Off the Press

December 13, 2011

Santa, please help tell true story of Christmas

David Hayes Press reporter

A funny thing happened when I was asked to play the role of Santa for Northwest Pugs — a meetup group my wife co-organizes for local pug owners.

Cute photos of their dogs with Jolly St. Nick would have to be without me, for you see, I didn’t fit into the silly suit.

Who in China designs a costume of a fat man that an actual horizontally challenged person cannot fit into? Luckily, my wife found a more svelte volunteer to fill the position.

However, once my services were no longer needed, I decided to turn the tables and think about what I would ask of Santa, if I were to discover one with a lap ample enough to hold my weight without risk of injury.

My wish of the bearded one would be an emphasis on the return of the true meaning of Christmas to include more of the original bearded one. That would involve getting the ACLU’s grubby little paws off the holiday.

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Issaquah Christian Church’s Christmas tree sale benefits mission to Mexico

November 22, 2011

Jim Rockstad, a member of Issaquah Christian Church, stands next to a model house showing the mission work done with funds raised during the annual Christmas tree sales. By Greg Farrar

The annual Christmas tree lot at Issaquah Christian Church will open at noon the day after Thanksgiving.

The lot is on church property at 10328 Issaquah-Hobart Road S.E., a mile and a half south of the city limits.

“Buy a Noble fir for a noble cause” at the lot where proceeds from sales support missions, including Mexico homebuilding. Each year, a team of adults and teens travel to Mexico in June to build homes there at no cost to those in need.

This year, 38 adults and teenagers participated in the building of about 15 homes and a church near Tijuana. A model Mexico home has been constructed on the church property and people are encouraged to tour the model.

The model home measures a scant 11-feet-by-22 feet — a castle to families south of the border who often live in cardboard boxes.

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Safety officials offer reminder as fireworks sales start

June 26, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. June 26, 2011

Independence Day revelers can start picking up fireworks at noon Tuesday, as retail stands open across the state.

The state Fire Marshal’s Office recorded 575 fireworks incidents last year — including 162 injuries; 50 injuries involved children under 14.

“There is much that can be done to protect children and others from fireworks injuries,” Fire Marshal Charles Duffy said in a news release.

In the Issaquah area, Issaquah Christian Church sells fireworks to benefit relief missions.

The state Fire Marshal’s office offers tips for fireworks safety: Read more

Buy fireworks to benefit church’s foreign missions

June 21, 2011

Doug Donaldson’s life changed when he handed the key to a newly constructed house to a struggling Tijuanan family in 2001.

Customers browse among the fireworks on display for sale at the Issaquah Christian Church stand, on Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast, during last year’s missions fundraiser. Contributed

He and his fellow mission attendees and members of Issaquah Christian Church had spent the past year raising funds for the chance to spend eight days in Mexico building homes for the poor.

In 2005, Donaldson sold Northwest Computer Support — a computer repair and networking business he had been with for 22 years — to devote his life to helping families in need through the church’s mission trips.

“It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done,” he said. “You know, it was like my baby. Ultimately, it took a year for me to realize that it was meant to be.”

But Donaldson has no regrets — after treating patients with tuberculosis, HIV and machete wounds, he said his perspective and appreciation for his life in the United States have been altered forever.

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Issaquah graduate scores soccer gear for Ugandan orphans

June 21, 2011

Thanks to the hard work of Blaire Brady, her friends and her family, two youth soccer teams in Uganda will have warm-up gear and matching uniforms.

Blaire Brady

Brady, a 2011 Issaquah High School graduate, has coordinated drives for Ugandan orphans for the past three years.

Mark Bowers, the African missions team leader at Issaquah Christian Church, contacted Issaquah High leadership teacher Emily Carl to see if any of her students could organize a drive for the church’s mission trip to Uganda.

Bowers had heard that orphans in Uganda had nary a soccer uniform.

“Their clothing is generally rags,” he said. “They do have some semi-organized soccer teams, and one of the pastors there said, ‘We would love to have any equipment you have, even if it’s torn up.’”

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Donate men’s winter clothing at Issaquah churches

February 1, 2011

Start spring cleaning early — and help the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank at the same time.

