Prepare for Fenders on Front Street traffic changes

June 12, 2012

Motorists should prepare for a downtown Issaquah road closure June 17 during the Fenders on Front Street Car Show and Cruise.

Organizers plan to close Front Street North from Gilman Boulevard to Sunset Way between 6 a.m. and   4 p.m. for the car show, a Mountains to Sound Greenway Days event.

Registration starts at 6 a.m. at Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in, 98 N.E. Gilman Blvd. Vehicles start to park at Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in, and then park along the Staples parking lot to Front Street North and then along Front Street North toward Sunset Way as the need for space increases.

The car judging starts at about 11 a.m., with trophies presented at the historic Hailstone Feed Store, 232 Front St. N., at 2 p.m.

Following the trophy presentations, at 3 p.m., car show participants gather on Front Street North and cruise to Sunset Way, and then to Newport Way and along Gilman Boulevard to the Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in.

Find quiet contemplation in Issaquah’s Christian Science Reading Room

October 11, 2011

The Issaquah Church of Christ, Scientist Reading Room features a distinctive reflecting pool. By Greg Farrar

One of the staples of the Christian Science religion is its reading room.

Usually, it’s a quiet atmosphere that lends to the pursuit of thoughtful prayer, studying Bible lessons, reading Christian literature or investigating the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist.

With the church located on 238th Way Southeast, leaders have long had to rent out space in Issaquah for a reading room to serve its congregation of fewer than 200.

However, Issaquah’s last reading room didn’t have an ideal location for its intended pursuits in the Brandt Building on Front Street, not with its neighbor — The Kaleidoscope School of Music — pursuing its intended purpose.

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Find simple Italian cooking off beaten path at Montalcino Ristorante Italiano

October 11, 2011

When my wife and I vacationed in Venice, Italy, one of the best meals we had the entire trip came via recommendation of a local resident.

The bed-and-breakfast owner suggested a little family-run restaurant, way off the beaten path away from the usual touristy spots. The food at this hole in the wall was exquisite and memorable for its simplistic, yet bold flavors.

Well, Issaquah now boasts its own hole in the wall, family run ristorante Italiano — Montalcino Ristorante Italiano.

Located on Northwest Alder Place, a block off the beaten path of Front Street, Montalcino brought back memories of Venice with its intimate, rustic interior.

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‘It was like being in a war zone’ amid shootout

September 27, 2011

Guardian One, the King County Sheriff's Office helicopter (above), takes off from the Issaquah Community Center lawn as law enforcement agencies respond to a gunman in downtown Issaquah. By Christina Lords

Investigation continues after police kill gunman at Issaquah school

Issaquah police stopped a gunman in a fusillade of gunfire Sept. 24, after he led officers on a circuitous chase through downtown Issaquah, prompting residents to scramble for cover inside homes, and athletes and spectators at a youth football game to duck beneath bleachers for protection.

Officers fatally shot the 51-year-old Maple Valley man on the Clark Elementary School campus, not far from a youth football game on nearby Issaquah High School fields.

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Off the Press

September 27, 2011

It can’t happen here; yes, it can

Kathleen R. Merrill Press managing editor

“This kind of thing doesn’t happen here,” people always say when some tragedy, especially one involving violence, occurs in a community.

I heard the phrase again and again Sept. 24, because that kind of thing doesn’t happen in Issaquah either. Until it did.

I was shopping in Maple Valley when a friend called to tell me there was a gunman on the loose in Issaquah and she couldn’t get into town because of all of the police officers blocking the streets.

Despite the fact that her voice was crystal clear, I immediately said, “What? Can you say that again?”

Same thing — gunman, downtown Issaquah, cops everywhere with guns drawn, helicopter flying overhead. She then asked if I was OK. (I live downtown.) I felt stunned for a moment. Were my pets OK at home? Could I even get there? Did I want to go there? How would I know if the gunman was inside the house or hiding on the property?

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Artist re-creates favorite downtown landmarks in handmade postcards

September 13, 2011

Jane Garrison, Issaquah landscaping architect, displays her hand-drawn postcards of downtown landmarks. By Tom Corrigan

Downtown Issaquah isn’t necessarily related to Jane Garrison’s duties as a docent for the Issaquah History Museums at the Gilman Town Hall Museum.

Still, it seems appropriate that Garrison can speak happily and fluently about the background of various downtown buildings and landmarks.

“I love downtown Issaquah. I love the buildings,” said the talkative and friendly Garrison, 70.

With an architectural landscaping business of her own on Front Street for roughly 25 years, Garrison said that after she retired she got to know and truly appreciate the feel of downtown Issaquah. Always having been an artist, one of her side projects included pen-and-pencil drawing of various downtown landmarks.

The spots she sketched include Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in, the Eagles Hall and the salmon hatchery. Garrison initially made the drawings strictly for her own enjoyment. But now she has decided to use the sketches to create some very unique and localized greeting cards.

A portion of the proceeds from sales of the cards will benefit the history museums. The cards are blank inside, but one of Garrison’s 12 drawings appears on the front along with a history capsule about the location depicted.

