Monday, September 17, 2018

Family support for the mentally ill

NAMI Eastside offers a free 12-week educational program called "Family-to-Family" that significantly improves the coping and problem-solving abilities of the people closest to an individual living with a mental health condition.  Office:  425-885-6264

If you have a home bound family member over the age of 18 living with a psychiatric disorder EvergreenHealth Community Hospital can provide masters-level therapists to treat your loved ones in your home.  For details contact Laurene Burton at 425-899-2667 or click the link.  

For substance abuse recovery support call:  206-722-3700 or email:  

Mayor Marchione declared September as "National Recovery Month" during the last regular City Hall meeting.  

--Bob Yoder

Friday, September 14, 2018

Western Screech Owl on Redmond Powerline Trail

Western Screech Owl on Powerline Trail / John Reinke

Actually, the little western screech-owl didn't make a sound, as it silently surveyed me from its vantage point in a
hole in a tree trunk.  And I don't know if it was a male or a female.

I was ascending the Powerline Trail in the late afternoon about a month ago, from its western terminus at the Sammamish River Trail here in Redmond.  After a few minutes, I came to a spot  where I knew one could see a tree trunk with an oval opening that was large enough to serve as a nest cavity.

I hadn't passed that way since last year, when my friend Bob Yoder had published a photo of an adult screech owl peering out of that very same space on his Redmond Blog.  The discovery and photos were taken by his friend Ingunn Markiewiez.

I glanced to my right, and saw what looked like a kind of growth occupying the cavity.  I thought that was odd, and continued climbing upward.  I had also noticed there was a kind of cobweb covering the upper part of the opening.

Credit/ John Reinke  (click photo)
It wasn't until I returned perhaps 15 minutes later, that I stopped to inspect the "growth" further.  I couldn't make out what it was exactly.  But then it moved!  I quickly realized I was looking at a western screech-owl, which had almost perfectly blended in with the surrounding tree bark.

So as not to startle it, I slowly reached for my camera.  The owl was no more than 15 feet from me, at about eye level, due to the downward sloping hillside.

I snapped off a few shots, showing the tree against the surrounding foliage, with the owl calmly nestled in the cavity.  I then zoomed in on it and took several more photos. One of the photos shows the owl blinking one eye.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Blogger Brad Smith describes Microsoft plans for modern campus

At a time when space is at a premium and many companies are looking for room to grow, we recognize that our 500-acre campus in Redmond, Washington, is a unique asset. Neighboring a vibrant urban core, suburban towns, lakes, mountains and miles of forest, it’s one of Microsoft’s crown jewels. And as we continue to grow and look to create the best workplace in the tech sector, Microsoft will invest right here in Redmond, our home for more than 30 years.
Next fall, we will break ground on a multi-year campus refresh project that will include 18 new buildings, 6.7 million square feet of renovated workspace, $150 million in transportation infrastructure improvements, public spaces, sports fields and green space. Today Microsoft has 125 buildings in the Puget Sound region. When this project is complete, our main campus will be comprised of 131 buildings — including the equivalent of 180 football fields of new and renovated space — of modern workspace for the 47,000 employees who work here every day, plus room to expand operations and add up to 8,000 more people.
And while we transform our workspace inside, we will renovate the exterior to create more opportunities to exercise, play and connect with nature for the people who work at Microsoft and those who live nearby. Our plans include a 2-acre open plaza that will fit up to 12,000 people, running and walking trails, facilities for soccer and cricket, and retail space. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Five local roads will be significantly impacted by light rail

Image result for redmond light rail videosSound Transit is extending light rail from Seattle to Redmond, with four stations in Redmond. Two stations, Overlake Village Station and the Redmond Technology Station, will open in Overlake in 2023. These stations are now under construction. Two stations will open in 2024, one in Southeast Redmond and another in Downtown Redmond.  The Downtown Redmond Link Extension is the 3.4-mile extension of light rail from the future Redmond Technology Station at NE 40th St. to the terminus station in Downtown Redmond.

Although the development agreement is not expected to be finalized until early 2019, there are two topics on which staff are seeking early Council input so that Sound Transit can provide clear direction to design-build teams proposing on the project. Those topics are: street closures during construction, and the Marymoor Village station layout.

Street Closures During Construction While most light rail construction for the Downtown extension will be along SR 520, limiting impacts to city streets, there are five areas that will be significantly impacted by construction.

The Overlake “Triplets”
1. NE 40th St. at the eastbound SR 520 ramps
2. NE 51st St. at the eastbound SR 520 ramps
3. NE 60th immediately east of SR 520 Downtown Streets

4. NE 76th St. between 164th and 170th Aves.

NE 5. 166th Ave. NE between NE 76th St. and Cleveland St.

