Sunday, October 14, 2018

UPDATED: Prescribed fires burn 33 acres in Roslyn

On Oct. 4, a crew of fire practitioners and partners conducted a prescribed burn on 33 acres at Roslyn Ridge. It was part of a training opportunity to increase expertise in prescribed fire and conduct successful burns to restore forest health and reduce wildfire risk. Thoughtful yet challenging.

Source: The Seattle Times

At 4:30 pm today (the date of this posting) we saw five Redmond fire trucks, a medic truck and battalion SUV adjacent Value Village and Anderson Park on Cleveland and Redmond Way.  Firefighters were walking in full gear with their axes and other tools without a sense of  urgency. Abundant lights were flashing on all trucks but no fire, smoke or fire-hose water was seen. They appeared to be in some kind of "logistical training." 

-- Bob Yoder

Saturday, October 13, 2018

City to raise Police salaries

Image result for redmond police images
The City of Redmond and the Redmond Police Association (RPA) have successfully completed a collaborative negotiation process resulting in the proposed 2019-2021 Labor Agreement.

The Redmond Police Association represents uniformed, commissioned Police Officers, Police Sergeants, and new for 2019, Corporals.

In 2019, Officer base salaries will increase by 4 percent, plus an additional approximate 1.19 percent to move the ranges to be competitive in the market. In 2019, there will also be a one-time cost of $15,249 to add vacation time to 37 employees’ banks so that the Labor Agreement will be consistent with the City personnel manual with regard to vacation accrual.

Police Officer (effective January 1, 2019)
    > $79.608/year 0-12 months
    > $92,916/year 49+ months
Corporal:  $101,424/year
Sergeant:  $108,516/year

As second raise was negotiated effective January 1, 2020.

Police Officer (effective January 1, 2021)
     > $85,272/year 0-12 months
     > $98,760/year 49+ months
Corporal: $108,636/year
Sergeant: $116,244/year

Source:  10/16/18 City Council Regular Meeting Agenda

-- Bob Yoder

Mayor presents $797 million preliminary biennial budget

City Council "budgets by priority" as described by Council President Angela Birney here.  

Image result for redmond city hall images
City Hall credit Redmond Reporter
Redmond Mayor John Marchione presented the 2019-20 preliminary biennial budget on Oct. 2.

Redmond Mayor John Marchione presented the 2019-20 preliminary biennial budget at the city council meeting on Oct. 2.
“The next six to eight years will be crucial in shaping the fabric of Redmond,” Mayor Marchione said. “Redmond will receive $8 to $10 billion of private or non city investment. We must create the organizational structure and capacity to keep pace and manage growth.”
The $797 million budget will run from January 2019 through December 2020. The city strives to continue providing the highest priority services to the community. Redmond selected the Budgeting By Priorities (BP) process once again because it focuses budget decisions on citizen priorities.
The budget is organized around the city’s six community priorities: vibrant economy, clean and green, diverse and connected community, infrastructure, responsible government and safety.
Mayor Marchione said there is little change in the allocation of resources among the priorities. Infrastructure received 51 percent of the resources, public safety received 19 percent, responsible government received 15 percent, clean and green received 6 percent, vibrant economy received 5 percent and diverse and connected community received 4 percent.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Commissioners propose $1,234,000 to fund human services

Image result for human services imagesAccording to a City Council 10/9 memo "Every other year, the City accepts proposals from human services agencies seeking grant funding in the next biennium. This past March, Redmond participated with 17 other King County cities, releasing a joint online funding application. This allowed organizations interested in requesting funding support from any of the participating cities to complete a single application. This year Redmond received applications from 91 programs, with requests for almost $2.2 million.

In 2016 Council approved the Mayor’s proposed budget to increase support to the human service fund from $13.25 to approximately $16.90 per capita. This resulted in tangible impacts and improved service delivery in our community. Adjusting for population and 3 percent inflation, the 2019-2020 human services per capita total is now expected to be about $1.21 million each year. Redmond also anticipates about $24,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding to allocate to human services in 2019, bringing total available funds to about $1,234,000/year."


The Human Services commissioners recommended an additional $422,534 under "Option 1" to  fund some of the smaller non-profits and in response to community budget requests.  The Council left it up to the commissioners to vet the Option 1 requests.

