Friday, April 21, 2017

UPDATED: City and School District Vision Statements

The Community's 2015 City Vision Statement:

Image result for vision statement images"In 2030, Redmond citizens will describe their community as one that is complete, offering a wide range of services, opportunities, and amenities. It’s a community that has acted to maintain a balance among the three pillars of sustainability, while accommodating growth and change. As a result, Redmond’s high quality of life, cherished natural features, distinct places, and character are enhanced. The community’s evolution has successfully woven the small town feel of older, established neighborhoods with the energy and vitality of Redmond’s urban centers. The result is a place where people are friendly, often meet others they know and feel comfortable and connected. It is a place where diversity and innovation are embraced, and action is taken to achieve community objectives. It’s a place that is home to people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, which contribute to the richness of the city’s culture." 

A councilmember recently told me a new Vision Statement will be written in 4-5 years. Will the community write it for 2040 or 2050?  Is that why?  Could it have something to do with the One Redmond Foundation? They weren't in existence at the time.

The Lake Washington School District's 2014 Vision Statement is:

"Every student will be Future Ready, prepared for College, the Global Workplace and Personal Success."

The District's Statement is excellent; it's clear, concise and easily shared.  It's a useful tool for good Public Relations. 
-- Bob Yoder

Otters spotted in the river

Credit/ John Reinke
On a recent walk along the Sammamish River, I spotted a couple of river otters swimming southbound underneath the 90th Street bridge.  They were merrily cavorting along, undulating in and out of the water and acting like they were having the time of their life.  I hurriedly pulled out my camera and followed them nearly a half mile, as they swam against the current.  I managed to get off a few shots along the way.

Just before they reached the old wooden railroad bridge, one of them climbed up on a partially exposed log near the opposite bank.  I was thus able to snap a good photo is it posed regally with its mouth agape.

I have occasionally seen individual otters in the river in the past, but never two together.  Friends of mine have also reported seeing a mother otter with baby otters (known as kits) in the river a few years ago. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, river otters are fairly common throughout the state, although they are not often seen.  Males average 4 feet in length, including the tail, and weigh 20 -28 lbs.  Females are somewhat smaller.

Otters typically feed on smaller fish such as carp, mud minnows, stickle backs and suckers.  They will also eat freshwater mussels, crayfish, frogs, birds and small mammals such as muskrats, mice and young beavers.
Next time you walk along the river trail, be on the lookout.  Maybe you'll see one.

-- John Reinke,

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

OPINION: "Who We Are"

UPDATED:  The City should re-work it's Mission, Vision and Value phrases as found on the Mayor's web page....especially the Vision.

The Mayor's Vision is:

"We are a community of connected neighborhoods with vibrant urban centers - inspired by nature, powered by innovation, and committed to excellence."

This sounds very good but we're inspired by more than nature. We've evolved rapidly in 4-6 short years and we're much more diverse.  Yes, we love very much our trees, creeks and trails and all that comes with them. We have a culture that embraces all these beautiful things.  But with our new-found diversity we're also inspired and blessed with the spice of other cultures, as represented by art.  The City can be more inclusive by expanding and promoting the presence of art. "Who we are" could be summarized:

"We are a diverse community of connected neighborhoods with vibrant urban centers - inspired by nature, arts and culture, powered by innovation, and committed to excellence."

Redefining who we are gives us a starting point for writing a concise and valid Vision Statement. Last week our new Council member Tanika Patyea told me a new Vision Statement will be written within the next four years. She is East Indian and Chair of the Parks and Human Services Committee and she's very smart. Our new Council is now better positioned to keep up with the times and advance change. 

I hope one day Council will rename the "Parks and Human Services" committee "Parks, Culture and Human Services" -- as much to acknowledge fellow neighbors as take care of business. 

From the standpoint of good Public Relations the Mayor should edit his web page.  

-- Bob Yoder

Monday, April 17, 2017

Updated: Study Session on Community Centers

  l-r Councilmembers Hank Margeson, Angela Birney, Byron Shutz, Tanika Padhye, Hank Myers, David Carson
Credit, Bob Yoder

On March 13th, about five weeks before this session, LWSD Deputy Superintendent Fogard announced during a Board meeting the repurposing of the Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center will be completed by the Fall of 2019.  Video of the school board meeting is HERE.

Jane Wither, of the One Redmond Foundation & Chair of the Arts and Culture Commission along with Tom Sanko the Chair of Parks Commission pretty much ran the community center study session.  They devoted weeks and months, even years on this project. (Their backs are facing the camera.) Both Jane and Tom spurred Council to finally make a decision to move forward.  President Margeson explained it was time for Council to lead. They approved staff's vague recommendations, as follows:  

  • Urgency: Within five years, provide community center(s) to meet Redmond’s most urgent needs  (So by 2022 the aquatic center will actually be built?  That sounds like a tall order.) 
  • Spaces: Meet Redmond’s needs for priority spaces, including:
    • Aquatics and fitness
    • Flexible spaces for cultural arts and events
    • Flexible community spaces for meetings, classes, and gatherings

Sunday, April 16, 2017

My native backyard Trillium Lilly - Happy Easter!

Image may contain: plant, flower and nature
Credit/ Bob Yoder


Picking parts off a trillium plant can kill it even if the rhizome is left undisturbed.[14] Some species of trillium are listed as threatened or endangered and collecting these species may be illegal. Laws in some jurisdictions may restrict the commercial exploitation of trilliums and prohibit collection without the landowner's permission. In the US states of Oregon, Michigan[14] and Minnesota[15] it is illegal to pick trilliums. In New York it is illegal to pick the red trillium.[16]

It is illegal to in any way injure the common Trillium grandiflorum (white trillium) in Ontario, though there are two exceptions: a person will not be fined if the person is a public works employee carrying out their job on public land, or the person is a private citizen carrying out "necessary work" on land the person owns or lawfully occupies.[17] The rare Trillium flexipes (drooping trillium) is also protected by law in Ontario, because of its very small Canadian population.
High white tail deer population density decreases or eliminates trillium in an area
 -- Wikipedia

Updated: The Redmond Trifecta

Redmond, WA. USA is a community of diverse neighborhoods with vibrant urban centers - inspired by culture!

Credit: VALAEstside
I literally bumped into the Extravaganza festival - filled with lots of cheerful East Indian families -- on my way to visit VALA's "Redefining We" art exhibition.  Unfortunately, the exhibit is now over.

The exhibit is really cool because it displays the photographic art of two cultures with a nature backdrop....the Redmond Trifecta!

I really hope VALA will bring it back someday.

 -- Bob Yoder

Saturday, April 15, 2017

LWSD Commitment to Sustainability and other news

I felt the most informative part of the video was towards the middle-end.  BY
Commitment to Sustainability 
Lake Washington School District has a long-standing commitment to sustainability. As a 2015 McKinstry Champions of Sustainability award winner, LWSD is a recognized leader in sustainability practices and education in the region. As Earth Day 2017 approaches, it is a great opportunity to highlight and celebrate the sustainability efforts of our district and schools. Please take a moment to view our Commitment to Sustainability video.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Updated: One Redmond targets interactive media and commercial space enterprise sectors

Unfortunately,  Redmond growth will be further stimulated creating all sorts of untended consequences....severe traffic among them.  

Your greatest strengths are often also weaknesses. The economic health of a region obeys the same rules. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

School Board Director Siri Bliesner

Siri Bliesner

Director, District Five – Resident of Redmond
First elected 11/2011
Term ends 11/2019

Siri Bliesner was elected to the school board in November 2011. Bliesner works in public health. She graduated from Stanford with a degree in human biology. Bliesner received a Masters in public health from the University of Washington. She speaks Spanish and currently works for Hopelink as the outcome and evaluation coordinator.

Originally from the Seattle area, Bliesner and her husband of 18 years, David Cline, have two children. Samara attends Redmond High School and Josiah attends Redmond Junior High. For the past 10 years, Bliesner has volunteered in her children’s schools. Bliesner helped implement after-school activities including chess club, math club, Lego league robotics and school musical productions at Rockwell Elementary. She received a Golden Acorn Award from the Rockwell PTA for her work in that school’s community. Bliesner is also a founding board member of the Lake Washington Schools Foundation and developed their classroom grant program.

Email: Siri Bliesner

LWSD Central Leadership Team

​The Central Leadership Team is committed to providing high quality programs and services to Lake Washington School District students, staff, schools and families.
Dr. Traci Pierce
​(425) 936-1257

Dr. Pierce serves as Chief Executive Officer, providing strategic vision, leadership,. Pierce serves as Chief Executive Officer, providing strategic vision, leadership, and direction to the district. She is accountable for student and organizational outcomes though the fulfillment of Board established End Results and Executive Limitations Policies. She serves as the Board’s link to the operational organization, assuming authority and responsibility for development and implementation of overall district strategic goals, objectives, and initiatives, and assumes accountability for staff performance, resource management, community and parent involvement, organizational operations and district culture.

Central Leadership Team Organizational Chart
Janene Fogard
Deputy Superintendent
Operational Services
​(425) 936-1229

Ms. Fogard serves as Chief Operating Officer, overseeing overall operations functions within the district. She provides vision, leadership, and direction, assuming responsibility for success of the district’s division of Business and Support Services and departments of Human Resources, Technology Operations, and Communications, working to ensure effective and efficient district operations in accomplishing strategic goals. Ms. Fogard assists the superintendent in achieving district objectives and key performance indicators, assuring alignment with law, policy, and priorities established by the Board of Directors.

Operational Services contact information and organizational charts
Dr. Jon Holmen
Associate Superintendent
Student and School Support Services
(425) 936-1310

​​Dr. Holmen serves as Chief of Schools, overseeing the district’s student and school support services. He provides vision, leadership, and direction, assuming responsibility for success of the departments of School Support, Student Services, Special Services, and Intervention Services in accomplishing strategic goals. Dr. Holmen assists the superintendent in achieving district objectives and key performance indicators, assuring alignment with law, policy, and priorities established by the Board of Directors.

Student and School Support Services contact information and organizational charts
 ​Matt Manobianco
Associate Superintendent
Student and Professional Learning Services
(425) 936-1322

Mr. Manobianco serves as Chief Academic Officer, overseeing the district’s instructional program. He provides vision, leadership, and direction, assuming responsibility for success of the departments of Teaching and Learning; Assessment, Evaluation and Research; Innovation, Choice, and Accelerated Programs; Career and Technical Education; and, Professional Learning in accomplishing strategic goals. Mr. Manobianco assists the superintendent in achieving district objectives and key performance indicators, assuring alignment with law, policy, and priorities established by the Board of Directors.

Student and Professional Learning Services contact information and organizational charts

School District wins budget award

Image result for lake washington school district images logoLake Washington School District provides more information, transparency

The Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) has awarded Lake Washington School District its Pathway to the MBA (Meritorious Budget Award). The award recognizes excellence in budget presentation during the 2016–2017 budget year.

The Pathway to the MBA promotes and recognizes excellence in school budget presentation. It enhances school business officials' skills in developing, analyzing, and presenting a school system budget. After a rigorous review by professional auditors, the award is conferred only on school districts that have met or exceeded the program’s stringent criteria.

“As a district, one of our goals is to use resources effectively and be fiscally responsible,” noted Assistant Superintendent Barbara Posthumus. “The budget is a foundational document. It helps us to be transparent to our community on how we use their tax dollars. Working toward the Meritorious Budget Award has improved the quantity and quality of information we provide to the community.”
Districts who successfully complete all four MBA Criteria Checklist sections promote:

  • Skills in developing and analyzing an effective budget
  • Communication between departments to develop short- and long-term strategies
  • Clear budget guidelines
  • Building confidence in your community with a reader-friendly budget

The Pathway to the MBA is an introductory program. It requires completion of two of the four MBA Criteria Checklist sections. Lake Washington completed the introductory and the organizational sections in its 2016-17 budget document.

Budget review comments from ASBO noted, “This is a fine document, which includes a wealth of information in graphic and narrative form. The document is user-friendly and will meet the needs of varied users.”