Thursday, April 30, 2015

EY announces Finalists for Entrepreneur Of The Year 2015 in the Pacific Northwest

EY today announced the finalists for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2015 in the Pacific Northwest.

It's great to see a couple of Bellevue-based companies on the list:  Limeaid and Smartsheet.  It would be nice to see one of them win it all. after Bellevue-based businesses were snubbed out of the competition last year.

The awards program recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.  These business leaders were selected by a panel of independent judges.  Award winners will be announced at a special gala on June 5, 2015 at Sheraton Seattle Hotel.  To find out more about the Pacific Northwest program please visit  #EOYPNW.

The finalists are:

Avalara, Inc. | Scott McFarlane, Co-Founder & CEO | Bainbridge Island, WA

Avvo | Mark Britton, Founder & CEO | Seattle, WA

barre3 | Sadie Lincoln, Founder & Owner | Portland, OR

Blink UX | Karen Clark Cole, CEO | Seattle, WA

Context Relevant | Stephen Purpura, Founder & CEO | Seattle, WA

Dave's Killer Bread | John Tucker, CEO | Milwaukie, OR

DiscoverOrg | Henry Schuck, CEO | Vancouver, WA

EagleView Technologies | Chris Barrow, President & CEO | Bothell, WA

ExtraHop Networks | Jesse Rothstein, Co-Founder & CEO; Raja Mukerji, Co-Founder & President | Seattle, WA

Hydro Flask | Scott Allan, President & CEO | Bend, OR

Life Flight Network | Michael Griffiths, CEO | Aurora, OR

Limeade | Henry Albrecht, CEO | Bellevue, WA | Jonathan Sposato, CEO | Seattle, WA

PitchBook | John Gabbert, Founder & CEO | Seattle, WA

SET Creative | Sabina Teshler, Owner & CEO | Portland, OR

SmartRG | Jeff McInnis, President & CEO | Vancouver, WA

Smartsheet | Mark Mader, President & CEO | Bellevue, WA

Treehouse | Ryan Carson, Co-Founder & CEO | Portland, OR

Trupanion | Darryl Rawlings, CEO | Seattle, WA

TUNE | Lucas Brown, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer; Lee Brown, Co-Founder & Chief Architect | Seattle, WA

ZoomCare | Dave Sanders, M.D., CEO | Hillsboro, OR

Now in its 29th year, the program has expanded to recognize business leaders in over 145 cities in 60 countries throughout the world.

Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year national program.  Award winners in several national categories, as well as the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Overall National Award winner, will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, California on November 14, 2015. The US Entrepreneur Of The Year Overall Award winner then moves on to compete for the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in Monaco, June 2016. Additionally, venture-backed companies that win an Entrepreneur Of The Year Award regionally are also eligible for the Venture Capital Award of Excellence at the national level. The awards are the culminating event of the EY Strategic Growth Forum®, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.

Founded and produced by EY, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are sponsored nationally by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and SAP America.  In the Pacific Northwest, sponsors also include Merrill Datasite, Union Bank and Scherzer International.

About EY Entrepreneur Of The Year®
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries.

About EY’s Strategic Growth Markets practice
EY’s Strategic Growth Markets (SGM) practice guides leading high-growth companies. Our multidisciplinary teams of elite professionals provide perspective and advice to help our clients accelerate market leadership. SGM delivers assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services to thousands of companies spanning all industries. EY is the undisputed leader in taking companies public, advising key government agencies on the issues impacting high-growth companies and convening the experts who shape the business climate. For more information, please visit us at, or follow news on Twitter @EY_Growth.

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities. EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP, an EY member firm serving clients in the US.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Neighborhood Grill’s and Lunchbox Laboratory team up for a Cinco de Mayo, Margarita Marathon, with a goal to raise $10,000 for The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance!

Neighborhood Grills & Lunchbox Laboratory are teaming up for a Margarita Marathon to raise money for The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Cinco de Mayo Weekend, May 1-5, 2015.

$1 from each featured Margarita sold at all Lunchbox Laboratory and Neighborhood Grill locations during this time will be donated to The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

“Giving back to our community is extremely important to us. Cancer affects so many people these days and we are incredibly fortunate to have such an amazing facility right in our backyard that is focused on prevention and treatment.  Our goal is to raise money and awareness for this great cause," said Director of Operations Joanne Poulias-Schmidt.

The margarita marathon is taking place at Lunchbox Laboratory in Bellevue, Seattle & Gig Harbor AND Eastlake Bar & Grill, Greenlake Bar & Grill, Lake Forest Bar & Grill, Bremerton Bar & Grill and Maple Valley Bar & Grill.

Neighborhood Grill’s and Lunchbox Laboratory are locally owned by John B. Schmidt and his partners.


Neighborhood Grill’s Current locations include:

Greenlake Bar & Grill: 7200 East Greenlake Drive North, Seattle, WA 98115 (206) 729-6179

Eastlake Bar & Grill:  2947 Eastlake Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98102  (206) 957-7777

Lake Forest Bar & Grill: 17535 Ballinger Way NE, Seattle, WA 98155 (206) 364-1261

Bremerton Bar & Grill: 190 Pacific Avenue Bremerton, WA 98337 (360) 627-8081

Maple Valley Bar & Grill: 23846 SE Kent Kangley Road, Maple Valley, WA 98038. 425. 358. 7210.


Lunchbox Laboratory locations include:

Bellevue: 989 112th Avenue NE, Bellevue, WA 98004 (425) 505-2676

South Lake Union: 1253 Thomas Street, Seattle, WA 98101 (206) 621.1090

Gig Harbor: 4901 Point Fosdick Drive NW in Gig Harbor, WA (253) 432-4061

Northwest Wine & Cheese Tour - Awaken Your Palette to the Flavors of Spring on the Olympic Peninsula

Spring on the Olympic Peninsula is time for discovering creative pairings of new wine and cider releases with locally crafted artisan cheeses during the region’s annual Northwest Wine & Cheese Tour. This year, hard cider enthusiasts can enjoy the tour debut of Port Townsend’s Alpenfire Cider, the third cidery to participate on the tour. Alpenfire produces a variety of organic ciders and vinegars made from estate-grown French and English cider variety apples. A total of ten wineries and cideries located in the Peninsula towns of Chimacum, Port Townsend, Sequim and Port Angeles, and on Marrowstone Island will welcome tour-goers on Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3 from 11 am – 5 pm.

Advance tickets for the self-guided tour are available online for $25.00, or $30.00 at the door of participating wineries. Tour tickets include wine and cheese tasting at all ten wineries and cideries plus a commemorative wine glass. Independently, each venue charges a $5.00 tasting fee. Visit


•          Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Chimacum, is celebrating the sweetness of Spring with the release of its Honey Meadow botanical cider and honey-fermented Cyser.  Enjoy these sips of the season with beautiful bites of chèvre from local goat dairy, Mystery Bay Farm. Visitors will also enjoy Pane D'Amore cheese sticks hot out of the oven!

•          Marrowstone Vineyards, located in the town of Nordland on Marrowstone Island, is teaming up with Mt. Townsend Creamery to offer pairings of three new wine releases with delicious, locally made cheeses. Wine releases include the 2014 Wedding Day Chardonnay, 2014 Riesling Come Home,2014 Gewurztraminer and the 2013 Black Cat Pinot Noir.

•          In Port Townsend, Lullaby Winery will feature a curated selection of cheeses from France and the Pacific Northwest for pairing with its wines. The patio will be open and visitors will be able to purchase wines by the glass.

•          At FairWinds Winery, also in Port Townsend, sample current wine releases paired with a selection of cheeses by award-winning Mt. Townsend Creamery.

•          Alpenfire Cider, Port Townsend, will pair three hard ciders with Chimacum Valley Dairy’s West Valley Wheel Cheese and nut-based pastries from Port Townsend’s Pastry Design by Anca. Ciders include Spark! Semi-Sweet, Calypso Blackberry Rum Cider, and Smoke Barrel Aged Cider.

•          Another Port Townsend cidery, Eaglemount Wine & Cider, will pair its wines and ciders with cheeses from Whiskey Hill Goat Dairy and Crimson Cove Smoked Specialty, a smoke house located in Poulsbo specializing in smoked cheeses. New releases include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Rhubarb Cider and Raspberry Ginger Cider.

