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Newspaper Archive of
The Issaquah Press
Issaquah, Washington
February 25, 2009     The Issaquah Press
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February 25, 2009
 

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SECTION B THE ISSAQUAH PRESS COMITY WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 25 2009 Dispatches from around the globe This week-- Alaska Acd/mat/ng to the warm weather BY BERNADETTE E. ANNE t's mid-February and too warm: 34 degrees. I can't even wear my Marmot jacket in this weather; it makes me overheat as I run errands. This tells me I have acclimated to Anchorage. As race communications coor- dinator for Iditarod, the 1,000- mile dog sled race from An- chorage to Nome, I am in the midst of my two-month annual spell here. When I ar- rived, the ON IHE WEB temp was 5 Follow the degrees. It took me five progress of days to accli- - race prep mate to the activities and cold, very dry the race at Alaska ch- www.iditarod. mate. com. Now, it's funny that I call 34 de- grees warm and wish for it to go away. We need colder temps and more snow. The ground is covered, but it's old snow, and with these warm temps, it's slushy and punchy -- not good for running dogs. I love snow, but it changes your world when everything is covered in it. There really are no colors to the land- scape except for the man-in- duced ones, from buildings. When I come home each spring,,the lavishness of Is- saquah s green nature is a vi- sual shock when all I've seen for two months is white and shades of gray. The blanket of snow here is a blessing, though, with the win- ter darkness; it makes nights lighter than one would ever ex- pect and days brighter, even when it's overcast. Anchorage gains five min- utes of daylight each day, so we're up to nine and a half hours of daylight, but it seems still dark. They don't register sunrise here until about 8:30 a.m. There are protections re- garding development here and I'm happy to report it's for the polar bear here. Last week's Anchorage Daily News re- ported the construction of an ice road across the North Slope took a detour to stay at least a mile away from a sleeping po- lar bear. The same paper carried a report of a police cruiser that hit a moose in Anchorage that ran out into the road and they think the car can be repaired. It seems so odd to me to see a moose within the city, but and I've learned to be alert when I see a large, dark figure along the edge of a road. Moose acci- dents can total a car. I'm reminded even more that I'm not in Issaquah when everything goes into the trash. There is no recycling in public places and even for local resi- dents, it is extremely difficult, because they do not have the curbside collection we have. Paper, glass, aluminum cans -- everything is tossed into the garbage. That's probably my hardest adjustment. And I noticed the lack of Starbucks right away. In An- chorage, Alaska s largest city at a quarter-million people, there are only three stand- alone Starbucks stores. Can you imagine that? Reach lssaquah resident Bernadette E. Anne, lditarod communications coordi- nator, at be__annemsn.com. WINNING ON T H W H L lssaquah man banks big on game show BY WARREN KAGARISE he centerpiece on "Wheel of Fortune" -- the famous disk decked out like a pack of Fruit Stripe gum and di- vided into wedges for cash and prizes -- is a two-ton behe- moth. So, when it was time for Is- saquah resident Steve Pelikan to spin the wheel last month, he was told by stagehands, "Pull as hard as you can and then push as hard as you can." A month later, as he settled into his living room to watch the Feb. 16 broadcast, Pelikan reminded the 20 or so friends who had joined him to watch the show: "It's a lot harder doing it under the lights than it is on your couch." He had no reason to lower ex- pectations. During the next 30 minutes, Pelikan wracked up prize money and a trip to Ireland -- $51,050 worth of loot. Not bad for a longtime "wheel" watcher who auditioned for the show on a whim. Games are familiar territory for Pelikan. He's a writer and techni- cal analyst for Wizards of the Coast, a Renton-based gaming company known for producing "Dungeons & Dragons" and "Magic: The Gathering." Back in July, a couple of kiends BY GREG FARRAIR Friends and neighbors applaud and cheer with Steve and Victoria Pelikan as the pretaped 'Wheel of Fortune'iv game broadcast Feb, 16 shows him solving one of the word puzzles, BY GREG FARRAR Steve Pelikan (above) wears a 'Wheel of Fortune'T-shirt at the house party he and Victoria gave for friends .for the broadcast of the taped IV show. At left, Victoria Pelikan, husband Steve and his mother Sharon Pelikan (from left) share the stage on the pretaped 'Wheel of Fortune' program as his total win- nings are broadcast on the Pelikan family IV. asked Pelikan if he would join them at a "wheel" audition in Tacoma. When they arrived at the tryout, hundreds of hopefuls packed the Emerald Queen Casino. "I figured it would be good blog fodder at the least," Pelikan said. He was realistic about his chances. The earliest phase of the months-long audition process is based on luck. After his applica- tion was dropped into a hopper with hundreds of others, he was selected to play a barebones ver- sion of the game against other Wheel wannabes. From the clue "fictional character" and 14 spaces, Pelikan solved the puzzle with "The Michelin Man." Prizes were less than grand: key chains, mouse pads and the like. But the win afforded Pelikan an opportu- nity to move to the next round of auditions. Jason Burrows, of Seattle, and Rachel Barsness, of Lyimwood, who invited Pelikan to the tryout, figured he was a shoo-in. "We were pretty sure he'd get it, Barsness said. "He's so charis- matic and he's such a good guesser." "It's a lot harder doing it under the lights than it is on your couch:' - Steve Pelikan hsaq=h res/dent ffi They were right. Pelikan was se- lected for the second round, an af- teruoon-long audition at a Seattle hotel. 