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City takes action to slow down drivers

  • Written by Madeline Coats

 

The stretch of road throughout the Tourist District
will decrease to 35 mph and then pick up
to 40 mph near Chateau Ste. Michelle. 

Things are about to slow down in Woodinville…at least on some portions of the road on State Route 202. 

City Council voted unanimously to reduce the speed limit along certain portions of Woodinville-Redmond Road, otherwise known as SR 202, at a meeting Feb. 4. The ordinance amends Chapter 10.06 of the Woodinville Municipal Code. 

“This reduction in speed limits has been of great interest to the city for a number of years,” Public Works Director Rick Roberts said. “We initiated discussions with WSDOT probably four or five years ago.”

The previous speed limit for SR 202 was 45 mph from 128th Place Northeast, near Wilmot Gateway Park, to southern city limits. 

This measure lowers the limit to 35 mph from the first roundabout near Cougar Crest Estate Winery to Woodinville Whiskey Co. From there, the speed limit increases to 40 mph until the road ends.

In more technical terms, the speed limit decreases to 35 mph from milepost 2.94 to milepost 2.07. It increases to 40 mph from milepost 2.07 to milepost 0.70. 

Roberts said the speed limits will be officially changed five days after publication of the ordinance, although nothing can be enforced until new signs replace the old ones. 

Several councilmembers expressed concern about an influx of tickets for residents due to the significant drop in speed. Councilmember Chuck Price, who was elected into office earlier in the meeting, said some “people have been driving that stretch of SR 202 at the same speed for over 50 years.” 

According to the ordinance, there have been several requests over the years to reduce the speed limit on various sections of SR 202, most notably in the Tourist District. Three roundabouts already work to slow traffic throughout the small stretch of road.

“Slowing the speed on the east-west portion of 202, right in the middle of the tourist area, is a really big deal,” Councilmember Les Rubstello said.

Changing a speed limit on state routes is a collaborate effort between WSDOT and the city of Woodinville. The staff report said WSDOT performed speed studies, which supported a limit reduction.

Model-car collector receives vintage automobile

  • Written by Madeline Coats
Anthony Schmidt admires his 1957 Ford
donated by Greg Wilkinson. Madeline Coats photo

 

A parade of cars cruised through the streets of Woodinville to deliver a gift to Anthony Schmidt, a local kid with a talent for miniature car photography.

The 12-year-old uses cars and photography to overcome his daily challenges with autism. All Anthony needs is an iPhone camera and a car from his extensive collection of options, which grows by the week due to donations from community members and fans. 

He was not expecting to be gifted a real 1957 Ford Custom 300 from Greg Wilkinson, owner of Miracle Carpets. Rich McKee, another strong advocate of Anthony’s photography, coordinated the parade and car show.

“The car show was way more than we ever expected,” Anthony said. “We were completely surprised and blown away. It’s like something out of a fairytale, no other way to describe the feeling.”

Wilkinson and McKee both learned about Anthony’s photography through social media. Wilkinson said the story touched his heart and he wanted to make a difference in the boy’s life by donating the car. 

After seeing his artwork posted on Facebook, McKee said he was impressed to see a 12-year-old boy with such a talent for photography, especially with the added challenges of being on the spectrum. The local real estate broker added that he also has a son on the autism spectrum.

When McKee heard about Wilkinson’s car donation, he volunteered to set up the event. He also planned a behind-the-scenes surprise restoration of the vehicle, which included various auto shops and volunteers from the community.

McKee said he told the boy’s mother, Ramona Schmidt, that he was going to take the Ford to get “a small tune-up and car wash” a few weeks before the parade. “Small tune-up” was an understatement. 

Members of the Woodinville Car Club coordinated with various shops to renovate the car. He said employees from NAPA Auto Parts pooled their money and bought parts for a complete tune-up of the car. APC Auto Spa also brought the car back to life with a paint restoration. 

On the day of the parade, car owners from across the region met at the Woodinville Sports Fields parking lot, while Anthony waited in anticipation at Leota Middle School. The vehicles cruised through town and slowly piled into the school parking lot in style. Others even joined along the way out of interest.

After a small pause, the newly renovated car appeared down the street and rolled right up to the boy. McKee hopped out and handed Anthony the keys to his first real car. 

