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Children"s book artist Rand dies
By Mary L. Grady
Islander and noted children's book illustrator Ted Rand died Saturday afternoon, March 12, just hours before he and his wife, author Gloria Rand, were to receive the Literary Lions Award from the King County Library System. He was 89 years old.
Mr. Rand died peacefully at his Island home less than a half a mile from where he was born. He had been receiving treatments for cancer, said Gloria Rand, his wife of 56 years.
"He didn't lose anything until the very end," she said of his mind and ability to communicate. "He never complained. He died with great dignity. He was a trooper, an inspiration."
Mr. Rand was born Dec. 27, 1915, at home on Mercer Island during one of the worst snowstorms on record for the Seattle area. There was no way to get his mother to Swedish Hospital in Seattle. His father, Willis Rand, was the superintendent of the Boys Parental School, later named Luther Burbank School, the remains of which still stand in Luther Burbank Park.
Mr. Rand was featured in "Dawn on the Island," a documentary about early Mercer Island history produced last year. Often interviewed about the Island, he described pig pens on now-valuable Island waterfront and deer which would swim across the East Channel of Lake Washington.
Mr. Rand illustrated 79 books, many for his wife. He began illustrating children's books when he was 65 years old.
The couple met in 1946 when Mr. Rand was a fashion illustrator and Gloria Rand was a copywriter for a firm that later became part of Nordstrom's.
He later taught in the art department at the University of Washington for 22 years.
Mr. Rand illustrated a wide range of books that included stories about the outdoors and the environment, books on the alphabet for early learners and poetry. His illustrations often included animals: Dogs, fish and even otters. He often drew upon what he saw around him, incorporating bits of his family along the way. His son's dog Spike was the model for one story, his wife's hat appeared on a young girl in another.
"I am a visual storyteller," he explained in an interview last year.
His last project was a collaboration with Island author, neighbor and friend Jack Prelutsky on a book of haiku poems titled "If Not for the Cat." The book was chosen as one of the 100 best illustrated books of 2004 by the Illustrators Society of America. It was just one of many honors Mr. Rand received for his work.
"His favorite book was always the one he was working on," Gloria Rand said without hesitation. "He just loved his work."
When interviewed by the Reporter last September, the artist spoke of his approach to his work and his life.
"I have had the privilege of working with so many people who gave me inspiration. I can't say enough about the life I had," he said then..
In addition to his wife, Mr. Rand is survived by a daughter, Theresa Rand Schaller; a son, Martin Lee Rand, and several grandchildren.
A memorial for Mr. Rand will be set at a later date, his wife said.
New MIHS principal to be announced by March 28 By Mary L. Grady Mercer Island Reporter A new principal for Mercer Island High School will be announced no later than March 28, the school district said last week.
In the most recent search for a principal, 47 candidates applied from across the country and from both public and private schools. Semi-finalists included three candidates from the Northwest, two from the Midwest, and one from the East Coast.
Semi-finalists were interviewed by two committees included administrators, staff, parents and students. The committees forwarded the names of two finalists who were interviewed by district superintendent Cyndy Simms. Simms was to make a final decision earlier this week.
The school district had not been successful in finding a new principal in two previous search attempts. As before, the district hired outside consultants to conduct the search, screen candidates and check credentials.
Similar to searches in the recent past for school administrators, the search was closed to the public.
Kathy Siddoway has been the interim principal this school term. She replaced Paul Highsmith who retired last year.
The new principal will begin work on July 1.
Creating currency for learning Mercer Island Schools Foundation business breakfast fundraiser March 22 By Mary L. Grady Mercer Island Reporter The Mercer Island Schools Foundation has long been both ally and secret weapon in the Mercer Island School District's arsenal of tools to educate and refine students from kindergarten to college.
In an effort to tap into new sources of funds, the foundation is hosting its second annual Business Breakfast on March 22. With a theme of "Good schools are good business," they hope to encourage corporate sponsors by showing that an investment in schools and young people will yield good returns.
The foundation, which raised about $700,00 during 2003-04, collaborates with the school district to determine where and how the money will be spent.
Recently, the foundation paid the majority of the new Chicago Mathematics curriculum, band instruments, training for school volunteers.
