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 dwellers...technology 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

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Letter: Traffic in Redmond has become a nightmare

Karrie Guymon 

 
to me
Hi,

I am hoping you can communicate this information via your blog and/or other channels.

I think the traffic in Redmond has become a nightmare.  Last night was horrible with cars lined from redmond middle school down the hill to the community center.  Downtown is a slow grind, Willows Road and Redmond Woodinville Hwy are parking lots, and don't even get me started on Avondale.    Today I called the city out of frustration.  They asked that I pass along Susan Byszeski's phone  number 425-556-2882.  She is collecting community feedback.

Thanks

NAMI-Eastside Forum: "What happens when I call 911 on a family member?"

DON’T MISS OUR UPCOMING FORUM:  By popular demand, one of our most popular forums is back.  “WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I CALL 911 ON A FAMILY MEMBER?

 

Guests:                 Commander Shari Francois, Redmond Police Department

Manka Dhingra JD., Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

          Date:                   Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 7 PM - 9 PM

          Location:           Evergreen Health Medical Center, Suite Tan 100,

                                      12303 NE 130th Lane,                          

                                      Kirkland, WA 98034

 

Commander Shari Francois and Manka Dhingra, JD, both currently serving on the Board of Directors at NAMI Eastside, will be presenting information on what can happen after you call the police on your loved one.  What are the options?  What is Mental Health Court?  ITA?   Diversion Center?  Read More >>

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Increase in Overlake Residential Burglaries

Increase in Overlake Residential Burglaries--Redmond Police Report
Since June 6, 19 residential burglaries have been reported in Redmond's Overlake District. The series of break-ins has occurred on weekdays during daytime hours.

Stolen property includes jewelry, cash and electronics. Method of entry has been through rear sliding glass doors, window smashes and window pry. When a resident has been home and answered the door, a suspicious person has asked for someone who does not live at the residence.

Suspects:
  • Hispanic or Asian male, around 25 years old and approximately 5-foot-5-inches tall
  • Hispanic female, approximately 5-foot-4-inches tall, thin, with long black hair
  • Black male, around 18 years old, approximately 6-feet tall, thin, with no facial hair
Suspicious vehicles include a white Lexus sedan and a red Toyota Paseo.
Investigators are following up on leads. Victims appear to be targeted for having known cash and jewelry inside the residences. Fingerprints recovered on scene have been sent to the King County Automated Fingerprint Identification System.
Redmond Police would like to remind citizens to call in any suspicious activity to 911 or 425-556-2500, especially if they receive a knock on the door from a stranger asking for someone unknown to them.
Residents are asked to secure important belongings and be mindful of outward signs of valuables. 

Opposition to Proposed Gunshy Manor Development along the Red Brick Road

September 25, 2014 advance copy via email



The Honorable Dow Constantine The Honorable Kathy Lambert, District 3

King County Executive King County Councilmember

King County Chinook Building King County Courthouse

401 Fifth Avenue, Suite 800 516 Third Avenue, 12th Floor



Seattle, WA 98104 Seattle, Washington 98104

Subject: Opposition to Proposed Gunshy Manor Development along the Red Brick Road

Sustainable Redmond is a grassroots organization with the mission of being a catalyst for moving Redmond’s



citizens, businesses, and local government toward sustainability. Therefore, we advocate transparency in City and

County development processes, better public notice of development proposals and full community engagement

throughout1.



We wish to bring your attention to a proposed development (Gunshy Manor) on the Red Brick Road, which is a

historical landmark in King County. The Red Brick Road (located on 196th Ave NE between SR 202 and NE Union Hill



Road) is adjacent to the boundary of the City of Redmond and is an important historic and agricultural valley that

preserves more than a mile of paved road from the original Yellowstone Trail, dating from 1913. The road runs

through more than 100 acres of intact wetlands, some privately owned and some preserved as the Evans Creek

Natural Area. It has come to our attention that King County is in the process of receiving pre-applications for a new

development project along the road that will build 25 additional homes on property immediately adjacent to Evans

Creek Natural Area.

