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.
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.
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.
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.
June 14, 2011
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.
February 15, 2011
Finnegans celebrate golden anniversary, share a lifetime of tales
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.
December 14, 2010
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.”
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.
November 9, 2010
Trivia champions crowned
Issaquah Rotary Trivia Night on Oct. 26 at Malarkey’s raised $1,600 for the Issaquah Friends of Youth At Risk program.
The top three teams donated their prize money to the charity. The winning team crowned “Trivia Champions of Issaquah” included members Christine and Charles Chi and Shannon and Richard McVay. Read more
November 2, 2010
Sammamish City Council members cited the impact of the economic downturn and increased the amount the city grants to local nonprofits Oct. 26.
The money allotted by the council — $192,000 — includes grants to some Issaquah-based organizations. The allocation is a sharp increase from 2010. The city doled out $147,000 for 2010.
“I’d like to see some increase in funding for one time only because of these especially hard times,” Deputy Mayor Nancy Whitten said. “A lot of people who would normally give have given less because they can’t afford it or not given at all.”
The recipients include Athletes For Kids, AtWork!, Eastside Baby Corner, the Eastside Domestic Violence Program, Faith In Action, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, Issaquah Church and Community Services, the Issaquah Schools Foundation, Life Enrichment Options and the Providence Marianwood Foundation.
August 31, 2010
The start of Labor Day weekend marks the end for ArtWalk.
Before the outdoor happening goes on hiatus until May 2011, head to downtown Issaquah and Gilman Village for a final first Friday of artists and musicians. ArtWalk runs from 5-9 p.m. Sept. 3 along Front Street and in Gilman Village, 317 N.W. Gilman Blvd.