YWCA Family Village at Issaquah opens for tours

October 25, 2011

The community outreach for YWCA Family Village at Issaquah started long before backhoes sliced into soil at the Issaquah Highlands site.

The outreach effort continues Oct. 29, as YWCA of Seattle-King-Snohomish hosts a public open house on the $53 million campus. The event and the annual Green Halloween Festival coincide.

The open house is meant to introduce guests to Family Village residents, spotlight “green” design details, and highlight a daycare center, meeting space, playground and other features open to the surrounding community. Guests can participate in a scavenger hunt on the Family Village campus.

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YWCA opens campus near Issaquah for homeless parents

July 12, 2011

Cynthia Liggitt shares her story, and tells how she was helped by the YWCA, during the July 7 grand opening of Passage Point’s transitional housing. By Greg Farrar

Cynthia Liggitt is a single mother, the former wife of a minister and a former inmate at the Washington Corrections Center for Women.

“It still pains me to say that, but I’m learning to tell the truth about my life so that I don’t go down that wrong route again, and I hope that my story might help others,” said Liggitt, who was charged with felony theft and forgery and served four and a half years in prison.

With the help of YWCA’s Passage Point program, Liggitt has finished her incarceration, earned a degree, and received parenting classes and counseling that have helped both her and her 2-year-old daughter, Jayden Wyrick.

Liggitt and local dignitaries, including King County Executive Dow Constantine, spoke at the grand opening of Passage Point in Maple Valley on July 7.

Located next to the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill, the six buildings have 46 housing units for men and women recently released from incarceration who wish to reunite with their children. The residents of Passage Point will have access to housing, employment and counseling services.

Residents must be homeless at the time of intake. Violent offenders or people convicted of crimes against children will not be allowed to stay at Passage Point.

The facility is already in high demand.

Tiffany Bradley, from Tacoma, was incarcerated after being charged with 19 counts of identity theft. She was also addicted to methamphetamine, she said.

In October, “I’ll be two years clean,” she said.

Bradley is completing her work-release program at the Washington Corrections Center for Women, and she will exit the system in October. She finished her screening for Passage Point on July 6, and attended the grand opening with her case manager so she could see the campus.

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YWCA opens campus near Issaquah for homeless parents

July 8, 2011

NEW — 11 a.m. July 8, 2011

Cynthia Liggitt is a single mother, the former wife of a minister and a former inmate at the Washington Corrections Center for Women.

“It still pains me to say that, but I’m learning to tell the truth about my life so that I don’t go down that wrong route again, and I hope that my story might help others,” said Liggitt, who was charged with felony theft and forgery and served 4.5 years in prison.

With the help of YWCA’s Passage Point program, Liggitt has finished her incarceration, earned a degree and received parenting classes and counseling that have helped both her and her 2-year-old daughter, Jayden Wyrick.

Liggitt and local dignitaries, including King County Executive Dow Constantine, spoke at the grand opening of Passage Point in Maple Valley on Thursday.

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FISH hires new executive director

May 31, 2011

Jane Kuechle spent many hours as a girl on family road trips to out-of-the-way Oregon places.

Jane Kuechle

“Wherever we went, we would stop whenever we saw a salmon hatchery,” she recalled.

Kuechle, a longtime leader in local nonprofit organizations, is about to spend more time at a salmon hatchery. The expert in fundraising and nonprofit management is the next executive director of Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, the nonprofit group responsible for education and tours at the downtown hatchery.

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Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery selects leader

May 26, 2011

NEW — 3:30 p.m. May 26, 2011

Jane Kuechle

Jane Kuechle spent many hours as a girl on family road trips to out-of-the-way Oregon places.

“Wherever we went, we would stop whenever we saw a salmon hatchery,” she recalled.

Kuechle, a longtime leader in local nonprofit organizations, is about to spend more time at a salmon hatchery. The expert in fundraising and nonprofit management is the next executive director of Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, the nonprofit group responsible for education and tours at the downtown hatchery.

Mayor Ava Frisinger, FISH board president, said members selected Kuechle from more than 30 applicants.

