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Bill Melton won’t be walking the trail for the Snoqualmie Valley CROP Hunger Walk this weekend. But he will be on the sidelines, cheering on local walkers as they march against hunger. Melton helped found the current incarnation of the local Hunger Walk, and he wouldn’t miss this for the world. “It has been, as you know, a labor of love for a lot of people,” Melton explains.
“Would you consider running for public office?” Every few years, We break out this old chestnut, taking the above question to the streets for our “Person on the Street” poll. Results, as you can see to the right, vary. A little more than half the time, folks say no. But sometimes, we meet people who might step up. This year, we tried a new tack, specifying an office, and got a couple of folks to ponder civic involvement. It’s a way to plant the seed of an idea.
Upscale, yet homey, is how manager Liz Vollbrecht has always described the North Bend Bar and Grill. The popular downtown hangout made a subtle update to its chalet feel last month, recently finishing an upgrade that added a few new features to its dining area and lounge. Extra table and booth space were added to the lounge area, while a nook with seating around a fireplace and widescreen television were put on a blank rear wall. Staff refer to this area as the “conversation corner.” It’s meant to flow customers around the bar, and is one more warm, welcoming place for people to gather.
After police found and demolished two transient camps, Snoqualmie Police Chief Steve McCulley says the time is right for the city to bring its own books up to a Valley-wide standard. With neighboring North Bend banning outdoor camping in public places in January, Snoqualmie City Council is considering a similar ordinance this month.
Mount Si girls golf has had the best season in years. Going into the league tournament, the team holds a 6-1 record. Freshman Caitlyn Maralack and senior Danielle Burns and the number-two and three-ranked players in the league. Junior Tabitha Dorn is the number-six player in league. Burns has overcome injury to bring her scores down into the high 30s this season and nurture her hunger for delayed state glory. Maralack, the experienced young player, has consistently shot in the low 40s or upper 30s all season, and Dorn is busting into the lower 40s.
Visions of Europe: Artist Richard Burhans partners with North Bend cafe owner Sinacia Yovanovich to share continental colors
Some years back, Valley artist Richard Burhans and his wife Sallie explored the timeless art and scenery of Europe. Now, the artistic visions that Burhans brought back from Italy, Austria and Germany have a new purpose, enlivening Sinacia Yovanovich’s Euro Lounge Cafe and crepe restaurant in downtown North Bend. Yovanovich was born in Romania, emigrated with his parents to an Arizona refugee camp at age 7, and grew up in the Puget Sound area. Now a Fall City resident, the cafe that he opened in 2011 is his dream come true.
Over the last few years, Heidi Dukich has given out countless pieces of paper and pens, advising her clients at the Mount Si Food Bank to write down their goals and resources, and visualize a pathway out of poverty, toward success. She points them in the direction of the library, where anyone can book two hours of Internet time and find more resources, or classes. Helping people is about a lot more than food. But the act of giving food can be the pathway to changing lives permanently and for the better.
United front: Shutout is high point of week for league-battling Wildcat baseball team | Photo gallery
Mount Si baseball is battling hard for a shot at league glory, using a team dynamic of all-for-one. Fresh off pitching a shut-out last Monday against Sammamish, pitcher Connor Swift shared his thoughts on where this season is going. “To have a good team, everybody has to be equal,” Swift said. “Everyone has everyone’s back. We’ll pick up anyone who needs to be picked up.” Mount Si is closing out a regular season that saw a very strong start, but also a few speedbumps lately.
It was late in the day last September when Mark Wood answered the phone. The caller was a mother. Her son was unconscious, and she needed help. Wood, an emergency dispatcher, was the first, life-saving voice she heard. While emergency medical technicians rushed to the woman's Eastside home, Wood, a dispatcher at North East King County Regional Public Safety Communications Agency, or NORCOM, calmly walked her through the steps of CPR. His instructions, working through the mother's actions, helped save the son's life.
The foundation of the home was blown out. The result: A tunnel open to any rat who wanted the good life, nesting in a bed of home insulation. Enter Alan LaBissoniere, who runs his own varmint-removal business, Frontier Pest Control. Down in a crawlspace, LaBissoniere was on a mission to stop the intruders. LaBissoniere’s been in pest control for eight years. He started with the big companies, then went out on his own two years ago, and never looked back. “This is the best thing I’ve done yet,” LaBissoniere said. However, there’s a lot of work, a lot of study and plenty of tests when it comes to being an exterminator. That’s because the chemical that LaBissoniere handles is highly regulated
Coming after the competition: Mount Si softball fires on all cylinders as hits, pitching power Interlake wins | Photo gallery
Tamarra Crowe’s biggest fan—her little niece Mia—jumps into her arms following the big game. Mia and her parents, Ryan and Jamie Hildebrand, camp out on the other side of the fence at every Mount Si girls softball game, rain or shine, though a downpour may send them back to the car for a dashboard box seat. Now raking the field, shortstop Crowe had just had a big game, contributing a homer to help Mount Si keep its dreams of glory alive for her senior year. “This puts us in a good spot,” says Crowe. “We have a lot more energy. We’re batting more and we’re getting a lot of hits. Fielding is good.”