There are a range of direct, indirect and cumulative environmental impacts which should be addressed in the

process of a full SEPA review to include:  Read More >>

Monday, October 13, 2014

LWSD faces transportation challenges at Rose Hill MS and LW High

At the October 6th LWSD Board meeting, eight parents and one student made public comments about problems getting students to schools from the Audubon School area.  Five citizens complained about the two hour Metro bus ride for Lake Washington High School.  A high school student complained about the 5-15 minute bus stop waits and a 45 minute wait at the Interlake Transit Center and getting charged for  unexcused absences for being late. 


Three parents complained about overcrowding on the bus to Rose Hill Middle School.  Kids have to sit three in a row with backpacks and musical instruments and one mother complained that when the bus turns some students are jarred off their seats and into the aisle.  One mother complained this was a safety issue and that safety is threatened when students have to wait at the bus stop for another bus because there was lack of room on the first bus.  One mother said their child was late 22 days out of the last 23 days because of lack of space on the first bus and a bus driver shortage. 


Superintendent Traci Pierce directed the parents to talk to staff members Janine Folgard and Forest Miller after the meeting to find solutions.  The Board will follow-up the issue and de-brief at their next public meeting.


Reported by Bob Yoder 

School Board to repurpose modernization funds for more classrooms

Classrooms needed to house growing enrollment
 
Redmond, Wash. – 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 completed all projects funded by the 2006 bond measure on time and under budget. It also received state construction assistance funds for those projects.  Read More >>

Northwest Bookfest Writer's Conference to Focus on Digital Publishing


The publishing landscape has changed significantly in the past few years, as digital publishing creates new opportunities for writers to become authors. With online distribution channels such as Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, CreateSpace, Apple iBooks and more, writers are challenged to sort out the choices and make the best decisions about publishing their work.

Presented by Northwest Bookfest, Guiding YOU Through Indie Publishing offers two days of workshops, November 1 and 2, at Northwest University in Kirkland, on the craft of writing, publishing alternatives and marketing expertise. For only $129 attendees can choose from dozens of workshops taught by authors and trade professionals. A one-day option is available to participants who cannot attend both days.  Read More >>

Sunday, October 12, 2014

City to Host Community Workshop Regarding Future Urban Design Standards

Redmond, WA -  On Monday, October 20, 2014, the City of Redmond will host a community workshop regarding the future of the City’s urban design standards, and the public is invited to attend. The workshop will take place at City Hall in Bytes CafĂ© from 7 - 8:30 p.m.

Public feedback gained from the workshop will be used to develop recommendations for a rewrite of the current design standards in the City of Redmond Zoning Code that will take place in 2015. The purpose of Redmond’s design standards is to create a built environment that is consistent with the City’s strengths and assets as well as the community’s vision for its future.

The City would like to update its urban design standards and wants citizens to be part of the process.

Workshop objective:
• Conduct a community workshop that inspires dialogue
   and design feedback from citizens.
• Foster discussions that encourage people to tell us
   what they think is great and what design elements 
   they think encompasses the look and character of
   Redmond.
• Collect design ideas for new buildings, public spaces
   along streets and landscape appearance.

The community workshop will include:
• A visual preference survey for participants to identify
  what they like or don’t like about development projects.
• Evaluate recent development projects and learn about
   design issues important to Redmond’s two urban
   centers: Downtown and Overlake.
• Review case studies from peer communities.

All citizens, regardless of architectural experience, are encouraged to attend and provide their input on the quality and effectiveness of the City’s current design standards in Redmond. For information please contact Dennis Lisk at 425-556-2471 or dwlisk@redmond.gov.

Friday, October 10, 2014

LETTER: Redmond One of the Best Places in the Pacific Northwest

LETTER:  Hey Bob It's Bryan from Movoto again. Thought you might be interested in this since you've run our stuff before. Today we published an article on the best places in the Northwest, looking at factors such as unemployment, household income, quality of life, etc.  
 
