__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1


Somerset Community Association Board of Directors - responsibilities Gary Albert Charlie Bofferding Francis Brito Diane Fern Johannes Grad Yiyi Guo Kristen Iversen Pete Mansfield Muriel Mittelstrass Sue Sander Marie Vieth Allan Yeung

albert.gary@gmail.com charles.bofferding@gmail.com forsubr@gmail.com dianefern@hotmail.com johannes.grad@gmail.com junoyiyi@gmail.com kristen.iversen.wa@gmail.com petermansfield@comcast.net mmittelstrass@comcast.net suesander10@hotmail.com viethm@comcast.net akyeung@protonmail.com

Landscaping Chair, Signs Covenants Review Committee President Vice President, CRC Chair Communications, Website Manager Member-at-Large Membership Chair, CRC Emergency Preparedness Chair Welcome Chair, School Liaison Secretary Treasurer Member-at-Large

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 somerset98006@gmail.com.

Somerset Sun Advertising deadlines: May 14, 2021 – Summer issue August 13, 2021 – Fall issue November 12, 2021 – Winter issue February 11, 2022 – Spring 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)

$25 $140 $300 $300 $550

There is a 10% discount for Somerset residents, OR for committing to the next three issues.

Thank you for your interest in advertising in the Somerset Sun. Together, we are neighbors helping neighbors.

Cover photo by Demi Wang

SOMERSET98006.ORG LIKE US ON FACEBOOK FACEBOOK.COM/SOMERSETCOMMUNITYASSOCIATION

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 somerset98006@gmail.com.


Dear Neighbors, Please join me in welcoming our returning Board Members, and our new Board Members, Yiyi Guo, Allan Yeung, Charles Bofferding, Gary Albert, and Kristen Iversen. We wish Sylvia Vasilik and Maggie Yeh a fond farewell as their terms have ended. Sylvia served as our Membership Chair and Maggie as Secretary for the last three years. Thank you for your service to our community; we will miss you. Invoices for the 2021 dues were mailed in early January to every Somerset resident. Thank you to those who have paid. For those who have misplaced their invoice, a duplicate is included for your convenience in this newsletter. You can also pay by credit card by going to our website, Somerset98006.org, with no additional fee for online payment. Please help us support the community by paying your dues this year.

SCA PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

The majority of our Board Meetings in 2020 were held virtually, including the Annual General Meeting, using Zoom. Thanks to the help of our Communications and Website Chair, Johannes Grad, these meetings went smoothly, and we appreciate all the community members who made it a priority to attend. On the first Saturday of February, we held a virtual retreat for our incoming new Directors. We have a strong Board this year, thanks to the efforts of our Nominating Committee and VP, Diane Fern. We will be working together, looking for ways to improve community involvement and increase membership. My wife and I had our vaccines, and I hope everybody in the community will soon get yours. Wishing you all a gorgeous 2021, Francis Brito SCA President

Report from the SCA Annual General Meeting About 43 community members attended the annual general meeting held virtually over Zoom in January. President Francis Brito welcomed all attending and reported on the SCA’s 2020 activities, which had been both limited and adapted by the COVID-19 pandemic. New Board members Charles Bofferding, Kristen Iversen, Yiyi Guo and Allan Yeung were elected, and Gary Albert was appointed to fill the remaining vacancy following the meeting. Board members Marie Vieth and Sue Sander were reelected for an additional term. The proposed budget for 2021 was reviewed and approved. Emergency Preparedness Chair Pete Mansfield reported on the neighborhood safety issues and reviewed the SCA COVID-19 response. At the Board’s request, the meeting was then addressed by representatives from the Somerset Rec Club and CENSE. If you are interested in getting involved, joining the Board, or hearing more details about any of these issues, please contact us at somerset98006@gmail.com and plan on attending next year’s meeting!

Gary Albert

Charles Bofferding

Yiyi Guo

Kristen Iversen

Announcing Somerset Virtual Game Nights!