The bulk of the funding was allocated to 12 non-profits, as follows:  Youth Eastside Services ($152,614) Friends of Youth ($138,227) Hopelink ($115,096) Congregations for the Homeless ($89,617) Sophia Way ($62,555) Health Point ($54,000) Lifewire - survivor advocacy ($50,570.) YMCA ($39,140) Chinese Information Center ($24,643) Catholic Community Services ($23,175) NAMI ($21,177.)

One of the commissioners noted Hopelink's large request even though they haven't added services from the prior biennium.  The same commissioner pointed to the $177,000 chamber video screen suggesting those funds could have been better spent in our community for human services.

The Council thanked the commissioners for their hard work and will vote on the requests at a later date. 

-- Bob Yoder

Sources:  Council Study Session memo, 10/9.  Joint meeting with Human Services Commission.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

City to restore Idylwood Park

Image result for idylwood park cottonwoods images
Idylwood Park cottonwood trees / King 5
Redmond, WA –In March and April of 2018, the City removed 14 cottonwood trees in Idylwood Park after a risk assessment identified the trees as a public safety hazard. The remaining high-risk cottonwood trees were scheduled for removal following the busy summer beach season.
In the summer of 2017, two separate large limb failures resulted in injury to a park patron and damage to private property. These incidents prompted the risk assessment.
Removal of the cottonwood trees started on October 10. Large trees will remain in natural areas along the waterfront away from high-use areas, and permanent fencing will be installed in areas to limit access and protect future restoration plantings.
During this project, the City has been working with numerous organizations and a citizens group to create a restoration plan that would preserve and maintain natural habitats while offering safe, enjoyable experiences for all parks users. Over 60 trees, nearly 400 shrubs and groundcover will be planted which aligns with the City’s commitment to restoring and maintaining the urban forest for present and future generations.
The Redmond community values our trees, and we have programs in place to protect this natural resource, but public safety is our top priority. The cottonwood trees scheduled for removal are in high-use areas and are public safety hazards.
The robust mitigation and urban forest enhancement plan is scheduled for the winter months. The City will coordinate a community volunteer planting event.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Fall colors

Fall colors

My wife, Pam, is standing in front of our beautiful Palmataum Japanese maple tree. With great sadness we lost this cherished tree two years ago to severe back-to-back annual droughts.  It thrived on our property for 41 years. Other's in the neighborhoods lost their trees. The City also had to cut down some of their street trees and cottonwoods at Idylwood Park.  

Bob Yoder

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Washington Department of Transportation tops hazardous trees

Several dead and dying trees shown here next to SR 520 near Redmond will be topped during an upcoming project.
Click image to see the trees
The Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is cutting down numerous 80 - 100 year old cottonwood trees growing along SR520 next to Bear Creek. The agency says these trees pose a hazard falling onto SR520 in high winds.  The trees are on WSDOT property, not the City of Redmond's property as many think. For environmental reasons they are just topping the trees to provide habitat for birds and other animals. The procedure creates an ugly outcome.  The Mayor said in the Regular Council meeting of 10/2 the tree logs will be scattered along Bear and Evans creek to improve salmon habitat. 
Source:  WSDT blog

Friday, October 5, 2018

Low turn-out at weekday Downtown park event

The city hosted a concert series in the Downtown Park that was curated in partnership with KEXP DJ Sharlese Metcalf to highlight local, Pacific Northwest musical talent, including musicians that have ties to Redmond.  My wife and I went to the last concert on Thursday, October 4th.  And guess what?  It wasn't raining and quite a beautiful Fall evening!
Is this the "Redmond Moving Art Center?"
Mayor Marchione said in a press release, this series brings "fresh new music and fun to Downtown Redmond,  It's a great way to spend a Thursday night with friends and family in the community’s new Downtown Park.”

The City announced that "each evening’s concert takes place in the beautiful Redmond Moving Art Center designed by Brooklyn-based artist Janet Zweig."  It was recommended residents "bring your picnic blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy food from one of the many surrounding downtown restaurants." 
Well, even with good weather and fine music this weekday's entertainment in the Downtown Park didn't appear popular.  At 7 pm I counted roughly 24 adults, four dogs, and 6 children. None brought picnic blankets or food.  
As opposed to the Downtown Park Grand Opening, the park was fully exposed and you could see all the concrete and concrete benches that people are talking about.  Mildly put, I was taken aback. The favorite part of our visit was the colorful light art under the pavilion.  It was really cool.
-- Bob Yoder, opinion
 Photos Yoder

Source:  City press release

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

John Reinke - Redmond's dragonfly whisperer

Credit / John Reinke
This dragonfly landed on John Reinke's finger when he was trying to scoop it out of a puddle on the Sammamish River Trail.  Here's a closeup in which you can see its legs, one of its large compound eyes, thorax and momentarily waterlogged wings. John believes it is a female paddle tail darner.  

