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Learning Doesn’t End Just Because School Does.

34 Years of Excellence in Education

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Proud to be voted 2010 Best of Issaquah


INSIDE

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TREE HOUSES PAGE 8 Preston’s Treehouse Point offers Tarzan-style luxury lodging for grownups. OUTDOORS FOR ALL PAGE 14 The local nonprofit organization offers summer opportunities for disabled adventurers. PARAGLIDING PAGE 24 Step off of Tiger Mountain and take flight at 1,800 feet — with a paraglider. WASHINGTON CURIOSITIES PAGE 32 Head to Washington attractions and discover one-of-a-kind destinations. LAKE SAMMAMISH PAGE 54 The crystalline lake is a natural treasure, and much more than a swimming hole.

LENIN STATUE PAGE 58 Seattle’s imposing Vladimir Lenin statue traces a journey from Slovakia — and Issaquah.

DO GUTBUSTERS PAGE 20 Issaquah eateries dish up more, more, more in oversized offerings. SCOUTING PAGE 34 Modern Scouting groups offer adventures far beyond cookie sales and campouts. ISSA-QUALITIES PAGE 40 Discover 20 reasons to love Issaquah, from the Issaquah Alps to downtown and in between. PUBLISHER

PRINTING

Debbie Berto

Rotary Offset Press

ADVERTISING MANAGER

David Hayes

PAGE DESIGN

BEEKEEPING PAGE 46 Come summertime, backyard beekeepers in the Issaquah area reap sweet rewards.

Jill Green

COVER PHOTO ADVERTISING STAFF Vickie Singsaas Terry Sager Neil Buchsbaum Michelle Comeau

Logan Stromberg

PAGE 5 PHOTO Catina Piliaris

WRITERS MANAGING EDITOR Kathleen R. Merrill

PRODUCTION Breann Getty Dona Mokin

COVER DESIGN Dona Mokin

Warren Kagarise Laura Geggel Christopher Huber Sebastian Moraga Caleb Heeringa

PHOTOGRAPHER Greg Farrar

PANORAMA PAGE 6 Explore Issaquah’s landscape and history. SUMMER CALENDAR PAGE 50 Experience summertime fun from the Down Home 4th of July to Salmon Days. ADVERTISING INDEX

A SPECIAL SECTION OF

45 Front St. S. P.O. Box 1328 Issaquah, WA 98027 392-6434 Fax: 391-1541

www.issaquahpress.com

PAGE 62


PANORAMA

Discovering unexplored corners of the Issaquah landscape

✱ BY WARREN KAGARISE

BETTER BUTTER Darigold puts the butter in famous butter crunch toffee Inside each pink-and-gold tin, Almond Roca includes a fundamental ingredient: butter from Darigold in downtown Issaquah. The longtime Tacoma confectioner Brown & Haley obtains butter — about 90 percent — for treats from Pacific Northwest dairies. From the local butter, about 90 percent originates at Darigold in Issaquah. Brown & Haley CEO Pierson Clair said the arrangement includes benefits such as local job creation, reduced environmental impact and taste, a crucial factor in the confectionary industry. “The flavor of the Issaquah butter is really, really good,” Clair said. “Almond Roca is all about quality. Darigold Issaquah butter is all about quality, and therefore, it’s just a perfect supplier for us.”

ISSA-WHAT? What’s a city dweller called, anyhow? Washingtonian is simple enough, although the name requires Evergreen State residents and D.C. dwellers to claim joint custody. However, pinning a name on

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The beloved confection remains unchanged since 1923, when Harry Brown and J.C. Haley dreamed up Almond Roca. Company lore claims a librarian selected “roca” — Spanish for “rock” — for the name as a nod to the crunchy center. The relationship between Brown & Haley and Darigold stretches back decades. The dairy along Issaquah Creek offers a top-notch product. “We’re very loyal to the state of Washington,” Clair said. Washington, in turn, is loyal to Almond Roca, although the candy’s appeal is not limited to the Evergreen State. The chocolate-enrobed toffee encased in chopped almonds also enjoys enormous popularity in China. Almond Roca is marketed as a chic confection in the most-populous nation on the planet. In September, Gov. Chris Gregoire detoured from the Shanghai World Expo to a Shanghai supermarket to promote Almond Roca. The international appeal is root-

ed in a main ingredient inside each gold foil-swathed piece. “You can truck butter from every place in the United States,” Clair said. “You can truck butter in from Wisconsin. You can truck it in from California.” Still, for butter crunch toffee, nothing compares to Issaquah.

Issaquah residents is not so easy, in part because the moniker is so unusual. Moreover, state and municipal records do not contain any official demonym — or name for a resident from a particular place — for citizens, other than the self-explanatory nods to Issaquah residents. Issaquahite? The name could pass for a reference to the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel. Issaquahian? The name sounds more suitable for a “Star Trek” alien species than a suburbanite.

The most common name used for residents is, in fact, Issaquahn. The designation is indeed rooted in history. Issaquahn, sometimes spelled Issaquahan, started to appear in newspaper accounts as early as 1927 and continued to crop up again during the 20th century, although the name faded as decades marched on. Perhaps the time is nigh for a revival.

BY GREG FARRAR

The key ingredient in Almond Roca is butter from Issaquah’s Darigold plant.


EXCUSE ME? The fertile dirt behind Poo Poo Point’s name The poo poo referenced in Poo Poo Point is not destined for the bathroom. Instead, the designation for a ridge on Tiger Mountain nods to logging. Loggers used a winch called a steam donkey to haul logs through Tiger Mountain forests to a loading point. “There was a steam whistle set up that they would blow before they started pulling these logs through the forest at high speed, which was dangerous,” Issaquah History Museums Executive Director Erica Maniez said. The high-pitched whistle on the steam donkey emitted a “poo poo” sound. (The history museums’ collection includes a steam donkey parked outside the restored Issaquah Train Depot.) Maniez said Poo Poo Point is a contemporary designation. The late William Longwell Jr., a longtime Issaquah Alps Trails Club member, described the tale behind Poo Poo Point in a guide to Tiger Mountain trails. Still, uttering “Poo Poo Point” prompts giggles from outsiders and recent transplants.

FILE

A steam donkey and its whistle live at the Issaquah Train Depot.

PHOTOS BY PAUL SCOTT

AHOY! Explore a sunken forest in Lake Sammamish The pillars rise from Lake Sammamish, as large as whalebones and faded to a ghostly gray. Embedded in the lake near Timberlake Park is a submerged forest heaved into the lake during a long-ago landslide and earthquake. Kayak Academy and Issaquah Paddle Sports owners Barb and George Gronseth point out the landmark on frequent kayaking expeditions around Lake Sammamish. The primeval stumps poking skyward elicit strange looks from outdoor enthusiasts. “They never believe me when I tell them there was a landslide,” Barb Gronseth said. Indeed, the state Department of Natural Resources detailed the ancient earthquake on the nearby Seattle Fault — a shallow seismic zone stretched along the interstate from Puget Sound and east through lakes Washington and Sammamish. Geologists determined a major earthquake about 1,000 years ago dislodged old-growth forest from a hillside. The shifting land collapsed and slid into the lake. The immense trees decayed into gnarled stumps as the centuries

At top, branches poke from a sunken forest in Lake Sammamish. Above, aquatic plants grow on a submerged log. passed. Nowadays, only a handful remain. “The forest doesn’t seem like much at first, just a few logs sticking out of the ground, but when you take a closer look you can really appreciate the beauty,” Everyone’s Travel Club blogger and kayaker Paul Scott said. Underwater, aquatic plants cling to the trunks like a verdant carpet. The site in Lake Sammamish is popular among anglers because fish teem amidst the sunken stumps. “Basically, what’s above lake level for the most part rotted away and broke off a long time ago, other than a just little bit of stump sticking up, but what’s underwater is preserved better than what’s in the air,” George Gronseth said.


TREETOP GUEST NEST Preston tree houses for grownups offer Tarzan-style luxury lodging “YOU GET A LOT OF ENERGY FROM THE TREES. IT’S A GREAT FEELING WHEN YOU’RE IN THE TREES.” PETE NELSON TREEHOUSE POINT CO-OWNER

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✱ BY CHRISTOPHER HUBER The croaking frogs and fresh granola seemed to do it for Stephanie Cusick and Gregory Roper during their recent stay at Treehouse Point, a bed and breakfast near Issaquah. It could have been the quiet strolls through trails that ran along hundreds of feet of riverfront and acres of heavy forest, too. The couple’s first stay at Treehouse Point — they celebrated their 18th wedding anniversary — was so refreshing and tranquil that they decided to book a summer overnight stay among the trees along Preston-Fall City Road. “It seems like the perfect setting,”

PHOTOS BY CHRISTOPHER HUBER

At top, a rope bridge leads to the Temple of the Blue Moon, the largest treehouse at Treehouse Point. Above, a staircase winds around the cedar tree from Trillium House.

Cusick, of Seattle, said after her stay at the bed and breakfast May 17. “It’s rustic, but in a very elegant way.”


BUILDING A DREAM Treehouse Point is the manifestation of Pete Nelson’s lifelong passion for building tree houses for adults. The longtime Fall City resident, who said he never wanted to grow up, and his wife Judy opened Treehouse Point in 2008. It features four tree houses and three conventional rooms on a fouracre site filled with lush landscaping, old-growth forest, river waterfront, and plenty of nooks and hideaways among the trees. Upon entering “IT SEEMS LIKE the main house, THE PERFECT jazz music streams SETTING. IT’S from the kitchen RUSTIC, BUT IN and, if you wake A VERY up at the right ELEGANT WAY.” time, the rich aroma of Judy’s STEPHANIE cooking wafts through the room. CUSICK Guests enjoy graTREEHOUSE POINT nola, fruit and GUEST other seasonal offerings for breakfast. On a recent morning tree housebuilding workshop guests enjoyed “Treehouse Egg Muffins,” made of scrambled egg, ham and chives. Judy regularly holds cooking classes. The Nelsons tout Treehouse Point as more of a retreat, workshop and music venue. It hosts weddings and corporate retreats throughout the year. And from June to October, traveling musicians play concerts at the Pond Room, which holds 50 people (90 if the doors are opened to the patio). Treehouse Point features a fine-art gallery of work from various local artists, too. “Weddings are our big bread and butter,” Pete said. “It’s a really inspiring property.” The tree houses and rooms in the main building are spaced far enough apart to provide solace for guests who need some extra-peaceful rest and relaxation. Some guests come to grieve the recent loss of a loved one, or to just get away from the city, Judy said. “They really wanna not have TV or anything,” she said. “We try to

CONTINUED ON PAGE 10

Above, Trillium House, the only two-level treehouse, overlooks the central pond at Treehouse Point. Below, a Trillium House guest gets a top-down view of the living room upon waking up in the queen-size bed.