Issaquah churches collect men’s clothing for the food pantry throughout February. Any overflow donations benefit Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.

The local food pantry needs men’s winter coats, casual pants and jeans in larger sizes, hats and gloves in adult sizes, rain ponchos, shirts and sweaters, plus new underwear in sizes 38 and larger, and new warm socks.

Participants can drop off the clothing in marked bins in front of the following Issaquah churches:

  • Issaquah Christian Church, 10328 Issaquah-Hobart Road S.E.
  • Foothills Baptist Church, 10120 Issaquah-Hobart Road S.E.
  • Community Church of Issaquah, 205 Mountain Park Blvd.
  • Mountain Creek Christian Fellowship, 165 Front St. N.
  • Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 24850 S.E. Issaquah-Fall City Road

Christmas tree hunt offers old-time cheer

December 14, 2010

Families search for ‘Cadillac of trees’ at local sellers

Bill Johnson, of Renton, carries the Christmas tree he cut Dec. 9 after making the selection with wife Cathy at Trinity Tree Farm. by Greg Farrar

People come to the Issaquah area from across the Puget Sound region to hunt for Christmas trees greener than Dr. Seuss’ Grinch.

OK, so artificial Christmas trees no longer resemble green pipe cleaners, but holiday revelers at tree farms and lots throughout the area said the search for a fresh tree does not compare to unpacking plastic and metal pieces from a box in the crawlspace.

Washington — the Evergreen State, after all — is the No. 6 Christmas tree-producing state in the nation.

Linda Mills — alongside husband Ken and young daughters Marilynn and Erika — trekked to Trinity Tree Farm near Issaquah in early December.

The idea to cut down a fresh tree came to the Renton resident after the family joined Mills’ parents to scope possible Christmas trees on the Olympic Peninsula on Thanksgiving. Read more

Issaquah Christmas tree farms / Dec. 9, 2010

December 14, 2010

Holiday fundraiser benefits Uganda relief effort

December 1, 2010

NEW — 2 p.m. Dec. 1, 2010

Issaquah Christian Church plans a Christmas fundraiser to support a mission to Uganda next year.

The fundraiser runs from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the church, 10328 Issaquah-Hobart Road S.E. Offerings include candles, candy, Tupperware and, of course, holiday trees at the iconic Christmas tree lot.

Fundraiser purchases support a relief mission to Uganda, a war-torn nation in East Africa. The trip is to include construction, dental and medical relief efforts to serve Ugandan orphanages, missionaries and prisons.

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Off the Press

October 12, 2010

Wishes can come true, um, sort of

One day recently I stopped by a garage sale where they were selling gift bags. The bags, which cost $5, were sealed so customers wouldn’t know the contents until after purchasing one. So I spent $5. Over the years, I’ve wasted money on other meaningless purchases, like lottery tickets. So what’s $5?

When I got home, I opened the bag. There were baseball cards of Dave Cripe (1978 Royals), Gary Cooper (not the actor, 1980 Braves) and Frank Zupo (1961 Orioles) — I had to look these guys up in my Baseball Encyclopedia just to make sure they existed. There was a yo (string was missing, so it wasn’t a complete yo-yo), and an orange tie with purple stars. The bag also had something that looked like Aladdin’s lamp. The lamp was dingy and dusty, and in need of some serious polishing. I gave it a brisk brushing. All of a sudden, smoke poured out of the lamp and a man appeared.

Bob Taylor Press sports editor

“I am the genie of the lamp. My name is Bashar,” the genie said. I later researched the name and discovered he had a Persian name that meant “bringer of glad tidings.”

“Wow! My very own genie,” I thought.

But before I could make a wish, Bashar said, “I must warn you. I am retired. I have no wishes to give you.”

I thought “Oh, man, just my luck. A retired genie.”

Bashar noticing my frown, continued.

“You think you got problems, man. I live in an old genie’s home in Genieapolis, but I’m not sure how long I can afford to stay there. I’m down to my last shekel. I lost all my savings in Enron. I have emphysema from all that smoke I’ve been breathing from the lamp over the years. I have no health care,“ he said.

“If I had a wish, it would be that you could give me three wishes,” Bashar said before disappearing in a poof of smoke.

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