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REMINDER: Don’t miss out on the ‘Vision 20/20′ Art event Saturday night!

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 09:02

Affordable art, a buying frenzy, fun food from local restaurants, marvelous music, refreshing wine and beer, great raffle prizes—all for a great cause, and all happening this Saturday night, Nov. 22!

That’s the annual Vision 20/20 Art Sale hosted by the Burien Arts Association this Saturday the 22nd at the Burien Community Center, 147006th Ave. S.W.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Admission is free but donations are welcome.

Browse small artwork by local artists. When the bell rings, grab your favorites and pay just $40 a piece. Proceeds are divided between the artists and the Burien Arts Association.

To see the beautiful art to be featured, visit the Burien Arts Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/335454796625961/

More information at www.burienarts.org or 206-244-7808.

Advertiser Page 2 Books to host 10 local Authors in one day on Nov. 29

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 18:39

Advertiser Page 2 Books will be celebrating Indies First on Small Business Saturday by hosting 10 local authors in its store on Saturday, Nov. 29, to meet customers, talk about their writing and sign copies of their books.

Small Business Saturday is a national promotion designed to encourage consumers to shop at locally owned businesses in their community. Indies First is a campaign to promote independent bookstores like Page 2.

“We’re pleased to have such a great response from writers, who welcome the opportunity to meet loyal readers and those they hope will be,” said Jenny Cole, co-owner and manager of Page 2 Books. “Our customers, in turn, love being able to meet the authors of books they love, and to discover new books and authors whose works they’ll enjoy.”

The 10 authors participating in the event write in categories including mysteries, historical romance, young-adult fiction, paranormal, fantasy and children’s picture books.

The authors scheduled to appear and the times they’ll be at Page 2:

  • 10 a.m.: G.H. Prichard, author of the paranormal books “An Uninvited Guest” and “Hunt for the Witch,” and co-author (with her sister) of children’s books about the adventures of a loveable chihuahua pup.
  • 10 a.m.: David Alan Morrison, author of the fantasy novel “Guild of Immortal Women.”
  • 11:30 a.m.: Lowell Press, author of the young-reader adventure novel “The Kingdom of the Sun and Moon.”
  • 11:30 a.m.: Wendy Delaney, author of the “Working Stiffs” cozy-mystery series, whose titles include “Trudy, Madly, Deeply” and “Sex, Lies and Snickerdoodles.”
  • 1 p.m : Carol Hervin, author of “Boots Finds A New Home,” a children’s picture book.
  • 1 p.m : Peyton Marshall, author of the debut novel “Goodhouse,” a dystopian thriller.
  • 2:30 p.m.: Wendy Wahman, author and illustrator of the children’s picture books “Don’t Lick the Dog” and “A Cat Like That.” In addition to reading from her book she will draw for and with kids; activity sheets from her books will be available for children to color.
  • 2:30 p.m.: Judith Laik, author of “The Unsuitable Bride” series of historical romances set in Regency England, including the latest title, “The Lady in Question.”
  • 4 p.m.: Mindy Hardwick, author of the young-adult novel “Weaving Magic.”
  • 4 p.m.: Katy Ann, author of the humor/romance novel “Babes in Soyland.”

The day-long event is free, and reservations are not required.

About Page 2 Books
Page 2 Books, located at 457 SW 152nd Street in downtown Burien, sells new and used books as well as book-related accessories, greeting cards, games, puzzles and gift items, as well as art produced by local artists. It opened at its present location with new owners Jenny Cole and Bill Virgin in November 2013.

More info at http://www.page2books.com/home/

Resident Virginia Wright celebrates ‘Burien’ in new book, coming out Dec. 8

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 19:18

Virginia Wright

Burien resident Virginia Wright has completed her first book – “Burien” – a compilation of photos and anecdotes about B-Town that will be released on Monday, Dec. 8.

Many locals know Virginia as the co-owner of Phoenix Tea in Olde Burien, as a Board Member of Discover Burien or from her many arts-related volunteer work around town.

And now, Virginia is an Author!