FROM PAGE 9

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make it private. It’s important to give people that privacy they might need.”

MODERN TRANQUILITY In addition to the tree houses, the bed and breakfast offers three rooms in the main house. Each room features custom-made cedar beds. “We go big on beds,” Judy said. Guests can enjoy the simplicity of sleeping in the woods — no television or Internet — with birds chirping, a river rushing and calm wind blowing. There are also a few of the comforts of home — toilet, electricity, modern structural engineering. “People come from all over the world,” Judy said. The Nelsons said they never intended to get into the hospitality business. They bought the property in 2006 to build big-kid tree houses and develop Pete’s Treehouse Workshop, an annual gathering of the world’s leading tree-house designers, engineers and builders. By fall 2006, Pete and fellow tree-house enthusiasts had built their first house on the property. “He needed a place to do his craft,” Judy said as she meandered past old-growth Sitka spruce and along the Raging River. “It just kinda started to develop. It’s just one of those things that fell together so beautifully, we couldn’t say no.”

LOFTY AMBITIONS A commercial homebuilder for more than a decade, Pete began to lose interest in long-term homebuilding projects and turned his attention to shorter projects, building houses 20 feet up in trees. Some, like Trillium Treehouse, sit perched atop a spiral staircase and overlook a pond covered with vibrant-green duckweed and paths that lead to the river and the Duck Blind, a new lookout perch.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 12

Above, the Upper Pond house features bunk beds to sleep four, as well as a view of the pond. Below, the Nest sits lofted among the trees, overlooking a small pond.

BED & BREAKFAST SPOTS Preston Treehouse Point info@treehousepoint.com www.treehousepoint.com

Maple Valley Linda’s By The Lake 432-0245 www.lindasbythelake.com

North Bend Roaring River Bed & Breakfast 877-627-4647 www.theroaringriver.com The Old Hen Bed and Breakfast 996-4119 www.theoldhen.org

Redmond Meritage Meadows Inn 487-4019 www.meritagemeadows.com A Cottage Creek Inn Bed and Breakfast 881-5606 www.cottagecreekinn.com

Sammamish Lake House Bed and Breakfast 868-7536 www.lakehousebb.net


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FROM PAGE 10

Some projects only take five days to complete, he said, if enough people pitch in. “We’ve learned a lot. You get a lot of energy from the trees. It’s a great feeling when you’re in the trees,” said Pete, who has written and compiled five books on Above, Treehouse Point owner Pete Nelson talks tree-house design tree-house design with builders. At right, Jake and building around Jacob (far right), co-owner of Treehouse Workshop, the world. “The best teaches Steve Lomax how to climb a tree. part is to see how this inspires people. What we’ve done is we’ve followed our to spend an occasion,” she said. passion.” “I think it’s a special, serene kind Some definitely see that pasof atmosphere.” sion in the structures and landTreehouse Point is an example scape of Treehouse Point. Cusick of Pete Nelson’s ambition to be a said she and Roper will return for leader in a worldwide movement a stay in July. She said the fourtoward building among the trees. acre Treehouse Point offers easy Perhaps the sentiment on a colaccessibility to trails and the lage given to him from his fellow Raging River. She is also interesttree-house builders best describes ed in the yoga classes offered the feel of a stay at Treehouse onsite. Point. If you’re an outdoor, adventur“If we can’t fly with the birds, ous type, “it’s a wonderful place at least we can nest with them.”

artbyfire gallery and glass school

Distributor for Beadmaking Color/Tools

Beadmaking & Glassblowing Classes

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Indulge and Pamper Not All Massage is Created Equal The massage therapists at Elements Therapeutic Massage Issaquah listen to your needs and employ the proper techniques to deliver a truly therapeutic experience. We invite you to experience the rejuvenating benefits of therapeutic massage today and discover the positive effect it can have on your body and your well-being. Feeling Better Is Just the Start. Therapeutic massage is a medically proven method for supporting your health and wellness. You’ll enjoy benefits of… • Relief from back and neck pain • Reduced stress • Increased circulation • Improved range of motion We have hundreds of weekly massage appointments available. Call 425-427-6562 to schedule a massage session, or visit us today - walk-ins welcome.

Lake Washington Facial Plastic Provides The Best In Patient Care Whether your facial skin has sun damage or unwanted wrinkles, or if you are unhappy with a crooked nose or unsightly scar, our surgeons can help you achieve a youthful yet natural appearance. Dr. Alice Kuntz and Dr. Samson Lee are board certified facial cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeons offering both surgical and non-surgical treatments as part of a facial rejuvenation program. Together, with their patients, they formulate a comprehensive plan depending on your needs and desires to achieve a more youthful yet natural appearance. Their mission is to provide the most advanced care in the Northwest for facial rejuvenation. Call 425-278-1810 or visit www.lakewashingtonfacial.com for more information.


DO 14

PHOTOS BY ED BRONSDON

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.

N O BOUNDARIES Outdoors for All offers opportunities for disabled adventurers 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 limit-

✱ BY LAURA GEGGEL

JOIN THE OUTDOORS FOR ALL MISSION Learn how to volunteer or participate at Outdoors for All at www.outdoorsforall.org, or call 206-838-6030.


OTHER OPPORTUNITIES Several nonprofit organizations serve people with special needs. ISSAQUAH PARKS & RECREATION The city’s Parks & Recreation department offers recreational opportunities for people with special needs, including bowling, Concerts on the Green, dances and summer camps. “ We look to get folks out in the community to dinner, field trips, experiences outside of their house, so they can interact with others and have fun,” Coordinator Ross Hoover said. Call 837-3346 or email rossh@ci.issaquah.wa.us to volunteer.

Summer camper Bobby Nadell (in red) walks with his friends at Redmond Watershed Park during his Outdoors for All expedition. ed 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.” Outdoors for All helps about 2,000 people with physical or intellectual disabilities explore dozens of outdoor activities, including cycling, hiking, river rafting, rock climbing, skiing and summer day camps for children. Every year, hundreds of volunteers help participants reach their athletic potentials, or at least get a little exercise. “I just think it’s cool,” Camicia said. “People with disabilities always pay way more to do anything. It’s like highway robbery. It’s nice when you have a break and there’s an orga-

“PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ALWAYS PAY WAY MORE TO DO ANYTHING. IT’S LIKE HIGHWAY ROBBERY. IT’S NICE WHEN YOU HAVE A BREAK AND THERE’S AN ORGANIZATION THERE TO HELP AND NOT TAKE YOUR MONEY.” SUSAN CAMICIA OUTDOORS FOR ALL PARTICIPANT

nization there to help and not take your money.”

❂❂❂ A national leader in helping people with physical, developmental and sensory disabilities, Outdoors for All began one snowy day in 1978.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

CHALLENGE DAY RACE Every year, the Issaquah Rotary Club organizes a Challenge Day Race — a soapbox derby for youths with special needs or physical disabilities. On July 16, the club needs volunteers to help with set up, food service and cheering. “It’s amazing to watch those kids go flying by with a big smile on their face,” Rotary Club Chairman Darrin Helfrecht said. Email darrin_helfrecht@yahoo.com to volunteer. ATHLETES FOR KIDS High school athletes from seven local high schools mentor children and teenagers with disabilities or special needs through the Sammamish-based nonprofit organization Athletes for Kids. Mentors meet two to four times per month with participants during mentorships that can last more than a year. Learn more at www.athletesforkids.org. SPECIAL OLYMPICS Trained Special Olympics volunteers help youths and adults achieve in sports, including basketball and softball. Call Special Olympics Washington at 206-362-4949.


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FROM PAGE 15

That winter, 15 children living with disabilities learned how to ski at Snoqualmie Summit. The season was so successful that the nonprofit organization Ski for All began the following year, expanding its services to more people and offering more sports. “The best way we can describe it to people is if you can walk in the REI — if they sell it, we do it,” Executive Director Ed Bronsdon said. Participants use special gear to help them do all kinds of activities. Connected bikes allow a blind person to cycle and a volunteer to steer, for example. For an almost-quadriplegic skiing enthusiast, like Camicia, Outdoors For All has equipment that allows her to sit down in a contraption that kind of looks like a bobsled with skis. Volunteers accompanied her on her trip from atop Snoqualmie Summit, and two volunteers she befriended even traveled with her to Whistler so she could try a more challenging course. The nonprofit changed its name in 2007 from Ski for All to the more inclusive Outdoors for All. “The heart of the mission is that

Outdoors for All participant Brett Allen and his mother Kris Allen exercise their abilities at the Issaquah Community Center on a side-by-side tandem cycle.

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An Outdoors for All participant learns how to rock climb near Interstate 90’s Exit 38, just past North Bend. outdoor recreation is for all, not just the most fit, not just for the able bodied, not just for the rich,” Bronsdon said. “It’s the outdoor sports that so many people in the Northwest enjoy that enrich their lives. “What we’re trying to do is make sure those kinds of opportunities are there for anyone regardless of their ability.” People from every walk of life use Outdoors for All. Recently, the nonprofit has seen an influx of injured soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, but it also helps children and adults living with autism, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, blindness or any other physical or intellectual disability.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 18

Call G2 Sports Therapy 425.836.8444 • www.G2sports.net 486 228th Avenue NE Sammamish, WA 98074


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❂❂❂ Volunteers are needed from June through September for all types of outdoor exploration, such as rock climbing in Seattle, river rafting in Leavenworth, cycling and kayaking in Issaquah, and hiking at Wallace Falls, a state park just past Gold Bar on state Route 2. Volunteers should be at least 16 years old, but younger do-gooders can help in other ways. Those ages 13-15 can volunteer in the Winter Cadet or Junior Camp Counselor programs, helping participants during recreation activities. Volunteers unable to help at outdoor activities can help in other ways, like joining Outdoors for All through an internship or by organizing fundraisers. Tim Reid, a 1973 graduate of Issaquah High School, has volunteered with Outdoors for All since 1989. When a friend’s wife ended up in a wheelchair after a spinal cord injury, Reid began volunteering with the skiing program when he wasn’t busy at

his Issaquah law office. Ski volunteers attend a two-week training, which often improves their skiing skills and teaches them how to help others. Even after training, “the most important skill they need to bring is a friendly and positive environment,” Bronsdon said. Jane Searing’s autistic 21-year-old autistic son Wil Searing loves skiing, and her immediate Issaquah family began volunteering soon after he began attending Outdoors for All. “Their training videos are amazing,” she said. “They have videos of people saying what’s helpful and what’s condescending.” Once they’re ready, volunteers pair up with participants, everyone bundled in coats and hats and ready to scale the slopes. “It’s just wonderful to do. It’s humbling,” Reid said. “You can go up and ski with somebody who doesn’t have any legs and they beat you down the hill.” Through volunteering, he said he has met children, their parents and adult participants alike, and all of them are amazing people. “It’s really a meaningful thing, at least for me, to do,” Reid said.