Source:  8/28 Council Study Session memo

Monday, September 10, 2018

Concert series coming to the Downtown Park this Fall

Redmond, WA – After the grand opening on September 15, Downtown Park will welcome a new concert series on the Moving Art Center Stage, which runs the last two Thursdays in September and first Thursday in October. The series was curated in partnership with KEXP DJ Sharlese Metcalf to highlight local, Pacific Northwest musical talent, including musicians that have ties to Redmond.
“This concert series brings fresh new music and fun to Downtown Redmond,” stated Redmond Mayor John Marchione. “It’s a great way to spend a Thursday night with friends and family in the community’s new Downtown Park.”
Each evening’s concert takes place in the beautiful Redmond Moving Art Center designed by Brooklyn-based artist Janet Zweig. Bring your picnic blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy food from one of the many surrounding downtown restaurants.
Event Schedule:
Thursday, September 20, 2018 modern Pacific-Northwest rock
5:30 – 6:45pm: Tres Leches; 7:15 – 8:30pm: Snuff Redux
Thursday, September 27, 2018 Emerging Pacific-Northwest R&B
5:45 – 7:00pm: Mirrorgloss; 7:30 – 8:30pm: ParisAlexa
Thursday, October 4, 2018 acoustic music from the Pacific-Northwest

City press release - 9/10

EvergreenHealth offers "In-Home" behavioral health services

EvergreenHealth provides mental health services to homebound adults who live in their own homes, adult family homes, assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

Our clinicians have extensive experience and training working with adults and older adults with psychiatric disabilities, medical illnesses or physical disabilities.
Our masters-level therapists and social workers conduct home visits to assess and treat mental health problems.

In-Home Mental Health services include:

  • Assessment and diagnosis
  • Individual therapy 
  • Case Management
  • Social work services to help access community resources 
  • Coordination of mental health treatment with other medical care
  • Transition to outpatient mental health services
  • Telephone crisis service 24-hours a day

Eligibility criteria for In-Home Mental Health

  • King county residents must have Medicaid or accepted private insurance. Snohomish county residents must have accepted private insurance.
  • Adults over the age of 18
  • Mental health issue such as depression, dementia, anxiety, mania, hallucinations or delusions 
  • Home-bound due to a medical or psychiatric disorder 
  • Individual and/or power of attorney/guardian agreement to services 
  • Other Medicare/Medicaid-specific requirements may apply

Blood drive, October 9th

 Did you know?  Bloodworks NW does leading edge research on why some people’s blood clots too easily (strokes, heart attacks, etc) and why some people don’t clot when needed,(Hemophiilia, hemorrhages, etc).  So not only can you contribute to essential needs for blood by donating…but also contribute to research to help all of us.     

Image result for blood donation imageRedmond Interfaith Blood Drives next donation opportunity is at Meadowbrook Church  (behind Whole Foods).  We’re open from 1-7pm (closed 3-4pm).  While walk-ins are always welcome….an appointment helps the Blood Center plan the right number of techs to keep donors moving through the process quickly….saving your valuable time!

WHEN:  TUES., OCTOBER 9TH  1-7pm (closed for tech break 3-4pm)
        17944 NE 65th ST (behind Whole Foods on back road into Marymoor)
Redmond, WA  98052
FOR APPOINTMENTS:  Stella: or Patti Zabrinskie 

Friday, September 7, 2018

Mental Health screenings in LWSD middle schools

YES partners with LWSD and BSD to address mental health and substance use issues in students sooner.

This fall, Youth Eastside Services (YES) and several King County school districts will introduce a universal screening for mental health and substance use risk factors to local middle school students.
According to the 2016 Healthy Youth Survey, King County’s suicide rate has increased by about 18 percent in the last decade while substance abuse rate has held steady.
Through the Best Starts for Kids initiative, the Check Yourself Tool will begin screening seventh grade students for mental health and substance use risk factors in Bellevue School District and Lake Washington School District middle schools. Other King County school districts are either considering implementing it or are in some phase of implementing it in the future.
The Check Yourself Tool is based off of research from Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington and has been adapted for this specific project. The goal of the tool is to take a proactive approach to preventing youth mental health and substance use issues. The research-based program is called SBIRT, or Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Services.
The tool is a HIPPA compliant, interactive, web-based survey that collects individual student data and provides them with instant personalized feedback about mental health behaviors. The survey will be administered in seventh grade health classes and would take students approximately five to 10 minutes to complete.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Council study session to review priorities for community centers

