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Jennifer Winter Photography Joins Us in Downtown Kirkland

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Nestled off the beaten path at 133 Lake Street, Jennifer Winter just opened her own photography studio. But it's not the stodgy carpeted blocks and stuffed animal kind of place my mom always dragged me to.  The open beamed ceiling, gray cement floors and crisp white walls give it a modern feel, but it's the photography on the walls that pops you in the face and you can't take your eyes off of them. "I didn't really get the studio so I could shoot here, my intent was to have a place to show my work and review proofs with clients," said Jennifer, who has been photographing professionally for the past five years. There is a big projection of photos rotating on the wall, which she uses to review and re-size with clients. Most of her work happens on off-site locations such as downtown Kirkland, the Arboretum, Pike's Market, the Seattle Central Library or client's homes.  

Jennifer specializes in babies, children and families.  She has an eye for capturing the moment and turning it into artistry- that expressive laugh, the pouting eyes, or jesting with a sibling. She takes a variety of shots in each session that are playful and always moving.  With three young children of her own, she knows how to connect with kids and can anticipate their next move.

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As I walked around taking in the photos, albums and holiday cards she has done, it's easy to see that Jennifer is dedicated to delivering a flawless finished product and she isn't scared to use her own creativity and design-sense along the way.  She can give guidance on clothing selections (bright solids look so vibrant!) and takes the time to understand what you want to do with your photos so  there is a goal in mind.  "I like to help people come up with a way to enjoy their photos," Jennifer says.  She even custom-designs holiday cards ($3-6/ea) and has lots of samples in the studio. Session fees range from $125-250.

Right now she is open by appointment only, however, she plans to be in the studio during this week's Wednesday Market from 2-7.  So, after you've picked up your veggies and flowers, walk on over to the studio. Otherwise, you can find her on Thursdays thru June from 3-6pm.  If you're due for some family photos you definitely should check her out.  You will not be disappointed.  It is just behind/below Via Lago, (but you can cut through the parking lot by 'Olive You', the old Marina Park Grill). There are lots of great shots on her website and you can always email with questions too.


The $10,000 quiz for Kirkland's 4th of July

This only takes 3 mins. Promise. Kirkland will get one credit for every person that takes this 8 question patriotic quiz (you don't have to get them all correct).

Thanks to Liberty Mutual, the city that has the most credits wins $10,000 towards their 4th of July celebration.  You can only vote once, so pass it along!  Then we won't have to beg for (as many) donations later!! Hurry, the winner is announced the week of 6/14. :-) j

Kirkland's Metropolitan Market- A Sneak Peek

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You guys are in for a treat! Literally. And you won't have to wait too much longer. I had the opportunity to preview the new Metropolitan Market in Houghton the other day and it looks deliciously fantastic. I've got to say, Kirkland, we deserve this. :-)

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The old Houghton Market has been remodeled and whipped into 2010 Metropolitan Market shape. When you step into the new 27,500 square foot space you'll first see a kiosk where their culinary artist team will be giving cooking tips, food classes and meal suggestions while featuring seasonal items.  From the coffee shop to the seafood to the charcuterie counter (dedicated to salumi salami and artisan cheeses, yum, photo left) and produce, everything at Metropolitan Market has a focus on taste and excellence.  There is a mix of organic and conventional, local and international findings, all with one main goal: What TASTES the best? Take for example,  their "Peacharama" event at the end of July/early August where they seek out the sweetest tree-ripened hand-picked peaches they can find, some with a brix count up to 22. I need to write that on my calendar. Or the eggs that have been laid just two days ago. Or their exclusive rights on an award-winning New Zealand cheese, custom butcher cuts of beef and even non-homogenized milk in glass jars.  There are 1500 wines to choose from, including some Metropolitan Market labeled vinos for around $10.

Concierge service abounds with plenty of staff to help you make culinary decisions in the aisles.  There are quick check stands and car-side service (and yes, some parking lot improvements!).  And if there's a product you'd like them to bring in that they don't have- no problem, just ask! You can grab one of their famous prime-rib sandwiches and sit at the outdoor patio for your lunch.  Or sign-up to use the free community room downstairs and take advantage of the wi-fi.  There's even a kitchen shop downstairs. 