❂❂❂ Rachel Chang has a harder time than most parents when is comes to finding a summer camp for her son, who is on the autistic spectrum. That changed when she learned about Outdoors for All through a friend. For the past four years, her 16year-old son, Jacob Chang, has attended the program’s summer day camps. “My son, he just loves it,” she said. “He was asking about it. He said, ‘What am I doing? Am I going to Outdoors for All?’” She said camp counselors are “very knowledgeable and accommodating. They are very in tune with the kids’ needs. They have just been wonderful.” At camp, Jacob, a student at Skyline High School, meets other teenagers while biking, hiking or doing water sports. He often tells his mother about his favorite activity, horseback riding. For Wil Searing, “it’s a big social outlet, too,” his mother said. “After these kids leave school, Issaquah Parks & Recreation has a great special population, but Outdoors for All


pulls from all over.” Wil had a thing or two to say about skiing as well. He often helps set up the race course with the volunteers, and he said he likes riding on the chair lift almost as much as he enjoys gliding down the mountain. “I love Snoqualmie,” he said. “It is a beautiful mountain and a beautiful town.” Sammamish volunteer Scott Carter has known Wil for years, and said he looks forward to skiing with him this winter. “He’s a really good listener and he does a good job of translating instruction into the physical part of it,” Carter said. Though participants pay fees for Outdoor for All activities, the nonprofit offers financial aid to those who need it. For instance, a threeweek kayaking class costs $150 per person and a hike at Twin Falls in North Bend costs $30. Participants fill out information forms so Outdoors for All employees and volunteers know how to help them. “We want to accommodate the individual first and the disability second,” Bronsdon said.


EPIC

WARNING: CONSUMING A GUTBUSTER IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED OR SQUEAMISH. CONSUMPTION MAY CAUSE INDIGESTION, FATIGUE, LISTLESSNESS, DECREASED APPETITE AND A PRESSING NEED FOR BELT LOOSENING.

EATS

Issaquah eateries dish up more, more, more in oversized offerings ✱ BY WARREN KAGARISE Some meals must be confronted, in a grab-the-bull-bythe-horns style, rather than eaten. Consider the proof: Issaquah eateries peddling a pizza as broad as a manhole cover, potatoes heaped as high as the Rockies and a gooey ice cream sundae as large as a bathtub. Turns out that the fabled XXX Burger is not alone among belly-busting options in Issaquah. The city boasts behemoth burgers, sure, but other options abound, beyond beefy and french fried delights. Establishments revel in menu items meant to satisfy oversized appetites — and egos. Come, gluttons and gluttons for punishment, on a greasestained and sauce-spattered odyssey through portions the next size up from ample.

DO 20

BY TIM PFARR

Sunset Alehouse’s The National Champ burger towers a foot above a french fry nest.


HOG PLATTER $65.99

STAN’S BAR-B-Q 58 FRONT ST. N. The name Hog Platter is deceptive, for the bounty includes offerings from enough animals to fill a barnyard. Stan’s Bar-B-Q lays out Flintstonian ribs and enough turkey for a Thanksgiving feed alongside sliced brisket and pulled pork. The sides — a half-dozen in all — seem dainty next to the spread. Picture some no-frills buns and tomatoey sauces for DIY sandwiches on the table, too. Oink! The downtown Issaquah joint also ladles up a mean creamed corn — no, not like the school cafeteria glop — and a toothsome potato salad for meat and potatoes, Kansas City style. BY GREG FARRAR

VERMONSTER $39.99

BEN & JERRY’S SCOOP SHOP 1011 N.E. HIGH ST., NO. 103 For the bucket-sized Vermonster sundae, the everything-but-thekitchen-sink approach to ingredients is just as Ben & Jerry’s founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield intended. The hodgepodge includes 20 scoops of ice cream, cookies, brownies and bananas, as if the contents from a 5-year-old’s birthday bender had been swept into a bucket and

swathed in whipped cream, hot fudge and caramel sauce. The toppings resemble a kaleidoscope: sprinkles and gummy bears in Crayola shades, plus more nuts than a comic book convention. Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop, a national chain, is required to divulge nutritional information, at least in King County. The damage: 14,000 calories and 500 grams of fat per Vermonster. Mercifully, the tub contains enough ice cream to feed a ravenous Cub Scout pack or a youth soccer team.

BY GREG FARRAR

COMBO SUPREME NO. 1 $36.50

FLYING PIE PIZZERIA 30 FRONT ST. S. Combo Supreme No. 1, tipping the scales at 12 pounds, certainly ranks as the largest pizza in Issaquah and maybe on the Eastside. The party ordering the 18-inch supreme is guaranteed not to go hungry. The pizza slathers on braggadocio: meat

for men, and in prodigious amounts. Sorry, ladies. The pie’s crust groans beneath pepperoni, salami, ham, ground beef, Italian sausage and linguica, a Portuguese sausage. Scattered mushrooms, onions, green peppers offer a gallant, if misguided, ploy for balance.

BY GREG FARRAR

CONTINUED ON PAGE 22


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FROM PAGE 21

THE NATIONAL CHAMP $19.91

SUNSET ALEHOUSE 20 FRONT ST. S. The National Champ, a monument to the University of Washington Huskies’ 1991 national football title sculpted in meat, dares diners. Stacked to cartoonish proportions and rising from a french fry nest like a teetering Tower of Babel, a lone bun holds

MONTANA

BY DAVID HAYES

nine patties, oozing cheddar and enough bacon to embarrass Oscar Mayer. The mozzarella sticks poking from the stack at jaunty angles gild the lily. Finish the burger in 30 minutes or less, pay $19.91 and earn a T-shirt. Chow down in less than the posted record time, and the burger is on the house. Fail to eat every last morsel and shell out $34.14 in shame.

$17.45 with bacon and ham, and, 12TH AVENUE CAFE for color and crunch, green 775-G N.W. GILMAN BLVD. pepper, onion and tomato. Interpret Big Sky Country Wisconsin cheddar, sour on a plate, and the result is cream and green onions the Montana, a breakfast form a dairy — if not exactly binge at the 12th Avenue airy — peak atop the mounCafe. The largest portion tain. On the side, biscuits, lands on the table as a pile pancakes or toast hold of grilled potatoes flecked court.


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HEAVENLY

ASCENT STEP OFF OF TIGER MOUNTAIN AND TAKE FLIGHT AT 1,800 FEET — WITH A PARAGLIDER ✱ BY CALEB HEERINGA PHOTOS BY CALEB HEERINGA

Above, Seattle Paragliding tandem instructor Matt Amend and owner Marc Chirico help a paraglider pilot launch from Poo Poo Point.

You know that dream where you’re flying — where you’re able to look down on the hustle and bustle of the earth from thousands of feet above and the problems that normally seem so big are now as small and insignificant as ants? The dream is real for the paraglider pilots who launch off the west side of Tiger Mountain every day that it’s not raining buckets. For more than 20 years, Marc Chirico has been throwing people off the side of the mountain — with paraglider and emergency parachute attached, of course. It’s a career that started as a hobby that started with a

“I PRAYED TO BE ABLE TO FLY FOR YEARS. THE GOOD LORD HAS GRANTED ME MY WISH.”  MARC CHIRICO

GO 24


dream that many of us have had — to drift above it all. “It definitively got its start with nighttime dreams as a tot — dreams of escaping monsters or whatever it may be,” said Chirico, owner of Seattle Paragliding. “I find that to be true for a number of people.”

   Chirico, who took his first flight in 1980, recalls asking a group of 20 or so paragliding students whether they had also dreamt of flying as a child. “They all raised their hands,” he recalled. “It was kind of a goosebumps moment.” Chirico has been responsible for countless goosebump moments since. He offers paraglider pilot rookies of all ages, shapes and sizes the opportunity to take a tandem flight (connected to a trained professional) for $175 on weekdays and $195 on weekends. That amount is deductible from the $1,800 it costs for the full course necessary for flying solo. Chirico said that happens routinely, as first-timers often can’t get enough of the adrenaline rush and the sense of freedom flying brings. Flying day begins with a quick crash course in what to do in a tandem flight — roughly lean and run forward as fast as possible on takeoff and then hold on tight. You are then fitted with a harness and (for an additional $17) put on a shuttle to Poo Poo Point, at roughly an 1,800-foot elevation. Hardy souls can strap on the 75 or so pounds of equipment and hike approximately two miles up, or pay $10 to have the shuttle carry their equipment while they make the climb.

   On a sunny Friday in May, about 40 people piled into the open back of a truck to be carted up the mountain. Many were

CONTINUED ON PAGE 26

Above, while in the air, gliders have views north toward downtown Issaquah and Lake Sammamish. On clear days, Mount Baker is visible. Below, Mike Pedersen, of Issaquah, watches his glider catch wind before taking off from Poo Poo Point.


26

FROM PAGE 25

frequent flyers who had caught the bug and were taking their 20th or 30th flight. Others, including an 87year-old man, were having their first experience with paragliding. Chirico said he’s taken every type of person imaginable paragliding and there is little experience or physical ability necessary. Children as young as 3 have gone flying, as have seniors in their 90s. The company has helped a terminally ill person, a quadriplegic and a 342-pound man experience flight for the first time, Chirico said. “Some people are just trying to check something off their bucket list,” Chirico said, regarding things people want to do before they die. At least one was embarking on his first solo flight, after three tandems and hours of training. Chirico and other instructors appeared as excited as the flyer himself. They made sure the adrenaline was flowing — psyching him up for what was to come. Chirico produced a felt marker and began drawing on the flyer’s face — a ritual for all first-timers at Seattle Paragliding.

