Coolness for the Trail



Next time you are on the Cross Kirkland Corridor, keep your eyes peeled for the image of this little red kite along your way.  With support from Google and the City, the Kirkland Parks Foundation has created an interactive educational experience for anyone traveling along the corridor with a smart phone.  If you left your phone at home and are taking deep breaths and looking up at the sky and trees, then that's pretty awesome.  But let's face it, we live in a connected world. 

As people walk, bike or run the trail, information highlighting points of interest about the CKC Master Plan is available via the “New&Now” app. The app uses geo-fencing to deliver information to users and is available for iOS and Android. The signs along the corridor show where these “beacons” are located - they stretch along the trail from 108th Ave NE to 132nd Ave NE .

This is the first phase of the beacons.  The Kirkland Parks Foundation is looking for input from the community and partners to shape the next phase. The possibilities are endless, from historical information, or facts about local wildlife (including bird calls!), or setting up STEM-related games for kids, or working with a trainer to set up a series of exercise stations along the pathway.  What do you want to see?  Help shape the direction of the project by giving your feedback.

"We want the section of the CKC near Google to be a great place for neighbors and the community at large”, said Darcy Nothnagle, Western Region Head of External Affairs for Google. "This project with the Kirkland Parks Foundation has the potential to give our neighbors new ways to explore this vibrant corridor".

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:

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!

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, 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+.  

Pop-Up Shop: 3D Holodeck Studios


3Dallthree     3Dphoto2  -->click here to see the rotating image. Love this one too.

All of John's bikinis that once colorfully teased the walls of Bikini Beach at 92 Kirkland Ave have been cleared out (as he focuses on his online sales) for a pop-up shop called  Holodeck 3D Studios.  This storefront will be open thru December, so I brought my kids in to put this 3D technology to the test.  They had a blast! For just $20 you can have yourself scanned in 3D Holodeck's equipment which resembles a giant tiger cage with the bars too far apart.  This structure (first photo) houses 89 small synchronized cameras that take a photo of you from every angle, which in a few hours get pieced together to create a 3D rotating image that can be sent to your phone!  You can check some of these out here. 

3DkidsandMorses    3DMorsestatue  left photo=real people, right = sandstone statue

But THEN what do you do with this 3D shot of yourself/dog/girlfriend/Grandma? Share it, of course, on whatever social media tool you fancy.  You can order a 3D sandstone statue!  Check out owners Alex and Dawn Morse both in real life (with my kids) and in sandstone.  These figurines (what a Christmas surprise this could be!) have a 2-3 wk delivery time and cost from $139-519 depending on the size of the sculpture and number of people in it.  These can be used as cake-toppers.  I told Steve we should make one of us for the kids to put on their desks when they go off to college.  

You can find Alex and Dawn at 3D Holodeck's spot on Kirkland Ave from Mon-Fri 5-8pm and Sat/Sun 11-6.  They are also available by appointment or they can bring their mobile studio to your wedding or corporate event. 425-825-1177

Things that are New

CKC Logo with Swoosh
Cross Kirkland Corridor
Community Celebration- say that three times fast!  Monday 8/31 4:30-6:30pm and park at Google (451 7th Ave South, pkg level 1).  There's about $3M worth of new tricked out stuff for the public on the CKC.  Come check out the wide concrete portion of the trail, a fitness area, basketball and volleyball courts, a  playground, and zip line. Event info: or this Facebook page

Do you want to help build a Learning Garden at McAuliffe Park?  The Kirkland Parks Foundation and Seattle Tilth are making it happen! Give a hand here

Sponge Opens in Houghton Village (10600 Ne 68th St)- Sponge is an award-winning language program that is having a free Grand Opening event on Sat 8/29  and Sun 8/30 from 1-5pm.  You will be taken all over teh glove with cultural crafts, tasty treats and mini-classes in Spanish, Mandarin, French, Japanese and German.  Sign up for a free mini-session here. You can also call 206-227-7138 or email [email protected] 

425 Collective- This fall Northwest University will be launching a business incubator/co-working space for innovative people to create, connect and cultivate. There will be start-ups, existing businesses and experts, coaches and consultants. 425 Collective will be not only creating community for these groups but formatting educational events and workshops.  Members can rent office space or a desk.  Contact [email protected] for more info.

