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A few acts of kindness lead to an unexpected friendship

  • Written by Madeline Coats
Camp Unity Eastside. Courtesy photo

 

Before all businesses and gathering spaces closed to the public, Scotty would walk through the Woodinville Community Church parking lot on his way to Planet Fitness. 

Scotty, otherwise known as Woodinville resident and retired veteran Doug Gray, earned the nickname from his Scottish upbringing and friendly personality. He was walking across the parking lot one day in February and came across a homeless man named Mario, who appeared to be living in the back of his van. 

Scotty learned Mario was stuck in the lot because his driver’s license expired, and his declining eyesight made it impossible to take the renewal exam. He quickly befriended Mario and visited him every day to learn more about him.

“He never asked for anything, not even a dollar,” Scotty said. “He’s a really good man.”

Mario said local police threatened to take his car away if he did not leave the church parking lot. He told Scotty he lost his gardening job and had been living in his car around the area for the last year. 

Scotty said Mario would not accept any money, so he bought him an ORCA card and made an appointment at Harborview in Seattle to get his eyes checked. He also found a local homeless camp in Woodinville and helped to get Mario registered. 

Scotty went to the DMV and got a three-day pass to drive Mario’s van from the church parking lot to the homeless camp. He said Mario has been living at Camp Unity Eastside for about three weeks now.

The temporary encampment provides Mario with an address, a tent with a bed, plenty of food, laundry services, access to showers and a job at the camp. Mario said he works several security shifts throughout the week. 

Mario is set to have eye surgery after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, Scotty said. The camp also provides transportation services for people in need of medical care will be helpful since he is unable to drive.

The two friends continue to exchange calls and texts almost every day. Mario calls Scotty “his angel” and constantly expresses gratitude for their friendship. Scotty said he plans to stay in touch with Mario as he moves into a “more sustainable" future.

NSD reveals the next step in Northshore Learns

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick
Photo by Bob Kirkpatrick

 

BOTHELL — A lot of uncertainty has been bantered about the Northshore School District community the past couple of weeks regarding the status of the Northshore Learns program: specifically, why the pause in the program and when will it resume?

In a statement released to Northshore School District families Thursday afternoon on March 26, Superintendent Michell Reid expressed her appreciation for the patience exercised by all and offered some insight as to what parents and students can expect in the coming days.

“As we look forward to our Northshore Learns 2.0 version, I want to thank each of you for your patience as we have worked to make sense of often conflicting and generally restrictive guidance from state and federal sources,” Reid said. “As we shift from the pause in our instructional model and add instruction onto the connections we have reestablished with students during the week of March 23-27, it is important to be clear about the expectations as we move forward.”

Reid advised that all must recognize the next steps related to Northshore Learns will not look the same as the Districts’ first attempt at virtual learning, which was focused on a two-week school closure. 

“At this time, we are unsure when and if our current “normal” school year will resume,” Reid stated in the release. "To address these circumstances, we are shifting into a model that addresses the guidance provided by OSPI on March 23 while also adhering, to the extent possible, with best practices in virtual learning.”

The plan moving forward, Reid wrote, is as follows:

Educators were to meet virtually with their school teams on March 26 and 27 to plan for the rollout of Northshore Learns version 2.0. Each school would then send a message to families communicating the return to distance learning starting on March 30.

On March 30 and April 3, educators were expected to initiate the rollout of Northshore Learns 2.0. The process will involve contacting students via email or during a virtual meeting for the purpose of sharing expectations for how students should engage in learning over the course of any given week. 

The emphasis, Reid stressed, will be on connecting with students to make sure they understand how they will engage in learning and to provide initial independent tasks or projects that students can work on until the next time the content area (at elementary) or class (at secondary) convenes.

“We, along with all other educators in Washington state and our nation are facing an unprecedented situation. Due to the closure of our school buildings, we can no longer think about school in the way we are accustomed,” Reid said. “Equitable learning experiences will be our goal, but given the fact we are in the midst of a global pandemic, there may be factors that limit our ability to guarantee the same quality of education Northshore aspires to deliver. 