Seattle Paragliding owner Marc Chirico draws on the face of Kirkland resident Chris Irish, who was about to take off on his first solo flight.


LEARN MORE ABOUT SEATTLE PARAGLIDING AT WWW.SEATTLEPARAGLIDING.COM OR CALL 206-387-3477.

  

Seattle Paragliding tandem instructor Drew McNabb, of Issaquah, prepares Bert Humbleton, 87, of Medina, for his first tandem flight off Poo Poo Point.

Once on top of the mountain, you are awarded views of Issaquah, Lake Sammamish and much of the Eastside. Your tandem flight instructor straps himself or herself to you and together you approach the Astroturf runway, with your paraglider draped on the ground behind you. After a 1-2-3 count, your instructor gives you the green light to “torpedo” — pressing forward as hard and running as fast as possible. The glider catches the wind behind you, pulling you back. But soon you are moving forward one step at a time, gradually gaining momentum. By the fourth or fifth step you realize there is no longer ground underneath your feet. Looking down, all you see are the tops of trees. Aside from the wind brushing

CONTINUED ON PAGE 28

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FROM PAGE 27

briskly past your face, flying is a serene experience, with Issaquah sprawling beneath you and the contours of Tiger Mountain drifting past. It’s not unusual to look over and find yourself flying at the same pace as the birds.

   Chirico said every flight is different. Calm winds can mean a flight as short as eight minutes. But often flyers are able to catch “thermals” — updrafts of hot and cold air that can lift a paraglider thousands of vertical feet and keep them in the air for hours. Experienced flyers leaving from Tiger Mountain have stayed up for six and a half hours, gotten to 12,000-foot altitudes and traveled as far as Enumclaw, Everett and, under the right conditions, over the mountains east to Cle Elum. Flights can vary from tranquil, scenic drifts over Tiger Mountain and Issaquah to thrilling roller coaster rides. To get down to landing altitude,

CONTINUED ON PAGE 30

Paraglider pilot Bill Link straightens out his wing prior to taking off from Poo Poo Point.

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FROM PAGE 28

your tandem flight instructor often pulls hard on one side of the sail, sending you spinning hundreds of feet down in a matter of seconds. The feeling is akin to the drop on a big rollercoaster — your stomach is full of butterflies and you feel like you are free-falling through the air. The landing zone spins around beneath you as you corkscrew downward. The g-force is strong enough that Chirico suggests not eating a large meal beforehand. (Those who need convincing can find out why on a youtube video on Seattle Paragliding’s web site.) Your first landing is often a lessthan-graceful affair. Your instructor tells you to stick your legs out and keep them moving, but with your hips in your harness and your legs parallel to the ground, you’re more likely to find yourself on your butt the first time. Though he does it hundreds of times a year, Chirico said he and his team of instructors have yet to tire of flying, which still brings him back to those childhood dreams. “I prayed to be able to fly for years,” he said. “The good lord has granted me my wish.”

Looking south, gliders can see the May Valley area and, if they're lucky, a peek of Mount Rainier.

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Made-inWashington attractions deliver one-of-a-kind destinations GO 32

WASHINGTON

✱ BY WARREN KAGARISE Washington, land of Sasquatch and the Space Needle, is unlike any other. Evergreen State travelers can find kitchenware fit for King Kong, celebrations dedicated to unglamorous farm commodities and roadside oddities pulled from a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! guide squirreled in corners near and far. “Washington Curiosities” and “Washington Icons”

author Harriet Baskas said geography explains at least some of the strangeness. “You’re on the edge of the country, you’re out here and there’s still that pioneer spirit,” she said. Summertime offers a chance to journey to out-of-theway attractions not as obvious as Mount Rainier or Lake Chelan. Discover 10 attractions off the beaten path — but unmistakably made in Washington.

LONG BEACH

SEQUIM

World’s Largest Frying Pan OK, so more than a half-dozen places in the United States claim a world’s largest frying pan, but the 9-foot, 6-inch diameter incarnation in Long Beach, a town awash in tourist traps (Jake the Alligator Man, anyone?), is a must see.

Sequim Lavender Festival, July 15-17 Turns out sun-splashed Sequim — inclement weather is prohibited in town due to a municipal ordinance — holds the largest lavender-related event on the continent. Come July, farms open for festivalgoers to pick fragrant blooms.

LONGVIEW

WINLOCK

Nutty Narrows Bridge Longview is, pardon the pun, nuts about squirrels. So, in the 1960s, a local builder constructed a bridge for the nut-toting rodents. The suspension bridge spans 60 feet across a bustling thoroughfare. Townsfolk even decorate the bridge for holidays. Oh, nuts.

World’s Largest Egg Winlock used to rank as a major egg producer and, decades ago, townsfolk erected a 1,200-pound egg to reflect the accomplishment. The hamlet celebrates the scrambled and sunny-sideup heritage during the Egg Days Festival each summer.

SEATTLE

MARYHILL

Hat n’ Boots The humongous Hat n’ Boots in a Seattle park resembles Western wear left behind by Paul Bunyan. The gear used to adorn a Wild West-themed gas station. Now, the restored Hat ‘n’ Boots saddle up inside Oxbow Park in South Seattle.

Stonehenge Memorial Neolithic people did not build the looming structure on a bluff along the Columbia River and Druids did not hold human sacrifices among the stone slabs. Instead, the monument honors Klickitat County soldiers lost in World War I.

ZILLAH

GRANGER

Teapot Dome Standing 15 feet tall and sporting a handle and a spout, the not-so-little teapot-shaped structure is a former service station. Zillah plans to restore the teapot — built in the 1920s to protest a political scandal — into a tourism information center.

Hisey Park Tyrannosaurus rex roams Granger, a dot on the map in Yakima County. Starting in 1994, the city added dinosaur sculptures — triceratops, pterosaurs and the like — in Hisey Park and other spots. Main Street even features a volcano-shaped restroom.

WALLA WALLA

PULLMAN

Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival, July 16-17 Georgia claims mild Vidalia onions, Hawaii boasts mellow Maui onions but in Washington, Walla Walla sweet onions reign supreme. The lineup at this festival includes onion-inspired foods — no word yet on complimentary breath mints — and onion decorating à la Mr. Potato Head.

The National Lentil Festival, Aug. 19-20 The unassuming lentil does not seem like much, a nutritious-but-blasé side dish from the Moosewood Cookbook, maybe. But Pullman is nestled among the rolling Palouse, home to one-third of the United States’ lentil production — something worth celebrating.


SCOUTS’ HONOR ADVENTURES ABOUND FOR BOYS AND GIRLS IN TODAY’S SCOUTING GROUPS

PHOTOS BY GREG FARRAR

Above, Cub Scouts, family members and Scout leaders from the Issaquah area gather around a fire during a June campout at Hans Jensen Park. Below, dads are on the losing end of a tug-of-war against 16 Cub Scouts. ✱ BY SEBASTIAN MORAGA Despite decades of history in America, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts still endure narrow views of their efforts. The girls are famous for their cookie sales, the boys for their camping trips. That sometimes plays against them. “A common misconception is that all Girl Scouts do is sell cookies,” said Julie Wendell, with the Girl Scouts of East King County. “The leadership

DO 34

opportunities, travel experiences and wonderful programs offered by Girl Scouts go way beyond selling cookies.” Similar troubles beset the boys.

“A misconception is that Boy Scouts is for suburban white kids. And we don’t do programs for people of other ethnic backgrounds, and that all we do is tie knots and go

“WE HAVE CHANGED AND WE’VE STAYED THE SAME. WE’VE DONE BOTH.”  SHARON MOULDS


BY LAURA ADAMS

Members of Girl Scouts Junior Troop 3193 hold their surfboards last year at a San Diego beach as they took a surfing school lesson and earned the Junior Surfing badge. camping,” said Sharon Moulds, with the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which encompasses all of King County. Moulds and Wendell are longtime members of their organizations.

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Moulds has been with the Boy Scouts for 26 years; Wendell joined the Girl Scouts in second grade and has worked for the organization as an adult in four states. She even has lifetime member status.

With such credentials, the two speak to the past and the future of two organizations steeped in tradition that are at the same time working to stay relevant and modern. The Boy Scouts of America, celebrating its 100th year, no longer gives badges like farm mechanics or stalking — not the restraining-order kind — but it does give badges for things like computer work. “We have changed and we’ve stayed the same. We’ve done both,” Moulds said. “The Oath of Law has been part of the Boy Scouts for about 100 years, but what has changed is how we deliver the program. The fundamentals are the same.” Those fundamentals include working with young boys to turn them into good citizens with strong values and character, through fun and exciting activities. “You don’t have to be overly athletic or book-smart. You just want to be part of something,” she said. You don’t even have to want to get any of those 125 badges. Just show up and participate. “We have programs for anything

CONTINUED ON PAGE 36


FROM PAGE 35

36 from water conservation to shotgun shooting and mountain-boarding,” Moulds said. MAKING CONNECTIONS Scouting teaches you a foundation of morals, Issaquah Scout Nick Co said. “From Scouting, you learn to lead people,” he said. “You can go on camping trips, but you can also go on canoeing trips and you have to be a leader in those situations. I once led a group on a 72-mile canoeing trip.” Another side of Scouts is the connections one makes, including to people like Bill Gates, who received the Scouts’ highest honor, the Silver Buffalo, in a ceremony Co emceed. On March 31, Co and other Scouts presented the colors at a ceremony in Seattle honoring volunteer Scouts.

Thanks to Scouts, Co also got his certification in scuba diving. In January on Alki Beach, no less. “One of our laws is being brave,” he said. “Persevere and act like it’s no big deal, at the same time being brave enough to ask for help.” COURAGE AND CHARACTER Scouting has become a family affair for Wendell and Moulds. Moulds’ son was a Boy Scout and so was Wendell’s mom. “She was my leader throughout my years as a girl member,” Wendell said. Wendell’s love for the organization lasted, and evolved. Same for the organization itself, she said. Girl Scouts celebrate their 100th anniversary next year, Wendell said, and the program has become more

Emilie Reitz, a member of Girl Scout Troop 42385, holds her hand over her heart during a U.S. flag retirement ceremony. BY CAROL REITZ

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“ONE OF OUR LAWS IS BEING BRAVE. PERSEVERE AND ACT LIKE IT’S NO BIG DEAL, AT THE SAME TIME BEING BRAVE ENOUGH TO ASK FOR HELP.”  NICK CO streamlined with time. The change is evident in the mission statement of the Girl Scouts written in 1912 that stated its desire to train girls to take their rightful place in life, first as good women, then as good citizens, wives and mothers. The mission statement written in 2005 reads, “Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.” The current mission statement,

Schools & Activities

Wendell said, is relevant to today’s world and speaks volumes when it comes to understanding the Girl Scout experience. As with the Boy Scouts, the programs Girl Scouts offers have changed, too, with subjects like marketing, geocaching and astronomy now being studied. One thing that has not changed is that for the most part, both organizations remain strictly gender-

exclusive. The boys have a program that girls participate in called Venturing, for teenagers and 20-year-olds. “It’s a high-adventure program, lots of hiking, lots of search-and-rescue things,” Moulds said. “We have another program called Exploring, for 14- to 21-year-olds, that is more career-based.”

