Good news: Woodinville man creates positive community podcast

  • Written by Madeline Coats

Woodinville resident Chris Griffin hosts and produces a podcast aimed at sharing stories of people doing good in the neighborhood. Courtesy photo

Heart Woodinville, a new community podcast, aims to spread awareness of individuals giving back and doing good in the neighborhood.

Chris Griffin, the founder of Jam Academy Music School in Woodinville, single-handedly produces and hosts the podcast. He said the idea to create a podcast began last summer and finally came to fruition during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I've never done anything like this before,” Griffin said. “I always wanted to bring something happy [to Woodinville], especially with all the bad stuff happening in the world.” 

Griffin said he has played music and performed with rock bands since the ‘80s, which is the first and only time he picked up recording experience. Everyone has tools on their computers and desktops to make a podcast or produce music these days, he added.

He has been teaching music, specifically guitar, full-time since 2004. Griffin’s music school, formerly known as Spotlight Studios, opened in 2007. He said the school used to teach music lessons during the day and rent rooms out to rock bands in the evening before switching to teaching music full time.

“Originally, I was thinking of doing this podcast as an offshoot from my school,” he said.

Griffin said he aims to get kids from the music school more involved in the podcast once COVID-19 restrictions begin to lessen. He plans to allow students to conduct interviews and might add a video component in the future, he added. 

“This podcast is designed to educate, entertain and share good news,” Griffin said. “I was hoping to bring people feel-good stories and take their minds off of other stuff."

The first podcast was released on April 27. The episode focused on Brendan Hupf Jr., an 8-year-old boy helping local food banks by picking up donations from people around the community. 

Each episode follows the story of one person or organization for roughly 10 to 20 minutes. Griffin recently interviewed Tinte Cellars co-owner Teresa Spellman Gamble about her various contributions to charitable programs during the second episode, which was released on May 25. 

He plans to release episodes on a biweekly basis for now but aims to share weekly stories in the future. Griffin said he hopes to produce quality content over the next few months, eventually building anticipation upon listeners for upcoming episodes.

“Be patient with me,” he said. “Bear with me on the first few podcasts while I iron out some wrinkles. Keep checking back and listening as I continue to grow as an interviewer, as a producer and as a podcaster.”

Tips for Home Selling: Health, safety and security when selling your home

  • Written by The Blue Team: Ashley Farrington & Michelle Blue, Windermere Woodinville

In addition to all of the things you should do from a marketing and sales perspective, a little planning and some simple steps can make sure that you stay healthy, safe, and secure in your home while it is on the market. Here are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself when selling your home.

Stay Healthy

The COVID-19 Pandemic has really made everyone pay attention to cleanliness. Some steps are required per protocols, and some just make good sense. 

Limit the number of people in your home 

In Phase 1 only two people (including the Broker) are allowed in your home at one time.  In Phase 2 that increases to three.

Have supplies available 

 Your broker should be able to provide you with a basket of supplies to be used by anyone entering your home – disposable face masks, disposable shoe covers (or require everyone to take off their shoes), disposable gloves, hand sanitizer and/or sanitizing wipes to be used as they enter your home. It is also helpful to have hand sanitizer next to a home book and/or flyer stand.

Minimize the need to touch surfaces. Leave all your lights on, open all interior doors (including closets), and your broker should post feature cards that highlight features to discourage opening things that are closed – soft close cabinets, pull-outs in cabinets, lazy-susan in the corner cabinet, etc.


When you come back to your home after showings – have a bottle of disinfectant that you can use for your front door handle, door to the garage, and other areas that are likely to have been touched in spite of the above precautions. 

Visitor Safety

Make sure your walkways and front door are well lighted, that you have repaired/shaved any uneven sidewalks and that you have trimmed landscaping to ensure easy access to/from your home. 

Personal Safety

 On a daily basis, if you have had a showing(s) that day, you should check to make sure all of your first-floor windows and doors are locked.  Never come home when you see a car in your driveway indicating your home is being shown.  Don't leave out calendars that show your family schedule and when you will/won't be home and/or where children might be at any given time.

Stay Secure

Don’t leave out any small valuables while your home is on the market – anything that can be slipped into a pocket by a thief or a curious child such as jewelry, electronics, small toys, etc. Pack-up or secure valuables that are easily breakable (these could be valuables from a price or keepsake perspective) – accidents happen. Prescription medications should be removed from the house and taken with you – we recommend having a “go basket” that has everything easily accessible while you are home and easy to take with you when you leave

 Electronic Recording

It is pretty common to have a video and/or audio recording device – video doorbells, baby cameras, security cameras, etc.  What you need to know is that state law makes it illegal to record audio without the consent of all parties.  Even if you post a notice in the house, if you don’t explicitly have each person’s consent, you could be opening yourself up for legal trouble. We recommend that you turn off those devices, or at least the audio, during showings! You can legally record video, but that is also discouraged. If the brokers and their clients find out they have been recorded, that can influence their decision not to make an offer on your home.

Now more than ever, it is important to work with experienced, real estate professionals who live in and know the community and who can help you make the best decisions for you and your family. Want to talk about this topic more or just explore your options? Please feel free to give us a call or send us an email at

Where's Sara: Consider Teanaway for a PNW spring wildflower adventure

  • Written by Sara Graham

Wheres SaraIf you are looking to experience the best spring wildflower hike in the Pacific Northwest, consider heading over to Teanaway. Last week I ventured east to hike Iron Bear Mountain (no fee or pass required) in search of wildflowers. 

