Local commercial real estate broker is strong advocate for businesses in Woodinville

  • Written by Deborah Stone
When it comes to bringing new businesses to Woodinville, one local commercial real estate broker has done a lion’s share of the work.

John Corrado
John Corrado, who works at Windermere Real Estate in Woodinville, has been at the helm of many major deals over the past 20 years. He is responsible for selling the 42 acres of land that Top Food and Target now anchor to TRF and orchestrating the entire lease for the White Stallion complex.

Additionally he sold the land next to City Hall to Brittany Park.

And then there’s the property that City Hall occupies, which he sold to the City of Woodinville. One of his most recent deals was selling the property and arranging for a 15-year lease with Evergreen Hospital for its new clinic.

Corrado is a great promoter of the town and takes his role seriously.

"My aim, first and foremost, is to encourage businesses to come to Woodinville," he says. "This is a great community, a good place to live and raise kids. It’s a real family-friendly town. But, we don’t have enough retail for residents or to attract people from other places to come and shop here." He adds, "Woodinville has one of the highest per capita incomes in the state. The disposable income is here, but it’s being spent outside the community. In order to keep it here locally, we need more desirable stores – more medium to large-sized retailers."

The problem, according to Corrado, is that there’s not enough land available for this size of retailers to build their stores. He says there’s plenty of interest from a number of businesses who would like to get into Woodinville, but they can’t find the space that meets their criteria at present.

"Businesses know that Woodinville has something no other community in the state has," comments Corrado. "We are the recognized home for the winery business. We are the winery capital of the Northwest. People come to this area, wanting to tour the wineries and they want to spend time here, eat a good meal, shop and maybe stay the night in a hotel nearby. We need to be able to offer these options."

Corrado notes that some of the wineries in town want to build bigger tasting rooms, in the style of a chateau.

He explains that their interest is in creating tasteful structures, not concrete blocks.

A man accustomed to speaking his opinion, Corrado doesn’t mince words when he expresses his frustration with the city.

"We’re going backwards," he says. "The city needs to work harder to generate more business and it needs to work in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce to promote growth in Woodinville. Without growth, Woodinville will deteriorate."

He points to the substantial decrease in city services that have come as a result of staff cuts.

"This does not present a favorable appearance to prospective business owners," he adds. "They see this and they don’t have a positive impression." Corrado emphasizes that in order for Woodinville to become self-sufficient once again, it needs to generate more tax revenue. Unfortunately, it is in competition with surrounding communities, like Bothell, to attract businesses to the area.

He says, "The City of Bothell has a very nice master plan that will result in bringing a lot of business to its town. We don’t have this here in Woodinville because we don’t have a business-minded community. And the problem goes further because most of the business owners who are here don’t live within the city limits, which means they can’t vote on matters that concern them."

In Corrado’s opinion, most of the members of the City Council espouse a "no growth" philosophy when it comes to Woodinville. He feels that the Council should pay more attention to the problems of small business and commercial property owners and work in their best interests because they are essential to the economic health of the city.

"They have to pay attention in order for Woodinville to get back on its financial feet," he adds. "There are some truly genuine people here who really care about our city and many who want to see it succeed. But, it’s going to take everyone working together to promote Woodinville as a viable place to do business."

New books for teens feature fantasies, real stories informative reads

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Reading for pleasure is often not the top priority for teens.

This age group tends to live busy lives. Many are immersed in a variety of after school activities that consume much of their time.

Others hold down part-time jobs. And then, of course, there’s homework. And for those taking heavy academic loads, studying consumes a big chunk of time. With such jammed-pack schedules, it’s no surprise that reading is relegated to the bottom of the heap.

Read more ...

PNB’s ‘Giselle’ hits all the high notes of tragedy and romance

  • Written by Deborah Stone

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Kaori Nakamura as Giselle, and Lucien Postlewaite as Albrecht, in PNB's world premiere staging of Giselle. Photo © Angela Sterling
“Giselle” captivated audiences in Paris when it premiered in 1841. A lush score, exquisite choreography and a tragic love story gave it all the ingredients for success, and it went on to become one of ballet’s greatest classics. But, although it has had many restagings and revivals over the years, the famed historical ballet has never been in PNB’s repertory.