In April 2017, the Redmond’s Community Center Stakeholder Group presented findings and recommendations about the community priorities for community centers to City Council. The recommendations included an expeditious approach to providing:

 Aquatics facility including lap and leisure pools
 Enhanced recreation facilities such as gymnasium and fitness rooms
 Additional classroom and meeting space across the city
 A Cultural Arts center that with flexible space for a variety of indoor events, performances, exhibits, and workshops.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Two LW schools enhance learning, conserves natural resources

Redmond, Wash. – Students in Lake Washington School District (LWSD) will have a little more space to learn this fall. Two new elementary schools will open in September: Ella Baker Elementary, located in the Redmond Ridge East Community; and Clara Barton Elementary, located in North Redmond

Spaces for learning
Both new schools will feature 30 standard classrooms, plus music, art/science rooms, English Learner (EL), Safety Net and Special Education spaces, a library, a cafeteria/commons, a gymnasium and an outdoor covered play area.
Learning will extend beyond the walls of the traditional classroom. Sliding NanaWalls (bi-folding doors) open to shared learning spaces in each classroom wing. These flexible spaces, also included in other modernized LWSD schools, increase opportunities for collaboration and reflect an emphasis on project-based learning.
New SMART interactive boards will replace Activboards. All schools in Lake Washington are receiving SMART interactive boards over the next two years. Students interact with these electronic panels much like they would their own touch devices. Watch SMART boards in action.

Sustainable design
With LED lights and geothermal temperature control, future Ella Baker bears and Clara Barton bobcats will learn in schools designed to conserve resources as well as enrich learning. Sustainable geothermal loops will help keep the building a comfortable temperature. Water in the pipes warms (or cools) underground before returning to the surface. The heat is extracted to help control the temperature in the schools.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

LWSD awarded grant to reduce bus emissions

Lake Washington School District Transportation Department was awarded $560,000 for new school buses! The WA State Dept. of Ecology awarded the grant to the district. The grant’s objective is to reduce emissions by replacing older buses with newer buses, thereby reducing toxic emissions up to 99%. Read more here:

Source:  LWSD Facebook

UPDATED OPINION: City loses opportunity to advance Zero Emissions and Green infrastructure

Image result for STeve fields image
Steve Fields (Internet}
We all know that climate change is a huge issue in our country and our city.  In fact, during Council's retreat on Saturday, January 27, 2018 they voted "Green infrastructure  - Zero Emissions" as their No. 2 priority, out of 7 priorities. 

Sadly, in a Regular meeting on August 21 the council  rejected council member Steve Fields' request to represent the city in a global Green city-city conference.  All his traveling expenses will be paid by a  host city in China and a Canadian non-profit.  He was referred to the organizations by an acquaintance in the Chinese community.

Regardless, Steve is going to the conference as a citizen or a public official if he is sanctioned by Council.  The conference is from 9/18 - 9/28.  After consulting with the city attorney and submitting a written report to council explaining conference benefits he requested the City sanction his participation so as not to be construed as a gift.  Despite our City's Number 2 priority for the environment Steve Fields got raked over the coals by council "concerns."

A few of Council's concerns which led to a technical "No" vote were:

1.  His spousal travel (Council VP Carson)  Response:  Council member Anderson said non-profits often  pay for spousal attendance as an incentive.  Steve said he wouldn't take his spouse if requested by council.

2.  Couldn't find a website on the Canadian and Chinese organization. He wanted a willingness to transfer knowledge and experiences.  (Carson)  Responses: Steve  gave council a copy of the organization's certificate.  The organization has been operating for three years. Steve emphatically committed to sharing his knowledge and experiences.

3)  Confusion over payment as a citizen vs. payment as a council member and if Steve's trip expenses would be considered a gift from the city. Skeptical about other costs to the City..(Council Pres..Birney)  Response: The City attorney said if Council sanctioned the trip it would not be considered a gift. City costs would be minimal

4)  Similar concerns as Birney's  (Padya)

5)  Staff expenses in preparing Steve's report. The conference was of little value.  (Margeson)  Response:  Steve said it was a good opportunity for Redmond to share insight with other cities world-wide.

Council member Hank Myers was not in attendance.

If you read the annual retreat summary you'll see  Council decided on "conditions which guide success."  1) clarity of roles and goals, 2) impactful work, 3) sense for purpose, 4) willingness to transfer knowledge and experience. 5) Challenge  6) Pride in work, a sense of purpose and ownership.