“Given the beauty of the landscape and its ideal location just south of Seattle, it’s easy to understand why Gottlieb Burian set down his 19th-century roots in the land that eventually became the city of Burien,” reads an announcement. “Incorporated in 1993, this gem of a small city sits perched on the edge of Puget Sound, just 15 minutes from SeaTac Airport. With a wealth of arts and cultural groups, an ethnically diverse community of shops and restaurants, a robust medical and wellness community, and city-sponsored public festivals and events throughout the year, Burien offers a wide range of experiences and opportunities for visitors and residents.”

“Virginia H. Wright has lived in the Three Tree Point neighborhood of Burien since 1996, enabling her to see Burien grow and change,” reads the Author bio. “As an arts and culture administrator and heritage professional, she works to support local arts and regional history. Her civic engagement includes serving as chair of the Burien Arts Commission, as well as holding a seat on the board of directors for Discover Burien. Through her volunteer activities, and also as a small-business owner in the Olde Burien neighborhood, she displays unwavering support of Buriens success as a city.”

The book’s Table of Contents includes:

  1. History and Links to the Past
  2. The Abundant Beauty of Nature and Parks
  3. A Thriving Community of Arts and Culture
  4. Festivals and Celebrations
  5. A Diverse Array of People and Commerce
  6. Development and a Vision for the Future

Our brief review:

Burien should be required reading for anyone living in its namesake city!

With more than 200 wonderful vintage photos and stories about our great city, with emphasis on arts, culture, diversity and much more, this book reads like an owner’s manual for residents!

You will learn things you’ve never heard before – including about several colorful residents – as well as appreciate information you may have forgotten.

A must read!

We caught up with Virginia recently to learn more about her new book and venture:

Q: Why did you write this book? What inspired it?
A: While I haven’t lived in Burien as long as some people, I have been and continue to be a passionate supporter of our city, and I wanted to be able to show some of the elements that define Burien as an interesting and vibrant community, with emphasis on fairly recent history. The book was a good way to pack a lot of individual pieces of information into one overall impression of Burien as a great place to be, as a resident or a visitor.

Q: Did you learn anything from writing it? (ie: new info about Burien or its residents)
A: Yes, I connected with other local people sharing their own information and memories, which was a great experience for me. It was also good to work with the publisher and an editor, which gave me the experience of working within a strict set of guidelines and timelines as an author.

Q: How long did it take to write?
A: That’s kind of hard to say. The work was spread out over about 9 months to a year, but a large portion of the work was done in a concentrated burst of productivity near the end.

Q: What’s your favorite part of the book? (ie: anecdote about Burien you didn’t know, etc.)
A: I’m not sure there is any one part I like best, but generally the thing I like most is the overall picture that it paints. Of course it wasn’t possible in a book this size to cover every possible piece of information, or go into great detail, but I’m hoping that some people in reading it will discover things that they did not already know about, and that it might spark curiosity in people to explore more of what Burien has to offer in terms of experiences.

Q: Where/how did you find content for the book?
A: Some of it was information I had collected and documented myself, but I worked with several other people and organizations locally who provided stories and photographs.

Q: Any other books planned?
A: I am currently in the layout stage of a children’s book I wrote, which is obviously a very different type of book from this one. It’s a collaboration with a local visual artist. I don’t have a publisher yet, so it has no timeline, but it is unlike any other book I’ve seen, and I am motivated to finish it and get it out there. I also contributed a written essay on tea and a photographic essay on artisan and antique tea wares for an annual print publication on tea culture that is coming out later this month.

Q: Any advice for other Writers?
A: Even if you’re busy with all kinds of other things, if you have something to say, take the time to write it. The process of organizing your thoughts and assembling them into coherent written form is a valuable exercise, whether you’re working on ideas that are fictional or working on a research based non-fiction piece.

Here are some images from the new book, courtesy Arcadia Publishing:

Burien, $21.99, Arcadia Publishing. Available at local retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com, or (888) 313-2665.

Burien” is available to pre-order on Amazon now for just $16.66 (makes a great gift!):


7th annual Burien Arts’ ‘Vision 20/20′ Art Sale will be Saturday, Nov. 22

Sat, 11/15/2014 - 11:30

Mixing quality affordable art with a fun evening of music, food, wine and “buying frenzy,” the Burien Arts Association will be presenting its annual Vision 20/20 Art Sale on Saturday, Nov. 22.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. at the Burien Community Center (14700 6th Ave SW) for this unique fundraising event.

