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DECEMBER 2019 • VOL 19, NO. 11

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The Herald Business Journal


The Herald Business Journal

December 2019

3

Lynnwood expects an influx of shoppers — from Seattle With Northgate Mall’s transformation into a mixed development, shoppers there are eyeing Alderwood. By Janice Podsada

which have been under siege from e-commerce and changing consumer tastes.

Herald Writer

SEATTLE — Northgate has been Brenda Keller’s go-to shopping mall for decades. But with most of the North Seattle mall now closed, the Seattle resident plans to head north and do her holiday shopping at Alderwood mall in Lynnwood. Northgate, a shadow of its former retail self, has been partitioned into two small sections on the north and south ends. The covered mall is undergoing a massive makeover that has closed the main concourse and emptied its gallery of stores. Old Navy, Bed Bath & Beyond and Nordstrom Rack are among a handful of retailers and food concessions that remain open. “This was my go-to place,” said Keller, seated in the vast but mostly empty food court at the south end of the mall. Keller was having lunch with Trina McCarrell of Shoreline. Both had been talking about making the trek to Alderwood to check out the department stores. “We lost JCPenney, Macy’s, Nordstrom,” said McCarrell, naming some of Northgate’s retail anchors, all of which were open last year at this time. The department-store trio and a score of other retailers closed their Northgate locations this year. “The emptying of Northgate Mall happened really quick,” said David Kleitsch, the city of Lynnwood’s economic development director. So sudden, he said, that Lynnwood officials didn’t have time to quantify the potential impact. “Our expectation is

10-mile trip

Shoppers make their way to the food court on Black Friday at Alderwood mall in Lynnwood.

that that economic activity will come up here,” Kleitsch said. “We’re the last regional mall north of Seattle. Our expectation is that we will get that SeattleNorth Seattle mall trade.” The 70-year-old Northgate Mall isn’t being entirely bulldozed under — parts of it will be retained and other parts will be demolished to make room for new buildings and outdoor spaces, Simon Properties, the mall’s owner, said in a news release. A massive makeover is under way to transform Northgate, the “country’s first regional mall,” into a mixed-use center and position the property to take advantage of the neighboring new Sound Transit light rail station, scheduled to open in 2021. When the Northgate project is completed in 2021,

OLIVIA VANNI / THE HERALD

JANICE PODSADA / THE HERALD

Portions of the once-mighty Northgate Mall will be demolished to make way for offices, residences and an NHL hockey practice facility.

the new Northgate center will glisten with offices, residential and retail space, outdoor space and ice rinks,

at the center of a National Hockey League training facility, according to developers’ plans.

Simon says that the new Northgate will be economically viable and less reliant on brick-and-mortar retail,

For North Seattlearea residents Keller and McCarrell, the commute to Lynnwood is do-able. “I don’t mind driving to Alderwood at all,” said Keller, who prefers shopping in a store to buying online. Traffic-wise, the alternatives aren’t as appealing. Westfield Southcenter i n Tukwila? Too far south, said McCarrell. Downtown Seattle? “I’m not going anywhere near there,” Keller said. Early next year, downtown Seattle will lose its Macy’s, which has been a department store under one banner or another for 90 years. The closure further winnows Macy’s Puget Sound locations to Tacoma, Southcenter, Bellevue Square and Lynnwood. In a recent Washington State University survey of Puget Sound residents, 46%, said they don’t want to spend more than 30 minutes commuting to a shopping destination. “Alderwood is probably about 10 miles north of Northgate,” said Joan Giese, a WSU marketing professor who evaluated the survey. “Depending on the time of day and traffic, that certainly is within 30 minutes or less for north Seattle shoppers who want that one-stop shopping experience,” Giese said. Alderwood’s appeal may extend farther south to some of Seattle’s more central neighborhoods, including Ballard. See RETAIL, Page 4


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December 2019

The Herald Business Journal

JANICE PODSADA / THE HERALD

The Macy’s at Northgate Mall, a state of the art department store when it opened under the Bon Marche standard in 1950, is being razed.

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Tara Hoch, who lives in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, stopped by Northgate to pay her cable bill and took note of the limited number of stores. “Things are changing here.” Hoch said. “It’s likely I’ll do my shopping this year at Alderwood.” Jerry Irwin, Alderwood’s senior general manager, said the shopping center has begun “seeing even more people from the Seattle area.”

