Monday, November 24, 2014

Volunteer Transportation Helps Senior Adjust and Adapt to New Life in Redmond

Volunteer to be a driver for Redmond Seniors

When Audrey lived in Kyoto for a year, she was a very particular shopper.  Storekeepers listened patiently as she used great detail to describe the precise item she sought-- stipulating its size, colors, shape, and design.  But Audrey really wasn’t picky, and her true purpose was not to purchase something specific.  Audrey shopped to learn.   She used these daily excursions to practice her Japanese vocabulary and become more fully immersed in the culture that surrounded her.

Japan is just one of the diverse locations that Audrey has called home.   She has also lived in New York, Germany, Taiwan, and Kansas.  She has a strong sense of adventure; she loves learning; and she has a deep appreciation for the arts.  She lives fully, no matter where she resides.

Audrey moved to Redmond three years ago.  She sorted through the countless things that filled the home she’d shared with her late husband, donated her beloved piano to a local nonprofit organization, packed up all of the meaningful artwork she’d collected over the years, and left Kansas behind.  She was eager to see her grandchildren more often; she was ready to open up a new chapter of her life in Western Washington. 

Audrey attempted to adjust and adapt to her new environment—as she had always done.  But it wasn’t so easy this time.  The process of downsizing and relocating after the loss of her husband was much more difficult than she’d imagined.  She explains, “It was very, very traumatic.  Frankly, I just wasn’t myself for the first two years.”  

Audrey discovered Volunteer Transportation as she transitioned to her new life in Redmond.  She was afraid to drive longer distances, and her dentist’s office informed her that the program’s volunteer drivers could take her to her appointments in Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland.  She was delighted.

The volunteer drivers have been very welcoming and kind to Audrey.  She enjoys their conversations during rides, and she doesn’t know what she’d do without the program.  She makes an effort to tell each and every volunteer how much she appreciates their help.  Audrey says, “I tell them how important their volunteer work is—that it’s a wonderful contribution to our community.”  She adds, “It’s a great service, and it’s much, much needed.” 

Audrey, who is now 82, credits Volunteer Transportation for helping her to feel more at home in the Pacific Northwest.  Starting anew was not easy, and it took some time to get her bearings straight.  But Audrey is her determined, creative, and curious self once again.

**You can help more local seniors like Audrey get “on the road” to improved health and peace of mind!   Volunteer drivers are needed throughout King County.   If you have a reliable vehicle, clean driving record, and some weekday availability, this is the role for you. Call (206) 748-7588, email Hilary at, or visit to find out more.  Discover why rides change lives!


Friday, November 21, 2014

LWSD seeks volunteers to serve on Middle School Advisory Committee

Parents/Community Members Needed for LWSD Middle School Grading Advisory Committee
Group to study, give advice and make recommendations on new middle school report card
Redmond, Wash. – When Lake Washington School District changed from a junior high school (grades seven through nine) model to a middle school (grades six through nine) model, it focused on making these schools a smooth transition from elementary school to high school. In the course of that transition, staff and administrators realized the middle school report card was not serving students and parents as well as it could.  Read More >>

Thursday, November 20, 2014

City of Redmond Union and Non-Union 2014 Pay Plans awarded

The 2014 monthly pay limits were recently awarded by City Council for their Non-Union employees.  Their new pay plan scale can be found here.  RCHEA Union pay plans are here

Reported by Bob Yoder

I regret to inform you the links have been broken.  Go HERE TO FIND THE PAY PLANS. 


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Water Tenders: Lower Bear Creek is Relocated

Water Tenders is a local grass roots organization dedicated to the stewardship of Bear Creek streams in King County.  Their Fall Newsletter HERE has a great article on the recent relocation of Lower Bear Creek by Redmond Town Center.  Enjoy!

And don't miss their 25th Anniversary newsletter edition here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Donate Blood at Public Safety Building Nov. 21

Share your blood with those who will be VERY THANKFUL to receive it!
There is a GREAT NEED for extra blood donors going into the holidays & we still have over 25 openings for this week’s blood drive!
Friday, November 21st
9:00 am to 3:00 pm
(closed 11:00 am to 11:45 am)
8701 160th Ave NE in Public Safety Bldg.
*Photo ID or PSBC Donor card required for all donors!*
Contact the Puget Sound Blood Center's Criteria Specialists at or call 1-800-398-7888 for specific eligibility questions.

City of Redmond is recruiting three new volunteers for the Arts and Culture Commission

Redmond, WA - The The City of Redmond is recruiting three new volunteer members of the Arts and Culture Commission to begin their service in April 2015. Redmond residents, unincorporated King County residents or people who work in Redmond are eligible to apply. Candidates are encouraged to apply by January 6, 2015.