•          In Sequim, Wind Rose Cellars will pair its award-winning wines with the award-winning cheeses of Chehalis’ Black Sheep Creamery. A new vintage of Bell Bottom White, a delicious off dry Muscato, will be released for the tour. On Saturday at 7 p.m., the winery will host jazz singer Jenny Davis and award-winning pianist Eric Verlinde.

•          Olympic Cellars, Port Angeles, is celebrating with a Cinco de Mayo theme! Golden Glenn Creamery of Bow, Wash. is back this year with favorite cheeses for pairing with Madeleine Angevine 2014, Chardonnay 2014, Unoaked , and Dungeness Red – Lemberger 2013, an “Old World” grape with origins in Austria and Germany, this is Olympic Cellar’s heritage wine. Local jazz musician Al Harris will perform from Noon – 2 p.m. on Saturday.

•          Also in Port Angeles, Camaraderie Cellars will host Willapa Hills Creamery - delicious cheeses made from sheep and cow’s milk. New wine releases include the 2012 Malbec and 2012 Madrona. Visitors can also savor tasty bites of Northwest mac and cheese with smoked salmon from Michael’s Seafood and Steakhouse.

•          Harbinger Winery, Port Angeles, will pair some of its award-winning wines and new releases with the raw, organic cheeses of Cascadia Creamery. Try cheese samples with alluring names such as Sleeping Beauty, Glacier Blue, and Cloud Cap. Harbinger will also pour its wine made from locally grown grapes, Sieg-MA.

Take a spring drive to the scenic Olympic Peninsula and enjoy a tour that’s too good to miss.

More information at

The Olympic Peninsula Wineries are a group of hands-on owners/winemakers committed to handcrafting excellent, award-winning Washington wines. Each winery offers visitors friendly hospitality and a unique, memorable experience. Owners/winemakers are often available to personally pour for the visitors in their tasting rooms and to answer questions. Many of our members utilize grapes from eastern Washington's great vineyards while others harvest their own fruit grown on this side of the mountains. In either case, these Washington wines are made using classic methods that produce the perfect complement to a meal -- be it a picnic on the winery grounds or the most elegant of candlelight dinners.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

FORD/AAA Student Auto Skills State Competition Creates Opportunities for Automotive Technicians at Bellevue High School

Top high school automotive technicians will challenge their technical skills and stretch their innovative minds at the Washington Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills State competition on Tuesday, April 28. Twenty high school students from across Washington, including two students from Bellevue High School, will compete for thousands of dollars’ worth of scholarships and a chance to advance to the National Finals. The state competition will be held at Renton Technical College, 3000 NE Fourth Ave., Automotive Quad (building K), from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 28. Awards ceremony directly following.

The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition is targeted to support students looking to jumpstart a career as an automotive service technician. A total of 21 schools and 364 students took the online exam in Washington state this year. Of those, only 20 students qualified to advance to the state finals, representing the top five percent of all students who took the test. On a national scale, a total of 13,753 students registered for the online state qualifying exam.

Each two-student team in the State Finals will compete against each other and the clock to diagnose and repair a deliberately “bugged” 2015 Ford Fiesta SE vehicle. Top ranked schools that qualified to compete in this year’s Washington state finals include:

  • Bellevue High School - Pete Mccue, Automotive Instructor

  • Clark County Skills Center - Justin Flick, Automotive Instructor

  • Decatur High School - Tim Kelly, Automotive Instructor

  • Kentridge High School - George Sichting, Automotive Instructor

  • Marysville-Pilchuck High School - Chuck Nichols, Automotive Instructor

  • New Market Vocational Skills Center - Mark Emmons, Automotive Instructor

  • North Thurston High School - Brian Stretch, Automotive Instructor

  • Puyallup Senior High School - Larry Turner, Automotive Instructor

  • Sno-Isle Technology Skills Center - Gary Holboy, Automotive Instructor

  • Tri-Tech Skills Center - Larry Brookes, Automotive Instructor

Qualifying teams were selected based on their scores in the online exam which tests overall automotive knowledge. The team with the highest combined score from the hands-on competition and written exam will win the state competition.

The winning two-student team will advance to represent Washington state at the national finals at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., June 7-9, 2015. At the national finals, champions from each state will vie for millions of dollars in scholarships, automotive equipment and a trip to the Wood Brothers Racing facility where the students and instructor will work on race cars and learn from top automotive engineers.

Both the national and the state-wide competitions have been organized with the support of AAA and Ford personnel, local automotive instructors and the AAA Approved Auto Repair program, a free public service AAA performs to identify quality repair facilities throughout the country. For additional details on 2015 State Hands-On Competition locations and dates, visit


About Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills

The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition that offers millions of dollars in scholarships and prizes to high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians. Nearly 13,000 students from across the U.S. compete for the chance to represent their school and state in the National Finals. The competition tests students’ automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities. For additional information on the competition, visit

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Mark McMorris, Scot Brown and Zoe Bergermann Top Podiums at Monster Energy Shred Show at World Ski & Snowboard Festival

ShredShow_Slopestyle_DaveHumphreysThe Monster Energy Shred Show wrapped up yesterday at the World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF) in Whistler, BC. The stacked field of riders did not hold back, putting on an amazing two day show under sunny skies in the Nintendo Terrain Park on Blackcomb Mountain.

Mark McMorris (CAN) proved why he is considered one of the best snowboarders in the world taking first place at the Slopestyle on April 18. His third run score of 96.00 positioned him at the top of the podium and earned him a $10,000 cheque. Kyle Mack (USA) started his day off strong with a first run score of 93.00, allowing him to hang on to second place and earning him $7,000. Rounding out the podium in a close third to take home $5,000 was Maxence Parrot (CAN) with a second run score of 92.50.

Scot Brown and Zoe Bergermann took the wins at the Boarderstyle event on April 17. As usual, the head-to-head boardercross-style race was not for the faint of heart, testing competitors racing, pond-skimming and big air skills.

On the men’s side, it was Scot Brown who managed to stay out front during both the time trials and the finals to take home first place and $3,000. Harrison Gray grabbed second place and $1,500 and rounding out the podium in third place for $500 was Nev Lapwood.

A separate women’s category was introduced to the Boarderstyle this year where Zoe Bergermann took a commanding lead in both semi-finals and finals landing her in first place for a grand prize of $1,000. Brooke Voigt took home second place and $300, and in third was Marie France Roy earning $200.

Complete results from The Monster Energy Shred Show can be found at

To connect with the World Ski & Snowboard Festival online, Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Legs of Steel Win Best in Show at Intersection Presented by Bromley Baseboards at the World Ski & Snowboard Festival

World Ski and Snowboard Festival 2015 Whistler BCWHISTLER, BC April 18, 2015 – Rider-managed production company, Legs of Steel, won Best In Show at Intersection presented by Bromley Baseboards last night at the World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF) in Whistler, BC. The audience was wowed by six action packed snow sports films that ranged in content from Ontario snowboard competitions, to Japanese powder-filled tree runs, to Alaskan avalanches and urban ski segments across northern Canada.

The winning edit from Legs of Steel is a part of their upcoming film, Passenger, set to be released in fall 2015. They took home the grand prize of $10,000 for being named Best In Show by the judges.

The People’s Choice award went overwhelmingly to Full Moon Films for their flick, Whishalla, which the crew described as a spoof of the ski film, Valhalla. The all-female crew threw down some amazing riding but their hilarious acting bits had the audience in stitches and sent them home with $2,000 in prizing.

In celebration of WSSF’s 20th year in Whistler, the format for Intersection presented by Bromley Baseboards was modified for 2015. Crews were allowed to use any footage shot after December 1, 2014 from anywhere in the world. They were also required to salute WSSF’s 20th year in some way.

To learn more about Intersection presented by Bromley Baseboards and all the teams, visit

To connect with the World Ski & Snowboard Festival online, Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

The World Ski & Snowboard Festival has a brand new mobile app called WSSF Live. It is available for FREE in the App Store and Google Play Store for Apple and Android phones.

Michelle Leroux Hired as Director of Public Relations at Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Michelle Leroux, Whistler local for over ten years, joins Fairmont from Whistler Blackcomb, the No. 1 ranked resort in the world, where she managed teams for Public Relations, Communications and Social Media.