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Alderwood, which opened as Alderwood Mall in 1979, houses some of the same retailers that once populated Northgate: JCPenney, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Eddie Bauer, Loft, Forever 21 — the list goes on. In the mid-1990s, a $12 million upgrade added a food court and other features to the mall. Another renovation in the early 2000s created two open-air areas known as The Village and The Terraces. “Alderwood has long

been a significant destination for people outside (Snohomish) county, Lynnwood city center program manager Karl Almgrensaid. “It already has regional pull from the north. We get lots of shoppers from Canada. Now it’s pulling from the south,” Almgren said. “It’s poised to play an even greater role” regionally. A Lynnwood light rail station, near 204th Street Southwest and I-5, is expected to begin operating in 2024. Trains are scheduled to arrive every four to six minutes during peak times and will move riders from Lynnwood to downtown Seattle in 28 minutes. That fits neatly within that 30-minute shoppingcommute limit. The Lynnwood Sound Transit station will be connected to Alderwood by bus and the Interurban Trail. Later, a light rail stop near Alderwood is planned. The Alderwood mall area, which includes Alderwood and smaller shopping centers, is already a significant economic generator, Kleitsch said. The addition of light rail and proposed mixed-use developments within walking distance of the station,

including nearly 1,400 new housing units, is expected to turbocharge Lynnwood’s retail scene. “We will see that whole area around the mall become an even stronger economic engine,” Kleitsch said. Lynnwood’s business community, which includes the Alderwood mall area and the Highway 99 corridor, generated $3 billion worth of taxable sales in 2018, up 3.8% from 2017. Former Northgate shoppers could add significantly to the annual total, though that remains to be seen. “When it gets close to the holidays, we’ll head up to Alderwood,” said Kathy Serrato, seated with her husband, John, at a table in Northgate’s food court. “There’s a candy store there I like there, and a Mariners Team Store,” she said. Still, said Serrato wistfully, “it’s hard to imagine Northgate gone.” More than a collection of stores, Northgate figures prominently in her memories of growing up in Seattle. “I remember my mom bringing me here.” Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods


The Herald Business Journal

December 2019

5

This business down-sized, and yet it’s still growing The owners of Houseplants Galore in Everett closed a nursery and now focus on indoor greenery. By Janice Podsada Herald Writer

EVERETT — On Steve Compton’s desk today for observation: a hungoverlooking Philodendron with a broken stem. “I’m keeping an eye on it,” he said of the unhappy house plant. Compton hoped to determine the source of the break: Was it an accident or was it disease, “something I need to watch for,” he said. Compton and his wife, Carrie, are the co-owners of Houseplants Galore, a new Everett store that’s focused on plants that thrive in the great indoors. The store carries several hundred different species, at least half of which can live in a relatively dark area, he said. The couple has been in the plant business since 2013 when they opened Li’l Sprout Nursery and Garden Center in Mill Creek. In July, they closed the three-acre nursery and super-down-sized, moving into a 5,000-square-foot storefront on Everett Mall Way. “It was like moving from a 747 cargo plane to a small passenger plane,” Compton said. The smaller venue fits the couple’s new focus — indoor plants and accessories. Gone are the bedding plants, shrubs and ornamental grasses that carpeted the old haunt. The emphasis now is on “high-efficiency indoor air-pollution fighters” such as Arrowhead Vine, Chinese Evergreen, Dracaena, Peace Lily and Snake Plant — all good for clearing the air, Steve said.

Every plant gets a thorough cleaning and exam at Houseplants Galore on Everett Mall Way.

PHOTOS BY ANDY BRONSON / THE HERALD

Steve Compton co-owns Houseplants Galore on Everett Mall Way, which opened in July.

When the lease on the Mill Creek nursery expired earlier this year, the Comptons began searching for a smaller location. “The landlord gave us a few months and then gave us a few months more,”

Carrie Compton said. “But you can’t run a business like that — not knowing what’s next,” she said. Restarting a full nursery somewhere else, said Steve Compton, “was a little

more commitment than we were willing to do.” “We decided this might be an untapped area,” he said of the focus on indoor greenery. Mindy Tran stopped by the new store on a recent

morning after seeing the sign from the street. “I must have about 50 plants at home,” said Tran, who added to her collection of flora with the purchase of a heartshaped Hoya Kerrii. “I’m seeing a lot of rare things I don’t see elsewhere,” Tran said after a walking through the bright, airy store. The popularity of house plants, which spiked in the 1970s and 1980s (remember macrame hangers?), is on the upswing, Steve said. “Having living things does make a difference, even if it’s a pet or a plant,” Steve said. Does a cave have more light than your apartment? Is your cubicle at work lit mainly by a computer screen? There are lots plants that live happily in the wild under a heavy canopy of trees and don’t want or need to bask in the sun, Steve Compton said. If you do have a bright spot, Houseplants Galore sells carnivorous plants that would love to turn your fruit flies into a smoothie. (The plants lure

