Somerset Community Association Board of Directors - responsibilities Francis Brito Diane Fern Marie Vieth Sue Sander Gary Albert Pete Mansfield Kristen Iversen Muriel Mittelstrass Johannes Grad Charlie Bofferding
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President Vice President, CRC Chair Treasurer Secretary Landscaping Chair, Signs Emergency Preparedness Chair Membership Chair, CRC Welcome Chair, School Liaison Communications, Website Manager Covenants Review Committee
The SCA Directors are elected at our annual general meeting and serve a 3-year term. Our officers of President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer are chosen following election to the Board. If you are interested in getting involved, or aren’t sure who to contact with a question, please see our website or send an email to email@example.com.
Somerset Sun Advertising deadlines: August 13, 2021 – Fall issue November 12, 2021 – Winter issue February 11, 2022 – Spring issue May 13, 2022 – Summer issue Sizes and Rates per issue (same for color or black & white): Business Card (3"w x 2"h) Quarter Page (4"w x 5¼"h) Half Page Horizontal (8"w x 5¼“"h) Half Page Vertical (4"w x 10½"h) Full Page (8"w x 10½" h)
Letters to the Editor Welcomed Do you have a question or comment about the Sun newsletter or about what’s going on in the Somerset community? Ideas for a topic you’d like us to cover? Submit your thoughts today! The SCA welcomes Letters to the Editor. Share your ideas, questions, and concerns with those around you. Send your email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Planning to Remodel? Adding a Deck? Painting your Home? Contact the SCA Covenant Review Committee before you begin.
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Dear Neighbors, Finally, we are seeing increasing signs of things turning around! We have improved availability of the vaccines, our school buses are back on our roads, and I hate to say this, but I am also happy to see increased traffic everywhere. As a consequence of a strong and vibrant Board, our collective effort at “tent raising” is slowly but steadily happening: • Thanks to the spearheading efforts of Board members Yiyi Guo, Johannes Grad and Charles Bofferding, we can save the date for our 2021 July 4th Parade and Picnic.
SCA PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
• Preparedness Chair Pete Mansfield is supporting neighborhood leaders as they work with City Police and Transportation to resolve problems on their streets. • Board members Yiyi Guo and Johannes Grad have organized virtual game nights and musical performances for our community. • Membership Chair Kristen Iversen has identified 30 community members who expressed interest in volunteering, and we have begun approaching them for their help. • The Covenants Review Committee led by Chair Diane Fern is fully resourced. • Every Board member has stepped up to the plate and delivered a tremendous job. I have been representing our SCA with the City of Bellevue on their Neighborhood Focus Discussions and their proposed Diversity Equity and Inclusion Training for Board members. On a personal note, I live in a cul-de-sac with ten homes. Fifty percent of the homeowners (my wife and I included) are first generation immigrants. We are halfway complete in rebuilding our cul-de-sac circle; 100% of the homeowners participated! A wonderful example of bridge building in our diverse community! Under the City’s MATCH program, the project is getting a grant that will cover 50% of our costs – a shout out to Theresa Cuthill and Mark Heilman from the Bellevue City Community Development Department for their generous support. Celebrate! Francis Brito SCA President
Somerset 4th of July Celebration Mark your calendars now and save the date for Sunday, July 4th for our 14th Annual Somerset Community Association Parade and Picnic in the Park. It’s a great day for neighbors to get together, have lots of fun and celebrate our country’s independence. Last year, the gathering had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. This year the SCA is happy to bring back this very popular event, since over 80% of 98006 residents are already vaccinated. We will follow all guidelines for outdoor events. We will gather around 10:40am at the Somerset Rec Club parking lot at the corner of Somerset Boulevard and Somerset Drive. The walking parade starts at 11:00am and the route is about 8/10 of a mile, ending at Forest Hill Neighborhood Park. We will have prizes for the best costumes (such as most traditional, most original, and most patriotically adorned family), and best transport (bike, scooter, wagon). Then it will be time for fun at the park. Exact details will depend on the guidelines in place at the time, but we are planning for either 4520 145th Ave. SE BBQ hot dogs or bring-your-own picnic. We will also plan some organized field games for the kids. (Honey buckets will be available at Bellevue, WA the park.) See the SCA website at somerset98006.org for up-to-date information. Things will wrap up around 1:30pm. Please bring the entire family! It's the best way to start your day of celebration and honor our great country. Hope to see you there! Successfully Serving Clients Since 1998
By Councilmember Jennifer Robertson Mountains to Sound Greenway Trail Project nearing completion As we head into summer with more people getting vaccinated and our economy moving towards full reopening, more of us will be out and about to enjoy everything our region has to offer. Closer to home, we are working to make recreation even better and to connect more places with safe ped/bike connections. You’ve all likely seen and experienced the construction on SE 36th St in Factoria. This project encompasses both phase 1 and 2 of the “missing link” on the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trail. The first new segment of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trail in Bellevue was completed and opened to the public in late March. This 0.8-mile trail segment runs from Interstate 405 to 132nd Ave SE in the Factoria neighborhood. It’s the first phase of a 3.6 mile “Eastgate Gap” in Bellevue. Once completed this section will be part of a larger regional trail that runs along I-90 from Seattle to Issaquah. This bigger segment, in turn, is part of a National Heritage Area; the vision is to create trail connections that run all the way to Central Washington. The 12-foot-wide trail in Bellevue makes walking and bicycling safer for all users. The completion of the segment is another step in creating the City’s vision for a pedestrian-bicycle network serving both commuters and recreational users. The project came out beautifully and includes colorful mountains incorporated into the retaining walls and bright tile work in the tunnel. The segment costs $21 million to construct; it includes a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over busy Factoria Boulevard and a tunnel under ramps from I-405 to eastbound I-90. In addition, the project expanded the holding capacity for the I-90 off ramps at Richards Road which makes it easier to get off the freeway and head for home.
