Santa Claus collects gifts at charity-focused cash mob

November 27, 2012

Al Krush returns as Santa Claus for a charity-focused cash mob Dec. 5 at Gilman Village’s White Horse Toys. File

Santa Claus is coming to town — to a cash mob, to be exact.

The next cash mob is due to descend on Gilman Village’s White Horse Toys on Dec. 5, just in time for the pre-Christmas rush. The event is meant to reflect the holiday spirit, because organizers asked cash mob participants to purchase something for themselves, and something extra for charity.

In a cash mob, a group of people descends on a business to buy, buy, buy. The destination is revealed through social media services. Then, the mob pops up at the business to browse and shop.

The 20- and 30-something business leaders in the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce — Young Issaquah Professionals, or YIPPIES for short — modeled the cash mob on similar events elsewhere.

The concept for the upcoming cash mob is BOGO — buy one, give one — and customers can donate toys to the Wounded Warrior Project. The toys then go to children of military personnel killed or wounded in action.

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Off the Press

November 27, 2012

A competitive friend is taken too soon

Sunday night, as I was meandering about on Facebook, where more than a dozen of my friends are local newspaper and professional photographers, the Internet suddenly lit up from one end to the other like a lightning bolt across the sky with the sad news that one of our brethren had passed away.

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

The pre-eminent high school sports photographer for our parent company The Seattle Times, and a friend, Jim Bates, had finished his struggle against non-Hodgkin lymphoma. And while I might flatter myself to think a few of my sports photos are clipped out and pasted in your scrapbooks, it’s a sure bet that if you have been a high school athlete or a parent of one at any time during the past decade, and look back in those books, you will find Times photos with Jim’s byline.

There is a contingent of us local photographers who follow our school sports all year, including Don Borin, Jim Simpkins, Jim Nicholson, Chuck Babcock and Gary Babcock. And the truth is, we’re all trying to make sport photos as good as Jim Bates did. In his very unobtrusive and workmanlike way, he always knew exactly where to be for the consummate image.

Whether they are football, basketball or soccer photos, and whether they have been at Issaquah, Liberty or Skyline high schools, Jim Bates was there.

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Wanted: Issaquah-area holiday light displays

November 27, 2012

Holiday lights started to twinkle from homes and businesses in the Issaquah area just before Thanksgiving.

Before Christmas arrives, The Issaquah Press seeks spectacular — or just plain cute — light displays from throughout the Issaquah School District to feature in upcoming issues.

Email your contact information and, if possible, a photo of your illuminated light display to, or contact the newspaper on Twitter at, or on Facebook at

State serves Thanksgiving travel advice to motorists

November 19, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 19, 2012

Before the feast, Thanksgiving launches the holiday travel season.

The state Department of Transportation is offering numerous travel information tools for motorists headed out during the holiday weekend.

Travelers planning to hit state highways can find information on the Department of Transportation website about the times and places drivers can expect to experience Thanksgiving weekend delays, including U.S. 2, Interstate 90, and Interstate 5 at the Canadian border, and between Olympia and Tacoma.

Thanksgiving weekend is typically ranks among busiest period all year for I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass and U.S. 2 over Stevens Pass.

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Sammamish couple hails same-sex marriage milestone

November 13, 2012

Washington voters’ groundbreaking decision to approve same-sex marriage elicited a simple — but heartfelt — response from a Sammamish couple: thank you.

Referendum 74, buoyed by strong support in King County, authorized same-sex marriage in Washington. Dana and Sage Alixander, longtime partners married in California before Proposition 8 outlawed same-sex marriage, hailed the historic decision in Washington.

Dana Alixander offered a “collective thank you” to R-74 supporters not long after the measure inched ahead in election night results.

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Issaquah cash mob aims to stock food bank

November 13, 2012

The indefatigable team behind recent cash mobs at Issaquah businesses is asking consumers to shop BOGO — buy one and, in a holiday season change-up, give one.

The next cash mob is due to descend on specialty grocer Champion Grocery on Nov. 17, and organizers encourage shoppers to buy something for themselves, and something extra for the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.

In a cash mob, a group of people descends on a business to buy, buy, buy. The destination is revealed through social media services. Then, the mob pops up at the business to browse and shop.

Read more

Sleep Country USA collects toys for foster children

November 13, 2012

Sleep Country USA is hosting the annual Secret Santa Toy Drive for Foster Kids through Dec. 16.

The public can drop off new, unwrapped toys, books, electronics or musical instruments for children of all ages at any Sleep Country store, including the Issaquah location, 730 N.W. Gilman Blvd., Suite C-110. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Donors can also snap a photo as they donate and enter the Sleep Country Be a Secret Santa Photo Contest on Facebook. The grand prize is a Kindle Fire HD. Learn more about the contest at

Sleep Country USA hopes the social promotion increases donations by at least 10 percent. The toy drive for foster children collected 21,387 toys and gifts last year.

Runner races for charity after storm cancels New York City Marathon

November 6, 2012

Sabina Honig, Becki Chandler and Amir Feinsilber (from left) come west on East Sunset Way as they near the two-mile mark of a 26.2-mile run — a substitute for Honig’s canceled New York City Marathon and as a fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. By Greg Farrar

In Issaquah, native New Yorker Sabina Honig awaited word from family and friends as Hurricane Sandy walloped the East Coast.

The prospective New York City Marathon runner also listened closely for information about the race scheduled to occur less than a week after the Oct. 29 superstorm.

Lingering damage from Hurricane Sandy led organizers to cancel the New York City Marathon, but Honig did not let the setback interrupt her race. Instead, she set out from home in the Issaquah Highlands on race day, Nov. 4, and logged 26.2 miles on local streets.

No medal awaited Honig at the finish line, but she used the race to raise money for relief efforts along the Eastern Seaboard.

Honig, 44, raised more than $2,000 by Nov. 5, as the fundraising cutoff deadline approached. The public can continue to donate online to Honig’s cause.

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Off the Press

October 30, 2012

With Twitter, WYSIWYG in 140 characters

With new skinny papers come new short Off The Press columns, 450 words max. Future is here. Better learn to tweet, too, max 140 characters!

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

Warren is great @ this, won big WNPA social media prize. Better get some tips from him. Don’t want to be left back by march of progress!

Someday will prob have to tweet for Press myself. To get a lot of thoughts in that limit is big challenge! Practice x 3! So far, WDY think?

H8 to misspell wrds to sav space. What about contractions? Leave out punctuation for dont, whats, cant? Better get ruling from the editor.

Googling ‘texting shortcut glossary.’ Results! Aha, should help. Big list! TIME doesnt mean time, it means ‘Tears In My Eyes’!

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Cyberbullying crackdown is priority for sheriff’s office

October 23, 2012

King County Sheriff’s Office investigators could soon crack down on cyberbullying, after the King County Council approved a motion introduced by Issaquah-area Councilman Reagan Dunn.

Reagan Dunn

Cyberbullying is the use of information and technology to support deliberate, repeated and hostile behavior. The crime exploded in recent years due to the prevalence of social media services, and gained national attention last year after classmates targeted a then-12-year-old Issaquah girl online.

Dunn said cyberbullying is increasingly a concern for law enforcement agencies.

“In recent months, all across the country, we have seen tragedies unfold as a result of cyberbullying,” he said in a statement. “This motion will allow the sheriff’s office to study this issue thoroughly and ensure King County has a plan to deal with any of these troubling bullying trends.”

(Dunn represents rural areas south of Issaquah and Newcastle on the council.)

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