From our sister site The Normandy Park Blog:

Normandy Park City Manager Glenn Akramoff – who has been in that position since July, 2013 – resigned suddenly Tuesday night, Dec. 16.

A special City Council meeting has been called for Thursday night, Dec. 18, starting at 7 p.m.

Read the full story here.

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Starting a new business or looking to relocate? Maybe you’re tired of working from home and meeting your clients in coffee shops or restaurants?

Advertiser Normandy Park Executive Center – located in the Normandy Park Towne Center shopping mall – has a perfect solution for you.

Along with an outstanding location convenient to Burien, Des Moines, SeaTac, and of course Normandy Park, Normandy Park Executive Center offers office and meeting solutions customized to fit your business needs.

From full-time office leasing to virtual office/mailbox services, meeting room rental, business services,and administrative support services, the center is equipped to provide companies the professional environment and support that can grow with their needs at a minimal cost. Flexible options for long and short-term office space and meeting room rental make them the perfect choice for just about any business looking for a cost effective solution, without sacrificing convenience or a professional atmosphere. They have all the amenities you need to get to work immediately – high-speed Internet, telephone setup and answering, reception, fax and printers.

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Admin Professional Michelle is ready to take your calls.

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And the features keep coming…just take a look at this partial list of amenities:

  • Receptionist and waiting area
  • Personalized phone answering services with voicemail
  • Mailbox services
  • Virtual office
  • High-speed Internet and phones
  • Digital high-speed fax/scanner/copier
  • Conference room to accommodate up to 20
  • Videoconferencing
  • Kitchen facilities with complimentary coffee and filtered water
  • Free on-site parking for you and your customers
  • Secured after hours access

Here are some photos of this great office center (click images to see larger versions/slideshow):

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These fully furnished and unfurnished suites range from 80 to 250-square feet, and are available now! So what are you waiting for? Give them a call today – we know you will not find a more elegant and efficient local solution for your money.

For more information, or to schedule a tour contact us at (206) 870-7540 or email

More info at

The Highline Schools Foundation awarded $65,053 through 89 classroom grants this Fall – giving out 85% of 2014 fund requests.

“Because of events like the Burien Brat Trot and Oktoberfest, and the generosity of our community, the Foundation was able to fund 85% of the grant requests this year and every school within Highline Public Schools received at least one grant!” reads an announcement.

This is in addition to the $10,000 Impact grant for “Making an Impact: Building Bright Futures for Young Women in Computer Science” that was awarded last month. This grant provides funds to help increase the number of high school females in computer science classes, to spark their interest in technology related careers, and to help them graduate prepared for a future in the computer science field.

The Foundation’s Excel Grant program was created to support classroom innovation in our district, and to provide teachers resources they need to help our students be successful! An Excel Grant is an award of up to $1,000 for a specific project. Some of the Excel Grants were given out via the Foundation’s “Prize Patrol”—surprise visits by Foundation Trustees to staff meetings, classrooms and assemblies during which the checks were presented to excited and deserving district staff.

The Foundation applauds each teacher’s dedication to providing the best possible education for our students. The Grant Review Committee (comprised of Foundation Trustees) had the challenging task of selecting the most worthwhile and innovative projects, while also spreading the grant awards district-wide.

Some of this year’s grant recipients include:


Foundation Trustee Dave Baisch, Des Moines Elementary School Principal Rick Wisen,Foundation Trustee Carlyn Roedell and Librarian Karen Smith.

Grants to Des Moines Elementary School are funding: Imagine Learning – an English language development computer program designed for young ELL Students and offers instruction in literacy, social, academic vocabulary development, listening and speaking that are aligned with core content; Books – specifically thrillers, suspense and adventure books that leave students spellbound and at the edge of their seats!; a Kinderfabulous iBook Library; and Career-related Books for the library – to help students learn about people who make up their neighborhood community and how they might see themselves as workers and professionals in the future.


Pacific Middle School PE Teacher Phillip Wallen and Kristen Kerns, Highline Schools Foundation Board President

Improve Students Health ~ Thanks to the Excel Grant from Highline Schools Foundation, Mr. Wallen can update the health curriculum with some new health videos. He believes, too many teens are either ignorant about the dangers of drugs or are in denial about the hazards they pose. Many middle school students are visual learners, and these new videos and print curriculum, through interviews with teen users and medical professionals, clearly demonstrates the serious health risks of vaping, including drug overdose, instant high or drunk, alcohol poisoning, and impaired thinking and decision making.