Don't worry, dragonflies don't bite but they are voracious eaters of mosquitoes. Their legs are for catching prey in the air.  Most of their life (1-2 years) is spent as larvae living underwater. They spend 2-3 weeks flying around fattening up to lay their eggs in the water.  

We listened to a fascinating lecture on this animal by James Walker, PhD last week. He sells a book on Amazon and recently was interviewed by King 5.  It's a must listen!

-- Bob Yoder

Redmond Sing Along at Community Center

Eva Moon, a past city arts commissioner, writer, musician and performing artist is partnering with the City of Redmond to start a Sing Along (and play along) night! The Redmond Community Sing Along (and play along) is a monthly, all-ages gathering to sing and play your favorite songs, meet your neighbors and have fun! No singing experience is required, and all are welcome to attend this free community event.

Raise your voice and your spirits!  Bring your acoustic instrument, if you play. 

Here’s a link to the songbook:  We'll project your lyrics and chords.

Redmond to open behavioral health and vocational service office

Council approved a $84,122 grant from Washington Association of Police for integrated behavioral health and vocational services to low income residents of King County.  Services will be located in an office in Redmond and provide the clinical staff for a Mental Health Field Response Team.

Over the past three (3) years the City of Redmond and the Redmond Police Department (RPD) have worked to develop a comprehensive, innovative approach to deal with the complex issues our region faces stemming from unprecedented increases in homeless individuals and the opioid addiction epidemic. We began with the addition of an Outreach Specialist, Kent Hay, that is embedded with our Patrol response. He has assisted by creating a Community Resource Center that has brought representatives from many social service agencies together on a weekly basis.

City saves two mature cottonwoods at Idlywood Park

City Operations Manger David Tucheck
in Idylwood Park with Cottonwoods
In August 2017, two separate large tree limb failures occurred at Idylwood Park. After the limb failures, a visual tree risk assessment was performed on all trees in high use park areas by a certified arborist on City staff. As a result of the tree risk assessment, thirty (30) large cottonwood trees were identified as needing to be removed.

 March 19, 2018, City staff removed fourteen (14) cottonwood trees.
 March 27, 2018, a formal appeal regarding the project was filed. The tree removal project was put on hold during the appeal process.
 June 1, 2018, the appeal was dismissed by the Hearing Examiner The project was postponed until after Labor Day because of the busy summer beach season.

The City has hired a contractor to remove the remaining fourteen (14) hazardous cottonwood trees. Two (2) of the hazardous will be pruned to reduce risk and will remain. The project is scheduled to resume on October 8, 2018. Restoration of the tree removal areas will occur November 2018 – January 2019.

A community volunteer replanting event will be coordinated by the City. Volunteers and City staff will plant trees, shrubs, groundcovers, and install woody mulch. Replanting quantities include 66 trees, 291 shrubs, and 96 groundcovers.

Source:  Parks and Human Services Council committee memo, 10/2

Monday, October 1, 2018

Downtown Park Grand Opening inundated by rain

Six council members with mayor speaking under the park pavilion
The Ribbon Cutting was at 5:30 pm. Council member Steve Fields was absent. Plenty of parking at the Community Center.  Thirty minutes after the ceremony the park was twice hit with a downpour of rain.   At 7:10 pm right before the events a deluge of rain occurred. My wife and I retreated to our home.

Bob Yoder, 10/1

Facebook comment:  M Harrison Gallagher -- A refurbished Redmond pool is estimated at $20 million; a new Olympic pool such as the King County Aquatic Center is about $35 to 40 million. $42 million bought us a tree-lined concrete slab. Redmond has many deserving communities that are neglected.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Redmond Neighborhood Map

Neighborhood map

The Downtown is considered an urban center. It has the largest park in Redmond and will have two transit stations.  North Redmond and Willows are the fastest growing neighborhoods. Grass Lawn has the most expensive housing (as of 9/2018)  Education Hill has six schools and seven churches.  Many million dollar homes are being built in North Redmond.