CONTINUED ON PAGE 38


FROM PAGE 37

38 On the other hand, Wendell explained, girls need space in their lives for girl-only time. “It’s essential for their healthy development,” she said. “There’s a lot of teambuilding activities,” she added. “It’s like the Boy Scouts, but with more feminine stuff.” CHALLENGES CONTINUE Wendell said national statistics show that only onethird of high schoolers enrolled in Advanced Placement physics classes are girls; one-fifth of college engineering majors are women; and 60 percent of eighthgrade girls have confidence in their math skills, about 11 percent fewer than boys. “Positive reinforcement through Girl Scout programs

in these subjects can give girls the extra support they need to enthusiastically pursue science and math education careers,” Wendell said. Challenges exist in both organizations. Boy Scouts struggle with approaching immigrant children. “It’s easier to serve the suburban white kids, because their parents were probably Scouts,” Moulds said. “But the kids whose parents just moved to America have never been exposed to Scouting.” Girl Scouts struggle being recognized on their own, Wendell said, even after 100 years of doing much more than just selling cookies. “I often felt inferior as a Girl Scout because I would be asked questions like, ‘Oh, Girl Scouts. Is that like the Boy Scouts?’” she said.

Mike Inman, a longtime Troop 426 Boy Scout cubmaster, properly rolls and adjusts the neckerchief for Ross Altenberg, a Webelos II Scout. BY GREG FARRAR

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DO 40

20

reasons to

Issaquah

Discover 20 reasons to love Issaquah, from the highest Tiger Mountain peak to the Lake Sammamish shoreline, and much more in between. The community includes icons and traits not found anywhere else, all in a postcard-perfect setting. The unique qualities — Issa-qualities? — start at the city’s name and extend into every nook and neighborhood. (The lineup is not arranged in a particular order, because ranking the city’s pre-eminent qualities seems so unfair.) ✱ BY WARREN KAGARISE

ISSAQUAH ALPS

SALMON DAYS

>>

The annual salmon-centric celebration is stitched into the city’s fabric. Salmon Days serves as a last hurrah before autumn, a touchstone for old-timers and a magnet for tourists. The street fair consistently ranks among the top destinations in the Evergreen State and, for a time last year, as the best festival on earth — in the $250,000-to-$749,000 budget category, anyway.

>>

The majestic title for the forested peaks surrounding the city, the Issaquah Alps, is a catchall term for Cougar, Squak and Tiger mountains. (Credit the late mountaineer and conservationist Harvey Manning for the sobriquet.) The setting is a playground for outdoors enthusiasts. Trails — some official and others less so — for hikers, bikers and equestrians crisscross the mountains, like haphazard tic-tac-toe patterns.


THE SCHOOLS

>>

Encompassing more than 17,000 students on 24 campuses, the Issaquah School District is considered among the top districts in the Evergreen State. Students across grade levels far outperformed the state averages on assessments last year. The district also boasts a nearperfect high school graduation rate. Schools benefit from a community eager to fund construction and curricula tuneups, either on the ballot or through the nonprofit Issaquah Schools Foundation.

COMMUNITY PRIDE

ISSAQUAH FARMERS MARKET

>>

In Issaquah, community pride is evident at every Friday night high school football game and every Saturday morning tree-planting party. Citizens feed the hungry, reach out to senior citizens, yank invasive plants, and offer money and time to innumerable causes. The deep bond between residents and the community is not limited to volunteerism. Fans pack the stands at games to cheer for the Issaquah Eagles, Liberty Patriots and Skyline Spartans.

VILLAGE THEATRE

>>

Springtime gloom aside, opening day at the Issaquah Farmers Market signals the unofficial start to summer. Every Saturday from mid-April to early October, shoppers pack Pickering Farm for locavore treats: organic produce, artisan goods and street snacks. Marketgoers can chomp a pulledpork sandwich from a pig-shaped truck and snag eye-popping dahlias nurtured in the Snoqualmie Valley.

>>

The musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”

opened at Village Theatre in 1979 — a prophetic choice. The playhouse attracted national attention in 2009 and last year, after the Village Theatre-nurtured musicals “Next to Normal” and “Million Dollar Quartet” opened on Broadway. Both productions earned Tony Awards, and “Next to Normal” garnered a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for the authorlyricist, Issaquah native Brian Yorkey.

COUGAR MOUNTAIN ZOO

>>

The animal kingdom at Cougar Mountain Zoo includes subjects both curious and ferocious. Rare Bengal tigers — Almos, Taj, Bagheera and Vitez — reign at the nonprofit zoo. Zoogoers on the path to the marquee exhibits come across less glamorous, but no less fascinating, characters: Madagascar hissing cockroaches, perhaps. Or, a herd of alpaca the zoo maintains to teach guests about the vicuña, a similar species at risk from habitat loss and poaching.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 42


FROM PAGE 41

42

COSTCO

BOEHM’S CANDIES

>>

The mountains surrounding Issaquah do not claim the only link to the Alps. Boehm’s Candies is a chocolate factory set in a chalet seemingly cut from gingerbread. The namesake behind the

truffles and turtles, Austrian chocolatier Julius Boehm, left behind a legacy more colorful than Willy Wonka. The former Olympic athlete escaped from Nazi-occupied Austria, opened a candy shop in Seattle and then relocated to Issaquah in 1956.

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The name on the jumbo-sized, store-brand products is Kirkland Signature. The address on the corporate headquarters is Issaquah. The company employs almost 3,000 people in buttoneddown buildings near the flagship warehouse at Pickering Place. Costco, ranked No. 25 on the Fortune 500 list, is large. Maybe even larger than the city’s other claim to fame, Modest Mouse, the indie rock outfit formed 18 years ago in Issaquah.

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PARAGLIDING

THE LANDSCAPE

>>

Mountains surround Issaquah, Lake Sammamish unfurls like a crystalline carpet and, on clear days, Mount Rainier looms on the southern horizon. Combined, the natural splendor makes for a breathtaking panorama. Issaquah also sits along the Mountains to Sound Greenway, a 101-mile greenbelt from Puget Sound to Central Washington. Leaders inside and outside City Hall continue to toil to protect the scenery.

>>

Colored specks in Crayola hues, set against a forested backdrop, proliferate on sun-splashed days. The specks — actually paraglider pilots beneath vibrant wings — seem suspended in the air, like confetti in a slow-motion descent. Adventurers head aloft from Poo Poo Point on Tiger Mountain and drift to the landing site along Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast. In the air, pilots manipulate a canopy to control the glider. Only a harness separates pilots from the sky.

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

>>

Come Election Day, Issaquah residents mail ballots en masse. The other 364 days of the year, citizens pack City Hall to sound off on hotbutton issues and apply in droves for municipal boards. The number of applicants often exceeds the number of open seats. The prize is a chance to decipher mind-numbing land-use decisions or drier-than-the-Sahara budget data in little-noticed and — not to mention — unpaid positions.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 44

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FROM PAGE 43

44 THE NAME

>>

The jumbled consonants and difficult pronunciation set Issaquah apart. The name Issaquah, for the record, references birds or snakes, depending on the source. Unlike neighboring burgs — ahem, Bellevue — Issaquah is a name unlike any other on the planet. No Issaquah, Neb., or Issaquah, Ore., or Issaquah, Pa., exists to confound postmasters or Google.

PUBLIC ART GILMAN VILLAGE

>>

Gilman Village offers restaurants and shops in a storybook setting — historic buildings relocated in the 1970s to a site between bustling Northwest Gilman Boulevard and Issaquah Creek. Tenants continue to set up shop in the quaint buildings. Restaurants offering barbecue, dim sum and more offer a respite for shoppers searching the boutiques for bargains.

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>>

The eclectic public art collection displayed along city streets acts as much as a conversation starter as a visual enhancement. Highlights, such as the exotic Blue Door — a gift from sister city Chefchaouen, Morocco — on the City Hall grounds and the oversized salmon sculptures at the Issaquah Fish Hatchery reflect a modern city. Colorful murals depicting farming and mining scenes nod to the past.


THE PARKS

>>

Issaquah leaders often compare the municipal parks system to a glittering emerald necklace. Families pack Central Park in the Issaquah Highlands, Tibbetts Valley Park and Veterans’ Memorial Field near City Hall, rain or shine. Other residents pitch in to enhance public green spaces. The city marshaled volunteers last year to plant more than 2,000 trees and shrubs along Issaquah Creek at Squak Valley Park North.

THE LOCATION

ISSAQUAH SALMON HATCHERY

>>

The Issaquah Salmon Hatchery appears humble and, perhaps, a little boring. In the early autumn, however, the site draws theme park-sized crowds during salmon runs. The hatchery faced a possible shutdown in the early 1990s, but community members banded together to save the depression-era facility from mothballs. Nowadays, teams spawn chinook and coho salmon by the thousands, and play a crucial role in protecting Lake Sammamish kokanee from extinction.

>>

The old real estate agent’s axiom is spot on: location, location, location. Issaquah, tucked amid mountains and a lake, boasts many charms. If residents decide to trek outside Issaquah, the city’s proximity to other splendors — both manmade and natural, on the Eastside and in Seattle — is another bonus. The ski slopes at Snoqualmie Pass or Seattle’s Pike Place Market, for instance, can be reached in minutes.

DOWNTOWN

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Downtown Issaquah resembles a scene lifted from a Norman Rockwell canvas. The frontier-era buildings and more modern storefronts hold galleries, restaurants, bicycle shops, music emporia and the bustling Issaquah Library. The annual Down Home 4th of July celebration, Salmon Days and the Christmas tree lighting all occur in the neighborhood. The downtown district unites commerce and community in less than one square mile.

