Bob Sheckler at the groundbreaking ceremony for the then-Artemis Hotel. Photo by Scott Schaefer.

by Jack Mayne

A union that represents hotel workers claims Des Moines Councilmember – and former Mayor – Bob Sheckler failed to properly report that he and his wife took a trip paid for by a Chinese company then seeking to build the Artemis Hotel and wants the commission to take “take appropriate action” against Sheckler.

Sheckler strongly rejects the charges and told the commission that the trip was paid for by Yareton Investments, “in exchange for tour guide services that my wife and I provided.”

The union, called Unite Here, Local 8, with offices in downtown Seattle, said Sheckler and his wife went on the trip during the first phases of developing what is now known as the Four Points by Sheraton Airport South in Des Moines.

Unite Here Local 8 represents thousands of Seattle area hospitality workers with a long list of hotels it wants people to boycott because they have not signed contracts with it.

Sheckler has been a Des Moines councilmember for 20 years who has also served as mayor. He recently announced he would not seek a new term and will leave the Council at the end of this year.

“I am very proud of my 20 years of service to the City of Des Moines as an elected official,” he wrote in his response to the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC). “Everything I have done was for the betterment of this community, often at personal expense to me and my family. What I won’t miss after retiring at the end of this term (December 2015) are the attacks against me from those with their own selfish agendas.

The Union Complaint
On March 25 Abigail Lawlor, listed on the union’s website as a strategic researcher, filed the complaint.

Sheckler “failed to disclose a May 2013 trip to a Miami Beach resort hotel” that was “arranged for Councilmember Sheckler and his wife by an employee of real estate Yareton Investment & Management … ”

The union said in its PDC filing that it asked the Councilmember if he and his wife actually took the trip, but it “received no response to its inquiry.”

Sheckler says he never answers questions of this type, noting that requests for public records, or further information on previous responses to requests for public records, should be addressed to the Des Moines city clerk, which the union did not do.

In its complaint to the PDC, Unite Here, Local 8, said “Councilmember Sheckler should have reported financial details of it on his 2014 Form F-1,” the annual statement political candidates filed with the disclosure commission.

“He did not,” the union alleges.

Sheckler says not so.

“I did not feel that this travel was a gift, vacation, or reportable since I was providing tour guide services in exchange,” he told the PDC.

Chun Yang, left, and Bob Sheckler at the ground-breaking ceremony for the then-Artemis Hotel. Photo by Scott Schaefer.

Personal Relationship
Yareton, the union said, is a subsidiary of Mintong Real Estate Company of Shanghai, China, and whose president, Chun Yang, has had a relationship with Sheckler “since 2009 when the two met during a trip the Councilmember (then the mayor) took to China.”

The union noted and Disclosure Commission records show that Yang was Sheckler’s largest campaign contributor in the 2011 reelection campaign.

A project proposed was the $45 million project to build a hotel that will be known as the Four Points by Sheraton Airport South.

The union tells the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) that at the time of the trip, Sheckler “was a proponent of Yareton’s plan to construct a multi-million hotel development in Des Moines” and that he “advocated in favor of a petition that Yareton had filed with the federal government to approval for an EB-5 application under an immigrant visa program that would facilitate foreign investing of the development project” that was “eventually granted.”

Application Approved
The EB-5 program allows for investors to obtain green cards for themselves and other members of their families by investing $500,000 in a new or struggling U.S. business operation, provided the investment generates 10 full-time jobs.

In January 2013, the union says Customs and Immigration intended to deny the application and told Yareton to submit more information, which it did.

At the same time, Yareton project manager Albert Sze in March 2013 asked then Des Moines Economic Development Manager Marion Yoshino for “assistance in convincing” Congressman Adam Smith to intervene to help them get approval of the immigrant visa program.

The union claims that Sheckler sought and got a meeting with Congressman Adam Smith, and a few days later, on July 10, 2013 Customs and Immigration approved the application.

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Trip before approval
But it was in May, while still trying to get approval for the EB-5 green card program, that the union says they offending trip by the Shecklers took place.

It found and that a travel agency forwarded air reservations for Miami to Sze of Yareton with a note, “Here is the air tickets information for the Shecklers.” In turn, the union says Sze emailed “Mayor Bob” that the “e-tickets are confirmed” and the reservations made for Miami from May 17 to May 20.