Attention Class of 2021 Senior Families

Join us for a family-friendly hour of fun and simple online games to be scheduled in March and April. For information and details, check our website at somerset98006.org/games.

Neighborhood parents are hoping to organize a car parade for all high school seniors (from any school) who live in the Somerset neighborhood! Seniors would be driven in cars, while community members cheer the graduates on from the safety of the parade route along the street. If you are interested in participating, please email organizer Lisa Young at somersetseniors21@gmail.com


By Councilmember Conrad Lee Happy Lunar New Year of the Ox symbol of hard work, stability, and calmness. A year of great opportunities and economic prosperity to you all! What a horrific year we just went through, with a world health crisis (27.7 million cases and 485K deaths in the U.S.) leading to economic downturn, culminating in the second impeachment of a president! Our nation’s deep-rooted social problems were brought to the surface by the COVID-19 pandemic which brought down not just a president but the economy. How we respond to it as a nation will determine what the next hundred years will be like. It will affect not just us but the world. This is a challenge we are all facing together. We have been hit with a disease we have not figured out and are trying desperately to find ways to combat. Our scientists and healthcare workers are doing their best to help us live through it. The pandemic brought our economy down to a level not seen since the Great Depression. Our country has prospered tremendously since WWII. The evolution of technologies and innovation has made our economy more efficient and our lives much easier for decades. However, social, economic, and political conditions have not kept pace with our nation’s vision, values, and goals. Progress has been made but politics, local and global, have become more divided and social and economic gaps have become wider. The pandemic has awakened us to see the need to address the root causes and effects of the problems of past generations of inequality in education, status, equal treatment and inadequate remediation and reconciliation efforts. It has gained recognition by businesses, government, and the general public. It requires political will and social change that can be made when all of us are committed to working together to make those changes. It may seem to be impossible judging from the recent political division and growing polarization in our national politics. We can do it. We can do it because it is the right thing to do. Democracy is

fragile and requires vigilance to protect and persevere. There has not been a democracy like ours that has lasted this long. It takes sacrifice and working together to attain our goals. This is our charge, our duty, and our challenge – to make our nation a more perfect Union that lives up to its promises and values of freedom, liberty and justice for all!

COUNCIL CORNER As your local government, the City of Bellevue has been welcoming to all cultures and diversities. I am an example of an immigrant who has achieved the American Dream raising my family and living in Somerset for the past 53 years. We must continue to be a place where everyone can realize the American Dream while working to uphold American vision, values, and goals. In the face of the pandemic, because of our fiscal prudence, our latest city budget continues to serve our resident and community needs and provides full funding for public safety and essential services our community expects while making extra efforts to support the small businesses and individuals affected by the pandemic. It also includes additional initiatives to address social and economic equity for all our residents, particularly those who may be impacted by racial and social inequity. The success of these initiatives depends on the participation of our whole community. I invite your involvement and engagement. Write or call me. We can succeed when we work together! Born in China, Conrad grew up in Hong Kong and has lived in Bellevue since 1967. He lives in Somerset with his wife Winnie and can be reached at clee@bellevuewa.gov.


Aspects of Preparedness Quiz What is preparedness? How does it relate to an emergency or disaster, and what is the difference? Does finding the answer involve math? Let’s explore the meaning of words and phrases often used in a preparedness context. The diagram below contains two words in each of three columns. What do the words mean?

