Sunday, March 18, 2018

Cherry blossoms

Credit/ John Reinke
Cherry blossoms on trees next to the Redmond library.
Photo taken March 8th.  

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Local Non-profit Seeks Warehouse Space

 "Pantry Party"

Pantry Packs now helping more kids than ever.  Looking for space the size of a 3-car garage, 24/7.

Redmond, WA, March 5, 2018 – Have an empty spot in your building? Want to make an impact in your local community? Consider a partnership with Pantry Packs, the all-volunteer program that delivers weekend food to over 850 students in the Lake Washington School District. This dynamic and powerful program is seeking a space—warehouse or other—to store food and host group packing events in the Kirkland/Redmond area. Community members should email leads to

Pantry Packs serves students from preschool through high school who have been identified by school personnel as "food-insecure" which means they are likely to not have enough food to eat over the weekend.  Volunteers gather, purchase, and store kid-friendly, non perishable food.  Once a month, upwards of fifty volunteers gather perishable volunteers gather and assemble this food into individual food packs at assembly-line-style "packing parties."  These assembled packs are delivered directly to schools, where they are handed out discreetly by school personnel so that each identified student can take food home every Friday

 Over 800 pantry packs are prepared  and delivered
every week to over 40  LWSD schools
Pantry Packs is powered by the Lake Washington Schools Foundation, which is a 501(c)3 organization, so in-kind donations are tax deductible. The program’s minimum space needs include:

    BOUNDARIES: safe and secure location within LWSD boundaries, preferably within Kirkland or Redmond.

        SIZE: 1,000 ft2 minimum for storage and pack assembly -- sized a little larger than a 3-car garage.

       ACCESS: no stairs; must be easy for private vehicles to drive close to door and pick up packs; must have access for large bulk food deliveries on pallets.

        PARKING: spaces for 50+ monthly volunteer packers; spaces for regular weekly volunteers.

       HYGIENE AND SAFETY: able to store packaged food; free from pest or moisture issues; restroom access.

While Pantry Packs currently operates out of Hopelink’s Kirkland warehouse.  Currently Pantry Packs delivers food packs to over 800 students every week. Leadership Team member Marlene Vacknitz pinpoints the problem:

“Many LWSD students benefit from receiving a weekly Pantry Pack and our numbers keep growing. Space is needed now, as we have already maxed out our storage—we simply can’t fit any more food in our current location. We must find a new space soon, as we want to provide for the increasing need in our area and not have to turn away a hungry student because of space. Our goal is to provide a Pantry Pack to any LWSD child that needs food so they don’t go hungry over the weekend.”  

Community members should email leads to


For more information about Pantry Packs, visit

Monday, March 12, 2018

UPDATED 3/18: Vagrant cuffed near Banner Bank

Man cuffed near Banner Bank / credit B. Yoder
Last week across the street from my Banner Bank on 164th I saw three police vehicles lit up with flashers in the middle of the road,  What the heck was going on?  Someone coming out of McDonald's book store had the same question.  I took this picture from McDonalds.  At one time a 3rd police officer huddled over the man.  It seemed like an excessive display use of force.

The officers were lingering over and questioning this man for about 30 minutes.  A Medic may have stopped by.earlier.  He was cuffed -- standard operating procedures for liability?  It's possible they may have been waiting for Narcon to take effect but that's only a guess.

When the cuffed fellow was released he staggered over to me and offered his hand, showing off a bible. I shook the hand and washed afterwards.  His eyes were glazed, he was dirty, and looked sick, but was smiling. He staggered east on Redmond Way.  My thought was he was heading towards known homeless sanctuaries --Anderson Park, the woods behind Overlake Urgent Care, and the Target's western parking lot buffer.

I emailed Kent Hay, the City's Homeless Outreach Coordinator to inform him of this man and see if he could help him.  Mr. Hay responded:  "There are some new people that have come to Redmond that I have not met yet and I’ve been informed are in that area. I will try and make my way down there tomorrow to see what I may be able to do.  Allot of factors play a part in what help I can offer people. Hopefully he is open to changing his situation and we will see what plan we can come up with."

-- B. Yoder,  opinion

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Sammamish River nature photographer captures Downy Woodpecker

click to enlarge
The title is kinda funny, huh?