The union said it again attempted to get Sheckler to acknowledge the trip and for what purpose, but it said the Des Moines City Councilman did not respond.

Sheckler said again he routinely does not answer requests for official information, noting that records requests go through the city clerk.

Legal Basis for Complaint
Unite Here Local 8 said there is “no record” that Sheckler sought any reimbursement from the City of Des Moines for the trip and did not include anything about the trip to the Public Disclosure Commission on his 2014 F-1 form.

The union says the Washington Administrative Code requires that such trips as the one the Sheckler’s took must be reported to the PDC.

“All persons … who attend a field trip or other excursion paid for or provided by a lobbyist, lobbyist employer, or other person paying for or providing field trips or other excursions shall report …” on the F-1 form.

The union says the evidence in their complaint to the PDC “creates a serious question as to whether Councilmember Sheckler and his wife took the trip to Miami Beach that Mr. Sze arranged for him, and if they did, who paid for the travel and lodging. If Yareton paid for the trip, then Councilmember Sheckler required by law to report details on his 2014 F-1 form, and did not. Local 8 requests that the Commission investigate this question thoroughly, and to take appropriate action in response to its findings.”

Paid help
Sheckler told the PDC that he paid for all incidentals on the trip, “including upgrades on airplane tickets, meals and taxis.”

“This was not a social event, business-related trip, or gift.”

He and his wife were on the trip to be interpreters because all of the people on the trip did not speak English, “except for the two who interpreted for us.”

Sheckler said he had earlier lived several years in Miami and knew the places the visitors should see and visit and that is why Sze asked them to go.

“My wife and I were in two separate vehicles so that each of the visitors would know what they were seeing,” Sheckler wrote to the PDC. “This service was provided to these visitors that had never before visited Miami. I had provided Mr. Sze with the names of hotels in the area that met their criteria (they wanted to be in Miami on the water). He picked the hotel and made the arrangements. There wasn’t much to choose from because of the late date and the number of rooms needed.”

The Councilmember says Sze told a television news reporter that the EB-5 program and the “lack of interest for the hotel to unionize may be considered threats to Unite Here! Local 8 and they may feel that the Hotel will be intimidated by the union’s complaints.”

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Have a cuppa joe with a local ‘Joe Friday’ (aka Des Moines Police Officer) on Monday, May 11 at the MaST Center’s ‘Community Coffee.’

“JOIN YOUR NEIGHBORS AND POLICE OFFICERS FOR COFFEE AND CONVERSATION!”

There’s no agenda or speeches, just a chance to ask questions, voice concerns, and get to know the officers in your neighborhood.

For more information contact CSO Tonya Seaberry at (206) 870-7619

The MaST Center is located at 28203 Redondo Beach Drive South.

The Rotary Club of Des Moines and Normandy Park has partnered with the City of Des Moines to hold a blood drive April 24th at City Hall, and human beings who have blood in them are needed.

Blood Works Northwest (formerly Puget Sound Blood Center) will have their mobile blood center parked in the parking lot at City Hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed from Noon to 1 p.m.).

Des Moines City Hall is located at 21630 11th Avenue S.

WLB Real Estate Sponsor Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Northwest’s Open House – set for this SATURDAY, April 25 – is a gorgeous new 4-bedroom home in the desirable Seahurst neighborhood!

This home’s dream kitchen has off-white cabinetry with soft close, heated floors, Franke faucet, quartz, under mount sinks, stainless appliances (refrigerator included).

The front room has built-ins, fireplace and “Smurf tube” for hiding TV/computer/server cables.

Main floor utility with slab quartz (second W/D hook-up upstairs).

The Master suite has double door entry, safe, 5-piece bath with soaking tub and shower.

Large 4th bed or bonus room awaits your magic touch!

Finished and insulated garage, hot/cold hose bib on exterior, and a covered outdoor area w/BBQ hook-up too!

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

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Here are the details:

WHAT: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Open House

WHEN: Saturday, April 25, from Noon – 3 p.m.

