Kirkland Urban Honors Eric Shields

Many Kirklanders knew and loved Eric Shields, our former Planning Director for the city, who sadly passed away late last year from cancer. He was instrumental in contributing to the vision for Kirkland Urban, and therefore it has been decided to dedicate the Great Hall in the Urban North building to Eric.  An honor well deserved. This space will be available to the community for scheduled events soon.  The bleacher-style space can accommodate 35-50 people and will be available on a first-come first-serve basis through the on-site management office. 


Opioid Abuse Awareness & Strategies

Opioid Abuse Prevention

Pay attention.  This is serious stuff.

The Lake Washington School District PTSA and members of the Kirkland Fire/Police Departments and Northwest University are putting on an Opioid Abuse and Prevention Strategies Panel Discussion on Tuesday, January 29th (7:15 – 8:30 PM) in the LWHS Theater.

The goal is to provide awareness that opioid abuse knows no social boundaries and can impact any family.  And also to share direct, meaningful and actionable strategies for parents to communicate with their children.  The panel members, including the father of a LWHS grad who was lost to a heroin overdose, all have experience with the pain and suffering opioid misuse brings. 

For more information, contact Vince Armfield at or Irene Neumann, Family and Community Engagement (FACE) Chair, LWHS PTSA at


KPD Issues Statement in Response to Menchie's Incident

In case you haven't heard about the recent situation that transpired at the Menchie's on 124th, you can see the Seattle Times article here.  And also the 205+ comments from your 12K best friends in Kirkland here or plenty of them here too. Our KPD Chief, Cherie Harris, and City Manager, Kurt Triplett, just issued an official response.

I'll leave my commentary out today, focus on taking some deep breaths, and just let you know that I am thankful for each one of you this Thanksgiving.  We'll get past this incident and do better, because the warmth, kindness and depth of community (not to mention the amazing sunsets) is what makes Kirkland a place to be grateful for. And I always have fun sharing that with you. 

IMG_1677 <--quick pic from sunny Turkey Trot last weekend

Summer Fun Begins in Kirkland

Concertsinpark 001
Kirkland Summer Concerts
-start next week! It's worth it just watching happy people dance to the beat of their own drum.  Tuesdays 10-11am at Juanita Beach starting 7/10 - and Thursdays 7-8:30pm at Marina Park starting 7/5. Go get your groove on! Full schedule here


2008FourthofJuly 004 KIrkland 4th photo circa 2008- thank you Penny Sweet for always making this an amazing event for our city!

4th of July Parade & Fireworks-  nothing is better than the 4th of July in downtown Kirkland. "Celebrate Kirkland, United We Stand" is this year's theme. The schedule goes something like this: children's decorating event starts at 10am in the Marina Park Pavilion.  The kids' parade starts 11:30 at Market and Central and the old fashioned parade begins at 12.  Grab a bite to eat and then roll back down for music in the park is at 5. 

Fireworks begin about 10:15 pm.  Leave your dog, personal fireworks, alcohol and vehicle at home.  DO BRING your patience for large crowds, your bike/scooter/bus pass, a flashlight and your love of country and appreciation for all things patriotic. Maybe even a device to listen to the STAR 101.5's live musical synchronization to the firework display.  The boat launch will be closed. I sometimes cry when I hear the national anthem or watch fireworks, so there's another weird quirk you know about me. 


Kirkland Art Walk
- Friday July 13th 5-8pm. Galleries and businesses with a pink balloon are an easy way to spot who is participating. Enjoy local art and music around downtown Kirkland.


Summerfest 2018
-Mark your calendars for Aug 10th-12th.  Always a weekend not to be missed: music, art, kids stuff, food and beer gardens. Details evolving here.  

SeaFair Weekend-
Aug 3-5th.  Hydroplane races, war planes, stunt planes, Blue Angels soaring over your head and inexperienced drunk boaters everywhere- this is notoriously a weekend to be remembered. Someone always loses a foot.  Did I say that outloud? Stay safe out there people- fun times. Who wouldn't want a front row seat?



Sustainable Airport Master Plan Community Forum: Weds June 20th

PortofseattleSAMP photo credit: Port of Seattle  

Did you know that SeaTac is the 9th busiest airport in the US? Not to brag, but we're pretty popular.  SeaTac serves 46.9 million passengers annually and is expected to jump to approx 56 million by 2027.  Ummmm....yes, you added correctly...that's another 10 million people we have to figure out how to accommodate.  And the Port of Seattle would like your input  on the potential near-term projects to meet demand, the long term vision and considerations beyond 2027 and let you know how to get involved in the scoping process for the environmental review. 