The project was funded in large part with grants from the National Scenic Byways, the Puget Sound Regional Council, and the Washington State Legislature – so partnerships really made this project possible as they paid for a significant majority of this project budget.
COUNCIL CORNER The next segment of the trail, from 132nd Ave SE to 142nd Place SE, is already under construction with completion expected by the end of 2021. The construction cost for that project is about $9.3 million and will be funded in part with grants from Sound Transit and the Puget Sound Regional Council. Design and funding for the rest of the Bellevue trail segments, between 142nd Place SE and Lakemont Boulevard, is not yet available but the City will continue to work to obtain grant funding to make the “missing link” a thing of the past. For more information, please visit the City’s project webpage: https://bellevuewa.gov/city-government/departments/ transportation/projects/capital-projects/mountains-to-soundgreenway-trail. Or see the City’s news release from March 30: https://bellevuewa.gov/city-news/new-regional-trail-segmentopens-bellevue Check it out and go for a walk or ride this summer in comfort and safety! Wishing you all a wonderful summer. I hope to see you around the neighborhood or around the pool deck cheering for our Somerset Stingrays! Jennifer Robertson is a 4-term member of the Bellevue City Council and a municipal attorney with the Bellevue law firm Inslee Best. She lives with her husband and three daughters in Somerset.
By School Board President Dr. Francine Wiest Kids stream excitedly into Somerset Elementary once again four days a week, with students attending either in the morning or afternoon, and some still opting to stay in remote learning. Since
BELLEVUE SCHOOL DISTRICT UPDATE March 2020 there have been ups and downs for everyone in our school system, adjusting to school closures, virtual learning, and then re-opening, while adhering to new protocols, whether for video platforms or health screenings, physical distancing, cleaning, or mask wearing. In the Fall, schools will be open full-time. Virtual opportunities will still be available for students who need them, but the vast majority have currently opted for in-person instruction, with certain health safety requirements still in place. As challenging as the past year-plus has been, new digital tools, supports for self-paced learning, and creative teacher endeavors, along with traditional approaches, means there is a richer array of ways students can be served. Some students have weathered the pandemic better than others, and many will need additional interventions in the coming year. When teachers successfully combine both robust academic materials and well-being supports, students can thrive.
Bellevue is well positioned for the Fall to allow students to achieve their best. We welcome an extremely experienced Interim Superintendent, Dr. Art Jarvis, to begin in July. Previously recognized as a state superintendent of the year, he is committed to promoting strong partnerships and communication in service to students and families. The School Board will continue to engage the community in conversation about important values as a search for a long-term superintendent begins next year. Additionally, the support provided by our community, through individual donations to our Bellevue Schools Foundation and community partners, as well as through levies, means, among other things, that students have access to more than the two nurses for our 29 schools funded by the state, and they have an additional class per day in middle and high school, giving them the chance to explore electives, engage in the arts, learn a foreign language, and interact with more of our many dynamic teachers. One time federal funding for recovery from the pandemic will help off-set rising costs and allow for more counseling and academic support. The new school year brings tremendous opportunity to build an even better school system than what existed before the pandemic. Students need our support more than ever so they can feel connected to school again and achieve greatly. I welcome comments or suggestions, and can be reached at WiestF@bsd405.org. Francine lives in Somerset with her husband and 3 children. She is President of the Bellevue School Board and can often be found chatting with neighbors near the playground.