them with a sweet scent and then dissolve them.) Steve, a former homesecurity system designer, discovered his affinity for “plant babies” when he and his wife bought a home in 2002. “I tried my hand at gardening and took a liking to it in a way I’d never liked something before,” he said. The decision to turn his passion into a business was inspired by some channel surfing. “I was watching latenight TV and saw this thing about a guy who had a little nursery in his backyard,” Steve said. “I saw that and said to myself, ‘I can do this,’” he said. “It became my goal to have a nursery of some sort.” That goal spurred him to earn an associate’s degree in horticulture and greenhouse management at Edmonds Community College in 2012. Carrie, a full-time travel agent during the week, joins her husband at the store on weekends. See PLANTS, Page 6


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December 2019

The Herald Business Journal

Plants From Page 5

“I designed the store and the displays,” Carrie said. No customer goes out the door without a warning from Steve or Carrie: “Over-watering kills.” Just because everything outside is rain-soaked doesn’t mean your plant

needs to be doused. “Water that sits gets stagnant,” said Steve. Then the roots get a fungus, which was the diagnosis for that philodendron mentioned earlier. What the roots really want is air, the Comptons said. Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

Shiloh Deede pots plants at Houseplants Galore.

PHOTOS BY ANDY BRONSON / THE HERALD

Julia Banker looks at an Elephant Ear Serendipity while browsing for plants at HousePlants Galore on Everett Mall Way.

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The Herald Business Journal

December 2019

DECEMBER 2019

Port of EVERETT

PORTREPORT

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DECEMBER • Dec. 3/10: Port Commission Meetings

Citizen-Elect David Simpson Sworn in to Represent Port of Everett’s District 1 aviation industry with 24 years in manufacturing engineering for The Boeing Company and another

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six years as an aviation mechanic for the United

EXECUTIVE

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On November 12, the Port Commission adopted a $66.2 million 2020 operating and capital budget that maintains pace of the Port’s robust capital investment portfolio, while assuming modest growth in the Seaport, Marina and Real Estate divisions.

Over the past decade, Simpson’s focus has shifted to the public realm, with interest in public policy and community involvement. He has served on many boards and committees throughout his career, including the Washington State House of Representatives 38th District, Everett City

SEAPORT

High and Heavy! On November 15, longshoremen at the Port of Everett rigged and lifted a 450-ton Navy tug boat; one of the heaviest pieces to ever make its way through the Port.

Council, City of Everett Planning Commission, Snohomish County Charter Review Commission, and presently, the City of Everett’s Committee for On November 27, Port of Everett Commissioner-elect David Simpson was sworn into service to represent the citizens in the District 1 seat. Simpson was elected to complete the two-year balance of former Port Commissioner McClelland’s six-year term. Simpson was sworn in by State Representative John Lovick, in the company of community leaders and residents.

MARINA

Port contractor American Construction Company has completed demolition of Central G-dock, and dock manufacturer Bellingham Marine Industries has started pouring the concrete floats for the new G-Dock. In-water work is expected to be completed by the close of the in-water work window of February 15, 2020. Upland work is expected to conclude in spring 2020.

REAL ESTATE

In November, the Port Commission authorized lease agreements with new commercial tenants, Remax and Heritage Marine and renewed leases with Everett Yacht Service, Propulsion Controls, and B&B Marine.

Housing and Community Development. Simpson is a University of Washington alumni where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in U.S. History. He is also a graduate of Everett Community College.

“I am looking forward to working for the citizens of District 1 and ensuring the

Simpson replaces former District 1 Port Commissioner Bruce Fingarson, who has served on the Port Commission since November 2017. Fingarson was appointed by the Port Commission following the resignation of then District 1 Port Commissioner Troy McClelland. Simpson will complete the

Port of Everett remains a competitive leader in the region,” Simpson said.

balance of McClelland’s original 6-year term.

Simpson, a U.S. Navy veteran, brings more than 45 years of combined public/

District 1 encompasses portions of the waterfront area in North Everett, and east to the Snohomish River.

private sector experience to the Port. His background includes 30 years in the

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The Herald Business Journal

A classic hobby store survives in the era of video games At the Edmonds Hobby Shop, model cars, boats and trains are still popular with grown-up kids. By Janice Podsada Herald Writer

EDMONDS — The smell of airplane glue and enamel paint hasn’t changed since the 1960s and 1970s when assembling model cars, boats, trains and planes was all the rage. Richard Hunt, the owner of the Edmonds Hobby Shop, can recall a time when “kids were pretty much crazy about building things.”