Leroux’s experience as a public relations professional within the sport, tourism and destination travel industry spans almost thirteen years. Three of those years were spent as a consultant where Leroux represented a wide variety of clients including luxury hotel, spa and major sporting events in the media relations and social media realms.

Now at the helm of Public Relations for the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Leroux will work to leverage the strong media relationships she has made through her career, and develop new connections and partnerships, to ensure North America’s largest ski in, ski out hotel is known as Whistler’s preeminent luxury hotel. With a passion for community and environment, Leroux is excited to bring her brand of story telling, engagement and awareness building to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.

Leroux earned her Bachelor of Communications, with a specialty in Public Relations, from Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Matthew LaTurner Honored by ATT for Community Service

Bellevue resident Matthew LaTurner is being honored for volunteering his time year-round to help build strong, connected and thriving communities.  As part of National Volunteerism Week, April 12-18, LaTurner received the prestigious President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA).

Matthew LaTurner, a Senior Principal Architect , is among 4,500 AT&T employees nationwide being named President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) winners.  The PVSA gives U.S. Presidential recognition to individuals who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to volunteer service each year.

LaTurner, is a father of two boys and spends hundreds of hours each year volunteering for the Boy Scouts of America, the local Boys and Girls Club and the AT&T Aspire mentoring academy. A Scout Master , he organizes weekly activities for boys 14 to 16 years old.

Once a month his Boy Scout troop takes on challenges like hiking up 9,000 feet on Mt. Rainier and building snow caves. He mentors high school students and talks with them about careers in technology and AT&T. Finally, he is a dedicated basketball and soccer coach for his sons and their teammates.

“I volunteer because I want to be a positive role model for people,” said LaTurner. “I have been blessed all of my life with wonderful men who helped me become a good husband and father. I want to pass that along and make a difference in the lives of these young men.”

“We are proud to celebrate AT&T employees who volunteer their time, talents and passions to make a difference in their communities,” said Bob Bass, president, AT&T Washington. “I am inspired and encouraged by our President’s Volunteer Service Award winners for this year, and want to say thanks to Matthew Laturner for the service he provides to his community every day.”

More than 50,000 hours of personal time was given by AT&T employees and retirees in Washington to community outreach activities last year – worth more than $1.1 million based on a financial equivalent of annual industry standards from Independent Sector.

PVSA is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and is administered by Points of Light. With a shared mission of inspiring more to answer the call to service, PVSA celebrates the impact we can all make in bettering our communities and our world. The award is available on an annual basis and is an honor that every American – from youth to seniors – can participate in and be recognized by our nation’s president for their dedication to volunteerism.

To be eligible to receive the award, AT&T submits a record of employees' annual volunteer service hours to be verified and considered eligible for the award.

Mikayla Morgan Promoted to Marketing Integration Manager at LoanStar Home Lending

Mikayla Morgan LoanStar Home LendingMikayla Morgan was recently promoted to Marketing Integration Manager and Coordinator for the Marketing Department at LoanStar Home Lending.

“Mikayla has been with our core team since before LoanStar was founded and has a very intimate knowledge of how our marketing systems work best for our originators.  And now as a licensed originator herself, she brings even more experience to the team and will be a tremendous asset to new loan officers and branches that join LoanStar in the future,” said Kenn Bartley, SVP Marketing and Business Development. Mikayla has been with the company since November 12, 2013 and has held positions as Marketing Coordinator and Regional Marketing Manager.  She will continue to serve as a marketing concierge for LoanStar’s Bellevue, Vancouver, and the Walla Walla branches, supporting those loan officers with all of their marketing needs from on-boarding and beyond.

We are excited about this new position at LoanStar, the Marketing Integration Manager, will be responsible for coordinating and facilitating all marketing onboarding activities for new employees.  Kenn Bartley added, “LoanStar recognized the need for a robust onboarding process since we founded the company, and elevating Mikayla Morgan to the new position of Marketing Integration Manager is another sign of our commitment to make the transition to LoanStar seamless and smooth.”

High School Exchange Students Reach Record Numbers in 2015

International Experience - USA (iE-USA), a high school student exchange organization, announced that they plan to welcome a record number of students to U.S. communities in the fall of 2015, mirroring a national trend. According to CSIET (Council on Standards for International Education Travel), 200,000+ exchange students are expected in 2015.

As the leading English-speaking host country of foreign exchange students, our nation as a whole has seen an increase in high school exchange participants of about 13% in the past decade (CSIET 2013; 2014). This upward trend is expected to continue as a growing number of international students seek both English fluency and cultural competency to prepare for the increasingly global marketplace.

When U.S. communities engage with a growing number of international students, local schools and families benefit from the cultural interactions they inherently provide.

"Every year our state plays host to many talented, top-of-their-class students with the lifelong dream of studying in America," says Emily Rolin, iE-USA's Regional Director, “and our communities reap the rewards.” Rolin, who boasts 10 years of work in student exchange, says that each student who visits her community brings with them a unique perspective. “We have the opportunity to see through their eyes: to explore another culture not through travel, but through relationships.”

Though many high schools once viewed exchange participants as “extra” students requiring the attention of teachers and staff, the popular opinion among administrators is shifting to favorexchange student enrollment as a natural way to integrate differing worldviews into the classroom. The U.S. Department of Education has stressed the importance of building the global competencies of U.S. students to make them internationally competitive, and many believe that welcoming exchange students into the high school setting can help toward that end.

“As a principal, I truly appreciate the opportunity to host foreign exchange students on a yearly basis,” says Principal Kevin O’Neill of Vicksburg, Michigan.  “The infusion of a variety of cultures into our high school has been an invaluable experience for our students.”

Families who host an exchange student often benefit on a more personal level, forming family ties that last far beyond the boundaries of the exchange. Hosting an international student offers these local families a realistic way to explore a new culture right at home. “My wife and I wanted to travel the world, but we both worked full time, so we brought the world to us!” remembers Dave Long, a retired Vietnam veteran who has been hosting exchange students since 1982.

“Our family has been blessed in so many ways by student exchange,” says Sara Lee, whose family has hosted 3 iE-USA students in the past 5 years. “We consider our students to be a part of our extended ‘international’ family!” The Lees recently returned from Colombia, where they visited their previous exchange students’ families and toured the local countryside.

iE-USA’s exchange student participants are between the ages of 15-18 and come from many countries including Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Thailand, Montenegro, and Argentina. Each student undergoes an extensive application process and is responsible for his/her own spending money and health insurance coverage. A list of current students can be found online at

Host families (traditional families, singles, empty nesters, etc.) provide a supportive home base for their student for a semester or full academic year. Visiting students participate as active members of the family, integrating into their daily routines and traditions just like any other family member.

iE-USA is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to promoting education and understanding through intercultural and academic exchange. iE-USA is certified by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) and strictly adheres to all U.S. Department of State Student Exchange Program regulations and guidelines.

To learn more about how you can experience and support cultural exchange in your own home, contact iE-USA representative, Dawn Green at 447-8118.​​

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Jonesing for Fresh POW? Winter Still Going Strong at Whistler Blackcomb with Lots of Fresh Snow

[caption id="attachment_10106" align="alignright" width="240"]Photographer: Paul Morrison, Location: Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Date: April 13, 2015. Photographer: Paul Morrison, Location: Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Date: April 13, 2015.[/caption]

Spring Skiing And Riding On Whistler Mountain Until May 18

WHISTLER, BC April 14, 2015 – April showers bring May flowers in the valley, and at Whistler Blackcomb they also bring powder days to the alpine for skiers and snowboarders. With a snow base of 206cm and 35cm of new snow in the last four days, winter is far from over at Whistler Blackcomb*. March delivered a total of 123cm of fresh snow, and two weeks into April, Ullr shows no signs of slowing down. With flurries in the forecast later this week, April is shaping up to be a snow-filled month at Whistler Blackcomb. Blackcomb Mountain’s last day of winter operations is April 19 but Whistler Mountain will remain open for spring skiing and riding until May 18, 2015.

