Issaquah couple celebrates a lifetime together

September 20, 2011

Marv and Lucille mark 68 years of marriage

Lucille and Marv Lemke keep the love bright for each other as they recall highlights of their 68-year marriage. By Greg Farrar

At a fateful wedding in Wisconsin during the early 1940s, Marv Lemke and his parents attended the reception to offer their congratulations to the groom.

Lucille Lueder and her family attended the event to do the same for the bride.

Little did they know that attending that wedding would soon lead to their own.

After decades of traveling across the United States and around the world, being active in the Lutheran church and starting a family, the Issaquah couple will celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary Sept. 22.

But the relationship almost never got off the ground.

After Marv introduced himself at the wedding in Wisconsin, where the Lemkes were raised, he asked if he could drive Lucille home.

She declined.

But as a driver for a Ford tractor distributor, Marv was resourceful and asked around to find out where Lucille lived.

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Marv and Lucille Lemke celebrate anniversary

September 13, 2011

Marv and Lucille Lemke celebrate 68th anniversary

Lucille and Marv Lemke in 1943

Marv and Lucille Lemke, of Issaquah, celebrated their 68th anniversary Sept. 2.

Marv and Lucille both grew up on dairy farms near Milwaukee, Wis., and met at a friend’s wedding reception dance. Marv, smitten by Lucille Lueder, asked if he could drive her home, but she refused. Through a friend, Marv found out where Lucille lived and drove by her family farm the next day, finding her standing at the well pump. He asked her for a Saturday night date, she accepted and they continued seeing each other every Saturday night for the next year.

They married in Thiensville, Wis., on Sept 2,1943.

Marv served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and set foot in Japan on Sept. 2,1945, right after the USS Missouri battleship was in Tokyo Bay for Japan’s signing of the official instrument of surrender.

After his discharge from the Navy in 1945, Marv worked at the Washington State Employment Office, in Seattle, and helped reactivate the Washington National Guard, which was demobilized at the end of the war. He rejoined the Navy in 1948 and worked at Sand Point Naval Air Station until he was transferred in 1966 to the U.S. Navy Reserve Fleet in

Marv and Lucille Lemke in 2011

Bremerton, where he worked for 10 years.

Marv then worked at the Safeway Beverage Plant, in Bellevue, until his retirement 14 years later.

Marv and Lucille have always been very active in the Lutheran church, both serving in many leadership roles. Over the years, they, along with their son Paul, traveled to every state, camping in all of them with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii. They have lived at Providence Point for 26 years.

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Gardeners grow community spirit in pea patches

August 30, 2011

Issaquah-area community gardens offer bounty, camaraderie

Summertime in the Mirrormont Pea Patch resembles a slice of Eden on Tiger Mountain.

Linda Jean Shepherd (above) points to some of the plants growing in a raised garden plot at the Mirrormont Pea Patch. By Greg Farrar

Pathways crisscross the ground among the lush leaves and verdant vines reaching out from bean, potato, tomato and dozens of other plants. Colorful blooms and delicate herbs greet guests at the garden gate.

“It’s about growing food, but it’s also about growing community,” Linda Jean Shepherd, a longtime Mirrormont resident and lead figure in establishing the pea patch, said on a stroll through the garden.

Some plots contain plants in neat rows. The plants in others bend and coil to Mother Nature’s whims.

“It’s so fun to see how people’s personalities are expressed in their gardens,” Shepherd said.

In Mirrormont and elsewhere in the Issaquah area, community gardens continue to sprout on empty lots and unused corners. The pea patches offer opportunities to grow produce, sure, but also a chance to grow community as neighbors join to dig and plant.

Gardeners from the pea patches often donate fresh, and often organic, produce to the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank and other food pantries.

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Issaquah Philharmonic conductor retires baton

August 30, 2011

As Duane Bowen conducted the band at Louisiana State University in the school’s fight song, the cymbal player sneezed and put a gash in his forehead requiring several stitches. Unforgettable moments like that have made maestro Bowen’s career as colorful as it is rich with passion for the art of music.

Duane Bowen holds a commemorative baton given to him by the Issaquah Philharmonic for his service to the group. By Quinn Eddy

At the Issaquah Philharmonic’s final concert of the season June 15 at Faith United Methodist Church, conductor Bowen, 81, announced his retirement from the group. Bowen had been conductor for 12 years.

“I’ve been at it awhile. My hearing isn’t as acute as I would like it to be — the curses of getting old,” Bowen said.

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City planners consider proposal to build subdivision on steep site

July 26, 2011

The city Planning Department could decide soon on a 43-lot subdivision near Providence Point, but the site along Southeast 43rd Way could pose challenges.

Bellevue architect Dennis Riebe proposed the subdivision on 11.97 unoccupied acres along the south side of the street, across from Providence Point and west of the Forest Village neighborhood.

The project proposal includes single-family detached residences and townhouses. The site is zoned for single-family homes on small lots.

