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!]

WLB Real Estate Sponsor Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Northwest’s Open House – set for this Sunday, Nov. 3 – is a beautifully remodeled home in Burien.

This home has a perfect layout and yard for entertaining, with three bedrooms and two full baths on the main level.

With a work area in garage and a big lot, this house offers privacy and possibility.

Divide the land for two additional lots (zoned rs7200) or enjoy the park like setting in the back yard.

This home has all the extras. 3 fireplaces, oversized closet in master, port package.

Lovingly maintained, and only 15 minutes from downtown Seattle!

Here are some pics (click images to see larger versions/slideshow):
















Here are the details:

WHAT: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Open House

WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 3, from 1 – 4 p.m.

WHERE: 13105 12th Ave South, Burien, WA 98166


  • List Price: $349,950
  • MLS Number: 703848
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 2
  • Year Built: 1947
  • Approximate House SqFt: 2,270
  • Approximate Lot SqFt: 28,025

Site Features:

  • Bath Off Master
  • Ceiling Fan(s)
  • Dble Pane/Strm Windw
  • Dining Room
  • French Doors
  • Jetted/Soaking Tub
  • Security System
  • Skylights
  • Deck
  • Outbuildings
  • Patio
  • RV Parking

Marketing remarks:

Dont miss your opportunity to own this beautifully remodeled home in Burien.

Perfect layout and yard for entertaining.

Three bedrooms and 2 full baths on the main level.

Work area in garage.

Big lot offers privacy and possibility…divide the land for two additional lots (zoned rs7200) or enjoy the park like setting in the back yard.

This home has all the extras, including 3 fireplaces, oversized closet in master, port package.

Lovingly maintained and only 15 minutes from downtown Seattle!

Click here to see the full, detailed listing.

Click here to view all of Berkshire Hathaway’s Open Houses.

Des Moines Auxiliary of Seattle Children’s Hospital will be holding its annual Holiday Bazaar on Nov. 21 and Nov. 22, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Des Moines United Methodist Church.

There will be door prizes, raffles, Santa Pictures, homemade baked items and homemade crafts for sale.

Delicious cooked food will be for sale in the kitchen for snacks and lunch.

Please come for a fun time and to get some Holiday shopping done!

Des Moines United Methodist Church is located at 22225 9th Street South, Des Moines,WA.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Waterland Blog nor its staff:]

Dear Editor:

I am writing to support Proposition 1 bond measure on the ballots of voters in the Des Moines, Normandy Park, Burien, Seatac, White Center, essentially residents in the Highline Public Schools area.

Some of my neighbors would consider my family newcomers since neither my husband nor I were born or raised in this area. However, for the last 25 years we have raised 4 children in our Des Moines home. Those four children include a Washington State University graduate, a University of Hawai`i – Hilo graduate, and a Mount Rainier High School Sophomore and Pacific Middle School 8th grader who attended Des Moines Elementary School. I have spent quite a bit of time on the Des Moines Elementary, Pacific, and Mount Rainier campuses. I’ve also attended a variety of events and activities at Highline, Evergreen, and Tyee campuses. There is no doubt that those schools are in desperate need of repair. The difference between the Mount Rainier campus and the Highline, Evergreen, and Tyee campuses is extraordinary.

Over the past several years, every time community input has been sought regarding our schools, or a bond measure has been discussed and/or proposed, I have learned that the Des Moines and Highline campuses are in such dire need of repair that it is extremely cost prohibitive to simply continue with a band-aid repair, renovate, or add another portable. Our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, teachers, and staff in ALL Highline schools deserve to learn and work in safe and healthy environments with updated technology and arts education equipment and curricula.

We need to celebrate our community growth, but equally important, we need to prepare our schools for continued growth. I urge my neighbors and friends to vote YES with me, vote YES for Highline families, and for our future.

Melissa Ponder
Des Moines Resident

[Have an opinion or concern you'd like to share with our Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, please remain civil and, pending our review, we'll consider publishing it.]

by Jack Mayne

Judge Veronica Alicea-Galvan last week told the Des Moines City Council her court recently has had a large increase in both domestic violence and drunk driving cases.

In her seventh annual report to the council, she said the “significant increase” was through September.

