Life Enrichment Options plans home, fundraiser

October 11, 2011

Founded 22 years ago by the parents of children with intellectual or developmental disabilities, Issaquah’s Life Enrichment Options is expanding.

One of the organization’s founders as well as a member of its board of directors, Rose Finnegan said LEO’s third family home should be completed by December.

The group also is planning what Finnegan said is only the second fundraising event in its history.

Harvesting Hope is the name of LEO’s luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 20 at Pickering Barn. Sammamish City Council member and former host of TV’s “Evening Magazine” John Curley will host the event.

LEO’s third facility sits in the Issaquah Highlands at the corner of 25th Avenue Northeast and Northeast Logan Street.

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Life Enrichment Options hosts housing discussion

September 20, 2011

Issaquah nonprofit organization Life Enrichment Options presents a panel discussion on housing options for people with disabilities from 7-9 p.m. Sept. 29 at Tibbetts Creek Manor, 750 17th Ave. N.W. Representatives from several different housing alternatives will discuss how their settings work, and for whom. A question and answer period will follow.

Admission is free. The social time and refreshments start at 6:30 p.m.

Life Enrichment Options advocates for and works to support individuals with developmental disabilities to achieve their lifestyle goals through supportive housing, recreation, employment opportunities and community education.

Call 274-4003, email info@lifeenrichmentoptions.org, go to www.lifeenrichmentoptions.org or visit Life Enrichment Options (LEO) on Facebook to learn more.

Class teaches social, sexual skills to parents

September 6, 2011

Life Enrichment Options presents an evening with Dr. Jean Edwards from 7-9 pm Sept. 14 at the King County Library Service Center, 960 Newport Way.

Edwards is a professor emeritus in the Department of Counseling and Special Education at Portland State University, where she taught for 30 years. In addition, Edwards is a private consultant who works with treatment agencies around issues of social/sexual development and child abuse for those with developmental disabilities.

The presentation is suitable for parents of children of all ages and will cover what to teach your child now to avoid dire consequences in the future.

Admission is free. Refreshments and a social are at 6:30 p.m.

Life Enrichment Options is a local nonprofit organization that advocates for and works to support individuals with developmental disabilities to achieve their lifestyle goals through supportive housing, recreation and employment opportunities, and community education.

Call 274-4003, email info@lifeenrichmentoptions.org, go to www.lifeenrichmentoptions.org or visit Life Enrichment Options (LEO) on Facebook.

Issaquah biker roars to Rolling Thunder rally

July 26, 2011

Dave Scandiffio, 55, has been riding motorcycles since he was 8 years old. But on June 12, having returned home from a monthlong, 8,965-mile trip across the country and back, the Issaquah man set a record for himself — and for most people.

Dave Scandiffio smiles, having just arrived in Washington, D.C., with 900 other Run For The Wall motorcyclists. Contributed

Scandiffio began in his trip in Issaquah with four friends from the area. The group motored to Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., where they united with other bikers in the Run for the Wall. The ride is an annual 10-day ride to the nation’s capitol as a gesture of appreciation for the sacrifices that veterans have made for the United States.

Upon arriving in Washington, D.C., the 900-strong pack joined what Scandiffio estimates were more than 500,000 motorcyclists in the annual Rolling Thunder demonstration. The demonstration’s mission is to educate the public about the many American soldiers who were left missing in action or as prisoners of war.

“It’s an emotional trip and there’s a reverence about the ride itself,” Scandiffio said. “The main message is that there are soldiers missing in action and prisoners of war left after every major war. It’s holding the government accountable for finding out what’s happened to them.”

Scandiffio served in the United States Navy from 1974 to 1979. A committed biker, he used to take his motorcycle aboard the ship. From 1983 to 1987, he served in the Oregon National Guard.

Though many of the riders were veterans, others joined the cause because they wanted to support those who fought for this country.

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Challenge Day Race is big fun for special-needs children

July 12, 2011

On July 16, the Rotary Club of Issaquah will host the 14th annual Issaquah Rotary Challenge Day Race. The event allows participants with mental and physical disabilities to experience the fun of a soapbox derby race.

“It’s great to see these special-needs kids having fun,” said Leo Finnegan, creator of the Challenge Day Race. “Everybody feels really good about what happens at the races.”

Excitement builds as teams of two climb into their soapbox cars. In the driver’s side seat sits an able-bodied youngster with the special-needs youngster riding shotgun.

When the starting gate hits the ground gravity takes over, causing the streamlined soapbox cars to roll down the hill. Some cars have reached speeds as high as 17 mph.

Each special-needs child will get three rides down the hill.

“The pre-selected driver’s seat is first offered up to siblings of the special-needs kids and family members of Rotary volunteers,” Finnegan said.

