Seth Truscott

Answers to the big questions at Snoqualmie Y; Center’s first year earns hearty hurrah

When the long-envisioned Snoqualmie Community Center began to gel two years ago in the form of a new Y on Snoqualmie Ridge, there were some questions to answer. Some big ones: As both a Y, with paid memberships, and as a free civic center, how would the place serve two functions? And would Valley residents support it? Eleven months after the Y’s grand opening last January, we have some answers, thanks to some eye-opening statistics shared by Director Dave Mayer.

“Mr. Bells

Santa Train smiles roll on for train museum’s ‘Mr. Bells’, Richard Schall

After more than a decade as the voice of Northwest Railway Museum’s Santa Train, Richard Schall will still be making the children laugh and sing this season. Just in a different way. As “Mr. Bells,” Schall’s stories and songs have delighted families aboard the museum’s holiday rides since he donned the jingling brakeman’s cap 10 years ago. Yet, at age 84, Schall doesn’t get around like he used to. He has difficulty with physical mobility, doesn’t drive anymore and knows his limits—“Don’t court trouble” is his rule. Schall still wants to be a part of the fun at the Northwest Railway Museum. With Santa Train getting underway this weekend, he probably won’t be riding with his hand-held public address system this time around. But you’ll still find Mr. Bells somewhere in Santa’s proximity at the Snoqualmie Depot, likely serenading guests in the stationary refreshment car, singing and telling stories by the Christmas tree.

“Mr. Bells
Dave Battey leads hikers over a Boy Scout-built bridge in the slough-riddled section of Meadowbrook Farm

A visit to the Big Cedar: Hikers explore flora, old growth at Meadowbrook Farm

Tour guide and historian Dave Battey led a group of hikers over a Boy Scout-built bridge and through the woods during an October 20 hike to Meadowbrook Farm’s “Big Cedar,” a surviving old-growth tree in the northern corner of the farm. Pointing out the vanished roadways, interesting local, native and noxious flora—interesting examples include the wide-ranging native cucumber and filbert species, the big leaf maple, and invaders like Himalayan Blackberry, Battey annually leads tours of the farm. The big cedar is surviving old growth; It's so large, a younger tree is growing in its branches.

Dave Battey leads hikers over a Boy Scout-built bridge in the slough-riddled section of Meadowbrook Farm
Boy Scouts and leaders with Fall City's Troop 425 humbly retire worn and faded American flags on an alder fire on November 8. Scouts follow the code of the flag

Retired with honor: When the colors fade, Valley’s Boy Scouts give worn flags a respectful send off | Slideshow

It’s unsettling to see flames consume the flag of the United States of America. Boy Scout Cooper Brown certainly felt that way as he used scissors to ready a flag for the waiting fire. But the important lesson on this cold November night is that everything has a final end, including a well-treasured flag. The important thing is to give these banners a respectful send-off. “It’s a hard thing to do,” said Scoutmaster Robert Odekirk. “It’s difficult for the boys, and it should be.”

Boy Scouts and leaders with Fall City's Troop 425 humbly retire worn and faded American flags on an alder fire on November 8. Scouts follow the code of the flag
Cory Marvin

Getting ahead of high water: King County Flood district seeks short-term fixes, long-term solutions in the Valley

The 2,500-pound boulder nestles into place with hardly a splash. Guided by the hand signals of a construction worker, Cory Marvin of Auburn, and moved by the enormous strength of a Caterpillar-tracked hydraulic arm parked on the bank above, the huge stone settles into a precise position, to be locked into place and, it’s hoped, stay put for generations. Marvin and fellow employees with Gary Merlino Construction of Seattle have been visible along Snoqualmie’s Park Avenue Southeast riverbank for a week. They’re doing the hard work in a $150,000 riverbank repair project for the King County Flood District that’s scheduled to last through November 20.

Cory Marvin

Snoqualmie’s Prop. 1 sets the direction for the future of city services

We don’t do snow very well in the Puget Sound region. Last January’s snowstorm was a tough time for a lot of people. The slick stuff snarled traffic and generally caused chaos throughout the region. If you traveled to other Eastside cities, you noticed the humps of snow on the roads and tricky driving conditions. But the city of Snoqualmie’s streets were, by and large, different. The city kept the plows rolling throughout the storm, and the roads as safe as possible, even through the ice storm and the blackout that followed.

