Off The Press — Look for beauty hiding beneath life’s ugly dilemmas

December 29, 2015

NEW — 1:51 p.m. Dec. 29, 2015

Twas the night before the night before Christmas as I write this, and running through my mind are thoughts of a man I met only once.

Last spring, I was at a Seattle sports bar before a Sounders FC match. It’s not uncommon for me to interact with strangers at this particular place, but up until this day it was a foreign concept to have any sort of deep, meaningful conversation with someone about anything except soccer.

Neil Pierson Press reporter

Neil Pierson
Press reporter

I sat down at the bar, ordered a beer and began monkeying around on my phone. It’s pretty typical behavior to casually ignore everyone around us in these situations, which I often feel guilty for. We miss face-to-face connections that can be valuable, even if they’re oh-so-very brief.

The man next to me started asking questions about the Sounders. I politely answered while mentally assessing his appearance — shabby clothes, stubbly beard, large backpack. He introduced himself as Louie and we shook hands. I quickly learned he was homeless. Read more

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Off The Press — There are two sides to Christmas Day

December 22, 2015

NEW — 12:39 p.m. Dec. 22, 2015

Christmas is not always a great holiday for all people, is it?

For instance, today, Christmas Eve, is the third anniversary of the passing of Issaquah Press Sports Editor Bob Taylor. Not only does it still ring a somber note in our newsroom but surely will always color the holiday in a darker hue for his wife and adult son.

Greg Farrar Press photographer

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

And that’s minor in comparison to San Bernardino, Calif., where the families of 14 killed and more than 20 wounded will be struggling with the pain and loss of an attack only three weeks old. The Paris terror attack is only six weeks ago on Christmas Day tomorrow. Read more

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From the Editor’s Desk — Craving more local news? We’re serving it up on Facebook

December 15, 2015

NEW — 12:11 p.m. Dec. 15, 2015

I’m not exactly breaking news when I start this column by telling you that today’s media landscape has become remarkably crowded.

Online news organizations. National and local television newscasts. National newspapers and magazines. Daily newspapers, both national and local. They all want your attention, and they want it badly.

Heck, there’s even a second weekly newspaper in our town. Few cities of 35,000 like Issaquah can boast such a luxury.

But no other outfit devotes more reporters and resources than we do when it comes to covering stories that are solely about Issaquah. You might call our news report Issaquah-centric — to the extreme. Read more

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Off The Press — 50 local things I’d like to do before age 50

December 15, 2015

NEW — 12:03 p.m. Dec. 15, 2015

Tomorrow I turn 47.

Yikes.

That’s just three short years away from the big five-oh and my first midlife crisis.

To avoid that sense of failure, I need to fill my social calendar now so I’ll have a few accomplishments to crow about when I hit that milestone.

I’ve stumbled across some lists on the Internet where people state the 50 things they want to do before they turn 50. So, in no particular order, here’s my list while trying to keep them limited to things in Issaquah. Read more

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From the Editor’s Desk — Honored to take the helm of an Issaquah institution

December 8, 2015

NEW — 1:15 p.m. Dec. 8, 2015

Hello there, Issaquah. It’s great to meet you.

It’s an honor and a pleasure to sit in the editor’s chair at The Issaquah Press. I watch as a group of incredibly hard-working journalists assemble in the newsroom each day to produce stories and images that we hope are most important to you, our loyal readers of both the newspaper and our website.

Scott Stoddard

Scott Stoddard

You’re holding one of the most highly regarded weekly newspapers in the Pacific Northwest. The Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and the Pacific Northwest chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists regularly lauds the journalism in the Press. Read more

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Off The Press — Buying up some Christmas spirit

December 7, 2015

NEW — 6:03 p.m. Dec. 7, 2015

Welcome, my friends, to the holiday season, my favorite time of year, as well as a profoundly religious time when everyone expresses his or her beliefs by heading to the mall of their choice.

Does that sound sacrilegious? Hey, everyone prays in his or her own way. If that way happens to include standing in line outside of Target or Best Buy on Thanksgiving night to honor the Gods of Commerce by fighting for a $200, 40-inch flat screen TV, who are we to argue?

I somewhat partook in the Black Friday ritual myself. My wife and I went to Target and J.C. Penny’s for no particular reason late the night of Thanksgiving. I actually found a pretty cool and surprisingly cheap present for my Little Brother. Notice the capitalization. We met through Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Puget Sound about five or more years ago. There absolutely was some altruistic aspect to snatching up that gift. The phrase “spirit of giving” is a pretty common one, so why can’t we just label gift giving/buying some sort of spiritual experience? Read more

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Off The Press — The adventures of the (non) traditional Thanksgiving

December 1, 2015

NEW — 4:38 p.m. Dec. 1, 2015

I love how movies often mirror the reality of our own lives, a feeling that struck me again last week while spending Thanksgiving with my wife’s family in rural Illinois.

My wife, Erin, has a bit of an obsession with “Christmas Vacation,” the late ’80s comedy starring Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo as the model Midwestern couple who have to deal with the shenanigans of their visiting relatives.

Neil Pierson Press reporter

Neil Pierson
Press reporter

It’s a film she grew up watching with her own family, and it’s gotten to the point where, if nobody stops her, she can quote the lines from start to finish. It’s a family tradition to watch it the day after Thanksgiving, and we usually end up watching it at least two or three times before the end of the holiday season. Read more

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Off The Press — A good man leaves a great legacy at EFR

November 24, 2015

NEW — 3:42 p.m. Nov. 24, 2015

If Lee Soptich had been a fire chief when I was a child, and he had made as big an impression on me then as he and his Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters do today, I would’ve said I wanted to be a firefighter when I grow up.

He loves the people who work for him, he loves his profession, he loves the communities he serves, he loves his family and he loves his Creator, all with a combination of humility and humor that’s rare, if not unique, these days. His retirement on Nov. 30 matters.

One of my favorite pictures in our files tells the whole story: It’s of Soptich in 2008, looking straight at me with twinkling eyes bugged out and an expression that combines fear and laughter, and his hair is in a Mohawk as he is getting shaved bald. Read more

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Off The Press — Keeping us safe while brainstorming in the rain

November 17, 2015

NEW — 4:20 p.m. Nov. 17, 2015

I was invited to watch a local youth championship football game Saturday night. These are some of the random thoughts I had while shivering in the 40-degree, misting rain while my second cousin-in-law’s team was getting blown out.

David Hayes Press reporter

David Hayes
Press reporter

Despite the cold weather locally, my numbed brain was actually giving weight to the global-warming myth by the evidence of 80-degree weather east of the Rockies last week. True believers would actually have you and me believe that global warming is currently the single biggest threat to mankind.

Then the true biggest threat, Islamic extremist terrorists, reared their ugly heads in Paris on Friday and reminded us where our leaders’ priorities truly need to be. These barbarians are killing innocents today but global-warming fanatics want us to worry about what will happen 20 years from now if we don’t build more windmills? Read more

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Off The Press — Thank you very much for not voting

November 10, 2015

NEW — 3:22 p.m. Nov. 10, 2015

Let me be the first and possibly only person to say it, with all sincerity: Thank you, thank you very much for not voting.

Even though all you had to do was mark a ballot and put it in the mail, the vast majority of you couldn’t be bothered. And that’s just fine because most of you had no idea who or what you would have been voting for in the first place.

Tom Corrigan Press reporter

Tom Corrigan
Press reporter

The population in Issaquah was listed as about 33,000 in 2013. There are 19, 906 registered voters. Of those, a whopping 2,928 had returned their ballots as of Nov. 2, according to King County Elections. Read more

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