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Issaquah, Washington
December 23, 2009     The Issaquah Press
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December 23, 2009

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$ THE [SSAQUAH PRESS WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2009 A3 BY GREG FARRAR MAKIN  MUSIC Maddie Jewell, 2, and her morn Melissa, of Sammamish, rattle plastic eggs during a rhythm game at the Issaquah Community Center with others, attending a free Kinder- musik demonstration, for children ages 16 months to 3 years on Dec. 11. See video of the class at www. issaquahpress, corncategoryvideos. '  ..IOJ  ! JCP House Cleaning ili!iiiiiii i!iii!iii m all for a FREE Estimate (206) IV 00l)q)4q , " l ...... .   www.jcpcs.net Professional Cleaners You Can Trust Customized cleaning services to meet your needs and budget Affordable quality with excellent references Commercial, residential & condos We provide all supplies 10 years experience Local 4-H program survi000000s county cuts By Chantelle Lusebrink and Warren Kagarise Issaquah Press reporters King County officials nixed a plan last week to put the local 4-H program out to pasture. A last-minute, $109,000 infusion from the King County Council will keep the program afloat for another year. The youth organization with agricultural roots now includes offerings in things such as plant sci- ence, horse riding and robotics. Local 4-H'ers will also have somewhere to showcase their handiwork: The council allocated $50,000 to continue the King County Fair -- the oldest fair west of the Mississippi River. Councilman Reagan Dunn, who represents unincorporated King Count), south of Issaquah, said the outcry from 4-H participants and parents prompted the council to adiust the budget. I'm glad that we were able to scrape together enough funding for another year, because 4-H is so important to the youth of my dis- trict," Dunn said in a statement released after the Dec. 14 council decision. "I have heard from hun- dreds of parents and students who participate or have participated in the program. I have seen them in action at the King County Fair. It was very sad to think that the pro- gram might end." Officials decided to cut money for 4-H as they worked to fill a $56 million county budget gap. After officials announced the cut, how- ever, 4-H supporters rallied to pre- serve money for the program. The council noted how the local 4-H program used county dollars to leverage additional support, but without county money, the pro- gram would not survive. The county executive and coun- cil make quarterly adjustments to the annual county budget. Officials allocated money for the fair and 4- H through such a supplement after BY MARK FREDRICKSON Malorl Yates (left), of the Eastside Rabbits and Cavies 4-H Club, presents her rabbit at the 2009 Puyallup Fair to judge Sarah Cleavenger (fight), a former member of the club, during Rabbit Fit and Show competition. supporters deluged council mem- bers with calls, e-mails and letters, asking the council to find money for the programs. How long 4-H and the fair can be sustained remains uncertain. More cuts are forecast for next year: County officials face a $50 million deficit in 2011. 4-H'ets rally Officials had threatened to cut fair dollars for years, but the deci- sion to eliminate the 4-H program was a new development, 4-H par- ent volunteer Chris Weber, of Issaquah, said before the Dec. 14 announcement. Her daughters Callie, 17, and Sydney, 14, partici- pate in the program. The county 4-H program includes more than 9,000 partici- pants and volunteers, said Brad Gaolach, King County extension program director for Washington State University. "All WSU extension programs are based on the instruction of higher education," he said. We bring the most up-to-date research and infor- mation back from the university to the community, and use that as our educational framework." Far from its rural roots, modern 4-H programs teach children how to raise animals and foster life skills. Participants also venture into basic genetics, and learn how to breed certain animals together to isolate and re-create certain genes in offspring. Callie Weber said 4-H makes genetics in high school courses a breeze. The pro- gram also helps 4-H'ers envision possible career fields. Sydney Weber, 14, has autism and 4-H provides a place where she can learn to express herself, make friends and learn life skills to lead her to additional schooling and a career. "It makes me feel happy," she said. '1 have made lots of friends here. I can also present and show my rabbits." County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, who represents Issaquah and large rural areas in District 3, said 4-H plays a key role in the COunty. "We in King County are justifi- ably proud of our agricultural her- itage and ongoing support for local farmers who supply fresh, high- quality, healthy food to our citi- zens," Lambert said in a statement released after the Dec. 14 decision. "Supporting our next generation of farmers is a crucial role for us to play if we are to maintain a vital agricultural community in the future. Impromptu civics lesson Gaolach -- who holds a doctor- ate in zoology from the University of Washington -- said he sees ben- efits in 4-H beyond the usual horti- culture and livestock programs. "It's not just about raising a sheep," he said. "That's just the thing that attracts them to the pro- gram. They are learning responsi- bility, citizenship and other life skills by raising that sheep or in our other programs that stress youth development, like our robot- ics program, hip hop and spoken word. We're about what actually engages youth." Lambert said the council weighed the outcry from 4-H'ers and volunteers when officials threatened to pull funds for the program. The former school- teacher said the push to restore 4- H dollars provided another valu- able lessons: civics. "In addition to agriculture proj- ects, the youth involved in 4-H learn a lot about civics, such as the flood of testimony they presented about the benefits of the program during our budget deliberations," she said. "In response, we worked together to keep this important program going next year." 4-H'ers and Master Gardeners -- part of another program eyed for cutbacks -- rallied agains the proposed cuts Nov. 29 outside Key Arena. Callie Weber, a Liberty High School student, was in the crowd. "There are so many benefits to the kids who cycle through this program," she said. "We learn so much from it." Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-M34, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Warren Kagarise: 392-434, ext. 234, or wka- garise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress, com. Give input on upcoming teacher negotiations With teacher contract negotia- tions right around the corner for the Issaquah School District, the districtwide Parents, Teachers and Students Association Council wants to hear from you. Teacher contracts expire Aug. 31, so the council is asking for your input, feedback and sugges- 00our home? Heat Pump? Hybrid System? Tankless Hot Water? High Efficiency Furnace? FOR  ALTY LVNG Heating - AJC Air Quality 4:'5.88.79:'o www.mmcomfortsystems.com tions before both sides sit down to the table. PTSA leaders will create a paper from the community, parent and student suggestions or concerns and present it to district officials on the bargaining team and teachers' representatives. Issues discussed at bargaining include the school calendar, par- ent-teaCher conferences, teacher training opportunities, salary and benefits. PTSA members would like com- munity members to tell them what they value most about teachers and their child's instruction time, what is most important to their child's education and what changes they would make. E-mail your thoughts to jody- mull@comcast.net by Jan. 30. School board reorganizes Issaquah School Board members elected Susan Weaver as board president at their regular business meeting Dec. 9. Each year, board members nom- inate and determine who will serve as president. Chad Magendanz remains the legislative representa- tive. Board members gave past board president Brian Deagle a gavel for his service. While he hoped it was choco- lates, he said he appreciated his gift. "I can gavel in the family," he said, laughing.