Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Girder setting requires ramp and street closures at 148th Avenue NE and SR 520

Credit:  Sound Transit

From Tuesday, July 10 until Saturday morning, July 14, crews working to build Sound Transit’s East Link project will install concrete girders between future elevated guideway columns in Redmond’s Overlake neighborhood. Mobile cranes will be at work along SR 520 at 148th Avenue NE from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly.

Dr. Jane Stavem Named the Next LWSD Superintendent

Dr. Jane Stavem
Redmond, Wash. - The Lake Washington School District (LWSD) Board of Directors has selected Dr. Jane Stavem to be the next Lake Washington School District Superintendent. From an impressive pool of applicants, Dr. Stavem emerged as the top choice to lead the district.
“We want to thank all the staff, parents, employee groups, students, partners, and community members who participated in the superintendent search process,” said Siri Bliesner, President, LWSD Board of Directors. “We appreciate everyone who took time to participate in the process, to submit questions, and provide feedback following the town halls. Your input was very valuable to the board in making its decision.”
On June 28 and June 29, three finalist candidates were invited back to the District for a Town Hall, staff meet and greets and a second interview with the Board, before the Board of Directors made the final hiring decision. At a special public meeting in the evening, the Board voted unanimously to extend the offer to Dr. Stavem.
Dr. Stavem is currently Associate Superintendent for Instruction at Lincoln Public Schools in Lincoln, Nebraska. For more information, read her biography here.
“We are extremely excited for Dr. Stavem to be the next superintendent of Lake Washington School District.” Bliesner said. ”It was an exhaustive search with a diverse range of qualified candidates, and the Board feels Dr. Stavem is the best choice for the future of our district and for our students' education.”
The next step in the process is to finalize an employment contract between the Board and Dr. Stavem.
Dr. Stavem will replace Dr. Traci Pierce, who will move into the position of Director, College and Career Readiness, this summer. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

City Hall colors

Credit:  John Reinke

Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run

REDMOND, WA – Law enforcement personnel from the Redmond Police Department will be joining officers from across the nation to escort the “Flame of Hope” torch to the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games as part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg® 

Before competition begins on July 2, an elite group of law enforcement officers and Special Olympics athletes will escort the Special Olympics “Flame of Hope” on a journey across Washington State. From June 27 through July 1, 47 law enforcement officers representing 47 states, along with six Special Olympics athletes, will make up the prestigious “Final Leg” team for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games Law Enforcement Torch Run®.

Tour de Redmond is underway

Register at TOURdeRREDMOND.org.
"Tour de Redmond" Commute Challenge is a yearly, 2-month long program run by a non-profit, GRMTA, every June and July. It's intended to encourage using bicycles as an alternative to commuting to work via a single occupancy vehicle.  PIM Bicycles is one of their sponsors.  They kindly gave me an e-bike to try for a few months.  Their bikes are sturdy and affordable....starting at $1,495.  

I took two e-bike "commutes." -- one from Education Hill to Kirkland and the other from Education Hill to Bothell.  My Kirkland ride is reported here.   
click to enlarge

The Bothell ride carrying a 25-pound pack was a breeze.  The State speed limit for e-bikes is 25 MPH.  It was all I could do to hold my speed to 28 MPH.  One road bicyclist passed me going over 30 MPH.  Another warned, yelling "speed."  

E-bikes are really taking off in Redmond.  Trek on Redmond Way sells both road and e-bikes.  Pedego on 106th NE has quality bikes. Seattle Electric Bike in Bothell has a wide variety of e-bikes.  The owner of Redmond Cycle at his "Go Redmond" booth said he will be riding one.  

E-bikes are so easy to operate, versatile and fast that congested downtown developments like Seritage and Limited Edition will probably one day need them for their commuters. 

B. Yoder    

Monday, June 25, 2018

A Father's Day to Remember

A lucky dad Yoder with Pam and Lexie  .
One of the joys of living in Redmond is our proximity to the majestic Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges.  My wife, daughter and I were at this Mt. Index lookout of Father's Day after only a one hour drive.  We found the 3.3 mile hike at a Snohomish County Park trailhead. The hike was a serene and hearty 760 ' elevation gain through a cool-green cedar, fir and aspen forest.  Only an hour away from the bustle of downtown Redmond construction and we were here, alone at peace.