Steve clearly meets all the criteria for the conditions of success in this endeavor. In my opinion the advancement within our Green City and Green infrastructure priority was shanghaied by  politics and and a fear of the unknown.

- Bob Yoder

Note:  An economic exposition will be held at the same location and time with funding by an Canadian non-profit.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

"Seattle Times News Partners" - site of area blogs

The "Seattle Times" publishes a "Local News Partnership" site with links to selected local blogs in Puget Sound.  For clustered cities find the local news blog map HERE, click on Local News then scroll all the way down to the partnership map to find over 15 local news blogs, including mine.  Click on the city link that interests you.

The Bellevue and Shoreline blogs are especially well done. Some blogs have been discontinued. 

- Bob Yoder

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Letter: Proposed zoning changes to the Sammamish Valley

Image result for letter to the editor imagesHave you heard about the proposed zoning changes to the Sammamish Valley? It is very important not only locally, but state wide as it is an attack on the Growth Management Act. Check out There is a meeting on Hollywood Hill on 8/27 at 7 pm. Learn about the proposed Beverage Ordinance and how it will impact land use along Redmond-Woodinville Rd in the Sammamish Valley. The meeting will be held in the community barn in The Farm at 15605 NE 144th Pl, Woodinville, 98072.

- Barbara Lau

World-renowned chalk artists gather in Redmond

International, national, and regional artists chalked their incredible street art at Redmond Town Center August 17 - 19.  It was the second year RTC hosted the exhibit. 

Ramko van Schaik from Holland is a 3-D artist, and in my opinion, he's on par with Dale Chihuly as far as creativity.. Ramko's interactive 3-D art is displayed, along with other artists, in this video.  It's a must click!

Future artists!   
B. Yoder

Friday, August 24, 2018

"Redmond Neighborhood Blog" is more user-friendly

With my wife Pam
Dear "Redmond Neighborhood Blog" readers,

Great news!  As of today, the "Redmond Blog" is user-friendly on your mobile devices!  Search "Redmond Blog" on your smart phones and check it out!  I think you'll like what you see and share the blog with your friends!

I don't make any money on this blog and write it as a hobby.  As you see I'm very passionate about our city and neighborhoods having lived here 40 years. 

I'd love to meet you at coffee someday and share stories.  Soul Food on Tuesday, late mornings is one of my haunts.  Community events, like the Downtown Park Grand Opening in September, are good places too.

All the best,

Bob Yoder

Housing density increases in neighborhoods - short plats

Density isn't increasing just in our downtown.

Last year the city Development manager said, as I recall about 14 "short plats" are proposed for future development. Above, is a photo of land being divided into parcels to build four housing units. Do you see the red cottage on the right?  The owner is selling it and a contiguous lot behind  for probable development (14,400 SF.) It's located across from the 85th & 166th Ave stoplight. Would the city even consider a development here?    Imagine up to 12 additional cars struggling to get onto 166th, the log-jam they could create at the intersection and safety issues. Of course the tall evergreen would be leveled.  

A short plat development further up the road will add up to 8 additional cars.  We've had to look at this development for almost two years,which included significant tree cutting.   

In my walks around the neighborhoods, I've seen three Short Plat proposals.  I wrote one of them up.  You can read it HERE. Who knows where the other proposed plats are located..  Hopefully, in other neighborhoods, like Grasslawn, Viewpoint, Overlake and SE Redmond. 166th Avenue -- a major gateway to downtown Redmond is seriously troubled.with traffic and the short plats only add fuel to the fire.    

B. Yoder, opinion

Definition:  A Short Plat (also referred to as a short subdivision) is used to divide land into four or fewer parcels or lots, any one of which is less than five acres, for the purpose of sale, lease, or other transfer of ownership.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Middle school students launch weather satellites

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a weather satellite – Rose Hill Middle 
school students collect data 17 miles in the air

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a weather satellite – RHMS students collect data 17 miles in the air

Students in the Rose Hill Middle School Satellite Club worked all year for the big launch. All their hard work paid off on June 9 when six of their satellites floated to an elevation of 90,312 feet collecting weather data. The team of 13 sixth- and seventh-graders designed and built the 7” by 7” cube satellites for conducting atmospheric research. Students worked in teams to program the flight computers and sensors to collect the information. The satellites were able to document temperature, humidity and other weather conditions while attached to a weather balloon.
The group gathered at Devrie’s Dairy Farm in Moxee, Wash. for the launch. A transmitter with GPS tracking enabled the students to follow the real time position and speed of the satellites using a phone app. The satellites traveled at speeds of 60 miles per hour before falling back to Earth using a parachute. The equipment landed 150 miles north, near Waterville. The students attached video cameras to the satellites and spent the last few weeks of school reviewing the flight footage and analyzing the collected data. Club members used “space gummy bears” as the passengers for the flight. They were eaten shortly after landing.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Redmond mayor says rapid growth is here to stay

Image result for mayor john marchione photo
Mayor John Marchione
The following are excerpts from Mike Rosenberg's "Seattle Times" article of 8/11/2018:  Sure looks like rapid growth is here to stay.  

