Skyline High School bids ‘irashaimase,’ or welcome, to Japanese culture

May 29, 2012

Student Lauren Brown (right) draws people as manga characters. By Lillian Tucker

“Irashaimase,” means welcome in Japanese and that is just what visitors heard May 19 when they entered Skyline High School.

Inside, students dressed in everything from jeans to kimonos were busy hosting the second annual Issaquah School District Japan Matsuri/Expo. Planned in collaboration with Liberty and Issaquah high schools, the event featured games, performances and plenty of food to sample.

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Issaquah leaders honor zHome builder

July 26, 2011

Akinobu Ohno (left), president of Ichijo USA, receives the framed Ichijo Day proclamation from Mayor Ava Frisinger on July 18, for the zHome project in the Issaquah Highlands. By Greg Farrar

The long-planned zHome project under construction in the Issaquah Highlands — residences designed to produce as much energy as occupants consume — is in line to open in mid-September.

City planners and longtime project backers attributed the milestone to builder Ichijo USA, a subsidiary of Japanese homebuilder Ichijo Co.

In a July 18 ceremony, Mayor Ava Frisinger and Issaquah leaders spotlighted the pan-Pacific partnership responsible for jolting zHome from concept to reality. The mayor proclaimed the day as Ichijo Day in Issaquah.

“During our early discussions about Ichijo, the more we learned about the community, the more excited we became,” she said during the ceremony. “Although we were located thousands of miles away, many of our goals and ambitions were the same.”

Ichijo USA President Akinobu Ohno offered a graceful bow and accepted the framed proclamation from Frisinger.

Construction on zHome is scheduled to conclude in late summer, and then crews plan to prepare the units for public open houses. The opening date is Sept. 14 during the Built Green Conference, a gathering for building industry professionals interested in eco-conscious practices.

Ichijo USA joined the project early last year in a joint venture between the company and developer Matt Howland.

Ichijo Co. builds energy-efficient residences across Japan — a bonus for Issaquah officials.

“They have been a critical part of zHome coming together. With the downturn, we had worked very hard to find alternative financing and hardly any new construction is getting financed these days,” zHome Project Manager Brad Liljequist said. “Ichijo as a partner, they were very critical to getting zHome moving forward.”

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County employees aid disaster victims across Pacific

July 5, 2011

King County employees donated more than 8,100 hours of accrued leave to disaster victims in Japan and New Zealand.

The county converted leave from 458 employees into a $286,815 cash donation to the American Red Cross for continuing earthquake and tsunami relief efforts.

“This outpouring of support for our neighbors across the Pacific is another example of the determination to make a difference,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “I am so proud of King County employees for donating their hard-earned leave to help the people of Japan and New Zealand as they continue to recover from these tragic events.”

Constantine authorized the leave donation program in March, shortly after a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan. Because that disaster followed a major earthquake in New Zealand, the county opted to combine efforts and help the victims of both disasters.

The county enacted a similar donation program after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Following that disaster, 367 employees donated more than 5,500 hours of leave, or almost $200,000 for Global Impact, a federation of 55 international aid agencies.

Helicopter is part of Department of Energy radiation study

July 5, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. July 5, 2011

Western Washington residents should not be alarmed as a slow, low-flying helicopter scopes the area from July 11-28.

The helicopter is part of a U.S. Department of Energy aerial survey of the Seattle area. The agency is measuring baseline levels of radiation in order to make a comparison in the event of a nuclear emergency, a King County Office of Emergency Management email states.

The agency intends to measure radiation levels in nearby communities, but no area east of the western shore of Lake Sammamish is scheduled to be included. In order to take the measurements, the helicopter is due to fly at about 300 feet above the ground at about 70 mph.

The study is financed by a U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant and has been in development since 2009, prior to the Fukashima nuclear disaster in Japan, Sammamish Deputy City Manager Lyman Howard said.

*This article contains corrected information.

King County employees aid disaster victims across Pacific

June 6, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. June 6, 2011

King County employees donated more than 8,100 hours of accrued leave to disaster victims in Japan and New Zealand.

The county converted leave from 458 employees into a $286,815 cash donation to the American Red Cross for continuing earthquake and tsunami relief efforts.

“This outpouring of support for our neighbors across the Pacific is another example of the determination to make a difference,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “I am so proud of King County employees for donating their hard-earned leave to help the people of Japan and New Zealand as they continue to recover from these tragic events.”

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Gold Star

May 31, 2011

Challenger students raise $1,309 in relief funds for Japan

Challenger Elementary School students

Challenger Elementary School students leant a hand and raised some dough for the earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan.

