July 3, 2012
Finally, after years of plans and promises, developers and officials gathered in the Issaquah Highlands early June 26 to launch construction on a $70 million retail center in the neighborhood — a long-awaited amenity for residents and, in recent years, a symbol for the anemic economy and rebound.
June 19, 2012
It’s the end of the school year but that doesn’t mean that donations to local schools have to end.
At the June 13 Issaquah School Board meeting, five donations of more than $2,500 each were approved by the board.
Among those was a $12,850 gift to Issaquah High School from its PTA. The funds will be used to purchase technology hardware and supplies for a mobile technology learning unit. The Grand Ridge PTA gave $8,655 to Grand Ridge Elementary School to purchase National Geographic subscriptions, music instruments, ebooks and gym class equipment.
The Career and Technical Education program and the Technology Education and Literacy in Schools program got a boost from the Issaquah Schools Foundation in the form of an $11,800 grant.
Math students at Cougar Ridge Elementary School will get new Excel math worksheets thanks to a $3,583 donation from the school’s PTA. Cougar Ridge’s PTA also donated $2,598 to help pay for half-day substitutes so teachers can be released for team science planning.
June 12, 2012
Construction is expected to start on a long-planned, much-anticipated hotel in the Issaquah Highlands next month, the developer announced June 5.
InnSight HMG plans to break ground on the hotel, a Residence Inn by Marriott, in mid-July. Plans call for the hotel to include 111 suites and employ more than 40 people. The developer expects the hotel to open in spring 2013.
The hotel site is located across Highlands Drive Northeast from Swedish/Issaquah. City officials expect the hospital to attract guests to the hotel, as people seek a nearby place to stay as family members undergo treatment.
The hospital opened in the neighborhood almost a year ago and started offering inpatient services in November.
June 5, 2012
As Issaquah celebrated its very best at the 33rd annual Chamber of Commerce Community Awards, two residents — celebrated for their lasting contributions to the community — were inducted into Issaquah’s Hall of Fame on May 31.
Barbara de Michele and Master Sgt. Richard “Top” DeMarco received top honors at the May 31 ceremony, which included recognition for Issaquah’s finest in 18 categories, including awards for standout volunteers, businesses leaders, organizations and youth.
Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger said the Hall of Fame awards were based on several criteria, including inspiration, leadership, civic mindedness, fundraising efforts for public good and length of service to the community.
None more so affected by the awardees are Issaquah’s youth.
May 15, 2012
Issaquah Highlands residents, long limited to a single east-west route uphill through the hillside neighborhood, celebrated the opening of another road link May 10.
The city opened a pair of connected roads — Northeast College Drive and Northeast Falls Drive — to connect motorists to the area from Grand Ridge Elementary School to a proposed retail complex downhill from the campus.
The roads supplement the existing east-west corridor, Northeast Park Drive. The project is also meant to address congestion caused by morning and afternoon drop-offs and pick-ups at Grand Ridge Elementary.
The link starts at Central Park, runs behind the school and terminates at 10th Avenue Northeast. The link — completed by developers — is meant to offer additional access to the school, residences and a planned Bellevue College campus. (Hence the name Northeast College Drive.)
Developers shouldered most of the roughly $1.75 million project cost.
May 8, 2012
The Issaquah School District’s green side was on display recently when it received several environmental honors from King County Executive Dow Constantine.
May 1, 2012
City and Issaquah School District leaders pledged coordination and cooperation as the city outlines a bold plan to add thousands of residences in the decades ahead.
Discussion about the Central Issaquah Plan — a proposal to transform more than 900 acres near Interstate 90 and state Route 900 — and possible changes to the school district, such as redrawing boundaries for schools to accommodate population shifts, dominated the annual joint meeting April 24.
City Council and Issaquah School Board members, plus Mayor Ava Frisinger and Superintendent Steve Rasmussen and other officials, gathered at Mandarin Garden a week after school district voters approved a $219 million bond to fuel a school construction boom. The planned projects include major changes for schools in downtown Issaquah.
The groups, seated beneath red lanterns and arranged around lazy Susans, sipped tea and nibbled on fried rice and roast pork as discussion unfolded about long-term development plans. (The city hosted the meal and spent $311.24 on food and beverages.)
“Both organizations have gone from fast-growing organizations to more stable, mature organizations with different sets of issues,” Council President Tola Marts said. “So, now the challenge is how do we manage the remaining growth that we have?”
April 17, 2012
They started in October, eight students setting out to read 10 books.
They spent plenty of their own time between the covers of those books, but toward the end of the challenge they gave up their recess and lunch times to stay in the classroom in order to read and answer questions about what they’d read.
“And all that paid off,” declared Grand Ridge Elementary School student Gargi Panatula.
The Issaquah School District has entered the King County Library System’s Global Reading Challenge for 11 years. Teams competitively answer questions about assigned books. Issaquah squads have made the finals previously. But the district has never won the championship. That changed March 23 when Grand Ridge’s Lightning Readers went the distance and beat out three other finalist teams to win the Grand Challenge.
“And I think we got smarter,” team member Emma Huryn said.
February 28, 2012
Roger Fernandes believes his visits to schools such as Grand Ridge Elementary School are essentially public relations appearances for Native Americans.
An artist and Native American storyteller, Fernandes put in an appearance at Grand Ridge on Feb. 16. He and students from the school put on a performance — songs, dances and native games — for parents and school staff members that evening.
January 24, 2012
A past president of the Grand Ridge Elementary School PTA, Lida Buckner makes no secret of the fact she wants to start a tradition.
Buckner is one of the driving forces behind the school’s first auction event, dubbed Mardi Gras 2012. The fundraiser is split into two parts, an online auction and a live auction event. The online portion of the fundraiser began Jan. 22 and runs through Jan. 29. The live auction is set for Feb. 11 at the Hilton Garden Inn Issaquah.
Buckner said proceeds will benefit science, art and music programs, as well as programs run by the school PTSA.
During the online event, parents and others can bid on 37 original student art projects, one from each classroom in the Issaquah Highlands school. As for the live event, organizers wanted to make it a little different. Buckner said their choice of the Hilton Garden Inn as a venue is another reason the live auction will run a bit unlike similar events parents and others may have seen put together by other schools.