Growing legacy: Issaquah reigns as Tree City USA

April 20, 2010

The mayor and city brass gathered to celebrate Arbor Day last April beneath dull gray skies — a bare, drab scene unlike the leafy canopy shading Issaquah streets in summertime.

City leaders and residents gather every spring to plant the official Arbor Day tree: a Burr oak near Gibson Hall last year, a crabapple at Grand Ridge Elementary School the year before. The annual ceremony serves as more than a photo opportunity.

Officials will mark Arbor Day indoors next week, with a presentation by city Open Space Steward Matt Mechler to the municipal Park Board.

Issaquah, designated as a Tree City USA for the past 16 years, is required to observe and proclaim Arbor Day to maintain the designation. Officials mark the day with a tree planting, and select a ceremonial tree for each occasion.

City Arborist Alan Haywood oversees the urban forest and ensures that Issaquah keeps the Tree City USA distinction — no small feat in a city where tree canopy covers 51 percent of the municipality.

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To market, to market

April 6, 2010

Issaquah Farmers Market returns for 20th season

A cornucopia of produce, flowers and arts and crafts will return when the Issaquah Farmers Market opens for a 20th season April 10.

The market will welcome visitors at Pickering Barn for a 12th year. The opening day will feature the usual reunions between longtime vendors and customers, as well as entertainment.

Mayor Ava Frisinger will greet customers and vendors at the market in a 10 a.m. speech. Firehouse Fiddlers, a group based in the Issaquah Highlands, will perform from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The local market predates other Eastside farmers markets by several years. Dorothy Knitter and John Whitaker opened the market two decades ago at Gibson Hall. Organizers set up the earliest markets at a handful of sites in downtown Issaquah.

The market relocated throughout downtown in the early years, and settled at Pickering Barn a dozen years ago. The city upgraded the frontier-era barn after the market settled there.

But this year, the market will reopen without a familiar face. Market Manager Dave Sao departed last year when, as a cost-cutting measure, the city offered severance packages to longtime employees. Read more

Burst pipes leave damage in wake

December 15, 2009

Village Theatre, AtWork! sustain water damage

AtWork! employees were gathered for a late-afternoon meeting last week when someone heard what sounded like rain — coming from inside the building. Read more

Voters decide city, schools races

November 10, 2009

Issaquah voters elected a pair of political newcomers — including the first Issaquah Highlands representative — to the City Council last week, and returned Maureen McCarry to the council with a landslide victory. Read more

Tola Marts, Maureen McCarry lead in City Council races

November 3, 2009

NEW — 9:50 p.m. Nov. 3, 2009

City Council candidates Tola Marts and Maureen McCarry led by wide margins as Election Day wrapped.

King County Elections released unofficial returns at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday. The next update from the elections office will be 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. Additional ballots could still shift results in the contested races.

The elections office predicted 56 percent of King County voters would cast ballots. Officials sent 16,428 ballots to Issaquah voters; 5,818 ballots— or 35 percent — had been returned to the elections office and tallied by Tuesday night. The election marks the first city contest since King County switched to all-mail voting.

Newcomer Marts led opponent Nathan Perea by 726 votes — 60 percent to 39 percent — while incumbent McCarry bested challenger Joan Probala by 1,353 votes — 69 percent to 31 percent.

“The candidates who talked about specific, concrete issues” reached voters, Marts said after the elections office released unofficial returns.

Tola Marts (right) talks to campaign supporters during an election night party at Stan's Bar-B-Q on Front Street in downtown Issaquah. He leads in the race for the City Council seat being vacated by 18-year veteran David Kappler (left). — Photo by Greg Farrar

Tola Marts (right) talks to campaign supporters during an election night party at Stan's Bar-B-Q on Front Street in downtown Issaquah. He leads in the race for the City Council seat being vacated by 18-year veteran David Kappler (left). — Photo by Greg Farrar

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Plant trees to mark Arbor Day

April 6, 2009

A majestic Burr oak will be added to the Gibson Park landscape April 8, when city officials and volunteers gather to mark Arbor Day. Though the national holiday will be observed April 24, locals and Washingtonians will get a jumpstart on Arbor Day because early April is more conducive to planting in the Evergreen State. Read more

Weekend snowstorm leaves city deep in it

December 22, 2008

A sanding snowplow on Dec. 18 winds its way up Mountain Park Boulevard Southwest.By Greg FarrarA A sanding snowplow on Dec. 18 winds its way up Mountain Park Boulevard Southwest. By Greg Farrar

The first day of winter arrived over the weekend, and it came with a vengeance.

New snowfall blanketed the region, piling up several more inches atop an icy coating that already had wreaked havoc on the roads and prompted a run on stores for emergency supplies and last-minute holiday gifts. But a high wind warning for Dec. 20 and 21 proved unfounded, and with the reduced risk of falling trees came a reduced likelihood of power outages.

Unlike the devastating 2006 storm that knocked out power for days, this one was predicted well in advance. By Dec. 18, city maintenance crews, police and Eastside Fire & Rescue units all had prepared for a big blow. Read more

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