Police: Man robbed Issaquah bank at gunpoint

March 24, 2012

NEW — 7 p.m. March 24, 2012

Police said a man robbed a KeyBank branch in Issaquah on Saturday morning, and then escaped.

Police said the man showed a bank employee a gun and passed the employee a note demanding money at about 11 a.m.

Officers responded to the bank in the 400 block of Northwest Gilman Boulevard moments later, but could not locate the man.

The employee described the man to police as a white man in his 30s, 6 feet, 2 inches tall and 200 pounds. Police said he wore a beige hooded coat, jeans and a dark colored baseball cap, and carried a motorcycle helmet.

The suspect used dark clothing to conceal the lower portion of his face.

The suspect fled eastbound from the bank.

The case is under investigation by the Issaquah Police Department and the FBI.

City approves permit for medical marijuana collective

March 23, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. March 23, 2012

The long process to establish a medical marijuana collective garden — and city rules for such operations — reached a milestone Friday, as planners approved a permit for GreenLink Collective to open along Northwest Gilman Boulevard.

The facility in a commercial building at 160 N.W. Gilman Blvd. is proposed as a place to process and deliver medical marijuana to qualified patients, offer classes and information, and sell supplies for people to produce and consume marijuana under a framework established by state law. GreenLink does not intend to grow marijuana in the space.

State law allows up to 10 qualifying patients to join together and form a collective garden of up to 45 plants, so long as the marijuana is not visible from public spaces.

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Lakeside Center for Autism uses technology as treatment tool

March 20, 2012

Dan Stachelski, CEO, director and a speech-language pathologist at Lakeside Center for Autism, stands at a mosaic of jigsaw puzzle pieces made by some of the youngsters in art class who attend the school. By Greg Farrar

The hustle and bustle at Lakeside Center for Autism is intentional.

Tucked in rooms outfitted in technology both tried-and-true and cutting-edge, children and therapists spend hours each day to overcome the obstacles put in place by autism. The commotion and laughter emanating from behind the closed doors come as signs of success.

Lakeside Center for Autism uses the popular Microsoft Kinect system and other tools to treat the complicated neural development disorder.

“It’s all about participation,” company CEO, president and founder Dan Stachelski said. “Technology can do that.”

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Historic Issaquah trolley car departs for restoration in Iowa

March 13, 2012

Don McWhirter, with the Issaquah Valley Trolley Project, lops overgrown brambles at the railroad track beside the Darigold plant so the trolley could be moved March 12 onto a tractor-trailer for the trip to Iowa for restoration. By Greg Farrar

The historic trolley car on display at the Issaquah Train Depot departed the station March 12, as the long-planned effort to restore and run the car in downtown Issaquah inched ahead.

The 87-year-old Lisbon No. 519 trolley car left for Ida Grove, Iowa, and the Gomaco Trolley Co. — a trolley car manufacturer and restorer. If the restoration plan unfolds as scheduled, the trolley should return to Issaquah in September.

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Prosecutors: Preston man masturbated at coffee stand

February 14, 2012

Prosecutors said a 31-year-old man attempted to break into a Northwest Gilman Boulevard coffee stand and then masturbated outside as terrified employees called police.

Preston resident Samuel K. McDonough faces a felony indecent exposure charge for the Feb. 2 incident. Police also arrested McDonough for indecent exposure in 2006, 2008 and last year.

Prosecutors said the latest incident occurred at about 8:30 a.m. at the BigFoot Java stand, 736 N.W. Gilman Blvd. The two female employees said McDonough purchased a drink and then asked to use the restroom inside the drive-thru coffee stand, court documents state.

The women refused to allow the man to enter. Then, he sat outside and started blowing kisses at the employees.

McDonough then sat outside the stand and started masturbating, court documents continue. Prosecutors said one employee noticed the man sitting on a chair outside and staring inside the stand during the incident.

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Small Saffron Deli delivers on big Southeast Asian flavors

January 31, 2012

A sign in front of the Saffron Deli announces “Southeast Asian fusion” cuisine.

Inside the eatery, the hostess said her menu is straight from Laos. It includes some dishes with which you are probably familiar, such as beef or chicken pho, but also some possibly more adventurous choices, such as Hainan chicken or Gau Lau beef soup.

The two visitors in question here played it safe with a vegetable soup and chicken pho, but were impressed with the flavor of each, enough that trying some of the other offerings at some point in the future is definitely not out of the question.

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Ordinance faces test as marijuana collective applies for license

January 24, 2012

In the initial test for a landmark medical marijuana ordinance enacted last month, a patient-run collective at the center of discussions about changes to city rules applied for licenses to operate.

The application from the nonprofit medical marijuana operation, GreenLink Collective, came after planners, officials and residents crafted a medical marijuana ordinance designed to balance public safety concerns and patients’ access to the drug.

GreenLink organizers applied to occupy units E, F and G in a commercial building at 160 N.W. Gilman Blvd. The organization does not intend to grow marijuana in the space. GreenLink founders Jake and Lydia George applied for the license on behalf of the organization Dec. 19, the day the ordinance took effect.

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Signal comes online along Interstate 90 Undercrossing

January 24, 2012

Crews installed a traffic signal to facilitate access to the almost-completed Issaquah Medical Building.

The complex, 1301 Fourth Ave. N.W., is along the Interstate 90 Undercrossing. The building is due to open to the public next month.

Pedestrians using the Pickering Trail can use a button to activate the signal for safer crossings.

The undercrossing is a north-south road linking Northwest Gilman Boulevard to East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. Officials opened the connector to traffic in late 2010.

Deadline looms to remove campaign signs

November 8, 2011

Relief is in sight for local motorists and residents tired of seeing signs for City Council, Issaquah School Board and other political candidates.

Though the ballot count continues, Election Day is done, and the deadline to yank political signs from along state highways and city streets looms.

Under state law, property owners must remove temporary political signs visible from state highways by Nov. 18 — or 10 days after the election.

Issaquah rules call for campaign signs to be removed by Nov. 15, or within a week after Election Day. City Code Compliance Officer Michele Forkner starts to round up rogue signs after the deadline passes.

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Issaquah Starbucks is only suburban store to offer beer, wine

October 18, 2011

Libations from Oregon and Washington breweries and vineyards command attention from the counter at Starbucks, as unmistakable as the coffee mugs and roasted beans elsewhere in the store.

Rick Hartwigsen (left), from Dallas, and Lauren Forsythe, of Kirkland, drink wine at Starbucks in the Meadows Shopping Center on Northwest Gilman Boulevard. By Greg Farrar

The redesigned and renovated Starbucks at the Meadows complex along Northwest Gilman Boulevard represents the latest step in a bold experiment to expand menu offerings — and the bottom line — by offering beer and wine alongside cappuccinos and lattes.

The store is among a handful in the United States — and the only Starbucks outside of Seattle and Portland, Ore. — to offer beer and wine. If the experiment in a suburban market is successful, the concept could expand to other cities.

The store started offering alcohol in afternoons and evenings late last month, after a monthslong project to remake the space.

The changes start at the menu and continue throughout the store. The salvaged floor from a high school gymnasium is repurposed as a tabletop. The most prominent art piece is salmon-inspired, and neutral tones dominate.

Other touches nod to changes in customer behavior. The store includes more electrical outlets than before to accommodate customers’ laptop computers and other gadgets.

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