Somerset Virtual Concert The first Somerset Virtual Concert took place on May 22 and was well attended. It was wonderful to enjoy performances by these talented musicians from our community: Jacqueline Bays-Muchmore (recorder), Andrea Chen (violin), Belinda Chen (piano), Melanie Grad (cello), Haley Montelaro (piano) and Timothy Yu (violin). The event was moderated by Yiyi Guo and the performers were each given a commemorative plaque as a sign of our appreciation. Thank you to all these talented young performers for sharing their music with us!
SOMERSET SUN COVER CONTEST! Do you have a budding artist at your house? We believe in encouraging children’s creativity and supporting young artists in our Somerset community. Art offers children a unique means of expression, capturing their passion and emotions and fostering the exploration of new ideas, subject matter, and cultures. We are inviting our Somerset children to share their creative talents by entering our cover contest. The winning entry will be featured on the cover of the Fall issue of the Somerset Sun. Other entries may be included inside the same issue. (We reserve the right to use another cover should we not receive a sufficient number of appropriate submissions.) Guidelines: · Artwork can be of any subject but preference may be given to identifiable Somerset or PNW themes (e.g., skyline, fountain, totem pole, etc.) · Participants should create their artwork on 8-½" x 11" unlined white paper. · Participants must be residents of Somerset between the ages of 5 and 12. · Artwork should be scanned in PDF or JPG format and sent by email to the SCA at Somerset98006@gmail.com. If you don’t have scanning ability, contact us at the same email address and we can arrange for submission in person. · All entries must include name and age of artist, and the email must be signed and sent by the entrant’s parent/guardian. · By signing, parents grant permission for their children’s artwork and first name to be put online or printed in the magazine. · We only allow one entry per person. · All entries must be the entrant’s original, unpublished and previously unproduced work. · Deadline for entries is August 31, 2021.
Forest Ridge Access Restricted Please be aware that Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart has begun restricting access to their property. Over the past several years, there has been an increase in vandalism, trespassing and inappropriate activity on their campus. Neighbors walking through and around campus during school hours and during busy drop off and pick-up times has disrupted their usual procedures. Additionally, an increase in dogs off leash, kids climbing in trees, and broken beer bottles in their parking lots has affected their decision to close the campus. As you can imagine, their priority must be the safety of their students and employees. Boarding Students have returned to school, and the campus and property is their home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They need to be able to feel safe while on campus after hours, on the weekends and on holidays. The campus is rarely vacant any longer. We hope that neighbors will respect this decision by Forest Ridge and walk around, rather than through, their private property.
We hope to hear this Fall of opportunities for our community members to visit campus, such as theatre productions and holiday activities. Forest Ridge values its relationship with Somerset and we can all be good neighbors for the safety of their students and property.
Forest Ridge Vaccine Clinic On April 24th, Forest Ridge School partnered with Discovery Health MD to bring a COVID19 Vaccine Clinic to campus for the Somerset Community as well as their students, families, and employees. They were able to administer over 450 Moderna vaccine doses. Thank you to Forest Ridge for sharing this opportunity with your Somerset neighbors! (We advertised this opportunity to community members on our Facebook page and by email – sign up for our email list so you don’t miss any future announcements!)
Forest Ridge Access Restricted Please be aware that Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart has begun restricting access to their property. Over the past several years, there has been an increase in vandalism, trespassing and inappropriate activity on their campus. Neighbors walking through and around campus during school hours and during busy drop off and pick-up times has disrupted their usual procedures. Additionally, an increase in dogs off leash, kids climbing in trees, and broken beer bottles in their parking lots has affected their decision to close the campus. As you can imagine, their priority must be the safety of their students and employees. Boarding Students have returned to school, and the campus and property is their home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They need to be able to feel safe while on campus after hours, on the weekends and on holidays. The campus is rarely vacant any longer. We hope that neighbors will respect this decision by Forest Ridge and walk around, rather than through, their private property. We hope to hear this Fall of opportunities for our community members to visit campus, such as theatre productions and holiday activities. Forest Ridge values its relationship with Somerset and we can all be good neighbors for the safety of their students and property.
Forest Ridge Vaccine Clinic On April 24th, Forest Ridge School partnered with Discovery Health MD to bring a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic to campus for the Somerset Community as well as their students, families, and employees. They were able to administer over 450 Moderna vaccine doses. Thank you to Forest Ridge for sharing this opportunity with your Somerset neighbors! (We advertised this opportunity to community members on our Facebook page and by email – sign up for our email list so you don’t miss any future announcements!)
