May’s Hometown Hero Bill Merritt saves lives

May 12, 2015

Bill Merritt is in the business of saving lives.

By Greg Farrar Collin Skone (left), of Klahanie, receives a lesson in cardiopulmonary resuscitation from volunteer Bill Merritt, at the Issaquah Citizens Corps information booth during the 2011 Issaquah-Sammamish Health and Safety Fair at Pickering Barn.

By Greg Farrar
Collin Skone (left), of Klahanie, receives a lesson in cardiopulmonary resuscitation from volunteer Bill Merritt, at the Issaquah Citizens Corps information booth during the 2011 Issaquah-Sammamish Health and Safety Fair at Pickering Barn.

The fourth-generation Issaquah resident has worked as a firefighter, an EMT and now operates his own emergency training education business.

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Congratulate 2015 Golden Acorn winners

April 28, 2015

The Issaquah PTSA Council recently recognized the Issaquah School District’s outstanding volunteers at a reception at Swedish Hospital.

Contributed Issaquah PTSA Council award recipients, from left to right, are Korista Smith-Barney, Caroline Brown, Dianne Bugge, Becky Gordon and Dawn Peschek.

Contributed
Issaquah PTSA Council award recipients, from left to right, are Korista Smith-Barney, Caroline Brown, Dianne Bugge, Becky Gordon and Dawn Peschek.

Congratulations to the following award recipients:

Council — Golden Acorn: Korista Smith-Barney, Becky Gordon and Dawn Peschek; Outstanding Advocate: Dianne Bugge; Honorary Life Membership: Caroline Brown

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Schools use visiting mentor to grow reading, writing skills

January 27, 2015

There are a lot of statistics for Issaquah School District educators to ponder as they work to improve reading and writing skills in their classrooms.

National research shows children are increasingly less interested in reading — particularly after age 13 — and that aversions to deep, sustained reading sessions are impacting their ability to succeed in college.

Penny Kittle has been studying literacy trends for many years. A high-school English teacher in North Conway, New Hampshire, she also mentors other teachers and travels the country as a literacy coach.

While much of Kittle’s knowledge is accessible online, Issaquah officials chose to bring it to their doorstep last week by having her visit several classrooms, and by speaking to parents Jan. 21 at Pacific Cascade Middle School. Read more

Skyline, Liberty stadiums move closer to reality

January 20, 2015

The long-awaited Skyline High School stadium improvement plan may be closer to reality, after the Issaquah School Board received an update at its Jan. 14 meeting.

Steve Crawford, the Issaquah School District’s director of capital projects, told board members the bidding process for potential contractors on the stadium construction projects at both Skyline and Liberty high schools would open this week.

The Skyline project, budgeted at nearly $6.5 million, was approved by voters in an April 2012 bond measure. Since, members of the school’s football boosters club have criticized the project, saying school district officials aren’t interested in an alternate design that would have a concrete grandstand and increased storage space, and be more cost-effective.

Construction, scheduled to last a few months, has been delayed multiple times, including twice in the past year. Read more

Skyline senior attains Eagle honor with Scout troop

October 28, 2014

Most boys who enter the world of Scouting will make a lot of fond memories and learn many valuable lessons, but fewer than one in 10 will accomplish what Jonathan Chriest is doing this weekend.

Jonathan Chriest

Jonathan Chriest

At a Nov. 2 Court of Honor ceremony at The Plateau Club, the Skyline High School senior will receive his Eagle Scout rank from the Boy Scouts of America.

The National Eagle Scout Association estimates about 2.25 million boys have attained the honor since 1912, which might seem like a lot until learning that number represents only 5 percent of all Scouts.

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Patriots get their palace

October 14, 2014

District unveils remodeled Liberty High School

The new Liberty High School building is sleek, modern and almost industrial in its appearance.

Past Liberty students would hardly recognize it as the same school, but some internal touches, most importantly a can’t-miss banner inscribed with the words “Proud to be a Patriot,” bring familiarity and warmth to the newly remodeled campus.

The Issaquah Chamber of Commerce and Issaquah School District partnered to unveil the new Liberty at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 10.

By Greg Farrar Marnie Maraldo, Issaquah School District School Board president, cuts the ceremonial ribbon as other board members, Superintendent Ron Thiele, Principal Josh Almy and others applaud and smile, as the completion of the final phase of the school remodel is celebrated Oct. 10 during a community open house.

By Greg Farrar
Marnie Maraldo, Issaquah School District School Board president, cuts the ceremonial ribbon as other board members, Superintendent Ron Thiele, Principal Josh Almy and others applaud and smile, as the completion of the final phase of the school remodel is celebrated Oct. 10 during a community open house.

