When it comes to weighty issues, I sometimes hesitate to comment. After all, I've long thought about writing a series of first-person stories...

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When it comes to weighty issues, I sometimes hesitate to comment. After all, I’ve long thought about writing a series of first-person stories called Life in the Fat Lane.

But what’s the deal with the higher-than-average obesity rate in Redmond? Too many stops at the famed Blazing Bagels store? Too much tiramisu at Tropea Ristorante Italiano?

A King County Public Health survey makes Redmond, at 19 percent, the heaviest city on the Eastside. A story in yesterday’s Seattle Times featured the study, noting South King County had the highest obesity rates.

Maybe they need a few more athletes like Sammamish and Issaquah, which came in at a trimmer 16 percent.

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In last weekend’s Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii, seven Eastside finishers were from Sammamish or Issaquah. They included Tom Campbell, Lance Gramann, Brian Stone, Paul Meade, Gary Tondini, Logan Swanson and Chris Whyte. Only one, Jeff Crosby, was from Redmond.

France (Frank) Cokan of Bellevue was the oldest participant. He’s 74 and well-known by the Northwest triathlon community for his encouraging advice and coaching.

Sharing the pain

At 11, Jackie Howard of Bellevue showed the poise of an adult. The Tyee Middle School sixth-grader wowed the more than 200 guests at the Arthritis Foundation’s Journey to a Cure Luncheon yesterday at the Bellevue Club. Jackie and her mother, Lisa Howard, told their story about arthritis. It took several years of living with pain and many trips to doctors’ offices before Jackie was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

She shares that bond with keynote speaker Erik Lindbergh. The grandson of aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh also has rheumatoid arthritis, diagnosed at 21. With treatment, both Jackie Howard and Erik Lindbergh today lead normal lives.

When Jackie spoke, she elicited chuckles from the crowd. She said her life now is so normal she hadn’t missed a day of school this year.

“Until today for the luncheon,” she said.

Husky talk

Lorenzo Romar will be the guest speaker Wednesday at the Mercer Island Boys & Girls Club Annual Business Breakfast. Romar, the University of Washington men’s basketball coach, inspires folks both on and off the court.

A tidbit about Romar’s wardrobe — his Husky-purple blazer fits him like a glove for a good reason. It was made for the man by Norm Beck, owner of Beck’s Custom Tailoring in Bellevue and a University of Washington alum.

The 7 a.m. benefit breakfast will be held at the Club, 2825 West Mercer Way. For information call Jeremy Peck at 206-232-4548, ext. 105. Registration deadline is tomorrow.

Good job

A Newport High DECA class recently turned a weeklong project into a Hurricane Katrina relief drive.

Danny Nunes, a junior at the Bellevue school, described the project as a spinoff from television’s “The Apprentice.” The class split into two groups, firing someone from the losing team and raised just under $30,000.

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633 or sgrindeland@seattletimes.com