Answers to CRC FAQs We have seen a number of questions which are asked regularly and thought it might be useful to remind neighbors of the following information: Mailboxes – if you would like to replace your mailbox, any mailbox that is approved for use by the U.S. Postal Service is allowed to be used. For safety, we recommend you use a locking mailbox. However, if you decide to build or upgrade any sort of structure to house one or more mailboxes, that design must be approved by the CRC. Use Form B. Removing Trees – trees that are on your private property can be removed without CRC approval. However, in support of Bellevue’s tree canopy goals, the CRC encourages homeowners to prune trees rather than remove them, when possible. Of course, you should also check with the City of Bellevue to see whether a permit might be required before cutting, due to the size of your tree or its location in a critical slope area. RV / Boat Parking – recreational vehicles of any sort are NOT allowed to be parked on the street or on your property in Somerset unless they are fully hidden from view by a fence or hedges. This is in fact a City of Bellevue Land Use Code requirement (Section 20.20.720). Please read this section as there are exceptions for loading and unloading within a 3-day period within any given two weeks. If you own an RV or boat, please find storage for it outside of Somerset when not in active use. Garbage Bins – most Somerset Divisions include language requiring that garbage/yard waste/recycling bins be stored out of sight when not at the curb awaiting pick up. Bins should be put out facing toward the street with wheels against the curb, NOT on the sidewalk. Please do not put your bins out earlier than the night before pick up and bring them in as quickly as possible. Bins left out for long periods are ugly to look at and communicate that a house is empty or unprotected.
Chickens – almost all Somerset Divisions include restrictions against having poultry of any kind. While backyard coops seem to be a growing trend, they are not welcome in Somerset. The lots in our neighborhood are of a size that even without a crowing rooster, the everyday noises of clucking chickens can still be heard by and disturb your neighbors.
COVENANT CORNER Glare - one of the issues that the CRC always takes into consideration is the glare that a reflective material or light color could reflect. For this reason, pure white paint, white/light roof materials, and white decorative rock will not be approved by the CRC. We also require landscape lighting to be pointed toward the ground and discourage the hanging of disks to scare birds for the same reason. Dog Poop – while not technically addressed in the Covenants, dog poop is a constant irritant to Somerset residents. Please be a good neighbor and pick up your dog’s waste and take it home. It is not appropriate to leave bags on trails or put them in neighbor bins. We have many walkers in our beautiful neighborhood and no one wants to step in or smell that! There is also a FAQ section under the "Covenants" tab on our website, but please feel free to continue to contact us with your questions through the SCA website at somerset98006.org or email at email@example.com. Thank you! Diane Fern, Chair Covenant Review Committee
Garden Guidelines We have noticed a few (very lovely) properties in the neighborhood that have installed decorative fence edging in their front yards. Please be aware that this is considered a “fence” and as such, is not allowed to be installed anywhere closer to the property edge than the front of your house. If your plan is to discourage local animals from entering your front yard, we suggest planting a low hedge to serve this purpose. No matter the material (see photo examples), this fence edging is in violation of the Covenants and we would ask that you remove it at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your cooperation and help in keeping our neighborhood beautiful!
Summer Pool season is open!
Reservations Required in Phase 3 – Open Swim, Adult Lap Swim and Deck Reservations We are as excited as you about Governor’s Inslee’s announcement on May 14th that masks will not be required by fully vaccinated individuals in certain outdoor and indoor situations. However, WSDOH mask wearing rules have yet to be modified for swimming pools and water recreation. Until WSDOH updates its rules, the SRC will require all members to wear masks when entering the Club or when walking around in the pool area or using the bathrooms. When sitting in the pool area, one may remove their masks. The SRC Board will continue to review updates to the COVID-19 CDC and WSDOH guidelines and update members as things change. To minimize over-crowding, SRC has implemented an online reservation system broken into three daily segments available on our website at somersetrec.org. You must make an appointment to come to the facility. Capacity is limited to 65 members plus staff. Online reservations, masks and Covid Acknowledgment are required for entry. Until school is out, Open Swim reservations will be limited to Saturdays and Sundays due to afternoon swim team practices. After June 23, the pool will be open from 1PM-9PM daily. Deck reservations must be made separately and after you have made a general reservation to secure your spots. Please note: online reservation calendar will open 2 weeks in advance. If your plans change, please cancel your reservation to allow another family to make a reservation (this can all be done online).