B. Yoder

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Mayor interviews Redmond photographer John Reinke

The Mayor interviewed nature photographer John Reinke for this summer's "Focus on Redmond" newsletter. It made the front page. John started as a local nature, environmental and cultural photographer.  Ten years later he's evolved into a photo-journalist as seen by his "The Bird With the Broken Wing" story.

Last week, on a field trip, John pointed out two bucks he found grazing in a seasonal wetland near Bear Creek Parkway.  He said "It's remarkable how nature can be found so close to downtown."  No doubt many move to Redmond for it's natural beauty, trails and open spaces.

John Reinke is a very important and special citizen in that ---- in this urban environment ---he brings Redmond nature to our doors.  I've known John for over 10 years and we gotten to be close friends. We meet regularly at SoulFood to review his latest pictures and hear recountings of where and how he engages with Redmond's wildlife and nature.  Many of his photos, comments and stories are posted here.  Read the Focus newsletter!  You'll see John is much more than a local photographer!

B. Yoder

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

LWSD Holds Two Public Meetings To Select New Superintendent

Redmond, Wash. – At the June 14 special board meeting, the Lake Washington School District (LWSD) Board of Directors screened 58 candidates for first-round interviews for the position of Superintendent.

Ray and Associates contacted 1,110 individuals regarding LWSD’s Superintendent vacancy. Out of those 1,110 contacts, 58 candidates completed the application process by providing Ray and Associates, Inc. with the required candidate materials. These 58 applicants were screened based on administrative experience, academic background and the qualities and criteria determined by the LWSD Board of Directors and printed on the LWSD Job Profile.

Ray and Associates, Inc. then performed a comprehensive interview with each of the top candidates. A thorough investigation of each candidate was then made through references, state officials, other school administrators and individuals who knew each candidates’ abilities and strengths. Following these investigations, the determination of the best candidates for the LWSD Superintendent position was finalized. Eleven candidates were then screened by the LWSD Board of Directors at the June 14 special board meeting. The LWSD Board of Directors narrowed the list of candidates down to the top five. These five applicants will be interviewed by the LWSD Board of Directors during a special board meeting, in executive session (closed to the public) on June 22, 2018. Following the executive session, the board is scheduled to reconvene the special board meeting in the LWSD Resource Center Board Room at 7:00 p.m.  -- open to the public -- to take action to select the superintendent finalists.  The Superintendent Search page of the LWSD website will be updated as well.

The public is invited to attend a Town Hall with each of the finalists on Thursday, June 28 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the LWSD Resource Center  The Town Hall will also be streamed live from the Superintendent Search section of the LWSD websiteThere will be an opportunity for community members to provide feedback on each candidate to the School Board via the “Candidate Impression Form” that will be available on the website as well.
# # # #
Lake Washington School District is a high-performing public school district serving Kirkland, Redmond, and Sammamish, Washington. It is the third largest district in the state of Washington, with over 29,500 students in 52 schools.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Bikes as advertisements?

OPINION:  This red bike adjacent to Banner Bank has been advertising "Three Lions Pub" for over 10 days now.  When driving on 164th it's easy to get distracted by the "sign" at this busy intersection, posing a hazard.  In addition, the advertisement takes up bike docking space. I reported this to the city's Code Enforcement Officer since there's an ordinance governing the placement of signs.  It's interesting this novel advertisement was placed right next to Banner Bank where the past President of One Redmond works.  A Lime bike share was placed in the same location for over a week about a month ago. In my opinion, especially with the redevelopment of Sears, the Mayor should hire a third Code Enforcement officer to enforce an amended sign and the pending bike share ordinance.

B. Yoder  

Make Your Voice Heard on Sear's Redevelopment Plan

You may have heard that there is a large, multi-year redevelopment plan being proposed by Seritage Growth Properties for the Overlake Sears location.  After several months of City Council review, the public is now encouraged to provide formal feedback at a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, June 19, 7:30 PM, City Hall.  Extensive project materials are available at City of Redmond

Suggested topics:  transportation, bike travel, mobility, affordable housing, affordable services, parks, building design and height, performance center, transit services, landscaping, connectivity to Bellevue and Downtown Redmond.  

