Local theater seeks help from community

  • Written by Madeline Coats


The Woodinville Repertory Theatre finished its 2019 season in October with “Lend Me a Tenor” by Ken Ludwig. The show was hosted at the theatre group’s previous location, Denali Slab Studio. Woodinville Repertory Theatre


Real estate costs a pretty penny in the Seattle metro area, especially in Woodinville. Finding space for a performing arts studio in today’s market is much more challenging.

After various moves and relocations, the Woodinville Repertory Theatre is searching for a permanent home. Board member Charley Blaine said the organization would prefer to stay in Woodinville.

“We can’t run a successful theatre without a permanent space,” Blaine said. “Not just a permanent home for the Woodinville Repertory Theatre, but for the arts community scattered from the Snoqualmie River to Bothell.”

The theatre was previously located at Denali Slab Studio on Redmond-Woodinville Road from 2011-19. Blaine said the studio moved to a new place with less space to share, leaving the organization homeless.

Blaine said it is expensive to find a new place and the process is taking more time than anticipated. The organization is searching for a long-term solution, he added.

“A number of places have fallen through,” he said. “We hope that it will come together.”

The theatre group wants to work with the community to find a central location. Blaine said the city of Woodinville “does not have an active role with the arts.” 

He said the group aims to bring together the city, community members, local businesses and other arts organizations to develop a center for the arts in Woodinville.

Theatre supporters have suggested using the Woodinville High School, but he said there is not enough space. Blaine foresees a future arts center filled with classes, performances, studios and galleries. He said the center would provide a gathering space for artists to display and show their work. 

“We want to host an ungodly number of arts events, scattered all over the space,” he said. “Woodinville needs something like that.”

The Woodinville Repertory Theatre was founded by the late Peg Phillips, best known for playing storekeeper Ruth-Anne Miller on the television series Northern Exposure. 

“It’s hard, even though we’ve been around 20 years,” Blaine said. “A lot of people don’t know we’re around.” 

He said the theatre has 3-4 shows per year and hopes to continue at the same rate in 2020 and beyond. Each show produces a few weekends of live performances, many of which sell out of tickets. The theatre finished its 2019 season in October with “Lend Me a Tenor” by Ken Ludwig. 

“We don’t have much money to spend, but we get good people,” Blaine said.

The organization has been provided with temporary shelter by Redmond Academy of Theatre Arts, near Avondale Road. The theatre will present “Chapter 2” by Neil Simon on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, March 6-27.

The semi-autobiographical play tells a story about grief and love. Tickets can be bought online for $20, with discounts for seniors and students.

Annual State of the City address highlights financial and developmental successes

  • Written by Madeline Coats
Mayor Elaine Cook and City Manager Brandon Buchanan shared Woodinville’s 2020 State of the City address at the Chamber of Commerce’s monthly business luncheon Jan. 16.


Crime is down 50%, finances are in tip-top shape and the city may be getting a dog park. Woodinville checks all the boxes for a successful city.

City Manager Brandon Buchanan and Mayor Elaine Cook teamed up to present the annual State of the City address at the Chamber of Commerce’s monthly business luncheon Jan. 16 at Chateau Ste. Michelle. 

“The city is in great financial shape. Your city is on fire, in the best possible way,” said Mayor Elaine Cook, reassuring Police Chief Katie Larsen. 

According to Buchanan, staff is continuing to work on permits, plans and projects. He said sales tax is the largest source of revenue in the city. Construction tax goes to infrastructure, he added. 

Buchanan said development continues at “a record level.”

One of those projects includes a new hotel, in addition to Willows Lodge and Hampton Inn, which will provide for additional tourism tax dollars to go towards community events. 

Buchanan said the city allocated almost $200,000 to support local activities. The city also partnered with the Chamber and Woodinville Wine County to put together events and resources, such as Celebrate Woodinville, Winterfest and the Visitor’s Guide.

He said the city provided $18,000 for community grants in 2019 and intends to do so in 2020.

In terms of public safety, Buchanan said crime is down 50% since 2016. Most issues are related to mental health and substance abuse, he added. The rate of property crimes in the area has decreased as well.

Local police officers and firefighters continue to serve the community. Most recently, Shop with a Cop helped provide 121 kids and 46 families with toys and clothing. 

Last year included many capital improvement projects, which included roads, facilities, parks and public art. A majority of the tasks revolved around street maintenance and pavement improvements. 

Buchanan said there are lots of new faces at City Hall, raising the total number of staff members to 50.

He said 2019 featured the groundbreaking for the Civic Campus, also known as the Schoolhouse District. The city received $1 million in state funding for the childcare center at the YMCA, Cook added.

Cook said the city aims to improve community livability by focusing on parks and open space, housing strategy and school impact fees. Cook was adamant that a dog park be created, Buchanan was apprehensive. 

She also wants to see a larger variety of housing to accommodate more families. Impact fees are based on construction costs of projects that are undertaken due to growth in the district. Cook said schools are overcrowded and expected to continue increasing in size.

“There is not enough housing for people that want to live here,” she said.

Buchanan said he is anticipating 2,395 new housing units and 4,670 new residents in the next five years. Construction of the Westpoint Project, Woodin Creek Village, Civic Campus and Wine Village will provide for an abundance of mixed-use housing. 

Cook said the Vine Village is expected to break ground in spring. The mayor was excited to add that the area will take on an agricultural theme of “forest and farm.” 

The City is working with King County on plans to address public safety on Northeast 145th Street. She said there is a pedestrian safety issue on the road, especially after concerts and drunk people. The project intends to bring a pedestrian-activated crossing signal to the busy street.

Buchanan concluded the address with a reminder to the crowd about openings on Woodinville City Council and the Public Spaces Commission. 