The foundation regularly dispenses grants both large and small for individual teachers, field trips and art supplies. The foundation also helps the district meet what is commonly called unfunded mandates -- programs mandated by the state or federal law that are not funded.
Teachers and administrators know that often programs do not need a great deal of money to get them off and running.
The Chinese language program has been the recipient of $10,000 in grants from the Mercer Island Schools Foundation. The money has been used to purchase everything from workbooks to computers, software and textbooks.
The funds have helped students at all class levels of Mandarin Chinese at Mercer Island High School. The students have an opportunity many other public school students do not: In-depth study of a language and culture that is rapidly becoming one of the most powerful economic forces in the world.
In just eight years, the Mandarin Chinese program at the high school has grown from 26 students in one beginning class to more than 130 students this term.
Why are Chinese and world languages important to teens on Mercer Island? The 90 percent-plus students who go on to college need to have at least two years of a world language in high school. But there are other benefits.
"I am fascinated with this language and Chinese culture," said Fandi Rabbani, a senior. "I plan to be a business entrepreneur and I believe that understanding China will be critical to my success."
He is not the only one. This year the advanced class has over 45 students.
"We have way too many students for one class," says instructor Gordon Davenport. "But how can we turn students away who want to become proficient in this language?" Davenport credits the Mercer Island Schools Foundation for helping the high school accommodate the growth of the program.
"The foundation's support has really helped us," said Davenport. "And I am very proud of these students. They all have a very bright future ahead of them." The Mercer Island Schools Foundation's "Breakfast of Champions" event, is from 7:00 to 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 22 at the Mercer Island High School gymnasium. For information and reservations please call 275-2550.
Board adopts governance guides Also gets first look at enrollment impact from new development in Town Center By Mary L. Grady Mercer Island Reporter After a more than a year and countless hours of work, the Mercer Island School District Board of Directors voted to adopt a set of governance policies that will guide how the board conducts the business of the school district.
The new policies direct everything from duties of the superintendent and board members to defining conflict of interest and codes of conduct. All policies were approved with the exception of policy E2, Academic Achievement. E2 -- the most important goal or "end" to be achieved by the board and district -- describes what knowledge and skills students should have by the time of high school graduation. The policy lists those skills, including critical thinking, application and evaluation techniques, to be gained or taught within the context of the subjects offered at school.
After seeing the list of school subjects in the policy, some community members were concerned that fine arts programs were being given a lower standing or rank. The order of subjects was seen by some as a way to potentially allocate shrinking funds.
The board voted to table the vote on the E2 policy until another community listening session could be held. The board, citing their Mutual Respect and Shared Commitment policy, decided that even if another public meeting did not change the policy, another effort should be made to hear what the community had to say.
But board member Carrie George, who made the motion to delay a vote on the policy and hold another community meeting, said the focus on the list misses the intent of the policy.
"There is not one program that any of us have discussed to eliminate," she said.
District planners begin work for 2005-2006 Planners do not expect any impact on enrollment for the coming term from the new multi-family housing in the Town Center.
By January 2006, 298 new multi-family housing units will be completed in the Town Center but only half of those will be larger than one bedroom. Of the 259 additional units to be ready and occupied by Jan. 2007, about two-thirds will be single bedroom units. Only three units out of the 559 total will have three bedrooms.
A good model for the impact on future enrollment from apartments or condos is our own Shorewood Apartments, said Mike Ziara, associate superintendent for business services in the district.
Presently, about 130 Mercer Island public school students live in Shorewood, the only large multi-family development on the Island. Using figures from Shorewood, there is approximately one elementary school student for every 8 to 10 apartments, Ziara explained.
Ziara noted that student-per-household multipliers from Shorewood match those from other school districts on the Eastside.
School Board members however, still want to learn who will be moving into the new apartments.
If those individuals are Islanders who are downsizing, it seems logical that new people moving in to the vacated houses may have school-age children, board member John Fry said.
Times story causes MI stir Development description not far off, some say By Ruth Longoria Mercer Island Reporter "Don't believe everything you read in the news."