0nly 150 applicants had been picked from the hundreds at the Emerald Queen. Hosts led the applicants through mock rounds of Wheel." Then, contenders were en a written test in which they to complete several puzzles. All in five minutes. Before the end of the day, pro- ducers cut the number of candi- dates to 50. The invitation from "Wheel" producers came in a phone call in December. Pelikan and his wife, returning from a doctor's appoint- ment in Seattle, were merging onto Interstate 5 when his phone See WHEEL, Page B3 Mural is tribute to surviving cancer BY JEFF RICHARDS It all started with a Kleenex box. The type with the swirling colors coiling into elaborate shapes: flowers, leaves, the countryside. One day Newcastle resident Joe Dowell, 60, found one that particularly interested him, and the color of that lavender box wouldn't leave his brain, even after a piece of it was removed. The morning of Aug. 25, 2008, Joe was tending to his garden as he often did since retiring from Boeing in 2007. He wouldn t remember the next few days after a seizure hit, the result of a cancerous tumor in his head. Still, he moved on. "There's a lot of people who have it much worse than me, he said. "I get enough sympathy from others." After several days in the hospital, he re- turned home. Due to a law, he couldn't drive for the next six months, and he began thinking of ways to make home a more en- joyable stay. A gym was built in the garage and right next to that, a mural, one inspired by that lavender Kleenex box. "He kept telling me about the Kleenex box," said Jeanette Vesperini, who was commissioned by Joe to paint the mural. "I look at it more as a winery." The result of her work was an impres- sionistic view of a Tuscany countryside, filled with sweeping strokes of yellow, or- ange and, of course, lavender. Both the mural and the gym are a testa- ment to Joe's positive spirit, said Mary Dew- ell, Joe's wife for the past 30 years. "When faced with your own mortality, you have to do anything you can to put yourself in a positive frame of mind," she said. "He's doing it in a way that he's em- bracing other people, and they re embrac- ing him. Jeanette was a friend of the Dowells', who knew of her artistic pursuits. Joe mentioned he needed some color in the garage if he was going to be spending a lot of time there, and Jeanette came to mind. Despite more experience in 3-D art, she said painting the mural was a welcome challenge. "It's pleasurable work that keeps me off the streets," she said with a laugh. "It can't just be work. It has to make many people excited about it." Work on the mural began in December and was spread over six days, with seven to eight hours of painting each day. From time to time, Joe would come down to the garage and take a look at the progress. "I would ask him if he wanted me to change anything or if he had any ideas," Jeanette said. "He would just say, 'Nope. It looks great.'" Joe said he's learned over the years that you have to explain what you want from somebody early on and then back off so as" See MURAL, Page B3 CONTRIBUTED Joe Dowell (right) and artist Jeanette Vesperini pose in front of the mural she painted at his home. Redmond-based work rep helps vets find jobs BY JEFF RICHARDS When Anthony Eigner got out of the Marines in 2000, he struggled to find a ca- reer that fit his experience in the military. After a few different jobs, he found himself unemployed in 2008. The occu- pation he had been trained for, correc- tional officer, was on the decline and job opportunities were dwindling. "I just got kinda lost in a daze," he said. Things began to change for Eigner, of Is- saquah, when he discovered the Web site for WorkSource Redmond and contacted veterans representative Paul Sanchez, whose job is to find employment for mili- tary veterans and put them on a course to- ward finding a career that suits them. "It helps you translate whatyou did in the service into civilian work, Eigner said. "It helps you realize you can do more than just lift boxes all day. Sanchez helps veterans assess what area of work suits them, gives training on interviewing and wi'iting r6sums, and he gives referrals to supportive services. WorkSource Redmond is part of the State of Washington Employment Secu- rity Department. Sanchez is available for appointments and will make the trip to Issaquah to meet with veterans. Dixie Owen-Perry, operations manager ofWorkSource Redmond, said a big part of Sanchez s job is also to identify the ad- ditional training veterans will need and show them the opportunities available to further their education. See WEB SITE, Page B3