“Whistler Blackcomb is known for offering the longest terrain park season in Canada,” says Brian Finestone, Terrain Parks Manager at Whistler Blackcomb. “Despite a below average snow season, the snow in the high alpine has been consistent and on point all season long. Because the Nintendo Terrain Park on Blackcomb is west facing and sees a lot of sun, we have decided to move the Spring Nintendo Terrain Park over to a more protected zone on Whistler where we will be taking over the T-Bars for a full park offering until late spring.”

The new Whistler Spring Nintendo Terrain Park boasts a higher elevation and a north-facing slope, creating the best possible conditions for spring skiing and riding. The new location offers enough snow for a set of Small, Medium and Large jumps, a banked slalom, and some creative jib lines.

With less than one week left of skiing and riding on Blackcomb Mountain, this is the last week for the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. The last day of the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola’s Winter Operations is April 19. The PEAK 2 PEAK will re-open for Summer Sightseeing on May 23, 2015.

*Snow base and snowfall measured at Pig Alley Weather Station, 1650m on Whistler Mountain

For the latest updates on the Nintendo Terrain Parks, guests can visit

Guests looking to plan a trip to the consistently rated No. 1 Mountain Resort in North America can visit  or call 1-888-403-4727.

The 20th annual World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF) is happening in Whistler, BC April 10-19, 2015. Visit for more information.

About Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler Blackcomb, the official alpine skiing venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, is situated in the Resort Municipality of Whistler located in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia 125 kilometres (78 miles) from Vancouver, British Columbia. North America’s premier four season mountain resort, Whistler and Blackcomb are two side-by-side mountains which combined offer over 200 marked runs, 8,171 acres of terrain, 16 alpine bowls, three glaciers, receives on average over 1,164 centimetres (458 inches) of snow annually, and one of the longest ski seasons in North America. In the summer, Whistler Blackcomb offers a variety of activities, including hiking and biking trails, the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, and sightseeing on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola.

For more information, visit

Proud to be a venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games

Monday, April 13, 2015

Torin Yater-Wallace and Annalisa Drew Win Men's and Women's World Skiing Invitational Halfpipe Finals at the World Ski & Snowboard Festival in Whistler BC

On the final day of the World Skiing Invitational (WSI) at the World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF) in Whistler, BC, it was Torin Yater-Wallace and Annalisa Drew who took the wins in the men’s and women’s Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) World Tour Halfpipe Finals.

WSSF Mens 2015 Halfpipe AWARDSThe stacked men’s field put on an impressive show on Blackcomb Mountain, but it was Yater-Wallace (USA) whose huge amplitude and smooth style earned him a score of 94.00 for first place and an $8,000 cheque.  In second place, earning $4,500, was Lyman Currier (USA) with a score of 88.67, and rounding out the podium in third place for $2,000 was Byron Wells (NZL) with a score of 87.67.

WSSF Women's 2015 Halfpipe AWARDSAnnalisa Drew (USA) led the charge on the ladies side with a score of 90.33, landing her on top of the podium with a $5,000 cheque. In a close second with a score of 88.33 was Keltie Hansen (CAN), taking home $3,000 and in third place earning $1,500 was Devin Logan (USA) with a score of 80.33.

The crowd favorite and rider-judged Superhit event closed out the day of competition in the Halfpipe where Keltie Hansen (CAN) and Alex Ferreira (USA) took the crowns with their amplitude and technicality out of the pipe. To add to her successful day, Hansen grabbed the first place prize of a Giant XTC bike and Sennheiser Momentum headphones. Ferreira launched out of the halfpipe to take the win in the men’s division, earning him a Giant Anthem bike and Sennheiser Momentum headphones.

To connect with the World Ski & Snowboard Festival online, Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

The World Ski & Snowboard Festival has a brand new mobile app called WSSF Live. It is available for FREE in the App Store for Apple and Android phones.

The World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF) is produced by Watermark Communications, a Whistler‐based event production & communications company, and presented in partnership with Tourism Whistler and Whistler Blackcomb. April 2015 will mark the 20th annual World Ski & Snowboard Festival and will celebrate how the event has grown over the years into the largest annual winter sports and music festival in North America. WSSF is a 10 day and night showcase of the best of snow sports, music, arts and mountain culture. Featuring major professional ski and snowboarding competitions, the largest annual free outdoor concert series in Canada, photography and film showcases, and spring skiing at Whistler Blackcomb, the World Ski & Snowboard Festival is the poster child for the ultimate ski and snowboard festival experience. In blazing the way for the youth of tomorrow, the World Ski & Snowboard Festival embodies the mantra: ‘Party in April. Sleep in May.’

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bobby Brown & Yuki Tsubota Win Men's and Women's World Skiing Invitational Slopestyle and Vincent Gagnier & Giulia Tanno Win Gibbons Big Air at World Ski & Snowboard Festival in Whistler

World Ski and Snowboard Festival 2015 Whistler BCThe World Skiing Invitational (WSI) continued yesterday at the World Ski & Snowboard Festival in the Blackcomb Terrain Park at Whistler Blackcomb. Bobby Brown and Yuki Tsubota took the wins in the men’s and women’s Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) World Tour Finals Slopestyle and Vincent Gagnier and Giulia Tanno came out on top at the AFP World Tour Finals Gibbons Big Air.

In the best-of two run Men’s Slopestyle Finals, Bobby Brown (USA) held on to the highest score of 88.67, landing him on top of the podium with an $8,000 cheque. Taking home $4,500 in second place was McRae Williams (USA) with a score of 87.92 and rounding out the podium in third place for $2,000 was Antoine Adelisse (FRA) with an 86.25.

Whistler local Yuki Tsubota (CAN) brought her top game to the Women’s Slopestyle Finals earning her a score of 80.50 and a well-deserved first place and $5,000. Finishing the slopestyle season strong in second and third places for $3,000 and $1,500 was Katie Summerhayes (GBR) with a 78.33 and Kim Lamarre (CAN) with a score of 74.00.

Although the location of the Gibbons Big Air jump may have changed this year, the game was the same as skiers wowed the crowd on Blackcomb Mountain Saturday afternoon. In the average score from the best two out of three jump format, Vincent Gagnier (CAN) showcased his signature smooth style with a perfect right 1620 with a genie grab and a right 1260 with an octo grab earning him the top score of 88.50 and the grand prize of a 2015 Arctic Cat M 800 153 sled, valued at approximately $16,000. James Woods (GBR) grabbed second place and $4,000 with a switch right 1080 with lead octo grab and a well-executed right 1260 tail grab for a score of 84.83. In third place winning $2,000 was Elias Ambuehl (SUI), stomping a left double 1260 tail grab and a switch left 1260 mute Japan grab for a score of 82.33.

The Women’s Big Air competition was run simultaneously with the Women’s Slopestyle and it was Giulia Tanno’s (SUI) switch 900 that earned her a score of 83.50 for first place and a new GIANT Reign bike. Katie Summerhayes (GBR) threw a 1080 with a japan grab for a score of 79.50 to earn second place and $1,000 and Sennheiser Momentum headphones. In third place, winning $500 and Sennheiser Momentum headphones was Yuki Tsubota (CAN) who threw a 720 tail grab for a score of 77.50.

Complete results from the World Skiing Invitational can be found at

Tickets to the evening gala events are now available for purchase at

To connect with the World Ski & Snowboard Festival online, Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

The World Ski & Snowboard Festival has a brand new mobile app called WSSF Live. It is available for FREE in the App Store for Apple and Android phones.

The World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF) is produced by Watermark Communications, a Whistler‐based event production & communications company, and presented in partnership with Tourism Whistler and Whistler Blackcomb. April 2015 marks the 20th annual World Ski & Snowboard Festival and will celebrate how the event has grown over the years into the largest annual winter sports and music festival in North America. WSSF is a 10 day and night showcase of the best of snow sports, music, arts and mountain culture. Featuring major professional ski and snowboarding competitions, the largest annual free outdoor concert series in Canada, photography and film showcases, and spring skiing at Whistler Blackcomb, the World Ski & Snowboard Festival is the poster child for the ultimate ski and snowboard festival experience. In blazing the way for the youth of tomorrow, the World Ski & Snowboard Festival embodies the mantra: ‘Party in April. Sleep in May.’

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bellevue Youth Theatre Grand Opening

The grand opening of the new Bellevue Youth Theatre this past March was attended by over 400 people and featured a ribbon cutting, musical performances and tours of the 12,000 square foot space.