FlexPassmockup93(<---who's the rocket scientist behind this? )
Good to Go
wants to know.. Do you have your new Flex Pass for the 405?  Cause that's a fun freeway to crawl on.  It sounds like they might have this whole tolling the 405 bit figured out by Sept.  I'm not holding my breath.  But just in case, here's the way I understand it-- if you want to drive in the HOV lane EVER on the 405 you're going to need a Flex Pass.  It's not the same pass you use for the 520 already, but the new Flex pass works for both highways.  And since this is part of my after-school carpool mayhem, I have just purchased one for $15.  If I have more than 2 (or 3 depending on WHEN) people in my car, I can HOV lane for free.  Because I can remember to manually slide some little bar on my Flexpass while driving, verbally doing homework w/whining kids in back seat while answering a phone call and scarfing down a protein bar.  No problem.  Got it.  Thanks D.O.T.  Can't wait to see how driving improves for little old people like my mom too.  Hold on to your seat-belts, people.



Kirkland's Emergency Mgmt Now on Facebook and Twitter

CowButt   Cowfront

The City of Kirkland's Emergency Management team is excited launch two social media channels for us to follow.  Hurry up and "Like" and "follow" them on Facebook and Twitter.  The intent is to help raise awareness and better prepare our community for hazards.  


Twitter: @OEMKirkland  

The Cow & Coyote (photo) in the center of downtown are helping to kick off the announcement of the T-shirt contest.  No, not a wet t-shirt contest, a 'win a t-shirt' contest.  Very different.  From Weds 11/12 to Sun 11/16, go to their Facebook page or Tweet them an answer to the question, "What should the Cow & Coyote put in their emergency kit?"  Winners announced on Monday 11/17. 

Google Gifts Us WiFi

Google's Kirkland campus just celebrated it's 10 year anniversary with, of course,  a par-taaaaay today where they announced they will be donating over $200,000 to bring free wireless to Everest and Houghton Beach Parks. Until now, it is has been a total drag not being able to play beach volleyball while checking email.  ;-)  The network will expand on our current fiber network and be owned and operated by the City of Kirkland. 

Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen said, “The City of Kirkland very much appreciates all of the ways that Google continues to contribute to the local community and is grateful to Google for this wonderful gift of connectivity.  Free and accessible access to the Internet from public places is important in our modern age, and helps to make Kirkland a special place to work and live.”

Thank you, again, Google.  Can't wait to see what Santa will bring this year......??? ;-)



The Retail Shuffle on Central Way

Wyraqocha Peruvian Kitchen
- seems like we've been waiting a long time for this one at 110 Central, but they just put their 'real' sign up the other day so things must be moving forward. You can get an idea of what they've been up to on their FB  page.  Now, can you say Wyraqocha 5 times fast?


Kirkland iRepair
- in the old Asher location at 13 Central, Kirkland iRepair specializes in repairing all Apple products (iPhone, iPad,iPod, MacBook). There is some very green paint up on the walls now.  And even more green stickers/signage went up today after this photo was taken. It doesn't even matter that they aren't open yet, you can make an appt on their website or call 425-753-3557. I like that their site has tabs for each product and lists pricing and turnaround times for specific repairs.

 Paint & Sip Studio re-lo- Canvas has their sign on the empty retail space next to Kathy Evans at 140 Central Way (where the weird Piroshky drugstore used to be).  Looks like a little expansion perhaps??


@tdcurran : Our Local Apple Expert

@tdcurran (2)   @tdcurran (1)

Some people assume that because I write a blog that I have some sort of technical expertise.  Sadly, that could not be further from the truth.  For example, until last week I was still carrying around my cracked old iphone 4 that I was afraid to upgrade for fear of losing all of my contacts again  (long story) or creating duplicate entries of everyone on my calendar (yes, this has happened before).  Don't laugh at me, I am a magnet for technical catastrophes.  

When I went to upgrade to my iphone 5s, I decided it might be fun to check out this new @tdcurran in Totem Lake (12345 Ne 116th) instead of trekking to Verizon or navigating the sea of blue shirts at the Apple Store.  What is this place???  I didn't know, but it's close and there's parking and it appeared un-stressful and touts being an "Apple Specialist" so that was good enough to get me in the door.

I'm glad I was feeling adventurous that day.  Jacob took my poor clueless soul under his wing and had me out of there tightly grasping my new highly functioning phone with accessories in under and hour.  All of my data made it too, a miraculous outcome for me.  I went back a few days later when one of my email accounts wasn't sending properly (i'm sure I messed it up, see first paragraph above) and they got that taken care of in no time.  @tdcurran, which stands for Troy Curran, the owner, is an authorized service center and retail specialist.  You can head there for quick turnaround, local, personalized service and they honor Apple's warranty.  These guys can fix computers (not ipads or iphones) and you can trade-in or trade-up.  Training classes are also available.  They have been open since Oct and are also a Verizon authorized retailer, and you'll see full displays of Apple's product line available for purchase.  

I love that @tdcurran is quiet, calm and close.  So dingalings like me can take a little time to get it right. They also have stores in Bellingham, Burlington and Issaquah. 1-800-645-2533