That was the answer Mayor Alan Merkle gave the half-dozen residents who expressed misgivings and outrage during the public comment portion of last week's City Council meeting. But, later in the week, Merkle said the story he referred to -- an article printed last week in a Seattle paper about Mercer Island development -- wasn't really so far off base.
"As far as I'm concerned, there wasn't anything substantially wrong (in the article) other than some math," Merkle said.
In the Town Center area, there are fewer than the stated 10 projects under construction or in the development stage. In fact, there are currently four underway and a few more in the process. Seven would be a more accurate number, he said.
"But, (the Seattle Times article) is probably right if you consider the office building on Island Crest a year ago and one or two others -- everything done in the last year plus," he said.
Also, the 246,000 square feet of new stores and offices (mentioned in the Times) doesn't add up, Merkle said.
That number is less than 110,000 square feet, according to Merkle and the city's Web site.
The article spurred many residents to speak out against the city's booming development, including Islander Sue Stewart.
"This makes us all stop and think," Stewart said during the council meeting.
"These are things that are a big change to the community."
The changes she spoke of include the large-scale four- and five-story projects planned for the town center area; projects that some residents fear will destroy the skyline and small town feel of the Island.
"The height restrictions were raised without our vote. We pay the bills, where's our voice?" asked Island resident Marguerite Sutherland.
Sutherland is concerned that out-of-area developers will build on the Island for financial gain and then leave when they've made their profits, without concern for the gridlock and environmental disasters they leave behind.
"Please," she said, "we need to protect our human habitat."
Merkle said there has been no change in construction height restrictions in the past 10 years. Current restrictions were established in the early 1990s.
Those guidelines are necessary to enable the city to abide by the State Growth Management Act requirements, which say the Island must absorb up to 5,000 new residents in the next 20 years.
"We have two choices: Rezone residential areas or force that growth to occur in the downtown area," he said.
According to the Island's guidelines, development nearest the freeway can reach up to five-stories and, as you move further away, height restrictions become incrementally lower, ending with one-story possibilities at the south end of Mercerdale Park, which then blends into the residential section, he said.
And, despite what some may think, developers didn't just swoop in and buy up Island land.
"Most of that land was held by property owners a dozen years. Although, it's been a surprise to us that everyone wants to build at once," Merkle said.
Councilman Sven Goldmanis agreed with the mayor and added that at least two developers on current construction projects are local property owners.
"They won't be going anywhere," he said.
Residents also expressed concern about development to Luther Burbank Park, which the Seattle paper said the council was considering.
That portion of the article was incorrect, Merkle said.
"Let me assure you," Merkle told several of the residents who continued to vent their ire despite previous assurances to other speakers. "There aren't going to be any restaurants or marinas in Luther Burbank Park."
During a Feb. 7 study session, the council rejected any such development ideas for the park. However, that doesn't mean the city has no plans for future improvements.
There has been, and will continue to be, discussion concerning enhancements to the dock area, including adding canoe or rowboat rentals, as well as improvements to the pool area, such as erosion control and refurbishing the tables. There also is talk of possibly allowing a few push cart vendors in the park, Merkle said.
"But, no decision has been made on that part," he said.
Any changes would be discussed, and residents would have a voice in the outcome. One reason many people are upset about recent development is that they don't want to see change on the Island, Merkle said.
"My perception is that there's a great deal of angst and concern and until we see how things really turn out we're concerned, that's human nature," he said. "But, in the long run -- almost all of the time -- good quality development, once completed, is nothing to complain about."
No joke: City Council retreat April 1 Luther Burbank Park, budget are likely topics for this year By Wendy Giroux Mercer Island Reporter City Council members will be getting ready in the coming weeks for their annual retreat, brainstorming topics to discuss and ideas to present to one another and city staff members.
This year's retreat will be Friday, April 1, through Sunday, April 3, at the Channel Lodge in LaConner, Wash., about 70 miles from the Island, north on Interstate 5. Council members will use the time to set priorities for the coming year, bond and try to get a fresh perspective on tough issues.
Although public comment is not necessarily taken, the retreat is a public meeting and community members are welcome to attend any or all of the sessions.