From left to right, pick one word from each column to form a phrase. What does the phrase mean? Now, here’s the math part: following the instructions above, how many unique three-word phrases can you make? If you calculated 23 = 8 phrases, you are correct! By the way, no lost credit for simply working out each combination one at a time and counting them up! OK, ok, no more math! What does each phrase mean? How are they different? We’ll dive into those questions but first we should have a mutual understanding for what each word in the diagram means in the context of preparedness. So, here goes:

• Personal: Refers to you, those living with you and your living space. • Community: The exact boundary may vary but, essentially, you and all the people that live in your neighborhood, town, or city, and including the land, structures, and infrastructure. • Emergency: A situation that requires an immediate response and is of critical importance. Emergencies include kitchen grease fires or someone suffering a heart attack. • Disaster: Many simultaneous emergencies! Disasters include widespread events such as earthquakes or severe storms. • Preparation: Actions taken ahead of time before an emergency or disaster has occurred. • Response: Actions taken during and immediately after an emergency or disaster has occurred. Note that an effective response generally requires training which is a part of preparation. With these definitions understood, what does each phrase mean and how are you involved? Take some time to think about it before reading on.

EIGHT Aspects of Preparedness to Keep in Mind • Personal Emergency Preparation: What you and your family do to prepare ahead of an emergency. Examples include: s Maintaining a charged and appropriately rated fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen and garage where fires are most likely to occur in the home. s Maintaining a first aid kit and taking first aid courses, including CPR training so you can assist someone in need. s Maintaining emergency phone numbers, like 911, on or near your phone. • Personal Emergency Response: What you do during and immediately following an emergency. Examples include: s Calling 911 s Finding and discharging a fire extinguisher in a safe and effective manner to put out a fire. s Properly applying a compression bandage to a bleeding wound. s Administering CPR. • Personal Disaster Preparation: What you and your family do to prepare ahead of a disaster. This includes steps taken for personal emergency preparation and adds steps such as: s Storing drinking water for extended water supply interruptions s Maintaining a stock of non-perishable food s Keeping a go-bag ready containing essential items in the event you must leave your home in a hurry. • Personal Disaster Response: What you do during and immediately following a disaster event. Remember calling 911 is not an option in this situation. Response includes aspects of personal emergency response and adds responses such as (depending on the disaster type): s Getting under your kitchen table and holding on if during an earthquake. s Turning off your gas meter if you smell, hear, or see a gas leak following an earthquake. s Staying tuned to public announcements for information and instructions. • Community Emergency Preparation: How the community prepares for emergencies. We collectively fund fire, police, and EMT services through our taxes. These emergency services hire and train personnel and maintain equipment and skills to assist with a typical rate of emergency situations throughout the community - in this case, Bellevue. • Community Emergency Response: How the communityfunded services respond to emergencies. When we call 911, the police, fire department or EMTs arrive on the scene to assist. The skills and equipment these people bring to a situation is well beyond what an individual citizen can typically provide. • Community Disaster Preparation: How you and your neighbors work together to become more resilient to disaster situations when calling 911 receives no response. Examples include:


s Neighborhood block groups forming and meeting to learn and practice skills. s Maintaining a community cache of equipment to be used in a disaster. s Learning the 9-steps for how to respond to a disaster and in particular, the steps involving community coordination of activities.

Preparedness Meeting April 27th A meeting for all those interested in preparedness, especially existing and prospective block leaders, is scheduled for Tuesday, April 27th at 7:00pm. The meeting will be hosted on Zoom. Instructions for joining the meeting will be posted on the SCA website (somerset98006.org) one day before the meeting time. Please email somersetprepares@gmail.com with any questions or suggestions for discussion topics. The agenda is still being developed but will include a review of preparedness in Somerset.

• Community Disaster Response: How the community responds to a disaster. Professional emergency services are mandated to assign resources according to “doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people”. That means they will focus on areas of high population concentration. Somerset will be on its own for days or perhaps weeks after a disaster. The term “community” is now limited to all of us in Somerset or perhaps individual block groups in Somerset. Examples of how we might respond if organized include: s Gathering at pre-defined meeting locations to share information and form groups to gather additional information. s Using information gathered to develop plans to how to best assist those identified as needing help.

s Maintaining detailed records of what has been found to share with trained emergency services when they arrive. s Employing predetermined contingent communication channels and operators to get critical information in and out. The community disaster response portion will only work if we get together to prepare ahead of time. Once disaster strikes it is too late to implement an effective response if we have not prepared beforehand.