Marshawn Lynch Featured on New Ludacris Music Video 'Beast Mode'

Seattle Seahawk's All-Pro running back, Marshawn Lynch has been featured in a music video for a song appropriately named "Beast Mode".  While Beastmode himself is in the video, it is not appropriate for all ages or audiences.  Watch it at your own risk.

How Could Olympia Stoop So Low? by Michael “Buffalo” Mazzetti

Why does the Washington State Legislature (WSL) want to undermine medical cannabis? Alison Holcomb and Peter Holmes with Initiative 502 clearly stated that if passed, it would have no effect on medical cannabis laws. Reassuring voters that “I-502 won't harm patients”.

Senate Bill SB 5052 is an effort by the WSL that could doom our medical cannabis patient rights. This bill could bring harm and even death to many medical cannabis patients. Why would the WSL do this? Immediately, three reasons grab my attention: knowledge deficit, power, and greed. Let’s examine this.

Knowledge deficit: The WSL is way behind the leading edge of medical cannabis study. Amazing anecdotal stories of healing are coming to the public's attention daily. Legislative bills presented in this session don’t recognize the unique organism of each individual human nor our specific medical condition. New and promising cannabis plant varieties and delivery systems are being developed as we speak. They would limit the number of plants a patient could grow to less than half the current amount-severely limiting the patient’s right and ability to find out if a high CBD plant serves them better than a THC plant, not to mention CBG, CBN or a variety of terpines.

Greed: I- 502 created a huge lobby of 502 growers, processors and retail store owners in Olympia. Many members know nothing about the exciting miracle of medical cannabis. They want to sell recreational pot. SB 5052 would force patients to purchase their medicine from recreational stores under the guidance of the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB). Growers following the guidelines of the WSLCB can produce cannabis heavily laden with non-organic chemicals (248 pesticides are approved for use). Medical patients lose again, by being forced to smoke, ingest or topically use medicine grown with chemicals known to exacerbate their conditions. The WSLCB have held secret meetings to end medical cannabis.1

Power: Campaign contributions put and keep our Legislators in office. Public records show that the prime sponsor of SB 5052, Senator Ann Rivers-(R) 18th District, has received substantial contributions from large pharmaceutical corporations. Pfizer, Abbott and Eli Lilly have all contributed heavily to her last campaign. Big Pharma has always been opposed to medical cannabis because this natural remedy will cut deeply into their billion $ profits.

It is up to the public to hold the WSL accountable. SB 5052 has not passed the House. Please call your representative today and tell them SB 5052 is not acceptable. The legislature needs to work with cannabis patients groups to work out an acceptable way to provide safe access to quality medicine.

If these efforts fail to convince the WSL that we need medical cannabis, the public must once again take the initiative.

Citizens Initiative-1372 will strengthen and protect medical use of cannabis. You can find petitions at: Please download a copy, sign it, get your friends to sign it and send it to the address on the petitions by June 27, 2015. This may be the only way to bring common sense regarding medical cannabis to the WSL. I-1372 creates a board made up of the state and the community to govern over all aspects of the medical cannabis market with a separate revenue to remain revenue neutral. This is something that the WSL will not do.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

From 70s Mood to Prep Chic; Spring Trends are Artful and Modern at The Bellevue Collection

Bellevue Collection Spring Fashion ShowSpring trends bring out the modern and artful side of fashion this season as featured in The Bellevue Collection’s Spring 2015 Canvas of Style Look Book. Designed for the ‘Modern Muse’ in us all, these trends are perfect for individuals who are independent thinkers and know themselves as well as they know the contents of their closets. This season’s go-to looks in fashion and accessories feature contemporary and classic styles in a refreshing and modern blend.

The Bellevue Collection’s key spring trends will also be featured on the runway at the Canvas of Style Runway Show, Saturday, April 25, 9:00 am in Bellevue Square, Center Court with 100% of ticket sales to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue’s BE a Smart Girl Program.

Official trends include:

  • Denim Luxe: Modern, tailored denim suitable for evening and workplace.

  • In The 70s Mood: The free spirited vibe of the 1970s via inspired silhouettes and accessories.

  • Leading Lady: Tailored design elements and soft feminine features. Uncomplicated and flattering, the look is pretty personified.

  • Bold Blooms: Bold, bright florals pack serious punch. Balance large-scale graphic blooms with soft fabrics and ultra femme colors.

  • Prep Chic: A modern twist on country club classics highlighting gingham prints, polos and cardigans.

  • Bohemian Spirit: A fresh take on modern Bohemia with a rich color pallet, throwback prints and dreamy fabrics with a free-spirited nature.

  • Global Travel: Discover khaki tones in trench coats and travel-easy linens paired with exotic accessories.

  • White Out: Explore a range of white hues, from bone to cream to ecru. Create interesting layers and proportions through a mix of soft shades while keeping accessories small and simple.


Spring Beauty Trends

  • Smokey Brown Eye and Bitten Lip: This barely-there eye look delivers warmth and radiance. A bitten lip features lightly brushed color and avoids lip edges creating a “just bitten” look.

  • Elevated Bohemian Braid: The essential look for the season is this loose side braid that projects an effortless attitude with a bohemian vibe.


See the trends come to life in the exclusive “Behind the Scenes” video of The Collection’s Spring 2015 Canvas of Style Look Book photo shoot and in two all new beauty tutorial videos. See what it takes to produce the fashion guide of the season and learn how to recreate the beauty trends as seen in the Look Book with step by step instructions from hair and makeup artist Lindsey Watkins. Visit to view the Look Book and videos and purchase your Spring 2015 Canvas of Style Runway Show tickets.


About The Bellevue Collection

Located in the heart of Bellevue, Washington, The Bellevue Collection, owned by Kemper Development Company, includes Bellevue Square, a super-regional upscale shopping center, Bellevue Place, a mixed-use property featuring the Hyatt Regency Bellevue and small boutiques and Lincoln Square, anchored by Lincoln Square Cinemas, restaurants, home furnishings and The Westin Bellevue. This distinctive collection features 250 of the finest shops, 30 destination restaurants, a 16-screen premier cinema, 1,100 luxury hotel rooms and 10,000 free retail parking spaces, all in one location. The Bellevue Collection is a shopping, dining and nightlife, and entertainment experience unlike any other in the region. It is located on Bellevue Way between NE 4th and NE 10th Streets in downtown Bellevue, just across Lake Washington from Seattle.

@BelleCollection (Bellevue Collection Twitter) ∙ @BellesVue (Belle’s Vue Twitter) ∙ @BellevueCollection (Bellevue Collection Instagram) ∙

Monday, April 6, 2015


World Ski and Snowboard Festival 2015 Whistler BCIntersection, presented by Bromley Baseboards returns to the World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF) in Whistler, BC for its fifth year on April 17, 2015. The action sports film competition has become one of the signature events on the WSSF schedule and has seen some of the top ski and snowboard crews battle it out over the years for the title of Best In Show and the $10,000 grand prize.

In celebration of WSSF’s 20th year in Whistler, some format changes have been made to the Intersection submission requirements for 2015. For the first time ever, crews will be allowed to use footage shot anywhere in the world from December 1, 2014 onward in their films. In previous years, crews were required to only use footage shot within 100km of Whistler, BC and all teams had the same seven day window to shoot, edit and produce their submission. The decision to switch up the format for 2015 was made to make the contest more accessible to teams from all over the world and hopefully attract some new crews to the event.

“We have been really fortunate to have had some incredibly talented teams compete in Intersection over the years,” says Jaime Kerrigan, Multimedia Events Producer for the World Ski & Snowboard Festival. “For the fifth year of the event and our 20th annual WSSF, we were hoping to spread our reach to give even more crews the opportunity to get involved. In addition, with this new format for 2015 audience members will get to check out some of the best ski and snowboard footage captured this year, and they will get to see it before everyone else does. So that’s really exciting and we are pumped to see what this year’s teams put together.”

With an extended timeframe and no limits to location, each of the chosen crews have been tasked with producing a unique five to seven minute edit that incorporates an artistic vision and a whole lot of shredding. Seventy-five per cent of all footage must be on snow, plus all crews must somehow acknowledge WSSF’s 20 year history in their submission.