On a recent overcast day, I stepped out onto the promontory that overlooks the Sammamish River in downtown Redmond, opposite the Opportunity Building.  I was surprised to see a downy woodpecker suddenly alight in a low bare-branched tree in the middle of the fence at the edge of the river bank.

click to enlarge
I quickly reached for my camera, hoping I’d be lucky enough to get off a few shots before it flew away.  To my surprise, it ignored my approach and calmly flitted about, pecking at the bark on the trunk and branches.  It was a male, as evidenced by its red topknot. 

click to enlarge
Downy woodpeckers are the smallest woodpeckers in Washington state and indeed the country.  They are quite common and typically inhabit deciduous forests.  They find insects in the crevices of bark, but also feed on berries, seeds and suet.  Monogamous breeding pairs form in late winter.

My little friend allowed me to take several photos at close range.  It's amazing what you can find in our  growing downtown urban center.

-- John Reinke
    Redmond, WA
    Photos credit John Reinke

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Elementary students to compete for Future Chefs champion

Image result for sodexo imagesThis is an exciting a fun event!  I've been a mentor over the years and love working alongside these kiddos. They are all exceptional, creative chefs  - Pam Yoder

Students will take to the kitchen to create Asian inspired dishes based on their own recipes in the Sodexo Future Chefs competition. With the help of a nearby adult, the students will need to prepare and cook the dish in a set amount of time alongside their peers. Students dishes will be judged on a range of factors like nutrition, preparation and overall quality. The winner of the overall quality award will be considered to compete in the regional finals.

Sodexo’s Future Chefs Competition is a national challenge encouraging students to make healthy food choices and get creative in the kitchen. The event was created to get kids thinking about and making healthy choices by increasing fruit, vegetable and whole grain choices in their diet.

14 fourth and fifth-grade students from throughout Lake Washington School District will  be competing based on the recipes they submitted.   

The March 14th event, 2:30 - 6 p.m. is at Rose Hill Middle School.  13505 NEth Street, Redmond.  The public is invited.  

UFO hovers over Downtown Park

No need to rush. It'll probably be here for another six months.

Photo: B. Yoder

Sunday, March 4, 2018

EvergreenHealth Recognized for Exceptional Patient Experience and Community Impact, opens patient portal

EvergreenHealth Medical Center
Of note, Evergreen just installed an online patient portal "My Navigator" on their website that securely connects you with your EvergreenHealth electronic health record. You'll have complete access to your lab reports, health history, doctor visit summaries, procedures, medication listings and future appointments.You can even email your provider with a question between appointments.  B. Yoder

Kirkland, Wash. – Last week EvergreenHealth’s 24/7 Nurse Navigator & Healthline was recognized for its outstanding community impact by Seattle Business at the 10th annual Leaders in Health Care Awards event. In addition, EvergreenHealth was recognized at the event by the Washington Health Alliance, an organization that aims to promote health and improve quality and affordability, as one of the state’s top four ranked primary care groups for exceptional patient experience. 

Seattle Business’ annual Leaders in Health Care Awards honors organizations and individuals who are pioneers in advancing Washington’s world-class health sector through excellent patient care, outstanding leadership and thoughtful innovation.

This year, EvergreenHealth’s 24/7 Nurse Navigator & Healthline earned the Silver honor for its achievements in delivering medical care to underserved individuals and communities.

“It is always an honor to be recognized among our region’s exceptional leaders in health care, and this distinction is especially meaningful for its impact on our community,” said Bob Malte, CEO of EvergreenHealth. “We regard our role to serve the community’s health care needs as a privilege and great responsibility, and we are proud of our Healthline providers, who embrace this accountability by providing all local residents with access to quality care and resources.”

Nurse Navigator & Healthline is a round-the-clock nurse consultation and referral service that guides callers to the most appropriate level of care. As a free community resource, it provides a critical pathway to help remove barriers to care by sharing credible health care information, often accompanied by recommendations for the most cost-effective services, while also preventing unnecessary emergency room or doctor’s visits.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Close encounter with Steve Fields at "down pour coffee bar"

Steve Fields pouring coffee at his coffee bar
 I stopped by Steve and Ronnie's"down pour coffee bar" this morning for a visit.  I had planned to ask him a few questions about the city but the place was buzzing and we had to reschedule

Scarce parking didn't deter these Down Pour
lovers (click pic to enlarge)
Steve's one of two new Redmond city council members and in my opinion does a fantastic job in many ways.