Terri Juberg - Of Cedar and Salmon at North Hill

North Hill Elementary School teacher Terri Juberg and Foundation Trustee Maya Mendoza-Exstrom.

Of Cedar and Salmon ~ Thanks to the Highline Schools Foundation, on May 27th and 28th 2015, North Hill’s third graders and their families will be immersed in the cultures and traditions of Northwest Coastal Native Peoples. They are so excited to continue the tradition of welcoming Ronn Wilson and his Of Cedar and Salmon program back to North Hill Elementary.

A complete list of this year’s winners can be found on the Highline Schools Foundation website: and more photos can be found on the Foundation’s Facebook page:


Hilltop Elementary’s Elizabeth Hogan and students.

African Rhythms
Elizabeth Hogan
I am requesting funding to purchase 5 tubano drums for use in two general music classrooms (630 students). African drum repertoire offers experience for all levels of learners. Drumming is music in its most elemental form; it allows students to feel and hear the strong beat, the most important part when playing in an ensemble.

African drumming is such that it challenges more advanced learners with complicated rhythms and accents. Drumming allows students to expand their skills starting with simple beat playing, advancing to more challenging material. In this unit of study, students will work toward composing their own music. Students in 5th and 6th grade will compose a 2-part, 8 beat rhythm. In composition, it is often easier for 5th/6th grade students to begin with rhythm before introducing tones (melody). Though primarily for use with upper grade levels, students in K-4 will also play, starting with playing the syllables of their names in Kindergarten.


Hilltop Elementary’s Gabriel Munoz and students.

Journalism Club
Gabriel Munoz
Since September when we begain this club, we have recruited about 26 fifth grade students working as writers, reporters, camera crew, and producers. We have filmed 4 sessions of our weekly announcement videos, and the level of enthusiasm and buzz that this has created around Hilltop has been beyond what we were expecting. Everyday kids are asking when the next video will be, and if they can join the club. We have also just published our first newsletter which included a teacher highlight column, math questions of the month, a feature article about our new pre-school classroom, and even a monthly comic strip. The participants in this club are very proud and excited about the work they are producing.

Also, Part of our membership requires that our students are maintaining good grades, and are staying out of trouble. This has helped tremendously with some of our club members who were struggling with behavioral issues. One girl who was constantly in trouble last year, hasn’t had any issues since joining. She’s actually become our best reporter and biggest personality on the broadcast. Our members our very motivated, and they even show up 45 minutes early to school to be part of this club.

Please support students in our community for the holidays by donating $10 today! Text the word IMPACT to the number 501501, and a one-time gift of $10 will be added to your cell phone bill.* Your donation supports classroom innovation, community outreach, arts, athletics … and so much more.

*A one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. All donations must be authorized by the account holder. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. User must be 18 or older or have parental permission to participate. By texting YES, the user agrees to the terms and conditions. Service is available on most carriers. Message and Data Rates May Apply. Donations are collected for the benefit of Highline Schools Foundation by the Mobile Giving Foundation and are subject to the terms found at You can unsubscribe by texting STOP to shortcode 501501; text HELP to 501501 for help.

Violent windstorms less than two weeks apart delivered a serious blow to the Redondo community’s boardwalk and then apparently forced cancellation of the annual bonfire celebration that coincides with the visitation of the Christmas Ship.

But Mother Nature didn’t count on the resilience of Argosy Cruises’ Director of Marketing Maureen Black and Salty ‘s Managing Partner Terianne Broyles. Both are defiantly declaring: The party is on!

The powerful windstorm that swept into Western Washington on Dec. 11 forced Argosy to cancel a nightly sailing of the Christmas Ship for only the second time in 18 years. Although there was no physical damage to Redondo itself this time, much of the rest of the region suffered considerable tree damage and power outages.

Black was up early the next morning, taking the scissors to the sailing itinerary of this Wednesday’s Christmas Ship cruise from Des Moines to Dash Point and carved out a sufficient block of time to allow the festive fleet to sail along the Redondo Waterfront for an abbreviated 10-minute concert.

Normally the captain of the ship is putting whatever the nautical equivalent of “peddle to the metal” is to make a bee-line run from Dash Point back to the Des Moines Marina in time for passengers to disembark at a decent hour on a work/school night.

“We love [the] community support and will do everything possible,” Black said. “We will make this happen.”

Salty’s Broyles quickly pledged cocoa/coffee and cookies for everyone and the Des Moines Marina agreed to provide free parking the night of Dec. 17 in the fishing pier parking lot.