The proposal calls for the redevelopment of the approximately 13 acre Sears site for a mixed-use development that includes:
  • 500 multifamily units
  • 210 room hotel
  • 100,100 square feet of street level retail space
  • 23,000 square feet of market/food retail space
  • 266,800 square feet of office space
  • 62,700 square feet of restaurant space
  • 2,245 stalls of underground parking
  • And approximately 2.1 acres of parks and open space

Special thanks to Tom Hinman for his community outreach efforts and keeping us informed of the Seritage re-development plan.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

LETTER: The city should reconsider fluoridating our water

Image result for fluoride imagesMr. Welton wrote the Mayor of the negative health effects from putting fluoride in our drinking water.  Below, is the Mayor's response and a copy of Mr. Welton's letter.  

Mr. Welton,

Thank you for the article you sent for review along with your request for the City of Redmond to reconsider adding fluoride to its drinking water. I want to assure you that I do appreciate your concern.

Staff and I understand that fluoride has been controversial for many years, with countless studies and activists both for and against the ionic compound being added to water. In reviewing the article you provided, the basis of concerns comes from studies conducted in China on the effect of naturally occurring fluoride in drinking water where concentrations are much greater than 1.0 mg/l.

As you may know, the City’s well water that serves roughly 40 percent of Redmond has naturally occurring fluoride, as most natural water does. A small amount is added to reach a level of 0.7 mg/l, which meets the City’s community fluoridation objective set forth by the Department of Health. Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency issued a news release to recommend a slightly lower optimal level (from 1.0 mg/l to 0.7 mg/l) of fluoride in drinking water because Americans now have increased access to fluoride from other sources such as toothpaste and mouthwash.

Redmond follows the guiding principles of the Primary Drinking Water Regulations to meet the guidelines of the Department of Health, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The safety and effectiveness of fluoridation of public drinking water has been studied for over 65 years, and the City has been adding fluoride to its drinking water since 1975. (About 60 percent of Redmond's drinking water is purchased from Seattle, and a 1968 referendum vote directed Seattle to fluoridate its drinking water.)

The fluoride used in treatment meets the quality and safety standards of the American National Standards Institute and the American Water Works Association. The most respected health agencies in the world, including The American Dental Association, the American Medical Association, the American Water Works Association, the CDC, and the World Health Association, continue to support this public health practice. The CDC encourages all public water systems to fluoridate to protect people from tooth decay and dental disease. Nationally, just shy of 80 percent of all drinking water is fluoridated.

The City will continue to monitor the research and required standards to see if the recommended concentration of fluoride in drinking water is lowered and will respond accordingly.

John Marchione, Mayor, City of Redmond

Dear Mayor Marchione,

First of all, thank you for answering this E-Mail about the negatives of fluoride in our drinking water. I’m skeptical as to whether the any efficacy or safety studies have been performed since:

1) Study after study is coming out, numerous of them I have sent to you in the past, showing the harm that is caused by fluoride including dentalfluorosis and osteofluorosis as well as may be linked to Hashimoto’s Disease causing elevated cholesterol and underactive thyroid.

As a child I was riddled with cavities and had three root canals. As an adult, I continued with issues until I started taking better care of my teeth but still had a cavity or two a year. About 7 years ago I quit drinking city water, quit using fluoridated toothpaste, and started a regular regimen of brushing and flossing twice a day. My first visit to a dentist in well over four years resulted in significantly reduced Periodontal Pockets and no cavities. Yes this is anecdotal evidence but it is the case. I take thyroid replacement medication daily for treatment of Hashimoto’s Disease, my thyroid has returned to normal activity and cholesterol is down significantly. Elevated Cholesterol led me to take Crestor which is a Statin Drug. There are numerous Statin Drugs on the market and they all have the same possible side effect, Type II Diabetes. Since being Diagnosed with Type II Diabetes I’ve quit taking Statin Drugs but I believe it is too late and the harm caused is permanent. So to recap, since being off most of the fluoride in the average American’s life I have less cavities. I have Hashimoto’s Disease that could have been caused by fluoride, the Hashimoto’s Disease caused elevated Cholesterol which caused me to be prescribed a statin drug that most likely caused Type II diabetes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A fly-fishing sport in Redmond

Walking from the Eastside Gym over the "rusty bridge" yesterday I saw some Pike minnow fly-fishermen casting from a raft.  The fishermen were targeting their white fin.    

