Issaquah police trade blue for red to brighten Christmas for families

December 25, 2012

Officer swaps blue uniform for red suit to play Santa

Santa Claus delivers gifts to 7-year-old Blanca Gomez and 6-year-old Sergio Gomez Jr. as the Issaquah Police Department delivers Christmas gifts to local families Dec. 19. By Jacqueline Kerness/Issaquah Police Department

Santa Claus traded the sleigh for a police SUV not long before Christmas.

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When did the holidays go up for sale?

December 25, 2012

“Peace on Earth and goodwill toward men. Buy now and your cost will be only $9.95.”

Jacob Brunette
Issaquah High School

That is the American holiday season in a nutshell; the time of year in which we celebrate love, peace and incredible savings.

It seems that every year, however, the incredible savings start sooner, and the love and peace get pushed further into the background.

As soon as Halloween is over, the holiday season has begun. Stores start selling Christmas lights and decorations. Santa Claus appears on TV, advertising cars and clothing.

Holiday music loops endlessly in the mall. Every year, the onslaught of commercials starts a little sooner in an attempt to extend the lucrative period of holiday shopping for as long as possible.

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Children unravel mysteries of Santa Claus

December 18, 2012

Santa Claus, the elves and his reindeer are busily putting on the finishing touches of what is sure to be an exciting holiday season.

He’s been hard at work making toys, reading his mail and recording last-minute Christmas wishes from Issaquah boys and girls at the Cougar Mountain Zoo, Issaquah Commons and Gilman Village.

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Off the Press

December 11, 2012

Elusive Christmas wish ignites holiday meltdown

Warren Kagarise
Press reporter

Christmastime means basic cable is awash in the holiday staples I remember from childhood — animated Whos in “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” a stop-motion Santa Claus in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and, above all else, BB-gun-seeking Ralphie Parker in “A Christmas Story.”

In 1990, at age 6, I followed Ralphie’s lead and trimmed my Christmas list down to a single wish.

That November, I dutifully wrote Santa Claus a letter outlining my desire for a Patch Up Pet, nowadays a long-forgotten toy. I knew if I wanted to score such a hot item, I needed to bypass my parents and appeal directly to the big man.

Santa wrote back. In hindsight, that should have been a big indicator of trouble.

Despite much searching by the elves, he wrote, there were no Patch Up Pets to be had, not at the North Pole, and especially not in Lorain, Ohio, where my parents and I then lived.

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Reindeer fly to Cougar Mountain Zoo for annual festival

December 4, 2012

Rogue, who was 5 months old during the 2011 Reindeer Festival at Cougar Mountain Zoo, checks out visitors through a barn window at Santa’s house. By Greg Farrar

If you saw a deer-shaped figure roaming the night sky in November, don’t be alarmed, said Cougar Mountain Zoo General Curator Robyn Barfoot, it was just Santa’s reindeer getting some flying practice in before their big day.

But now Santa’s reindeer are done practicing and ready to meet with local residents at the Cougar Mountain Zoo’s 24th annual Reindeer Festival.

While the zoo is technically closed during the month of December, the zoo eagerly plays host to the festival that attracts more than 10,000 visitors every year, Barfoot said.

“It provides a really great opportunity for people to do something with their families during the day and kind of get everyone in the feel of the holidays,” she said.

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Santa Claus collects gifts at charity-focused cash mob

November 27, 2012

Al Krush returns as Santa Claus for a charity-focused cash mob Dec. 5 at Gilman Village’s White Horse Toys. File

Santa Claus is coming to town — to a cash mob, to be exact.

The next cash mob is due to descend on Gilman Village’s White Horse Toys on Dec. 5, just in time for the pre-Christmas rush. The event is meant to reflect the holiday spirit, because organizers asked cash mob participants to purchase something for themselves, and something extra for charity.

In a cash mob, a group of people descends on a business to buy, buy, buy. The destination is revealed through social media services. Then, the mob pops up at the business to browse and shop.

The 20- and 30-something business leaders in the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce — Young Issaquah Professionals, or YIPPIES for short — modeled the cash mob on similar events elsewhere.

The concept for the upcoming cash mob is BOGO — buy one, give one — and customers can donate toys to the Wounded Warrior Project. The toys then go to children of military personnel killed or wounded in action.

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Swedish/Issaquah expands popular Holidays at the Hospital event

November 27, 2012

Last year, Swedish/Issaquah hosted a small holiday event for the public that featured a chance for children to decorate a huge gingerbread house.

It proved so popular that organizers decided to return this year Dec. 1 with a bigger blowout, Holidays at the Hospital, featuring more activities sure to appeal to all ages and become an annual tradition.

Returning is the giant gingerbread house children can still decorate, constructed by the chefs of Café 1910 and carpenters of their facilities department.

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Head to downtown Issaquah for holiday cheer

November 27, 2012

Downtown merchants invite the public to head to Front Street North for some holiday cheer Dec. 5, as the Downtown Issaquah Association hosts a holiday open house.

The event runs from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the historic Hailstone Feed Store, 232 Front St. N., and other locations downtown.

Participants can listen to children sing Christmas carols and a performance from Violet Oroboros. Sip hot chocolate, coffee and tea, and then meet Santa Claus and a reindeer. Santa is available for free family photographs, too.

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Santa Claus is coming to town for photos

November 27, 2012

Take photos and meet Santa Claus through Christmas at popular locations.

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Issaquah holiday activities offer fa-la-la fun

November 27, 2012

Bartell Drugs and Salvation Army’s Toy ‘n’ Joy drive through Dec. 14, accepts new, unwrapped gifts for children up to age 14, or shoppers can chose a gift request tag item in the store and put it in the donation barrel in the store. The Issaquah Bartell is at 5700 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E. Learn more at

Toys for Troops seeks donations for Christmas presents for children of service members. Drop off donations through Dec. 15 at the Issaquah Police Station, 130 E. Sunset Way, or make financial donations at

Small Works Holiday Exhibition, through Dec. 29, artEAST Art Center, 95 Front St. N., 392-3191,

Downtown Issaquah holiday lights work party, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 1, meet at Hailstone Feed Store, 232 Front St., a lunch break at noon features donated pizza from Flying Pie Pizza, call 391-1112 to volunteer

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