Here’s a simple exercise. Take out a pen, and a sheet of paper, and write out something—your name, your favorite band, the name of the closest restaurant—in cursive. How’d you do? I’ll bet it wasn’t easy. I tried to write the word “abstract” in cursive script the other day. I’d just met Joe Monihan, this week’s letter writer, and I wanted to see whether I still had the muscle memory from ages ago, when I still wrote in cursive. It had been a long time. The “r” was a wave, neither “t” matched, and the less said about “b” the better.
It started with an anonymous note. An e-mail from a fictitious address let me know on March 27 that North Bend Mayor Ken G. Hearing had been arrested. It didn’t take long to confirm that an arrest on suspicion of domestic violence had indeed happened. And it didn’t take much longer for the story to break. I’ve covered mayors when they’ve gotten in trouble before. But a domestic violence case involving a public official was something new. After consulting with some of my professional colleagues, it was clear to me that basic guidelines hadn’t changed. We wanted the facts. We wanted the police report. And we wanted to see if the mayor had been officially charged with a crime.
Rain comes off Tom Kirby’s nose and chin in rivulets. The Mount Si senior was soaked, but still in high spirits, after winning the mile race in a downpour during the Wildcats’ home track meet, Thursday, April 4, with the Juanita Rebels. Kirby, who also placed fifth in the 800-meter race on this cold day, is one of a big group of Mount Si teens totally immersed in motion. They won’t stop moving, despite rain or setbacks. Kirby loves the adrenaline that comes in a race, as well as the broad team-oriented mindset. “You set all these goals,” Kirby said. “You prove you can do it.”
We’ve been doing Best of the Valley for enough years now to know the drill: Put the ballots out in February, wait several weeks, rush to count the results and put together an entire section letting folks know the annual winners. Locals, business owners and officials take this stuff pretty seriously. The plaques often take a place of pride in offices and restaurants. We took the contest online a few years ago, in an effort to prevent ballot-stuffing. It now takes us about two days to tally all the votes.
Supposedly, it’s the best kept secret in the Valley. Somebody drove the truck that killed 57-year-old Lucinda Fisher, also known as Lucinda Pieczatkowski, in the early hours of January 1, 2013. It’s been 12 weeks since Fischer’s death, but precious few details have been announced by the sheriff’s spokespeople after officers impounded the white pickup believed to have been involved in Fischer’s death, just a day later. Speculation on the identity of the driver in the fatal hit and run accident is starting to hit the Web. You had one anonymous parent who spoke to KIRO Radio last week, characterizing the whole thing as hush-hush, while offering secondhand info about the investigation. As the scuttlebutt has it, plenty of locals are in the know about the driver but are unwilling to come forward.
For half a year, Marcia Tuttle Ryon’s dignified big cats, African wildlife and city scenes have graced Boxley’s jazz club in North Bend. This month, the North Bend artist wrapped up the long-running show, to get ready for her next act. She’s had one of the longest-running solo shows at the club, putting up 35 works including animal portraits inspired by her 2008 African visit and watercolors inspired by trips to Italy, France and Czechoslovakia. Her works looked at home in the club, says Marcia. And with her paintings there, the club also felt like home to her. “Everything fits together,” Marcia said.
The couple that chops together: Timber sports give David and Annette Moses’ life together a sharper focus | Slideshow
Today is the first time that David Moses has jumped onto a springboard since a fateful day last summer. It was hard, but he took the leap in stride. After winning the Stihl Timbersports Series’ Western Qualifyer last spring, Moses’ hopes for a first-place trophy at nationals fell after he tore part of his Achilles tendon at the national championship last June. As he climbed a vertical log, his springboard slipped, dropping Moses. His leg slammed against a metal tree stand. Climbing back up, he found his ankle wouldn’t support him. But he fought on and competed the rest of the day. That meant last-place finishes in springboard, stock saw and the underhand chop. One legged, he finished ninth out of 10 competitors. “I stayed in it,” he said. “I could have been a finalist, easily. I did all that hard work, and then it ended.”
It’s quite something, what’s been done for the local homeless community, in a single season. Every night this winter, the Snoqualmie Valley Winter shelter opened its doors—first, at North Bend Community Church, then at Mount Si Lutheran, also in North Bend. The guests, all folks with nowhere warm to go, stayed the night, as long as they held to the code of conduct, which includes no alcohol or drug use. About a dozen people came nightly, mostly men, but also a few women, including one mom who found a place to stay for her teenage daughter, but needed her own refuge.
The clock is ticking for Jerry Mader. He’s got an ambitious goal, less than a month left to meet it. And he’s depending on friends and strangers to invest in his latest book, that helps and documents people they’ll probably never meet. Crowd funding is a new thing for this Carnation author, photographer and musician, working on his fourth book, “A Gathering of Stories.” He’s self-published histories of Carnation and local farms, but is now one of several Valley creative types to turn to Internet investors to bankroll a project. He’s using a company called Indiegogo to connect with would-be investors interested in seeing artistic projects come to life.