Play the Earth’ album: A true family affair

  • Written by Madeline Coats

Epaminondas Trimis has a collection of about 200 musical instruments, most of them made by hand. Each instrument pairs up with a specific song and element of earth in his “Play the Earth” album. Courtesy photo


Fingers tap on a typewriter in an upbeat rhythm. A jazzy tune flows in the background. Eventually, a woman’s voice begins reciting words. Heartbeats join the mix, revealing a mysterious theme. This continues for over six minutes in just one of 11 songs by a local artist.

Musician Epaminondas “Nonda” Trimis said the typewriter belonged to his mother, now 83, who used to write poetry in the ’60s. The heartbeats belong to the mother and son since she was pregnant with him while composing the poetry. 

“The album is an extension of her work,” Trimis said. 

The family dynamic continues with the release of Trimis’ album “Play the Earth.” The album is co-produced with his son, Chris Trimis, who also released an album of his own in 2017. 

Both albums were based and recorded inside his home studio in Woodinville. He said they completely engineered the album. 

“There’s a Woodinville- ness to the album,” he said.

The collection includes a series of poems based on different elements of earth, written by Michaele Benedict, his mother. Trimis said each poem celebrates a specific element of the planet.

“It’s an invitation for everyone to get in touch with the earth,” Trimis said. “And play the earth, understand it, and work with it.”

He said one song is composed entirely of bamboo instruments, which relates back to the theme of ecology. Another used only skin instruments throughout the piece.

One reason for the album’s success stems from a friendship formed randomly at a salad bar. Trimis said he met Johanna Cireneo in 2018 and loved the sound of her South African accent. So, he asked to use her voice for a few of the poems. 

She recited the poem “Droplets,” which focuses on the element of water, and “Skin,” with reference to people and race. Trimis said Cireneo felt like she could personally relate to racism and the “precious nature of water in South Africa.”

Benedict compared skin to a wrapper in “Skin.” He said the song focuses on “what is really inside,” especially pertaining to racism.

“Droplets” features a faucet of dripping water recorded by Benedict on a cassette tape in her farmhouse 50 years ago. Much of the album includes everyday noises compiled into beats and rhythms. 

Trimis owns a collection of about 200 instruments, a majority of which are homemade by himself. He said the album had no budget and no pressure from a record company, so there was plenty of time to find unique and distinct sounds for each layer of the track. 

“Play the Earth” is his first album released under his own name. Trimis said he has worked on 60 different albums throughout his life, including the soundtrack for the Ken Burns film “Louis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery.”

Trimis studied music and percussion performance, just like his son, Chris, who now teaches with Seattle Public Schools. Chris has been in various bands since he was a kid and participated in the battle of the bands at Woodinville High School and the University of Washington.

He released his first album “A Lot of Me Melted There” in 2017. It includes vocals, guitar, piano, vibraphone, marimba, synthesizer, drum set, djembe, surdo, doumbek, guiro, tambourine, cajon, electronic drums, and an assortment of bells, shakers, and rattles—all played by Chris. 

Benedict is still writing and teaching music in Montara, California. 

Operations Chief celebrates 44 years in the fire service

  • Written by Heather Chadwick| PIO
Assistant Chief of Operations Eric Andrews


MONROE—Assistant Chief of Operations Eric Andrews with the Snohomish County Fire District 7 is retiring after 44 years in the fire service. Andrews will serve his final day on Friday, Jan. 31.

“I know many fire department leaders proclaim how great their members are,” Andrews said. “But I can truly say I know of no agency, and I have seen many, that have more passionate fire service members than we have here are Fire District 7. What an honor to have been a small part in this incredible organization for so many years.”

Andrews began his firefighting career in 1976 as a volunteer with Snohomish County Fire District 26. He was hired by Snohomish County Fire District 7 in July of 1978 as one of only two full-time employees at the time.

Andrews served the citizens of Fire District 7 in many capacities throughout his career. He worked his way through the ranks serving as Firefighter/EMT, Lieutenant, Training Officer, Battalion Chief, and then was promoted to Assistant Chief of Operations. As the Assistant Chief of Operations Andrews was in charge of the district’s day-to-day operations while planning for the future and seeking best practices.

During his career, he helped secure over $3.4 million in various grants. It was due to his hard work and expertise that Fire District 7 was able to improve service to citizens and create safer working environments for firefighters helped by these grants. One of the grants; Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER), allowed Fire District 7 to hire 16 additional firefighters to meet the rising service demand. Fire District 7 was also awarded two Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) grants, radio communication grant, personnel protective clothing grant, public education aids, and new fire apparatus, saving taxpayers millions of dollars. 

Andrews was also instrumental in the development of multiple programs and teams throughout the county, two of which, were the Cooperative Interagency Training program started in 1998 and the Northwest Incident Management Team (NWIMT) that formed in 1996.  He served as the NWIMT Operations Section Chief during large scale incidents such as the Oso mudslide and major fires in our state.

Andrew also has served as the Northwest Region coordinator for the State Fire Defense Committee for the last 13 years. He will continue to serve as the coordinator after retiring from Fire District 7. Andrews will continue to serve as the Fire Chief of Sky Valley Fire in Gold Bar after his retirement from Fire District 7. 

A retirement flag lowering ceremony to be held on Jan. 31 at Fire Station 71, 8010 180th St. S.E., Snohomish. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. All are welcome to attend.

The weather outside is frightful

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick
The first winter snowfall wreaked havoc in Woodinville and the surrounding areas as upwards of 8 inches of the white stuff blanketed some communities in East King County. The snow started falling Sunday evening and continued into the wee hours of Monday morning causing temporary power outages and school closures throughout the Northshore District. Bob Kirkpatrick