The OVERLAKE URBAN CENTER is not on this map. It is south of the DOWNTOWN URBAN CENTER.  It will have two light rail transit stations that mostly service Microsoft workers and is expected to one day to surpass the Downtown Urban Center in population.

-Bob Yoder, 9/20/2018

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Redmond Nourishing Networks addresses neighborhood hunger

Redmond NNOur shared purpose as the Redmond Nourishing Network is to support locally-owned solutions to fill the existing gaps that leave people hungry by weaving together the efforts, stories and ideas of individual and organizational networks. Together we can provide an abundance of nourishment for our communities.
Our efforts include helping people in Redmond become aware of the reality of hunger in our community, knowledgeable of organizations currently addressing hunger needs, and motivated to support local programs in order to form Redmond into a community where all are nourished as they need. Another focus is transformation, to change the way people think of and see hungry people in our community (the dignity of empathy), and to help all members of the Redmond community recognize many kinds of hunger in the people around them and themselves.
Redmond Food Box Program is returning for 2017/2018 School Year!
Happy Thanksgiving!
We will once again be collecting food for families whose children receive free and reduced lunch at school.
We would love to have you - or your book club, Mom's Group, Boy Scout Troop, Girl Scout Troop or PTSA -
put together a box of food for a family over the upcoming Thanksgiving break.Thanks for helping Redmond families! 
-- Source:  Redmond Senior Center "Encore" publication

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

LW school district installs 10 energy efficient portables

Student enrollment growth requires Lake Washington to develop short-term space plan to accommodate students

energy-efficient portable
Enrollment in LWSD has grown 25 percent in the last decade. The district has a long-term strategy to build facilities and increase capacity. Until the long-term plan is completed, the district develops short-term plans to address immediate needs for classroom space. For fall 2018, the district installed 10 energy efficient portable classrooms at Lakeview Elementary (2), Benjamin Rush Elementary (1), Mark Twain Elementary (3), Rose Hill Elementary (2) and John Muir Elementary (2).

The district adopted a portable standard in 2014 of SAGE (Smart Academic Green Environment) portable classrooms. SAGE portable classrooms are energy-efficient, have more natural light than traditional portables and are constructed with low-emitting building materials. The LED lights turn off automatically when no one is in the room. The HVAC systems in SAGE portables also improve ventilation and reduce noise.

Enrollment is projected to reach 32,000 students in the next five years. For information about LWSD’s plan to increase permanent capacity, visit our Building on Success page.
Source:  LWSD Connections, 9/14.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

LW students score well on state assessments

Lake Washington students continue to score well above state average on state assessments

Redmond, Wash. – Lake Washington School District (LWSD) students continue to score well-above the state average in all areas tested by the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA).
“We are pleased to share these results with our community,” noted Dr. Jane Stavem, Superintendent.  “Our teachers, staff and building administrators will continue to work hard to ensure that every single student in our district is learning, growing and succeeding.”
Students in grades 3-8 and in grade 10 took the Smarter Balanced Assessments in English Language Arts (ELA) and in Math. This is a change from previous years, when grade 11 was used as the federal accountability testing grade in high school for ELA and Math. Students in grades 5, 8 and 11 also took new science tests. These tests are based on Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), adopted by Washington state in 2013.
In English Language Arts, the percentage of LWSD students meeting the new standards ranged from 80.5 percent in sixth grade to a high of 88.7 percent in 10th grade. At the state level, the percentage of students meeting the standard in English Language Arts ranged from 55.5 percent in grade three to a high of 69.5 percent in grade 10. (See the chart below for scores for each grade level.) 
In Math, the percentage of LWSD students meeting the standard ranged from 72.3 percent in 10th grade to a high of 80.1 percent in sixth grade. At the state level, the percentage of students meeting the standard ranged from 40.6 percent in grade 10 to 57.5 percent in grade three.
This year, the greatest gains for LWSD were in sixth grade math (an increase of 2.4% over 2017), and fifth grade ELA (an increase of 1.6% over 2017).

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Open houses at Ella Baker and Clara Barton Elementary Schools

Clara Barton open house:  Thursday, October 11th, 4:15 - 7PM
12101-172nd Ave NE

Ella Baker Elementary (video) open house:  Saturday, October 6th, 10 - 1:30 PM
9596 East Ridge Drive NE