Thursday, January 18, 2018

Seattle Times columnist describes his personal experience with mental health

The following is a Seattle Times article by Columnist Matt Calkins describing his own personal experience and challenges of  poor brain health.  I met him last year at the NAMI Legislative Candidate Forum.  For over 40 years I've lived with a serious mental health condition where suicide ideation or completion is 10 - 20 times greater then the general population. EvergreenHealth is a public hospital but they don't employ a psychiatrist.  I'm treated with 3 medications by an outstanding doctor at Overlake.  B. Yoder

BY MATT CALKINS / Seattle Times Sports Columnist 

Take it from me, WSU athlete’s death is a reminder that help is available


Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski shocked the state and saddened the country Tuesday when he apparently took his own life. I don’t know what Hilinski was experiencing before his death. What I’m positive about, however, is that it was preventable.
Click HERE for Matt's entire article

Letter: "Pantry Packs" feed vulnerable LWSD students

We currently are sending out 855 packs of food each week to LWSD students that are food insecure so students always have available food and don’t go hungry over the weekend.  This program is run by three very dedicated volunteers (Karyn Matveyenko, Janice Vache’, and me) and as of July 1, 2017 we are now part of the Lake Washington School’s Foundation.

I invite you to go to our webpage to find out more about Pantry Packs.  The foundation also interviewed me if you would like to read more about the history/growth of Pantry Packs.

We welcome those to  sign up to one of our next packing parties on either February 7th or March 7th – this is where we pack around 3,000 packs with 50 volunteers at the Kirkland Hopelink. Sign up is required owing to limited space.  

I hope you will support Pantry Packs efforts in getting the word out to our community about this important program that serves so many LWSD students

Marlene Vacknitz
Pantry Packs Volunteer Leadership Team

Weekend Food for Hungry LWSD Students
We’d love to connect with you on Facebook
Website: Pantry Packs

A class on Government Civics for Residents scheduled for January 31.

Learn with long-time community and Council member Valderrama, as he helps residents explore:

  • Local Government political systems and processes
  • How to interact with City Hall, Commissions and School Board
  • Upcoming Local Tax issues and School Bonds and Levy
  • How to effectively use your voice and participate (including the initiative process)

  • How to become involved – a call to action to join commissions with vacancies, and volunteer
  • Location:  Central Washington University, Sammamish, WA  120 228th Ave NE Room 201A  The first class is  January 31st, 7-9 pm.  Cost:  $35.00 and will include speakers who are elected School Board members and the Chair of the Planning Commission.  This class may be a good opportunity to discuss the upcoming LWSD bond.  


    Redmond City Television

    RCTV LogoRedmond City Television (aka RCTV) was created in 1996 as a convenient way for residents to view city council and planning commission meetings and issues, services and events within Redmond.

    RCTV is available on Comcast channel 21 and Frontier Channel 34 cable systems.  You can also catch RCTV live online 24/7 or replay City Council and Planning Commission meetings with OnDemand programming from TV archives.  Find meeting agendas here too.

    City Council meetings are held in City Hall every Tuesday night at 7:30 pm.  Council meeting replays are available: 

    10am & 3pm Wednesdays
    7:30pm Thursdays
    9pm Sundays
    12pm Mondays

    Planning Commission meetings are held in City Hall most Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm. and  replayed on RCTV at:  

    10am & 3pm Thursdays
    12pm Fridays
    3pm Sundays

    If want to know what's happening in the city RCTV is a must stop!  For questions about RCTV e-mail

    B. Yoder

    Saturday, January 13, 2018

    Updated1/15, Opinion: Ordinance prohibits camping in parks when overnight shelter space is available

    Image result for homeless camping in parks image
    Internet photo (not in Redmond)
    Consideration of Ordinance No. 2911: An Ordinance Amending Sections 9.33.010 Through 9.33.030 of the Redmond Municipal Code and Adding a New Section 9.33.035 in Order to:

    Prohibit Camping and Storage of Personal Property in Parks and in Order to Prohibit Camping and Storage of Personal Property on Other Public Property When Overnight Shelter Space is Available; Authorizing the Police Chief to Adopt Rules and Regulations for Enforcement.

    Below is a partial accounting of Council's Janurary 2nd decision-making process in approving the ordinance:

     1)  Mr. Haney, the city attorney advised Council to pass the ordinance to be in compliance with Federal law related to a Boise court case citing 8th Amendment rights.

    2)  Council member Anderson moved to amend Ordinance No. 2911 to add the definition “Overnight Shelter” be defined as a public or private shelter, with an available overnight space for one or more individuals.

