Northern Lights and the 40-year-old virgin

July 15, 2014

The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,

But the queerest they ever did see

Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge

I cremated Sam McGee.

                     — Robert Service


I was the only one in the Providence Point pool that morning. There had been an exercise class, but it had cleared out. Large glass windows dominate one end of the pool and the sun was beginning its trek across the morning sky.

While floating on my back, I looked at the ceiling, only to be surprised by streaks of dancing light weaving and bobbing about. The sun was being reflected off the undulating water.

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Double diamonds

July 2, 2013

Couple celebrates 75 years together

Willard and Jane Williams, in a 2013 photo, will celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary in August. Contributed

Willard and Jane Williams, in a 2013 photo, will celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary in August.

The number 98 surrounds the daily lives of Providence Point residents Willard and Jane Williams.

Willard celebrated his 98th birthday in September last year, while Jane turned 98 in April. Their beloved cocker spaniel, Maggie, is 98 years old, too, but that’s in dog years.

The couple will celebrate a more meaningful number, 75, on Aug. 19, the date of their 75th wedding anniversary.

“Married to the same man all those years, I don’t know how I stood it,” Jane said with a grin on her face.

Sitting in their Providence Point home, with their loyal dog Maggie resting at their feet, Willard and Jane reminisced about their years together.

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Sammamish wants Issaquah to contribute more for plateau fire stations

August 21, 2012

Issaquah could pay a larger share to keep Eastside Fire & Rescue stable, after officials in neighboring Sammamish asked for other partners to contribute more to correct perceived inequity in funding Sammamish Plateau fire stations.

Mark Mullet

The stations in question receive large portions of funding from Sammamish, but most incidents handled by crews at the stations occur in Issaquah.

Sammamish City Manager Ben Yazici met with representatives from Issaquah and Fire District 10 in recent weeks to discuss potential solutions to the funding issue.

(Fire District 10 is the EFR partner serving residents in Klahanie, May Valley, Mirrormont, Preston and Tiger Mountain in the Issaquah area, plus Carnation in rural King County.)

The discussion is centered on funding for Station 83, at 3425 Issaquah-Pine Lake Road S.E., and Station 81, at 2030 212th Ave. S.E.

Issaquah-headquartered EFR determines the bill for partners based on the assessed value of property in each city or district.

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More drivers needed to take local seniors to medical appointments

July 3, 2012

Issaquah resident Catherine Swadley, 88, had open-heart surgery in November. As part of her recovery, she was advised to undergo physical therapy three times a week for three months, in Kirkland.

The problem: She wasn’t allowed to drive, let alone open heavy car doors.

“So I called Senior Services and they said they could provide drivers for me,” Swadley said.

These are not ordinary drivers, but rather volunteers who spend their time and gas contributing to the common good. Senior Services asks for small compensation (Swadley said she paid $6 each time), which goes to the nonprofit organization.

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City considers overseeing water, sewer service for all Issaquah residents

June 26, 2012

City and Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District officials could end up at loggerheads as the city embarks on a study to assume water and sewer service for the portion of district customers inside Issaquah city limits.

Issaquah officials budgeted $300,000 to study expanded utility service for the entire city. State law encourages municipalities to assume utility services in neighborhoods located inside city limits.

City officials said such a changeover could reduce confusion among customers and enable municipal government to better manage the water and sewer system inside city limits.

Such a change could lead to a showdown between the city and the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, because the district is bound to shed hundreds of ratepayers if the city expands water and sewer service to all Issaquah residents.

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Issaquah man established fuel stations in the South Pacific during World War II

May 22, 2012

When William Bentz enlisted in the U.S. Army in July 1943 to serve in history’s most widespread world war, modern technological communication did not yet exist.

William Bentz, a 92-year-old World War II veteran, holds a collection of materials he obtained while visiting the rededication of the National WWII Memorial in May 2004 in Washington, D.C. By Christina Lords

That meant no cellphones, no Skype, no email.

What he and his wife Onadee did have, however, was V-Mail. Short for Victory Mail, the hybrid mail system used by Americans in World War II to securely correspond with soldiers stationed abroad.

“I wrote what they call V letters,” he said. “During the war times, instead of having your 8.5 by 10 legal paper, they reduced them down … those days you couldn’t run to the computer to get it across and I was certainly too far away to yell.”

William Bentz reported for active duty at Fort Lewis before taking on firefighting training at a WWII U.S. Army camp called Camp Claiborne in Louisiana.

Bentz opted to be what was called service personnel instead of in the infantry because he had a wife and infant at home.

It took 25 days via naval ship to get to his first long-term destination during the war — New Guinea.

“A lot of people don’t think about it, but there were 2,500 to 3,000 troops up there, but they zigzagged going across the Pacific because of submarines,” he said regarding a maneuver that was supposed to make ships harder targets to hit. “Coming home was a different story, of course.”

After spending seven months in New Guinea, he served in the 781st Engineer Petroleum Distribution Company on Leyte Island in the Philippines.

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Learn to grow more than vegetables in community gardens

April 17, 2012

Starting a community garden can lead to abundant beans, kale and squash all summer long — not to mention a closer bond among neighbors.

Still, despite the ample — and tasty — payoff, establishing and maintaining a community garden is not as simple as Miracle-Gro. The process requires a dedicated team, green thumbs aplenty and a lot of elbow grease.

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Some Issaquah customers could pay more for water, sewer

March 27, 2012

Overhauling the rate structure for the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District could help stabilize the revenues from year to year at the expense of lowering the financial incentive for water conservation.

The revised rate structure could mean a 17.1 percent hike for sewer service and 8.6 percent increase in the cost of water for the average single-family home. The increased rates could help make up a more than $2.3 million deficit in the district budget.

The district is investing in updated pipes, pumps and other infrastructure to accommodate growth, but revenue is falling due to lower water consumption by customers.

The average home in the district uses about 1,400 cubic feet of water in a two-month period and could pay a water bill of $68.98 under the overhauled rate structure — up from $63.50 under current rates. The rise in sewer could be more drastic, from $42.96 every two months for the average homeowner to $50.34 for the same period.

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Republicans gather for grassroots caucuses

March 6, 2012

Mitt Romney emerges as top choice among local participants

Republicans clustered at community halls and elementary schools in Issaquah and nearby communities March 3, as a long presidential nominating contest offered local caucusgoers a chance to shape the national contest.

Issaquah caucusgoers headed to Discovery and Issaquah Valley elementary schools, and Colin Hall at Providence Point, to support the GOP candidates vying to face President Barack Obama in November.

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Local Republicans gather for caucuses amid strong turnout

March 3, 2012

Terry LaBrue, a precinct committee officer and Issaquah political consultant, announces results for the Brookshire precinct Saturday at Discovery Elementary School. By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 3:15 p.m. March 3, 2012

Republicans clustered at community halls and elementary schools in Issaquah and nearby communities Saturday, as a long presidential nominating contest offered local caucusgoers a chance to shape the national contest.

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