Who’s News

September 25, 2012

Elks Lodge takes Special Olympians to Mariners game

The Lake Sammamish Elks Lodge in Issaquah took 60 Special Olympics youths and their caregivers to a Seattle Mariners baseball game Sept. 23 thanks to a $2,000 grant from the Elks National Foundation.

The money also paid for transportation and refreshment costs.

The Mariners acknowledged the Special Olympians in attendance at the end of the fourth inning on the large scoreboard. The youths are members of the Issaquah Special Olympics baseball team.

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Police endure icy plunge for Special Olympics fundraiser

March 6, 2012

Kasey Keller, a Special Olympics Washington board member and former Seattle Sounders FC player, emerges from Lake Union at the Polar Plunge on Feb. 11. By Rod Mar/Special Olympics

The temperature in Lake Union held steady at 41 degrees, but the chill did not stop Issaquah police officers and police department employees from a dip on a gray February day.

The police department descended on a stretch of shoreline along the Seattle lake Feb. 11 for the Polar Plunge, a frigid fundraiser for Special Olympics Washington. Combined, Issaquah officers and department employees raised about $1,000 for the nonprofit organization.

Police Communications Specialist Jacqueline Kerness rounded up more colleagues for the February event for the Polar Plunge after she and coworkers dipped into Puget Sound for the 2011 endurance test.

“It was a moment of shock for a good cause,” she said. “It’s something easy to do to raise funds for a lot of people.”

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Outdoors for All offers opportunities for disabled adventurers

July 2, 2011

Outdoors for All participant Laszlo Jajczay paddles with two volunteers at Green Lake Park in Seattle. The nonprofit organization invites volunteers to help participants throughout the summer. By Ed Bronsdon

The world of Susan Camicia, an avid Issaquah bicyclist and skier, turned upside down on June 19, 2006.

She had registered for a triathlon and was cycling on Mercer Island during a training session. As she neared the Mercer Island Park & Ride, some fence work threw her off guard and she ran into a pole, toppled over the handlebars of her bike and broke her neck.

In an instant, Camicia essentially became a quadriplegic, except for limited use of her hands.

“People always think that they work, but I have no strength in them at all,” she said. “If someone hands me a cup of coffee, it’s going to fall on the ground.”

She has learned to use both hands when picking up a cup of joe at her favorite coffee cafes. With such limited mobility, she worried that a sedentary life would be her default fate, until her recreational therapist recommended she try the Outdoors for All Foundation.

“It’s a great organization,” she said. “It has great volunteers.”

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Newcastle resident takes gold medal at Special Olympics

June 21, 2011

Newcastle resident Kevin McCarthy, 20, took home a gold medal in the 100-meter dash at the Special Olympics Summer Games at Joint Base Lewis-McChord June 4.

Kevin McCarthy proudly displays his ribbon after receiving it during the Special Olympics Summer Games awards ceremony June 4. McCarthy took first in the 100-meter dash. Alan Berner/The Seattle Times

McCarthy — a 2010 Liberty High School graduate— was one of nine athletes on the Issaquah Eagles team, which took home 18 medals during the two-day event.

Coach Jiff Searing said McCarthy worked in practice on keeping his pace up throughout the entire sprint.

“He did all that stuff, and it was pretty thrilling. He really kept his pace up,” Searing said. “This particular heat was very close.”

McCarthy also participated in the 200-meter dash, 4×100-meter relay and shot put, finishing fourth, sixth and eighth, respectively.

The team doesn’t give awards, such as most valuable player, but if it did, Searing said McCarthy would have certainly been named most inspirational, as his work ethic and attitude are phenomenal.

“He’s a very inspirational athlete, no question,” he said. “Man, he tries hard. He never puts his head down.”

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Police protect and serve — burgers — for fundraiser Saturday

March 23, 2011

Issaquah Police Chief Paul Ayers (left) participates in the 2009 Tip-a-Cop fundraiser to benefit the Special Olympics. File

NEW — 4 p.m. March 23, 2011

Issaquah police officers protect and serve — and on Saturday, the men and women in blue serve meals, too.

For the annual Tip-a-Cop fundraiser, officers from the Issaquah and Snoqualmie police departments plan to serve burgers, fries and more to diners at Red Robin. Tips collected by law enforcement officers benefit Special Olympics Washington.