According to Tom Hardy, City of Redmond Stream and Habitat Planner, lots of these unwanted,  Northerrn Pike minnow are swimming around Lake Sammamish and the River eating  salmon smolt and eggs. Mr. Hardy stated:  "The curious thing about Northern Pikeminnow is that they are native fish to Washington but they are voracious salmon eaters, too."  As you'll see from the video, numbers are so high in the Columbia River there's a bounty on them.  I don't think we're there yet. 😀 But it sure looks like a fun sport! The season is from May 1 to August 31.  Go for it!

B. Yoder

Monday, June 11, 2018

At first glance

StationHouse in 2018
The Education Hill 166th Avenue road to downtown Redmond is probably the most significant urban gateway of any in Redmond next to Leary Way.  Residents from the north Redmond neighborhoods travel 166th most any day of the week.  I must admit, in my 38 years on the Hill I've taken our evergreens for granted.  This all changed with the StationHouse development. 

Below is a photo of StationHouse in 2017.  One year later it reached it''s maximum height and white finished color.  StationHouse is the embodiment of the new Redmond.  At first glance from the Hill I was shocked if not repelled by this white cubed "flat top."  Numbed, already I'm getting used to it.  
StationHouse in 2017
B. Yoder 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

We need more downtown art

2002 manhole public art 
OPINION:  Redmond is becoming a dull place to live and it will get worse.  Installing green street trees and the build out of the Downtown Park will help but Redmond needs more "punch" to make us a great city.

On May 8th council discussed a much greater emphasis of art in their budget.  Major projects like Buoyant in the Down Park need funding.  It will cost >3% of the total park construction.  The present grass and concrete downtown park is of course better than another one or two 6-8 story rental buildings.  A "landmark" art installation like Buoyant near the pavilion would make it a true park and sparkle our downtown.

"Signature" art installations are needed too.  They would cost 2-3% of total constructions costs at places like the main streets of Overlake, the Marymoor Village gateway, key public buildings or high traffic parks or trails like the Connector Trail Signals art.

Then there is the "Hallmark" public works art funded currently at 1% of construction costs. It's scattered all over the city and few probably notice it.  However, if you look hard you can't complain about the cement-colored salmon hidden under the Redmond Way cement bridge.  Here's the ultimate... leaf art on a local manhole cover celebrating the installation of a traffic calming improvement on our street.  I've never seen my neighbors dancing around it.

Per the Administration, if council approves the new art ordinance  -- to make our city more livable and lively -- the average investment in public art would increase from $188,778 per biennium to approximately $370,000.  Is this asking too much?   

Monday, June 4, 2018

Redmond's downtown anomaly

Council member Angela Birney stated on social media that this art was paid for by the builder.  At first I thought it was gaudy but now I find it a pleasant change from the plethora of our downtown monotone box buildings.  "162" is located just north and across from the Downtown Park. Can we expect more to come?  

Friday, June 1, 2018

UPDATED: City council deserves higher pay

Tom Hardy in a CCOW meeting asking Council to put his
 Mackey Creek Project on the Consent Agenda
OPINION:  Our city council works very, very hard and they should be paid more than their $1000/month salary.  They put in well over 14 hours per week not counting community events.

Besides weekly "study sessions" and "regular meetings" where business is transacted, they participate in four "council committees" to meet with staff and keep current on city business. [Planning and Public Works, Parks and Human Services, Safety, and Finance, Administration and Communications.]

Until April 7th and for the life of this city, three Council members, were assigned to  council standing committees to meet weekly for information and education by staff on existing city programs and issues in preparation for possible policy decisions.  Owing to a State Open Government revision and the city's tremendous growth --now 68,000 residents -- with much more to come, Council changed their standing committee structure to "Council Committee Of The Whole" (CCOW) where all seven council members participate weekly. The council is now working even harder and longer. And so is staff.  I've been to a couple CCOW meetings where staff has asked Council to put their programs on the Consent Agenda.  City business is speeding and government is now in a better position to keep up.