    Anderson's motion was seconded by Council member Fields.  VOTE: Ms. Anderson's motion to amend failed with Council members Anderson and Fields in support (2 – 5).

    3)  Mr. Fields asked if the City's municipal campus is an example of public shelter space and someone (staff, attorney, or the mayor) said yes.

    4) Mr. Fields recommended a study session before voting on the ordinance.  His concerns were 1) that he and two other council members were new and left out of earlier conversations/decisions and 2)  the ordinance may have serious consequences.  Fields recommendation was denied.  The main motion passed with Council member Fields in opposition (6 – 1).

    Activist Albert Rosenthal claims "public shelter space" includes the Mayor's office and City Hall business floors. To read a letter he wrote the Mayor and Council "READ MORE."  He will be addressing Council during Items from the Audience at their next regular meeting, 2/16, 7:30 pm. 

    B. Yoder, opinion

    Tuesday, January 9, 2018

    Updated: Sears store in Overlake urban center proposed for major redevelopment

    By Tom Hinman, Facilitator
    Imagine Overlake

    For those of you who wondered what was to become of the Sears site in Overlake, here's the answer.  The development company Seritage has proposed a project that covers a 14 acre parcel that includes a park (over the new storm water vault) in a master planned mixed use development. View the project design HERE.  It's amazing.  The project, known as Heritage Place, has been approved by the Design Review Board per information linked below and will be the subject of an initial Redmond City Council study session on January 23rd.  There will be another study session on March and a public hearing on this development a bit later on.

    Sunday, January 7, 2018

    Why you should still go outside when the weather sucks

    Green Redmond is a great program if you like to plant baby trees in our forests. 
    The Downtown Park water splash features may be nature enough for some, 
    and then there's our neighborhood parks and trails.  The Powerline trail is awesome. BY

     By Mckenna Princing, January 5th, 2018 

    Tandon and colleagues recently reviewed studies analyzing the many ways exposure to nature can affect health. Research shows that benefits of being in nature range from reduced anxiety and depression to better sleep, eyesight, immune function and better outcomes for people who have chronic conditions like congestive heart failure or ADHD.

    jesse orrico on Unsplash

    Nature vs. urban nature

    But how much and what kind of nature activities should you partake in to reap the benefits? After all, definitions of getting out in nature can range from hiking in the Olympic National Forest to watching a forest scene via a virtual reality headset.
    For Tandon and colleagues, nature includes a spectrum of different types of exposure to elements from the natural world, from an office with a view of green space to those Amazon spheres to backcountry wilderness. And what exactly you consider nature isn’t as important as how often you’re exposed to it, says Kathleen Wolf, Ph.D., a researcher in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington who is a co-author on the study with Tandon and conducts research on nearby nature and human health.
    “Research doesn’t support the claim that you can only get health benefits from being in the wilderness. While wilderness experiences are beneficial, it’s just as important to have nature incorporated into your daily life,” she says.

    Friday, January 5, 2018

    Perrigo Park Turf Replacement

    I talked with the city Parks Program Administrator yesterday to learn more about this Perrigo athletic field turf replacement and others in the hopper.  Apparently, the city decided to use cork infill rather than traditional *crumb rubber since cork is proven to be non-toxic and the field is located near a city wellhead.  In addition, cork is recyclable. The field is well drained so staff wasn't concerned about cork floating up and washing away.  

    The Hartman Park turf fields are aging and could be replaced in 2-4 years.  Water pools up on these fields so drainage improvements are necessary for a cork installation.  It's my understanding Hartman fields are in or near a wellhead protection zone.  For a variety of reasons the city is holding off on their decision as to what materials they will use here.

    After extensive study last year, the Bellevue School District decided to use coated crumb rubber on all their fields with the exception of elementary school play areas; cork will be used.  If you think LWSD would be interested in this information contact them at The video is excellent and I urge you to listen to it.

    B. Yoder, opinion

    *The use of crumb rubber infill is somewhat controversial and has been widely studied.  A Redmond resident Dr. David Morton actively participated in council's decision-making process, recommending the city not infill with crumb rubber.   

