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Wednesday, December 3, 2014 -- 4:11 pm Making family memories in the Smokies is easy as pie (pecan, preferred!) The Woodinville Weekly - It's impossible not to have fun in Gatlinburg. Activities abound in this quaint Tennessee town, as well as in its neighboring burgs, from a variety of thrilling outdoor adventures to an array of exciting indoor attractions. And lest we not forget, Gatlinburg is the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the most unique and special wilderness areas in the country. With its extensive lodging, dining, shopping and other services available, the city is the ideal host community for many of the park's millions of annual visitors.
Monday, November 3, 2014 -- 11:48 pm Tigers and monkeys and mongoose, oh my! The Woodinville Weekly - Svelte and graceful, the lithe tigress made her way through the tall grass, her movements barely making a whisper. She had come to check on her three cubs, who were playfully engaged in some sort of comical roll-over game with one another. As soon as her presence registered, however, the cubs stopped their antics and began to dutifully follow their mother. We watched in awe and wonderment as this elegant creature in all her glorious stripes crossed the road in front of our safari jeep. Though we knew the tigress was fully aware of us, she never glanced our away, preferring to remain aloof and distant. The cubs trailed after their mother, one at a time, closely adhering to her path. Two of the trio made it to the other side; the third became wary and then balked, choosing to retreat back into the grass. It only took a moment before the tigress realized the situation and quickly headed back over the road to retrieve her skittish young'un. It was a privileged moment for our group and we reveled in the good fortune and timing that had allowed us to witness this amazing scene at Ranthambore National Park in northern India.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 -- 6:16 pm Bern is a city of superlatives The Woodinville Weekly - If there were a beauty pageant for European capitals, Bern would get the crown. This well-known Swiss city oozes with cosmopolitan charm, history and culture, and consistently gets high marks from visitors. They extol its accessibility, unique attractions and impressive Alpine views, as well as its ample shopping and dining options.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014 -- 4:01 pm You don't have to be a celeb to enjoy the star-studded Swiss cities of Lausanne and Montreux The Woodinville Weekly - It's hard to imagine what a noted British poet, a famous film actor, a celebrated French fashion designer and the lead vocalist of the rock band Queen could possibly have in common. Yet, each of them - Lord Byron, Charlie Chaplin, Coco Chanel and Freddie Mercury - all resided, at one point in their lives, in and around the French-speaking region of Lausanne and Montreux, Switzerland. After visiting this vibrant and alluring locale, I understood why these celebs and others have chosen to call it home.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 -- 3:02 pm Searching for Mrs. Conda; first name, Ana The Woodinville Weekly - I was a woman on a mission when I set out on my Peruvian Amazon riverboat adventure with International Expeditions. Like most of my fellow passengers, visiting the Amazon was a bucket-list destination, one that promised to be a significant and momentous travel experience. My objective was to learn firsthand about this unique environment and its diverse wildlife, as well as about the people who inhabit its lush and verdant rainforests. I had another goal, though, which was to see an Anaconda snake. Odd, I admit, but for some reason, this creature has always held a curious allure for me, after having heard tales of its almost mythical proportions and surreptitious existence. In the wild, an Anaconda spends most of its time hanging out in rivers hunting for food. A solitary snake, it is somewhat shy and not easily seen due to being camouflaged in the swamps and bogs in which it thrives. The Amazon is the Anaconda's home and I knew this trip represented the best opportunity for me to finally come eye-to-eye with this storied reptile.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 -- 2:25 pm EverGreen Escapes Finances New "Adventure Hub" for the Community, by the Community The Woodinville Weekly - EverGreen Escapes has been exploring and sharing the Pacific Northwest and other experiential destinations around the planet since 2006. After years of engaging and consulting "escapists" in a conference room or at a local coffee shop, they have decided to create an innovative "Adventure Hub," a place where travelers can congregate, educate, learn, share, network, and plan extraordinary adventures in their own backyard and beyond. The company is financing this new and innovative take on the traditional travel agency or store with the help ofCommunity Sourced Capital, a local finance company that helps small businesses borrow money directly from people in their own community.
"Our appreciation for the power of travel goes beyond just running a profitable business, we are a purpose-driven group of travel professionals that take an immense amount of pride in designing and providing transformational travel experiences," says Jake Haupert, Founder of EverGreen Escapes. "It is with this very fervor that this vision was born and it is with this inspiration that we'd like to create a space where visitors and local explorers alike come in, engage, find inspiration and take the first step in creating their next travel story. In our 'hub,' we'd like to invite curious and responsible explorers to come in, hang out, have a glass of Washington wine and rub shoulders with our Escape Artists in a more organic and authentic way."
