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Holly James Salon: Saving My Time

Hollybernstrommar2006 I hope my old hairdresser isn't reading this b/c then he'll know I cheated on him.  But I've been curious to try a hair salon somewhere closer to home.  Lots of ladies in my neighborhood go to the Holly James Salon & Spa (www.HollyJames.biz) , so I figured I'd give it shot.  It's located right next to the movie theaters in Kirkland Park Place. 

I had Holly Bernstrom, the owner, cut/color/highlight my hair and she did a great job.  She's really fun and her shop is so cute and everyone seemed friendly.  You can't help but love her little black puppy chihuahua, Ralphie, that sits watching from the sidelines.  The biggest win for her would be when she started coloring and foiling my hair at the same time.  How cool is that?  My dad was kind enough to pass along to me his 'early graying' gene, so it's usually a 2 1/2 hour fiasco to color, sit, wash, dry, foil, wash, cut, dry- you get the picture (see what I've been going through?!).   Having Holly do both of these processes at once got me out of there in an hour and a half-yippeee!  Saving me time=getting on my good side.

I'll have to go back and try the spa there.  FYI, Holly is offering 10% off your first spa service.  And with all that time you can save on your color and highlights, there's plenty of time leftover for a massage!

Here's the number so you have it: 425-576-1650


Me and the Kirkland 5-0

If you have an open weekend night on your calendar and are trying to dream up something 'different' to do, you should take a ride-along with one of our city's finest.  Any citizen can drop in at the Kirkland Police Department and fill out a form requesting to tag along with an officer for a few hours.  It's a really fun look into the 'behind the scenes' we don't usually get to see.

Of course, they run a background check first (I must have made the cut, whew!).  Rumor has it Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings are the more exciting ones when you might get to see some bar fights that need breaking up or DUI stops.   It's only a couple of hours, but wear warm comfortable clothes. 

When I first arrived, I got the quick and dirty tour of the police department.  Mostly offices and interview rooms-oh, and a garage where they keep the 3 new Honda motorcycles (bye bye to the Harleys).   The call center is a room where we take 9-1-1 calls and the dispatchers sit.  Pretty cool system we have that displays all of the calls in the 'que' and which officers are where at any given moment.  Lots of screens with loaded with info, and the man operating it all with his headset on reminded me of the wizard in Oz b/c he could take calls, work on 3 computer screens and talk to me all at the same time.  We had about 12 officers on duty Friday night of our approx 50 total (7 of them are women- go girl power!).  I peaked in our crime lab which, we'll just say, is no CSI-Miami episode.  We've got 2 holding cells and 4 jail cells, each with its own bunk.  Not too crowded on my night- 4 bummed out guys in orange that didn't mind giving me a smile and hello.

Then we were off ---- on our way to protect and serve.  This is the part I was waiting for, where's all the action going to be?  I'm perked up in my seat only to learn that I have to stay in the car the entire time.  The only advice he said I needed, was that if I happen to hear any gunfire (huh??!!), I should get out of the car and run the opposite way.  No problem.

Each car is wirelessly connected at all times and data appears on the screen real-time as  a situation gets updated.  They can check plates, warrants and all that jazz right from their drivers seat.  Our first call was a potential pipe bomb at a construction site.  We're second on the scene, and I'm stuck in the car while my coppers go investigate.  Doesn't look real, but we've got to call the bomb squad anyway.  We use Bellevue PD for this service, which after a good 45 mins of waiting, a mac-daddy rig shows up.   They agree, looks fake, but got to take care of it anyway.  Should we send in the robot or put the man in the suit?  I wouldn't want to be that guy, or his wife for that matter, but it just seemed like another day on the job for them.  Turns out it was a fake- foiled again.   By now I have a splitting headache from the big diesel Bellevue Police truck and I'm feeling a little deflated that my entire ride-along has been consumed by some teeny-boppers fake bomb ploy. 

I plead to stay a little longer.  Yay!  My officer feels my pain so we go on the prowl for some prime-time weekend drunk drivers.  As we're barely pulling away from our bomb stint, a young girl pulls out across traffic and cuts us off.  Poor thing- you could see her trying to brake or change her maneuver as she realizes our car has  blue lights on top of it.  Bummer. That would be my luck, I was thinking.  Turns out no DUI, just a space-cadet with an expired insurance card so we let her off with a warning on her driving and a citation for the insurance.

