Woodinville teen signs with Lethbridge Hurricanes

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick

Salvatore races down the ice during an inter-squad match. Hurricanes courtesy photo.


Lethbridge, AB – Sixteen-year-old Salvatore Collora Jr. has inked an agreement to play hockey for the Lethbridge Hurricanes Hockey Club in Alberta, Canada.

The Hurricanes are a member of the Western Hockey League.

Salvatore, as one could imagine, was ecstatic over the offer.

“It was surreal. I grew up watching WHL games with my family and when I got the offer to play in the league, it was like a dream come true.”

Salvatore, at 6’3” and 175-pounds, played for the St. George’s School Elite 15 last season. He appeared in 35 games, scored 10 goals, dished out 20 assists and served 16 minutes in the penalty box.

When he was invited to the Hurricanes training camp this year, he made the most of it.

“There are always nerves (when you are trying to make the team), but I knew that I just had to play my game and have confidence in myself,” Salvatore said. “I just played as hard as I can, and felt that was good enough to make it.”

Salvatore will play center for the Hurricanes. His parents Amy and Salvatore were thrilled he made the cut.

“We were very happy that the Hurricanes organization recognized all of Salvatore’s hard work and saw the potential for the future,” Amy said. “When we started down this path two years ago having Sal play in Canada we were hoping something like this would happen for him.”

Salvatore attends Woodinville High School but will be traveling to Lethbridge to play in games for the Hurricanes during the season.

Balancing schoolwork and playing semi-pro hockey appears to be a daunting task, but Salvatore is handling it quite well.

“It’s definitely challenging to juggle the two, but I have gotten used to it over the years. It has become a routine and a test of time management.”

It may be routine and a test of time management as Salvatore put it, but it is also a testament of his determination and commitment to not put his education on the back burner.

“Salvatore is an excellent student with a 4.0 GPA, Amy said. “When you play high-level hockey you have to work closely with teachers and coaches to make everything work. We are very confident he will maintain his grades and stay disciplined.”

Salvatore first took an interest in hockey at a very young age.

“I was around 4-years-old. My brother and Dad were very into the sport.”

Amy recalls him being a bit younger.

“He was 2-years-old when he first started playing with the plastic sticks and puck with his brother. We are big hockey fans so it was always on TV.”

Salvatore said he chose hockey over the traditional mainstream sports because of its competitiveness and quickness. “It’s unlike any other.”

Although Salvatore is still living in Woodinville, he said the possibility of relocating to Lethbridge is a reality, depending on what happens next season.

His hope is to make it to the big leagues one day.

“I’d love to make a professional carrier out of this,” Salvatore said. “That has been the plan since I first fell in love with the game.”

Amy and Salvatore couldn’t be more proud of their son.

“We are proud of him, but, it’s more than that. It’s a quiet validation of everything we’ve worked for as parents,” Amy said. “Having him away in pursuit his dream was very difficult for all members of our family. It’s been difficult balancing time with our other son, work, and family commitments. It’s a dream come true for Jr. and it’s very special to watch the dream become a reality.”


Operation School Bell® in full swing

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick


Assistance League® of the Eastside member Vanessa Strothers with one of the students at the 2018 Operation School Bell® event at the Totem Lake Fred Meyer. 


REDMOND — Families in need with kids in the Northshore, Lake Washington and Bellevue school districts are getting a much needed helping hand, thanks to the efforts of the Assistance League® of the Eastside.

Operation School Bell,® now in its 22nd year locally, gives qualifying students, ranging from elementary thru high school, the opportunity to shop locally for school clothing and shoes, their parents may not otherwise afford.

Students K-5 get to spend up to $100. Students 6-12 get $150. The qualifying criterion is established by each school district.

Assistance League® of the Eastside has raised a six-figure amount for the event and has partnered with Fred Meyer in Totem Lake, Redmond and Bellevue to distribute the clothing to the kids.

“We’ll be spending over $400,00 in October for clothes and shoe for the children,” said Tinku Basu, vice president of marketing for Assistance League® of the Eastside. “Fred Meyer has offered us discounts and has provided staff to help.”

The first couple of weeks of distribution at the Totem Lake branch just concluded. The event will be Redmond store now through Thursday, Oct. 17 and will conclude at the Bellevue outlet Oct. 21-24 and 28-29. The hours of distribution are 4:30-7:30 p.m.

