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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Prepare for Fourth of July road closures in Issaquah

July 3, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. July 3, 2011

Motorists should plan ahead for Fourth of July road closures in downtown Issaquah on Monday, as revelers gather for a parade and festival.

Expect closures along Front Street North from Northwest Gilman Boulevard to East Sunset Way, Rainier Boulevard North from Northwest Dogwood Street to Northwest Juniper Street, East Sunset Way from Front Street to Second Avenue Southeast, and Front Street South from East Sunset Way to Newport Way Southwest from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The annual Down Home Fourth of July includes the Kids, Pets N’ Pride Parade at 11 a.m. at Rainier Boulevard North, at the intersection of Northwest Dogwood Street and Front Street North.

Following the parade, families can plays games at Veterans’ Memorial Field and learn about Issaquah’s history from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Issaquah Train Depot’s Heritage Day celebration, 50 Rainier Boulevard N.

On Veterans’ Memorial Field, children can enter potato sack, slug and three-legged races, or saddle up for pony rides.

City Council, school board meet to discuss shared safety issues

May 31, 2011

School-zone construction, illegal skate-park activities are top concerns

With communication in mind, the Issaquah City Council and Issaquah School Board met May 26 to talk about issues that concern them both, including road construction near schools, illegal activities at the Issaquah skate park and whether the school board could televise its public meetings.

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ArtWalk returns for 10th season

May 3, 2011

Pedestrians pause to admire art displayed at the former UP Front Gallery during ArtWalk last year. The gallery has since relocated down the street. File

The DownTown Issaquah Association’s 10th annual ArtWalk season kicks off May 6. The popular event, the first Friday of every month through September, invites visitors to meet local business owners, enjoy free music, watch artists in action, and shop and dine in downtown Issaquah after normal business hours.

ArtWalk draws hundreds of visitors to traditional art destinations such as artEAST’s Art Center and the newly expanded Museo Art and Design School on Front Street. In addition, nontraditional locations open their doors to the event throughout downtown Issaquah and Gilman Village.

Typically, the event ran from 5-9 p.m. in the past. But by popular request, that has changed.

“The event now runs from 5-8 p.m. with a soft close at 8,” said Annique Bennett, cultural events coordinator for the DownTown Issaquah Association. “Those with signs out front of their businesses can now pull them in and go home at 8, or they can choose to stay open as long as they want to.”

For May, artEAST opens a new exhibit, “150 Feet of Art,” at Up Front Art. More than 100 pieces of art on one-square-foot canvases will be displayed and available for purchase during the monthlong auction.

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Spruce up downtown Issaquah on April 30

April 19, 2011

Help spruce up downtown Issaquah during the annual Spring CleanUp on April 30.

DownTown Issaquah Association members need volunteers to help clean the historic Front Street corridor.

The cleanup is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants plan to fan out across downtown to sweep, weed and pick up litter.

Participants should bring gloves and tools. The association provides lunch and drinks.

Email community@downtownissaquah.com to learn more. Register at the association website, www.downtownissaquah.com. Follow the link labeled “We Need You/Volunteer” to enroll.

4A KingCo soccer teams ready for another jam

March 15, 2011

Issaquah, Skyline hope to challenge for first place

The 4A KingCo Conference boys season could be headed for another traffic jam. Last year, the league was bumper to bumper, just like Issaquah’s Front Street on a Friday afternoon.

When the regular season ended, just two points separated the first-place team from the sixth-place team. Three teams tied for first place and two were just one point behind the leaders.

Issaquah High School coach Jason Lichtenberger said he believes it could be another close race.

“From top to bottom, I believe KingCo is the toughest league in the state. I fully expect another close race,” Lichtenberger said. “I think there are some quality teams in the league again. There are two or three teams that could be a bit stronger than the rest, but almost every team has a player who can change a game.”

Lichtenberger said he believes Skyline, one of last year’s tri-champions, and Eastlake and Newport, both with experienced teams, could be the frontrunners. Garfield, one of the tri-champions last spring, might be another contender.

Issaquah has aspirations of continuing its success from the past two seasons. However, the Eagles lost eight starters from last season’s team that finished just one point out of first place. Lichtenberger pointed out that the Eagles have talent and the potential to be among the top teams.

In 3A KingCo, Liberty had a disappointing season in 2010, but has some outstanding players returning who have hopes of moving the Patriots in the standings.

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Off the Press

February 8, 2011

Greg Farrar Press photographer

A recent photo assignment for our Issaquah Living magazine coming in next week’s Press has shed some insight into what can only be described as our little local miracle, Issaquah Creek.

We all have seen the creek as it moves past the hatchery, or under the vehicle bridges on Gilman Boulevard, Newport Way or Front Street. We definitely get a good look when it floods. But that leaves more than 99 percent of the creek unseen by most people as it comes down from Tiger Mountain and north through the valley.

I’ve been wading knee-deep in water, pushing through hummocks of blackberry vines, hiking and climbing down hillsides of forest to find the headwaters, trickles, waterfalls, and brooks that give birth to our creek.

There are four main branches — Holder Creek, which starts on the southeast slope of Tiger Mountain; Carey Creek, which begins in Hobart and comes together with Holder Creek at the Bonomi Farm by Highway 18 to create Issaquah Creek; Fifteenmile Creek, which starts on Tiger’s southwest slope and meets Issaquah Creek at Southeast May Valley Road; and the East Fork, which starts at High Point and joins Issaquah Creek west of Darigold.

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City plans to count vehicles using Interstate 90 Undercrossing

January 18, 2011

Mayor Ava Frisinger (right) addresses city staffers at the opening ceremony for the Interstate 90 Undercrossing on Jan. 11. By Greg Farrar

Motorists continue to discover Fourth Avenue Northwest, a shortcut beneath Interstate 90, and the city plans to start counting the number of vehicles using the undercrossing as early as next month.

The undercrossing opened to traffic in mid-December after the city resolved legal challenges and concerns about the potential impact on the environment. Mayor Ava Frisinger, flanked by the crown-and-robe-clad King and Queen of Issaquah, Nathan Perea and Renee Zimmerman, snipped the ribbon on the road during a Jan. 11 ceremony.

Construction on the undercrossing started last May. Read more

City unveils real-time traffic cameras

January 11, 2011

Motorists curious about congestion along Northwest Gilman Boulevard or morning traffic along Front Street South near Issaquah High School can receive real-time information from a system of traffic cameras throughout Issaquah.

The city launched a traffic camera website Dec. 28. The site includes information from cameras at 26 intersections citywide. Read more

Construction prompts city to close northbound Front Street

January 4, 2011

NEW — 10:30 a.m. Jan. 4, 2011

Steer clear of Front Street and East Sunset Way on Tuesday as crews started to replace a traffic signal pole at the bustling downtown Issaquah intersection.

Crews closed northbound Front Street at about 10:30 a.m. The closure is expected to last several hours.

The city has suggested for motorists to use alternate routes, including Newport Way Northwest or Second Avenue Southeast.

The closure stems from a Dec. 22 accident. In the early morning collision, a tractor-trailer destroyed a decorative pole and traffic signal at the intersection. City crews toiled throughout the day in order to install a temporary traffic signal — rented from the state Department of Transportation — at the scene.

The construction Tuesday is a step in the process to add another sturdier, temporary pole. Then, the city waits for a decorative pole to be cast and shipped. The process could take about six months to complete.

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