Not until now. Peter Boal, PNB’s artistic director, who has long wanted to bring the ballet to Seattle audiences, was initially unsure of how to incorporate “Giselle” into the company’s repertoire. As he states in his program note, “I looked at impressive contemporary productions and time-honored traditional ones, never finding one that was right for us. I wanted to do more than recreate another company’s production and I didn’t want to choreograph one myself.” Boal’s solution was to reconstruct the ballet’s earliest Parisian choreography through the use of several 19th-century sources.

With the help of PNB’s assistant artistic director and dance historian Doug Fullington, along with University of Oregon scholar and historical adviser Marian Smith, “Giselle” has been given a new life. In this never-been-seen interpretation, Giselle’s character is spunkier, with a mind of her own, which makes it even more startling when she loses it upon finding out that her lover (who has been disguised as a peasant) is actually a duke betrothed to another. Additionally, a number of comic scenes with villagers have been restored to the ballet, which serves to provide welcome elements of humor and break up the dark nature of the narrative.

PNB’s staging also incorporates several elaborate mime sequences, which were an integral part of the original production and used as storytelling devices. In this timeless and moving tale, Giselle, a young, innocent peasant girl, falls for a philandering prince named Albrecht. When she learns of his deception, she goes mad and succumbs to an early death of a broken heart. She comes back as a Wili, a member of a sisterhood of spirits, all would-be-brides doomed to dance men to death in the forest at night. When her lover appears, she defies her supernatural orders and saves him from his cruel fate.

PNB’s production includes all the requisite dramatic elements of this fabled tragedy and brings it to life with stunning results. The dancing is top-notch, with breathtaking performances by Kaori Nakamura in the lead role and Lucien Postlewaite as the Duke. Nakamura enchants as first a flirty, carefree young girl who would rather dance and make merry than dutifully help harvest the grapes. Later, she emerges, rising from her grave wrapped in a shroud. Transformed into a Wili, she becomes an ethereal apparition and appears to almost float on air with a quiet, wispy grace. In her inhuman form, she seems remote, yet she still manages to convey emotion. One senses her sadness and the undying love she holds for the Duke despite his betrayal.

Postlewaite makes a handsome, virile Duke with a boyish air. He has a charming stage presence and wows the audience with his magnificent jumps and the deeply personal interpretation he brings to the role. Also of special note are Jeffrey Stanton as Hilarion, the love-spurned gamekeeper, and Maria Chapman as Myrtha, the powerful and menacing Queen of the Wilis.

And the Wilis, those eerie specters in white, are to be equally commended. Dancing with pinpoint technical precision, they create a haunting image that lasts long after the final curtain call. In PNB’s capable hands (and feet!), this uniquely crafted “Giselle” is a thing of magic – a lush and lovely production that hits all the high notes of tragedy and romance – and is guaranteed to become a classic of its own in the years to come.

PNB’s “Giselle” runs through June 12th at McCaw Hall in Seattle. For ticket information: 206-441-2424 or visit


Can you see the genie in your child?

  • Written by Kid's Talk

Knowledge without experience is just information. -Mark Twain

"Where are your children going to college?" a mom at our preschool meeting asked me.

I didn’t think I had heard correctly. I had a hard enough time just getting their shoes on and them out the door each morning. College? Let’s get through pre-school.

This mom went on to describe her children’s educational blueprint from preschool to med-school. This was the day, over 20 years ago, when I first encountered over-planning. Today the pressure on parents for children to excel academically seems to be even greater, with our popular culture sending the message that every child at birth should be another Einstein and speak six languages among other things.

The fact of the matter is that every human being is a genius. Robert Kiyosaki in his book Rich Kid, Smart Kid defends each child’s uniqueness by saying that we all have a "genie in-us." Kiyosaki sees our main parenting job as helping our children find their uniqueness and strengthen it. This goes along with one of my favorite sayings: "The purpose of education is to help us find our passion in life."

The words genius and genie are derived from the Latin genius, meaning guardian spirit. We can lose track of that guardian spirit and the gift our children have to bring to the world with activities that offer facts without meaningful experiences.

Knowledge with meaningful experience creates wisdom, or the ability to make commonsense decisions. When we force feed our children information without meaningful experiences, we fail to nurture true learning.

Two-and-a-half-year-old Jake could name each letter of the alphabet using flashcards with his mother. His parents, Kay and Fred, were sure Jake was ready to read.

