Greenway leader receives top environmental honor

July 6, 2010

NEW — 7:50 p.m. July 6, 2010

Mountains to Sound Greenway pioneer Ted Thomsen — “the unsung hero” behind the 101-mile greenbelt — received the highest environmental honor in Issaquah on Tuesday night.

The late Thomsen received the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community — the prize named for 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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Former Councilman David Kappler lauded for environmental record

January 5, 2010

Issaquah claimed about 8,000 residents when David Kappler launched a successful City Council campaign in 1991.

David Kappler

David Kappler

Then, before the seismic shifts brought on by widespread growth, residents talked about still-unrealized plans to build urban villages on Cougar Mountain and Grand Ridge. Costco still maintained corporate headquarters in Kirkland.

Kappler, a tireless advocate for trails and open space preservation, won every election since his ’91 victory. The former councilman, who shaped decisions for almost 20 years, led the push to conserve land and cast crucial votes to shape transportation and public safety in Issaquah and across the Eastside.

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Community honors Harvey Manning at statue unveiling

September 22, 2009


Harvey Manning's statue, dedicated Sept. 20, sits on its permanent rocky perch looking toward Squak Mountain from the corner of Southeast Bush Street at Rainier Boulevard South. By Greg Farrar

Harvey Manning's statue, dedicated Sept. 20, sits on its permanent rocky perch looking toward Squak Mountain from the corner of Southeast Bush Street at Rainier Boulevard South. By Greg Farrar

Harvey Manning, who dubbed the mountains around the city the Issaquah Alps, is now immortalized in bronze at the Issaquah Trails House.

Manning, known as the “Wilderness Warrior,” founded the Issaquah Alps Trails Club and helped establish Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. Manning died at 81 in November 2006.

Elected officials, residents and friends of the late conservationist, more than 100 people in all, turned out Sept. 20 to dedicate the life-sized statue. The artwork depicts Manning in his signature wide-brimmed hat and thick-rimmed glasses seated atop a boulder. The rocks included in the statue installation were hauled from the Manning property. Read more

Council incumbent withdraws

June 16, 2009

By Warren Kagarise
David Kappler announced June 11 he would not seek re-election to the City Council — less than a week after the longtime councilman filed with King County Elections to run for another term. Kappler withdrew his candidacy with the elections office a day before the withdrawal deadline.
As he announced his intention to withdraw, Kappler said he plans to spend more time with his family and take care of his 93-year-old parents in Seattle.
Kappler said his sucessor and other council members would be forced to make tough decisions as city officials grapple with the recession. Officials cut spending by $1.6 million as a result of a $1.5 million shortfall.
Despite the downturn, Kappler said he wants the next council to plan for future transportation projects and complete and implement the Central Issaquah Plan. The document will outline future development and redevelopment on 915 acres around Interstate 90.
“Dealing with the finances is going to be the nitty gritty, but I’d like to see some vision,” he said.
Kappler, first elected to the seven-member council in 1991, is a staunch advocate for environmental preservation and a longtime member of the Issaquah Alps Trails Club. He said his post-council plans include devoting more time to the trails club. In 2006, he received the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community — the city’s top honor for people who take steps to protect natural resources.
Kappler, 60, endorsed political newcomer Tola Marts in the race to succeed him. Marts will face another newcomer, Nathan Perea, in the contest for the Position 7 council seat. Kappler said he plans to campaign for Marts.
Kappler invited Marts and several supporters to his house June 8 to discuss his withdrawal decision. Kappler said some of his supporters urged him to run again, but he cited the time commitment of serving as a councilman.
“They would love to see me on the council, but they realize 18 years is an awfully long time,” he said.
Voters will choose at least two new council members. Newcomer Mark Mullet and Councilwoman Eileen Barber face no opposition in the contests for their respective seats. Mayor Ava Frisinger is also running unopposed for a fourth term.
Candidates running unopposed could still face challenges from write-in candidates. The last day to file for election as a write-in candidate is Aug. 17, a day before the primary election.
The other contested council race will see Council President Maureen McCarry face Joan Probala for the Position 5 seat.
Kappler became the second incumbent to sidestep a re-election bid when he withdrew last week. Councilman John Rittenhouse bowed out in early June. Kappler said he plans to talk with Rittenhouse about what they can accomplish together in their remaining months as councilmen.
Kappler said he plans to ask Rittenhouse, “What things should we think about in terms of getting done?”
Rittenhouse also said the time constraints of serving as a councilman led him to re-evaluate a re-election bid. Mullet is running unopposed for the Position 1 seat held by Rittenhouse. Mullet would be the first Issaquah Highlands resident to serve on the council.
Kappler is best known for his environmental record. He ran for re-election two years ago as an opponent of the proposed Southeast Bypass. He later voted with other bypass opponents last year to kill plans the Tiger Mountain roadway.
Kappler faced criticism after the filing period for the 2007 city election when he filed for a council seat sought by John Traeger. At the last minute, Kappler withdrew his candidacy for the Position 6 seat and filed for another seat. The maneuver left Traeger as the sole candidate for the Position 6 seat. Traeger ascended to the council. Kappler went on to beat Bill Werner to retain a council seat.
Kappler considered stepping down ahead of the 2007 election, “but we didn’t have the right people” as candidates, he said.
He said he plans to complete his council term, which ends Dec. 31. He said he would continue to attend council meetings in his new role as a citizen activist.
“I’ll be there for all of the parks, trails and open space issues,” Kappler said.
Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

David Kappler announced June 11 he would not seek re-election to the City Council — less than a week after the longtime councilman filed with King County Elections to run for another term. Kappler withdrew his candidacy with the elections office a day before the withdrawal deadline.