The new itinerary for the Wednesday, Dec. 17 sailing now reads:

DEPARTURE: Des Moines Marina, 7-9:40 p.m.
CHOIR: Joyful! Noise
PERFORMANCES: 7:15-7:35 Des Moines Marina Park*; 8:15-8:35 Dash Point*; 9:05-9:15 Redondo Beach
Official Christmas Ship with choir on board SOLD OUT
Book now for the Parade Boat following the Christmas Ship

The Argosy Cruises Christmas Ship festival is a holiday celebration that has been a Pacific Northwest tradition since 1949. Every year, the Argosy Christmas Ship sails to different Puget Sound waterfront communities, over 45 in total.

This year AAA Washington, KOMO and the Seattle Times sponsor the festival.

Choirs onboard sing 20-minute performances to these communities, all broadcast via state-of-the-art speaker system. On shore, thousands of people gather around roaring bonfires anticipating the arrival of the Christmas Ship.

For those watching on shore at Redondo, South King Fire & Rescue has come to the community’s aid and reissued the permit for the bonfire that will start at 8:30.

Anyone planning to attend the bonfire is asked to be mindful of traffic restrictions in place not only for the event, but also because of the damage to the boardwalk. There will be some street closures with detours along narrow streets and the fencing isolating the boardwalk further reduces lane widths along Redondo Beach Drive.

On Nov. 29, Mother Nature blew up an unusual wave and tidal surge from the northwest that landed a haymaker on the boardwalk and caused and estimated $1.5 million in damages according to Des Moines officials.

With many planks snapped and missing, the boardwalk looks like the mouth of prizefighter who forgot his teeth guard. City officials are awaiting lower tides to determine the exact condition of the seawall and boardwalk support system.

In the meantime, it appears that damage throughout Western Washington from the storm on Nov. 29 may have breeched the $10 million threshold for Federal Emergency Management Act relief. State and county officials are also looking into ways to possibly help, said Des Moines Marina Harbormaster Joe Dusenbury.

And although the community’s Christmas celebration is back on, Mother Nature could still be planning to act as the Grinch.

A series of king tides the week of and specifically Christmas morning at 7:45 are expected to reach as high as 13.63 feet and any significant wind or wave action could cause further damage and flooding. High tide on Nov. 29 was nearly a foot lower at 12.83 feet.

A month later, another series of king tides the week of Jan. 18 are expected to culminate at 13.75 feet on Jan. 23 at 7:15 a.m.

But before then, the Christmas Ship will put into Redondo this Wednesday and the community will have its Christmas cheer back.

The Highline School District on Friday announced that the transition of 6th grade to middle school will be delayed at least one year.

“Originally slated for fall 2015, the 6th grade move will occur no earlier than September 2016,” the district said in a release.

The district says that the change was made “in part as a response to parent concerns about sixth graders having to make two moves during middle school — once to an interim site, and again to a new school facility.

“The district plans to build two new middle schools to accommodate growing enrollment. The capital bond on last November’s ballot would have funded construction of two middle schools slated to open in September 2017. Students attending those schools would have been housed in interim sites for two years.”

The new timeline allows district leaders to seek a solution that would eliminate the need for interim middle school sites.

“One benefit of this change is that it allows more time to plan the sixth-grade transition,” said Superintendent Susan Enfield.

Community meetings where families can participate in the planning process will resume in January and continue through the spring.

Construction of new middle schools will require passage of a capital bond. The November bond received 59.3 percent of the vote, just short of the 60 percent “supermajority” needed for passage. The school board is gathering community input now as it decides when to place another bond on the ballot.

A message from our Real Estate Sponsor Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest:


Thank You! Your amazing generosity was truly an inspiration.

On Sunday, Dec. 12 at the Normandy Park Tree Lighting ceremony Tay Krull and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Real Estate held their First Annual Diaper Drive to benefit Treehouse.

Treehouse is a local organization that benefits foster children in our community.

The Diaper Drive collected 3,277 diapers for Treehouse with more calls of donations still coming in.

“Thank you for your amazing support and we look forward to making this event bigger and better next year!”

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

by Dave Markwell

The older I get, the more uncertain I have become about many things. Proving this point, I’m not even sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I often find myself perched on the fence about lots of different issues and/or ideas. I don’t like declaring a position. And, I typically don’t trust people who are quick to take a strong position. I have been either blessed or cursed with the capacity to see multiple potential answers to questions. My wishy-washiness is not a lack of courage to stake a claim and own my opinion. I merely have lots of opinions and can see issues from different viewpoints.