In summary, preparedness encompasses all eight phrases listed above. Six of those phrases imply we put in some effort at the personal and community level to make sure we have the right skills, training, and equipment to deal with situations as they arise. To find out more please see the preparedness pages at somerset98006.org. The SCA promotes and supports community preparedness. If you would like to find out how to become more involved with community preparedness please attend the Zoom meeting announced above or email somersetprepares@gmail.com with any questions. Hope to see you there. Stay safe! Pete Mansfield Preparedness Chair


Understanding the Covenants – Please Be a Good Neighbor! “Covenants” is a term we use to describe the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions which apply to most of the residential lots in the Somerset neighborhood. As Somerset hill was developed and homes were built, these documents were prepared and recorded for each separate Division. They “run with the land” and apply to all original and subsequent homeowners. When you purchased your house in Somerset, you were provided with a copy of the Covenants, and it is your responsibility to be familiar with and abide by them. The Covenants must be followed by renters as well, and it is the property owner’s responsibility to make sure their tenants comply. If you cannot track down the copy of the Covenants which you received, please see the “Covenants” tab on our website (Somerset98006.org) for a map of the neighborhood to identify your Division, and then you can access the Covenant documents which apply to your property. We all appreciate the stunning views of the mountains, cities, water and skyline that are available from Somerset and want to see those views protected. Our neighborhood homes maintain their high property values because these views are also maintained. Most of the Somerset Divisions have Covenants which include protection of the views. This is why trees are not allowed to grow into neighbor views and why CRC approval must be granted before any changes are made to the exterior of a house. It is also why we encourage everyone to BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR and trim your trees as part of your annual maintenance, and not just in response to a complaint. If you do not regularly prune and shape trees and bushes, they are more likely to grow into a neighbor’s Covenant-protected view or into a size that could require removal. Please be aware that the neighborhood was developed carefully and buildings were placed strategically on lots so that many homes have views that are between neighbor houses, so even a tree smaller than the 20-foot limit could be in violation of the Covenants.

The Covenants Review Committee (“CRC”) is made up of five Somerset residents (three of whom are SCA Board members) who meet monthly to review requests which include general questions (Can I park my RV in my driveway?), neighbor disputes (I hate looking at my neighbor’s purple house!), and remodels

COVENANT CORNER both large and small. Many disputes could be avoided if homeowners do a better job of abiding by the Covenants. If trees are regularly trimmed, your neighbor will not complain about their views. If the proper steps are taken to obtain CRC approval for painting your house, you would know that purple is not a color that is allowed. (By the way, both the Covenants AND the Bellevue City Code prohibit parking RVs in your driveway.) As spring arrives, let’s all help our neighbors enjoy (finally) getting out of our houses. Trim your trees in advance of their spring growth. Take care of weeds, especially in areas that neighbors can view. Check your outside lights and make sure they don’t shine into a neighbor’s house at night (and that they turn off at a decent hour). Understanding the Covenants will help us all be the best neighbor that we can – it protects the value of our properties and the Somerset community. Thank you to those homeowners who have worked together to resolve differences between their properties over the last few months. We encourage everyone to send any questions about the Covenants or property issues to somerset98006@gmail.com. Diane Fern, Chair Covenant Review Committee

NEWPORT WAY SIDEWALK - BIKE LANE PROJECT The Newport Way improvements are moving along. The sidewalk, planting, and paving will be completed in Spring when there are several predictable continuous dry days. (Expect some delays or rerouting during paving.) Improvements include a sidewalk on the south side of the street connecting 150th to the South Bellevue Community Center/tennis courts and a 10-foot wide, multi-use path on the north side connecting Somerset to the Library, Community Center, Eastgate neighborhood, Tyee Middle School and Eastgate Elementary. The project also includes a bike lane eastbound connecting to the existing Newport Way bike lanes. Stay tuned for an announcement from the City of Bellevue about an official opening scheduled for Summer 2021. Kristi Weir, Newport Way Sidewalk Committee Somerset Resident


