Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mercer Island Farmers Market: Which Vendor is Your Favorite?

The Mercer Island Farmers Market is back! Has been for several weeks, in fact. Note to readers: if you’re following this blog for timely news, you shouldn’t be. I recommend The Mercer Island Reporter for news.

There are a lot of new vendors, including a yogurt stand. The yogurt is sweet. I couldn’t figure out if it was supposed to be lunch or dessert but I liked it.

The music is always my favorite. Last week Joe Ross had the kids going:
Music-farmers market

And a couple of weeks ago, swamp soul was pretty good too.
Music-swamp soul

Other changes: there’s a guy who sells edible plants. We got some basil to round out our garden. This year they had crafts in June. There were some cool aprons and bird art. Crafts will come back for the Harvest Market, which has a nice enough selection that you can do a bit of Christmas shopping there.
Aprons and birds

Good returners are the pizza place, lots of the veggie places, and the Master Gardeners, who will patiently look at the cuts from your garden and tell you what they are. Once I saw them look at a cut and say to the presenter, Get out while you still can! Just kidding.

The organizers have done a great job of creating a community gathering place. There’s lunch, there’s ice cream, there’s music, and it’s right next to Mercerdale Park which offers a grassy field and playground. If you have little ones, the nearness of the firehouse and fire engines is an attraction too.

Who’s your favorite vendor at the market? Leave a note in the comments, we’ll do this the unscientific way.

Disturbing Plans for The Mercer Island Library

Thanks to commenter Barbara Halliday, who let me know about a project to renovate our library and the response by a group of concerned citizens. Before I get into any specifics, why don’t you judge for yourself. Here’s the Library today:


And this is the Library tomorrow?


Source: Presentation from public meeting on 1/7/2104. 

A few of the major differences:

  • The skylight is gone. Why would you ever take out a skylight?
  • There are many fewer books. Libraries serve many functions, but the serendipity of walking around and browsing books is an important one, especially for younger readers.
  • The Library may be closed for up to a year to complete the project.
  • The new design is marked by the loss of a feeling of warmth.

To that latter point, the response of the citizens’ group struck me: “The issue with furniture and finishes is not darker wood, but having a warm, and friendly home-like atmosphere, not a bright, very light atmosphere similar to airport terminals.”  

I moved here about 6 years ago now. I was– and am– pleased at what a comfortable and attractive library we have. It’s got great windows and nice spaces for sitting. It’s not the biggest library, but it’s got stacks of books, like a library should.

I agree with the citizens’ group that this overhaul is not only not necessary, it’s out of character and will leave us with a worse library. The group advocates that we meet current shortcomings, in particular Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, with a reconfiguration that stays in character with Mercer Island. It’s at least worth looking at.

Photos from Harvest Farmers’ Market

On Sunday the Mercer Island Farmers Market did its special pre-Thanksgiving holiday market. A beautiful day for it:

There were some new booths, including arts and crafts with nice gift ideas.

And some good food. In addition to the pizza and the veggie quesadillas that they usually have, Skillet made an appearance:
Want to make it out to another one? You’ll have to wait til spring. Follow the Mercer Island Farmers Market website or Facebook page. By the way, they are applying for beer and wine tasting license. Should be some great new vendors next year.

Yesterday’s Opening of the New Dragon at Island Crest Park

Yesterday was the ribbon-cutting on the new dragon at Deane Children’s park.

Here’s the ribbon cutting:

The old dragon was much-loved but 50 years old. The celebration included an interview with the artist, Kenton Pies, also the artist of the original dragon:

The music lady Nancy Stewart was there with a new song for the occasion:

Lots of folks turned out, and the kids knew what to do at the playground.

More on the project, including photos of building this dragon and the original dragon, on the Mercer Island Parks website.

Ski Swap at IMS today

It’s the annual ski swap and at 820 there’s already a line. It’s open at 830 til 230. Come get yur ski on!


On Our Ballot: City Council

The political signs are up along Island Crest, which can only mean one thing: election season. Here’s a guide to the City Council race. The other local positions are on the School Board, which we’ll get to in the coming weeks.

As a reminder, in this blog we cover only local news and local races, or larger races that relate to Mercer Island.

So here goes:

Council Position No. 2: Dan Grausz or Kevin Scheid

Dan-Grausz Kevin-Scheid

Now this is an interesting one. Dan Grausz is a longtime veteran of the council. Kevin Scheid is a very involved resident (who celebrated his 38th anniversary at Island Crest Way and 40th on Friday). They both talk about I-90 tolling and a vibrant downtown as major issues. Both are against tolling and for, well, vibrancy in downtown. So what’s the difference?

I-90 Tolls

In I-90 tolling, it seems to be the level of compromise and negotiation. Kevin Scheid has a stark view: agree to no tolling whatsoever. Dan Grausz seems more in favor of negotiating as a way to fight the toll.

The Mercer Island Reported endorsed Grausz, saying “His opponent says that any sort of compromise regarding tolling is wrong. Yet, Mr. Grausz has demonstrated that he knows how and when to negotiate. He weighs what is best for Islanders in the face of change or circumstance that may or may not be welcome, but always inevitable.”


On this issue the best I can tell is that Dan favors building a residential and retail community: “I do not want to see only professional offices in our buildings that turn our Town Center into an empty cavern at nights and on weekends.

Kevin wants office buildings that will pay more taxes (“Future development needs to contribute its fair share of infrastructure costs“). Their sites are all in political code though so I may be wrong.

Council Position No. 4: Tana Senn or… someone else

Tana Senn is running unopposed for the fourth position. Tana joined the City Council in 2012 and has since been elected by the King County Council to as the 41st District State Representative, replacing Marcie Maxwell after she moved on to state government, according to The Mercer Island Reporter.

Council Position No. 2: Rich Erwin or Benson Wong
Benson-Wong Rich-Erwin

Benson Wong is interesting. He’s got a long history of service on the Island, which counts for a lot. Like all the candidates, he’s against I-90 tolling, for a good downtown and great schools. But he actually points out some things he would do, like push for full implementation of the recommendations of the Sustainability Task Force and support the upcoming school bond. That’s refreshing.

Rich Erwin seems like a nice guy but it’s hard to figure out what he would actually support. Benson Wong seems the better candidate.

Next up is a review of the School Board candidates on the ballot in November. Watch this space…




Thanks and Good Luck, Kendall Watson

Patch is losing its editor today, which probably means no new posts from that blog. Kendall Watson has covered Mercer Island well for many years at Patch and before.

It’s a shame. The failure of Patch was, in my view, a failure of AOL and not of the many excellent journalists who have been trying to cover their communities. AOL’s version of journalism was of great local profits, and by and large the journalists of Patch had a different vision– great local journalism.

There’s plenty to say about a small city like Mercer Island. Kendall covered high school sports and local stories thoroughly and well. I read his posts often. The problem is, nobody has figured out how to make money at it. Some of Seattle’s great local bloggers can make a go of it, but it’s a full time job and more. It’s a labor of love, and AOL’s not in the labor of love business. (Side note: if anyone can figure out what business AOL is in, please leave a comment. I’d love to know.) This blog is run by yours and generates absolutely no profit but also provides the flexibility to take a couple of years off if I need to.

End rant. Good bye and good luck Kendall, and thanks for your coverage of Mercer Island. Hope to see you around these parts soon.