They are hosting a Sustainable Airport Master Plan (SAMP) community forum  and want to hear from us Kirklanders! (isn't that so sweet?) Now is your chance to let the Port of Seattle and fellow community members hear your priorities, challenges and questions (noise pollution, community access, environment/sustainability, etc).  You're not allowed to skip and then complain later. 

Here's where you go:

BONUS- while we are talking airport info, it only seems fair that I share my special SeaTac parking secret with you that I've been using often.  Did you know the Port of Seattle offers parking coupons right on their website?  A friend told me this last year and it's awesome.  You just fill out the form right before your trip and they instantly email you a coupon for $20/day parking (I think it's usually $29?). Do it every time you travel and park there.  You're welcome. :-) 

Lots of Clapping to do-

KITEGoogle   KITE STEM Individual Winner photo credit: Google

The results are in!  The KITE STEM Challenge awarded over $40,000 to 15 schools in the Lake Washington School District last week that will go towards increasing STEM programming.  Over 3,000 students participated and answered 300,000+ STEM-related questions between April 23rd and May 13th.  Big applause to all of the schools who participated and kudos to Google and the Kirkland Parks Foundation partnering up to offer this educational application wrapped in park-filled fun. Here are the winning schools (way to go Kirkland!)

  • First place high school ($10,000) - Redmond High School
  • Second place high school ($5,000) - Lake Washington High School
  • Third place high school ($3,000) - Tesla STEM High School
  • First place middle school ($6,000) - Kirkland Middle School
  • Second place middle school ($3,000) - Environmental and Adventure School
  • Third place middle school ($2,000) - Redmond Middle School
  • First place elementary schools ($3,000 each) - Kirk Elementary & Thoreau Elementary
  • Second place elementary schools ($1,500 each) - Rose Hill Elementary & Twain Elementary
  • Third place elementary schools ($1,000 each) - Alcott Elementary & Lakeview Elementary
  • Participation prize ($500 each) - Blackwell Elementary, Juanita Elementary & Stella Schola Middle School

LW10artwright photo credit: Sheryl Vincent
In other Kirkland butt-kicking news, the 10U LW baseball team won 1st place in the Art Wright Memorial tournament. Way to go boys!

Clapping is also required for Asuraphong Liengboonlertchai, owner of Simplicity 1-2-3 better known as "A", whose giant smile and kind heart will be missed.  He just sold his business but before you start crying you should know that you will still see him at Hallmark Realty, and that an employee bought his store and will continue to serve our community.  Here is his announcement, which I completely love because you can almost hear his voice as you read it.  I stopped in to give him some extra hugs today because this person is truly a gift to Kirkland- stay tuned for a write up on our conversation from today.

And....when one of my advertisers is having a party, you need to know.  I clap for free fun. Grab a friend and go little ones!  Neal Smiles Orthodontics is doing their summer celebration on June 27th from 3-5pm with a bouncy house, reptile man, coffee stand and an ice cream truck.  9750 NE 120th Place, Suite 5/6. 425-823-1234



Google and Kirkland Parks Foundation Team up : the Kite STEM Challenge


(photo credit: Chris Neir)

All K-12 Lake Washington School District students are invited to join the Kite STEM Challenge that begins on April 23rd and lasts 3 weeks until May 13th.  Here's a quick acronym review: Kite=Kirkland Interactive Technology and STEM=Science, Technology, Engineering, Math.  And there is CASH PRIZE MONEY on the table to the tune of $40,000 total to go to the winning schools' STEM programming. Thanks to Google and the Kirkland Parks Foundation, kids will be able to able to answer fun and grade appropriate STEM-related questions on an app where they get even more entries in the contest for questions that are answered from within a Kirkland park.  Yes, that's right, get outside with your technology and STEM knowledge (bring your umbrella) - the more questions you answer (even wrong answers are rewarded!) the more entries you submit, the better the chances for your school winning.

OK. Of course you want to do this. How?

  • Register at
  • Students then download the KITE STEM app to their mobile device (app store for iOS and Android)
  • Start answering STEM questions (preferably in a park!) on 4/23

Questions about this outdoor STEM challenge? The Kite STEM press release is here.  Or @KITESTEM on Facebook and Twitter.

Did somebody say "Vodka?"

You know you are just back from spring break when the clouds don't bother you so much and you drive through downtown Kirkland and do a double-take at this sign. I had to take my sunglasses off to realize this does not say "Vodka."  Good job capturing my attention though!  It's not vodka, but there is a Kirkland Downtown Wine Walk coming up on April 20th. Tickets and details here.