Important Dates

Summer Membership Registration now Open! Sign up at somersetrec.org. 2021 Membership Pricing: Family membership: $695 Adult couple membership: $395 Adult single membership: $225 Jr. membership: $200 Please see rules of membership Our hope is for a normal or somewhat normal 2021 pool season, but please note if COVID-19 continues to impact our facility’s ability to operate normally as it did in 2020, SRC will refund full or partial membership fees, as applicable. Questions, please email somersetrecclub@gmail.com. During a normal summer season, Somerset Rec Club offers members a 4-lane outdoor heated swimming pool, summer swim team, summer swim lessons, toddler pool, as well as fun social events for the whole family, including pizza/bingo nights, outdoor movies, etc. Poolside decks and grills available to members to enjoy the amazing views. At this time, we are uncertain how COVID-19 will impact our 2021 summer pool operations. Government guidance may once again limit us to appointment-only lap swim, however we are hopeful we may be able to operate closer to a typical season with members enjoying socially-distanced pool time. We are anticipating potential capacity limits not experienced in normal summers. As we learn more, we will inform members and those interested in membership on what will and will not be allowed for summer. Please make sure to follow us on Facebook (SomersetRecClub) to keep updated on SRC news.

Spring Volunteer Cleanup Party: April 3, Saturday 9am-2pm SRC Opening Day: May 15, Saturday 1-4pm Swim Team Assessments (for all new swimmers + previous Sharkies): May 10, Monday First Day of Swim Practice: May 11, Tuesday afternoon The following dates are tentative based on Midlakes Swim League swim season decisions: 6/15: Swim Team Meets begin 6/21: Stingray AM practice begins 7/17: B Champs 7/19-7/21: Prelims 7/25: KCAC Reminder: If Midlakes swim meets happen, SRC would close early one weekday per week for 6 weeks during the summer season to allow 100+ kids the opportunity to compete in a swim meet. Closures are posted in the office, Facebook and on the website.

that will match your donation of time to non-profits. Please mark your calendar and get ready to volunteer for a few hours at SRC help the club get ready for another summer season. We are creating a punch list of projects and then will create a SignUpGenius for volunteers to ensure we adhere to any capacity limits. Check our Facebook page for updates on volunteer work parties. Type of work typically needed at clean up parties includes pressure washing, weeding, landscaping, cleaning and painting, etc. Children are welcome with adults if they can work productively cleaning and/or landscaping. Community Service Hours - High School students, are you looking for a great volunteer opportunity to earn community service hours? SRC will need help getting ready for the season and we will have projects identified for high schoolers. Be ready to work and you can get 4+ hours of community service. If you are interested, dates for volunteer clean-up hours will be posted on Facebook and you will be able to sign up on Naviance. Please contact Emilie Castle with any questions at emiliecastle@gmail.com.

Mark Your Calendar for SRC OPENING DAY on Saturday, May 15, 2021 from 1-4 pm. SRC is planning to host some type of Open House that will follow Governor Inslee’s COVID-19 guidelines. While we expect our open house to look a little different than in past years, our hope is to welcome new and old members to tour, sign up for memberships, answer summer swim team questions and enjoy the amazing views from the pool deck. Pre-Season Spring Volunteer Cleanup Party on Saturday, April 3 from 9 am - 2 pm. Even though work parties aren’t required and we no longer have maintenance fees, Somerset Rec Club is still in need of volunteers to get ready for the season! As a non-profit 501(c)3, your volunteer hours can be used to satisfy school volunteer requirements or turned in for monetary donations to the pool if you work for a company

Preview of New SRC Logo. We are excited to announce a new look for SRC. We aimed to create a timeless look that gives a nod to our neighborhood history but captures the energy of the modern updates and improvement trajectory the club is on. We hope you feel the final logo reflects this. The board is cost-consciously rolling out the new logo but expect to see the new design in the coming months.


