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Student’s book helps SAFE horses

  • Written by Shannon Michael

Alex Olson is not your ordinary second grade student. She took a book writing project and turned it into a charitable fundraising opportunity that benefits Save a Forgotten Equine (SAFE), a nonprofit based in Woodinville that rescues neglected and abandoned horses and rehabilitates them.

Alex is a student in Ms. Jones’ class at Bear Creek Elementary and is the daughter of Jen and Keith Olson, of Woodinville.

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Eastside Native American Education Program: helping families for 30 years

  • Written by Shannon Michael

It has been 30 years since the Eastside Native American Education Program (ENAEP) was formed in 1974 by the Lake Washington School District.

Since the initiation of the Indian Education Act of 1972, the federal government has assisted local school districts in funding educational programs for all Native American, American Indian and Alaskan Native children, according to the LWSD website.

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Woodinville Rep performs ‘Tuna Does Vegas’

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

TunaCourtesy Photo. Woodinville Rep’s production of “Tuna Does Vegas” opens March 7.Depending on your point of view, Tuna, Texas, is heaven on earth or the weirdest place imaginable. Local audiences can decide for themselves in March with the Woodinville Repertory Theatre’s production of “Tuna Does Vegas.”

The show is the latest in a series of hilarious shows that lampoon — in a loving sort of way — the foibles of Tuna, the legendary but entirely fictitious third-smallest town in Texas, where the Lions Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies.

Tuna offers up its charms in performances scheduled for Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. March 7 and 8, March 14 and 15, March 21 and 22 and March 28 and 29. Matinees will be at 2 p.m. on March 9, March 16 and March 23.

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Swedish’s ‘Heart Surgeon for a Day’ event educates & inspires

  • Written by Shannon Michael

Sue Barrows ECGPhoto by Shannon Michael. BHS science teacher Sue Barrows, as part of the Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute’s “Heart Surgeon for a Day” event, watches as David Diedrick, right, a registered diagnostic cardiac sonographer, explains how electrocardiograms are used in examining the heart and vascular system.Sue Barrows, a 35-year veteran science teacher, 24 of them at Bothell High School, and Brandi Aubrey, of Bothell, were two of 20 people selected to participate in the Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute’s inaugural “Heart Surgeon for a Day” event held February 26 at the Seattle Science Foundation in Seattle.

As part of February’s American Heart Month, the event was intended to inspire both the participants who attended and the individuals who joined the conversation online on Twitter to learn more about heart disease prevention and treatment.

Over 200 applications to participate were received by Swedish, with the lucky 20 attendees picked randomly. The attendees were a fascinating group: a science teacher with a family history of heart disease, a TV reporter, pre-med college students, three who’d had heart surgery, a young woman whose mother had been a cardiac care nurse at Swedish over 20 years ago, and others.  


Dr. Glenn Barnhart, chief and executive director of Swedish’s Cardiac Surgical Services, explained the purpose of the day’s event, “This is an important issue. Heart health today is still very much underappreciated.”

Heart disease affects one in four Americans and is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than half of all men and women who die from heart disease have no noticeable symptoms, Barnhart shared with the group.

Barrows, Aubrey, and their fellow “surgeons” were treated to a brief lesson on the anatomy of a heart before heading into the BioSkills Lab where four stations were set up to rotate through, along with three of Swedish’s four cardiac surgeons and a couple of cardiologists.

“We have over 150 years of collective experience working on the heart here today,” said Dr. Barnhart, as he introduced the handful of cardiac specialists on hand to share their expertise.
In the BioSkills lab, participants were given the opportunity to dissect pig hearts, try their hand at performing an aortic valve replacement on a pig heart using the surgical tools of the trade, and use the da Vinci robot to perform surgery on a pig heart.

The group also saw a demonstration on some of the special materials produced to repair hearts, demonstrations of electrocardiogram (ECG) procedures, toured an operating room set up for open heart surgery, and toured the Hybrid operating room which is filled with the latest technology to help surgeons at the operating table. The Hybrid OR is considered one of the most advanced operating rooms in the world.

It was a fascinating day for Barrows, who teaches biology, marine biology and zoology.
“I loved all the hands-on activities and being able to do the heart dissections and actually do a heart valve replacement with the real tools and the replacement parts they actually use,” she said, adding, “It was amazing!”

After getting to try her hand at using the da Vinci robotics to perform surgery, she had newfound respect for the skills of the cardiac surgeons. “It was hard! The 3-D spatial was hard to get used to and getting the probe to pick up the needle was difficult to do,” she said.

Dr. Eric Lehr, a master at doing groundbreaking surgeries using the da Vinci robot, was there to guide each participant through their turn at using the robot. Lehr, along with his surgical partner Dr. Johannes Bonatti, were the first in the world to successfully perform a quadruple bypass surgery on a patient a few years ago using the da Vinci robot.

“The use of the da Vinci robot helps cut down recovery time for heart surgery patients from three to four months for open heart surgery to just three to four weeks,” Dr. Lehr said.
Practice using the machine was important for Lehr. “I practiced suturing arteries about 200 times before actually operating on a human heart,” he said.

The da Vinci robot is used for coronary artery bypass, grafting, mitral valve repair and a variety of other surgeries, according to Lehr.

For Aubrey, this event was very personal to her. Dr. Barnhart had been her surgeon when she had an aortic valve replaced five years ago at Swedish.