Redmond came in at number six for best places: http://www.movoto.com/blog/top-ten/best-places-in-the-northwest/
 
I thought this might be an interesting article for the Redmond community. Feel free to share or link to any aspect of the article.
 
Thanks,
Bryan 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Mayor John Marchione presents his 2015-2016 Preliminary Budget

Mayor John Marchione presented his 2015-2016 Preliminary Budget to the City Council last night.  It is part of a six-year financial plan.  The total budget is $617 million for the biennium (and the General Fund portion is $166.5 million) which has a 6% increase over the previous budget and four new full time employees.


An estimated $10 million gap was created during the budget offer process (from the original $4.2 million estimated gap) according to Mike Bailey, Chief Financial Officer.  Marchione estimated the price of government in the City to be at a 20 year low but the gap leads to the following revenue adjustments:


> an automatic 1% property tax increase
> a 3% cable utility tax
> a business tax of $7 to recoup lower transportation impact fees
> a business tax of $8 to account for inflation over recent years
> an increase in utility taxes on water (3%) and sewer (2%) to account for inflation
> a six-year, .35/1000 property tax levy (operating and capital) effective 2016 and on the 2015 ballot.


The following large projects  ($75 million) will require a 2018 property tax levy vote requiring 60% supermajority:  1) Pool and Recreation facilities, 2) Transportation improvements, 3) Investments in Trails and Parks.


The bulk of the budget is for capital projects.  Between 2015-2020 the following capital projects are scheduled:  Read More >>

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Education Hill resident reports continued service outage with Frontier

An Education Hill resident reports that he still has no internet service at his home.  He has been without service for more than two weeks now when the lines were severed by a contractor.  His neighbor in a condo unit a few doors down has had internet service for more than a week.  The resident states "Frontier claims that all internet service has been 100% restored in our area, which is not true.  Supposedly a tech will be coming out tomorrow to check things out."

Reported by Bob Yoder



Redmond Police Execute Search Warrant in Kirkland

           
Redmond, Wash. – Redmond Police Department’s Pro-Act Unit and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team served a search warrant and took two males into custody at approximately 6:10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4.  
The warrant was issued for narcotics trafficking and stolen property on the 14000 block of 108th Ave. NE in Kirkland. The residence is in close proximity to Kirkland’s Helen Keller Elementary School, daycare centers and a church. Police searched the location on Saturday to minimize community disruption.
The 54-year-old male in the residence was booked into King County Jail and charged with Violation of the Uniform Controlled Substance Act for Heroin and Methamphetamine. His vehicle was impounded. The second male was booked and released on his own recognizance. Police recovered drug paraphernalia and multiple weapons, ranging from handguns to assault rifles, at the home.
Redmond’s Pro-Act Unit conducts investigations with crimes related to auto theft, car prowl, burglary and financial fraud. Pro-Act works collaborative investigations with nearby agencies and regional partners, in this case the Kirkland and Bellevue Police Departments. Redmond’s SWAT Team handles arrests of violent suspects, hostage situations, barricaded persons and hazardous search warrants. 
The investigation remains ongoing.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Eastside Symphony Fall Concert

Eastside Symphony Fall Concert


We open our season with the winners of our Young Soloist competition, at the Redmond Performing Arts Center. Purchase your tickets on line at www.eastsidesymhony.org to avoid lines at the box office or at the Brown Paper Ticket link below. You can also purchase tickets at the door the day of the concert.

Elgar: Cello Concerto, 1st & 2nd mvts, 
Aaron Hauser, cello

Bloch: "Nigun" from Baal Shem, 
Takumi Taguchi, violin

Tchaikovksy: Swan Lake Suite


Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet Suite  Read More >>

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Redmond Honors Achievments of K-9 Unit


                                                           
Redmond, Wash. – The Redmond Police Department celebrates the 13 1/2-year career of its K-9 Trainer and Officer, Sam Hovenden.
 