Si View Parks’ Prop. 1 preserves vital community services

Last fall, I had the duty and the pleasure to witness Si View Metro Park District’s election night thrills. Gathered around a table at Boxley’s, Si View commissioners, the director and a number of instructors and families, watched as the early results came in. Smiles broke out when they realized that the result was a landslide of support in favor of the two propositions guaranteeing them their tax levy support.

Evading some Mercer island pressure

Sweet success! Mount Si girls soccer team handles the pressure, delivers against Mercer Island | Slideshow

Miranda Rawlings was under pressure. The Islanders were doubling up on Mount Si’s star forward. Someone had to step up. Cue Kelsey Lindor. Lindor, a junior midfielder, was the spearhead of a strong Mount Si attack that got rolling in the second half of a Tuesday, Oct. 23, away game with Mercer Island. Lindor scored both goals on the night, thanks to smart feeds from Sophia Rouches and Camryn Buck and some skilled work by Rawlings.

Evading some Mercer island pressure

An odyssey of hops: Wild Meadowbrook hops survive 100 years, go back in beers again

Hops from the fields of today’s Meadowbrook Farm once traveled the globe and enlivened European beers. But a century after time and trouble all but erased the Snoqualmie Hops Farm from the Valley, beer is once again being flavored with the wild descendants of those original Meadowbrook vines. In September, volunteer pickers collected hops from vines preserved at the farm’s interpretive center. Those flower buds were used to flavor a special, limited edition dry-hopped Meadowbrook Farm Ale, now on tap at Snoqualmie Brewing Co. in downtown Snoqualmie.

Lexi Read and Lauren Smith

Getting down and dirty: Mount Si volleyball team sets sights on top competition | Photo gallery

When the opposition’s outside hitter leaps up for a lethal shot, Genevieve Knoppi is in the line of fire—right where she wants to be. With split-second reaction, the Mount Si libero braces herself to pop that ball up with her cupped fists. “That hitter is going strong. They’re going, ‘I am going to sink this into the floor,’” Knoppi said. “Not today.” Knoppi can be seen in the tough matches, calling out and communicating with teammates in the think of it, crouching for digs, and diving when she has to. The senior defensive specialist isn’t afraid to encounter the floor.

Lexi Read and Lauren Smith
Allen Reid hits back at a Liberty opponent during play Oct. 9 at Issaquah. He won his set in a super-tiebreaker.

Self improvement: Wins for Mount Si tennis’ Reid, McLaughlin in final league match; KingCo ahead | Photo gallery

For a guy who, for all intents and purposes, never handled a tennis racket before this fall, Allen Reid carries himself pretty well on the court. Reid, a senior who came to the game from baseball and lacrosse, has a strong right arm and good forehand swing. Self taught, he’s still working on his backhand. A most-improved player on the Mount Si varsity team, Reid’s super-tie-breaker win was a highlight of Mount Si’s struggle with Liberty last Tuesday, Oct. 9 at Tibbetts Valley Park in Issaquah.

Allen Reid hits back at a Liberty opponent during play Oct. 9 at Issaquah. He won his set in a super-tiebreaker.
Researching Washington's historic original documents

Back to the source: Author of state’s archival history to share journey at history meeting | Photo gallery

“For the Fall City Historical Society—Enjoy this archival journey through history, though Washington’s documents,” writes Lorraine McConaghy, just before signing her name on the second page of Fall City’s copy of her new book. McConaghy, Public Historian with the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle, presented the local society with “New Land, North of the Columbia,” a hardcover book that explores the seminal moments of Washington’s history through primary documents—everything from marriage certificates and telegraph receipts to newspaper clippings, blueprints and fruit box labels.

Researching Washington's historic original documents
The Brick Wall: tight end Griffin McLain

Another brick in the wall: Undefeated Mount Si team punishing opponents, gathering strength for Bellevue test

Intensifying their routine every day in the run-up to a major showdown, first-string members of Mount Si’s offensive line took a break during the second half of last week’s punishing shutout of Lake Washington. They got to watch the second string slug it out during the second half, mindful of the coming test this Friday with Bellevue. Linemen Blake Herman, Tyler Rutherford, Stephen Nnabue, Brad Christensen and center Mitch Rorem collectively refer to themselves as the “Brick Wall.”