“We had 156 domestic incidents that have been filed with this court – those are just the ones filed with this court,” Judge Galvan said. “Through the same period last year, we had 113.”

In addition, she said that during 2013 her court had 35 driving under the influence (DUI) cases but to date this year, there have been 55 DUI cases.

“I don’t know why we are getting so many and these are very serious DUIs,” Galvan said, and those cases have contributed to the increased number of days Des Moines used the jail system. The jail increase is partly because DUI cases have mandatory jail time.

This is important, she said, because DUI and domestic violence cases are the “most significant, impactful cases that a municipal court will deal with,” said Galvan. “These are the ones that impact public safety to the greatest degree, these are the ones that present a significant threat to the safety of our community.

“We see it as impacting children in our schools, we see it impacting the residents and we see it impacting neighbors, and friends and families,” the judge told City Council members.

No advocate
Judge Galvan said the victims of violence cases are not being represented because a former victim’s advocate has left the city’s employ.

Now these people are “not being advocated for.”

“The victim advocate is important because that person can make contact with them, get them on board from the beginning and, potentially, make (the outcome) more successful,” she said.

The judge also said discussions about adding city police officers would affect her court.

“We have to continue to be innovative in how we approach what we have so one of the things we are looking at is having a part-time probation officer who will deal with some those probation issues that we ask people to do, which is go to treatment, hook them up with resources that are available. Right now, the person who monitors all that is myself. I am not a trained probation officer …”

Judge Galvan also told City Council members that hers was the only district or municipal court in the state when Spanish speakers can conduct their case in their native language, something she said she was particularly proud of.

Des Moines United Methodist Church will be holding a Halloween Trick or Treat Event this Friday, Oct. 31, from 3 – 6 p.m.

There will be Games and Trick or Treat tables.

Costumes welcome but not required.

Hosted along with Destination Des Moines.

Des Moines United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall is located at 22225 9th Ave South.

More info at or call 206-878-8301.

by Jack Mayne

The Des Moines Marina fund has for several years been used to supplement money in the city’s general fund and now Marina tenants are pushing for this to stop before the facility is doomed before its time.

Todd Powell, president of the Des Moines Marina Tenant Association, told the Council at last Thursday night’s meeting the “general feeling (of its members) is a grave concern for the marina infrastructure itself.”

He said the Council should reduce the transfer of marina funds to the general fund “so it can re institute the saving program which is needed to fund the capital improvement plan which will give us an opportunity to extend the marina’s life beyond its current lifespan, which is about 10 more years, to about 40 or 50 years to benefit the whole community.”

Bill Linscott, of the tenant group, said the marina is a valuable asset to the community, “and we are concerned about the funding” of it. “If you look at history, the marina has been a revenue producer” but now there is a deterioration of the facility due to the use of the marina fund on general city problems.

Not a new problem
Mayor Dave Kaplan said transfers are “not a new issue” and the draft of the city’s upcoming budget does reduce the transfer of funds from the marina fund to the city general fund by about $200,000 a year.

“It is not down to the level we would hope to get it down to,” he said, but it is “an initial step” and hoped to get it down over the next couple of years.

“The city as a whole is struggling financially in terms of being able to provide the services that everybody expects, in terms of police, parks and everything else, Kaplan said.

“The other thing that is important is increasing revenues,” the mayor said. An issue that “kind of got sidetracked early on, is the discussion about paid parking.

“The real issue isn’t paid parking, the real issue is about non-tenants in the marina helping to pay their share to support the marina. A lot of people are under the misperception, – a lot of our residents are under the misperception – that their tax money goes to support the marina and, in fact, that is not the case. You know and we know, that it is you, the marina tenant owners, who are the ones who pay to maintain and support the marina.

“What we need to do is to be able to educate the residents of our town and the visitors” that they have to contribute something for the events at the marina, some of which are not near the water.

“Maybe that is paid parking, maybe it is a tax increase, maybe it is some other way to come up with funds,” he said.

There will have to be a way for the citizens who have not contributed to the marina to do so even as the marina people have contributed to the city’s general revenues, Kaplan said.

Losses over the years
Harbormaster Joe Dusenbury told the Council the Marina fund posted a loss for of about $115,000 per year for each of the past three years and an estimated $200,000 in 2014.