    Thursday, January 4, 2018

    Redmond Police Still Searching for Suspect in Armed Robbery

    On 01/03/18, at about 5:39 pm, Redmond Police responded to a report of an Armed Robbery in the 8800 block of 161st Ave NE at the Mud Bay Pet Store.  The victim called 911 to report that she was just robbed at gunpoint inside the business.
    The suspect approached the victim inside of a store, pointed a handgun at her, and indicated for her purse.  The victim immediately surrendered her property and the suspect fled.  The victim and witnesses described the male as a black male in his 20s, about 5'9" to 5'11" with a lean build.  The suspect was lighter skinned with dark eyes and a hood covering his head.  The victim worked with a sketch artist and the sketch is attached.
    A police K9 from the Renton Police Department assisted in attempting to track the suspect but the suspect was not located.  
    Anyone with information can call 911 or, if in a safe location, the Redmond Police Department non-emergency line at 425.556.2500.  Redmond Police are actively investigating this case and appreciate any suspect info that can help identify this brazen robber.  
    -- Andrea Wolf-Buck, Public Engagement Coordinator 425-440-1316 (edited press release to identify robbery location)

    Tuesday, January 2, 2018

    Steve Fields, "Redmond Person of the Year"

    Steve Fields speaking at his post-election party

    Steve Fields won Council position #2 by bringing a new perspective to how council members value their constituents.  He gave, and is giving, hope and inspiration to passionate "outsiders" to run for office -- reinvigorating city governance.  While taking on the Establishment during the campaign, Mr. Fields proved he's a very strong, courageous, intelligent and experienced leader willing to speak up for his constituents to move our city, urban centers and neighborhoods forward.

    B. Yoder

    Sunday, December 17, 2017

    Updated: "Unanimity rarely results in good outcomes"

    In the Council meetings I've watched of late, Mr. Myers has been the only council member  mildly challenging his peers and staff on mayoral-supported issues while the other six sit unresponsive seemingly in fear of upsetting the Administration's non-transparent management style. Our Council - Mayor balance is seriously out of kilt favoring the Administration.  Hopefully the new Council (legislatures) will "check and balance" the Mayor (our CEO) to more fairly and justly represent the people who elected them. - B. Yoder

    Image result for redmond reporter image

    Redmond Reporter  Letter to the Editor, Thursday, December 7, 2017 

    "Unanimity rarely results in good outcomes"  by Richard Grubb. 

    I agree with Redmond City Council member Hank Myers’ letter that the council needs more brains. But where to start?
    In defending the city council’s 7-0 votes, Mr. Myers claims that proposals have already been “thoroughly vetted” by a lengthy administrative process when they reach the council. This reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the legislative process. An important function of a legislative body is as a check on the permanent government. It is not enough that elected officials merely say yea or nay, their duty is to bring a considered deliberation to the process. It is essential that elected officials, when they do not have independent staff, do their own unbiased research and not depend upon a bureaucracy that may provide information, either consciously or unconsciously, to support a predetermined outcome. This check on the permanent government is essential.
    Once a proposal comes to the full council, each member should apply his/her distinct knowledge and intelligence to the issue through an open process of debate, opinion, counter-opinion and argument to ensure that the policy to be adopted by the council is congruent with the desires and needs of the citizens of Redmond. Unanimity rarely results in good outcomes.
    Mr. Myers might want to google an erstwhile Speaker of the House of Representatives, Sam Rayburn, who remarked, when two people agree on everything, only one of them is doing the thinking. So, who is doing the thinking for the seven in lock-step council members?
    Given the council’s proclivity for agreement, Mr. Myers’ kidney analogy may be appropriate. Since a body can get by on only one kidney, perhaps the city council is unnecessary.
    Richard Grubb
    Hank Myers wrote a subsequent letter further "delving into council meetings."  

    Friday, December 15, 2017

    Updated: Deputy Superintendent Dr. Holmen explains Choice Schools

    In this video, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Holmen discusses the district's two school options -- Neighborhood Schools and Choice Schools. He's a very good speaker and I'm so happy the District and LWPTSA are providing this media. It's long, but listen up to minute 12:28 and you'll get the gist.  There's lots of good information here.  I found it interesting the proposed 2018 bond was first advertised as funding a Redmond OR Sammamish Choice school.   In this recording, Dr. Holmen clarified that the proposed Choice school will be in Sammamish.

    This presentation is terrific and offers interesting and useful information, yet little opportunity for feedback,  (The district could learn from us.)  It makes an assumption of what the community wants for educational program services without confirmation.  It's a super presentation with good information but it's difficult to take it all in and digest.  In my opinion, School Options would be a good topic for an "online open house."  Shannon Parthemer, Director of Communications and Community Engagement, could probably fill you in on the concept. 

    Happy Holidays!