The following are a few questions I wanted to ask him:. 

1)  I thought the new Downtown Park was going to cost $40M but the project sign says $19M.  Facebook readers felt the city was not being up front.  What's up?

2) The 14-acre Estera / Sears project is probably the largest project the City will EVER build....but only 14 citizens showed up at the last community meeting.  Ridiculous!  Steve once suggested an extensive session.  Yes, we need one!  Also, according to the Redmond Reporter only 7% of the planned 2,000 apartments will be "affordable."  City standards are 10% affordable so what's up??  What's the mayor doing?

3)  I had a few questions about how council conducts their council committee meetings as they relate to the Open Public Meetings Act.  In this week's study session Jim Haney, JD explained how council's  "Rules and Procedures" pertain to these meetings. Whatever the outcome, I hope when there is quorum all members present will have an opportunity to talk.

On to Down Pour.  This morning the place was literally buzzing with chatter; few were on their devices.  How refreshing and pleasant to have genuine conversations.  Steve and Ronnie (his spouse) offer "no password" WiFi.  Is this the reason? (I'm not a marketing guy.) Anyway, if you're looking for a vibrant, fun coffee shop, this is the place.

-- B. Yoder

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Updated: Sound Transit: Another Record-Breaking Year for Ridership

The East Link of Light Rail is targeted for the Overlake Urban Center in five years!
The East Link of Light Rail is targeted for Downtown Redmond within 5-6 years!

The 4th Quarter ridership numbers were released today along with the 2017 year-end numbers for Link, Sounder, ST Express and Tacoma Link. The year-end ridership report adds another data point to mirror widespread news of how our region leads the nation in transit ridership growth. 
Record-breaking ridershipOverall Sound Transit carried folks on 47,031,129 trips last year, a 10 percent increase over 2016. Here's the breakdown by mode: 
  • Link light rail - 23,186,633 
  • ST Express bus - 18,373581
  • Sounder - 4,438,374 
  • Tacoma Link - 972,405  
  • Paratransit - 60,136 
The largest growth was on Link with 22 percent growth over 2016. Last year was the first full year of service since new stations opened at the University of Washington, Capitol Hill and Angle Lake. We also started running more 3-car trains last summer to meet the booming demand. 
Here's a quick video clip showing just how effective Link light rail has become at moving masses of people. It's footage of trains clearing the southbound platform at Westlake Station in downtown Seattle after the Women's March on Jan. 20 of this year.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

OPINION: The Redevelopment of Sears Plaza is something to ponder

Redmond is growing, and faster that many of us imagine. One major new project is "Seritage" - a proposed redevelopment of Sears Plaza on 148th Ave into office space, hotel and residential units. 

If you live in Overlake, shop in the area or commute through it, or just want to give input, please consider attending the meeting on  Thursday, March 8, 2018 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.  
Redmond Community Center At Marymoor Village Room 202 6505 176TH Ave NE Redmond, WA 98073 (425) 556-2300 to learn more and provide feedback on the project.

You may ask yourself why would one spend Thursday evening on knowing more urban planning? Let me try and give you few facts as to why this is not your typical few homes subdivision:
·         The project is huge! The site area is 14 acres, and the proposal will increase the buildings area by 800,000 sq.ft.
·         The buildings will be going up to 9 stories high, and will include both commercial space, hotel and residential units. This is not the scale we have in the area as of yet ...
·         When built, the project will generate over 13,000 vehicular trips a day. As currently planned, the developer-funded road improvements as part of a project are minimal, in fact the traffic study states that the traffic will improve when the project is complete (the cities of Redmond and Bellevue will bear the burden of road improvements as part of their infrastructure plans)
·         There will be 2,300 parking stalls (vs. around 1,000 today). Acc. to the studies, the amount should be sufficient for those trips mentioned above (both residential and commercial)
·         There is an already approved project next door (KCC Limited Edition) that will result in 885 homes, 173,000 square feet of office, 28,000 square feet of retail, an 80-room hotel. Adding new, larger project to the area will likely multiply the impacts of this development
If any of the design assumptions on the project are not correct, it is likely that the traffic gridlock in the area will intensify. The best way to influence the project is to get informed and provide comments to the city either at the meeting or via email. After all, there are 10,000 of us in Overlake today (in Bellevue and Redmond both) and many have a perspective on proposed development and its impacts.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Sidewalk Tree Art on The Hill