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The Metropolitan Market will be open 24 hours every day.  It was really fun meeting some of their leadership team (photo: Mark Takagi/Specialty Sales Director, Darrell Vannoy/VP Sales & Merchandising, Brad Halverson/VP Marketing) .  Every person I met was overflowing with smiles and enthusiasm about opening this store in our community.  I've honestly never seen people so excited about groceries before.  But then I realized, this is clearly not just about groceries, it's a culinary experience. 

The inaugural ribbon and cake cutting is June 3rd @ 9am.  Then the grand opening parties and events keep on coming: Thurs June 3rd 4-8pm, Fridays June 4,11,18 4-8pm, Saturday June 5,12, 19 11-2 and 4-8.  RSVP for the festivities here.  If you've been to one of the other 5 Seattle area locations, let us know what you think! And, of course, comment away after the opening too.  See you there! ~j

1 Green Planet: Schedule Your FREE Recycling Event!

At our house, there is a small corner of our garage dedicated to items that we don't know how to dispose of properly. With spring cleaning upon us and 1 Green Planet on our side, we might just get 2 cars in the garage this season.  1 Green Planet is a new non-profit recycling organization. You can drop off items at their location in Issaquah at any time or schedule a recycling event for your neighborhood. Eastside events are currently being scheduled for Saturdays and Sundays through the summer and fall.This is a FREE service, although donations are encouraged. You can offload things such as: computers, printers, fax machines, VCR's lawn mowers (empty oil), exercise equipment, appliances (any size!), game systems, Christmas tree lights, car batteries, BBQ's, etc.

1 Green Planet participates in the Washington e-cycle program and is also a certified Microsoft refurbisher. Refurbished items and profits from metal recycling are directed towards local food banks and shelters.  Everything is done locally.

If you would like to schedule an event for your neighborhood or have questions about what items can be recycled, contact Susan Principe or call 1-866-422-3755. What a brilliant idea.  I think Steve will be jumping up and down with delight when he read this. ~j

Pajama Bowl Raises $90K

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Way to go, Sleep Country USA! This year’s Pajama Bowl events, the company’s largest annual fundraisers for area foster children, raised over $90,000 (see news here ). Over 700 bowlers participated, and in a PJ Bowl first, a couple got engaged (photo above, CONGRATS to Julie Milburn and Dave Johnson!) at our event in Kirkland. The events took place over two weekends, and the funds raised will go to provide extras to foster kids that are often unmet due to financial constraints, including reuniting with a sibling at summer camp, playing a sport, taking a trip to the zoo, or working with a tutor.

And speaking of fundraisers, I just made a correction to the Metropolitan Market post.  Tonight is a sold out private event-sorry. I got so excited I just started typing. There will be a public Grand Opening in June so I'll let you know when that's happening. 

Metropolitan Market GRAND OPENING!


OMG, I'm an idiot.  Second correction of the week.   This is a sold out private event.  I got so excited about Metropolitan Market I just started typing.  Public Grand Opening is coming in June- stay tuned!

What better way to join our community than to have your opening celebration benefit Hopelink? This Thursday 5/13 from 6-9:30 pm there will be 6 top area chefs, over 45 local and national food partners, 12 wineries and 4 breweries helping to kickoff the opening of the Metropolitan Market in Houghton.  Reservations for the event are $75/ea and must be made online here or call 206.923.3703.  There will also be live music and $1 tickets that enter you in the raffle for the ultimate foodie gift basket.  Guests will receive a gift bag filled with delights and food coupons. Welcome Metropolitan Market! ~j

AG Bell Students Fed Elsewhere...