THE CAR SHOWS

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Issaquah lures people on foot and on bicycles to explore the city and the surrounding forest, but the city is also a popular destination for forms of transportation powered by internal-combustion engines. Downtown Issaquah and the Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in host vehicles of all makes and models in waxed-and-polished parades during car shows held throughout the spring and summer.


DO 46

BY GREG FARRAR

Carniolan honeybees scamper in and out of a beehive after retrieving pollen from plants near beekeeper Peter Jarvis’ home.

All abuzz about bees

Come summertime, backyard beekeepers reap sweet rewards ✱ BY WARREN KAGARISE

The pastoral landscape surrounding Issaquah is not quite the biblical Promised Land, but the area is rich in honey (if not milk) as beekeepers set up hives in area backyards and barnyards. The buzz resumes each spring and summer as the daytime temperature nudges past 60 degrees and dandelions start to poke from the sodden soil. Then, all summer long, honeybees use assembly-line efficiency to gather pollen, and produce beeswax and liquid gold — prizes for amateur apiarists, or beekeepers. Honey aside, backyard beekeeping continues to gain popularity as organic and urban farming trends attain mainstream success; garden-

ers opt for a back-to-nature approach; and beekeepers establish hives to counteract colony collapse disorder, a mysterious phenomenon responsible for countless honeybee disappearances since 2006. The anemic economy also made a difference, as people started to rely on honeybees and mason bees, another species, to pollinate kitchen gardens and orchards — both cheap food sources. Jerry Good established a beehive on 6 1/2 acres in May Valley a few years ago, and tended to honeybees pollinating apple, cherry, pear and plum trees on the land. “The bees do all of the work for you with not a lot of effort,” he said. “The bees work all summer


“KEEPING BEES IS KIND OF A CONNECTION TO MORE OF AN AGRARIAN LIFESTYLE IN THE CITY.” BRAD JONES PUGET SOUND BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT

BY GREG FARRAR

Peter Jarvis stands quietly near beehives on his property near Laughing Jacobs Lake on Issaquah-Pine Lake Road Southeast. long, and they’re gathering and making honey — and then it’s yours.”

Peter Jarvis, a retired King County Superior Court and Issaquah Municipal Court judge, received a starter beehive as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago. Nowadays, perhaps 35,000 to 40,000 Carniolan honeybees buzz out of a plastic hive and drift from flower to flower. Jarvis, a longtime Sammamish Plateau resident, learned beekeeping through trial and error. His initial colony did not last through the winter chill. The replacement batch almost departed en masse in a swarm, after the queen bee and worker bees sought to form another colony. The honeybees swarmed just before Independence Day last year, and formed a watermelon-shaped clump in the branches of a fir tree about 18 feet above the ground. So, dressed in a white beekeeper suit and perched in a backhoe bucket, Jarvis shook the swarm into a hive to recover the bees. Other wayward bees returned to the hive later. “They know where home is,” he said. “They want to be with their queen.”

The honeybees Good used to keep in May Valley disappeared last year, perhaps in a swarm or due to colony collapse disorder. Such headaches can become commonplace for backyard beekeepers — and more common than stings than outsiders might imagine. Jarvis has escaped stings so far, although angry honeybees almost retaliated as he opened a hive for the spring. “They got madder than hell, and they came after me,” he recalled.

Brad Jones, Puget Sound Beekeepers Association president, said interest in urban farming and homegrown products have sparked interest in the 63-year-old group and backyard beekeeping. “I grew up in rural Montana and living in the city it’s kind of tough sometimes when you’re used to wide-open spaces,” he said. “Keeping bees is kind of a connection to more of an agrarian lifestyle in the city.” Jones started keeping Carniolan and Italian honeybees in a Seattle backyard to produce honey mead, the ancient alcoholic drink, and tends to numerous honeybee colonies each spring and summer.

The observational beehive at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle is another agrarian outpost in the city — and a conversation starter, especially since beekeeping started to catch on among urban and suburban gardeners and colony collapse disorder appeared in the headlines. “The No. 1 question is, where’s the queen? And the No. 2 question with an observation hive is, are they trapped? There’s a common perception that they can’t get out or if they got out they wouldn’t come back,” said Sarah Moore, the life sciences manager at the science center and the wife of a hobbyist beekeeper. The honeybees do indeed return to the colony at the iconic science center. The teeming beehive is a popular attraction at the museum during the spring and summer months. “People are a lot more informed than they have been in the past,” Moore said. “They either know a lot about bees, or at least there’s a general knowledge that the bees need some help — they’re having trouble.”

CONTINUED ON PAGE 48

BY SALLY JARVIS

Claire Kimble (left) and brother Peter help grandparents Peter and Sally Jarvis recover a swarm of honeybees.


48

FROM PAGE 47

The buzz, both figurative and literal, in a tree-lined Sammamish neighborhood is all about bees. Not the honeybees so beloved for providing the amber liquid inside plastic bears on grocery store shelves. Not the bumblebee immortalized in the violin-propelled orchestral piece. Instead, the bees buzzing in the air around Knox Cellars Native Bee Pollinators along a suburban street come from a different species altogether: Orchard Mason bees, a hardy workhorse used to pollinate gardens and orchards throughout Western Washington. The bee evangelist behind the buzz at Knox Cellars is Lisa Novich, a former Weyerhaeuser marketing manager turned bee entrepreneur. “This is a hobby that went out of control,” she said. The hobby started after Novich’s father, Brian Griffin, hoped to increase the yield from some backyard apple trees — “lots of blossoms but no fruit” as she recalled. Then,

BY GREG FARRAR

Lisa Novich, of Sammamish, holds a ‘bee chalet’ nesting house for Orchard Mason bees. he came across a Washington State University pamphlet describing mason bees as a reliable — and minimal-fuss — pollinator. Griffin later put the knowledge into a book to offer a plain-English

explanation for home gardeners about mason bees. Until “The Orchard Mason Bee” reached beekeepers and gardeners, only academic papers about mason bees existed. The father-and-daughter duo

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started operating Knox Cellars on the Sammamish Plateau more than 20 years ago and toiled side by side for more than a decade, until Griffin retired several years ago. Orchard Mason bees do not reside in a hive and, most crucially, do not produce beeswax or honey. The species lacks the queen and hierarchical social structure inherent in honeybee colonies.

Orchard Mason bees emerge in the early spring, toil for a short period and then die off in late spring. Meanwhile, eggs fertilized during the brief spring spend the rest of the year gestating into mature bees. Knox Cellars sells mason bees to customers in Sammamish and Issaquah — including to the Hayes and Squak Mountain nurseries — and across the United States. The company is a national leader in the mason beekeeping industry. Gardeners can create nesting habitat for the bees in do-it-yourself wooden blocks or special plastic containers. Then, the bees handle the rest.

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Sammamish Plateau resident Linda Hines transformed her yard into a native plant sanctuary and started keeping Orchard Mason bees from Knox Cellars about a decade ago. “I’m just interested in pollinating without all of the work of honeybees and the problems that they have. I don’t even want to bring those into my yard,” she said. Hines stashes the maturing bees in the refrigerator during the cold months, and places the bees outside after the Oregon grape starts to bloom in early spring. In the spring, mason bees emerge from mud nests and seek out nearby pollen sources. (The mother bees create a mud barrier to seal off each nest cell.) “That’s why they’re called mason bees, because they use mud like bricklayers,” Novich said. The species is not aggressive or easily provoked, although most of the concerns about bee dangers stem from a “Jurassic Park”-style experiment involving Africanized bees, or so-called killer bees. “You can be stung by one, but it’s pretty hard,” she said. “I mean, if you

get stung by a mason bee, you really deserve it. You have to really, really piss them off. If you sat on one, it might sting you. It’s an absolutely last-ditch operation for them, and it’s a pretty mild sting.” Further separating honeybees and mason bees is aesthetics. Orchard Mason bees resemble a housefly more than a honeybee. “Every year, I’ll get a call from at least one customer who will be all upset because the bees I sent them, ‘Well, the bees aren’t emerging from those straws, but houseflies are,’” Novich said. Though honeybees remain a more familiar presence than mason bees during the summertime, mason bees existed in North America long before honeybees. The continent lacks honey-producing bees, except for bumblebees — though the species does not stockpile honey. “Honeybees, which is what we’re all taught about when we grow up, are not even native to North America. They’re all European,” Novich said. “They came to North America with the very first settlers, and the Pilgrims at Plymouth had wine casks full of honeybee colonies.”

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Art Walk

Historic Downtown Issaquah 5 - 8 pm

Issaquah Farmers Market 9 am - 2 pm Pickering Farm

Down Home

4th of July

& Heritage Day @ Memorial Park 11 am - 2 pm Kids Pets ‘n Pride Parade, 11 am

Fourth on the Plateau

Concerts on the Green Wings N Things 7 - 8:30 pm Community Center

6 - 11 pm Sammamish City Hall

All Chevy car show 8 am XXX Drive-In

KIDSTAGE

Chicago 7:30 - 9 pm July 17- July 24

Burgers & Bikes show 8 am XXX Drive-In

Cascade Cougar Prowl car show 8 am XXX Drive-In

50

Creme Tangerine 6:30 - 8 pm Pine Lake Park

Mountains to Sound Greenway Concert

The Fabulous Roofshakers 7 - 8 pm Community Center

Issaquah Farmers Market 9 am - 2 pm Pickering Farm

Depot Museum

Concerts on the Green 7 - 8:30 pm Community Center

Fraternity Snoqualmie

Village Theatre’s

4 - 8 pm Sammamish City Hall

Concerts in the Park

Downtown Walking Tour 10 am

Bottle Rockit

Bare Buns Fun Run

Sammamish Farmers Market

Sammamish Farmers Market

Concerts in the Park

Farmers Market

@Five Band

4 - 8 pm Sammamish City Hall

6:30 - 8 pm Pine Lake Park

Wooden O Shakespeare Plays

Concerts on the Green Deadwood Revival 7 - 8:30 pm Community Center

Kids First

Zambini Bros. Puppet Show Noon - 1 pm Beaver Lake Park

Sammamish Farmers Market 4 - 8 pm Sammamish City Hall

Village Theatre’s KIDSTAGE

Concerts on the Green All Mixed Up 7 - 8:30 pm Community Center

NW Corvair car show

Chalk Art Festival

8 am XXX Drive-In

Noon - 5 pm Community Center

9 am - 2 pm Pickering Farm

Macbeth

7 - 8:45 pm Pine Lake Park

Chocolate, Wine & All That Jazz

Wooden O Shakespeare Plays Comedy of Errors

5:30 pm Boehm’s Candies

7 - 8:45 pm Pine Lake Park

Concerts in the Park

Issaquah Farmers Market

About Face 6:30 - 8 pm Pine Lake Park

‘CHICAGO’