The Brick Wall: tight end Griffin McLain
Inner fire: Mount Si soccer builds pressure on the net as season enters second half

Inner fire: Mount Si soccer builds pressure on the net as season enters second half

Mount Si girls soccer players knew they needed to find scoring opportunities. Last Tuesday, Oct. 2, they turned the corner on that need: Witness senior Miranda Rawlings’ homing instincts toward the Patriot’s corner of the field. The Wildcat captain fed both of Mount Si’s goals on the night. The Nevada-signed Rawlings is hungry for more.

Inner fire: Mount Si soccer builds pressure on the net as season enters second half
Ella Thompson

‘A great day for running’: Accelerating Mount Si cross country team tries out home course | Photo gallery

Treading new ground, Mount Si senior Tom Kirby was pleasantly surprised to see the fall scenery at Mountain Meadows Farm flash by at unexpected speed. “Not a bad season start,” he says. Kirby, who has been out with a stress fracture in his shin, finished his first varsity meet of the year 10th overall, at 18:21.09. Like any runner, he went over the ups and downs of the race—a fast start, a slower second lap—and wished he had stuck with his pace.

Ella Thompson
Once an alley

Lost alleys, found: After decades of overgrowth, Snoqualmie survey is reclaiming access pathways

Bordered by fences on both sides, the strip fronting River Street is a patchwork of tall grass, concrete blocks, stacked firewood and leaf litter. Roots of big maples furrow the ground. A child’s fort overlooks the scene. On the city’s official maps, this place is supposed to be an alley. But the connector between River and Newton Streets went back to nature years ago. Not for much longer. The city of Snoqualmie is in the midst of a complete survey of downtown alleys, with the aim of transforming how people move around this historic neighborhood.

Once an alley

Sharing the power of literacy: Consider joining Friends groups to help Valley libraries in changing times

I’m halfway through the out-of-print history book I picked up back in the Friends of the North Bend Library book sale. And yet the buck I paid for the book has probably already been earmarked to help a Valley family discover the pleasure and utility of reading. Perusing the sale is a guilty pleasure—‘guilty’ because I must go to the sale five or six days running, rounding up pocket change, trying to justify another purchase and wondering where I’ll find room on the shelves.

Forming to present free discussions this fall

Getting started on your future: Valley professional group to share advice for life’s important steps at free public talks

When it comes to planning for retirement, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Who do you visit first—an insurance salesman, a financial adviser, an accountant, a mortgage broker or an attorney? A newly formed group of Valley professionals hope to make that decision a lot easier with a free monthly lecture series beginning this fall. The talks will give locals a way to answer questions in a less formal setting than a typical office.

Forming to present free discussions this fall
Mount Si junior Matthew Griffin races to the net against Bellevue during play Thursday

Fighting for every point: Mount Si tennis team growing in spite of tough league

It’s tough as the underdog. After a punishing session against Bellevue last Thursday, Sept. 27, the Mount Si boys tennis team grouped on the bleachers, counting their successes and trying not to dwell on the Wolverines’ 7-0 win. Facing heavyweights like Bellevue, Lake Washington and tennis power Mercer Island in the KingCo league, Mount Si celebrates wins as they come—especially the Sept. 11 team win over Juanita—and finds triumphs in smaller ways. “We fought for every point,” said doubles player Logan Cochrane, following his and teammate Drew Hadaller’s 6-2, 6-1 set against Bellevue. “The score doesn’t always reflect how we play.”

Mount Si junior Matthew Griffin races to the net against Bellevue during play Thursday
Grand-nephew and niece Elijah and Kiana Lamb help Becky Schandel of Snoqualmie stay active as she recovers from multiple sclerosis. Every time the children

A team effort: Young family members make Snoqualmie aunt Becky Schandel’s MS recovery a lot more lively

Becky Schandel could take her afternoon constitutional all by herself. But grand-niece and nephew Kiana and Elijah make the stroll a whole lot more lively for this Snoqualmie resident who has lived with multiple sclerosis for 26 years. Often called MS, multiple sclerosis is a condition marked by the body’s immune system destroying the protective covering of nerves. That makes it hard for the brain to communicate with the body. Symptoms vary, but people with MS may lose the ability to walk or speak. Symptoms may come and go, yet there is no cure for MS. There are treatments, however, that can help.

Grand-nephew and niece Elijah and Kiana Lamb help Becky Schandel of Snoqualmie stay active as she recovers from multiple sclerosis. Every time the children