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Issaquah School District finishes school projects, delays others

August 26, 2014

Staff members, parents and students at Apollo and Issaquah Valley elementary schools have been waiting years for their buildings to be refurbished, and their wishes will be granted when school starts Sept. 3.

By Greg Farrar A lighted reader board has been put up at Issaquah Valley Elementary School.

By Greg Farrar
A lighted reader board has been put up at Issaquah Valley Elementary School.

The two elementary schools were major pieces of a $219 million bond measure that Issaquah School District voters approved in April 2012. Issaquah Valley and Apollo received about $6.6 million each for similar modernization projects that focused on creating additional classroom spaces, improving building security and upgrading existing spaces for a continued influx of new students.

The district is expecting to add 350 students in the 2014-15 year, and projections released last year showed the school system could grow by more than 2,800 students over the next 30 years.

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Issaquah schools get creative to bolster ‘culture of kindness’ ideals

August 26, 2014

Kym Clayton has a child who struggles with social skills and speech delays, and in her quest to find help, she stumbled across an idea from a suburban school in Pennsylvania.

By Neil Pierson In June, Sunny Hills Elementary School received its new Buddy Bench, a place for students to confront their emotions and make new friends. Pictured in the front row are Sunny Hills student Evan Baker, and Beaver Lake students Alejandro Calderon and Jade Griffiths. In the back row are Beaver Lake teacher Patrick Ford, Sunny Hills Principal Leslie Lederman and Sunny Hills PTSA President Kym Clayton.

By Neil Pierson
In June, Sunny Hills Elementary School received its new Buddy Bench, a place for students to confront their emotions and make new friends. Pictured in the front row are Sunny Hills student Evan Baker, and Beaver Lake students Alejandro Calderon and Jade Griffiths. In the back row are Beaver Lake teacher Patrick Ford, Sunny Hills Principal Leslie Lederman and Sunny Hills PTSA President Kym Clayton.

Christian Bucks, a student at Roundtown Elementary School in York, Pa., invented a simple but effective way of helping children who were feeling sad or lonely. His Buddy Bench concept — a bench where kids can sit when they’re in need of a friend — has spread like wildfire in less than a year, reaching schools around the world.

Clayton believed the Buddy Bench might be a useful tool at Sunny Hills Elementary School, where she was PTSA president during the 2013-14 school year.

But simply going to a local hardware store and building a bench wasn’t what she had in mind.

“I think it would be really neat to be full circle, that kids are building this bench for other kids,” she explained. Read more

Plucky students meet ukulele master

May 13, 2014

Riley Frasier’s mother could hardly keep her 7-year-old from popping out of his seat.

Every time world-renowned ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro started plucking a symphonic range of sound few others have ever drawn out of the short, four-stringed instrument, Riley had to stamp his feet, rock his head so hard his glasses could barely stay on his nose and strum the air.

And who could blame him? Certainly not other fans of Shimabukuro’s ukulele solos, an eclectic and international audience that includes the likes of cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder and the Queen of England (who has shaken Shimabukuro’s hand).

By Lindsey Wasson/The Seattle Times Jake Shimabukuro plays ‘This Land Is Your Land’ with dozens of students from Sunny Hills Elementary School, among them Ellie Lindley, Natalie Anderson and Mia Rogers in the front row.

By Lindsey Wasson/The Seattle Times
Jake Shimabukuro plays ‘This Land Is Your Land’ with dozens of students from Sunny Hills Elementary School, among them Ellie Lindley, Natalie Anderson and Mia Rogers in the front row.

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Letters

May 6, 2014

Tiger Mountain

Librarian hopes school will continue for years to come

My personal experience with Tiger Mountain Community High School was limited to about an hour and a half on Dec. 7, 1992.

I was at that time the young adult librarian at the Issaquah Library, and I visited the school to present a program to a group of young parents.

I didn’t know what would be of interest, but I took along cloth books, board books, books about making toys or clothes or baby food — everything I could think of.

In my entire career as a librarian, I’ve never addressed such an interested, even rapt, audience! Those students were so keen to see the materials I’d brought. They loved the hand puppets (which at that time were for circulation), and some decided then and there to convert the stuffed toys they were scheduled to make into hand puppets instead. Their teacher agreed to help them with the project.

I was able to give every parent a copy of “Goodnight Moon,” (and incidentally, I’d really had to work to persuade the library administration to let me have those books for that particular audience).

The teenagers were happy to show me their lovely babies after the program, and to tell me how they were caring for them — only 15 or 16 years old, but devoted caregivers.

I’ve often thought of those students and their children, children who would now be much older than their parents were in 1992. I do hope their lives turned out happily. I’m sure that attending Tiger Mountain Community High School helped a lot in that respect, and that the school will continue to assist all its students for years to come.

Marnie Webb

Issaquah

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