« February 2006 | Main | April 2006 »

Recreation Classes-Sign Up Now!

Kirkland Parks has combined their spring and summer class enrollment this year.  Sign-ups started on 3/20 for all programs and you can register online by clicking here: Online Registration.  It seems a little strange to be signing up now for swimming lessons in July, but we're in (brrrrr)!

If you didn't get your brochure with all of the class info in the mail, you can view it in pdf format here.  You don't have to register online, you can also try fax, phone, mail or just walk-in by horse-drawn carriage:

Send form and payment to:
123 Fifth Avenue
Kirkland, WA 98033
Fax form with credit card information to:
(425) 587-3303
(425) 587-3354

3 locations to serve you!

Register by Phone
Kirkland Parks Department
505 Market Street (PDF)
Suite A, M-F, 8am to 5pm
M-F, 12-4pm
(425) 587-3336
This number is for registration only.
North Kirkland Community Center (PDF)
12421 103rd Ave NE
M-F, 8am to 5pm
Please have class number and credit card information ready
Master Card and Visa accepted

Kirkland Community Senior Center (PDF)
352 Kirkland Ave
M-F, 8am to 5pm

For questions or more information,
call (425) 587-3300
or (425) 587-3350

Look at the Rainbow!

What strange weather recently- cloudy, then windy, then sunny spells with some showers.  Caught a pic of this rainbow over Juanita Bay Park on Friday 3/24/06.  After the gloomy winter this year, it's a good reminder of what a beautiful place we live in.Rainbowjuanitabaypark  ~Janis

Getting Involved in Kirkland's Future!

Heritagehalldark A few weeks ago I received a letter to attend a "Special Council Meeting" for the Market Neighborhood.  I have not attended many Kirkland City Council meetings, so I thought I would show up, snap a few pics, and see what happens at these things.  I also wanted to get a sense of how the city makes decisions and how it decides to spend our $278 million budget each year.  Seems like a lot of money,  no?  The meeting was held on March 15, 2006 at the Heritage Hall.   Mayor James Lauinger was the master of ceremonies and the goal of the event was to give residents the chance to be heard and to meet/greet the City Council members.   The agenda focused on the following topics:

  • Traffic update
  • Trees (how can we save them)
  • Size of houses relative to lot size (too many mega homes)
  • Cell phone towers (no one likes the T-mobile one on Market St.)
  • Parking (it sucks downtown)

Citycouncilmtg231506 Before the meeting dug into the topics above the Mayor asked if there were any other issues that the audience wanted to add to the list.   Here is where things started to get good.  Several folks brought up the topic of builders buying up lots, cutting down all the trees, building homes that are more like track homes (e.g cookie cutter homes), and in essence stealing the soul of our neighborhood.   At least three of the most vocal critics on this subject mentioned Lux Homes by name and used such terms as "...the Luxification of Kirkland" and "Luxville".    It wasn't pretty.   

Along those same lines folks are generally tired of all the builders and on-going construction in our neighborhood. Points were made that it's impacting the quality of life in Kirkland and that builders/contractors just don't care about the folks living around their projects. They drive too fast, park anywhere they want, work during non-approved hours, and compromise safety on our streets.

After the initial barrage we got back on track and focused on the agenda items.  We went through each one and various City Council members would interject updates on each topic.  Mostly I would say the Council talked much more than the residents.  Overall I was pleased to see a good set of Council members who were passionate about Kirkland and have been working hard to make it a better place.   That said, every one of the 40 or so residents who attended have differing opinions on just about every topic.   The key takeaway for me is that the squeaky wheel gets the most attention.     For this reason the council encourages residents to get involved if they want to influence the long term direction of the city.   They will listen. 

