Islander in New York City recounts the night Sandy hit.
Joyce Celms has always been a helper. As a teacher of the deaf and, later, a special education paraprofessional for the Mercer Island School District, Celms has devoted much of her career to helping children overcome various personal struggles.
As the incumbent, state Sen. Randy Gordon is already comfortable in his 41st District seat. The interim position has given him the confidence and determination to fight for November’s election. Yet, like his GOP competitor, Steve Litzow, Gordon still has to put in the campaign hours to retain his seat. So far, he has done an impressive job.
Dale Sewall has long been the heart of Mercer Island Presbyterian Church. The Islander has led the MIPC congregation for 23 years. He has watched children grow up, marry and have children of their own; all under the roof of MIPC. His congregation is like family to him. And on June 27, he will say goodbye. This summer, Sewall and his wife, Jinny, will both enter retirement.
Mercer Island Councilmember Steve Litzow is walking his way toward the 41st Legislative District Senate seat. The candidate has already visited 3,000 houses in his campaign for the November election.
“It’s all about door-belling. I hope to hit 20,000 doors by Nov. 2,” Litzow said.
City Councilmember Mike Grady has apologized for erupting in anger at West Mercer bus driver John Lamont on May 11 after the latter allegedly passed him unsafely and cut him off while biking along West Mercer Way. According to Grady, he was heading southbound on West Mercer Way when three buses that “appeared to be in a hurry” passed him on their way to pick up children at West Mercer Elementary. The last of the three buses, driven by Lamont, passed Grady dangerously close, the Councilmember said, and then cut him off abruptly to turn into West Mercer Elementary.
Mary Wayte Pool has been an integral part of Mercer Island High School athletics for generations. High school swimmers and divers have been practicing and competing at the Olympic-sized pool since it opened in 1969. Mary Wayte Pool, named after the 1984 Olympic gold medalist in the women’s 200m freestyle who hailed from Mercer Island, is also open to the community, with scores of swimmers trickling through every day. So what happens if this aging facility is shut down? It is a question that has suddenly come to the Island’s attention.
The first thing that struck me, coming back to the Island, was its familiar sounds. The suburban quiet of a summer’s evening, children racing past on their bikes, the chhh-chhhh-chhh of a garden sprinkler, the distant hum of a plane descending toward Boeing Field. They were the sounds of the Mercer Island I grew up with and remembered. It hadn’t changed in eight years.
Leaving an international newspaper in the Baltic states to report for my hometown weekly was not the transition that one might expect. It was more familiar, slightly slower in pace, yet surprisingly analogous at the core.
Choosing which classes to place the Island’s 1,700 elementary students into is no easy task. Indeed, dozens of hours, stacks of reports and a team of Mercer Island School District minds go into placing each and every one of the Island’s young students. It is about finding a fine balance of classroom diversity — both socially and academically.
City Councilmembers put off approving an updated version of the Mercer Island Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities (PBF) Plan — originally adopted in 1996 — at their May 17 meeting. According to mayor Jim Pearman, the draft was tabled so that staff could rewrite specific language more aligned with City Council intentions.
“Some of the changes from the last Council meeting weren’t incorporated in the document. We sent it back to get the proper language,” Pearman said, specifying “the Mercers” and bike and pedestrian “signage” as two areas in need of editing.
Islander hair is going toward a noble cause this week. Au Courant and Studio 904 hair salons are collecting clipped, chopped and buzzed hair to donate to the Mexican Gulf oil spill cleanup project. The hair is stuffed into recycled nylons and covered in mesh to make booms or, when possible, woven into hair mats that soak up the oil.
The organization coordinating the national donation project is called Matter of Trust. Both Studio 904 and Au Courant are registered members.
Clampitts Dry Cleaners, a familiar name on Mercer Island for 40 years, is now Blue Sky Cleaners, a completely toxin-free service. The essence of the company, however, has not changed.
According to Blue Sky customer service manager Jessica Neu, Clampitt’s has been sending its clothes to the non-toxic cleaning facility in Seattle for nearly a year.
With opening day nearly a month behind us, Lake Washington boaters are flocking to the waters at every sunny chance they get.
The Mercer Island boat launch, a popular place to enter the lake for Islanders and non-residents alike, is growing in use.
Island residents and non-residents must pay $9 a day to use the boat launch, which is located at 3600 E. Mercer Way under the East Channel Bridge. This equal fee was introduced on Jan. 1 in adherence to a new agreement between the city and Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).