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

July 23, 2012

Alec 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

NEW — 11:30 a.m. July 23, 2012

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

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Issaquah Salmon Hatchery history is focus of 75th anniversary program

July 17, 2012

Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery
The historic Issaquah Salmon Hatchery started raising salmon along Issaquah Creek in 1937.

The iconic Issaquah Salmon Hatchery is celebrating 75 years, and to mark the occasion, the Issaquah History Museums is educating residents about the downtown facility — a lifesaver for countless salmon since the 1930s.

Conservationists and longtime Issaquah residents credit the hatchery for restoring the historic Issaquah Creek salmon runs after decades of logging and mining damaged the creek and surrounding watershed.

The program is among a series of events to commemorate the 1937 hatchery opening.

Jane Kuechle, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery executive director, plans to offer attendees a glimpse at the hatchery from throughout the decades.

“It’ll be a past, present, future kind of presentation,” said Laile Di Silvestro, Issaquah History Museums program coordinator.

In 1936, Works Progress Administration crews started to build the hatchery complex on a former city park and bandstand.

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King County deputies start safety patrols on regional trails

June 26, 2012

King County Sheriff’s Office deputies started fanning out on regional trails June 2 in a summertime safety exercise.

Deputies patrol stretches of regional trails across King County to provide trail users with information about proper conduct, including posted speed limits, leash laws and other rules.

“Trail use increases when the school year ends and summer weather begins, so now is the right time to remind everyone about the basic rules of conduct,” King County Parks Director Kevin Brown said.

Deputies patrol the trails on bicycles and on foot, and could issue either a warning or fine for observed violations. Some of the most frequent observed violations include cyclists and other wheeled trail users exceeding the trail system’s 15 mph speed limit, failure to follow pet leash laws and alcohol use.

The enhanced enforcement effort is scheduled to continue along portions of trails through Labor Day weekend.

The program cost is estimated at about $20,000, and is funded through the King County Parks budget.

120 years of Issaquah

April 24, 2012

Click on the image to view the full-size timeline.


  • Issaquah is founded as Gilman. The city is named for railroad baron Daniel Hunt Gilman.


  • The postmaster called for mail sent to Gilman to be addressed to Olney, Wash., to avoid confusion between Gilman and Gilmer, another city in the state.


  • Townsfolk start calling the frontier town Issaquah, or “the sound of water birds” in the language of the American Indians native to the region.


  • State lawmakers approve official name change from Gilman to Issaquah.


  • Wilbur W. Sylvester founds the Bank of Issaquah in a clapboard building.

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Salmon Days promises ‘thrills’ in festival theme

March 27, 2012

Salmon Days Festival 2012 theme

Salmon Days Festival organizers dipped into local history to craft the 2012 festival theme — “Thrills & Gills,” a hat tip to the Issaquah Rodeo from a century ago.

The logo sports a cowboy astride a leaping — or bucking — salmon. Organizers said the theme is meant to reflect the excitement of salmon returning to Issaquah Creek to spawn each autumn.

In the early 1900s, long before Salmon Days, a Fourth of July celebration and a rodeo at modern-day Veterans’ Memorial Field served as the main attractions in the coalmining and farming community. By 1910, the celebration shifted from Independence Day to Labor Day.

In 1970, the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce presented the inaugural Salmon Days Festival as part of Labor Day festivities.

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Family uses almost 400,000 lights to create Christmas extravaganza

December 6, 2011

The Ginnaty family home, just south of Issaquah, is a bright festival of Christmas lights, including Santa’s high-flying sleigh led by a red-nosed Rudolph. By Greg Farrar

The effort to install holiday lights on the Ginnaty home just outside city limits along the base of Tiger Mountain starts the weekend after Labor Day.

Jeri Ginnaty flips the switch on the estimated 350,000 to 400,000 lights on Thanksgiving night. The attraction lures Christmas light seekers down the rural road to see illuminated strand after illuminated strand.

The super-sized tradition started more than a decade ago, after Ginnaty traded a more modest display — a mere 50,000 lights — for a multicolored tribute to the season.

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Most liquor stores to remain open for Labor Day

September 4, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 4, 2011

Washingtonians can toast Labor Day on Monday, because most state-run liquor stores remain open on the holiday.

The state stores open at the normal time, 10 a.m., and close at 7 p.m. (The state Liquor Control Board rolled out uniform hours for liquor stores in July.)

Contract liquor stores might also open on the holiday. Contact the stores for holiday operating schedules.

The state-run liquor store in Issaquah is at 1175 N.W. Gilman Blvd. Call the store at 313-1817.

State urges boaters to wear life jackets during holiday weekend

September 3, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 3, 2011

Sunshine and temperatures in the 80s for Issaquah mean Labor Day weekend offers a chance for boaters to set sail before summer concludes.

Officials expect a busy holiday weekend on Washington waterways, so the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission Boating Program reminds all boaters, especially personal water craft users, to wear a life jacket.

So far in 2011, 13 boating fatalities occurred in Washington. Only one boater involved in the accidents had been wearing a life jacket.

Under state law, boaters using personal watercraft, such as Jet Skis, must wear a life jacket.

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Riders should prepare for reduced Labor Day bus service

September 2, 2011

NEW — 4 p.m. Sept. 2, 2011

King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit buses operate on a Sunday schedule 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. Call 206-398-5000 for route and schedule information.

Find local, regional DUI patrol locations online

August 30, 2011

State traffic officials revealed the locations of planned driving under the influence patrols on a website for motorists.

Before hitting the road, head to http://watikileaks.com to find police patrols in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. The interactive map includes dates, times and locations for planned DUI patrols, such as the emphasis on Issaquah roads during Labor Day weekend.

Though sharing information to help motorists potentially avoid tickets and arrests might seem counterintuitive, officials said the website is another method to promote safe and sober driving on a community level.

The website also features a mobile version, so users can view the information on smart phones, and sharing options to post information to Twitter or Facebook.

Local traffic safety task forces participating in Target Zero teams post information on the website.

Washington Traffic Safety Commission officials announced the site’s launch Aug. 23.

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