Community briefs

Reporter Staff

Check-in Service for MI seniors

The Mercer Island Senior Foundation has awarded money to local social services agencies to establish the Mercer Island Community Senior Check-in Service.

The service is designed to promote senior security, independence and self-reliance.

The Mercer Island Senior Health Center, Mercer Island Youth & Family Services and Club24 Senior Living at Home have established a partnership to identify home-bound seniors and provide in-home services. The partnership believes that in-home visits are an integral part of helping seniors remain in an independent living situation.

Visits by a Club 24 Certified Nursing Assistant will verify that seniors are following their medication plan, have eaten a healthy meal and are physically and mentally well.

The most recent Census data, “U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging” (2006), indicates that more than 4,000 individuals, or nearly 19 percent of Island residents, are age 65 years or older. There is also an additional 10.9 percent or 2,280 individuals who are disabled living on Mercer Island.

This partnership will enable seniors who reside on Mercer Island to “age in place.” According to the Journal of Housing for the Elderly (2005), the definition of ‘aging in place’ is not having to move from one’s present residence in order to secure necessary support services in response to changing needs. The Island Community Check-in service would support “aging in place” by providing daily check-in visits.

For more information, please contact Terry Schuler at (206) 547-2424 or

Farmer’s Market set for Aug. 10

IslandVision has received grant funds for two of its initiatives, Mercer Island Farmer’s Market and the “Leap For Green” Fair. The grant is the largest ever awarded by the Mercer Island Community Fund.

“This generous gift allows us to make our dream of a Farmer’s Market a reality, providing the seed money we needed to get off the ground,” said Callie Ridolfi, Director of IslandVision. The funds will be used for a market coordinator and Web site development.

The Farmer’s Market received conditional approval for the event permit from the city last week, and volunteers are coordinating with City Development Services, Parks and Recreation, Public Safety and Transportation staff. The Mercer Island Farmer’s Market will open on Aug. 10 for a pilot season of at least eight weeks. The market will be held on Sundays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on S.E. 32nd Street, next to Mercerdale Park. The Farmer’s Market will provide the Mercer Island community with the opportunity to purchase fresh, locally grown produce, dairy and meat products in their own neighborhood.

IslandVision is a nonprofit organization of citizens interested in learning about and creating conditions for sustainable prosperity in the Mercer Island community. Those interested in learning more or volunteering for either of these projects may visit

Debaters win

The Mercer Island High School debate team, represented by senior Paul Kanellopoulos and junior Dakota Camacho, is headed to the National Forensic League National Championship this June in Las Vegas. After winning state in the Policy Debate partner tournament on March 15, the two students qualified for both nationals and the esteemed Tournament of Champions, which will be held on May 3 to 5 at the University of Kentucky. The latter success has placed MIHS among the top 50 debate teams in the nation.

Islanders also fared well in the individual state competition, the Lincoln Douglas category, with senior Sam Magaram taking 2nd place overall.

Kanellopoulos finished as third Speaker and Camacho as first Speaker.

“They are two fantastic young men. Paul’s expertise in debate is phenomenal, and Dakota is a brilliant speaker. It is a team effort, and their achievements this year have been phenomenal,” said MIHS coach Jane McCoy.

In points, Kanellopoulos finished as third Speaker and Camacho as first Speaker. Together, they surpassed all 20 teams competing at state.

The MIHS debate team has seen a flush of success this past season, from nine team wins at local tournaments to more than a dozen individual awards. Going into the state championship, Kanellopoulos said, the Islanders felt strong.

“We were top seed going into it, so everyone was gunning for us,” the senior said.

It is the first time that the Islanders have taken state since 2001. As a contender in the Tournament of Champions, MIHS ranks among the top 50 teams in the nation.

‘Leap for Green’ fair

The Island community is invited to celebrate Earth Day at the “Leap for Green” fair at the CCMV on April 19. This event is aimed at creating an awareness of the challenges we face as a community to reduce our carbon footprint, while increasing and improving cost-effective sustainability for the city. There will be many fun activities for kids and adults alike around the sustainability theme. There will be music, storytelling, food, art, live reptile exhibits, gardening tips and more.

Participants can measure their carbon footprints and learn about easy ways to be kinder to the environment.

The fair will take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on April 19, at the Community Center at Mercer View, 8236 S.E. 24th St. Admission is free.

The event is sponsored by the City of Mercer Island, IslandVision, the Mercer Island Community Fund and the Mercer Island Arts Council.

To volunteer, e-mail Ellen Jeffcott or call Joy Johnston at 275-7791 or call 275-7609.

Plans for Island Crest Way and Merrimount

The city is holding a project drop-in meeting between 7 and 9 p.m. on April 16 at the Community Center at Mercer View. Citizens can review the project with city planners.

In October of 2007, the city installed temporary improvements to the Island Crest Way at Merrimount Drive and S.E. 44th Street intersection. These changes were necessary to improve safety at the intersection. The effectiveness of these improvements has been monitored since installation. At the drop-in meeting, staff and the consultant team will be available to discuss the results of this review and the next steps the project will take.

For more information, please visit the project Web page at

Contact the Project Manager, Anne Tonella-Howe, at (206) 275-7813 or by e-mail at with any questions.

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