MI Preschool Association names 2014 Exceptional Educator | Community briefs

The Mercer Island Preschool Association recently recognized St. Monica
The Mercer Island Preschool Association recently recognized St. Monica's Catholic School pre-K teacher Talina Birashk as its 2014 Exceptional Educator of the Year.
— image credit: Contributed photo

MI Preschool Association names 2014 Exceptional Educator

Every spring the Mercer Island Preschool Association (MIPA) names an outstanding local preschool teacher as the “Exceptional Educator” of the year.  MIPA is happy to announce that this year’s Exceptional Educator award recipient is Talkna Birashk, Pre-K teacher at St. Monica School.

More than 20 nominations were submitted by local parents to a committee of MIPA representatives.  The committee was impressed by the numerous submissions that exemplified Birashk as “nurturing, passionate, strong and loving.” One parent said, “Talina makes learning creative and fun for her students.”

Last Tuesday a group of St. Monica’s parents, the school principal and MIPA Board members held a surprise award ceremony in Talina’s classroom with her students.

For further information about MIPA and the Exceptional Educator Award, please visit

Bellevue Rotary on track for ‘Inspiration Playground’

The Rotary Club of Bellevue has partnered with the City of Bellevue to help fund and build a inclusive outdoor play environment and sensory garden suitable for all ages and abilities at the Bellevue Downtown Park. Rotary is coordinating the $4.3 million capital campaign.

In April, Microsoft Corporation contributed $100,000 to the Inspiration Playground campaign.

The Rotary of Bellevue counts many Islanders as  members.

The club’s fundraising efforts have raised approximately $1,740,000 to date. The immediate goal is to raise an additional $500,000 so construction can begin in the fall of 2015. Another $2.1 million will complete the full project build-out.

To find out more visit

Island Firefighter Alec Munro in Oso

City of Mercer Island staff and volunteers from across the Island assisted with relief and recovery effort at the recent landslide disaster in Oso. In their online newsletter, the city will profile these volunteers.

The first is  Firefighter Alec Munro, a member of WATF-1, one of the 28 Urban Search and Rescue Teams in the United States  coordinated by FEMA. These highly technical rescue teams are designed to respond anywhere nationwide to assist local agencies with the rescue and recovery events. Following the Oklahoma City Bombing, the public became more aware of these teams: WATF-1 was at that incident, and Mercer Island Fire sent two of its personnel.

Munro was on site at Oso from April 4 through 19, camping on the Darrington side of the landslide.

He and his cohorts spent a lot of time serving as trained spotters and working with hand tools when a likely victim was located. He reports that the extensive technical training all team-members receive prepared him for his assignment, but that the recovery of so many victims was emotionally draining.

Maneuvering in the waterlogged conditions was physically very challenging, and even tracking dogs struggled to find a scent due to widely deposited impermeable clay layers. The sheer enormity of the incident site was stunning and Alec’s most lasting impression was of the amazing destructive power that Nature can unleash.

From bugs and ‘cakes to money for schools

Island Park Elementary Pancake and Pajamas Bridge the Gap fundraiser breakfast featured more than pancakes and orange juice.

More than 700 students and parents gathered at school on May 9 to eat pancakes and watch their principal, Mr. Hoffman, sample crunchy cuisine consisting of a tempura-battered scorpion and a tarantula.

For a $10 donation, kids could try mealy worm chex mix or a cricket. The event raised over $27,000 for the Bridge the Gap campaign.

Home prices on Island inch up

The Northwest Multiple Listing Service’s report for April shows that the number of Island homes on the market remains well below historical levels.

Last month, 65 new single family homes were added to the inventory of homes for sale on the Island — down from 76 added in April a year ago.  Under 100 homes were on the market for the month.

The median price for homes sales that were finalized in April was $1.3 million up from $1.1 million a year ago.




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