• Dozens of citizens, elected officials, and staff from Kirkland, Bellevue, and King County gathered on June 19 for the grand opening and ribbon cutting of a newly opened section of the Eastside Railway Corridor (ERC).
The new section will be known as Jane Hague Way.
The ERC is an effort by King County and several other Eastside municipalities and agencies including the cities of Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond, Woodinville, and Renton—as well as Puget Sound Energy and Sound Transit—to craft a trail that would connect to other cities as well as existing trail systems.
Jane Hague Way is a one-mile portion of the ERC that connects the Cross Kirkland Corridor trail with Bellevue’s Spring District and the Washington State Department of Transportation’s SR 520 trail, which runs east to west from the University of Washington to Redmond. This is King County’s first project to open as part of the long-term ERC plan since the county purchased 16.7 miles of corridor in 2013.
The event was held to celebrate the opening of the county’s first portion of the trail, which was named after the former King County Council member and ERC trail supporter. Hague represented District 6 on the council for more than 20 years and was the co-chair of the ERC Regional Advisory Council. The county council approved a motion to name the segment after her in 2015.
The ERC runs along a former freight railway corridor from Woodinville to Renton once operated by the BNSF Railway Company. David St. John, environmental affairs officer for King County, explained that in 2003, BNSF was looking to sell the railway. Instead of selling off individual pieces of land, the ERC was kept together by a National Trails Act program called “railbanking,” which protects railway corridors when they are being sold or abandoned. Bellevue Reporter
• A Covington pre-teen may have saved the city a couple thousand dollars by simply using a 3D printer.
Nathanael Junkin saved up and bought himself a 3D printer not too long ago. His dad, Ross Junkin, operations and maintenance manager for the city of Covington, asked Nathanael if he could help the city out by using his 3D printer.
According to Ross, there have been multiple instances where people have pried open the locked gates at Covington Community Park, causing part of the gate to break.
“Later last year, we had two instances where we think somebody was locked into the park after hours—it’s posted, you know gate closes at such and such—and they stayed late, gate closed. There’s a phone number to call to help us help them get out. Sometimes people will take matters into their own hands and force the gate open, and that’s what we think happened on more than one occasion,” Ross said.
The piece that opens and closes the gate automatically snapped off. Ross said they only needed one little screw-type piece to fix it, but he said the manufacturer said that piece was not available by itself.
So in order to fix the gate, the city would spend about $1,000 each time.
To avoid unnecessary costs, Ross asked Nathanael if he could make something on his brand new 3D printer.
“I asked my son—because he had just purchased his 3D printer, which he had been saving months for—I said, ‘Hey, what do you think? I got this problem at work do you think you could help us fix this?’ ” Ross said.
Nathanael got to work right away and recreated the missing piece in very little time. Covington-Maple Valley Reporter
• Many residents are urging the Mercer Island School District to foster cultural competency in students after an alleged racially insensitive photograph was published in the 2017-18 Mercer Island High School yearbook.
The photo shows two students voted as “most intimidating,” each holding one young African American man in a headlock position. One of the young men is an MIHS security officer.
MIHS principal, Vicki Puckett, apologized on behalf of the school in a letter sent to students, parents, faculty and the community.
“This image should not have been included in the yearbook and in no way reflects our values at MIHS,” Puckett wrote.
The district’s Fundamental 7 protocols, call for the district to foster and embrace diversity, inclusiveness, and equity with a focus on respect and acceptance of every student. Puckett said the school fell short of meeting this criteria.
“As a place of learning, we can and will do better in the future,” she wrote.
A member on the Mercer Island School District Superintendent’s Diversity Advisory Committee, Robin Li, thinks the image is unacceptable. In a Facebook post to the ONE MI (Organizing Group Network for Equity on Mercer Island) group, she said the yearbooks should have been recalled, the page removed, or a sticker issued to cover the image. She is also disappointed in Puckett’s response to the photo.
Li presented a letter to the school board last Thursday. The letter has 124 community signatures. Mercer Island Reporter
• Although the city of Federal Way has extended Centerstage Theatre’s contract to manage the Knutzen Family Theatre by two months, the theater company says it still needs the community’s support to keep operating.
The city and Centerstage have been in negotiations since the city announced in April that it would not renew the three-year contract when it expired June 30. Centerstage has operated the theater at Dumas Bay Centre (3200 SW Dash Point Road) for the past nine years, and the city has paid Centerstage $100,000 a year.
Managing the theater will save the city money and give more opportunities for additional income, Mayor Jim Ferrell said.
“We had a private organization running a city facility, and we just haven’t had the access to be able to rent this facility,” he said. “We want to run it ourselves, and we believe we can actually generate revenue.”
On Monday, city and Centerstage officials reached an agreement to extend the contract through Aug. 31. The city will pay Centerstage a management fee of $8,333 per month over the next two months.
Ferrell said council member Mark Koppang encouraged the city to consider extending the contract to help Centerstage be successful during the transition.
“I want to say a very special thank you to council member Mark Koppang for his indispensable role in helping us craft a solution,” Ferrell said.
After Sept. 1, Centerstage will be able to rent the facility for $250 per week during its five, five-week runs of shows. Federal Way Mirror