Flyboy folklore

December 10, 2013

B-25 gunner Ed McKee kept the skies clear on WWII European bombing missions

In 1937, Ed McKee was a sophomore in high school, with not enough spending money in his pockets to spread around his hometown of Albany, Ore.

By David Hayes Ed McKee, 91, talks about mates from his air squadron during World War II from the office in his Timber Ridge apartment in Talus.

By David Hayes
Ed McKee, 91, talks about mates from his air squadron during World War II from the office in his Timber Ridge apartment in Talus.

Just seven years later, how he chose to augment his income would eventually take him over the skies of Europe on bombing raids of Axis targets.

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It looks a lot like a ‘White Christmas’ at Issaquah High

December 3, 2013

For the cast and crew putting the final touches on this month’s “White Christmas” musical at Issaquah High School, one of the most enjoyable parts is creating a performance that can be enjoyed by all age groups.

“The thing that makes it so engaging for so many people is everybody knows these songs,” said Holly Whiting, who’s directing her ninth musical at IHS. “These songs are old enough that every generation that’s going to be attending this program is going to be familiar with the music.

By Neil Pierson Issaquah High School drama students (from left) Caroline Hamblin, Kylie Fletcher and Ashley Young, rehearse a scene from ‘White Christmas.’

By Neil Pierson
Issaquah High School drama students (from left) Caroline Hamblin, Kylie Fletcher and Ashley Young, rehearse a scene from ‘White Christmas.’

“And I think we all have pretty good, happy memories attached to a lot of these songs.”

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Piloting pandemonium

July 16, 2013

Timber Ridge veteran shares his WWII adventures

As the former pilot of a B-17 bomber named “Pandemonium Reigns” during World War II, Robert Ploss has had his fair share of adventures.

By Greg Farrar Above, Bob Ploss enjoys sharing the stories of the lifelong friendships he made with the men of the B-17 bomber crew he served with during World War II. Below, Ploss (front row, left) and his World War II B-17 crew pose in December 1944 at Drew Field in Tampa, Fla.

By Greg Farrar
Above, Bob Ploss enjoys sharing the stories of the lifelong friendships he made with the men of the B-17 bomber crew he served with during World War II.

The 91-year-old veteran and resident of Timber Ridge recalls his adventures and experiences through life with captivating style, and a knack for storytelling led him to start a monthly newsletter at Timber Ridge, which he calls “The Splinter.” In the newsletter, Ploss shares stories, jokes and poems.

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Mirrormont, nature-loving neighborhood, thrives at 50

January 29, 2013

Linda Shepherd (in blue sweater at end of table), Mirrormont Pea Patch director; Paul Baer (in white striped shirt), community association president; and other residents who are pea patch users and caretakers, enjoy a potluck dinner attended by two dozen people Jan. 25 at the home of Gerard and Loretta Jancoski. By Greg Farrar

Linda Shepherd (in blue sweater at end of table), Mirrormont Pea Patch director; Paul Baer (in white striped shirt), community association president; and other pea patch users and caretakers, enjoy a potluck dinner Jan. 25 at the home of Gerard and Loretta Jancoski. By Greg Farrar

Located just 10 minutes from downtown Issaquah, nestled at the base of Tiger Mountain, sits a neighborhood unlike any other in this community.

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Village Theatre sets intriguing drama in ‘The Mousetrap’

January 22, 2013

Mysterious guest Christopher Wren, played by Quinn Armstrong, passes his dark coat, light scarf and felt hat to Monkswell Manor’s proprietor Mollie Ralston, played by Hana Lass. By John Pai/Village Theatre

Mysterious guest Christopher Wren, played by Quinn Armstrong, passes his dark coat, light scarf and felt hat to Monkswell Manor’s proprietor Mollie Ralston, played by Hana Lass. By John Pai/Village Theatre

To enjoy some of the finer things in life, there are rules. For example:

  • The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club.
  • What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
  • And, do not reveal the plot of “The Mousetrap.”

Each has its own reason to remain spoiler free. Village Theatre hopes its patrons adhere to the latter so subsequent audiences can enjoy its latest production, Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap.”