Over the years, I have managed to frustrate my old buddy, Dan, with my standard response to his seemingly simple questions: “Welllll….it’s hard to say…” I reply and I’m pretty sure he has wanted to punch me hard upon hearing, once again, my lack of commitment to any position.

I found my defense in a quote I read the other day:

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” – Bertrand Russell

Eureka!!! This is it!!! This establishes that I am NOT the problem with the world. This is good to know as I was beginning to worry. Many of us can rest easy with this knowledge. It is not necessary to pick sides on everything. Most issues are more complicated than they are presented to be. That’s why it’s important to be wary of words that sound too good to be true. They usually are. Living in this world is not a simple business and what is “right” is rarely clear.

Sometimes, however, “right” is very clear. In these moments, it is very important that we speak up. Our voices are necessary to drown out the loud, but wrong ones intent only on creating havoc and distracting us from the truth. Justice is found in our spoken words.

While much of my water is muddy, some is not: the other morning I walked into my daughter’s bedroom playing my favorite song from our recent trip to Hawaii on my iPhone to wake her. She smiled and covered her head with her favorite fuzzy purple blanket; the other night, I sat with my son discussing his high school experience and I saw his mind exploring the awesome potential of his future; this morning, I delivered coffee to my wife as she lay cozy in bed, listening to our daughter practicing “Silent Night” on the piano. In each of these moments, I knew without a shadow of a shadow of doubt that I loved my family so very much. And in a world of so much uncertainty for me, it feels good to have something to know for sure…

PS: This week’s column is dedicated to my friend, Nancy Warren. She was much more certain than I, but lived as an example of kindness and truth and love. She was more than simply human; she was an “experience”. Her spirit was vast and infectious and her heart as big as her smile. The world lost a good one…

[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!]

Press “Play” button to hear live weather info.

by Chris Scragg
Puget Sound Weather Geek

UPDATED 7:00 PM: Hi everyone! This will be brief, I just got home and the winds are already starting to howl to over 50mph!

A strong cyclone will generate high winds through midnight tonight. Gusts over 55 mph are likely, especially in exposed places along Puget Sound like Three Tree and Alki Point.

The recent heavy rainfall during the last few days has saturated the soil, allowing for easier toppling of trees. Tonight’s storm could bring widespread power outages throughout the region (especially in Burien/South Puget Sound).

At this point, if you haven’t already prepared your flashlights and outage supplies, you need to right now.  (Lights are flickering currently!)

Below is a live chat room if you want to chat or report conditions where you are! Enjoy the storm and stay safe!!
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

The Christmas Ship and Bonfire scheduled for tonight – Thursday, Dec. 11 – at Redondo Beach has been cancelled due to inclement weather conditions.  

The Mast Center’s Open House has also been cancelled as well.

Press “Play” button to hear live weather info.

by Chris Scragg
Puget Sound Weather Geek

Not sure which is more impressive, tomorrow’s possible wind storm or today’s record high temperatures in the upper 60s…in December! Thursday’s wind storm would certainly be more impactful, so lets get into that.

Computer generated weather models have been wrestling with the details of a windstorm set to arrive Thursday afternoon. The American produced models were forecasting a stronger scenario than the Canadian and better funded (and typically more accurate) European models. However now, they seem to have switched places.

The forecast for this system will come down to two different possible paths. The first possible scenario which is being suggested by the University of Washington computer model, is a path along the coast and into central Vancouver Island. This would be generate very strong winds for the Oregon and Washington coasts as well as the north Puget Sound, but for central and south Puget Sound it would only result in a blustery afternoon.

The second possible scenario is much more potent. The Canadian and European models have started pointing the low pressure to a path that carves right through western Washington. If this serious situation occurs then we can expect damaging high winds gusting to 60+mph to funnel through the Puget Sound potentially causing widespread power outages.

As a result of the potential for damaging winds, the National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Watch for a large portion of western Washington. The official watch warns of 30-40mph winds with gusts to 65mph. This may be upgraded to a High Wind Warning.

Another thing to watch out for if you live along the waterfront in the Puget Sound: (Three Tree Point, Alki Point waterfront residents) there will be some “tidal overflow” Thursday morning. The NWS has issued a Coastal Flood Watch for all low lying areas near the water in Puget Sound

I will make the final updates for the night after going through them. Stay tuned to the forecasts and be careful out there!

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

Des Moines United Methodist Church will be holding ‘Children’s Christmas Fun Day’ this Saturday Dec. 13, and all are invited.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the church’s Fellowship Hall.

Free to all children ages 4-12.