“The impact of the losses on the Marina operating fund reserves has been predictable,” he said. “At the end of 2011, the fund balance was about $1.45 million, at the end of 2013, the fund balance was $1.41 million and it is expected to be about $950,000 at the end of 2014.”

The “final component” of the fund balance is the “unrestricted funds” which are transferred to the Marina capital improvement fund. There were no unrestricted funds in 2013, nor in 2014 to transfer to the capital improvement fund, Dusenbury said, adding there will also be no unrestricted funds in 2015 either.

“The biggest problem is our moorage revenues, the marina’s biggest source of income,” he said.

Since 2009 they have been averaging about $2.3 million a year, Dusenbury said, and this year the revenues are expected to be a little below that, “at $2.23 million, down about $140,000 from the peak in 2009.”

“Other factors that affect moorage revenues on an annual basis are fishing opportunities, weather, food prices and consumer confidence, in general. These other factors are contributing to our moorage revenues.”

Other sources of money for the marina, he said, include guest moorage fees, sales of fuel, lease fees and parking fees, all of which are affected by the same factors as the moorage revenues.

Mayor Kaplan asked about guest moorage income this year.

“In 2014 we expect to meet our budgeted goal, and slightly over that,” Dusenbury said.

Haven’t kept pace
“On the expense side, one of the biggest issues is the debt service,” he said. “Debt service is the second largest one and it has increased the most since 2009. Current bond payments are about $820,000 a year … payments have increased about $200,000 since 2009.”

Why has it gone up?, Kaplan asked.

The city has already refinanced for a lower rate and that can only be done once, said City Manager Tony Piasecki, plus there is a waiting period.

Dusenbury said one of the problems was in the 2007 master plan there was an assumption that moorage revenues would keep pace with the increasing debt service costs.

“They obviously haven’t done that,” he said. “In general, our revenues haven’t been able to keep pace with our expenses. The situation has been made worse by the variability of the revenue stream, especially the permit moorage revenues.

“Even though the marina is recovering from the recession, weather, fuel prices and the availability of fishing still affect our revenues,” Dusenbury said.

The marina is not longer capable of maintaining the capital improvement plan set out in the 2007 master plan, he said.

Marina to support general fund?
Dusenbury said the Council needs to “make time to discuss the purpose of owning and operating the marina.”

“If a budget is a plan that is supposed to reflect the Council’s priorities, the marina’s budget would suggest that the marina’s top priority is supporting the general fund,” he said. “If that is the case … when we talk about some of the things we’d like to do, (it) becomes what generates most revenue and or what decreases expenses the most.”

The guest moorage program is a very visible program – “you have all been down there and seen the boats from all over Puget Sound,” Dusenbury said.

The program was begun to raise awareness of and to bring visitors to Des Moines from other Puget Sound communities, helping downtown businesses and complements local events such as the Farmer’s Market.

“But, it is not the most revenue we could get out of the guest moorage area,” he said. “We could actually increase our revenues and take some of the variability out of our revenues if we just turned our guest moorage area into permanent moorage,” Dusenbury said. He said he would keep a bit of guest moorage on the activity and north float.

Dusenbury said that could increase revenues about $25,000 a year, and decrease costs of marketing the guest moorage and cut seasonal staff.

He said while the uplands development of the area was a positive, rental and lease revenue, in the short term, was not going to help support the city’s general fund.

Marina parking fee
Councilmember Bob Sheckler asked about parking and Dusenbury said his recommendation was to implement paid parking immediately. He said the staff has been taking a license plate survey during the summer and discovered that 70 percent of the cars sampled were not from Des Moines, so imposing parking fees would help finance needed marina sea wall restoration and non-residents would pay the majority amount.

Councilmember Jeanette Burrage said if parking fees were set on the marine, the fees would be needed downtown, “otherwise people will just park downtown and walk to the marina.”

Sheckler asked if there has been a study to see if the guest marina had been analyzed and Dusenbury said he didn’t like the idea of cutting current success of the program.

“We need some clarification on what the role of the marina is,” he said. “Are we supposed to go out there and be the face of the city and try to bring people in, are we supposed to help that downtown business core or are we just there to support the general fund. If that is the case, then yes, it makes a difference on the way we approach things.”