9 am - 2 pm Pickering Farm

July 17 through July 24

Sammamish Farmers Market

Concerts in the Park

4 - 8 pm Sammamish City Hall

6:30 - 8 pm Pine Lake Park

Dr. Funk

Village Theatre’s

KIDSTAGE

hairspray 7:30 - 9 pm July 31 - Aug 7


Concerts Beat the Heat on the Green Splash Day

Second Hand Newz 7 - 8:30 pm Community Center

National Night Out

1 pm Community Center

Concerts in the Park

Sammamish Farmers Market

FreddyPink

Noon - 3 pm

4 - 8 pm

Sammamish Commons

Sammamish City Hall

Village Theatre’s KIDSTAGE

Concerts on the Green Ventura Highway Revisited 7 - 8:30 pm Community Center

Kids First Noontime Series Recess Monkey Noon

Vintage Chevy Club show

Beaver Lake Park

Concerts on the Green

8 am XXX Drive-In

Cherry Cherry 7 - 8:30 pm Community Center

12th Annual

NWCCC ‘55, ‘56, ‘57 Chevy car show

Vintage Chevy Club show

Concerts in the Park Clinton Fearon & Boogie Brown 7 - 8:30 pm

8 am XXX Drive-In

5 pm XXX Drive-In

4th Annual

Noontime Series Nate Weinstein,

First Day of School

Harry Potter

Concerts on the Green

Rat Bastards car show 8 am XXX Drive-In

Kids First

Impersonator Noon - 1 pm Ebright Creek Park

Community Center

Jr. Cadillac

7 - 8:30 pm Community Center

6:30 - 8 pm Pine Lake Park

‘Hairspray’

Art Walk

Historic Downtown Issaquah 5 - 8 pm

Issaquah Farmers Market 9 am - 2 pm Pickering Farm

Grand Ridge

Solstice Trail Run

July 31 through August 7

Train Show Sammamish Farmers Market 4 - 8 pm Sammamish City Hall

Sammamish Farmers Market 4 - 8 pm Sammamish City Hall

Sammamish Farmers Market 4 - 8 pm Sammamish City Hall

Concerts in the Park

10 am - 4 pm Issaquah Depot

BottleRockit

Issaquah Farmers Market

6:30 - 8 pm Pine Lake Park

9 am - 2 pm Pickering Farm

Concerts in the Park Sammamish Symphony “Music from the Oscars” 6:30 - 8 pm Pine Lake Park

Concerts in the Park Soul Purpose 6:30 - 8 pm Pine Lake Park

Downtown Walking Tour 10 am

Beaver Lake Triathlon 7:45 am Beaver Lake Park

Issaquah Farmers Market 9 am - 2 pm Pickering Farm

Issaquah Farmers Market 9 am - 2 pm Pickering Farm

Nudestock 11 am - 6 pm Fraternity Snoqualmie

Sammamish Farmers Market 4 - 8 pm Sammamish City Hall Concerts on the Green

51


September 2011

Art Walk Historic Downtown Issaquah 5 - 8 pm

Sammamish Farmers Market on Wednesdays 4 - 8 pm

Sammamish Farmers Market 15th Annual

Mega Cruz car show 8 am XXX Drive-In

Labor Day

4 - 8 pm Sammamish City Hall

Salmon Days Volunteer Party 5:30 pm Pickering Barn

5th Annual

All Ford car show 8 am XXX Drive-In

Sammamish Farmers Market 4 - 8 pm Sammamish City Hall

Issaquah Farmers Market

9 am - 2 pm Pickering Farm

Issaquah Farmers Market 9 am - 2 pm Pickering Farm

Outdoor Movie On the Green “Despicable Me” 8:30 pm Community Center

Issaquah Farmers Market

9 am - 2 pm Pickering Farm

Village Theatre presents “Take Me America” Sept. 14 through Nov. 20

Shop N’ Swap Meet 8 am XXX Drive-In

Sammamish Farmers Market 4 - 8 pm Sammamish City Hall

Issaquah Farmers Market 9 am - 2 pm Pickering Farm

Salmon Days Sporting Weekend Sept 24 & 25

3rd Annual

Mini Cooper car show 8 am XXX Drive-In

52

Sammamish Farmers Market 4 - 8 pm Sammamish City Hall

Salmon Days Festival Grande Parade 10 am Salmon Days Sat & Sun Oct 1 &2


DESTINATION:

LAKE SAMMAMISH The crystalline lake is much more than a swimming hole It has a sunken forest, great blue and green herons, and canoes dipping up and down in the waves. At seven miles in length, Lake Sammamish is a refuge and an entertainment spot for boaters seeking solitude or a good time. Whether on a motorboat or in a kayak, or balancing on a paddleboard or a Ski-Doo, outdoor enthusiasts flock to Lake Sammamish for its

views, wildlife and watery expanse. Boat owners can purchase a $7 daily watercraft-launching permit at the park if they choose to use Lake Sammamish State Park as their take-off point. Teresa Eneix, of Marysville, took her boat out on the water with her family on a warm day June 5 to go “droll cruising,” a term she defined while laughing as “looking at all the neat houses that we could never afford.”

✱ BY LAURA GEGGEL She said she spotted a brace of ducks and a gaggle of geese, but the best part was that boaters don’t use Lake Sammamish as much as Lake Washington, meaning the water is less choppy. Nichole and Peter Wengert, of Sammamish, who had spotted a bald eagle, also admire the communities surrounding the lake’s periphery. “We hug the shoreline and look at

BY GREG FARRAR

Kyle Ritland, working for his mother Barbara Gronseth, of Issaquah Paddle Sports, takes inventory on Sunset Beach of the paddle boats, canoes and paddleboards, and kayaks for one, two or three passengers.

GO 54


all the houses,” Peter Wengert said. Though the family has a motorboat, they have also gone kayaking. After all, “it’s nice to go without the motor and check out the lily pads,” he said. For those who don’t own a boat — or who don’t have friends with boats — another option exists. Issaquah Paddle Sports rents paddle boats, kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards to water lovers, and co-owner Barbara Gronseth has plenty of recommendations for where boaters can explore.







George Gronseth has a natural ease in a kayak. His boating lessons for groups like the Mountaineers Club and the Washington Kayak Club made him so popular that he decided to start his own business. In 1991, he founded the Kayak Academy, which is how he met his wife, Barbara. She began operating Issaquah Paddle Sports on Lake Sammamish in 1997, and used George’s school to train her employees. After much banter and many boat rides, the two wed in 2004. Now, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Gronseths rent boats at the state park’s Sunset Beach. The Kayak Academy also offers classes from March to November, with novice training starting at Lake Sammamish and advanced classes held in the San Juan Islands.

BY PAUL SCOTT

A heron perches on a partially submerged log, part of a sunken forest in the lake. “I love being on the water,” Barbara said. “I want to be able to share letting people have access to the water.”







Boaters have access to all seven

BY BARBARA GRONSETH

Martin Barker looks through a pair of binoculars during a lesson with the Kayak Academy on Lake Sammamish.

miles of the lake, but many of the scenic views are near the state park, including the heron rookery and Issaquah Creek. Further north, boats will encounter green parks, including Timberlake Park, the sunken forest, Vasa Park, Idlywood Beach Park and, if they’re feeling ambitious, Marymoor Park in Redmond. Once boaters don their life jackets, they can head a half-mile northeast to where Issaquah Creek empties into Lake Sammamish. “It’s a great little safe haven of peacefulness from all of the boats and the noise on the lake,” Barbara said. “There’s lots of birds in there.” She listed great blue herons, green herons, eagles, king fishers, ducks, geese, beaver and river otter as animals that call the creek area home. Bring a camera, but be sure to put it in a waterproof bag. Just about everything gets wet in a boat, especially a kayak or canoe. If people bring valuables they don’t want to get wet, they can leave them at the Heron Roost snack bar at Sunset

CONTINUED ON PAGE 56


FROM PAGE 55

56

Beach, said Whende Keatts, Issaquah Paddle Sports employee. Boaters are required to wear life jackets at all times. “We provide all ages because we allow infants to go in the paddle boats,” Barbara said.

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Near Issaquah Creek is the heron rookery. Though boaters should give heron nests a buffer of 1,000 feet, they can spy on the birds with a pair of binoculars. The best way to see herons near the rookery is to sit in silence. Boaters should be able to see herons flying to and from their nests year round, though sometimes the nests are harder to see in the summer. “At this time of year, once the foliage comes out, it’s hard to see in the reed,” Barbara said. “They choose a pretty protective nest area.” Boaters with binoculars and a sixth sense for feathered creatures can also find eagles and their nests, high in trees above the southern part of Lake Sammamish. Boaters can crisscross about a mile from Sunset Beach to the lake’s western side for a trip to Issaquah’s Timberlake Park, a green, forested area with trails, beach access and picnic tables. Dogs are allowed, but only if they’re on a leash. Near Timberlake Park is the lake’s sunken forest, a geological wonder that formed after a landslide 1,000 years ago. Boaters can see the ancient tree stumps poking out of the water. The forest is a good place for fishermen. “I know it’s a great fishing location, because when I’m paddling over there, there’s a lot of bass fisherman fishing around the logs,” Barbara said. Boaters who want to explore more of the lake can paddle to Bellevue’s Vasa Park, also on the west side of the lake. The park boasts water slides, a picnic area and wide-open spaces. In the middle of the southern and northern parts of the lake, boaters will see two King County lake-monitoring buoys that measure the wind speed, air and water temperatures of both areas. Farther north are Idylwood Beach and Marymoor parks in Redmond, the latter being about a four-and-a-

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Timberlake Park Sa

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Heron rookery E

Issaquah Creek

Soccer Lake Sammamish south shore

Lake Sammamish Park

map not to scale

BY DONA MOKIN

EXPLORE THE LAKE Learn more about Issaquah Paddle Sports at www.issaquahpaddlesports.com. Rental boats are available Wednesday and Friday through Sunday. Prices range from $20 to $30 per hour, depending on the type of boat. An adult must accompany children younger than 18.

half-hour round trip by canoe or kayak, Barbara estimated. There is a beach at Idlywood Beach Park and a public restroom, which could prove a good pit stop for boaters. No matter the reason, boating is a great way to cool off on a summer day. “It’s great,” Barbara said. “On a hot day, there is always a little breeze


GO 58

LIFE OF THE

PARTY ✱ BY WARREN KAGARISE

SEE LENIN IN FREMONT The bronze Vladimir Lenin statue sits, unable to be ignored, on a wedgeshaped parcel at Fremont Place North and Evanston Avenue North in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.

