February 7, 2012
The American table had a bag of food from McDonald’s and a Dorothy doll straight out of the movie version of “The Wizard of Oz.”
A Mexican table featured ethnic toys, including a Spanish Monopoly game. The Japanese table had a lot of visitors, perhaps all wanting to try what turned out to be some surprisingly tasty Spam sushi.
January 17, 2012
As a young person, veterinarian Dr. Sarah Owens made a point of asking her elders what it was they wished they had done with their lives. As she listened to their regrets, Owens made a promise to herself to “make sure I didn’t miss out on anything.”
Owens kept that promise. She graduated from Brown and Harvard, traveled to the mountains of Nepal to care for animals on film shoots and spent many hours in the castles around Europe performing delicate surgeries on animals. In between stints at college, Owens was an active leader in several of nongovernmental organizations in South Africa. Eventually, the pull of her native Northwest roots drew her home to Issaquah.
“Aside from the Arctic and Antarctic, I’ve lived most my life on the continents and am completely happy to be back here in the Northwest,” she said, adding that she feels a symbiotic relationship to people in the Northwest.
“No matter where I was, every time I met someone in a remote and exotic locale who was from the Pacific Northwest, I felt we shared a certain way of connecting to the natural and social environment,” she said. “I am sure it stems from coming from a landscape of such great soul.”
January 10, 2012
Susan Bunch, an employee at Microsoft’s Issaquah campus, loves animals. Her current family includes two rescued cats, a horse and a dog. But Bunch admits there’s a soft spot in her heart for cats.
“Pets bring so much to our lives, and cats in particular are unfortunately overlooked sometimes as an almost disposable pet,” she said. “They deserve so much more.”
In 2009, Bunch along with fellow Microsoft employees Karen Easterbrook and Kristi Minietta began the yearly creation of the Cats of Microsoft calendar benefiting the Forget Me Not Animal Shelter.
Every year, Microsoft employees are encouraged to donate to the shelter located on the eastern side of the state in Ferry County. In return for their contributions, Bunch puts together a calendar featuring cats that belong to the many generous donors.
October 18, 2011
“I still think we have more work to do,” said Issaquah School Board member Brian Deagle regarding why he decided to seek re-election to the board seat he has held since late 2006.
On the November ballot, Deagle faces a challenge for his District 3 board seat from fellow Sammamish resident Patrick Sansing.
District 3 covers the north end of the school district including parts of Klahanie and parts of the portion of Sammamish included in the Issaquah School District. Although candidates run for a specific geographic seat, voters district wide cast ballots for all Issaquah school board members. Members are elected to four-year terms.
Deagle said his main goal is to give Issaquah school graduates assurances that they are prepared to enter the world, ready for whatever comes after high school.
“We have fallen short of that in a number of ways because of we are limited by our resources,” Deagle said.
He added finances dictate teacher availability, which in turn dictates and limits what classes the schools can offer.
In order to offer additional educational opportunities, Deagle proposed such measures as online learning which can “put more hours into the day” and isn’t as teacher intensive.
October 18, 2011
With a growing family, Mark and Leslie Gilbert had a tough decision facing them and their two boys (ages 7 and 4) — abandon the home they love for a larger one or upgrade their current house?
“For me, it came down to the question, ‘Do we upgrade within the neighborhood to something with more square feet?” Mark said. “Or do we upgrade our home and reuse the square feet in a different way?”
Leslie looked at the problem from a different angle — what could they do if they stayed?
“We had a lot of floor space that was unused,” she said, adding she thought they could do something better with the flow through the kitchen to the unused formal dining and living room.
After weighing all of their options, they chose to stay in their home and upgrade the kitchen.
The renovation entailed knocking out an L-shaped wall and creating a “great room.” It would feature a central island in the opened-up kitchen that would face a more defined living and dining space, rather than separate rooms.
October 11, 2011
Opponents raise questions about groundwater contamination
City Council members, eager to attract more retail options to the Issaquah Highlands, decided a gas station can open in the neighborhood, but only if groceries accompany the fill-ups.
The council agreed in a 7-0 decision Oct. 3 to change the agreement between the city and highlands developer Port Blakely Communities to allow a gas station in the community. Concerns about possible groundwater contamination led city officials to ban gas stations in the highlands before construction on the neighborhood started in the mid-1990s.
Safeway outlined plans for a gas station to accompany a proposed highlands store, and city officials and gas station proponents said the rule change is a crucial step to attract the grocery chain. The gas station is proposed for a funnel-shaped lot between Ninth Avenue Northeast and Highlands Drive Northeast, next to a future Safeway.
The debate before the council decision exposed a split among highlands residents eager for more amenities in the community, and residents from elsewhere concerned about potential groundwater contamination from gas station leaks.
October 5, 2011
NEW — 4 p.m. Oct. 5, 2011
The plan to open a grocery store in the Issaquah Highlands — a still-unmet target from early goals for the community — reached a milestone Monday, as Safeway submitted a proposal for a store in the neighborhood.
Meanwhile, City Council members adjusted longstanding development rules Monday to allow a gas station in the highlands — a critical factor in Safeway’s proposal to build the store.
September 27, 2011
In November, voters in King County, including those in Issaquah, will be asked to choose from among four candidates hoping to serve as commissioners for the Port of Seattle.
The port includes both the seaport in downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac International Airport. According to the port’s annual report for 2010, the port collected $75.6 million in property taxes in 2009. The projection for 2010 was $73.5 million. Those collections come from all King County residents, including those in Issaquah.
Both Skaggs and other port officials said thousands of jobs depend directly and indirectly on port operations.
According to what is billed by the port as an independent report released in 2009, the port was directly and indirectly responsible for 190,000 jobs in the Puget Sound region. Port facilities generated more than $17 billion in revenue for businesses who deal with the port or the port tenants who operate the maritime terminals. All in all, those employers and employees pay about $867 million in state and local taxes.
September 13, 2011
This year’s United Way Day of Caring on Sept. 16 will earn local organizations some extra donations thanks to Microsoft.
For the first time, Microsoft will contribute $100 for each Microsoft alumnus who participates in the Day of Caring. Up to $50,000 will be distributed to nonprofit organizations supported by Microsoft alumni doing work in King County through the Microsoft Alumni Foundation.
Microsoft employees will be working side by side with Microsoft alumni.
Learn more about the foundation and its involvement with United Way’s Day of Caring at www.microsoftalumni.org/home.aspx.
September 13, 2011
NEW — 2 p.m. Sept. 13, 2011
Issaquah is among 19 cities nationwide on Outside magazine’s Best Towns 2011 list.
The city and others on the list earned plaudits for access to outdoor recreation — Issaquah is described as “a Seattle-area hang-gliding mecca” — and, perhaps, more mundane attributes.
“Adventure amenities make a lot of towns seem dreamy,” notes the article in the October issue. “What sets these 19 burgs apart is their nod to reality: affordable homes, solid job prospects and vibrant nightlife. Start packing.”
Issaquah’s proximity to Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains turned out to be a selling point.
“As Boeing’s and Microsoft’s fastest-growing bedroom community, the former lumber town (pop. 23,200) has experienced a surge in out-of-towners in the past few years,” the article continues. “And for good reason: a 20-minute drive can put you in downtown Seattle or the oyster flats on Puget Sound. An hour away, there’s skiing in the Cascades, kayaking and rafting on the Class IV Skykomish River, and access to a half-dozen steelhead streams.”