And also kudos to the amazing magical Kirkland fairies that made sure our local Easter Bunny statue didn't feel left out this season after all..


Student Safety in Kirkland

I think it's safe to say we are all thinking of things a little differently, and urgently, after the tragic event at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida two weeks ago.   Dick's Sporting Goods and WalMart are taking matters into their own hands and tightening up the reigns on their gun sales. Kroger just joined in and raised the age limit on their gun sales to 21.  I didn't even know Kroger sold guns?!    So you can run out for milk, bread and a gun all in one stop?   Kinda gives me a stomach ache.  Just today our President decided to surprise us with his newfound support of more stringent gun control laws.  I don't want to get into a political debate here, but at a local level, there was a "Moms Demand Action" meeting in Kirkland on Sunday that was standing room only at Kirkland Middle School (photo) so this is clearly front of mind for many in our community.  And don't mess with the mamas.  

I have friends that live in both Newtown and Parkland, both sought-after communities that will forever be changed.  Students are scared to go to school.  So of course this gets me thinking, how can we impact the bigger picture?  But also drilling down on the issue, what are we specifically doing here in Kirkland to keep our kids safe?  Our schools have ALICE training for staff and also students where appropriate. Which is good info for reacting to a situation, however,  I'd prefer to insure we are focusing enough efforts on prevention.  Many of our schools actively promote the concept of "see something say something." Our district has a Comprehensive Safety Plan and each school has a building-level plan that aligns to the district plan.  There is also a safety committee that regularly meets with law enforcement, first responders, safety experts, building admin and PTSA parents reps to review and enhance safety protocols. 

But here's the interesting thing that I learned.  Our city has one Kirkland Police SRO (School Resource Officer) assigned to each of our high schools that are 'available to assist' at the middle and elementary schools as needed.  This model is not consistent across the district, rather it depends on the jurisdiction of the school.  For example, Redmond (also in LWSD) has full time SRO's at Redmond HS, Redmond MS and Rose Hill Middle. Bellevue, which is not in our district but another Kirkland neighbor, also has SRO coverage at the high school and middle school level.  Funding and resources are required from both the school district and the jurisdiction to fund these SRO positions. LWSD Superintendent Dr. Traci Pierce said they are  currently looking into what would be required to implement standardized SRO support for our schools regardless of jurisdiction. They are working on putting together some upcoming community forums on the topic as well. Mayor Amy Walen responded to my inquiry stating "we are looking at what measures we can take at a local level and what we can do to coordinate with the schools. This is extremely important to all of us and at the top of our minds."

I encourage you to comment below, but let's focus on productive ideas to keep our kids as safe as possible in our schools. What ideas do you have? What have you seen other places? I think having an SRO stationed on site with vehicle presence on property at high school and middle school levels should be a minimum requirement. My sister lives in Texas and every person has to get 'buzzed' in during school hours at their elementary, although their school is much newer than some of ours.  Just for kicks I asked my step-mom (who works for a PD in NJ) what protocol was for their SRO headcount.  They have 2 SRO's in the (1) high school in addition to security staff, 2 in the (1) middle school and 1 in each of the (5) elementary schools.  Wow.   How about more headcount for counselors so that they have time to get to know the kids?  Anonymous reporting mechanism?  (is there an app for that?)  Looking forward to productive conversations on the subject so we can continue to keep our kiddos safe. 


Around town


This sidewalk expansion project is complete at the corner of 98th Ave NE and Juanita Drive.  You can finally walk next to your friend instead of single file from Juanita Bay Park to Juanita Beach Park.  My fear of getting run over by a distracted driver has been reduced by well over 50%.  Also, Juanita Drive has some improvements of protected bicycle/pedestrian lanes on the uphill which was very much needed (lifesaver, literally). 

TurkeyTrot 001 <---If that doesn't make you want to do it, I don't know what will. My girls at the Turkey Trot circa 2008.

Hopelink's 17th Annual Turkey Trot 5K is coming up on Sunday November 19th at Marina Park at 10am. New this year- timing chips! Run, walk or trot to help support emergency services and holiday assistance to low-income families in north and east King County.  Register here.

Want to help turn downtown Kirkland into a Winter Wonderland this weekend? Say that 5 times fast.   It's this Saturday- all elves are welcome-here's the sign up genius. Speaking of elves, Santa will need some help responding to all of the children of Kirkland's letters that go into his downtown mailbox starting the end of November. Would you like to help his team of writers? Volunteering and holiday cheer at its best! 

My next post will be even colder than it's been outside lately. Negative 229 degrees to be exact. And there might even be a present involved.....