Nominate Issaquah environmentalists for honors

October 9, 2012

NEW — 11:50 a.m. Oct. 9, 2012

City leaders put out a call last month for Sustainable Community Award nominees.

The honor is divided into categories for the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community and the Sustainable Community Award.

The honor named for Kees is the highest environmental award in Issaquah, and the Sustainable Community Award recognizes significant achievements and positive results of individuals.

Past Kees honorees include late City Council President Maureen McCarry, late Mountains to Sound Greenway pioneer Ted Thomsen and Issaquah Alps Trails Club President David Kappler, a former councilman.

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What is the Mountains to Sound Greenway?

June 28, 2012

Like the matter-of-fact name suggests, the Mountains to Sound Greenway starts amid fried fish counters and souvenir shops along the Seattle waterfront, unfurls along Interstate 90, encompassing cities and forests, and continues on, across the Cascades.

The greenbelt represents decades of effort to protect the natural landscape along the interstate, even as Issaquah and other Eastside cities experienced a population explosion in recent years.

Issaquah Alps Trails Club members spearheaded a 1990 march from Snoqualmie Pass to Puget Sound to attract attention to the proposed greenbelt — a sort of Central Park for Western Washington.

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City Council approves Issaquah Highlands land sale

May 1, 2012

City Council members agreed April 16 to sell land to homebuilder Polygon Homes, despite objections from local environmentalists.

The city earned $80,000 in the land sale — dollars earmarked for landscaping in Central Park and elsewhere, wetland programs and Park Pointe conservation.

The property is 14,693 square feet, or about the size of the Issaquah Library, in the Issaquah Highlands’ Forest Ridge subdivision. Polygon intends to use the land for residences.

The property is included in the complicated Park Pointe transfer of development rights. In exchange for preserving a forested Tiger Mountain site near Issaquah High School, officials agreed to open additional highlands land to development. The long process ended in March 2011.

Despite the conditions council members added to the agreement, leaders in the environmental community protested the decision.

David Kappler, Issaquah Alps Trails Club president and a former councilman, and Janet Wall, a longtime local environmentalist, urged the council to reconsider. Kappler raised safety concerns about a trail leading to the property.

The council approved the sale in a 5-1 decision. Councilman Paul Winterstein dissented. Councilman Joshua Schaer did not attend the meeting.

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120 years of Issaquah

April 24, 2012

Click on the image to view the full-size timeline.


  • Issaquah is founded as Gilman. The city is named for railroad baron Daniel Hunt Gilman.


  • The postmaster called for mail sent to Gilman to be addressed to Olney, Wash., to avoid confusion between Gilman and Gilmer, another city in the state.


  • Townsfolk start calling the frontier town Issaquah, or “the sound of water birds” in the language of the American Indians native to the region.


  • State lawmakers approve official name change from Gilman to Issaquah.


  • Wilbur W. Sylvester founds the Bank of Issaquah in a clapboard building.

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Issaquah Hobby and Volunteer Expo returns for 14th year

April 24, 2012

Shirley Slaughter, of Issaquah, a member of Issaquah Quilters, sits in front of a quilt by Linda Smith, while meeting visitors during the 2009 Hobby and Volunteer Expo at Pickering Barn. By Greg Farrar

The annual Issaquah Hobby and Volunteer Expo, sponsored by the Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department, is set for April 28 at Pickering Barn and features nonprofit clubs, community service organizations and similar groups.

Any such organization serving Issaquah is invited to put up a table, said Cathy Jones, city recreation coordinator.

Participating clubs or organizations can seek to recruit new members, volunteers or both.

Jones described the event as especially aimed at newcomers to the Issaquah area, newly retired persons or teens looking for new ways to gain community service hours.

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Issaquah Farmers Market returns for 22nd season April 21

April 17, 2012

The Issaquah Farmers Market at Pickering Farm attracts large crowds of visitors and patrons on a warm August Saturday in 2011. By Greg Farrar

The historic Pickering Farm emerges from a seasonal slumber soon as the popular Issaquah Farmers Market returns.

The market debuts for the season April 21. The return is a sign springtime is inching closer to summertime.

The farmers market runs every Saturday, rain or shine, from April to October. The market features seasonal produce, crafts, food vendors, and demonstrations or entertainment each week.

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Issaquah Alps Trails Club aims to get edgier, hipper — and younger

April 17, 2012

Despite its adventurous name, the Issaquah Alps Trails Club looks more like your local Lions Club.

“Most of the club members are getting pretty long in the tooth,” said board member George Potter, 63. “The average age of our board is almost 70.”

The graying of this grass roots hiking-and-environmental advocacy group has spawned a new goal: to get younger, edgier and hipper, if only for its very survival.

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Mountains to Sound Greenway heritage plan earns King County endorsement

March 20, 2012

NEW — 3 p.m. March 20, 2012

King County Council members endorsed a plan Monday to designate the greenbelt along Interstate 90 from Seattle to Ellensburg as a National Heritage Area.

In a unanimous decision, council members called on Congress to recognize the Mountains to Sound Greenway — a ribbon of conservation lands, recreation areas and suburban cities interspersed among farms and forests — in a federal program for “nationally important” landscapes.

The council motion is the latest support for the National Heritage Area effort. The push includes numerous supporters in Issaquah, such as Mayor Ava Frisinger and the Issaquah Alps Trails Club, a crucial and early greenway backer.

Councilman Reagan Dunn, prime sponsor of the motion, lauded the council for supporting the effort.

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Mountains to Sound Greenway seeks federal recognition

February 21, 2012

The greenway, shown above, runs parallel to Interstate 90 from the Seattle waterfront, through Issaquah and across the Cascades. The greenbelt encompasses 1.5 million acres in conservation lands, recreation areas, farms, working forests and cities. By Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Greg Farrar

National Heritage Area is meant to highlight environment, history

The 100-mile-long Mountains to Sound Greenway — greenbelt stretched along Interstate 90 from the Seattle waterfront and across the Cascades — is often heralded as a national model for conservation and land use.

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Save Lake Sammamish founder Joanna Buehler departs

January 3, 2012

 Joanna Buehler, founder and president of Save Lake Sammamish, has planted and kept runoff-filtering native wetland species on the lakeshore of her longtime South Cove home. By Greg Farrar

Issaquah trailblazer led efforts to protect lake from threats for decades

Joanna Buehler earned top honors for environmental efforts for decades spent on a difficult struggle to shield Lake Sammamish from constant pressures from a population boom occurring along the tree-lined shore.

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