The plan also includes proposals for road-frontage improvements and access to Southeast 43rd Way.

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Cardboard keys take beginner musicians way beyond ‘Chopsticks’

July 19, 2011

Issaquah piano teacher Carolyn Carson’s fingers flew across the keyboard, and although she pressed on the keys, her sonata was silent.

Bobbie Anderson, David Hewett, Sally Allen, XiaoLing Yue and Sharon Bestwick (from left), play piano on their cardboard keyboards at Providence Point’s Communiversity. By Carolyn Carson

Instead of teaching on a piano or an electric keyboard, Carson instructs her students on cardboard keyboards.

The Providence Point resident began teaching her neighbors how to play the piano in January through Communiversity. Demand for her classes was so high that she began offering two sessions for her 13 students.

Piano student Sally Bahous Allen hasn’t played the piano since she was a girl in Palestine. At Communiversity, Allen said she likes playing on a cardboard keyboard because she can take it home with her to practice.

“I don’t have a piano at home, which is really devastating,” she said.

During class, Carson tapes her cardboard keyboard to the wall and shows the fingering to her students. The cutout’s keys are the same size as a regular keyboard, so when the time comes, “We are prepared to put our fingers on the piano,” Allen said. “It’s just the same.”

The students take turns playing a real piano, and everyone plays in class recitals on a real instrument.

Teaching piano allows Carson to spread her joy for music. As a child, she would listen to her grandfather, a tailor in New York, sing arias all day. She began taking piano lessons at age 6.

“I was one of those weird kids,” Carson said. “I didn’t mind practicing.”

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Still living the adventure after 70 years

July 5, 2011

Issaquah couple celebrates anniversary milestone

At age 94, Ralph Upton has moved 29 times and has been married to his wife for 70 years.

Mary Upton (left) and her husband Ralph share the story of the early decades of their 70 years together. By Greg Farrar

“I think that my dad is unbelievable, an eternal optimist,” his daughter, Beth Upton said. “He has grit.”

Her mother balances the equation.

“Dad was the extrovert and adventurer, but Mom kept the home fires burning,” Beth said. “She kept things calm and paid attention to the details to make things work.”

Both were born before World War I ended, and their faith and adaptability have propelled them through the years.

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Few candidates face challengers in local races

June 14, 2011

Issaquah residents face a choice in a single City Council race, and a trio of council members appears likely to cruise to election unchallenged.

Challenger TJ Filley entered the race against incumbent Councilman Joshua Schaer on June 10, as the candidate-filing period closed.

Incumbent Councilman Fred Butler, appointed Councilwoman Stacy Goodman and candidate Paul Winterstein did not attract opponents for the other council seats up for election in November.

In the races for the Issaquah School Board, incumbents Brian Deagle and Suzanne Weaver face challengers in the nonpartisan races.

Deagle, a Sammamish resident, has served on the board since October 2006. Challenger Patrick Sansing, a Sammamish resident, is running against Deagle for the Director District No. 3 seat.

Weaver faces Maple Valley resident Joseph Arnaud and Issaquah resident Brian Neville to retain the Director District No. 5 seat. Weaver, a Sammamish resident, has served on the board since January 2007.

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City approves replacing antennae on tower

June 14, 2011

The city has approved AT&T’s application to replace antennae and add equipment to the existing cell tower near Providence Point.

AT&T applied to the city to replace some antennae, as well as add six remote radio heads, a surge protector and cable lines to the 110-foot tall structure. The remote radio heads optimize information being transmitted through the antennae.

The municipal Planning Department received AT&T’s application in late April and approved the application May 27.

The telecommunications giant intends to install the equipment alongside existing wireless equipment. The tower is near the base of a water tank reservoir at 4441 228th Ave. S.E. The existing reservoir and AT&T equipment sit near the southeastern end of the site.

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Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District rates to increase

May 24, 2011

Rates for water and sewer service rise for some Issaquah residents June 1, as the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District confronts a cool economy and increased costs.

The increase amounts to about 13 percent overall — or a $6.74 monthly hike for the average ratepayer.

The district encompasses North Issaquah neighborhoods, including Providence Point, and Klahanie in unincorporated King County. The district is in the process of annexing Issaquah’s Overdale Park neighborhood.

The district’s commissioners approved the rate increase in a 4-1 decision May 23, increasing water rates by 12.7 percent and sewer rates by 13.5 percent — the largest increase the district has made in at least five years.

District General Manager Jay Krauss and Finance Manager Angel Barton cited the down economy, sluggish construction market and increases in the costs of doing business for the 51-employee agency. High gas and electricity prices, as well as employee wages and benefits, also contribute to the rate hike.

Overall, the district serves more than 16,000 customers in Issaquah, Sammamish and unincorporated King County. Beyond the district, Issaquah provides water and sewer service to most city residents, although Bellevue handles the Greenwood Point area along Lake Sammamish.

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