Highline College Athletics was honored as one of the top five schools in the 2014 Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) Academic President’s Cup for academic performances of student-athletes and third amongst colleges with eight or more teams. Additionally, 10 Highline second-year student-athletes were named to the Fall NWAC All-Academic Team.

“Anytime our student-athletes excel in the classroom, it is a direct reflection of Highline Athletics’ commitment to our academic program, the tireless work of our academic adviser, and the endless efforts of our coaches, faculty and staff who work very hard to ensure that each and every one of our student-athletes succeeds in the classroom,” said Highline Athletic Director John Dunn.

The President’s Cup is awarded to institutions based on the academic performance of their athletic teams. Points are awarded for student-athletes who complete 36 credits, 72 credits, complete a certificate, and degree completion. Amount of points awarded are determined by student-athletes’ GPAs. The NWAC awards one cup to institutions who offer eight or more sports and another cup to institutions who offer seven or fewer sports.

The student-athletes named to the Fall NWAC All-Academic Team for earning a 3.25 GPA or higher were:

Volleyball:

  • Megan Smith, Maple Valley, Wash.
  • Danielle Tabor, Olympia, Wash.
  • Leone Tanielu, Kent, Wash.
  • Alexandria Toth, Beaverton, Ore.

Men’s Soccer:

  • Armando Castillo, Des Moines, Wash.
  • Matthew Cruz, Kent, Wash.
  • Kloh Phillips, Kent, Wash.

Women’s Soccer:

  • Adrianna McMahon, Auburn, Wash.
  • Madissen Ostergaard, Sutter Creek, Calif.

Cross Country:

  • Joseph “Joey” Walker, West Seattle, Wash.

The awards are both based on credit and GPAs from the 2013-2014 academic year. Student-athletes named to the Winter and Spring All-Academic Teams will be announced in January 2015.

In addition to the outstanding academic performance of the Highline student-athletes this fall, all teams have been bringing home titles on the field as well. Both men and women’s soccer finished the regular season tied for first place in the NWAC West Division with Peninsula College. Playoff games begin this week.

Highline cross-country runner Endalkachew Abebaw finished first at the 2014 NWAC Northwest Region Cross-Country Championships, with three of his teammates also finishing in the top 20.

Women’s volleyball is currently third in the West Division.

These rankings do not include the Highline men’s wrestling team that competes in the National Junior College Athletic Association and was ranked number one in the nation for its academics for the 2013-2014 academic year.

For more information on Highline College Athletics, visit athletics.highline.edu.

King County Elections released the sixth round of results for Tuesday’s general election on Friday afternoon (Nov. 7), and the Highline School District Bond, while breaking the 58% barrier, will likely not reach the 60% majority needed.

And the school district appears to have conceded.

“It appears that the Highline capital improvement bond — now at 58.03 percent approval — will not reach the 60 percent needed for passage,” the school district said on its website. “Though yes votes have been trending upward, it is unlikely the ballots yet to be counted will push the final count above the 60 percent threshold.”

Here are the latest results, as of 3:58 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7:

  • Approved: 12911 58.03%
  • Rejected: 9337 41.97%

Here’s the trend of the returns:

  • 56.68%: 1st returns (Nov. 4)
  • 57.15%: 2nd returns (Nov. 5, 4:34 p.m.)
  • 57.28%: 3rd returns (Nov. 5, 7:40 p.m.)
  • 57.55%: 4th returns (Nov. 6, 4:15 p.m.)
  • 57.68%: 5th returns (Nov. 6, 7:40 p.m.)
  • 58.03%: 5th returns (Nov. 7, 3:58 p.m.)

Here’s more from the district:

School Board President Michael Spear acknowledged that a majority of voters did vote to approve the measure. “We are grateful for the support of the many, many citizens in our community who expressed their support for our schools by voting yes,” said Spear.

With failure of the bond, the district has limited options for meeting the challenges of overcrowding and aging, deteriorating schools.

This fall enrollment is up 400 students over last year, causing crowding in elementary schools. Enrollment is expected to grow by over 2,000 in the next eight to ten years.

Bond failure also means replacement and major repairs to the district’s aging and outdated schools will have to wait.

“We will do our best to serve our students, knowing there are physical and financial limitations to what we can do to improve the learning environment in our oldest buildings,” said Superintendent Susan Enfield. “We will work with our community to determine a plan for moving forward.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a NEW Open House listing (posted 4 p.m. 11/7/14), as the previous listing has SOLD!