The nationwide Operation School Bell® program began in 1992. The local chapter undertaken by the Assistance League® of the Eastside stared in 1997.

“We were only serving 60 kids in one school back then,” said Assistance League® of the Eastside President Mahrukh Motafram. "Today were are serving 3,000 kids in 74 schools in three school districts.”

Some of the current kids, Operation School Bell® Co-Chair Rosella Butler said have benefited from the program for the past five or six years.

“We all know school can be tough on kids whose families are less fortunate than most — the clicks and standards they are judged by. But school counselors are telling us the kids fell more confident — feel good about their selves when they are wearing new clothes — and that they are more engaged in school.”

Heather Warme-Stead, school counselor at Leota Middle School agrees.

“It's such an amazing program. The students and parents are always so excited to be selected,” she said. “We believe that the impact on the students matches the overall goal of the program to increase student's self-esteem and well-being. Sometimes they'll (the kids) come back after shopping event and show us what they received.”

A former recipient of Operation School Bell® Daniel Astudillo, who is a 2013 WSU grad with a Sports Management degree and works with kids at the YMCA, recalls how he felt about the program.

“To be able to purchase clothes that say this is you made me feel good. It gave me confidence and self-esteem. To be able to hold your head high — to succeed — makes you feel like you belong.”

It also made him feel like he wanted to pay the experience forward.

“It’s inspired me to help others — I was helped therefore I want to help. And you can help too. Your donations make a difference.”

Assistance League® of the Eastside has clothed over 50,000 students in a little over two decades at a total expenditure of more than $5 million. Quite the operation for a local nonprofit all-volunteer organization that some say is the best-kept secret on the Eastside.

The organization is also an advocate for children and adults touched by hardship or violence. Through its Assault Survivor Kits® program, Assistance League® of the Eastside distributes thousands of assault survivor kits to over 40 hospitals statewide.

“The kits are made up of sweats, and hygiene products. Often victim's clothing is confiscated by police upon admission and used as evidence in the crime. So they have nothing to wear home — but can leave the hospital with dignity,” Basu said. “Our fly girls as we like to call will drive anywhere in Washington there is a need and drop off the kits.”

The program costs the Assistance League® of the Eastside roughly $10,000 annually.

Two additional programs offered are Starting Over Support, which provides welcome baskets to local shelters for families impacted by hardship and domestic violence and Help4Homless that provides baskets with household items to local shelters and agencies for women affected by economic hardship.

Assistance League® of the Eastside has a spring silent and live auction and fundraising event scheduled April 18, 2020, to help generate revenue to sustain all four philanthropic programs. But they could very much use the assistance of one of the many large corporations conducting business in the local area.

“We do have matching funds from Microsoft and we were given a $20,000 grant from the Wockner Foundation, but we need big donors to contribute to the cause,” Basu said. “So we are hoping to partner with the likes of Amazon, Starbucks, Google, Nordstrom or Expedia, whom all do business in the area. A small donation from each of them will go a long way.”

Harvey Plat gets the green light

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick


Thomas Colleran and Mike Walsh
Thomas Colleran (left) and Mike Walsh with Woodinville 4 LLC address questions from King County Hearing Examiner David Spohr. Bob Kirkpatrick/The Woodinville Weekly.


SEATTLE — King County Hearing Examiner David Spohr ruled Oct. 10 that Woodinville 4 LLC has met the terms set forth by the Growth Management Act (GMA) and Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan) for the development of five homes on a 14.5-acre parcel known as the Harvey Plat.

Neighbors bordering the property zoned RA-2.5 that sits just south of the Woodinville city limits who attended a Sept. 26 meeting at the Bridgewater Center to express concerns centered on the density of allowing one home per 2.5 acres had their hopes of blocking said development dashed when the ruling went against them.

Spohr said they were correct in that the RA-2.5 zone generally allows only one home per 5 acres. However, he added a more detailed code analysis shows that one home per 5 acres (i.e. 0.2 dwelling units per acre) is only the base density in the RA-2.5 zone and that the maximum density of one home per 2.5 acres (i.e. 0.4 dwelling units per acre) is achievable through the use of transfer development rights (TDRs).