Walking on the 116th Avenue sidewalk north of 104th you'll come upon some enchanting "sidewalk tree art" covering a diseased row of arborvitae trees. Salmon, water birds, and frogs are painted onto some kind of heavy-duty paper that can withstand the harsh weather while still holding a palette of colors.  Somebody really knew what they were doing. This art is very innovative and makes good use of recycled trees don't you think?   We sure have some creative neighbors on the Hill.  You might want to take a stroll and see it for yourself!  You'll probably find some colorful critters I missed.

B. Yoder

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

EvergreenHealth To Screen All Hospital Visitors for Flu Symptoms

EvergreenHealth Medical Center
To keep all patients, providers, staff and volunteers safer from the flu this season, EvergreenHealth Medical Center will begin screening all visitors for flu-like symptoms before allowing access to its inpatient hospital areas in Kirkland.

EvergreenHealth will direct visitors to four main screening points where staff will check for flu symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat and body aches.

If a visitor shows signs of the flu and is seeking medical treatment at EvergreenHealth, they will be asked to wear a mask during the visit. However, if the visitor is not seeking medical care themselves, they will be asked to postpone the visit until their flu symptoms have subsided.

Additionally, children under the age of 16, who are among those most susceptible to the illness, are restricted from visiting the medical center regardless of showing signs of the flu, with the exception being children who have an immediate family member in the Family Maternity Center, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or Pediatric Care Unit. For those units only, visitors will be screened and permitted to visit their family member, so long as they do not show any signs of the flu.

Comment: NAMI-Eastside lobbies State legislators for mental health funding

Image may contain: 10 people, people smiling, indoor
Rep. Paul Graves (right center) with NAMI-Eastside volunteers during "Mental Health Lobby Day."

NAMI-Eastside members spent all day yesterday lobbying our Eastside legislators for mental health funding.  Many of us asked for out-patient psychiatric services. This photo was taken of us with Representative Paul Graves in his office.  

Representative Graves is in the 5th Legislative District encompassing Maple Valley, Issaquah, North Bend, Carnation and Black Diamond.  He responded very favorably to our message, with sensitivity to the shame we face. He's a big advocate for foster children and is the primary sponsor of House Bill 2256 "Online Availability Of Foster Parent Preservice Training,"  The bill passed House and is currently under review by the Senate.

NAMI-Eastsiders lobbied 10 other legislators including: Senator Patty Kuderer, Representative Joan McBride and Representative Vandana Slatter of the 48th Legislative District; and Senator Manka Dhingra, Larry Springer, and Roger Goodman of the 45th Legislative District.  

Bob Yoder
48th District resident

Friday, February 16, 2018

Downtown Redmond Parkscape

Richard Morris at SW corner of the Downtown Park.  (double click picture to enlarge)

look at the vanishing ridge of green trees

Help the victims of the school shooting -- donate blood


Image result for donate blood images As Bloodworks NW celebrates their 10th year….will you step up to donate on Feb. 27th?  

💝Bloodworks NW sent off units of O negative to Florida to help victims of the school shooting this week…each week there are needs from train accidents or car accidents or just for those undergoing radiation or chemo.  Plain old O and O negative are always needed! 💝

Join hands with donors from across Redmond to meet our communities need for 900 units of blood/ day!

WHEN:   Tuesday, Feb 27th

TIME:  1-7PM  (tech break from 3-4pm)


Make an appointment by contacting Tina Paul, call 425-485-5620. or drop in.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Updated: LW School District hit hard by higher State property taxes

Results:  Proposition #1-- Replacement Education and Operations Levy       YES by 65% of vote
Results:  Proposition #2-- Replacement of Existing Capital Projects Levy      YES by 55% of vote
Results:  $299M Bond --- 54% Yes; 46% No;  60% supermajority required             NO by 6%

My King County state property taxes increased 18% this year.  My Education Hill home is 2020 sf.