Those things included 1/25th-scale plastic kit cars, balsa wood gliders, model airplanes and wooden boats. In the past two decades, as video games have grown dominant, the popularity of model building has dropped off, and the kids who once spent hours gluing and clamping plastic parts together are now grown-ups with kids or grandkids of their own, he said. Hunt’s brother, Roger,

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and their father, Richard Hunt, opened the hobby store at 120th Fourth Avenue South in the early 1970s, nearly 50 years ago. The little hobby store — it’s in a tiny house — provided a modest living until about 10 or 15 years ago, Hunt said. Now it’s a labor of love. “This is my semi-retirement,” joked Hunt, 77. In the store’s model car section, Detroit circa See HOBBY, Page 10 KEVIN CLARK / THE HERALD

Richard Hunt, owner of The Edmonds Hobby Shop, has been in business since the early 1970s — when building model airplanes, trains, boats and locomotives was a big thing for kids. Today the shop is a labor of love for Hunt, who is semi-retired, and customers tend to be adults who want to re-live the joys of their youth.

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The Herald Business Journal

December 2019

CASCADE INDUSTRIAL CENTER

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OUR MISSION Economic Alliance Snohomish County exists to be a catalyst for economic vitality resulting in stronger communities, increased job creation, expanded educational opportunities, and improved infrastructure.

The Cascade Industrial Center is Ramping Up Job-Creation 1,700+ Acres Development Opportunity The Cascade Industrial Center (CIC), 1700 acres spanning north Marysville and Arlington designated for job-creating growth, will be the recipient of significant investment capital in the future. That investment began in earnest this year with the following projects: • Web Industries (Massachusetts) announced an 80,000 SF composites processing facility on twelve acres • SmartCap constructed and fully leased a 98,000 SF multi-tenant building on six acres • R&L Carriers (Ohio) purchased nine acres for a distribution terminal • Salacia Seafood is constructing a 98,000 SF processing plant on eleven acres Market fundamentals and targeted promotion activities will generate activity in the CIC. Real estate in Everett and Points South, with a few exceptions, is built out. “Points South” includes the Kent Valley, the historical location for large distribution buildings. An investor or a user requiring new construction will be drawn to the CIC where large tracts of industrial land are available. Proximity to commercial air service can be a location criteria and Paine Field offsets the travel time and distance of flying through Sea-Tac International Airport. The cities of Marysville and Arlington, Economic Alliance Snohomish County (EASC), the Port of Everett and Greater Seattle Partners are collaborating to raise awareness of the opportunity. This effort will include direct contact with prospective companies, real estate

development firms and site location consultants. Our outreach program also includes trade show participation. Representatives of the team attended the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle on November 21-23 to capitalize on recent relocations of maritime companies from the Seattle/Ballard area to Snohomish County. The Expo attracts national and international supply chain companies. Developers and users require more than land; they expect infrastructure that makes their sites accessible and provides utilities to support their operations. While utility service can be user-specific, roads are a universal requirement. On this latter topic, the cities have identified several road improvement projects. Two major undertakings are a full freeway interchange at I-5 and 156th St NE and the expansion of 172nd St. NE (State Route 531) to four lanes from 43rd Ave NE to 67th Ave NE. These locations represent the south and north entry points respectively into the CIC. Financial incentives also have a role in attracting investors. Arlington and Marysville can offer a ten-year property tax exemption on new or expanded manufacturing buildings greater than 10,000 SF; excepting Lake Stevens, this exemption is not available anywhere else in Washington. Opportunity Zones, a federal tax program created in 2017, allow investors to reduce or avoid capital gains taxes on long-term investments in designated areas. These cities represent two of seven Zones located in Snohomish County. Additional investments in the CIC are under consideration. EASC stands ready to make these and more a reality.

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December 2019

The Herald Business Journal

PHOTOS BY KEVIN CLARK / THE HERALD

Scale model odds and ends and available at The Edmonds Hobby Shop.

Hobby From Page 8

Richard Hunt, owner of The Edmonds Hobby Shop, has been in business since the early 1970s — when building model airplanes, trains, boats and locomotives was a big thing for kids. Today the shop is a labor of love for Hunt, who is semi-retired, and customers tend to be adults who want to re-live the joys of their youth.