The crews participating in Intersection this year at WSSF include:

Full Moon Film

Full Moon Film is a creative documentary about connecting the past, present and future of women's snowboarding with some of the best current pro snowboarders in the world. This crew will be traveling in search of the best powder, right in their own backyard of beautiful British Columbia.  These women will be exploring everything from the mountains to the ocean and everything in between, showcasing personality and progressive riding. The film will feature riding from Leanne Pelosi, Marie France Roy, Robin Van Gyn, Hana Beaman, Annie Boulanger, Helen Schettini, Jamie Anderson, Tara Dakides and Barrett Christy.

Kontakt Films
Team Kontakt Films presents ON. Weekends, a short film focusing on the freestyle snowboarding scene in Ontario. Based in a province where the biggest resort has a vertical drop of 720ft, Kontakt Films has recognized Ontario is still a breeding ground for some of the best freestyle snowboarders in Canada. From a new and innovative rail jam in downtown Toronto, to the annual grassroots DownLow competition at Mt. St. Louis Moonstone, to a strictly fun session with friends, ON. Weekends will show a cross section of freestyle snowboarding in Ontario and demonstrate the province’s passion for the sport.

Legs of Steel

Legs of Steel was born in 2009, produced from the ideas and passion of four friends and professional freeskiers with the common goal of making high quality and innovative ski movies. The crew is in the final stages of filming for the fall 2015 release of their two year project, titled Passenger. The edit they will be producing for Intersection is an excerpt from a European Alps segment from their full-length film and will celebrate the 20 year history of the World Ski & Snowboard Festival.

Meanwhile in Canada
In 2014, the Meanwhile in Canada crew travelled from Vancouver to Halifax in an RV to produce a cross-Canada urban ski film. The project was hugely successful and even won the Best AM Film Award at the International Freeskiing Film Festival this fall. After the Canadian West Coast experienced an unusually mild winter, the crew decided to return to the RV in search of finding colder temperatures in Canada’s great white north. Mack Jones, Rob Heule, Pat Slimmon, Graeme Meiklejohn and Stewart Medford combine forces for another urban ski epic with their latest project, Ski The North.

UBC Freeride Collab
The UBC Freeride Collab brings together the next generation of skiers, snowboarders and filmmakers to present a look into their lives chasing winter.

The Wildcats

The iconic Wildcats crew, who first made their mark on snowboarding over 15 years ago, have reunited to produce a new full length movie called Wildcats Never Die. The film will celebrate the crew’s long history in the industry while at the same time recognizing the new faces of snowboarding. The crew has travelled the globe in search of this season’s best snow and has captured some amazing riding in the process. The film will feature Devun Walsh, Eero Niemela, Ryan Tiene, Benji Ritchie, Charles Reid, Romain deMarche, Jf Pelchat, Iikka Backstrom, Kale Stephens, Gaetan Chanut, Chris Brown, Chris Dufficy, and all the original Wildcats.

Whistler Creek Productions

Whistler Creek Productions’ latest project, Balance, follows the legendary David Carrier Porcheron (aka DCP) as he reflects on snow, skate and surf culture. The film explores the global hotspots of boarding culture, including Whistler, Indonesia, Shanghai and Norway, and will feature riding from DCP, Terje Haakonsen, Manuel Diaz, Clint Allan, Taj Burrow, Rizal Tanjung, David Gonzalez, and many others.

More information about Intersection, including ticket information, is available at


Don’t Miss…

The WSSF Outdoor Concert Series, featuring free daily concerts in Skier’s Plaza at the base of Whistler Mountain every day from April 10 to 19. Recent additions to the Outdoor Concert Series lineup include The Sociables, Live In The House, Case of the Mondays, Railway Prophets, Neph, Animal Nation and LOZEN. More information available at

The Silent Disco, taking place at the Garibaldi Lift Company (GLC) at the base of Whistler Mountain on April 17. Attendees will be provided with headphones and can then choose between listening to DJ Canosis, DJ Foxy Moron or Kid Kicko as they dance the night away. More information available at

Tickets to the evening gala events are now available for purchase at


To connect with the World Ski & Snowboard Festival online, Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.


The World Ski & Snowboard Festival has a brand new mobile app called WSSF Live. It is available for FREE in the App Store for Apple and Android phones.

Frenzied Local Home Market Frustrating Home Buyers

Buyer anxiety is rising as the pace of home sales is faster than brokers are able to replenish inventory, according to members of Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Figures just released for March show 11,408 pending sales during the month while only 10,505 sellers listed their homes for sale during the same period.

The market imbalance is played out with rising prices, an acute shortage of listings -- particularly in areas close to job centers -- and bidding wars.

The volume of new listings (10,505) added during the month increased 9.4 percent compared to a year ago, but fell short of satisfying demand in many areas. At month end, inventory in the MLS service area that encompasses 23 counties was down almost 14 percent, dropping from 19,736 listings to 17,007. Twelve counties reported double-digit declines from this time a year ago.

Measured by months of supply, there is about 2.5 months of inventory area-wide. In King County there is slightly more than 1.3 months of supply and in Snohomish County supply stands at just under 1.7 months.

Stiff competition is reflected in part by rising prices – but MLS officials emphasized sellers still need to be realistic.

Northwest MLS figures show prices on last month’s closed sales of single family homes and condos jumped more than 6.7 percent compared to the same month a year ago. The median price on last month’s closed sales area-wide was $292,500 which compares to the year ago figure of $274,000.

Home prices were considerably higher in San Juan and King counties. For the 26 completed sales in San Juan County during March, (one more than a year ago), the price jumped 25.5 percent, rising from $400,000 to $501,900. King County prices rose about 8.8 percent, increasing from $378,000 to $411,200.

Prices on single family homes (excluding condos) rose about 6.8 percent system-wide, increasing from a year-ago figure of $282,000 to $301,143. Within the four county Puget Sound region, Snohomish reported the sharpest hike at nearly 8 percent. The median sales price for a home in that county was $340,000 last month; twelve months ago it was $314,975. Buyers can expect to pay about 30 percent more in King County where a single family home that sold last month fetched a median price of $440,250.

MLS members logged 6,769 completed transactions of single family homes and condos during March to outgain the same period a year ago by 1,016 transactions for a 17.7 percent increase. Of that total, condos accounted for about 14 percent of the volume. The median price on last month’s condo sales was $240,000, which was about 9 percent higher than a year ago. In King County, the median sales price was $269,600.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 23,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.

Chick-fil-A to Open April 9th at Former Denny's Location on 116th in Bellevue

Chick-fil-A First 100Washington’s first stand-alone Chick-fil-A restaurant will open April 9 in Bellevue, bringing the restaurant’s signature menu of fresh, hand-crafted food and award-winning customer service to the Puget Sound with the first of three locations opening this spring.

The new restaurant, formally named Chick-fil-A at Northeast 8th Street and located at 785 116th Avenue NE (formerly the long time location of Denny's), will be locally owned and operated by Bellevue entrepreneur Valerie Artis. She will oversee day-to-day activities of the restaurant and will be responsible for serving local guests and visitors, as well as making all employment and community involvement decisions for the restaurant.

The grand opening celebration includes the chance for 100 adults to win free Chick-fil-A meals for a year. Community members will also have the opportunity to donate books that will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Bellevue. After 11 years and nearly $24 million in free food given away, Chick-fil-A’s “First 100” celebration continues to be the restaurant company’s signature grand opening event, which transforms the restaurant parking lot into a 24-hour community friendly party as the crowd awaits the opening.

The new Bellevue restaurant will host the next First 100 event that will award more than $32,000 in free food. A digital offer card loaded with a one-year supply of free Chick-fil-A Meals will be given to each of the first 100 eligible adults, ages 18 and older with identification, in line when the doors open about 6 a.m. on Thursday, April 9. If more than 100 people are onsite when the line officially forms at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, April 8, then all 100 spots will be determined by a drawing held that morning with those selected needing to camp out for 24 hours to secure their spot. This community event is only open to guests residing in specific zip codes within a 60-mile radius surrounding the restaurant. A complete listing of eligible zip codes and rules can be found at Chick-fil-A First 100 Promotion.

To celebrate the new Chick-fil-A restaurant and the Bellevue community, local owner Valerie Artis is collecting new children’s books to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Bellevue. The entire community is invited to bring children’s books to the restaurant from Tuesday, April 7, through Saturday, April 11, to be placed in a Book House, donated by the Chick-fil-A Foundation. The nearly three-foot Book House, created entirely from reclaimed wood, will then be donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Bellevue.