“It was a phenomenal event and speaks huge volumes to the Woodinville community,” McKee said.

Anthony said he named his new car after Wilkinson’s service dog, Betty, who also came to the event.

“So grateful to everyone, nothing like this has ever happened to us,” Schmidt said. “No words can express our gratitude. Tears welled up a few times, especially when we first saw the line of cars coming.”

Schmidt said her father worked at a Ford manufacturing plant for 30 years and always dreamt of restoring a car from the 1950s. He passed away before that happened, but Anthony will get to carry on the legacy.

Anthony’s photography typically focuses on making small cars look actual size. What does he have in store for actual-sized cars? 

 

Woodinville Weekly shares results from readership survey

  • Written by Madeline Coats

Does anyone remember the logging days or the Woodin family? Survey results show citizens in and around Woodinville want to read more about local history. People also want to see additional coverage of local art and entertainment, as well as city government and environmental action. 

Woodinville Weekly issued a readership survey to local residents in Woodinville and other nearby communities last November in an effort to begin a conversation about the newspaper industry. Survey results included a variety of opinions from participants in Redmond, Carnation, Duvall, Monroe, Bothell and beyond.

Roughly 99% of citizens think having a local news service (digital or print) is valuable to Woodinville; 1% disagrees. Specifically, 51% of Woodinville Weekly readers said the newspaper was moderately valuable. Around 41% of readers said the paper was extremely valuable; 7% of readers said the paper was somewhat valuable; 1% of readers said the paper was not valuable.

About 82% of participants said they prefer to read community news from print newspapers. The e-edition is how 6.3% of citizens read the news; 5.4% use a desktop; 3.8% use social media; 2.5% use a mobile phone.

Nearly 65% of participants said the Woodinville Weekly print newspaper was their main source for local community news. Roughly 9% said they get news from Patch or Next Door; 7% said the Neighbors Facebook page. About 1% of voters prefer to read local news from the Weekly website.

Almost 18% of the people surveyed get local news from other newspapers. The following media outlets were listed by citizens as main sources of news: Seattle Times, Bothell Reporter, Kirkland Reporter, Bellevue Reporter, Redmond Reporter, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Everett Herald, Wall Street Journal and KUOW.

In terms of accuracy and bias, 36% of readers said the news they read is moderately accurate. About 30% said their news source is very accurate; 5% said somewhat accurate; 1% said hardly accurate. Nearly 28% said they typically trust the source.

A majority of people, 56%, voted in favor of seeing more things to do featured in the paper. Just over 34% prefer more coupons and deals to local businesses and restaurants; 10% said they would like to see other features.

Topics related to local art and entertainment was most popular among voters, with feature stories in second and local government in third. Readers showed the least interest in local sports and schools.

A handful of people left comments and suggestions with their surveys, placing emphasis on stories related to local family businesses and restaurant reviews. Readers expressed interest in environmental articles about nature, conservation, and planning and action information. 

Other readers recommended more stories about boy scouts, growth plans and local development, weather, resident spotlights, health and wellness, senior center news and volunteer opportunities in the area. News from neighboring cities and “feel good” features are also desired, according to suggestions on the surveys.

New residents will make up 35% of the total city population in five years

  • Written by Madeline Coats

Lost in Woodinville? Just look up and follow the bright lights on the crane near City Hall. 

Assistants to the City Manager Alex Herzog and Kevin O’Neill presented a report on city happenings at an early morning Rotary Club meeting Tuesday, Feb. 11.

The presentation focused on anticipated growth, major projects and highlights from 2019. With all the housing developments underway, the city projects an abundance of new residents.

“We are growing crazily,” Herzog said. “In the next five years, we are on track to receive about 2,400 new housing units.”

He said the city anticipates about 4,700 new residents along with the developing units, which will make up 35% of Woodinville’s population. Staff is working on plans for infrastructure to serve all of these new families, he added.

Herzog said the city plans to meet the housing demands, enhance permit processing capacity, address infrastructure needs, balance growth and maintain livability.

“We’ve experienced quite a bit of growth over the last two or three years,” he said. “We are excited to see Woodinville continue to grow in a smart and financially responsible way.”

