Mountains to sea in British Columbia | Painter’s Lodge and April Point: Canada’s Inside Passage

Two for one. Sweet words to the ears of this travel lover. Next to “free” — my all-time favorite.

Horse Heaven Hills ‘O’ Wines to pay for school

O Wines was established in 2006 by Stacy Lill and Kathy Johanson, who donate a portion of the proceeds from wine sales to fund scholarships for motivated, underprivileged girls in Washington state. Their ultimate dream is to establish a local academy for these young women to help them with higher education.

  • Jul 30, 2008

The Island House of Tai Chi | Mercer Island seniors practice ancient art of healing

Walk through the courtyard of Ellsworth House any evening at 7 p.m. and you’ll witness a sanctuary of Chinese culture.

  • Jul 30, 2008

Gourmondo: Entertaining with style — time to party

When it comes to catering, who is the talk of the town? I found the company, and its name is Gourmondo. Alissa Leinonen Gallagher is the co-owner and business manager with a 20-year restaurant career as her background. In February of 1996, Gallagher left Sostanza in Madison Park and partnered with Ron Johnson to launch a European-style bistro and catering company that was then located in the Pike Place Market. Under her leadership, Gourmondo has grown into a successful business with more than 50 employees and top corporate and private accounts.

  • Jul 16, 2008

KIXI 880 recreates ‘golden age’ of radio for Islanders

Those Islanders who listen to AM radio are most-likely familiar with KIXI 880, “Music of Your Life,” either because their ears perk up when the name Mercer Island — the station’s licensed owner — is dropped every hour or because they are devoted listeners to KIXI’s nostalgic music of the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. Licensed to Mercer Island in the early 1980s, KIXI 880 has been filling Puget Sound homes with the voices of Dean Martin, Etta James, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and other big names of the period since 1961. It is the only station in the Seattle area to feature the radio dramas “Imagination Theatre” and “Twilight Zone,” and draws listeners young and old, according to operations manager Dan Murphey, who has worked at KIXI for 15 years.

President’s Council on Fitness

Originally proposed over 50 years ago, the President’s Council on Physical Fitness was formed after concerns that our nation was going “soft.” President Eisenhower appointed then Vice President Richard Nixon to chair the council and establish physical fitness objectives for the country at large, and youth in particular. Immediate goals for the very first council were to raise the standards for physical fitness professionals, increase funding for classes and equipment at public schools, and to encourage more students, particularly girls, to participate in sports and recreational activities.

  • Jul 2, 2008

Scanned! The occasional traveler’s blues

If you have ever wondered where you may have misplaced say, oh, a Swiss Army knife, I’m here today to tell you how to find it.

  • Jul 2, 2008

Nancy Hilliard Welcome summer — and extended hands

As summer becomes official, Islanders throng to our walking-biking trails. Not only do more dog-walkers surface, but hired sitters manage “leash bouquets” attached to assorted pups. Skateboarders join in, free from the classroom and often with cell phones attached to their ears.

  • Jun 25, 2008

‘Green’ wines offer taste, variety and a clear conscience

The good thing about global warming, climate changes and high gas prices is that many people are now becoming aware of the need to conserve. I see more shoppers bringing reusable bags to the supermarket. The shuttle bus from the Mariners game last week was standing room only. I especially appreciated the bumper sticker on a hybrid car that said: “We drive this car for our grandchildren’s future.”

Spending your bucks on ‘bird-friendly’ coffee

This spring, I was frequently asked, “Where are the hummingbirds?” I, too, noticed little activity at my nectar feeders. At first I thought it was just the cold spring that delayed the birds’ northbound migration. I was hopeful that they would still appear.

  • Jun 18, 2008

‘Lives interrupted’ are recognized

Two Mercer Island octogenarians are celebrating unexpected graduations this season — 66 years after the moment in history that dashed their college careers and sent 120,000 people of Japanese descent to internment camps in 1942.

  • Jun 4, 2008

Island life resumes ‘after the trails’

I heard you enjoyed five weeks of yarns from the late Virginia Ogden Elliot, the Island pioneer who bequeathed us her “Mercer Island Old and New” columns. A compilation of her work is on reserve at the library.

  • Jun 4, 2008

Bellevue’s skate plaza a regional attraction

Standing on a skateboard for his first time ever in brown dress shoes, a helmet and knee pads over his khakis, state Rep. Ross Hunter glides down the ramp.

  • May 28, 2008

The late Nin Elliott ‘returns’ for a month

It was July 29, 1959, when Mercer Island pioneer Virginia Ogden Elliott first began serializing her “Mercer Island Old & New” columns in the Mercer Island Reporter. Born on the Island exactly 100 years ago in 1908, she shared stories of its evolution from 1920 to 1980.

  • May 7, 2008

Kusak is region’s best family business

When Chuck Kusak answers the phone at his family-owned glass and crystal shop in the Rainier Valley, his first words are, “How can I serve you?”, summing up in just one sentence the philosophy of the Kusak Cut Glass Works, Inc.

  • Apr 30, 2008

Get fit for spring and summer – and for life!

Shorts and swimsuit season will be here before you know it! Fortunately, there’s still time to shed those extra pounds and get toned up for spring and summer. When you fit into those “skinny jeans” or reach that “ideal” number on the scale, though, will you really be “fit” and healthy?

  • Apr 23, 2008

‘Rich by Thirty,’ a 20-something is already there

At the young age of 24, Leslie Scorgie is financially set. She is a veteran investor with money in stocks and real estate. She owns a three-bedroom townhouse, has been on the Oprah Winfrey Show and Montel Williams for her admirable money skills, and holds a degree in marketing and finance. Yet Scorgie also invests in others.

  • Apr 23, 2008

Staying Motivated to be Physically Active

Most people begin an exercise program with the best of intentions – but changing behavior is hard work, and life can get in the way. What’s the solution? Is there hope for someone who can’t seem to stick with an exercise program?

  • Apr 23, 2008

How to Choose the Best Mattress

With so many new types of mattresses on the market, how does one choose the ‘best’ one? A good night’s sleep depends on starting with the right mattress for your body’s needs. So, how do you choose the right mattress, with so many choices available – coil (innerspring) vs. air or latex vs. memory foam – you can have a true ‘Goldilocks’ moment.

  • Apr 23, 2008

Haitian paintings’ legacy will continue

The two paintings that hang in the entryway of Bob Olsen’s Bellevue home aren’t for decor — they’re a legacy that soon will be passed on again.

  • Apr 16, 2008