WHERE: 15115 12th Ave SW, Burien, WA 98166

INFO:

  • List Price: $459,950
  • MLS Number: 762247
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 2.5
  • Year Built: 2015
  • Approximate House SqFt: 2,100
  • Lot Square Footage: 3,556

Site Features:

  • Bath Off Master
  • Dble Pane/Strm Windw
  • Dining Room
  • High Tech Cabling
  • Skylights
  • Vaulted Ceilings
  • Pantry
  • Walk-in Closet
  • Deck
  • Fenced-Partially
  • High Speed Internet
  • Propane
  • RV Parking

Marketing remarks:

Finished new construction in desirable Seahurst!

Dream kitchen has off white cabinetry w/soft close, heated floors, Franke faucet, quartz, under mount sinks, stainless appliances (refrig included).

Front room has built-ins, fireplace & ‘smurf tube’ to hide TV/computer/server cables.

Main floor utility with slab quartz (second w/d hook-up upstairs).

Master has double door entry, safe, 5-piece bath w/soaking tub & shower.

Large 4th bed or bonus.

Finished & insulated garage.

Hot/cold hose bib on exterior.

Covered outdoor area w/BBQ hook-up!

Click here to see the full, detailed listing.

Click here to view all of Berkshire Hathaway’s Open Houses, and click here to “Like” them on Facebook.

WahKueSign

The historic and very popular Wah Kue Restaurant – which originally opened for business in Burien over six decades ago, is reopening with new owners.

The Grand Opening celebration is this Sunday, April 26, at 3 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend and enjoy the festivities.

Wah Kue is located at 13434 1st Ave South in Burien.

A traditional Line and Dragon Dance will highlight the event, said Gina Arment, who began working at Wah Kue 18 years ago.

“The dance will make its way inside and the building will be blessed,” Gina said. “We’ll have a classic ribbon cutting. We are so excited to have this iconic restaurant back in business to serve the people of Burien and our neighbors.”

According to Gina, owner Wing Wong passed away a few years ago “and the kids just didn’t want to do it anymore.”

New owners have been found and now it’s time to start “Wah Kueing” once again!

Wah Kue Restaurant
13434 1st Ave South
Burien, WA

https://www.facebook.com/wahkuecafe

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Highline Public Schools announced Thursday (April 23) that it is seeking input from the community on how to address the district’s need to build, repair, and renovate schools to meet educational needs, safety standards, and the community’s growing student population.

After failing to reach the 60 percent vote needed to pass a capital construction bond, both in November 2014 and February 2015, the district must now decide how to address pressing enrollment and facility needs. Student enrollment in Highline is projected to grow by 2,500 students over the next 8-10 years.

“We will not ask the community to vote on a bond in 2015,” said Superintendent Susan Enfield. “Instead, we will take this year to listen to the community and learn more about what our parents, staff, and community members want to see as a solution.”

To collect feedback, Highline is launching a short online survey on April 23. The survey is easy to access and is a convenient way to share input and ideas. The survey is open until Monday, May 11. All are invited to take the survey.

Results will remain anonymous and input will help the superintendent and school board develop a plan for meeting the needs of students and staff.

To take the 10-minute survey, visit: highlineschools.org/survey

The survey asks questions about building new schools versus repairing aging buildings, and various alternative solutions such as adding portables, creating double-shift schedules, and increasing class sizes.

Community members are also invited to participate in a series of community meetings with Superintendent Enfield, School Board members, and district leaders.

Several conversations with the superintendent and board members are scheduled over the next several weeks. The sessions are intended to be open-ended conversations. The board and superintendent want to hear about the issues that are important to the community.

Conversations with the Superintendent:

  • Monday, April 27, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the Evergreen Campus library
  • Thursday, May 21, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the Tyee Educational Complex library
  • Tuesday, June 2, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the Highline High School library

Conversations with the School Board

  • Angelica Alvarez: Monday, May 4, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the Sylvester Middle School library
  • Tyrone Curry Sr.: Tuesday, June 9, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the Cascade Middle School library

Two community meetings about next year’s budget challenges are schedule for early May. Participants in these meetings will learn the facts about the budget impact of the November and February bond failures and how Highline’s growing enrollment will impact students and teachers next school year. Participates will also have the opportunity to share their budget priorities for next year.

