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  • Norene Grant, Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce

The Issaquah Luncheon

At today’s luncheon with Mayor Mary Lou Pauly and City Administrator Wally Bobkiewicz, along with a couple other attendees, the matters of the city of Issaquah were discussed. For the opening speakers, we had Kari Magill for Rowley Properties, about the newest affordable housing additions here in Issaquah, along with Cornel Atwater from the Issaquah Schools Foundation, Diana Djuranovic representing Edward Jones Financial Advisors, and last but not least Elizabeth Urbasich for Aegis Living to inform everyone of the new retirement homes being built and their program regarding what they do and what its about.

Through the course of the luncheon there were a few things talked about, but personally the one that interested me to write about was Superintendent Ron Thiele’s mention of the most recent opioid abuse, we had lost 6 students to the use of opioids, five males and one female. Mr. Thiele mentioned everything they are doing to prevent such events repeating, as well as mentioning the meeting that was hosted to inform everyone of the dangers of drugs, with an amount of 900 people in attendance, “it was both a good thing and a very sad thing to have that many people in attendance.” he shared. And I couldn’t agree more, but what is there that we can do to prevent or reduce the risk of it happening again?

Well, every school in the district has counselors on hand available for every student to talk to. Mr. Thiele mentioned that the abuse of drugs in this school district is usually cause by sexuality identity issues and mental health issues. Therefore, giving the students someone to talk to one-on-one is potentially very helpful. Mr. Thiele also mentioned in passing that the staff of the ISD was specially trained to deal with students with problems such as sexual identity and mental health problems. “back when I started working with the district it probably wasn’t even possible to give these staff such training, for the issues at hand."

Thiele made a point to reassure everyone that their intentions at the ISD is to give the students the best public education experience that they can have, and quite frankly, I believe him, and if I could personally give him a compliment, I think the ISD is in good hands. Not wanting to leave the dining hall in such a foggy state of mind he said, “but on a more positive note…” and went on to share the newest renovations and school additions. He also mentioned the newest preschool that was just opened, because child care is a common issue.

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