Nordstrom social-media maven shares a passion for fashion

July 26, 2011

The palatial Nordstrom flagship store almost doubles as a closet for Sanda Belaire, a designer saleswoman at the downtown Seattle landmark.

Sanda Belaire

In a 21st-century spin on renowned Nordstrom customer service, Belaire uses Facebook, Twitter and other tools to invite others to explore the fashion fantasyland, exchange ideas about the latest looks and select items for customers. The longtime Issaquah-area resident seamlessly melds chic and geek as a designer saleswoman and social-media maven for the Elle-and-Vogue set.

“I’m a firm believer in keeping up with technology,” she said. “You have to keep up with the world or it leaves you behind.”

Belaire shares snippets — a fire-engine-red Gucci dress, a Dolce & Gabbana lace sheath, a Jason Wu coat trimmed in ostrich feathers and velvet Miu Miu pumps attached to oversized bows, not unlike gifts beneath a Christmas tree — in iPhone photos posted to Twitter and Tumblr, popular social media sites.

“Twitter is another door into the store,” she said.

In 2008, Belaire joined the microblogging site and, a year later, created a popular account dedicated solely to style. The smartphone snapshots and 140-character musings reach almost 3,000 followers nowadays.

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Maple Hills Elementary gets new principal

July 5, 2011

A new Eagle has landed at Maple Hills Elementary School.

Sondra Maier, an elementary school teacher in the Federal Way School District, will take the reins as principal of the school in July.

Former Maple Hills Principal Monique Beane announced in June that she would move to Pacific Cascade Middle School, where she would work as assistant principal.

Shortly after Beane’s departure, Issaquah School District administrators began the search for her replacement. Parents filled out surveys online, indicating their preference for a principal who promoted transparency, collaboration and high standards, according to an email Superintendent Steve Rasmussen sent to parents June 29.

“I believe we have found those qualities — in abundance — in Ms. Maier,” he wrote.

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Maple Hills Elementary School gets new principal

June 29, 2011

NEW — 4 p.m. June 29, 2011

A new eagle has landed at Maple Hills Elementary School.

Sondra Maier, an elementary school teacher in the Federal Way School District, will take the reigns as principal of the school in July.

The former Maple Hills principal, Monique Beane, announced in June that she would move to Pacific Cascade Middle School, where she would work as assistant principal.

Shortly after Beane’s departure, Issaquah School District administrators began the search for her replacement. Parents filled out surveys online, indicating their preference for a principal who promoted transparency, collaboration and high standards, said an email district Superintendent Steve Rasmussen sent to parents on Wednesday.

“I believe we have found those qualities — in abundance — in Ms. Maier,” he wrote.

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King County, YWCA to hold meeting about Passage Point

June 21, 2011

Safety is on the minds of community members neighboring the future Passage Point facility.

The YWCA will provide housing at Passage Point for men and women recently released from incarceration who wish to reunite with their children. The residents of Passage Point, who would otherwise be homeless, will have access to housing, employment and counseling services. It’s slated to open its doors next month.

A half-dozen community leaders met with representatives from King County and the YWCA, as well as King County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Andrea Alexander at Evergreen Community Church during a May 24 meeting about safety procedures.

Passage Point, in the southern part of the Issaquah School District, has long been a hot topic for the area. Students living at Passage Point will attend Maple Hills Elementary School, Maywood Middle School or Liberty High School.

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Maple Hills Elementary School principal goes to PCMS

June 7, 2011

Maple Hills Elementary School Principal Monique Beane has nurtured her school’s community since 2007, but this fall she has decided to move up to the middle school level.

In an email to parents June 6, Beane announced her move to Pacific Cascade Middle School, where she will work as assistant principal.

The current assistant principal, Condee Wood, has accepted a position with Washington Middle School in the Olympia School District.

When Issaquah School District Superintendent Steve Rasmussen learned of Wood’s move, he asked Beane if she would consider taking the Pacific Cascade position, she wrote in the email. Just as she taught her students at Maple Hills, Beane said she decided to take on a new challenge.

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Maple Hills Elementary principal takes middle school post

June 6, 2011

NEW — 5:45 p.m. June 6, 2011

Maple Hills Elementary School Principal Monique Beane has nurtured her school’s community since 2007, but this fall she has decided to move up to the middle school level.

In an email to parents Monday, Beane announced her move to Pacific Cascade Middle School, where she will work as assistant principal.

The current assistant principal, Condee Wood, has accepted a position with Washington Middle School in the Olympia School District.

When Issaquah School District Superintendent Steve Rasmussen learned of Wood’s move, he asked Beane if she would consider taking the Pacific Cascade position, she wrote in the email. Just as she taught her students at Maple Hills, Beane decided to take on a new challenge, she wrote.

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Issaquah School District considers $228 million bond

May 24, 2011

Though far from complete, the 2012 Issaquah School District bond has something for all of the district’s 24 schools, making the work-in-process price $228.6 million.

