Enter trail photography for chance to win prizes

October 5, 2010

The Washington Trails Association is holding its eighth annual Northwest Exposure photo contest. Photographers who capture award-winning photos from Washington’s trails have a chance to win a tour of Mount Rainier with a naturalist guide, a Snoqualmie snowshoe trek or a Woodinville wine tour with EverGreen Escapes.

Photographers can also win Lowepro camera bags and photography books.

The contest has five main entries: wild landscapes, flora and fauna, hikers in action, families on trail and offbeat photos. Photographers can submit one photo per entry.

The first, second and third place winners for each category will receive prizes, as well as have their art featured in the January/February issue of Washington Trails magazine. The grand prize photo will be featured on the cover.

Submit photos here by Oct. 17. The Northwest Exposure photo contest link is on the left side of the page.

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Register to vote in November election by Monday

September 30, 2010

NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 30, 2010

In order to vote in the November election, Washington residents must register to vote by Monday.

To register, a person must be a U.S. citizen, a Washington resident, at least 18 by Election Day and not under the authority of the state Department of Corrections.

Voters do not have to register by political party or declare political party membership in order to vote in primary or general elections.

Find a full list of requirements and registration forms at King County Elections.

Issaquah voters will decide legislative, judicial and congressional races in the Nov. 2 election, plus a measure to raise the county sales tax rate.

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Conservation corps plays important role in maintaining trails, streams

September 21, 2010

Members turn corps stint into eco-centric jobs

Jenn Woodham (foreground) and James Evangelisti, Washington Conservation Corps members, add fencing along Taylor Creek south of Issaquah. By Warren Kagarise

The teams maintaining the trails on state and King County lands near Issaquah often include members of the Washington Conservation Corps — a fresh-out-of-college bunch eager to earn experience in the environmental field.

Like the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps, the 21st-century equivalent enlists young adults to tackle habitat and infrastructure projects.

“There are a lot of good public works projects that they’re doing out there,” state Department of Ecology spokesman Curt Hart said.

Members from far-flung corners of the United States populate the program. Some recruits, unable to land a job in a sour economy, turned to the program to burnish their résumés and earn a steady paycheck. Other members brought a background in environmental studies to the role. Many expressed a desire to learn about life in the Pacific Northwest.

In addition to trail projects, crews yank invasive plants from public lands, plant native flora and restore creek habitat.

Washington Conservation Corps teams conducted trail maintenance on Tiger Mountain in the past year. Earlier projects included habitat restoration along Issaquah Creek.

Members also race to disaster-stricken areas to render assistance.

“Come rain, floods, shine, fires, they’re there,” Hart said.

In April, the state Department of Ecology dispatched 30 Washington Conservation Corps members and supervisors to clean up debris and set up shelters after a tornado tore through Yazoo City, Miss.

For residents in the aftermath of a natural disaster, “our WCC crews may be the first government people these people see,” Hart said.

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Learn about Northwest noir at the library

September 21, 2010

Susan Olds

The wild Pacific Northwest can pull at any artist’s imagination, whether that artist is a painter, writer, photographer or unsuspecting hiker.

The region’s gloomy winters, dense forests, rugged mountains and deep Puget Sound act as an ideal backdrop for mysteries, thrillers, UFO sightings and legends. Ask any “Twin Peaks” fan who has visited the Snoqualmie Valley, or any “Twilight” reader who has journeyed to Forks to see the setting of the novels detailing the lives of vampires and werewolves.

North Bend art historian Susan Olds will present “Northwest Noir: Mysteries, Legends and Landscapes” at 7 p.m. Sept. 28 at Issaquah Library, 10 W. Sunset Way. Read more

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Candidates gird for tough fight in House race

August 3, 2010

Less than 100 days before Issaquah and Eastside voters elect a representative to Congress, another high-profile campaign has taken shape as Democrats gun to unseat incumbent Dave Reichert.

Like the 2006 and 2008 contests, the race for the 8th Congressional District — the only Western Washington district represented by a Republican — has attracted outside money and outsized attention. In the latest match-up, Reichert faces Democrat Suzan DelBene, a former Microsoft executive and Medina resident.

But the leading candidates and political observers said the race differs from earlier matches.

“The message du jour this year is, ‘I’ll cross the aisle to get things done,’” Seattle political consultant Cathy Allen said.

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Ordinary athlete takes on extraordinary challenge for diabetes

July 6, 2010

Ernie Bakker

“I am just an ordinary athlete doing an extraordinary event,” Ernie Bakker said.

On July 11, the 63-year-old Issaquah resident will begin a 3,484-mile bike ride, sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The 29-day trip will take him across the United States, from Washington to Virginia.

“Some people would say I am crazy,” he said. “But I can live with that.”

Bakker is motivated by a very personal cause. His 12-year-old granddaughter, Casey Jacobsen, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 4.

The disease affects every aspect of her life. On a daily basis, she must strictly track her carbohydrates and calorie intake, monitor her blood pressure and pump her body with insulin.

“It’s a different life for a kid,” he said. “It is an expensive disease that doesn’t go away.”

Despite her diabetes, Casey remains busy and active. She loves to play guitar, swim and play soccer.

“She does things that any ordinary 12-year-old does,” Bakker said. “She’s just a good kid.”

Bakker’s goal is to raise $20,000 in donations for the foundation.

“This ride is really not about me,” he said. “It’s about getting the word out about juvenile diabetes. It happens to kids like Casey who are healthy. For no reason, it just hits them. We want to find a cure.”

His long journey will start in Everett. Each day, he will average 115 miles and a 4,050-foot climb until Aug. 9, when he reaches Williamsburg, Va. His trek will take him through the scenic country roads of 11 states, including Montana, South Dakota, Illinois and West Virginia. Read more

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DOT alerts holiday travelers to another route to Eastern Washington

July 1, 2010

NEW — 11:30 a.m. July 1, 2010

For holiday travelers headed to Eastern Washington, the state Department of Transportation reminded drivers about the detour on state Route 410 — another link to the sunny side of the Evergreen State.

A landslide closed a four-mile stretch of the road in October, but the state opened a detour route 45 days later. The detour route includes a two-lane, 35-mph roadway.

State Route 410 connects King and Yakima counties through scenic Chinook Pass and Mount Rainier National Park. The state prohibits commercial vehicles from the road.

The transportation agency plans to start construction on a permanent route around the landslide next year, and complete the link in 2012. Learn more about the landslide here.

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