WLB Real Estate Sponsor Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Northwest’s Open House – set for both this Saturday and Sunday – is a fantastic 3-bedroom rambler with a spacious floor plan!

This home has large kitchen, living and family rooms, along with beautiful hardwood flooring and new carpet.

Clean, move-in ready with all appliances included.

Nestled on a large private lot with fully fenced backyard.

Two car garage offers extra room for workspace and tons of storage.

Convenient location close to shopping, dining, airport and easy freeway access.

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Here are the details:

WHAT: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Open House

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 9, from 1 – 4 p.m. & Sunday, Nov. 10, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

WHERE: 5128 S 173rd Lane SeaTac, WA 98188

INFO:

  • List Price: $234,950
  • MLS Number: 706507
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 1.5
  • Year Built: 1964
  • Approximate House SqFt: 1,200
  • Approximate Lot SqFt: 8,404

Site Features:

  • Garage-Attached
  • Fenced-Fully
  • Outbuildings

Marketing remarks:

Fantastic rambler with spacious floor plan offers 3 bd/1.5 bath, large kitchen, living & family room, beautiful hardwood flooring and new carpet.

Clean, move in ready with all appliances included.

Nestled on a large private lot with fully fenced backyard.

Two car garage offers extra room for workspace and tons of storage.

Convenient location close to shopping, dining, airport and easy freeway access.

Click here to see the full, detailed listing.

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

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The Soggy Doggy will be holding a Seahawk Pride Pet Photos (Husky and Cougar Pride too!) event this Sunday, Nov. 9, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at their location at 19893 1st Ave South, Suite #204, in the Normandy Park Towne Center.

“Get pet photos to show your 12th Dog Spirit! You can have photos taken with Husky or Cougar pride too!”

Cost:

  • 4×6 print $15, additional copies $2 ea
  • 5×7 print $25, additional copies $3 ea
  • 8×10 print $35, additional copies $5 ea
  • Low-rez digital images $50 ea

Photos will be taken by Layla & Me Photography. For more information about Layla & Me check out https://www.facebook.com/LaylaAndMePhotography

More info at http://www.thesoggydoggy.com/

Be sure to “Like” Soggy Doggy here: https://www.facebook.com/TheSoggyDoggyNormandyPark

by Jack Mayne

To help balance the city budget, the Des Moines City Council increased taxes on utilities to 8 percent at Thursday night’s session (Nov. 6).

Approved unanimously were 2 percent increases of the city’s current 6 percent tax on cable television providers, solid waste utilities and surface water management providers,

The higher percentage “could potentially increase revenues” in 2014 by $300,000.

Above the limit
State law gives cities the authority to raise taxes on cable and solid waste collection utilities as well as on the city owned surface management utility above the 6 percent limit state law has on electricity, telephone, and gas providers.

The state law says a city cannot have disproportionate tax levels on city-owned utilities, so both rates must be at the same level. Such taxes are routinely passed directly to subscribers and service users.

The Council has also approved a five-year sunset provision that means the Council can reconsider the tax increase for its 2020 budget.

The city has until Jan. 1 to pass the new two-year budget.

Marina repairs needed
Ben Stewart, a Marina tenant and Des Moines resident, said he was a representative of Three Tree Point Yacht Club, and the “marina needs a lot of repairs” and “there is no money to do it” and there is “no plan to put the money together.”

Stewart suggested a marina oversight committee be formed to put together a five-year business plan, a 10-year sustainability report and to suggest proposals to the Council and the city staff.

Long-time Des Moines resident and Marina user Doug Andrews said he has watched the marina deteriorate over the years.

“It is hard to understand how, after 45 years, there is no money put aside to do many of these (needed) repairs,” Andrews said.

“It is appalling. If we keep deteriorating, I am going to have to look for a place down in Tacoma because if you folks – somebody doesn’t put some money into that facility, it is not going to be here.”

More police needed
James Payne, a 2013 losing City Council candidate, told Councilmembers the city has a “crime problem” that is exacerbated by having “only four, sometimes only three police officers” patrolling the city – fewer he said than the state average for the same size community.

“You must fund and sustain at least 10 more police officers and even more if you want to drive the crime rate down. We need more cops now.”

But City Manager Tony Piasecki later said crime was somewhat being controlled on Pacific Ridge and that a bank-owned six-plex has been emptied of tenants “through the efforts” of many agencies.

“This particular property was responsible for 150 incidents in the last six months – that is almost one a day and often times two or three a day,” he said.

Another nearby property “was quite a problem for the neighborhood” and some tenants have been evicted and others put on notice of eviction if problems continue.

