Rotary Club of Issaquah seeks host families for youth exchange program

December 11, 2012

Amanda Strombom, Doug Strombom, Perrine Moser and Emma Strombom (from left) pose for a picture at Seattle’s Volunteer Park. The Stromboms hosted Perrine, from Switzerland, through the Rotary Club of Issaquah’s Youth Exchange program last year. Contributed

To travel around the world and experience different cultures, it takes hours upon hours of travel time, thousands of dollars and months of planning.

While nothing may be able to replace the actual experience of visiting a foreign country, there is a more local alternative that allows residents to experience different cultures from the comfort of their own Issaquah home.

The Rotary Club of Issaquah’s Youth Exchange gives local families a chance to host students from around the world, bringing diverse cultures into community homes and schools.

Doug and Amanda Strombom, as well as their teenage daughter Emma, hosted a student from Switzerland in their Issaquah home last year.

The three-month visit was a beneficial one for his family, Doug Strombom said. He particularly enjoyed discussing and understanding the differences between Swiss and American cultures.

“I think it makes our life more interesting to have a visitor here, and especially one who has something to say and has been someplace different,” he said. “I think cultures are fascinating. They are infinitely deep. You just have to explore and take some conversation to understand someone else’s culture.”

Through the program, the foreign exchange student is placed with three different local families throughout the year in an attempt to provide separate scenes of the American culture.

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Annual Issaquah Run is set for Sept. 30

September 11, 2012

The 36th annual Issaquah Run is set to kick off at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 30. This year’s event will consist of the 10K run, a 5K run/walk and the Kids Dash.

Registration for the 5K and 10K is $35 for adults and $20 for ages 15 and younger. Registration for the Kids Dash is $5 and another $5 for a cotton shirt.

Early registration closes Sept. 27 at 11:59 p.m.

The race is once again sponsored by the Issaquah Rotary Foundation and is benefiting the Swedish Cancer Institute.

Press Editorial

August 21, 2012

Children win when community unites

There is nothing like a good challenge, especially in the name of a good cause. Issaquah’s two leading service clubs — Rotary and Kiwanis — challenged each other to see who would donate the most for the purchase of computer flash drives for students in need.

The club challenge was just a small part of a wonderful outpouring of support to fill 1,000 backpacks for kids registered with the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.

Numerous groups got together to coordinate the drive. The PTSA Council and Issaquah Education Association kicked things off by gathering donations of gift cards that could be used to purchase school supplies.

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Gravity — and team spirit — power Rotary racers’ soapbox derby cars

July 17, 2012

Cian O’Farrell, 11, and driver John Morse, 10, ride the gravity car by sponsor Fred Meyer to a checkered flag waved by the Rotary Club of Issaquah’s Fred Nystrom. By Greg Farrar

A day filled with happiness for children was the goal of the 15th annual Issaquah Rotary Challenge Day Race on July 14.

Viewers lined Second Avenue Southeast to watch — standing or sitting on the bleachers halfway down the block.

The event pairs up children with disabilities and volunteer children drivers to race soapbox derby cars. Gravity pulls the cars down the hill. The vehicles reach speeds of 17 mph.

About 50 children with disabilities got to race three times with rotating drivers and cars. Liberty High School cheerleaders greeted the racers at the finish line before cars were towed back to the starting line.

“It’s a great event for kids to experience a fast, free ride down Second Avenue,” Rotary Club member Russell Joe said. “For some of the riders, it’s the first time they’ve been in a car that’s running on its own without mom or dad.”

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Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank to provide backpacks, school supplies

July 17, 2012

The Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank is prepared to meet the school supply needs of up to 1,000 returning students this fall, about twice as many as last year.

Low-income families in need of backpacks and school supplies should sign up at the food bank, 179 First Ave. S.E. Students must be attending school in the Issaquah School District.

Refer families in need of backpacks to the food bank.

The backpacks and supplies are being donated by numerous individuals and businesses in the community, including Kiwanis Club of Issaquah, Issaquah Schools Foundation, SanMar, Issaquah Rotary Club, Office Depot, Issaquah Education Association and others.