Opening Weekend The weather was 75 degrees on Saturday May 15 for SRC’s annual open house and by all accounts it was a smashing success. Opening day reservation demand was so high it was extended to an Opening Weekend! To adhere to Phase 3 capacity limits, visitors made online reservations to ensure we limited over-crowding. We were excited to see so many returning and new faces and in many ways this year’s Opening Day provided new members a more realistic look at what it is like to be part of our amazing community pool. Members and opening weekend visitors enjoyed the improvements made to SRC during the offseason, including trimming trees to retain the view and overhauling SRC’s entire electrical system. Slide replacement efforts continue, but as our president Michael Ketchum can attest, this process has been WAYYYY more difficult than expected. Follow us on Facebook for updates on the slide! There are still SRC Memberships Available. Join Today - New Members Welcome! Go to somersetrec.org to join before we sell out of summer memberships. During Phase 3, only members are allowed at the club. SRC features a 4-lane outdoor heated pool, toddler pool, summer swim team, summer swim lessons, morning adult swim and, during a usual summer season, fun familyfriendly social events including pizza/bingo nights, outdoor movies, etc. (Social events will return as COVID restrictions are lifted.) Additional membership benefits include deck reservations for parties, outdoor BBQs for poolside summer dining and amazing views to relax by.
Prior to coming to SRC, please familiarize yourself with Somerset Recreation Club Phase 3 COVID-19 Operation Policies
and Rules. Make sure to follow us on Facebook to keep updated on SRC news! Questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Group Swim Lessons This summer SRC will be offering group swim lessons after the swim team season is over. We are currently planning for July and August. This will allow for more flexibility to members given the COVID-19 capacity restrictions. Please check back in mid-June and follow us on Facebook for news when group swim lesson registration opens. Tennis, Pickleball, Basketball and Badminton courts coming to SRC this summer! The SRC Board is very happy to announce that coming late July, we will be re-opening a NEW AND IMPROVED tennis court area! A survey went out to SRC members earlier this year asking what would be the best use of the area and we listened. This revitalization will expand the courts’ use beyond tennis to also include three pickleball courts, a half-court basketball court, and a badminton court! One of the key challenges with the court area is the cracks that have formed due to tree roots, which means hard court resurfacing is a constant battle -- and very expensive (if even possible). To that end, the Board explored alternative surfaces and decided on the SportCourt surface, which was designed for outdoor multi-sport activities. This hard, durable plastic surface is easy to manage and has become a very popular in
Example of a similar SportCourt installation on Mercer Island
the PNW. To facilitate this multi-court facility in our space, there will be only one tennis court on the east side, which will also be lined for two pickleball courts. The basketball court will also be lined for a third pickleball court as well as have netting to allow for badminton. A new online reservation system will be rolled out to manage it all -- reservations required! Once the courts are completed (expected by late July 2021), SRC members will have free use of the courts with their membership during the summer. Additionally, the courts will be made available in the offseason for an hourly fee, including use to non-members. The year-round lane rental of the pool for professional coaching has been a huge success, and we are extending full-year use to the sports court area, too. Finally, the cost to build and maintain the courts is significant. The SRC Board was able to secure a low-interest 20-year loan to facilitate this effort, but we are also making the revitalization of the Sports Courts our fundraising drive for 2021. Every dollar we raise means less of the loan interest we
have to pay and/or those funds can be used for other maintenance and upkeep costs. If you’d like to donate towards this cause now, please click on the “Donate Today” button on our website somersetrec.org. REMINDER: SRC is a 501(c)(3) corporation, so charitable donations to SRC are allowed as tax deductions by the IRS. It also makes SRC eligible to receive additional “matching funds” from various employers in the area. Please consult with a financial advisor or tax professional to understand how charitable donations would impact your tax status. Happy 80th Birthday, Jim Umbeck! If you’ve ever been to the Somerset Recreation Club in the last 30+ years, you’ve no doubt run into Jim. You can't miss him - he’s the friendly gentlemen in shorts (year round) that will be the first to say hello! If you haven't run into him there (how is that possible?!) then you've likely run into him somewhere on Somerset hill as he also taught 5th grade for over 30 years and coached Newport frosh and sophomore baseball. Many of the kids he taught and coached have gone on to have families of their own and become a part of the community at SRC! When Jim took over the helm at SRC in 1988, the only question he was asked in the hiring process was, “Can you fix a clogged toilet?” What started as three hours a day in the summer has morphed into pretty much a full-time job with winter rentals and an incredible summer community of families and friends. The board president back then even introduced him to his wife, Paula. Stop by the club, say hello to Jim (if he doesn’t beat you to it) and if you’ve got the time, sit down and let him tell you one of hundreds of stories bouncing around in his tanned head. You won’t regret it.