Saltwater Park bridge
Piasecki said the Saltwater State Park bridge is in need of shoring up, repairs and a seismic update.

“We were lucky enough to get a very large grant from the state” to cover the projects.

He said the bridge will be closed to traffic on Nov. 12 “for approximately six months” but should be reopened by the end of April 2015.

As a way of saying “thank you” to our military, Brown Bear will be offering free “Bear Essentials” car washes to all current or former members of the military on Veterans Day, on Tuesday, Nov. 11.

The Des Moines location at 22706 Marine View Drive will be participating.

The offer will operate on an honor system and no verification or documentation is required. Drivers should identify themselves as a current or former member of the military to the wash attendant.

“The event is our way of demonstrating appreciation for those who currently serve our country and have made sacrifices on behalf of all of us,” said Brown Bear Car Wash President Vic Odermat, who founded the company in 1957 and is a proud US Marine veteran. “It reflects our bond to the communities we serve, including a large armed services presence here.”

Odermat started Brown Bear in Seattle in 1957 with one location at 15th Ave West in Seattle. Through its parent company, Car Wash Enterprises, Inc., Brown Bear owns and operates a total of 43 car wash facilities in Washington State as well as a network of gas stations and convenience stores. It is one of the largest privately held car wash chains in the U.S. and is widely recognized within the car care industry as being a leader in the environmental movement.

UPDATE NOV. 5 7:44 p.m.: The third round of results for Tuesday’s (Nov. 4) General Election were released Wednesday (Nov. 5) evening at 7:40 p.m., and Proposition 1, the Highline School District Bond – while leading with over 57% of the vote (a bump up of .47%) – is still failing due to it requiring a 60% majority.

“We are gratified that the majority of voters in our community voted to approve this bond,” Superintendent Susan Enfield said on the school district’s website. “We are thankful for all those in our community who support our students and our schools.”

The bond is slowing inching its way up; here are the trends:

  1. 56.68%: 1st returns (Nov. 4)
  2. 57.15%: 2nd returns (Nov. 5, 4:34 p.m.)
  3. 57.28%: 3rd returns (Nov. 5, 7:40 p.m.)

With 391,881 ballots counted, here are the latest results, as of Nov. 5 at 7:40 p.m.:

Highline School District No. 401 Proposition No. 1 Bonds to Construct New Schools:

  • Approved: 10852 57.28%
  • Rejected: 8093 42.72%

To find out if your ballot has been counted yet, click here: https://info.kingcounty.gov/elections/ballottracker.aspx

The first round of results for Tuesday’s (Nov. 4) General Election have been released, and the early tallies show that one of the more contentious local issues – Proposition 1, the Highline School District Bond – while leading with nearly 57% of the vote, may not pass due to it requiring a 60% majority.

This bond generated quite the comment and Letter to the Editor “war” on the blog, with dozens from both the pro and con sides emailing/posting their thoughts daily for the last several weeks.

Here are the first results:

Highline School District No. 401 Proposition No. 1 bonds to construct new schools and replace and renovate deteriorating schools

  • Approved: 56.68% – 9502 votes
  • Rejected: 43.32% – 7263 votes

Legislative District No. 33 Representative Position No. 2

  • Mia Su-Ling Gregerson: 9459 55.06%
  • Jeanette Burrage: 7684 44.73%
  • Write-in: 35 0.20%

Initiative Measure No. 1351 (Class Size):

  • Yes: 171000 52.98%
  • No: 151733 47.02%

Initiative Measure No. 591 (Limit Gun Checks):

  • Yes: 102835 31.64%
  • No: 222199 68.36%

Initiative Measure No. 594 (Expand Gun Checks):

  • Yes: 244600 74.58%
  • No: 83352 25.42%

Advisory Vote No. 8 Senate Bill 6505 (Marijuana Taxes):

  • Repealed: 111864 37.27%
  • Maintained: 188250 62.73%

Advisory Vote No. 9 Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1287

  • Repealed: 105948 36.14%
  • Maintained: 187241 63.86%

US Representative Congressional District No. 7

  • Jim McDermott: 91939 80.06%
  • Craig Keller: 22528 19.62%
  • Write-in: 369 0.32%

Legislative District No. 33 State Senator

  • Karen Keiser: 10922 62.83%
  • Martin Metz: 6435 37.02%
  • Write-in: 27 0.16%

Legislative District No. 33 Representative Position No. 1

  • Tina Orwall: 11055 64.17%
  • Michael J. Siefkes: 6147 35.68%
  • Write-in: 27 0.16%