Local artists each create 20 small works on sale for $40 a piece. Participants browse the art works displayed on walls looking for their favorites. When a bell rings, there is a mad scramble as patrons vie to grab favorites off the walls.

Hors d’oeuvres and raffle drawings add extra fun to the night.

Proceeds are divided between the artists and the Burien Arts Association.

For more details, visit http://burienarts.org/2vision2020/

Children’s Author Sid Shapira visits Advertiser West Seattle Montessori

Sat, 11/15/2014 - 10:56

Children’s Author Sid Shapira recently visited Advertiser West Seattle Montessori.

“West Seattle Montessori had a wonderful visit from Author Sid Shapira and his dog Danny. A wonderful story of a dog finding his forever home.”

Danny Dog the Book
A heartwarming story

Danny and his new daddy have teamed up to write a children’s book, Danny Dog – A rescue dog finds his forever home, about the experiences of a dog searching for his forever home.

It’s the heartwarming story of a little dog found on the street, taken in by a rescue organization, waiting to be adopted and, finally, experiencing the joy of finding his forever home.

Danny Dog – A rescue dog finds his forever home also illustrates the key role pet rescue organizations play in giving pets a second chance and a forever home.

A portion of the profit from this book will be donated to organizations such as Emerald City Pet Rescue, the organization that rescued Danny, to help these nonprofits continue their outstanding work in the communities they serve.

Please feel free to read more here: http://dannyrescuedog.com/about/

West Seattle Montessori School is located at 11215 15th Ave SW.

For more information, visit www.westseattlemontessori.com, or call 206.935.0427.

Also, be sure to “Like” them on Facebook here.

Holiday Bazaar for Relay for Life will be Dec. 6 at Resurrection Lutheran Church

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 15:48

The folks at Relay for Life of Highline will be holding a Holiday Bazaar on Dec. 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Resurrection Lutheran Church, located at 134 S 206th Street in Des Moines.

“This is our team fundraiser to raise money!” reads an announcement. “We have over 40 vendors and crafters!!”

For more info, visit http://relay.acsevents.org/site/TR?fr_id=68810&pg=entry

PHOTOS: On a clear November day, you can see Mt. Si from Lake Burien

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 13:38

BTB Reader David Young sent us the following photos, of which he says:

“It was clear enough this morning to see Mt Si from our home on the south side of Lake Burien!”

Click images to see larger versions/slideshow:

If you’ve taken some great photos lately and want to share them with our ~80,000 Readers, email high-res .jpegs to [email protected]…thanks!

PHOTOS: Some colorful, winged neighbors frolick at Seahurst Park Beach

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 10:30

BTB Reader/Contributor Elston Hill took some great photos at Seahurst Park, of some of our rather colorful, winged neighbors.

“My wife Jackie and I love Seahurst Park now that it is open again,” Elston said. “In particular, the sea birds are great. And this morning at 8 a.m., we had the park to ourselves with the cold breeze and wonderful morning light.”

Here are some pics he took Thursday morning (Nov. 13), mostly of Barrow Goldeneye (click images to see larger versions):

And finally, as many of our Readers may recall, large container ships have recently been seen anchoring behind Blake Island waiting for an opening in Tacoma; here’s a rather artistic telephoto shot of one:

And yes – if you’ve taken some great photos lately and want to share them with our ~80,000 Readers, email high-res .jpegs to [email protected]!

‘The Nutcracker’ is coming to Burien Dec. 6!

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 08:39

Burien’s Momentum Music and Dance Academy will present two performances of “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“Over the past 8 years, Momentum has been developing their rendition of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker into a full-length ballet that has quickly become a Christmas tradition for families throughout the Highline area,” reads an announcement. “There is something for everyone, including Clara and the Party Scene, the antics of Fritz, and the Battle Scene between the Nutcracker and the Rat Queen. Audiences are amazed at Mother Ginger and mesmerized by the beauty of the Snow Scene. The opportunity to see such a beautifully done ballet, presented locally at an affordable price; while supporting the local arts and hard work of students from the Highline area is unparalleled!”

Performances will be at the Highline Performing Arts Center at 401 South 152nd Street, Burien.

For more information or to purchase tickets on-line, please visit www.MomentumDanceAcademy.org.

Tickets are also available at the Box Office the day of the show.