Here are some other interesting notes I took during the meeting:

  • They offered coffee, but only had decaf (major mistake or strategic decision?).  Cookies were marginal. 
  • 405 Expansion--it's only just begun.  Expect years of construction and slow, slow, slow traffic.  During this time traffic will continue to spill on to the city streets. The Council feels once it's done all of our traffic woes will be gone and the side streets in Kirkland will empty out.   Hmmm...can a study really predict the future?  I hope they are right, but I am a little suspect. 
  • Market Street traffic--we did a study that costs 15k and put together an eight person committee to reach some consensus on solutions for how to achieve "Traffic Calming".  What the heck is traffic calming?   They are going to present a "draft" in May that will focus on "reducing and slowing" the traffic.  Slowing?  I can't remember the last time I could drive faster than 5 mph on Market at rush hour.   After all this they better have some damn good solutions!
  • 116th is getting an overhaul to ease the traffic  jams getting  on to the  405 during rush hour.  The Council was pretty proud of this one.  Apparently they fought hard to get funding to make this happen.  Oh, BTW the new intersection (116th/405) will take two years before complete.   
  • Lot's of discussion on building codes.  Some folks want higher average elevations, some folks want larger setbacks, some folks don't like the FAR codes.  The City did concede that the ADU (alternate dwelling unit, otherwise known as mother-in-law apartments above a garage) was a bit of a mistake.  Did you know that these ADUs don't count toward the square footage (FAR codes)?  Yup, it's true.   The Council is working on re-evaluating FAR/lot  coverage, etc.   
  • Lot's of talk about the parking situation downtown.  I didn't get a sense of any brilliant strategies here.   I actually asked them how parking impacts local small businesses and if they met with the business owners to make sure their  input was heard.   This spawned a 15 minute response from the Mayor himself.  He was defensive about the question.  I came away thinking the City isn't very pro business.   I plan to do a separate story on this issue in a later post.  I wonder if the Mayor will give me an interview? I can tell you that local business owners will talk to me about this all day long if given the opportunity.   I will say the Mayor did have a good suggestion for local businesses...."stay open at night when the city is packed full of people".  This made total sense to me.   
  • Cell phone tower on Market--T-mobile has been dragging their feet to change out the tower.   Should we start a Kirkland boycott?   

Overall it was a good meeting and very informative.  If you care about what is going on in the city you should get involved and try to make a difference.   I plan to attend more of these...I will let y'all  know when I do...Steve

Comments encouraged! 

Baseball's Opening Day Parade

Parade_route_2 Kirkland American Little League will be kicking off it's Opening Day with a parade on Saturday, March 18th at 10am.  They asked Steve to sing the National Anthem, but he's too shy (be thankful).  It starts at Everest Park on 8th St. South and winds through downtown Kirkland to Lee Johnson Field at  Peter Kirk Park on 3rd St.    Be aware of road closures that morning.

Special bonus:  a pic from my old softball career, hehe.  Love that Jersey hair, ladies!  FYI, to my left (I'm 3rd in)is Tammy Trenta who happens to be on The Apprentice right now.  Guess we know who made it big and who didn't.  ;-) ~Janis


**Looked like a big crowd at Lee Johnson Field this morning when I drove by- see pic-Baseballparade

Beadworld is coming to Kirkland

If you are into beading, this new shop in Kirkland will be your new mainstay.  Nicolette StBeadworldcomingessin, owner and bead-er extraordinaire, has had her shop in north Seattle for over nineteen years.  When she decided to expand and was looking for a location on the eastside she said, "Kirkland just felt right- like a community.  Full of interesting people with their own creative vision." 

I've got to admit- I wasn't quite sure what a 'bead shop' meant.  Why would I need beads?  Nicolette explained that many people make their own jewelry (or have a business doing so).  You could even spot something at Nordstrom and they likely have all the makings in their shop for you to make it yourself-with a much smarter price tag!.  Brilliant.  And it's good to know that they will also be offering classes.

The opening of this full-service bead shop should be sometime in mid-May. Nikki's spot on Central Way is where the old Mosswood was located before moving out to Issaquah.   There will be a big table inside where you can sit down and create jewelry or brainstorm with some of their helpful and friendly staff.  And, of course, lots and lot of beads from all over the world- gemstones, pearls, crystals, glass, silver and more.  I happened to be on Yelp and noticed the Seattle location has lots of reviews from happy customers.  The landlord wanted a destination store and looks like she found one.

Beadworld is in the process of developing their website right now, so if you have any questions, you can contact Nicolette directly at the Seattle location at 206-523-0530. 


