Ceremony recognizes local veterans’ service

November 16, 2010

Never forget.

The theme was reiterated throughout the annual Veterans Day ceremony at City Hall Nov. 11, hosted by the Issaquah Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3436.

Dave Waggoner, the master of ceremonies, began by asking the 20 or so veterans present, scattered about the filled-to-capacity Eagle Room, to stand and be recognized for their service to their country, from World War II to present day.

Tribute was given to two Issaquah residents who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country. Marilyn Batura fought back tears sharing her brother George Larsen’s tale. His life as a goat herder in Issaquah on the family farm was cut short, when shortly after unselfishly joining the Army at the onset of World War II, he was one of thousands killed in the battle to retake Okinawa.

His name appears on the monument with 18 other names at Issaquah’s Veterans Memorial Field. Along with Emmett “Skip” McDonald, who was memorialized at the ceremony by classmate Linda Hjelm.

“You can walk past that memorial and see those 19 names, yet not know any of their stories,” she said.

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Issaquah residents gather to celebrate Veterans Day

November 11, 2010

Members of the Issaquah High School Junior Naval ROTC Honor Guard fire a volley during the 21-gun salute Thursday during a Veterans Day observance at Issaquah City Hall. By Greg Farrar

UPDATED — 4:15 p.m. Nov. 11, 2010

Never forget.

The theme was reiterated throughout the annual Veterans Day ceremony at City Hall on Thursday, hosted by the Issaquah Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3436.

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Issaquah ceremony honors veterans’ service

November 9, 2010

Dave Waggoner is a stickler for military tradition and no other symbol better pays homage to those serving in uniform than the American flag.

“I’ve always wanted people who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country to never be forgotten, for their actions to be respected,” said Waggoner, himself a veteran of the Vietnam War.

That’s why he spearheaded the effort to ensure that the city of Issaquah always had new flags flying on its 11 flagpoles. In the continually growing tradition, the Issaquah Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post No. 3436, hosts its fourth annual Veterans Day Service on Nov. 11.

Waggoner will present new flags purchased by the VFW to City Councilwoman Eileen Barber. Barber’s family has long ties to military service, from her father in World War II to her nephew, who is just back from serving his second tour in Iraq. She said she looks forward to the ceremony each year.

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Bring the kids to festival’s Field of Fun

September 21, 2010

If you have children, plan to visit the Field of Fun this year at Salmon Days.

The playground of free and exciting activities is located on Veterans’ Memorial Field, behind the Issaquah Police Department and next to the Foods of the World. Catered toward the youngest festivalgoers, the Field of Fun has safe, fun, free and fishy activities for all ages.

For children who love to leap and tumble, try the Incredible Inflatables. Jump, climb and bounce around in these brightly colored, inflatable play toys. For more roly-poly fun, check out the giant hamster balls. Climb inside these giant inflatable balls and see what if feels like to be a hamster.

Who says there has to be snow for skis and snowboards? See extreme winter athletes demonstrate thrilling tricks on a 40-foot ramp. After the hair-raising exhibits, they’ll join the audience on spring-free trampolines to show how to have fun safely.

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Issaquah’s ready for Downhome Fourth of July

June 29, 2010

Longtime Issaquah residents have always enjoyed the low-key, family friendly Downhome Fourth of July and Heritage Day event.

To start the day off, the Kids, Pets ‘N Pride Parade will begin at 11 a.m. starting at Rainier Avenue and Northwest Dogwood Street. Kids can decorate their bikes, wagons, pets or anything else they can think of in patriotic attire and be in the parade, which will end at Veteran’s Memorial Field, according to Robin Kelley, director of festivals.

Veterans’ Memorial Field will host a number of events throughout the day, including a pie-eating contest. It is unknown what kind of pie will be eaten.

“Our goal is that it’s something that is colorful and especially messy,” Kelley said. “Parents and kids sometimes compete against each other.”

Something that has been absent in the past few years from the city’s Fourth of July celebration has been the slug speed race and beauty pageant. The event was brought back this year because of the wet spring that has not been present the past few years.

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Off The Press

June 1, 2010

More than 100 people showed up Memorial Day at Hillside Cemetery to pay their respects to veterans, so it was a shame the annual ceremony had to be cancelled.

Kathleen R. Merrill Press editor

There is little parking at the cemetery. Most of it is along roads through the place. Unfortunately, many graves are close to those roads. It’s a juggling act to find a spot where you can be off the road enough and also away from nearby grave markers.

People were sad to be turned away. But Dave Waggoner, assistant quartermaster of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3436, who heads up the ceremony, said safety for everyone was the main concern.