Legislative District No. 34 State Senator

  • Sharon K. Nelson: 17271 98.14%
  • Write-in: 327 1.86%

Legislative District No. 34 Representative Position No. 1

  • Eileen L. Cody: 17024 98.30%
  • Write-in: 295 1.70%

Legislative District No. 34 Representative Position No. 2

  • Joe Fitzgibbon: 16238 81.10%
  • Brendan B. Kolding: 3595 17.95%

One of the more interesting races in the south area is in Federal Way, where Roger Freeman – who passed away last week from cancer – is leading:

Legislative District No. 30 Representative Position No. 2

  • Roger Freeman: 9042 53.14%
  • Jack Dovey: 7946 46.70%
  • Write-in: 26 0.15%

Has your vote been counted yet? Find out here: https://info.kingcounty.gov/elections/ballottracker.aspx

Votes will be certified by the King County Elections on Nov. 25.

We’ll post another update Wed. (Nov. 5) sometime after 4:30 p.m., so stay tuned…

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Via Marina Pizzeria Ristorante – the newest concept of the Vince’s family of restaurants in Des Moines – is making you an offer you cannot refuse!

Vince Mottola, along with partners Stephenie Abadilla and Eric Timper, are very excited about featuring authentic Neapolitan pizza, classic Italian dinners, along with craft cocktails and a thoughtful selection of wine and beer to Des Moines and the surrounding area.

So much so, that for a limited time, they are offering this great coupon that will get you $10 off when you purchase any two dinner entrees or pizza along with two beverages (click image to print coupon):

Click image to print coupon, or just show this image from your mobile device!

All so you can discover their delicious food and warm hospitality…AND to make it even easier to take advantage of this amazing offer you don’t even have to print a coupon! You can simply load it on your mobile phone or tablet and redeem it straight from your device. Of course you can also print it and bring it in as well, just click here – and you are on your way to enjoying a delicious meal with savings to boot.

The menu is a fusion of popular Italian dishes from Vince’s and the same pizzas as their certified Neapolitan pizzeria in south Seattle, Pulcinella. Their goal is to become a dining establishment that is a source of pride in the Des Moines community and a destination restaurant for all of south King County. The name “via Marina” meaning “Marina Way” or “Marina Street” in Italian, was chosen to connect with this charming Puget Sound community.

Vince’s Italian Restaurants is one of the oldest restaurant companies in the Pacific Northwest, founded in 1957 by Vince (Enzo) and Ada Mottola shortly after arriving from Naples, Italy. Now son Vince with partner Fred Martichuski proudly continues the tradition with Vince’s in Burien, Federal Way and Renton and Pizzeria Pulcinella in south Seattle.

When it comes to their pizza they are serious about bringing real Neapolitan authenticity to the south end. Via Marina will apply for certification with the Vera Pizza Napoletana Association (VPN) in hopes to become the first VPN certified pizzeria in south King County. The certification demands strict adherence to their guidelines which include using ingredients from Italy and baking the pizzas in an 800 degree oven in less than 90 seconds.

Hungry yet? Well, hurry in because this special can’t last long!

Via Marina
22636 Marine View Drive South
Des Moines 98198

Phone: 206.592.2659

Click here to download Dinner Menu (PDF)

Website: www.viamarinaitalian.com

Happy Hour everyday from 4 – 6 p.m.:

  • $4 WINE & WELL DRINKS
  • $3 RAINIER & $4 MANNY’S DRAFT
  • $5 PIZZA & MORE!

HOURS:

  • Sunday: 12:00pm — 9:00pm
  • Mon—Thurs: 4:00pm — 9:00pm
  • Friday: 4:00pm — 10:00pm
  • Saturday: 12:00pm — 10:00pm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/viamarinaristorante/

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Local resident Karlene Petitt is not only a wife, mother and grandmother – she is also a commercial airline pilot, a motivational speaker as well as the author of the two aviation thrillers, “Flight For Control” and “Flight For Safety.”

Karlene will speak about growing up in Burien, telling stories of her life and the motivational forces behind her amazing accomplishments and career on Wednesday, Nov. 12 from 7 – 9 p.m. at the Des Moines IOOF Hall located at 728 S. 225th Street.

The one-hundred year old IOOF Hall is in downtown Des Moines, just half a block west of Marine View Drive on S. 225th.

Refreshments will be served.

For more information call Jim Langston, Program Chairman, at 206.878.7205

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):

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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

INFO:

  • 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.

Sincerely,
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 desmoinesumc@qwestoffice.net 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.]