In addition to the on-site EverGreen Escapes staff, the Adventure Hub will be a place where other members of the travel industry collaborate with each other, dream up new itineraries and engage with the community through educational events, guest speakers, destination roadshows, workshops, and evening soirees like the "Escape Your Everyday" Adventure Travel Series. The Adventure Hub will welcome locals to come in and learn about global exploration as well as local opportunities, while visitors to Seattle can come in and see what Cascadia has to offer!
Community Sourced Capital's innovative concept makes it easy for anyone to participate in financing this local "Adventure Hub" by investing in a "Square." Squares can be purchased for $50 per unit, thus opening up this low-risk, feel-good opportunity to our community of ambassadors, past escapists, and other individuals who connect with the experience of travel.
"Squares themselves are simple loans and they act like this: you put $50 in and you get $50 out. It's not an investment, it's not a donation, it's a right-sized mechanism for moving money to a business in your community while still getting paid back," says Casey Dilloway, one of CSC's co-founders.
Community Sourced Capital aggregates hundreds of Squares into a single loan for EverGreen Escapes and manages repayments and monthly updates back to their "Squareholders". Instead of charging interest on loans, CSC charges flat fees to businesses using its lending system.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 -- 2:42 pm You'll fall hard for this Texas burg The Woodinville Weekly - It doesn't take long to realize that there's something special about Fredericksburg. For a small Texas Hill Country town, its attractions are numerous and noteworthy. Visitors have long been attracted to the area due to its picturesque scenery, deep historical roots, outdoor recreation opportunities, eclectic shops, colorful cultural vibe, great food and prolific wine scene. And then, there's the people. You won't find friendlier or more hospitable folks who truly "walk the talk" when it comes to putting out the Willkommen mat to their town. They've even named all of the streets crossing Main to the east so that their first letters spell out "All Welcome," while those to the west spell out, "Come Back." Once you've experienced Fredericksburg, it's easy to understand why visitors return year after year, never tiring of the town's sweet charm and ambiance.
Thursday, April 10, 2014 -- 2:05 pm If these walls could talk... The Woodinville Weekly - Those who make the trip down into Canyon de Chelly in Chinle, AZ will often tell you it is one of the most memorable experiences in their lives. This natural wonder with its mesmerizing scenery and rich history creates a magical milieu that defies description.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 -- 7:50 pm Finally, an all-inclusive resort that lives up to its billing The Woodinville Weekly - I've never been a fan of all-inclusive resorts. In fact, I've made a point of steering clear of them when it comes to hotel options. Everything about them seems mediocre to subpar, from the ubiquitous buffets overflowing with bland food to the lackadaisical service and the neutral, uninspiring décor. Then there are always massive lines and crowds in the restaurants, bars, and pool areas, making peace and privacy difficult commodities to come by once you leave your room. And though you are under the impression that inclusive means "all," you quickly discover that many of the amenities have additional fees tacked on to them. The final insult, however, is being required to wear the proverbial wristband to identify your connection with the property throughout your stay.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 -- 4:05 pm City Council cuts down to two meetings per month The Woodinville Weekly - The City Council plans to start meeting only twice per month on a trial basis. The meeting that normally would have been held last week, on the second Tuesday of the month, was canceled.The Council discussed the change at its retreat in February, said Alexandra Sheeks, assistant to the city manager.
Council meetings often run longer than expected, with the Council taking a vote after 10 p.m. to decide whether to continue the meeting. The most recent meeting, on March 4, lasted until 11:15 p.m. At three of the seven Council meetings this year, the Council hasn't completed everything on the agenda.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 -- 4:00 pm Help NSD name new high school The Woodinville Weekly - BOTHELL -- It's time to put on your thinking cap and help Northshore School District name the new comprehensive high school slated to open in the fall of 2017.
