Yes, Virginia, free fitness classes for women do exist

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Courtesy Photo “Revive and Thrive”is a free dance fitness class program for women of all ages.
Getting fit, exercising more and feeling better about one’s body are common resolutions that people often make, especially around the New Year.

Unfortunately, the process to achieving these goals often involves a financial expenditure, whether it’s for a gym membership, class fees or new equipment, and for many folks, the outlay of needed cash can be problematic, especially in a challenging economy.

In an effort to make it easier on the wallet, while increasing accessibility to fitness, one longtime local trainer has opted to offer free fitness classes to women.

“I don’t think people should have to pay for better health and fitness,” says Cheryl Licata. “Some things in life should be free and especially something as important as your health.”

To this purpose, the Woodinville woman began “Revive and Thrive,” a free dance fitness class program for women of all ages.

She upped the ante by adding free childcare to attract mothers with young children.

“Getting enough exercise is hard enough for women, but when you add in the issue of finding a babysitter, it gets overwhelming,” comments Licata. “And, of course, you have to pay the sitter each time you want to get out and do something good for yourself.”

Licata started the classes a little over a year ago, offering them three mornings a week at Avondale Bible Church, across from the Woodinville Library.

Initially, the sessions were sparsely attended, but it didn’t take long for the word to spread and for the numbers to grow.

“I get about 25 to 40 women per class,” says Licata. “They’re all ages and come from various backgrounds and fitness levels. I choreograph the classes so everyone can do the steps and I show low and high intensity options to make it accessible to individual needs.”

The local woman describes “Revive and Thrive” as a “fun and powerfully effective one-hour total body workout.”

She adds, “Every class combines dance-based cardio with strength training and stretching to sculpt, tone and lengthen muscles for maximum fat burn. It’s a fusion of many forms of dance, resistance training, kickboxing and deep stretch. I use many styles of music including top 40 favorites, international, inspirational and jazz.”

Licata emphasizes that there’s no competition or intimidation in the classes, adding, “It’s just you getting to be you.”

She says that the only rule is to keep moving in whatever fashion you can.

“We giggle, we laugh, we have so much fun,” she adds. “I strive to establish a relaxed, light-hearted atmosphere where people feel comfortable and welcome, yet they know they’re going to get a great workout and sweat buckets in the process.”

Licata notes that the workouts also aid in relieving stress and help to reenergize the women, allowing them to leave feeling renewed and ready to take on the day.

She is proud of the changes that she has witnessed in a number of her participants. One woman lost 50 pounds over the course of a year; another, 45 in the last six months.

“Then I have three older women in their 70s who at the beginning had difficulty moving due to joint pain and now they are moving freely and their pain has basically disappeared,” mentions Licata.

“For others, it’s the gain in muscle and strength that happens.” She adds, “It’s very rewarding for me to help women feel better about themselves, but the real reason I do this is so I can dance and play, while being surrounded by loving and caring people. It’s pure joy for me!”

After the sessions, many of the participants often head across the hall to the coffee bar where they can order their favorite latte — for free — and spend time socializing together.

Participants can make donations if they wish, whether for classes, childcare or beverages, but it is entirely optional.

All money collected goes to the church, which in turn uses it to help pay the electricity and floor maintenance costs.

“It’s not about money,” emphasizes Licata.

“Ability to pay costly prices for classes and childcare is a non-issue here. Your health and well-being are first and foremost.”

All women are welcome, no need to register.

Wear comfortable clothing, cross-training or aerobic style shoes and bring water and a mat.

Weights and additional equipment are provided.

Seattle’s history is alive and well in MOHAI’s dazzling new digs

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Staff Photo/Deborah Stone, MOHAI is now located in the former Naval Reserve Armory Bu1ilding at South Lake Union.
Being forced out of your home and compelled to find new quarters can be an arduous challenge for any organization.

Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), however, embraced the mission with zeal, seeing it as an opportunity for reinvention. After being housed for the past 60 years in an old building near Montlake, where space was always an issue for the museum’s extensive collection of regional artifacts, MOHAI is now comfortably situated in the former Naval Reserve Armory Building at South Lake Union.

The facility, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and a Seattle City Landmark, has been returned to its Art Deco glory and upgraded to current Platinum LEED standards.

Original historic features were restored and new elements were incorporated with a project price tag of $60 million.

The building includes 50,000 square feet of interior space and 5,000 square feet of outdoor patio space, giving the museum 50 percent more public and exhibit areas than at its previous location.