As he announced his intention to withdraw, Kappler said he plans to spend more time with his family and take care of his 93-year-old parents in Seattle.

David Kappler

David Kappler

Kappler said his sucessor and other council members would be forced to make tough decisions as city officials grapple with the recession. Officials cut spending by $1.6 million as a result of a $1.5 million shortfall.

Despite the downturn, Kappler said he wants the next council to plan for future transportation projects and complete and implement the Central Issaquah Plan. The document will outline future development and redevelopment on 915 acres around Interstate 90.

“Dealing with the finances is going to be the nitty gritty, but I’d like to see some vision,” he said.

Kappler, first elected to the seven-member council in 1991, is a staunch advocate for environmental preservation and a longtime member of the Issaquah Alps Trails Club. He said his post-council plans include devoting more time to the trails club. In 2006, he received the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community — the city’s top honor for people who take steps to protect natural resources.

Kappler, 60, endorsed political newcomer Tola Marts in the race to succeed him. Marts will face another newcomer, Nathan Perea, in the contest for the Position 7 council seat. Kappler said he plans to campaign for Marts. Read more

Issaquah environmentalist Ruth Kees dies

May 12, 2009

Ruth Kees sits with her formidable Rolodex at the dining room and worktable of her Tiger Mountain home, where much of the work done in her 50 years of local environmental activism took shape. By Greg Farrar

Ruth Kees sits with her formidable Rolodex at the dining room and worktable of her Tiger Mountain home, where much of the work done in her 50 years of local environmental activism took shape. By Greg Farrar

Longtime environmental activist Ruth Kees died May 6. She was 84.

Kees was a longtime local advocate for preservation of open space and environmental protection. The city created the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community in her honor. The award recognizes others if they have “demonstrated outstanding commitment to protecting and preserving Issaquah’s natural resources for a sustainable community.”

Issaquah Alps Trails Club co-founder Harvey Manning was honored posthumously with the award May 4. Kees did not attend the ceremony.

Issaquah City Councilman David Kappler said Kees was an amazing person.

“All her work was with so much life and energy to make Issaquah a better place,” said Kappler, who had known Kees since the mid-1970s through his work with the trails club. Read more

Environmental activist Ruth Kees dies

May 7, 2009

NEW — 3:05 p.m. May 7, 2009

Longtime environmental activist Ruth Kees died this morning. She was 84.

Kees was a longtime local advocate for preservation of open space and environmental protection. The city created the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community in her honor. The award recognizes others if they have “demonstrated outstanding commitment to protecting and preserving Issaquah’s natural resources for a sustainable community.”

Issaquah Alps Trails Club co-founder Harvey Manning was honored posthumously with the award Monday night. Kees did not attend the ceremony.

City Councilman David Kappler said Kees was an amazing person.

“All her work was with so much life and energy to make Issaquah a better place,” said Kappler, who had known Kees since the mid-1970s through his work with the trails club.

By Greg Farrar

Ruth Kees in 2004 with her formidable Rolodex at her Tiger Mountain home. By Greg Farrar

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Harvey Manning honored posthumously

May 5, 2009

Harvey Manning

Harvey Manning

Harvey Manning — the late conservationist who coined the term “Issaquah Alps” to describe the peaks surrounding the city — was honored May 4 with a top city environmental award. Manning also helped to establish the Issaquah Alps Trails Club and lobbied officials to preserve Cougar Mountain.

City officials honored his work with the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community, which honors those who take steps to protect natural resources. Officials and trails club members said Manning was a tireless advocate for protecting forests and open space.

His relatives and trails club members were set to accept the award from city officials. Manning died at 81 in November 2006.

In addition to his conservation efforts, Manning was a prolific writer. He wrote several books and guides about hiking trails throughout Washington and the Northwest. Manning is noted for creating the “100 Hikes” series of guidebooks to trails in the Cascades, Olympics and other natural areas. The standard textbook for climbing — “Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills” — also bears his imprint. Manning helped edit the first edition of the book. Read more

Late trails club pioneer Harvey Manning wins top environmental award

May 4, 2009

NEW — 8:01 p.m. May 4, 2009

Harvey Manning — the late conservationist who coined the term “Issaquah Alps” to describe the peaks surrounding the city — was honored tonight with a top city environmental award. Manning also helped to establish the Issaquah Alps Trails Club and lobbied officials to preserve Cougar Mountain.

City officials honored his work with the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community, which honors people who take steps to protect natural resources. Officials and trails club members said Manning was a tireless advocate for protecting forests and open space.

His relatives and trails club members were set to accept the award from city officials. Manning died at 81 in November 2006.

Harvey Manning on one of his quintessential hikes. (file)

Harvey Manning on one of his quintessential hikes. (file)

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City seeks nominations for environmental award

January 19, 2009

Ruth KeesRuth Kees

City officials are preparing to honor a local environmentalist and activist by accepting nominations for the 2009 Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community.

Since its creation in 2003, the award has been handed out to individuals who have worked within the community to preserve Issaquah’s natural resources. Read more

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