Beginning last Wednesday, Jan. 5, Tully's Coffee, in partnership with World Vision, launched a new coffee called ``World Vision Tsunami Response Blend'' to help raise $1 million for the organization's tsunami relief efforts. World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide.

All of the net proceeds of the blend sales will help World Vision and its more than 5,000 staff in eight Asian countries continue their immediate and long-term efforts to assist people with food, medical materials and other basic supplies.

Purchases may be made at the Island Tully's, as well as all other Tully's throughout Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho. will be the exclusive online retail location for the Tsunami Response blends at

More relief efforts continue: Through Jan. 31, donation boxes will be set up at 57 Thai restaurants throughout greater Seattle to benefit Thai Red Cross tsunami disaster relief. One of those 57 is Pon Proem at 3039 78th Ave. S.E., on the Island.

Congregational Church of Mercer Island members Kaila and Mark Russell are working with other families to create health kits as requested by Church World Service. They are looking for people interested in contributing items or funds. Each kit contains a hand towel, washcloth, comb, metal nail file or nail clipper, bath size bar of soap, toothbrush, 4- to 7-ounce tube of toothpaste and six Band-Aids. For more information, please call (425) 333-4638.

Bellevue-based business Seattle Sun Tan, owned by Island resident Scott Swerland, is collecting baby food and other non-perishable items for infants to be sent directly to the American Red Cross and the International Response Fund. Drop off donations at 10708 Main St. in Bellevue.

Redeemer Lutheran Church will take up a special collection for World Relief and Northwest Medical Teams. Donations can be dropped off at the church or sent by mail to 6001 Island Crest Way.

Grandma goes to space

Eighty-year-old Island grandmother, Dorothy ``Dottie'' Simpson was recently named by the ``Guinness World Records'' as the oldest woman to experience zero gravity. But that's not all she's experienced.

Simpson learned to fly in 1945. Unfortunately, during that time, she wasn't allowed in the cockpit, so instead became one of the only stewardesses who knew how to fly the plane. She eventually made her way into the cockpit.

Her zero gravity experience came after her husband, W. Hunter Simpson, bid on the opportunity during an auction at the Museum of Flight. Dottie first flew to Russia to board an Ilyushin-76 aircraft. The plane climbed to 35,000 feet, then dropped 10,000 feet, thus causing the weightlessness. But there's more.

Four years ago, Simpson flew to the edge of space in a MiG-25. She told the ``Seattle Post-Intelligencer'' in a recent interview that she was at Mach 2.5 and up to 80,000 feet, high enough to see the curvature of the earth.

Simpson is a noted philanthropist and donates much of her time and money to such organizations as Achievement Rewards for College Scientists and the Museum of Flight.

Nicole Meoli can be reached at

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