A lot of AG Bell Elementary parents are f-u-m-i-n-g right now.  For those of you not familiar, Bell is located between 116th Street and Forbes Creek Dr (within Kirkland city limits). On May 4th, the Lake Washington School District announced changes to the configuration of elementary, junior high and high schools along with a change to the feeder school for AG Bell and Audubon

So, two things are slated to change in 2012:

(1) schools will run K-6, 7-8, 9-12 (instead of current K-6, 7-9, 10-12) AND

CORRECTION: in 2012 the schools will run K-5, 6-8, 9-12

(2)  AG Bell students will go to Finn Hill Jr. High and Juanita HS (instead of Kirkland Jr. High and Lake WA HS) while Redmond's Audubon students will be coming to Rose Hill Jr. High and LWHS.  These changes were initiated as a result of the need to address a boom in student enrollment.

Now to the fuming part.... 

AG parents were notified via a memo in their children's backpack after the decision had already been voted on and passed.   I've heard the principal didn't even find out until 4 hrs prior to the parents. One Bell parent says, "We were not included in meetings where this was discussed.  This is a neighborhood filled with families who have specifically moved into the area to send their children to AG Bell, KJH, and LWHS but we were given no voice in this."  Some are worried about their property values and are left wondering why their kids would have to walk by KJH in order to get bussed to Finn Hill JH. Bell students also already have friends and connections from their sports teams that align into the same feeder schools. Another Bell parent takes a hard stand stating, "I expect as a tax paying citizen in this district that this decision will be revoked until the community has a chance to repeal with alternative solutions."

Dr. Chip Kimball, LWSD Superintendent has stated, “If we don’t make any changes, we will need over 100 portable classrooms at the elementary level and about 28 at the secondary level to house the expected enrollment and to provide space for all-day kindergarten in the next five years. Changing feeder patterns reduces the need at the secondary level."   Dr. Kimball expressed great empathy when I asked him about this situation, but said with the way the population is spread and the overcrowding they are faced with, there just aren't any viable alternatives.  He knows this is really tough and plans to be holding meetings at the impacted schools this month.

So, here's what you can do:

-Go ahead and comment/discuss here to share ideas and chat about it.

-Concerned families should attend the LWSD Board Mtg on 5/17 @5:30pm/16250 NE 74th St, Redmond. CORRECTION: There is no public comment at the 5/17 mtg.  That is done once a monthat the regular meetings so the next opportunity will be on June 7th, 7pm.

-Affected families will rally on 5/20 at 6:30pm in the AG Bell Gymnasium/11212 NE 112th St, Kirkland

-Send a note to the communications office or to Dr. Kimball directly.

I have added a question/answer session between myself and Dr. Kimball that I thought you might find insightful as well:

Janis: Did LWSD follow proper protocol by not making this decision a public process with a vote?

Dr. Kimball: Yes, we followed proper protocol. There is no requirement in the law for a public process around a feeder change such as this one. The school board, through their policy governance structure, delegates this decision to the superintendent. With something as significant as this, however, I would not propose such a change without the board’s full support. This was discussed at public work sessions where we discussed facilities. No public attended those work sessions.  


That said, we believe that public processes are important, and we engage in those processes frequently and diligently. But what we don’t want to do is engage in a public input process unless there are viable options for the district to consider. In this case, there are not viable options. We have core community values around neighborhood schools, and also have a commitment to conserving public resources. Other options included closing schools on the west side of the district and building multiple schools on the east side of the district, or doing a complete reboundary of all schools across the district, which would impact significantly more families, and result in much of the same outcome. Neither of these options was in the best interest of students at large. So a public process wasn’t used, as really only one option appeared to be viable.

Janis: How was the boundary decided? Some think it would have been more logical to follow the geographic zip code boundary? (98033 to Lake WA/98034 to JHS)


Dr. Kimball: The decision was based upon looking at demographic data coming up through the system, and what we are projecting based upon births, development, attrition, and historical trends. At the meetings I will be providing the actual enrollments and show how we got to where we are. We have known for some time that this has been a problem, and have been putting off this shift. With terribly small JHS and HS campuses, those schools have a very difficult time offering a full complement of academic programs and electives. JHS is projected to be well under 1000, and Finn Hill is under 450, while Redmond High is projected to be over 1500, and Evergreen is projected to be over 1000. It is also important to note that Aububon at one time fed into LWHS. This was changed 17 years ago (1993) when Eastlake was opened to balance from West to East with the opening of a new school.