Budget Community Meetings:

  • Thursday, May 7, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. in the Hazel Valley Elementary library
  • Tuesday, May 12, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. in the Midway Elementary library

Highline is also developing a plan to form a long-term facilities planning task force. The district will seek family, student, staff, and community member volunteers to from the task force, which will help develop a plan for the next capital construction bond measure.

Information about participation in the task force will be shared with the community soon.

Dislecksia 90 Sec Trailer-ProResHQ 1 from Harvey Hubbell V on Vimeo.

A FREE showing of ‘Dislecksia: The Movie’ will be at the Des Moines Event Center Auditorium on Thursday, May 14, starting at 6:30 p.m.

DISLECKSIA: THE MOVIE is an engaging documentary that weaves vintage classroom footage, celebrity interviews and the comedic touch of dyslexic director Harvey Hubbell V into an engrossingly entertaining film on a serious subject. In the first film to discuss dyslexia as a learning difference, not a learning disability, Hubbell rallies a team of celebrated neuroscientists, heroic educators, high profile celebrities and business leaders with dyslexia who are advocates of Harvey’s beliefs. The subjects of the film showcase the most up-to-date information and in doing so, a blueprint emerges on how best to manage this learning difference that up to 1.4 billion people cope with daily. See more about Dislecksia: The Movie at: http://www.dislecksiathemovie.com/.

If you know of anyone that has struggled through life due to this or any other learning difference, you will greatly enjoy this movie and its insightful information. Popcorn and drinks will be available for sale at the movie event. Donations are welcome and will benefit a fund for Inclusive Recreation Programs serving our special needs kids and their families.

Please share this with others!

Sponsored by the City of Des Moines Parks, Recreation and Senior Services Department and Highline Special Needs PTA.

Dislecksia the Movie

Des Moines City Councilmember Jeanette Burrage – who has been charged with assaulting a special needs student riding on a Highline School District bus she was driving (read our previous coverage here) – submitted her resignation from the council on Wednesday, April 22.

Burrage, 62, had been driving buses for Highline Transportation since 2012.

She was placed on administrative leave by the school district after this incident, which happened on March 10.

“I appreciate Councilmember Burrage’s consideration of the Council’s important work, and recognizing the distraction her situation would have caused if she remained on the Council,” Mayor Dave Kaplan told The Waterland Blog.

Here’s her full letter of resignation:

“Dear Mayor, City Councilmembers, and People of Des Moines,

It is with a heavy heart that I resign my position as a Des Moines City Councilmember. The City Council has important work to do and I anticipate the only way I can minimize the distraction to the City Council, caused by the recent school bus incident, is to resign effective immediately.

Sincerely,
Jeanette Burrage”

“We are a local, community gym dedicated to helping regular folks achieve better lives. Period. We are inclusive and respect the courage it takes to “begin” a new path. We laugh and work and care about each other’s lives. We don’t care about how about fast you run or how much weight you lift or how you look in shorts. We care about helping you improve your life, through improved fitness, at a pace YOU’RE comfortable with. This journey is a personal one. We do not judge anyone’s journey. It is your journey, though we are here to support you in any ways that we can…” –Dave Markwell- owner/coach

In my 5 years of owning and coaching Waterland CrossFit, I have seen great things happen. Bodies and lives have changed. Movement is the simplest way to manifest these changes. We think and feel differently about the world and ourselves when we move our bodies. This changes everything else. It is powerful and beautiful.

For some time, I have lived in a kind of “no man’s land” between stereotypical CrossFit practices and my philosophy about it. Waterland CrossFit has never been a “traditional” CrossFit box. My philosophy has always been that exercise should complement life, not define it and that “feeling good” about moving our bodies and how this translates into better days and a better life is a valid result. I also understand that the often competitive, performance-based culture of CrossFit tends to discourage participation from (some) people who can benefit the most. These are the people I most love helping!!

