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Transportation Coalition looks to add services in Snoqualmie Valley

  • Written by Madeline Coats
The Snoqualmie Valley Transportation Coalition recently completed its five-year plan to improve transportation opportunities in the cities of Monroe, Duvall, Carnation, Fall City, Snoqualmie, North Bend and unincorporated King County. Snoqualmie Valley Transportation has already taken steps to increase transit services in the Valley. SVTC courtesy photo

 

A coalition of cities, counties, elected officials, community members and local organizations assembled to create more transit options for cities in the Snoqualmie Valley back in 2017. 

Over two years after forming, the Snoqualmie Valley Transportation Coalition (SVTC) completed its five-year transportation plan for the cities of Monroe, Duvall, Carnation, Fall City, Snoqualmie and North Bend. SVTC is staffed by Hopelink and receives funding through the Washington State Department of Transportation.   

“Our coalition is energized, and we have come together with a unified voice to bring transportation improvements to the Valley,” said M’Liss Moon, mobility coordinator at Hopelink and lead staff support for the transportation coalition. 

The five-year plan aims to improve transportation in both incorporated and unincorporated regions, while also supporting affordability, accessibility, and social equity for all riders. Priorities were identified as part of two assessment surveys completed by citizens in 2017 and 2019.

According to a news release, goals of the plan include expanded services on all days of the week and more rider connections to transit hubs in Redmond, Issaquah, Bellevue, Seattle and more. 

Survey respondents highlighted current inabilities to reach public transportation from their homes due to distance, safety and mobility, especially for older individuals and others trying to reach medical appointments. 

Other results indicated an overall lack of understanding for what services already exist. Many people suggested more communication about transit projects.

“This is a big deal. We are recognizing Snoqualmie Valley as the regional transit area that it is,” said Amy Biggs, director of Snoqualmie Valley Transportation. “This will be the plan for transportation improvements in the Valley through 2024. When the entire valley speaks together, we can have a big voice. We’re excited to start work on these important projects.” 

The transportation plan said Carnation residents highlighted a need for more frequent service by the Valley Shuttle and increased connections to Redmond transit centers. 

Citizens in Duvall called for “more westbound and northbound” connections, leading the coalition to plan a partnership with Snohomish County’s Community Transit. Survey participants advocated for the expansion and continuation of the Duvall-Monroe Shuttle, as stated in the plan.

Residents in unincorporated King County advocated for improved transit frequency on Ames Lake Road, Carnation Farms Road, Tolt River Road and Tolt Hill Road. A news release said the coalition is continuing to identify transportation solutions to connect unincorporated regions to city centers.

Choosing kindness to improve the quality of life in Duvall

  • Written by Madeline Coats
King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert (right) awarded Duvall resident Laura Smith with the Martin Luther King Medal of Distinguished Service at a council meeting Tuesday, Feb. 25. Photo courtesy of Laura Smith

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously asked the question, “What are you doing for others?” to an audience in 1957. 

King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert believes Duvall resident Laura Smith answers the question with her service and dedication to improve the quality of life for children and families in the Snoqualmie Valley. Smith was awarded the Martin Luther King Medal of Distinguished Service at a council meeting Feb. 25.

“Thanks to her leadership and dedication, the Snoqualmie Valley Community Network is working to promote and inspire youth to lead safe, healthy and successful lives,” Lambert said.

With more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Smith has worked in a variety of volunteer and leadership roles to improve her community. She taught at both high school and elementary levels in Colorado before moving to Duvall to raise a family. 

Smith joined the Snoqualmie Valley Community Network in 2005 and became the organization’s third ever executive director in 2012. She said her work focuses on youth development, partnerships and community outreach, with emphasis on parent education and youth mental health. 

“It’s important to note that when you live in rural King County, services aren’t as accessible as inside more populated areas,” Smith said. “We’re working alongside other nonprofits in the valley to really close up those gaps that exist.”

The community network was originally formed in 1994, along with more than 40 others across the state, as part of funding allocated by the state legislature. 

Some years later, the recession ended state funding and networks were forced to choose between becoming a nonprofit, merging with another entity or going dormant. Smith said Snoqualmie Valley’s network became a nonprofit and remains one of only five still in action around the state.

“The superintendent of the Riverview School District said it from his perspective. It was like I was pushing a locomotive up a big hill, which took a while, and then all of a sudden it passed the hill and started going down the other side,” she said. “And now I’m running behind it and trying to catch up because the momentum has just been breathtaking.”

Smith said the organization brings community partners together to talk about issues that are challenging. Several campaigns and programs were developed following data from Healthy Youth Surveys.

Programs within the network focus on youth leadership, employment success, mental health, substance abuse and mentorship. Parents are also given the opportunity to learn the importance of guidance, monitoring and consequences for their children.

“We’ve been very purposeful by listening to kids talk about what they actually need in order to build the mentoring program and opportunities for connection,” Smith said.

The network is currently working on a kindness campaign to reinforce positive behaviors in local schools. She said the campaign emphasizes social emotional learning and building empathy, while modeling inclusion.

