Hikers map future of mountaineering

August 2, 2011

Janet Wall searches in Issaquah’s Berntsen Park for invasive plants that she can electronically mark. Photo by Tim Pfarr

“Are we there yet? How much farther?”

If you’ve gone hiking with a child, you have surely heard these migraine-inducing questions thousands of times. As you take left and right turns up a mountainside, there is often no good answer to give the tired youngster.

After all, how much farther is it to the top? Where in the world are you on that map you brought?

If only you had a map created with GPS data. Every twist and turn on the trail would be recorded with surgical precision.

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City plants trees for Arbor Day, honors top environmentalists

April 26, 2011

Issaquah leaders gathered on a less-than-springlike day April 16 to observe Arbor Day and plant a grove to honor Ruth Kees and the community’s other top environmentalists.

Like the top environmental honor in the city, the grove is named for the late Kees. The bespectacled environmentalist fought for decades to protect Issaquah Creek, Tiger Mountain and the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer from development-related threats.

The grove is set amid hundreds of other saplings in city parkland along Issaquah Creek.

Former Councilman David Kappler plants a tree at the Ruth Kees Grove on April 16. By Margaret Macleod

Former Councilman David Kappler, plus environmentalists, Joanna Buehler, Ken Konigsmark and Janet Wall — all past Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community recipients — participated in the planting. Overall, about 20 people joined Mayor Ava Frisinger and the honorees for the ceremony.

Together, city leaders and residents planted conifers to symbolize the 10 Ruth Kees award recipients on a gray morning at Squak Valley Park North south of downtown Issaquah.

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City celebrates Arbor Day at Ruth Kees Grove planting

April 20, 2011

Volunteers gather along Issaquah Creek on April 16 to observe Arbor Day. By Margaret Macleod

NEW — 4 p.m. April 20, 2011

Issaquah leaders gathered on a less-than-springlike day April 16 to observe Arbor Day and plant a grove to honor Ruth Kees and the community’s other top environmentalists.

Like the top environmental honor in the city, the grove is named for the late Kees. The bespectacled environmentalist fought for decades to protect Issaquah Creek, Tiger Mountain and the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer from development-related threats.

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Join city leaders to plant Ruth Kees Grove

April 12, 2011

Ruth Kees

Help city and state leaders dedicate the Ruth Kees Grove, and commemorate Arbor Day and the 20th anniversary of the state Department of Natural Resource Urban Forestry Program, at Squak Valley Park South.

Join city officials April 16 to plant 10 native conifers to honor the 10 recipients of the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community. The city has invited past recipients to the celebration.

Plans also call for the grove to include a trail, decorative rock features and a small patio or courtyard, featuring recipients’ names engraved on paver stones.

Past recipients received the honor for efforts to establish the Mountains to Sound Greenway, blaze trails in the Issaquah Alps and protect Issaquah waterways.

Ruth Kees, a longtime environmental activist, fought for decades to protect Issaquah Creek, Tiger Mountain and the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer. The award namesake received the inaugural honor in 2003.

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City offers another honor to former councilwoman

March 23, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. March 23, 2011

Former Councilwoman Maureen McCarry received double honors Monday, as she accepted a major honor and the city proclaimed the day as Maureen McCarry Day.

Mayor Ava Frisinger and Swedish Medical Center issued the proclamation for McCarry’s efforts to bring a hospital campus to the Issaquah Highlands. The hospital is scheduled to open in July.

The proclamation called on residents to thank McCarry for service to the community.

The mayor announced the proclamation Monday after McCarry received the top environmental honor in Issaquah, the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community.

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Maureen McCarry receives city’s top environmental award

March 22, 2011

Maureen McCarry smiles March 21 as her husband Tom Knollmann and the City Hall audience applaud her for receiving the Ruth Kees Environmental Award. By Greg Farrar

The latest recipient of the top environmental honor in Issaquah acted as a guiding force — in public and behind the scenes — in the long-running effort to shape neighborhoods and preserve undeveloped land.

Leaders elevated Maureen McCarry into the pantheon alongside other important conservation activists, and bestowed the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community on the former councilwoman at a City Hall ceremony March 21.

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Maureen McCarry receives city’s top environmental honor

March 21, 2011

NEW — 8 p.m. March 21, 2011

The latest recipient of the top environmental honor in Issaquah acted as a guiding force — in public and behind the scenes — in the long-running effort to shape neighborhoods and preserve undeveloped land.

Leaders elevated Maureen McCarry into the pantheon alongside other important conservation activists, and bestowed the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community on the former councilwoman at a City Hall ceremony Monday night.

Mayor Ava Frisinger cited the countless hours McCarry contributed to forge agreements outlining construction in the Issaquah Highlands and Talus, preserve forested Park Pointe near Issaquah High School and strengthen tree-protection rules.

The mayor and Council President John Traeger selected McCarry for the honor after receiving numerous nominations for the former councilwoman, a Squak Mountain resident.

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Nominate environmentalists for Ruth Kees award

January 25, 2011

Nominate environmentalists for the top city eco-honor — the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community.

The annual award recognizes people for a record of outstanding commitment to natural resource preservation. Kees, a teacher, mentor and role model, advocated open space preservation and environmental protection.

The application is available on the municipal website. Submit nominations until 5 p.m. Feb. 25.

Then, a committee reviews nominees and recommends a group of finalists to Mayor Ava Frisinger and City Council President John Traeger for selection.

The award is usually presented at a spring or summer council meeting.

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Nominate Issaquah environmentalists for top ‘green’ honor

January 21, 2011

NEW — 4 p.m. Jan. 21, 2011

Nominate environmentalists for the top city eco-honor — the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community.

The annual award recognizes people for a record of outstanding commitment to natural resource preservation. Kees, a teacher, mentor and role model, advocated open space preservation and environmental protection.

The city put out a call for applications Friday. Submit nominations until 5 p.m. Feb. 25.

Then, a committee reviews nominees and recommends a group of finalists to Mayor Ava Frisinger and City Council President John Traeger for selection.

The award is usually presented at a spring or summer council meeting.

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Greenway pioneer receives top environmental honor

July 13, 2010

Mountains to Sound Greenway pioneer Ted Thomsen — “the unsung hero” behind the 101-mile greenbelt — received the highest environmental honor in Issaquah in a City Hall ceremony last week.

The late Thomsen received the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community — the prize named for the late environmentalist, a tireless advocate for open space preservation. The city selected Thomsen for the yearslong effort to establish a billboard-free greenbelt from Seattle to Central Washington along Interstate 90.

Cynthia Welti, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust executive director, nominated Thomsen for the honor.

“He was essential to bringing the greenway vision to fruition,” she recalled in the nomination. “Ted is the unsung hero of the launch of this tremendous coalition effort.”

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