Trader Joe’s opens at Issaquah Commons

November 20, 2012

Trader Joe’s reopened Nov. 14 in a location large enough for the California-based grocer to offer spirits under the state’s revised liquor laws.

The grocer relocated to 975 N.W. Gilman Blvd. from a smaller space at Pickering Place, and renovated 11,000 square feet at the Issaquah Commons for the store.

Trader Joe’s carries domestic and imported foods and beverages, in addition to basics, such as eggs and milk.

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Paraglider pilot plummets to death near Squak Mountain

August 9, 2011

A paraglider pilot plunged to his death Aug. 7 as he attempted to land in a pasture near Issaquah.

Renton resident Kenneth Blanchard, 53, completed hundreds of paraglider flights before the deadly accident.

Seattle Paragliding owner Marc Chirico said Blanchard launched from Poo Poo Point on Tiger Mountain a couple of hours earlier and planned to land near his home on a “postage stamp of a landing field” in a pasture.

Chirico said Blanchard completed about 300 flights before the accident.

The accident occurred at about 7 p.m. in the 12300 block of 202nd Place Southeast, near the intended landing site. Blanchard plummeted to the ground in the High Valley area southwest of Squak Mountain State Park, about three miles from the usual paraglider landing site along Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast.

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20 reasons to ♥ Issaquah

July 2, 2011

The spectacular landscape is a reason to love Issaquah. By Connor Lee

Discover 20 reasons to love Issaquah, from the highest Tiger Mountain peak to the Lake Sammamish shoreline, and much more in between. The community includes icons and traits not found anywhere else, all in a postcard-perfect setting. The unique qualities — Issa-qualities? — start at the city’s name and extend into every nook and neighborhood. (The lineup is not arranged in a particular order, because ranking the city’s pre-eminent qualities seems so unfair.)

Salmon Days

The annual salmon-centric celebration is stitched into the city’s fabric. Salmon Days serves as a last hurrah before autumn, a touchstone for old-timers and a magnet for tourists. The street fair consistently ranks among the top destinations in the Evergreen State and, for a time last year, as the best festival on earth — in the $250,000-to-$749,000 budget category, anyway.

Issaquah Alps

The majestic title for the forested peaks surrounding the city, the Issaquah Alps, is a catchall term for Cougar, Squak and Tiger mountains. (Credit the late mountaineer and conservationist Harvey Manning for the sobriquet.) The setting is a playground for outdoors enthusiasts. Trails — some official and others less so — for hikers, bikers and equestrians crisscross the mountains, like haphazard tic-tac-toe patterns.

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Excuse me? Uncover fertile dirt behind Poo Poo Point’s name

July 2, 2011

The collection at the Issaquah Train Depot includes a steam donkey. File

The poo poo referenced in Poo Poo Point is not destined for the bathroom.

Instead, the designation for a ridge on Tiger Mountain nods to logging.

Loggers used a winch called a steam donkey to haul logs through Tiger Mountain forests to a loading point.

“There was a steam whistle set up that they would blow before they started pulling these logs through the forest at high speed, which was dangerous,” Issaquah History Museums Executive Director Erica Maniez said.

The high-pitched whistle on the steam donkey emitted a “poo poo” sound.

(The history museums’ collection includes a steam donkey parked outside the restored Issaquah Train Depot.)

Maniez said Poo Poo Point is a contemporary designation. The late William Longwell Jr., a longtime Issaquah Alps Trails Club member, described the tale behind Poo Poo Point in a guide to Tiger Mountain trails.

Still, uttering “Poo Poo Point” prompts giggles from outsiders and recent transplants.

Man rescued after Tiger Mountain paragliding accident

June 14, 2011

Rescuers came to the aid of a man after a paragliding accident on Tiger Mountain on a sunny afternoon June 12.

The man, reportedly about 50 years old, had been on the west side of the mountain when he sustained injuries after colliding with a tree about one-quarter of a mile down Poo Poo Trail. He did not suffer life-threatening injuries and he remained conscious as rescuers transported him from the mountain.