For over 25 years, the Arts and Culture Commission has improved the quality life for the Redmond community by advising the Mayor and City Council on arts and cultural affairs in the City. Past accomplishments include: inaugurating the City’s Public Art Program, providing music and theatre experiences for the community, and seeding local festivals in the City including the Ananda Mela Indian Cultural Festival and the Digital Arts Festival.

Now, the mission of the Arts and Culture Commission is to be a catalyst for Redmond’s diverse and inventive community. The focus of this work includes: cultural planning to make the arts accessible creating a place for the arts and nurturing the arts in Redmond. Current activities include implementing the Art Plan for Downtown Redmond, investigating the economic impact of the arts in Redmond and the Eastside, and identifying the cultural needs of our changing community.  Read More >>

"Fight Back" cancer award presented to Sen. Andy Hill and Rep. Ross Hunter

SEATTLE...The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network presented Sen. Andy Hill and Rep. Ross Hunter with the Fight Back award at the group’s annual Legacy and Leadership Awards ceremony held Thursday evening at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Hill and Hunter, both cancer survivors, were recognized for their work to protect the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program.  Read More >>

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Open Enrollment for the Washington State Health Insurance Exchange begins November 15

As part of the Affordable Care Act, open enrollment for the Washington State Health Insurance Exchange begins on November 15th. To help consumers better understand and navigate this process, BridgeSpan Health President, Chris Blanton, has compiled a brief list of the most important things consumers need to know when evaluating and purchasing health plans.  Read More >>
For the hundreds of thousands of Washington residents who have not had health insurance for many years, or are signing up for the first time, the task can seem daunting due to the numerous options available to choose from. BridgeSpan Health is committed to informing and educating consumers so they know exactly what they’re purchasing. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
  • Open enrollment starts Nov. 15, 2014 and ends on Feb. 15, 2014.
    • In order to have coverage by Jan.1, 2015, you must enroll by Dec. 23, 2014.
  • Evaluate your annual healthcare needs and budget to determine the right mix of monthly premium and out-of-pocket costs.
  • Monthly premium is only one component of the cost of health insurance and picking a plan just on a premium cost may not be the best decision.
    • If the plan selected has lower monthly premiums, the out-of-pocket costs may be higher.
    • A higher monthly premium may lower your out-of-pocket cost.
  • Visit the websites of the plans you are interested in for additional details and specifics about coverage and benefits. 
    • Call the plan’s customer support line for any unanswered questions.
  • If you have established doctors and want to keep seeing them, you should confirm that they are in the network of the plan you are considering.
  • If you’re taking a certain prescription medication, is that drug covered, and how much of the cost will you be responsible for?
  • If you are eligible for a subsidy, make sure you evaluate the cost of the plan after the subsidy has been applied.
    • Even if you think you can’t afford health insurance, visit the Exchange to see how federal subsidies may reduce your monthly premium
  • If you had a plan through the exchange in 2014, visit the marketplace again to evaluate the new plan designs, new network options and new carriers on the market for 2015. You could find a plan that better meets your needs.

City of Redmond celebrates Redmond Lights December 6

Redmond, WA – The City of Redmond celebrates Redmond Lights, its annual Winter Festival, on Saturday, December 6th from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. The annual event celebrates the City’s cultural diversity with traditions, activities, and fun for all ages.
The event begins at Redmond City Hall at 4:00 p.m. with free entertainment, a bon fire, food, and fun activities including the dissemination of the 2014 Redmond Lights blinkers (while supplies last). Mayor Marchione, along with a jolly guy in a red suit and white beard, will light campus before departing on the luminary walk. The walk meanders down the Redmond Central Connector to Redmond Town Center with performances and light displays along the way. The fun and entertainment continue there with an outdoor skating rink, ice sculpture, reindeer, holiday carousel, kid’s activities, and more.
Performances throughout the event include a trombone band, chorus, singing choir, handbell choir, Fire performance, and more.
Parking is available at Redmond Town Center or City Hall Parking garage. A free shuttle runs that day between both locations from 3:30 – 8:30 p.m. For more information about Redmond Lights visit

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

4th Annual Poultry Predictor Race November 16

Redmond, WA - Predict your finish time and win a turkey! Join us for our fourth annual Poultry Predictor Race on Sunday, November 16. New in 2014, the race is now a 5K on a downtown Redmond course! The race is open to all levels of runners and you do not have to cross the finish line first to win! The five participants closest to their predicted finish time will receive a frozen turkey! There are no timing devices allowed on the course including mp3 players, iPod’s, or GPS watches, and the only clock will be at the start/finish line. A professional timing company will chip time the event. Participants, limited to 100, can sign-up to compete in the predictor division or choose to sign-up for a regular 5K Run/Walk division.  Read More >>

Three LWSD schools have been named "Schools of Distinction"

Redmond, Wash. – Three Lake Washington School District schools have been named “Schools of Distinction” by the Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE). Discovery Community School (Kirkland), Evergreen Middle School (Redmond), and Kirkland Middle School (Kirkland) were among 101 schools statewide in the top 5 percent for improvement on the state’s Reading / Math index test scores for students. Read More >>

Thursday, November 6, 2014

NAMI-Eastside Educational Forum November 18

Please join us at this FREE educational event. Open to the Public.