Smith said the youth suicide component provides the community with training related to stress, depression and suicide prevention. The organization aims to connect more students with an adult to confide in during tough times, she added.

How to Help a Friend training allows older teenagers to become peer trainers for younger students. She said more than 1,500 students in Snoqualmie Valley received suicide prevention training last year alone. 

Progress continues on performing arts center

  • Written by Madeline Coats
The board of directors for the Duvall Foundation for the Arts, from left, are Karen Hendrickson, Elizabeth Hill, Tina Koch, Deanna Hobbs Connie Zimmerman, Tina Koch, Jennifer Brooks and Rita Ho. Photo courtesy of Duvall Foundation for the Arts

 

The idea to create a performing arts center in Duvall began in 1995 when a large property of land, containing an old dairy cow barn, was annexed into the city. Over 20 years later, the Duvall Cultural and Performing Arts Center is finally coming to life.

The Duvall Foundation of the Arts obtained the deed for the property Dec. 12 and celebrated the accomplishment most recently with the community Feb. 22. Headway on the center continues as part of a tri-party development agreement between DFA, the city of Duvall and Westcott Homes.

“We want the performing arts center to preserve and promote an artistic hub for the scope of the Valley,” said Elizabeth Hill, volunteer project manager and board member for the Duvall Foundation of the Arts. 

In a region known for heavy rainfall, Hill said there are not many indoor spaces to be used for creative opportunities in the Valley. The arts center plans to open an outdoor area this summer, which includes a trail pathway connecting the parking lot to the Snoqualmie Valley Trail.

The new three-story center will replace an old barn just west of State Route 203. Hill said the top floor will provide an area for performing arts, in addition to rentable space for special events.

She said the middle floor, which is located at ground level, will highlight galleries of work from local artists. Hill hinted at an informal gallery space for citizens and artists to get coffee and gather for short films, photography displays and more. A daylight basement is anticipated to allow for a kitchen, green room and dressing area, she added.

“We have so many creative people in the Snoqualmie Valley,” Hill said. “We are trying to make this space as flexible as possible because there are so many different types of creativity.”

Once all money is raised for the building, Hill said remaining construction should take 18 to 24 months. The multi-million-dollar project will be funded through various grants and donations within the community. 

King County’s 4Culture provided an abundance of funding for outdoor site improvements, Hill said. The city of Duvall, Rotary Club of Duvall and numerous local businesses have also donated time, services and money for the arts center.

Westcott Homes, the overall project owner and developer, started outdoor improvements for the center in the fall of 2018. Westcott is also building about 99 new townhomes around the property.

Hill said the city of Duvall obtained a parking lot for people attending events at the performing arts center and for pedestrians accessing the new connection to the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. The city also helped with road frontage improvements along SR 203, she added.

The project site now has developed roads, street lighting and proper working utilities. Now, Hill said the foundation is focused on fundraising money to complete the infrastructure.

Duvall residents reach semifinals in international quilting competition

 

Mo Newman (left) and Cindy Basta will be displaying their quilt, PINWHEEL PARADISE, at the Schroeder Expo & Carroll Convention Center in Paducah, Ky. in April. Photo courtesy of Joe Basta.

PADUCAH, Ky.— Duvall’s Cindy Basta and Mo Newman are semifinalists in the 2020 AQS QuiltWeek® competition to be held April 22-25 at the Schroeder Expo & Carroll Convention Center in Paducah, Ky.

Basta and Newman have been chosen to display their quilt, PINWHEEL PARADISE. The two are among 407 contestants from 42 states across the nation and 15 international countries participating in the 36th annual contest.

Three quilting authorities will award first, second and third‐place prizes in 16 categories. The winners will be announced at the AQS awards presentation at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21 at the Carson Four Rivers Center in Paducah.

“Extraordinary quilts are being made by today’s quilters, and the contest quilts represent an extensive variety of styles, sizes, and techniques,” said AQS Founder and President Meredith Schroeder. “Each quilt in the show is an intricate, creative work of art to enjoy.”

Cash awards totaling $125,000 will be paid out including $20,000 for the Janome Best of Show; $12,000 for the BERNINA Stationary Machine Workmanship; $12,000 for the AQS Hand Workmanship; $12,000 for the APQS Movable Workmanship and $5,000 for the Hobbs Best Wall Quilt. The event is expected to draw more than 30,000 people.

State of Duvall Address

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick

The annual State of Duvall Address presented by Mayor Amy Ockerlander will take place at the Duvall Visitor Center, 15619 Mains Street N.E. Thurs., March 5 from 6-7:30 p.m.

Ockerlander will discuss the priorities the city has accomplished since Jan. 1, 2019, upcoming initiatives, council priorities and the general overview of the city.

The meeting is for Duvall Chamber members and their guests. Must be 21 years of age to attend. Visit this link to register for the event: 

https://duvallchamberofcommerce.com/duvall-events/#!event/2020/3/5/duvall-chamber-of-commerce-march-meeting-for-members-guests