“We will enjoy games, crafts, story time, lunch and a movie as we learn about the Christmas story,” they said.

Parents are welcome to stay and play or feel free to use this time for some kid free time as well.

Des Moines United Methodist Church is located at 22225 9th Ave. S., Des Moines 98198.

Contact the church at 206-878-8301 for more information.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a ‘Political Cartoon’ posted as a Letter to the Editor, created by a Reader.

It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Waterland Blog nor its staff:]


Click image to see larger version.

- Daniel Kennedy

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

HCSATA Toy Drive 2014

The Des Moines Police Department is coordinating a Toy Drive to benefit the Harborview Center for Sexual Assault & Traumatic Stress (HCSATS).

Among the many other things they do, HCSATS provides examination, interview and therapy services for children who are the victims of sexual assault and other abuse or traumatic incidents.

The gift of a small comfort item such as a toy, blanket, or stuffed animal during their visits may bring some joy to their otherwise stressful and unpleasant situation.

A cash donation can be made by mailing a check made out to the Des Moines Police Foundation with HCSATS Toy Drive in the memo line to 21900 11th Ave S Des Moines, WA 98198.

You can also purchase a toy online and have it shipped directly to:

Des Moines Police Department
21900 11th Ave S.
Des Moines, WA 98198
Attn: Toy Drive

For additional information or questions, please contact Detective Fred Gendreau at 206-870-7615 or at

Thank you in advance for your support of a good cause!


Photo of a thoughtful Nancy Warren moderating one of our Candidate Forums by Micael Brunkf

Nancy Warren, a teacher at Highline College, Des Moines resident, musician and partner for Breeders Theater, volunteer for the Des Moines Arts Commission, loving wife to Dr. TM Sell, occasional Moderator of our candidate forums and much more – passed away suddenly on Friday, Dec. 5 from complications due to breast and lung cancer.

Nancy’s sudden passing was a tragic and painful punch to the gut of many in the community, as she was a very bright, personable, popular and intelligent woman with many friends.

A memorial service will be held this Sunday, Dec. 14, at 4 p.m. at Calvary Lutheran Church in Federal Way.

Our hearts go out to her husband TM, family, friends and co-workers who are all already missing her tremendously.

Nancy was 52, but with the mind, spirit and energy of someone less than half her age.

If cranky old Lou Grant was ever around Nancy, he definitely would’ve said:

Lou Grant: You know what, you’ve got spunk!
Nancy: Well, yes…
Lou Grant: I *hate* spunk!

Quite prolific on Facebook, she almost always had a huge smile that lit up in nearly every photo, especially those with family:












Sadly, websites like Facebook are now becoming the place where we often hear of friends’ passings. We first learned about hers on a post by her husband of 19 years, TM Sell:


“Nancy Warren, 1962-2014. Rest well, ferry princess. A thousand tiny joys go with you.”

Condolences and memories have flooded both Nancy’s and TM’s Facebook pages, with posts like:

Josh Pehrson: “Last night, I learned my godmother Nancy Warren had been hospitalized, suddenly, earlier in the week. Two hours later, my parents called me and told me she had passed away. The last 24 hours have been so tough, and I already miss her so much. I’m unimaginably grateful for her presence in my life for the last 18 years. With so little time to take in her decline, I urge anyone reading this to take a minute and, in the words of her husband, go smooch a loved one – or even a friend – and tell him or her how much they mean to you. I’m sending lots of love to my Uncle Dr. T.m. and Amanda. Peace to both of you.”

Tara Sweeney‎: “On Friday, the jobs numbers were released and we learned how strong our economy is…We’ve been waiting for your perfectly educational post blaming Obama. Makes us so sad to know that post is not coming. But know you’ve trained us well, and you’ll always be thought of when great news is released.”

Janet Freeman-Daily: “Yesterday another warm, loving friend was taken by cancer. I will never again experience Nancy Warren playing lovely keyboard music, adopting another stray animal, demonstrating her cooking mastery, remarking on events in the classes she taught, or sharing pictures of beer and snowglobes acquired in foreign lands. Enjoy your meetings at the Rainbow Bridge, Nancy. Hugs to T.m. Sell , her family, and the many friends and students she touched in her lifetime.”

Mark MacDonald‎: “I think Nancy would have loved tonight’s Colbert Report broadcast with President Barack Obama. He hit it out of the park. Certainly he’ll be criticized but that’s the plight of any President. While on the outside Nancy and I appeared to have our differences, we were both moderate in our approach to political issues (but loved to stir the pot) and, among other things, I will miss her wit and our discussions on economics, politics, education, and family. Missing you, Nancy.”

