Issaquah milestones from 2012 reflect challenges, changes

December 25, 2012

Backhoes from Santana Trucking & Excavating dig June 26 at the southeast corner of the intersection of Northeast High Street and Highlands Drive Northeast, as construction starts on the Issaquah Highlands retail center. By Greg Farrar

Challenges — whether economic, political or social — defined the year.

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Salmon Days Festival returns to downtown Issaquah

October 2, 2012

A chinook tries to surmount the weir Sept. 28 at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. By Greg Farrar

The ode to salmon migration, Issaquah’s iconic Salmon Days Festival, returns to downtown Issaquah on Oct. 6-7.

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University of Washington Husky Marching Band to perform at Issaquah football game

September 25, 2012

J. W. ‘Bill’ Isotalo (left), a 1950 Issaquah High School graduate and Korean War veteran home on leave during Labor Day 1951, and brother Leo Isotalo, beginning his sophomore year at IHS, wait for the school’s band to form up near the old community church prior to the Labor Day parade. Contributed

The Issaquah High School football field will be covered in a sea of purple-and-gold this Friday evening, when more than 200 members of the University of Washington marching band take the field to entertain spectators before the Eagles take on Roosevelt.

The Husky marching band and the UW pom squad will perform a pregame and halftime show at the Sept. 28 contest.

Issaquah High School band director Patrick Holen had been trying to get the band to come to a home game for years and his persistence finally paid off. When the UW band director notified Holen of an open date, he didn’t hesitate to grab the opportunity to host the band.

“I started teaching here in 2001 and ever since I started, I always wanted to get a relationship with university bands across the region,” Holen said. “So, I was very quick to say yes to the band director. Now, it’s a reality and they’re coming out and we’re very excited to have them.”

Issaquah High School must pay for the band’s transportation and arrange to feed the group, but that was no problem, Holen said. With the support of the IHS Associated Student Body, the IHS band and the IHS Booster Club, the visit was quickly financed.

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Labor Day means limited Metro Transit, Sound Transit service

September 1, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 1, 2012

Sound Transit and most King County Metro Transit buses operate on a Sunday schedule Monday for Labor Day.

If a route does not usually run on Sunday, then the route does not operate on the holiday, Monday. Riders should expect to pay holiday and Sunday fares on Metro bus routes on Labor Day.

Metro offices remain closed on the holiday, including the Customer Information Center phone lines. Customers should turn to Metro Online for updates about transit service.

Riders headed to Seattle should prepare for Bumbershoot at the Seattle Center. Use the Trip Planner to determine the best route.

Sound Transit also operates on a Sunday schedule for Labor Day. On holidays with a Sunday schedule, only certain bus routes operate, including Route 554 between Issaquah and Seattle.

Use travel tools to make holiday trips less laborious

August 30, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Aug. 30, 2012

Labor Day means more traffic on state highways as motorists hit the road to celebrate the last holiday weekend of summer.

In order to ease congestion, the state Department of Transportation and contractors plan to suspend most construction work for the weekend. Crews move off most roads from noon Friday through Sept. 3.

“It’s a popular weekend to travel; traffic is pretty much going to be busy any time you head out the door, but I find knowing what to expect in advance and/or where to find the traffic info makes traveling much easier,” Mark Finch, Statewide Travel Data Analysis Office manager, said in a statement.

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Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery gift shop opens

August 28, 2012

The nonprofit Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery is reviving the popular hatchery gift shop, or FISHop, starting Labor Day weekend.

The gift shop debuted last year, and organizers plan to offer salmon- and Issaquah-themed merchandise for another salmon season. The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 18.

Merchandise includes apparel, books, pins, games, toys and more. Based on the success last year, the shop will include expanded lines of merchandise to celebrate salmon and Issaquah, and offers educational materials and souvenirs for visitors.

FISHop is on the west end of the main hatchery building, 125 W. Sunset Way, near the bridge across Issaquah Creek.

FISH is also seeking artists of salmon- or watershed-themed works to sell. Contact Jane Kuechle at 392-1118 or

Practice fire safety during Labor Day weekend

August 28, 2012

Officials reminded the public to practice fire safety as residents head outside to celebrate Labor Day weekend.

Though the King County burn ban expires Sept. 1, other local restrictions remain in place.

Department of Natural Resources officials set a summer burn ban for Tiger Mountain State Forest and other state lands from July 1 to Sept. 30.

On state forestlands, users can build recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal or other campgrounds.

Eastside Fire & Rescue imposed a summer burn ban June 15 for residents in Issaquah, Sammamish and nearby communities. The moratorium is in effect through Sept. 30.

For Labor Day cookouts, propane, natural gas and charcoal fires do not require a burn permit.

Issaquah Police Department, other agencies continue DUI crackdown

August 28, 2012

Issaquah police officers continue to target drunken drivers as summer heads into the Labor Day weekend.

The agency is participating in the Drive Hammered, Get Nailed campaign through Sept. 3.

During the Drive Hammered, Get Nailed campaign last year, officers on routine and extra patrols arrested 452 motorists for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in King County, and statewide, law enforcement officers arrested 1,824 drivers for DUI.

Besides the Issaquah Police Department, the Drive Hammered, Get Nailed campaign includes the nearby Bellevue, Newcastle, North Bend, Sammamish, Snoqualmie and Renton police departments, in addition to the Washington State Patrol.

Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria offers complimentary gelato for children

August 7, 2012

NEW — 11 a.m. Aug. 7, 2012

Children can score a complimentary gelato cone at Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria until Labor Day.

In the promotion every child younger than 12 can receive a Lilliput Pizzelle Cornetto — a waffle cookie rolled into a small cone, filled with a vanilla or chocolate scoop of Bottega Italiana gelato.

Lilliput, or Lilliputian, is taken from the island of miniature people in “Gulliver’s Travels” and is a moniker popularly used in Italy for children, as well as for small items or portions.

“This is for the kids, our biggest little fans,” restaurant owner Joe Fugere said. “We wanted to express our gratitude and love, and say thank you to the more than 6,000 parents who voted, their Lilliputians and the community at large who have made Tutta Bella the incredible success it is today.”

Tutta Bella operates in Issaquah at 715 N.W. Gilman Blvd. The local chain also operates restaurants in Seattle’s Columbia City, South Lake Union and Wallingford neighborhoods.

Iconic clown J.P. Patches, Salmon Days Festival star, dies

July 24, 2012

By Greg FarrarAlec Sharon, then 5, with mom Jill and dad Tod, don clown noses to pose with J.P. Patches for a family photo Nov. 7, 2008, during a celebration at Front Street Market. Tod lived in Mirrormont and watched the legendary Northwest clown on TV when he was his son’s age. By Greg Farrar

Before the Salmon Days Festival turned into a Pacific Northwest icon, organizers turned to a bona fide Pacific Northwest icon in 1970 to lead a parade at the celebration.

The clown J.P. Patches, a mainstay of after-school TV for generations of Seattle-area children, and sidekick Gertrude marched in the initial Salmon Days parade before a 15,000-member crowd.

Chris Wedes, a.k.a. Julius Pierpont Patches, died July 22 after a long battle against multiple myeloma, a blood cancer.

Dressed in a tattered hat and patchwork coat, J.P. Patches resided in a landfill, cavorted alongside the mop-headed Gertrude — played by ex-Marine Bob Newman in lipstick and a Raggedy Ann wig — and introduced TV audiences to a colorful cast of characters as a host on KIRO.

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