The Student Council collected $1,309 for UNICEF, while hundreds of students wrote encouraging notes on paper hands during school April 22. The notes will be sent to children in Japan as part of the school’s Give a Helping Hand campaign for Japan.

Excessive fundraising efforts could lead to ‘compassion fatigue’

May 24, 2011

Every week it feels like there is a new disaster, a new cause or a new something for which someone is fundraising.

By Iman Baghai

It doesn’t take much to see how active our communities are in supporting various causes. Last year in one month at the Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus (now Pacific Cascade Middle School), there were more than five different fundraisers vying for my pocket. At Issaquah High School, there are some weeks during lunch when at least two people are coming to my table asking for money for various causes.

Has all of this fundraising made people immune to bad news and bypass causes that normally would grasp our hearts? Or is it a matter of timing? For example, the Japan earthquake grasped the world’s attention and triggered fundraising campaigns left and right. However, the deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history were overlooked in favor of the royal wedding, Osama bin Laden’s death and Donald Trump’s formerly ambitious presidential campaign.

Is it disturbing that our hearts seem to follow the media, though the media does sometime support catastrophes. Because of the Internet, we are becoming more aware of the devastation and needs of the world around us. Granted, as we talk with one another, each issue garners less of our attention as we become immune to new issues and disasters; what was once eye-opening and shocking has become ordinary and dismissive.

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Dine out for disaster relief at Tutta Bella

May 10, 2011

Order a pizza at Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria, 715 N.W. Gilman Blvd., and assist disaster-relief efforts in Japan at the same time.

Through May 31, Tutta Bella pledged a dollar-for-dollar donation match of customers’ donations up to $5,000 for earthquake and tsunami relief. The restaurant is hoping to raise more than $10,000 through the effort. Each diner can designate a dollar amount of his or her choice on the check at the end of the meal.

Diners can also donate at the Tutta Bella restaurants in Seattle.

Tutta Bella plans to donate the funds to Mercy Corps, a Portland, Ore.-based relief organization, to bring the emergency supplies and care to residents in devastated areas. The earthquake and tsunami struck March 11 and killed almost 15,000 people.

Tutta Bella has strong ties to Japan through the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the organization responsible for certifying Neapolitan-style pizzerias. Outside of Italy, Japan and United States share the distinction of having 35 or more certified pizzerias, Tutta Bella Director of Operations Joyce Morinaka said.

Practicing disaster preparedness locally is necessary

April 26, 2011

The widespread destruction from the Japan earthquake and tsunami not only engulfed entire towns and took hundreds of lives, but shocked the world and presented us all with an important question: Would we be ready if something disastrous were to happen in our area?

By Olivia Spokoiny

Most local families would be grossly unprepared if our area were to be stricken by a similar disaster or even a minor case. A common attitude is that devastating events cannot and will not happen in places closer to home, but this attitude is not entirely realistic and can be dangerous. Of course, the chances that a tsunami would come barreling through the streets of Issaquah are slim to none, but the fact is that natural disasters do happen.

In our area, we are faced with minor, temporary annual hardships, such as snowstorms, windstorms and power outages. Even in these cases, hundreds of families find that their households are ill-equipped in the event of a disturbance in weather.

As temperatures drop in the winter, we are at risk more than any other time of the year for several reasons, the most obvious one being snow. When it snows in Issaquah, sometimes we are lucky enough to enjoy a few snow days in a row. However, we feel much less fortunate when we are trapped in our houses because of ice on the road.

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The Hot List

April 26, 2011

Movie: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’

By Rachel Osgood

While Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) have concluded their adventures aboard the Black Pearl, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) return in this new addition to the saga. The two are joined by Angelica (Penelope Cruz), a mysterious figure from Jack’s past, in the quest for the legendary fountain of youth.

Book: ‘The Dressmaker of Khair Khana’

by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Under the brutal regulations of the Taliban, the women of Afghanistan were reduced to mere pieces of fabric, forced to view the world from behind a shroud. “The Dressmaker of Khair Khana” illustrates the struggle and triumph of the Afghani women who fought to be restored to visibility. Kamela Sediqi, a 15-year-old girl, and her four younger sisters and brother were left to fend for themselves after their parents had to flee north. To support her family, Kamela risks her security as she attempts a business as a seamstress. This novel is unique in that it calls attention to the generally ignored heroic actions of women whose everyday lives are a fight for survival.

Album: ‘Songs for Japan’

Following the tsunami and earthquakes that struck Japan, “Songs for Japan” was released to raise funds for disaster relief. Featuring 38 hits by artists like icon John Lennon to pop’s Justin Bieber, the album is already No. 1 on the charts in 18 countries. All proceeds go to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

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