On May 29, as volunteers were walking the rows, placing flags and crosses on the final resting places of veterans, people were slipping on the already saturated, muddy ground. It was much worse two days later. In fact, cars that had pulled off the road were leaving deep ruts in places, and by Memorial Day one had even driven over a headstone.

Next year, a contingency plan will be made for inclement weather. So, if you turned out for this year’s ceremony only to be turned away, please return. It’s so important these men and women are not forgotten.

I had the pleasure of meeting a man out there in the rain who refuses to forget — Art Converse who lives in the May Valley area. Art served four years in Vietnam. On Memorial Day, he came to the cemetery looking for the grave of Robert Hoskins, one of 19 men and women named on the monument at Veterans Memorial Field as being killed or missing in action during wartime.

Art had seen Hoskins’ picture in our section “Lest we forget” that ran May 26. Art said he noticed Hoskins was a fellow Marine and he didn’t know whether the young man, who was 19 when he died, still had family in the area who would remember him.

His kindness brought tears to my eyes, as it does now to recount the tale. Art brought some flags to the cemetery, and specifically one to put on Hoskins’ grave. I watched him for a moment — without a coat, without an umbrella — at the grave we directed him to. He stood for a while, and knelt at some point, placing the flag in the soft ground. He also put flags on two other veterans’ graves.

Thank you, Art, for your service, and for remembering the service of others. Read more

Press Editorial

May 25, 2010

‘Lest we forget’ section honors our veterans

Veterans, we salute you! This issue of The Issaquah Press is the first Memorial Day remembrance of Issaquah men and women veterans “lest we forget.” Please know that your service to our country is appreciated, no matter whether you are currently serving in the armed forces or did your duty decades ago.

We hope this impressive collection of photos remembering our local soldiers will grow and become an annual tradition.

The idea began with two local veterans — Press Editor Kathleen Merrill and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3436 Assistant Quartermaster Dave Waggoner. Together, they approached a few local businesses who willingly agreed to help cover printing costs. The Press publicized the search for local veterans, while Waggoner handed out flyers to his fellow VFW friends and at other locations, including the Issaquah Farmers Market. Read more

Park bond stretched to preserve open space, upgrade parks

November 17, 2009

Crews work to install artificial turf and lights at a Central Park sports field. Courtesy of Issaquah Parks & recreation Department

Crews work to install artificial turf and lights at a Central Park sports field. Courtesy of Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department

City parks officials used grants to stretch a $6.25 million park bond into almost $9.6 million — money then used to buy land for new parks, preserve open space and improve sports fields.

Issaquah voters approved the bond in November 2006 with a resounding margin: 76 percent. The dollars were split among open space acquisitions and improvements to existing parks. The park bond came almost 20 years after city officials last asked Issaquah voters for money to add recreation and open space.

Proponents pitched the bond to voters as a way to protect water quality in Issaquah waterways, add and enhance sports fields and open new areas to recreation and wildlife. Officials earmarked the biggest piece of the bond — $3.5 million — to buy creekside and hillside land. Read more

Voter-OK’d trap ban led to increase in mole population

December 15, 2008

Moles have always presented a local problem, as witnessed in 2005 by the sign at a home in the 200 block of Northeast Crescent Drive.Photo by Jon Savelle.

Moles, those scourges that create unsightly, volcano-like mounds, can create widespread damage at parks and school grounds. Want an example? Check out the playfield at Issaquah Valley Elementary School.

The number of moles in Issaquah hasn’t increased (or decreased) in recent years, but killing them got a lot harder, thanks to a citizen-sponsored initiative passed by Washington voters in 2000, said Al Erickson, Issaquah parks and recreation manager.

Initiative 713 banned steel-jawed, leg-hold traps, neck snares and other body-gripping traps to capture any mammal for recreation or commerce in fur. The measure passed with 54 percent of the vote.

“It kills me to see those mole hills, knowing that we can’t trap them,” Erickson said.

The most effective of those, he said, is a “scissor trap” set underground along a mole’s primary route. Prior to passage of the initiative, park staff killed 40 to 50 moles annually with the traps, he said.

Tibbetts Valley Park, Veterans Memorial Park, Rainier Boulevard and the upper cemetery are some of the areas plagued by moles, he said. Read more

Veterans Day celebrated

November 4, 2008

The Issaquah Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3436 hosts a Veterans Day Service at 11 a.m. Nov. 11 at Veterans Memorial Field. City Council member Eileen Barber will accept the VFW’s gift to the city of 11 new U.S. flags to fly atop the flagpoles in Issaquah.

This is the VFW’s fourth year of the project. Issaquah High School’s Naval Junior ROTC Honor Guard will fire a 21-gun salute.

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