Issaquah holiday activities offer fa-la-la fun

November 27, 2012

Bartell Drugs and Salvation Army’s Toy ‘n’ Joy drive through Dec. 14, accepts new, unwrapped gifts for children up to age 14, or shoppers can chose a gift request tag item in the store and put it in the donation barrel in the store. The Issaquah Bartell is at 5700 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E. Learn more at

Toys for Troops seeks donations for Christmas presents for children of service members. Drop off donations through Dec. 15 at the Issaquah Police Station, 130 E. Sunset Way, or make financial donations at

Small Works Holiday Exhibition, through Dec. 29, artEAST Art Center, 95 Front St. N., 392-3191,

Downtown Issaquah holiday lights work party, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 1, meet at Hailstone Feed Store, 232 Front St., a lunch break at noon features donated pizza from Flying Pie Pizza, call 391-1112 to volunteer

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Deaths serve as reminder not to feed grazing goats

June 26, 2012

Issaquah Highlands neighborhood leaders asked residents not to feed the landscaping goats due to arrive in the community soon.

Highlands residents received the information in a communitywide email June 21 because seven goats died last summer after ingesting yard waste. Organizers said the afflicted goats ate yard waste dumped on open spaces in the hillside neighborhood.

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Community invited to celebrate diversity at Highlands Day

June 19, 2012

Cultural diversity is the theme of this year’s Highlands Day, hosted by the Issaquah Highlands Council.

The annual event that marks the summer kickoff traditionally boasts an American theme. But this year, the council plans to celebrate the great diversity found in the Issaquah community, according to Christy Garrard, special events planner for the council.

“We’re partnering with the Issaquah Arts Commission, Swedish hospital and several other title sponsors to bring a four-hour outdoor festival that highlights different ethnicities and cultures,” she said.

This year’s celebration will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 23. The event takes place in the heart of the Issaquah Highlands at Blakely Hall and Village Green Park. The event is open to the entire community, not just those from the Issaquah Highlands. Read more

Issaquah Highlands Community Association hires director

January 3, 2012

Sarah Phillips

The community association for the Issaquah Highlands hired the former city manager of a Chicago suburb as the organization’s next executive director, officials announced Dec. 21.

Sarah Phillips served as city managers in Rolling Meadows, Ill., and Johnstown, Ohio, before assuming the Issaquah Highlands Community Association role. Association President Brian Daniels said she is due to start as executive director Jan. 23.

“I look forward to working with the board and staff as we continue to provide and enhance our services for this growing community,” Phillips said.

Phillips succeeds Vicki Stier, a longtime executive at highlands developer Port Blakely Communities and the current executive director. Stier — a force in a 15-year effort to foster community in the neighborhood — plans to retire to South Carolina in 2012.

The association’s search committee spent months to find a candidate.

“From the pool of candidates we received, Sarah was the best fit to ensure we continue to maintain Issaquah Highlands among the best communities in the country and one of the most desirable places to live in the Puget Sound region,” Daniels said in a message to residents.

CleanScapes picks up Issaquah garbage contract

October 25, 2011

The next hauler for Issaquah garbage is CleanScapes.

In a unanimous decision Oct. 17, City Council members selected the Seattle-based garbage hauler to serve Issaquah neighborhoods other than Greenwood Point and South Cove. CleanScapes offered additional curbside recycling options, a local storefront, wildlife-resistant containers and other features to land the $3.8-million-per-year Issaquah contract.

Consumers could experience a rate decrease as the city transitions from the current hauler, Waste Management, to CleanScapes in early summer.

The rate could decrease from $13.43 to $12.74 for a residential customer putting a 32-gallon cart out for weekly curbside pickup — although a recent rate increase from the King County Council could dilute the proposed drop.

The contract runs from July 1 through June 2019.

“The public should realize that the staff of the city of Issaquah didn’t just put it out there and say, ‘Tell us what you can offer,’” Councilman Mark Mullet said. “They actually wrote the proposal saying, ‘This is what the city needs to have. These are the minimum, baseline service requirements that we’re going to ask for the citizens of Issaquah.’ Then, the different vendors were able to come back and say, ‘We’ll provide those at this price,’ and they could offer things on top of that.”

Council Utilities, Technology & Environment Committee members met representatives from CleanScapes and the other candidates, Allied Waste and Waste Management, Oct. 11 and sent the contract to the full council for approval.