With a collection of nearly four million artifacts and historic photographs, the additional space is a boon.

Museum staff expects about 100,000 people to visit the museum in the first year, as the new facility is significantly more accessible by both freeway and transit than the previous Montlake locale. Visitors will be quickly wowed upon entering the building as they stand in the dramatic atrium, where one of Boeing’s first planes — the B-1 seaplane, which made its maiden voyage over Lake Union in 1919 — hangs from the ceiling.

Joining it is Seattle’s first hydroplane, noted for shattering the world speed record on water in 1950.

And it’s hard not to notice another Seattle icon — the giant red “R” from the Rainier Brewing Company nearby, which lights up at the touch of a button.

Local installation artist John Grade’s “Sea to Sky” is also an eye-catcher.

The 65-foot-tall spire is made from wood taken from the deconstructed turn-of-the-century boat, the Wawona.

Step inside for a view of the waters of Lake Union below and a sliver of the sky above.

The atrium has four towers, which illuminate how history has shaped the culture of the Pacific Northwest by tracing Seattle’s journey “from wilderness to world city.”

One tower offers oral histories; another delves into the evolution of Boeing planes, while a third compares Seattle at the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo to its reinvention for the 1962 World’s Fair.

The fourth tower provides a view of Microsoft, gaming and the history of the high-tech industry.

Upstairs, visitors can stroll through a set of spaces that provide a series of snapshots into Seattle’s past beginning with the vibrant cultures of the Native Americans who made their home in this region and continuing with the early settlers who came on the Oregon Trail in search of a new life.

The rise of industry, railroads and statehood are detailed along with wartime and its effects on the city.

Further along, visitors are treated to displays on the growth of Seattle’s businesses, the city’s infrastructure and engineering marvels, development of its suburbs, shopping malls, sports teams, music scene and more.

Along with artifacts and historic photos, there is a variety of interactive media that encourages deeper exploration into different issues of interest.

Seattle’s maritime history is showcased on the fourth floor in the exhibit, “Waterways to the World.”

Created as artifact-driven “case studies” about Puget Sound’s connection to water, the exhibit uses images, models and artifacts to juxtapose historic activities with the modern ones visible on Lake Union through the gallery’s north-facing picture windows.

The Walker Gallery, a special exhibitions gallery for traveling shows, will initially host, “Celluloid Seattle: A City at the Movies,” an examination of Seattle’s relationship with film.

Curated by noted Seattle film critic Robert Horton, this show explores both the image of Seattle captured in films and how the notion of “going to the movies” has changed in the city over the years.

There is a Now and Then pictorial history of neighborhood theaters, a recreated set from the T.V. show “Frasier,” and a number of interactive activities including a green screen that places visitors into some of Seattle’s most iconic settings.

In the Linda and Ted Johnson Family Community Gallery, a space designed for sharing experimental and collaborative community exhibition projects, the first show is a collaboration with Arts Corp, Seattle’s largest youth arts organization.

On hand are pieces produced by Seattle students at Cleveland and West Seattle high schools, who were asked to bring MOHAI’s photographic archives to life through poetry and spoken word.

Still to open is the Center for Innovation, an exciting addition (due to be unveiled next fall) funded by a $10 million personal donation by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

The center will explore Seattle’s role as a place where innovation and entrepreneurship flourish through a permanent exhibit, classes, lectures and youth programming.

Another new feature of the museum is an on-site café, where diners can enjoy freshly made seasonal fare, while taking in the stunning views out to Lake Union and across the park to the Space Needle.

And for shoppers, there’s a well-stocked store, just inside the Grand Atrium, with a wide variety of products, including art pieces, jewelry, toys, home décor, collectibles, photos and books for sale.

MOHAI’s move to its new home also allows the museum to expand its public programming and provide a range of experiences that help people explore Puget Sound history.

“Our goal is to share the past in order to make sense of the present, while striving to create a better future,” says Lauren Semet, marketing and communications associate for MOHAI. “We want people to get excited about history and to take ownership so that we can continue to preserve it. There’s so much we can learn from our history.”

For more information: (206) 324-1126 or

Successful beekeeping for backyards in the Puget Sound area

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Courtesy Photo.
A 21 Acres student works with bee boxes.