“The board went through a very long and rigorous process of selecting people,” Frisinger said after announcing the appointment Thursday.

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Strong coho salmon run predicted

March 15, 2011

The journey for coho salmon from the Pacific Ocean to the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery is long. Even after the fish enter Puget Sound from the Pacific Ocean and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, coho must traverse lakes Washington and Sammamish. By Dona Mokin

State offers strong forecast for chinook, coho after historic low

State forecasters predict a strong coho salmon run in the fall, after a dismal run for the species to Issaquah Creek and other Puget Sound streams last year.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife expects 981,216 wild and hatchery-raised coho to reach Puget Sound streams — including 28,606 fish to the Lake Washington watershed. Issaquah Creek is included in the Lake Washington forecast, although the state does not break out data for the stream.

The forecast for Puget Sound includes about 367,000 more fish than last year. Though the coho run ended late last fall, managers continue to tally the total for the 2010 coho run.

The forecast comes after a tough year for the salmon species.

Teams at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery trapped a mere 475 coho last fall. The coho count at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard barely crested 3,600 fish — far less than the 6,000 coho recorded during the last slump in 2002.

The inexplicable shortfall prompted the Issaquah hatchery to turn to a state hatchery in Snohomish County for about 750,000 eggs to send to schools and co-ops.

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FISH executive director to step down March 31

March 15, 2011

Some details about salmon eluded Gestin Suttle in April 2003, as she settled in as the Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery executive director.

“I knew some basic things about salmon, but I would not have called myself an expert by any means,” she recalled. “There was a sharp learning curve for me.”

Gestin Suttle

Now, eight years and countless coho later, Suttle is a sought-after source for salmon information.

“Every day, I learn something new,” she said.

Suttle plans to resign from the salmon-centric organization March 31. The former journalist and Sammamish resident accepted a position as a public relations coordinator for the local YWCA.

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FISH executive director to step down March 31

March 13, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. March 13, 2011

Gestin Suttle, executive director of the Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery since 2003, has announced plans to resign from the organization at the end of the month.

Suttle, a Sammamish resident and a former journalist, has accepted a position as the public relations coordinator for the local YWCA organization.

“I am confident that I am leaving at an optimum time for FISH because it is on firm financial footing (in spite of the down economy), and this is a period of stability, with the extremely talented Celina Steiger about to celebrate her fourth year as our education coordinator and the very skilled Beverly Lee firmly beside her in the volunteer coordinator role,” Suttle wrote in a message to FISH members and donors Saturday.

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FISH holds steady in 2010, but challenges remain

January 18, 2011

Memberships buoyed Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery and helped the nonprofit organization finish in the black for 2010, but challenges exist in the year ahead.

The organization experienced a 27 percent increase in funds due to more memberships last year. Employees reined in expenses and FISH finished about 5 percent under budget estimates for the year. The steps helped to offset a drop in legacy donations last year.

FISH also relies on grant dollars from Issaquah and Sammamish.

Issaquah provides grant dollars to the organization each year, but FISH has lacked a key source of funding since cash-strapped King County dropped funding for the organization last year. FISH used a $23,750 grant from Issaquah to fund operations last year. Read more

FISH holds steady in 2010, but challenges remain

January 7, 2011

NEW — 6 p.m. Jan. 7, 2011

Memberships buoyed Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery and helped the nonprofit organization finish in the black for 2010, but challenges exist in the year ahead.

The organization experienced a 27 percent increase in funds due to more memberships last year. Employees reined in expenses and FISH finished about 5 percent less than budget estimates for the year. The steps helped to offset a drop in legacy donations last year.

FISH also relies on grant dollars from Issaquah and Sammamish.

Issaquah provides grant dollars to the organization each year, but FISH has lacked a key source of funding since cash-strapped King County dropped funding for the organization last year. FISH used a $23,750 grant from Issaquah to fund operations last year.

“We really count 2010 as a successful year considering the number of local nonprofits that either had to close or make cuts because of the dire state of the economy,” FISH Executive Director Gestin Suttle said in a monthly update to members released Friday.

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