Sam Blanton‎: “I find myself coming back to your FB page over and over – I guess I am somehow hoping that this is all a bad dream and that your post about a student who can’t understand how to knock on your office door or who asks for extra credit will prove me right.”

Darlene G. Miller‎: “The world has lost a bright, shining star. You were so committed to your students, to learning, to social justice and community. You lived life to the fullest. You made me laugh and appreciate life – I will miss all your damn Facebook posts and photos! It was a privilege to be able to call you my friend. Thank you for your courage of conviction, officiating at the marriages of your gay and lesbian friends. There will always be a special place in mine and Rahle’s hearts. I will miss you my friend but I know the world is a much better place having had you in it.”

Chris N. Johnson: “I will always remember the one phrase she always tried to instill in all of her students in all of her classes: Choose wisely. Nancy Warren, I love to dearly, and will never forget you. You were a true friend and champion to me.”

Paula M. Burckhard‎: “Nancy was the best teacher I had at Highline. She was proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks. She made me laugh, remember the good ol days, learn new things. She will be warmly remembered and greatly missed. Praying for comfort in your time of sorrow.”

Mayumi Fumagalli Kumagai‎: “What…? It must be a joke right, Nancy? I even didn’t know what happened to you. You are still in your office at HCC and waiting me to visit, aren’t you? Because I and Ayaka were seriously planing to visit you.
Literally I really can’t believe..
I still remember your big smile, enthusiasm, kindness and everything like a yesterday.
You are the best teacher in my life and great person.
I can’t believe..”

Lucie Jiraskova‎: “Just heard that devastating news that saddened me deeply. I am shocked, hurt and cannot stop crying. The most beautiful woman, full of life, love and laughter, who touched the life of hundreds of others and was the inspiration for her students, passed away last night. Gone too soon. City of Des Moines, Highline college and lives of many will not be the same. Nancy, you will be greatly missed. We love you!!”

Here are some interesting items from Nancy’s FB page:

“Is it vacation yet?”

“I’m still me! And now I’m 50 and happy to be 50. It beats the alternative.”


  • “I think, therefore I am”
  • “I’ll think about it tomorrow!”
  • “Here we are now, entertain us.”

Originally from Aberdeen, Nancy attended Weatherwax High School, Grays Harbor College, University of Puget Sound, Cornell University and Central Washington University.

Nancy will be missed tremendously by many, including everyone at South King Media.

Our deepest sympathies go out to all who knew her, and even those who didn’t.

Here’s a video shot by Michael Brunk showing Nancy singing and playing piano during a Breeders Theater rehearsal:

We think it’s appropriate to end our brief tribute to Nancy with this quote from her husband TM Sell:

“Tonight, if you haven’t already, give your significant other a big hug, maybe even a big wet one, and tell him or her how much you love them.”
















Photos & Story by Sterling Paris

On Friday night (Dec. 5) at Big Catch Plaza, colorful lights lit up all around the Des Moines Christmas Tree to a crowd of around 450 people, the largest in a long time.

Hosted by Destination Des Moines, with help from John L Scott Real Estate, cookies and hot chocolate were served and glow sticks were sold for donations.

At 6 p.m. on the dot Rodney Olsen, the music instructor of Des Moines Elementary School, conducted his 6th grade band with the help from band students of Pacific Middle School and Mount Rainier High School.

“I have been bringing students here to play for the past 10 years and they all seem to love it,” Olsen said.

Friday was not too cold – unlike previous years – and everyone bundled up in warm clothes big or small, singing songs and waiting for Santa to light our tree.

This year was the first lighting of our new tree.

Next thing you knew Santa was standing at the foot of the tree ready to light it up. Everyone counted down from 5 and the estimated 25-foot tree lit up in green, red, blue, orange and pink with a nice white star on the top to finish it off.

Afterwords, parents had signed up while waiting to have their kids’ pictures taken with Santa.

All and all this year was one of the best – all the cookies were gone!

SterlingParis1EDITOR’S NOTE: Please welcome our newest Big Picture High School Intern – Sterling Paris – to The Waterland Blog and South King Media!

Sterling is the latest in our long line of industrious bright young students, and she’ll be creating art, photography, writing stories and much more for our blogs (and perhaps even SoKing Internet Radio) over this school year.

She lives in Des Moines, and you may recognize her from her face-painting booth at the Des Moines Farmers Market, where she’s been working for the last six years.

“Hi, I’m Sterling!