Courtesy Photo.
Bees work hard at 21 Acres

The Sammamish Valley blooming season inspires an explosion of honey-bee activity and with it the activity of their beekeepers. If you’re new to beekeeping and thinking about getting your own hive, this series held at 21 Acres near Woodinville will help you learn how to manage a hive before you actually own bees.  Or, if you already own colonies of honey bees, these courses can serve as a useful review.

Dates for the series:

• Feb. 23, 10 a.m. – noon

• March 23, 10 a.m. – noon

• June 29, 9:30 am - noon

• Aug. 17, 10:30 a.m. – noon and 1 – 3:30 p.m.

• Sept. 14, 10 a.m. – noon .

This twelve-hour course will teach you everything you need to know to safely start and maintain a beehive and is intended to prepare new or experienced beekeepers with specific beekeeping activities before those activities are attempted with your own hives. It includes hands-on training, including assembling hives and opening and examining colonies.

This class will cover everything you need to know to further your hobby or get your business off the ground.

Instructors are Gary Gibbons and Clare MacQueen who are officers and members of the Northwest District Beekeeping Association and possess a wealth of knowledge and skills they are glad to share to help you get started. They maintain three hives on their property and like all beekeepers, learn more about their bees all the time. Both have become Apprentice Level Master Beekeepers and are currently working on the Journeyman Level.

Individual course session descriptions:

1. Intro to Beekeeping (A) – You will become familiar with how to raise bees by learning about the construction of hives and the various hive bodies, safe hive placement, purchasing bee packages, and generally how to get your bees hives started. You’ll also learn some bee biology, too.

2. Intro to Beekeeping (B) – The second Introduction class builds on getting your hive started and introduces you to feeding bees, general maintenance, troubleshooting in the hive, diseases and treatments, and ordering your first packages of bees.

3. Hive Inspection – You will learn how to inspect new and established hives, identify healthy and unhealthy hives, and use proactive, management techniques to prevent and treat common ailments for honeybees in the Pacific Northwest. Participants will inspect 21 Acres hives to identify those that are suitable for honey production. Hives will be adjusted accordingly and preventative maintenance conducted to reduce the likelihood of swarming or disease.

4. Extracting Honey – A combined indoor and outdoor class, you will learn how to remove frames from the hives and then how to extract honey from the comb. The class wraps up with a taste and take-home of the final product—raw, natural honey.

5. Preparing Your Hives for Winter – In the last class of the series, you will learn how to prepare hives for the winter and the steps to be taken during fall and winter months to provide your colonies with the greatest chance of survival.

Most classes will involve visits to hives for hive inspection; consequently, a veil and jacket or head net is required.

The early bird fee, for all five classes in the series, is $99. After February 14, $119. A special discount is offered for families (of up to three people) for $199. Classes may be sold on an individual basis, if space allows after February 21. Interested students may enroll and register one of three ways:; phone: (425) 481-1500; or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Woodinville robotics team wins ticket to FTC® World Championship

  • Written by Laleh Hassibi

Robotics 261
Courtesy Photo. Members of Sigma take the robot into the ring for competition.
Two teams from Swerve Robotics, a Woodinville-based 4-H robotics club, grabbed the spotlight at the recent Washington State FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) Championship by winning three highly sought-after awards.

Amid cheering fans and loud rock music, the teams, Sigma and Alpha, competed alongside 22 top-ranked robotics teams from the Puget Sound region and two dynamic teams from Oregon.

In the FTC robotics program, students design, build and program robots to compete head to head using a sports model. Teams face off during several qualification rounds to vie for the state championship, as well as for special judged awards.

This event showcased not only robot performance but also highlighted the design, engineering and creativity behind the robots through various displays and exhibits in the pit area.

In the end, Team Sigma won a chance to compete at the World Championship in St. Louis in April. One-hundred twenty-seven teams from 16 different countries will earn spots to compete at the world championships.

Sigma won second place for the Inspire Award. This formally judged award is presented to the team that best represents all aspects of the FTC program. The team is evaluated in the areas of robot performance, community outreach, engineering and Gracious Professionalism®. Gracious Professionalism is part of the ethos of FIRST. For the award, teams are judged based on their behavior and activities in the community.

Adding another feather to their cap, Sigma also won the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award, an award that honors the team that not only thinks outside the box, but also has the ingenuity and inventiveness to make their designs come to life. This award recognizes an innovative and creative robot design solution to the game. Sigma was also a PTC Design Award finalist.