At a parent information session, Kay and Fred learned there was more to learning to read than memorizing letters. They realized that meaningful language experiences, such as phonemic awareness, vocabulary enrichment and hands-on experiences, were critical to reading success.

Learning to differentiate the sounds in our language and connect them to letter symbols is phonemic awareness. It takes time, practice and a knowledgeable adult to introduce the sounds of our language and to present sounds with symbols.

Naming objects and their parts can strengthen vocabulary. We can also model writing the names of objects to show that written words correspond to spoken words. Reading books aloud and singing songs are enriching.

Hands-on language activities include going for "hunts" through the house looking for objects that share a characteristic, such as color, material or shape. Gathering all the objects necessary for an activity, such as changing a tire or baking bread, then naming and labeling the parts, creates a purposeful learning experience.

Jake had excellent recall of the letter pictures and their names, much like memorizing the names of 26 animals. It would be another two-and-a half years before Jake had enough language experience and knowledge to read. Jake’s parents realized the difference between knowledge and information. Fred and Kay nurtured Jake’s strengths with meaningful language experiences, instead of having Jake memorize symbols.

Give your children experiences that nurture their uniqueness. Feed the genie. Then relax and enjoy being a parent.


Kids Talk TM deals with childhood development issues. Maren Schmidt founded a Montessori school and holds a Masters of Education from Loyola College in Maryland. She has over twenty-five years experience working with children and holds teaching credentials from the Association Montessori Internationale. She is author of Building Cathedrals Not Walls: Essays for Parents and Teachers. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit Copyright 2011.

Hollywood Hill Elementary students explore the world of physics

  • Written by Deborah Stone

Pictured are fifth graders Stella Haynes Kiehn and Samantha Dammrose, who are exploring convex and concave lenses during a lesson on “Refraction Action.” Photo by Deborah Stone.
Pacific Science Center’s Science On Wheels program has been visiting schools around the state for more than 30 years, engaging students in scientific education and exploration.

Last year, it reached over 325,000 people. Recently, the PSC van made its way to Hollywood Hill Elementary for the day, bringing portable exhibits, demonstrations and instructional activities focusing on the area of physics. Students learned about light, sound, electricity and motion through an entertaining all-school assembly, hands-on experiments and lessons in the classroom. This was the third visit for the van to the school in the past few years.

In the fall, specialists came to do a "Blood and Guts" program, which emphasized the human body and biology. Hollywood Hill’s PTA generously funds the visits and arranges for the many volunteers needed to make the program successful.

"This program has real value," comments Hollywood Hill fifth grade teacher Victoria Gray. "It’s able to add a hands-on component to science that goes beyond what we can typically do. The experience of making science tactile is incredibly valuable for our students. The program is able to provide our teachers with examples of some engaging science lessons and experiences."

Gray explains that while the program helps the students with specific content knowledge, it also gives them an opportunity to practice their inquiry skills by seeing, touching, wondering and asking questions. Each classroom received an individual lesson during the course of the day.

With "Good Vibrations," for example, students explored the world of sound with tuning forks and musical instruments, investigating how people make and hear sounds.

In "Refraction Action," they observed the behavior of laser light as it interacted with different materials in order to understand reflection and refraction.

And in "Pulley Power," the kids designed and explored pulley systems to find out how and why such a simple machine makes works so much easier. Throughout the day, students also visited the library, where a mini science center was set up, with tabletop exhibit sets, experiments and a host of fun activities dealing with gravity wells, pendulums, steel drums, parabolic mirrors, electromagnets, electrical circuits and more.

Parent volunteer Sherri Feldman enthusiastically assisted kids at the various stations. "The kids get really excited about science when it’s done this way," she says. "They get to see it, touch it and explore it in a very tactile, sensory manner, and you can just see the light bulb going off in their heads." She adds, "It brings up questions and gets the kids to think about the why. Their ideas about what science is expand and they realize that science touches everything and is everywhere around them."

Fifth grade teacher Chris Koch echoes Feldman’s views and notes that kids aren’t the only ones that get excited.

She says, "Teachers really like the program, too, and we consider ourselves very fortunate that we have such a generous and supportive PTA that makes it all possible. The program connects with the curriculum and enriches by extending or adding content. And it allows all of the kids to have a shared experience, not just some of the classes, but the whole school gets to participate. It’s very beneficial for everyone." She adds, "What’s also nice about it is that it gives teachers ideas for how to extend student learning through additional activities that we can do with our classes."