What started as an 80th birthday tribute written for Queen Elizabeth in 1947, Agatha Christie thought her radio broadcast, “Three Blind Mice,” adapted for stage would have an uneventful eight-month run, tops.

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USS Arizona Memorial inspires photographer to capture Pearl Harbor images

December 4, 2012

Jerry Kaufman (left) hands a copy of his book, ‘Renewal at the Place of Black Tears,’ to U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, a World War II veteran. Contributed

The day etched into history for the brazen attack on Pearl Harbor and the tremendous loss of life — Dec. 7, 1941 — repeats often for Jerry Kaufman.

The photographer and Issaquah resident created a book of images dedicated to the steady release of oil from the USS Arizona shipwreck, or “tears of the Arizona” in Pearl Harbor lore. For years, Kaufman journeyed from Washington to Hawaii to collect images at the memorial for the eventual book, “Renewal at the Place of Black Tears” — photographs shot at the majestic structure.

The multicolored patterns formed by the intermingling of oil and water long intrigued Kaufman and provided inspiration for the book. “Renewal at the Place of Black Tears” also struck a chord among the throngs of visitors at the USS Arizona Memorial.

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See ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ for free

September 4, 2012

“Captain America: The First Avenger” comes to Issaquah soon for the summertime Movie on the Green.

The film starts at 8 p.m. Sept. 8 on the Issaquah Community Center lawn, 301 Rainier Blvd. S. The free event is presented by the municipal Parks & Recreation Department and Lunar Flicks.

Lunar Flicks provides the inflatable screen and the digital projectors to screen the film.

Released last year, “Captain America: The First Avenger” features Chris Evans as the title character, a patriotic crusader unleashed against the Nazis — and super-villain Red Skull — in World War II.

The film runs for 124 minutes, so attendees should bring a blanket or lawn chair to remain comfortable during the event. Organizers also plan to sell concessions during the film.

“Captain America: The First Avenger” is rated PG-13.

Issaquah burglary offers lesson in vigilance

August 14, 2012

The call from the Issaquah Police Department interrupted dinner at Pogacha for Fred and Mardi Nystrom, longtime residents in the Sycamore neighborhood south of downtown.

The officer on the line asked if the Nystroms expected any family members to leave their home through a bedroom window.

“I told him, ‘Not our family, man, we wouldn’t fit through that window,’” Fred Nystrom recalled Aug. 13.

They rushed home July 6 to discover their home had been burglarized. The thief shimmied into the home through a small bedroom window left open in the July heat, and stole jewelry, computers and family heirlooms.

“Most of what she stole from me were memories,” Fred Nystrom said.

Police later identified the suspect as Jackie Jean Johnston, 45, a SeaTac resident with a long rap sheet.

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High school sweethearts celebrate platinum anniversary, 70 years of marriage

August 7, 2012

Lorraine and Bud Cochran enjoy summer from the wicker patio swing at their home near Issaquah High School.
By Greg Farrar

Bud Cochran used to walk more than a mile to see his sweetheart Lorraine back when they were students at Puyallup High School in the late 1930s. With no car and a girlfriend that lived on the opposite side of town, the trek became a familiar path for the love-struck Bud.

“It didn’t seem far at all,” he said. “I was just smitten.”

Seven decades later, the two longtime Issaquah residents are still together, having celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary May 2. Sitting in their cozy ranch-style home situated next to Issaquah High School, Bud, 90, and Lorraine, 88, fondly reminisced about their eventful 70 years together.

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What is the Festival of New Musicals?

August 7, 2012

The summertime festival at Village Theatre is a laboratory to test original musicals before audiences.

Often, selections from the festival re-emerge later at the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre, or Mainstage, and sometimes on Broadway.

The festival introduced audiences to “Next to Normal” precursor “Feeling Electric” and “Million Dollar Quartet” before the musicals carted off Tony Awards on Broadway. “Next to Normal” also garnered the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, a rarity for musicals.

The recent Mainstage productions “Take Me America” and “It Shoulda Been You” debuted to Issaquah audiences at the festival.

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