We tell dispatch we'll check on the alarm going off on Lake St next.  False alarm.  Then my officer shows me one of his secret hiding spots for plucking bad drivers.  Bet you want to know where it is, hehe.  I asked him about quotas for giving tickets and he chuckled at how sensitive this topic is with private citizens.  But basically, the gist is this- each is expected to give 2 citations/shift on avg and they work about 14 shifts a month=28 tickets/per officer/per month.  I asked what the best way is to get out of being given a ticket only to learn that a good officer already has his  mind made up before he even approaches your window.  Words to the wise:  He says you can talk yourself INTO a ticket, but not out of one.

So, I've got to say, I get a feeling of goodness and empowerment driving around with the police.   Each of the officers I came in contact with were of the highest integrity and were very prideful of their role in our little city.  They don't complain for one minute about standing in the rain, inhaling diesel fuel, having piles of paperwork or having little gnats like me tagging along with them. 

If you want to schedule a ride-along you have to pick up the application form at the Kirkland Police Dept, which is around the backside of the city building on 5th (123 5th Ave).  It is not available on-line at this time. 

Click here for the Kirkland PD website

Locate the Kirkland PD


Kirkland Seahawks 12th Man Festival

Seahawklogo Quick news flash Kirklanders!   The City of Kirkland is holding a Seahawks rally on Saturday, January 28th at noon (Marina Park).   Fans are encouraged to make their way downtown and walk around the block (the streets will be closed to traffic) from Central to Lake Street to Kirkland Avenue and back into Marina park to celebrate the NFC Championship and to rally around our boys as they head off to Detroit to play in Super Bowl XL.    If you have any questions about the event, would like to donate,  or would like to volunteer please contact Kellie Jordan at 425-893-8766.  See you there Kirklanders? 

Small business in Kirkland

How come so many businesses can't seem to make it in Kirkland?  We've lived here since 1998 and have seen quite a bit of turnover in the downtown area.  Sadly, it's turned into a game for us to guess how long the 'newest' place will take to go belly up. 

So I decided to look at who is still around and figure out what they are doing right.  Take Coyote Creek Pizza at 228 Central Way (http://www.coyotecreekpizza.com/ ).  They've been a mainstay for 14 years now.  I spoke with the owner and longtime Kirkland resident, Steve Brodniak, to gain some insights.   When I asked what he attributed his success and longevity to, he chuckles and says, "Lots of luck!"  Hmmmmm- who's feeling lucky out there?  I wanted to dig deeper, as I think he's just being modest with me instead of giving himself a little credit.


"Our clientele has changed since we opened.  We used to draw customers from Bothell, Kenmore, Redmond, Issaquah and Bellevue, and now it is mostly locals," says Steve.   Now there are more condos and a denser population, which greatly effects parking.  This is always a challenge, which gets even trickier with the city's utility project  blocking all of the businesses along that road.   I know the woman in Mosswood said she was moving her store to Issaquah for fear the construction project would hover in front of her storefront next.

The city tried, they put up some signs saying 'businesses are open', but people just couldn't get to them.  Parking got blocked or disappeared, and even pedestrians could only access from across the street due to the sidewalks being torn up.  "It almost put us out of business," says Steve, " I probably lost $5K/mo during that project."  That's a significant impact , especially when the city told them they'd be blocked for six weeks and it ended up being over 3 months.  He said some days they had absolutely no one in for lunch.  But aside from working nights, he's not sure how the city could have done it differently and thinks the utility upgrading will benefit us all in the long run. "It will, however, take us [Coyote Creek]12 mos to recover completely, " says Steve, "because you spend lots of time building your customer base.  And when people can't physically get to their favorite restaurant, they find other favorite places.  We need to establish a new clientele and still hope our regulars come back."

Of course, that challenge coupled with the rising cost of business licensing from the city and the fact that WA is one of the few states that requires waitstaff make minimum wage ($7.63/hr) + tips  certainly doesn't make it easy for restaurants to stay afloat.  Steve recently closed their Bellevue location, and is planning to open another Coyote Creek Pizza out in Redmond Ridge (23525 NE Novelty Hill Rd) this April.  The Kirkland store is staying put and will  be offering their gourmet pizzas for local delivery service soon (drivers needed if you're looking for some extra cash).