Farewell to Frosty's

Frostysgone Frosty's closed their doors on Tuesday Feb 28th after over 30 years in Kirkland.  I just got in there for breakfast for the first time about a month ago, so I'm glad that I had the chance to experience it before they closed.  Rumor says they sold for about $2M and we'll be seeing a new amusement park there soon.  Ok, just kidding---condos.    ~Janis

Kirkland's Little School that does Big Things

Mollyjanisdon This weekend Steve and I went to the Bucky Beaver Preschool auction at the Hyatt in Bellevue and had a great time.  A couple glasses of wine and my husband's elbow gets stuck in the straightened position with his buyer number in hand. I can't really complain since he won a $60 bottle of wine on his first try at the ring toss. Anyway- it's all for a good cause and we ended up with some fabulous loot.  That's Molly, me, and Molly's husband Don in the picture (Steve was busy bidding).

Buckybeaverauction2006 Teacher Heidi Ludwig dubbed it as a 'successful and fun event,' with over 340 attendees. They raised over $100K which helps secure classroom technology, support facility renovations, provide scholarships, contribute to teacher retirement funds, and give back to the community by supporting non-profit agencies such as KITH.  The school was started by Molly Carson over twenty years ago and is run out of her home just north of Totem Lake Mall. 

Molly is a woman that has put her entire heart into her 'little school that does big things.'  She and her staff treat each child with personalized attention and focus on allowing those pre-schoolers to not only learn about different subjects, but to gain important life-skills while being part of the Bucky Beaver family.  If you'd like to learn more about Bucky Beaver Preschool, you can call 425-821-5022.


Bubble up at The Bath Bar!

Thebathbar Don't you just love the feel of Park Lane in downtown Kirkland?  Obviously, Sarah Fox and her mom Ami who co-own The Bath Bar do too.  When they came up with the idea for their refreshingly adorable little bath shop, they decided to wait for the location at 128 Park Lane (previously coins/collectibles) to open up. 

The Bath Bar opened in April of 2005 and has established quite a loyal following.  They import directly from holistic and all-natural spas all over the world.  Buying in bulk and re-packaging allows them to offer premium products at affordable prices.  You can spot the place a mile away if the bubble-maker is going out front creating a plume of bubbles all the way down to Cactus (yes, imagine my kids jumping and shrieking wildly). 

Once inside the shop, it's light and fun with lots of beautiful colors and textures in displays that welcome you to come up and touch/feel/smell everything.  My mouth waters from fabulous scents as I walk from one corner to the next.  There's bath confetti, handmade soap, shower gels, sea salts, fizzers, lotions, scrubs, masks, and bath whip (try the Blossoming Plumeria!) just to name a few.  Flavors such as chamomile honey, lemongrass ginger, rain, and raspberry mint surround me.

Sarahfoxbathbarbottles Sarah is so friendly and helpful and loves what she does.  She even takes a bath every night, so she's not kidding around about this stuff (and she's really clean). Sarah says,  "We have a lot of repeat customers.  The people of Kirkland really make an effort to support local downtown businesses, so we plan on being here for a long time."  The Bath Bar also specializes in doing customized and corporate gifts to fit any budget.  They make it easy for you by putting products together and gift-wrapping it too.  Regular customers Kim and Steve Stark say,   "We love the Bath Bar!  Delightful and very helpful staff, and a GREAT place for gifts for special days or for yourself.  We especially love the Swiss Peppermint Shower Spray and the huge selection of amazing bath salts.  What a fun store to have in Kirkland." 

The Bath Bar is open 7 days a week- 10:30-6 Mon-Sat, 12-5 Sunday.  Once summer arrives they stay open until 9 pm.   You can even call (425-822-9787) or email (thebathbar@yahoo.com ) your custom order. I bought some bath whip ($12.95) which is fabulous and also a great hostess gift that included cutely packaged foaming bath rice, confetti bath, and a foot/body soak all for $10.  Whether you need a gift or a treat for yourself, you should make some time to stop in The Bath Bar.  Mention that you heard about them on the Kirkland blog and receive 10% off your first purchase!  Expires April 2, 2006.


Painters Needed

I've noticed a few new coats of paint around town and can't help but think Stevie Wonder must be consulting on the colors.  Here are two that make me feel like I do when I know I'm getting close to Newark Airport........

Zipmarket3 Uhaulargyle

Which is your favorite?  I'm leaning towards the argyle print.  Feel free to share if you have other recent make-overs we should know about.  Send your pics to kirklandweblog@gmail.com