PHOTO: Fishing Boats off Vashon Island

Tue, 11/11/2014 - 14:45

BTB Reader Elston Hill sent us this nice telephoto pic taken from Burien Tuesday morning (Nov. 11), of which he says:

“This morning there are three fishing boats off Vashon Island across from Three Tree Point. Two of them pictured in this photo.”

Click image to see larger version.

Have a great photo you’d like to share with our Readers? Email a high-res .jpeg to [email protected] for consideration!

A new Eagle (carving) has landed in Burien’s Eagle Landing Park

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 20:06

A new Eagle will stand guard at Burien’s Eagle Landing Park.

On Monday afternoon (Nov. 10), a new wooden Eagle sculpture – carved by Artist Jack McEntire – was installed in the parking lot of Burien’s Eagle Landing Park, replacing the one that was stolen last February (read our previous coverage here).

The original Eagle carving was stolen in February, 2014.

The original carving was stolen a couple of weeks after the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, leaving many to speculate it was ripped off by an unethical football fan seeking a trophy piece for their man (or thief) cave. A photo of the stolen art, along with the police report is displayed on the pedestal where the sculpture once sat.

The original Eagle, carved from Western Red Cedar by Artist Galen Willis, was installed at the park in Oct., 2011 (read our previous coverage here). It stood 44 inches tall, and was mounted on a pedestal and housed in a shelter constructed by Eagle Scout candidate Sean Kent as part of a project to complete his Eagle Scout requirements.

The new Eagle is much taller, and its installation is thanks to local residents John White – who lives next door to the park at Forest Ledge – and Guy Harper, who connected John with McEntire. White donated around $1,500 of his own money to pay for the carving and installation of the replacement eagle.

The Burien Arts Commission reviewed and approved the design and presented it to the city council, which voted unanimously to approve.

“This one was also carved from Western Red Cedar,” said ‘Chainsaw’ Jack McEntire. “The wood was recovered from a high altitude in Eastern Washington above the Yakima Valley.”

McEntire spent around a week carving the new creation, mostly with chainsaws.

One difference with this new Eagle is that it’s much more securely fastened than the previous one.

“If the stolen, original sculpture is ever recovered it should be returned to its home at Eagle Landing, but until then this new eagle will stand watch,” John White added.

Eagle Landing Park – located at 14641 25th Ave SW – was established in 2005. It is a six-acre park containing many native plants, mammals and birds, as well as a metal staircase which winds its way down a steep slope to Puget Sound. Eagles have nested and rested in the old-growth conifer forest of the park since 1991.

Here are photos of the new artwork installation, taken by Scott Schaefer (click images to see larger versions/slideshow):

Artist “Chainsaw” Jack McEntire and resident John White post in front of the new replacement Eagle carving at Eagle Landing Park.

McEntire secures the back of the new carving.

The proud new Eagle stands guard.

The talons of the new carving.

McEntire shows his specialized chainsaw he used to carve the new bird.

PHOTOS: More amazing sunset photos taken in Burien Saturday night

Sun, 11/09/2014 - 16:34

New residents and BTB Readers Cindi and Ben Brinson sent us these great photos of another amazing sunset, taken Saturday night, Nov. 8 (click images to see larger versions):

Here’s what Cindi told us:

“My husband and I are new Burien residents (been here since Oct. 1), and I’ve been reading the B-Town Blog to become a bit more familiar with the area.

I noticed some beautiful photos posted, along with a call to submit cool photos/videos to this email address. I thought I’d share some photos we took from our deck last evening (Nov. 8), as we were once again blessed with a glorious sunset over the Sound.

We are amazed every day by how breathtakingly beautiful this area is, and look forward to many, many more sunsets like this!”

BTB Publisher Scott Schaefer took this of the very same sunset from near 1st Ave South and SW 156th Street:

And yes – if you’ve taken some great photos lately and want to share them with our ~80,000 Readers, email [email protected]!

SAVE THE DATE: Moshier Holiday Pottery Sale will be Saturday, Dec. 6

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 16:53

The annual Moshier Holiday Pottery Sale is set for Saturday, Dec. 6, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Moshier Art Center, located at 430 S. 156th Street.

“Twice a year the potters at the Moshier Community Art Center gather to sell their handmade wares,” reads an announcement. “Come to this amazing sale to find hundreds of items such as mugs, bowls, serving dishes, casseroles, garden art, jewelry, planters, and more!”