Local PTAs collected $500 in gift card donations in June to support the bulk purchase of supplies.

Donations can be sent or dropped off at the food bank. Call 391-4123 for more information.

Issaquah Rotary Challenge Day Race / July 14, 2012

July 17, 2012

Rotary Club soapbox derby race celebrates 15th anniversary

July 10, 2012

Drivers, co-drivers, parents, Rotary Club of Issaquah members, Issaquah High School wrestlers, Liberty High School cheerleaders and student volunteers pose for a group photo at the 2011 Challenge Day gravity car races. By Greg Farrar

The 15th annual Issaquah Rotary Challenge Day Race, an event that pairs children with disabilities with a young driver of a sleek soapbox derby car, is set for July 14.

The event allows participants to experience the fun of a derby race down Second Avenue past the community center in downtown Issaquah.

For the race, the pair of youngsters climb into the seat of a sleek soapbox derby car. With the slam of the starting gate, the car’s wheels begin to turn. As gravity kicks in, the two-seater makes its way along the street.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with racing from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other activities include adaptive cycling for children and adults with disabilities and lunch hosted by the Rotary Club of Issaquah for event participants and volunteers.

The event was inspired by the vision of longtime Issaquah resident and retired Puget Sound Energy executive Leo Finnegan, the father of an adult son with a disability.

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Issaquah Rotary is part of district given First Citizen Award

July 3, 2012

Rotary International District 5030 — which runs from Mill Creek to Enumclaw — has recently found itself in distinguished company.

The district, which includes the Rotary Club of Issaquah, joins the Gates family, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and former Seattle Mariner Jamie Moyer as recipients of the Seattle-King County First Citizen Award for their commitment to community and public service.

Don Oellrich, president of the Rotary Club of Issaquah, said being part of the district that received the award is an honor.

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Issaquah High School senior is king of coasters

May 22, 2012

Brian Ruggles, 17, standing with one of seven K’NEX roller coaster models he has made, has won a worldwide competition for his creations. Contributed

The roller coaster train clicks up the steep chain-linked hill. Once it crests the top, the train is released and spirals through dizzying loops and frightening drops. From close up, this roller coaster train seems to be a new creation from roller coaster giants such as Intamin AG and S&S Worldwide.

It’s not. It’s a roller coaster model using K’NEX — a toy building system consisting of interconnecting plastic rods and connectors — created by Issaquah High School senior Brian Ruggles.

The 17-year-old has been making K’NEX roller coaster models since he was 8. The first set he received was called “Screamin’ Serpent.”

“Although it was recommended for ages 10 and up, he spent the next three days building it in his room by himself,” said Sandy Ruggles, his mother. “He asked for help once or twice, but basically assembled all 1,280 parts and completed the 2-foot-by-3-foot-by-5-foot project by the end of the third day.”

He recreated the set four more times before K’NEX released its next set.

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King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg showcases high-tech crime-fighting tools

May 1, 2012

Investigators used saliva from a cigarette butt discarded at a murder scene to connect a suspect to the slaying. Recorded jailhouse phone conversations led prosecutors to convict a man for brutal acts of domestic violence. Cellphone data allowed police to trace gang members’ movements before and after a chaotic shooting at a crowded car show.

Dan Satterberg

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg delved into recent cases April 17 and outlined the forensic science tools investigators and prosecutors use to lock criminals behind bars.

In a talk given to the Rotary Club of Issaquah, Satterberg offered a presentation akin to “CSI: Issaquah” — down to using the “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” theme music, The Who’s “Who Are You.”

“This has changed the way that we investigate cases. It has given us results that we never thought we’d be able to get to solve cold cases going way back,” he said to the Tibbetts Creek Manor audience. “It has in some ways made the job of the police investigator and the deputy prosecutor more complicated.”

The cigarette butt and a spent shell casing linked gang member Omar Norman to the October 2005 murder of Terrell Milam, a rival gang member.

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