Aquatics Update on Summer Swim Team

At this time SRC is awaiting guidance from Midlakes Swim League on summer swim team plans and expect to hear from them by April. At a minimum, SRC plans to offer a modified swim team program similar to last summer but we will make this determination after hearing from Midlakes. We are hopeful that the county will be beyond Phase 2 by summer and are excited about the potential competition option that will be allowed under the new Roadmap to Recovery Plan. Please remember that SRC membership is required to participate in summer swim team. If you are interested in summer swim team please stay tuned for more information on how to sign up. Questions about Swim Team, please contact our Swim Team Coordinators with any swim team questions: Shannon Gregory-Lowe or Michael Ketchum SRCswimteam@gmail.com.

Did you know shopping on Amazon can help SRC? AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop. Select Somerset Recreation Club as your charity when you shop at smile.amazon.com. You’ll find the exact same prices, and selection as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to SRC.

2021 Season Facility Improvements: better views,

overhauled electrical system, and (fingers crossed) a new slide Prior to COVID-19’s impact on the 2020 season, SRC made the following facility improvements: removed the dilapidated lower clubhouse, resurfaced the cracked and failing pool deck, installed new toilets and painted the front of the building. Installation of a new slide was planned, but unfortunately was not able to be installed during the 2020 season due to difficulty finding a vendor to provide engineering plans for city review. After much work by our president, Michael Ketchum, we are one step closer. We have finally received engineering plans, scheduled a location inspection and will be submitting plans to the City of Bellevue for approval. We will update membership on a timeline for installation once the plans are approved. SRC is also doing maintenance work before the 2021 season including recently topping trees impeding the pool deck views and is in the process of overhauling the pumphouse’s electrical system which has turned into a critical project. Given the uncertainty of COVID-19 on the 2021 season, the SRC Board has not yet identified any future improvements as our goal remains to ensure the viability of the pool for many years to come. As always, if you have questions please contact SRC President Michael Ketchum.


SOMERSET HISTORY We thought you might enjoy this advertisement from the April 30, 1961 issue of the Seattle Daily Times as part of our series on the history of our wonderful Somerset neighborhood. If you have a story or pictures to share, contact us at somerset98006@gmail.com.

The original fountains at the entrance from Newport Way looked very much like this early artist’s rendering.

The hill’s developers protected the views by recording the Covenants, putting the wiring for power and telephone lines underground and terracing the streets so that “nothing will ever mar the view at Somerset…”

In the 1960s, a Gold Medallion signified that the house was technologically advanced. Some of this technology included an electric washer and dryer, waste disposal, refrigerator, and electric heating. Having a home 100% powered by electricity was a relatively new innovation of the times.

Well into the 1960s, phone numbers were alphanumeric, with the first two letters corresponding to the first two digits of the phone number on a dial. The realtor’s phone number began with SHerwood 6, representing 746, a prefix still used by many Somerset residents.

We are curious what they meant by “electric servants” here – does anyone know where we can purchase such an item?


Reliable Electricity -- When? How? In the early hours of January 13, a moderate windstorm hit the Pacific Northwest. Following a very rainy start to the year, many soggy trees lost their footing. Over half a million Washington residents lost power, some for several days. Although most Somerset homes were not severely impacted by the outage, in prior years our residents have suffered some of the worst reliability issues in the city. PSE’s annual reliability reports show the top two causes of Somerset outages are falling trees and equipment failure.

Peninsula Light improved its reliability performance dramatically, raising relative reliability from the last quartile to the first quartile compared to its peers. PSE could follow a similar plan. 3: Replace aging equipment before it fails. Running to the point of failure may benefit PSE’s bottom line, but it hurts customers.