The proposal also includes remodeled or expanded schools for Apollo, Clark, Issaquah Valley and Sunny Hills elementary schools, Issaquah Middle School, and Liberty and Tiger Mountain Community high schools.

The bond proposal suggests the district tear down Tiger Mountain and Clark, and move the students to a remodeled building where Issaquah Middle School is now. The two schools would be close, but not connected, Associate Superintendent Ron Thiele said, with the Tiger move costing about $3.9 million and the Clark move costing about $19.5 million.

In the meantime, the district would build a new, two-story Issaquah Middle School where Clark and Tiger are now; that would cost about $62.5 million.

“This is the biggest project on the bond,” Thiele said.

The proposed bond also shows several trends — switches from carpet to rubber flooring, three new artificial-turf fields and two rain shields for outdoor play areas.

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Who’s News

May 17, 2011

Betsy Sanford named Star teacher of the week

Star 101.5 and KOMO TV visited Maple Hills Elementary School May 12 to award Betsy Sanford with the Teacher of the Week award.

Curt Kruse, STAR afternoon DJ, and the Star 101.5 crew brought gift bags and treats for each student, including Teacher of the Week T-shirts. Sanford was awarded a plaque and check for $100, as well as a 1-in-24 chance of winning a 2011 VW Jetta.

Comcast awards scholarships

The Comcast Foundation recently named Paige A. Nulliner, of Issaquah, as one of 91 recipients in Western Washington and Spokane in its annual Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program in 2011.

The program provides one-time, $1,000 scholarships to students who strive to achieve their potential, who are catalysts for positive change in their communities, who are involved in their schools and who serve as models for their fellow students.

Nulliner attends Skyline High School and plans to attend the University of San Diego.

Issaquah resident passes state bar exam

Sean Nyberg, of Issaquah, passed the Washington State Bar Exam.

A graduate of Issaquah High School, Nyberg earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Washington and his juris doctor degree from Gonzaga University. He works at the law firm O’Brien, Barton, Joe & Hopkins PLLP.

Local historian honored

Robert E. Ficken, of Issaquah, has been awarded the Robert Gray Medal by the Washington State Historical Society.

Throughout his distinguished writing career and his work as an independent historian, Ficken has produced some highly regarded works about Washington’s history, and he has shared his knowledge through conferences and workshops about the state’s heritage.

The highest award bestowed by the Washington State Historical Society, the Robert Gray Medal recognizes distinguished and long-term contributions to Pacific Northwest history through demonstrated excellence in one or more of the following areas: teaching, writing, research, historic preservation and service to local historical societies.

The award will be presented to Ficken at the noon luncheon of the annual meeting of the Historical Society on June 18 at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma.

Arjun Kumar to compete in National Geographic Bee

Arjun Kumar, a seventh-grader at Beaver Lake Middle School, will represent Washington at the 23rd annual National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C., May 24-25.

Arjun is one of only 54 students remaining in the nationwide competition, culled down from more than 5 million participants. The top 10 finalists will compete in the May 25 final round, moderated by “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek and taped for later airing on the National Geographic Channel.

Local seniors awarded Overlake scholarships

Four local high school girls were awarded Overlake Alumnae Panhellenic Scholarships for 2011.

Each winner will receive a certificate of merit and a monetary award to be applied toward her educational goal. The winners are:

  • Eastside Catholic High School — Mackenzie Brown
  • Issaquah High School — Mackenzie Bauer
  • Liberty High School — Megan Bales
  • Skyline High School — Paige Haas

Issaquah resident joins ‘The Dori Monson Show’

Jessica Gottesman, of Issaquah, has joined “The Dori Monson Show” as a news anchor and regular contributor.

Gottesman previously anchored at CBS Radio’s all-news 1010 WINS in New York City. She also spent a decade in financial news covering Wall Street as a television and radio anchor for Bloomberg.

Gottesman joined 97.3 KIRO FM in 2010 as an afternoon anchor, and since moving to Issaquah she has covered everything from the capture of the Barefoot Bandit to the Cal Brown execution (Washington’s first since 2001) and the passing of the voice of the Mariners, Dave Niehaus.

Gottesman has won numerous Murrow, Associated Press and New York State Broadcaster awards, and a Gracie Allen Award for Best Major Market anchor from American Women in Radio and Television. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell and her law degree from Fordham.

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Maple Hills Elementary students create giant glass curtains

May 3, 2011

Maple Hills Elementary School student Rianna Belaire (left) reaches for a glass chip while Mikayla Jaeger creates a multicolored mosaic on her glass tile for a schoolwide art project. By Laura Geggel

The kindergartners got the color red. First-graders decorated with blue. Second-graders used orange.

For a schoolwide art project, Maple Hills Elementary School students are creating giant, glass color-coded curtains that will greet visitors passing by the office.

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Maple Hills Elementary glass art project / May 2011

May 3, 2011

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