EvergreenHealth is a public hospital district:  Their tax represents 3.3% of total King County property taxes or $200.42/ year.  

ST-3 is a Transit tax.  Their tax represents 2.3% of King County property taxes or $140/year.

B. Yoder

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

UPDATED: Redmond mother appeals to council for Green power resolution

Image may contain: 5 people, people standing, screen and indoor
Rachel Molloy's daughter stands up for the environment
At the last Regular meeting of  Redmond City Council, Redmond resident Rachel Molloy stood up to ask Council for a resolution to close Costrip, MT mining  2025 and replace it with clean energy and no new natural gas."

Ms. Molloy asked the council and the public to join the City of Kirkland and the City of Olympia on a trip to Renton, Wednesday, February 21st to speak to the "Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission."  The commission is reviewing Puget Sound Energy's 20-year plan for supplying their rate payers (us) and King County with energy.  Currently, 60% of PSE power is supplied by fossil fuels -- coal and fracked gas -- and the commission could "lock these fuels in for three decades."  If you can't make the trip to Renton, write the commission on their Public Comment Form or call them toll free 1-888-333-9882. 

The City of Redmond is a member of the King County Climate Collaboration and passed three ordinances to commit to Green energy.  Council was influenced by Ms. Molloy's talk and decided to hold a study session on February 27nd to consider drafting a resolution to commit to clean energy.

-- B. Yoder

Source:  Regular council meeting, February 6th.

Amazing Seattle Times article on Colstrip, MT mining -- 2 plants to close in four years!

Sign up HERE for PSE's Green Power residential renewable energy program.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Citizen-environmentalist gives tips on how to combat climate change

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, sky, mountain, ocean, outdoor, nature and water
David Morton with his wife
Dr. Morton is a regular speaker on environmental issues at City Council meetings. He's both activist and advocate.  You can watch him speak at Regular Council meetings on Redmond City T.V. at 7:35 pm every other Tuesday. Below is his talk from last week:  

By David Morton, PhD

By signing an initiative called the Mayors’ National Climate Action Agenda in June 2017, Mayor Marchione affirmed Redmond’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement goals to combat climate change.

Here are some ideas everyone can consider:

74. Push your city to support 100 percent clean energy. Switching to 100 percent renewable power may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s not as far off as you think. Many cities have started pledging to switch to renewables, joining the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign. By making the commitment, mayors and city leaders have started to change transportation, planning, and energy policies, embarking on the long road to cleaner air. And, as many who have signed on have discovered, renewables will save significant money in the long run.

75. Come together to combat climate change. Villagers in the rural English town of Ashton Hayes didn’t need government help, special technology, or extra funding to fight climate change. Over the last decade, neighbors there have achieved a 24 percent reduction in emissions by collaborating and changing everyday behaviors, sharing tips on weatherproofing, and reducing energy usage.

Friday, February 9, 2018

My e-bike hill climb

Richard Morris holding the PIM bike (see the battery?)
We had our first good weather in months today!  The sun even came out!  It was time to finally roll my PIM e-bike (electric bicycle) demo out from the garage.  I invited my neighbor, Richard Morris, to come over, check it out; he immediately wanted on.   Richard walks 2-3 miles everyday with his dog so had no problem climbing this gentle hill  He didn't need any power, just down-shifted some. I think this particular bike has 18 gears....just like a regular bike.

I tried the bike months ago but it was way too frigid to shift and I was in crappy shape.  I was dying to get out today to try Power level 3 since I had trouble finding it earlier.  I needed Power 3 to get up 166th.  Pam, my wife, was on me to be safe so I took 171st from the Redmond Bike Park down to Redmond El. (virtually no traffic.)   A few huffs or two and I was up.  Yikes! time I'll gear up for a better fat-burn.

It was awesome to get some fresh air and see the green native-growth easement again.

B. Yoder

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Lake Washington School District student art exhibit.  I love this piece, It says so much.