BY GREG FARRAR

The statue of Vladimir Lenin casts a steely gaze along a street in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.

FREMONT’S LENIN STATUE TRACES JOURNEY FROM SLOVAKIA — AND ISSAQUAH In Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood and, for a time in Issaquah, Vladimir Lenin, so reviled and revered throughout the 20th century, is just the dictator next door. The reason a bronze Lenin statue came to rest in Fremont, the self-styled center of the universe, is almost as convoluted as a Cold War potboiler. The statue’s circuitous route led from Slovakia to Issaquah after a local man, Lewis Carpenter, chanced upon the statue in the former Soviet satellite state.

Overnight, after the Iron Curtain collapsed, residents discarded such Soviet propaganda symbols by the cartful. Communism in Eastern Europe imploded not long before Carpenter, a business and English instructor at a nearby university, discovered the toppled statue in a Poprad, Slovakia, storage yard. Inside the hollow statue, a homeless man had set up camp. The less-than-enamored Slovaks planned to melt down

the statue for benches, but the college instructor offered another idea — purchasing the statue as a landmark — and cash. So, after dropping $13,000 and slicing through red tape, Carpenter owned the statue. The transoceanic shipment to Washington cost another $40,000. Carpenter, a colorful character and self-described playboy, could not resist the irony inherent in displaying Lenin in the Soviet Union’s archnemesis. Soon, however, tragedy caused


BY GREG FARRAR

Friends walking in Fremont take a smartphone photo of a man standing next to the 16-foot-tall Vladimir Lenin statue brought to the United States by late Issaquah resident Lewis Carpenter.

KIRBY LINDSAY, AUTHOR

“If you want to accuse us of being capitalists, I got it. If you want to accuse us of being irreverent, sure. If you want to accuse us of being outrageously liberal, you might have a point. But communists?”

the plan to screech to a halt. Carpenter perished in a car accident on Stevens Pass in 1994, not long after Lenin arrived on the Eastside. Questions about the statue multiplied in the aftermath. How should Lenin be displayed? Should the statue be erected at all? Maybe as a landmark for a restaurant specializing in Eastern European delicacies, as Carpenter had envisioned or, perhaps, as a public art piece in Issaquah, then home to a mere 9,000 people. “There weren’t any takers,” Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger said. “My recollection is that people went, ‘Uh, probably not.’” “Weird Washington” coauthor Al Eufrasio echoes the reasons Carpenter bought the statue. The guide to Evergreen State oddities includes a section about the piece. “People say, ‘Hey, you’re putting up a monument to totalitarianism’ and then people go, ‘Nah, it’s not the point. The point is that art transcends politics.’ You have this kind of unique sculpture that you’re

not going to see anywhere else in the country,” Eufrasio said. “It should be here. Where else are you going to see it?” The flesh-and-blood Lenin seized power in 1917, and then executed the deposed czar, aristocrats and landowners. Russia morphed into the Soviet Union and, not long afterward, Lenin died from stroke-related complications. In a not-so-subtle snub to the Communist Party overlords in then-Czechoslovakia, sculptor Emil Venkov depicted Lenin not as a book-toting intellectual, but as a firebrand. The abstract shapes flanking Lenin suggest flames. Impressions in the bronze coattails hint at rifles and bayonets. The statue stands 16 feet tall and tips the scales at almost 8 tons. (Lenin stood less than 6 feet tall in real life.) Venkov, after spending a decade to create the piece, unveiled the statue just as com-

CONTINUED ON PAGE 60


60

FROM PAGE 59

munism in Eastern Europe faded into the sunset. Fremont Fine Arts Foundry owner and sculptor Peter Bevis met Venkov and Carpenter after the men toured the foundry in the early ’90s, as Venkov searched for a space to sculpt a proposed piece, but nothing resulted from the appointment. Bevis later heard about the Lenin statue after another sculptor told him, “‘Hey, I know this woman in Issaquah who has an 8-ton statue of Stalin, and could you melt it down or do something? She doesn’t know what to do with it.’” So, more interested in enough bronze to last a lifetime than Cold War kitsch, Bevis left Fremont and headed east. “When I found my way there, it was not Stalin, it was Lenin,” he recalled. “I feel more charitable toward Lenin. I think Stalin was just a thug, but at least Lenin wanted the people to have some rights.”

The statue rested ignominiously in pieces on a wooden pallet in a horse pasture east of Issaquah. In order to complete the journey from Slovakia to the United States, Lenin had to be cut narrow enough to fit inside a SeaLand shipping container. Bevis could only speculate about how the assembled figure might appear. In the meantime, as he pet the horses and snapped photos, “People started coming out of the various homes around the horse pasture, wondering what I was doing there.” Then, the sculptor remembered Carpenter and Venkov calling on the foundry about a year earlier. “I could see in these people coming out of the houses that Lew Carpenter was gone,” he said. “It sort of rends the fabric. That’s a father, a son, an uncle, a husband — all these different relationships. I kind of decided there and then that if I could bolt this statue back together, it would be metaphoric of bolting the family back together.” Bevis, after agreeing to pay to relocate and reassemble Lenin from the countryside to the city, secured the pieces on a flatbed truck for the trek to Fremont. The sculptor paid more than

BY GREG FARRAR

Many residents of Fremont are used to walking past the looming bronze profile of Vladimir Lenin emerging from the flames of the Russian Revolution.

LEWIS CARPENTER

VLADIMIR LENIN


garage sale stuff — and Lenin’s presiding over them,” Bevis said.

BY GREG FARRAR

The Royal Grinders deli serves subs, panini and gelato, and a gelato size is named for the 20th century leader. $10,000 out of pocket for the project. Upon reaching the foundry, volunteers spent more than a month in early 1995 fitting the three pieces together, only to discover the completed Lenin could not fit in the adjacent alley. The team lopped off a piece and then rebuilt Lenin at the installation site.

Meanwhile, Fremont residents considered the impending addition to the neighborhood. Kirby Lindsay, a longtime Fremont resident and columnist behind the neighborhood news website, The Fremocentrist, recalled handling angry phone calls about Lenin as a Fremont Chamber of Commerce employee. “I remember the party when everybody said, ‘Oh, did you hear?’ and I didn’t think anything of it,” she said. “It’s just a bronze statue. It could be just about anything and I’d be used to it in Fremont. It was only after they put it up that people got upset.” Lindsay’s mother, prominent Fremont landowner Suzie Burke, offered space near a parking lot for Lenin. The unveiling — a gauche display sure to embarrass any committed communist — included fireworks popping from the base and orange Nylon cloth shrouding the statue. Organizers also set up a microphone for people to speak at the debut. “Some people said, ‘He was a murderer. He killed my family,’” Bevis recalled. Other speakers found the tableau humorous, because Lenin landed in a stubbornly independent neighborhood near the Fremont Sunday Market. “Here are microcapitalists, if you will, with their card tables and

Still, the statue induced strong and sometimes-unbridled emotions. Bevis received death threats after the installation. “People also threatened me and said, ‘Well, we’re going to throw a rope around his neck and pull him over.’ Well, you see, in America we honor private property,” he said. “You can’t just go and destroy other people’s stuff.” (The base is bolted down in order to prevent a coup d’état in the neighborhood.) Fremonsters, a label neighborhood denizens sometimes use, developed a grudging tolerance, if not outright acceptance, for the statue. Lenin had to be relocated to a wedge-shaped parcel on another block in 1997, after torrential rains destabilized the Fremont Sunday Market installation site. “If you don’t like Lenin, you’re not going to locate here. Our cigar store loves being able to tell people, ‘around the corner from Lenin.’ Our new Russian dumpling restaurant makes sure its sandwich board is at the foot of Lenin when it’s open,” Lindsay said. “Most of the people who are locating here know where they’re coming to.” In another statement potent enough to settle the debate about capitalism versus communism, Lenin is for sale. Experts from the Seattle Art Museum appraised the immense statue at $240,000. The street corner installation is considered temporary until Carpenter’s family finds a buyer. In the meantime, the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, ironically enough, is the statue’s unofficial steward.

Lenin appears as a more fitting set piece for a military parade — rolling tanks, goose-stepping soldiers and martial music — than as a backdrop for bare and jiggling bodies astride bicycles at the Fremont Fair, a summer solstice celebration. The scowling statue is also festooned in lights for Christmas — another no-no in the officially athe-

ist Eastern Bloc — each December during the Lenin Lighting or, as Lindsay refers to the yuletide spectacle, “the multioffensive Lenin Lighting.” The mishmash includes a radiant Star of David atop the statue as Santa Claus greets boys and girls at the base. Lenin, rather than leading to a glorious future, instead encourages peoples to patronize neighborhood merchants. Fremont revels in such contradictions. The neighborhood embraces the statue, often in ways to spoof Lenin and communist politics. The statue clutched a huge Winnie the Pooh toy for a time and, in a workers-of-the-world-unite moment, held a sign to support striking machinists. Celebrants doll up Lenin in drag queen makeup for the Fremont Fair and gay pride celebrations. “If you want to accuse us of being capitalists, I got it. If you want to accuse us of being irreverent, sure. If you want to accuse us of being outrageously liberal, you might have a point,” Lindsay said. “But communists?”

BY GREG FARRAR

If the statue of Lenin ever comes to life, the nearby Fremont Nails shop will have a customer long overdue for a manicure.


ISSAQUAH - SAMMAMISH

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Amateur Photo Contest 1ST PLACE!

WINNERS! In 3 categories:

PEOPLE • SCENIC ANIMALS

Judging criteria: Originality, composition, lighting & strength of Issaquah/Sammamish identity. All submissions come with permission to be reproduced, with photo credit, in any publication of The Issaquah Press or Sammamish Review.

Submit JPEG by email: contest@isspress.com or deliver 8x10 print to:

Amateur Photo Contest, 45 Front Street South, Issaquah, WA 98027 Include name, address, phone, email, and the photo’s story. Limit 3 entries per photographer.

Deadline: August 14, 2011 Winners announced: Sept. 7 in The Issaquah Press & Sammamish Review

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