Robotics _0272
Courtesy Photo. Team Alpha makes some last minute adjustments.
Malavika Venkatesan, a Woodinville High School junior and Sigma’s team captain, said, “The team is grateful for the opportunity to represent the state of Washington at the world competition and hopeful that we’ll continue to excel.”

Sigma’s sister team, Alpha, was awarded the coveted PTC Design Award. This judged award recognizes the design elements of the robot that are both functional and aesthetic.

All successful robots have innovative design aspects, however the PTC Design Award is presented to teams that incorporate industrial design elements into their solution.

Alpha also persevered in the robot competition to place fifth overall in the qualification matches. Their screaming green fedoras, decorated with flashing LED lights, must have blinded the competition.

“The students from both teams have worked hard,” said Heidi Lovett, lead mentor and team coach.

Other team members agreed that “the whole point of this is gracious professionalism,” noting the value of the mentoring, fundraising, engineering and other skills that they are learning along the way. “It’s pretty much like running a business,” commented another student.

Swerve Robotics club is a community-based club that serves students from kindergarten through high school aged students from Woodinville, Redmond, Snohomish, Duvall and Monroe areas. Swerve participates in the Washington State University’s 4-H engineering and technology program, which is a youth development education program. Learn more about 4-H tech programs at Help the Team get to the World Championship

Swerve Robotics Club is absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to represent the state of Washington at the FIRST World Championship in St. Louis, flashing fedoras and all, but they need your help. The cost to send all of the team (and their robots) to the event will be more than $35,000. Anyone interested in making a tax-deductible donation to Swerve Robotics can visit Please note “Swerve Robotics” in the comments box when you complete the form.

To pay by check, please write your check to  “Washington FIRST Robotics” and send to Heidi Lovett, 18606 201st Ave NE, Woodinville, WA 98077. Note “Swerve Robotics” on the memo line.

To schedule a robot demonstration at your school, business or club, contact Heidi Lovett, mentor, Swerve Robotics, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. or call (206) 679-4305.

Nathan Boyd
Eric Falcon
Tom Gorordo
Dante Chiesa
Claire Mitchell
James Mitchell
Mark Roundhill
Malavika Venkatesan
Mridula Venkatesan
Dryw Wade

Carolyn Atkinson
Katie Burkett
Sam Davids
Jarrod Ehlert
Camden Greenhaigh
Matt Mustarde
Karthik Ramesh
Robin Sherry
Webster Winters

Navigating healthy, resource- efficient choices for your home A course in Sustainable Living at 21 Acres

  • Written by 21 Acres

Bring your home into harmony with your commitment to healthy, resource efficient living.

Whether you plan to remodel or build new, a healthy, energy-efficient home is possible within a very realistic budget.

The key is to plan ahead and make thoughtful choices that will make your home both beautiful and sustainable.

“Navigating Green Choices for Your Home,” Saturday, February 9, is just one of the sustainable living classes offered at 21 Acres near Woodinville.

Instructors Terry Phelan and Sandy Campbell will show you how to make the most of the resources nature gives you, which materials are really healthy, economical and sustainable and how to integrate elements to save money in both the short and long term.

Four learning points attendees will take away from the class are:

1. How to separate green from green-wash

2.  Healthy material choices for indoor air quality

3. Simple passive solar techniques

4. A framework for assessing your family’s needs

Terry Phelan AIA, NAHB CAPS, is the owner and principal designer of Living Shelter Design Architects.

She has over 30 years experience designing homes using many different materials that are both proven and sustainable.

From hands-on straw bale workshops to conference breakout sessions on effecting change, Phelan strives to bring more sustainable living within reach to everyone. She also hosts The Eco-Logical Home, a radio talk show on sustainable homes and communities. Sandy Campbell NCIDQ, LEED AP, is the owner and principal designer of Entero Design.

She has over 20 years of interior design experience in both commercial and residential projects, with the past 16 years focused on environmentally conscious design and materials.

Campbell’s award winning design projects have been featured in a variety of publications, and she has participated as a speaker or panelist on a variety of green building topics.

“Navigating Green Choices for Your Home” is offered, Saturday, February 9, from 1 to 3 p.m.  Fee is $25. 21 Acres members receive an additional discount. Interested students may enroll and register one of three ways:; phone: (425) 481-1500; or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living is a comprehensive campus with a farm, school, commercial kitchen, market and green-built facility located at 13701 NE 171st Street, Woodinville. All the programming and services offered through 21 Acres focus on the areas of Growing, Eating and Living.

Click or call for more information: or call (425) 481-1500.