While I still believe that the “CrossFit” training model is the best exercise framework around, with the growth of the brand many perceptions, some quite critical, have developed. It is for this reason that I am “re-branding” without the “CrossFit” designation, as it has been really more confusing than helpful. I am re-branding not to “jump ship” from the things I love about CrossFit, but simply to more accurately tell the story of what we are:

We are a local, community gym dedicated to helping regular folks achieve better lives. Period. We are inclusive and respect the courage it takes to “begin” a new path. We laugh and work and care about each other’s lives. We don’t care about how about fast you run or how much weight you lift or how you look in shorts. We care about helping you improve your life, through improved fitness, at a pace YOU’RE comfortable with. This journey is a personal one. We do not judge anyone’s journey. It is your journey, though we are here to support you in any ways that we can.

Results happen through consistent effort and time. Our goal is create an experience each day that people look forward to. Through joy and laughter and sweat, this experience impacts days in good and meaningful ways. Enjoying this experience makes consistency more likely, thus more powerful results more inevitable. Improving our health improves our lives and we want the people in our community to live good lives.

We love our members and are committed to providing an encouraging, accountable, safe and fun place where people can make their lives better. We discuss nutrition and jobs and families. We share much and help and support each other where we can.

Health is the cornerstone of any good life. However, other stones are important as well: community, a sense of “forward motion” and joy are all recognized as valuable. A balanced, healthy, happy life is our only wish for all of our members. So, if you are considering whether or not this is the right gym for you, I ask you to PLEASE come on in and check it out.

To encourage your participation, we are offering a “special deal”…the remainder of APRIL IS FREE!!! If this schedule doesn’t work with yours on such short notice, contact Dave to discuss available options!! Begin!!

Please feel free to contact Dave with any questions or concerns…

Dave Markwell
Owner/Head coach-Waterland CrossFit, Des Moines, Wa
waterlandxfit@gmail.com
206-271-8100

Hear personal stories of World War II Internment Camps at a special presentation at Southminster Presbyterian Church on Sunday, May 17, starting at 11:30 a.m.

Southminster Presbyterian Church is located at 19834 8th Ave. S. in Des Moines.

Here’s more info:

WHEN PEOPLE BECOME CATEGORIES:
Personal Stories of World War II Internment Camps and the Problem of Prejudice Today: Sunday, May 17, 11:30 a.m.

Southminster Presbyterian Church
19834 8th Ave. S., Des Moines, WA
www.spcdesmoines.org
206-878-8133

Southminster Presbyterian Church is in the unique position of having two members who were confined in civilian internment camps during World War II on opposite sides of the Pacific.

Days after Pearl Harbor, Margaret Squires, an American teenager living with her family in the Philippines, was taken to an internment camp for Americans and Europeans near Manila. Meanwhile, Frank Muramatsu, a teenage Japanese American, was sent with his family to a camp in Idaho.

Both will share their stories with pictures of their lives in the camps. This will be followed by a discussion on how we as Christians today respond to categories of people who may cause us to feel threatened.

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The City of Des Moines, Recology CleanScapes, and the Midway Les Schwab Tire Center are sponsoring a Community Clean-up Event on Saturday, May 9 from 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., and volunteers are needed!

Teams of volunteers, ages 15 and older, will be provided safety vests, gloves, trash pickers, and bags and dispatched to areas of the City to clean up and bag litter.

Here are the details:

CHECK-IN: Public Works Service Center 2255 South 223rd Street

RSVP: By April 28: 206-870-6525 or pvolin@desmoineswa.gov

WHEN: Saturday, May 9, 2015, 9:00 am-11:30 am

“Show your pride in the Waterland City!”

Help shape the future of Des Moines’ Parks, Recreation, Aquatics and Community Services:

Please take their Survey now! 

Here’s more info from the city:

The City of Des Moines is in the process of updating the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan that provides a six-year plan and 20-year vision for the City’s parks, trails and open space, landmarks, recreation and senior facilities and programs and arts and human services activities. The Des Moines Pool Metropolitan Park District has joined the City in this endeavor to create its first Comprehensive Plan for the District’s aquatics facilities and programs.

Our governments want to ensure that we are being responsive to the current needs of the community and pro-active in planning for the needs of future generations. To do this we must assess how well our community’s needs are being met, identify areas that need to be developed, improved or enhanced, and respond to emerging needs as the community grows and changes.

What do you value most in the facilities and services provided? Are there improvements to existing facilities or new facilities that you believe are needed? Are there improvements to existing services or new services that are needed? And, what importance do you place on meeting the need for future parks, recreation and pool facilities and programs?