Councilmember Victor Pennington said he could see there is “frustration and confusion” on the marina, “but in the terms of marketing, it needs to be a partner with the rest of the city … it needs to be a partner with your downtown group, it needs to be a part of the city as a whole because we need to more on target in marketing our city and making our city as a destination …

Dusenbury said the percentage of the city’s residents who are boaters see the marina’s value, but the large majority of people who are not boaters need to see the value of the marina to the entire city.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Waterland Blog nor its staff:]

I grew up in the Highline School District and graduated from Mt. Rainier High School in 1981. I have a deep commitment to the Highline School District as I received a quality education and had opportunities to participate in many activities. As a parent of children in the district and a small business owner in Burien , I support the bond.

Des Moines Elementary and Highline High School are over 90 years old and it concerns me that the students in those schools attend class in aging buildings that require costly maintenance. In addition, these buildings do not have the capability to support new technology that is needed for student learning. All of our students deserve to attend school in a safe environment with up to date technology. Teachers deserve to teach in buildings that allow them to be effective everyday. The passage of the bond will ensure this for students and teachers.

As a small business owner, I’ve watched this community grow and if we want this momentum to continue, we must reinvest in our neighborhoods and our schools. A quality school district is key to bringing new businesses and families into our community. Parents want to live and stay in communities that have quality schools for their children to attend. Failure to pass this bond will be costly not just to the district but to the entire community, as buildings will continue to deteriorate, teachers will choose to go to other districts and families will seek schools in other areas for their children. Let’s not let that happen – join me by voting to approve by November 4th.

– Dan House
Owner – Tin Room Bar and Theater
Owner – Dan the Sausageman
Mount Rainier Grad ‘81

[Have an opinion or concern you'd like to share with our Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, please remain civil and, pending our review, we'll consider publishing it.]


Luck was with us as rain and wind held off during our traditional season’s last day for the Chili Cook-Off. It was a huge success again this year, thanks in part to the wonderful volunteer groups; the Market Foundation, Des Moines Dollars for Scholars and Southwest Seattle Business & Professional Women’s Foundation, who all will share in the proceeds.

This year all the prizes were voted on by the tasters.

  1. First Place (team 11): Lifepoint Church
  2. Second Place (team 9): 12th Man Chili (Wesley Homes)
  3. Third Place (team 4): Chili Today – Hot Tamale (Judson Park)

Best Team (team 10): Nibbles

Over 400 tasters participated in this year’s event. First place won by 20 votes, second place won by 20 votes and third place won by 2 votes.

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This being the market’s third season at the North end of the Marina, it continues to grow and improve. Both shoppers and vendors comment that it is THE place to be on a Saturday. Market manager Rikki Marohl said “this year was devoted to improving vendor selections by adding more farmers, as our name implies.” People surveys show visitors continue coming from a wide area of South King County. Opening Day saw the’s Truck-In, drawing a record crowd of 8,000 shoppers. Food Trucks are a popular addition to the market.

At the end of the season saw the beginning of the Healthy Eating program from the partnership between the King Conservation District and the farmers market to help feed low income seniors in our area. Each qualifying senior is given a $10 voucher each week to use at the market. This program is funded thru the 2015 season. Look for a campaign next spring to inform the public about the program and where they can sign up.

Next season will be the markets tenth anniversary. This winter the market staff will be working on lots of new and fun things for the 2015 season, and of course, sampling new market wines to bring to our customers.

The Farmers Market Board would like to thank all the volunteers, sponsors, vendors, patrons and the ever present Marina staff for helping to make this the most successful season ever.

Board President Wayne Corey added:

“The market has become such an integral part of our community and with the establishment of the Endowment Fund two years ago, it will continue into the future.”

Hope everyone enjoys the holidays and check for this column starting again in the spring.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Waterland Blog nor its staff:]

This country was founded by declaring, in part, that we in America have an inalienable right to “Life, Liberty, and a pursuit of Happiness”. I can think of no better way to accomplish this goal than to educate our children in every way possible and give them every opportunity to reach that All-American dream.

I live in the South of Burien and my children attend Des Moines schools (North Hill and Mount Rainier). With previous bonds we’ve replaced the old North Hill and Mount Rainier schools and my kids have benefited. While my oldest attended Pacific, my youngest may attend a brand new middle school in the Manhattan neighborhood. As a parent, I can tell you I would rather have my kids attend these newer, modern, schools instead of a 91-year old school like Highline high school.

