Celebrate an egg-cellent Easter at community events

April 15, 2014

Communities across the world will celebrate Easter on April 20, but Issaquah residents don’t have to go far to enjoy the holiday festivities.

Get a head start on the Easter holiday weekend with the city’s annual Underwater Egg Hunt and Carnival on April 18 at the Julius Boehm Pool, 50 S.E. Clark St.

Attendees should bring a swimsuit, towel and plastic basket to join in on the fun. Prizes are awarded for eggs gathered. While swimmers bob for eggs below, others can enjoy carnival games on the observation deck.

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Mayors Month of Concern drive helps local food bank

September 17, 2013

The Mayors Month of Concern Food Drive for the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank continues until Oct. 12.

The food bank finds itself in dire need after the summer months left its shelves bare.

“Usually, the summer months are our lowest time for donations,” said Cori Walters, Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank executive director. “It’s not common that we run out of mac and cheese.”

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Pastor finds inspiration in unlikely place

February 7, 2012

Tale of forgiveness inspires message of peace, healing in wake of Rwandan genocide

With some photos from his several trips to Rwanda on the wall behind him, Pastor Larry Thomas said he has become very attached to that country and its people. By Tom Corrigan

The message is one of reconciliation and forgiveness, symbolized by a photo on the wall of Larry Thomas’ office in Issaquah’s Our Savior Lutheran Church.

The church’s lead pastor, Thomas has been involved with the Seattle-based Rwanda Partners for five years. He serves on the group’s board of directors and was chairman for three years.

That photo on his wall is of two men, Narcisse Ruhangintwari and Pascal Niyomugabo. During the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Ruhangintwari murdered the other man’s wife and unborn child along with other members of Niyomugabo’s family. After Ruhangintwari was released from prison, Niyomugabo went to visit him. The latter man wanted the other to know he already had been forgiven. According to Thomas, the men are now the best of friends.

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Police roadblocks create traffic headaches

September 27, 2011

Police used roadblocks to slice Issaquah in half in the moments after a gunman abandoned a car along a downtown street and trekked to Clark Elementary School for a fatal shootout.

The rapid police response — from the Issaquah Police Department, King County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol and at least a half-dozen other agencies — left motorists unable to use most of Second Avenue Southeast and a critical stretch of Front Street South for more than seven hours.

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Gypsy moth traps dot area as state hunts for insect invaders

August 30, 2011

Hung from the trunk of at least one tree on Issaquah’s Front Street South near Our Savior Lutheran Church, the bright green traps definitely can grab your attention.

State workers placed the traps, which look somewhat like triangular-shaped boxes, sometime in late July. And the traps are only harmful if you happen to be a gypsy moth, said Mike Louisell, a public information officer with the state Department of Agriculture.

All in all, according to the state, some 20,000 gypsy moth traps went up around Washington in the last month or so. They are a key part of an annual effort to prevent gypsy moths from establishing themselves in Washington. The traps are hung annually in residential areas, as well as business districts and rural stretches.

Louisell said the traps are put up somewhat randomly, that the presence of the traps doesn’t necessarily mean the presence of gypsy moths. Because of its size and some risk factors, King County gets a large number of the traps. Those risk factors include the Port of Seattle, Louisell said. The unwanted moths easily can end up as stowaways aboard incoming ships.

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Spring is no time to break for Whitman volunteers

April 5, 2011

More than 50 students help Pomegranate Center projects around the United States

During spring break, some students go to Cabo San Lucas, while others go skiing at Lake Tahoe and some go home, bumming around and watching TV.

Whitman College students Ngan Huynh (left), Shannon Morrissey, Sarah Adler, Diana Boesch and Jeremy Kotler use acrylic paints to decorate a Tacoma bus shelter with a Milky Way design at Issaquah’s Pomegranate Center. By Laura Geggel

More than 50 students from Whitman College chose to volunteer, heading to places near and far — from Issaquah to New Orleans — helping communities with local projects.

For the second consecutive year, a group of Whitman students drove about 250 miles from Walla Walla to Issaquah to volunteer at the Pomegranate Center, a nonprofit organization that helps communities create public art and community gathering spaces.

The students said volunteering with the Pomegranate Center exposed them to new ideas.

“Volunteering has allowed me to use art to bring people together,” Jeremy Kotler said.

His classmate, Diana Boesch, said it gave her an excuse to expand her world.

“Volunteering, in general, is a great way to get out of your bubble and get into the community and give back,” she said.