The following graph charts the cumulative duration of large outages (each affecting at least 100 customers) during the last decade. The dashed trend line is worrisome.

In a presentation to stakeholders on February 10, PSE introduced the concept of a “Virtual Power Plant.” To create a VPP (as the cool kids call it), a utility pays customers for access to relatively small batteries located in homes and small businesses (like the Tesla Powerwall). Software allows the utility to coordinate the operation of thousands of such batteries, storing cheap renewable energy from solar or wind farms during times of day when these resources are plentiful, and then discharging at times when electricity is in higher demand and more expensive.

What is PSE doing to improve reliability in Somerset? “Energize Eastside,” an expensive transmission upgrade, is the only significant project PSE is pursuing to improve reliability in our area. Unfortunately, the project would not have prevented a single Eastside outage in the last decade and is unlikely to prevent any outage in the next decade.

What could PSE do? Since most Somerset outages are caused by falling trees and failing equipment, there are three near term remedies:

1: Improve maintenance of trees near power lines that serve our neighborhood. 2: Move vulnerable power lines underground, as Peninsula Light (the co-op utility serving Gig Harbor) has done during the last decade. Without raising electric bills,

Welcome to the future!

A VPP can save money, reduce carbon emissions, and improve reliability for all customers, whether they have a battery or not. The cost of the batteries and installation can be subsidized to help make them affordable for all families. Homeowners further benefit because the batteries can provide at least a few hours of electricity when the power goes out. The resiliency of our community is improved when a natural disaster causes widespread outages. If some homes still have access to electricity, they can help neighbors stay warm and recharge their phones. It might sound like science fiction, but the declining costs of batteries and solar panels have made large VPPs feasible in places like Vermont, California, Utah, and Australia. These projects have received national news coverage. Why not consider this idea for the Pacific Northwest?

Newcastle hearing CENSE continues to prepare for the critical Energize Eastside public hearing that will be held in Newcastle. At press time, the hearing was not yet scheduled. The latest rumor is that it might occur in April. We will keep you posted!

COVID Vaccine!

Greener Living Classes

Hopefully, some of you have had the opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID-19 already. If you have not yet, be sure to consult kingcounty.gov for up-to-date information on vaccine eligibility, free testing opportunities, and statewide safety requirements. A phone call to your medical care provider may also provide direction.

City of Bellevue Utilities is offering free virtual, interactive classes on reducing food waste, curbside composting, sustainable shopping and more on how to live “greener.” Classes are geared toward adults and children over age seven. Check out their website at bellevuewa.gov/greener-livingclasses for more information or to register.


Good Reads Still Life by Louise Penny (2015)

Chronicles of the Kings (Vol.1-5) by Lynn Austin (1995)

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. Jane Neal, a local fixture in this tiny hamlet just north of the U.S. border, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it's a tragic hunting accident and nothing more, but Gamache smells something foul in these remote woods, and is soon certain that Jane Neal died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.

This five-volume series chronicles the epic tales of struggle and triumph told in the Old Testament. Author Lynn Austin is one of the best at giving the reader an up close and personal feel for what it must have been like to have lived in ancient times. If you enjoy novels which imagine what day-to-day life must have been like in biblical times, you have come to the right place. Thrilling, heartbreaking, and a true page turner!

I have friends who have been after me to read the Louise Penny books, and I’m now wondering why it took me so long. This is book one and I’m hooked. You will enjoy this if you like mysteries.