Come early for the best selection.

Cash or checks accepted.

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

WHERE: Moshier Art Center, 430 S 156th, Burien

INFO: Click here for more information, or visit MoshierArtCenter.org or call 206-988-3700.

Burien Artist creates large-scale sound installation for Pike Street Hill Climb

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 14:22

‘To Scale (10,000 things for Mark Tobey)’ is a new, large-scale sound installation created by Pete Bjordahl – founder of Burien’s Parallel Public Works – and Berlin-based artist Andy Graydon, with funding and support from the Metropolitan Improvement District and Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture.

This public artwork uses voices and tones that flow up and down the stairway of the busy Pike Place Market Hill Climb., which links Seattle’s iconic waterfront with the Pike Place Market between Alaskan Way and Western Ave directly across from the Seattle Aquarium.

‘To Scale’ will be installed for one year, and can be viewed by the public at any time.

To Scale takes its inspiration from Seattle artist Mark Tobey’s “white writing” paintings that Graydon and Bjordahl viewed at Seattle Art Museum’s recent exhibition, “Modernism in the Pacific Northwest: The Mystic and the Mythical.” Tobey began his career painting the teeming aspects of the material world, and slowly moved to a gestural language of white marks that were the traces of those objects.

“He was a keen observer,” Graydon said of Tobey, “so keen that he began to see the sense with which an object engages the world far beyond its physical boundaries. And that is one thing we want listeners to feel with our work, a sense of their city as an active force that emanates from the basic things surrounding them, using sound a medium and a utility.”

Bjordahl and Graydon use voice to beckon passersby along the stairs, with sounds emitting from elements of the stairway’s own public infrastructure. The whispers inspire walkers to stop, look, and listen, and when they do they begin to hear a litany of some of the objects that populate their daily lives, from the precious to the ordinary: “A folded paper boat. A hologram of Dolly the sheep. A Peruvian pottery figure. A Vivienne Westwood corset. A child’s rattle in the shape of a pig. A pyramid of tin beer cans, labels illegible…”

The sense of the words fades to a woven harmony made up of the various voices themselves. What was an endless stream of details is brought to a point of stillness, as the entire stairway takes on one continuous shape in sound.

“We’re creating a form of sound,” Graydon added about the movement of the work, “the voices are naming the myriad details of the world of objects, and what we are pulling from their voices is more like the energies that float like a halo around all those things as Tobey did. Something akin to the eternal aspect which is also the most ephemeral.”

Bjordahl and Graydon and are longtime collaborators whose connection reaches back to a common environment. Raised on the island of Maui in Hawaii, among centipedes and banyan trees, the pair became friends only after meeting again in Seattle while both attended the University of Washington.

A longstanding interest in creating and changing architectural space through sound is a backbone of their partnership and To Scale: (10,000 Things for Mark Tobey) is the latest realization of this concept.

“We’re especially excited to be working in this critical, existing site on the Seattle Waterfront,” Bjordahl said. “Our work addresses public space in all forms and states. Whereas public art is often added to new, larger development projects, we are exploring how the addition of work to preexisting and in some cases forgotten spaces can fundamentally change their character.”

For more information contact Pete Bjordahl at 206.909.9980 or at [email protected].

Advertiser Page 2 Books holding Book Launch event this Thursday, Nov. 6

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 13:13

Advertiser Page 2 Books will be holding a Book Launch event during this Thursday night’s B-Town Beat Art Walk, from 6 – 9 p.m. at their store at 457 SW 152nd Street in downtown Burien.

This special event is to launch two books from TwoNewfs Publishing of Seattle:

  • “New Halem Tales” is a profile of the people of a mysterious Oregon town, as told by five writers in 13 stories.
  • “The Amber Crow” is a murder mystery set in Puget Sound.

Come meet the Authors, have them sign copies of their books, maybe even win a door prize.

Here’s more info in a video:

Click here to view the embedded video.

More info at http://page2books.com/home.

PHOTOS/VIDEO: Sights & Sounds From Night of 1000 Pumpkins

Sun, 11/02/2014 - 19:43

This past Saturday as part of local Day of the Dead celebrations the annual Night of 1000 Pumpkins was held in Dottie Harper Park.