Concerns over impacts from construction, especially road blockage, noise disruption, trespass, and damage to private property were also expressed. Spohr addressed those concerns in the ruling under a conditional approval statement.

“The applicant is obligated to make whole any damage to private property. But the basic rule of land use is that while a developer cannot be forced to fix someone else’s problem, the developer can be required to account for the direct results of its development. Thus, we add a requirement that once the dust settles on other construction, the applicant must ensure that 161th Avenue NE in the vicinity of NE 172nd Street is restored and left in a condition equal to (or better than) its condition as of early 2019.”

The topic of wildlife displacement was also bought up at the meeting, to which Spohr replied in the ruling; “Outside the scenario of threatened or endangered species or something like a mapped wildlife corridor, there is no requirement that a developer preserves wildlife habitat. And we have no authority to create one.”

Spohr added that approval of the preliminary Harvey plat comes with the stipulation the applicant must obtain final approval from the King County Health Department, and King County Fire Protection Engineer for the adequacy of the fire hydrant, water main, and fire flow standards.

According to Spohr, the decision set forth can be appealed.










2019 Election coverage: A look at local races

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick

With the General Election just around the corner, The Woodinville Weekly posed one question to candidates: What is the single most important issue Woodinville is facing in the next two to three years? The following are their responses.

City of Woodinville Council Position 6

Al Taylor

I'm Al Taylor and have served on the Woodinville City Council (in Position 6) for the past four years and council appointed commissions for eight years.
Growth is the most important issue facing Woodinville; specifically, managing growth while maintaining our rural charm.

I will strive to preserve neighborhood zoning while improving infrastructure across the city. We must address traffic issues, pedestrian safety and availability of recreational and retail opportunities in our city of 5.5 square miles.

Properly managing growth will also involve large-scale engineering projects such as improved access to 522, completion of the downtown grid roads, re-engineering the railroad trestle and linking our parks via a network of trails from the Sammamish Slough to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) land to the Northeast of the city.

These tasks will be a challenge but I believe we can complete them all with the right leadership. I have collaborated with my fellow Council members to renovate DeYoung Park, to adopt new tree canopy preservation guidelines, to approve downtown housing and retail projects, all while being a stalwart steward of the City's budget.

My wife, Debbie, and I have lived in Woodinville for 24 years. Our children, Alexandra and Andrew, grew up here. Between the beautiful scenery and excellent schools, living here has been a blessing for my family.

I serve on the City Council as a way to give back to the community that has given me so much to be grateful for. By using my professional background in engineering paired with a desire to serve my community,

I want to ensure that all current and future residents have the same opportunities that my family has had. For these reasons, I am running for re-election.


Nicolas Duchastel

I believe the most important issue facing Woodinville in the next few years is the interplay between growth and our transportation infrastructure.

As I talk with voters all over Woodinville, they consistently tell me they would like less congestion on our roads, better transit, more trails, and better sidewalks.

I believe our priority should be to protect Woodinville’s greatest qualities while responsibly managing its growth. This is centered on an approach where we concentrate our growth downtown. This allows us to create a vibrant, walkable downtown while simultaneously preserving the character of our neighborhoods.

As a member of the Planning Commission, I have voted as such. Some on Council seem to propose changes that would require increasing density in residential neighborhoods. Quickly acquiescing to developers’ requests will lead to irresponsible development.

We should be more deliberate, and active, in how we manage growth. Why will only half of the upcoming BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) trips go all the way to Woodinville? Why did our city not submit any projects for the $100M pool of money made available to cities as part of ST3? Our current elected officials dropped the ball. This is our money!

Woodinville's problems will require cooperation with our sister cities, both King and Snohomish counties and Washington State. Fixing the 522 intersection at Dairy Queen, the downtown train trestle or transit improvements will require cooperation.

I am very proud to have earned the endorsement from most Mayor and Deputy-Mayor of neighboring cities, and from many regional leaders like County and State officials.

While others promise false quick fixes, my promise is to work hard within an existing network of contacts to find tangible solutions.

Running a growing city like Woodinville is becoming a complex endeavor. We need a systematic approach. Capital Improvement Plans should be ordered by priority and staff instructed to work on them from most to least important. No more “pet projects” which jump to the front of the line.

Our government needs to be fair and accountable. I hope to earn your vote this November.