Even amidst all of this, Steve Brodniak is still really positive and grateful.  "Kirkland is a great place to live. I wish the city would better understand and help promote small businesses in Kirkland."  Nicely stated.  I'm glad he's been so 'lucky' and much more PC than I would be.


Seattle Seahawks going to Super Bowl XL

OK, I know this isn't exactly breaking news, but since the Seattle Seahawks are based in Kirkland and practice in Kirkland, I figure blogging about the biggest win in Seahawks history is fair game.   Would you agree?    After beating the Carolina Panthers, 34-14, the Hawks are headed to play in Super Bowl XL (Detroit).  This is an awesome day in Seahawks history!

So now that we are headed to the Super Bowl and won't have home field  advantage it leaves one big question that needs to be answered.  What bars in Kirkland are going to have huge Super Bowl parties?   

There are the usual suspects such as the Kirkland Ave Pub, Time Out Sports Bar, Waldo's and Juanita Pub--plus I am sure there are many others with game day festivities.   Please comment if you have a favorite or would like to add to the list. 

Go Seahawks!   Here are some relevant Seahawk/Super Bowl links:

Super Bowl XL http://www.superbowl.com/

Sea Hawkers Booster Club http://www.seahawkers.org/

Seattle Seahawks http://www.seahawks.com/

Super Bowl Party Tips http://superbowl.about.com/


Disrespectful Park

Mcauliffepark This is how we refer to McAuliffe Park in our house.  It's a beautiful new park located at 10824 NE 116th with swings, a play structure, picnic tables, grass to run in and plenty of trees for a game of tag.  It's mostly fenced, with a few open entry points to the side near the street parking.  No potties, fyi, for those of you training your kids, but it does have all the ingredients for a fun afternoon getaway with your small children.

And then we get to the name.  Disrespectful  Park.  I've been to this park 3 times of which twice it has earned its name (the other time we were the only ones there). 

First experience:  A lady is there with her 9 month old and Marmaduke-sized dog.  My two 2-year old daughters who were happily climbing up to the slide 30 seconds ago are a bit hesitant about the enormity of this creature (no pets at our house you can tell).  So, I tell them "it's OK, the dog is over here, don't worry."  And just then, as this woman's child is crawling around on the play structure she and her dog climb up too!   By now my kid's have hit the panic button b/c it appears that a horse is standing next to them at the top of the slide, jowls towering over their little ponytails.   I'm all for man's best friend, but this one should be sitting on the grass somewhere.  What planet was that lady from?

Second experience:  Same play structure.  A couple of 7-8 year old boys are standing up top and throwing hand fulls of wood chips on people (mainly my 2 year olds).   I politely ask the boys to stop.   Two minutes later the throwing continues with devilish grins and laughing.   And these boys were certainly old enough to know what they were doing. This time I say more firmly, "guys, you need to cut it out."  And one of them responds to me, "Who are you?  Do you own this park?!"  I was floored. I can't believe that a child would have the guts to speak to an adult that way.  I was so shy as a child I could barely look an adult in the eye and this kid was boldly mouthing off to me.  So, I told him I DO own the park (Kirkland resident=tax dollars, right?) and asked where I could find his parent, whom of course wasn't there. 

I'd still check this one out- it's usually not too crowded and hopefully your luck will be better than mine.  Nice place, but beware of the riffraff.  The polite park-goers are elsewhere.




The Neighborhoods of Kirkland

We have lot's of great neighborhoods in Kirkland.  Did you know that each neighborhood has it's own Neighborhood Association?   It's the best way to get involved in what is happening in your part of the city and to have an impact on what is happening regarding city issues that touch all of us! Take a look at this cool map from the City Website and see the links to each neighborhood association below to learn more:


Central Houghton Association http://www.houghtonlives.com

Everest Neighborhood Association  (no  website)

Highlands Neighborhood Association  http://www.kirklandhighlands.org 

Lakeview Neighborhood Association   http://www.lakeviewkirkland.com/ 

Market Neighborhood Association  (no website)

Moss Bay Neighborhood Association www.mossbay.org

Norkirk Neighborhood Association  http://www.norkirk.org

North Juanita Neighborhood Association   http://www.NJNA.org

North Rose Hill Neighborhood Association  www.north-rosehill.org

South Juanita Neighborhood  Association  www.southjuanita.com

South Rose Hills/Bridle Trails Association  www.rosetrails.org

Totem Lake Neighborhood Association www.totemlakeneighborhood.org

Just a quick post today...comments?

