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Kirkland House Goes up in Flames

FireWoM Lots of 911 calls came in around 10 o'clock this morning when residents of Juanita saw billows of smoke and flames coming from this West of Market home (photo left, thanks LK).  Luckily, there were no injuries- the couple was able to get out of their house safely.  Witnesses said the fire grew really quickly, as is evident by the burnt up roof, attic, carport, vehicle and motorcycle.  The upper level also sustained some damage and the house is uninhabitable. The cause of the fire is not known, but Kirkland Fire will be investigating.
The cause of my near heart attack IS known.  This house is just a couple blocks away from ours and when I walked out of the gym and saw this in the sky, coupled with the 4 texts and 3 voicemails I had missed, I assumed the worst. 
This is a good reminder that winter-time has the highest incidences of fires, likely from heaters and appliances.  So be extra careful, and it's always a good idea to have a household emergency exit plan in place.  Not to mention your insurance up-to-date! ~j

Want to Know What is Going on Around Here ? ?

I attended a meeting the other day where Dave Ramsay, our City Manager, gave an overview of the development that is (or was) happening around town and its current status.  There were some interesting nuggets of information that I thought I would share with you.  In my own words, of course.

Here's the quick and dirty in no apparent order:

Annexation- City Council doesn't think the citizens of Kirkland are smart enough to understand this complex issue, so they are going to decide FOR us.  HUH? I don't get it.  :-P

Costco Gas Station- Approved- happening in the next 6 mos on the north end of the lot.   Man, what I wouldn't give to have them gas my car and then try to find me a parking spot.    

NE 85th St Improvements- Ramsay said some call this the 'Aurora' of Kirkland- who knew? It will look much better when the power lines go underground, sidewalks are in, a landscaped center lane, street/pedestrian lighting improvements, pickles/onions on a sesame seed bun.   

Burlington Trail- King Co/Port working on acquiring the property- still discussions re: rail vs. trail

Shoreline Master Plan- Still in the works, if you live near the water you should take the time to get familiar with the proposed changes that will impact you.  The salmon's homes may take precedent over yours. Next workshop Feb 28th.

Totem Lake Mall- Leases are running out but no new news here. It's the greatest opportunity that turned into the greatest frustration. I wish someone would swoop in, buy it and turn that place around.  Patience my dear friends.

Marina Park- The decking on the wharf is getting replaced.

Heathmanphotos 013 Transit Center-Getting ready for an extreme make-over that will take a year. This function will temporarily move onto Central Way (by those big poplar trees). Maybe the rif-raf will go away too.

Kirkland Pump Station/Sewer Upgrade- right near the Transit Ctr-also getting re-done- starts in 2010

Library Library Expansion- Library closed today 1/24 for approx one year. Parking on the lower levels of the municipal garage will still be open. Limited library services will be available at Park Place Books.Or you can always head to the library in Kingsgate. You might spot Jason there?

Kirkland Wednesday Market- will be happening at Marina Park this year b/c of the library and transit center chaos.  Sounds like a great place for it to me- so long as those ducks don't get too hungry.

New Traffic Light- Going in at Kirkland Ave/3rd St (by the library/Heathman) really soon.  You never really did know the rules of that 4-way stop, did you?

McLeod Project- (Hector's strip)- Approved, waiting for financing- needs to secure tenants. 

Bank of America site- The city expects a bldg permit request shortly.  All systems are a go.

Kirkland Park Place-Council approved the zoning change.  Touchstone and the Design Review Board need to work thru the site.

Antique Mall- The owner is finally (oops, did I say that outloud?) interested in re-developing the site. Stay tuned. Amen.

Park Lane- no funding now, but there are 'visioning' meetings (bring your ouija board) going on where we can dream up what we'd like it to be for the future.  Ideas such as creating a "festival style street" seem to be favored.  You can take an online survey.   It's not too late to get involved.

BUY LOCAL- you'll see this theme coming at you more and more.  We can all help keep our city's businesses afloat by spending the few dollars we have left close to home.

There. Now you know what is going on around here! ~j

What Goes Up Must Come Down......

HolidayLightingDowntown08 012 The holiday de-decorating party is happening this weekend!!  Take a break from trying to balance your checkbook and get a breath of fresh air with some fellow Kirklanders. Bring your helpful hands to the Kirkland Downtown Association (111 Park Lane) at 9:45 am on Saturday the 24th for some coffee, pastries and instructions. At 10:00am you will head out to remove the decorations with wire cutters, gloves, dressed warmly and hopefully an extra ladder if you have one handy.  At  11:30 everyone meets at Zeek's for a slice of pizza and a soda.

If you are going for extra credit, at about 12:30, Julie with the Downtown Association needs about 10 of us to help her pack everything away for next year. If you have a pick-up truck, that would really help to get the stuff over to the storage area which is just around the corner. 
The Rabuchin family will be there- even the eager-to-help 5 year olds and counterproductive 3 year old.  Please come join in the community effort!  If you can, please RSVP to this email address so we know we've got enough peeps:  pattyjustloveskirkland@kirkland.net . ~j

I'm Joining the Kirkland PD

KirklandPoliceCar 003 Well, maybe not literally, but for 12 weeks I'm going to go through some behind-the-scenes training.  And you can too!  The Kirkland Police Dept Citizens Academy runs every Weds between Feb 4 and April 22nd from 6-9pm and they're taking applications now (it's free!).  If you are over 21, live or work in Kirkland and have no prior felony convictions you can come learn about officer training, investigations, special response and firearms instruction.  I might be a sharp shooter and not even know it yet. My future is bright.  Still waiting for my background check to clear, haha, college doesn't count right?