“I’m the Blog’s new intern! You can find me taking the bus or walking the streets or at the news’ next big thing. I’m a little blonde girl wearing either all black or a dress. So please say hi to me on the streets, I’m really friendly and love to smile so I assure you I don’t bite!”

She is our fourth Intern from Big Picture, and we’re excited to have her on board.


REMINDER: A benefit screening of the locally produced, award-winning UFO film “The Maury Island Incident” – for the Burien Actors Theatre and the Highline Area Food Bank – will take place next Tuesday night, Dec. 16 at the Tin Theater, starting at 6 p.m.

“The Maury Island Incident” is a 30-minute film that tells the forgotten, tragic story – taken directly from declassified FBI documents – of Harold Dahl’s June 21, 1947 UFO sighting near Maury Island, and the first reported ‘Man In Black’ encounter that happened to him the very next day.

Each screening will be followed by a Q&A session with Filmmakers.

Cost is $10 per person + 2 items of non-perishable food items for the food bank.

The film – which was shot in Des Moines (at the historic Landmark on the Sound), Burien, Tukwila and off the shores of Maury Island during the summer of 2013 – had its world premiere at the Big Island Film Festival, and its North American premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival.

It has also screened at the Port Townsend, Burbank, Local Sightings, International Family, Tacoma and Gig Harbor Film Festivals, where it won an Audience Choice Award for “Best Narrative Short.”

It was also awarded the competitive Washington FilmWorks Innovation Lab funding during production, and special episodes premiered as IndieFlix’ “first original series” in August, 2014.

Directed/Produced by Scott Schaefer from a script by Writer/Producer Steve Edmiston, it features Seattle-area actors Tony Doupé, Allen Fitzpatrick, John Patrick Lowrie, David S. Hogan and many others. It was Executive Produced by John White, and Produced by Scott and Laura Beth Peterson and Danny House.

Here’s a brief review from noted paranormal/UFO radio host Clyde Lewis:

“The tension in this film is so thick you can cut it with a knife. The Maury Island Incident captures a moment in time long forgotten by most UFO researchers. It also reopens those Cold War feelings that are nothing but a forgotten memory in the post 9/11 era. Bravo!”

Here’s a trailer:

The Maury Island Incident Trailer #1 from The Maury Island Incident on Vimeo.

Screenings will be held hourly, starting at 6 p.m., then again at 7 and 8 p.m., followed by a Q&A session with filmmakers.

Tickets are $10 each – and are available for online purchase by credit/debit card:


A ticket stub from this screening will also be worth $3 off on one ticket for “Bob’s Holiday Office Party.”

Plus, if you bring non-perishable food for the local food bank, you’ll get an additional $2 off – so a stub and a food donation means $5 off the price of a ticket at BAT!  (This deal cannot be combined with any other deal or coupon, and only while tickets last.)

“Bob’s Holiday Office Party” performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 pm, and Sunday at 2 pm.

Collectible t-shirts and posters for the film will also be on sale in the lobby.

The Tin Theater is located at 923 SW 152nd Street.

by Jack Mayne

The nexus of the recent recession and the Washington State Legislature’s redirection of financial supports that cities used to use to balance their budgets has resulted in the City of Des Moines grinding down its financial reserves to the point the state auditor say the city “is it at risk for not being able to meet its financial obligations and maintain current service levels.”

The latest audit, released on Dec. 1, said the city’s general fund “has been diminishing due to the downturn in the economy and declining tax revenues” and that the city “has not effectively controlled costs in relation to reduced revenues … and ending fund balance has declined for three of the past four years.”

The general fund ending balance was actually at a loss of $55 in 2012 and only at $251 in 2013, the auditor wrote. Revenues have decreased and expenditures have increased.

“Therefore, the city is at risk of not being able to meet financial obligations at current service levels,” and should “monitor and evaluate its to ensure it meets the needed funding requirements.”

The auditor’s recommended that Des Moines adopt and follow “a formal comprehensive plan” and that it needs to “closely monitor and evaluate its financial activities” to be certain “the desired results are achieved.”

City ‘respectfully disagrees’
In its response to the auditor’s report, the city said “the steps the city has taken to address its financial situation, particularly the level of expenditure reductions and deferrals that have been implemented in the past three to four years” do not justify the proposed state recommendations.”

The Legislature has taken away from cities many of the streams that permitted cash-strapped municipalities to balance their budget, said Des Moines in its response to the auditor.

