Off the Press

July 12, 2011

Slugs ooze to finish at slimy sprint

Laura Geggel Press reporter

I found the slug underneath a garden pot housing a lemon-scented geranium. The slimy hermaphrodite didn’t stand a chance. I scooped it up in a Tupperware container filled with damp leaves and dirt, and left it outside on my porch where it would stay cool during the night.

The next day, I brought it to Issaquah’s annual Down Home Fourth of July slug race. Jenna Powell, an 11-year-old from Tennessee who was visiting her Sammamish cousin, crowded around the racetrack with the other children, trying to get a better view of the slugs.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” she said. “I’ve seen duck, frog and turtle races, but not a slug race.”

Before the competition, children presented their gastropod mollusks for the traditional beauty pageant — several slugs wore paper crowns and conical princess hats (all were winners, Salmon Days Festival organizer and slug race referee Robin Kelley said).

It was a hot day to race, let alone to be a slug, but all eight of them revved up their slime machines the moment they were placed on the circular racetrack.

The first slug to reach the outer circle of the target sign won, and that honor fell on Slimy, a leopard slug uncovered by Clark Elementary School student Hannah Prouty, who went slug hunting by her playhouse.

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José Enciso, drive-in proprietor, receives top honor

May 24, 2011

José Enciso Sr., longtime Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in proprietor, received dual awards May 17, including the community’s highest honor.

José Enciso, owner of the Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in, smiles while audience members applaud as he is inducted into the Issaquah Hall of Fame during the annual Issaquah Community Awards banquet. By Greg Farrar

The city inducted Enciso into the Issaquah Hall of Fame during the 32nd annual Community Awards Luncheon. The man serving behemoth burgers and enormous root beer floats along Northeast Gilman Boulevard also received the Business Person of the Year honor.

Enciso said he was told about being nominated for Business Person of the Year, and that was why he had to attend the luncheon. But the Hall of Fame honor surprised him.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “It was great.”

Enciso joins a diverse and rarified group in the Issaquah Hall of Fame. Past inductees include environmentalist Ruth Kees, Salmon Days Festival organizer Robin Kelley and, last year, retired City Administrator Leon Kos.

Enciso bought the iconic drive-in more than a decade ago. Nowadays, the restaurant is a mecca for spring and summer car shows.

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce leaders also named Tom Sessions as Citizen of the Year, another leading honor. Councilman Fred Butler received the Volunteer of the Year honor.

The lunchtime ceremony at the Holiday Inn attracted a who’s who of Issaquah — City Council members, Issaquah School District administrators, business leaders and community activists.

José Enciso, drive-in proprietor, receives top community honor

May 19, 2011

José Enciso, owner of the Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in, smiles as audience members applaud as he is inducted into the Issaquah Hall of Fame during the annual Issaquah Community Awards. By Greg Farrar

NEW — 12:30 p.m. May 19, 2011

José Enciso Sr., longtime Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in proprietor, received dual awards Tuesday, including the community’s highest honor.

The city inducted Enciso into the Issaquah Hall of Fame during the 32nd annual Community Awards Luncheon. The man serving behemoth burgers and enormous root beer floats along Northeast Gilman Boulevard also received the Business Person of the Year honor.

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Salmon Days unveils ‘wild’ festival theme

April 19, 2011

The venerable Salmon Days Festival turns 42 in October, but the long-running festival is anything but tame in middle age.

Organizers picked the theme “Wild Things!” for the upcoming festival to celebrate the return of kings, reds, silvers and chums — the kind of salmon lingo preferred by organizers of the fish-centric festival.

2011 Salmon Days Festival theme

Like she has for the past 17 festivals, Issaquah designer Robin Dale Spicer created the logo.

Robin Kelley, festivals director at the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce and the chief Salmon Days organizer, described the “Wild Things!” theme as “exciting and fun, with whimsical characters that embrace all aspects of the community we serve.”

Organizers planned to announce the theme at a chamber function April 19.

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Downturn limits city dollars for tourism promotion

November 16, 2010

City leaders plan to use limited tourism dollars to help Village Theatre reach a broader audience, promote the Salmon Days Festival throughout the state and defray costs for the Fenders on Front Street car show.

The city Lodging Tax Advisory Committee has recommended $95,000 for a half-dozen projects. The bulk — $68,000 — has been earmarked for the Visitor Information Center operated by the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce. Read more

Issaquah’s ready for Downhome Fourth of July

June 29, 2010

Longtime Issaquah residents have always enjoyed the low-key, family friendly Downhome Fourth of July and Heritage Day event.

To start the day off, the Kids, Pets ‘N Pride Parade will begin at 11 a.m. starting at Rainier Avenue and Northwest Dogwood Street. Kids can decorate their bikes, wagons, pets or anything else they can think of in patriotic attire and be in the parade, which will end at Veteran’s Memorial Field, according to Robin Kelley, director of festivals.

Veterans’ Memorial Field will host a number of events throughout the day, including a pie-eating contest. It is unknown what kind of pie will be eaten.

“Our goal is that it’s something that is colorful and especially messy,” Kelley said. “Parents and kids sometimes compete against each other.”

Something that has been absent in the past few years from the city’s Fourth of July celebration has been the slug speed race and beauty pageant. The event was brought back this year because of the wet spring that has not been present the past few years.

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Salmon Days team releases 2010 theme, logo

April 27, 2010

Salmon Days Festival organizers adore puns, and the theme for the 2010 nods to dry land with a bit of wordplay: “Something up our leaves!”

The team behind the four-decade-old festival unveiled the theme April 23. The wordplay and accompanying logo — rendered in earthy greens and eye-popping reds — will appear on festival signs, artwork and merchandise.

Salmon Days returns for its 41st year Oct. 2-3.

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Festival organizers unveil Salmon Days theme

April 23, 2010

NEW — 6:43 p.m. April 23, 2010

Salmon Days Festival organizers adore puns, and the theme for the 2010 event nods to dry land with a bit of wordplay: “Something up our leaves!”

The team behind the four-decade-old festival unveiled the theme Friday. The wordplay and accompanying logo — rendered in earthy greens and eye-popping reds — will appear on festival signs, artwork and merchandise.

Salmon Days returns for a 41st year Oct. 2-3.

Like she has for the past 16 festivals, Issaquah designer Robin Dale Spicer created theme and logo.

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Salmon Days named top festival in Washington

March 16, 2010

For the second consecutive year, the Salmon Days Festival reeled in — pardon the puns — a boatload of awards, including the top festival honor in the state, event organizers announced last week. Read more

Top 10 news stories of 2009

December 29, 2009

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Sisters Jennifer Davies, Julianne Long and Mindy Heintz (from left) retrieve belongings Jan. 8 from the toppled guesthouse at the home of their parents, Jack and Karen Brooks, beside Issaquah Creek in the 23300 block of Southeast May Valley Road. — By Greg Farrar

Growth slowed and the economy cooled throughout 2009. The watershed moments in Issaquah hinged on expansion and recession. Leaders broke ground for a major new employer, even while other businesses left town for good.

Issaquah began the first decade of a new century as a fast-growing city, a title the city held for years. As 2009 reached a close, however, officials pared the size of government to face the new economic reality.

From January floods to record July heat and brutal December cold, 2009 was jam-packed, but the year was never dull.

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