I read all five books and wanted the story to go on and on. I felt like I was there and could see the events unfold. Definitely on the list of the best books I’ve ever read. Bev Edwards, Somerset Resident

Spring Landscaping Update The weather has been 10 degrees warmer than normal this winter with a noticeable lack of snow until mid-February, when much of the neighborhood received over a foot of snow in 24 hours. Hopefully those days are passed as you read this newsletter! Soon our plants will be starting to bloom and weeds will be coming back. Let’s make a commitment for Earth Day this April - let’s make it Somerset Day too and get out and clean up our landscaping, trim our shrubs, and show our pride in our community. We all spent a lot of time, energy, and money on our homes; let’s protect our investment by making Somerset the most desirable neighborhood to live. Somerset’s main entrance is looking great with the plants thriving. The water feature was turned off for the winter and will be cleaned before restarting in the spring, after there is no chance of freezing. Hopefully, there will be no more SOAPING of the water feature this year, because we plan to let itself dissipate over time. We don’t have the time to clean up the foam from this or sustain damage to the plants or to waste money on the 1,000 gallons of water down the drain every time it happens. Our holiday lights at the main entrance were turned on at Thanksgiving were turned off in late January after numerous power outages threw the timers out of sequence. Fleming Lighting, who also does the Bellevue Square Mall lighting,

loosened and re-installed the lights on the maple tree in the center island and on the six trees on the back wall behind the entrance of Somerset Boulevard. “Dawn till Dusk Landscapes” will continue to maintain our entrances and other areas, as well as managing the irrigation systems for 2021. Tom has been maintaining our areas for several years and trying to keep them looking great! He planted some winter plants in the front of the entrance and will replant the area with impatiens later this spring for summer color. All of the areas we are responsible for maintaining need a fresh covering of bark/mulch, so that will be our #1 priority starting the year. If we have enough membership participation, the area we maintain adjacent to Somerset Elementary along the fence to the sidewalk on 143rd Ave SE will also get a fresh coat of mulch. The Somerset Community Association is committed to you and everyone in our community and works to preserve, protect, and enhance our environment. I hope all of you and your families have a wonderful 2021 and hope to see COVID19 finally go away! If you have any suggestions or questions, please contact me at gary.albert@gmail.com. Thank you! Gary Albert New Landscape Committee Chair


In case you’ve forgotten Please pay your 2021 Somerset Community Association membership dues! The nominal annual fee of $75 (reduced to 2018 price) provides the benefits that make Somerset the wonderful community in which we live. Your dues pay for the maintenance and upkeep of the entrance fountain on Newport Way as well as the various areas of landscaping throughout the neighborhood. They also help to support the quarterly publication of the Somerset Sun, our biennial Membership Directory, and our website. Your membership is critical as we continue our efforts to build Emergency Preparedness programs within our neighborhood, and our Covenant Review Committee works tirelessly to support the adherence of all Somerset residents to our established community Covenants that protect our property values. You may pay online (without additional fee) on our website Somerset98006.org, or mail your check (made out to Somerset Community Association or SCA) with the invoice below to: Somerset Community Association P.O. Box 40531 Bellevue, WA 98015

INVOICE Name: Address: Phone:

Email:

The SCA protects your privacy and will never share your information.

Homeowner’s Dues for 2021 (now reduced to 2018 prices)

$ 75.00

I want to provide an additional donation to support community projects including landscaping, neighborhood events, and improvements.

$______

I want to direct a separate donation to the non-profit organization CENSE to help stop PSE’s unnecessary and unwise "Energize Eastside" transmission line (planned for construction over Somerset).

$______ Total: $______

Please complete the following to help us provide you with high quality service: Check one: q I am the owner.

q Rented, I am the owner.

q I am the renter of this property.

I think the most important issues the SCA should focus on are: ______________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________ I would prefer to receive communication in this language: __________________________________________


PRESORTED STANDARD US POSTAGE PAID SEATTLE WA PERMIT #1809

Somerset Community Associaton PO Box 40531 Bellevue, WA 98015

“Snowmaggedon 2021” arrived in mid-February with Somerset’s elevation leading to some neighbors receiving over a foot of snow! Because it coincided with Bellevue School District’s mid-winter break, Somerset kids and adults alike were able to frolic as much as desired, as evidenced by these resident photos.

Profile for Somerset Sun

Somerset Sun Spring 2021  

Somerset Sun Spring 2021  

Advertisement