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City Council selects CleanScapes to haul Issaquah garbage

October 19, 2011

NEW — 11 a.m. Oct. 19, 2011

The next hauler for Issaquah garbage is Seattle-based CleanScapes, City Council members decided Monday.

In a unanimous decision, council members selected the garbage hauler to serve Issaquah neighborhoods other than Greenwood Point and South Cove. CleanScapes offered additional curbside recycling options, a local storefront, wildlife-resistant containers and other features to land the $3.8-million-per-year Issaquah contract.

Consumers could experience a rate decrease as the city transitions from the current hauler, Waste Management, to CleanScapes.

For a residential customer putting a 32-gallon cart out for weekly curbside pickup, rates could decrease from $13.43 to $12.74 — though a recent rate increase from the King County Council could dilute the proposed drop in rates.

The contract runs from July 1 through June 2019.

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King County serves up business honor to Triple XXX

October 12, 2011

NEW — 11:20 a.m. Oct. 12, 2011

Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in, Issaquah’s iconic destination for burgers and root beer floats, earned the Minority Small Business of the Year title in countywide competition Wednesday.

The drive-in bested other businesses in the inaugural King County Executive’s Small Business Awards.

The honor is the latest for longtime Triple XXX proprietor José Enciso Sr.

Enciso received dual accolades in May, including Business Person of the Year, at the Issaquah Community Awards Luncheon. The city also inducted Enciso into the Issaquah Hall of Fame, the community’s highest honor.

Honorees received the King County awards during a Meydenbauer Center ceremony attended by almost 250 people from local chambers of commerce, cities and small business organizations.

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Gardeners grow community spirit in pea patches

August 30, 2011

Issaquah-area community gardens offer bounty, camaraderie

Summertime in the Mirrormont Pea Patch resembles a slice of Eden on Tiger Mountain.

Linda Jean Shepherd (above) points to some of the plants growing in a raised garden plot at the Mirrormont Pea Patch. By Greg Farrar

Pathways crisscross the ground among the lush leaves and verdant vines reaching out from bean, potato, tomato and dozens of other plants. Colorful blooms and delicate herbs greet guests at the garden gate.

“It’s about growing food, but it’s also about growing community,” Linda Jean Shepherd, a longtime Mirrormont resident and lead figure in establishing the pea patch, said on a stroll through the garden.

Some plots contain plants in neat rows. The plants in others bend and coil to Mother Nature’s whims.

“It’s so fun to see how people’s personalities are expressed in their gardens,” Shepherd said.

In Mirrormont and elsewhere in the Issaquah area, community gardens continue to sprout on empty lots and unused corners. The pea patches offer opportunities to grow produce, sure, but also a chance to grow community as neighbors join to dig and plant.

Gardeners from the pea patches often donate fresh, and often organic, produce to the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank and other food pantries.

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Highlands Day to celebrate Swedish/Issaquah

July 5, 2011

On its 10th anniversary, the Issaquah Highlands Council will host its annual Highlands Day on July 9, in conjunction with the grand opening celebration of Issaquah’s new Swedish Medical Center campus.

“This year will be the biggest Highlands Day ever,” said, Christy Garrard special events planner for the council. “We’re expecting over 10,000 people during the seven-hour event.”

This year, Highlands Day will carry a healthy living theme and will take place on the site of the new hospital.

More than 50 booths will represent sports, fitness and nutrition experts, local businesses and local nonprofit agencies. The booths will offer free carnival games and crafts, free samples and free answers to fitness and sports-related questions.

“Over 20 booths are just fitness professionals and nutrition experts.” Garrard said.

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Landscaping goats return to munch across highlands

July 5, 2011

The ruminants returned on June 24.

In a summertime tradition for Issaquah Highlands residents, a goat herd started chomping across open space in the Wisteria Park neighborhood. Onlookers can also catch a glimpse of the goats from Davis Loop.

Then, a few days later, the action is due to shift west, to open space tracts near South Pond, just east of Central Park. Plans call for another herd of landscaping goats to arrive July 6.

The goats, a cheaper and more eco-conscious option than traditional clearing, eat tall grasses and invasive plant species.

Issaquah Highlands Community Association leaders reminded residents and onlookers not to feed the goats.

The practice started in July 2009, as goats from Edwall and Vashon Island arrived to nibble Himalayan blackberry and Scotch broom. In June 2010, more than 100 goats chomped across the highlands landscape.

The goats also attracted the national spotlight. Comedian Stephen Colbert lampooned the goats as undocumented workers stealing jobs in a segment on “The Colbert Report” in October 2010.

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