For an application or more info, check the city website  or  contact Sgt. Robert Saloum, Community Services Division, at 425-587-3401 rsaloum@ci.kirkland.wa.us or Officer Allan O'Neill at 425-587-3451 aoneill@ci.kirkland.wa.us.  I'm looking forward to this adventure and will be sure to share it with you- I can spy on the police (j/k Chief!), pick up a few new skills (do these tactics cross-over to parenting?)  and maybe even pull YOU over on my ride-along (friends beware).~j

Jason: Kirkland's Kissing Machine?

A few of you dinged me for not commenting on Kirkland resident Jason Mesnick's "Bachelor" premiere on ABC last week, so I figured I'd give you two weeks worth of my commentary now -and I'm SURE you will fill in the blanks!  First things first, he seems to have maintained his sincere, honest, likable and totally adorable persona from last season- not to mention he's clearly been spending some time at the gym. Way to go, Jason! These factors must be what forces these bachelorettes that are practically strangers (but all feel like they know him) to do otherwise ridiculous things to capture his attention. I feel like it's elevated this season, the competitive nature of it, and as we saw last night the claws are starting to come out.

As I'm watching his interactions with each of these women, I can't help but wonder what he's really thinking.  Does he have it narrowed down to 3 or 4 in his mind already?  Because he is definitely doing a kissing survey of as many of them as possible.  Which seems perfectly logical if you want to walk away from this thing with a wife, right?  These ladies are love hungry, so let's crank it up to warp speed.  I agree with most of his choices to evict from the palace so far- the 'vision board' girl (weren't those from middle school?), the obsessive wedding planner, but why is that giddy stalker hygienist still there?  She must be for the entertainment value.  I had to laugh last night when the cameraman panned into Nikki's cleavage as Jason was telling her she has "amazing attributes, and they're very obvious." 

At this point, everyone seems to have a different favorite choice which is interesting to hear.  I know you men pretend you don't care, but all my girlfriends keep telling me that their husbands are on the end of the couch waving their arms and yelling at the show as if it was a football game.  Very suspicious.  As for the bachelorettes, the Jersey girl makes me laugh now and again (Lauren), and I think that Melissa from the blimp date was cute and fun.  Others seem more mature- Jillian, Stephanie (has she had some work done?). The jury is still out for me, but  I can tell you that it wouldn't have been too difficult to choose 3 more to oust last night.  Definitely still some dim stars in the mix that grate on my nerves, but I think Jason is on the right track, so long as he doesn't let each of the girls opinions about each other distract him.  

This might be the year Steve and I have to break down and get a TiVO.  Despite my curiosity about Jason's fate, it sure is good to see "24" back on too.  Kiefer is out of jail and I love that far-fetched action packed show.   But we're sticking with Jason on this journey- which of the ladies is your money on??? ~j

J-Bay Didn't Skip a Beat

JBay 003 The J-Bay Bar & Grill, formerly Juanita Bay Pub on NE 120th, is open and their bar is attracting a consistent crowd already.  The parking lot looks jammed every night! The first thing they did right was that they got the s-t-i-n-k of the previous establishment out of there.  I don't know how they did it- aerators, sandblasting, fresh paint, Glade plug-ins, magic spells??  Whatever it was, it makes a huge difference to inhale some clear air when you walk in.

They have definitely up-scaled it from its previous stature.  There are lots of TV's and a big open bar area with lots of seating and plenty of tall boobily fishnet ladies to fetch you a cold brewsky or martini.  It's no wonder there's mostly dudes in there, but with the football games going in HD, it's a fair argument that could be the lure too. Sad to say it's not the food- I had some creole prawns and Steve had the roasted vegetable penne pasta - maybe the dining area is bland to match the cuisine, but they are still working the kinks out I'm sure. If I was looking for a casual local spot to have a beer (and maybe a burger would have been a better choice) and watch a game it would be a GREAT spot to hang out in the bar.

So, go try it out for yourself and let us know what you think.  Steve is already asking to go back- he may have mumbled something about the thigh-high patent boots but I can't be sure ;-).  ~j

Happy 2009, Kirkland!

PolarPlunge2009 011 There was quite a turnout this morning for Kirkland's Polar Plunge 2009, despite 45 degree lake temperatures.   In previous years, I thought you had to submerge your head for it to count, but today when I registered they advised me to only go in up to my shoulders.  I spotted a Viking, a man in Superman under-roos, and some folks that looked like they just rolled out of bed and threw on their bathrobes. But I didn't see anyone carried away in stretchers so that must mean the event was a success!  I also didn't see a few of my wussie friends (you know who you are!) that 'changed their minds' at the last minute.  Whatever!

PolarPlunge2009 014 Here are some pics for you.  Check out some of the faces, haha! Steve took some video and all you can hear is everyone screaming.  In excitement? Surprise?  Pain?  It wasn't THAT bad.  
Oh, and mark your calendars for the downtown de-decorating event (to get all the holiday lights down) on 1/24 from 10-12.  Lots of volunteers needed, more details in a future post. ~j