The Sheepdogs Are Coming, the Rebels Are Rebelling, and Issaquah Is Building Again

A weekly recap of regional news.

When islander Maggi McClure brought the Vashon Sheepdog Classic to the island in 2010, about 3,500 people attended. Last year, more than 10,000 people flocked to the event, so many that organizers had volunteers stationed at the Fauntleroy ferry dock to turn people away. For this year’s event, which is set to begin next week, organizers are requiring advance ticket purchases for the busiest days to keep numbers manageable. McClure said she and other organizers are taking this step to help maintain the intimate feel of the event, which showcases the art of sheepherding in the rolling field of Misty Isle Farm.

“It is pretty spectacular, and we want to help the heart of the event stay true,” she said. “We do not base the success of this event on the number of bodies we can fit in, but on the spirit of the event and community involvement.”

The Sheepdog Classic will include bagpipers, refreshments and the popular Fiber Arts Village, which will feature vendors from all over the Northwest and a kids’ tent with hands-on activities. The centerpiece of the event—sheepherding—will take place from dawn to dusk Thursday through Sunday, June 7 to 10.

McClure says that about 300 volunteers are part of the event and that the event has raised more than $150,000 for island nonprofits since 2010. Continuing in that vein, Thursday’s donations this year will benefit the Vashon-Maury Community Food Bank.

While there is plenty to do for both kids and adults at the trials, McClure credits the competition’s popularity in part to the human-dog partnership on display throughout the weekend. The trials show the communication between the dogs and their handlers as well as the innate ability of herding dogs, all doing work that they are truly born to do. McClure also points to the location itself as a draw.

“Does it get any more beautiful than the Misty Isle field?” she said. “It’s magical.”

The sheep this year—300 of them—are from the Willamette Valley, and McClure mentioned their arrival on a truck as one of her favorite elements of the competition.

“They jump out with joy and get in the grass and spread out over the field. And then it is game on,” she said. Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber

Students at Juanita High School in Kirkland will vote on whether to change their school’s mascot and logo following a petition’s approval by the school district’s board of directors.

The school is represented by the “Rebels” mascot with a logo showing an eagle sitting on a shield in front of crossed swords. Previous iterations of the logo, including on the school’s 1990 yearbook, feature a “stars and bars” style background. The design is widely associated with various iterations of the Confederate flag during the American Civil War that has been criticized as a symbol of hate and racism.

The petition was presented to the Lake Washington School District board of directors at its May 21 meeting, during which the board approved the petition. Board members noted that when the current mascot was proposed and approved by the JHS student body in 1971, it was meant to represent the “revolutionary” approach to education at the school, which included short class periods. However, board members unanimously supported the petition moving forward, saying it was the students’ right to change a mascot.

“Meanings drift with time and I don’t think that ‘Rebel’ was as associated with the Civil War at the time as it is now,” said board member Chris Carlson.

In order for a petition to make it to the board it has to garner signatures of support from more than 10 percent of a school’s student body. JHS had 1,443 students enrolled at the beginning of the current school year, placing the 170 gathered signatures above the needed threshold.

“We feel that there is no place for the memorializing of Confederate white supremacy at Juanita High School,” the petition reads, in part. “Other schools across the nation have made the decision to change their ‘Rebel’ mascot in light of (its) historical connotations and by signing this, we believe that it is time for Juanita High School to do the same.”

A petition was also started in support of the student initiative, gaining around 700 signatures.

A counter petition has gained more than 1,000 signatures. That petition says that few people who attended JHS want to see the mascot changed and that “there is no white supremacy in the Juanita High surrounding areas.”

A document provided by the school district detailed a number of instances where the mascot has come into question. In addition to the 1990 yearbook cover, which was objected to by a black staff member, the document also stated that in the mid-1990s JHS hosted Garfield High School for a varsity football game. During that game, Juanita students painted their faces with the “stars and bars” and chanted racist slurs. The assistant student body president later apologized for the event.

“Historically, pro-Confederate terms include ‘Rebel Pride,’ ‘Undefeated Rebels,’ and ‘The Rebel Yell.’ These are terms that JHS uses today,” the document states.