This annual event began in 2009 as part of the closing gala for the Burien/Interim Arts Space (B/IAS) that was located near Town Square Park in downtown Burien.

This year’s event was special as many of the organizers and artists that brought B/IAS to life returned to help increase the interactive and performance art involved in the celebration.

BTB’s photog Michael Brunk was at the event and shot the following video and photos.

Click here to view the embedded video.

You can click individual thumbnails to view larger versions. If you shot photos or video at Night of 1000 Pumpkins we’d love to see your results! Send your images or links to [email protected]. We’ll put together a reader gallery later this week.

Burien Actors Theatre holding Auditions for musical comedy starting Nov. 12

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 17:00

Starting Nov. 12, Burien Actors Theatre will be holding auditions for the musical comedy “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” written by Joe DiPietro with music by Jimmy Roberts.

The show calls for a strong ensemble cast of four actors—two men and two women–who play a total of 58 characters ages 30 to 80.

Characters can be any ethnicity and all actors are encouraged to audition.

SYNOPSIS:

“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” is a witty exploration of everything you ever secretly thought about sex, dating and marriage–but were afraid to admit. This musical comedy is a funny, fast-paced series of songs and vignettes about the trials and tribulations of people trying to connect in the modern world. The scenes basically stand independent of each other, but progress in a fashion designed to suggest an overall arc of relationships throughout the course of life, from dating through marriage, children and old age. While it is a satirical musical revue, it must also be played for the emotional truthfulness of each scenario.

Performances are at Burien Actors Theatre in Burien from Feb. 13 through March 22, 2015 on the weekends. Rehearsals begin in earnest in early January, although there will be about 5 days of rehearsal in December—specific dates will depend on cast and director schedules and will work around the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Auditions are Wednesday, Nov. 12 and Thursday, Nov. 13 from 7 to 10 p.m. Callback are Sunday, Nov. 16 from noon to 5 p.m. There may be additional callbacks on Saturday, Nov. 15 from 2:30 to 6 p.m. for those who can’t attend on Nov. 16.

The stage director is Jane Ryan.

$100 stipend provided.

Please prepare a one-minute contemporary comedic monologue and two short (24-32 bars each) contrasting songs (serious/comedy, ballad/patter), one of which should highlight your vocal range. Bring written music in your key for accompanist, as well as resume and headshot. A cappella is discouraged. Callbacks will consist of cold readings from the script and working with music from the show.

Please make audition appointment: [email protected], 206-242-5180.

Auditions will be held at Burien Actors Theatre, 14501 Fourth Ave S.W., Burien. For directions, go to www.burienactorstheatre.org.

Character Descriptions/Requirements:
The actors play a total of 58 characters. A few of those characters are soppy parents, quarrelling lovers, egotistical one-night stands and senior romantics. So the actors must be versatile and have strong comic timing. All four must be capable of singing both strong solos and close harmonies. Ability to read music and sing some songs a-Capella is essential.

  • WOMAN 1 – female – late 20s to early 30s. Soprano–low A to Bb.
  • WOMAN 2 – female – late 20s to early 40s. Alto–low F# to Db.
  • MAN 1 – male – late 20s to late 30s. Bari-tenor—middle C to Ab.
  • MAN 2 – male – late 20s to early 40s. Baritone—lower Db to upper Gb.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: Highline School Bond…and US!

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 15:00

From our sister site The Waterland Blog:

by Dave Markwell

For the past few weeks, opinions about the Highline school district bond have dominated the comment sections of our local media outlets. Vast and varied opinions exist. Some have inspired me and some have troubled me. All have made me feel something. This is good and is the reason I am writing this letter.

While I have some specific ideas about specific elements of the bond, I also see representative challenges comparable to the larger ones our country faces. My hope is that if we can unravel and understand and come together as a community dealing with a school bond, there may be some hope for our country to do the same.

In the U.S., a very obvious division exists. However, as obvious and palpable as it seems, I think it is also mostly phony. I believe that people are a lot closer, ideologically, than they are vastly different. We all care about our kids and our communities. We care about our families and friends and other citizens of the world, too. We have many important things in common. I think our dialogue betrays this fact. The news media certainly betrays this fact. I think if we lead with the presumption that the other party cares as we do, actual communication can occur. Better ideas will be constructed and problems can be solved, instead of the loud, yet impotent, process of finger-pointing and hollering that moves us nowhere. We NEED movement and we need to come together to get anywhere. We need to “lower our voices and elevate our arguments” to be effective in any way. If nothing else, I hope this school district bond exercise can teach us some lessons…Ok, that soapbox moment is over, but, please think about it.