The incident started at about 1:35 p.m. after the man slammed into a tree. Rescuers reached him about 30 minutes later and then plucked him from the mountain on a stretcher. Medics transported him to Virginia Mason Medical Center for additional treatment.

Crews from the King County Sheriff’s Office and Eastside Fire & Rescue aided the man.

Rescuers aid man after Tiger Mountain paragliding accident

June 12, 2011

NEW — 2:50 p.m. June 12, 2011

Rescuers came to the aid of a man after a paragliding accident on Tiger Mountain on Sunday afternoon.

The man had been on the west side of the mountain when he sustained injuries after colliding with a tree. He did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

The incident started at about 2 p.m. after the man slammed into a tree. Rescuers reached him about 30 minutes later and then plucked him from the mountain on a stretcher. Medics intend to transport him to a hospital for additional treatment.

Crews from the King County Sheriff’s Office and Eastside Fire & Rescue aided the man.

Off the Press

March 1, 2011

Issaquah attractions are worthy of bucket list

I’ve worked here at The Issaquah Press for over a decade now, covering different aspects of one of the state’s fastest growing towns.

David Hayes Press Reporter

I’ve patrolled the schools beat, sat in on City Council meetings when the city reporter was out of town, and roamed the sidelines at sporting events when Bob Taylor, our sports editor, couldn’t be everywhere at once.

Seeing so many sides of Issaquah, it has really grown on me over the years. How could it not, with so much to do and see, and with such interesting people waiting to tell their tale?

And that’s the problem. As I move further into my second decade covering Issaquah, I’ve realized there is still so much I haven’t done.

As “bucket lists” — where you make up a list of things to do before you die — have become all the rage, consider this my list of righting all the missed opportunities I’ve incurred since living and working in Issaquah.

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Locals hit trails in annual Hike-a-Thon

July 27, 2010

The only thing better than hiking for exercise is hiking for a worthy cause.

Two local women are participating in the seventh annual Hike-a-Thon, a monthlong benefit put on by the Washington Trails Association each year.

Each registered hiker collects donations and sponsorships for the association throughout July and then, beginning Aug. 1, spends the entire month hiking Washington’s beautiful trails.

Every dollar collected goes toward the maintenance of local trails, as well as creating new trails across the state.

About 60 hikers have registered thus far, including Helen Owen, of Issaquah, and Rosie Sgrosso, of Newcastle.

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Trail safety encouraged after attack on hiker

May 11, 2010

Linda Vanderwall hikes challenging Poo Poo Point Trail on Tiger Mountain several times each week and sometimes she makes the steep trek alone.

Vanderwall became more cautious after the April 24 attack on a Seattle woman working on Tiger Mountain Trail, but she refused to alter her routine. Instead, she started toting a mobile phone during hikes after the attack.

“I’m not going to be forced to curtail my exercise because of some guy,” she said last week.

Instead, she hopes to bring together other hikers — especially women — to hike Tiger Mountain without worry.

The woman in the attack said a man dressed in running gear and armed with a stun gun shocked her with the device and pushed her to the ground at about 10:40 a.m. on a Saturday morning — a time when the trail draws weekend hikers and runners.

The woman — part of a state work crew — fought her attacker, escaped and reported the incident. Police continue to search for the suspect.

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Rescuers pluck crashed paraglider from trees

July 21, 2009


A Whidbey Island Naval Air Station helicopter retrieves a rescuer from Tiger Mountain after airlifting a crashed paraglider June 14. By Greg Farrar

A Whidbey Island Naval Air Station helicopter retrieves a rescuer from Tiger Mountain after airlifting a crashed paraglider June 14. By Greg Farrar

A paraglider pilot crashed into trees on Tiger Mountain Tuesday afternoon, ending his otherwise uneventful flight with broken ribs. Crews freed the trapped pilot from trees during a dramatic rescue as afternoon turned to evening.

Authorities identified the pilot as 47-year-old Spanaway resident Gene Beaver.

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