I have walked the halls of the old North Hill and Mount Rainier and can tell you the marked difference in old versus new. Everyone who has seen the old versus new would agree that the learning environment and potential it gives to our kids is night and day. I want to say the same thing for Highline High school. With a new Highline we will give our kids those same opportunities to succeed. More than that, we tell our kids that they are worth this investment. And, in today’s economy, the investment will go farther since costs are lower.

With this bond we will give more of our kids every opportunity to learn and succeed in a more supportive environment.

I also want to be upfront with you… all of those signs you are seeing about that “60%” increase are a complete lie wrapped in a shred of truth. Those who oppose this bond are counting on your fear and are willing to do whatever they can to get you to vote their way. They will attack me in short order about $1.12 being 60% of the current rate and they are correct. However, with every chance they get the water is muddied. They push this 60% increase and IMPLY it’s your total tax bill that is going up by that much. To be 100% clear that is NOT TRUE. Those signs you see everywhere are counting on your fear to steal your vote.

Don’t let fear scare you away from facts and the truth. I urge you to attend a public meeting to get your questions answered at the Burien Press TONIGHT (9/27/2014) 423 SW 152nd st, Burien Wa.

I am being 100% up-front with you when I say this bond is worth your yes vote. The only thing I stand to gain is a better learning environment for my kids and yours. The only thing we all stand to gain is giving our kids every opportunity available to us.

I ask that you to vote YES this November for Building new Schools and I ask that you vote YES for your kids and mine.

– Joey Martinez (Burien)

[Have an opinion or concern you'd like to share with our Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, please remain civil and, pending our review, we'll most likely publish it.]


IFFF_seal1_offselection_BW_hiThe locally-made short film ‘The Maury Island Incident‘ will next screen at the International Family Film Festival in Hollywood on Friday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m.

The movie recently won “Audience Choice Award” for Best Short at the Gig Harbor Film Festival, where it screened Oct. 18.

Based on declassified FBI documents, this 30-minute movie – based on declassified FBI documents – tells the incredible, tragic, and forgotten story of Harold Dahl, who on June 21, 1947, alleged a UFO sighting over Puget Sound, Washington. This sparked ‘the summer of the saucers,’ the modern era of UFO obsession, the first appearance of a ‘Man in Black’ as well as a governmental battle over UFO sighting jurisdiction reaching directly to FBI Executive Director J. Edgar Hoover.

The film – which was Directed/Produced by Scott Schaefer and Written/Produced by Steve Edmiston – was shot in Des Moines, Burien, Tukwila and off the shores of Maury Island during the summer of 2013. It was also awarded the competitive Washington FilmWorks Innovation Lab funding during production. This will be its 11th festival showing.

Featuring Seattle-area actors Tony Doupé, Allen Fitzpatrick, John Patrick Lowrie, and David S. Hogan, the film was also produced by area residents John White (Executive Producer), Scott and Laura Beth Peterson, and Danny House.


  • Shorts Block #7: Friday, Nov. 7 @ 7 p.m. at Rahleigh Studios, 5300 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90038

More info about the film:

Here’s the trailer:

Here’s more about the festival:

Celebrating its’ 19th year, the International Family Film Festival will screen 88 films and feature 14 screenplays, representing the U.S.,16 foreign countries, and multiple professionally accredited film schools. The complete lineup and details are available at All films and screenplays will compete in the spirit of family values in film.

“What makes our festival unique is our emphasis on themes that define and challenge the definition of family,” says Chris Shoemaker, IFFF Executive Director. “This year’s is a particularly robust festival, and we’re pleased to bring it back to Raleigh Studios.”

Feature highlights
Screenings kick off on November 7th, with opening-night film, Matthew Gratzner’s “Hot Bath an’ a Stiff Drink”. Actor/producer Jeffery Patterson stars in this period western playing two roles – twin brothers Vance and Tom Dillinger – who are separated when their parents are massacred and Tom is kidnapped. To learn more about the film please visit

Another of Patterson’s productions, “Finding Harmony” (Billy Zane), is a touching, multi-generational southern drama about the wounds we carry, and those we leave behind.