Here are some specific items of interest to me:

First, anonymous posters bug me. I don’t get it. Each week, I write a little column. My name and photo accompany the header to my words. I claim them. By doing so, I understand very clearly that I need to choose my words carefully. The words that make the page are words that I respect enough to share. Many others words do not make the page. People unwilling to claim their words, to me, implies that they do not respect their own words enough to claim them, therefore, my respect for them is diminished, as well. It is too easy to speak unkindly while sitting in a dank basement, wearing pajama bottoms and drinking a warm diet Mountain Dew, which is how I imagine anonymous posters live. Come out of the basement and live with the rest of us. We need your perspectives and ideas to be taken seriously. Get serious about them. With this in mind, I applaud those folks who publish their names and own their words: Jerry Guite, Don Wasson, P Willoughby, the Castronovers and others, I thank you for making me think and I respect your opinions, even though I happen to disagree with them.

Next, the argument against administrative pay confounds me. I believe we NEED to PAY MORE for talented staff folks. I don’t want the JV team leading our school district. I want the varsity!! I want the blue chip squad!! These people deserve to be paid well! I believe we have some fantastic leaders. I have spoken with many of them and, more than their impressive resumes, they have impressive passion for their jobs. This cannot be faked. They care. They are not perfect. They are perfectly human and I have seen great humanity in their commitment to the immensely difficult task trying to educate a complicated community of students.

Our challenges are as unique as our population. Economic, social and cultural issues confront educators and policy makers every step of the way. Clear, best answers don’t exist. We need folks willing to examine new ways of thinking to face these challenges. We need innovators and explorers driven to find solutions. I think we have them. Pay them. Paying teachers more is a “no duh”, too. We need to elevate the entire culture surrounding education. We need to attract the best people to do the most important jobs in the world. Money helps achieve this.

Third, Des Moines Elementary moving will not end Des Moines. To be clear, I do not want Des Moines Elementary to move. I live in the surrounding neighborhood. My kids have both gone there. In fact, my dad went there in the 50’s. It is a neighborhood institution and truly does connect our families. However, it is an inadequate facility and if over-crowding will only further burden the already over-burdened infrastructure, then move it. I have no concerns about a developer stealing this land from the citizens. I see much potential for some cool community use which could actually expand its capacity to bond our little city. We, the citizens, OWN these properties and have absolute sanction over their use. This is why I am not afraid of the ghosts in the closet of some backdoor developer deal. To me, that’s just silly talk. The people will not allow it.

Lastly, win or lose, I hope this bond issue brings us together. If it passes, I hope the opponents will not waver in their commitment to ensure a high-functioning, fiscally responsible school district. We need these voices always. If the bond fails, I hope that both sides can get together and fix the problems with it. A real opportunity exists for collaboration and cooperation to create something that works for everyone. We care about the same things.

I understand that legitimate financial concerns exist for some folks and if this bond is excessively burdensome, I support your vote against it. If you are just mad at the government, because it has largely failed us and you feel violated and this is the one place where you feel like you might be able to exert your constitutional right to have some say-so and gain a sense of control by saying-so, please pick a different arena for your revolution. This is too important. This bond will help our kids and our communities. Thanks.

– Dave Markwell
Parkside Elementary
Pacific Middle School
Mt. Rainier High School -1987

[EDITOR'S NOTE:"Feel Good Friday" is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who just published his first book called "A Feel Good Life" (buy it on Amazon here). Dave also extols to all neighbors: "Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!" Also, you can "friend" Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]

There’s FREE face painting workshop at Burien Arts Gallery today

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 10:54

Today – Halloween, Oct. 31 – from Noon – 4 p.m., you can learn how to paint faces for FREE at the Burien Arts Gallery, located at 826 SW 152nd Street in Olde Burien.

This is a “drop in” event open to all, so feel free to just show up.

“Also, we would love to have kids stop by for free face painting,” Laurie Haslund said. “I figured that with the weather like it is, maybe some folks would like a dry alternative to going door to door in costume.”

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