Additionally, a picture included from the 1986 yearbook shows a photo of students holding a Confederate flag with the title “In 1986, Juanita High School is riding a rebel wave.” Kirkland Reporter

The city of Issaquah’s development moratorium has ended.

The moratorium was originally enacted by the Issaquah City Council in 2016. The reason? Development was not following the standards set by the Central Issaquah Plan, which was adopted in 2012 to guide the future of growth in the city. The ordinance that passed then mentioned several categories in which building was not living up to the plan’s ideals, including “architectural fit with the community, urban design elements, vertical mixed use, affordable housing, parking and district vision.”

The moratorium was first instended to last only six months, but was subject to numerous extensions so that the council could develop a number of ordinances that adhered to the original plan.

The City Council approved the final of those moratorium-related ordinance at their meeting on May 21 and the moratorium was officially lifted. Their last work item was to pass an ordinance fundamentally reworking the neighborhood visions that state how the city wants to see the Central Issaquah sub-area develop over time.

Keith Niven, director of Economic Development and Development Services, said that city staff have been working on six work items regarding development in the area since the moratorium was put into place. The Central Issaquah district visions were the last of the those items, following up work on architecture and urban design, affordable housing, parking and vertical mixed use.

“The reason why this one was last and this took the most time was because this was the least defined work item. The council basically thought the vision language that was in the sub area plan was too broad,” he said. “… as we started that conversation and working primarily with the Planning Policy Commission, we basically reworked the entire visions for all of Central Issaquah. What got adopted Monday is holistically different than what previously existed.”

Previously, the 800 acre Central Issaquah area was divided into 10 districts. The new ordinance splits those 10 districts into five neighborhoods: West Newport, Pickering, Gillman, Eastlake, and Confluence. These areas are going to keep developing as distinct neighborhoods, Niven said, and the city wants to make sure they are developed in a way that is in keeping with the vision of creating an accessible and livable space, especially as the city prepares for the arrival a sound transit light rail station. Issaquah-Sammamish Reporter

Two local wineries will be joining Teatro ZinZanni at the old Redhook Brewery in Woodinville this year.

The performance group announced in April that it planned on making the compound its new permanent home. Soon after, Sparkman Cellars and DeLille Cellars announced their intention to move in as well. For DeLille winemaker Jason Gorski, the location provides an opportunity to consolidate operations under one roof.

“I love getting our entire team in one spot,” he said.

DeLille is in the process of renovating the western portion of the north building in the compound. On a recent afternoon, Gorski and marketing director Keri Tawney walked through the large warehouse that once housed brewing vats. Large holes in the concrete floor marked where the vats were plucked from the ground. This warehouse will be adjacent to a new three-story tower and will hold the winemaking operations and act as barrel storage. A two-story glass wall will allow visitors to watch the winemaking team in action.

While the winemaking operation will remain around the same size, the major expansion for DeLille will come in the form of additional retail space. The new tower will offer views of the Sammamish Valley to the south and wine club members will be able to access the rooftop. DeLille’s space will be roughly 30,000 square feet and include office and event space.

Sparkman owner Christian Sparkman is also excited to find space in Woodinville and consolidate. Moving operations to the new location will allow them to be more efficient, he said.

“For us, as it is for so many in Woodinville, (it’s) a long-running search for more space,” Sparkman said. “Currently, we have wine tasting rooms, equipment, employees deployed under four different leases.”

The space Sparkman will be taking over is the former bottling line room, which is roughly one-third of the building DeLille is occupying as well. It will allow the cellar to hold events and move its two tasting rooms to the old Redhook brewery. The prominent location is another upgrade Sparkman is excited about.

“We’ve turned this over as many ways as we possibly can to look at it and it all adds up to a great opportunity that we know for sure is unique,” he said. “There is not another Redhook. There’s not another open space on the 50-yard line of Main Street. That’s a game changer for us.”

Both wineries hope to begin production by the end of this year, with the retail tower scheduled to open next February. A restaurant is also in the works for the site. Redmond Reporter