Redmond grew its housing stock by about 15 percent this decade, behind only Seattle among major King County cities.  Redmond is actually one of three King County suburbs (along with Issaquah and Federal Way) where a majority of homes are in multi-family buildings.

"Moratoriums and people who want to slow down growth exacerbate the housing problem." said Redmond Mayor John Marchione.  "I hear people who say' I want you to stop the growth in downtown and I want to lower prices.'  And that's economically impossible.  It's illogical but people still ask for that."

"If you really want housing prices to be stable, you need to increase the supply to lessen the price hike."

Of course, a big part of why housing doesn't get built in my suburbs is community opposition.  Marchione, the Redmond mayor guesses about one-third or his city's resident are generally opposed to all growth. What does he tell those people?

"I ask, where do you want your kids to live?"  Marchione said. He also tries to counter the impression among some homeowners that renters are "other," different people, noting that he himself recently downsized from a single-family house to an apartment.

Source:  "Housing Construction is at historic lows, while Seattle is setting records." 
By Mike Rosenberg, 8/11/2018 "Seattle Times."

Saturday, August 18, 2018

My trip to Europe -- Redmond History & urban transportation

Two long rows of "scooters" blanket a plaza in Sorrento
credit/ Pam Yoder
On July 23, our family burst out of the Redmond bubble for an eye-opening visit to Ireland and Italy.  After 40 years of life in Redmond it was about time to gain new perspectives!

Our trip was instigated by my nephew, playing the Irish in a  Aussie Rules Football. tournament.  We lost both games but the Guinness, Jamison and lively pubs made up for it.

I had my eye out for the McRedmonds in Ireland.  None to be found.  Luke McRedmond immigrated to America during the potato famine and homesteaded here in 1850.  Upon becoming postmaster in 1882 he renamed the town from "Salmonberg" to Redmond.  [Click on the hyperlink to read a fascinating accounting of the early development of Redmond up to Microsoft's presence.]

My daughter Lexie, and her boyfriend had to leave after the tourney.  Pam and I extended our trip to visit Venice, Rome, Sorrento and Capri.  Great times!! but the biggest negative was a plethora of noisy, invasive "scooters" in Sorrento (pop. 16,500.)  They appeared as a scooter-motorcycle hybrid....not the kind we know...and often drove only feet from back-street restaurants.  As opposed to Ireland, Italian streets have no curbs so the "scooters" can drive and park most anywhere,  Cars had less presence. I saw a handful electric bikes and bicycles but no bike shares.  Rather, the streets and plazas were loaded with many large scooter parking spaces, as seen in the photo.

Electric bikes and bike shares have a smaller parking footprint than scooters and our curbed streets make these bikes less invasive and more controlled.  Electric bikes and bike shares are more appropriate than scooters for our urban centers and are the wave of the future for Redmond.

B. Yoder, opinion

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Link Light Rail to Redmond

Link Light Rail to Redmond Project Summary

Sound Transit is extending light rail from Seattle to Redmond, with four stations in Redmond. Two stations, Overlake Village Station and the Redmond Technology Station, will open in Overlake in 2023. These stations are now under construction.

Two stations will open in 2024, one in Southeast Redmond and another in Downtown Redmond. The Downtown extension is in design, with Sound Transit preparing to solicit proposals from design-build teams this fall to complete design and construct the extension. Light Rail Extension to Downtown

The Downtown Redmond Link Extension is the 3.4-mile extension of light rail from the future Redmond Technology Station at NE 40th St. to the terminus station in Downtown Redmond.

Street Closures During Construction While most light rail construction for the Downtown extension will be along SR 520, limiting impacts to city streets,

There are five areas that will be significantly impacted by construction:

The Overlake “Triplets”

1. NE 40th St. at the eastbound SR 520 ramps

2. NE 51st St. at the eastbound SR 520 ramps

3. NE 60th immediately east of SR 520 Downtown Streets

4. NE 76th St. between 164th and 170th Aves. NE

5. 166th Ave. NE between NE 76th St. and Cleveland St.

Source:  Council Study Session memo of 8/28.