1960-70 reigns supreme. There you’ll find models of some of the classic street rods and muscle cars, including a 1/25th-scale 1968 Dodge Charger and 1969 Corvette 427 Coupe, for about $25 to $30 each. If it’s lift you’re seeking, a rubberband-powered balsa wood plane sells for about $4 and “flies up to 150 feet,” the packaging says. For greater range, the store sells ready-to-fly model airplanes with electric motors that start at about $100. Most of the hobby shop’s customers are adults, Hunt

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said. Still, he sees parents bring their kids to the store to check out the the electric train sets and kits that are designed to snap together. “There’s no gluing or painting,” Hunt said. “I see a lot of young boys that are train fanatics by the age of 4 — they usually drag their mom and dad in here,” he said. “The girl model builders? I have relatively few.” “We have extremes,” Hunt said. “We have young kids under 10 that really like the trains and customers age 60 and above.” For the older set, the allure is building “models and machines that meant something in their early years,” he said. Former Edmonds resident Henry Simpson was a prolific model builder when he was a teen. Simpson would use the income from his paperroute to buy kits, which cost $4 or $5, he said, or about $30 to $40 in today’s dollars. Building a model? Before you start gluing everything together, “temper your excitement,” Simpson said. “Take your time and pay attention to detail. It doesn’t hurt to read the instructions.” Modifications — from swapping parts to See HOBBY, Page 12


The Herald Business Journal

December 2019

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December 2019 The Herald Business Journal

Hobby From Page 10

incorporating everyday items into a design — is encouraged. “I used to swap out the bigger wheels and tires from one model to another,” said Simpson, who once fashioned a working suspension on one of his model cars from the springs of a ball point pen. “Models were fun when I was a kid.” Simpson said. “I liked building or drawing things.” By high school, his interest in models had waned. “After that, I was interested in real cars,” he said. Then as now, some of the most popular kits are the model planes, which include fuel-enginepowered airplanes that connect to a 25-foot wire, Hunt said. Finding the tiny engine

that fits those models involves scouring the internet. Cox, the California company that manufactured the two-stroke engines, went out of business several years ago, Hunt said. The thumb-size engines were small but packed a wallop, he said. “They were pretty loud — like a miniature chainsaw.” “One of the big trends in the last 10 years has been the shift from fuel powered engines (which run on a mixture of methanol, castor oil and nitromethane) to electric-powered engines,” he said. Model-making is a great way to overcome the belief that you have to do something perfectly. Don’t like the results? Pull it apart. Build it again. “We all learn by failing,” Hunt said. Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

KEVIN CLARK / THE HERALD

Richard Hunt, owner of The Edmonds Hobby Shop, helps Jan Schlameus with appraisal of a train set from her youth.

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December 2019

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New EvCC class teaches conversational Japanese for business Everett Community College offers a three-quarter course in language and business skills. By Janice Podsada Herald Writer

EVERETT — In 2016, a student in Masashi Kato’s class in conversational Japanese had the chance to practice her language skills in a high-stakes setting: a preschool in Japan. They peppered her with questions. “As soon as she set foot inside the door, she was on the spot,” Kato said. “Five-year-old kids have no mercy — they wanted to talk nonstop,” he said. In January, Kato and Everett Community College will offer a three-quarter course in conversational Japanese that focuses on

doing business in Japan. The program concludes in July with in an optional internship, Kato said. Students will learn language skills needed to communicate with business contacts, study cultural practices and master business etiquette, said Kato, who taught similar classes to engineering students at the University of Washington in Seattle. Kato, a native speaker, joined the faculty at EvCC in 2014. He came to the United States in 1991 to study at the University of Washington. “The classes are at the See JAPAN, Page 15

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Everett Community College instructor Masashi Kato in the Tea House room at the Nippon Business Institute.

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December 2019 The Herald Business Journal

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The Herald Business Journal

Japan From Page 13

beginning level of Japanese and designed specifically for communication in workplaces,” he said. After completing the courses, students should be able to “order at a restaurant, invite someone to an event and be able to discuss feelings and preferences,” Kato said. Ten students will be selected to visit Japan, Kato said. There they will have the opportunity to participate in a 10-day internship at a Japanese business through a partnership with Aichi Toho University in Nagoya. The last time the program was offered, in 2016, students completed internships at a hotel, florist, cafe and pre-school, he said. The trip includes a home stay with a Japanese family — “another opportunity for students to practice Japanese,” Kato said. “The best time to make

mistakes is during the 10-day internship,” Kato said. “You find out quickly what works and what doesn’t work,” he said. Writing is not emphasized in the course, but students are encouraged to read Japanese publications. The two-hour evening course, which is open to everyone, begins Jan. 6. Classes are Mondays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Enrollment is capped at 35 students. Funding for the class is provided through the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business and the Jackson School of International Studies, with support from a U.S. Department of Education Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program grant. For more information, visit EverettCC.edu/Business190. To enroll in the class, apply to Everett Community College at EverettCC.edu/Apply. Janice Podsada; jpodsada@ heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

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December 2019

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