“When the Legislature eliminated the Sales Tax Equalization Program, the city lost a significant revenue source. In 1999, Sales Tax Equalization revenue totaled $1,667,000, representing 14.3 percent of the City’s General and Street Fund revenue.

“If this program had not been eliminated, this revenue, for 2014, is estimated to have been in the range of $2,800,000,” Des Moines told the auditor.

The city said it has done much to keep expenses in check and to reduce what it can.

It has changed and relaxed “dozens of development regulations and authorizing an economic development position to work directly with the development community to attract business.”

The City Council has also “maximized the use of just about every councilmanic revenue that is allowed under state law—including B&O taxes, Transportation Benefits District vehicle assessments, gambling taxes, utility taxes etc.—to balance its budget.”

But, the city wrote, “the Legislature has continued to deal with its budget problems by, in part, diverting revenues that have historically gone to cities.”

Liquor tax revenues the city received in the past three fiscal years “were $272,065 less than what would have occurred had the Legislature not taken those funds. In 2015, we expect liquor funds to be at least $65,767 less than what they should be.

In addition, the city says the Legislature took away from cities Public Works Trust Fund revenues and used the money to balance the state general fund.

This forced cities to use “other revenues to construct vital public works projects or to simply forgo them entirely.”

Living off savings
The Waterland Blog sent e-mails last week to the six state legislators representing the South King County area. We sought thoughts on legislator’ “views on actions the Legislature can, will or will not do to alleviate/change these financial problems.”

None responded.

We also copied the request to area City Council members and city managers, but only one person responded despite several days delay in completing the story.

The one respondent was Des Moines City Councilmember Jeanette Burrage.

“Great issue and I am glad you are covering it,” Burrage wrote.

“The City of Des Moines has the lowest sales tax per person of any city in King County,” just $80 compared with $125 per Burien resident or $387 for each SeaTac resident, according to figures put together by Des Moines City Finance Director Paula A. Henderson.

“For the last 12 years, Des Moines has been living off savings, one time money from building permits, and taking money from the Marina account, which is now also operating in the negative,” she wrote. “We have not put any money into replacement funds for computers or equipment for many years and no street overlays.”

‘Draconian’ cuts drew crowds
The officials city response to the auditor noted that “when draconian budget cuts to the Park and Recreation programs were proposed in 2008, residents filled the Council chambers and made it quite clear that these services were vital to the well being of our community and that budget reductions must cut across all City departments, not just one or two.

“The City Council has worked very hard to make sure that we maintain the highest possible level of services given the realities of our revenue situation.”

Des Moines officials did not dispute the auditor’s finding that it was relying on “one-time revenues to balance its budget” not “there are revenues from one-time projects in the 2014 budget that have not fully come in yet” but “we are seeing an uptick in onetime sales and B&O tax revenue from two of these projects (the Des Moines Creek Business Park project, and the Sheraton Hotel).”

The Des Moines Creek Business Park also started two months later than expected because of a delay in the Port of Seattle finalizing the land lease with the Panattoni Development Company.

“Building permit issuance will occur later in 2014 than we anticipated because of the delay in finalizing the land lease and a change to the city’s development agreement with the Port but the permits will be issued this year.

Pacific Middle School – located in nearby Des Moines – is the only school in Washington to receive a $10,000 grant from to buy technology to support computer science learning in the classroom.

On Tuesday, Dec. 9, from 9:50 – 10:30 a.m., State Representative Tina Orwall, as well as representatives from and Microsoft, will present the $10,000 check to Pacific students during a schoolwide assembly.

After the assembly, Microsoft engineers will visit two science classrooms and teach students how to code.

“With this gift, we will be able to provide students with greater access to technology, ensuring that our students will be on the forefront, not just consuming technology of the future, but creating it,” said Principal Deborah Rumbaugh.

Computer science is among the fastest growing industries in our region. Coding is an essential aspect of computer science, as well as finance, accounting, marketing, social media, and many more professions.

All 675 students at Pacific will also participate in’s annual Hour of Code event, which is designed to show that anyone can learn the basics of code.

On Thursday, December 11, Pacific students will participate in a one-hour introduction to computer programming during school. The hope is that after spending one hour learning how to code, students will want to keep going.

Hour of Code will take place in classrooms across the country the week of December 8-14. More than 2,200 students in Highline Public Schools will participate.

“We’re excited to have so many schools across the country introduce students to computer science for one hour,” said Hadi Partovi, co-founder and CEO, “The Hour of Code is an introduction to computer science, designed to demystify ‘code’ and show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, or an innovator.”

Pacific Middle School is located at 22705 24th Ave South in Des Moines.