“With the closure of more and more parts of our society (e.g., the Stay at Home Order by the Governor), and with the added pressures for educators and their families, our approach to virtual learning needs to reflect these responsibilities and our current, rapidly changing reality. Further, in these unprecedented times, if educators become unable to deliver instruction to their individual class groups, we do not have substitutes to fill in at this time.”

Reid went on to say that by using a common instructional schedule (see NSD website) with specific times for core content area lessons, specific times for specialist and elective class lessons, and specific times for the delivery of Special Education and related services support will ensure that all educators in the District will have the ability to support instruction in whatever ways their role might require. 

A consistent, predictable instructional schedule, she said, not only enables educators to support their own families and ensure their own health and wellness but also supports students’ families as they consider how to support their students’ learning in the home environment.

“As our district continues to navigate this challenging time, we must continue to lean on the strengths of our community. We want to make sure that all of our students and staff are being treated with respect and dignity at this time and always — especially as we move to an online environment,” Reid stated. “This is not the time to segregate with unwarranted fear but to come together and help fight it with knowledge and compassion. It is vital to advocate for our community members and to stay kind to one another, and to uphold a culture of safety and belonging in and beyond our schools. 

“In these tough and unpredictable times, we must stick together as a school community and remember that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths. I want to remind all that when we are done with this COVID-19 outbreak, and we surely will be at some point, our community will still be our community and our district will still be our district. What we say to one another now and in the coming days, and how we say it, matters, as we will remember how we felt far into the future.”

Earth Month And COVID-19: Caring for the planet and each other

  • Written by By Hannah Scholes

Earth Month is typically a time for communities to come together to celebrate and support environmental causes. This year, it arrives amid changes and challenges profoundly impacting daily life due to COVID-19. 

As we implement new health and safety protocols recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, are there ways to minimize our carbon footprint and protect the planet?

Absolutely! Here are some important benefits and opportunities. 

Recycle Right

Facial tissues, toilet paper, hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes have been flying off store shelves, while families are spending more hours at home to stay healthy and safe. Waste Management is calling on everyone to recycle right during this time when recyclables are needed more than ever. The recyclable materials collected from homes and businesses go on to create new essential products like tissues, towels, and packaging boxes for medical supplies and food. Recycling is an essential service for manufacturing companies delivering these key products. Help do your part and keep recycling!

With kids’ home from school, now is a great time to enlist the whole family to recycle right. First, refresh your home recycling stations by finding your local recycling guide on the WM website, printing it out, and posting it on the fridge or near your indoor containers. 

Next, remember to put only accepted items in the recycling. Recycling paper, cardboard, bottles and cans reduces emissions and helps keep our air and water cleaner. 

Not sure if something is recyclable? Check your local guide at wmnorthwest.com/nkingcounty/ where you can search by item. When in doubt, throw it out! It’s better to throw something in the trash and avoid the risk of contaminating an entire load of recycling. 

Also, make sure recyclables are loose in the cart – not in bags! Even plastic bags from the store that say “please recycle” are NOT accepted in curbside recycling carts. Confusing, but true! 

Food

Another opportunity is to avoid wasting food. Before you go to the store or order more groceries, take a few minutes for meal planning so you can limit trips to the store and gauge your needs. Remember, “sell by” and “best by” dates do not indicate the food has gone bad (except with infant formula). Check food for visible signs of mold rather than tossing out the whole container if the date has passed. 

Another popular tool is an “eat first” refrigerator box to remind everyone about items almost past their prime. Food scraps that can’t be eaten should go in the compostable cart or your compost pile. Composting food scraps allows them to naturally cycle back to the earth as nutrient-rich soil and helps conserve natural resources. 

Finally, two big shout outs: 

To the families who put the handwritten Thank You notes on carts just after schools closed, you made our day. Thank you for seeing us as we continue to serve you, safely and professionally. 

To our customers who live alone and may be feeling isolated, we are looking for you as we come down your street! We know your driver is an important part of your weekly routine. Step out for a friendly smile and wave! We consider it a privilege to help brighten your day as we provide services vital to the health and stability of the Woodinville community.