Happy Birthday, Jim! We love you!
Olympic Pipeline -- EXPOSED! What do you think is the most dangerous thing in Somerset? Speeding cars? The power lines that started a fire within feet of homes last summer?
pipeline to install big power poles. In that case, PSE’s contractors would do the digging rather than Olympic Pipeline workers. Besides the risk of a potentially deadly
What about the Olympic Pipeline, which climbs up our hill from Tyee Middle School and then runs next to Somerset Drive SE and Forest Hill Park? Many people are unaware that this half-century-old pipeline transports millions of gallons of jet fuel and gasoline through our neighborhood every day. After a journey of almost 300 miles, the fuel is delivered to SeaTac and Portland airports.
Somerset residents got a good look at the pipeline in May, after several big tree stumps were removed by the Olympic Pipeline Company, not too far from the Somerset Rec Club. Workers completely excavated the pipeline to make sure the tree roots hadn’t damaged the coating that insulates the pipeline from electromagnetic radiation emitted by PSE’s power lines. Even a small The Olympic Pipeline is surrounded by temporary construction panels and scratch in the coating digging equipment. accelerates corrosion of the metal pipe, and could eventually cause a spill and a potentially catastrophic fire that cannot be extinguished by the Bellevue Fire Department.
accident, Somerset will be disrupted by months of invasive construction even more extensive than what is shown in this photo.
So what’s the latest status on Energize Eastside? It appears that the hearing in Newcastle has stalled for undisclosed reasons. Not to be deterred, PSE has submitted a new permit application to build the “North Segment” of the project through North and Central Bellevue and Redmond. Part of the line will go through the Lake Hills neighborhood, where the East Bellevue Community Council (EBCC) has land use authority. An online “courtesy hearing” was scheduled on June 1 (after this newsletter goes to print) to allow PSE and the public to inform EBCC about the pros and cons of the project. Testimony was to be allowed from all residents, regardless of where they reside. If you would like to learn more about what transpired, you can check our website at cense.org for more details or to sign up for our newsletter.
Neighbors who talked to Olympic’s workers were impressed with the care and professional caution they demonstrated. Due to the complexity of this project, it took longer than the company estimated.
If you have any questions about the June 1 hearing or Energize Eastside, you can contact CENSE directly at email@example.com. Thanks for your support!
We wonder what would happen if PSE’s Energize Eastside project proceeds and workers dig large holes near the
Don Marsh CENSE President
Newport Way Sidewalk/Bike Lane Nearing Completion! Activity on the final stages of work began in early June on the SE Newport Way Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Project, from Somerset Boulevard SE to 150th Ave SE. Expect intermittent lane closures and delays as the work progresses on Monday - Friday, 7 am to 6 pm. COVID-19 delayed the finishing work to this month, but the last step (roadway paving) is set to be completed by the end of July! We will then enjoy a 10-foot (shared use) sidewalk on the north side, a 5-foot bike lane on the south side, and a pedestrian crosswalk at the South Bellevue Community Center. We are excited to see work nearing completion and looking forward to a grand opening celebration when the project is complete. For project updates, visit BellevueWA.gov/newport-way. Kristi Weir, Somerset resident Newport Way Sidewalk Committee
Safety, Preparedness and Block Group Meeting Report - We had a great turnout for the virtual meeting in late April. It was encouraging to see so many people interested in safety, security, crime prevention and disaster preparedness in our community. Block groups were a focus of the meeting. Block groups are formed to enhance communication and preparedness among neighbors. The result is improved safety, security, and resilience to disasters. Dave Mickelson provided
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS some history of block groups in Somerset. Angela Cheung provided a review of our connections with the City of Bellevue regarding safety and preparedness. A good portion of the meeting was devoted to discussion of common concerns, personal stories and how to motivate more involvement. If you missed the meeting and would like to hear more or get involved, please request information at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit our website somerset98006.org and click on the “Preparedness” header. Block Parties are Back! The CDC says we’re safe to gather outside again! What better way to celebrate a relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions than by planning an outdoor gettogether with your neighbors? So, what would this look like? Imagine:
· A potluck-style party with foods representing our broad ethnic diversity! · The fire department showing off a fire truck to the kids (and some adults!) and giving a brief talk about fire safety in the home. · The police showing off a police cruiser and all the cool techno-gear to the adults (and some kids!) and giving a brief talk about crime prevention in the neighborhood. · Getting to know your neighbors a little bit better to improve resilience to unforeseen events in our neighborhood. If you have a gathering, please let us know. We’d like to mention it in the Sun and maybe even share some photos! Replace Old Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms and Check Your Batteries Did you know that 10 years is the lifetime of smoke and CO alarms? Many alarms in Somerset are probably well beyond that age. Check the back of your alarms for a date code stamp. See the photo for an example. Current building codes require smoke alarms to be installed (1) within every bedroom, (2) in the exit area outside a cluster of bedrooms, and (3) on each level of the home. If you have fuel-burning appliances in your home (furnace, hot-water heater, stove, etc.) you should install a CO alarm, particularly in any bedroom having such an appliance nearby. CO is an odorless gas and a silent killer.