    B. Yoder, opinion

    Thursday, December 14, 2017

    New Council Members sworn in

    Redmond, WA – In a ceremony prior to last night’s Council meeting, newly elected Redmond residents Dr. Jeralee Anderson (Council Position 6), Steve Fields (Council Position 2) and Tanika Padhye (Council Position 4) were officially sworn in. Their terms are effective January 2018 through December 2021.
    Fields has lived in Redmond for over 30 years. He worked across all functions of government in his positions at King County and the City of Seattle in the Executive offices. Fields guided elected officials on policy, budget and operational improvements. He advised department heads and their staff to help the government perform better. Fields is also a Redmond small business owner with his wife.
    Dr. Anderson earned her doctorate in sustainability from the University of Washington Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering in the Heavy Civil & Construction Engineering Program. Dr. Anderson is CEO of Greenroads Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit located in Redmond. She co-founded the company in 2010 and now works with government agencies and private industry on hundreds of green transportation projects. Jeralee is a 7-year resident of Redmond.
    Padhye was previously appointed by Council and filling a vacancy in Position 4 since last March. She has lived in Redmond for 14 years and has served on both the City of Redmond’s Planning and Parks and Trails Commission. She has been a member of the Community Centers Stakeholder group and contributed to updates on the PARCC Plan and projects including Redmond Central Connector (Phase II) and the Downtown Park. She is a licensed attorney in the State of Washington, with legal expertise ranging from work as a Civil Rights Investigator to cases dealing with employment and housing discrimination.
    “I look forward to continuing to work with Padhye and welcome both Fields and Anderson in their new Council positions. They bring a fresh perspective to the Council that is reflective of our community. I’m confident that through Council's combined experiences we will continue to lead in the region and represent the priorities of Redmond residents,” stated Council President Hank Margeson.
    Dr. Jeralee Anderson (Council Position 6)
    Steve Fields (Council Position 2)
    Steve Fields
    Tanika Padhye (Council Position 4)

    Wednesday, December 13, 2017

    OPINION: School district tax rate structure and 2018 bond need study

    Dr. Traci Pierce, LWSD Superintendent, and Eric Campbell of Main Street Property Group will be featured speakers at the January 4th Education Hill Neighborhood Association meeting.  (7 pm, United Baptist Church)  Mark your calendars!

    -- By Paige Norman, Founder, Education Hill Neighborhood Association (EdHNA.)

    There has been a lot of conversation about the upcoming Lake Washington School District (LWSD) Bond and Levy proposal in February 2018

    • What is a Levy? A “Levy” is a pay-as-you-go-model; a certain amount of money is collected each year for a limited number of years.
    • What is a Bond? A “Bond” resembles a mortgage; a bond is sold with a promise to pay back the money to the bond buyer with interest. The payments are made with the portion of the property tax devoted to bond measures. Bonds are up to 20-years in maturity dates. Bonds are sold as needed to build schools; so not all bonds are sold at once.>

    Over the years I have NOT been a supporter of Bonds because I have felt the District didn’t use the money in valuable ways for the future of the District.
    In the past the District has used “leftover” monies from Bonds to build Portable/temporary classrooms (that turn into long-term classrooms) instead of using the funds to build brick-and-mortar buildings that house more students and have a longer life-span (not to mention bathrooms and aesthetics). 

    Visit King County's online open house to review sewer improvement plans in Redmond

    The King County's "Online Open House" (OOH) concept is an excellent communications tool.  I  e-mailed the Mayor and City Council recommending use of (OOH) to educate, engage and attract citizen feedback on projects of importance to Redmond residents and the city. After couched discussion by our elected during last night's study session, the Mayor and Council President Margeson appeared supportive. An OOH would have been useful during the Community Centers campaign. In the future, the tool could be used for:  Design Review analysis, LWSD connections, transportation projects, major proposed land-uses, homelessness, small business, and affordable housing. - B.Yoder

    King County's Press Release:

    King County is hosting an online open house to enable people to review and comment on plans for its Lake Hills and NW Sammamish Sewer Upgrade Project in Redmond. The online open house is available through Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018.

    field work photoPeople interested in learning more about King County’s Lake Hills and NW Lake Sammamish Sewer upgrade Project are invited to participate in an online open house through Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018.

    Because project construction will be noticeable to users of West Lake Sammamish Parkway, Marymoor and Idylwood parks, and the Sammamish River Trail when it begins in 2020, King County hopes people will review design plans and share input on ways to minimize construction-related disruption.

    Community member feedback so far indicates people put a high priority on preserving summertime park and trail access, coordinating construction schedules with nearby schools, and workable detours for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. People also value protecting plant and animal habitat.

    King County’s Lake Hills and NW Sammamish Sewer Upgrade Project entails upgrading nearly 4.5 miles of sewer pipe in Redmond to meet the needs of the growing community.

    In addition to adding more capacity, King County will also install 1.5 miles of recycled water pipeline as part of the project, which could expand potential use of this resource in the future.

    Additional information on the Lake Hills and NW Sammamish Sewer Upgrade Project is available online, or by contacting Kelly Foley at 206-477-8621.

    This release is also posted on the Department of Natural Resources and Parks website: