Greenway pioneer receives top environmental honor

July 13, 2010

Mountains to Sound Greenway pioneer Ted Thomsen — “the unsung hero” behind the 101-mile greenbelt — received the highest environmental honor in Issaquah in a City Hall ceremony last week.

The late Thomsen received the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community — the prize named for the late environmentalist, a tireless advocate for open space preservation. The city selected Thomsen for the yearslong effort to establish a billboard-free greenbelt from Seattle to Central Washington along Interstate 90.

Cynthia Welti, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust executive director, nominated Thomsen for the honor.

“He was essential to bringing the greenway vision to fruition,” she recalled in the nomination. “Ted is the unsung hero of the launch of this tremendous coalition effort.”

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Greenway leader receives top environmental honor

July 6, 2010

NEW — 7:50 p.m. July 6, 2010

Mountains to Sound Greenway pioneer Ted Thomsen — “the unsung hero” behind the 101-mile greenbelt — received the highest environmental honor in Issaquah on Tuesday night.

The late Thomsen received the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community — the prize named for late environmentalist, a tireless advocate for open space preservation. The city selected Thomsen for the yearslong effort to establish a billboard-free greenbelt from Seattle to Central Washington along Interstate 90.

Cynthia Welti, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust executive director, nominated Thomsen for the honor.

“He was essential to bringing the greenway vision to fruition,” she recalled in the nomination. “Ted is the unsung hero of the launch of this tremendous coalition effort.”

Read more

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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Former city biologist seeks conservation district seat

March 9, 2010

Kirk Prindle

Kirk Prindle, a former Issaquah city employee known for efforts to protect the dwindling Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon, seeks to re-enter the public sector next week with a King Conservation District post.

Voters in Issaquah and across most of King County will elect a new member to the conservation district board March 16. The district promotes sustainable use of natural resources, and provides information and voluntary technical-assistance programs to landowners.

Prindle seeks to join the five-member board tasked with running the district and awarding dozens of grants to Issaquah and other cities to fund environmental projects. Read more

Former Councilman David Kappler lauded for environmental record

January 5, 2010

Issaquah claimed about 8,000 residents when David Kappler launched a successful City Council campaign in 1991.

David Kappler

David Kappler

Then, before the seismic shifts brought on by widespread growth, residents talked about still-unrealized plans to build urban villages on Cougar Mountain and Grand Ridge. Costco still maintained corporate headquarters in Kirkland.

Kappler, a tireless advocate for trails and open space preservation, won every election since his ’91 victory. The former councilman, who shaped decisions for almost 20 years, led the push to conserve land and cast crucial votes to shape transportation and public safety in Issaquah and across the Eastside.

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See Harvey Manning’s video about wilderness preservation Wednesday

October 25, 2009

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 25, 2009

The Foothills Mountaineers present “The Irate Birdwatcher,” a video preview about wilderness preservation told in the words of Harvey Manning, the irate birdwatcher, at 7 p.m. Oct. 28 at the King County Library Systems Service Center, 960 Newport Way N.W.

Doors upon at 6:30 p.m. for socializing. Branch updates are at 7 p.m. and the program starts at 7:15 p.m. The program and parking are free.

Learn more here.

Community honors Harvey Manning at statue unveiling

September 22, 2009


Harvey Manning's statue, dedicated Sept. 20, sits on its permanent rocky perch looking toward Squak Mountain from the corner of Southeast Bush Street at Rainier Boulevard South. By Greg Farrar

Harvey Manning's statue, dedicated Sept. 20, sits on its permanent rocky perch looking toward Squak Mountain from the corner of Southeast Bush Street at Rainier Boulevard South. By Greg Farrar

Harvey Manning, who dubbed the mountains around the city the Issaquah Alps, is now immortalized in bronze at the Issaquah Trails House.

Manning, known as the “Wilderness Warrior,” founded the Issaquah Alps Trails Club and helped establish Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. Manning died at 81 in November 2006.

Elected officials, residents and friends of the late conservationist, more than 100 people in all, turned out Sept. 20 to dedicate the life-sized statue. The artwork depicts Manning in his signature wide-brimmed hat and thick-rimmed glasses seated atop a boulder. The rocks included in the statue installation were hauled from the Manning property. Read more

Harvey Manning statue installation / Sept. 10, 2009

September 15, 2009

Issaquah environmentalist Ruth Kees dies

May 12, 2009

Ruth Kees sits with her formidable Rolodex at the dining room and worktable of her Tiger Mountain home, where much of the work done in her 50 years of local environmental activism took shape. By Greg Farrar

Ruth Kees sits with her formidable Rolodex at the dining room and worktable of her Tiger Mountain home, where much of the work done in her 50 years of local environmental activism took shape. By Greg Farrar

Longtime environmental activist Ruth Kees died May 6. She was 84.

Kees was a longtime local advocate for preservation of open space and environmental protection. The city created the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community in her honor. The award recognizes others if they have “demonstrated outstanding commitment to protecting and preserving Issaquah’s natural resources for a sustainable community.”

Issaquah Alps Trails Club co-founder Harvey Manning was honored posthumously with the award May 4. Kees did not attend the ceremony.

Issaquah City Councilman David Kappler said Kees was an amazing person.

“All her work was with so much life and energy to make Issaquah a better place,” said Kappler, who had known Kees since the mid-1970s through his work with the trails club. Read more

Environmental activist Ruth Kees dies

May 7, 2009

NEW — 3:05 p.m. May 7, 2009

Longtime environmental activist Ruth Kees died this morning. She was 84.

Kees was a longtime local advocate for preservation of open space and environmental protection. The city created the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community in her honor. The award recognizes others if they have “demonstrated outstanding commitment to protecting and preserving Issaquah’s natural resources for a sustainable community.”

Issaquah Alps Trails Club co-founder Harvey Manning was honored posthumously with the award Monday night. Kees did not attend the ceremony.

City Councilman David Kappler said Kees was an amazing person.

“All her work was with so much life and energy to make Issaquah a better place,” said Kappler, who had known Kees since the mid-1970s through his work with the trails club.

By Greg Farrar

Ruth Kees in 2004 with her formidable Rolodex at her Tiger Mountain home. By Greg Farrar

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