols, the daughter of Jeff and Kay Nichols, of Issaquah, has been accepted to and will attend Marquette University, where she plans to study sociology and women’s studies.

The P.E.O. STAR Scholarship is based on excellence in leadership, extracurricular activities, community service, academics and potential for future success.

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Nationwide sting led agents to former Issaquah School District bus driver

June 11, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 11, 2012

Federal agents caught a former Issaquah School District bus driver and former Eastside Catholic High School teacher and 189 other suspects in nationwide child pornography sting, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced June 8.

The agency’s Homeland Security Investigations directorate arrested Andrew Bernard Rekdahl, 29, in the effort, dubbed Operation Orion. The sting targeted the possession, receipt, transportation, distribution, advertisement or production of explicit images or videos.

Rekdahl, 29, faces child pornography charges after federal prosecutors said the Carnation resident shared images and videos of boys online from his home computer. Homeland Security Investigations agents arrested Rekdahl at a school district facility May 10 after a monthslong sting operation.

Operation Orion occurred last month, although the agency started recording evidence of Rekdahl sharing child pornography in January.

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Local high school students rev up Relay for Life fundraisers

May 22, 2012

Relay — ‘a   way to live’

Iman Baghai Issaquah High School

The death of a loved one to cancer is why most people partake in the annual Relay for Life fundraising event. But Michael Cecil, a junior at Issaquah High School, has a unique and inspiring story with regards to how and why he is a “relayer.” Cecil’s mother has been diagnosed with five rare kinds of cancer throughout his life and has survived each diagnosis.

His mother’s diagnosis inspired Michael to get into Relay as a way for him and his siblings to “do something about (their) mom’s cancer.” He didn’t view it as a way of giving back, but rather as a way of “fighting back” the terrible disease that has haunted his family.

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Former Issaquah School District bus driver set to appear in court for child porn

May 22, 2012

The former Issaquah School District substitute bus driver and former Eastside Catholic High School teacher involved in a child pornography case is due in court soon.

Andrew Bernard Rekdahl, 29, faces child pornography charges after federal prosecutors said the Carnation resident shared explicit images and videos of boys online from his home computer.

The preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for 10 a.m. May 24 at the Seattle federal courthouse before Magistrate Judge James P. Donohue.

Department of Homeland Security agents arrested Rekdahl at a school district facility May 10 after a monthslong sting operation.

Rekdahl faces one count each of possession and distribution of child pornography. If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison.

In January, an agent noticed a user named Hboyandy sharing explicit videos through a file-sharing website. Then, using a publicly available software program, the agent identified the IP address of Rekdahl’s computer. The investigation continued until the May 10 arrest.

Federal agents said no evidence exists to indicate any inappropriate or illegal activities occurred as Rekdahl worked for the district.

District administrators asked parents concerned about the incident to email DriverConcerns@issaquah.wednet.edu.

Substitute bus driver, a former teacher, arrested for child porn

May 15, 2012

Andrew Rekdahl

Issaquah School District and Eastside Catholic High School officials sought to reassure parents and students May 11 after federal agents arrested a substitute bus driver for the Issaquah district and former Eastside Catholic teacher for possession of child pornography.

Andrew Bernard Rekdahl, 29, faces child pornography charges after federal prosecutors said the Carnation resident shared explicit images and videos of boys online from his home computer.

Department of Homeland Security agents arrested Rekdahl at a school district facility May 10 after a monthslong sting operation.

Federal prosecutors charged him with one count each of possession and distribution of child pornography. If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison.

Rekdahl served as a substitute bus driver for more than a dozen routes throughout the school district between Nov. 14 and May 10 and as a science teacher at Eastside Catholic in Sammamish from 2005 to June 2010.

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Substitute bus driver arrested for child pornography

May 11, 2012

NEW — 12:45 p.m. May 11, 2012

Federal agents arrested a substitute bus driver for the Issaquah School District for child pornography possession Thursday.

In the course of the investigation, security officials told district officials no evidence exists to believe any inappropriate or illegal activities occurred as the driver — identified as Carnation resident Andrew Bernard Rekdahl in court documents — worked for the district.

Prosecutors charged charged Rekdahl with possession and distribution of child pornography.

“This is obviously a very serious charge, and our first priority is making sure that he acted as a professional at all times while driving for us,” Superintendent Steve Rasmussen said in a statement released early Friday afternoon.

Prosecutors said Rekdahl shared explicit images and videos of boys online.

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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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