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Two adults and a child were rescued from the roof of their vehicle Sunday afternoon on Southeast Reinig Road, near 396 Drive Southeast in North Bend. The vehicle had stalled in rising floodwaters. A 9-1-1 call came in at 3:32 p.m. from a person on flood patrol for King County. The caller reported that a vehicle was submerged, with three people standing on the roof. Police and fire personnel from North Bend were dispatched to the scene. The Snoqualmie Fire Department was also called, but the call was cancelled while the responders were en route. Police and Fire arrived and determined that the vehicle was partially submerged, but the water was rising and the vehicle was becoming bouyant.
Mount Si and Cedarcrest High School students have donated hundreds of pounds of food and other essentials in the past month, as part of their traditional collections for people in need. Although the schools no longer face each other on the football field, groups at both high schools are in the midst of their annual "Foodball" food drives, an event named for the annual Valley Cup football game between Mount Si and Cedarcrest. The event isn't a contest between schools, but it still stirs the competitive spirit in both districts. Elementary schools vie to raise more donations of food and cash than their high schools, and at the high schools, students compete by class, and by period.
North Bend has a balanced budget going into 2011, but the city still needs to shave $100,000 off its payroll commitments. On legal assurance that the city will be able to amend the budget in the future, council members approved the $18.9 million budget on Tuesday, Dec. 7, by a vote of five to two. While two council members, David Cook and Alan Gothelf voted against the budget, none of the council was satisfied with it. Gothelf said the council had not set priorities correctly and was concerned that “we’re balancing the budget on public safety.” The preliminary budget included a 7 percent increase in the law enforcement fund, to $1.6 million, but a 33 percent cut to the overtime allocation.
Students at Mount Si High School are talking about solutions to school problems, and they've started with bullying. Last week, Mount Si hosted its first open forum for students to freely discuss the issue, led by students Chace Carlson and Cassady Weldon. Carlson and Weldon, also student representatives on the Snoqualmie Valley School Board, reported on the forum at the Dec. 9 board meeting. Their findings were both expected and surprising. "Obviously, there's still bullying and harassment going on. People see it every day," Carlson began. Victims were both students and teachers, and so, in a sense, were the bullies. Carlson said some students mentioned hearing their own teachers complaining about other teachers, similar to the way student cliques bash other students.
From a visual sweet spot directly in front of the commons stage, Twin Falls Middle School Assistant Principal Marty Barber looked straight down the Middle Fork sixth grade hallway. With a turn of his head, his view shifted to the seventh and eighth grade wings. In an era when bullying and school safety are at the forefront of many parents' minds, Barber or any other administrator can be aware of most of what's going on in the school at a glance. "That's the design brilliance," said Barber, who led a group of parents on a tour of middle school features meant to be incorporated into a planned new Snoqualmie Ridge Middle School. The tour, held Wednesday, Dec. 8, was part of a series of informative meetings on bond concepts being held by the Snoqualmie Valley School District.
City Council members gave unanimous support to bringing a $5 million bond issue before voters at its Dec. 7 meeting. The bond, to build a new, shared fire station with Eastside Fire & Rescues's District 38, will be on the Feb. 8 ballot. Council member Dee Williamson noted that the existing fire station in North Bend has been found unstable and is expected to collapse in an earthquake the size of the 2001 Nisqually quake, "which was nothing," he said. "In my opinion, this is a must.
Terri Langley takes a deep breath and then hoists a huge box loaded with groceries over the threshold of the Mount Si Helping Hands Food Bank. With another effort, she pushes the box onto the sidewalk, then goes back inside for more. It's the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and Langley is looking forward to making a holiday meal for her family of four. Langley has been coming here for six months, since she moved to the area. She has been unable to find work, but is grateful to have found the food bank. "This is a beautiful place that helps keep us all fed," she says. A few minutes later, a young couple comes out, arms loaded with provisions. They both say the food bank has really helped them out. The young man was born in North Bend. Next is an older couple, a mother with her pre-school-aged daughter, and two men clearly shopping for a large family. They are not only of all ages, but also from a variety of ethnicities and circumstances. In an average week, the North Bend-based food bank serves about 310 families, says manager Krista Holmberg. In the weeks leading up to the holidays, the number has been closer to 400.
Pastor Phil Harrington has been impressed, and inspired, by the actions of some outstanding young people in the past year. "I've been noticing in our church, but also in the broader community, youth taking some initiative to make the world better," he said—from those who spoke out against human trafficking, to the students who worked with the Snoqualmie Valley School District to take a stand against bullying.
Cash may be king, but it’s not alone. A new monetary system may soon take its place in the Snoqualmie Valley, as residents learn more about local currency options. Local, or complementary, currency is a system of exchange in which members negotiate fair prices for goods and services, and pay for them with something that represents their own, non-dollar-based money. It could be another type of printed money, an online database of debits and credits, or something else on which all of the members agree.
On the first day that families could register for holiday help from the Snoqualmie Valley Kiwanis Club's Giving Tree this year, more than 300 children were signed up. That's nearly as many children as the total number of people, adults included, that the club helped last year.
North Bend’s newest coffee shop is also its newest flower shop, where you can pick up a latte, some gluten-free pastries, and a potted orchid on your way home. If you ask the owners of Toad’s Cafe, it’s the perfect combination.
North Bend's fire station is no place to be in an emergency, maybe not even on a good day. Located next to City Hall, the building has leaks, rats, a floor drain directly to the sewer system, loose windows, an overtaxed electrical system and almost no insulation or storage. It sits in a floodplain, and is so unstable that engineers estimate a third of it would collapse in another earthquake the size of the 2001 Nisqually quake.
Monday's snowfall, freezing temperatures and icy conditions resulted in school and city office closings, a run on snow shovels and sleds at Ace Hardware in North Bend, lots of single-vehicle accidents throughout the area, and round-the-clock snow-plowing in the city of North Bend.
The floodwaters that marred Mountain Creek Christmas Tree Farm are long gone. But the land, and the trees, still bear the signs. Sand and rocks litter the grounds, small trees are dying, and the picturesque creek running through the property has left its bed in places, winding instead through the growing trees, under a fence, and onto a neighboring field. Farm owner Marilyn Kassian toured one of the hardest-hit section of trees, and sighed, frustrated. "If my son had time, he'd get rid of all of 'em, because he says it's not very good-looking," she said.
A visit to Birches Habitat in downtown North Bend is a treasure hunt. Even after its recent expansion, the store for "eclectic, soulful living" is jammed with books and cards, calendars, art, jewelry, candles, toiletries, clothing, and most importantly, a sense of fun.
North Bend City Council members approved a first draft of the 2011 city budget, moved forward on the sewer project being completed in the Tanner annexation, and discussed pipe bombs in a brief meeting Nov. 16.
Cassidy Johnson can’t decide what the best thing about dancing in this year’s production of “The Nutcracker” by Pacific Northwest Ballet will be. On one hand, “I get to be on a big stage and dance with other dancers,” she said. On the other hand, “I shoot cannons, and march. And salute!”