« January 2016 | Main | March 2016 »

Prepare to Vote on April 26th

Did you get a chance to attend Screenagers the other night? I thought it was interesting and informative with a splash of humor while being easy to relate to... and also troubling.  What did we learn? Kids spend too much time on screens when their precious brains are growing which impacts things like their grades and social development.  Some kids even become addicted.  I mean for REAL addicted where they can't make themselves stop. There is even a rehab center in WA State. The film discussed having a contract with your kids and also making technology and its boundaries an ongoing conversation in the household. And while we are on the subject of students that require the ability to focus and give their undivided attention, it turns out they need our attention on the upcoming bond measure. Here's the deal... 



You will have an opportunity to vote on an upcoming bond for Lake Washington Schools on April 26.   No matter which way you vote, it is important for Kirkland residents to make their voices heard. 
Lake Washington School district has grown from the 6th to the 4th largest school district in the state in the last year alone.  The district has seen 7 years of growth, adding 625 students per year for the past five years.  That is the equivalent of a large elementary school worth of students every year, without classroom space to support them.  By September of next year the district will be using over 160 portables to educate students.  Portables are not a great long term solution, in that they do not address strain on infrastructure and shared spaces such as hallways, bathrooms, and lunchrooms. 

Overcrowded  <-- is this what OUR classes will look like soon??

A citizen-based, 63-member Long Term Facility Task Force spend nearly a year analyzing the facility's short and long term needs, looking at the most cost efficient building practices, and prioritizing projects.  They developed a recommendation to bring a bond to the public that if passed, would fund the most immediate, high priority overcrowding needs without raising the current tax rate.  This would be achieved by retiring the current bond, using cost-effective construction design principles, and by utilizing state construction assistance.   The need is critical, and without securing funding, the task force recommends additional portables, additional redistricting, and eventually year-round schools to accommodate growth. 
If you would like more information, you can check out this handy FAQ .  Lots of great info/specifics in here:  http://vote4lwsdkids.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/LWCLC-FAQ.pdf

Screenagers at KPC this Weds

Screenagers.  Do you know any?  The kids of today are growing up in a digital world.  I'm pretty sure when I was 13 I was still playing wiffel ball with the neighborhood kids and maybe talking for 15 mins on the mustard yellow phone in our kitchen that had a rotary dialer and a 6 foot curly cord that I could stretch out to our staircase for some privacy. Ahhhh, the good old days.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2016, 7 p.m.
Kirkland Performance Center

This documentary film, Screenagers, (trailer here) investigates the impact that screen time is having on families and explores how learning, playing and socializing online affects teens' developing attention span,  fragile self-esteem and moral instincts.   This is a great opportunity to not only check out the renovated KPC if you haven't, but learn about what's happening with kids and their screens in our society.   We've got our tickets.  Here's where you get yours.

Things You (maybe) Didn't Know


Such as...

NorthwestMarlene (photo credit: NWU)

A Northwest University student took first place at the World Universities Debating Championships in Greece.  Kudos to Marlene Pierce for the big win.  I promise to never get in an argument with her.  Good news is now I know who to consult for advice on debating household chores with my children.

KirklandRotaryDonation (photo credit: Rotary Club of Kirkland)
The Rotary Club of Kirkland and its Foundation recently supported the World Bicycle Relief with a $5000 donation.  WBR supports citizens of developing countries gain increased mobility giving access to education, health care, employment, and basic necessities.  Many recipients are  young women with only their own feet for transportation.  Way to think globally, Rotary of Kirkland.

GoogleInsleeNest (photo credit: Google)
Governor Inslee and Congresswoman DelBene were in town to celebrate Google's expansion here that doubled its size to 375,000 square feet and spans four buildings. The Kirkland campus is home to engineering teams working on high profile Google products such as Hangouts, Cloud, Chrome and Ads.  The new space has features such as a human-size nest and skylight, hideaway ‘cave’ areas, offices, cafe and micro-kitchens, living roof deck, dog-friendly offices, cooking classes, and crepe-making room.  And of course they already had fitness, massage centers and a climbing wall.  I'm sending my application in right now because it just sounds fun to work there.  Maybe I can make their crepes or clean the nest.   Never mind that makes it sounds just like home.  But it is cool that Google is innovating for the planet and also for their employees and community- thanks for leading the way!

Lee's Brickhouse Pub Embraces Kirkland

LeesBrickhousePub (2)
Have you been to LBH yet?  The smell of bacon will make you instantly salivate when you walk in the door.  This new pub opened in December on Juanita Drive and is on its way to becoming a local favorite.  Lee Dumas, an IT guy, always dreamed of owning a bar and asked his motorcycle riding buddy, Athina Mangouras to come consult for him.  Yes, THE Athina- the florist, the broker, the daughter of George from George's on Kirkland Ave and previous owner of pubs and cafes.  She knows how to make you feel welcome and feed you good food.  Their vision is to give people a good value, great atmosphere, and be part of this community for a very long time.