Kahili -- more coffee in downtown Kirkland!

I gotta say I like the fact that the Marina Cantina is gone (it  couldn't compete with the likes of Cactus or Jalisco down the block) and has been replaced by yet another coffee house--Kahili.   Just as I did you are probably wondering why on earth would someone open yet another coffee house on the same street, just a block away from the Triple J, Seattle's Best, and across the street from Tully's.  How could they compete in such a crowded market?

Kahili[Here is a pic of Kahili.  It was windy and their vinyl sign was out of place.  Located on Lake St. in the heart of downtown Kirkland across the street from Hectors] 

Well, I went in for a visit today on the way to work.   The owners did a nice job on the decor.  Kind of an island feel, but complete with a fire place, living room type seating, plenty of  tables (good for  business meetings) and counter space. 

The joint doesn't seem to be to busy yet, but the staff was kind and they have differentiated themselves a bit from the competition.   For starters they have FREE WI-FI INTERNET access--in my book this is a huge win--great place to do  work! And the other  twist is that they serve beer and wine.  Yup, wine!  A selection of wines from the NW including varietals from Oregon and Washington.   They also feature paninis, desserts, and Kona coffee which is an organic coffee grown on the big island.   

I only ordered some coffee and a muffin and I have no complaints so far.  I look forward to venturing back  when I want to get some work done (using their free WI-FI) and enjoy a lunch.  Look for a food review in the coming weeks...

After my wife's Triple J experience I think I will hang out at Kahili a  bit more and see how I like it. 

Which is your favorite coffee house in downtown  Kirkland?  Comments welcome...photo and address link will be added soon.  Steve

Kirklanders: OPEN your eyes!!

I am originally from New Jersey (no booing, please).  That's a place where if you are driving and see a pedestrian entering a crosswalk, you hit the gas pedal so that you can scurry along to your next anxiety attack without having to be inconvenienced.  Everybody there looks both ways and enters cautiously when crossing the street.  And you're ready to flip someone the bird on a moment's notice.

When we moved to Kirkland I was pleasantly surprised.  I thought surely Mary Poppins must live here.  A pedestrian pauses as one foot enters the street and drivers come to a quick halt all while smiling and waving on their friendly neighbor.  I think that's just great.   Pedestrians have the right of way and drivers should be yielding to them.  But here is what concerns me that I've noticed frequently in downtown Kirkland---pedestrians assume everyone is going to stop for them.   

I know most of us are guilty of talking on our cell phones while driving ( illegal in NJ, BTW) and often I'm throwing my kids a cracker in the backseat at the same time.  So, while my intentions are good, I can't say I've stopped every time I should have.   Guilty. But on the other side of the fence, pedestrians have got to OPEN their eyes and take ownership of their own safety.  Some folks never seem to break eye contact with their shoelaces while crossing.  This perplexed me, so I made a call to the city to see what's really up.

David Godfrey is the Transportation Engineering Manager for our Public Works Dept and had some interesting input to share with us.   Do you know how many pedestrian accidents there are, on average, in a year in Kirkland?  Fifteen.   That's the number that get reported to the PD (and is an average stat based on 1998-2005).  But -fifteen? I was expecting it to be higher based on some of the tire screeching halts I've seen around town.   And I realize it's fifteen more than we'd like.   

Seems there was just an accident on Tuesday night at 70th and 120th involving 2 young people crossing the street (one sustained serious injuries).  David stressed for me the three "E's" of pedestrian safety: Engineering, Education and Enforcement.  His focus is on the engineering aspect which involves things such as flashing crosswalks (we have 30 in Kirkland now), pedestrian flags, and islands (such as on Market St.) which help increase safety.  "We don't really know how many people use the pedestrian flags," David mentioned after I told him I only use them when I can make one of my kids carry it, but usually feel like too big of  a dork when I'm by myself.  The city is working on a grant right now to study who uses pedestrian flags and why, and how to get more people to use them. 

So, I found this news comforting.  There are people at the city that make it their life to help keep us safe, both from a planning and enforcement standpoint.  And maybe all the pedestrians I thought were tuned out really have super-strength peripheral vision.  It's like David says, "it's a two way street, both the pedestrians and the drivers need to take responsibility."   So, be sure to grab that flag, light up the crosswalk, and drive with caution.