Meet our Totem Lake "Litter Lady"


Totem Lake resident, Francine Deymonaz-Taylor, has recently reached local celebrity status for her obsession with cleaning up trash and keeping her neighborhood tidy.  Maybe you've seen her out working or read about her on Be Neighborly Kirkland? It all started this past spring when she noticed random trash collecting on roadsides, sidewalks, and around local businesses near 124th and 116th and thought, "someone should do something about this."  She couldn't 'un-see' the litter, and quickly came to realize she couldn't wait for SOMEONE and decided to be part of the solution herself.  And that's how the "Totem Lake Litter Lady" was born.  In addition to her 2-hour-a-day addiction to cleaning up Totem Lake trash. 

Francine is a nurse, so she had some gloves on hand, grabbed a garbage bag, and got to work.  She filled that bag in less than 3 minutes and quickly realized she needed to bolster her arsenal of litter-fighting supplies.  She has graduated to heavy-duty gloves, a gripper for picking things up, plenty of bags, a pushcart for the bags, and earbuds (good music is a "must" she says!).  When I was sitting at coffee chatting with her, a helpful and appreciative citizen gifted her an orange reflective vest that she wears now too.   She uses nearby dumpsters to dispose of her bags. Francine says, "I hate litter, have OCD, and love to organize.  It's a beautiful thing when your passion and disease are aligned."   Now she picks up trash every day after work for two hours, which makes her feel good because she's getting outside, doing something physical, helping her community, and receiving the visual reward of a cleaner neighborhood.  But this work will never end, the job is never complete.  We need to stop littering, Kirkland.  Teach your kids not to litter.  If you see litter, pick it up.


Our litter probably tells a lot about us, and Francine sees it all and nothing surprises her anymore.  The grossest discoveries are rotten food, jugs of pee (c'mon people!?), and dead animals (not a fun cleanup).  Apparently, the drug and alcohol of choice in the greater Totem Lake area are whippets, Modelo beer, and 5-hour energy drinks. 

Here are some of the items she finds most often:

  • Fast food/candy wrappers- hey little piggies, use a trash can, please  
  • Starbucks cups  - people drink their $7 Grande and then toss the cup out the window?! 
  • Alcohol- creates waste and makes you do dumb litter!
  • Retail theft- found way too often, and Francine feels bad for the retailers in the area
  • Clothes- lots of clothes and underwear. This is worrisome. Or maybe there are more naked people running around than we realized?
  • Signs- politicians/realtors, we're looking at you! These turn into wet/sharp trash when you don't come back to pick them up.
  • Plastic water bottles and straws/their paper wrappers- if only we could use these things less.

Francine was recently informed she will be awarded the "Heart of Kirkland" award by the Chamber of Commerce in December. This is amazing and well-deserved.  But it's not enough. We can't expect one, albeit amazing, lady to tend to our litter in Kirkland.  We need less littering, and more folks on pick-up patrol.  

Reach out to Francine directly at [email protected] if you want to join her or learn how to get some folks started in your neighborhood for some added pride in your community.  She has some group events she is working on putting together soon! (weather permitting ;-)

Spud's New Mural with a Purpose

I was lucky enough to meet a talented local teen named Austin Picinich last summer when he had his own booth at Kirkland's Summerfest.  This young man is unstoppable with his amazing art that he pairs with community-focused and sustainability-centric messages.  Austin's next project is painting a 62-foot exterior wall mural on the side of SPUD Fish & Chips in Juanita to raise awareness for salmon in Juanita Creek. Austin is working with Urban Artworks to host a Community Paint Day this spring.  And, yes, that means you will be able to volunteer and get involved to help make his magic happen.  There will also be a plaque about salmon and the history of Juanita Creek.

In case your inner elf self would like to help support this project, Austin is also raising funds to help cover the cost of paint, permits, brushes, and other associated material costs.  He's a little more than halfway to his goal! Check out his pictures of the upcoming mural we will soon all be able to enjoy.  I'll let you know when they need volunteers this spring!

AustinPicinich (where the creativity begins)



 (digital mock-up)

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.....





Good Stuff in the Kirkland Community

 This post turned out to be a random truckload of information. Glean from it what you will...


Rampathon  <--super awesome ramp builders 
Kirkland resident Alice Lepofsky is a two year old with Spinal Muscular Dystrophy Type II and is unable to walk, crawl or roll over.  This past weekend she was the lucky recipient of a free ramp from the Master Builder Association's Rampathon volunteers from Kitchen Plus and was visited by City Councilwoman Shelly Kloba. Kudos to all of those that came together for little Alice.


Then at sea....Carillon Point Marina is celebrating National Marina Day from 11am to 3pm on Saturday, June 13th.  Here are some great offerings to get you ready for this summer:

·         An on-site Boater Education class in the Woodmark Hotel Great Room, conducted by the King County Marine Sheriff staff for all those folks still needing their Safe Boating Card. (Please sign up, as space is limited.) 

·         Vessel Safety Checks from the King County Marine Sheriff fortenants and anyone else who wants to participate, taking reservations from 9am to 3pm. Inspections are free but reservations are required, so please let us know if you’d like a free inspection and we’ll get you on the schedule. 

Questions or reservations for these boating events: [email protected]


Other random points of interest--

On Sunday, May 24:
At 12:00, there will be an induction of Billy and Cory Roeseler at the Plaza of Champions in Marina Park.  Billy and Cory were the founders of the sport of kite boarding- right here in Kirkland on Lake Washington.  Kite boarding is now known world wide and Cory holds several world records.
From 1-3pm (also 5/24) local historian Matt McCauley will lead an informal history tour of the Kirkland Cemetery.  Meet at the front entrance to hear tales of our community history as well as stories of veteran's who are buried there.
And, last but not least....It's time to get your littlest artists creating something fantastic and crafty around the theme "Summer in the Pacific Northwest." Here are all the details for the always popular Summerfest Young Artists Exhibition 2015.
Attention Young Artists
You are invited to exhibit your artwork at the 
Young Artists Exhibition at Kirkland Summerfest Arts & Music Festival
August 7-8, 2015
The Young Artists Exhibition is a one-day art show that takes place Saturday, August 8th
during the 4th annual downtown Kirkland Summerfest.
The goal is to feature the talent and individual expression of young artists.
The theme for this year's Young Artists Exhibition is "Summer in the Pacific Northwest!"
Ribbons and prizes will be awarded in the following age groups: 5 and under, 6-9, 10-13 and 14-18.
Artwork will be judged on the following criteria:
Interpretation of the theme, originality, creativity and innovative use of materials.
                          Media can include, but is not limited to: oil, acrylic, watercolor, charcoal, pastel, pencil, ink, 
crayon, print work, photography, textiles, clay, glass, wood and recycled materials.
Paintings, drawings, prints and photographs should not exceed 24" x 36"
and must be matted or mounted on foam board or other rigid board for ease of displaying.
Up to two entries will be accepted per artist. (We request that framing not include glass.)
Three-dimensional pieces should not exceed 14" in height
and should include a mount, or be able to stand upright without a mount.
Please submit your artwork between June 30th through August 1st
at the Kirkland Arts Center Gallery located at;
620 Market Street, Kirkland, WA during the hours of 11am - 6pm, Tuesday-Friday or 11am - 5pm Saturday.
Artwork will be available for pick up following the conclusion of Summerfest through August 15th.
Entry forms are available online at
or can be picked up at the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce office or
at the Kirkland Arts Center Gallery.
For questions, contact Anna Braden at [email protected]