New homes have alarms installed during construction, receive power directly from the home wiring with battery backup, and are interconnected. However, most homes in Somerset were constructed prior to the latest building code requirements so any Check the date on the back of each alarm installed smoke alarms in your home and replace if older than 10 are typically batteryyears. This one needs replacing! powered only and only the alarm that detects a problem will create an alert sound. All alarms should be tested regularly. A “test” button on the alarm body allows you to check that the alarm works properly. The battery-operated alarms must have batteries changed on a regular basis. Most alarms will begin “chirping” when the battery level is getting low indicating a battery change is required. However, rather than waiting for the chirping to start, it’s a good idea (and a lot less annoying) to form a habit of changing the batteries annually on a specific date - July 4th or New Year’s Day are easy to remember. Change them all at once. And remember to recycle the batteries – they can be dropped off at the Factoria Transfer Station for no charge. Additional information on replacing old alarms can be found at NFPA.org/Public-Education/Staying-safe. Pete Mansfield SCA Preparedness Chair
Reporting Crime: It is Your Responsibility! Mailbox theft, porch theft, car prowls and the like must be reported. Tracking criminal trends is important for police resource allocation. Call (425) 577-5656 or report a crime online at bellevuewa.gov/city-government/departments/police Also: MyBellevue App->New Request-> Police Department->Non-Emergency
Always dial 911 for situations requiring immediate response
Good Reads Kindred by Octavia Butler (2004), 288 pages
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (2021), 249 pages
Dana, a modern African-American woman, finds herself sent back in time to repeatedly rescue Rufus, the son of a white plantation owner who she discovers is her own ancestor. She is forced to save his life in order for her own grandmother to be born, while enduring the shocking brutalities American slaves suffered just in order to survive. Moving and thought-provoking, and a unique time travel/history combination.
In a not-too-distant future, narrator Klara watches and comments on the behavior of the family that purchased her as an “artificial friend” for their daughter. As a model of android that has been discontinued due to being overly emotional, she must continually collect information in her quest to understand the nature of love. This is the first novel from this author following the award of his Nobel Prize in Literature, and is written in his distinctive, simple style.
For the last few years, Bev Edwards has shared her “Good Reads” with the community and introduced us to a variety of authors and genres, all while continuing to solicit and manage the advertising for this newsletter. She is now asking that other community members share their favorite books for inclusion in future newsletters. Please send your reading suggestions to us at email@example.com. Bev, we so appreciate all you continue to do for the SCA. THANK YOU, BEV!
Landscaping Update Spring is that time of the year for a fresh start, time to clean up our yards, pull the weeds, mow the lawn, and show pride in our community’s appearance. The value of our homes is linked to how well we keep up our homes and the common areas SCA is responsible. One area that needs our help are the grass You are responsible for maintaining the planting strips in strips between the sidewalk the sidewalk, both in front of and curb in front of your and behind your property. house, on the side if you own a corner lot, or behind your house if you own what is called a ‘thru lot’ facing streets front and back. What may be nature’s landscaping to you can be seen as weeds and an eyesore to others. Be kind to your neighbors and community by showing your pride in living here. Somerset Main Entrance - A fresh coat of landscape mulch was applied in the beginning of April to the main entrance, the landscaped areas along Somerset Blvd, and on 143rd Ave SE by Somerset Elementary and the woods. Our landscape contractor, Dawn Till Dusk, trimmed the shrubs along Somerset Blvd and cleaned up the landscaping at the front entrance. The entry waterfall feature was cleaned and restarted just in time for spring and colorful impatiens were planted at the entrance in early May. Highland Drive Maintenance - All of the street medians fall under the Parks Department for maintenance but they are also a shared responsibility with Community Services and Neighborhood Development (CS&ND) for their appearance. This year the City’s budget was cut by $500 million but Highland Drive mowing maintenance is on schedule for twice a month mowing during growing season, once a month summer, and stopped once the grass turns dormant. Warning: If tax revenue drops again in 2022, the cut could get worse and mowing might find itself infrequent and communities may
