Community

National Night Out unites Islanders

Christopher Brown, 5, Clyde Brown, 7, and Vishy Raghavan, 11, had fun with National Night Out.
Christopher Brown, 5, Clyde Brown, 7, and Vishy Raghavan, 11, had fun with National Night Out. 'HELP' is written on the back of the emergency preparedness booklets participants received.
— image credit: Brita Moore/Staff Photo

Mercer Island neighborhoods came together for fellowship and food for the National Night Out Aug. 7. Over 40 Island neighborhoods participated in the event designed to promote familiarity among neighbors so they can look out for each other and support crime prevention and emergency preparedness.

"We have 100 homes of people who have been here for 30 years or a week," Cynthia Davidson of the Lakes neighborhood said. "It's important to know each other so we can look out for each other."

Officer Jennifer Franklin, the emergency management coordinator at the Mercer Island Police Department, organized the event. She and several others, including police chief Ed Holmes, fire chief Chris Tubbs, and mayor Bruce Bassett, traveled to participating neighborhoods and spoke to them about recent crime statistics and staying safe. Participants received emergency preparedness booklets with instructions on how to survive for seven days in case of a major disaster. Living on an island can mean lack of resource availability if the bridges are closed down. They also got small booklets on crime prevention tips and discussed 911 protocol.

"I thought this was a nice idea to bring the neighborhood together to help continue to have a safe community, especially as a mom with young kids," Linda Floyd of the Holly Hill neighborhood said.

Two Puget Sound Energy representatives also went around to the neighborhoods to promote the new partnership between PSE and the City of Mercer Island for an increase in renewable energy. Residents can sign up for the program to pay a small premium on their energy bills that will contribute to the addition of solar panels at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center. PSE will also make donations to the PTA of Island schools if paying residents have children in the schools.

Islanders shared wine and socialized, while their children played with pets, played ping-pong and enjoyed treats.

"We get to hang out with the people that live around here and eat ice cream," Kevin Baker, 11, said.

One South end neighborhood even invited a martial arts instructor, Sensei Andrew Knebel, manager of Karate West, to keep the children involved. Some parties were smaller than others, but this growing event, the third on Mercer Island, is a benefit to all. Communities all across the nation participated in National Night Out, including other local ones such as Maple Valley, Covington and Issaquah.

"It's nice to get the new neighbors involved," South end resident Mina Larsen said.

For more information about emergency preparedness, contact Officer Franklin at (206) 275-7905. For more about the Green Energy Program, contact a PSE energy advisor at 1-800-562-1482 or www.pse.com/greenpower.

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