Janis: For some this decision doesn't seem logical when your child would be walking past Kirk Jr High to get to their bus stop to go to Finn Hill.

Dr. Kimball: In looking at the map there are no students that will be walking by Kirkland to get to a bus stop to Finn Hill. For Bell students, there is a geographical boundary that makes getting to Kirkland JHS actually more difficult. For some students, KJH and FHJH is equi-distant. For others, KJH is closer, but that is true in a number of locations. For all Bell students, JHS is closer than LWHS.


Janis: Will there be any flexibility in this decision-ie, grandfathering current families or other creative solutions to ease the pain of this transition?

Dr. Kimball: All of our high schools have an open variance policy. We are intending on continuing that policy. That means that any student can attend any high school. If you attend outside your regular high school, however, the district does not provide transportation. For Jr. High, there is less flexibility. We do not want to split families, so we will be considering sibling issues so that two students aren’t going to two different JHS or HS campuses at the same time in the same family. The changes impact current K-4 students only.

Urban Coffee Lounge Celebrates the Kirkland PD

May 9-15th is "National Police Week" so Urban Coffee Lounge in Juanita Village is rallying local businesses to donate towards an account that would enable the Kirkland Police to have their coffee and food 'on the house' for the whole week. UCL has GREAT coffee, competitive baristas, and it is also part of their mission to be an integral part of the community.  And we all know the cops love coffee and donuts (I had to slip that in there).

Seriously, there have been some tragic times this year for WA law enforcement, so I think we're all feeling especially thankful and proud. If you would like to donate, just tell your UCL barista that you would like to contribute to the 'police account' and be sure to leave a business card.  If you are already in the UCL loyalty program, you can transfer free coffees to the police account that way too. 

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While we're giving out compliments, let's give a shoutout to one of our newest additions- Officer Holland- in the photo above (they even let him drive one of the Chargers!). Congratulations to Officer O'Neill for making Detective and to Lt. Ursino who just got promoted to Captain. He doesn't look a day older than he did in his graduating class photo (left. or is that Ponch? No, it's Ursino).  Luckily these guys have a good sense of humor. :-)

Thank you, Kirkland Police for keeping us safe and also to Urban Coffee Lounge for helping to recognize all of the hard work these guys and gals put in.  ~j

Cinco de Mayo at the MARKET ! And other fun things..

It may not feel like spring yet, but let's just pretend it is and proceed with the festivities.  Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo and OPENING DAY of the Kirkland Wednesday Market.  It's at Marina Park again (I'm so glad they kept it down there!) from 2-7pm.  At 4pm there will be some live music and a chef demonstration starts at 5.  But where's the margarita machine? hmmm.

Other fun things to know-

May 8th @ 8pm: Grammy-winner, Jon Secada ,is performing at the Kirkland Performance Center. Get tix here. If you don't, it will be "Just another day without youuuuu......."  (my jokes are really bad today)

May 9th- Kirkland Half Marathon & 5K at Juanita Beach Park. Registration is OPEN.

May 8th & 9th 10am-6pm- Kirkland Artist Studio Tour- Grab your mom, give her a hug and take her

I'm busy working on my series of workout posts for you now.  My 'gym tour' of Kirkland has wrapped up and I've got lots of golden nuggets of information to sift through and compile.  I have managed to sweat at each of the following places that I will share with you (in no particular order) : Columbia Athletic Club, XGym,  24 Hr Fitness, Gold's (frustration sweats), Crossfit (ass-kickin' sweat), Element 5 Fitness, Curves (more of a glow), Endzone Athletics, City of Kirkland class, Fitness Together , and Kiva (hello annexation!). Everyone keeps asking me who the 'winner' is.  There's not one winner- they are all so different that YOU will be the winner by not having to try out all 11 of them b/c I've already done it for you. Instead, you can read my summaries and decide for yourself! ~j