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LEO breaks ground for adult home

June 21, 2011

Life Enrichment Options recently celebrated the beginning of construction of the organization’s third home for people with developmental disabilities with an official groundbreaking ceremony.

The home will house five people with developmental disabilities and a caregiver, allowing the residents to live independent of their families.

There are more than 88 adults living within the Issaquah and Snoqualmie Valley school districts who need, or will soon need, assistance with living independently.

LEO is a community based nonprofit organization that advocates and works to support individuals with developmental disabilities to achieve their goals through supportive housing, recreation, employment opportunities and community education. Learn more at www.leoorganization.org.

Expect more than cars to cruise in to Fenders on Front Street

June 14, 2011

Expect classic cars aplenty as Fenders on Front Street rolls into Issaquah for Father's Day. File

Dick Baker drove Harley motorcycles for 25 years until he switched to classic cars.

“My wife has always called me ‘motorman,’ because if it has a motor, I’m probably going to like it,” said Baker, of Issaquah. “I was born that way.”

One of his prize cars, a 1932 Ford Roadster, will be on display for all to see at the sixth annual Fenders on Front Street Car Show and Cruise this Father’s Day, June 19.

Car registration is free, as is admittance to the show.

“If anyone has a nice car or a fast car or an interesting car, we’re going to open it to anybody coming down and showing it,” Fenders on Front Street co-chairman George Naumann said.

Mountains to Sound Greenway and the DownTown Issaquah Association are organizing the event.

The show is somewhat weather dependent. Last year, pouring rain kept some car owners home, and crowds saw about 200 cars at the show. In sunny 2009, more than 600 cars lined up on Front Street North.

“If the weather’s good, they all show up,” Baker said.
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50 years and counting, couple celebrates milestone

February 15, 2011

Finnegans celebrate golden anniversary, share a lifetime of tales

Leo and Rose Finnegan spoil their black Lab, Murphy, as they retell stories about their 50-year marriage and how they raised five children. Contributed

After spending 50 years together, raising five children and helping Issaquah’s handicapped adult community, Leo and Rose Finnegan have a lifetime of stories to share.

The two grew up in Montana and attended grade school together, but it was not until they crossed paths at a funeral that romantic sparks flew.

The two had already moved into early adulthood, with Rose earning her nursing degree and Leo studying engineering at Gonzaga University and the University of Notre Dame.

Leo’s grandmother passed away in summer 1960, and Rose’s mother, who knew the family, took Rose with her to the wake.

“For some reason, we just clicked,” Rose said. “We had an awful lot in common. We felt like we knew each other very well.”

By that summer, Leo proposed and they married Jan. 28, 1961.

“It was probably my grandmother’s doing,” Leo said.

The young couple moved frequently in their early years, from Colorado to Idaho to Michigan to Montana, and finally to Issaquah.

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Hot rodders steer Christmas cheer to food bank

December 14, 2010

Kim Ortego, assistant to the director at the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank, holds up Saucer Scramble and shows the donated toys that filled an entire truck. Contributed

If the holidays are all about community spirit, then the Sunset Highway Cruisers have earned an A-plus in spreading holiday cheer. For the 10th consecutive year, the cruisers have pulled off a successful toy drive, collecting at least $6,000 worth of toys, cash and checks for the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank.

Sunset Highway Cruisers President Marv Nielsen spearheaded the event, and thanked the approximate 250 drivers who had driven near and far, checks and toys in tow, for the Jingle Bell Cruz car show Dec. 5.

An Issaquah resident since 1977, Nielsen’s aqua 1937 Ford Coupe may be a familiar site to many, especially if they frequent car shows at the Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in. He has coordinated shows at the Triple XXX for 15 years, and might as well have engine oil running through his veins.

“I’ve always grown up interested in cars,” Nielsen said. “I had a model A at age 15, and I had a lifelong fascination of cars and how to improve them.”

Usually, the cruisers donate the proceeds from their shows to Issaquah’s Life Enrichment Options, better known as LEO, which helps Nielsen’s developmentally disabled daughter in her day-to-day life. When the cruisers agreed to host a toy drive, they decided to stay local and donate to the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank.

“Every year it’s gotten bigger and better and better,” Nielsen said. “This year was astronomical. We had 160 cars and hot rods at the Triple XXX.”

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Issaquah nonprofit raises more than $100,000 for group home

December 1, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 1, 2010

Issaquah nonprofit organization Life Enrichment Options has raised more than $100,000 in 100 days to build a house for adults with developmental disabilities.

Founder Rose Finnegan said the group raised $115,000 to construct a group home in the Issaquah Highlands at 25th Avenue Northeast and Northeast Logan Street. The organization plans to break ground in March.

The final price tag for the house could reach $500,000 — and LEO seeks additional donations to complete the project. Learn more about the organization and donate here.

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