The 9-12 high school will be built, using funds from the February 2014 bond measure, on a 66-acre parcel of land located off 35th Avenue between 188th and 192nd Streets S.E., directly north and northwest of Fernwood Elementary School.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 -- 10:24 am Camp Unity helps people who 'have fallen through the cracks' The Woodinville Weekly - In the late 1990s, Gary Burns had a thriving career in print advertising. Unfortunately, he worked for a company that wasn't interested in adapting to the Internet and social media. Around the same time, he started having knee problems that resulted in three surgeries.The company struggled, and Burns was laid off. He went through a long period of unemployment. His insurance ran out. He ended up homeless.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 -- 10:22 am Council discusses changes to Zoning Code The Woodinville Weekly - Woodinville may eliminate office zones, change the uses allowed in the industrial districts and allow new types of housing. At last week's City Council meeting, consultants for the city suggested changes to the Zoning Code as part of the ongoing process of updating the Comprehensive Plan.
The industrial areas, particularly in the northern part of the city, are home to many types of businesses because of the low land prices there.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 -- 10:19 am Sales tax and vehicle fee would fund transit, roads The Woodinville Weekly - King County will ask voters to approve a $60 vehicle license fee and 0.1 percent sales tax increase to fund transit, roads and other transportation projects.
Last month the King County Council created the King County Transportation District, a taxing district that has the authority to generate revenue. An April 22 ballot measure would generate an estimated $130 million, said Al Sanders, communications specialist for the King County Council, from the vehicle license fee and the sales tax increase.
Monday, March 10, 2014 -- 3:38 pm Truth or Consequences: a tale of Geronimo, hot springs and Hollywood The Woodinville Weekly - Native American history, healing waters and show biz are ingredients for an intriguing story about a unique town along the banks of the Rio Grande in the high desert of southern New Mexico.
Truth or Consequences, which was originally called Hot Springs, has a colorful past that can be traced to prehistoric peoples, who came to the area and built early pit houses and pueblo-like dwellings along the canyons emptying into the river. For hundreds of years, Native Americans met at the hot mineral springs that flowed from the ground where the town is now located. They bathed, socialized and cared for their wounds and ailments, discovering that the waters had inherent healing properties. It is believed that the famous apache warrior, Geronimo, soaked in these springs. In the late 16th century, the Spanish arrived and in time, white settlers began moving in to ranch and mine.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 -- 9:41 pm Come face-to-face with the future at Spaceport America The Woodinville Weekly - Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space at Spaceport America. Photo by Deborah Stone.The mere notion of personal and commercial spaceflight is enough to send anyone's imagination into orbit. But, when you stand on the site of New Mexico's publicly owned Spaceport America, the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport, the visions quickly become an exciting reality.
Through special preview tours, visitors are allowed exclusive access to the Spaceport during its current preoperational phase, giving them an up close and personal encounter with the coming of the Second Space Age.
To understand just how far Spaceport America has come, it's important to go back to the early 1990s when a group of space-minded New Mexicans saw the potential future of the commercial space industry. They joined together to form the Southwest Space Task Force to promote the State of New Mexico as a location to develop an FAA-approved spaceport.
Monday, March 3, 2014 -- 2:00 pm State law lets undocumented immigrants get state financial aid for college The Woodinville Weekly - Photo courtesy of OneAmerica. Governor Jay Inslee signs the Real Hope Act into law last Wednesday. The law will let undocumented immigrants apply for state need-based financial aid for college. Faride Cuevas works more than 40 hours per week doing consulting, data entry and as a summer camp counselor. Ray Corona waited tables full-time until he got a job as a student worker on campus. Maria Cortes works 20 to 40 hours per week as a host and coach at a sports facility.
The three University of Washington Bothell students paid for their education through private scholarships and by working. As undocumented immigrants, they weren't eligible for state financial aid.
"That pressure I felt is huge," said Cortes, a community psychology major with a minor in education and society. "It was an incredibly tough balance for me to go to school full-time and keep up grades and also work."
That changed last week, when Governor Jay Inslee signed the Real Hope Act into law. The Real Hope Act will let undocumented immigrants apply for state need-based financial aid.
The Act also provides an additional $5 million, which would serve about 1,200 students, to the current pool of college aid, said Rachelle Sharpe, senior director for financial aid and support services for the Washington Student Achievement Council.
The Real Hope Act will go into effect on June 11 -- 90 days after the state legislature adjourns. To qualify for state aid under the Real Hope Act, undocumented immigrants must also qualify for deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), a federal program that applies to people whose parents brought them to the U.S illegally as children, and who have pursued education or military service. It gives those immigrants a two-year permit to work in the U.S. and a reprieve from removal proceedings.
Because students must have DACA status to get state financial aid through the Real Hope Act, it means they can be eligible to work after they graduate from college, if they renew their DACA status.
"When you're interacting with these students, it's so clear that this is going to be a win-win for our community," said Jorge Barón, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. "Students will benefit our community through their education."