“I was born with a heart condition we found out about when I was a toddler, so my entire life I was obsessed with anything having to do with the heart,” she said.

“Everybody here at Swedish was so great about preparing me going into the surgery with what to expect with recovery. That was fantastic, but to look at it from the other side of the table was really impressive,” she said, adding that it was mind blowing to look at it from the surgeon’s angle.  
The group finished the day having lunch with the cardiac surgeons and cardiologists and a question-and-answer session. The event was considered such a success that Barnhart and event organizers plan to offer the opportunity to the public again sometime later this year. To see more photos from the event, visit the Swedish Facebook page or search for #SwedishDoc4Day on Twitter.

Bandon-by-the-Sea: Oregon coast’s best-kept secret

  • Written by Shannon Michael Features Writer

BandonDrive down the coast through Washington and Oregon, and it quickly becomes apparent where the hot spots are for tourist destinations.

Ocean Shores, Westport and Long Beach in Washington; while Seaside, Cannon Beach, Lincoln City and Newport in Oregon are known for their perfect locations to take a long weekend or a week’s vacation at the beach.

However, for those who continue the journey further down the Oregon coastline along Highway 101, the off-the-radar coastal town of Bandon is an unspoiled jewel worthy of the nine-hour drive from the Seattle area to visit.

Sure, golfers seeking the best courses are knowledgeable about Bandon Dunes Golf Resort with its St. Andrews inspired course located about five miles north of the town along the ocean’s shore.

Many choose to fly into Bandon for a golfing excursion, as evidenced by the line of private planes and jets parked at the small airport when the weather is favorable.

For those who crave finding a beach that offers a little bit of everything, if that everything includes ample tide pools teeming with sea anemone, hermit crabs and starfish, rocks to climb or perch yourself upon to watch stunning sunsets, driftwood and agates to discover and explore, then Bandon should be tops on your list of destination beach vacations if swimming and getting a tan are not your highest priorities. 

The best view beach in Bandon is located along Beach Loop Drive where the Oregon Islands Wildlife Refuge and the iconic Face Rock are located just offshore. There, visitors can find numerous hotels overlooking the beaches and cabins for rent year-round.

Nearer to the small town’s Old Town, are other hotels and small cabins for rent that face out toward the Coquille River, the jetty and the historic lighthouse across the river.

When the tides are too high for long strolls on the beach, there are plenty of things to do in and around Bandon, starting with the Old Town section where visitors will enjoy a variety of shops from candy stores like Cranberry Sweets to Second Street Gallery, an excellent art gallery featuring local artists’ works.

Those needing their daily espresso coffee fix won’t be disappointed there’s no Starbucks when they visit Bandon Coffee Cafe, where their specialty mochas all have names that remind you where you are: the Beachcomber, the Coastal or the Lighthouse Mocha.

Also located in Old Town are several restaurants offering a variety of cuisines from Italian, or old-fashioned American diner food, to classic coastal seafood fare. Some restaurants close down during the slow times of late December to early February, but those that remain open still offer plenty of choices for diners.

If it’s fresh, off-the-boat Dungeness crab you’re looking for to bring back to your room or cabin for dinner, then stop by Tony’s Crab Shack located near the marina.

Or visit Face Rock Creamery, home of award- winning locally made cheeses you can enjoy with a glass of wine while you watch the sunset.

The historic Coquille River Lighthouse can be explored from the outside after just a short road trip north of town and across the river, as well as numerous state and county parks and lighthouses that dot the coastline both north and south of Bandon.

One state park well worth the 25-mile curvy road drive to get there is Shore Acres State Park in Charleston, north of Bandon.

This park, located along a rocky bluff with some of the coolest geological formations caused from tectonic plates pushing against each other, is best visited during a very high tide, and it’s even better to visit when you add a stormy day to the mix.

That’s when the waves come crashing into the bluff causing spray to shoot up 75 feet or more into the air.

The park is also home to almost five acres of stunning gardens as it used to be the property of pioneer lumberman and shipbuilder Louis J. Simpson. While his mansion is long gone, the gardens have remained and been maintained.

Over 8,000 tulips put on a showy display in spring, while over 300,000 LED lights are used to illuminate the gardens between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The annual Holiday Lights Festival draws over 45,000 visitors annually.

About an hour north of Bandon is the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, perfect for hiking, photography, horseback riding or renting a dune buggy.

During the winter months, gray whales can be seen migrating south the last week of December, and then returning north the last week of March.

Volunteers count whales through the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department’s "Whale Watching is Spoken Here" program and help visitors at state parks along the Oregon coast, including the Face Rock Scenic Viewpoint on Beach Loop Road in Bandon, to spot them as they pass by.

If Bandon is a destination you want to try for your next vacation but you’d also love to add wine tasting to your adventure, consider breaking up the nine-hour drive into two days, stopping after seven hours driving in Roseburg, Ore., along Interstate 5 overnight.

Located in the heart of the Umpqua Valley, the Roseburg area is home to the 2013 Oregon Winery of the Year, Abacela Winery, plus several other award-winning wineries.

From Roseburg, head west on Highway 42, then south on Highway 101 to Bandon for the remaining two hour drive to reach the beach.

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Photo courtesy of Shannon Michael. The many rocks dotting the coastline in Bandon, Ore., include those that can be explored during low tides, and the iconic Face Rock, to the left in the photo above.