Social change

We’d all love it if our phones rang more often with people on the other end asking if they could give us money. Particularly for the folks at Mercer Island Youth & Family Services — they’re usually on the phone doing all the asking.

So it was quite a surprise when they got a call from Michelle Tesler, owner of the shabby chic Island boutique Tatters, who was on the line to ask if she could donate 20 percent of her store’s proceeds for the month of December to the non-profit organization.

“It’s not common for a store to approach YFS, or any social service group,” said Cindy Goodwin, Director of Youth & Family Services. “It’s a very different approach to celebrate what you’re bringing in.”

Tatters is making the donation in honor of its first anniversary. For more than a year now, Tesler and her small crew of style mavens have been performing their own brand of social service by showing Island ladies that they can pull off edgy looks they never thought they could.

Goodwin thinks that Tatters can also raise the bar for other businesses by showing them how they can give back.

Have lodge, will travel

Last week’s snowfall brought quite a few refugees to the Island, where weary road warriors holed up at the Travelodge to find relief from the long commute home.

“Most had to abandon their cars — a lot of them got towed,” said Lena, the desk clerk at Travelodge (who declined to give her last name).

She is used to a spike in occupancy around the holidays, but last week many of the overnight guests were area locals who just couldn’t stomach the idea of a five hour trip home. One man, she said, had his car break down in the cold and although he lived just over the bridge in Seattle, couldn’t find anyone willing to come pick him up.

“People don’t know how to drive here in the snow, especially with the hills,” Lena said.

Aside from the holiday rush, she also said occupancy has been up since the Town Center apartments have become available. With less extra room for visitors, out-of-towners who come to visit Island apartment dwellers need another place to stay.

Maybe if we get dusted again, they can teach us all how to drive.

Better than turkey?

Ten-year-old Alana Anderson had the privilege of being on the first float out of the gates at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City this year as part of the Camp Broadway Kids.

The Lakeridge student sings in the Mercer Island Children’s Choir and is on not one, but four competitive dance teams at the south end’s Definitive Dance Studio.

Her troupe of 600 performers kicked off the parade with a teaser performance of things to come: the Camp Broadway kids represent the clowns, balloon handlers, marching bands and tap dancers who form the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade tradition, which is now in its 80th year.

Anderson’s team was the first performance on NBCs TV coverage, getting the first 7 or 8 minutes of air time.

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