LOCATION: EVERGREEN HEALTH MEDICAL CENTER, SUITE TAN 100, 12303 NE 130TH LANE, KIRKLAND, WA 98034, (Use the blue parking garage)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Public Invited to Interfaith Dinner Dialogue on "In Whose Authority"

F.I.R.E. (Fostering Interfaith Relationships on the Eastside) invites you to the fourth in a series of Dinner Dialogues aimed at fostering interfaith relationships, on Saturday, November 22, 5PM to 8PM, hosted by the Kirkland Washington Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7720 126th Avenue NE, Kirkland.
This Dialogue will be on the topic “In Whose Authority: How is authority and leadership structured and carried out in your faith tradition?”. A panel from a variety of world religions will present the perspectives of their faith communities, followed by stimulating interfaith discussions among all participants.
This is a potluck dinner, so please bring your favorite dish to share, labeled showing the ingredients to help people with food allergies and preferences make choices.
Everyone is invited to come and enjoy a fun evening of interfaith dialogue! Please email and let us know how many will be coming, so we can be sure to set up enough tables and chairs.
For more information and to download flyers, visit

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bottle explodes in Dickinson Elementary parking lot- one adult injured - 2 schools closed - one school locked down

The following announcement was made to LWSD parents by Superintendent Pierce about the incident:
Dear LWSD Parents/Guardians,
We want to make you aware of a situation in the Dickinson Elementary parking lot this morning that is being covered by media. Dickinson is one of our schools in Redmond.
Dickinson Elementary School and Explorer Community School are closed today, as prior to the start of school this morning, a two-liter bottle exploded in the parking lot of Dickinson Elementary. A bus driver was walking past the bottle when it exploded and may have been exposed to the fumes and was hit by something that came out of the bottle. The driver was sent to the hospital to be checked out. There were no serious injuries. No students were nearby or injured. There is no property damage. For a short time, Evergreen Middle School was in modified lockdown due to the nearby police activity.
Students and parents may be hearing rumors about this situation. I want you to have accurate information and ask that you:
1.      Be aware of this situation. We have zero reason to believe that any more of these bottles would be on any other campus. This situation is a good reminder for all of us to be mindful of our surroundings and to report anything suspicious.
2.      Correct any rumors that you hear from students or other sources.
The police are still actively investigating this situation. If you have any information that you think would be helpful, please share that information with your school principal.
Thank you.
Dr. Traci Pierce, Superintendent
Lake Washington School District

Redmond Police: Increase in Education Hill Residential Burglaries

Since June 1, 24 residential burglaries have been reported in Redmond's Education Hill District. The incidents have occurred near NE 100th St., from approximately 160th Ave. NE to 180th Ave. NE.

In most cases, the burglars have gained access inside homes through garage doors or by removing window screens. In many cases, the windows were unsecured.

  • Thin black male
  • Individual with small feet and heeled shoes (possibly a woman with dress shoes)
The individual(s) may knock on doors with a false story to case houses before the burglaries. Stolen property includes jewelry, money, laptops, iPads and electronics that were taken from all areas of the residences.
Investigators are following up on leads. The Redmond Police Department reminds residents to store their property, including using secured safes for firearms and special belongings. The department offers free assessments of city residents' houses for suggestions on how to make their homes less likely targets for burglars. Please contact for information about arranging a meeting.

Keep a record of serial numbers, as it greatly increases recovery chances. City of Redmond recently teamed with TrackMole, a free service where property owners can track property using items' serial numbers.
Please report any suspicious activity to 911 as it is occurring.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lake Washington Schools Foundation continues to give this year

$229,000 Invested in Student Success for 2014-15!