LeesBrickhousePub (6)  LeesBrickhousePub (3)  LeesBrickhousePub (4)

Lee's Brickhouse Pub space is 3000 sf and has been completely gutted and cleverly decorated with re-purposed materials.  When the concrete workers left their form boards behind,  they used those to make a wall.  Wood from palates is on another wall along with sentiments from retired local spots such as items from The Keg and old tables from Lucia.  The charm of rustic iron and wood, helmet light fixtures, and other local finds make this feel like an HGTV remodel success story. Sit yourself at a stool and it might remind you  "Cheers" where everybody knew your name (or at least Ted Danson did). The pub's mission is intended to be a comfortable place where locals will be able to enjoy sports games, live bands, trivia nights, movie nights in the family section and find great food selections from a menu that is being constantly innovated so you can experience something different with each visit.  They love your feedback and employees are encouraged to get to know their customers.  

Expect upper end barfood or 'urban grub' as Athina fondly calls it, created by Chef Cortland Stevens (previously at Google).  The menu can be found on their Facebook Page but so far the early favorites are the 'sidewinders' ($7) which are long chunky twisted fries and the "Chicken & Waffles" which is bacon stuffed waffles, homemade chicken fried chicken, chili infused maple syrup and country gravy ($14.50).  It's kind of cool that they  also just started using a 700 degree stone grill that you get table-side for your 9 oz cut of kobe beef that is sourced from Select Gourmet (the butcher on Juanita Drive, love the local tie-in).  There IS a kids' menu and LBH is family-friendly everyday until 8pm.    Of course there is also a full bar, homemade drink specials and three rotating handles of beer. If you're feeling a bit awesome, there are shots on tap too. Hours are Mon-Fri 11am-2am, Sat-Sun 8am-2am (yes- bfast on the weekends!).  Happy hour is 4-6pm Mon-Fri.  No reservations, just walk on in. " Like"  Lee's Brickhouse Pub Facebook page so you can stay up to date with their menu and events. 425-890-1156. Once our torturous stretch of self-imposed insanity (no alcohol/stricter paleo) is lifted in mid Feb, I'll be taking Steve in to LBH to experience some of this LBH deliciousness for ourselves.

Google's Self Driving Cars in Kirkland

GoogleKirkland Self Driving Lexus Press 2 photo credit: Google

Look around you!  Do you see this SUV? This month Google is launching their self-driving car testing program in Kirkland.  I love that we have this innovative company on our turf and that Kirkland gets to participate in this life-changing technology.  I have so many questions.  Can I take a nap en route? Will texting and 'driving' make a comeback? Carpooling my kids around could be forever changed...........

Here is the press release with all the details:

Google’s self-driving car project has selected Kirkland as the next location for its testing program, with the first of our vehicles due on local streets this month.
Kirkland is the second city outside of Google’s hometown of Mountain View, CA, where regular testing will take place. Last summer, after six years developing and testing the technology, we expanded our program to Austin, TX. Now, it’s time to get even more experience in places with different driving environments, traffic patterns, and road conditions.
Kirkland is an ideal place to expand testing as it has a temperate climate, with seasonal rain for wet weather practice. The hills of the city will allow us to test our sensors at different angles and elevations. Testing in new cities enables our engineers to further refine our software and adapt to these different environments.
Over the last few weeks, our test drivers have been driving a single Lexus RX450h SUV around a few square miles in North Kirkland and creating a detailed map of the streets -- things like lane markers, traffic signals, curb heights, “keep clear” zones, and other information that helps our car understand exactly where it is in the world. Now, our car is ready to take over the driving (with a test driver onboard and able take over, if needed). Over time, if this initial testing goes well, we hope to map and drive in more areas of Kirkland.
Our self-driving software has already been tested over 1.3 million miles of autonomous driving. Our sensors can detect hundreds of distinct objects simultaneously in a small area, even as they move according to different rules of the road—e.g., pedestrians, buses, a stop sign held up by a crossing guard, or a cyclist making gestures that indicate a possible turn.
Each year, 1.2 million people die in traffic accidents worldwide, 33,000 of them in the U.S. 94 percent of accidents in the U.S. are linked to human error. In addition to improving road safety, vehicles that shoulder the entire burden of driving could transform mobility for millions of people, reclaiming the billions of hours wasted in traffic, or bringing everyday destinations and new opportunities within reach of those who might otherwise be excluded by their inability to drive a car.
“Kirkland is a town that prides itself on being open to new technologies that could help improve our daily lives.  We are excited about the potential self-driving cars have to reduce accident rates and to provide mobility for people who can’t get around easily,” said Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen. “We’re thrilled to have the cars here as they do more testing.  It’s a great fit.”  
“Washington State is a place that embraces innovation and the early adoption of technology,” said Governor Inslee. "I was pleased to meet with Google executives recently, and I'm glad they chose Washington for this exciting new program. We’re looking forward to seeing the cars on the road and understanding more about how self-driving cars might someday improve safety and provide traffic relief.”
“We have strong roots in Kirkland having established an office here a decade ago,”  said Jennifer Haroon, head of business operations for the Google self-driving car project.  “Kirkland has always been welcoming to Google and expanding our testing program here will give our self-driving cars some new learning experiences and let us hear from different communities as we develop this technology.”
For more information, Kirkland residents can visit our website at www.google.com/selfdrivingcar, where you’ll find information on how the car works and a feedback form to tell us how we’re driving and how you would like to use a self-driving car.  You can also follow our project on Google+.