Creating 80 new jobs, Chick-fil-A at Northeast 8th Street is the first of three stand-alone Puget Sound Chick-fil-A restaurants opening this spring. The second, at 3902 S. Steele St. in Tacoma, will open a week later on April 16 and the third, located at 3026 196th St. SW in Lynnwood, will follow in early May.

Reflecting the chain’s mission to serve freshly prepared food in greener buildings, Bellevue’s new Chick-fil-A is built to LEED specifications with water and energy efficiency features, air quality control and waste diversion efforts, among other initiatives.

With dining room seating for 48 and outdoor patio seating for 46 guests, the new restaurant also includes drive-thru service for customers on the go. The interior features the chain’s latest design which incorporates subway tile and metals in a variety of finishes and patinas all complimented by an abundance of windows. The vintage-inspired interior includes other unique custom features such as light fixtures made from recycled Coca-Cola bottles and peach baskets.

The restaurant, which offers free Wi-Fi, is open Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. until 10 p.m., serving a full breakfast menu until 10:30 a.m.  Like all Chick-fil-A restaurants, it will be closed on Sunday.

Artis is relocating with her husband and two sons from her native California where she graduated from UCLA. She decided to pursue the Chick-fil-A operator opportunity after a 17-year career in marketing, most recently in the hospitality industry where she worked in menu development and product marketing strategies. Outside of work, her passions include mentoring young people, something her new role as a Chick-fil-A owner/operator will allow her to continue as many Chick-fil-A team members are teens and young adults, learning job skills that will last a lifetime. Combining her hospitality experience with her enthusiasm for serving others, Artis is thrilled to be opening Bellevue’s first Chick-fil-A restaurant.

“Personalized customer service and freshly prepared food have been the hallmarks of Chick-fil-A since the day founder Truett Cathy opened his first restaurant,” said Artis. “My team members and I are committed to those same ideals as we welcome our guests to our new Bellevue restaurant and provide them with a remarkable experience.”

Perfecting a recipe his mother used in her Atlanta boarding house, Cathy first served his boneless breast-of-chicken sandwich, pressured cooked and served on a buttered bun with two crucial pickles, at his Dwarf Grill restaurant which opened in 1946 in Hapeville, Ga. It was the signature menu item when the first Chick-fil-A restaurant opened in 1967 inside an Atlanta mall. Though joined by many other menu options over the years, the Chick-fil-A sandwich remains the centerpiece of the menu as the chain has grown to more than 1,911 restaurants in 42 states and Washington D.C.

Known for its freshly prepared food, Chick-fil-A’s menu includes a variety of options including its signature hand-breaded, boneless breast-of-chicken Chick-fil-A sandwich along with hand-chopped salads, fresh-squeezed lemonade, made-from-scratch biscuits and hand-spun milkshakes.

The new Chick-fil-A on 116th Avenue NE is one of 88 new restaurants the chain plans to open across the country in 2015, creating more than 7,400 new jobs.

For more information on Chick-fil-A  at Northeast 8th Street, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Bacon and Beer Classic to Take Over Safeco Field, Home of the Seattle Mariners on May 2nd

Bacon and Beer Classic SeattleBacon and beer lovers the anticipation is over! The Bacon and Beer Classic is back in Seattle on Saturday, May 2nd at Safeco Field!

Now in its second year, the Bacon and Beer Classic combines bacon, beer, and the ballpark for an event not soon forgotten!

Cannonball Productions brings the Bacon and Beer Classic ( to the home of the Mariners, for a unique tasting experience on May 2.  Fans can attend the Brunch session from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., or the Evening session running 7p.m. until 10 p.m. VIP guests will have 1-hour early admission (11am and 6pm respectively), exclusive entrance to the VIP area on the warning track and dugouts, samples of craft beer on the field, and more! The option to attend both sessions is available, however separate entrance tickets are required.

The Bacon and Beer Classic is a one-of-a-kind event uniting bacon and beer enthusiasts nationwide.  Hosted in major league baseball stadiums on non-game day Saturdays across America, The Bacon and Beer Classic brings in the best local breweries and restaurants for a day full of mouth-watering beer and bacon samples, accompanied by DJs, interactive games, beer schools and cooking demos. From novice tasters to expert consumers, there is something for everyone at this event!

The tour visited New York City and Seattle last year and has grown exponentially to include more than eight destinations nationwide this year!  “Seattle was a great kickoff to the Bacon and Beer Classic series last year and we are so excited to be BACK at Safeco Field!” says Kate Levenstien, founder of Cannonball Productions and Bacon and Beer Classic.  “Seattle is a dream town for foodies with some of the best restaurants and breweries in the world! We have even more vendors onboard than last year and cannot wait for everyone to taste all of the BEST local flavors of Seattle!”

The all-star line up of breweries and restaurants participating grows each day.  Over 40 local brewers including Elysian Brewery, Georgetown Brewery, Snoqualmie Falls, Northwest Brewing Company, and Fish Brewing Company are all signed up to serve at least two of their most coveted craft selections.  Chefs from 40+ expected restaurants are challenged to bring their most inventive and delicious bacon-inspired dishes to the plate.  Local restaurants including Dumpling Tzar, Manhattan Seattle, Hard Rock Café, Rhein Haus, Boom Noodle and Duke’s Chowder House will be dishing out their best bacon bites. The combination of refreshing craft beer and delectable bacon is sure to please all palettes!

The Bacon and Beer Classic brings in an all-star lineup at each event to judge all the sips and tastes, and award winners in select categories.  Seattle’s judging panel includes; Ethan Stowell, Chef/Owner of Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Charles Koh, Founder of EatSeattle, Ann Peavey, Chef Concierge and Blogger/Photographer, and Desiree and Chris Siegfried, of ABC's The Bachelorette.

The Bacon and Beer Classic is always an all-inclusive event! General Admission tickets are $59 and they are going fast!  Fans may choose to purchase the VIP Experience ticket for $99. All tickets include a souvenir Bacon and Beer Classic branded glass to take home. Designated driver tickets are available at a cost of $29.

Cannonball Productions works hard to make a national series event feel personal to each city.  They partner with neighborhood vendors and organizations to give this event that local hometown feel. This year they have partnered with One Brick, a charity that brings volunteers together to help share this experience with the community.

For up-to-date information on the event, please visit:

Direct link to tickets:


Twitter: @bandbclassic

Instagram: bandbclassic

Hashtag: #bandbclassic

Chaplin’s Subaru and the City of Bellevue Present the Lake to Lake Bike Ride, June 13, 2015

Lake-to-Lake-Bike-RideBring out the whole family for this enjoyable, non-competitive ride, as you explore the hidden treasures of Bellevue while emphasizing bicyclist awareness and rules of the road/trail.  Rain or shine.   Benefiting the City of Bellevue Youth camp scholarship fund.

Start/Finish:             Lake Hills Community Park, 1200-164th Avenue SE

(164th Avenue SE & SE 16th Street)

Day of event registration:

Opens at 8 a.m.; Start area open 9-10 a.m.

All participants must sign in/register and will be provided with a suggested route map.  The course will be marked and well-supported by staff and volunteers.


Registration and Entry fees:  $15 pre-registration, $20 day of event


Refreshments:        Pre and Post event beverages and snacks.

Aid station on longer “Lake” Loop.

Routes:                     Greenbelt Loop—mostly flat  9-mile route; Lake  Loop--more challenging 22-mile route with significant elevation gain.  The routes are approximately 80% on-road and 20% off-road gravel.

For more information:  425-452-4882,

To register:         course #95182
Equipment:              A portion of the course is on unpaved surfaces, it is recommended to use a bike that can handle some dirt and gravel.  The event will have a bike mechanic from Gregg’s on site at the start to assist with safety checks and minor repairs. All riders must wear helmets.

Event Sponsors:    Chaplin’s Subaru, Escape Outdoors, Skout nutrition, John Duggan Cycling Attorney, Honest Tea, Whole Foods, Sports Authority  Gregg’s Cycles, Starbucks, Half Pops, Fitness, Pace Sportswear, KAVU sportswear, SOS socks , Golazo Sports Drink, Jamba Juice, Top Pot Doughnuts,  Starbucks Gregg’s Cycles

Prizes/Schwag:       Post event prize give-away.  All participants will receive a custom designed t-shirt and various freebies at the post event prize give-away.  Custom event socks to the first 150 people to register.