Development of the Wine Village will provide for 425 residential units, as well as space for restaurants, retail, offices and a hotel. Westpoint will also create 161 residential units and room for retail on the ground floor. Woodin Creek Village will bring 800 more units and the Civic Campus will add another 260 units. 

The Civic Campus is an example of growth made possible from the city’s Capital Improvement Plan. O’Neill said 2020 improvement projects place emphasis on street maintenance. There will also be enhancements to sidewalks, facilities, parks and surface water, which totals nearly $8.5 million. 

O’Neill said the city has a total of 17 upcoming projects, most set to be completed this summer before school starts again. Citizens have expressed interest in widening the trestle near State Route 522, he added. 

City Manager Brandon Buchanan said the trestle has been a topic of discussion for many years and progress is slow due to a “lot of moving parts.” 

O’Neill said three new positions were added to the staff in an attempt to increase city operations and growth. Additions include a new senior planner, senior engineer and stormwater program coordinator.

Financially, the two assistants to the city manager said Woodinville is thriving.

The 2019 Lodging Tax collected $170,000, which is then used to increase tourism and hotel space. Funds also go toward community events, such as Celebrate Woodinville and Winterfest.

About $18,000 of grant funds were allocated by the city to support community organizations. Recipients included the Community Care Alliance, Woodinville Farmers Market, Northshore YMCA and Woodinville Rotary. 

Looking back at 2019, crime in Woodinville has decreased by 50% since 2006. O’Neill said there is a continued low level of violent crime, although police are handling more calls for mental health and substance abuse-related issues.

“We are very fortunate to have a very proactive police department,” O’Neill said.

He said there have been a number of successful property crime arrests, including a high-profile sting and arrest of individuals featured on Washington’s Most Wanted. A lot of these property crimes are from people leaving their cars unlocked, he added.

Local businesses support talented artists March 6

  • Written by Madeline Coats

These pieces of artwork were created by fused
glass artist Michele Marq. Stacey Almgren photo

 

Woodinville Arts Alliance is partnering with a dozen local artists to showcase their work in corporations, small businesses, wineries, breweries and cider houses around the city on Friday, March 6, from 5-8 p.m. 

The organization’s first art walk of 2020 includes live art demonstrations, live music, drink specials and more depending on location. Participating venues are spread between The Junction, The Warehouse District, Hollywood Hill and Hopheads.

“We have everything from digital photography to watercolor,” said exhibiting artist Stacey Almgren. “This is our biggest one yet and we hope to keep growing.”

Each of the 12 artists will display their art at a different venue. Locations include Locust Cider, Sol Stone Winery, Beaumont Cellars, Gard Vintners, Bobae Coffee & Tea, Hopheads Taproom, Route 522 Taproom, Patterson Cellars, Goose Ridge, Forgeron Cellars, Lauren Ashton Cellars and Zerba Cellars. 

“Wine and art are a perfect match,” Almgren said. 

Maps for the art walk can be picked up at any participating venues and the Woodinville Visitors Center. The family-friendly event is free, although people are encouraged to purchase for-sale artwork.

Almgren said the art walk originally focused only on tasting rooms, but now the organization is incorporating non-alcoholic places to display art as well. This is the first time Bobae Coffee & Tea will be included in the walk, she added.

Fused glass artist Michele Marq already has her art featured on the walls in Bobae Coffee & Tea. Almgren said seven of her paintings are also already hanging at Patterson Cellars, which is participating as a venue for the first time in March.

Watercolorist Doug Plut will show his work at Lauren Ashton Cellars. Keith Megay will display his photography at Forgeron Cellars. Each artist is different in their own unique way, Almgren said.

She said the artwork will continue to be displayed for about three months, or until the next art walk, for people to view after the main event. Artists will showcase three-five pieces of art at each location; however, some venues may feature more.

The organization “rotates the art” for each event to bring in more local businesses, she said. 

“All of our exhibiting artists are part of the Woodinville Arts Alliance Art Experience program,” Almgren said. “There are 35-40 artists in the program.”

Artists come from local and surrounding areas to show their work. The art walk will highlight artwork from Woodinville, Duvall, Seattle and other nearby cities.

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