As a Master Trainer, Officer Sam Hovenden has certified more than 100 K-9 police teams throughout Washington in patrol and narcotics. With two police dogs, German Shepherds Vader and Monte, Officer Hovenden's work in the K-9 Unit has resulted in more than 2,400 applications and 364 captures. The two teams are credited with the seizure of more than $3 million in narcotics and $2.5 million in cash.

"Redmond Police Department is proud to recognize the 13 years of service from Officer Sam Hovenden and his partners Vader and Monte," said Redmond Police Chief Ron Gibson.
  
Outside of patrol duties, Officer Hovenden, Vader and Monte were a well-known presence throughout Redmond at crime prevention programs and community events. Officer Hovenden's outreach efforts allowed children and families to meet police dogs and learn about their role in law enforcement.
 
"Officer Hovenden, Vader and Monte have been a tremendous asset to the Redmond Police Department and greater Puget Sound area," said Gibson.
 
Following Vader's retirement, Officer Hovenden will continue to serve Redmond as a police officer. He is the current President of the Washington State Police Canine Association, Red Cross Hero Award recipient and Redmond's Officer of the Year in 2000.
 
Redmond Police's K-9 Unit is a time-honored tradition that first joined the department in 1980. The legacy will continue as Officer Dan Smith serves Redmond with the department's newest K-9 addition, Remy.

Celebrate Fire Prevention Week at a Redmond Fire Station

Fire Prevention Week is rapidly approaching and we would like to invite you to celebrate with us!
 
Kid adventures:
  • Hang out with your firefighters.
  • Meet Sparky the Fire Dog.
  • Explore a fire engine and aid car.
  • Put on kids fire gear, just like the firefighters, and keep the red hat!
  • Tour your neighborhood fire station.
  • Light refreshments provided.
Fire Station Open Houses
6:30 - 8:30 pm (unless otherwise noted)

Monday, October 6 - Station 16
6502 185 Ave NE, Redmond
Map to Station 16

Monday, October 6 - Station 18
22710 NE Alder Crest Dr, Redmond
Map to Station 18

Tuesday, October 7 - Station 17
16917 NE 116 St, Redmond
Map to Station 17

Wednesday, October 8 - Station 13
8701 208 Ave NE, Redmond
Map to Station 13

Thursday, October 9 - Station 12
4211 148 Ave NE, Bellevue
Map to Station 12

Friday, October 10 - Station 14
5021 264 Ave NE, Redmond
Map to Station 14

Saturday, October 11 - Station 11 (11:00 am - 2:00 pm)
8450 161 Ave NE, Redmond
Map to Station 11
 
 For more details, visit us at:  http://www.redmond.gov/publicsafety/fire
 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Redmond Home Prices Gain in August

Redmond Home Prices Gain in August
By Paul Siemering
 
Redmond’s real estate market may still favor sellers, but the slowdown in competition means it’s become a much friendlier place for homebuyers. In August, homes sold three days slower compared with the same time last year, spending a median 11 days on the market. And the number of homes that sold above their list price fell by 4.6 percent.
 
Many homes for sale are now receiving one or two offers, eliminating an opportunity for a bidding war. In Redmond, even a handful of offers can hinder someone’s chance of winning a home: typically one or two of those offers will be all-cash and another may be from someone with a hefty down payment and strong financing. If you’re a more traditional buyer, now is a good time to resume or start your search because many homes no longer receive multiple bids.
 
My advice to homebuyers who want to avoid competition is to wait and see how much interest a property gets before making an offer. I recently helped a customer buy a home in English Hill without facing a bidding war. We saw the house the first day it came on the market but waited a few days to see if it would turn into a competitive situation. It didn’t, and a week later we submitted an offer and got the home, paying $25,000 below the asking price.
 
Despite the less competitive market, home prices gained in August. Prices were up 6 percent from last year and the median home price was $570,152. Sales fell 24 percent with 131 homes sold.
 
For more information, visit Redfin.com

Friday, September 26, 2014

 
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