Please take a few minutes to take the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JK8S8VV. The results will help in the planning processes and the Comprehensive Plan will be adopted later in 2015.

Thanks for your participation! For additional information about the planning efforts, contact Patrice Thorell Parks, Recreation and Senior Services Director at pthorell@desmoineswa.gov.

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On Saturday (April 18), 56 volunteers teamed up with the MaST Center and AmeriCorps to do a major cleanup near the Redondo Pier in Des Moines.

This was the second annual cleanup, which included underwater work from volunteer scuba divers.

Des Moines Harbor Master Joe Dusenbury shut the pier/boat ramp down for the day to allow full access.

“We cleared about 795 pounds of debris in only three hours,” said Jamie Woodward, AmeriCorps Service Member and Volunteer Coordinator. “We cleared about 575 pounds last year, and plan to host the event annually.”

Some of the items retrieved by the crew included:

  • Kitchen knives
  • Construction sign tripods
  • Election yard signs
  • Syringes
  • Desk furniture
  • Diapers
  • Cans and bottles
  • Lots of squid jigs/lures (which we allowed fisherman to reclaim) and fishing line
  • A couple of tires
  • An old road scooter

CleanScapes provided the waste/recycle removal services free of charge for the second year in a row, and Starbucks sent about 20 volunteers over.

The areas cleaned were: Redondo Fishing Pier (SCUBA Divers), Marine View Drive South, Redondo Way South, and Redondo Beach Drive South.

Photos courtesy the MaST Center.


Press “Play” button to view/hear the live, local weather stream.

by Chris Scragg
Puget Sound Weather Geek

Last week I wrote an article about diminishing water concerns. In less than a week after I published that article, Governor Jay Inslee and the NWS declared drought for 44% of Washington. Why are there mixed messages?

The first reason that this message conflicts with previous information is that the drought concerns are more focused on rural areas east of the Cascades, and in the Olympic Peninsula that rely much more on snow-pack water for agricultural purposes. Like I said in the previous article, our snow-pack is dramatically and historically below normal (less than 25% of normal).

It does appear that the most populated areas west of the Cascades will remain mostly drought free. We most likely won’t have to worry about a water crisis in Seattle or surrounding metro areas this summer

The second reason is that the latest long range climate forecasts released by NOAA show little to no drought relief in the coming months. The summer outlooks for rain in the Northwest are much below normal.

Produced by Chris Scragg & Steve Pool – WSI 3D Live

River flows are forecast to be greatly affected by the lack of snow-melt this summer. River flow and water supply models by the NWS are showing some rivers to be flowing at less than 35% of normal. This would impact water treatment plants, fish hatcheries, and wildlife including fish and other animals that rely on fresh river and stream water.

The low snow-pack could also enhance the fire danger this summer by limiting the water that wildland firefighters can use, and also by drying out brush and trees.

El Niño Situation:
On top of all this, the large scale seasonal shift known as “El Niño” is in full effect. An El Niño condition occurs when the sea surface temperatures over the central Pacific Ocean are warmer than normal.

The Climate Prediction Center of NOAA recently forecasted that there is a 70% chance of El Niño continuing through this summer, and a 60% chance of it continuing through this autumn.

What does this mean for us? Well during El Niño years, the Southern portion of the country is wetter, while the northern and Northwest portions become drier. The seasonal outlooks reflect this change, by forecasting drier and warmer trends for the Northwest and wetter and cooler trends for the South.

One year precipitation outlook over North America.

In summary: The upcoming summer and autumn will likely be much warmer and drier than normal for us here in the Northwest.

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 info@pswxgeek.com

Garden Gala Plant & Garden Art Sale May 2, 2015

A Garden Gala Plant and Garden Art Sale will be held on Saturday, May 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the North Hill community Center, located at 20827 3rd Ave South in Des Moines.

Proceeds will benefit Cancer Research.

The sale includes more than 800 plants, handcrafted garden art, refurbished garden tools, a Master Gardener Q&A, Mason Bee information and Worm Culture!