The new Council Committee Of The Whole should significantly increase participation of our elected and encourage staff to be more active, open and accountable to council.  As a result, study sessions and regular meetings, when aligned with CCOW, will be more productive and final decisions more effective and timely.  CCOW meetings are held on Tuesdays, 4:30 pm at City Hall and are open to the public.

Over the years standing committees have been very important to the operation of our city and they've evolved.

Fred Reil, the city's first Mayor instituted standing committees six months after our city of 300 was founded in 1912.  It's fun and interesting to see how Mr. Reil arranged them  Saloons were the largest source of revenue back then so it's obvious why a "licence" standing committee was set up.

In Mayor Selwin Young's time, one of his 1978 standing committee's was "Rules and Ethics."  Amazingly, the city ruled that Planning Director Jonathan Hartman could not retire until he reached the age of 65.  And, there was no specific Parks or Human Services committee....only a reference to them under "Human Resources."

Mayor Doreen Marchione's 1990 standing committees further evolved and are referenced here. They are much like Mayor Rosemary Ives's committees.

B. Yoder

Special thanks to the Redmond Historical Society for their resources and help in laying out this story; and to Michelle Hart, City Clerk, for digging out the standing committee iterations and her leadership in the formation of CCOW.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The bird with the broken wing, By John Reinke

While walking along a portion of the Bear Creek Trail south of Leary Way here in Redmond, I encountered a friend who used to live in the condo below mine.  After we greeted each other, she motioned through the open gates of an adjacent fenced-in maintenance area.

She wanted me to see a robin-sized bird with long legs, whose young were skittering about on the open gravel-covered surface.  I was quite surprised and pleased to see them, and explained that this was a killdeer with its chicks.  

I mentioned that I had photoed a pair of killdeer at the nearby pond more than a month previously.  We were now evidently looking at the resultant offspring

After my friend departed, I continued to observe the scene.  A second adult killdeer flew up on the grass outside and scampered into the enclosure.  Now both parents were on the scene to protect their young.

I set out to try to photograph the young.  This was difficult, as they were small and quite nimble, plus they were far enough away to put my zoom camera to the test.  I did manage to get at least one shot of a parent and two youngsters in the same frame. 

Can you find her head?  (click pic to enlarge)
I watched for awhile, and considered my next move. I knew that killdeer will try to lead away anyone who approaches their young.  They do this by pretending to be wounded and flapping about on the ground.  

When this causes the person to pursue them, they immediately move further away and repeat the act.  When they have successfully lured away their would-be predators, they fly off and eventually circle back to their young.

Knowing this, I decided to see if I could instigate this behavior by approaching, with my camera at the ready.  Sure enough, one of the adults took me up on my tactic.  It ran a short distance and proceeded to put on a spectacular act of appearing mortally wounded.  I managed to get off a few shots as I approached, before it moved away again.  

After that, I concentrated on getting a good closeup of a chick, but without much luck.  This fuzzy image was the best I could do.

Story and Photos by John Reinke
Redmond, WA

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Mayor Marchione's 2018 State of the City Address

Mayor Marchione is way underpaid.  His salary is ~$137,000.  In contrast, the Communications and Community Engagement Director at Lake Washington School District is paid $169, 285 and only works 10 months a year.  Nine Associate Directors are paid $153,800 per year.

This video is a must listen even if you see only the first 5 minutes.  

Superintendent Search Update.

Lake Washington School District Superintendent Search Update
Ray & Associates consutlants
The Lake Washington School District Board of Directors is working with Ray and Associates, a Superintendent Search firm, to hire the next LWSD Superintendent. Starting in late April, Ray and Associates held five community forums and 32 focus groups around the community. They also posted two surveys on the LWSD website, gathering 1,470 responses. The results of those meetings, focus groups and surveys are posted on the Superintendent Search webpage. This feedback also informed the creation of the job profile, also available on the LWSD website.

The job is now posted, and is open through June 4. An updated timeline is available on the Superintendent Search webpage.

Save the date! The community is invited to a Town Hall event with the final 2-3 candidates on Thursday, June 28. The Town Hall is scheduled from 5-8 p.m. at the Lake Washington School District Resource Center (16250 NE 74th Street, Redmond, WA 98052). This event will also be broadcast live from the LWSD website. Community members will have an opportunity to submit feedback on the candidates that evening. More details will be shared soon.