Keep Woodinville moving forward.


City of Woodinville Council Position 7

Gary Harris

The single most important issue I feel facing Woodinville in the next two to three years is transportation (traffic congestion).

The railroad trestle has been a choke point for far too long. The current city council is working with the railroad right-of-way owner and other stakeholders on a solution that will work for all parties. We are proposing an eight-lane roadway under the trestle that would significantly reduce congestion at that site. The trestle will become a bike and pedestrian path connecting with other nearby trails.

Our neighborhoods must remain safe places to walk and bike. I will advocate for best solutions – sidewalks, barriers, lane markers and/or signage to separate cars from bikes and pedestrians – proposing these capital improvement projects into our six-year budget.

I propose no up-zoning of R-1 residential areas. That would only add to traffic congestion. Commercial growth should only occur in designated GMA allowed areas, so that our residents can more easily travel from their homes to shopping, restaurants, services, and recreation. I welcome new development to our city but will hold developers accountable for adequate parking and road improvements.

I am involved with several regional transportation organizations as the elected representative for City Council. We are developing plans to improve transportation between our east side cities. We are working for solutions that benefit the entire region so that trips to Bellevue, Bothell, Kirkland, and others are easier and faster for all of us.

Our city has recently built two north-south connector roads with roundabouts that are helping alleviate traffic on 175th Street. I support more of these traffic congestion mitigating improvements in our most overcrowded traffic areas.
I would appreciate your vote to retain me on the Woodinville City Council.

During my time on council, our city has embarked on several construction projects and more are being finalized. We are managing growth and associated transportation issues.

Please keep Woodinville moving forward to a more vibrant future.


Paul Hagen


The most important issue facing Woodinville is rapid growth. We are at a moment of unprecedented growth in and around our city and how we manage that growth will define us for decades.

At this unique moment, we have some choices to make. We can either embrace the status quo, or we can challenge it. We can let growth and development occur haphazardly, or with strategic vision and bold leadership, we can bring intentionality to our city’s growth.

We can watch passively from the sidelines as our city loses its distinctive character and charm, or we can roll up our sleeves to protect what we cherish in our community, including its rural character, surrounding farmlands, and the small-town feel that makes Woodinville home.

My first priority, if elected, would be to ensure responsible growth in Woodinville. We need forward-facing, long-term planning instead of reactionary policymaking.

It is crucial that we make strategic investments in infrastructure, including a comprehensive network of bike paths, safe city sidewalks, and roadways that support our population.

We can solve our traffic troubles and other infrastructure deficiencies with prudent planning instead of hasty reactions to easily foreseen problems. Responsible growth requires careful consideration of the environmental impacts of development. We need green building codes and sensible policies that promote long-term environmental sustainability.

Responsible growth means rejecting strip mall zoning, supporting small, local businesses, and planning for future parks and public spaces. I am committed to creating responsible zoning that ensures a dense, pedestrian-friendly downtown, protects our neighborhoods, preserves farmlands and forests, and safeguards our watersheds.

With growth comes both challenges and opportunities. I believe that with careful management we can tackle the challenges we face and embrace the opportunities before us; ensuring a bright and prosperous future for Woodinville.

This kind of progress can only happen, however, if we commit ourselves to community cooperation. We need to engage in productive civil discourse instead of destructive personal attacks. We need to rise above the muck and mire of petty politics and come together for the betterment of the whole community.

Together we can do better.


Scammers impersonating City officials

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

WOODINVILLE — The city of Woodinville urges businesses operating in the Woodinville community and members of the public to be cautious of telephone calls from suspicious people posing as representatives of the city of Woodinville or the Woodinville Economic Development Council.

The City is aware of at least one local business-owner who received an imposter call from a person who identified him or herself as working for the city of Woodinville. The caller asked a series of questions about the business and immediately hung up when no information was provided.

The city of Woodinville does not have an Economic Development Department or Economic Development Council and will never cold-call residents or businesses to demand answers to invasive questions. When the City does reach out directly to community members, it is typically done using a phone with a local 425 area code.

Phone scam tactics are changing all the time, but it is important for everyone to be protective of personal information and remain suspicious of unknown callers who may claim to work for the government while using aggressive or pushy language. To report an imposter call or other types of scam, use the Complaint Assistant Tool on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission website.