I had visited Teanaway a year ago in June thanks to NW Trail Runs to participate in an event at the Community Forest (a gold mine for outdoor recreation). While there, I noticed the beautiful flowers along the course and made a mental note to come back to explore and hike the area.

Where is Teanaway you might ask?  It is a small community in Kittitas County, located less than a two-hour drive from Woodinville on I-90, just 10 miles East of Cle Elum. 

The Iron Bear hike has it all; forest, streams, open ridgeline, expansive views, and amazing flowers! It is a 6.5 miles roundtrip with a 1900 feet elevation gain, suitable for all fitness levels. You need to go NOW to witness the colorful display of wildflowers! They have just started to bloom and will continue through June.

To find to the Iron Creek trailhead take exit 85 and go left across the freeway. Turn right onto Hwy 970 and follow it for 9.4 miles, and then take a slight left onto Hwy 97. Continue for 9.9 miles then turn left onto FR9714 (be watching it comes up fast) and drive for 3 miles to end at trailhead… 1351 Iron Creek.

From the parking lot hike up the trailhead 1.8 miles to a main “T” intersection in the trail. Head right following signs to Iron Bear Pass. Enjoy the flowers and the view as you walk the Teanaway ridgeline leading to the summit of Iron Bear where a 360-degree view awaits! 

On your way home make sure to stop at the famous Cle Elum Bakery for a post-hike treat. Don't delay your getaway to Teanaway!  For more adventure ideas visit

Sara Graham is a long-time Woodinville Weekly columnist and an outdoor enthusiast. 

Couples are under stress during COVID-19 pandemic

  • Written by Jaya Ramesh

Jaya RameshIt is not surprising that recent Census Bureau data shows that a third of Americans currently experience symptoms of depression and anxiety. The COVID 19 pandemic has upended life as we have known it, including how we work, parent, play, celebrate, and mourn those we lost. 

Our partnerships are also under stress during this time. As a couple’s therapist, I work to support partners in rediscovering connection and intimacy.  When couples communicate reactively from emotions like anger and jealousy rather than the underlying primary emotions, like sadness and fear, it can trigger a negative interaction cycle where both partners can feel disconnected and alone. When there is added stress of job security, homeschooling children, caring for elderly parents, or the death of someone close, these interaction cycles can be exacerbated.

During this time here are some practical things couples can do to protect their relationship:

Use “I” statements. Expressing your feelings and taking responsibility for your actions is more likely to get you heard, especially during moments of conflict. “I am feeling sad we did not have dinner together” will more likely be well-received than the “You always miss our dinners together” because it does not put the other person on the defensive and feel attacked.

Be Generous. Now more than ever it is important to offer your partner some grace. Maybe they forgot to put the dishes away, not because they are intentionally being a jerk but they are also under tremendous stress. 

Set Boundaries. Before the stay-at-home order, both you and your partner likely left the house for work or other activities, creating space in your relationship, and requiring you to be intentional about creating space for each other. Now that we are home all day, time blends. How might you continue to give each other time to be alone?

Foster Connection. Here are a few ideas you can try that might increase the feeling of connection between you and your partner. Leave notes for each other, share a bottle of wine on the porch while your kids watch a movie, take an online dance class, discover a new board game together. The possibilities are endless. 

Seek Support. You may or may not have the bandwidth to go digging into the meat of your relationship, but many couples are finding it helpful to have professional support to navigate this time. This can also give you the time and space to work through the underlying anxieties and stresses that you are both facing.

Highlight your strengths. Celebrate what brought you together. Your resilience in your partnership, whether you cook together, parent well, laugh together, or are supportive of each other, these are important to remember. These will provide reinforcements during these challenging times.

Domestic Violence is real. 

If you are reading this and are in an abusive relationship, please see the resources below. We all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. National Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-7233. Lifewire (425) 746-1940.

This pandemic is testing all of us. It is normal if you notice that you and your partner are returning to some old patterns. Slow down, check-in with each other, and remember to breathe. 

Jaya Ramesh is a couple’s therapist at Catalyst Counseling in Woodinville

Woodinville Arts Alliance to host virtual art walk

  • Written by Stacey Almgren
Courtesy photo

Now that summer 2020 is upon us, and certain phases of reopening are happening, we are all hoping to get out while following social distancing guidelines. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are not there yet, but hopefully, that will be soon!

Traditionally, the Woodinville Arts Alliance organizes a self-guided Art Walk through Woodinville's renowned wineries and breweries, where you can partake in delicious tastings while admiring selected featured local artists' artworks. However, this year is going to be a bit different. So, we decided to bring you the Art Walk online! 

Visit, sit back, relax, and enjoy the Summer Virtual Art Walk, with beautifully displayed pieces from passionate and talented artists from the comfort of your home. Take advantage of this unique display to potentially measure wall space in your home or home office for that piece of art that speaks to you! 

Participating venues offer curbside pickup of wines, brews, and artworks!

Spread the word and show your patronage to local businesses and artists by posting and tagging your favorite pictures with the hashtag #WoodinvilleArtWalk on Facebook and Instagram.

Support Woodinville businesses and our artists alike! The Summer Virtual Art Walk runs now through the end of August.

Are you a business or artist in Woodinville? Would you like to participate in future Art Walks? Contact us today at (425) 224-7162 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.