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September 20, 2013 at 7:38 PM
Sketched Sept. 12, 2013
As Patrick Ford teaches middle-schoolers how to build a wooden bridge, at least one in the class is not paying attention. I’m talking about Buddy 2.0, who is snoozing with her tongue out inside the cart Ford uses to wheel her around.
A real English bulldog has roamed the hallways of Beaver Lake Middle SchoolCQ in Issaquah and served as the mascot since the school opened in 1994. The first Buddy charmed kids and parents for 13 years, said Ford, and when she died they just had to get another bulldog. “Beaver Lake just didn’t feel the same without Buddy.”
The school district, which adopted a no-animal policy a few years ago, makes an exception for Buddy as long as Ford gets permission from all the parents and continues to prove that having Buddy in the school has an educational value. She helps kids cope with the anxieties of middle school, he said. “Some kids may not have many friends, but Buddy is always their friend.”
One of the dozen students drawn to Buddy during recess put it this way. “She brings us all together really well.”
August 9, 2013 at 5:53 PM
I never thought I would ride a Portuguese trolley anywhere but in Lisbon,
where I lived for a few months in the late ’90s.
Sketched July 30, 2013
Some cities love trolleys more than others.
While Seattle has watched its fleet of waterfront streetcars collect dust in a Sodo warehouse, Issaquah has gone as far as Colorado and Iowa to bring a trolley to its downtown corridor.
The idea gained traction after the city restored its historic train depot in 1994. “We wanted to run something on the track, and it couldn’t be a steam engine,” said trolley volunteer Barbara Justice.
Saturday, almost two decades later, an old car (originally from Lisbon, Portugal) that Justice and her team found in Aspen, Colo., and then sent to Iowa for restoration makes its debut as Issaquah’s newest attraction. The trolley line runs on the historic tracks once used for freight and passenger service to Seattle. It is part of the revitalization of the downtown and meant to attract more visitors to Issaquah’s museums.
Though the trolley will travel only half a mile back and forth, Justice said the distance is not the point. “We are in the history business, not the transportation business.”
The Issaquah Valley Trolley will operate on weekends, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., on a “pay as you can” basis.
May 22, 2013 at 5:09 PM
Sketched May 8, 2013
I drove by this historic gas station in Issaquah on my way to sketch paragliders at Tiger Mountain. You don’t see this kind of old buildings everyday around here, so I couldn’t resist pulling over for a quick 20-minute sketch. According to the Downtown Issaquah Association website, the building may have been a residence first, built in the 1890s. Over the years, it was also used as a warehouse and feed store. In 2003, it was restored to the way it looked in the 1940s. Can you picture the scene back then? I imagine men in suits driving big old Cadillacs (like this one) and smoking cigars.
May 18, 2013 at 2:24 AM
Sketched May 8, 2013
“Are you thinking of flying today?”
When Marc Chirico asked the question, I mumbled: “Er… I wasn’t planning to.”
Chirico, who runs a paragliding school at the foot of Tiger Mountain in Issaquah, has a long resume in the sport. He has participated in international competitions and once flew 65 miles between Chelan and Odessa in Eastern Washington — a state record.
He also has a knack for making people feel at ease. He welcomed me atop his “eagle’s nest” with a fresh cup of coffee and an extra jacket in case I was cold.
The 4-story high platform overlooks a grassy field where pilots land next to the Issaquah-Hobart road. It is the latest addition to Seattle Paragliding, the training center Chirico has operated from this converted farm for more than a decade.
The grounds also include a sloping hill where I watched pilots practice take-off and landing. Tom Keefer was one of them. He said the more you practice here, the better prepared you are when you fly.
Meeting Keefer and Chirico’s other students helped me realize this may not be the sport for daredevils I imagined.
Keefer, 61, is a retired Metro bus driver who has flown solo 57 times. Nancy Colton, a 50-year-old massage therapist, was excited about completing her fourth solo flight and looking forward to her fifth the following day. She said she still gets scared, but the desire to fly is stronger.
If they could do it, why not me?
By the time Chirico mentioned the 4:45 p.m. shuttle service to the launchpads at Poo Poo Point, the idea of a tandem flight was sounding less intimidating.
The shuttle driver is someone very dear to Chirico, a man named Mike Miller who was born with celebral palsy. Chirico called him up and he joined us atop the eagle’s nest long enough for me to do a quick sketch of him.
While many take the shuttle up to the Poo Poo Point launchpads, others prefer to hike. That was the case of Michael Peña, a sporty-looking fellow I sketched moments after he landed. Peña, who has practiced the sport in Costa Rica and Mexico as well, said Tiger Mountain is one of the most scenic places for paragliding he knows.
With permission from the Department of Natural Resources, Chirico built the trail that goes up to Poo Poo Point and the launchpads that paragliders use to jump. The process of building the launchpads started in 1990, he said. It required bringing excavators to level the terrain and installing runways of Astro Turf. Today, Poo Poo Point has become a community treasure, said Chirico. It is the “country club of paragliding.”
After watching about a dozen pilots take off, I took up Chirico’s offer to fly a tandem with him. Talk about gaining a new perspective!
He strapped my harness to his and I followed the steps: “Three, two, one, run …. and torpedo!”
A burst of wind lifted the featherweight wing and we soared into the sky.
A few minutes later, as the warm air of a thermal propelled us, I pulled out my sketchbook and drew Mount Rainier with my feet dangling in the sky.
“Can you feel the heat,” Chirico asked.
November 30, 2012 at 7:49 PM
Sketched Nov. 21, 2012
The authentic Swiss-style Edelweiss Chalet, home to Boehms Candies since 1956, was built by Julius Boehm, an Austrian immigrant who relocated his chocolate factory from Seattle to Issaquah to be closer to the mountains.
Since Boehm passed away in 1981, longtime employee and current owner Bernard Garbusjuk has carried on the tradition of making good chocolate and welcoming visitors to the factory and grounds, which include a replica of a 12th-century chapel that Boehm dedicated to fallen mountaineers.
Garbusjuk’s face lit up as people flocked into the store on the rainy day I was there. He marveled that people still make the trek to the chalet for holiday sweets.
“Isn’t it wonderful?” he said. “We are not just retail; we are a landmark.”
Mindi Reid, Boehms Candies in-house historian, said group tours of the chalet and the High Alpine Chapel (also known as the Luis Trenker Chapel) are offered by appointment during the winter months. In the summer, scheduled tours are offered every Saturday and Sunday. For more details and directions, visit Boehms site at boehmscandies.com.
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