Hannah Scholes is the recycling education & outreach manager for Waste Management. For the latest information on collection services in your community, go to wmnorthwest.com

Oxbow Summer Camp registration is open

CARNATION — Nestled in the Snoqualmie Valley off Highway 203 (Carnation-Duvall Road) and roughly 20 minutes east of Redmond, Oxbow Summer Camp is still registering kids for summer sessions.

Oxbow’s one-acre Kids’ Farm and one-of-a-kind living playground are built, planted, and maintained with kids in mind. Summer Camp instructors are CPR/First Aid certified and are trained in inquiry-based environmental education and in facilitating nature connections for children of all ages. 

The summer-long camps  spark creativity through art, stories, songs, and child-led play. They connect kids to their food by harvesting and eating farm-fresh fruit and veggies, and equip children with tools to care for, better understand, and talk about the health of the environment.

Sweet Discoveries | Ages 4-8 and 7-11

Discover just how sweet Oxbow summer camp can be! Explore the tastiest seasonal treats on the farm while giving thanks to the unique plant parts and winged creatures that make it all possible. Learn about our pollinator pals like bees and birds (and even fairies!) in their special habitats and engage imaginations and taste buds alike through berry feasting, flower dissecting, and more! 

Guardians of the Plants | Ages 4-8 and 7-11

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: unlock the hidden powers of plants and give a voice to the unsung heroes of our farm fields and the habitats beyond!

Work with new friends throughout the week to harvest and prepare fresh farm snacks, gain wisdom from plants and farmers, and discover how plants are used for food, fiber, medicine, and more. Take on the challenge to reduce food waste and recycle plant power through composting practices. 

*An optional After-camp Cooking School program is available during July 6-10 and August 10-16 sessions. 

Dig Deeper | Ages 11-14

Are you ready to dig deeper into all we do around Oxbow and discover how you can make a difference in your community? Grow alongside Oxbow farmers as we tend the Kids’ Farm crops and harvest and process organic produce for hungry customers. Go beyond the farm to learn the importance of local plants and animals, learning how to care for the land so it can support us all. 

All sessions include an Oxbow summer camp t-shirt, a nature journal, and crafts to take home.

*At this time, COVID-19 has not impacted planning for Oxbow’s Summer Camps. If there are future changes to summer programming, we will alert all registrants at that time. Call 425-788-1134 for more information.

Wine community creates temporary food pantry

  • Written by Madeline Coats
Photo courtesy of Tiffany Stetson

The local wine community has come together to create the Woodinville Wine Industry Food Pantry in support of tasting room staff, restaurant workers and musicians impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. 

This temporary food pantry is intended for industry staff in Woodinville, Maltby and Bothell as the virus continues to breed  widespread panic across the country. This emergency food bank was created for individuals and families who are ineligible for Hopelink and traditional food assistance resources.

“A food bank is like a bank; sometimes you make a deposit, sometimes you make a withdrawal,” said Carrie Campbell, pantry organizer and co-owner of Woodinville Wine Blog. “There's nothing wrong with getting some help during this difficult time. Pay it forward later on.”

With deep roots in social work, Campbell has a long experience with food banks. She said the pantry is a no shame zone designed to preserve the dignity and privacy of food recipients. 

“This is a global problem,” she said. “There is nothing to be ashamed about.”

Chef Anne Marie donated space from her commercial catering building in the Warehouse District to store canned and non-perishable foods for the temporary pantry. A more exact location and specific pantry hours can be found on Facebook. 

Campbell said business owners and employees, including local musicians, can take a week’s worth of free items for their family, and if needed, a few more for elderly neighbors. 

Donations are being collected at Tinte Cellars and Goose Ridge in the Hollywood District. She said monetary donations will not be accepted, as well as refrigerated, frozen or perishable foods. 

Volunteers plan to close the pantry shortly after the coronavirus crisis ends. Any leftover food and pantry supplies will be donated to the Woodinville Storehouse food bank as soon as possible.

Campbell said she learned how to bargain shop for pantry food from Radonna Nelson, founder of Free Little Pantry in Rose Hill, Kirkland. Nelson donated shelving systems and other supplies for the emergency pantry.