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Error disqualifies Issaquah Special Olympics team from state competition

March 1, 2011

The Issaquah Lions, a youth Special Olympics basketball team, played their hearts out on the court Feb. 13, beating both Tahoma and Enumclaw — wins that secured the Lions a place at the state championships in Wenatchee.

“The kids were so thrilled, some of them cried with tears of joy at their accomplishment,” coach Jeff Powers said.

One player, a 3-foot tall boy with Down syndrome, spent most of the game running up and down the court. During one game, “he threw up a shot and this was the thrill of his life,” Powers said.

The Issaquah Lions gather with their coaches for a photo of their medals after winning the regional games. The team was later disqualified and barred from the Special Olympics state championships because it had 11 athletes instead of 10. By Marc Levy

The next day, the coaches received a message from the Special Olympics Washington office: Basketball teams can have up to 10 players on a team, and the Lions had played with 11 athletes, disqualifying them from the state competition.

Tahoma, the runner-up team that had placed second at the regional games, would be going in its place.

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Tip-A-Cop fundraiser to benefit Special Olympics returns Saturday

April 15, 2010

NEW — 11 a.m. April 15, 2010

Issaquah Police officers will serve burgers, fries and other fare at the annual Tip-A-Cop fundraiser Saturday.

The event, held at Red Robin, 1085 Lake Drive, runs from noon to 8 p.m. Donations benefit Special Olympics Washington.

Officers will serve patrons, and all of the tips earned by the cops-turned-servers will benefit Special Olympics. The nonprofit provides year-round activities, such as basketball and swimming, to children and adults with disabilities.

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Officers do time for tips

April 13, 2010

Order-up! Issaquah’s police officers will serve up burgers, shakes and fries at the annual Tip-A-Cop event from noon to 8 p.m. April 17 at Issaquah’s Red Robin restaurant, 1085 Lake Drive.

Issaquah Police Chief Paul Ayers (left) receives compliments and an after-meal tip from Karen Price and daughter Sara, during the 2009 Issaquah Red Robin Tip-A-Cop fundraiser for Special Olympics Washington. By Greg Farrar

All of the tip money earned by the officers’ service goes directly to Special Olympics Washington. Special Olympics provides year-round sporting activities, including swimming, basketball, track and field for children and adults with special needs.

Local police agencies will also bring several law enforcement vehicles to the event and volunteers will be on hand to take photos for donations.

If having a police officer for your waiter isn’t enough, check out the crowd of motorcycles arriving at Red Robin at 2 p.m. Police officers are leading a motorcycle tour through Issaquah, coordinated with other riders from Costco, Microsoft, Siemens and Spacelabs Healthcare. The ride starts at noon at the Issaquah Microsoft campus, 21295 S.E. 51st St.

Patrons who can’t make the event can donate money to the cause at the restaurant.

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Special Olympics nurtures an enthusiasm for sports

February 23, 2010

With her straight, brown hair tied in a ponytail, 11-year-old Abbey Powers threw her basketball into the air, bounced it against the backboard and grinned as it fell through the hoop.

Her teammates whooped and her father shouted words of encouragement before the ball even hit the ground.

While many children play basketball, Abbey is a special case. Doctors diagnosed her with both autism and cerebral palsy, although they never gave her family a clear diagnosis that would explain all of her challenges.

“It was unbelievable,” her father Jeff Powers said. “We were told she wouldn’t walk, we were told she wouldn’t talk, we were told she would only live to 2.”

Now a sixth-grader at Pine Lake Middle School, Abbey has a full schedule. Four years ago, her family enrolled her in Special Olympics for a children’s basketball class. At first, her parents only knew of practices in Woodinville, and would drive Abbey all the way from Issaquah so she could dribble the ball as part of a basketball team.

When they learned Issaquah offered a Special Olympics program in their own backyard, they were delighted, Jeff Powers said. But they’re not nearly as excited as Abbey.

“She got up extra early this morning,” her father said as he watched her and her friends play ball at the Issaquah Community Center. “She could hardly wait for basketball.”

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Special Olympics regional tournament is Sunday at community center

February 6, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 6, 2010

Special Olympics Washington hosts the King County Regional Basketball Tournament Feb. 7 from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Issaquah Community Center.

The tournament will feature more than 800 Special Olympic athletes from the county. Teams will compete for an opportunity to advance to the Winter Games, March 5-7 in Wenatchee.

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