Local Democrats prepare for caucuses, opportunity to shape party priorities

April 10, 2012

Caucusgoers could change state and, perhaps, national policies as Washington Democrats gather for caucuses April 15.

President Barack Obama is the standard bearer for the Democrats in November, but although the party is not in the midst of a nomination fight, caucusgoers can still influence local, state and national issues by shaping the Democratic Party platform. Caucusgoers can present resolutions on political issues for consideration at local, state and national party gatherings.

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Off the Press

March 6, 2012

Time flies when making a lifetime of memories 

Bob Taylor Press sports editor

Mr. Hune was a very insightful teacher. In my ninth-grade yearbook he wrote “to a future newspaper reporter.”

How did he know?

I do not believe Mr. Hune, who taught the newspaper class at my junior high school, realized I would later venture into an enjoyable career that would last 40 years.

Forty years — sometimes it does not seem I just started yesterday. In 1972, when my career started, “The Godfather” was playing at most cinemas. Regular gasoline cost just 36 cents a gallon and postage stamps were only 10 cents. Three Dog Night and Moody Blues were some of the hit bands.

And on a sunny June afternoon in 1972 I graduated from Western Washington University. I had no time for the congratulations from two aunts who came to the graduation ceremony, because I had to go to work. I had recently been hired by the Bellingham Metropolitan, a new, enterprising, weekly newspaper that expected to challenge the established Bellingham Herald for the reading audience. My assignment was to write a story about the graduation. With diploma in hand, I raced to the office to write my first professional story on a Royal typewriter.

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Off the Press

January 31, 2012

Joys of eating lutefisk — there’s none for me

Bob Taylor Press sports editor

My last name might fool you. Actually, I am half Finnish and darn proud of that heritage.

The half comes from my mother’s side of the family, or as she always said “my best half.” Her father, Peter Kopra, came over from Finland in the late 1890s in hopes of striking it rich in the gold fields. Grandpa Peter never found gold, but he did discover the United States was a land of opportunity.

After securing a job down in California, he saved enough money to bring over Grandma and the rest of the family, which at the time included two boys. He also purchased a farm in Southwest Washington.

It was on this farm where my mother was born. It was later on a section of the farm, which my parents purchased from one of my uncles, where I was raised.

In this community, the last name Taylor was unique because most families were Finns, Swedes and Norwegians. However, I grew up proud of most Scandinavian traditions.

But there was one tradition I could never partake in — eating lutefisk.

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Where in the world is Our Gang Racing?

January 24, 2012

The Miss Red Dot, driven by Kip Brown, prepares for racing in the Oryx Cup World Championships in Doha, Qatar, in November. By Chris Denslow/H1 Unlimited

Local hydroplane team competes in the Middle East

There’s nothing quite like watching an unlimited hydroplane race.

The sleek boats travel at speeds of about 200 mph, kicking up massive walls of water (called rooster tails) in their wake, all while majestically skipping across the surface waves.

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Japanese woman rediscovers teenage roots in Issaquah

August 30, 2011

The story Miku Banno and Issaquah’s Barrie and Margaret Austin tell isn’t necessarily complicated, but it covers just over a few decades.

Moto and Miku Banno prepare sushi on the deck of the Austin family home during their recent visit to Issaquah. Contributed

As of August, in fact, it was 21 years ago to the month that Miku Banno first visited Issaquah.

At the time, she was 17 and a high school student who came as part of a program run by the Japanese government.

“I had been interested in the U.S.A. since I was little,” Banno said.

Her family had served as host to a visiting American girl when Banno was about 12.

“At that time nobody spoke English in my family and she felt homesick,” Banno continued. “I didn’t do anything for her and I was so sorry about it.”

With her family, Banno traveled to Guam and Hawaii, and then spent a month in Canada, including a short amount of time living with a local family.

“It was only a few days, so I wanted more,” she said.

It was a short time later that she ended up in Issaquah for about a month on a trip that also included an excursion to Disneyland.

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Celebrities turn out for memorial golf tournament

July 19, 2011

Months before the Joshua P. Williams Foundation Celebrity Golf Tournament each year, a posse of his old buddies from Skyline High School scheme about what to wear on tournament day.

By Christopher Huber Mark Hanan, Luke Tulshar, Collin Roberts and Brandon Hemphill (from left), old friends of Josh Williams, watch a ball fly from the bunker on the 12th hole at The Plateau Club on July 12.

This year, four of the guys each played while decked out from head to toe in one color. They found the vibrant attire at a thrift store, intent on standing out everywhere they went at The Plateau Club.

“They look like popsicles out there,” said Debra Williams, Josh’s mother and event organizer. “They make it fun.”

More than 200 people participated in the 2011 celebrity golf tournament in Sammamish July 12. Centered around the casual golf tournament, the charity event raised money for the Williams family’s foundation at the dinner-auction that evening.

A total wasn’t immediately available.

“It’s a fun way for everybody to come out and celebrate Josh’s life,” said Mark Hanan, one of Josh’s high school friends, who wore a baby blue polo shirt and pants. “It’s the best day of the year. It’s a good way to give back to the community.”

This year’s tournament brought 36 local celebrities, including Chance Fry (Seattle Sounders), Tracie Ruiz-Conforto (Olympic gold medalist), Tyler Malsam (auto racer from Sammamish), Alonzo Mitz (retired NFL player), Golden Tate (Seattle Seahawks), Dave Valle (former Seattle Mariners catcher) and Gino Torretta (NFL retired player, NCAA Hall of Fame).