Last year, the council retreat in Everett cost an estimated $12,700 -- the budget for this year's event will likely be in the same neighborhood, Deputy City Manager Deb Symmonds said. Topics at that retreat included a new budget planning method, public involvement, the new Community Center, Interstate 90 issues, the future of Luther Burbank Park and the Sound Transit Park and Ride project.
Potential changes and future funding for Luther Burbank Park is likely to be on the agenda again this year, since the council recently received the results of a three-month public involvement process. Other topics may include the budget, although the council just approved a two-year budget for 2005 and 2006; and possible funding sources for retired police and firefighters in the LEOFF 1 (Law Enforcement Officers and Firefighters Plan 1) system.
Facilitator Rhonda Hilyer, president of Agreement Dynamics, will interview each council member about what they would like to discuss at the retreat, then compile an agenda based on those ideas. The agenda will be published once it is finalized. Hilyer led last year's retreat as well.
Funding for the council members' stay at the lodge and other retreat costs come out of the council's overall $56,570 budget for the year. Lodging for the few staff members who also attend the retreat is paid for out of their departmental budgets, Symmonds said.
To help citizens to attend the retreat, the city last year paid for a shuttle to and from the sessions each day. However, only a few citizens took advantage of the ride or came to the retreat. Symmonds said staff members are looking into whether the same service will be provided this year.
The council retreat has been held at various locations over the years, including LaConnor, a popular spot for other cities to hold retreats. Costs for the past four years have been: € $12,700 in 2004 at the Marina Village Inn in Everett € $9,500 in 2003 at the Community Center at Mercer View € $12,795 in 2002 at the Newcastle Golf Course and Pier 69 in Seattle € $10,600 in 2001 at the Newcastle Golf Course and Mercerwood Shore Club.
Artistic talent knows no age West Mercer Elementary School student, 7, takes a first-place in PTA art contest By Mary L. Grady Mercer Island Reporter A 7-year-old photographer from West Mercer Elementary School has won big in the annual Washington state PTA Reflections Art Contest.
Alec Williams, a first grader in Nancy Burrill's classroom, has been taking photos for not even a year, but he is a quick and gifted learner. The theme for this year's contest was " A different kind of hero." Alec's winning photo is of a man in a slicker sweeping leaves from a sidewalk in the Town Center early on a cool Sunday morning last fall.
"He takes about a thousand photos a month," said his mother Jennifer Williams. "He loves to go to the Town Center and just take pictures."
Williams, along with other Island students who won Outstanding Interpretation Awards, will have his work entered in the national contest.
"It was his teacher who told us to enter the pictures," she continued. "It was so great for him to win, he has so much more confidence now in his pictures.
"Santa had to bring him his own camera because he was using ours so much and changing the settings and I didn't know how to change them back," said Williams.
"It is good that he uses a digital camera and not film," she added.
The following Mercer Island School District students are winners in the 2004-05 Washington state PTA Reflections contest.
Film/Video: Intermediate Division Outstanding Interpretation Award Blake Seidner, West Mercer Elementary School; "Liam: The Bully Buster."
Film/Video: Senior Division Outstanding Interpretation Award Kelsey Mesher, Mercer Island High School; "Liberation of a Golden Race."
Musical Composition: Primary Division Outstanding Interpretation Award Jason McRuler, Island Park Elementary; "The Kids Who Saved the Pond."
Musical Composition: Primary Division Awards of Excellence: Natasha Dietz, Lakeridge Elementary; "Chance to the Rescue."
Musical Composition: Intermediate Division: Awards of Excellence Kathleen Taki, Island Park PTA; "The Sun is My Hero."
Musical Composition: Middle/Junior Division Awards of Excellence Kevin Taki, Islander Middle School; "Searching for My Identity."
Photography: Primary Division Outstanding Interpretation Award Alec Williams,West Mercer Elementary; "Sunday Sweeper."
Photography: Middle/Junior Division Awards of Excellence Julia Schubach, Islander Middle School; "Profile of Zoey."
Photography: Senior Division Awards of Excellence Joseph Bruckner, Mercer Island High School; "Who Leaves No Trace: A Different Kind of Hero."