The sale is sponsored by a local chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, an international service organization serving our local community.

by Dave Markwell

Several years ago while neglecting to appropriately monitor my young son; I heard some strange, yet familiar, noises coming from the driveway. The sound was my leaf blower pull cord being yanked. I left whatever comfortable perch I was residing on and went to check it out. As I observed my little boy attempting to start the blower, I was amused and proud.

I am a yard guy. I love the smells and sounds of two-cycle engines and the tidy result of my nominal efforts. A freshly trimmed lawn makes me happy. I enjoyed that my son was carrying my joy of this forward…or at least he liked using power equipment. Either way, I was happy.

I smiled and left my kid to continue his pulling. After a few minutes, the blower started. I was not expecting this. I left my comfy perch again and saw him pulling the straps of my back pack blower upon his little shoulders and begin blowing our driveway. Many responses came to mind, the one I chose was to grab some earmuffs and put them on his oversized head. If he can start it, he deserved to use it; was my thought.

As we enter another yard season, this memory warms me. It warms me with memories of my now teenage son as my little guy. It also reminds me of the power of persistence. My son kept on pulling in spite of no result for a long time. He persisted. Had he stopped pulling he would have left without the success of getting that damn blower started. He didn’t stop and he won.

It seems like many successes in life are more the result of persistence than any other characteristic. Talent, skill and effort are all important, but the most important of all may simply be persistence. Don’t quit trying. Hang in there and keep going.

A lot of focus is given to the power of a parent’s influence, rightly so, but it’s also important to not overlook the fact that our kids may teach us more. They make us better. They force us to confront issues we have no interest in confronting. And we grow from this. The little pains in the butt force us to evolve in ways we didn’t know we could or should. Devious creatures they are.

As I enter my forty-sixth year on this earth, I am grateful for lessons learned. I am grateful my own annoying instructors. And I carry a rich sense that “it” can be done, if I just keep going. Persist!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, whose first book is 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!]

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated on April 18, 2015 when the following videos were added:

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by Jack Mayne

Des Moines City Councilmember Jeanette Burrage has been charged with assaulting a special needs student riding on a Highline School District bus she was driving.

King County Sheriff’s detectives investigated the March incident and then recommended fourth degree assault charges be filed against Burrage, a one-time state legislator and King County Superior Court judge.

The Sheriff’s office said it jointly investigated the case with the school district after school district employees that viewed the bus surveillance video from the afternoon routes on March 10 reported it to SeaTac Police on March 18. Police and school security officers initially responded to a disturbance on the bus but deputies said at the time there was no indication that an assault occurred. Following the incident, the student was taken home by school district security, said a Sheriff’s department spokesman.

An internal review of the bus surveillance video by district officials showed the driver slapping the child, who was standing on a seat at the time, said deputies. District officials immediately contacted SeaTac Police, who turned the matter over to the Sheriff’s office Special Assault Unit given their special experience with juvenile interviews. That unit worked with SeaTac Police to conclude the case.

Burrage, 62, has been driving buses for Highline Transportation since 2012.

She was placed on administrative leave by the school district.

Burrage has filed for reelection to the Des Moines City Council.

Here’s another story by KING5:

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The Highline School Board voted to appoint Chung (Joe) Van of SeaTac to the Director District 3 position during a special meeting on Wednesday, April 15.

He participated in his first School Board meeting as a board member directly following his oath of office and the special meeting.

“Joe has an extremely strong record of involvement in the SeaTac community, and we are excited that he will now be contributing to the entire district,” said School Board President Bernie Dorsey.

Van is a 1995 graduate of Tyee High School and holds an AA in Administration of Justice from Highline Community College. He and his wife Leslee, also a Tyee graduate, have three children attending McMicken Heights Elementary.

His children, Carter, Kyra, and Ethan, led the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the April 15 School Board meeting.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to serve,” said Van. “I consider all the kids in our schools my kids.”

Van is employed as a supervisor at Owens & Minor medical supply distribution center in Sumner. He serves on the City of SeaTac Human Services Advisory Committee and is active in a number of civic activities. He speaks fluent Vietnamese.

Van will serve in the position until the end of 2015. The position will be up for election on the November 2015 ballot.

The position became open after Board Member Susan Goding retired in February.

Photos courtesy Highline Public Schools.