Also slated is “The Town that Came a’ Courtin’” (Lauren Holly, Cameron Bancroft, and Valerie Harper), in which a small town plays matchmaker for its mayor and a successful author.

In “A Little Game,” (Olympia Dukakis, F. Murray Abraham, and Janeane Garofolo), a 10-year-old girl (Makenna Ballard) who is dealing with being an exceptionally smart child, and finds an unlikely mentor in
a chess master who teaches her life lessons through the game.

Short Film highlights
“The Maury Island incident” tells the incredible, tragic, and forgotten story of Harold Dahl, who on June 21, 1947, alleged a UFO sighting over Puget Sound, Washington, sparking the ‘summer of the saucers’, the modern era of UFO obsession, the first appearance of ‘Men in Black’ and a governmental battle over UFO sighting jurisdiction reaching directly to FBI Executive Director J. Edgar Hoover.

  • Director(s): Scott Schaefer
  • Cast: Tony Doupe, Allen Fitzpatrick, John Patrick Lowrie & David S. Hogan
  • Running Time: 30 minutes

“Before It’s Too Late” (Robert Loggia and Eric Roberts) takes a comedic look at how aging affects our driving skills to the point that become unsafe. We must then make one of the most difficult decisions of our lives; to give up our car keys.

In “Simpler Times” (Jerry Stiller and Ann Meara), a recently widowed man in his golden years moves in with his daughter and son-in-law and finds himself trapped in the world of modern technology.

“The Tunes Behind the Toons” features a who’s who of award-winning composers, (Alan Menken, Randy Newman, Richard Sherman, and more), sharing their insights into the role of music in adding character
into animation over the decades.

IFFF/Youth Fest! Day
For youths ages 8-17, the festival presents YouthFest! on Saturday, November 8th. This all-day youth-friendly section features screenings and workshops, including

“Speak-up! The Art of Voice-over” led by award-winning voice-over actor, Bill Farmer (voice of Goofy).

“Safe Stunts for Movies”, led by Kim Turney, swordmaster of the Academy of Theatrical Combat.

“Acting Up” workshop with Lauren Patrice Nadler.

YouthFest! culminates by celebrating the youth finalists and winners from the short film, comic book, and screenplay categories at the IFFF/YouthFest! Awards Ceremony.

Youth Fest! All Day Pass

Panels & Screenwriters Showcase
The 2014 IFFF will also conduct several film panels, offering attendees the opportunity to learn from and network with industry leaders & working professionals. This year’s panels include: The Los Angeles Digital Literacy panel, Indie Film Financing, Indie Film Distribution, Producers Networking brunch, and The Screenwriting 360º panel, covering Film, TV & CGI.

The Screenwriter’s Showcase and Awards ceremony, held on Sunday, November 9th, features industry-working actors, cast by Lauren Patrice Nadler, performing a selected scene from each of the screenplay finalists. Screenplays were submitted from as far away as France, New Zealand, and the U.K. for categories including Drama, Comedy, Animation and Sci-fi/Fantasy.

Panels and Awards Ceremony
The IIFF is a market that creates a positive and well-respected networking opportunity for film distribution deals. Past IFFF’s have drawn over 5,000 film fans and industry professionals. Screenplays that compete in the Screenplay competition are frequently optioned and helmed into short and feature films.

Through its partnership with Freshi Films, a national leader in digital education, the IFFF distributes digital-filmmaking kits to classrooms and after-school programs, helping youth nationwide discover the
art and power of filmmaking.

COST: All-Access Festival Passes are available to the general public for $200. General admission tickets to individual films and events are also available and range from $10-$20. All-day passes for YouthFest! are $25.

All tickets can be purchased here:


Click image to see larger animated gif. Photos by Scott Schaefer.

On Saturday (Oct. 25) just after Noon, a ribbon cutting ceremony officially opened the first legal pot store in Des Moines, as Greenside Recreational opened for business at 23407 Pacific Highway South.

Mayor Dave Kaplan wielded the large scissors, along with co-owner Seth Simpson and staff, as a line of around 20 people waited to get in to buy the area’s first legal Cannabis.

“Greenside’s focus is to provide a wide variety of products to suit the cannaoisseur,” reads an announcement.

