Island Briefs

Third city comp plan reading scheduled

The City Council discussed transportation, utilities and Capital Facilities issues and wording relating to the Comprehensive Plan at its March 7 meeting. The council is scheduled to have a third reading, discuss and formally approve changes to the Comprehensive Plan during a council meeting at 7:30 p.m., April 18, in the council chambers at City Hall, 9611 S.E. 36th St. No public hearing is scheduled, but citizens may always address the council during the appearances portion at the beginning of each meeting.

Copies of the draft amendments to the Comprehensive Plan are available on the city's Web site at or paper copies can be reviewed for free or purchased for $12 at the customer service counter at City Hall, 9611 S.E. 36th St.

Comcast Cable negotiations to begin

The City Council agreed last week to begin negotiations with Comcast on a 5-year, non-exclusive cable franchise when Mercer Island's existing 10-year franchise expires in June. The contract does not prohibit other providers from operating, nor does it allow the city to control programming or costs to subscribers.

A survey on the city's Internet site will allow residents to offer comment and suggestions concerning the franchise and placement of the head end, an outlet now situated at Mercer Island High School, which allows the city to broadcast live programs on Channel 21. The city doesn't currently take advantage of the outlet and some council members said it would serve the community better in another location, such as the new community center. Staff are looking into how that placement would affect traffic at the center. One possible benefit of placing the head end at the center is that it would allow live feeds of community meetings and activities, as well as text formatting of upcoming events.

Public hearings on two Town Center projects

The Design Commission will listen to public comment on two proposed development projects during public hearings scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, in the council chambers at City Hall, 9611 S.E. 36th St.

? Era Care Communities has applied for preliminary design approval of a five-story independent retirement and assisted living facility, which would include resident amenities on the street level, a public plaza and underground parking. The development, which is slated to begin construction in November 2005, would be built in the 2400 block of 76th Avenue S.E.

? Application was made for final design approval on 7800 Plaza, a five-story residential, retail and office mixed-use building, which would include 24 condominium units, 5,700 square feet of retail space, 3,620 square feet of office space and 99 underground parking stalls. The project is scheduled to begin construction in the fall of 2005 at 7800 S.E. 27th St., the former site of the Four Seasons Cleaners.

On-line survey on MIHS Bridges program

A brief on-line survey about the new high school advisory program called Bridges, is available on the Mercer Island School District Web site. The survey is designed as a mid-year evaluation to gather information from parents about how the Bridges program is doing to date, to help evaluate the program.

The Bridges (an acronym for ``building relationships in diverse groups to empower students and staff,'') program was put in place last fall to strengthen relationships between teachers and adults with students across grade levels, to encourage positive connections and improve the environment at the high school.

Each Bridges group is made up of 15 to 20 students, five from each class. Two student leaders with the support of a high school staff member, lead the sessions. The groups are to remain together throughout their high school years.

The sessions are held on an occasional basis and require a small amount of time taken from other classes.

MIHS catalog is on-line

The Mercer Island High School program of studies or the catalog of courses is now on-line to help students and parents plan a four-year educational program. The site shows the many options available to individualize a course of study to meet the objectives, needs and interests of each student.

In addition to describing courses, the program of studies includes information about graduation requirements, credits, grades, career guidance, Advanced Placement courses and special programs.

The Web site is, then select Mercer Island High School from the school tab.

Lincoln Award

Senior high school applications and instructions for the Lincoln Award Scholarship are available at the high school counseling office. The deadline is Thursday, March 31, 2005.

Rotary scholarships

The Mercer Island Rotary is accepting applications for vocational, technical and community college scholarships for the upcoming 2005-2006 year. Applications must be turned in by Thursday, March 31. Winners will be announced in early April.

To qualify, a candidate must be a high school graduate or soon to be graduating senior and enrolled or accepted in an accredited vocational-technical institute or community college. Preference is given to Mercer Island residents and graduates of Mercer Island High School. An application must be accompanied by two letters of recommendations and proof of enrollment or progress toward program completion.

Applications are available at the high school counseling office or by calling Dick Chappelle at 206-441-1333 or Pat Turner 236-3326.

Sister City scholarships

The Mercer Island Sister City Association is offering scholarships for its new summer exchange program to Thonon les Bains, France. Two high school students, one boy and one girl, will be chosen to go to Thonon during the month of July, where each will live with a host family. French students will come to Mercer Island to live with host families during the month of August.

Students must be residents of Mercer Island, proficient in French and able to host the corresponding student during the month of August. The selected students will each receive a $500 scholarship to help defray expenses of the trip.

The application deadline is April 8. For information and an application, call Jane Meyer Brahm, 232-0701 or e-mail

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