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Meet the Mariners’ Justin Smoak in Issaquah

June 14, 2011

NEW — 3 p.m. June 14, 2011

Seattle Mariners fans can meet Justin Smoak in Issaquah on Wednesday afternoon.

The first baseman is scheduled to appear at Safeway, 735 N.W. Gilman Blvd., from noon to 1 p.m.

Fans can next catch Smoak and the Mariners at Safeco Field as the team faces the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday and at the same time Wednesday. On Monday, the Mariners fell to the Angels 3-6.

Who’s News

May 17, 2011

Betsy Sanford named Star teacher of the week

Star 101.5 and KOMO TV visited Maple Hills Elementary School May 12 to award Betsy Sanford with the Teacher of the Week award.

Curt Kruse, STAR afternoon DJ, and the Star 101.5 crew brought gift bags and treats for each student, including Teacher of the Week T-shirts. Sanford was awarded a plaque and check for $100, as well as a 1-in-24 chance of winning a 2011 VW Jetta.

Comcast awards scholarships

The Comcast Foundation recently named Paige A. Nulliner, of Issaquah, as one of 91 recipients in Western Washington and Spokane in its annual Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program in 2011.

The program provides one-time, $1,000 scholarships to students who strive to achieve their potential, who are catalysts for positive change in their communities, who are involved in their schools and who serve as models for their fellow students.

Nulliner attends Skyline High School and plans to attend the University of San Diego.

Issaquah resident passes state bar exam

Sean Nyberg, of Issaquah, passed the Washington State Bar Exam.

A graduate of Issaquah High School, Nyberg earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Washington and his juris doctor degree from Gonzaga University. He works at the law firm O’Brien, Barton, Joe & Hopkins PLLP.

Local historian honored

Robert E. Ficken, of Issaquah, has been awarded the Robert Gray Medal by the Washington State Historical Society.

Throughout his distinguished writing career and his work as an independent historian, Ficken has produced some highly regarded works about Washington’s history, and he has shared his knowledge through conferences and workshops about the state’s heritage.

The highest award bestowed by the Washington State Historical Society, the Robert Gray Medal recognizes distinguished and long-term contributions to Pacific Northwest history through demonstrated excellence in one or more of the following areas: teaching, writing, research, historic preservation and service to local historical societies.

The award will be presented to Ficken at the noon luncheon of the annual meeting of the Historical Society on June 18 at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma.

Arjun Kumar to compete in National Geographic Bee

Arjun Kumar, a seventh-grader at Beaver Lake Middle School, will represent Washington at the 23rd annual National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C., May 24-25.

Arjun is one of only 54 students remaining in the nationwide competition, culled down from more than 5 million participants. The top 10 finalists will compete in the May 25 final round, moderated by “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek and taped for later airing on the National Geographic Channel.

Local seniors awarded Overlake scholarships

Four local high school girls were awarded Overlake Alumnae Panhellenic Scholarships for 2011.

Each winner will receive a certificate of merit and a monetary award to be applied toward her educational goal. The winners are:

  • Eastside Catholic High School — Mackenzie Brown
  • Issaquah High School — Mackenzie Bauer
  • Liberty High School — Megan Bales
  • Skyline High School — Paige Haas

Issaquah resident joins ‘The Dori Monson Show’

Jessica Gottesman, of Issaquah, has joined “The Dori Monson Show” as a news anchor and regular contributor.

Gottesman previously anchored at CBS Radio’s all-news 1010 WINS in New York City. She also spent a decade in financial news covering Wall Street as a television and radio anchor for Bloomberg.

Gottesman joined 97.3 KIRO FM in 2010 as an afternoon anchor, and since moving to Issaquah she has covered everything from the capture of the Barefoot Bandit to the Cal Brown execution (Washington’s first since 2001) and the passing of the voice of the Mariners, Dave Niehaus.

Gottesman has won numerous Murrow, Associated Press and New York State Broadcaster awards, and a Gracie Allen Award for Best Major Market anchor from American Women in Radio and Television. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell and her law degree from Fordham.

Champions swings for the fences in sports bar cuisine

April 19, 2011

The best way to judge a new eatery is by determining how well it handles the basics.

The lunch menu at Field of Champions Bar & Grill epitomizes the basics of casual dining.

Located on the banks of Issaquah Creek, the restaurant has been described as a cross between Red Robin and The Gas Lamp — essentially a family-friendly alehouse. The sports memorabilia ranges from donated local Little League banners to signed mementos of national sports icons, like Michael Jordan. As a sports bar, at least four flat-screen TVs can be seen from every seat in the house.

As a group of us watched a replay of the previous night’s Mariners’ game, we decided to cover our bases and order a variety of basics from the lunch menu.

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Eagles grad becomes PLU RBI champ

April 12, 2011

Former Issaquah High School baseball star Ryan Aratani has become Pacific Lutheran University’s all-time career leader in runs batted in.

Aratani, a senior outfielder, took over the top spot April 10 by drawing a bases loaded walk in the Lutes’ 8-0 victory against Whitworth. It was his 118th run batted in. Aratani went 2-for-4 in the game.

For the season, Aratani is hitting .340. Last year he hit .398 and earned Northwest Conference first-team honors. In fact, he has hit better than .300 every season at Pacific Lutheran.

Another local player who is off to a good start for the Lutes is Liberty grad Jaron Iwakami, another outfielder. Iwakami is hitting .280.

One of the best games for both Aratani and Iwakami came March 27. Aratani went 4-for-5 and drove in two runs. Iwakami went 3-for-4 as Pacific Lutheran topped Willamette 14-11.

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