Support from the community will allow students to build robots, use a 3-D printer and learn how to prevent bullying.
Grant Amount
Access Fund via InvestED $15,000
LINKS mentoring program $72,500
New Teacher Support Program—2nd Year Teachers $18,000
Reaching for Success Classroom Grants $83,320 List of Grants
Safe Schools Ambassador Program $15,000
STEM-based Signature Programs $25,000

Friday, October 31, 2014

Redmond is in an awkward transition of growth

OPINION:  Driving or walking around Redmond one gets the feeling our city is in an awkward transition of growth.  I remember the days 27 years ago where anytime you walked into a Redmond store or on a sidewalk you would recognize someone - a neighbor, a friend, an acquaintance.  Redmond was a small town back then and had that cozy small town feeling.  Oh, have the times changed as Microsoft continues to grow and impact our lifestyle.  Thank God for social media where we can stay in touch with those we know even if it's virtual.

Of course the landscape is changing around Redmond.  Just look at the "Big Box" six story apartments and their construction cranes all around town.  Every new complex has the same one dimensional flat topped architecture.  It's kind of boring and confining.  One friend commented that our city is now hightly populated by transients -- apartment workers with visas. What kind of contribution do they make to our neighborhoods?  Sometimes I feel I'm in another country with the urban diversity we now have.  One of the upsides is we have a growing number of international restaurants and shops.

But do you like where the city is headed?  The City Council now devotes much of their time to regional transportation issues, regional stormwater pipes, and the like.  Getting around Redmond especially during commuting times is now horrifying to many.  Recently a reader wrote a popular Letter to this blog griping about the nightmare we now have with traffic.  It was seconded by many other readers.  The rechannelization on 166th was constructed for safety reasons but it turned more into a commuting problem than expected by the city. Just wait until the city turns Cleveland Street and Redmond Way into two-way roads.  Traffic and gridlock can be expected there, though it's intended to revitalize the downtown business district.

Redmond recently was awarded one of the best city's to live in by Money Magazine. And the Mayor is quite proud of this, as he should.  Redmond has a lot going for it with our parks, trails, vibrant economy, good schools,low crime and affluent, high employment characteristics.  But no city is perfect and Redmond is proving this.  What do you think? 

By Bob Yoder

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

City to host its final public hearing on 2015-1016 budget

Redmond, WAThe City of Redmond will host the third and final public hearing on the 2015-16 biennial budget on Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 7:30 pm at Redmond City Hall, 15670 NE 85th St., during the regular City Council meeting. The goal of the public hearing is to collect community input about City issues, priorities and fiscal matters before the final budget is adopted by Council on Dec. 2.  Read More>>

Thursday, October 23, 2014

LWSD Long-Term Facilities Planning Task Force seeks volunteers

Group to study, analyze and make recommendations on facility needs
Redmond, Wash. – Lake Washington School District invites applicants interested in serving on a Long-Term Facilities Planning Task Force. This group will study, analyze and make recommendations concerning the district’s long-term facilities needs. The district seeks 41 parents (one from each neighborhood school plus the three Choice high schools with their own campus), two members of the business community, two senior citizens and four community members at large.
As the fastest-growing district in King County over the last two school years, Lake Washington School District is facing a need for classrooms to house its growing enrollment, which has increased close to 2,000 students over the last three years to 26,708. At the same time, the district has been following a plan to modernize all of its school buildings. However, recent bond measures have failed to garner the required 60% approval. To better understand the larger communities’ priorities and desires regarding school facilities, the district wants to engage the community in a dialogue to further explore the enrollment and capacity issues, potential solutions and alternatives. The Long-Term Facilities Planning Task Force is part of this process.  Read More >>

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Mayor and Council continue to hear complaints about Watson Asphalt fumes

Dr. David Morton, a Redmond resident who lives near Watson Asphalt Paving Company has been speaking to the Mayor and City Council during Items from the Audience regularly for the past six months.  He complains about smelly gas fumes emanating from Watson Asphalt and claims they are carcinogenic.  At last night's Council meeting he spoke again and three other Redmond residents joined in with their similar complaints.  All four residents wanted the city to do something about the problem. 

One of the residents complained she had five pets that came down with cancer.  Another resident complained she started getting debilitating migraine headaches starting in 2007. 

A third resident, Al, said his 6 year old asthmatic child had to be admitted to the ER five times, twice two times in one day.  He lives in the Woodbridge area.  He is a particle physicist and electrical engineer and said since the city isn't doing any air quality testing he will take it upon himself and publish the results on a web site.

The Mayor and Councilman Hank Myers said the city doesn't have jurisdiction over Watson Asphalt air quality and that Puget Sound Clean Air Authority has jurisdiction to enforce existing laws.  David Morton spent over an hour talking to Puget Sound Clean Air Authority with no results.  Al said the City "should stop deferring and start championing" the testing of air quality.

Watson Asphalt Paving Company is located in SE Redmond and the Mayor said any changes to the zoning code would not effect existing businesses. 

During the Budget Hearing David Morton asked Council to consider funding $200,000 to upgrades of Watson's industrial refining processes. 

Reported by Bob Yoder