The woman in charge of the product selection is Alison Draisin, a local Cannabis expert. She is a member of ‘Women of Weed,’ a trade organization. She resides on the judges panel for the High Times Cannabis Cup and is the owner of Ettalews, an award winning medible company.

“I’ve been with Greenside since the beginning. Their first medical store was my first place my medicated edibles were available to patients.”

Greenside owners Seth Simpson and David Ahl are committed to providing medical Marijuana as long as possible in Seattle.

“We stand behind the medicine, but understand that change is quickly approaching. Greenside Recreational is our answer.”

The new store is open 7 days a week from Noon – 7 p.m., and they serve up smokeables, edibles and accessories.

For more information:

Greenside Recreational
23407 Pacific Hwy S
Des Moines, WA 98198
(Map This)

(206) 878-6470

EDITOR’S NOTE: As a matter of strange coincidence, the frame number for the exact moment the ribbon was cut was #420, a popular code in the cannabis culture.

Press “Play” button to hear live weather info.

by Chris Scragg
Puget Sound Weather Geek

UPDATE 10/25/14 12:45pm: The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning for winds gusting up to 60mph.

Get ready Readers, the final weather predictions are in – the storm system that forecasters have been watching for the last few days looks like it will smack into southern Washington as a moderately strong central low pressure this evening.

High winds of 25-30mph sustained with gusts of 35-60mph are expected across parts of the Puget Sound region starting from around 5pm this afternoon and lasting until around midnight. The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning for the coast, and Puget Sound interior including Seattle, Bremerton, Bellevue, Tacoma and Olympia. Gale Warnings have also been issued for most of the Puget Sound, the Straits of Juan de Fuca, and coastal waters.

Oregon is already getting smashed this morning; with some weather stations along the coast reading 73mph! That’s nearly hurricane force! Most of Oregon is going to receive the brunt of the winds in this system. There are High Wind Warnings issued for a large portion of Western Oregon.

Localized power outages are possible with this system as many trees still have leaves on them, making them larger targets for falling branches. This will also be a wet system. The Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges could see 2-4 inches within the next 24 hours.

Make sure you have your batteries and supplies this evening, and enjoy the stormy weather! The PSWxG Live Stream will be running in storm mode all day today and into the night. I’ll be updating with the newest weather models, and information.

Here’s a chat room if you want to chat about this evening’s storm!

Puget Sound WX Geek Chatroom!

For the latest local weather, be sure to follow the Puget Sound Weather Geek:

Thanks for visiting! If you have any comments, suggestions, or feedback please email me at

Science on the Sound ThumbnailThe MaST Center will host its monthly Science on the Sound speaker series with Leihla Scharlau from the Citizen Action Training School, giving an update on the “State of the Puget Sound” on Saturday, Nov. 1.

The 45-minute talks begin at Noon, and is free and open to the public.

The MaST Center is located at 28203 Redondo Beach Dr. S. in Des Moines.

For more information, visit


On Thursday, Oct. 30, South King County Professional Firefighters (IAFF Local 2024) and the South King Firefighters Foundation will be providing area children brand-new winter coats through their partnership with the national non-profit, Operation Warm – Coats for Kids Foundation.

“Over 50% of children in Federal Way School District are living at or below the poverty level,” stated Captain Ryan Herrera, IAFF Local 2024 President. “We really hope to make an impact in our community.”

Operation Warm is the largest non-profit distributor of new winter coats in the U.S. and has recently been endorsed by the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) to launch their new program ‘Firefighters Coats for Kids.’ This new partnership encourages IAFF members to spearhead local campaigns reaching children in the neighborhoods they serve and protect. Firefighters across the USA have joined forces with Operation Warm to keep children warm and support domestic manufacturing of 100% American-made coats. The community driven partners are committed to bringing jobs back to Americans and the impact on poverty is multi-dimensional. More winter coats for disadvantaged children equates to more jobs for unemployed Americans.

This year, the firefighters will be distributing new winter coats to 100 kindergarten students attending Wildwood Elementary, located at 2405 S. 300th Street in Federal Way. Members of IAFF Local 2024 will deliver the new coats in person, fitting each child, and helping them to write their names in the interior tag which reads, “Made Especially for You.”