Event Partner:         Cycle the Wave, Bellevue Downtown Association

Requirements:       All participants must obey the rules of the road and trail.  Recommended for ages 8 and up. (Greenbelt loop). All riders under age 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult on all rides.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Skullcandy State of the Art Back at World Ski & Snowboard Festival

World Ski and Snowboard Festival 2015 Whistler BCSkullcandy State Of The ART returns to the World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF) this spring to showcase international talent and encourage local inspiration. Skullcandy State Of The ART is a creative mix of mountain culture and artistic minds, which perfectly embodies the ethos of WSSF.  The gallery, showcasing over 50 artists, is set up in the Grand Foyer of the Whistler Conference Centre for the entire 10 days of WSSF and is free admission for attendees.

The Skullcandy State Of The ART Opening Party will kick things off on April 10 from 8pm to midnight. Guests will be able to rub shoulders with the featured artists, soak in the interactive demonstrations and of course, get first crack at purchasing a unique piece of art. The party will feature DJ Vinyl Ritchie spinning 45s, live caricatures from filmmaker Murray Siple, models dressed in clothing art by Angela Cooney, and performance art presented by Pokosha, a clothing brand from Squamish, BC.

The Skullcandy State Of The ART gallery will be open to the public from 12pm to 6pm daily with no entry fee required until after 8pm when tickets are necessary to enter the Whistler Conference Centre for evening gala events. There will be a cash bar and a DJ spinning in the gallery before all of the evening events, including the OLYMPUS 72 Hour Filmmaker Showdown, the OLYMPUS Pro Photographer Showdown and Intersection, presented by Bromley Baseboards. The only exception is during the Silence of the Slams invitational roller derby bout on April 11 when the State Of The ART gallery will remain open with free access for the general public during the bout.

Skullcandy has partnered with Zero Ceiling once again this year to help raise funds for the Whistler-based charity. Twenty-five headphones will be painted by State Of The ART artists and will be on display in the gallery for the duration of the Festival. These one of a kind headphones will be available to bid on by silent auction with one hundred per cent of the proceeds going directly to Zero Ceiling’s life changing programs.

To encourage younger generations to be creative, Skullcandy State Of The ART will once again feature a Youth Gallery, which will host a collection of art and skateboards painted by young Whistler artists. There will also be a Creation Station where various experienced artists will be doing live art demonstrations between 3-6pm every day.

There will also be a photography wall and a topsheet art display from Prior Skis & Snowboards in the gallery.

WSSF will once again be hosting an online store to complement the Skullcandy State Of The ART gallery so the featured art can be browsed and purchased online. The online store will showcase all the same works featured in the State Of The ART gallery and can be viewed at The online store goes live at 11:11pm on April 3 and will remain open through to April 20.

For more information about Skullcandy State Of The ART at the World Ski & Snowboard Festival, visit

Don’t Miss…

The World Ski & Snowboard Festival keeps the party going well into the night with a full lineup of nightlife and official after parties, including:

April 12: Grown Up In The Mountain – A Comedy Show at Maxx Fish

April 15: The OLYMPUS 72 Hour Filmmaker Showdown official after party at the Longhorn Saloon

April 17: The Official Intersection presented by Bromley Baseboards after party with DJ Billy The Kidd at Garfinkles

April 17:  Hedspin with DJ Dakota and DJ Corner at the Longhorn Saloon

Additional information is available at

Tickets to the evening gala events are now available for purchase at

To connect with the World Ski & Snowboard Festival online, Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

The World Ski & Snowboard Festival has a brand new mobile app called WSSF Live. It is available for FREE in the App Store and Google Play Store for Apple and Android phones.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Billie Jo Cusack Earns Construction Elite Award from Umpqua Bank

Billie Jo CusackUmpqua Bank has recognized Billie Jo Cusack as a 2014 Construction Elite loan officer.  The award goes to the top construction and renovation loan specialists in the Home Lending division.

“To attain this Elite status, our loan officers must place a concentrated focus on our products that allow borrowers to build or renovate their dream home,” says Susan Brown, Umpqua Bank, SVP Construction and Renovation Manager.  “The resurgence of renovation and construction will help alleviate the housing supply shortage that exists in many of our communities.”

Cusack has lived in Washington her whole life and has spent the last 17 years in Redmond. She has been in the mortgage business for 15 years and has been ranked as a top producing loan officer in her region for the last 14. She loves spending time with her family and friends and loves to be outside in the water. Cusack says that she just likes to be here and help clients build their dreams. Cusack reports to Branch Manager, Scott Clirehugh and works out of Umpqua’s Bellevue office at 10500 NE 8th St. Ste. 1776.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hilton Worldwide Appoints Frank Welton as Area General Manager of Seattle/Northwest

Frank Welton Hilton HotelsFrank Welton general manager of Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center and DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport, a position he has held since 2005 has been promoted to the position of area general manager of Seattle/Northwest region.  Welton’s expanded responsibilities encompass supervision of the teams and operations at five additional hotels: Hilton Portland, Embassy Suites Portland Downtown, Hilton Vancouver, DoubleTree Spokane City Center and Embassy Suites Seattle – Tacoma Airport.  He will continue to oversee the management and operations of the Hilton and DoubleTree hotels at Seattle Airport with a combined flexible function space of over 80,000 square feet and 1,250 guest rooms.   Welton will report directly to Area Vice President of Operations, Jerry Gibson.

“Frank has a proven track record of creating a long-term vision, said Gibson.  “He also has a wealth of industry knowledge, participating in the company mergers/acquisitions of Red Lion Hotels, Doubletree Hotels, Promus Hotels, and Hilton Hotels Corporation making him an excellent choice for this key regional position and expanding market.”

A hospitality industry veteran, Welton has been recognized with industry and Hilton awards for superior performance including the Washington Lodging Association “General Manager of the Year.”

Active in community leadership, he currently serves on several boards including:  Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority, SeaTac Tax Advisory Committee, vice chairman of the Washington Lodging Association and past director of the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

Welton attended Central Washington University and resides in the Seattle area. When time permits, he enjoys boating, golfing and spending time with his family which includes three grandchildren.

Bill Gates, Kemper Freeman Jr and Steve Ballmer to Buy Seattle Seahawks, Move Team to Bellevue

Bellevue Seahawks logoSuperbowl Champion Bellevue Seahawks?  Kind of has a nice ring, don't you think?

According to reports here in Bellevue, huge sports fan Bill Gates has teamed with Kemper Freeman Jr., owner of The Bellevue Collection and former right hand man at Microsoft, Steve Ballmer to form an ownership group buying the Seattle Seahawks from fellow billionaire Paul Allen.  Allen was quoted as saying he is totally frustrated with the Hawks because they failed to win their second consecutive Superbowl in 2015.

Kemper Freeman has gone on record to say that he is disappointed in the performance of the stores at Bellevue Square and the Bellevue Collection and that he would "be ok" with building a new multi-purpose stadium on the land where the Pacific Northwest's largest mall now sits.  The best performing stores now at Bellevue Square would be welcomed to pay the (much) higher rents expected as part of the Lincoln Square expansion across the street.

Steve Ballmer said he jumped at the chance to be an owner of the NFC Champion Seahawks, as his "investment" in the Los Angeles Clippers cannot help them turn the corner to be a real title contender.  The Clips are currently in 5th place in the Western Conference and were beat by front running Golden State Warriors last night in LA by a score of 110-106.

Former Microsoft Bill Gates said he was excited to be part of the ownership group and move the Seahawks to Bellevue so that he would not have to cross the bridge - or ask Paul Allen for tickets ever again.

Bellevue's Outerwall and Redbox Now Offering "PetBox"

Petbox by Outerwall and RedboxBellevue-based Outerwall and their subsidiary Redbox is now offering "Petbox" where customer's pets can pick and rent their own movies and games.  Petbox are smaller kiosks that are located next to select Redbox outlets.  Petbox features movies and games that are favorites of pets everywhere.  Take your pet to Petbox today!