Visual Arts: Middle/Junior Division Awards of Excellence Michael Chien, "Franklin Roosevelt."
Islander Middle School Storytelling for health By Vicki Rackner, M.D.
On Health Stories are powerful. How many times have you heard a child beg, "Tell me a story." Scientists say we are wired to learn through stories. In fact, the first three polysyllabic words your child spoke are most likely Mommy, Daddy and story.
Have you ever wondered: "Do I have a story for a Chicken Soup book?" My answer, based on years of experience with thousands of patients, is a resounding "Yes!" Not only do you have your own unique and fascinating story, the stories you tell yourself and others play an important role in your health and health care.
Story-telling is an important activity when you see your doctor. Your doctor's question "How do you feel?" is your doctor's way of saying, "Tell me your story." More than 80 percent of the time, your doctor is able to diagnose your medical condition just by listening to your story.
You and your doctor have different ways of understanding your story. That's because you and your doctor look at your story with different perspectives.
Imagine how different Little Red Riding Hood would be if told by the grandmother or the wolf.
For example, you may go to the doctor with episodes of abdominal pain and bloating. You never know if it will be a good day. Some days you stay home from work with cramping. In your experience, you have two pains -- the abdominal symptoms and the limitation on your activities.
Your doctor's desired goal, which you share, is to arrive at a diagnosis and offer a cure. If you have gallstones or an ulcer, you can be cured, and both you and your doctor are gratified to see an end to the unpleasant symptoms.
In that case the story you tell and the story your doctor tells are much the same.
Doctors don't always have the answer. You may undergo an exhaustive series of tests to learn that you do not have a "serious medical condition." Your doctor tells you that you have "irritable bowel syndrome" a condition relatively poorly understood that is not cured, but rather managed.
When your doctor cannot cure you, it can feel like your doctor is telling you that your pain is not real. It's like a parent saying to a child, "You can't be hungry. You just ate an hour ago." You might even feel like your doctor has lost interest in working with you because you cannot be "fixed."
This is when your story becomes even more important. Even if your doctor can't cure you, your doctor can listen to you and offer ideas how to enhance the quality of your life. You still want to know your doctor cares and will be there to minimize the suffering in your life. Knowing that you're not going through this alone offers tremendous healing.
You can use your story as a way of opening the caring relationship you want.
Here are a few ideas: Know your story. You may know the doctor's version of your story. "I have the following medical conditions that have been treated byŠ." While this is an important version, I encourage you to tell you own version of your story.
What is your experience of living with this medical condition? What challenges have you faced and what have you learned as a result of going through it? You may have never done this before. You can either record it in a journal or tell it to a friend. Some say healing means accepting the past as it was, not needing to change it. I have seen healing at the bedside of the dying.
Ask for time. Telling your story takes time. Ask for it. When you call to make the appointment ask "How do I schedule a half-hour appointment?" Offer to pay for time your insurance company will not cover.
Understand that you and your doctor tell different stories. Your doctor wants to arrive at a diagnosis and cure. You want to experience the best quality you can. When you see the doctor, you may just tell your story a brief time before your doctor takes over to identify the doctor threads. You can say, "I would like just three minutes to tell my story my way, then we can review it your way."
Tell your doctor how you're feeling. Your doctor may understand how the gastro-intestinal system works, but you are the expert on what you feel.
Your feelings convey information that is as important as a lab test or x-ray result. If your doctor doesn't understand how important something is to you, speak up! If you tell your doctor about the nausea with your new mediation and your doctor brushes it off and moves on to the next topic, say, "For me nausea isn't just a little annoyance. It's a big deal. Are there other medications that will work?"
Recognize the healing power of having someone listen to your story. Have you ever had the experience of listening to someone, not saying a word, and hearing the other person say, "Thanks I feel so much better."
The Chicken Soup stories share the theme of seeing the blessings where one just saw the curse. Pain and illness are part of the human condition. You make choices that determine if pain will lead to suffering. When you're sick, your goal is to restore the quality of your life. You, not your doctor know what that means for you. After all, you're the one living your story.
Vicki Rackner, M.D., is president of Medical Bridges and author of the Personal Health Journal and the upcoming book "Bouncing Back." She can be reached at