have to help out with DIY efforts. If that time comes I hope our association and homeowners will be the first to help out. Foresthill Entrance - We received a comment from a neighbor several years ago about the condition of the Foresthill entrance not reflecting the same attractiveness as the Somerset entrance. We tried to do something at the time but didn’t get anywhere with the Parks Department who are responsible for maintaining the Foresthill entrance and the medians on Somerset Drive. With the help of two Somerset volunteers (Brandon and Mari) who were willing to help, we looked at the Foresthill entrance for ideas to revitalize the area. We found the trees in the median dying from Trellis Rust and they need to be removed. There are some sightline issues Tree at Foresthill entrance coming in from Coal Creek and suffering from Trellis Rust there was a definite lack of color. We reached out to Tom Kuykendall, CS&ND’s Supervisor, for his input since the responsibility is shared with Parks. We learned the City of Bellevue has a “Renewal Program” in the Capital Improvement Project (CIP) program to refurbish areas like this. Tom indicated he would make an application for renewal for the entry and, as I understand, if our application is approved the trees will be removed. If that happens the whole median would get an overhaul; moving plants worth keeping and installing new plants to revive the Foresthill entrance. Hopefully there is still funding available so this project can be done as early as this year! Gary Albert New Landscape Committee Chair
Confessions of a Somerset Housewife Hello neighbors! This is my first column in the Somerset Sun, so I will give a short introduction based on a post I made in the social media app “Nextdoor”. My name is Renee, and I come from Nova Scotia. In Nova Scotia, you can’t really hide anything about your life. For better or worse, your neighbors know everything about you, your family, your history, and what time you got home last night. Since I’ve moved here, I’ve found it difficult to connect. Connecting requires being real, and I’m going to stop complaining and make the first step. Without further ado, here are my confessions: · I’m not a housewife. I live in Somerset. I’m pretty sure nobody can be a housewife while simultaneously living in Somerset. I work way too much and my husband does as well. Although you may see me walking my kids to and from school, exchanging pleasant smiles, my left eye is twitching just a little, and on the inside I’m wondering if I’m going to be late for that meeting, or figuring out why I have to say “put on your shoes” 17 times before the sentence actually registers with my children.
· I have a Shih Tzu and Coton de Tulear. We primarily bought the Coton de Tulear so we could respond, “Coton de Tulear” with a French accent whenever anyone asks us what kind of dog we have. · Our Coton de Tulear now looks like a hairless cat because we didn’t brush him twice a day and my husband had to shave him. We figured we’d save money on a groomer, and now I’m embarrassed to walk my naked mole rat around the neighborhood. · The other day, my 5 year old dropped the F bomb while we were walking across the crosswalk amongst all the other elementary school moms. She not only used it correctly, she somehow donned a Jersey accent. I was simultaneously mortified and somehow proud. · We buy bulk boxes of Pirate’s Booty. If you don’t know what that is, bless your sweet little heart.
· We rent. Can any of you actually afford to buy a house in Somerset? If so, could you please tell me what you do and how you do it?
· Our house is full of stuff we don’t care much about so that we don’t get upset if it gets ruined by our kids and dogs. As a result, I sometimes cry when I watch Marie Kondo speak in her delicate voice about household items sparking joy.
· I got a frou-frou wreath for my door last Christmas and forgot to scratch off the $4.99 Goodwill tag.
· At any given time, there is a load of laundry sitting in our washing machine that we have forgotten about.
· If you compliment me on a clothing item, it takes everything in me not to proudly exclaim, “Oh! I got it at Value Village for $2.99!”
That is all for now! This stream-of-consciousness bout of vulnerability brought to you by the endless rain and the letter F. Look for more parenting-related columns in the future!
Somerset Sun Online Archive The SCA has created an online archive of the Somerset Sun newsletter. Visit https://issuu.com/somerset98006 to see two decades of past editions of this unique neighborhood resource. Do you have any copies of the Somerset Sun that are not yet in our archives? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to borrow them for just a few days to digitize and share them with our neighbors.
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Somerset History We thought you might enjoy this drawing from the second EVER issue of the Somerset Sun dated March, 1963 as part of our series on the history of the Somerset neighborhood. The accompanying story reported that construction of the pool, “bath house” and tennis courts would be completed within 60 days for a cost of $70,000. The initial plans expected around 200 families to participate with an initiation fee plus annual membership of $150. If you have a story or pictures to share, please contact us at email@example.com.