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Youth musicians host free handbell concert

March 22, 2011

Imagine taking the keys off of a piano and transforming them into bells. The ring of one would sound like a C note, and the jangle of another would emit an E. Shaking three together would sound like the carillon of a chord.

A youth handbell choir plays its instruments in the 2010 annual handbell conference. This year’s conference is at Pine Lake Covenant Church. Contributed

Hear those sounds when young handbell musicians from across the Pacific Northwest convene at Pine Lake Covenant Church for a conference and concert. The public is invited to a free show at the end of the conference, March 26.

Although handbell groups include all types of musicians, many of the groups at the conference will be from churches. One of them, Issaquah’s Our Savior Lutheran Church, started its handbell group, Memorial Bells, after the death of one of its congregants in 1981.

“It got started by an unfortunate loss in the family,” church and handbell director Alice Lewis said. “They gave an amount that purchased part of the bells that we have now.”

Ringing bells is hard, but rewarding work.

“For the most part, they are hand held and rung with a variety of different techniques,” Lewis said. “You learn how to manipulate them in different ways.”

Emily Waltzer, a seventh-grade student at Maywood Middle School and a member of Memorial Bells, said she is looking forward to the conference, where she will learn new ways to improve her handbell performance.

“I’ve always liked instruments,” she said. “I like the sound of the bells and the techniques of the bells and the ways you play them.”

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Unknown musicians hope their talent will ring a bell

February 15, 2011

Erin Hersey (left) and Alice Lewis pose with a few of the bells used by a bell-ringer choir. By Greg Farrar

The most advanced handbell ringers in the country will gather Feb. 24-27 for Distinctly Bronze West, a four-day event held on the Bremerton waterfront at The Kitsap Conference Center.

More than 90 ringers are selected to participate and two local ringers, Alice Lewis and Erin Hersey, from Our Savior Lutheran Church in Issaquah, have been invited for the third year in a row to attend the challenging event.

“I really enjoy playing handbell music. It’s different than playing an instrument just by yourself, because you’re with a whole group of people and it’s kind of like a team,” Hersey said. “Everyone has their set of bells playing together and it takes a lot of coordination.”

Hersey has been playing handbells for 15 years; she began at Our Savior Lutheran by substituting in Lewis’ choir. Hersey enjoyed ringing so much that she decided to permanently join the choir, and has now been ringing there for the past seven years.

Lewis has been the handbell director at Our Savior Lutheran for 26 years. In that time, she has grown the size of the handbell set at the church from three octaves to five-plus.

Lewis said the creativity is what she most enjoys about ringing handbells.

“There are a lot of different ways of making sounds with the bells, and oftentimes people who have never heard them before are awestruck about what they are hearing,” she said.

While both Lewis and Hersey are seasoned ringers, their acceptance to perform at Distinctly Bronze West is an honor. The first year they applied, they had to rigorously evaluate themselves based on their own experiences and levels of ability in every ringing area. They also had to submit two letters of recommendation, from people who best knew their ringing abilities. They said they are excited to have been invited back for a third year.

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Our Savior Lutheran Church turns 50

November 2, 2010

At the beginning of most services during the past 50 years, organist Vern Lindquist has played a quiet prelude, helping people transition from their busy lives into the serenity of worship at Issaquah’s Our Savior Lutheran Church.

Youngsters and their camp leaders at Our Savior Lutheran Church form a line to return inside after recess and refreshments during vacation Bible school in the 1990s. Contributed

Lindquist played the piano for the first service, Oct. 1, 1960, at the Village Theatre KIDSTAGE, just as he will play the organ at the church’s three-day, 50th-anniversary celebration this weekend, when the church celebrates its past, current and future members.

The first Lutheran church in Issaquah, Our Savior Lutheran moved from the theater a year later, after its members dedicated the first phase of their new church building. The founding pastor, Ernest Collard, circled the rural city and built a congregation of 82 members at a time when the city was less than 4,000 people.

From there, the church grew, and today it has more than 300 families in its congregation.

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Church hosts summer campfire series

July 27, 2010

On hot summer evenings, nothing quite beats a good campfire with plenty of food, fun and singing.

This summer, Our Savior Lutheran Church is putting on the Midweek Community Campfire Series. The campfires are held every Wednesday night at 6 p.m. through Aug. 18 beside the lake at Lake Sammamish State Park.

The church invites all members of the community to join them. There will be hotdogs, s’mores and worship songs at every service.

Associate Pastor Ryan Fletcher said he hopes that the campfires will attract members of the church and nonchurch members alike.

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