Here’s a video about this fundraiser:

YouTube Preview Image

For more information on Operation Warm please visit,

To Donate Visit:

by Dave Markwell

“I think it’s kind of mean that Monday is so far from Friday, but Friday is so close to Monday.”

– My eleven year old daughter, Helena.

These simple, yet astute, words made me turn my head in discount double-check maneuver with a “what did you just say” look on my face. When the dim bulb of my awareness finally lit in recognition that these were some interesting words, I was surprised and proud.

I was surprised first, because I had never considered the Friday/Monday relationship in this way. I was surprised second, because my daughter was the one who surprised me this this idea. I was proud that I was surprised.

On a Sunday night while already lamenting the following morning, my little girl said these profound words. Most of the free world shares this sentiment on a Sunday night. Songs have been written about Mondays, not kind one’s, and a collective lack of enthusiasm surrounds this day. Mondays really do feel mean sometimes. I get it.

My daughter surprised me with her words mostly because it was a new way of surprising me. During her years on this earth, beginning with day one, she has surprised me: She has surprised me about the differences between little boys and little girls. (Besides the obvious one…) She has surprised me with her independence and strength. She has surprised me with her personal development in every way, every step of the way. Mainly, she has surprised me with the understanding of how much a father can love a daughter.

With this in mind, perhaps I should not have been surprised. She has been surprising me for a long time. However, this was a bit different. I could actually relate to her statement in a new way. It was an intellectual understanding, not an emotional one or one of perspective. This is new.

Now, the “mouths of babes” have a history of revealing truths, often unintentionally. The distinction here is that my girl “got it”. She knew what she was saying and as pedestrian as the idea may seem, to me, having experienced every step of her evolution, I know this is different and significant.

I’m not sure if I should be happy or scared that my eleven year old daughter is inching closer to being my intellectual equal. She is a kid. I am a full-grown, well-read, experienced-in-the-ways-of-the-world, educated American man. She is a little girl. But, she’s also more. And this is the part that will challenge me.

Well, sometimes there is nothing to be done. So, I will steel myself and my self-esteem for the inevitable changing of the guard. I will prepare myself to ask my daughter questions that I don’t know the answers to, but she does. I will pass her the torch of whatever brightness I possess. And I will take the light from her torch to brighten my own. I will do all of this with pride and dignity…after all…I lit her damn torch in the first place!!!

[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!]

WLB Real Estate Sponsor Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Northwest’s Open House – set for this Sunday, Oct. 26 – is a completely updated large 5 bedroom in Gregory Heights!

It’s got hardwood floors on the main level and new carpeting on the lower level.

The kitchen and baths have been elegantly remodeled and all rooms newly painted.

Spacious rec room opens out to the serene fenced back yard.

Bonus room available for crafts, projects, gear… whatever you need.

Close to Gregory Heights community pool.

This home is move in ready, the work has all been done!

Here are some pics (click images to see larger versions/slideshow):















Here are the details:

WHAT: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Open House

WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 26, from 1:30 – 4 :30 p.m.

WHERE: 1938 SW 166th Street, Burien, WA 98166


  • List Price: $425,000
  • MLS Number: 700749
  • Bedrooms: 5
  • Bathrooms: 1.75
  • Year Built: 1955
  • Approximate House SqFt: 2,060
  • Approximate Lot SqFt: 7,920

Site Features:

  • Dble Pane/Strm Windw
  • Fenced-Partially
  • Gas Available
  • Outbuildings

Marketing remarks:

Completely updated large 5 bedroom in Gregory Heights!

Hardwood floors on the main level, new carpeting on the lower level.

Kitchen and baths have been elegantly remodeled and all rooms newly painted. Spacious rec room opens out to the serene fenced back yard.

Bonus room available for crafts, projects, gear… whatever you need.

Close to Gregory Heights community pool.

This home is move in ready, the work has all been done!

Click here to see the full, detailed listing.

Click here to view all of Berkshire Hathaway’s Open Houses.


Des Moines’ annual Halloween Carnival will be held this year at the Des Moines Field House on Friday, Oct. 31, from 5 – 8 p.m.

Expect “frightfully fun” games and much more.

Cost is $5 for 12 and under*, and organizers are asking everyone to bring donations (non-perishable) for the Des Moines Food Bank.

The Field House is located at 1000 S. 220th Street.

* Children must be accompanied by an adult