For example, Cuevas, a junior studying business at UW Bothell, wants to be able to provide for her 15-year-old twin sisters and her parents. She wants a career that will let her help the community, such as corporate social responsibility or education policy.
"It's going to definitely take a lot of stress off me," she said of the Real Hope Act. "Every quarter, around midterms, that's when you start thinking, 'How am I going to pay for next quarter?' You can't just think about midterms."
Corona, who became an admissions advisor at UW Bothell after graduating from the school, had a similar story. In fact, he took a quarter off because he felt discouraged that he wouldn't be able to use his degree after he graduated.
Monday, March 3, 2014 -- 1:58 pm Neighbors, government officials debate merits of Wellington Park The Woodinville Weekly - Photo courtesy of Bill Stankus. Snohomish County plans to build seven sports fields, picnic shelters, trails, a dog park and a playground in what it describes as a community park at the site of the Wellington Hills Golf Course. Neighbors call it a regional sports complex and say it will destroy the area's rural atmosphere. The debate isn't over about Wellington Hills County Park, where Snohomish County Parks and Recreation plans to build seven sports fields, trails and more on what used to be a golf course.
Neighbors, who have formed a group called Neighbors to Save Wellington Park, say Snohomish County Parks Director Tom Teigen is misleading about how the park will affect people nearby and is unwilling to take the community's input.
"Our parks director tends to make a lot of statements that are only half true," said Tina Stewart, a member of NSWP.
Teigen says the park's critics make up a small percentage of the community.
"Most people believe this is a great community asset," he said. "...They're quietly and patiently waiting for us to get done, and they don't want to engage in the big fight with their neighbors."Still, Teigen says he's met with the community repeatedly, at more than 20 meetings, and has changed some aspects of the park design that people didn't like. The Parks Department has reconfigured the sports fields to increase buffer areas and reduce light glare, reduced parking area and impervious surfaces, increased traffic mitigation and road improvements and reduced the number of fields from nine to seven, he wrote in an open letter.
"They took two fields out because they couldn't fit them," Stewart says. She and other neighbors are most concerned with the four lighted, synthetic turf fields planned for the park. "That's not a really significant accommodation."
She cites a 2011 community survey about Parks and Recreation in Snohomish County.
Respondents listed "trails" and "leisure" as their highest priorities; "sports facilities" and "special use facilities" were the lowest priorities.
One point of contention is how much of the park will be developed and how much will be left as open space. Teigen says 25 acres of the 104-acre park will be developed, and 79 acres will be left as open space.
However, the Parks department's Land Disturbing Activity permit (obtained from NSWP) for the park asked permission to clear 47 acres. (Teigen says that much land is already cleared for the golf course, and that the permit is to grade the land for parking and fields, not to clear it.)Another problem, Stewart says, is that the Parks department's financial assumptions don't match the traffic projections for the park. The pro forma about financial assumptions leaves out key assumptions about number of games, visitors, or trips, so it's hard to compare the two. "Without the assumptions explicitly stated, it's hard to ensure that all of the studies were based on the same overall projections for site usage," Stewart said.
But she and other neighbors Read more...
Monday, March 3, 2014 -- 1:56 pm Islamic Center of Bothell target of anti-Muslim messages The Woodinville Weekly - Photos by Shannon Michael. In booklets that had been handed out at an Islamic seminar at the Bothell Library recently, someone wrote hate messages against the Islamic faith and left 10 of these booklets strategically placed throughout the parking lot at the Islamic Center of Bothell. They were discovered on the morning of February 22. It is the latest incident after three previous ones, that prompted ICOB to contact Bothell Police Department and the FBI to ask for an investigation. After an escalation of targeted anti-Muslim incidents at the Islamic Center of Bothell (ICOB), located on the second floor of a building on East Riverside Drive, the Bothell Police Department and the FBI have begun an investigation to determine if the events were bias-motivated.
"The reason why we thought this rose to such a level is because there has not been just one or two or three but a series of events that have targeted this community.
"We took the last one very seriously and called for a federal investigation into the series of events that have taken place," said Arsalan Bukhari, executive director of the Washington State chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), at a press conference held on February 24.
In November 2012 some books related to Islam had some hate messages written on them and were left in a bag near the women's entrance to the center.
"That incident was not reported to police," Bukhari said.
On September 28, 2013, the A-frame sign along the street was spray painted on both sides with black spray paint smeared all over the signage.