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Salmon Days lawsuit could hinge on public safety

August 23, 2011

The legal challenge to city rules for leafleting at the Salmon Days Festival is focusing attention on unfettered freedom of expression in public places.

The lawsuit presents hurdles to the plaintiff, a Snoqualmie man, and the city, constitutional scholars said. The case is rooted in past court decisions about limits on freedom of expression and the steps governments can enact to limit such acts.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Paul Ascherl said Issaquah police officers threatened to arrest him for handing out Christian literature in places outside the pair of downtown “expression areas” on festival grounds last year. Ascherl relocated to the “expression areas” after police and a festival official intervened.

“The suit presents some cognizable First Amendment arguments,” said David Hudson, a First Amendment scholar at the First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tenn.

Salmon Days featured “expression areas” near downtown festival entrances last year. The areas hosted local political parties and candidates for office.

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Truck rollover snarls Interstate 90 traffic through Issaquah

August 9, 2011

Emergency crews converged on westbound Interstate 90 between Front Street and state Route 900 just after 8 a.m. Aug. 5 after a tractor-trailer toppled across three lanes, snarling the morning commute.

The tractor-trailer was heading westbound in the center lane when the driver attempted to make a lane change to the right, Washington State Patrol Trooper Julie Startup said. In the process, the truck bumped into a car in the adjacent lane.

The truck driver, realizing the rig had bumped the car, attempted to correct to avoid a more serious collision, but lost control and ended up in a brush-filled ditch on the left road shoulder.

Then, as the truck driver attempted to pull out of the ditch, the rig flipped and landed on its side, blocking most of the westbound interstate.

Medics transported the driver of the car, a 29-year-old Sumner man, to Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue for treatment of minor injuries. The truck driver, a 30-year-old Auburn man, escaped uninjured.

The state patrol’s commercial vehicle inspectors plan to inspect the tractor-trailer as a standard part of the investigation. Startup said the tractor-trailer driver is unlikely to face charges in the incident.

Crews managed to right the toppled rig after 8:30 a.m. and reopened lanes to traffic at about 9:15 a.m. Traffic backed up for two and a half miles as state troopers closed the lanes to investigate and clean up. Startup said the toppled truck had been hauling hay.

“Luckily, the hay stayed inside the vehicle today,” she added. “That could be a mess. But hay is much easier to clean up than a load of marbles.”

Issaquah girl, 9, dies after Bellevue pileup

July 26, 2011

Rachel Beckwith, a 9-year-old Issaquah girl injured in a 14-vehicle pileup in Bellevue early last week, died July 23 from injuries sustained in the crash.

Rachel and a 2-year-old sister rode in a Lexus sedan driven by the girls’ mother, Samantha Paul, as a tractor-trailer jackknifed into a loaded logging truck and spurred the chain-reaction crash.

Medics transported seven people, including a handful of Issaquah residents, to area hospitals in the aftermath.

Only Rachel sustained life-threatening injuries, and responders rushed the girl to Harborview Medical Center.

Rachel Beckwith

Just before 8 a.m. July 20, as traffic slowed due to congestion near the Interstate 405 interchange at 133rd Avenue Southeast, authorities said a tractor-trailer jackknifed into a logging truck in the adjacent lane.

“For whatever reason, whether the semi truck was going too fast, wasn’t paying attention or a combination of the two, for the conditions, he didn’t seem to see that traffic had stopped until the last second,” said Sgt. Keith Trowbridge, a Washington State Patrol spokesman. “At that point, he tried to put the brakes on, but he jackknifed and went into the log truck.”

The impact dislodged the rear axle of the logging truck and sent the piece hurtling into traffic.

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Off the Press

July 19, 2011

One good mania deserves another

After a decade of sweeping readers and moviegoers off their feet with a school named Hogwarts, games of Quiddich and battles of good against evil, the final wave of Pottermania is now sweeping over Issaquah, the nation and the world, with the last of the epic movies having blasted through every worldwide box office record last weekend.

Greg Farrar Press photographer

Ticket sales of $475 million in three days is not too shabby!

Over the years, we’ve covered lines of fans at the local movie theater, costume parties for the latest book release at local shops, and huge shipments of Harry Potter books making their way from King County Library System headquarters on Newport Way to all of the branches in the system.

The question is, now what? Every generation has its “mania.” We’ve had the Jazz Age, Golden Age of Hollywood, Beatlemania, discomania and now the end of Pottermania. What should we proclaim in Issaquah to be the next all-consuming mania?

For the socially conscious, my personal preference would be to promote “Littermania,” getting us all to join in to pick up every scrap of paper, every beverage bottle and every plastic wrapper. Ever hear of the 1950’s fad of college students cramming into a phone booth? There’s at least one phone booth still in town, across the street from The Press building. Let’s have a contest of bagging up litter around town and seeing how many bags it takes to fill the phone booth!

Or, how about “musicmania?” There are a lot of scheduled music events this summer in town. For instance, during the next ArtWalk on Aug. 5, we could all bring that musical instrument in the back of the closet that we used to play — kazoo, violin, bongo drums, tambourine — and make ourselves a gleeful racket on Front Street and at Gilman Village.

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